Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Edward P. Ciesielski, Jr., aka “Ski,” was born and raised in Baltimore City and currently resides in Bowie, MD with his wife Janet and son Paul.  Mr. Ciesielski graduated from the Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore and later attended the University of Maryland University College. He served as a Prince George’s County Maryland Police Officer from 1970-90, having attained the rank of Sergeant. Mr. Ciesielski’s tenure with the PGPD includes service in the homicide section from 1976-1981 where he was responsible for the investigation of over 400 deaths. Included in those investigations were fifty-nine homicides of which only three remain unsolved.

While a member of the PGPD’s Special Operations Division, Mr. Ciesielski and other squad members were temporarily assigned to the US Secret Service and arrested Arthur H. Bremer immediately after he shot Alabama Governor George C. Wallace and three other people at the Laurel Shopping Center in Laurel, MD on May 15, 1972. Currently, Mr. Ciesielski serves as a background investigator for the federal government. 

The impetus for Mr. Ciesielski’s debut novel, ……IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, is based in large part on his personal and professional life experiences as well as those of friends and relatives, especially his father, a retired Baltimore City Firefighter. He has begun work on a sequel, THE KIT, expected to be completed sometime in 2012.   

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Just Who Is Charles Rodenbough Anyway?

I am Charles Rodenbough and beyond my role as husband, father, and grandfather, I suppose I can characterize myself as a writer and teacher, both capacities I have enjoyed since retiring from being a business manager.  Many years ago I was aware of what I enjoyed doing but I let others convince me of my “responsibilities” and I gave up the desire to be a college professor.  I don’t begrudge the choice nor do I regret what might have been.  In my retirement I am getting to catch up on the avocation that I had continued even while functioning as a businessman.
            History is my genre and my concentration has been associated with North Carolina.  I chaired a Sesquicentennial Celebration (Madison, NC), organized Historic Districts, county chaired the National Bicentennial, Presided for the Historical Society, planned for a county museum, and all the while I read, researched, and collected for a time when I could write.  When that time came, I was not starting from scratch but ready to compose from what I had assembled.
            I like to structure my writing on the bare facts but I like to create beyond into the logic or lack thereof in how people, individually and collectively, accommodate to their circumstances.  History writing is always interpreting the circumstances of one time or generation to another which sees through its own prism.  The historian has to convey facts and situations in such a way that the reader begins to perceive in the historical moment.  I have written biography, history, and historical fiction.
            Most recently, I wrote a biography with my grandson that could be read and appreciated by multiple generations of readers.  Stealing Andrew Jackson’s Headwas published this year by All Things That Matter Press.  My wife, Jean Rodenbough, is also a published author with All Things That Matter Press.
Currently, I am involved with a project with the University of North Carolina, studying a unique common thread of slavery from Africa, through the West Indies, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana and Canada over a hundred year period. 

Stealing Andrew Jackson’s Head

Monday, 12 December 2011

Just Who Is Jessica Chambers Anyway?

Soon after Jessica was old enough to walk and talk, her parents realised two things.

The first was that she had an incredibly vivid imagination. Unlike many small children, she was content to spend hours at a time amusing herself, inventing ever more dramatic games of kidnap, runaway orphans and wicked stepmothers. When she wasn’t playing, she could often be found listening to an audio book, Roald Dahl, perhaps, or her favourite Enid Blyton, becoming lost in the tales woven by others. Even as a child, Jessica cherished a dream that one day she would be a writer herself. Always a shy person, she revelled in the ability to escape into another world, something that remains true to this day.

The second thing which gradually became apparent to her parents was that there seemed to be something wrong with her sight. She was forever tripping over toys left lying around on the floor, or being chided for sitting too close to the television (“You’ll get square eyes if you don’t watch out.”) It took several years of appointments with specialists, of brain scans and visual tests, but   when Jessica was five years old, experts diagnosed her as having Retinitus Pigmentosa, a degenerative disease affecting the retina.

At school, Jessica’s teachers did everything in their power to make life as easy for her as possible, including providing her with a CC TV and computer. However, as she approached her ninth birthday, her sight had deteriorated so severely that the teaching staff no longer felt equipped to meet her needs. It was decided that she should transfer to Dorton House, a weekly boarding school for the visually impaired. For Jessica, this was a dream come true. Having devoured all the boarding school stories she could lay her hands on, from Billy Bunter to Mallory Towers, she couldn’t wait for her own adventure to begin.

Of course, her time at Dorton House wasn’t quite the round of classroom pranks and midnight feasts she had anticipated. Nevertheless, her nine years there were extremely happy. In addition to the standard subjects, she learned to read Braille and to use a computer with speech output, was introduced to talking kitchen scales and white canes, and mastered countless every day skills to help her adapt to life as a visually impaired person. Outside of lessons she tried her hand at horse riding and archery, fell in love, and had her first painful dose of heartbreak. When she left at eighteen, she did so not only with top grades in her exams, but most importantly with the encouragement of her English teacher, which gave her the confidence to pursue a career as a writer.

Perhaps as a result of going away to school, spending more time in the company of her peers than her own family, Jessica developed an intense interest in people. Everything about them fascinates her. She loves to observe the ways in which they interact, their steadfast loyalty and tendency to hurt those closest to them, their capacity for both cruelty and kindness. It’s this understanding that makes her such a skilled writer. In the words of multi-published author Molly Ringle, “Jessica has an amazing talent for creating true-to-life characters, throwing them together in a gorgeous setting and letting the sparks fly.”

This insight into the best and worst aspects of human nature comes to bear particularly strongly in her novel “Dark is the Sky”, soon to be published by All Things That Matter Press. An emotional read fraught with tension and unexpected twists, the novel follows a family’s struggle to come to terms with the past. Twelve years after tragedy tore them apart, the Camerons reunite for the first time since that terrible summer’s day. Far from being allowed to lay their ghosts to rest, however, a shocking revelation almost destroys them for a second time.

Want to know more? Keep up to date with all Jessica’s news, including the release of “Dark is the Sky”, by joining her Facebook fan page
or subscribing to her blog.
For more information about Jessica and her novels, visit her website

Monday, 5 December 2011


Why I have the kind of vivid Technicolor memory I do has always been a mystery to me and to the few who knew of it.”

The above quote is the first sentence of my memoir and for the next 327 pages I explain in detail what I meant by that and the reason I believe I was blessed/cursed with so many colorful and distinct memories, both good and bad, funny and sad. Two of the worst memories drove me straight to mental hell in agony that refused to relinquish. The first time it happened in 1967 during the Viet Nam War and I chose to have six shock treatments to cure me, they did in two weeks. The second time was seven weeks after my beloved mother’s agonizing July death from Alzheimer’s. That inspiration struck on 9/11/2001 when the horror I was watching on T.V. reminded me of my Great Grandmother Fox, my mother’s grandmother I only met once when I was very young, but she instilled in me a memory that had haunted me many times throughout my life.  In 2001 I chose to cure myself by writing about why I was so distressed. That cure worked also, after a decade of edits, though it did raise a few eyebrows from family members. Oh well, not the first time I messed with their brows or the grey matter behind them.

I was born with a Pisces artistic nature I couldn’t ignore. I took piano lessens from second grade through twelfth. The initial inspiration for that musical obsession I got from a religious picture of St. Cecelia in my parents bedroom. I decided when I was four or five years old I wanted to play a piano in heaven when I died so I insisted mamma buy me one to practice on. Actually, my first piano became a bribe she used to get me to do something I really didn’t want to do, go to first grade at a Catholic school. I finally caved in after a lot of family persuasion and several other bribes I required, daddy’s paint quarter horse, a puppy, and five new chicken feed sack dresses. I’m sure some of those nuns wished I had not allowed myself to be bribed to go to that awful “purgatory” in 1944-45. Old unjust ladies in black I was forced to give a little piece of my mind to every once in a while. If something doesn’t make sense to me, I can become an instant rebel.

My unique childhood logic was always considered rather strange by adults but that never deterred me. When I made my mind up, there were few on earth who could change it, and that stubborn quirk still haunts me to this day. Oh well, after I ordered my natal horoscope in the 1970’s I found I could blame all my idiosyncrasies on the alignment of the stars above my head on the day I was born…so I still do. It’s easy to blame it on those professional astrologers who claimed my star alignment was rather strange and unusual who gave me a detailed opinion of why I was so “different.” It’s not my fault…it’s my Gods. At least that’s the excuse I’m going to use in the afterlife, if I ever get the chance.

At various times in my life I also became obsessed with learning how to cook, sew, paint, sculpt, and conquer fast horses. I’m a Texas native with a few drops of Apache blood flowing in my veins. When I was six, I insisted on learning how to shoot a rifle and hit the bull’s-eye, so my legend of a superman Daddy took me out in the pasture with a Winchester 30-30 and taught me. I realized that was a handy thing to know when I was seven years old guarding German POW’s on a big horse with a Federal rifle still in its saddle holster on my grandpa’s cotton farm in 1945. The “official” guards allowed me to do that while they took naps on the back porch because they didn’t think the prisoners would run off and I didn’t think they would harm me. I was their favorite entertainment on their lunch break. The guards explained to grandpa, “Where would they go, they can’t find a big enough boat to get back home on, and besides, they like earning enough to buy cigarettes and cokes and candy.” My singing and dancing was the most torture those lucky POW’s ever had to endure in America…but I would peel their oranges for them.

See? My logic isn’t all that “crazy” compared to some adults I have known in my lifetime.

My adult logic hasn’t been much different than my childhood, except that I know a whole lot more about how the world works now than I did back then. After I was forced out of my church by a couple of bad apples, I decided to launch my own religion that consisted of the Creator of all that exists, with Jesus and my “spirit” as my mentors, and me as the pastor. For over two decades I researched religion until it jelled into a creed I could accept and I’m still happy with it. I doubt the T.V. evangelists would be because I quit believing in Hellfire and Damnation they charge for telling you how not to get there.

Motherhood was the only vocation I ever lusted for and I did accomplish that. I have five wonderful children who blessed me with eleven grandkids and they are now the focus of my senior years. I live on the outskirts of San Antonio and stay involved with my three youngest grandchildren’s projects.  I still love to write, paint, cook, and still drag out my sewing machine when they want new patches on their jeans they consider badges of honor, usually required because of another pain in their butt that rips denim and skin.

I never intended to become a writer or an author but destiny had plans I felt I couldn’t alter. When I chose to publish my life story, I wanted it to be as honest as I could remember and knew I was going to have to confess all my sins if I was going to write about anyone else’s…so I did. I do hope I don’t make your eyebrows too uncomfortable if you choose to read Confessions Of A Crazy Fox. 

Confessions Of A Crazy Fox is available on Amazon in soft cover and for Kindles

And in print on my Publishers Website

It is also available as an E-book at Barnes & Nobles Nook Book Site

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Just Who Is Elizaveta Ristrova Anyway? .

With her balance of misanthropy and anthropological curiosity, author Elizaveta Ristrova travels around the world in search of interesting material. Her books consider the significance of religion, clashes between races and culture, the relationships between humans and the environment, and the creation and unravelling of human relationships. She keeps a day-job as a lawyer, focusing on environmental and international development issues.

We in Pieces, Tales from Arctic Alaska, arose from her years living 500 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. There, she interviewed community leaders regarding traditional knowledge, cut and served whale despite being vegetarian, and read every issue of the local newspaper dating back to the 1960s. Writing was a great way to fill the three months of darkness each year.

Ristrova hails from south Louisiana and currently finds herself in Makati City, the Manhattan of the Philippines. She likes singing the blues, dancing tango, making soy brownies, creating kindergarten-style art, and proselytizing about the environment. Her previous books include Taking off My Sweater, Something Short of Salvation, and Small Fish in a Small Pond.

We in Pieces is available at . Pictures of the nineteen characters in the book and a diagram of the relationships between them are at