Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lady Mary Wroth, Poet and Prose Author


Lady Mary Wroth
Painting attributed to John de Critz c 1620 
(public domain)

Lady Mary Wroth, 1587-1651, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and a friend to Queen Anne and Ben Jonson. Educated at a time when most women were illiterate, she wrote poetry and prose. She wrote The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, the first prose romance with possible autobiographical elements in English written by a woman.

Title Page of
The Countess of Montgomery's Urania
Folger Shakespeare Libray

Pamphilia to Amphilanthus is a sonnet sequence, the second known published by a woman in English. The first, by Anne Locke is disputed. 

Love leave to urge, thou know’st thou hast the hand;

’T’is cowardise, to strive wher none resist:

Pray thee leave off, I yeeld unto thy band;

Doe nott thus, still, in thine owne powre persist,

Beehold I yeeld: lett forces bee dismist;

I ame thy subject, conquer’d, bound to stand,

Never thy foe, butt did thy claime assist

Seeking thy due of those who did withstand;

Butt now, itt seemes, thou would’st I should thee love;

I doe confess, t’was thy will made mee chuse;

And thy faire showes made mee a lover prove

When I my freedome did, for paine refuse.

Yett this Sir God, your boyship I dispise;

Your charmes I obay, butt love nott want of eyes.

The seventh sonnet, from the only extant Pamphilia 
manuscript in Wroth's own hand.
Mary Wroth - Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Monday, March 18, 2024

National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA)

Did you publish a Romance novel or novella in digital format in 2023?

Submit your story to the 
National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA) contest
until the end of March 2024.

This is a contest for romance writers and is judged by romance readers.

Find all of the details at 


Thursday, March 14, 2024

So Many Ways to Scratch My Book Itch


          There are many ways to meet my book fix and make my to-be-read pile comfortably overwhelming. Many options are available, whether I like paper or digital, purchased or free. I embrace them all.
          In the last two years, I’ve moved twice. Before the first of the two moves from New Jersey to Florida, I downsized from a large three-story house where the entire second floor was all mine. I decided I could only keep what would fit in my van. I gave away hundreds of real books. In my second move, I still had three boxes of books. These included the cardboard children’s book of Ashenputtel (Cinderella,) the original Grimm’s version, that I received at the age of three, a couple of inherited prayer books from the 1800s in Old High German, signed copies of books authored by friends, and copies of my own novels. These are my treasures.

Then, there’s my Kindle account. Amazon sure knew what I was addicted to when they created this monster. I have 622 digital books. Access to them is 24/7 and anywhere that strikes my fancy. I have a Kindle device, which is perfect for reading in the sunshine outside or at night lying in bed. The light, text size, and font adjust for my old eyes and energy level. It has a font called OpenDyslexic, which I use to read without closing one eye when the orbs go all cross-eyed from fatigue. I’ll be thrilled when it shows I’ve reached the end of the page, and it turns it for me, you know, for those three am reading sessions.
     I have another 216 books in my Audible account. I like to listen to books when I can’t sleep at night. It’s like having an old friend with me. I prefer books while I’m driving.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. Whether it was the back of cereal boxes, movie end credits, or road signs and billboards, I always needed something to read. My cell phone ensures I am never without it. 
     I have access to history, biographies, and classic literature. Wikipedia can take me to so many places. I recently learned about Enhedusnna, a Mesopotamian priestess who was the first named author over four thousand years ago. With the provided links at the bottom of the article, I found many more sites that expanded on the topic.
Short Fiction Break and poets dot org both offer reads sent to your email. Project Gutenberg has over 70,000 free e-books of older great literature, usually where U.S. copyright has expired. And I have a library card, so even more e-books are available.
     These options make it easy for me to spend all my time reading, and I refuse to apologize.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Featured Author - Enheduanna


image from
Enheduanna written in Sumerian cuneform

Enheduanna (23rd century B.C.E.) was the first named author in history. She was the Akkadian and Sumerian high priestess of the moon god Nanna (Sin) and daughter of Sargon of Akkad.

Enheduanna is named as the author of seven Sumerian temple hymns and several hymns dedicated to Innana and Nanna.

Enheduanna's writings are inscribed on to clay in cuneiform 
(Credit: The Yale Babylonian Collection/ Photo by Klaus Wagensonner)

Inana and Ebih

"1-6. Goddess of the fearsome divine powers, clad in terror, 

riding on the great divine powers, Inana

made perfect by the holy a-an-kar weapon, drenched in blood, 

rushing around in great battles, with shield resting on the ground (?), 

covered in storm and flood, great lady Inana

knowing well how to plan conflicts, you destroy mighty lands 

with arrow and strength and overpower lands."

Go HERE to read all 184 lines.

Enheduanna is pictured on this disc. She's in fancy-dress red.

A scene of sacrifice is carved on to one side of this calcite disc;
an inscription of Enheduanna appears on the other 
(Credit: The Penn Museum)

Monday, March 04, 2024

Book Review - Beyond the next Star by Melody Johnson


Beyond the next Star is the award-winning SyFy Romance of Melody Johnson. She's taken the decades-old story of alien abductions with their tales of scientific observations, tests, and rats-in-a-cage by beings similar to humans that don't recognize "peoplehood." However, this time, the specimen is kept and taken to the alien homeworld as a pet.

Torek, a warrior with a psychiatric prescription to get a pet to relieve his PTSD symptoms, adopts the exotic animal. He must prove his fitness to be returned to active duty by keeping the fragile being alive. 

Staying alive on a hostile, frozen planet isn't easy for a human, but Delaney has survived and hidden from danger her whole life, so it's no big deal to pretend to be a witless pet, especially since she's hiding from a murderer. Even on alien planets, greed rears its ugly head.

Despite all the obstacles of the situation, mutual affection and love grows as there are attempts on Delaney's life and she reveals her humanness to save Torek.

This was a surprising storyline and well-written. I enjoyed the creativity that made the story come alive.

Beyond the next Star is the first standalone book in the Love Beyond series. It is followed by Sight Beyond the Sun. Melody Johnson also has a vampire series called Night Blood with four books available. You can find Melody Johnson's books on her WEBSITE