Thursday, June 27, 2013


Christal Rice Cooper – 1,519 Words


Romance novelist Kira Sinclair was always a lover of romance- she’d been reading Harlequin Presents since she was thirteen.  Her favorite memories of her teenage years are going with her girlfriends to used bookstores where she would spend her allowance money on romance novels.
            “That was my extent of romance writing – being the romance book reader.  My sister was going to be the writer because she got something published in the newspaper when she was eight years old.  Now I am the writer and my sister is an engineer.”

            Her first experience of writing a romance was when her high school English instructor assigned the students to small groups and each group had to come up with their own short story.
            Other groups chose stories on gun control or world peace.  I convinced the group to write a romance.”
            And write a romance they did – about a heroine who meets her hero in Scotland.  She was chosen by her group to read the story to the entire class.  Even though there were no passionate scenes like the scenes she now writes for Harlequin Blaze; she turned different shades of red as she read the story out loud.     

            She thought that was as public as she would ever go to expressing her love of romance.  Sinclair had other dreams – that of pursuing career in the arts.  She’d always been involved in the arts – dancing, performing, acting  - and her plans were to take advantage of a full theater scholarship and major in theater.
            Then real love and romance took over when she met her husband, a pharmacist chemist, and the two married and she they had their first daughter, Sweet Pea, who is now 12. 

            When she had finally adapted to having a new baby, a new hectic schedule, she was able to take a few minutes to breath – and found herself facing a new dilemma:  she had no outlet for her need of artistic expression.   Being a stay-at-home Mom did not allow her to try out for the next play, or to perform in a dance recital.  She had to find anther art form to immerse herself in that would allow her to still be the stay-at-home she wanted to be.

Finally, when her daughter was a toddler, she lay in her bed with laptop in lap; pillows propped up behind her back, and wrote her first novel.  The novel was so bad she still doesn’t remember the details.   At the time, she thought it had possibilities and submitted it to publishers, receiving rejections, some with constructive comments.  She entered the novel in numerous contests, and placed in one 1st, two 2nd, and one 3rd place finishes. 

“I might not have gained a contract from these contests entries and my first book will stay on my hard drive where it belongs, but writing it was the first step I needed to take in order to become the writer I am today.  I did gain knowledge.  I received feedback from three different editors on the problems and strengths of the story.”
Another positive discovery she made was her local Romance Writer Association chapter, Heart Of Dixie, which gave her great encouragement and constructive criticism on how to become a better writer.  Her fellow writers were also not of the typical world of dog eats dog. 

“There’s room for every writer to succeed and the writers care about you and want your book to succeed.  Publishing is not a zero sum game.  There’s room for everyone’s book to succeed.”
Through the group she was able to attend workshops on how to write, how to writer query letters and synopsis.  She admits she has difficulty with plot, but she’s learning and the more she learns the more she become a better writer.  RWA also helps her have the tools she needs to get into the business.

“In this business you have to have a thick skin.  You have to be able to listen to criticism and take it seriously.”

It was at one workshop that changed her from being a want-to-be published romance novelist – to a published one.  She had a conference meeting where she threw her own pitch to an editor.  The editor liked Sinclair’s idea but couldn’t use it because a book centered on the same idea had recently been published.  She gave Sinclair an opportunity to give her another pitch. 

So Sinclair gave her a pitch – about a young woman who endures a date rape at the age of 21, and, five years later, she still endures Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the inability to have sex.  One late night she and her best friend are listening to a radio show hosted by relationship expert Dr. Desire.  She calls in and sparks begin to fly.

 “She loved the idea and I hadn’t written a single word, so I went home and immediately began writing the book.”
Finally, after numerous revisions, correspondence with her editor, the book was complete and the editor bought the book on June 5, 2007. 
The book WHISPERS IN THE DARK was released in July of 2008 and Sinclair was officially a romance novelist for Harlequin Blaze.

Sinclair lives in Decatur, Alabama out in the country with her two daughters, who she identifies to her readers and the public only as Sweet Pea, 12, and Baby Girl, 9, and her black cat Shadow.  Her husband is a pharmaceutical chemist with a dream of being a farmer.  The family of four live twenty minutes from town, in a farmhouse out in the country.   Her view from her office of her bed is Sweet Pea’s bedroom, and a window enabling her to look out into her property –the barn, with the woods at its base.   She writes for two hours in her bed, and when she is in need of inspiration she’ll take a walk in the woods, to the creek that runs through her property; but normally she finds her inspiration in the living room.

“I can be watching a program of any kind, a sitcom, a documentary and I ask myself, “What would a person that is going through this certain crisis be like as an adult?”  
In THE RISK TAKER – the first scene of the book takes place in the backwoods fighting ring– she asked herself,  “Why would a man want to submit himself to that kind of fighting, to forget a part of his life?”  And then she thought of the military soldier becoming a prisoner of war, and POW Gage Harper was born.

In fact, the romance writer believes in happily ever after, and romance sparks flying, but she likes to add authenticity to her romances and show that people who go through traumas such as child abuse, PSTD, Rape, or other issues – that, they too can find romance.
            “In the end they may not get married – but I like my couples, in the end, to show that they do love each other, and that they will stay together – and if that doesn’t include marriage that’s fine.  They love each other, they’ll fight for that love, and that’s what matters.”
Sinclair is occasionally asked to conduct workshops herself and even writes articles about certain aspects of romance writing, but even now, after having published thirteen books, she still attends workshops and conferences.

“I’m constantly learning and hopefully through each book, this new learning will show.”  
There are three must-haves in order for her to write:  flavored water, sweet snacks (Reese’s Cup eggs, Jellybeans, Twizzlers), and earphones on listening to hard rock music (Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5.)  
“I have different playlists for different scenes, characters, stories and moods,” she writes in her website.
It takes her about four to six weeks to write the first draft of a book, but that doesn’t include revisions, line edits, and copy edits, which can be a lengthy process. 
“The books you see now have been purchased by Harlequin at least 13 to 18 months prior.  Right now the books being purchased are the new trend – but by the time they are published over a year later, another trend begins.”

Sinclair is thrilled to be with Harlequin – and states they care about the art form of writing and what the writer is trying to convey, and that transfers to the book cover.
“They have a great art department.  They make the final decision of the book cover, but they ask me what I think and I give them my input and they take that into consideration.”

Thus far Sinclair’s favorite book cover is THE RISK TAKER, which she ordered a life-sized poster.
Her book THE DEVIL SHE KNOWS, the third book in her Sweetheart, South Carolina series, will be released in September 2013 with Willow finally having her own story. 

In December 2014 Sinclair, Vicki Lewis Thompson, and Rhonda Nelson will have their anthology for Harlequin Nocturne released by the title JINGLE BELLS, which Sinclair described as “Funny, sexy and oh so magical.”

For more information visit Sinclair at her website, email her at, or write to her at PO Box 5083
Decatur, AL 35601.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


In Memoriam For Michael Jackson
August 29, 1958 to June 25, 2009

Bayonne, New Jersey, America

Jill Delbridge is the founder/group owner of THE ARTIST LOUNGE, a multi cultural eclectic group of artists spreading love, encouragement, support, and promoting of each other’s poetry, music, and literature in all genres.
She also hosts a live/recorded weekly radio show every Sunday night via phone/pc with live performances, networking, interviews, book reviews, and talk of the arts in all forms, in which everyone is welcomed.



”My first memory of Michael Jackson was seeing him on TV.   His aura was of love, magical, dancing, and an angelic voice.
I was at home with my family when I learned of Michael's untimely death listening to the news.  Teardrops fell and my heart raced as I prayed for the best.  When I heard the reports of him being unconscious upon his arrival at the hospital then finally his demise, I felt frozen, angry, and extremely grief stricken as though I lost a family member!
Michael Jackson, in my humble opinion, was and will forever be a messenger of love through his legacy of artistry.
He was a peacemaker bringing folks together through his massive God-given talent, a gentile childlike presence though he grew into a wonderful man.  His aura was of innocence, tranquil, inviting, mesmerizing, and genuine flowing endless unconditional love for one and all regardless of their race, culture, creed, beliefs, or lack their of.
He traveled the world spreading an abundance of joy, peace, and love, giving of himself completely and effortlessly, commanding peace, respect for humankind and nature, and unity for everyone through his artistry and giving of himself visiting and contributing to countless charities and causes.
I feel as though Michael was taken for granted, used, too many yes people, from abusing his trust and abysmal love.
He was tortured by the press, the stress, the trying to fit in, the pressures, and the insecurities.  His words:  “By the time I was a teenager I was a veteran.”
Persons entrusted to care for and maintain his physical and mental health failed him over, medicated and emaciated him, which lead to his fatality!
He sang soothing words of love, hope, humanity, unity, promise, and feel good words soothing and entertaining his fans.
Who was there truly for him bestowing unconditional love? Certainly he had to know his impact and feel the second hand love from his fans, friends, and family.
He pleased his parents, worked with his siblings, seeking everyone in his life, including his fans, happiness over his own.  Denied a childhood he created one in his home, assisting, supporting, and caring for needy and terminal children.
But, no one gave him one on one unconditional love!  He yearned to be loved and accepted not as Michael Jackson King of Pop but, Michael the sun, brother, uncle, father, cousin, fellow human being, and, most certainly, a man.
Being an artist is extremely lonely.  Artists are loners seeking love and acceptance through their gift, releasing their inhibitions, an unquenchable need for love, always giving but, rarely receiving or taking, sheltered, living behind gates, constantly in demand, no freedom as he cried for in "Leave me Alone".   He did what he did because he truly loved it, he was masterfully talented, and passion unleashed which was felt through his song and dance.
I felt Michael’s love and his has immensely inspired and mused me as an artist and writer.
The impact Michael made is a legacy of love, which will be felt forever! May he Rest in Peace and live in our hearts until the end of time.

You Are Not Alone Michael
by Jill Delbridge

I Rocked with you!
"She's out of my Life"
...Helped me deal
With personal loss and strife
I read between the lines
Of your songs ....
"Come Together"
"We are The World"
"Human Nature"
"They Don't Care about Us"
"I Can't Help It"
"Heal the World"
"Keep the Faith"
"Another Part of You"
Just to name a few

Your need
For Love and acceptance
Rang true

Giving somuch Love and of your self
As , you declared "I'll be there "
Yes you were !

Breaking down racial barriers
Through beautiful song
and dance
Mesmerizing the masses
In an awing trance

Crossing , mending bridges
Captivating souls across oceans
Michael, you were "BAD”!

I looked beyond
"Man In The Mirror"
I saw the beauty that
lies within
“You give me butterflies.”

Angels will be your back up dancers
Singing your refrain
Float on the sea of rain (tears)
From earth to Heaven
Moonwalk across the stars

You are FREE!

You made a the World
A better place for you and me....

No longer a need to bellow
"Leave Me Alone"!
There my Brother
"You are Not Alone"
It does not matter if you are
"Black or White"
I Pray to greet you
When I return Home
You will live Forever
Through your gift of song

Gone Too soon

I will always
"Remember The Time"
"The way you made me feel"

R est I n P eace, Michael

I love you
*2009 © Night Writer

Melville, Australia

SP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). His blogs are at: and and He ministers via Twitter and Facebook - Steve welcomes likeminded friends.
“My first memory of Michael Jackson was as a high school student grooving to Beat It, Thriller etc. Thriller was my favourite, though I love Earth Song and the wisdom he had regarding his care of planet earth.
I was inspired to write about THIS IS IT because it moves us to change and shows us just how special Michael was - and IS - as he lives through our memories. I believe God blessed us with Michael.
Where was I when he died... at home... and forlorn….”

“What have we done to the world?
Look what we've done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son...”
-Michael Jackson, Earth Song.

This is hallowed turf we stand on. Michael Jackson should not be dead. On June 25, 2009 the world, and certainly Michael's millions of fans, came to feel his pain, cataclysmically, yet for the last time. The journey of his astoundingly enigmatic life ended; a person of unusually deep emotion reconciled, finally.”
THIS IS IT (2009), the final curtain call as recorded during rehearsals for Michael's fifty London shows, is an inspiringly reverential and breathtaking behind-the-scenes production--a treat for all humanity, not simply for the MJ tragic. It's the way we want to remember this modern-day icon, the King of Pop.
As a Christian it is hard for me to stomach references that Michael Jackson (MJ) came close to being considered a deity; nevertheless, his steeped presence in this 'curtain call' exposé is something to behold. "Unique," as a word, seems so understated and therefore unfitting for MJ--as an artist and as a person. The incredibly talented artists working with him revered him with god-like awe. One just feels for these artists who make it to the halcyon in one leap, performing with MJ.
What about the artist--Michael Jackson? What could someone take from THIS IS IT, having not been around him previously? He is genius on a whole separate level to common humanity as far as genius is concerned. His artistic thought revealed other seasoned geniuses as confused deer in the headlights-he felt things so purely. He pushed the boundaries, always. To call MJ a "professional" would be a common, blatant insult. He was on another plane altogether.
"Lights out
Let it burn"
-Michael Jackson, concluding Beat It.

What about the person--Michael Jackson--spokesperson for the health of planet earth? This speaks to his love...
It would not be fitting to conclude a shutter-speed exposé on Michael Jackson without burrowing into his purity at a human level. Paradoxically harangued like a criminal since at least 1993, his felt love would be hard for almost anyone to attain. And one feels the thin blue line between a world of love and a world of pain was frequently breached and blurred, for love and pain are such close kin--the kaleidoscope of emotive experience in one concept. He must have felt it all.
As he would say, and now we say back to him, 'God bless you.”  God bless you.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Ode to a Never Forgotten Hero
© S.J. Wickman 2010

He came to our worlds lighted and hot,
pressing delight and hot to trot,
worthy esteem we could but give,
some it seems disparagingly grieve.
Leaving us then, sad but true,
why now, why ever, only God knew,
leaving a hole, one that grew,
we now sit obliged giving him due.
Alive we stand for this time we do,
cherishing the wonder and how life’s new,
willing we are astride the queue,
he lives in our memory forever askew.
Finally, paraded, he will not give,
apart this world without to live,
for us to recoil we do but know,
he pushes us off inspired to go.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Poet Wayne Lanter: Memory And Men Explored In Lanter's "In This House Of Men"

Christal Cooper – 1,020 Words

Memory And Men Explored In Lanter’s In This House of Men
 “Every poem of In This House of Men has a different source.”
Wayne Lanter

Illinois poet Wayne Lanter’s latest collection of poems, In This House of Men, is based on a deep sense of experience, his memory, and the importance of memory.
Lanter started writing at the age eight and credits his mother for his love of reading and writing.  For the most part, during his early years his father, a coal miner and blacksmith, was not around.
“Then when I was 13 or so, I looked around and saw that this house was no more than my sisters and my mother.  I missed my father.”
Lanter decided it was time to find his father and for the next several years worked with his father in the blacksmith shop.  He, along with his father, would get up at 3 a.m., and sometimes work twelve or fifteen hours a day.  It was here that his appreciation for men in his life was formed.

There is a whole series of men that I attached myself to, who filled a role in my life:  coach, teacher, mystic, father – some like brothers.  But I’m not glorifying them.  I simply wrote about them as I remember them – but still with a great deal of admiration, for both their foibles and failings, and for their goodness.”
One of the men Lanter writes about in this book of poems is a mystic, Jesuit historian from St. Louis University.  What’s unusual about this is that Lanter, reared Catholic, describes himself as an agnostic.  This has caused a number of people to inquire how an agnostic could admire a religious man such as a Jesuit.
“They wanted to know how it was that I could admire the Jesuits so much and have so little to do with religion. (I told them) I was interested in the good these men had to offer.”
Lanter thinks that religion in itself is very primitive and infantile, particularly when one thinks about the universe.
“The more you find out about the universe the more it appears that it didn’t have a creator.  It just doesn’t fit our concepts of beginning and ending. Our mind is limited and has a difficult time with thinking about the unlimited.  I’m not interested in religion (the Catholic Church) but I am interested in the litany, which is basically art.  Art is the exclamation of the human spirit.”
Lanter’s poems are mostly narratives dealing with memory.  Most individuals associate memory with the duration between when an event actually took place and when the event is remembered.

“Memory is essential to all human interaction.  It is the recognition of something occurring in time.  Everything we do is from memory.  We experience memory on a moment-by-moment basis. But it also has to do with intelligence. If you can’t remember the number 2, you have no way of understanding that 2 and 2 equals 4.”
In other words, someone thinking about her mother who died a year ago – that is memory. But memories can also be buried in our genetic code.  A mother with no experience in child care, caring for a child for the first time, and knowing how to do it correctly, or a scientist adding the right amount of a chemical in an experiment, that too, is memory. 
In This House of Men is divided into five sections: “In the Morning;” “Reading Poetry;” “On the River;” “Picking up the Pieces;” and “In This House of Men.” 
The first section, In the Morning,” focuses on contemporary matters such as the space shuttle disaster, the Iraq War and Civil Rights.  
The second section, Reading Poetry,” deals with therapy, helping other people, and counseling children.  This section is somewhat autobiographical:  Lanter worked as a therapist for the Jewish Children’s Bureau in Chicago from 1964 to 1968. 
         “It changed me irrevocably.  We were in an experimental program living with 18 seriously disturbed adolescent boys.  I went in as one person and came out as a completely different human being.  I’ve only written a few poems about the experience,” Lanter told a reporter in 2004.

The third section of the book, On the River,” is based on an article Lanter came across in an old issue of the Golconda Gazette.  The article was printed in January 31, 1898, about a man named Faro Bowman, who, along with his wife and two young daughters, drowned in the Ohio River.
The fourth section, “Picking up the Pieces” contains a number of Lanter’s rewrites of selected Biblical stories.
The fifth section, ”In This House of Men,” is about the men in his life.   He also dedicates the book to his ancestors, grandfathers and father, and to his descendants, which include his two sons, and a grandson, five-year-old Max.
Lanter describes In This House of Men as unique in that it is double the length of a typical poetry book - 148 pages, with over 55 poems.  The book’s cover was arranged by Lanter, and features two images: one of an abandoned grain elevator located in East St. Louis, Illinois on Hwy 64 (“At one time I thought it would be a good idea to raise money and buy the elevator and turn it into a museum and bookstore”) and the other from a picture posted at the Mother Jones Monument in Mt. Olive, Illinois commemorating the Virden Massacre on October 12, 1898 in Virden, Illinois. 

Lanter writes every day, usually in the morning, and manages to produce a couple poems per month.  He also teaches Creative Writing at Southwestern Illinois College.  When not teaching or writing, Lanter spends time in Paris and the Greek Islands, usually from a few weeks to several months each year.  He also founded River King Poetry Supplement, and co-edited it for ten years. He is the author of poetry collections: The Waiting Room

Threshing Time:  a Tribute to James Hearst

Canonical Hours

At Float on the Ohta-gawa

and A Season of Long Taters

He co-edited the poetry anthology New Century North American Poets.

Contact Lanter at for more information.