Interview with Mary Patterson Thornburg

I’m happy to welcome Mary Patterson Thornburg to my blog. Today, Mary shares interesting details about her creative journey and her new release, Luke Blackmon’s Rose.


What is the best part of being an author? The worst?

To me, the best part by far is the wonderful, joyful high that sometimes happens when the writing takes off and soars, all by itself, and carries you along with it. This doesn’t happen frequently, but when it does it’s better than any drug anyone could possibly take, almost as good as falling in love. It’s worth every minute you’ve spent slogging forward, word by slow word, trying to get it right. Any writer who says this isn’t so is telling an untruth.

The worst part, for me, is drifting in the doldrums. This is just me, or anyway I hope so. I need assignments and deadlines because I’m lazy. Those long periods of windless calm are miserable. I cannot make myself move forward, and yet I’m the only one who can. I have spent weeks, months, and years in those sad latitudes.

Describe your writing space.

Hahaha! I would, but it would depress you. I know some writers want a beautiful room, full of light, their favorite objects, and wall hangings with inspirational quotes. They want compulsively neat files and books, windows looking out on gorgeous landscapes, etc. That’s fine. I’d just like to remind everyone that a lot of great writing has been done in jail cells.

Which authors have inspired you?

Many authors have inspired me and still do. Among them are two American women: Ursula K. Le Guin, who brought her immense talent and the great privilege of her childhood and education to the little-respected genre of science fiction, where she followed others in showing its value as a source of serious and elegant humanist literature. And Octavia E. Butler, who with courage and an iron core of self-confidence overcame the heavy burden of having been born a shy, awkward, dyslexic, working-class Black girl in the 1940s United States to write genre fiction that stands as tall and proud and important as Le Guin’s.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes. Write literately in your language. If you don’t already know how to do that, learn. Learn the rules, silly as you may find them, and learn how to use them before you decide you are good enough to break them. There was a time when editors would do some of that work for you, but that time is long gone. If you have something to say that’s worth saying, it’s worth learning how to say it so people can understand you, and that, after all, is what the rules are about: communicating thought and feeling through the symbols of letters and words and punctuation and sentences and paragraphs.

Read writing by people who write well. This may sound silly to you, but it works; I knew a man who learned to write this way, became a well-known professional writer, and made a very good living: Find paragraphs and pages of writing by excellent writers and copy them, in longhand (or printing, if you never learned longhand), or typing, word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark. Be mindful of what you’re copying. Read what you’re copying out loud; pause for the commas, stop for the periods. Stop and take a deep breath for the paragraph breaks. This is called pattern practice, and it works. Some writers are lucky enough to sort of absorb these patterns while they read, without thinking about what they’re doing. Some have to do it mindfully.

What are you working on next?

Not sure. I’m never sure. Wish me luck!


To guard herself from the perils of her own sensuality, Rose married a man she didn’t love. Now, two years after his death, she’s not sure she can really love anyone. She’s not even sure she cares…

To achieve what he’d always known was his birthright, Luke had to struggle against tremendous odds. But when science discovered a way to access the past, a powerful bureaucracy found a way to use Luke. Now, torn from his own time, everything and everyone he knew, he can see no reason to go on living…

An instant of attraction, uninvited but inescapable, brings Luke and Rose together. Together, they discover the strength to love, the will to trust and hope. But will these things be enough to carry them over walls of suspicion, guilt, bigotry, and hate?


In 1930, he told her, he’d been in the midst of rehearsing a play in New York City. The play’s title, Dark Fancy, rang no bells for Rose. “Well,” Luke said, “it had a couple of wealthy backers, but the script was awkward. And the play wasn’t a good fit for the time. People were beginning to want something light, given the look of things. A lot of folks had money troubles that year. Maybe the play didn’t even open. They’d have had to find a new second lead, anyway… Or…” He frowned. “Or not, maybe. I don’t know.”

“You were the second lead?” she asked gently.

“Yes. Character called Tommy Carleton. His best friend was a man he’d known in college, a teammate, a white man, played by Roland Arnett… The actress playing the girl was colored, of course—quite light, but unmistakable. This was necessary, and that meant the Arnett character’s blindness was also necessary.” He laughed without much amusement.

“Oh, Luke. I’m sorry, but the whole play sounds terrible,” Rose said. “Melodramatic, big problems with logic, and a bad script on top of that? I’ll bet it didn’t open. I’ll look it up.”

“I’ve described it… Not badly. Unfairly, perhaps. There was more to it, more to the Arnett role, and Arnett is—was—great. Deservedly famous. And problems with logic? Of course, but quite realistic, weren’t they? The subject of race in this country is riddled with logical fallacies, always has been. Anyway, the play was exciting and controversial. Daring. Two years earlier and it would’ve packed them in. Even now—I mean in 1930—it would have had a decent run. If it opened.”

Author Bio and Links

Mary Patterson Thornburg has lived in California, Washington State, Montana, Indiana, and again, finally, in Montana. She was educated at Holy Names College, Montana State University, and Ball State University, where she then taught for many years. She’s been reading science fiction and fantasy since she was five, and when she began to write fiction it seemed only natural to write in those genres. Her literary heroes are Mary Shelley, who gave us all a metaphor for technology alienated from its creators, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia E. Butler, inventors of worlds that shine their powerful searchlights on this one. She writes what some people call “science fantasy” (aka “fake science fiction) within as wide a range as possible, but almost always with a bit (or a lot) of romance.

Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Amazon Author Page


Mary Patterson Thornburg will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Mary on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


The Wisdom of Kintsukuroi

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her bestselling book, A Year of Positive Thinking, inspirational speaker Cyndie Spiegel shares daily meditations. Here’s one of my favorites:

Kintsukuroi is a kind of Japanese ceramic style. The word Kintsukuroi means “to repair with gold.” In the Kintsukuroi tradition, when a ceramic piece breaks, an artisan will fuse the pieces back together using liquid gold or gold-dusted lacquer. So rather than being covered up, the breaks become more obvious, and a new piece of art emerges from the brokenness.

Kintsukuroi embraces flaws and imperfection, but it also teaches the essence of resilience. Every crack in a ceramic piece is part of its history, and each piece becomes more beautiful because it has been broken.

You will fall.
You will fail.
You will break.
You will stand up and dust yourself off.
You will repair yourself again and again.
And eventually, though you will be different than before, you will again become whole.
You will be even more beautiful precisely because of all of this.
You will be a better person because of your imperfections, not in spite of them.

Source: A Year of Positive Thinking by Cyndie Spiegel

Trust Your Intuition

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Each Sunday, I receive an inspirational email from Reid Tracy, the CEO of Hay House. I found this recent message a thought-provoking one:

According to Louise Hay, intuition is our inner voice (or “Inner Ding,” as she called it), which speaks to us through feelings, sensations, and gut instincts. By paying attention to these signals, we can make decisions that align with our highest good and avoid situations that don’t serve us.

Dr Joe Dispenza argues that intuition isn’t some mystical force, but a natural ability we all have—a product of the subconscious mind, which processes information at a much faster rate than our conscious mind. By learning how to tap into the power of our subconscious, we can access our intuition and use it to achieve our goals and live a more fulfilling life.

So, how can we learn to trust our intuition? Here are some tips inspired by the teachings of Louise and Dr Joe:

Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel physically when making decisions. Does your stomach feel tight or relaxed? Do you feel a sense of excitement or dread? These physical sensations can give you clues about what’s right for you.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, we can quiet our minds and connect with our inner wisdom. Take a few moments each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and tune in to your intuition.

Journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you get clarity about what you truly want. Use journaling as a tool to explore your inner landscape and connect with your intuition.

Take inspired action: Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to trusting our intuition. So, work toward overcoming fear by taking action when you feel inspired or excited about something—that’s your intuition talking. Start small and take note of the outcome when you act. Soon you’ll learn to trust your intuitive nudges.

In Praise of Napping

Today is National Napping Day, a day created by Camille and Dr. William Anthony in 1999 to spotlight the healthy benefits of catching up on quality sleep. Dr. Anthony noted: “We chose this particular Monday because Americans (and Canadians) are more ‘nap-ready’ than usual after losing an hour of sleep to daylight saving time.”

The benefits of napping are many, among them improvements in mental health and working memory (the ability to focus on one task while retaining others in memory) and reduction of coronary mortality. In a recent Greek study, researchers discovered that participants taking daily naps had a 37% less chance of contracting a fatal heart condition.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.

Virtual Book Tour: Moon Life

I’m happy to welcome authors Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian. Marlene and Frank are sharing their new release, Moon Life.


It is the year 2051 and the International Space Institute has just sent two rival astrobiologists to search for extraterrestrial life on Europa, the mysterious ice moon of Jupiter. What they encounter could not only revolutionize science, it might make one of them the most famous person on Earth. Or does the Universe have other plans?


Charlie was right, the phenomenon was curious. If these holes had been created by gas bubbles, why were they uniform and spaced so evenly? Dismissing the peculiarity, she began a photographic assessment of the tunnel wall.

At one point, she discovered a fissure wide enough to squeeze through and marked her location on MySpeak’s guidance system so she could retrace her steps. Then she crawled into the fissure on her hands and knees. As her light relaxed the shadows’ grip, she stared in amazement at the spacious chamber before her. Her headlamp revealed a domed ceiling interlaced with natural archways reminiscent of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Shimmering bulbs of water the size of walnuts hung from the arches like crystal ornaments. One by one they broke loose and fell in a reluctant rain, delicately splashing into a shallow pool cradled on the rocky floor.

A translucent brilliance caught her eye, and she centered her light on a glimmering mineral cluster that resembled a cache of rare gemstones. Pale green crystals seemed to come alive as her light danced across their facets. This is what he saw, it must be. Now she was grateful for her hammer. Striking the crystal as hard as she could multiple times, she finally broke off a small sample.

The raw beauty of this chamber invoked an overwhelming sense of awe as well as a realization that nothing could live on this barren moon; her mother had nothing to fear. Ming Yue conceded that she was relieved as well.

She took one final picture, then closed her eyes and spoke a silent prayer. Please let Pleiades find us so my brother can see these. A sobering possibility crept over her: she was the first human to see this fantastic grotto, and she might also be the last.

Author Bios and Links

The family that writes together stays together, so siblings Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian co-authored a science fiction adventure that explores Jupiter’s moon Europa as two rival astrobiologists race to be the first to find extraterrestrial life. This discovery should ensure the winner fame and fortune, but the Universe has other plans.

Hank is the guy walking around with a long lens camera and binoculars, a tourist of the world fascinated by every creature that moves and every plant that grows. He teaches biology and helped devise a college genetics program. As a scientist he likes to work with facts, so there’s a possibility that the creatures he’s created actually exist!

Marlene is the president of a nonprofit, The I Will Projects, dedicated to advancing educational venues that include a middle school aquaponics program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club which received a NASA grant. She writes in multiple genres and also has published “Elderchild,” an Alzheimer’s narrative written in the first person. She shares Hank’s love of the natural world and is dazzled by the interconnectivity of all living things.

Goodreads (Marlene) | Goodreads (Hank) | Hank Fabian Amazon Page |
Amazon Buy Link


One randomly drawn winner will receive a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card. Find out more here.

Follow Marlene and Hank on the rest of their Goddess Fish tour here.

Sharing Rumi Wisdom

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Rumi (born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī) was a 13-century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, and Sufi mystic. One of the most accomplished poets of all time, his musings on life, love, and the mysteries of the universe continue to resonate worldwide.

Here are ten of my favorite Rumi quotes:

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

The garden of the world has no limit except in your mind.

The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray.

It’s your road, and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.

You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.

Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.

Work. Keep digging your well. Water is there somewhere.

Whether one moves slowly or with speed, the one who is a seeker will be a finder.