On Review: Gabriella Owens’ Book, BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose’ of Macho Cooking
I couldn’t believe a cookbook could keep me so engrossed I couldn’t put it down! Because I hate to cook! But by the time I finished reading, loving, and laughing my way through “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose on Macho Cooking”— a book full of humor, impressive information, pizza recipes galore, and more — Gabriella Owens had made a believer out of me! I was seriously considering becoming a “barbecued-pizza specialist” and party host myself.
But I figured the least I could do, after reading her exceptional expose –even learning what pizza peels are for– was to stop three pizzas short of a pizza peel to write this sizzling review.
Gifted Author Gabriella is not only an expert on gourmet barbecue pizza parties, fine wines, wineries, and more, but a comedian — and the President of the California Writer’s Club, San Fernando Valley Branch.
Her creative pizzas put the California Pizza House to shame! But they might be interested in some of her “fabulicious-Pizzalicious” dishes and recipes.
While reading “BBQ Pizza,” I was kept so thoroughly entertained– laughing so hard all the way–I learned how to appreciate and appraise wines, put together perfect pizza parties, and much more — all with no pain!
I told Gabriella: “You’re a standup comedian in a “sitdown” position ‘neath a toadstool lampshade waiting to be discovered! So “standup” and deliver! I’ll turn the lights on any time.”
Meanwhile, everyone should at least discover her hidden talent for writing comedy by reading her book and watching her comedic YouTube movie “BBQ Pizza: Macho Cook to the Rescue—With His Pastrami Pizza Recipe!”
If you’re a standup comedian or would like to be, there are some great lines in this creative author’s book that could keep your audience in uproarious laughter indefinitely.
Hey guys, buy “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Exposé
Of Macho Cooking” or put it on your reading list today.
You won’t be sorry:
You’ll have a fabu–lucious day!
Ode to The California Writers Club: The California Writers Club is our oyster, And we writers the pearls being polished within her. Stephany Spencer 2016
2016 marked the 30th anniversary —
The Pearl Anniversary of the California Writers Club,
San Fernando Valley Branch. For thirty years, this club has been our oyster ranch, And we members pearls growing within her dance. Polishing and developing daily our word-writing romance,
Some works now fairly sparkle and glimmer, Like well-crafted word pearls enhanced till they glitter, Reflecting our club’s lively oyster-shell shimmer. So thanks, California Writers Club —
Thanks for letting us join your Oyster-Ranch “dinner.” Stephany Spencer 2016
I’m so excited to tell you my California Writers Club, San Fernando Valley Branch, has produced another Anthology, this one in honor of our club’s 30th anniversary.
The following quote, taken from the Anthology’s Introductory pages, sizes up our Anniversary Anthology well:
“This collection is a testimony to the power of words, and to those gifted writers who have run them together like strands of precious pearls. Essay, poem, short story — each one sings out and captures our imagination … and our heart.” Victoria Zackheim (Author, Anthologist, Playwright, Educator)
“Through this anthology of short stories, imaginings, and poems,” says CWC Editor, Rita Keeley Brown, “our current members share their adventure of writing.”
A quote from Truman Capote, taken from the back cover of the anthology, aptly sums it up: “What I am [we are] trying to achieve is a voice sitting by the fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening.”
I’m so proud to say, I, myself, got my act together, followed my poem’s advice, “Dare to fail, or fail to dare do well,” and submitted three poems for this Anniversary Anthology.
When you buy our work of wonders, you’ll see these entries, as well as many more pieces written and submitted by our club’s gifted and creative writers.
Below is the cover of our Anniversary Anthology, “Cascade of Pearls,” sold on Amazon.com.
Here’s hoping you enjoy it as much as I who am presently snuggled up by the fireplace in the process of reading and reaping the rewards of time well spent within its pages. ~ Stephany Spencer
My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 3
“Mother is the bank where we deposit
all our hurts and worries.” Author unknown
*MY MEMOIRS: My Mama, Part 3
As I mentioned in Part Two of “My Mama,” by the advent of the 1900s, the US government had resorted to extreme pressure to get the Mormon church to discontinue its institution of polygamy — a relic of barbarism and a threat to our country that was unfortunately and inadvertently introduced by Joseph Smith in the mid 1800s, as delineated in the “Doctrine and Covenants,” Section 132 (Mormon Scriptures).
In reference to this, Mama, years ago, explained to me: “To avert further travails, the LDS church had begun implementin’ stringent measures to wipe out plural marriage within its membership so as to protect its people, church, and Mormon church properties.
“Passin’ of the second Mormon Manifesto in 1904 meant Pa, ‘n’ his two wives, ‘n’ children, were no longer welcome in the Mormon colonies where my family had fled for refuge in 1923 — after barely outsmarting a mainstream Mormon mob, arrest, ‘n’ bein’ thrown into a Utah jail for havin’ entered into polygamy.
“My Ma, Pa, ‘n’ family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously, goin’ back ‘n’ forth between them and the US a number of times, over the years.
“But this time, when we come back, my parents had gone against the Mormon Manifestos of both 1890 and 1904: They’d taken a plural wife, ‘n’ thereby were considered by the church to be ‘In a state of apostasy.’
“That meant our family was now considered apostates. So we was disfellowshipped from our Church ‘n’ social activities in the Mormon colonies,” continued Mama.”
“Instead of bein’ accepted with open arms, as he was in the past when he was with his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson [who was a key figure in developing the Mormon colonies in Mexico], Pa was now an enigma.
“So our family became persecuted ‘n’ ostracized — The church’s way of discouraging other men from followin’ my father’s example of takin’ multiple wives.”
“In other words, since the Mormon moratorium on polygamy was o’er by 1904, my parents’ havin’ gone against the LDS church’s updated marriage law now meant their raisin’ us kids in a terrible atmosphere of mainstream Mormon scapegoatin’ ‘n’ rejection — wherever they chose to settle in ‘Mormonland.’
“It was during the Great Depression ‘n’ World War II era. Them two calamities affected our family, ‘n’ also Pa’s ability to get enough well-payin’ work in “The States.”
“So our family was endurin’ extreme poverty, ” Mama opined. “Ma ‘n’ Pa couldn’t afford to move their large family somewhere else, even if they’d decided to remove us kids from the terrible ostracization ‘n’ persecution they found the small Mormon colonies now meted out on ‘specially my eldest siblings!”
So the Mormon colonies that had once been a place of refuge for Mormon polygamists had, by 1923, become the opposite: A place of persecution and ostracization for polygamists — if they had entered into polygamy after 1904, that is.
“Those who already had more than one wife BEFORE the Manifesto of 1904, were NOT rejected ‘n’ persecuted as my Pa, Dayer LeBaron, ‘n’ his family was!” Mother explained.
“We were ostracized ’cause my father was the only man in the Mormon colonies,” she continued, “who went ahead ‘n’ took a plural wife after 1904, despite the church’s mandates.” So that was the situation my grandparents found themselves in when they took their family back to Colonia Juarez, Mexico, thinking they were settling in the best place possible to raise their kids. As it turned out, it was the worst place possible!!
But at least, having moved to Old Mexico, their polygamous family was protected by tolerant Mexican marriage laws, when it came to polygamy — just not by tolerant LDS Mormon marriage laws.
That said, being “Plygs,” my grandparents simply should not have been bringing up their children in a mainstream Mormon colony where polygamy was no longer tolerated — if they knew what was best for them! But they didn’t.
Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 4”
My book review of “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife (Kindle Edition)
I don’t usually do book reviews, for lack of time. But this book was so good I listened to it straight through, on Audible — and am listening to it again, for the third time, right now. And also bought the book!
I am an Ex-FLDS, Ex-polygamist wife, Escapee of my Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Mormon fundamentalist cult … and a recovering Mormon. So I found the story, humor, and satire in this superbly-written Memoir extra hilarious. I could well relate to it all firsthand! That’s putting it mildly: I about split in half laughing at these clever writers’ tongue-in-cheek asides and observations of life in polygamy and a Mormon fundamentalist cult!
I am still so rebbed up from this excellent, well-written book I listened to from start to finish, non-stop, that I’m following it up with this review — to help me come down from my high, after the great marathon read/listen!
I want to say it is one of the best books I’ve ever read/listened to — It’s a classic. The narrator, also, couldn’t have been better! I only wish I had words and time to give it the best review any expert writer could give it.
It not only is a true view of what polygamy and Mormon cults are all about but gives some good advice, too, on how to avoid one — or how to get out of one if you find yourself in one.
I have an aunt who, after her husband (my Uncle Ervil LeBaron) died, joined Harmston’s group — the cult Joanne Hanks and her husband had belonged to then left. After many years, now, of being married to Harmston, my aunt unfortunately still believes he’s “The One Mighty and Strong”/a prophet! So kudos to the author and her husband for seeing through Harmston’s cult — before it could “Harm” (pun intended) her and her husband anymore — and for having the wherewithal to finally leave!
A sister of mine says Harmston’s clan is worse and more dangerous than was the cult of the psychotic serial killer “Evil Ervil” — “The Mormon Manson”! I’m still wondering about this. For I have not heard anything in the news, so far, nor in “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass!” to tell me Harmston is a dangerous psychotic megalomaniac murderer like my uncle Ervil was. Though I read recently that Harmston does preach “blood atonement.”
Perhaps it was safer to not tell all that. But thanks, Joanne Hanks and Steve Cuno, for writing this book! Your words, insight, and humor have helped me in my healing journey. And it will also help and has already helped many others who’ve read or listened to your superbly written top-rate Memoir.
“Civilization is social order Supporting cultural creativity.” Will Durant
*The picture below elicited the following poem:
“A Lyrical-Letter to My Art Teacher.”
NOTE: I always got an “A” on my art work. But was worried I would end up with a “B” on the picture you see above because I had to erase a number of times in an effort to correct the airplane wings. I didn’t succeed, as you can see! But the strong emotion involved in the whole project elicited the following poem:
“A Letter to My Art Teacher:
Dear Mr. Webb: If you’ll take mercy on my age, You’ll excuse the mistakes on this page; But look at it and like it not, The blood in my veins will be running hot!
I thought and I drew to get an “A,” And expected it to be that way. The smudges and the creases you see Were made ’cause I didn’t want a “B.”
Don’t see the badness; the goodness instead. I drew it all with a pencil lead. The idea didn’t come from brain, But I drew it’s all just the same.
Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is. The dolly was made for sister Liz; The drum was made in honor of Ted — He does so admire purple and red.
The rest was made’cause the idea was that way; I think it’s the image of a Christmas Day. I know, myself, the airplane is queer; To leave it out would ruin the design so dear.
Of course, if you don’t give me an “A, “It means you didn’t see it that way. But I spent a very long time on it. For hours it seems I did sit, Trying to make my X-Mas scene perfect.
If you knew how hard it was to do, You’d take mercy on my age — My inexperience too; You’d think of it my way, And in your grade book Mark another “A.”
Note: It seems my lyrical-letter worked: Mr. Webb gave me an “A.” Then wrote a little poem of his own to say: “You’ve been a good student Every day; Your pictures are great And well worth an ‘A’.” Mr. Webb (That made my day!)
NOTE: The following is the original poem, written on the back of the above picture. Following this handwritten lyrical-letter are some of the pictures I did in art classes, from ages twelve through fourteen.
‘* Note: The following is a book review I did of an acquaintance’s book,”Hiding in a Caveof Trunks.” Unfortunately, when I copied and pasted my review, as usual, it didn’t turn out looking nearly as nice as it looks on Goodreads.com, but it will do.
My book review of Esther Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of trunks”
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family’s Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW camp.
Against an impressive historical background, China-born Ester Benjamin Shifren relates the saga of her family’s century-long existence in Shanghai, the city often referred to as “The Paris of the East,” and details the culture and tribulations of the colorful multi …more
My Book Review of Esther Schifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”
Ester Shifren, highly gifted author, artist, poet, performer, musician, speaker and more, has been a fellow member of my California Writers Club for many years. I thought I knew her till I read her wonderfully written memoir and history book combined. Was blown away by her unique writing style and the depth of the material she presented.
Loved learning about her life as a Jew growing up in China during the World War II era. It was most inspiring to read how her family managed to survive almost three years of incarceration in China during that time period.
You have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. I will only say that I lost sleep reading Ester’s book far into the night. It was so interesting, fascinating, and beautifully written I couldn’t put it down.
I plan to read Ester’s historical memoir again at least one more time. Will also use it for ideas and a guide for writing my own memoirs. This book should be on High School and University required reading lists, as well as in every public library. Ester, you “made history” when you wrote your memoirs!
(*NOTE: My Review doesn’t look as nice as it looks on Amazon.com, from whence I copied and pasted it after I wrote it there. But at least I was able to post it here, for better or for worse.
~Also, below this Book Review is an essay I used by permission of a blogger friend, Bruce Holt. It ties in well with some of what author Luna Lindsey talks about in her book: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.)
Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control — A perfect title that says it all!, October 31, 2016
This review is from: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control (Kindle Edition: Says Stephany Spencer: I discovered Luna Lindsey through Facebook. Her obvious brilliance and observation lead me to become a Facebook friend and follower of her’s. That’s when I learned she was also an Author and had even written a book that I, an ex-Mormon fundamentalist, needed to read: “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.”
Her well-researched book is a must-read for anybody wanting to understand mind control and how intelligent people can be converted to a cult — or be born into one, and not see the problems, contradictions, and errors in their belief system.
And it’s a must-read, also, for anyone needing help with undoing all the subconscious brainwashing and mind control messages and beliefs imbued in them while growing up Mormon.
Another plus for reading the book is that Lindsey is a brilliant person with a captivating and interesting writing style and a depth of insight and ideas that lets you know you are in the presence of genius.
We are all indebted to her for the work, time, and effort she put into getting this book written and published — no small task!
The research she did, alone, attests to the genius of this woman — Autistic, but you would only know it, or be able to believe it, if you knew that some of our most intelligent scientists (at such places as the Caltech Think Tank in California) are highly functioning autistic geniuses.
Luna Lindsey is a remarkable young woman who has authored a book you won’t regret having spent your valuable money and time on. And it’s a great reference guide, besides!
Why no voting buttons? We don’t let customers vote on their own reviews, so the voting buttons appear only when you look at reviews submitted by others.
The BITE model: The specific methods that cults use to recruit and maintain control over people.
“B”: Behavior Control
Promote dependence and obedience
Modify behavior with rewards and punishments
Dictate where and with whom you live
Restrict or control sexuality
Control clothing and hairstyle
Regulate what and how much you eat and drink
Deprive you of seven to nine hours of sleep
Exploit you financially
Restrict leisure time and activities
Require you to seek permission for major decisions
To me, a former member of the LDS Church, these are self-evident. To a current member, they may not be so evident. Why? Confirmation bias. Obedience to authority, depending on authority for the current word of God, behaving in accordance with proscribed actions, paying tithes and generous offerings in order to receive anticipated rewards (blessings, status, ability to participate in ordinances not available to those who don’t), sexuality (including modes of dress, abstinence until marriage, heterosexual only, personal arousal, etc.), “busy work” (Ministering – formerly Home/Visiting Teaching), time-consuming callings and assignments, recommendation to date and marry within the Church, Word of Wisdom, etc.
These are methods to control behavior! Period!
Members will protest, saying they choose these things and are not forced. However, each of these things has a reward, if they are chosen, meaning they ARE, absolutely, forms of control! Sure, one does not have to follow or comply with these things, but where does that leave this member? What will happen? Will he/she be left alone?
If they are noticed, no (have you ever attended a Ward Council meeting??)!
I’m sittin’ alone in the moonlight, At the Heartbreak Hotel Café, Abandoned by women and men; And here’s all I have to say, “I’ll never eat garlic nor onions again — Not till my dying day —
NOT if it drives possible friendships away,
Miraculously keeping romance at bay!”
By Stephany Spencer
“One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd, Three on the sidewalk is not allowed.” Anonymous (But have you ever noticed in “Big Love” they might Be doing it behind your back — or closed doors? Step on a crack and try to keep track!)
Please, God, don’t let me be a fruitcake this Christmas; I don’t want to be eaten by one either! Stephany Spencer
When it comes to online dating, If you’re lookin’ for a mating, The odds are good That the goods are odd; So “wrots of wruck” with your mate-baiting! I won’t be holding my bag waiting.
Longing for a Soulmate No More
I used to long for a Soulmate, But I don’t long anymore, ‘Cause I damn well know in my core Who’d get stuck picking up after him … Plus a whole lot more!
For that same reason, In my “Golden-Sage” season, I no longer dream of Mr. Wright Nor a shining-armored knight; I’ve learned they’re all fairytales – No one’s coming to save me;
For sure, no horny, hairy males! And Stupid-Cupid least of all: Cupid’s but Libido and Nature
Having a ball. At long last, I’ve come to see My soulmate’s the other half of me; And it’s well that this should be. So I’ll leave my fate to God,
And what will be, we’ll see!
Me, Myself, and I
Sittin’ alone in the moonlight, I heard a lonesome cry; It must have come from within; There was only me, myself, and I!
Then I chanced to ask it,”Why? Why?!” Spoke the voice in soft reply: “’Because, wherefore, and therefore; That’s why!” So I gathered myself up with a sigh, To face the great by-and-by and cry, Because, in reality, there could only be Lonely me, myself, and I.
By Stephany Spencer (Written at age 14)
Bimbo Speaks: “Love may be blind,
but jealousy and envy sport
wide-angled telescopic vision
with binocular hindsight!” Stephany Spencer
Says Bimbo: “Who cares if four-inch heels Give you bunions, Backaches, ‘n’ achin’ feet?
What’s important is yer legs Look long ‘n’ sleek, And yer ankles slim ‘n’ petite!” Stephany Spencer
“There’s a vast amount of undeveloped territory just below my fancy hat ‘n’ hairdo — right betwixt me ears two!” Stephany Spencer
The Bimbo Class
My claim-to-fame is shoppin’, ‘Cause most parts of me
Are perfect ‘n’ hoppin’; So if it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep right on a-boppin’
In my fancy hat ’n’ updo– Let the intellectuals study it,
If they want to — And the undeveloped matter
Under it too!
But in “Alice, Through the Lookin’ Glass,” It didn’t matter where The Mad Hatter had ‘er — nor ‘er class; An’ it doesn’t matter a hair To the hare, either, what I do — So don’t be a “hare-up-my-ass”! (Well, did you expect better
Of the Bimbo class?!) Stephany Spencer
A Bimbo-Breakthrough: Old age ain’t for sissies …
And neither is bein’ a woman! Stephany Spencer
* NOTE: I have taken some of my pieces that were published in the California Writers Club’s newsletter, when I was their Program Chair, and put them on this page, sans the full newsletter they were published in.
Sadly, when I copied and pasted my pieces to this page, the photos, color, etc., did not copy and paste here. Therefore the publications mostly look very drab. What a difference images and color make!
California Writers Club – SFV “Serving the writers of Greater Los Angeles”
Look out December! Our guest presenter will be literary agent, Sharlene Martin, of “Considerate literary management for the 21st Century.”
The importance of a pre-query game plan will be stressed, as will an outline of the essential elements of effective queries that will generate positive responses.
This event is bound to be barrels of fun, while still offering sound advice. You’ll walk out equipped to generate query letters that truly invite interest. And you’ll find that the sense of knowing how to do it is a sure confidence-booster for the “pitch fest” to follow this session.
Since founding Martin Literary Management in 2003, Sharlene has mounted spectacular successes for her clients, including over 60 non-fiction sales to such major publishers as Crown, Penguin, Putnam, Rodale, St. Martin’s, McGraw Hill, Ballantine, Harper Collins, – and many boutique and independent publishers. She’s boosted clients in Readers Digest, People Mag and the London Times.
Examples of her success in the industry are her client’s book, “You’ll Never Nanny inThisTown Again.” It hit the New York and LA Times Best Seller lists in 2006 and was recently optioned to E!- Entertainment for development as a sitcom. And Brad Cohen’s book, “Front of the Class,” is now in development with Hallmark for a television movie.
In the past year alone, her clients have made appearances on The Today Show, Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, The Apprentice, 20/20, Discovery Channel, Inside Edition, Donny Deutsch and Fox News.
So come touch base and break bread with the Agent who might be your lucky star. And let’s all look forward to this December. □□
She will share secrets for big-time connections that could make you a star. And she really knows; one of her clients was a guest on Oprah.
Says Martin, “Crazy Queries” is sure to be the best advice you’ll ever get on what NOT to do with your writing career.” Get ready to laugh while you learn from first-hand accounts of misguided queries.
You’re guaranteed to chuckle at queries that make truth stranger than fiction. Says Martin, “Some will seem as if the writer can’t possibly be serious, and some will make you wince to think any poor soul ever thought their letter would get them an agent.”
* * * * * * *
By: Stephany Spencer
Coming In January…
Anthony Flacco: True Crime and Crime Fiction…
“True crime” is all about getting the story rights; choices of action and character are secondary. Crime fiction is all about getting the story right; choices of genre and style are secondary.”
Anthony, an award-winning author, orator, and actor, with a screenwriting background, frequently gives seminars on crime writing. He is a featured speaker on writing for writers’ conferences and clubs. Look for an interactive seminar, answering many commonly asked questions such as:
1- How does one handle legal matters and agreements with the person one is writing about?
2- Do you always need to cut in the person you are writing about?
3- Just what is a sellable idea?
4- How do we find common ground in the True Crime/Non-Fiction market?
COMING IN FEBRUARY...
Kitty Dill: Award-winning Journalism Editor
This will be an exciting interactive seminar wherein Kitty will not only answer your questions about writing Press Releases, getting your pieces on “The Hub,” or in the Ventura County Star newspaper but will also expound on what to do when “60 Minutes” shows up at your door.
These upcoming seminars are sure hits, with something for everyone — so come enjoy, and help make our afternoon a real hit, yourself, by your own presence there. Ciao till next time!
California Writers Club – SFV “Serving the writers of Greater Los Angeles”
Who’ll be the Next Star on Oprah? By: Stephany Spencer
Happy New Year to our valued members and guests of the Greater Los Angeles California Writers Club!
We’re starting out with a great program this January 12th featuring the inimitable husband and wife dynamic duo, literary agents, Ashley and Carolyn Grayson.
Dr. Scott Sonders and I have reviewed the web pages of their literary agency and we are impressed and excited with what we see: Ashley and Carolyn Grayson represent literary and commercial fiction and some non-fiction for adults: including business, self- help, scientific, pop culture, true crime, and mind/body/spirit.
They also represent fiction for younger readers. Clients on their fiction list include Isaac Adamson, John Barnes, Andrew Fox, Barb and J.C. Hendee, Bruce Coville, J.B. Cheaney, David Lubar, and Christopher Pike.
The Grayson’s are both members of the Association of Authors’ Representation. Ashley is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And Carolyn is a member of Romance Writers of America.
Since our membership especially appreciates an interactive production that informs and entertains, we know you won’t want to miss the January 12th presentation.
So with that said, let me end my “piece” with this extended “peace” to everyone:
Happy New Year, CWC!
Two-thousand-eight is here,
We’re another year older;
Our membership has grown;
Our writers are bolder.
As we enter this new year,
Let’s make a resolution
To attend our meetings
And be “The Solution.”
And let us spread good cheer
By welcoming each member;
‘Cause, when it’s all said ’n’ done,
That’s what we’ll remember.
Well, happy new year, everyone!
(poem by Stephany Spencer 2008)
Scott A. Sonders, President George Hirai, interim VP1 Debra Zednik, Secretary James Ganatta, Treasurer
Venita Louise, Membership Chair, Stephany Spencer, Programs Chair,
Richard Deets, Critique Groups Larry Fazio, Events Manager
Mike Austin, Development Chair Olivia Mohler, Hospitality Chair Patty Foltz, Webmaster
Farah Khalid, Videographer
Scott Sonders, State Rep2
Lenora Smalley, SFV Spokesperson Bruce Zacuto, Sergeant-at-Arms
Leila Morris, Editorial Megan Masten, Outreach Elizabeth Jaimes, Hospitality
1 also: Editor of the Scribe
2 also: VP of the CWC-Central Board
FAST FORWARD, by Stephany Spencer
Coming in February – Kitty Dill:
Award Winning Journalism Editor…
This will be an exciting & interactive seminar. Kitty gives the inside view about writing and submitting Press Releases and getting those releases into newspapers. She ought to know, she’s an editor for the Ventura County Star and their internet “Hub.” Kitty will also titillate on what to do when “60 Minutes” shows up at your door.
Coming in March – Linda O. Johnston: Attorney and Romance Writer…
A practicing attorney armed with a double barrel shotgun, a B.A. in Journalism and a Doctorate in Law! The amazing “Linda O!” juggles her busy schedule to write in the afternoons and teach in the evenings. We’ve long awaited the info she’ll share on the legalese involved in writing. BONUS: bring your questions about writing PR, mystery and romance.
By: Stephany Spencer March 2008
March 8th will spring into action on the green, while we greet you with a “top o’ themorning,” as gifted attorney, teacher, and writer, Linda O. Johnston, will testify to the legalese of writing… the Do’s and Don’ts that could make or break your writing career.
Linda now lives overlooking Lake Hollywood – the perfect place to turn anything into a Romance, Suspense or Mystery novella. Meanwhile, her two dogs protect her from any real danger – while her Muse has her way with her. And that generally happens every afternoon when she escapes the realities of the true crime at her law office and indulges her fantasies in such endeavors as her latest Kendra Ballantyne,”Pet-Sitter” that recently sold to Silhouette Nocturne.
This amazing “Linda O!” has the writers’ enviable double-barrel shotgun: a B.A. in journalism and a JD degree from Duquesne.
Her writing career began by running a small newspaper. Then she worked in advertising and Public Relations and later moved into her Law Practice. As if that were not enough, The multi-talented Linda also has avocations in writing, speaking, and teaching.
A member of the Mystery Writers of America (Sisters in Crime) and Romance Writers of America, we are pleased to have Linda O. Johnston regale us with her Leprechaun magic and lucky charms. I plan to bring my bag and capture some of it, myself, to take home. It sure beats a trip to Ireland to try to acquire some! ◊◊
Hi! I am Stephany Spencer, Poet, Lyricist, Memoirist, and Musician — a professional Jackalin–of-many-trades. And a retired teacher on her endless summer. Welcome to my own little corner of the world-wide-web!
As we speak, my fledgling Website continues to grow as I continue to develop the skills of a Webmaster, Blogger, and Photoblogger. It’s work so fun, I doubt it will ever be done!
For I do love the creative process — The “one-on-one.” I’m thrilled to share it with you here on my very own little online block of the globe:
My valuable virtual acre of Internet realestate!
I’m looking forward to connecting with you. Till then, feel free to click around and scroll down on this blog site, and also on my Menu Bar, to become acquainted with my Website. It was lovely chatting with you. If you are a follower of my blogs, that’s even lovelier!
Till next time, then, be well and cheers! Your Host, Stephany Spencer
PS: Please note:
Ever a Creative, the world is my oyster
and I a pearl forming within her.
Life is my canvas on which I purposely
paint and spin with gusto,
All the while it takes me along to
new dimensions — then hopefully on
to her “pearly” gates and within!
I have learned: “If you rest, you rust” —
You either live or die. Bob Dylan so aptly reminds us
of this in his lyric line
borrowed from the late great
singer-songwriter, Woodie Guthrie: “If you aren’t busy livin’, you’re busy dyin’.”
And So here’s to life! I’m tryin,’ yes, I am — And though I ain’t thru cryin’, “L’ Chaim,” and cheers, ~Stephany Spencer
PS:On another note,
I am the proud progeny of
a long list of writers and poets: I’ve inherited a bit of their giftedness
for writing verse, for better or worse. This is my double-edged sword:
A gift and a curse.
But Life goes on, comes and is gone … “Sail On,” says my California Writers Club emblem. Now if you look closely, you may see me sailing on, “Writing” “write” now on a song! So “write on”!
“Dwell in possibilities,”
said Emily Dickinson. These possibilities are all that
keep me from falling off
As I get along! Stephany Spencer
Ode to The California Writers Club
The California Writers Club is our oyster, And we writers the pearls being polished within her. Stephany Spencer 2016
2016 marked the 30th anniversary of CWC-SFV, Wherein the California Writers Club has been our oyster, And we members pearls growing within her; Daily being polished till we sparkle and shimmer With illustrious word pearls that glimmer ‘n’ glitter
“Write on” to vocabulary perfection. Stephany Spencer 2016
Advice for Creatives:
Dare to fail or fail to dare! That is, take it on a dare: Dare to fail to do well.
For you must first dare to fail, Or you’ll never discover
If you can do anything well! Stephany Spencer
Advice for Creatives:
To do well, first dare to fail —
or fail to dare do anything well!
Buoyed when Pressfield encouraged creative works,
My own creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Because today I dare call spades, spades;
I’m beginning to finally face my muse
And my own creative juices use.
‘Tis said one must “paint badly” to paint well;
Or dare to “write badly” to tell a tale;
Where our creative works will lead,
If we but follow our beckoning heed,
We never can know nor can we tell;
All we can do is dare to fail,
In order to find out if we can do well.
In other words, we must start somewhere
Our powers of creativity to share and wield — “Resist resistance,” stresses Steven Pressfield,
In his inspired work, “The War of Art;” If we don’t dare fail, we’ll never start, Never write the book of our heart;
Never let genius do its part.
So dare to break through the blocks:
Whenever your amazing muse knocks,
Win your inner creative battles
By daring to fail to ever do well;
The final outcome time only can tell.
But it’s worth the effort to give your gifts,
For you discover and fulfill yourself as well,
When you create art and tell your tale. Stephany Spencer 2016
1- “Point Blank:” The point at which all thought leaves the frontal lobe
and one comes face to face with writer’s block.
(Author unknown — Dan Pointer?)
2- “Point Blank:” The point at which one’s pen comes face to face with
an empty frontal lobe shot through by the bullet of writers’ block.
Most creatives who’ve achieved monumental fame First had to master their dynamic domain. Stephany Spencer
A song is nothing but a poem set to music. Stephany Spencer
~ I was sixty before my dormant creativity Picked itself up from the doormat Where it pretty much played a passive act … For forty years, to be exact.
( Stephany Spencer)
~ I was sixty before my dormant creativity Picked herself up from the doormat, Dusted herself off and began to shine — After having lain there for forty years Collecting the dust and cobwebs of time. Hallelujah!!NowI no longer need
an X-Ray Machine my muse to find! ( Stephany Spencer)
~ My creativity lay hibernating thirty years In the dusty cobwebs of time, Before it picked itself up and came back out Into the light of day to shine; Now I no longer need a flashlight
my amusing muse to find! ( Stephany Spencer)
~ “Think in terms of possibilities.”
This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:
Yesterday’s sorrow is the humor of tomorrow; In other words: Today’s sorrow is grist For the humor mills of tomorrow.
Please Note: I wrote each quote; Though the concept has been around a long time, ‘Twas moi who put it to rhythm and rhyme. (Stephany Spencer)
Innovation The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones. ~ J M Keynes
I’m a poet and I know it, But my feet don’t show it: They’re not “Longfellow’s;” They’re “short fellows“! (Stephany Spencer)
Hi: It’s now October 17, 2018. Since I started this blog June 27, 2016, my Website continues to metamorph … to change and develop as I experiment with what speaks to you and me.
I’ve decided to concentrate on writing my Memoir rather than spend time editing and typing my handwritten poetry, prose, quotes, and anecdotes. This project must continue to be put off. There’s simply too little time for me, a “Jackalynn-of-many-trades.”
I’d love to do everything all at once: Edit and type my collection of handwritten poems at the same time I’m writing a book, blogging, and all else. But keeping up a Website and blogs takes time. It’s something one builds gradually. The same goes for getting my poems and my books out.
Though Rome wasn’t built in a day, a part of me wants to build my Website and blogs that way — or at least by the end of this month! Websites can be a static thing — Set them up, leave them be, depending on what you use your site for. But blog sites are a different species, an ongoing process. It all entails a huge learning curve.
So bear with me as I continue to turn that bend and to curb the time spent writing blogs and publishing songs and poetry so as to concentrate on getting my Memoir written and published. Hope to see you at the end of the “curve” … or bend!
To dare present your creative works
to the world
And see your artistic creations unfurled, You must start by daring: Daring to fail
And daring to do well,
Or fail to dare do anything well;
Daring to fail is part of daring to do well.
Buoyed whenAuthor StevenPressfield
Encouraged creative works,
My creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Today I daringly call spades, spades —
I’m beginning to finally face my muse,
And my creative juices use.
We must “paint badly” to paint well,
And dare to “write badly” to tell our tale;
Where our creative works then lead,
Should we follow the muse’s heed,
Artistic natures never can tell;
We can only face our fears and dare to fail,
In order to discover if we can ever do well.
But if creativity we are to wield
We must “Resist Resistance,”
Stresses Steven Pressfield
In his work, “The War of Art.” That is, Creatives must somewhere start In order to their creative gifts impart.
If they don’t dare fail, they’ll never start … Never survive the writers-block dart …
Never write the book of their heart;
Never do their creative part.
So dare to break through artists’ blocks
Whenever your amazing muse knocks.
To win your inner creative battles,
You must do it on a dare: Dare to fail …
Or you’ll never find if you can ever do well.
Daring creates an artistic outpour;
Time only can tell what’s next at your door;
But it’s worth the effort to face “Resistance”
And give your gifts, despite its insistence,
Because you discover and fulfill yourself,
And countless others as well,
When you create your art
And tell your tale!
The avant-garde composer John Cage said,” The material of music is sound and silence. Integrating these is composing.”
Could we say the material of poetry is also sound and silence — or syllables and silence? And integrating these is composing –– albeit poetry?
We could, as well, compose music and poems that go together … compose songs, that is: Songs are but poems/ lyrics set to music.
Now I digress into a poem, And confess it may be set to music! Blame it on my muse:
It’s a pretty broad spectrum to contemplate upon. After I’ve contemplated more, I’ll enlarge upon it — Perhaps by way of a musical composition long — Or even a song … or sonnet! Now, diverging a bit from my theme, I’m aware of what some “poetry authorities” mean and say about poetry with rhythm and rhyme. Enter to my rescue poet Lord Byron Who said ( paraphrasing I am):
“Some people prefer poetry without rhythm or rhyme, But as for me, all the time, Give me poetry with rhythm and rhyme.”
Amen to that, I say!
Now, till another time, Have a nice day, And enjoy this rhyme … Or have it your way. Any old way is okay With me!
But I’ll rhyme on a dime, Or sing for a dime and tea — Any old time is best for me! I promise you’ll get your $.10 worth … I’ll throw along with it some music and mirth!
Now, how’s that for an ad-libbed verse … or line? Well, we’ll be picking up here again next time! :)~
Stephany Spencer, 9/13/2016
*NOTE: The above piece “John Cage and Composing” inspired my niece Vicky Rogers LeBaron to compose the following beautiful poem:
In Adulation of Song
How can a song trifle with my emotions so? It tosses my tears on the beaches below. Then my resurrected heart soars Far above the craggy shores. As it reaches the crest of the waves, Suddenly it breaches, And I’m thrust into the depths of another emotion, On the rolling waves of the sound in motion!
What a rush to feel the melodious sound As it vibrates through me to my soles on the ground! A cacophonic pleasure with each passing measure. And I realize: I have found the treasures that abound In the waves of sound.
In an instant I’m moved to a place I’ve not been, But is somehow familiar and comes from within. How does it transport me fro and to? Do I hear with my ears or the thoughts that ensue?
The vibration surrounds me And fills me clear through! Is this a primal instinct or a thing I’ve learned new— To be still and listen? Really listen. To ride the sound waves, to soar on it’s breeze Takes almost no effort, It’s done with such ease.
So, oblivious of anything I could lose or retain, The melodious refrain is controlling my brain, And all other thoughts disappear. Momentarily there is nothing to fear. So I let myself fall.
I’m lost in the swells of vibrato, staccato, legato … They beckon me to immerse myself In this sea and see. The chorus extolls, then a lonely bell tolls And soon rapture ensues! My heart strings play along In adulation of song.
Completely irreverent of my desires, Whether the sounds of nature Or the singing of choirs, I’m carried away on the wings of the song, Irresistible and enthralling, my heart lauds. Shall I try and resist as my soul persists To insist that I bury my heart and mind In pealing waves of the oceans I find? Nay, I say.
As I rise to the top of the waves, The song fades. I catch my breath as the ocean calms; Nothing but stillness fills the air. I am there, Immersed in peace and serenity, Feeling like an eternity of bliss Is echoing in my mind. And the song in my heart echoes, “Until next time.”
The oceans of sound in motion Were written in the measures of creation; These songs are for our elation. We must learn to listen. I surrender my devotion With my heart’s emotions, And I will ride the waves of song. Will you come along?
Hi and welcome! This is my first theme and header that really spoke to me when I started my fledgling Website and Photoblogging June 27, 2016.
I borrowed it from niece Dana Jordan’s Facebook picture for lack of time, in the beginning, to find my own idea and Header. Tried it out for size, posting it on my Photoblog Website Home page to see how it looked and worked.
I’ve since found my own theme, one more suitable for my Photoblogging. But I’m keeping the above image on my Website for Auld Lang Syne — and because I love the design — the beautiful painting and the theme, “My Emerging Self.”
Hello and welcome to my Photoblog site — My own little corner of the World-Wide-Web!
My name is Stephany Spencer/AKA Beulah Spencer LeBaron de Tucker.
My goal is to share personal stories, essays, prose, poetry, artwork, and other creative works and opinion, in hopes you will not only give me your feedback but may also gain insight, inspiration, and enlightenment to help you in your journey through life. If you are creative and curious, then this blog is for you.
I have been posting blogs at least once per week for going on fourteen months, as of July 29, 2017. But starting August 4, 2017, I will be posting blogs sporadically, so as to devote more time to writing my books.
And I don’t intend for this to be a monolog but a dialog. I want you to give me your feedback in the “Comments” section. I will read every comment and respond as I’m able.
*If you want me to address, please leave a comment below. I am looking forward to connecting with you.
7/2016 Hi! I’m Stephany Spencer/AKA Beulah Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker.
Welcome to my own little corner of the World-Wide Web — My “Virtual” piece of valuable Internet Real Estate!Yes, I being “Creative Aboard,” say welcome aboard! And please feel free to click around and see what’s useful to you. How may I help you?
I am a Creative: Author, Artist, Poet, Performer, Lyricist, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Speaker — Just a professional Jackalynn-of-many-trades — And a retired teacher on her endless summer.
At the moment, I’m excited about this recent launch of my first Website/Photoblog site! My URL is: https://StephanySpencer.com. It serves as my Scrapbook, Blog site, and a connection to you and the rest of the world. My email address is StephSpencer10@gmail.com, should you wish to contact me.
Over time I’ll be sharing with you a variety of topics and poetry, but mostly my miserable Memoirs (I love alliteration!), along with some happy and redemptive stories of how I escaped a dangerous, fanatic, Mormon fundamentalist foot-washing cult I was born and raised in and lived to write about; i.e., to tell why and how I made it out of there and up to here.
I’ll also be sharing with you poetry and songs I’ve written, as well as videos of my performances, artwork, and more. I’m looking forward to your input, honesty, and ideas. I promise I’ll read all your comments, and will respond as time allows. For I mean for each blog to be a dialog, not a monolog.
Through my Website, I’ll test the waters and heed your input. It will be of import for if and when I decide to finish writing my shoot-from-the-hip Memoirs: the surreal saga of how I survived stunting child abuse as a White slave while growing up poor and deprived.
Seven years of my life (the years between 1960 and 1967) were spent in my Uncle Joel and Ervil LeBaron’s secluded, backward, extremist Mormon Fundamentalist cult, headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.
I escaped this self-righteous and controlling cult in 1967, at the age of twenty-one, with only my three-year-old daughter, one suitcase, and $5.00 to our name — plus an 8th Grade Diploma received in 1960, after only around six years of rather poor public education, mostly from Utah’s small-town 1950s schools.
Part of that education took place in infamous Short Creek, Utah’s one-room schoolhouse that housed grades one through five under the tutelage of brave Mrs. Verda Lartzen.
The rest is “her-story” or “my-story” — But with much credit going to our good ole USA’s government, people, and God — though at the time, I no longer believed in God — my understanding of God.
Now I see “God“(meaning anything that is “Good”) has been with me all along. Though the going has been far from easy, I see the tracks where God carried me when I could no longer make it on my own! The help showed up in ominous ways, such that I cannot question that a Higher Power exists — a Loving Energy overlooking my life.
So, to be sure, all glory goes to God/Goodness that I’ve made it through so well, these many years, since escaping the devastation and setbacks of my cult upbringing.
Within five months of escaping the LeBaron cult at age twenty-one, for example, I miraculously started college — though all I had was about six years of public education, an eighth-grade diploma, and had not been inside a classroom for about eight years … And was limping along on culture shock and post-traumatic stress syndrome, besides.
However, College was a dream come true! Thanks to California’s Junior Colleges (mostly funded by taxpayers’ dollars back then), Scholarships, Work-study, Grants and Loans — and the Welfare system, — I was able to take the GED test, then start studying at East Los Angeles College, in California.
Amazing too is, though I had been out of school since age fourteen, barely had six years of public education, and only an eighth-grade Jr. High School diploma, I was on the “Dean’s List” for top grades by my second semester!
I, sadly, had not had the chance for an education in High School’s 9th, 10th, 11th, nor 12th Grades, yet within two years, I earned an Associate of Arts degree in Music, then graduated from UCLA in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. And attained a Teacher’s Credential and Post-graduate work from California State University, Northridge, in 1976, specializing in Liberal Arts and Bilingual Ed.
Presently I am a member of the California Writers Club (https://cwc-sfv.org) where I was Programs Chair and also helped with Hospitality. (*See the above CWC Website for some of my pieces published over the years in “The Valley Scribe,“newsletter of the California Writers Club.)
Ever a Creative, the world is my oyster and I a pearl forming within her. Life is my canvas on which I purposely paint with gusto, all the while it takes me along to new destinations and dimensions — and hopefully, right on through to the “pearly” gates!
I have learned: “If you rest, you rust;” You either live or you die. Bob Dylan so aptly reminds us of this in his lyrical line borrowed from the late great singer-songwriter, Woodie Guthrie: “If you aren’t busy livin’,
You’re busy dyin’.”
So here’s to life! I’m tryin,’ yes, I am. Though I ain’t thru cryin’, “L’ Chaim,” and cheers!
(by Stephany Spencer-LeBaron)
A Lesson Too Late In The Learning: Write It or Regret It
Recently at the California Writers Club, a fellow poet and guest speaker, Deborah Edler Brown, advised:
“At the moment of inspiration, record it. Don’t wait! For it’s like babies lost you can never retrieve if you don’t record your inspiration when it comes.”
If only I had realized that wisdom twenty years ago while I was teaching bilingual education. For then I so wished I had an English translation of the well-known Spanish children’s folk song, De Colores. But I did not have time to work out one.
It’s not easy to keep a song lyrical and with rhyme when translating it from one language to another — especially if you want to keep the same music and rhythm.
However, one morning I awoke and there before me, like a dream, was a beautiful English translation of this song! Not appreciating enough the gift of inspiration I had just received, I continued to do pressing chores for a few hours.
By the time I sat down to record the lyrics, to my dismay around one-third of these inspired words had disappeared from my memory forever.
Being a poet, I was able to work out fill-in words and lines to replace those lost. But they are not as gratifying nor satisfying as the full version I had been inspired with, then inadvertently lost.
Nonetheless, the translation I do have is better than any other English translation of this song I have since found online or on YouTube.
I will present the 16th-century Spanish traditional song first, followed by my inspired English translation:
* De Colores
1- De Colores, de colores se visten
Los campos en la primavera;
De colores, de colores son los pajaritos
Que vienen de afuera;
De colores, de colores es el arco iris
Que vemos lucir:
Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores
Me gustan a mi.(Repeat)
2- Canta el gallo, canta el gallo con
La gallina, la gallina con el
Los polluelos, los polluelos con
* Painted spring
(My inspired version of “De Colores”)
1- In the springtime in the valleys
The countryside glistens with pallets of color;
In the springtime in the meadows
The birds fill the air with their beautiful color;
In the springtime comes the arch of the rainbow
And spreads its grand hues from afar!
And this is the reason I love the spring season:
There’s splendorous color to see —
Yes, this is the reason this beautiful season
Brings such joy and pleasure to me!
2- In the barnyard in the morning
The red rooster crows,“How do you do?”
In the hen coop in the daytime
The white hens announce every egg that is new;
In the garden in the sunshine the yellow chicks
Scratch through the flowers and dew.
(back to chorus)
Thanks to my creative cousin Jessica LeBaron for coming up with a perfect title for my song! 🙂
Music to “De Colores,” and my take-off from it, can be found under “De Colores” on YouTube.)
Hi! I am Stephany Spencer, poet, lyricist, memoirist– a professional Jackalyn-of-many-trades. Welcome to my own little corner of the world-wide-web!
As we speak, my Website I started June of 2016 continues to grow and develop along with my continuing to develop the skills of being a Webmaster and first-time blogger/Photoblogger.
It’s work so fun, I doubt I’ll ever be done! I do love the creative process — the “one-on-one.” And am thrilled to share it with you on my little part of the globe — My little piece of the planet’s valuable virtual Internet realestate!
My goal is to blog on enlightening and entertaining “shoot-from-the-hip” insights, essays, personal stories, and creative works — especially my poetry and memoirs. If I may serve my visitors, otherwise, please advise!
Should you be a Creative and curious person, then this blog is for you. I plan to post my blogs sporadically, now, to give me more time to get my book/ Memoir written.
As for my blogging, I don’t intend for this to be a monolog but a dialog. I want you to give me your feedback in the “Comments” section. I will read every comment and respond as time allows. If you have a topic you want me to address, please leave a comment below.
I’m looking forward to connecting with you. Till then, feel free to click around and scroll down on my Menu Bar to become acquainted with my Website.
It was lovely chatting with you. If you are a follower of my blogs, that’s even lovelier!
Till next time, cheers, and have a happy life!
Your Host, Stephany Spencer
“Think in terms of possibilities.”