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Discussion Guide For The Blue Clay Pot (Download Here)

1.  The Blue Clay Pot takes place in two very different time periods. What does Martha discover about the people of the past that gives her insight into the present? What about the future?

2.  The Blue Clay Pot is a story of the complex relationships Martha has with her family members and the new relationships she develops with the ancient people. She feels each of these “dream” relationships can be compared to those in her “real” life. Do you agree with her analysis? Could she have it wrong?

3.  Before Martha comes to the Canyon she has certain ideas about parenting. How does she change under the influence of the ancient people? Were these better parenting techniques or not? Why does Martha teach the people of the canyon to speak English?

4.  Glen feels guilty about Martha’s unconscious state. Was he the cause of what happened?

5.  Jack is the son we all dread. How does this change of the course of the book? Would it have made a difference if Martha and Glen were different kinds of parents?

6.  Outwardly Vince is the perfect son. But is that really the truth?

7. Clarice struggles with her mother’s unconscious state. What emotional triggers have led her to be so adamant?

8. Naomi provides Martha with many things, some very clear and others quite subtle. What do you see as the primary influence?

9.  If your spirit guide led you back to a different time period where would it be? What would you learn from the people in that time?

10.  Did Martha betray Glen? (Not just when she is in the past living with Sen-tshe, but for the years that follow her return.)

11.  How do Glen, Vince, Clarice and Jack change? What about Glen as a parent?

12.  The people of the canyon have to make life changing decisions, not only with daily needs, but with their spiritual beliefs. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve had to make such decisions? What influences how you make a choice?


Discussion Guide for Hidden Within the Stones:

Download a PDF discussion guide for HWTS

Hidden Within the Stones includes a study of love and commitment across gaps of time and age. What do the older characters offer the younger? Do the younger characters also contribute to the growth of their elders?

What motivates Ella to keep going despite the obstacles encountered?  Do you see her perseverance as part of her heritage? What about her parents? Her children?

What does this story tell us about cultural impact on the evolution/stagnation/maintenance of practices and beliefs?

In the end, Ella rejects Andy. Why has she shied away from building a relationship with him?

This novel is populated by a wide array of female “roles”.  Yet it takes place within two traditionally male dominated spheres:  The “Brotherhood” and conflicts over the ownership of land.  Are the female characters supporting actors?  Or, do their stories change the landscape of the novel as well?

How do you think Ella will live when she returns to California? What about Shannon?

Hidden Within the Stones is the story of relationships, across time and in the present. Are any of these relationships familiar to you? What resources to you have in your life when confronted with changes?

Would you have lived as a converso in Spain but still kept true to your own religion? What motivates people to keep strong in the face on conflict?

What would make you change your set of beliefs (about anything, not just religion) for another? Do you see this as collapse or growth?



Discussion Guide for Imperfecta:

Download PDF of discussion guide

  1. The novel Imperfecta takes place in both New Mexico and California. What moral and emotional questions are raised when Perfecta and Isaac move to California?
  2. Perfecta has relationships with many other women throughout the story – Isabelle, Avelina, Rose, Mary and even Karleen and Geri. How do these relationships impact Perfie? Is she thwarted in her ability to take advantages of the resources around her?
  3. One relationship which lasts, in spite of hardships, is that of Perfecta and Isaac. Why is this?
  4. Who or what actually influences Perfecta in a positive way? What does it take for her to grow?
  5. What kind of parent has Perfecta become? Why is it so hard for her to relate to her children?
  6. Historically, women have lived through many hard times. The dust bowl, the stock market crash, the Great Depression, and wars. What do women do to survive these crisis? What becomes important when people don’t have much or are in danger of losing what little they have? How are women dealing with their fears in current times?
  7. Prejudice and poverty have always existed. What impacted Perfecta to make her have a closed mind? What similarities exist in current times that show us hidden prejudice?

Isaac, Karleen, Geri and Perfie Lake Merrit

Sisters in Pieces Book Club Discussion Questions:

 Download the PDF Version of this guide.

1. This book of short stories falls together to become a novel. Were there particular stories or characters which caught your attention? What was it about those stories that stood out? Did you have any trouble reading a series of short stories rather than a continuous novel?

2. A few of the stories are written in a non-traditional manner – Johnny Heartburn, Archives, Signs, Sleep Tight George Orwell. How do you feel about this method of storytelling?

3. The three sisters, Miriam, Callie and Phoebe, have a difficult relationship. What sustains the gap? Should families stick together, no matter what?

4. The characters in the book have communication problems. Do you know someone with similar patterns of dysfunctional communication? How does this way of interacting impact not only the speaker but the listener?

5. Consider the book’s title. How does one become “whole” after being split in to pieces?Bee 1

6. In the story Assassin, Phoebe kills a man. Is she really a hero or does the whole idea of taking someone’s life trump the value of what she does?

7. In the story, Miriam finds out some things about herself. Are people really that influenced by labels given to them by others? Have you ever had a label you have to live up to, in a negative or positive way?