Monday, December 3, 2012


There are the books everyone had heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you've never heard of? Some are treasures, waiting to be found, and that's what this blog hop is about: the books you might not have heard of, but that you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you're bound to find some books you'll love! Maybe you'll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Connie Spittler. Her blog is or Google Connie Spittler Words Fly By

Here's a little info about my current work-in-progress: 

1: What is the working title of your book?

Thieves, Rascals & Sore Losers: A Kit & Caboodle of Dirty Deals

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The dirtiest deal my home town ever pulled off.

3: What genre does your book fall under?

Humorous history

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I would leave that to the director, except I'd make one man blonde, long-legged and languid, the other small, dark and feisty.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It features a wide variety of dirty deals, some in Congress, many in Nebraska, and a big one in my home county.

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self published.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me about five or six years to read old handwritten county notes and to find out everything the Nebraska State Historical Society had on the matter. 

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The book Mike Donovan is marketing. "It's a general history of the United States for general readers with a touch of humor," he says, "and I try to take out all the boring things that are in history books and liven it up, spice it up a little, a fake story now and then based on a true story."

Here's some other similar books with their book jackets.

The Humorous History of White County, Arkansas by Claude E. Johnson.

A Humorous History of the United States by Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye

An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge by John O'Farrell

Stupid Wars: A Citizen's Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions by Ed Strosser & Michael Prince

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Resilient Human Spirit

Have you ever wondered what happened to Orphan Train children who were physically abused? Nothing, in some cases, I suppose. But not in Traverse City, Michigan.

Take a look at this:

"When legendary pediatrician Mark Osterlin arrived in Traverse City in 1935, the former University of Michigan associate professor quickly set to work making his mark on the region – helping Munson Hospital get off the ground, heading up its newly formed Children's Clinic, and building friendly rapport with local residents.

"But early in his tenure, Osterlin noticed a disturbing trend: Many of the TC children coming through his practice were showing visible signs of abuse and neglect, but there were no processes in place to remove the kids from their dangerous situations.

"Osterlin set out to find a solution." 

From "TC's Child & Family Services: Born of an Orphan Train" by Craig Manning. If you wish, read the rest of the story in The Ticker News, at

The abuse that rider Teresa Martin experienced, detailed in her biography, MAIL-ORDER KID, was as devastating in its way as that of the unidentified child pictured in Manning's story. Teresa never had to live on the streets, but her years of sexual abuse had its cost. 

The child Manning describes was rescued from her filth and vermin and placed in a good home. Certainly Teresa's situation would have been improved had her orphanage, The Foundling, freed her.

Yet, both the ragged child in Manning's story and Teresa grew up to be "well-educated, self-supporting" young women. Their stories are testimonies to the resilience of the human spirit.

So many Orphan Train stories are.

from:  a JoLt of CoFFeY 
 An Intermittent Newsletter
by Marilyn June Coffey, Author, 
WINNER: "Special President's Award"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Breaking News

A few days ago, Krystal Sidzyik, Entertainment Editor for UNO's Gateway, published a feature article, "Author of 'Marcella' reads story 23 years after the book was first banned."

If you want to read it, here's the link:


When I was browsing Amazon today, I noticed that it was offering a copy of my book-length poem, A Cretan Cycle: Fragments Unearthed from Knossos. That startled me.

This beautiful tiny hardcover book, illustrated with woodcuts created by Kostas Lekakis, is a gem--and rarely for sale.

A Cretan Cycle retells the ancient story of the Minotaur from a feminist perspective. WARNING: My language is sometimes racy.

The seller on Amazon is offering a single copy, "Used - Very Good" for $17.77. If this interests you, here's the link:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012



The Marcella Marathon, version 2012, took place October 6 in Omaha's Benson Library as though reading aloud about "sex, sin and guilt" were normal. Lindsey Peterson, a reporter for KVNO News, videotaped the reading for UNO TV. If you're curious to see how I look at 75, here's the link:


You can read or listen to Lindsey's unexpurgated radio interview of me, "Banned author talks censorship for Banned Books Week," on this link:

This version contains the horrible "M" word--twice!--a word no one heard in the live broadcasts.


Planning to be in the Omaha area Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20? Do drop into the W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St, for the Omaha Lit Fest 2012. It's free and open to the public.

This year, the festival focuses on women writers. Its tongue-in-cheek title is "The Lit Fest Guide to Etiquette for Women Writers." Saturday at 5 p.m., three other women writers and I are on a panel called: Your Guide to Unladylike Demeanor: women writers making people nervous.

We writers will discuss the challenge of writing honestly about touchy subjects. What happens when women writers explore controversial topics (either willingly or inadvertently)? Are the rules of propriety different for women writers than they are for men?

On the panel with me will be Elizabeth Crane, Katie F-S, and Stacey Waite.

For details on the panelists or on Lit Fest, go to



from:  a JoLt of CoFFeY 
 An Intermittent Newsletter
by Marilyn June Coffey
"BitterSweet Rebel"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"That Word"

If you'd like to hear, or read, the unexpurgated version of "Banned author talks censorship for Banned Books Week" by Lindsey Peterson, KVNO News -- that's her interview of me -- go to:

I noticed that "That Word" had been expurgated in the edited version that hit the airwaves October 1, 2012.

I think it was expurgated because, when Ms. Peterson questioned me and I mentioned "That Word," she said:

"...even as we're talking and in a radio station it is kind of hard to talk about that. Because some of our listeners might be kind of taken aback by that."

Indeed. "That Word."

I used to say autoeroticism instead. It has such a nice academic ring, and almost no one knows what it means. Mark Twain preferred onanism, but since women don't spill seed, I stuck with autoeroticism. 

But lately I've been in a "call a spade a spade" mood when discussing my banned novel, MARCELLA. It's in such good company:

Song of Solomon. Huckleberry Finn. Alice in Wonderland. Diary of Anne Frank. Harry Potter. Little Red Riding Hood. Green Eggs & Ham. 

Plus dozens more, including many classics. Just take a look at the American Library Association list:


from:  a JoLt of CoFFeY 
 An Intermittent Newsletter
by Marilyn June Coffey
"BitterSweet Rebel"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Of Cabbages & Kings

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:

Omega Cottonwood Press will bring out three of my books in 2013:

MARCELLA, a reprint of my debut novel originally published by Charterhouse Books, New York, in 1973. The novel describes a young girl's struggle with sexuality and morality. It is the only novel written in English to use female masturbation as its main theme. Gloria Steinem called it "an important part of truth-telling by and for women." Quartet in London published MARCELLA in paperback. Excerpts appeared in MS. magazine, POL in Australia and a newspaper serial in Denmark.

PRICKSONGS: TART POEMS OF THE SIXTIES a collection of poems I wrote during the libidinous days of the 1960s. Make Love, Not War advised the slogan, and I did. My steamy poems are as crazy, diverse, risque, and turbulent as The Sixties were. They will sweep you back to a decade when gaudily painted Flower Power buses roamed the streets, when mini skirts, bell-bottoms, and love beads adorned bodies, when The Pill and sexual liberation were new.

MAS - TUR - BA - TION a reprint of my booklet on a subject that Sigmund Freud called inexhaustible and Mark Twain couldn't resist ridiculing.

Another Marilyn Coffey book from Omega Cottonwood Press:

THE BATTLE OF ORLEANS: AN ILLUSTRATED DOCUMENTARY OF THE MARCELLA MARATHON cancelled in Orleans, Nebraska, due to its controversial nature.

A Marilyn June Coffey book from "out West" Press:

MAIL-ORDER KID: AN ORPHAN TRAIN RIDER'S STORY looks at the orphan train movement through the eyes of one small child who yearns to know her "real" mother, survives a tortured childhood, and ultimately, as an adult, comes to terms with her past, her faith, and herself.

"Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
"Of cabbages--and kings--

In October, I'll participate in a marathon and in panel discussions.

October 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Swanson Branch, Omaha Public Library (9101 Dodge Road, lower level meeting room) a Banned Book panel discussion with librarian Verda Bialac, Great Plains writer Marilyn Coffey, UNO professor Dr. Charles Johanningsmeier, author/columnist Rainbow Rowell, and author, UNL professor Timothy Schaffert. Sally Deskins will moderate.

October 6, 1-6 p.m., FREE, Benson Library, 6015 Binney St., Omaha, NE 68104, LES FEMMES FOLLES will honor MARCELLA with a MARATHON READING. I'll open the reading. 

 Oct 20, "The Lit Fest Guide to Etiquette for Women Writers," I'll be on a panel tentatively titled "Women Writers Behaving Badly."

"And why the sea is boiling hot--
"And whether pigs have wings."

Two magazines will feature my work.

"Her Body's Song" a description of Marcella's first orgasm, will be reprinted by C.L.A.P.: CREATIVE LADIES ARE POWERFUL, a progressive quarterly zine out of Minneapolis that celebrates women in all their various forms of creative living.

Blogger Georgia Platts will publish an interview with me in MS. magazine's blog.

Poetry courtesy of 
Lewis Carroll's
Through the Looking-Glass 
and What Alice Found There

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How I Married Him

The Omaha World Herald, my daily paper, has been running "How Did You Meet?" stories about the different ways couples hooked up. Two gold wedding rings illustrate each story.

How did these Herald couples get together? Well, locking keys in the car did it for one. "Something clicked" for another. A third had to overcome a German-English language barrier.

I thought about submitting my story, "False Pregnancy Forces Couple to Marry," but I wasn't certain it would be appropriate for such a family paper as the Herald. What do you think?

Here it is:

Tom was the only person I knew when I arrived in New York City in 1960 after 19 years living almost entirely in Nebraska. I didn't actually know Tom, but I had his phone number from a university classmate. Tom worked for the Associated Press, which impressed me, so I looked him up. 

Bald, kind of heavy set, and twelve years older than I, Tom had a nimble sense of humor that I liked. He took me for drinks and for regular swings in the hay, easy enough for him to do even though I wasn't wildly attracted to him. But in those days, I never said no. Maybe it was the booze, or maybe my periodic manias, or maybe my delayed reaction to my teenage sexual abuse. Who knows? Maybe a heightened sense of Midwestern politeness. Whatever.

Anyway, I found a job, probably some mindless typing work, with a stunning boss. Sol. A young manager, in his late twenties. Sophisticated. Smart dresser. Used a tad of cologne. Bedroom eyes. He could make me cream just explaining my next stupid task.

His apartment had that designer look, a dozen masculine shades of brown plus nubby textures. There, occasionally, he taught me how to do things that I didn't know people ever did to one another.

When he saw that I was smitten, he explained that he wasn't the marrying kind, and I could tell he meant it. He happened to be out of town on business when my period stopped, and I knew, I just knew, that it was his and he wouldn't claim it. Of course, it could have been his or Tom's or who knows who else with whom I might have had a one-nighter. But I knew, in that way that women know, that I was pregnant and it was Sol's.

Hysterical, I wept my plight into Tom's ears. "What am I going to do?"

"That's easy." Tom slugged down the rest of his martini. "I'll marry you."

Amazed, I accepted. 

What choice did I have?

I told my folks. Tom and I set the date, a couple months away. We rented a church, the famous Little Church Around the Corner. Then before we said our vows, my period arrived. 


I badly wanted to bow out of the wedding, but Tom had been so darn nice, I couldn't figure out any polite way to refuse him. 

So I didn't.

When I called Sol to tell him I was getting married, he laughed. "You'll come back, Sweetheart. They all do."

Which made me so mad I vowed I'd never call him again, never ever ever ever.

I walked down the aisle in a blue gown, not white. At least I wasn't a hypocrite. By then, I truly was pregnant. And it was Tom's.

P.S.  When, after several months, I gave in and called Sol, he had left the place where we used to work. And he never did give me his home phone number. So that was that.

Well, what-do-you-think?

Should I send it to the Herald?


from:  a JoLt of CoFFeY 
 An Intermittent Newsletter
by Marilyn June Coffey
"BitterSweet Rebel"

For earlier blogs, go to

some BitterSweet books 

written by Marilyn June Coffey

MAIL-ORDER KID: An Orphan Train Rider's Story

MARCELLA: A NOVEL To be reprinted Fall 2012.


but can sometimes be bought from Amazon or other on-line book dealers.

A CRETAN CYCLE: Fragments unearthed from Knossos is a rare book. 
To buy it, search eBay or other on-line book dealers.

Want me to take you off this mailing list? 

Reply and write REMOVE in the subject line.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More MotorMouth

Twenty-one folks wrote me about my MotorMouth blog. Here's a sample plus a startling poem by Ellaraine Lockie and a confessional essay by a real Motor Mouth a. k. a. Therese Guy. Enjoy!

Laugh of the day! Lisa Pelto LOVE it!!!!!  Muffy Vrana


Ha! You're telling me! My husband is a professor and quizzes me all the time...arg! No spacing off! Sally Deskins

I told my kid the same thing.  He would talk all the way through a three hour car trip to Grandma's. Exhausted I finally said--"You can talk but I'm not going to listen."
He smiled, said, "Okay, Mommy," and kept going. Barbara Schmitz

You open a can of worms each time you write something. Gummy worms, delightful to the taste. Therese Guy

I gather those talkers, too. I married one. And, yes, I tune him out. When I can't stand any more I go to my reading chair and pick up my book. He will leave me alone for awhile, but invariably will come in later with something fascinating he has to tell me. I look up, nod my head, maybe say, "uh-huh," and go back to my reading. But he's a husband of 42 years and I don't have to be so polite.
It's when we are with other people that I go insane with Bill's talking, hearing the same stories for the thousandth time. I'm trapped there, can't grab a book because I have to be polite. With the couple we spent Saturday nights with for so many years I insisted we play cards to keep Bill occupied and from yakking non-stop. It helped. Kay Golden

[Motormouths] can be double edged. The best part is you don't have to hold up your end of the conversation, since they are doing that for both of you and all you have to do is nod now and then. BUT, once in a while you get caught, have to answer a question or supply a comment and you have not a clue as to what they were talking about. 1. Because you were not listening. 2. Have no idea who they are talking about. 3. You don't really give a dam about what they are talking about. Marsha Stribley

Hee-Haw! Hey! I'm about to get very motor-mouthed on paper. However, the nice thing is, when your attention wanders, you can quit reading and come back to it later. :<) Carla Barber

Don't you hate going to get your hair cut bc the hairdresser chats the whole time, or when the dentist talks to you? ;) Sally Deskins

What I Carry Home to the Grandsons

Holding the disability preboard card
I say to the flight attendant
who will lift my luggage 
First I need the neck brace and ostrich egg
from my carry-on 

The cheerleader type in the next seat 
can't wait to ask about my disability
I read out loud the ingredients on a Nutridel 
cookie package in my other hand
Oats, whole wheat flour, wheat bran
sunflower seeds, dry coconut, sesame seeds
molasses, sunflower oil
All in the right order 
for optimal health I say

Then I show her the bodies in my purse
A shriveled baby rattlesnake dented from a tire
A prairie dog's jawbone with perfect teeth
The only remains from my grandfather I tell her
An intact mouse skeleton found 
in the wall of the Montana cabin
A home-stuffed rabbit's foot

She says nothing for the rest 
of the flight to California
Just checks her watch
I read in the peace of what 
a deaf person might hear

--Ellaraine Lockie

Motor Mouth
By Therese Guy

  My friend posted a very funny and interesting post this week about how she attracts motor mouths as friends. I must say I would have to put myself in the chatterbox category of personalities. My brother use to taunt me with,
"Therese when you open your mouth your whole body disappears."
If I were quiet as a child my mother would immediately take my temperature, cause if I was not talking--I certainly must have been ill!
My first grade teacher queried once, "Therese, why do you talk so much?" 
My simple answer was, "Because I have a lot to say."
To top it all off I married a man who can talk as much, if not more, then me. Our children had no chance, between heredity and environment; they could be nothing less then experts in the art of babbling.
I usually win in the duels of disseminating my vast knowledge (yeah right) only because I also inherited my dad's loud voice. I have the highest amps.
One difficulty with all being talkers is our listening skills leave a little something to be desired. It is hard to focus on what another is saying when your busy thinking of the next thing you are going to relay.
My youngest daughter went through a teenage stage where she did not wish to talk or share information with me. I was so hurt and missed her noise. She is twenty now and has seemed to gotten over that. Trouble is she now wants to share and it usually is at eleven at night when I'm extremely tired and cannot seem to focus.
The other night she tried the above scenario. I tried to use some listening tricks I thought I had perfected. As she talked I interjected a few well placed, "uh-huh's" and  "really's". Even a few, "You don't say's."
As she exited my room it took a few seconds to register what she had last said. I guess she recognized my zoned look and decided to be ornery. 
She said, "Mom I'm pregnant and my boyfriend and I are broke, so we are gonna go knock off a bank."
Not focusing I replied, " That's nice honey, have a good time."
It did register though before she had gone too far down the hall and I rallied.
"Hey Erin, if it is a successful heist could you pick me up a pizza on the way home!"
Almost all jesting aside, I feel I have improved with age; I no longer get in trouble at the library, church, and hospitals. Thank God for texting!