New Review of Miami Morning

I’d like to share this in-depth review of my novel by Martha Char Love, the co-author of the fascinating book, What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct

Deep and Thoughtful, Yet Easy To Read Story of The Challenges of a Miami School Teacher

Miami Morning is an excellently written novel that is a “must read” for anyone who has been involved in the educational system. It is a book that would be highly enjoyed by anyone who is or ever has been a teacher, student, or parent. Since I have been all three at one time or another, I truly loved reading this book and savored the experience by stretching it out a few weeks. The author, Mary Clark, has divided the book into very short chapters (usually only a couple of pages each), and so I was able to enjoy making this book part of my morning wake-up-to-the-world ritual by starting each day with a relaxing read of a couple of chapters, along with a cup of coffee.

The main character is Leila Payson, a Social Studies teacher in Miami, who goes to South Africa to teach and learns the importance of listening to the people with physical challenges that she served as though they were “equal citizens” of the community rather than “her students” or “disabled.” When she brings this lesson of compassionate perspective back to Miami and applies it in her teaching there, she is able to help resolve a number of challenges that students share with her, including those who are struggling with problems like drug addiction and life issues like disabilities including hearing impairment. As she weaves through these challenges with her students, the reader is privy to both her inner philosophical dialogues and profound communications with students and colleagues. I thought that the highlight of the book was in the deep questions brought up concerning the importance of a strong community for a person facing hearing impairment. She makes a psychologically powerful case that no one overcomes adversity without help from others.

Read the full review

Memory in a Minor Key

mary1976Sunlight strikes me in the face, I feel significant,
and my reality is transformed:
nothing can be denied me anymore.
On looking back I see him standing in anger,
or defense, fists by his sides,
for who has been violated, I do not know.

Remembering when he touched me
with the weight of everything he felt,
and now he can pin me to the night sky,
I am left alone, time speeding me toward remote galaxies.
I know I can turn away in the instant before
I balance on my toes to lean toward his kindness.

He chugs past, dragging his dragon tail,
and I see people bringing him presents,
gamboling at his feet, and wonder how much of himself
does he give away, each day, so much that he feels robbed
and sapped of his strength?
So as he turns off his light, I am no longer blind.

And why do I have this much lucidity
in this gallery of fantasy?
Perhaps our rebellion is to build an artificial world,
and then to reject it.
Deep in this appreciation of artifice and antipathy,
I smile, complacent.

To my surprise he raises his hand in salute,
recognition lighting the marquees of his eyes,
all the dark empty stages:
what role does he want me to play?
I have a glimpse of a divergent potential,
an alternative past, present and future.

I know he will reject me again;
I know I will walk away.
I refuse to be the daily sensational news,
because, wouldn’t you know it, I insist
on choosing to live my own
idiosyncratic life.

Poem © by Mary Clark 2015

Book Review: The Forgotten Path

dandelions inspired




Synopsis: No one has ever accused Annie O’Connell of backing down from a challenge. She’s tough as nails and that’s what everyone has come to expect from her. But even the strongest of people need someone some time.

Marcus Callison has loved Annie for as long as he’s been working at O’Connell Realty. He would stand by her through thick, thin, and everything in between. If only she’d let him.

When tragedy strikes and Annie is left feeling vulnerable, Marcus does everything in his power to make all right in her world again. He just hopes it’s enough to convince her that he is worthy of breaking through the walls she has built around her heart.


What an amazing book! I expected to love this book, just based on previous novels I have read…

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My Interview on It Matters Radio

Monica Brinkman and Kenneth Weene talked with me about my books, concentrating on Miami Morning and issues of disability, sources of inspiration, influences and creating complex characters, then moving on to my first book, cats, birds, and other topics.

Working with Other Authors – Guest Post…

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Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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My writing career really took off when I started working with other authors. It was a little thing that started it all. Sally Harris, author of the wonderful Diary of a Penguin-napper, suggested we got together to do a promotion of the first chapter of our books in a volume called Love Middle Grade Actually in February 2013. Through that I got talking, and made friends with, a dozen other authors. I’d not really done much blogging then, not like we do now, joining in challenges with other bloggers, doing blog hops and the like. And it takes a bit of nerve to approach someone you don’t know (and maybe think is so much better than you, and so much more knowledgeable).

The way we worked together on a project, being brought together by Sally, made me want to do it…

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Review of Miami Morning by Steve Lindahl

Miami Morning by Mary Clark is the story of an ordinary person, a teacher, Leila Payson, who finds a purpose that defines her life. The novel is exceptional in a number of areas, one of which is the beautiful way Clark describes Miami from the context of the issues on the narrator’s mind. Here’s an excerpt that is a good example of what I mean:

She trotted beside lacy borders of waves washing ashore, intoxicated by the sharp scent of iodine and mineral aroma of fresh-churned sand. The rolling waves made her think of the invisible waves that traveled between human beings and while the ocean waves were strong and substantial, and still carried an insistent power as they neared the shore, they were nothing compared to the magnificent intricacies and complexity of human interaction and communication. And we are only just beginning to learn how that works, Leila reminded herself.

When Leila started her career, she had her struggles. But she took advice that she needed and she grew from experience. By the time the story starts, she is considered one of the best teachers in her school by the critics who matter most, her students.

Read more on Steve Lindahl’s blog

The Importance of Online Writing Groups – Guest Post…

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Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The inspiration for my novel, Miami Morning, came from a source made possible only by modern communications technology. Through the internet, it’s possible to network with people who are quite different from us, who live in other countries, engage in other occupations, and come from a variety of cultural settings. Several years ago, this opportunity brought me into a relationship with new people, and their experiences, and our shared experience, fueled my imagination.


I was invited to join an online discussion group by someone I met on LinkedIn. But it wasn’t through a literary forum. Instead, it was one of the philosophy groups. David Turnbull and I had been responding to each other’s comments on posts. This was followed by corresponding via personal email. He read some of my writing, which led to a passionate, and sometimes heated, discussion of ideas and beliefs. He then invited me to join…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – P.S. I Forgive You – A Broken Legacy by D.G. Kaye

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

sally's cafe and bookstore

Today my guest is D.G. Kaye who is author of several non-fiction books and is known in particular for her memoir Conflicted Hearts. In her latest book, P.S. I Forgive You – A Broken Legacy,  she continues to explore her difficult relationship with her mother.


Thank you Sally for inviting me over to your place today to share my newest publication, P.S. I Forgive You – A Broken Legacy. And thank you again for pre-reading this book in it’s early stages, and endorsing it.

About this book:
Although P.S. I Forgive You is a sequel to Conflicted Hearts, it’s a standalone book in its own right. Both books involve my life and torment living with a narcissistic mother. In this book, it is about my journey to understand my mother and find a place of forgiveness for her before she died.

People sometimes behave inappropriately either…

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My Review of Dogbone Soup

dogbone-soupThis is a wonderfully engaging and thought-provoking story. Bette Stevens’ young boy growing up in poverty in 1960s America, reminds me of another child, adrift on a raft on a mighty river, and the issues illuminated by that author of social stigma, individual resilience, and integrity. Huckleberry Finn is also poor and an outsider, and yet becomes a symbol for the equality of all humanity, and the finer spirit in all of us, in Mark Twain’s hands. I felt a similar quality in Stevens’ distinctive book.

Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water, or rain in the forest. Her descriptions take you into the scene and the characters’ minds. I felt I was in the family’s cabin, fishing by the river, riding a bike into town, being bullied and ostracized, and ashamed of a parent’s bad behavior. This book is a rare treat. I highly recommend it.

See the review on Amazon

Smorgasbord Autumn Reading – Miami Morning – A Leila Payson Novel by Mary Clark

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Autumn Reading

Today the autumn reading choice is Miami Morning – A Leila Payson Novel by Mary Clark. Leila is a teacher who discovers that skills she developed on another continent could help one of her pupils. Published by All Things That Matter Press August 2016


About the Book.

Forty-something Leila Payson loves her job as a high school Social Studies teacher, her social life with a group of diverse friends, and volunteer work at her neighborhood playground. But when Leila discovers one of her students is going deaf, she finds herself on a learning curve of her own. In her twenties she had taught for a year in South Africa, where she met an occupational therapist and others working in creative ways with persons with disabilities. She brought back to her teaching a new perspective based on that experience. Now, years later, when the student asks for her help…

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