Wednesday, October 13, 2021

SCWA's Authors Corner




— I'll be live today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM 

on the SC Writers Association Facebook page 

with host Kasie Whitener 

and suspense fiction author M.Z. Thwaite. 

The program will also be on YouTube here: 

         In case you miss it, check-in later 

        and watch the recording, 

        also on YouTube and FaceBook.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Inman Harvest Festival



Inman, a small town located in the foothills of upstate South Carolina, held its annual Harvest Day Festival last Saturday. Their claim of 20,000 visitors is credible, given the traffic on Main Street, which was lined with artisans' tents. My tent was number 44.

Here in my tent, after set-up

I usually let shoppers look over my books without interference. If they pass the time limit of just-passing-through, I'll get out of my seat and ask them a question.

Should I approach these ladies? What to say?

I'm not a good salesperson-- but below I'm doing my best to convince the lady to buy one of my books.

My husband Doug, on the other hand, strikes up a conversation with anybody who wanders into our tent. He's good at telling jokes and loves meeting strangers.

I should pay Doug (right) a sales commission

Festivals are a lot of fun, but they're also a lot of work—setting up a tent, putting up tables, banners, displays, books. Inevitably the afternoon gets long and fatigue sets in. I couldn't do this without my husband Doug and sister Nila.

Nila (seated) is welcome company at festivals

Monday, September 13, 2021

magical realism



Did realism in novels get too gritty for readers? Too horrific? Is that a reason for the rise of fantasy, sci-fi, and magical realism? Fantasy and sci-fi create other worlds where suspense and violence are a step removed from the reader. Magical realism, on the other hand, takes place in a real world where magic is as common as clouds.  


How do you make the incredible normal? Inevitably, the writer must blur the line between reality and fantasy. Tropes that have been used to accomplish this are telepathy, dead persons as characters, psychological disorder, paranormal phenomena, and a washy way with time.


See more on magical realism on my blog, featured on Columbia II Writers Workshop's website this week.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Guest Blogger - Columbia Writers



Do books have morals? Maybe it's easier to ask "Do movies have morals?" I'm suggesting that words and pictures that appear for public consumption are not just entertainment, but they have an effect on us. And by extension, on our culture.


Writers are encouraged to grab the reader in the first sentence and keep them in suspense for the duration of a novel. That's one reason we see fiction take off with a sex scene and continue with murder, fist fights, and drugs for 300 pages.


Some thoughts on this in my blog for the Columbia II chapter of the SC Writers Association.

Friday, May 28, 2021


New website


Take a look!


Just for my children's books.


Cat's Fur and Lizard Dream get their own website. Illustrator Marlaena Shannon's drawings underscore the concept that these are not your usual children's books.


Cat's Fur is a mystery about a runny nose. Kids will figure out the cause of the witch's problem on the last page.


In Lizard Dream, the witch discovers how to get over the problem that came up in Cat's Fur. She deals in potions, so she spends time in the woods with the cats searching for herbs.


Both books teach kids a most important lesson -- they need to learn to read to have fun.


Click here to check it out.


My ongoing site -- is still online with my historical fiction novels and poetry. 


Friday, May 21, 2021

artfields 2021


I'm surrounded by art.



It’s over. And it was great! My favorite spring thing. Art Fields. There weren’t as many art entries this year but they were amazing.


My sister Nila and I strolled around Lake City (South Carolina), guidebook in hand, penciling in our score for each work of art. We used a 1-5 rating, 5 being the best, i.e., art we’d like to have in our house, or some house, considering the installation art. It’s added fun to be able to vote for your favorites at the welcome center, and I gave 28 works of art a score of 5 and voted for each one of them.


I'm cozy with a scary bit of art.

I down-scored art that was in-your-face political, and it seems there was more of that this year than in previous years. Even if the artist is preaching to me about political views I already accept, I don’t like preaching.


We appreciated the new restaurant Green Frog on Main Street, at least new to us.


Art Fields is an event I look forward to as if it were Christmas or Easter. I’m grateful for Darla Moore and her support in making art an adventure.


Nila and red wolves



bully amazon


Bully Amazon


"Please consider this a first warning."


How polite of Amazon to use please! About as nice as an executioner asking the condemned to pardon them.


"Failure to comply with our policies may result in your account being banned from taking part in Community features."


Oops! The gamekeeper threatens to use a shotgun on a fly. Seems I didn't follow their guidelines in making a comment or comments about some product(s).


"Thanks for your understanding in this matter."


Aren't they nice to thank me for understanding? Understanding? I have no idea what comment has their dander up, and they're not saying which one or why.


Thank-you, Amazon. I'm duly intimidated. I'll try to write only nice, positive comments in the future, especially if a product is made by one of the 104 companies you own.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Not Tomorrow, but May 26


Witches Rescheduled


Sorry to have to reschedule my “Witches of Loudun” presentation.


I’ve spent the day on my computer with Carol Kay trying to get my Keynote document to work with Zoom. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s been a frustrating day.


Guess I brought on the problem myself. When I agreed to do the presentation, I owned a computer that dated back to 2009. Upon beginning to work on visuals, I discovered that PowerPoint doesn’t support dated versions.


So I bought a new computer. Second thing I learned is that interface is a nasty word. Couldn’t get Keynote and Zoom to talk to each other on the new computer.


Tomorrow I’ll get more technical help. In the meantime, the “witches” will have to wait until May 26 at 2:00 PM. If you’re interested in seeing it, get a registration email from Carol Kay. Email her. The address is carolk at

Friday, April 16, 2021

thoughts on grieving


How We Say Good-bye


My niece Tracy passed away in the early hours of yesterday. This morning we got word that her body had been cremated and a memorial service will be at some future time. Her departing was short-lived and we’re still trying to take in what has happened.


During her illness, her immediate family discouraged the rest of us from making calls or otherwise communicating with them about Tracy. In her final weeks of hospitals, doctors, and agony (and from all accounts it was agony) she was attended by her husband and parents-in-law. Most of us kept our distance and depended on the occasional family member able to get updates.


Now we are dealing with devastating emotions without the consolation of being together. This is not a criticism nor am I suggesting this is a bad thing. It’s an observation that our experience is unlike what is usually expected.


Years ago my husband worked with a colleague whose father died. This man went from the funeral in the morning to the office in the afternoon and didn’t miss a day of work. We wondered if something was wrong with him, or with his relationship with his father.


We’ve come to believe the normal way to face grief or hardship is to pour out our feelings to others, even strangers. We’re told that suppressed emotions cause mental problems, even cruelty or criminal behavior. Sharing our emotions is supposed to help us avoid personality defects.


The ubiquitous advice is to find a support group, make connections, get help. Join group therapy. Share your feelings with others, even if it’s online with somebody you’ve never met.


Are we getting to the point that we suspect we’re not having an emotion if we don’t share it with others? Do we think that the more people who are “sharing” our suffering, the stronger our emotion and the greater the benefit?


What about those of us who want little if any emotional “support?” Or even those of us who find other people as an intrusion to our grieving? What of people who prefer to deal with death (or whatever the problem) alone?


As for Tracy, she brought a bright light to our family. Even the tone of her voice projected a sense of happiness—it could be heard in a crowd, adding a note of cheer. We will miss her.



Friday, April 2, 2021

Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival Review

 Cherry Blossom Festival Wrap-up


I'm with the mascot, not sure what it's supposed to be...

The Cherry Blossom Festival was a learning experience.


Lesson #1 – Location! Location! Location!

Lesson #2 – In-your-face lay-out



Our booth was not located on the Midway, and few people ventured into the two courses extending off the main thoroughfare, and we were on one of the courses. That in itself meant little traffic, but to make matters worse, we were surrounded by vendors with nothing to vend—the sheriff’s department, Conyers waterworks, and the Christian Academy. None of these booths had merchandise on display.



Books are a hard-sell to begin with. It was unrealistic to assume people would stop and meander inside the tent where my books were displayed. I figured that out by Sunday and placed the display table crosswise the tent and near enough to the strolling public to attract their attention without their stopping.


We were rained out on Sunday. I’ve learned to be proactive in packing up if the weather looks threatening. Rained-on books don’t recover.


The Cherry Blossom Festival is well organized and the staff is friendly. But it’s a long drive from Lexington.



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Conyers, Georgia, Cherry Blossom Festival


March 27-28

Dressed in pink for the Cherry Blossom Festival

It's been a year in my closet, and at last I'll get to wear the pink sparkly blouse I bought for the Conyers, Georgia, Cherry Blossom Festival. Like every other festival, the physical event was cancelled. But they’re in full swing this year with live entertainment, arts and crafts, and of course, Bonnie Stanard’s Book Booth, which will be dressed in pink cherry blossom garlands. I'll be there with my historical fiction novels, children's books, and beautifully framed photos and art. Inventory includes:

Antebellum series set in 1858, Coastal SC

Kedzie, St. Helena Island Slave

Master of Westfall Plantation

Sonny, Cold Slave Cradle

Westfall, Slave to King Cotton

WWII saga, a family in central SC experiences the war

Dust on the Bible

What Missing Means

Children’s Books, a witch and her cats

Cat’s Fur

Lizard Brew 

It will be a fun weekend. I'm looking forward to it and hope you'll consider coming along.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Cherry Blossom Festival


I'll be at Booth number 21 with my historical fiction novels and children's books. Come by and say "Hello" and get a bargain on my books. Time to get out of the house and into a mob of people! 


The Cherry Blossom Festival has been named the Best Event in the Southeast by the SE Festival and Events Association.


In addition to artwork and crafts will be ongoing entertainment including musical groups (Joe Lasher, Kaitlyn Baker, Ashley Walls, etc.) as well as chainsaw carving, air dog show, puppet show, and a kimono demonstration. And of course, there will be hot dogs, funnel cakes, turkey legs and more.


March 27 and 28

Saturday and Sunday

10 AM - 5 PM

Free admission

$8 parking per vehicle


Georgia International

Horse Park

on Gees Mill Road

Conyers, Georgia


For details, see the Cherry Blossom Festival online. 

Doug is my partner in pitching tents and hawking books.
Here at the Rice Festival 2019.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

book cover Béjart's Caravan


A Book Cover That Gets LOOKS

My publisher is working on a cover for my novel about 17th Century traveling actors. The title is "Béjart’s Caravan" and I’d like to make suggestions for the artwork. I sent the one below to Cuidono (my publisher) earlier. Responses I got on Facebook pointed out ideas that hadn’t occurred to me. I’m looking in other directions.

Here’s a cover idea appropriate to the time: 

This caravan was one of the images that inspired me to write the book, but it’s parked. Nobody about. Abandoned? Don’t like that idea. 

I like this one, but it’s only one caravan. The actors traveled in five caravans. Though I like the colors, these weren't popular in 17th Century France.

If a caravan on the internet makes you think it would be a good cover for a book, send the link to me at brstanard at



Monday, January 11, 2021

new words in 2020


NEW to 2021

You don’t usually think of words as having a lifetime, but consider this, some words or phrases we’ll see next year didn’t exist until 2020. Think of zoom and social distancing. And some used a century ago have died out, such as fudgel (goofing off) or twattle (to gossip).


My blog on words that were born in 2020 is featured this week on the Columbia II Writers Workshop. I was inspired to write it after reading about the word humaning. Do we really need this word?


If you Google “new words” you’ll get pages of sites. Here are samples of words I’ve taken from various sources. I’ve used them in sentences. Can you guess the meanings?


1) freegan—Freegans are going to change the world, one mouthful at a time.

2) techlash—If you’ve called tech support, you’ve probably experienced techlash.

3) nothingburger – The announcement of the invention of a dog umbrella was a nothingburger.

4) goat — Fans of the Dallas Cowboys think the team is goat.

5) hangry—I didn’t mean to curse, but I haven’t had lunch and I’m hangry.


Answers: 1) Freegan, a person who believes it’s wrong to throw away food and only eats leftovers they get for free, often from dumpsters or garbage cans. 2) Techlash, backlash against technology companies. 3) Nothingburger, an event that has less impact than expected. 4) Goat, acronym for "greatest of all time." 5) Hangry, so hungry you become angry.


The word mailbox is probably on its way out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Thinking about the past




They say that time heals all wounds but does it?


This may sound silly, but I remember the pain of learning there was no Santa Claus. For at least a year I denied to myself what was becoming obvious, that Santa didn’t exist and never had. I felt robbed of something that was mystical and amazing.


Maybe that was a trivial loss. But I still feel like the walking wounded.


On a more serious note, I have lost my mother and father, both long since deceased. That was a wound and time hasn’t healed it. Time has taught me that I can tolerate what I thought I couldn’t. It has taught me that I can continue without my parents, but it hasn’t taken away the sadness and the pain of that loss. However, with the passing of years, it is no longer a shocking pain.


Time is a double-edged sword. It gives us memories of moments of joy offset by moments of heartache. That’s one reason I wrote the poems in Time Carries All Things Away ($12.00 plus shipping). Available from me at brstanard at Or Main Street Rag at


This is me, sucking my thumb...

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Past




During the Thanksgiving visit, my son said, “The past does not exist.” For instance, Napoleon doesn’t exist. Nor does Marilyn Monroe. Or Amelia Earhart. Or Gandhi. Or Malcolm X.


In the sense that we can’t call them on the phone, that’s true. According to my dictionary, the definition of exist is to live, to have “objective being.” Objective confused me, so I went back to the dictionary for "not dependent on the mind for existence."


Then we can also say quill pens don’t exist nor ice boxes nor passenger pigeons.


But do memories exist? Do thoughts? If we say these don’t exist, what would we be without them? If they don’t exist, then what is the word to describe their presence in us?


The poetry in my chapbook “Time Carries All Things Away” deals with the past and how it has come to the present in me. Maybe my parents don’t exist, but I exist. I have memories of them. Do my memories exist?


My chapbook exists and you can buy one from me or from Main Street Rag. It costs $12.00 plus shipping. Available from me at fairviewnewssc at Or Main Street Rag at


Monday, November 9, 2020

Words & Wine and "Small Boxes"


I'll be in the Zoom Room 

Next Tuesday 


If you’re a reader or a writer

I hope you’ll join me

Tuesday, Nov. 17

6:00 – 7:00 PM 

when I'll give a talk 

at the next meeting of


Words & Wine

Via Zoom


I have a lot to say about

“Small Boxes”


Register with Zoom to see, listen, and participate.

Chris Maw came up with Words & Wine to promote local authors. It features a different writer the third Tuesday of each month. She also supports local artists and small businesses with newsletters. You can keep up with what’s going on in the Columbia area by emailing Chris at


I hope you'll be on my computer screen with me next Tuesday.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Historic Savannah Theatre

I'm with Richard at the riverboat



Last weekend was perfect. And it wasn’t my birthday, it was the birthday of my brother-in-law Richard. We went to Savannah, which proves the Spanish-moss-on-every-tree cliché. Beautiful city for a driving or walking tour. But the city had something special. Where else will you find a live musical show worth driving two hours?


The Historic Savannah Theatre performed its “Cabaret,” and the music was even better than I hoped it would be. Owner and performer Matthew Meece is a natural for the stage, engaging the audience with light-hearted introductions and commentary. His wife and co-owner Michelle Meece comes in as a strong second. The choice of music is classic pop with songs many of us remember, all delivered with a cabaret interpretation. The cost of The show was well worth the $45 ticket.


I have attended their Christmas show in the past and will go again this year. There’s nothing like an inspiring show to give you the Christmas spirit. Years ago our family made “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theater in Chicago a Christmas tradition. The Savannah Theater’s “A Christmas Tradition” is becoming our Southern replacement for that wonderful Chicago show.

Nila in the Savannah candy store
After the show we had lunch and a cruise on the Savannah Riverboat. In-depth history lesson about the river from an on-board tour guide. At the end of the day I returned to Lexington, very happy even if it wasn’t my birthday. 

Approaching a tanker on the river

Monday, October 12, 2020

Words & Wine Halloween


It’s not a contest, but six of us authors are going to regale you with our scariest stories via Zoom. It starts at 6 PM on Tuesday, October 20. "Words and Wine" is the perfect event for setting the mood for Halloween. 


Scary authors with scary stories: Scott Sharpe, Bonnie Stanard, John Starino, Paula Benson, A.J. Brown, Raegan Teller


Register at Zoom and you'll get by email the links to follow. 


To register (free, of course):