The Food of Love

The Food of Love: It’s NOT All About Me!


This morning, I’d like to talk about a short story anthology released by Solstice at the beginning of February. The book, The Food of Love, is comprised of ten short stories by some of Solstice’s authors, including myself. The contributing authors are: Mya O’MalleyRocky RochfordSusanne MatthewsRachael StapletonElle MarlowVanayssa SomersMargaret EgrotCynthia LeyRebecca L. Frencl, and K.C. Sprayberry.

Food of LoveAbout the Book:

Food entices the senses just as love entices the soul. We take chances, we share new beginnings, in hopes of making that special someone part of our lives, now and forever. Solstice Publishing presents ten tales of love, each with a recipe our authors consider part of their love story. We hope they can be part of yours too.

The Way to a Man’s Heart, by Mya O’Malley involves a cooking class for singles and a set of twins who make one too many switches.
Him & Her, by Rocky Rochford is a ‘he said, she said’ about a shy boy’s first date with the girl of his dreams.
There’s Always Tomorrow, by me, Susanne Matthews, is a reunion story with a second chance at love for Iris, a former supermodel crippled in an accident.
Dinner in the Dark by Rachel Stapleton describes a sensory experience meal with a twist at the end you won’t see coming.
The Heart of Stone by Elle Marlow, written in her signature cowboy way is all about a chance meeting with a Good Samaritan and hope for the future.

Love, Food, and Heaven, by Vanessa Somers is a story of remembered love and the wonder of becoming your own person.
Chains of Magic by Margaret Ergot is a brilliant take on Shakespeare’s Othello, describing the first meeting between Desdemona and the Moor.
The Moon and The Daystar by Cynthia Ley is a sweet story of best friends who share a common love for the beauty of the day and art.
Wine and Magic, by Rebecca L. Frencl is  also a second chance at love for a couple brought back together by a mutual loss

New Future by K.C. Sprayberry is another “he said, she said” story, but this time the characters are twins, trying to get on with their lives after a shattering experience, hoping to find love and happiness.

All of the stories are fresh and unique. The recipes are delicious. This is a wonderful way to get to meet these authors and sample a taste of their writing style. I feel privileged to have been allowed to participate in this.

The Food of Love is available from Amazon.

A man who helps the homeless – and authors

Dennis Cardiff is the author of “Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People”

It’s a book I’ve read and which I gave five stars. It’s intriguing, sometimes heart-rending and full of humanity.

Dennis says:

Writing about the homeless and helping the homeless, has given my life a purpose that it didn’t have before. Documenting their stories will, I hope, introduce them to the public in a non-threatening way. Some panhandlers look intimidating, but that disappears when one sees them laugh.

A typical day for me involves taking the bus and walking two blocks to work. I pass Joy’s spot every day. I usually sit and talk with her for twenty to thirty minutes. Chester and Hippo may drop by to chat.

Most afternoons, depending on weather, I walk two blocks to the park where the group of panhandlers varies in size from two to twenty or more. They don’t panhandle at the park. Like a soap opera, every day is different; some scenarios will carry over a few days or weeks. People will disappear for weeks or months due illness, rehab programs or incarceration.

When I met Joy I was going through an emotional crisis. Meeting her and her friends – worrying about them and whether or not they would be able to eat and find a place to sleep – took my mind off my problems, that then, seemed insignificant. It was – is – truly a life changing experience.

Dennis also finds time to help book authors and readers. This is what he offers.

I offer a blog page (linked to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook) for press releases or to advertise literary services (no cost or commitment). 


I welcome cross promotion and marketing suggestions. We can help each other. I’m also an avid reader of all genres (yes, even Romance). Time permitting I love to review books that I’ve read and enjoyed. I never give bad reviews. Please forward this message.

So, folks, there’s a good deal from a man with a big heart.

The rights and needs of animals

Post on Linda Lee Kane’s Blog

Adopt A Pet!

by Linda Lee Kane

IMG_0952IMG_0953 Paintings I did for Animal friends Rescue, Pacific Grove, CA

I believe in no kill shelters because these were all once pets and some reason they were separated from their owners.

Everyone deserves a second chance, animals are no different.

I just saw a dog that was dropped off at a shelter, he was so heartbroken he put his face to the wall and would not move. Another dog observed this and went over to the other dog and just laid beside him.

They deserve a home.  All of these animals do.

I have been picking up stray animals since I was six years old.  My first was a little dozen, who gave me so much love; love I could not get from anyone else in my life – unconditional love.

There are so many animals and shelters in need.  You can go to any local shelter, donate your time, food, blankets, collars, leashes, money and your love. It is always appreciated.

If you adopt an animal you will have a best friend for life. If you have a pet now, please get them spayed or neutered, it’s a responsibility you owe to your best friend.

I volunteer at the AFRP Animal Friends Rescue Project

If you either work/volunteer at a shelter or have adopted a pet from one, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to either Guest Post or leave a comment below. I can be reached at


Linda Lee Kane | February 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Tags: animals | Categories: animals | URL:

Fun interview with A.B. Funkhauser


david k bryant_pe

Solstice Author David K. Bryant

The Solstice family of authors are to be congratulated for their community support–they are always there for each another. I should know, becoming one of the group a little under two months ago. It’s been a whirl wind with a learning curve that at times threatens nosebleeds. I nonetheless carry on, because I’ve got good friends behind me with lots of advice and positive vibes. David K. Bryant is one such cheerleader, and the pressure to live up to his expectations is exhilirating, because HIS stuff is that good. Have a look:



Buy link:


Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.

Tread Carefully on the Sea is the first novel by retired journalist David K. Bryant. Packed with historical atmosphere, it will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The Tread Carefully on the Sea cover pictureaction comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.

Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.

“I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics,” says David K. Bryant.  “It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”

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Captain Flint is a lonely man. His education, intelligence and wit leave him isolated amongst the pirate crew who sail with him. He feels more affinity with the hostages who are brought aboard his ship but he becomes trapped by the need to escape the consequences of the kidnap and the challenge to his leadership from one of his officers. Flint kills and schemes his way out of several dangers but there are two threats from which he cannot escape. The first is the failing health that he refuses to accept. The second is the scale of his own success as a criminal. He will never be left in peace to enjoy the proceeds of his piracy. In this story we learn what finally happens to him.

Captain Michael Townsend is the model of a disciplined and dutiful Navy officer. He is also a man haunted by something in his past; something that could ruin his future. The decisions forced upon Townsend by the kidnapping help him to resolve his inner conflicts but jeopardize the survival of those he wishes to protect. Townsend’s instincts are to put duty first but will duty deny him happiness?

Jessica Trelawny is the spirited niece of the Governor of Jamaica. She hates the conformity of 18th century society. Soon after she is snatched away from her home she puts her rebellious nature to work against the pirates. Captain Flint learns to admire her — and to regret that she ever came aboard his ship.

Jessica’s maid Libby becomes a prisoner simply because she is with her mistress at the time of the kidnap. She plays a major role in the fight-back against the pirates. Does she bring into use special talents inherited from her African origin — or is she simply a very clever woman?

Patrick O’Hara began life in the squalor of the Irish famine and by a fluke became an officer in the Royal Navy. He is thrust into a vicious bare-knuckle fight aboard the pirate ship. Whether or not O’Hara wins, the legacy of the fight is a power struggle threatening the survival of Captain Flint himself.

The Walrus is the huge black galleon stolen by Flint from a Spanish captain. It has a pivotal role in the narrative and a heart-rending demise when Captain Flint’s voyage of crime comes to an end.

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As the shirt was removed, her eyes came level with a huge tattoo of an eagle on his chest. Ridiculously, that gave her renewed terror, as though the tattoo was worse than the man. There was certainly menace from the eagle. It stared at her, its talons outstretched and its wings spread wide. It looked prepared to pounce right out of his chest and claw at her face.


The cry that would have brought forth a dozen soldiers was about to leave the governor’s tongue – but remained unleashed as the pirate warned: “I wouldn’t do that, Governor, for the sake of your niece’s health.”


“Did you get the name of the ship?” demanded the governor.

“It was the Walrus, Sir,” the messenger replied.

“Captain Flint,” said Trelawny, and for the moment that was all he did say.


One of the stories that had evoked within the Royal Navy a sneaking admiration for the pirate chieftain was that he had captured a big Spanish galleon and made it his own. Now Townsend could see in front of him the confirmation of that audacity. The big ship sat on the ocean like she owned it.


“Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates…You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.


Reeling and with blood dripping down his face, O’Hara got up on one knee, then the other. By the time he was on his feet, Hugh was charging forward like a stag in the rutting season. Another head butt was imminent.


Flint bent his knees and placed his hands on them so that his face came level with Townsend’s. “That’s it, then” barked the pirate captain. “You don’t agree to my proposal. I don’t agree to yours. Our fates are intertwined.”


She didn’t close her eyes and her brain pitifully tried to distract her from reality by registering that the gunman was left-handed. His finger was going back with the trigger. Spontaneously, she said a few words of her native Ashanti. The phrase had been taught to her by Queen Nanny: “Do not fear death any more than you fear life.” If Libby was going to die, she wanted those to be the last words she said.

Tread Carefully on the Sea by David K. Bryant

Solstice Publishing

Buy link:

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I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.

I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandsons Henry and Toby, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.

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Tread Carefully on the Sea – the background

I was seven years old or thereabouts and I walked round the garden reading Treasure Island. When I got to the bit about the musket and cutlass battle I was so engrossed I walked into a tree. I was proud of my bleeding nose – I imagined I got it in a fight with a pirate.

What intrigued me most about that classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson were all the references to Captain Flint, a pirate king who was brutal, intimidating and quite likely an alcoholic – yet obviously very clever.

Without Flint there would have been no Treasure Island for he was the man who had buried the Treasure on the Island. Yet in that book we hear about Flint only in reminiscences from some of the protagonists because Flint is dead by the time the story begins.

Stevenson’s narrative tells us Flint took six men ashore with him to stash the loot. But, having apparently murdered the others, only Flint came back to the ship, giving him the security of being the only man who knew where the cache was.

There had to be a story around that. For me, Flint deserved a biography of his own. What’s more, it should answer all those other questions posed by Treasure Island. If, as Stevenson tells us, Long John Silver had lost his leg in the same broadside as Old Pew lost his ‘deadlights’, what were the circumstances of that broadside? And how come that Billy Bones, the first mate, came into possession of Flint’s map where X marked the spot of the buried loot?

It’s taken me a long time but now I have supplied my own answers. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you identify with the experiences of the other characters I’ve created when you read Tread Carefully on the Sea.

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Thanks to my friend Deborah Melanie for interviewing me.

Deborah is at

Can you tell us how to came to be an author? Has it been an easy or difficult journey?

It’s a journey I didn’t know I was going to make. I spent my career in journalism and public relations, writing reams of stuff for other people. During that time I made one attempt at a book, a pirate story. Many years later I read it to my young son. Then in about 2010 when he was in his twenties he asked to read it again. I was ashamed to give him the sub-standard original so I set about re-writing it. It became Tread Carefully on the Sea, which has now been published by Solstice. It’s my first published book – at the age of 68.

What motivates you as an author?

This should be a simple question to answer but it’s got me stumped. Hoping not to sound trite, I think I want to produce something that people will enjoy. I want it to be good in terms of making sense, being exciting, having some originality and a believable set of characters. I think it’s important to create characters who readers can associate with, feel their emotions, understand their faults – and like.

How do you deal with rejection and setbacks as an author?

I think I can boast that I deal with them well. I approached 370 literary agents with Tread Carefully on the Sea. But I wasn’t going to give up until there was nobody left to try. Then I started sending to indie publishers who took direct submissions and Solstice took me on. God bless Mel Massey-Maroni (my editor-in-chief).

How do you deal with writer’s block?

While it’s very frustrating, I think you have to wait. All of a sudden when your mind is totally elsewhere, you’ll get an idea of how to continue your story. I think it’s worth always carrying a notepad around and writing down thoughts whenever they occur to you. And if you can’t write at that particular moment because you’re driving or something, then keep repeating the idea inside your head so you don’t forget it.

Do you have any motivational books or websites which you find useful from time to time?

I am so glad there is a thing called the internet because it answers so many questions. Motivational books – The Odyssey, one of the oldest bits of literature around. It’s about a guy who spends ten years encountering all the dangers of reality and fantasy yet he never gives up.

Who has been the biggest influence upon your writing?

My dear brother Ray. He helped me get into journalism and he was an author himself. His main work was published in the 1980s and is still available from Amazon. It’s called Warriors of the Dragon Gold and is based on the Bayeux Tapestry. Ray died far too early.

Tell us about a typical day for you. Do you have any special routines which you strictly keep to?

I’m retired so my time is my own and a lot of it is spend hitting the keys I’m hitting now. I make a conscious effort not to leave my wife an ‘author widow’. But she’s very understanding and helpful with the books.

How have family and friends reacted to you as an author? Are they supportive?

Yes, they are supportive. They make constructive suggestions and have stopped me falling into a few traps.

Do you have a muse? If so, please could you tell us a little about him/her?

No, I don’t think so.

Going forwards as an author, what do you realistically hope to accomplish?

Recognition for being good. I’m not being conceited and saying I am good, but I would love the world to judge me so – and enjoy my work.

A book to look forward to

A.b. tagged you in a post.
A.b. Funkhauser
22 February at 22:19
For #SneakPeakSunday I’m offering up a snip from my work in progress POOR UNDERTAKER. TaggingKc Sprayberry Rachael Stapleton Josie Montano Diana Harrison Jack Longman Frederick Crook David K. Bryant Penny Brown Estelle Susanne Lee Matthews
Were it not for the fact that they had a wedding to go to, she would have never got out of bed. But a great lady like her was expected to perform certain duties, if only to please her husband, her children, her customers and her community. And so it was with Irmtraut Weibigand, wife of Karl Heinz Sr., owner/operator of Weibigand Brothers, one of the premiere funeral establishments in the community of Portside.
Considered large for a funeral parlor, Weibigand’s dominated the landscape on a street that included a stock yard, the Dufferin Bakery factory, and a parking garage for the streetcars that ran north-south down to the lake and back. Large—yes—and beautiful too, with its double hung windows and dormers on all sides, Weibigand’s had fine sandstone colored brick that contrasted magnificently with heavy doors and shutters painted soft black and glazed to a sheen. The overall effect, both elegant and opulent without being tawdry or gauche, was a reminder to anyone that knew the story of the occupants: The Weibigand’s were humble people, lucky enough to get out of Europe after the first war, and they were grateful to the country that so kindly received them. They spared no expense when it came to showing company a good time; even if the company was dead and the survivors picked up the tab.
She opened her eyes and shut them in quick succession, peeling back layers of torpid sleep like linen strips on a mummy’s husk. Should she wear the two piece rayon silk with the peplum, pumps, and matching snood? or go with the jersey and the wide brim hat with ostrich feathers and platforms? She shrugged to the sheets. Pretense was rude and it more often than not failed. And she hated fashion anyway.
Business was her forte, and she had no difficulty putting on airs where the competition was concerned—her funeral home had four slumber rooms, instead of the standard chapel plus one like Seltenheit and Sons. And Weibigand’s had its own car-park; a farsighted move on her husband’s part when they bought the place in ’37 and horse carts were still evident on the roadways. That they took advantage of a loophole that enabled them to buy up and then demolish neighboring tenements for cheap was immaterial: Karl had found homes for most of the residents. The best part of it was that they thought of it first. Of course, there were the Hickenlooper’s across town, with their fine ways and ante bellum pedigree that patriarch Lorne Hickenlooper III never ceased to hock whenever approached by one tea dowager or another. But the Hickenlooper’s were never a threat: they took care of the Anglo funerals, and Weibigand’s did not. There was enough death for everyone.
If the outside of the building was remarkable, so too was the inside, with its fine Waterford chandelier in the main foyer and Hammond organ in the chapel that delivered tones as crisp and clear as the Wurlitzer over at the Hippodrome. Of course, she had wanted one of her own on first sight, but hindsight being a tonic, it was ridiculous to think it—pipe organs belonged in cathedrals or monasteries, if monks had need of such things.
“I’m stiff,” she muttered, wondering why. The bed she lay in was comfortable—spring coil, not feathers—and her half of the upper floor faced east, capturing the warm morning sun regardless of the time of year. Nevertheless, there were failings: The large apartment on the top floor of the three-storey building was divided into two separate units. The first one housed the Weibigand family; the second, their senior embalmer Heino Schade, who’d been with them from the beginning. The fact that the senior embalmer lived in-house was itself not unusual—everybody had a night porter— the fact that Schade tended to Irmtraut’s needs was. Shallow, vicious, scuttlebutt perpetrated by the Seltenheit’s, who thought themselves more German than she, dogged her, producing a stink that sullied her reputation and commanded unwanted attention.
“Huh!” she puffed, derisively, reaching for the cigarette holder adjacent her on the nightstand. The Seltenheit’s might have thought themselves hoch Deutsch back home, but there was no such distinction to be made here. They were all Americans now. Plus, she had a Duesenberg and they had a Ford.
Looking down at the black and silver onyx and pearl cigarette holder her husband gave her for her fortieth birthday, Irmtraut frowned. “What’s this?” The chamber that housed the filter was still empty; Heino was supposed to pick up more, and obviously hadn’t. Now she’d have to smoke dead ends and spend the rest of the day picking tobacco out of her teeth.
She flung her legs off the bed, kicking the chenille bedspread to the floor with the effort. “Imbecile,” she muttered, then immediately regretted it. Heino Schade was an able enough fellow who came from Fegedich, the same town as her mother, and he could embalm like no other, Karl Heinz included. Of course, there had been some trouble with Schade’s naturalization during the war—at one point they feared he might be shipped off to an internment camp—but they got that straightened out with Immigration, and that bought his loyalty for all time.
She smiled thinking of this: loyalty was in short supply, even in peace time.
She reached for the pull cord that rang the bell four floors below in the main hallway off the embalming room. If Heino was anywhere at this hour, that’s where he would be. The door to her bedroom opened, and her eldest, Karl Heinz Jr. pushed in. Pretty boy, she always had time for him. “Good morning, mother,” he said, formally, as if he’d never seen her in her slip before.
“It’s all right, my darling,” she said, affecting her best Bette Davis. “I’ve only just risen. Where is your father?”
The child, barely eight, looked askance, and immediately she knew.
“It’s all right, my darling,” she said again, pulling the bedspread self consciously around her generous bosom. She knew where her husband was.

Bringing Pirates to Life

A message from Cindy Vallar, editor of “Pirates and Privateers” magazine.


Hearts through History hosts my next online workshop, “Bringing Pirates to Life.”

Workshop dates: March 2 – 27, 2015

Workshop description: Peter Blood in Captain Blood, Long John Silver in Treasure Island, and Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean conjure up images of buried treasure, black schooners, wooden legs, eye patches, vibrant parrots, walking the plank, and swashbuckling swordsmen. Are these accurate portrayals of pirates? Some are, some aren’t.

This workshop, taught via an online e-mail list, explores the differences between the reality and mythology of Caribbean piracy during the mid-seventeenth through the early eighteenth centuries, and how writers can create believable characters that fit within historical parameters. We look at why individuals became pirates, who’s who on a pirate ship, the rules governing pirates, individuals who interacted with or encountered pirates, and other aspects of maritime life an author needs to know to write a pirate tale. Cindy enhances the workshop with writing assignments, a timeline, and resource bibliographies. At the end of the workshop, Cindy offers to provide a free edit of a chapter from participants’ manuscripts involving pirates.

Cost: $15 for HHRW Members, $25 for Non-members

To Register: Clink link below and scroll to bottom of page

Past Workshop Participants’ Comments:
Your course presented what I as a writer wanted to know about the times—not just straight history. – Judith Hanes

Your course has been extraordinary to say the least.  Thank you for the extensive information and feedback you’ve offered. – Kathleen Kirwood, His Fair Lady (Signet)

Your ability to put a lot of information in a succinct and entertaining fashion is truly amazing. – Elizabeth Bryant

I use a lot of what I learned in your class in pirate history presentations that I give for groups of seniors and at public libraries. – Claire Britton-Warren, Tales of the Seven Seas Pirate Reenactors

This has been one of the most awesome and informative courses I’ve ever taken.  I feel like I could be a pirate. – Judy Soifer

About the instructor: A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar began researching maritime history while working on The Rebel and the Spy, a historical novel about Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans. She is the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, a monthly column on the history of maritime piracy. She also reviews maritime fiction and non-fiction, maintains an annotated list of the best piracy and maritime sites on the web, and compiles specialized maritime resource lists. Her maritime piracy articles appeared in HNR, History Is Now, Celtic Guide, The Laffite Society Chronicles, NJ Shore Life, The Pyrates Way, Pirates! Fact & Fiction, and No Quarter Given.

Cindy also writes “The Red Pencil” editing column in Historical Novels Reviews (HNR) where she profiles authors and compares a selection from their published novels with an early draft of that work. She is a freelance editor, speaker, and workshop presenter. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, the Laffite Society, the Louisiana Historical Society, the National Maritime Historical Society, and the Red River Branch of Clan Cameron. She is the author of the historical novel The Scottish Thistle and the historical romantic short story “Odin’s Stone”. Her historical fantasy short story “Rumble the Dragon” is in Dark Oak Press’ anthology A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (, to learn more.

Cindy Vallar
Editor, Pirates and Privateers:
Freelance Editor, Historical Novelist, Book Reviewer, Workshop Presenter
E-mail: or
Web site: Thistles & Pirates,

Rumble the Dragon, a short story in A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder
Young misfit dragon. A wizard’s riddle. Exiled northmen. A stolen chalice. Skullsplitting Viking.
Read an excerpt:

Review of Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars

FIVE STARS from me

Everything goes wrong at once for fifteen-year-old Polarity Weeks – and that’s in addition to having a name that has to be explained.

She has to cope with a mother who has borderline personality disorder and even Mom turns on Polarity when the next problem crops up. A nude picture of the girl appears on the internet. Embarrassing in itself, but made worse when everyone jumps to conclusions about how the picture got there. There seems to be one person with whom she can have a rapport, a boy named Ethan, but then that gets complicated, too.

Well, if that’s not an unusual and intriguing premise and couple of sub-plots, I don’t know what is. I was drawn into this story, half expecting that at some point the steam would go out of it…but it never did.

The narrative brings Polarity to life and takes us inside her head. We have to struggle to understand Mom because her complexities throw her reactions all over the place. The great thing is that, although some of the behavior is bizarre, it’s chillingly believable.

This book contains the human jungle at its most extreme. I loved it. Thanks, Brenda Vicars.