Idaho’s Banned Books

There are several problems with banned books lists, the first of which is that they keep getting longer. The American Library Association (ALA) reported a record number of book bans in 2022. Last year there were 1,269 attempts to ban books, up from 729 in 2021 and 156 in 2020. And they just keep coming.

The other problem is deciding which list to check. Do you want children’s books, novels, classic literature, or nonfiction? Do you want books banned anywhere in the United States or only those banned in your state? Do you want a list of the most banned books of all time or just those that were banned last year? How about a list of banned books that are over 100 years old? Or better, how about a list of 100-year-old books that were banned last year? 

After a lot searching, I’ve created a list of 83 books recently banned in the State of Idaho. Continue reading


Natural Egg Dyes

The Ostara Sabbat marks the end of the dark half of the year. In the Anglo-Saxon calendar, Eostremonath was named after Eostre (Ostara in Old High German). Eostre is maiden goddess of dawn and the spring. At the equinox a feast is celebrated in her honor, replete with offerings of colored eggs. Exchanging eggs was thought to ensure abundant crops in the coming autumn and Saxons exchanged colored eggs as a talisman representing new life. The eggs were consumed in Eostre’s honor.

A favorite way to celebrate the holiday is by dying eggs. If you feel adventurous, skip the dye kits available at the grocery store and use vegetable dyes. It’s a fun way to connect with our ancestors and lets kids of all ages feel like a potion master in their own kitchen!

Continue reading


City Spotlight: Viola

My most recent article, “Viola: Here, Gone, and Coming Back” appears in the March 2023 issue of IDAHO Magazine. The article contains Viola history, ghostly run-ins, and interviews with current businesses and residents, along with a little hope for the future. Locally, IDAHO magazine is available at BookPeople of Moscow.

Purchase a copy directly from IDAHO Magazine for just $6 here:
Buy it now!
OR
Purchase only the Viola article for $1.99 here:
Viola—Spotlight – IDAHO magazine

Thank you for supporting Idaho businesses and Idaho authors.


Klara’s Journey on Kickstarter

I just launched Klara’s Journey on Kickstarter! On the Kickstarter website you’ll find:

The trailer was created by Damonza and is absolutely amazing. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

In addition to the trailer, there’s a video describing the project, my project budget, images of the map and the calendar created for the novel. You’ll even get a peek at the initial inspiration for the novel. (Hint: It started with a song!) I even posted the first editorial review . . . and it’s good. Really, really good!

Kickstarter allows you to pre-order both ebooks and paperbacks. Books will ship the last week of May. As a bonus, all paperbacks will be autographed before they’re shipped.

Pre-order on Kickstarter today!

 



Book Review: Poems from the Asylum

Poems from the Asylum

Edited and arranged by Janelle Molony*
Introduction by Jodi Nasch Decker**

List Price: $19.99

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*Janelle Molony is Martha’s great-granddaughter.
**Jodi Nasch Decker is Martha’s granddaughter.

Poetry, Insanity, and a New Religion

In 1927, Martha H. Nasch underwent a secret medical procedure. Cryptic family notes and correspondence refer to her operation but never give details. As she recovers, Marth complains that she has lost her appetite and food has become tasteless. These events coincide with the discovery that her husband, Louis J. Nasch Jr., was having an affair.

With no more wrong with her than “a case of nerves” and a signature from her adulterous husband, Martha was committed to an asylum. For nearly seven years, Martha was patient-inmate #20864 at the St. Peter State Hospital for the Insane. The real shocker is, Martha wasn’t insane. Continue reading


Yuletide Traditions

Early Germanic calendars were lunisolar, meaning they combined both lunar and solar aspects. In the Runic calendar, the New Year begins with the first full moon after the winter solstice. The first month of the year is Aefterra Geola (After Yule). The last month of the old year begins with prior full moon and was called Aerra Geola (Early Yule).

Multiple sources attest to the importance of the winter solstice in determining the New Year. However, it’s less clear as to whether or not Yule was celebrated specifically on the solstice. Since the Germanic calendars were set according to the timing of the solstice, there is a good argument in favor of holding Yule in conjunction with the solstice. However, there are other traditions to consider. Continue reading


Worldbuilding

My favorite stories have strong sense of place. I absolutely love when an author pulls you into the story so deeply that you’re startled to find there isn’t six feet of snow outside when you put the book down. This is achieved though worldbuilding.

Most people think worldbuilding is easy. Science fiction and fantasy writers get told it’s easy because they can just make stuff up. Historical fiction writers get told it’s easy because they can just look stuff up. Writers who use contemporary settings are told it’s easy because it’s just the real world, duh. Savvy writers know worldbuilding is anything but easy. Continue reading


Halloween History

Every autumn folks become enamored with “witchcraft.” When the annual autumnal uptick is accompanied by the release of a popular book or movie like Hocus Pocus or Harry Potter interest in the occult skyrockets.

A surprising variety of traditions fall under the umbrella “witchcraft,” which encompasses everything from Sami Shamanism to Haitian Voodoo. You can see lists of the various religions HERE and HERE. To the best of my knowledge, Halloween isn’t a holy day for any of them.

Fictional stories, like the Harry Potter series, bear no resemblance to actual pagan religions. Sure, pagans enjoy dressing up and handing out candy as much as our Christian brethren. But that’s generally the extent of our participation. The influx of folks seeking admittance to “secret Halloween rituals” are left confused and disappointed. The only hocus pocus they’re likely to find on Halloween will be playing in theaters.

Few people realize Halloween’s origins are purely Christian and its customs uniquely American. Continue reading


Find Your Muse

Writers get a lot of terrible advice. Among the worst are phrases like “follow your passion” and “believe in yourself.” This type of advice sounds inspirational—in reality it’s just nonsense. Meaningless platitudes won’t make you a better writer or increase your word count.

Another equally useless piece of advice is “find your muse.” I’m all for seeking inspiration, but there’s a glaring problem with this advice. Most people don’t know who the muses are. Worse, they have no idea how each of their domains aligns with the different genres. Continue reading