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Reading Illuminates

I cut my literary teeth on Mitchell, Tolstoy and Bronte. I remember that summer clearly.

It was steaming hot and I was scared to death of what the future looked like as I transitioned from elementary school to the ‘big time’ of a sixth grade school, an atmospheric brick monstrosity with a working bell tower and a "haunted" auditorium where my English teacher read Poe to my class by candlelight. Meanwhile the district officials tried to figure out how to accommodate the baby boom that I was part of.

I live in the coastal Deep South now, but in Michigan when the temperature cranks over ninety… it’s painful in July, as most of the farmhouses, including the one I grew up in didn’t have central air.

2020 was a tragic and bizarre year with so much change, that even I’ve had trouble keeping up. Can we start over today please? The only way to survive is to constantly realign, reaffirm and to be grateful for everything that hasn’t crushed your spirit or awakened the troll. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen them. Hey wait a minute…aren’t they supposed to only live under bridges in Bavaria or something? To create is the best rebellion as the pillars crumble atop your head.

If you know anyone who has the skillset to build an authentic Viking “Langskip,” please let me know. Yes, I am quite aware that was a weird question. Please standby.

Faculties intact, in spite of watching thugs dressed like the Village People taking selfies in the rotunda. Show's over y'all. Let us peacefully get back to work and please consider reading a real book on the long ride home.

Reading creates empathy, offers knowledge and helps create neural pathways that assist in independant thinking and mental clarity. (The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran was recently suggested by my colleague Amy on #BOOKEM. It's a beloved classic for a reason.)

Somehow in all of this mayhem, I managed to release VOLGA BLACK by Bibiana Krall

It’s nuts. Dark, strange and chewy like a homemade brownie with a powerful shot of plum brandy to chase it. I also wrote three more vivid and strange stories for a fantastic anthology with Veronica Cline Barton called Hearth Fires, which came out just before the weather cooled down. Spooky, atmospheric reads to delight you for the winter reading season. *** Cozy throw and glass of wine not included.

Mont Pelier #4 in The Irish Phantom Series is on deck next, but it's taking longer than I expected. I have learned to listen to my Muse and hope to share it with you very soon.

I am also hard at work every week editing video files for a YouTube collaboration with two fabulous authors’ both of them also have #NewReleases and #hustle hard every day like you and I do to keep those stories coming. Please check them out!

Veronica Cline Barton

Our YouTube show is called #BOOKEM which is basically what I refer to with a big grin as, “Hygge for bibliophiles.” I love it like the unapologetic book nerd I am and feel blessed to have wonderful people watching, engaging and to work with on this community project that promotes the value of reading for pleasure.

It feels great to be moving forward as a writer regardless of what else is happening around me. I am compelled to say thank you to every person who has reached out to connect and helped make me feel like I am not the Prisoner of Zenda chained to my writing desk, or talking to myself in the void. A reminder arrives every day that books, art and the simple things still matter. That they have always mattered. Don't ever forget that you are an important part of that.

That’s it. Just wanted to say hello, thank you and do a mental wellness check. How are you? What is helping you feel better right now?

Feel free to leave comments, come say hi on Twitter or join in the live premier on Wednesdays at 1:45 p.m. E.S.T. for #BOOKEM where you can live chat with us, and our guests while we watch the latest show.

Thanks to all reading, engaging and sharing in my creative journey. A special shout out to The Literati and the superstars leaving book reviews for Volga Black. It helps more than you might think and I am ever thankful.

Until next time find your Peace, Love, Hustle, then Read or Write. Xox Bibiana


(A hot weather or hot house, tipsy-drink I invented when the moon was shiny and new. Everyone becomes a better dancer after the first one.)

3 oz. white 151 rum and/or for the gourmand instead use 3 oz. Hendricks Midsummer Solstice (use fresh lime, instead of a lemon.)

1 fresh lemon or lime if using Hendricks. (leave two small wedges for garnish)

1 Tablespoon Roses lime syrup

12 oz. lemon lime soda/and or sparkling mineral water

crushed ice

Powdered sugar on a plate

2 tall glasses and reusable straws

In a blender add a cup of crushed ice. Squeeze fresh citrus juice onto ice. Add lime syrup and alcohol.

Hit blender on med pulse until nicely cold and a little fluffy. Wet rim of glasses with water and press into sugar on plate.

Fill both glasses evenly with drink and a little ice. Garnish with lemon. Enjoy and plan to stay in for the night. It’s strong. Serves two. Enjoy!

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08 Jul 2020

You know my reading did too. I went in waves. There were some days I couldn’t stand to read and watched Bob’s Burgers with my teen. Well sort of... I was spacing I think?

I agree. Without stories, art, music and something higher level we are lost. You totally get it!

So far everyone who has watched the #BOOKEM Zoom really likes it. So we shall see! I’m ready to do it again. Hope you had a fab day out! 📚🍃✨

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