Award-winning fiction writer and writing teacher Kris Neri discussed with Lynn Moorer her latest book, Hopscotch Life, whose protagonist, Plum Tardy, is quirky, goofy, and missed getting a copy of life’s rulebook. Just as she discovers that her executive chef job has evaporated because one of the owners has absconded with the restaurant assets, she finds her fiancé has taken both another woman to bed and Plum’s share of house payments. Jobless and essentially homeless, she flees on a whim to Applewood, Arizona to the heart of a battle to site a new big box Budget-Mart—a battle which involves characters who turn out to have historical and familial connection to Plum and who savor her uniqueness.
Poet and co-editor of Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Ellen Roberts Young spoke with Lynn Moorer about, and read from, her book of poetry Made and Remade which was inspired by Natural Theology, a book published in 1802 by English clergyman William Paley (1743-1805) which argues that the physical and social order of things evince God’s design of the whole creation. Young explained how her interest with Paley’s book, which grew into an obsession, was sparked by learning that her great grandfather had studied the book seventy years earlier as part of his coursework. A thread that weaves through both Paley’s book and Young’s poems is his watch analogy: if one finds a watch on the ground, the inference is inevitable that the watch must have had a maker. Her poems reflect on how much has changed in the two hundred years since Paley.
Western New Mexico University history professor and award-winning author Bruce Wilson returned to the show to talk with Lynn Moorer about his book of historical fiction, No Place That Far, a spinoff of his previous novel, Death in the Black Patch, which interweaves actual historical events and genuine figures to trace the exploits of J. D. Hooper, a former Night Rider who terrorized Kentucky tobacco farmers and who is on the run after killing a man then masterminding a huge conflagration of train cars in Memphis. A greedy man who likes to hurt people, Hooper makes his way to El Paso, then Juarez, and carries out tasks for Pancho Villa and other real-life characters in his quest to avoid getting caught. He settles in Bisbee, Arizona where his encounters with a respectable widow and her 10-year-old son hint that his life may take a different course.
NMSU English professor and former assistant basketball coach Rus Bradburd chatted with Lynn Moorer about his memoir, Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey in Irish Hoops, which recounts his quest for an easy job in the Republic of Ireland coaching basketball while learning traditional Irish fiddle tunes and finishing a short story series. Coaching the Tralee Tigers, headquartered in a small town in southwestern Ireland, turned out to be an unexpected coaching challenge, not least because the Tigers didn’t have their own gym to train or play in, basketball had to compete with many more popular sports in Ireland, and his Irish players had other jobs while playing only for the love of the game and practicing only five hours a week. Instead of writing short stories, he found himself embracing his unique coaching challenge and creating an entertaining and, at times, riveting journal about his vivid experiences.
Award-winning poet, author, and rancher Deanna Dickinson McCall talked with Lynn Moorer about her book of poetry and short stories, Mustang Spring, which is populated with characters who are at once tough, disciplined, fallible, vulnerable, and lucky. Having ranched more than sixty years, beginning as a child with her family in California, then Nevada, Idaho, and New Mexico, McCall explained that her writing reflects the realities of women’s tenacity, endurance, and strength of character in ranching and their fight to preserve their livelihood which reveres land and livestock.
Eighth-grade English language arts teacher Lydia Udero-Vaughan chatted with Lynn Moorer about her debut book of fiction, As I Battle Your Demons: Book One: The Chosen, a young adult novel that traces the trials, tribulations, and paranormal experiences of Lee DelRay who, when thirteen years old, begins to endure terrifying nightmares that leave her physically wounded and her parents, who deny abuse or mistreatment, baffled. After she is committed to a mental hospital, Lee initially experiences hell on earth through overmedication and mistreatment while she fights demons in horrifying nightmares. After an angel comes to her and tells her she’s God’s warrior, she asks God for victory in battling demons and her life begins to improve. When she leaves the hospital after reaching age eighteen and having experienced a loving relationship with a kindly doctor and his family, she begins to build a happy life with new friends while also fighting demons encountered when awake. When traveling in Italy with a friend, then meeting an older brother she hasn’t seen for years, and finding a new love interest, an angel gives Lee a life-altering choice: join the battle against Lucifer and his army or live a normal life.
Prolific poet and retired NMSU English Professor Joseph Somoza visited with Lynn Moorer about his book of collected poems, As Far As I Know, describing his process in which he composes words quickly to capture the energy of his inspiration. Explaining that poetry writing for him is a contemplative endeavor in which he writes poetry to know himself, he said that he writes almost daily and, when he doesn’t, feels something is missing in him. Somoza read and discussed several poems from his book, then shared a poem he recently wrote that reflects on our shared experiences during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
Retired NMSU Spanish professor Don Kurtz talked with Lynn Moorer about Churchgoers, his novel which is set in a midwestern university town and juxtaposes the leaders and parishioners of two very different congregations—a traditional mainline Protestant congregation and a small kingdom-based mission, Spirit Rising, that focuses on a healing ministry with a lot of slaying of the spirit—which are sharing the same Campus Church premises. Campus Church pastor Harry Applebee, who is decent and warm-hearted, becomes rejuvenated through his involvement with a university student group’s cause. Spirit Rising pastor Randy Overmeyer, a former rock-and-roll band singer who found God while overdosing, uses his talent for knowing who people are under the layers to save Mitchell Chandler, an eminent neurobiologist with a well-funded genetics lab at the university, when he starts having paranormal experiences and demonic possessive episodes. Randy’s wife Lee, who loves Randy but struggles to share in his ministry, has her faith challenged, then restored, but in the midst loses a friend.
Researcher Kate Null Asbill shared insights with Lynn Moorer from her book on proactive aging and intentional educational living, Start Dancin’ and Don’t Stop: Thrive, Don’t Just Survive, which focuses on developing techniques to help us age well and live better longer. The result of interviewing more than a hundred elders—many of whom live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, her book synthesizes myriad life lessons and sage advice for keeping going while enjoying wherever you are in your life stages, especially dancing, positive thinking, and positive speaking.
Astronomer and prolific science fiction writer David Lee Summers returned to the show to discuss with Lynn Moorer his book of fiction, Firebrandt’s Legacy. Captain Ellison Firebrandt, a space pirate who kills and steals but with a conscience, operates his space ship Legacy under a letter of marque from the Earth Alliance group of planets. Using computer viruses and hepler pistols, if necessary, Firebrandt and his crew dock with other space ships with or without their permission to confiscate cargo or search out treasure. When they find and help themselves to a highly valuable intrasystem jump machine which, exploiting concepts identified by Einstein eons earlier, allows star vessels to jump quickly to another location within their system, a more advanced species, the Alpha Centaurans, come looking for the machine on the Legacy. Suki Mori, a young woman with an exceptional mind who Firebrandt rescues from another planet but who isn't sure she trusts Firebrandt, figures out how to make the machine work, then creates a counterfeit machine to hide the genuine article.
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