My Talented Friends

In this strange year, several of my super friends saw the culmination of years of hard work. To celebrate, I have some recommendations for your Christmas shopping list:


No, silly. That isn’t a drawing of Ron on the cover.

Quarantivities by Ron Ruelle – Ron is a cartoonist and humorist from my hometown of Cookeville, Tennessee. His Quarantivities book is an adult activity book to get people through the dark days of COVID shutdown.  Sharpen a pencil and embrace your own quirky humor to fill in the blanks – be it sketches or puzzles. If you aren’t yet ready to laugh in the face of a global pandemic, Ron has other books in his Awful Activities series that are guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. You can find them on Amazon or

All That Lingers by Irene Wittig – During the Austrian civil war and World War II, three friends struggle to survive the tragic times. Irene’s details take the reader back in time and leave them with hope for tomorrow. Irene rewrote this book from an earlier version over a period of years while in my writing group so I initially read it one chapter at a time with weeks between.  Not the way you want to read a book with this much happening, but you can’t get mad at the author if she hasn’t actually written the next chapter yet. She has put the e-version of this on sale through the holidays although if you want an autographed copy of a print version, let me know and I’ll set you up.  To give Irene a gift in return, she’d love to have a review on Goodreads. On Amazon.


AntiFax Part 1 by Tru Fax and the Insaniacs – This is just a tease because the release was put on hold due to COVID. Lead singer Diana Quinn used to be my manager at work. Imagine my surprise to find out that she could sing. Tru Fax is her punk band formed in the late 1970s. Your head will be bouncing to the rhythm of this one. Diana has been part of the DC music scene for many, many years. You can find some of her previous albums at Amazon under the name Honky-Tonk Confidential or the Snarky Sisterz. With the Snarky Sisterz she has been doing a Sunday midday interview and music show during the COVID shutdown. Find details at The albums cost, the webcast is free.

Spider Tales by Jake Blount – I don’t actually know Jake, but I do know his mother Jeanne. She was thrilled when he was announced as a Steve Martin Banjo award recipient for 2020. Spider Tales is bluegrass with sparse, simple lyrics like the old-style mountain music. It skews bluesy toward the end. Find it at


Mike Ahlers is a Marylander through and through who loves nothing more than spending a day driving through the countryside taking pictures of his favorite state.  His website Is like a walk through a photography studio with pictures ranging from the Chesapeake Bay bridge to iconic DC landmarks to the people of Honduras. There’s a photograph of foxes in rural Maryland for nature lovers and horses working up in Amish country for those looking for a period piece. Mike also loves a good airshow.

Merry Christmas!

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