Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…
Meet Marian Beaman
Marian Longenecker Beaman is a former professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Her memoir records the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s. Marian shares her story to preserve these memories and to leave a legacy for future generations.
She lives with her artist husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside
One of the recent reviews for Marian’s memoir
This book was a learning process for me. First, I have never heard of the Mennonites until I read this book. It would seem that this religious group lived in a world of their own within the real world. They were against so many rules that we take for granted, and they lived by their own rules.Marian Longenecker was brought up in this exclusive and well-protected family. The children attended their own churches and were taught in their own schools, where everything and everyone conformed to the same rules.
Marian grew up always at loggerheads with her father, and she was severely punished in a way that only people in their secluded life would punish a child by whipping and getting away with it.
Looking at her parents, her father, Ray, mother, Ruth, her grandmother, Fannie, or her aunt Ruthie, one could not tell where she got her stubbornness from. As much as she was stubborn, her father was high-handed.
They were three sisters, Janice Jean and Marian, but Marian was the only one who was always at loggerheads with their father. She grew up believing that the father did not love her. She was smart, a straight-A student, but her parents never acknowledged this. One event stood out for me. She graduated high school, a straight-A student, and her father could not buy her ice cream to celebrate! When he gave her gifts, it was usually a run-down, rickety gift, like the bicycle gift.
She took everything in her stride, continued doing well in school, passed her exams, and became a teacher. As a Mennonite school teacher, she was expected to observe a dress code that she said made her feel like a Nun. She always dreamt of escaping the shackles of her Mennonite upbringing. Then Cliff came into her life and gave her the courage to leave her family in Pennsylvania and migrate to the South to teach.
The author was able to paint the canvass of her life with such vividness and dept that I could understand and empathize with her story and learn about the culture of the Mennonites. I loved her description of the great dinners served in her family, and the succulency of the meals served. The story is an eye-opener for me.
Meet Jacqui Murray
Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
A selection of books by Jacqui Murray
A recent review for Against All Odds
The Quest for Home is book 2 in the Crossroads series and continues with leaders Xhosa and Pan-do’s quest to find a new home for their combined People.
This book gets off to an exciting start with the People recovering from the wreckages of the rafts they had used to escape an unexpected attack. Bad weather caused the rafts to crash or sink long before their intended destination. Leader Xhosa knows the People will need to take time to recover from the catastrophe and then follow Hawk’s directions on foot and not by raft. Unfortunately, Hawk will not be accompanying them, but at least she still has Pan-do, her quiet and sensible co-leader, and Nightshade, her unbeatable Lead Warrior.
Like the previous book in this series, The Quest for Home is incredibly well researched and I became completely immersed in the period and setting being approximately 850 thousand years ago. The twin goals of the People, to survive and to have children to continue the species, quickly became my goals and I shared Leader Xhosa’s anxieties, worries and sweated over the difficult decisions she needed to make. It is interesting to see the same social issues such as abuse of females and murder raising their ugly heads in this ancient society and it brought home to me how little real progress humankind has made in certain areas, despite huge advancements in other areas like technology.
Xhosa continues to grow as a character and her leadership skills expand. She starts to understand the benefits of softer skills such as negotiation and protection of the weaker members of her People. Unfortunately, Xhosa is still not able to see the increasingly bad character traits in certain of her colleagues and this causes her a lot of misery and pain down the line.
Pan-do continues to be the steadfast and calm leader he has always been and remains completely devoted to his daughter, Lyta. Pan-do’s determination to keep the peace and not cause conflict is sorely tested in this second story. There is only so much goading anyone can take.
Nightshade continues to exhibit selfish and greedy behaviour and increasingly assumes the mantle of the abuser and future despot. His manipulative ways are obvious to the reader who see certain situations through his eyes, and it mounts the tension hugely to know more than either Pan-do or Xhosa do and to watch them make mistakes.
Wind, the twin brother of the aggressive ‘Big Head’ Thunder, makes a reappearance in this book and plays a much bigger role. He is an excellent warrior, but is also empathetic and kind with an ability and desire to teach others. There is a spark between Xhosa and Wind but they are not of the same origins and that appears to be an insurmountable problem.
People who enjoy a good novel with an interesting historical setting based on solid research will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Meet Patty Fletcher
Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020 she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020 King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. It is her hope to one day return to The Seeing Eye® for a successor guide.
Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.
Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn. She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.
Books by Patty Fletcher
A review for Pathway to Freedom
I met Patty last November and was immediately intrigued by her authenticity and witty personality. Over the past year we have become great friends and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her on a personal level. When I heard her new book was ready for purchase, I immediately ordered it! Due to my busy schedule, I read a little here and there, until finally, during the holiday, I was able to sit down with book in hand, really delve into the book and I was captivated! Patty’s story is one of trauma, perseverance and overcoming. Her writing style draws you in and will leave you laughing one moment and crying the next, all the while standing in awe of her honesty and transparency.
As a person of sight, I had no idea of the vigorous training it took to pair someone with their service animal and I completely appreciated every single detail Patty shared of her training with Campbell at The Seeing Eye. As someone who has also suffered from domestic violence, I appreciated Patty’s willingness to allow her readers to see inside her personal battle with the mental and emotional trauma that you experience at the hands of an abuser. Anyone who reads this book will be informed, educated and inspired
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.