Friday, April 19, 2024




Me and my booth last time


Hope there’s sunshine tomorrow (Saturday, Apr. 20), unlike today. I’m packing books, tent, posters, tablecloths, and other stuff to go to St. Matthews for the Purple Martin Festival.


St. Matthews is a typical small Southern town. It dates back to the 1730s. Think about it, that means it began before the Revolutionary War when we were governed by the British (a little perspective). It’s the birthplace of athletes and actors, e.g. Viola Davis, Alshon Jeffery, Eartha Kitt.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024




Me and the Purple Martin mascot



Come to see the car show, carnival rides, festival food, but most of all, come by my tent and let’s visit. I’ll be signing and selling my books and talking about writing.


Saturday, April 20
Happening: Purple Martin Festival
Location: Calhoun County Courthouse Grounds
Address: 606 F R Huff Drive
City: Saint Matthews, SC
Time: 11 am – 6 pm


St. Matthews is about 40 miles south of Lexington, SC (before you get to Orangeburg).

See some really cool cars...

You may ask, Why is it called the Purple Martin Festival? Actually St. Matthews is on the path of the birds’ migration from Brazil to eastern USA, a route of some 7,000 miles. This year, the first Purple Martins spotted in SC were in Hanahan in February. They are the largest species of swallow and eat billions of flying insects. Once common in our area, they have been disappearing, have been reduced by one-third in the last 50 years.


I hope you’ll stop by the Festival that honors Purple Martins!



Sunday, February 25, 2024

Meet the Authors Day


An in-person event to meet and greet local published authors! Mingle with writers, rub elbows, find out what’s happening next Saturday, March 2, in Aiken, SC from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. I’ll be there, as well as 28 other authors. The address is 1310 E. Pine Log Road. Would love to see you with us at “Meet the Authors Day.”


Steve Gordy has scheduled a day of activities including round table chats, author readings, and panel discussions. I’m looking forward to the panel “The Present and Future of Writing.” Much controversy today about AI’s impact. Some people think computers will do our writing in the near future. In fact, you can already buy novels on Amazon that have been written by computers. Something to talk about! That panel is on at 11:45 am.


If you’ve been thinking about taking up writing, you may like “I Want To Be a Poet. How Do I Get Started?” Panel discussion at 1:00 pm.


Aiken is what I think of as “small town America,” in a good sense—A main street worthy of a movie setting and numerous restaurants and cafes. A visit to the Aiken Antique Mall will give you an impression of what our past was like. 


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Short Story Accepted for Publication


From Encyclopedia Britannica

Close To the Bone has accepted my short story “How Far Is the Gas Station?” for publication. The estimated time of publication is this November. Close To the Bone is an online magazine that publishes edgy crime fiction, both short stories and novels


I wrote this story when I was invited to read at the Halloween “Noir at the Bar” event in Columbia last October. Like many noir stories, “How Far Is the Gas Station?” is marked by a dark theme with elements of violence and suggestions of sex. 


According to Close To the Bone’s website, their aim is “simply to bring you gritty and interesting short fiction across multiple genres.” Editor Craig Douglas was born in Ely, England. He joined the British Army when he got bored of life in a north eastern mining village and now lives in the UK. He spends time editing and publishes poetry and fiction.

Samples of novels published by Close To the Bone


Friday, February 16, 2024

Valentine Noir at the Bar


Me, reading "Not So Sweet Revenge"

Wednesday evening at Noir at the Bar, I read my story “Not So Sweet Revenge” about a woman who retaliates when her boyfriend ends their relationship. Actually I re-wrote an older story, putting it into first person point of view. I can pay better attention if a person reads aloud something in first person (I-me).

Raegan, reading.

Raegan Teller was one of the readers. She, along with Chris Maw, has been arranging the Noir readings. I hope they will become a tradition, but we may not return to the British Bulldog Pug.


Here’s the lineup of readers, left to right:  Phil Lenski, Carla Damron, Warren Moore, Paula Bensen, John Starino, Raegen Teller, ME, and Charles Israel.

Looks like fun, and it was!


Saturday, February 10, 2024

3 poems accepted for publication


I have never liked the word protester. It’s a relative to the word victim. In the balance of power, protesters are losers. Their weakness makes them squeal rather than fight. I say this knowing full well that many protesters would fight, given the right circumstances. But circumstances have a lot to do with whether we are strong or weak. Over time and without the means to fight, a protester can become a whiner. Having said that, the word serves a useful if not necessary purpose and expands our language.


So why am I protesting the word protester? It’s my weakness. One of the poems to be published later this month in the ezine Bloom is a protest. How’s that for shooting myself in the foot?


“Period of Uncertainty” is about the predicament of women with respect to pregnancy and birth control. This protest embodies the ultimate power struggle, one in which a woman is pitted against religious belief as well as her own physiology. It ends with these lines:


Who will speak of these things
with a tongue untainted by inheritance?


Saturday, January 20, 2024

noir at the bar Feb 14




If you’re a reader and you haven’t tried noir, it’s about time. Noir? you say. What’s a noir story? It’s a “disturbing mixture of sex and violence” (Wikipedia). The noir heyday was in the 1930s and 40s. Think about stories by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Carver. Or movies like “The Big Sleep” or “Touch of Evil.”


Typical noir movie plots are: 1) detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating (Laura); 2) shy heiress marries and begins to suspect her husband’s planning to murder her (Suspicion); 3) gambler hired to work in a casino discovers his employer's new wife is his former lover (Gilda).


Get to know noir stories on February 14 at the British Bulldog Pub. In the capable hands of local writers, you’ll be introduced to mystery and violence (sorry, no graphic sex). I’ll be there with Paula Benson, Carla Damron, Charles Israel, Jr., Phil Lenski, John Starino, and Raegan Teller.


Explore kinky underwear and celebrate a noir Valentine’s Day. The British Bulldog Pub is located at 1220 Bower Pkwy, Columbia, SC. Get a table by 7:00 PM. Come earlier and order fish and chips (yum!).



Tuesday, January 2, 2024

London Visit


Just getting around to thinking about our trip to visit Jason & family in London. We arrived on granddaughter Milla's birthday and returned to the States Dec. 11.

Milla celebrated her 15th birthday.
Jason, Milla, and Doug went to a tree lot and brought home a tree. We all helped decorate it. Ellen prepared our Christmas dinner and she is a great cook. When we arrived, she had cooked a poppyseed cake and a chocolate bundt, yum!

With Lola in the living room.
Mince pies are a big thing in London. Individual pies are sold in packets of six. Somebody bought two different brands, one expensive and one cheap. We had a pie tasting contest to see which was the better flavor. The results were pretty much split, but I picked the cheap mince pie.



We walked up Church Street to look at Christmas decorations and stopped for a cup of wassail at an Irish pub. Nothing is better than wassail when you’re outside on a cold day. It’s a spiced red wine served warm. A cup of that and you won’t feel cold, even if it’s 20 degrees. By the way, degrees are in Celsius in Europe, which means you have to convert to Fahrenheit to get an American reading.


All of us love fish and chips from Sutton and Sons. The English crew ordered a side of mushy peas but Doug and I haven’t become that English yet.

Fish and Chips restaurant near Jason's.
Jason reserved seats to see “Hamilton” at the Victoria Palace theater. Some people would think the disjunction of an 18th Century story paired with 21st Century music would be in some way dishonest. For five minutes, I had my doubts about it working, but 15 minutes in, the music won me over. A talented cast. 

At Victoria Theater.
Jason and Ellen hardly ever use their car. While we were there, it was convenient to get around on either the bus or the tube.

Ellen, me and Jason on the tube.
Doug and I went to Brussels for several days to visit friends. While there, we drove to Waterloo where a huge mound with a lion on top commemorates Napoleon’s defeat.

The lion is barely visible above the Panorama.
Jason's recent kitchen renovations expands the space for a table. We spent lots of time there. 

The glass doors to the garden are new.
Time to go home, and it was sad to say goodbye.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Flight to Heathrow




My least favorite place is an airport where you haul around luggage while dodging body traffic and getting lost. When I traveled alone to Chicago for a funeral in September, O’Hare Airport tested my endurance. Just finding my way around was a challenge.


On December 1, Doug and I set off for London and a visit with Jason and his family. Charlotte airport was easier, mainly because I was traveling with Doug. We gave ourselves three (or was it four?) hours to drive to Charlotte and get to a boarding gate for Heathrow Airport. Fortunately, Doug remembered that we needed advance reservations to park in the daily parking lot.


You have to be computer literate to get a seat on a flight, and luckily Doug handles most of the technicalities. In addition to parking reservations, he booked our airline tickets online and checked-in online 24 hours in advance. We still had to get in line to check our luggage and pass through security.


I try to pack luggage that I can manage by myself, but our 10 days in London pushed the limit. Doug helped me with my bag when we boarded the bus to and from the parking lot to the terminal.


I find it helps me to begin these trips by realizing in advance that I will wait in long lines, I will get lost, I will pay more than I expect, I will get inaccurate directions, and I will be tired and grouchy.


The payoff was landing in London and having time to spend with Jason, Ellen, Lola, and Milla. More to come about our visit.


L to Rt - Doug, Milla, Ellen, Jason, Lola, Me



Monday, November 6, 2023


 Cultural appropriation is censorship by another name


One of the sessions at the SC Writers Association’s conference Saturday allowed writers to read aloud their query letter to a panel of three literary agents for critique. I made a mistake. Because I hadn’t read the directions carefully, I arrived with a pitch instead of a query letter, which I read anyway despite my embarrassment.


However, I couldn’t have been as disappointed with my critique as another writer who actually read a query letter. Her book, the subject of the letter, involved a story with a slave.


The subject of “appropriation” dominated the agents’ comments. Appropriation in writing is commonly understood to mean that a writer adopts customs, behavior, habits, etc., of a culture that’s not their own in producing a book. For example a white writer produces a story about a black, or a Latino writes about an Asian.


The writer at the conference who read her query letter before the panel was cautioned that we have to be careful in today’s environment. By the time the agents finished their cautionary statements, it was clear that the writer’s book had no chance of being published. The problem was her color. She was white and her story involved a black slave.


When it comes to cultural appropriation, a distinction should be made between historical fiction and contemporary fiction. It is easier to understand that ethnic groups have a right to claim their story as it exists today. Who better to understand the traditions, language, and ideas than one of their own members?


But historical fiction is another matter. The most contentious issue today is that blacks claim ownership of their history as slaves. The argument goes that they were the ones who suffered and no white (or yellow or red) person can understand this. But how can a black person living in the 21st Century understand what their ancestors underwent over a hundred years ago?


A white writer has as much access to the Slave Narratives and slave autobiographies as a black writer. When you come to think of it, one of the most powerful books written about slavery was written by a white woman. Historians credit Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe with galvanizing the abolition movement. Are we to say she had no right to write this book?


Restricting historical fiction novels to certain authors based on ethnicity limits our perspective, imagination, concepts and understandings. The losers here are not just whites but black, reds, and yellows, the entire spectrum of literature.


"Query Letter" panel of literary agents


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Noir at the Bar, British Bulldog Pub


Noir readers: Irene Stern, Bonnie (me), Phil Lenski, Cathy Blake, AJ Brown,
Kasie Whitener, Raegan Teller, Paula Benson

 At last night's Noir at the Bar, I, along with seven other writers, read stories aloud to an audience. Some of us dressed in costumes, but nobody had one as ridiculous as mine. Wearing a wig is a real pain, it's hot, itchy, and in your face. Not only that, I had cut the hair before the show -- confusing in that I couldn't separate the cut pieces from the remaining hair. After I got to the Pub where everybody was eating dinner, a wad of hair fell out onto Chris Maw's dinner plate (Sorry, Chris). 

Part of the fun was being with other writers and friends. It was a thrill to have members of my aerobics group there. Linda Jackson, who is probably the only person who can keep me going to aerobics, mixes different exercises so that there's never a dull moment.

I was glad to have the challenge to write a scary story. Never tried it before. I discovered that you can throw together graves, ghosts, blood, fangs, black cats, and such and still not get a scary story. I've begun working on another one.

Bonnie Stanard in creepy mode

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Sales at Cayce

Doug did the selling and I did the signing.



I sold out of copies of “Dust On the Bible” at the Cayce Fest. It was one of those days that make you realize how great the weather can be when the sun shines and the breeze is pleasant. I’m glad I can still wear sandals without getting cold feet.


Doug helped me put up the tent and arrange the tables, books, and displays. Our location was not on the midway with the heavy traffic but on a dead-end spur. The bandstand was the scene for music all afternoon, a variety of styles from blues to reggae to bluegrass.


One fault was that there were too few food vendors. To buy a BBQ sandwich, you had to get in a long line and wait for about 20 minutes. The hot dog truck in front of our tent ran out of food.


It’s an event Cayce can be proud of. I hope it will return next year. 


We were under a big tree, in the shade.



Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Cayce Fest


Cayce Fall Fest

Saturday, October 7

12 PM - 6 PM

Granby Gardens Park

1800 12th Street, Cayce, SC 

I hope to see you there!



Monday, October 2, 2023

Good Day at Inman, SC


Great weather, lots of traffic, sales and signings,
all good yesterday at Inman’s Harvest Festival.



Friday, September 29, 2023

Inman Harvest Festival

 Book signing-book sale!

I'll be with my books Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023

Tomorrow (Sept. 30) I’ll have a book station at the Harvest Festival at Inman, SC., which will have 185 other vendors, e.g., crafts, monster trucks, tractors, petting zoo. Also on schedule are street acts (mirror girl, stilt walker, bubbles) and lots of music. Inman is about 100 miles north of Columbia and worth the drive if you’re local. It’s one of the best festivals. I’d love to see you there!

Monday, September 11, 2023

Ginny's death




Ginny Padgett, who presided over the Columbia II Writers Workshop for a number of years, passed away this morning. Her generosity of spirit made the workshop an inclusive group in which we writers did our best to help one another improve our craft. In her smile, her face, and her demeanor, it was obvious that she cared about us.


When I first met Ginny, she walked with some awkwardness, but you wouldn’t think of her as being handicapped. Over time, her physical abilities declined and she had to use a walker, then a wheelchair. The problem was Friedreich’s Ataxia, which is hereditary, genetic, and untreatable.


Over the years of her decline, she rarely if ever complained or sounded a regret about her condition. Even when she had difficulty swallowing, difficulty talking, difficulty controlling a spoon to feed herself. During our visits she didn’t talk about those things. Despite her ongoing problems with coordination, she was optimistic, expecting things to get better. She faced her life of physical impairment and deterioration with incredible courage and good humor.


During the last months, it has been distressing to watch as she suffered from pain with seemingly little relief from medical care. Several weeks ago when I visited, she was excited to begin an experimental treatment. But the treatment obviously brought about no improvement.


Most victims of Friedreich’s Ataxia live to be about 30 years of age. Ginny lived twice that long and longer, and for that I’m grateful.  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

"Family Plot" in Last Stanza



My poem "Family Plot" appears here.

 BONNIE POEM IN The Last Stanza

As curious as it may seem, I played in a cemetery as a kid. We lived within sight of the graveyard at Convent Baptist Church. From the headstones, I became familiar with the names of people buried there. Of particular interest was the age of the person at death. No doubt, my math skills improved from subtracting birth dates from death dates. Because there were graves of infants and toddlers, including my sister Ina Jean who died at the age of three, I understood as a youngster that death didn’t wait for you to get old.


The theme of this issue is These Things We Carry. “Family Plot” is the title of my poem. When I think of the things I carry, I think of my memories. The poem is like a stroll through a graveyard where you recognize the names of family members on the headstones, which prompts a memory about them.


The Last Stanza is 267 pages of poems and costs $12.95 from Amazon.



Saturday, July 8, 2023

Poems to appear



Three of my poems have been accepted and have appeared or will appear in issues of literary journals.


The June issue of The Hollins Critic has my poem “Fed Up” on page 20. I wrote this poem years ago when I was in England for a retreat held by the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Bartton, which is a thatched manor house located amid rolling pastures. It was my first encounter with hedgerows. The rumor was that Totleigh Barton was owner by Ted Hughes and we writers were hoping he’d make an appearance. However, this gives you an idea about how long ago that was, for Hughes died in 1998. The Hollins Critic is published by Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Editor M. ScottDouglass accepted “Barnyard Lowbrow” for an upcoming issue of Main Street Rag. This magazine, headquartered near Charlotte, NC, is one of my favorite periodicals and not because it is publishing my poem. In any given issue, you can find short stories and poems that are quirky with a heart. Good reading.


Editor JennyKalahar of Last Stanza Poetry Journal will publish “Family Plot” in the mid-July issue. I grew up in a house that was within spitting distance of a church and cemetery. This poem has to do with a visit to a graveyard. The Last Stanza is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


It takes time to make submissions to journals, time that takes away from writing. However, it’s obvious that you can’t get published if you don’t submit.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Billy Bob and the Boxmasters


Richard, Nila, and myself, before the show.

The Newberry Opera House usually has shows you can count on to be entertaining. And Billy Bob Thornton’s Boxmasters gets good reviews. I liked what I heard of them on Youtube


Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters
But their show last Friday at the Opera House was a bust for me and my gang—Doug, my sister Nila, and her husband Richard. 


Richard & Nila, waiting for the show to start.
We left after three songs. And they all sounded the same, loud and heavy. I’d like to have a ticket refund.