Thursday, December 24, 2015

Think You Know the Liberty Bell?

Check out these facts.

When I was grade school I had a teacher, who was in love with history. She told tales of the American Revolution like she’d been there. The stories were so vivid and detailed that secretly my friends and I wondered if she might not be old enough to have witnessed the war between Britain and the thirteen colonies in person. She’d been to many of the historical sites and she’d show us her pictures and say if we ever got a chance we should follow in her footsteps. She said when we went on this pilgrimage we should make a point of visiting the Liberty Bell.
Recently, when I’m probably the same age my grade school teacher was when she regaled us with historical legends and lore, I traveled to the east coast and I got see the Liberty Bell. In tribute to my teacher, I’d like to share a few facts I’ve learned.

1. The Liberty Bell hasn’t tolled for over 150 years.
2. In 1751, colonists ordered the bell from England, intending to use it in the Pennsylvania State House, which is now known as Independence Hall.
3. The bell arrived in August 1752. It weighed 2,080 pounds.
4. Then colonists built a special steeple for the bell. They planned a special ceremony for the bell’s first tolling on March 10th, 1753, but when they rang the bell it clanked. It was cracked.
5. The colonists’ first idea was to send the bell back to England for repairs, but they couldn’t find a captain willing to sail with the bell immediately.
6. Colonists decided to ask John Pass and John Stow to recast the bell.
7. The two craftsmen added copper to the bell’s mix to make it stronger, but when the bell chimed it sounded terrible because there was too much copper.
8. Pass and Stow melted the bell down again and added tin; however, when the bell rang it still didn’t sound very musical. People weren’t fond of the sound, but the assembly used it anyway to call meetings to order and to chime the hour.
9. Townspeople really didn’t start liking the bell until delegates rang the bell on July 8, 1776 in celebration after the Declaration of Independence was read in the courtyard of the Pennsylvania State House.
10. Because colonists were afraid the bell might fall into the hands of the British they asked Benjamin Flower to hide it.
11. He asked John Jacob, a local farmer, to transport the bell out of Philadelphia.
12. Where was the bell? Colonists hid it in Allentown, Pennsylvania under the floor of the Zion Reformed Church.
13. After the British army march toward New York, colonists retrieved the bell.  When the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 24, 1781, the people in the newly independent America rang the bell.

The Liberty Bell has a lot more significance and a lot more history than what I’ve shared today. I’m going to do another post and give you more facts soon, but I want to stop at thirteen and wish you a Merry Christmas.

Thanks for reading my posts and I wish you a safe and blessed holiday.

The Liberty Bell by Debra Hess
The Liberty Bell by Mary Firestone
The Liberty Bell by Hall Marcovitz

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Super-Hero vs Super-Noir

By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
Like a whole lot of other people, I’ve been watching the Netflix offerings in the Marvel universe. I watched the first series, Daredevil, with a tiny bit of knowledge, since I’d read the comic from time to time, saw the movie with Ben Affleck (which I liked, and apparently I was one of a select few in that, but I assumed that was because the romance portion of the story was too much for the fanboys out there), and paid some vague attention to the natterings from those greater fans around me. Anyway, the series was good; and the lead, Charlie Cox, was fascinating to watch. Another Brit doing a great job of playing an American, Cox was somehow mesmerizing with those dark glasses, playing Matt Murdock, blind attorney by day and radar super-hero in Hell’s Kitchen (an earlier name for a neighborhood in Manhattan) by night. The super-hero outfit was nowhere to be seen for the most part, but he was even more interesting without it, in that the black turtleneck and pants and the black scarf worked better than the uniform he ended up with at the finish.

At least he had a uniform to fall back on. The second Netflix series, Jessica Jones, was built on a comic I wasn’t familiar with, not unusual, since me and mine were never Marvelfolk (we were DCers). Not only that, the lead, an actress named Krysten Ritter (sp unc), was memorable in whatever I had seen her in, so that was about the only thing I knew about it. A former super-heroine who quit the biz and became a private investigator, Jessica’s overarching story turned out to be just as interesting as the subplots. A super-villain named Kilgrave (played by David Tennant of Doctor Who; you really do have to appreciate their casting) with mind control abilities was interesting but not arresting—creepy; effective in that I kept wanting to wash my hands—then again, I was fine to watch those scenes if it meant the background stories would be served. Then again, it took me a while to realize that this was a story in which the major characters were all female (with the exception of Kilgrave, of course, and the love interest: Luke Cage, the character who helped name Nicolas Cage, ably played by Mike Colter, and who, if I recall, will be the center of the next Netflix series), and of course, by then I was hooked. It didn’t hurt that Jessica’s best friend, Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor), turned out to be in an earlier life Patsy Walker, which was the name of a super-heroine called Hellcat. Gotta love it.

Anyway, I’m darn pleased with both DD and JJ. They work well in the medium and I can only complain that Netflix bounces me out every few episodes, and so I haven’t been able to binge-watch. If you haven’t had a chance to see either, I recommend them highly.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 39 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Acknowledging our #veterans #PearlHarborDay #New release

I know, I've been gone a while. All I can say is between work and writing, well... I should do better.

I have a new release Merry Christmas, Baby  just in time for the holidays but coincidentally it went live on Pearl Harbor Day, a "Momentous" day in US history.

I shouldn't have been surprised though because my focus with this series stays on veterans. My oldest vet in the series, Grandpa Earl, survived Pearl Harbor.

Every time I research background for a story or brainstorm a character, my thoughts are on how I can bring something to light about our veterans that will expose facts we somehow think are not worthy of major public concern, like the fact that we lose at least 22 vets a day to suicide, or encourage them, or  convince someone who's reading to put themselves out there for our vets, even just your veteran neighbor who needs a hand.

It's hard not to sound preachy, and I don't mean to be. I was actually doubting the needs of vets when I began my research into the first book, Hard Days Knight. Boy, was I enlightened. They need our support now more than ever because our vets are coming out of the service younger and more traumatized and still they have to fight for their health, their families and often their very lives.

My hero in Her First Knight is a billionaire, Phd of bionics, ex-Army, who lost a brother to depression and has committed his life to making a difference for veterans. Luckily he has the money to create a consortium of private businesses to take over veterans' care. A dream because of course, it's romance, but also a possibility. There are many private businesses that are making a difference.

The thing is, if we each did something -- anything -- called our congressman, lend a helping hand, give a ride, donate (I have a short list of organizations on my Vet-links page) time or money, we could really make a difference. All of us have family members past or present who have served and it's getting more and more dangerous out there. Let's keep our vets at the front of our minds. They do such a tremendous job of protecting our liberty. And if you ask them, they don't consider themselves heroes. All they want is what's due them, resources and a job when they come home.

Please, next time you meet a veteran, don't just thank them for their service. Engage them, find out how we're treating them, what their concerns are and ask how you can help.

And if you or a loved one is a vet, I'm in awe of what you have given to your country.