Never Judge a Book By Its Movie

College News:

My ENG 101 class is going well at Delta. I have a conscientious group who are working hard. As we went over the class syllabus again, I focused on the comparison/contrast essay assignment. They are to compare a modern (relatively) modern book to its movie. For years I have told students to “Never judge a book by its movie.” Here are the choices I gave them, though I told them they could suggest others:

1. Man on Fire

2. Atonement

3. Love in the Time of Cholera

4. No Country for Old Men

5. All the Pretty Horses

6. The Crucible

7. Peter Pan (Allowing Hook, and Finding Neverland as movie choices)

8. In Cold Blood (allowing Infamous and Capote as movie choices)

9. The Scarlet Letter

10. Cold Mountain

11. The Kite Runner

My scholars seemed intrigued by the assignment, and I think it will do them good.

Book Tour News:

Tomorrow, I have a school program in Waskom, Texas. The rest of the weekend will be spent writing, reading, and catching up on chores (including tax preparation). Today I’m researching, memorizing songs, and preparing for my school program tomorrow. I’ll make some calls related to future signings also.

ART INSPIRING ART: Here is a poem I wrote after reading Olen Steinhauer’s novel, 36 Yalta Boulevard. A sign of a good novel is when one of its characters touches you or you identify with him. I thought about Brano Sev, and using lines of the novel I had underlined wrote this poem. This is an exercise I have students do to help them notice and remember important lines in a reading. So, most of the language of the poem that follows is Olen’s. Here is his website. I’d encourage you to take a look at his books:

Brano Sev . . .

We are the same age,

Both haunted by the past,

Both naive and idealistic.

Tutored by the school of necessity,

Tamed by silence,

Learning the techniques of coldness,

Tortured by interrogators

Until my mouth and heart spit blood,

But left with fewer scars than I deserve.

If you suffer enough,

The paranoia becomes real, constant,

The deja vu of moments repeated in memory,

Reliving shame, reviving fear, scarring your dreams,

Longing for the day when the past cannot touch me.

Brano, I am a man like you,

Staying in trouble, still waiting

For the Black Maria and

Heavy-booted men to break their

Way into my life.

I guess the fear never leaves.

They have done their work well.

Book News

Book News:

On Kathy Patrick’s blog, (The Pulpwood Queen’s Book Club) my book was selected as the May 2008 pick! Kathy’s blog said:

“Pinecones (our pre-teen version of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club) Selection
Jim Limber Davis: Black Orphan in the Confederate White House by Rickey Pittman, Pelican Publishing.

My Grapevine, Texas book signing at the Books-A-Million for this Saturday is being rescheduled. Likely, it will now be in April. There was a management change and in the confusion of transition, my books didn’t get ordered (Books-A-Million seems to have management changes frequently). If I can, I’ll replace it, but if I have a Saturday “off” I can use the time for writing, preparing my taxes, or the never ending chores that life thrust upon us. I’ll still be in Waskom, Texas though on Friday.

I’ve been booked to be the speaker for a reception for the regional winners of the Young Authors

An Interview with Melanie Wells

Another beautiful and absolutely fascinating writer I met at my recent Jefferson, Texas author’s event was Melanie Wells. She graciously consented to a short interview. Here is her response to the starter questions I like to use to get to know authors. A photo of Melanie and her book cover is below also. You saw her earlier in an earlier post–she was the fiddle player for Trish Murphy. You can learn more about Melanie at her website:

1. Your favorite author(s) and book(s)

I love Harper Lee and Truman Capote, who, ironically, were childhood friends. In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books ever. It

Sunday Morning

Book Tour News:

Yesterday, I spoke at the Midwinter Librarian’s Conference and signed books and set up school and public library programs through the afternoon. The weather was horrible, I had car trouble (dead battery, which I’ll have to resolve Monday) and had to hitch a ride to the conference. Last night, I locked myself in my hotel room and wrote for about eight hours. I entered the Booklocker 24 hour short story contest they offer every quarter and I enter four times a year. The story I submitted was entitled, “Little Rose and the Confederate Cipher.” I had until noon today to email the story in, but I managed to get it done by about midnight. Here was the topic mailed

An Interview with Rosemary Poole-Carter

At Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend, I met Rosemary Poole-Carter. I’d already mentioned her in a previous post. I found her extremely talented, bright, beautiful, and a depth that is captivating. Another writer described her in this way:

“You would know Rosemary anywhere. She is the girl at school who stared out the window while a story played in her head; the teenager who cast her unwitting boyfriends as characters in her dramas; the mother who rocked and read to her children and wrote while they slept; the novelist and playwright who still daydreams, holds her loved ones, writes into the night, and appreciates parallel structure.”

Her work includes the novels WOMEN OF MAGDALENE, JULIETTE ASCENDING, and WHAT REMAINS and the plays MOSSY CAPE, DEATH BEHIND THE TABLOIDS, INCONVENIENT WOMEN, and THE LITTLE DEATH. You can read more of her here at her website: Here is a recent photo of this fabulous author.

Rosemary Poole-Carter


The women of Magdalene are dying and no one seems to care, least of all the haughty Dr. Kingson, director of the genteel ladies’ lunatic asylum.

After years of serving as a wartime surgeon for the Confederacy, Robert Mallory is accustomed to soldiers missing limbs. At the Magdalene Ladies’ Lunatic Asylum, he learns that the women are missing pieces, not of their bodies, but of their lives. As Robert comes closer to understanding Kingston’s part in the cruel treatment and sudden deaths of certain patients, Kingston abruptly sends him away. Robert must escort a patient, Effie Rampling, to New Orleans, and the journey transforms them both.
Your favorite author(s) and book(s)
My favorite playwrights are Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams, favorite poets are Tennyson and Yeats, and favorite 19th century novelists are Austen, the Bronte sisters, Dickens, and Twain. Modern novelists I deeply admire include Barry Unsworth (MORALITY PLAY, SACRED HUNGER), Ian McEwan (ATONEMENT, SATURDAY), Paul Scott (THE RAJ QUARTET), and Muriel Spark (LOITERING WITH INTENT, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE).
What is the most significant thing as a writer that you learned in writing this book?
I learned to trust in the power of my own imagination

An Interview with Geoffrey M. Gluckman

While in Jefferson, Texas, I met Geoffrey M. Gluckman, a sharp Canadian author, and I looked at his novel, Deadly Exchange. (Another now on my must-read list). Interesting aside: He knows aikido! Gluckman drew from personal experiences as a federal agent and international lecturer to write Deadly Exchange. He is a featured author in Teen Angst and writes features for print publications, including Iron Horse Magazine and Law Enforcement Technology. Though I gave him stiff competition, I must also confess that he defeated me to win the Pulpwood’s Queen Timber Man Contest.

An Interview with Tim Raglin

While in Jefferson, Texas at Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend, I met Tim Raglan, one of the most talented children’s book authors and illustrators I’ve ever met. He was kind enough to agree to a short interview, which is the subject of this post. Tim is the incarnation of the true artist. Two interesting points about him: dHe models his animal characters on early movie stars and uses 19th century pens. I obtained one of his books, The Curse of Catunkhamen, to give to my grandson Mason. Here is a summary of that book:

The Curse of Catunkhamun (pronounced “CAT-un-common”) features intrepid
dog detectives Scott and West who battle for the safety of the canine
world against the mad schemes of the dastardly feline genius, Dr. Mew
Man-Chew and his tragic daughter, Princess Mee-Ow. The story begins
with the theft of a giant dog bone made of pure gold — and takes our
heroes halfway around the world to an ancient Egyptian temple — where
they try to stop Man-Chew’s diabolical plot to enslave the entirety of
Dog-dom as his –GASP!– personal pets! The Curse of Catunkhamun will
introduce to its picturebook audience the fun and thrills of the
detective adventure-mystery genre, and is a perfect gateway to the
chapterbooks of the advanced reader. This light-hearted, humorous
tribute to the “pulp” heroes of the dime novel and Saturday afternoon
serials will entertain (unsuspecting!) grown-ups as well as their
offspring. The beautifully illustrated, oversized edition (11 X 15) has
as an added highlight an original puzzle board (based on our tale)
featured on the endpapers of the book.


If you enjoy children’s books, do yourself a favor and check out the bio and website of this award winning author:

1. Tell me about your favorite author(s) and book(s).
I enjoy all of the books of Edith Wharton, Scott Fitzgerald, and Dr. Suess.

2. What is the most significant thing as a writer that you learned in
writing this book?
A writer should have economy and purpose.

3. What are your favorite lines in the book?
“West dragged Scott away as he cried, ‘Mee-Ow!! Mee-Ow!!!'”

4. News: Recent or future author events?
I’ll be part of “Wonder-Con,” a small press expo in San Francisco February 22-24.

5. What else do you have in the works?
I have a picture book proposal entitled “Miss Anne and Big Dog” and a sequel to
“Uncle Mugsy” entitled “Yankee Doodle Mugsy”

Book Signing News:

My calendar (see my website <>) continues to fill. If this keeps up, I’ll have the busiest year of my life. I added a signing at a Houston Barnes & Noble. and a couple of others I’ll talk about in future posts. Today will be spent preparing for my trip to Alexandria, Louisiana. Tomorrow I’ll have a signing at the Waldenbooks in the mall there, and then Saturday, I’ll be presenting a program at the Midwinter Librarian’s Conference.

Tuesday’s Sundry Thoughts

Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas:

Photos of the “Ball of Hair” held at the Bull Durham Playhouse in Jefferson, Texas are being posted now. There will be six galleries total at this site:

Yours truly is in some of them. The costumes and hairdos were wild! Here is one of me with the Houston Chapter of the Pulpwood Queens. Yes, I wore my kilt that night. As I said earlier, I’ll have several postings about this event and the wonderful people/authors I met.


Book Signing News & Schedule:

Friday, I have a signing beginning Friday morning at Waldenbooks in the Alexandria mall. That night I’ll be meeting with some friends and contacts to discuss my work and writing. Saturday, I and the beautiful and talented Bonnie Barnes will be presenting a program to Louisiana Librarians at their Midwinter Conference. Our presentation is entitled, “Wickis, Webcasts, and Writing.”

On that note, I have my own Wiki for my children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. If you have children who have read the book, there is a great writing exercise they can do. The Wiki site is at If you would like the password so that your children can complete the exercise, email me at

Robert E. Lee’s Birthday

I feel a little bit of irony in pointing out that yesterday (January 21) was the birthday of Robert E. Lee. He is a man who should be honored. He loved and served his country, his family, and his state of Virginia. Unlike some other politicians and military leaders, he maintained his integrity and morality all his life. He did not own slaves, nor did he believe in slavery. You should investigate his life. There’s plenty of good biographies about him. Many schools and geographical locations bear his name, and they should be proud to do so.