Tag Archives: life lessons

Sample Chapter: Southern Discomfort

Part of my soon-to-be-published novel, Southern Discomfort, has been posted here on 8 Great Storytellers. It’s posted under its own tab, on the right side of the top menu. Updates will be added there as they become available. Comments and questions, please!


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Filed under Chapter, Excerpts, Fiction, historical fiction

Does Hitler Matter Anymore?

What we believe about Hitler is that he was an obviously inhuman madman whose deliberate hatred motivated him to kill millions of people in concentration camps. But was it that simple? What if he was, if not perfectly sane, sufficiently so to be fully responsible for his actions? And what dark psychological forces underlay that hatred? Are there more lessons for us to learn, lessons that could prevent recurrence of such mass exterminations? Or is it already too late for us?

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Filed under historical fiction, Jeff Guenther

Suicide is Not Painless

by Mary Jo Hazard

Last August 11th, Robin Williams committed suicide. He left three adult children to cope with his death—heartbroken, without a choice.

On September 26, 1972, my father shot himself. It was my sister’s birthday. He sat on my old twin bed, in the bedroom my sister and I had shared as children, and Continue reading


Filed under Mary Jo Hazard, Musings, True Stories

Dan the Packer Man


Big Dan rests thoughtfully in silent scrutiny, a cigarette dangling from pursed lips, with a mind to the packing of the mules and the proper balance of trinkets and toys of little boy campers and fishermen who have pressed their gear upon him once again.

His mind is not upon them for the moment, but upon ropes and ties and stresses and strains in proper sequence, for he detests the thought of a dropped load or even the time to re-cinch one, when a previous inspection could have avoided disaster. Continue reading


Filed under Musings, Tom Mooney

“One for All, All for One:” In the spirit of enlightened self-interest, all authors must share a generosity of spirit.

A Guest Post
Mark Fine, Author of The Zebra Affaire

“One for all, all for one,” was the batt512px-the_three_musketeers_fairbanksle cry of Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers.” I believe this should also be a guiding principle for the Writing Community.

We are neither competitors nor rivals; we must set aside these notions. Happily, in fact, we are colleagues, and by working together we will enjoy better chances of success. In a sense, I envision us as a loose knit creative co-op, a Kibbutz of self-publishing zeal where all have talents, connections, and chutzpah to contribute to this common (and admittedly sometimes self-serving) mission. Continue reading

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Filed under Musings


children-500065_640I could have been arrested. Some might say I should have been. But thanks to the passage of time, I can continue leading my reckless life while the children I “endangered” have safely reached adulthood. Today parents like me are being arrested for letting children play in parks unsupervised. I picture my face on a TV screen over a scrolling subtitle: “Mother Arrested for Sending Children to the Los Angeles Science Museum ALONE.” Yep, that was me.

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Filed under Jean Shriver, True Stories

The Table Turns

UnknownI am four years old. My mother has taken me grocery shopping, one of my favorite outings. As we roam the aisles, I traipse behind her as she checks prices and places items in the cart. I ask for cookies and treats, but she says no. I am distracted and don’t notice her rounding the corner. When I look up, she’s gone. My heart stops, or at least that’s what it feels like. I stand still, paralyzed, and in a tiny voice I say, “Mommy?” Continue reading


Filed under Julie Brown, Musings, True Stories

Saving Pennies

pennies-15727_640“A penny saved is a penny earned.” That’s what Grandma said every time she slipped me some coins. I had no idea what she was talking about. For me having pennies in my pocket meant a trip to the candy store to buy wax lips or Tootsie Rolls. But now that Grandma’s gone, her sayings keep coming back to me. Guess that’s why I started saving my pennies. You know, those pesky little coppers that clog up your change purse. I got out an old sock and every night I dropped in the pennies I’d collected that day. You’d be surprised how fast the sock got heavy. Grandma would approve, I thought….which shows you how much I know. Continue reading


Filed under Jean Shriver, Short fiction

Life On a Chessboard, Chapter 4

It’s Monday morning, and I have to laugh at the terrible punishment the school has dumped on me.  Wow, I’ll be staying home all week and studying chess, poor me.

I finish my breakfast and remember something I need to do.  The address book is in the bottom kitchen drawer, covered up by hot pads and hand towels.  I only remember dad talking about Aunt Jessica once, and it was some kind of put-down I didn’t understand.  Continue reading

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Filed under Chapter, Life on a Chessboard

“Life On a Chessboard, Chapter 3

When I get home, I toss my book bag in my room.  I flop on my bed, trying to figure out how I can get even with that lying prick, Brad Murphy.  Then I hear Betty and my father busting in the front door.  They come in my room.

“Steeeven!” Betty shouts.  “Why have you been suspended?  What have you done?”

My father’s face is beet red.  He glares at me, waiting for me to say something.

I try to defend myself.  “It’s not all that bad.  The other guys lied and Mr. Aguilar believed them, just because Brad Murphy is the student body president.”

My father points a finger at me, “Not that bad?  The Vice-principal said you used a knife on the boy.” Continue reading


Filed under Chapter, Life on a Chessboard