Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Movie review: A Wonderful Life.

Writer/director Jeff London returns with a friends-to-lovers story involving two middle-aged men. Written with James Handshoe, A Wonderful Life is a holiday movie that spans Halloween through Christmas.

Bailey (David E. McMahon) spends much of his time caring for his mother (Elaine Ballace), who suffers from chronic pain. Losses and changes disrupt Bailey’s life, but a reunion with boyhood friend Greyson (Ben Stobber) complicates that life for the better. Greyson and Bailey share a love for old movies, especially old horror movies, but they obviously have much more in common. Their love story emerges among a great deal of tragedy, but A Wonderful Life avoids a dismal tone by also focusing on humor and supportive friends or family members.

I’ve been enjoying Jeff London’s movies for years. They all focus on gay characters in small-town settings. To mention two of my past favorites, And Then Came to Summer explores the damage caused by conversion therapy, while Regarding Billy celebrates the joy and challenges of having a family member with special needs. Like those films, this one deals with serious topics but maintains an optimistic tone. A Wonderful Life is an emotional addition to Jeff London’s catalog of low-budget, feel-good films.

Find more pictures and details at RadioactiveCactus.Com.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Calling for a Blanket Dance Book Review

Calling for a Blanket DanceCalling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author Oscar Hokeah weaves together cultures and narratives to form a rich, life-affirming story that celebrates tradition while acknowledging past and present struggles. The distinct voices might initially distance some readers but soon make the reading experience even more immersive and memorable.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Fanbase Weekly: Looking Back at The Return of the King

J. R. R. Tolkien fans can now listen to the Fanbase Weekly Feature 20th anniversary look at Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Cast members: Jay Sherer (writer – Death of a Bounty Hunter, Timeslingers, co-host of The Story Geeks podcast), Erik Amaya (Editor-in-Chief of, co-host of the Tread Perilously podcast), Paul Pakler (co-host – Paul and Corey Cross the Streams, Quality Time with Family Ties), and Bryant Dillon (Fanbase Press President, The Fanbase Weekly co-host, writer – Something Animal, Identity Thief).

Son of Taldra: A Science Adventure is the November sponsor for the Fanbase Weekly podcast. Sons of Taldra involves a struggle between an alternate Earth and alien shapeshifters.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Featured Website: Author Stuart Miller

Visit Stuart Miller’s Website to read about how experiences of rejection, bullying, education, friendship, and more lead to the book Stopping a Dangerous Revolution: Providing insight into some of the biggest cultural and social challenges with solutions.

Stuart recently added a page of “Recognizing Author Supporters,” to bring more attention to other indie writers. I’m grateful for the inclusion there and that so many indie creatives amplify each other’s voices.

Please follow Stuart at YouTube and Twitter/X.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

“There are most definitely flavours of Star Trek: Discovery....”

Tik Tok SciFi Booktok.

“The site is on fire!” His voice cut out. “… swarms of them, dipping in and out of the atmosphere and killing us with some kind of ray.”

From Sons of Taldra: A Science Fiction Adventure

Duane Simolke

“There are most definitely flavours of Star Trek: Discovery, which is particularly interesting as the book was published in 2016 - a full year before the first series of the aforementioned show. Just like Discovery, there is a broad spectrum of diverse characters - each with purpose and prominence, and despite being a short read, everyone fits in perfectly without any overcrowding.” –Doctor Who Online

Monday, July 17, 2023

The Picky Bookworm: Sons of Talda

Read about Sons of Taldra: A Science Fiction Adventure at the bookblog The Picky Bookworm.

From the bookblogger: "Hello, new friend! Welcome to The Picky Bookworm! I am so glad you’re here! If you’ve been looking for a place to hang out, be encouraged, and find support for your writing journey, you are in the right place! My name is Pamela, and I am a huge supporter of indie and self-published books and authors. One of my favorite things about the book community is how supportive we all are of each other. When I found this community, I knew I’d found my place."

"Here on The Picky Bookworm you’ll find tons of tips, prompts and discussions to help you find your place. I also love posting book reviews, so you’ll find a ton of those to help you find your next favorite read."

Saturday, July 15, 2023

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion

Listen for a new Sons of Taldra: A Science Fiction Adventure spot during the Fanbase Feature TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion.

According to Fanbase, “In this Fanbase Feature, The Fanbase Weekly co-host Bryant Dillon and special guests Corinna Bechko (writer – Green Lantern: Earth One, Avatar: Adapt or Die), Livio Ramondelli (artist – IDW’s Transformer comics, creator of IDW’s The Kill Lock), and Phillip Kelly (Fanbase Press Contributor, The POPSKL Podcast Group) participate in a thorough discussion regarding Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) in light of the film’s 20th anniversary, with topics including how well the T-X works as the film’s villain, the film’s surprisingly bleak twist ending, what the film has to say about destiny/fate, and more. (Beware: SPOILERS for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines abound in this panel discussion!)”

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Not The Future Funny Star Wars Video

For #StarWars newbies who need the clarification: "Extended version of the song featured in the Empire Strikes Back Bad Lip Reading." It's funny, the music is good, and the nostalgia makes it even better. @BadLipReading #scifi Not The Future.

I also love their Star Wars video Seagulls (Stop It Now!).

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Pride 2023

#HappyPride! At Smashwords, find my eBooks free or half-off for the rest of #PrideMonth2023 (June 2023).
If you like them, please post reviews and/or mention them in social media. Thanks for reading. #QueerBooks #QueerSciFi

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

An unlikely blend of #ClassicRock, #QueerMusic, #NoveltySongs, and more

This #MusicPlaylist on YouTube features an unlikely blend of #ClassicRock, #QueerMusic, #NoveltySongs, and more. Kick back for the unexpected, skip ahead as needed, and enjoy.


Monday, June 12, 2023

"A more real and honest book about the struggles we all face."

From a new 5-star book review of The Acorn Stories at Goodreads:
“I get life isn’t perfect and we all have problems but man. I thought this was going to be a feel good book. But maybe that is why I liked it. Because it was a more real and honest book about the struggles we all face.”

Read the full review at Goodreads.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

A Satisfying Collection of SciFi Stories

J. D. Sanderson’s Around the Dark Dial blends everyday characters and situations with the fantastic while also mixing storytelling elements of classic science fiction with modern concerns. Most of the stories seem to stand alone, but even that line gets blurred. Sanderson brings it all together in a satisfying collection that should appeal to science fiction fans or anyone else who enjoys well-told, thought-provoking stories.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Author Shay Mills Reviews SciFi Adventure Sons of Taldra at Substack

“Truly unique and amazing!” —Shay Mills, author of The Secret Life Series. Read the review here.

From the Substack bio of Eric - Author Shay Mills: "After a successful career in the military, I took to telling my tales. I am known for being an eclectic author who writes Horror, Thriller, Crime-Drama, Paranormal, Suspense, and Literary Coming of Age Tales."

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The Acorn Stories is a LitNuts Book of the Day

LitNuts, a site that calls itself “crazy about books,” has announced the Texas fiction collection The Acorn Stories as a “LitNuts Book of the Day.” The Acorn Stories is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

According to the site, “LitNuts LLC is a woman-owned, family-run business founded by Kathleen Meyer and her father, Mike O'Mary, who share a love of literature. Kathleen is an avid reader with 11 years of marketing experience, including with Dream of Things, a small press founded by Mike in 2009. From 2009 - 2016, Dream of Things published three New York Times Bestsellers, three winners of the Hoffer Award, and one book that was optioned for a film.”

Saturday, April 29, 2023

“A poignant look into small towns and the people that make each small town unique.”

From a new book review of The Acorn Stories:

“This collection is a poignant look into small towns and the people that make each small town unique. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories. Take my advice and grab your copy today. Escape to the small-town life.”
Read the full review at N. N. Light's Book Heaven.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Discover Books a New Way with BookHylla

Ray Ferch, author of But What If Harry? and Blueburrie, is creating a new book search system. BookHylla allows authors to create unique keyword combinations for searches, called “Ferch Phrases.”

I added some of my books and created some Ferch Phrases. They didn’t take long to start appearing in Google search results.

On Bookhylla’s “About this” page, Ray explains, “What makes Bookhylla so powerful is that we can really create unique Ferch Phrases that define our book and make it really easy for readers to find our book. We can create phrases that tie movies to our book, for example.”

BookHylla featured books.

BookHylla featured authors.

My BookHylla page.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Discussion Questions for Reading Groups/Book Clubs

Was your home town anything like Acorn? If so, how?

How would setting The Acorn Stories some place other than West Texas change it? What about setting it in the 2020s, instead of the late twentieth century?

How would changing the nonlinear structure of stories like “Knock” and “Mae” affect the stories?

Which characters did you like most in The Acorn Stories? Why? Did any of them remind you of yourself or anyone you know? Are the characters you enjoyed most necessarily ones that you would want to meet in real life?

The stories “Echoes” and “Come With Me” both take their names from paintings, while “Survival” takes its name from a student essay. How do the themes and imagery from those internal, creative works affect the overall stories? Is creativity a theme in any of the other stories?

Why do some of the characters in The Acorn Stories seem to care so much about names, and variances of names?

Does The Acorn Stories glamorize or criticize small-town life?

The Acorn Stories is a story collection, but does it resemble a novel?

Many characters reoccur in this collection. Are there any who seem important to the overall book, rather than just to one or two particular stories?

Texas contains many oddly named towns. Some of those names appear in The Acorn Stories and its spin-off, The Acorn Gathering. Did you catch any?

How do acorns work as a metaphor in The Acorn Stories? Are there other metaphors in the book?

Does The Acorn Stories reflect the diversity of Texans? Americans?

The Acorn Stories is mostly set during the 1990s. If it became a movie, which 1990s songs would work best for the soundtrack?

If you’ve seen the Del Shores play or movie Sordid Lives, how would you relate it to The Acorn Stories?

Which books, plays, or movies would you suggest for people who like The Acorn Stories?

Discuss The Acorn Stories at GoodReads and BookBub.

Read the reviews at Kirkus Reviews, Amazon.Com,, and Goodreads.

Excerpts from The Acorn Stories

The Individual Stories

Historical Acorn, Texas

The Acorn Gathering, a Spin-off from The Acorn Stories

Sunday, March 05, 2023

One of the Most-Read Interviews in Tweetables Book Blog’s First Year

Please visit the award-winning book blog Tweetables. My author interview there ranked as one of the top-five most viewed of the blog’s first year. That top five also includes Jane’s discussions with authors Lisa Thomas, Liz Treacher, Shane Scott, and Martin Featherston.

“I swung from sad to happy, angry to laughing out loud,” Jane wrote in a review of my short story collection The Acorn Stories at Tweetables. The review appears just below the interview.

Please follow jane @ tweetables on Twitter.

Keywords: book blog, bookblogger, reviewed, reviewers, review, short stories, writer resources, awards.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Happy Anniversary

Happy 25th anniversary to my Texas fiction collection, The Acorn Stories, and 100th anniversary to my alma mater, Texas Tech University.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Queer Indie 2023 Nomination

What an honor to receive a nomination for the 2023 Queer Indie Awards! That makes two years in a row.

🏳️‍🌈 VOTE NOW in the Queer Indie Awards! This nomination involves the overall works of an author, instead of just one particular book.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Tweetables: The Acorn Stories Review and Interview

The book blog Tweetables now features a book review and author interview about my book The Acorn Stories. That collection of short stories celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2023.

“I swung from sad to happy, angry to laughing out loud” –from the review at Tweetables.

Jane writes the Tweetables blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page. The Tweetables “About” page includes the following background.

“The #writing community on twitter has opened my eyes to new writers too. There are so many talented people, but how do these wonderful authors get their message out? I find myself wanting to help and I'm hoping to find other people like me, who want to learn about new titles whilst meeting the brilliant authors who penned them.”

Please visit the Tweetables blog to read Jane’s review and interview about The Acorn Stories. Please also read some of the other entries there and visit again to read more.

Friday, January 13, 2023

“Morgana Le Fay” Cat Video

“Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior. #TheAcornStories #Humor #catsoftiktok #LOL #BookTok

@duanesimolke “Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior. #TheAcornStories #Humor #catsoftiktok #LOL #BookTok ♬ original sound - BookTok and SciFi Geek 🌈

Monday, January 09, 2023

Small-Town Problems

@duanesimolke The Acorn Stories. #smalltown #humor. Big-time drama. #booktok #bookclub #shortstories #quickreads #quickread #smalltownproblems #Texas #texastowns @duanesimolke ♬ Made You Look - Meghan Trainor

The Acorn Stories. #smalltown #humor . Big-time drama. #booktok #bookclub #shortstories #quickreads #quickread #smalltownproblems #Texas #texastowns @duanesimolke Music: Made You Look - Meghan Trainor.

Flip, Turn, 2nd BookTok Video

@duanesimolke Flip, Turn, one of The Acorn Stories. #Swimming #SwimmingPool #BookTok #BookToker #Humor #humortiktok #SmallTown #SmallTownProblems #SmallTownLife ♬ original sound - BookTok and SciFi Geek 🌈

Flip, Turn, one of The Acorn Stories. #Swimming #SwimmingPool #BookTok #BookToker #Humor #humortiktok #SmallTown #SmallTownProblems #SmallTownLife

Spotlight on “A small spark igniting imaginations.” is a book and lifestyle blog that celebrates and fosters a love of reading by focusing on these four categories:

• Books for Growing & Learning — nonfiction & reference

• Books for Nurturing & Sharing — children’s literature & young adult

• Books for Enjoying & Experiencing — fiction & literature

• Resources for Inspiration & Encouragement — celebrations, words, quotes, & resources

Recent posts include book reviews of works by J.M. Briscoe, O.C. Heaton, Damyanti Biswas, and Karl Drinkwater. Visit the site often for other reviews, features, and blog tours. You can also follow via Twitter: or the blog roll off to the right on this blog.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Tweetables: Preview of The Acorn Stories Review and Interview

Happy New Year! 2023 marks twenty-five years since the first eBook publication of The Acorn Stories. Tweetables.Com will feature a review and interview, starting January 15. Booklovers can find a sneak peek now.