A barn swallow shows us how

the story of fufu

The Story of Fufu, Stephanie Kendall, Available at Amazon as a colorful paperback ISBN 1514647273  $17

The Story of Fufu is a classic photo story of barn swallows bringing up children, no two ways about it.  When I gave a copy to a little girl I know, she ran off and devoured it, the way interested children do, as if the barn swallow mother were talking only to her. To her, I think, these bird parents taught about their similarity to human parents, something good for a child to know. It is perhaps an insight into parental love, as well as survival.

It’s primarily a children’s book but it could be interesting to adults too. Just for fun, I looked into children’s literature and found characteristics that all good books in this genre follow.

First off, Stephanie portrays the wonder of everyday life, especially motherhood and family. Second, she has a happy ending. Third, she shows the simplicity of natural family life. Fourth, she details this life in an easy to understand way, using photography.  Fourth, she shows the happy results of perseverance towards a goal.  Fifth, and so important for many readers, in the writing, she uses simple phrases and words to tell the story.  Plus, the photographs are professional and taken with attention to color. The author is known in her home area, on the southern Eastern Shore of Maryland, as “fuji” for her constant use of Fujifilm in her nature work.

If you have ever wondered who started putting out all those bluebird nesting boxes in fields across the country, well, it was Stephanie’s grandfather, the famous birder and bluebird expert, Doctor Lawrence Zeleny.  He was a pretty good influence for such a graceful birder as our writer.

Check out Stephanie’s Internet store for her other wonderful Chesapeake nature products at www.bonanza.com/booths/tolbunt5

Stephanie, give us more of these stories. They are good for all of us.


Summer’s Squall

Summer's Squall

A few lines from Summer’s Squall  By Amy Schisler.ISBN-13: 978-0692982945 2017  Chesapeake Sunrise, Bozman, Maryland:

     Summer shrugged as she  cut the slices. “All the time.  If I have a student who I am just not getting through to, I say a prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas.”

    Lank raised his brow as Summer prepared their plates and put them on the table, refilled her ghlass, and took a seat. Lank sat beside her and nodded his head as she said the blessing.

   “So who is this Thomas person?” he asked before taking his first bite. He sucked in air to cool his tongue and regretted being in such a hurry to eat.

    “St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of students. When Johnny was in Iraq, I prayed to St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of those in battle. And when he was hurt, I prayed to St. Gemma, patron of back injuries.”

     “How in hell, sorry, how the heck do you know all that?”

Summer’s Squall relates a story of horses, a young girl who is terrified of a stalker, a policeman’s love,  Native American lore, and young adult religion. It attracts all of us with its freshness and its open discussion of many current social themes in the modern American world. As well as being description of young emotions, it is a fast moving thriller, which keeps us guessing right to the last page. Totally recommended for the whole family to enjoy.

amy schisler

The Christian Science Monitor’s editor Majorie Kehe has written that the Christian titles in available novels these days are “a surprisingly empowering guide to adolescence.”  Certainly Illumination Awards prize winner Amy Schisler is a prime example of the kind of writers in this genre.

Amy’s first children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, is an autobiographical work about spending a day harvesting the Maryland Blue Crab. Her debut novel, A Place to Call Home, was released in 2014 by Sarah Book Publishing. A second edition was published in March of 2015. Picture Me, A Mystery, as well as the critically acclaimed novel, Whispering Vines, were awarded the Illumination Bronze Award for being among the top Christian Romance books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was also awarded the LYRA for best ebook romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with Island of Miracles in 2017. All of Amy’s books may be purchased in bookstores as well as online on all major print and ebook sites. Amy grew up in Southern Maryland, received her Bachelor’s Degree from Salisbury University, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master’s in Library and Information Science. A former librarian and teacher, she now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs.


Vietnam arguments turn to murder


hopkins novel 2017

“Wanting to see more of the body, Paul took the flashlight form his carrying case. The strong LED light revealed a full skeleton partially covered with rotted clothes. The irregular bones’ shape could not be a plastic skeleton. He took several photos he thought might interest the police.”

Thus was started one of the strangest serial killer tales this editor has ever read, one which kept the midnight lights on until the last page.  The twists and turns alone tweaked my brain as in any good story.

Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders, Ocean View Publishing, 978-0998820002, 2017.  Frank E. Hopkins.

This book provides a blow by blow presentation of the sentiments of the anti-war movement of the 1960–1970 era and the hatred existing many years beyond. Hopkins has a careful method of writing which does not leave out any of the scents and scenes as his protagonist searches for the antagonists. A great romance is started between two wonderful characters and spices the events. It is easily Hopkins’ best novel yet. As a follower of his work, once again in this mystery he gets my attention, this time  with the theme of an unpopular war. As always he leads me thorough an exciting plot to a surprising ending.

frank hopkins eswa

Hopkins has published several stellar books including First Time, a selection of his best short stories about growing up and The Opportunity, a classic tale of government graft and double dealing,  He is a long time member of the writing groups on the Maryland literary scene and works with several bookstores to expand his market and fans.



Annie Crow Knoll revisited

“Drew cheered as his granddaughters barreled into view. He was surprised Jemma hadn’t dropped off after her sister sprinted. The crowd went wild when Breezy seemed to launch ahead. Drew studied the move carefully. Breezy was about to win because Jemma had backed off. While pondering this, Drew became aware of a man dashing onto the course and heading directly for the bleachers. Liam tore after the intruder and tackled him just as Breezy crossed the finish line. Drew heard no sound but saw the flash before the force of the bomb punched him back into the people and benches behind him.”

As editor of this blog I have my favorites, and without risking my friendship with any of my other writers on the site, I must say  Gail Priest ( Annie Crow Knoll, Moonrise, Amazon.com) does seem to give all of us a warm feeling of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  She has, in her series, developed a special place that all of us can carry in our memory where fictional almost real persons live and love and worry. This brings to us a memory of our past in our own family.

Moonrise takes as its subject the millennial and perhaps even Sixties through Nineties fascination with bicycling. It adds in the current unrest in our minds with the constant bombing of crowd places and mixes the two with a strong interest in the recovery  recovery and resetting of goals in our lives. All the aspects of family support of therapy after disaster are examined thoughtfully.

This is a good book for military personnel as it covers themes important to them also. Many come home with tortured bodies in the wars of today. From Vietnam to the Middle East soldiers get terrorist bombs that main and destroy life plans. This is a book to read.


More books please, Gail.