Monday, November 29, 2021

Milliron Monday: Country Living

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017), including his wife Jody (1938-2021). 

"Mama cut out pictures of houses for years.
From 'Better Homes and Garden' magazine.
Miranda Lambert, The House That Built Me

In Jody's things are magazine clippings of interior design. I placed the clippings on the grass in my barnyard (above photo). My photo doesn't capture all the savvy decorating ideas, but you get the gist. Jody, like many of us, was a dreamer. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Ideas include vintage elements and wooden details - knotty pine panels, stone fireplaces, crannies and nooks for lots of books, comfortable seating, and furniture upgrades. Most of the photos were similar to the Smith home - a fireplace in the dining room with shelves and bookcases tucked in the walls, room for a large family table and space for guests.

Jody was planning for  a renovation that never happened.  More important expenses and the continuous effort to stay solvent was paramount. Her home, a two-story historic farmhouse with a basement and front porch, was her dream home. Once a stop for slaves on the Underground Railroad, Jody was drawn to the home's notable aesthetics. She was a scholar-homemaker. Knowing how much she loved and enjoyed education, I always wondered why she didn't pursue her master's degree, especially living a short drive from Ohio University. I asked her about it. She said she applied to graduate school and was accepted, but Pete needed her for support at the clinic and at home to care for their household and farm. 

The sweet 1970s by the warm fireside, her family - Pete, Jessica, Pat; Puff (her dog) and Starboy (her gelding) - Jody was content. The farmhouse, empty now, will always be a historic place in Athens County, Ohio. It was a bustling household where a famous veterinarian and his family once lived. 

The Smith Farmhouse. Circa 1970s.

Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Friday, November 26, 2021

An Interview with Ohio Author John Thorndike

Ohio Author John Thorndike

An Interview with Ohio Author John Thorndike


The first time I met John Thorndike was at the 2010 Ohioana Book Festival. He was a signing author and my table was not far from his. I purchased John's book The Last of His Mind and feel fortunate that he lives in the next county over. John’s bio:


John Thorndike grew up in New England, graduated from Harvard, took an MA from Columbia, then lit out for Latin America. He spent two years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador and two, with his wife and child, on a backcountry farm in Chile. Eventually he settled with his son in Athens, Ohio, where for ten years his day job was farming. Then it was construction. His first two books were novels, followed by a memoir, Another Way Home, about his wife’s schizophrenia and his life as a single parent (“The directness, the honesty, the terrible plain chant of the narrative stunned me.”—Doris Grumbach.) A second memoir, The Last of His Mind, describes his father’s year-long descent into Alzheimer’s, and was a Washington Post Best Book of 2009. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “a beautiful book.” A Hundred Fires in Cuba is his latest novel, and he’s at work on the next one, a half-fictional evocation of his mother’s life.


Welcome, John!


GM: What is the premise for your new book?

JT:  After writing a memoir about my father and his Alzheimer’s, I wanted to write a book about my mother. It had to be a novel, for I knew I’d be making up many details and scenes. I wrote A Hundred Fires in Cuba, which I meant to be about my mother, but you know how characters can ride off into their own stories in a book. Ginny, who started out much like Virginia Thorndike, falls in love with a Cuban revolutionary in the Castro days, and flies off into another life, nothing like my mother’s. So I wrote another book, The World Against Her Skin, which will come out next spring from Beck & Branch. As it says on the back cover,


The World Against Her Skin is a biographical novel in which much is remembered and much imagined. “I stay close to my mother’s story,” the author explains, “but to know the details I had to make them up.”


GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

JT: I try—and often fail—to keep the world at bay. I don’t have a television, I have a cell phone but rarely turn it on in my house. I stay away from Facebook and Twitter and such. I do go on my laptop, all the time, but I try not to wander around on it. I clear up my emails, I might follow some current news, but then I go into WordPerfect and try to stay there. I’m not always successful.


GM: Where do you like to write?

JT: Years ago I found a little stand that works perfectly for writing while lying down, and ever since I’ve written either in or on my bed. My back seems to like it, and it helps, at least slightly, to keep me in place, to keep me focused on whatever I’m writing. I’m less likely to jump up and look at something, do something, take care of something.


GM: Do you have a muse or other inspiration that sparks creative ideas?

JT: I don’t. At least I’ve never thought of it that way. I guess my inspiration is the book at hand. What gets me going is the work itself. I open up a file. There’s the book I’m working on. I resist it. I resist focusing on it. I’m not into it. But I start reading what I wrote the day before, and of course it needs some work. Before it’s done, I’m going to rewrite passages ten times. twenty times. The story draws me in. Perhaps this is why I’m inclined to longer books, rather than to short stories or poems. The truck is already lumbering down the road, and I must jump on and start steering, all over again.


GM: What are you currently reading?

JT: I always have a pile on my bedside table. Right now I’m about to finish J.M. Coetzee’s Scenes From Provincial Life, and I’ve started Peggy Gish’s Iraq, which I’d somehow never read, but bought at the Monday Creek fair. I’ve also been working for some months on Gabriel García Márquez’s El amor en los tiempos del cólera. I’ve always wanted to read it in Spanish, but that does go slower.


GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?

JT: I think Natalie Goldberg has some great ideas about writing: about getting it to flow, about getting scenes and characters and ideas down on paper. Among her rules:


Keep your hand moving. No matter what, don't stop. ...

Lose Control. Let it rip. ...

Be specific. ...

Don't think. ...

Don't worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar. ...

You are free to write the worst junk in the world. ...

Go for the jugular.


She explains this all in her great book, Writing Down The Bones.


GM: Please share your book marketing secrets...

JT: It’s infinite, the time you can spend on marketing. But of course, marketing is part of the world that interferes with writing. Still, book fairs are a great way to connect to other writers, and sometimes publishers. Radio interviews are fun. Once, to promote Another Way Home, I bought a van and lived in it for five months, driving all around the country and stopping in at 160 bookstores, just to alert the staff to my book. For A Hundred Fires in Cuba I took a booth at the Miami Book Fair, drove down there, sat and stood in the booth for four days, talking to anyone who slowed down. Lots of Cubans in Miami, so that was the place to go. I spent far more than I earned, but what fun that was.


GM: List 10 things your fans may not know about you...

JT: –I’m a grandfather. I will talk your ear off about my grandkids. Kinda predictable.


–I ran an organic farm in Athens for ten years in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Organic produce was new at the time, almost unknown and eventually I took my organic sign down as unproductive. This was after hearing one woman explain to another, “It means it’s full of bugs and things.”


–For one eight-month period, when we were living on a farm in Chile, my wife and I bought only four foods: wheat, salt, cooking oil and yerba mate. Everything else came out of our garden and the hen house.


–I’m a founding member of the Men’s Noncoercive League. Well, after all these years there are still only two of us—and the other member is no longer a man, she has emerged as a woman.


–My two favorite books are Annie Dillard’s The Maytrees and James Salter’s Light Years. They sit between my mattress and headboard, and I read them over and over.


–I’ve been a volleyball fanatic since I played on the OU club team in the mid-Seventies, and I’ve made almost a hundred videos of the Bobcat women’s team, all posted at MatchPointOhio on YouTube.


–Like my father, I’m a bit of a nutcase on grammar. No, you’re not laying on the ground, you’re lying there. My dad kept his mouth shut about it, and I try to.


–My parents have died, many friends have died, and the topic creeps into half my conversations. I don’ resist it.


–For thirty years, the bumper sticker on my car has been a quote from my son: I Do What I Feel Like  –Janir


--I have an ancestor, George Jacobs, who was hanged (not hung, my father would point out) as a wizard at the Salem witch trials.


Books by John Thorndike:

Anna Delaney’s Child

The Potato Baron

Another Way Home

The Last of His Mind

A Hundred Fires in Cuba


Connect with John Thorndike:

Amazon Author Page


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving Day by Sandra Russell

 Original Art & Story by (c) Sandra Russell

Thanksgiving Day

Bring what food you can, but above all bring
the three most important things.
 Faith, Hope, and Charity.
This is what Thanksgiving Day celebrates.

Thanksgiving Day approaches and with it more than a little melancholy. People do want that feeling of the perfect family union. For some of us that means a loving white haired grandmother who is the best cook in the valley, smiling and rosy cheeked, able to lift a 20 lb. turkey in and out of an oven, and who has all the pure vanilla ($20 a bottle) and chocolate chips, pumpkins to scrape and transform into pies, sweets, and healthy stuff you could want, (but this healthy stuff also tastes like heaven). It would be nice if a grandpa with a pipe sat in a plaid shirt by a roaring fireplace. In his company a sweet cat, and maybe a collie lies quietly dreaming  on the hearth. Someone just got a new puppy, and he greets you playfully as an old friend?

We have these fancies or some similar expectations. We go visiting not to ‘get away from it all’ but to get it all.  We want to find this warmth, these scents, this bond of sharing. This is a time we expect to live in the moment with a delicious sensual feast. We want time to stand still but also want the past to be there too; we get very nostalgic.

Some of us have family nearby who are close, we have grandparents living and puppies or a sweet cat, maybe a fireplace and a TV. But often some of us are far from ‘home’ - some of us are alone and so feel cheated somehow that this picture is just for other somebody else’s life. Well that could be true.

Consider the first American Thanksgiving and how uncomfortable and afraid the people must have been. No grandpa with a pipe, no collie, no vanilla…Gosh…but what they did have was friendly neighbors who shared fears of starvation in winter and brought them supplies and showed them how to store and prepare unknown grains and meats, nuts and fruit. They had their faith, and they had love in their hearts. So that is the number one thing you need to bring to any potluck you host or attend. True appreciation. Bring what food you can, but above all bring the three most important things. Faith, Hope, and Charity. This is what Thanksgiving Day celebrates. Love and warmth, sustaining the dark and cold winter ahead. Not a bad thing to appreciate.   

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Loud Poetry from a Quiet Girl

I am a poet who has been hiding all her work in a journal and wants to share it with the world. I want to be able to offer insight and encouragement to those who need it. As well as validate those who feel very out place and alone. Let them know that they aren't as alone as it feels, because I completely understand that feeling. I hope my work can offer that relation and inspiration one needs.

Follow on Instagram @ whorespeak


Monday, November 22, 2021

Milliron Monday: Thanksgiving


Milliron Farm: Photo from the Smith Family archives

Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017), including his wife Jody (1938-2021). 

"Everything was over the top."

Thanksgiving should be revered for family ties - parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends. Last Wednesday I asked Jessica about her childhood memories of Thanksgiving...

"We always traveled to Mansfield, Ohio. We went to my Uncle Gary Franklin's and Aunt Aggie's house. Aunt Aggie gave us our Christmas presents on Thanksgiving. She had the presents all wrapped and packed so that we could take them home and open them on Christmas Day. Her home was impeccable - white carpet, etc.

Uncle Gary, who was a dentist, would do all of our dental work on Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes he would do dental work before dinner, sometimes after. Sometimes we were unable to eat.

My Aunt Aggie would make the meal. Mom helped in the kitchen. My Uncle Gary and my Grandfather Peter Franklin Haley would go pheasant hunting in the mornings. When they came in, we would eat. They all wished they were watching football, but Uncle Gary would haul us over to his dental office and crank away on our teeth."

I asked Jessica where her dad, Pete, was all this time. "He was either getting his teeth cleaned or sleeping. He would be asleep within seconds of being at the house. He loved eating Aunt Aggie's food - sweet potatoes with nuts, turkey. Everything was over the top."

As we journey to Thanksgiving Day, may we all find fond memories, sift the good from the bad, and make new memories. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

An Interview with Ohio Author Robin Melet

Author Robin Melet at the Monday Creek Book Festival, November 2021

An Interview with Ohio Author Robin Melet

Robin Melet was born in Trotwood, Ohio. She has a in B.A. Mass Communications, Wright State University. Melet’s prior employment includes Freelance Columnist with The Impact Weekly in Dayton, Ohio, and a Feature Freelance Writer with The Dayton City Paper, which also used to be in Dayton, Ohio. Melet is an eleven-time published poet with Eber and Wein Publishing Company. Her first poem was called, "I Am Worth More than THAT!"


Melet has a compassionate heart and her soul really vibes with people, both men and women, especially those in abusive relationships or healing from abusive patterns. She loves people who dare to just sincerely be themselves. Melet is certified by the State of Ohio as a NAMI Facilitator and I have a Certified Dementia Practitioner's license. She is a caregiver who takes care of the elderly population in their homes. Melet’s specialty for the last nine years has been with people who have brain challenges like Dementia, Alzheimer's, Aphagia, etc.  


Melet says, “My writing is my gift. God gave me the courage and inspiration to be a writer who likes to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower with  written and verbal words. My book, Through the Sliver of a Frosted Window-A Story of Hope and Faith is my gift to the world. I hope it will help others to not give up when life seems too tough."


Welcome, Robin!


GM: What is the premise for your new book?

RM: My book is my gift to the world. I hope it will inspire people. I want to reach one million minds and more.


GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

RM: I maintain thoughts and ideas with all writing projects by writing them down as soon as they come into my head. Since this is an autobiography, I had to ask myself, "Where do I start?" My reply, as with any story, is at the beginning. :)


GM: Where do you like to write?

RM: I love to write near water and by nature. I love to listen to music when I write. Sometimes, angelic meditation music, sometimes just plain classic rock and roll!


GM: Do you have a muse or other inspiration that sparks creative ideas?

RM: I enjoy reading other poet's poetry, taking walks in the woods and looking at art. I especially love interior designed homes. They are always so pretty.


GM: What are you currently reading?

RM: I am currently reading "Publish, Promote, Profit," by Rob Kosberg


GM: What are you currently writing?

RM: I am finishing up my first poetry book with illustrations by my best friend, Annie M. I plan to get it published within the next couple of months.


GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?

RM: I love to share tips about my craft. Sometimes, less words are best. Get to the point without getting in the way of your characters or story. Know your audience. Who do you want your writing to affect? What do you want your story to tell? Always try to show, rather than tell your readers what to think. I like to use many adjectives. Be disciplined in knowing your work has value. It is YOUR special gift to the world. You alone, are unique and only you will create your original. Be courageous in being yourself. Be proud of yourself. Be patient with yourself. Very important tip...Set aside, for example, 2-4 hours of just being with your creation. Turn off all social media. Don't even look at your emails, texts or Tik Tok! Lol! Schedule in your time every day, every week. Be genuine and believe in yourself. I believe in you!


Thank you for this amazing experience! I would like to close with this wonderful quote from Wayne Gretzky - "You miss 100% of the shots you didn't take."


Connect with Robin…

Publisher: Rebecca Benston with Higher Ground Books and Media

Publisher's email:


Amazon – Available in Paperback, eBook, and Audible


Robin Melet's email:

facebook and Intsagram (Robin_Melet)

Friday, November 19, 2021

Bianca Blue and the Magic Telescope by Alisa Guttadauro

Bianca Blue and the Magic Telescope

by Alisa Guttadauro

Bianca is excited when her father comes home from a newspaper convention and brings back an odd looking telescope, from an antique store. When Bianca's best friend Tim comes over and they decide to check out the telescope, they can't believe their eyes. What adventure lies ahead for the two friends, and will they be able to help an elf named Jangles, save Christmas?

Available in Paperback & eBook HERE!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

An Interview with Ohio Author Dan Long, Jr.

Dan Long, Jr. Author

Ohio Author Dan Long, Jr.

Dan Long, Jr. was born on April 22, 1979 at Licking Memorial Hospital in Newark, Ohio. Dan graduated from Utica High School in Utica, Ohio. In his junior year of high school Dan was enrolled and graduated from the first Criminal Justice class at the Licking County Join Vocational School now known as C-Tech, where he received a place in the National Vocational Technical Honor Society. Dan is a graduate with an Associate’s degree from the Central Ohio Technical College in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. Dan has four years’ experience in Law enforcement being a patrolman in the Village of Kirkersville and over 20 years’ experience in Security, currently serving with Ohio State University Newark and Central Ohio Technical College. Dan enjoys his hobby as a videographer, avid hunter and fisherman that he puts to use in his video productions of Northernview Outdoors, where he produces hunting and fishing videos on YouTube.  Dan also is a vintage toy dealer and vendors at toy shows in Columbus and Cincinnati and as far away as Indianapolis. Dan currently lives in Utica, Ohio with his wife Amy.

Welcome Dan!

GM: What is the premise for your new book?

DL: It's a about a boy named Jeremy William who is a typical nine-year-old from New York City, but when unforeseen circumstances force him to move to a farm with his Uncle Tom, an uncle he never knew existed, he discovers a whole new lifestyle. As he sets out to make friends at his new school. Jeremy discovers that not everyone likes the "new kid" and soon the question of why he never met Uncle Tom is answered. Go on Jeremy's journey as he meets new people, learns about his family's past and discovers the meaning of family.

Author Long at the Monday Creek Book Festival, November 13, 2021
Stuart's Opera House, Nelsonville, Ohio

GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

DL:  At times they come when I'm not writing or writing on a different subject, so I write them down on a sticky pad or on the inside cover of the notebooks I'm using. Yes,  I still free hand first and type later.

GM: Where do you like to write?

DL:  I typically write at work if I have some down time.

GM: Do you have a muse or other inspiration that sparks creative ideas?

DL:  I wrote my newest book as part of my grieving process when I lost my uncle. I took some of his characteristics along with my own fathers to create the Uncle Tom character.

As for my first book, I read news reports of S&P and President Obama down-grading the economy, I thought to myself what the worst-case scenario could be. So, I thought of the Government being bankrupt and where could they cut money that would hurt a troubling country. Take Government assistance away from people and see what would happen and that’s where the idea started from. 

GM: What are you currently reading?

DL:  I'm about to start Mirror, Mirror by Jen Calonita. We are big Disney fans in our household, and I've read a lot of the twisted tales that have been released.

GM: What are you currently writing?

DL:  I'm currently working on the Volume 2 of my first novel, The Conflict Within:  The Second American Civil War.

GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?

DL:  Don't let people discourage you. I'll tell you I don't have an English major or won any spelling bees, but if you have a captivating story and the right people to edit and steer you in the right direction, write it down. There are going to be bad reviews and other authors that will say you're not good and you can't please everyone. Stay positive and true to your story.

GM: List 10 things your fans may not know about you...

DL:  1.  I had a book signing cancelled due to the venue fearing protest from my book.
        2.  As a police officer I was involved in a high speed chase that made the local news.
        3.  I am a fan of professional wrestling and have been on TV a couple of times at WWE events.
        4.  I'm a foster parent.
        5.  I have a YouTube Channel: Northernview Outdoors  
        6.  I sell Vintage Toys and have a page on Facebook  Dan The Toy Man
        7.  I like to play poker.
        8.  I wrote two Spiderman fan fiction novels before my first novel.
        9.  At the Vocational school I threw a teacher to the floor during a training session.
      10.  I am an avid 3D movie collector.

Connect with Dan…


Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...