Holy Cross Retreat Center (Mesilla Park) Director Father Tom Smith spoke with Lynn Moorer about his book “Poor Tom”: Living With Our Limitations, which was written for people who’ve experienced loss or limitation in their life, which, he says, is just about everybody. Amidst passages that impart guidance, his book shares vignettes from his life beginning when he was two and one-half years old and lost his right leg when his foot was caught in a hammer mill. Within his large Catholic family where he was loved, encouraged, and treated similarly to each of his other nine siblings, he relearned how to walk—first with crutches, then with a prosthesis, then played and explored alongside fellow children and youth. Sensing that God has been with him every step of the way, he chose seminary and a Franciscan life which has allowed him to minister to others while living with other friars. For eleven years, Father Tom has led the retreat’s ministry to and accommodation of numerous asylum seekers, homeless persons, and persons needing sanctuary in addition to hosting retreats.
Retired attorney and former ecologist, journal editor, professor, speechwriter, and park ranger Dennis McCarthy chatted with Lynn Moorer about his debut novel about “the most famous outlaw in the world,” The Gospel According to Billy the Kid. McCarthy explains how he chose to divide Billy’s persona into at least two characters—one who is killed by Pat Garrett at the end of the Lincoln County War and one who survives, escapes west, assumes a new identity, and recounts his adventures thirty-three years later in an El Paso bar to a former U.S. Army scout who happens to be the brother of a monk who helped Billy recover from dire illness. In McCarthy’s tale, Billy grows up from being a good-hearted, hot-headed kid to a good-hearted, level-headed adult who eventually looks up Pat Garrett to ask him, among several things, about how he came up with so many untruths in his book, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, which McCarthy characterizes as “a book of fiction.”
Award-winning mystery writer and writing instructor Kris Neri returned to the show to chat with Lynn Moorer about her first novel and the first book in her Tracy Eaton Mystery series, Revenge of the Gypsy Queen, a madcap thriller that features Tracy Eaton, an unpredictable, fast-thinking mystery writer from California who is suddenly called upon by her uptight, upright husband, Drew, and his family to solve the mystery of her sister-in-law and restauranteur Marisa’s kidnapping in New York City just before her wedding. As Tracy encounters a host of curious characters and uses various screwball tactics to rescue Marisa and see that justice is served, she enlists Nuri, a charming sidekick, and uncovers secrets that Drew’s family, especially his mysterious Uncle Philly, would prefer were kept hidden.
Engineer, scientist, and intelligence expert Joseph W. Foster talked with Lynn Moorer about his debut spy novel, The BiniSphere, in which he says he broke a lot of rules of physics to create his thriller story about Perry Franklin, a retired scientist and engineer who had worked for the intelligence community and had designed, built, and fielded the most advanced tracking technologies in the world for the U. S government. When a KH-11 reconnaissance satellite, operated in partnership between the National Reconnaissance Office and the CIA, inexplicably shuts down, Perry is called upon to ferret out the problem. His investigation takes him to Sicily where he encounters professor Christina LaTorre and her team who, it turns out, are building a movable nuclear reactor, the BiniSphere, that can, using sub-atomic particles, be pointed in any direction with high accuracy to denuclearize nuclear attacks. At the same, he discovers the U.S. is building a similar device for a very different purpose.
Retired teacher, school administrator, businessman, and former head of the Deming-Luna County Chamber of Commerce George Pintar shares stories with Lynn Moorer from his book, A New Peek at Old West Country, about the five counties in the southwestern corner of New Mexico—Hidalgo, Grant, Catron, Luna, and Sierra. Focusing on the history, culture, and economics of each county, the book’s narrator Chile Charlie brings to life curious, sometimes little-known, and appealing facts and traditions about each county.
New Mexico state senator Bill O’Neill joined Lynn Moorer to discuss his semi-autobiographical novel, Panoramic Diaries, which features peripatetic protagonist Chapman Murphy, a son of privilege from Iowa who takes a break from his job as an executive director of a halfway house in New Mexico for a host of colorful and challenged parolees to ride the rails on freight cars and mostly live in freight yards, old hotels, and hobo camps. As discerning and altruistic Chapman seeks to find answers to his most important life questions while dealing with his parents’ expectations, he forms an alliance with another late bloomer and defiant spirit, Kit Jones, who joins him in his adventures.
Writing and performance educator, publisher, and award-winning author Lynn C. Miller joined Lynn Moorer to discuss her mystery novel, The Unmasking, a story of university politics, intrigue, dark comedy, and melodrama featuring a trio of friends and colleagues who, after a college dean dies in a suspicious accident, try to puzzle out who is behind his death. While participating as historical characters in a six-day Chautauqua at a lodge near Silver City where odd occurrences take place in a small community of people, they cogitate about the motives and real personalities of each woman portraying a character and their possible connection to the dean’s death. When the dean’s widow is found unconscious in the mountainous woods, a hidden relationship is revealed.
Health educator Amber Foxx talked with Lynn Moorer about her mystery book, The Calling, in which her protagonist Mae Martin begins a personal training certification course at a local university, is introduced to alternative medicine, and reconnects with her psychic powers which she first experienced as a youth and which enable her to help other beings in the past and the present but which she doesn’t understand very well. Mae is faced with a conflict between her family—especially her husband, who takes a dim view of her psychic powers, and her strong urge to help people and other beings. As she delves into resources available to her in the university community, she becomes more confident in her abilities and resolves to solve the mystery as to why her mother cast her father out of their life when Mae was a teenager.
Former anthropologist and public historian Sandra Marshall discussed with Lynn Moorer her novel, Death in the Time of Pancho Villa: A Rose in Old El Paso Mystery, set in 1911 during the time of the Mexican Revolution and whose protagonist photographer Rose Westmoreland travels to El Paso in search of her missing husband, an accountant for an oil company. During her search, she meets famous historical figures like Pancho Villa, Pascual Orozco, and Francisco Madero as well as not-so-well-known historical figures El Paso Herald reporter Timothy Turner and photographer Esther Lovell who also become caught up in Rose’s investigation and search for clues.
Award-winning author and English teacher Catalina Claussen returned to the show to chat with Lynn Moorer about her book of short stories, Being Home: A Southwestern Almanac. These stories encapsulate, for each month, gentle, congenial, quirky, and amusing characters of the Mimbres Valley as they meet in their kaffeklatch at the Chisme Café, offer wise pronouncements in a rocker on its front porch, save a kitten frozen to a highway, help the bees pollinate flowers, and experience a wild adventure in a wheelchair hooked to the back of a pickup.
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