Friday, June 25, 2021

Cripendy Contest Third Place: Dinosaur by F.I. Goldhaber

With ponderous undulating of
gargantuan wings the heron
glides the stream's span, reminding
all who witness it still
carries DNA
of ancestors
who're long since
lost to

Biography: F.I. Goldhaber's words capture people, places, and politics with a photographer's eye and a poet's soul. As a reporter, editor, business writer, and marketing communications consultant, they produced news stories, feature articles, editorial columns, and reviews for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits in five states. Now paper, electronic, plastic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, broadsides, and street signs display their poetry, fiction, and essays. More than 170 of their poems appear in almost 75 publications, including four collections.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Cripendy Contest Second Place: Tide by Ann Chiappetta

Hard packed sand softens
With each step, like thoughts
Yielding cool and unbidden underfoot

Sun descending, I walk from east to west
Sea water surges
Scours away thought-footprints

Hope and resolve walk beside me
I persevere, unable to alter the course

Though the dunes rise to the left and waves
Grab and pull my limbs on the right

I stay the course
Tears taste like the tide
And like the wet ambition of the fisherman’s net
Ego escapes, pours back into the sea


Biography: Ann’s poems, creative nonfiction, essays and fiction regularly appear in journals, online magazines, blogs and small press reviews. Ann’s poetry has found a place in the pages of Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Four books fill Ann’s authorly shelves and a fifth book is on its way in 2021. One overarching goal for Ann is to offer her books in all eBook, print and audio and file formats. Besides reading and writing, Ann spends time with her two- and four-footed family in New York’s historic and beautiful lower Hudson valley and continues to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with her assistive technology.

Find her on the web: read her blog:

Friday, June 11, 2021

Cripendy Contest First Place: Blind Date by Carol Farnsworth

I am a blind artist. I rely on my memory and sense of touch to knit, shrink and produce felted art pieces. I have made felted animals for many years, but recently I have used animal figures to display challenged individuals. My art is to start a conversation with a humorous tableau. The second goal is to have an art piece that is touchable by blind and sighted persons.

The photo is "Blind Date". The figures are two pink pigs on a date. There is a leader dog in harness at the feet of the girl. While a white cane is located at the feet of the boy. Both pigs are talking and seated at a table with drinks and a lit candle. This shows that blind people can participate in normal activities. This art won first place in the craft division of the In Sight Art Contest in 2019.

Other art pieces I have exhibited, pictured age-related dementia and deaf/hard of hearing animals. Both have been in the In Sight Art Contest.

My work of felted wool makes the art easily explored by touch. This allows the blind and visual to experience the art with a different sense.

Biography (in first person):  I was born with glaucoma but have become totally blind in the last four years. I have a teaching degree in regular and special education and a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology. I worked with mentally disabled adults (many were nonverbal). I learned to use many techniques to elicit communication.

Similarly, I will use many tools to deal with blindness. I will use braille, voice over, and Seri to assist me with writing.

Other interests include gardening, listening to audio books, and riding a tandem bike, which my husband John and I have been doing for 22 years.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Where Shadows Lie by Allegra Pescatore (Review)

A blond woman sits in a wooden wheelchair at the front of the image. Her hands are in her lap and she's wearing a yellow silk gown with embroidery. Behind her on a raised platform are four standing people. Two men are on the right side of the picture one in a long button coat, and another in green (both have dark hair). On the other side, a red-headed woman is beside a black man... both have long hair. The woman is wearing white and the man is in brown tones. Dragons are behind each duo.
Note: I received a copy in order to review the book.

Elenor (disabled since childhood) is next in line for the throne after her brother's failed assassination attempt on their father, but more than just the kingdom hangs in the balance. Dragon gods move their followers like pawns, war is coming, and the end of the world is just a few bad decisions away.

This book is a sweeping fantasy novel. There are gods, mock dragons, politics, and magic. The world is described beautifully and fleshed out with varied locations and diverse citizens. The magic system is complex and used to great effect.

I didn't like Elenor at first. Yes, she is brave from the beginning, but she is also shockingly sheltered and ignorant. Throughout the first half of the book, I kept wanting to shake her. Even when she sees injustice, she shuts her eyes and keeps on going. She grows emotionally as time goes on, and I grew to love her by the end of the book.

Chapters follow different people and their impact on the story, more like an ensemble cast (including a couple of rebels and a former captain of the guard) than mere supporting players. I could really see the connection between different characters shift as events occurred. The villain of the story wasn't quite as fleshed out as others, but there was still enough information to give him a clear motive. 

The plot is cohesive and spellbinding with plenty of action. Anytime I wondered why a certain character acted the way they did, something in the story made it make sense. A few twists I didn't see coming.

There is a fair amount of violence and descriptions of wounds. Slavery exists in part of the world, but it's more like indentured servatude with rules to keep people from abusing others. Sexual situations (with some description) and swearing occur. Rape is mentioned but none of the characters encounter it.

I felt the disability representation was handled well. Elenor can walk, but not far without pain and limping. She has mobility aids if she needs them but doesn't get to use them often because it shows weakness in the nobility. Her girlfriend is protective because they are lovers and not because she sees Elenor as incapable.

This is the best book I've read this year! I definitely recommend it.