Racing The Sun: Diane Denton’s Review

Thanks OODLES to Diane M. Denton for her review, written with her usual sensitivity and insight, of my book, Racing The Sun. Here’s the review, which is also on Amazon and Goodreads.

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“Racing the Sun” follows on from “Miami Morning” as a novel with conscience, its protagonist, Leila Payson, living professionally and personally with a sense of urgency, yet not adverse to pausing here and there in appreciation of simpler moments. This engaging narrative is full of conversations of purpose and planning, framed by a sense of place and belonging, but, also, exploration, drawing the reader into a diverse community of friends, colleagues, and new and unexpected acquaintances who support and challenge each other and, ultimately, discover collaboration – that “wealth of experience”- is the way to make positive things happen.

Mary’s writing reflects Leila’s “changes in speed and direction” while following her through transitions of gain and loss, work and leisure, friendship and love. Leila is an alert woman, who literally and metaphorically is ready to slow down for those ducks suddenly crossing the road. Practical and sentient, she realizes on both levels—to quote Mahatma Gandhi—she must be the change she wants to see in the world.

This second book in the series is as vibrant with interesting characters as the first. I found it more playful, but never without consciousness of how humans opening their minds and hearts to those seen as weaker through disability or circumstance can strengthen the integrity, effectiveness, and, perhaps, most importantly, the soul of a society.

Once again, Mary Clark offers much to think upon, but not just to think upon. To use the words of Leila’s significant other, Mark, “… we can’t be spectators. We have to act, and to act with ethical courage.”

Racing The Sun on Amazon

Racing The Sun on Smashwords

Racing The Sun on Barnes and Noble

Racing The Sun on


Author Spotlight – Mary A. Clark



Author Spotlight

Welcome back to another Author Spotlight! This week, I’d like to introduce you to Mary A. Clark.

Mary A. Clark was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to parents who lived on the MaryClarkSept2010Rutgers University campus. Her family moved to Florida, where she spent her formative years, and was infused with awe and respect for the natural world. She was also aware of the lives of migrant workers, segregation, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Upon moving back to New Jersey, she attended a county college and graduated from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in psychology. She had a strong sense of being a misfit, which propelled her to find her own place and occupation. She moved to New York City, and worked at the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church, in the then outcast wilds of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For…

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A Perfect 10 With Author Mary Clark

Author Don Massenzio

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Mary Clark. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.

MaryClarkSept2010 Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing brings my energy to a new level, as I’m coordinating various thoughts, emotions, memories, points of view, and attention to detail as well as a feeling for authenticity. There’s an emotional background music playing all the time I’m writing. In other words, writing isn’t only a mental exercise, it’s a visceral experience. I’m not fully conscious of the emotional background while I’m writing, but those emotions and feelings act as a sounding board for being as accurate and honest as possible in what I’m trying to convey with…

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A Novel of Conscience

I’m happy to share these words about my novella, Racing The Sun, by Diane M. Denton, whose most recent book is Without The Veil Between, Anne Bronte: A Fine & Subtle Spirit.

Here is what she said:

Racing the Sun follows on from Miami Morning as a novel with a conscience, its protagonist, Leila, living professionally and personally with a sense of urgency, yet not adverse to pausing here and there in appreciation of simpler moments. This engaging narrative is full of conversations of purpose and planning, framed by a sense of place and belonging, but, also, exploration, drawing the reader into a diverse community of friends, colleagues, and new and unexpected acquaintances who support and challenge each other and, ultimately, discover collaboration is the way to make positive things happen.

Thank you, Diane. Collaboration, that is, working together to solve problems and create new ideas and approaches, is needed more today than ever – and yet we are more  distrustful, more easily persuaded by language that divides us. At one point in this book the factions agree to a “Big Tent Meeting.” After some venting, the antagonists eventually agree to sit down and talk.

And Leila asks, “What is the root problem here?”

“It’s that people don’t agree on how we should live together,” Sam said. “Don’t you hear the extreme points of view on TV and radio? You can’t talk about working together, much less compromise, without being ridiculed.”

Leila threw her shoulders back. She felt ready for this. “We have to do it anyway. We start here.”

Racing The Sun on Amazon   Racing The Sun on Smashwords  Racing The Sun on B&N

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Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter: Review

memoirs of a dutiful daughter

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir

Philosophy’s gravitational wave is coming, and will move across her life . . . 

Beauvoir’s mother was a fundamentalist Catholic and required subservience to that worldview. She did her best to inculcate her daughter with its tenets and practices, emphasizing the safety it provided, to women in particular. That safety and stability, supporting the structure of family life, also required an abstinence from thinking, curiosity, and freedom (though all were subverted in various, subconscious, ways).

Religion pervaded Simone’s existence as she faithfully went through an education at a Catholic school, believed in the efficacy of confession, and the power of prayer. But, slowly, the pervasiveness began to recede, as she observed and questioned ideas and ideals, and learned of other worldviews through her own efforts. Autocracy, with its companion hypocrisy, became apparent at the school. She read books that were banned by her mother, finding them in a relative’s home. A young boy named Jacques gave her books to read, which she gladly accepted. The loosening hold of religion was caused as well by her recognition of its superficiality in those who professed the greatest belief. One who had been her confessor betrayed her confidence. And then, in her personal life, she discovered prayer failed her.

Ultimately, religion was not imbued within her, but was mostly an external accretion. She took some time to grow and break the accretion with a conscious choice. The accretion had been porous, partly due to her inquiring mind, and possibly, partly to her father who was not a believer. He was a person who wrapped himself in fantasy. Their financial, social, and inter-family circumstances, revealed the inadequacy of such a life. Her mother’s tolerance of her father’s non-belief raised questions. Was her mother only with her father because she had no choice, as a woman, in that time and place, to survive and bring up children with a modicum of stability? And so he was simply an accommodation, an appurtenance, with no further value than the earthly usefulness he provided? On the other hand, and I think Beauvoir sensed this, he was her mother’s outlet, her portal to moments of freedom. In him she could release her rebellion. 

Once she had broken with religion, creating a separation from her mother, Beauvoir felt free and ready to start a new life. Her struggles were not over, though; they had just begun in earnest. Simone was still living at home while pursuing higher education, trapped in an atmosphere of denial and obedience. Restlessly, she walked the city streets, which she had been told were off-limits, looking for new ways to be, for places and people to try out her new-found freedom. She never thought, she said, to go into the cafés. Instead, she went further, into clubs where she and her friends Zaza and Stepha indulged in sexual licentiousness and vulgarity, and met people who lived on the margins.

Her relationship with her childhood friend Jacques had changed over the years. She began to consider him as a potential husband. He was elusive, though, and her misgivings about him grew. He would not be her intellectual equal, even though he had helped her on her way at crucial times in the past. She knew she was supposed to seek the stability of marriage, but after much confusion, she realized her hopes were a mistake. Marriage was not for her, she concluded.

Beauvoir had some character flaws that come to light here. She idealized Zaza and Jacques, and obsessed about them, only to learn later they had not thought about her much at all. During these experiences, however, she was working through social questions. These people aided her as well in her philosophical education. But her idealization was over the top, which she acknowledged in the case of the teachers who had once inspired her. She also thought of herself as superior to the unwashed masses. Her revels in the clubs as a teenager and young adult are not unusual. Her crush on her childhood friend wasn’t either. She was different in the talent she had for abstract thinking.

She was honest about her idealizations and her snobbery. At one point, she noted she “loved to be loved,” and was surprised to find herself not being lauded outside her family, but instead, banished from society. She wrote with irony about her “insane optimism” in response to ideas and causes, and how this only added to her solitude. Her philosophical conversations and social analysis with other girls and women made me think: thank you! We read, think, and are concerned with the great mysteries, including questions of rebellion and living a worthwhile life, with authenticity and freedom.

Her greatest mission was to pursue an education, first compromising to study for a teaching job, but finally, to study philosophy. At the same time, she was engaged in community efforts to bring education to working class and poor people. The inspiration for this came from a leftist teacher and speaker. With refreshing humor, she related how, eventually, she lied to her mother about going to this volunteer job, only to really go to a film, ballet, or one of the clubs.

All the while she experienced extreme loneliness, the sense she didn’t fit in, as she roamed the streets, studied alone in the library, and attended class at the Sorbonne. When and how did she meet Sartre? If you don’t want to know until you’ve read the book, then don’t read the rest of this review!

She longed for intellectual dialogue, for someone who could challenge her, for someone who was her superior. One after another, intellectual companions came along, and fell away. Slowly, the dim-witted men of great intelligence realized they had met their match. One was a member of Sartre’s “group.” He referred her to the group, telling her Sartre had found her interesting. She threw all her arguments at him, and he refuted them. Well, this was what she had been looking for. But as we know, and so did he to his credit, she had something to contribute, which he could not, and this kept an interest and tension between them that fueled continuous thinking and dialogue.

Her relationships with a parade of men and women who were questioning the old ways were fascinating. Each one brought a different point of view and beliefs. The story often comes back to her relationship with Zaza, who also had a restrictive mother. She tried to be a good friend, although Zaza’s mother disapproved of her. At the end of the book, Zaza died of a sudden illness, after some years of failing health. She said of Zaza’s death, “We had fought together against the revolting fate that had lain ahead of us, and for a long time I believed that I had paid for my own freedom with her death.” This sounds eerily similar to the Jesus-Hercules stories of sacrifice for the betterment of the people. Or was it survivor’s guilt? In any case, Beauvoir had managed to free herself and create her own life. 

And so the wave of human questioning and knowledge goes on.


Mystery Mondays: Mary Clark on Exploring Family Dynamics


This week on Mystery Mondays, author Mary Clark is here to talk about her laster novel, Racing The Sun.

Over to Mary…

Exploring Family Dynamics

by Mary Clark

My latest book, Racing The Sun, is interwoven with surprises, some gently delivered, others more brutal. In several cases, accidents change lives. They also bring together people who wouldn’t have otherwise met. The main character, Leila Payson, a Miami high school teacher, finds that occupation not precarious enough; she moves through the world stirring things up, but not with careless force, but instead at a thoughtful pace. But the world has its surprises for her, too. And these come from close to home.

Her father has been looking into his family history at the suggestion of a life coach (who may be more than that). He shows Leila his DNA results and urges her to sign up on the same genealogy site…

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Books for Christmas!

Two of my books in Kindle format are on sale NOW through DECEMBER 26


And that’s not all – these can be combined with the paperback – when you buy a print copy of Racing The Sun, you get the Kindle for FREE. The print copy of Children of Light is only $5.99, with the Kindle at .99. Great deals!

         Racing The Sun Book Cover Small (2)                    childrenoflightcoverbardpress


Without The Veil Between: Anne Brontë – Book Review

Without The Veil Between

Without The Veil Between Paperback

Without The Veil Between Kindle

Early in Diane Denton’s book the young curate, William Weightman, says to Anne Brontë: “You must find such satisfaction in being able to capture those moments the rest of us let slip away and sometimes aren’t aware of to begin with.” This is an essential part of Denton’s own gift. With this ability she is able to enter the world of a shy artist who lived in the shadows of her father, brother, and sisters, and in the light of a determined and insightful intellect. Anne Brontë set herself a more difficult task than her famous sisters, Charlotte and Emily. She was on a course of an artist whose subject was her life. Making this even more difficult, she sought to achieve emotional and mental stability.

Denton shows us the tensions in the austere home of the Reverend Brontë, the hopes for and disappointment in his drunken son, Branwell, and the longings of the three sisters for a more fulfilling life. The sisters’ books are populated with people who live large lives, with secret loves, deception, greed, passion, and loyalty. In this setting, quiet Anne makes her own way, exploring human relationships with a keen sense of morality and ethics. As a governess she has to be with people all day, at their beck and call, and can barely aspire to more. But as a true Brontë, she does aspire. Brief moments with the young curate open her heart to the possibility of love. And she dreams of opening a school with her sisters, and being in charge of her own life. William’s sudden death from cholera plunges her into depression, but she concentrates on duty and endurance, and calls on her faith.

On return to her father’s home, Anne witnesses Branwell’s descent into drugs, sexual escapades, and fantasy. Denton writes, “To reside within the dissolution of principles and proper behavior without being party to it meant that constant vigilance was required, which left little time or inclination for make-believe.” Anne realizes she will never be comfortable at home, able to escape into her writing as Emily has. She believes she will never be useful in society or at home unless she pursues a “well-cultivated mind and well-disposed heart,” and “have the strength to help others be strong.” Denton indicates these are the real-world issues she explores in her writing.

Denton builds the story of Anne’s young life gradually, taking us through her thoughts and experiences as she matures. The tempo steps up with the three sisters together again at Haworth, after having been separated for a few years. Charlotte has an idea for a book of poetry featuring all of them. Emily balks, and Anne mediates between the two, securing Emily’s participation. I found this one of the most fascinating parts of the book. The dynamics among these three gifted women sizzles on the page. Descriptions of Charlotte and Emily are haunting in their excellence. Each woman changed literature and the way in which women were viewed in society. Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has been called one of the first feminist novels.

The book roars through the tragedies of Branwell’s and Emily’s deaths from consumption. Through all of this Anne faces reality with determination. She has come to believe she was meant to be “an observer, and given … a quiet skill to extract lessons from what she saw. There was truth to be told, warnings to be issued, patience and prudence to instill in young women.” She depicted people and society with realism, not romanticism. This book made me wonder what Anne Brontë’s influence would have been had she lived to reach full maturity. Sadly, she died soon after her sister, Emily.

In Without The Veil Between, Denton’s writing has reached its maturity as well. I kept copying excerpts and pasting them in a file for me to read, enjoy, and think about later. Whole passages are beautifully written: meticulous, poetic, luminous, and powerful. The ending, echoing the title, is especially brilliant. I can’t think of anyone better suited to bring us into the world and the life of the sensitive, creative, and quietly courageous Anne Brontë.

Visit Diane Denton’s blog


The Pacey Style of Life: Racing The Sun

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This short novel has a pacey style, which re-introduces ‘old’ characters with subtle reminders, and admirably handles current social themes.  – David Selzer

#fakenews #rumors #betrayal #familysecrets #DNAmatches #Cuba #Latinos #Jewish #Gay #Disabled #Teachers #Cars #Accidents #Cults #Non-Profits #Politics #Aliens

Mary Paperback Back Cover Small

Will Leila take the wheel to control the speed and direction of her work, and her life?

Racing The Sun is available on Amazon and Smashwords

   Racing The Sun on Amazon                                   Racing The Sun on Smashwords

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Children of Light: Live for the Holidays!


 Extended Holiday Sale!

Children of Light will be on sale through midnight January 10, 2018

Kindle 99 cents

Paperback $5.99

Poetry of the spirit


Mary Clark has brought us an achingly beautiful chain of poems that both watch and listen: the sun, the sea, the darkness, the light, the passing of time—and the people who live among them.
Reverend Barbara Crafton, Episcopal priest and author


As we know, poetry remains the best way to communicate our most fundamental ideas. In Children of Light, a modern tale of adversity and transcendence set in the unique natural environment and human history of Florida’s Gulf Coast, three children go on a journey that leads them to explore their true characters, their relationship to one another, and to society. 

The children’s journey, set in modern times, deals with questions of good and evil and how we can be guided by those who generate light. The author believes we can learn to exercise and develop our innate goodness, and in this tale, she shows how this can happen.

Reading this fascinating story told in poetic form to find out is a truly rewarding experience that one won’t easily forget.
— Bradford Dov Lewis, for the Liberal Minyan of Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea, NYC

Kindle ebook of Children of Light, a poetry novel

Paperback of Children of Light

BardPress/Ten Penny Players