1 08, 2019


By |2019-08-01T11:06:01-05:00August 1st, 2019|Guest blogger|3 Comments

A Blog by Guest Blogger – Jody Gilmore Payne

I’m from a long line of readers and storytellers. I can’t remember a time my parents and grandparents didn’t have an open book nearby. I realize now the value of the legacy and thank them for the memories.

~I have ignored Papa’s frowning and eloped with a Browning.

~I have fought beside Travis in the Alamo.

~I have discussed cabbages and kings with a walrus.

~I have crossed a vast desert with an Englishman in Arab robes.

~I have dined with a fat king and wept for his queen.

~I have grown older and wiser on Washington Square.

~I have excavated a site for antiquities of ancient cultures and dug a despot from a hole in the same ground.

~I have journeyed through a wardrobe into a land of eternal winter.

~I have advised presidents and a man who would be king.

~I have been horrified to watch Othello give his trust to Iago.

~I have permitted murderers to go free on the Oriental Express.

~I have disagreed with a Medici when he claimed the end justifies the means and then listened with horror as our leaders now quote him.

~I have learned about relativity from a genius and taught him how to tie his shoes.

~I have knit my way through the French Revolution and sought justice for my people.

~My beauty was celebrated, but I was cast aside when I couldn’t give a French dictator a child.

~I have sailed the seven seas on a schooner and navigated across a continent on a sea of grass.

~I have followed an ideal and founded the best government known to man.

~I have hiked the Inca Trail to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu.

~I have drawn lines in the Nazca desert so long ago no one will remember their origin.

~I have built great pyramids in the Valley of the Kings and left a Sphinx to guard them.

~I have descended a mountain carrying stones etched with the sacred words of God.

~I have slain a giant with five smooth stones and changed history.

~I have set giant stones in a circle to explain the miracle of the heavens.

~I have caught words as they slid from the pooka’s mouth and meditated on power.

~I have listened to the caged bird sing and soared above the Grand Tetons with the proudest of all birds, the American eagle.

~I have been betrayed by a man and his church and worn an A on my breast.

~I have roamed the dark forest with werewolves and fled from vampires.

~I have thrilled to my first kiss many times.

~I have crossed the Delaware with brave men to follow the most virtuous of leaders.

~I have fought a war with my brothers and watched Atlanta burn.

~I have composed ballads with a poet and dreamed of returning to Mandalay.

~I have partaken of a moveable feast and baked blackbirds in a pie.

~I have watched in horror as barns burned through the night in Mississippi and found peace at dawn on Walden’s Pond.

~I have flown through space and walked on the moon.

~I have ridden a thoroughbred in the Derby and cried for the fate of a warhorse.

~I have bowed before a lowly donkey carrying a virgin with an unborn God.

Lucky me, I can read.

Jody Gilmore Payne is an author, a blogger, a horsewoman, an animal lover, and now a transplanted Texan …

I’ve always believed in the inescapable order of fate, but I can’t think of one good reason I wasn’t born right here in Texas. Oh the time I wasted wandering around looking for home!

Well, I’m here now and embrace it with open heart and welcoming arms.   

If my writing takes on a decidedly southern cadence, it’s understandable. I write about what I see and what I believe to be good and true.

You can visit Jody on Facebook or her website or her blog

14 05, 2014

Reading – One Word Wednesday

By |2014-05-14T06:00:13-05:00May 14th, 2014|one word Wednesday|0 Comments


Essayist Nora Ephron said it this way:

“Reading is everything!

Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter.  

Reading gives me something to talk about later on.  

Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself.  

Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.

 Reading is grist.

 Reading is bliss.”

I couldn’t agree more.

But I’d add writing doubles the pleasure because no matter how much you enjoy the world and characters someone else created it’s even more fun to create your own.

12 05, 2014

Paper or screen – how do you read?

By |2014-05-12T06:00:21-05:00May 12th, 2014|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Recently I had the most relaxing experience. I came away with blackened fingertips and oodles of coupons.

Can you guess what I was doing?????????????????????

I read the Sunday paper leisurely on Monday morning. An event that was once a routine part of my Sundays until we moved to the mountains.

We don’t have Sunday newspaper delivery in our neck of the woods. Our local newspaper arrives once a week in our mailbox and reading it doesn’t take long. It’s called the South Fork Tines and my high school newspaper was thicker.

Sunday papers are available at the local convenience store, but that necessitates a trip down the mountain. We haven’t developed the habit.

I doubt we will. We can always get the news via television or internet.

I picked up the one-inch thick edition of the Pueblo Chieftain, Colorado’s oldest daily newspaper, at the local hotel where I do my water aerobics three mornings a week.

The Chieftain isn’t nearly as large as the Houston Chronicle was, but the edition was filled with ads, coupon pamphlets, and the Sunday funnies section.

Oh, how I miss those funnies. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the experience so much.

Reading on-line just doesn’t convey the same feelings or give the texture of the newsprint in my hand. Yes, I get the same information from other sources, but not the tactile sensations.

I fear my pleasure of reading print newspapers is disappearing. And, not because of availability where I live.

Look around you. You’ll see what I see. Readers staring at screens on phones and tablets.

Michael Bourne observed the phenomena when he rode the subway into the New York City and wrote about it in his article, “Screens on the Subway: The Rolling Library Is Going Digital.”

“A decade ago, none of the devices my R train companions were so avidly viewing even existed. Back then, if you didn’t want to read on your morning subway commute, you stared off into space… Now, more and more often, those idle moments – on subway cars, on airplanes, in dentist’s offices – are being filled by games and movies and social media. By screens.”

I still read print: paperback books, magazines and newspapers. I also read on my phone (handy when I’m forced to wait unexpectedly), on my Kindle, and on my iPad. I sometimes stare at a screen to play games or check social media.

But holding those objects is just not the same as reading the Sunday paper spread out at the breakfast table with a nice cup of tea.

How about you? Do you read from printed papers or is most of your reading following the trend and done via screens?

28 04, 2014

Book Clubs … do you?

By |2014-04-28T06:00:26-05:00April 28th, 2014|one word Wednesday|3 Comments

book clubI recently attended a local book club meeting. Our population is small and the group was small. We shared a meal and talked about the book selection made by the hostess.

I wasn’t there as an author or even a member, only an invited guest. Membership is limited and word is someone must die before new members are invited to join.

Not that I wish death on anyone, but I had a lovely evening with the ladies. Their book selection was The Namesake: A Novel by Pulitzer Prize Jhumpa Lahiri, which chronicles an Indian family’s transformation into America culture.

Not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. It’s a literary novel and I read mostly commercial fiction.

FYI: The difference being literary fiction and commercial fiction is that literary novels center on the protagonist’s personal growth or destruction while commercial fiction (sometimes referred to as genre fiction) has a big hook plot that propels the story forward. I’ll be talking more about the differences in an upcoming blog.

Back to my book club experience, I found The Namesake a fascinating read. It’s a story about identity, cultural assimilation, and Gogol Ganguli’s name, which is a yoke from the past.

With a first name spelled Judythe, I could relate to Gogol. Fortunately, I don’t  have to deal with cultural assimilation and identity. Only having people spell my name correctly.

Before you say book club choices are the reason you don’t participate in book clubs, let me say that’s the very reason to join a book club.

Book clubs expose some fantastic stories among the wide variety of choices available. And, you get to meet some wonderful people who like to read as much as you do.

If you don’t have a book club in your community, why not start your own? It’s easy-peasy. Follow these eight steps.

  1. Invite your reading friends.
  2. Set expectations: adults only, serving a meal or only snacks, rotate homes
  3. Pick a place – a home, a restaurant, a library conference room. Size of your group and budget are the main considerations.
  4. Pick a day and time…and keep your schedule.
  5. Pick a book – literary or commercial fiction – well in advance
  6. Decide how the book discussion will be conducted. Sometimes publishers include discussion questions
  7. Send out meeting reminders-a phone call, postcard or use
  8. Mostly have fun.

Here are some links for additional help:

Book Browse 

Random House Book Reader Guides

Harper Collins Reader Guides 


If you’re not into group meetings, there are on-line options.

  1. Oprah’s Book Club 2.0  “We cover books in depth, and even offer the first chapters of those we feature on our iPad edition. The club is a great way to create a community and a global conversation while promoting one of the greatest pleasures: getting lost in an amazing story,” said O Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Casey.
  2. American Christian Fiction Writers Book Club is an on-line group that offers inspirational Christian choices.
  3. Goodreads offers the perfect place to discuss your favorite book and interact with other readers. Click on the link and search book clubs. You’ll be amazed at how many choices there are
  4. Set up your own group on Facebook. Options are now available to make groups private. Great way to involve long distance friends.

I hope you’ll consider participating in a book club soon. In my experience book clubs are a great way to socialize with other readers, discover amazing stories, and just plain have fun.

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