Last summer, teacher, mentor, and writer Greg Pattridge reviewed a newly released adventure story by the then 12-year-old Amy Zhao on his middle grade book based blog Always In The Middle

In Greg’s words: “When I do dip into fantasy and magical realism, I hope for a unique plot with engaging characters, wildly imagined worlds, and a few crazy

creatures thrown in to spice things up. I got all three with THE LEGENDS OF PINENA-INVASION OF THE ALIENS.”

Intrigued further by Greg’s complete review and the fact that this was Amy’s latest book (yes…you read that right. Between the ages of 8 and 12 she had authored 4 adventure novels. Not to mention, also illustrating their covers) I immediately purchased the book. Honestly, it was Continue reading

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Every writer has their own modus operandi when they begin a new project. Since my artistic abilities are rather lacking, I like to create a vision board. I browse magazines, scavenge for items in nature, snap photos, rifle through old family albums, and clip words of inspiration to pin to a wall in MY SPACE.

The somewhat odd collection reflects the setting, the mood, and circumstances that influence my cast of characters.  A glance at the wall motivates me during the dry spells or keeps me going when I’m on a roll.

I am not a plotter, not yet anyway, so I need all the help I can get. Although Continue reading

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JOE DOG and LOLLIPOP – A Pandemic Memory

JOE! Continue reading

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If you’ve got a middle-grader or teen at home (or if you’re a teacher, librarian, or mentor), this year’s virtual BAY AREA BOOK FESTIVAL has 8 bold FREE events that’ll rock their world and empower them. The adult program rocks too…

You may Register HERE
❤ Be well ❤

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In a chocolate galaxy, far, far away, the Flavonol3-O-beta-glucoside O-malonyltransferase gather in a non-disclosed location  deep within the dark nether regions of the cocoa nebulae.

Their mission: to effect the fabrication of a product so bold, so intense, so indescribably delicious that not a single human will be able to resist a taste, thereby giving rise to a world so overcome by unbridled ecstasy that Continue reading

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BonTon Potato Chips. Crisp. Crunchy. Salty. Five cents a bag. No baloney sandwich should ever be without them. It’d be like Fred Flintstone going bowling without Barney Rubble. It’s all I can think of too, as we board the yellow school bus. It’s my first class trip. Ever.

When I reach the top step, I ask the driver if we’ll be back in time for lunch. Mr. Anthony blows a stream of smoke at the ceiling and tosses a lit cigarette out the window. “Yes.”

“Where are we going?”

“Nearby. But the bucket is under your seat, just in case.”

Finally! My prayers have been answered. No chance of getting sick and I found a nickel on the sidewalk this morning. Someone upstairs really is listening. It would be perfect, except Joey won’t be coming back with us for lunch today. Continue reading

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Have you ever felt like a unicorn? 

The odd-one-out?

The rarity in the herd? 

In the children’s book writer’s world, I have.

Unlike many of my contemporaries, I didn’t spend lazy summer days, dark, stormy nights, and every other waking moment of my childhood with a book in my hands, nor did I write my first book at the age of six. I have, however, oftentimes envied them. Especially those
who had hunkered down in bed with the covers pulled over their heads, a flashlight in hand because they couldn’t sleep until they’d uncovered the secret to a garden or learned where Papa was going with that ax. The only place you’d have found a flashlight in our house would have been in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, hidden in a forest of dishwashing liquid, furniture polish, ammonia, Ajax, and bunches of rusty Brillo pads. 

Great Kills Public Library (Staten Island NY)

Don’t get me wrong. I did love to read. Just Continue reading

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Alas…those were the days. Masking up not only keeps the germs away, but situations like this, too. Be well and stay healthy, dear Reader ❤

Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

clubbingWe’ve all been there. You go out for a meal with family, friends, a new lover, a blind date, or your co-workers. In the interest of eating something a bit healthier than the deep-fried buffalo wings and sweet potato fries shrieking your name from the menu, you plug your ears, swallow hard, and choose something green –

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WHAT’S GOT MY GOAT TODAY? – The Pet Peeve That Got Away

We all have strong opinions on one thing or another – the issues that get your goat. There are plenty to go around, right? I don’t think I need to list any. You know yours. I know mine. We probably share quite a few, too. Some immediately raise our hackles. Others only ruffle our feathers or may get our undies in a twist. Then there are the issues that simmer on the back burner for ages and suddenly boil over in a burst of outrage, solidarity, and action. The ones that demand change. The ones that have been a long time coming like #BLM, #refusetoride, or #metoo.

What’s got my goat today though, is more of a peeve –

a pet peeve – a recurring little annoyance like Continue reading

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‘Tis Time For An Other ‘Twas

‘Twas the day before Christmas
when I realized this poem 
’twas ready for the trash bin
(after stifling a whopping groan).
But then I asked myself, 
“What’s Christmas, without a fun ’twas?”
So I grappled with this rhymer thinking, 
I’ll just add a disclaimer clause. 
Okay, there you have it, my apology in advance,
even though there’s a risk of boring you,
I’m willing to take that chance… Continue reading

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