A Book Review: Digging to China by Justin W. Price

I would like to introduce Justin Price and his new book “Digging to China.” Justin is a talented young man who is managing editor for eFiction Horror magazine, a respected writer on Hubpages, and continues to wow his audience with his wonderful blog. Justin is married to his lovely wife Andrea and they live in the great state of Oregon.

“Digging to China” is a delightful book of poetry that is original and depicts the human side with all its glory and frailties. It is a collection of poetry, spanning 15 years of the Justin’s life, who at the age of 32, is now a flourishing young writer. The theme has much nostalgia, one of the things I loved most. There is plenty of wonderful poetry to appeal to all ages alike.


What impressed me about Justin was his honesty from his earlier days. He admits that the poetry varies and captures his early teens, twenties, to present. One of the questions I asked Justin was, what was his purpose in writing this poetry book and this is what he shared.

“I really wanted to get my poems collected all in one place, but I also wanted only certain poems that fit the theme of nostalgia and all that goes with it. I’ve been writing poems for as long as I can remember and I could fit them all in one book, it would likely rival the Bible in thickness. More than that, I’d grown disenchanted with publishing poems on blogs and Hub pages and decided in order to be a “serious” writer and possibly be discovered, I needed to focus my literary efforts more on literary magazines and books.

I still publish poems and blogs on those platforms, but only after literary magazines have soundly rejected them. It took me awhile to get this book done because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’m always revising; I always see what can be changed or whatever, in fact, I’ve edited some of the poems from the book since publishing it and you can look for those in future editions. I wanted to get my poems out there and build some name recognition.”

There were many poems and stories I enjoyed but this one stood out to me.

“The Battle of Bunk bed Ridge” was delightful, showing the innocence of a young boy and his green plastic soldier’s. It was a special time, when Justin spent hours playing with his dad. His first curse word was heard through the house. This was real and evoked memories that I had forgotten as I had once watch my sons play with their little green plastic soldiers.

This is only one of many poems that will cause one to pause and remember.

Like many writers, we find all kinds of inspiration to draw our characters from. Justin explains how his character came to be.

“Most, if not all of them, are based on real people I know. It’s dangerous to assume when a writer uses “I” that he means himself. But, for the most part, I conjured up memories, people and places that I actually know and inserted them into my poems. There’s some poems in there based on true events, but which I chose to fictionalize in order to make a point—or simply make a better poem.”

I do believe we all have our own favorite poem or story to tell. Justin explains why these two pieces are his favorites.

“In the book, either Hot Pink Lipstick or Burrito is my favorite. Hot Pink Lipstick, which is about my reactions upon seeing my deceased grandmother. From a literary standpoint, I think it’s just a really good poem, with lots of symbolism and subtle nuances. I don’t generally toot my own horn—in fact, I’m generally quite critical of my work—but I think there’s a lot of brilliance in it. Burrito is important as well because I hate that I was so ungrateful towards a man that did so much for his family. To this day, I hate it when I get an unappreciated gift, or when anything is wasted. There’s so many people lacking in this world… to waste something because you don’t like it is appalling.”

I have one prose that stood out to me as the reader; tears filled my eyes when I read about a young boy spending his last Holiday with his family intact before they went their separate ways. This is a scene many have felt and witnessed. The humanity of Justin’s words came alive across the pages.

When writers put their pen to page, they have in mind a certain audience usually. Did you find yourself targeting a certain group?

“I think there’s something for any fans of non-rhyming poetry. If you like poems that touch the soul, poems that are honest and at times scathing, poems that conjure memories and touch the senses, then you should consider the book. Most of my poems are more like short stories in non-prose form, and are generally short. If that’s the kind of poetry you enjoy, then this book was designed for you. Here’s a touch of the sacred and the profane, some will make you laugh, and, hopefully, some will make you cry.”

Like many writers, they are inspired by people who have touched their lives, making a great influence. Who has been your greatest influences along the way?

“Poetically… Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, Howard Nemerov, Ginsberg, John Updike, Frost, Pound, Cummings, local poets Garret Potter and Peter Johnson, and even Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. It’s probably to my detriment that I don’t enjoy Shakespeare, Blake, and other Romantics. Modern poetry is what appeals to me.

In my life…my father, probably, my mom will probably hate to hear me say that, but it’s true. I’m so much like him, form the way I look to the way I get irritated at things I shouldn’t get irritated at, also, music, and my ever ebbing and flowing faith.”

I read many types of poetry in your book. What kind of poetry would you consider your book to be?

“Stylistically, it’s almost entirely free verse. Thematically, it’s mostly nostalgia. The idea of losing innocence and coming of age has always appealed to me.”

One last question and we will wrap up this book review, while this is not your traditional book review, I think new readers will have learned a lot about Justin Price.

How did you come up with the cover and why?

“I originally solicited artists to draw something. I had no idea what. Then I realized, based on the theme of the book, I needed a photograph from childhood. So, I found one of myself and my brother Andy on the beach at my grandparents’ house in Imperial Beach, California. I love that my brother is central, that my little tongue is sticking out and, if you notice closely, that my dad’s arm is embracing both of us.”

“The picture was taken probably in 1984, before my youngest brother and sister came along. I thought it was perfect. I then drew up a shitty cover (I’m lousy with computer art) and Joshua Sunforged fixed it up and made it the cover it is now. I like it not only for the content but also for the fact that I think it will look good in print, once I am able to print it.”

I hope this gives the potential reader a good review of what makes this author tick, the thoughts of this reader, and the history behind this book. We all can have our own opinions about a certain book, but digging a bit deeper, learning about the author, his intentions in writing his book and his thoughts behind his work, may only add a deeper understanding of Justin’s work.

Thank you Justin for allowing me to do a book review, delving into your thoughts, and sharing, “Digging to China.”

Please check out more of Justin’s work by visiting his hub.


Amazon link below.


It is with great pleasure that I recommend this book. You may laugh, shed some tears, and even get the WOW factor but there is one thing for sure, you will not regret reading this book.

This entry was posted on April 12, 2013. 3 Comments

Introducing a Talented Writer and Poet, Martin Kloess

It is my pleasure to introduce Martin, a talented man whom I met on Yahoo Contributor I believe close to a year ago, and then to my surprise we met once again on hubpages. Martin was so gracious to allow me to do this wonderful interview.

Martin1999 001

Martin where are you from and what was your job in life?

I was born in Friedberg (then) West German on December 25, 1951 to Anna Marie Kloess, daughter of Karl Kloess. I never knew my father. I was brought to America in 1957.

Though I studied to be a music teacher, I wound up working in the graphic department in the headquarters of a major oil company. I ended my career there in a dream job. People would ask for something and I made it happen. This ranged from a few quick copies to making flags float in mid-air (no strings were used). I learned how to create dreams, since I had close to no limits.

When did you first start writing?

I assume you mean text and not my music.

My interest in writing started in high school and was sparked by a teacher, Mr. Pierre Noble. He made writing interesting and, no matter how long the assignment, fun. Mr. Noble died two years after I graduated a victim of a school stabbing.

My first paid writing was for the Newlywed Game, when ABC had a studio in San Francisco. I was only 16. And the game paid anyone $20.00 for an idea they used, Whether I was prolific or whether I was good, many of my ideas were used.

I also wrote and performed for Energetic Productions, where many of my radio jingles were used and aired. The most notable were for Ben’s Franks and Las Vegas Golf and Tennis.

Most recently I wrote for many Masonic bulletins and “beefed” students’ college acceptance and scholarship letters.

So why, you might ask, didn’t I pursue a career as a writer? Distractions.

Sunnie’s Favorite Poem by Martin

The Hero (poem)

A rhyme of a youth we once knew

Who enjoyed unique points of view

He dreamt of a world which was new

Which blossomed in his special hue

As he aged his wonderment grew

He displayed his talents so true

To shadows which he couldn’t see

His visions for me and for you

Soon to his side volunteers flew

But with them flowed dark destiny

His actions were no longer free

He pondered just what would he do

It seemed one more victim he’ll be

To world of mediocrity

To age another victory

This hero of ours is he through

But there through the darkest of night

Dawns fresh new expressions of light

Yet oddly familiar this sight

This stranger who bears hero’s fight

Written by Martin Kloess

What is your favorite song?

Since college my taste in music has been very broad, as anyone who visits my Facebook wall will tell you. Somewhere after I joined the Freemasons they started to play Quando Quando Quando to induce Arlene, my wife, and I to dance (like it really took any encouragement). Like trained puppets, we dropped anything we might be doing to dance to this song. One time it played over a grocery store loud-speaker and guess what happened. So Quando Quando Quando became “our song”.

Arlene and Martin 001

What is your favorite quote, can have more than one.

“How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?”

What is your favorite story?

Though I do like “ Alice in Wonderland” my 2 all time favorite would be Homer’s Iliad and The Book of Job.

If you could do anything in this world to change it, what would it be?

Odd question, when one thinks about it. I am old and have lived a very long life. I am also disabled and my contact with “the world” is extremely limited. This, for many more reasons, is no longer my world. I would hope that those to whom this world now belongs find a way to be happy in the world they make.

During my active time there was no “if”. I took my little piece of “the world” and changed it. I improved schools. I formed community watches and improved neighborhood police relations. I got people to polls. I made people know they could be like me (active).

Ocean Beach

What is your pet peeve, can name more than one..hehe

The media and its control over the public. Yet they only sell us what we want to buy. In my travels across America, I was struck how different one “fact” was written and what information was left out. In jest, I asked people, “How many presidents does America have?”, because so many and diverse pictures are drawn of one man.

To get a look at our great country, it is (I think) a good idea to see what the rest of the world is talking about.

Tell us about your family? Any grandchildren, children?

I have 2 children Peter and Robin.

Peter is a graduate of Lowell, one of America’s top scholastic high schools of his time. Not everyone can get into Lowell. He graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Geology. Though a “bone head” (dinosaur hunter) at heart, he works for the Department of the Interior. He inspects sites to make sure nature is not threatened. His lifelong interest in dinosaurs began at 6 when he found a trilobite fossil at the beach.

As a side note: I have real dinosaur bones at my house.

Robin is a culinary school graduate. She completed her apprenticeship at Jardiniere. She is now head Pastry Chef at Incanto. Her interest in cooking began when she was 12. She loved the kitchen. Doing the dishes, for her, was just an excuse to play with water. Plus, she loved to cook. In the beginning, I was her assistant as she prepared… whatever. As she grew, she got more adventurous, leaving the cook books behind. But her dad at everything she cooked. Thus my appreciation of hot sauce. She is now a busy, but successful chef. Now, I love my daughter a lot, but when I see the price of her desserts I think, “people really pay this much!?”

Peter and Robin love each other a lot and have since the day Robin was born. I would briefly share that day with you. I was at work when I got the call that Arlene was in labor at the hospital. I rushed to pick up Peter at his daycare and we went straight to the hospital. When we arrived the place was a flurry of activity. My daughter was already born. A nurse was pressing me for her name. I had just gotten there. I was confused. I turned to a 4-year-old, who calmly said Robin. Surely he must be right! And that is how Robin got her name.

What is the best vacation spot you have ever gone to?

Arlene and I were very fortunate to have good friends in the travel business. Through them we were able to experience a good part of our great country at ridiculously low rates. We didn’t have the time or money to travel abroad.

My favorite “get away” was Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Favorite ride… Peter Pan. We would go there almost yearly. I think it had a lot to do with: Disneyland was where Arlene and I went for our anniversary.

If you were music what type of music would you be and why

Any dance music to which a couple has to hold. At my first dance, I could move my body, but I really couldn’t dance. Arlene got it in her head that this must change. So she did and bore what she had to in order to teach me. In 1976, 2 years after we were married and 8 years of putting up with this dummy, a light turned on. Drop everything, I want to dance with Martin. I could make the worse dancer look good. But the real magic appeared when I was dancing with Arlene.

Dancing at home, alone, got us over some of life’s hurdles.

What makes you laugh?

It is very easy to make me laugh. Sometimes I had to watch myself for laughing at the wrong time.

One of saying I heard, “Sometimes life is so bad you just have to laugh.”

Ether Bunny 2 001

What makes you cry?

Men aren’t suppose to cry. Not this guy. I cry at happy endings or when people hurt. Oddly, physical pain doesn’t make me cry. Most of all, I cry because I miss Arlene.

What makes you blow a gasket? 🙂

It use to drive me crazy when people pass up chances or opportunities, especially those laid at their feet.

I have noticed, as I have lost the ability to talk, I have been far more tolerant than I already was.

If you were a color what would it be?

My favorite color is green. It has been for so long I forgot why. Yet on women I find any combination of black and red appealing.

How do you view God?

Very important and very personnel. I believe God has blessed me with many talents. It has been my honor and privilege to use the Lord’s gifts to bring some positive change to so many lives.

The world s a better place because I was here.

Token German

Links to Martins Work

It is very to find me or information about me. On the internet type Martin Kloess or mhatter99 in your browser.

Or one could contact the Grand Lodge of California, 1111 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. (phone) 415/776-7000
Or my fan page on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mhatter99

I am working on my Joy’s Summer Memory series of which 3 ebooks are now available: Joy’s Summer Memories – Introduction, Joy’s Summer Memories – A Time To Love, and Joy’s Summer Memories – Moments of Laughter.
I am working on book number 4 now.








Martin Kloess Aka MHatter99



Martin it has been my privilege and honor to share with many, your wonderful heart and talents. Thank you so much for allowing me to do this. God bless you!


Introducing Ubani Alexander Thandi

Watch out World…Ubani’s in the house!

It is my honor to introduce Ubani on Sunnie’s Pen to Page.

I met Ubani on Hubpages where he shared many of his wonderful poems. Please enjoy his autobiography, some of his favorite quotes, and a special poem,  shared in his own words.


“I remain my humble self Ubani Alexander Chijioke Thandi. I came from the far parts of Africa through the blossoming and dusty landscapes of Abia State, Nigeria far beyond the greenish forest and the vast oceans far away from Lagos, Onitsha and Calabar.
I was called to earth by my beautiful parents who gave birth to six others besides myself right there in Umudike. The fourth in a family of seven – five beautiful girls and two handsome dudes make up my family.

I started my early education ᵃ†̥̥ National Root Crops Research Institute, umudike and later proceeded †Φ the famous Government College Umuahia for my secondary education. My ambition to be on Television led me to study Theater Arts from Imo State University, Owerri were I bagged a Bachelor’s Degree (B.A hons) majoring in Play writing. Through the difficulties, numerous industrial actions and hardships of university life, I grew to become a most acclaimed, outstanding, talented and skillful writer and student – one of the best in my department.

“He who searches for crabs in shark infested water is asking for trouble”

“With over 500 poems (more than 60 published poems, 15 short stories, 8 plays and 3 unpublished novels)

I was born on the 3rd of May, 1987 to Mr and Mrs Ubani M.O, our family was sweet and large. My mama Mrs. Chinyere Ubani and my grandfather all of blessed memory helped shape my life for good.


“Mama, I will fight your fight and be rest assured that you will forever be dear †Φ my heart. My heart bleeds and I am worried that you will not be around †Φ reap the fruit of your labor.”

There is no greater love than a son for his mother. The character of a man is made from the love of his mother.


Mama was strict, religious, determined, outstanding, generous and was a go-getter to the core. Her ‘never say die’ attitude gave impetus to all I have achieved till this day. My story can never be complete without her.

On the other hand, my grandfather tutored me in the ways of the ancients and taught me that respect, honor, trust, truth, family and love were virtues of life. He tendered me like a chick under the mother hen.


“I am another ordinary man doing extraordinary things”

“Now, I can without doubt say that I am a prolific and versatile Writer, Actor, Playwright, Dramatist, Poet and Script-writer.

The Gladiator

by Ubani Alexander Thandi

Look! A man
by his worth, he is blessed
worried of soul
but, strong at heart
delighting every soul

He is a child of honor

A bundle of gift
The light of many
The comforter of The afflicted
With his hands, strangulation Whispers
Awesome, built with strength
his fist molded with iron

fast, strong, bold & proud
intelligence is his father
glory his pride
determination eat his guts

he is a child of destiny
born for heroics
with blood he bathe
his heart at his back
survival is his only food

in the mind of a gladiator.

Copyright – Ubani Alexander Chijioke


I have been featured in different online Magazines, blogs and social network sites and most recently my poems and short stories have featured as a guest writer at The African street writer site



My EYES are in tears

My HEART in pain

Deep thoughts overwhelming my mind

Sweet bitter pain in my heart

Their faces are hungry

Begging for food

Orphans of our world

Homeless not hopeless

We appeal for LOVE

Begging for help

We are the children of poverty

Sons and daughters of want

Abandoned, poor and battered

Food we beg each day

We ask for help

We are the children of the world

Sons and daughters born of a woman

Please give us a life

Make us all equal

Stop the discrimination

End the inequality

Halt the corruption

No more abortion, no more killings

We are all equal

Make the world a better place

Bring out the laughter on our faces

Make food like water

Treat all equal

Let the music of love flow to all

Brighten our faces with your friendship

Bring us all together

Black, white and red

Because we are one

Let’s love one another

Care and protect one another

For life is SWEET when we share it with OTHERS.

©Copyright – Ubani Alexander Thandi²ᴼ¹²


Please find many of Ubani’s work on the following sites below.


Ubani’s work is also featured on Katrine Del monte’s site below

“I have featured in many stage plays, dance concerts, poetry and short story competitions.

I am young, passionate, loving, jovial and easy-going person who loves to laugh.

In fact, I laugh a lot but I am handsome too.”

  Sunnie says, ” A super writer and a super man! “


                 Thank you Ubani for letting me share your wonderful story. Never give up on your dream! Wishing you the very best on your writing journey!


This entry was posted on January 15, 2013. 6 Comments

Introducing Calvin Compost in Organic City by Brenda Barnes


“Calvin Compost is like most kids in that he longs for adventure and excitement. Calvin, however, is no ordinary boy. He is an earthworm and lives in a compost bin where he reads about the exploits of his favorite heroes. But when the world needs a real hero who can save the entire community and perhaps the planet, Calvin’s eagerness for excitement may get him more than he bargained for. He must leave the safety of the only home he has ever known and venture into a big, dangerous world, going on an incredible quest into the unknown and returning a hero!”

Recommended for children ages 5 through 10.
Please take a look at Maria’s wonderful review on hubpages.


A wonderful new children s book just in time for Christmas
Wishing Brenda the very best!

This entry was posted on November 8, 2012. 6 Comments

Introducing Will Starr’s Newest book Hired On

Hired On is Volume 2 of the award winning short stories of Will Starr. In the title story, Hired On, a young man who has just joined a trail herd as a cook suddenly finds himself faced with the challenge of a lifetime…alone

If you do not know Will is one of the best western writers there is. It is certainly not a genre that many can tackle with such authenticity. I know it is only a matter of time before he becomes a best seller.

This entry was posted on October 1, 2012. 6 Comments