“Shadow of the Drill” is a story that contains killers, strip clubs, sex, prostitution, torture and rapists. All the characters are bad, but well-written. I found myself wondering if I could find empathy in the main characters: Decker, Rudy and Charlene. As cruel as they were, and as brutal as their actions were, I quickly realized–yes, I could. I was invested in Decker’s relationship with Charlene and her strength to stay by his side fighting to be an equal. Rudy’s long-time friendship and loyalty to Decker was also explored with insight into their past and what event held them together. There were some parts that were so ruthless I had a hard time reading them, but at the same time they were completely honest for these characters. Even with the violence and dark story-line this was a book I couldn’t put down. If you love action with the reality of damaged human beings, this is a story for you.
“Thread and Other Stories” is a short story collection that ranges from historical to science fiction. There are seven stories that I’d have a hard time picking my favorite from because they are so different, but they are all well-written. I was involved in each story with the characters and outcome for different reasons. “Conflict” the tale of two friends in World War 1 was the one that touched me the most with their friendship and the horror of war. In “Thread” I was immediately drawn into the story of two poor orphans and their struggled to survive—I was rooting for them. The most interesting though was the story “Conversation” that was weaved around the other stories in six parts. I thoroughly enjoyed the different genres and the mystery of “Conversation” in this creative collection. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Embrace your inner child read an indie book! D.L. Finn
The tiny brown and white bird clung to the cedar’s bark
The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.
Then, the bird slowly began its journey by climbing upward.
A few feet up the tree, it was knocked back down to the ground
It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.
Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell
The bird carefully passed that point without stopping
It moved higher, toward the promised shelter from the pounding chaos.
Wings open, it faltered a few times, but hung on…
It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.
Tucked underneath the little bird had found limited shelter
But, it wisely did not linger there, and it continued the climb
Finally, the brave bird was immersed into the green branches–
Now, it was safely nestled in the cedar, as the storm raged around it.
Gone from my sight, I contemplated this journey.
When the bird was knocked down, it got up and tried again.
It passed the point where it had been impeded.
There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.
Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.
It didn’t accept the first offer of partial protection,
Instead, it kept climbing until it reached its goal…
Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.
And, having watched this journey–I was just a bit wiser for it
Because whatever life throws at me, I need to pick myself up,
And keep climbing, no matter what the odds, until I reach the top–
Exactly like the wise and brave bird did on its journey in the storm.
I watched this event take place while I was on my elliptical a few days ago. I was so happy and impressed to see this tiny bird make it up the tree. It amazed me that something so small could leave a lasting impression. (The bird pictured is from another day, but for all I know could be the same bird…)
“The Journey” will be in my upcoming book: “Just Her Poetry”. I hope to release it this year!
This month’s newsletter came out this week. Here is the link if you aren’t subscribed and interested: LINK TO NEWSLETTER
This month’s hat drawing winners are: Melissa and Tara! Congrats:)
Greeting: Welcome to the first ever “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop! These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent. Although there were maybe 3-4 winners who were previously on this list who are no longer with the club, now all of the listed Winners are RWISA members! Way to go RWISA!
We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review. There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.
Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an amazing gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!
While The Rector works as a suspenseful murder mystery, Thompson also incorporates a spiritual and religious undertone to the story. This Christian Murder Mystery successfully intertwines faith in its plot twists with surprising results. This small-town tale, set in the 1950s, delves into religion, spirituality and murder, and is exceedingly clever and cunning.
The small community of Solo, Mississippi, is rocked after the murder of a prominent religious figure. Law officials consider the case closed, much to the dismay of widow Martha McRae. She questions how the young rector, Pastor David Baddour, could die so unexpectedly. After sharing her suspicion with her bible study leader, Betty Crain, a chain of events is set off in the small southern community. Gossip soon abounds with murmurings of foul play, murder, and loss of faith. In the case of whodunit, Martha soon finds that asking questions has put her own life in peril, as she comes face to face with evil.
Why is the word reviewed in all caps in the title? I wanted to emphasize just how important reviewing indie books is to their authors! A huge hug and thanks goes out to all the readers who take precious time to leave a review! Here are the latest books I’ve read and REVIEWED:
“Ninja School Mum” is about a widowed mother named Skye who has been on the run for years to keep her son safe from her past. As an ex-spy she needed to keep her former life to herself. She ends up living in a quaint small town in an isolated cottage with her son. I found it interesting to learn her history and why she stayed separate from others yet making sure her son developed friendships. The relationships between adults and children were well-done, including Skye’s new friendship with Thea and her unexpected love interest, Zack. It seemed like she might have finally found a place for her son to grow up. What I expected to happen in this story and what did, were completely different when a twist offered a new insight. I love when a story surprises me, and this one did. If you enjoy a romance with humor, action, a strong female character, and surprises–you’ll love this book!
This paranormal story is the first book of a series and starts off in a small town in Florida with an invitation to a mysterious party. Linda has moved to Oasis, bought a book store, and started a new life. She goes to this party at End House with a group of friends. They didn’t find a party but a horror house where two of their friends go missing. The group is determined to find their friends and figure out what is going on in a town where people disappear or turn up dead with their blood drained. They find there’s a fight between good and evil, Linda and Shana have a hard time telling who is on which side or who is a vampire. I liked the developing relationships with Shana and Sam, Linda and Todd and others. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I got a bit lost with some, especially in the beginning. But, I also got to know most of them as the story line progressed and secrets were revealed. The story is told through many points of view and moves forward at a good pace. I loved how the moody descriptions of the town added to the ambience of the book. If you enjoy vampire stories, you’ll like this book!
Embrace that inner child by reading a great book! D.L. Finn
Please welcome today’s guest my youngest daughter, Danielle from TraitWare. The picture above is from a trip we took to Walt Disney World–and after a good soaking!
Danielle has an offer, a couple of cute cat pictures, and a giveaway of a $20 Amazon gift car. (Winner of gift card is Billy Ray Chitwood–Congrats!)
My name is Danielle, and my main paying job is the Technical Product Manager for a start-up security company called TraitWare. In my free time, or lack thereof, I dance for a couple of choreographers at CSUS, travel to different places to teach dance classes, and I am also attempting to write a book (all, of course, while making sure my husband knows that I still actually do exist). I have also spent my fair share of hours reading and editing for my mother and have gained some skills for me to offer my services of beta reading in exchange for any willing takers to test and provide feedback for a product my company just released.
The product is actually a WordPress plugin to replace usernames and passwords with the ability to scan a QR code using a smartphone or tablet. This plugin focuses on the admin dashboard login (sites using wordpress.org or the premium of wordpress.com). We all have to remember way too many complex passwords. The simple “password123” just doesn’t cut it anymore. So, with this app, we are allowing users to use their phone with their fingerprint, or a collection of preselected pictures to sign in, rather than a bunch of letters and numbers that we have to type out.
The idea behind this trade of services is to get feedback from real users, as well as possibly gaining some paying customers. Now, currently, our product offers a 14-day trial. As I know how the lives of an artist can be, I would like to offer an extension to this. So, if you so choose to be a part of the future (*wink wink*), I will extend the trial to 30 days. In order for me to do this, I will need each of you to email me at email@example.com after you setup the plugin. This is also the email which will be used for feedback, questions, concerns, etc during the 30 day trial period (and even beyond if you choose to stick with it). Also, be aware that there is a live marketplace where actual reviews for users of the plugin can leave their 2 cents. However! If you hate it, I’d prefer you tell me why first, so we can work to improve it and turn that 1 into a 5.
If you’re still sticking with me and want to know more… GREAT! I will tell you more. If you’re over this and just want it to end… here’s a picture of 2 of my cats. They’re 11 today!
Thanks for moving past these adorable cats so that we could discuss some business. So, a few requirements will need to be met in order for you to actually become a beta tester.
You need to have a WordPress site which has the ability to add plugins
You need to have a smartphone that is one of these:
Android smartphone or tablet with an operating system of 6.0 or higher (Marshmallow)
iPhone 5S or newer
A newer iPad
Space on your phone to install the TraitWare app from the app store
Access to be able to add a plugin to your “yoursite.com/login” dashboard
The ability to follow directions The patience to follow through with the complete setup (I promise it only takes a few minutes)
If you have all of those, welcome to your beta testing instructions!
Sign in to your wordpress admin dashboard by going to yoursite.com/login
Select “Plugins” on the left hand side
At the top, select “Add New”
Select “Install” and then “Activate”
At the top of the page, select the link “Set up your account today!”
Make sure the email in the box on the left is one you have access to and select the button to send yourself an activation email. *if it is not, please create a new user with an email that you do have access to. The user role needs to be set to admin. Log out of your current account, and log back in as the new user
Download the TraitWare app to your mobile device, check your email, and open the TraitWare app to scan the QR in the email you just received
Complete the app registration and return to your WordPress site
Scan the QR on the right of the WordPress page with your shiney, new TraitWare app
There are more detailed instructions here. And if you’re really diggin’ this and want to know more about who we are, check out our developer specific blog here!
Thanks for dropping by! Just leave a comment and you are entered to win the Amazon gift card. Thanks, Danielle!
Please note that the strikeout was intentional and my daughter’s sense of humor…it runs in the family.
Please welcome author Stephen Geez to today’s special edition blog! I just added “Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life” to my Kindle. Having already read his book “Papala Skies”–I’m excited! Here is Stephen:
4 Wills “Been There, Going Again” Blog Tour, Stephen Geez
Greetings, supporters! Welcome to the fifth stop on my 4WillsPublishing Blog Tour celebrating the re-issue of my memoir-shorts, Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life. It has updated cover, new graphics, new book trailer, and now a first-ever jacketed hardcover edition. The book’s ruminations range from light and humorous to heartbreakingly poignant, but all spring from my own experiences. Thanks for visiting, trying this sample, and commenting!
My early elementary years found me living at the edge of civilization, short tracts of housing plowed through virgin woods, the walk to school punctuated by construction, unfinished roads, myriad excavations, ponds and culverts and all manner of ad hoc standing water, plus our favorite: wide-open ditches. These would freeze and form ersatz skating rinks, lengthy stretches of smooth ice ideal for daredevil sliding, easy and accessible and fun without the danger of drownable depths.
Sure, most kids tended to stay on the path, stick to the walkway, follow the signs—and here I must specify that this type tended to be, well, the girls—but when the greatest risk is but a mere soaker, how can the exuberance of youth dare let so minor a nuisance dampen such thrills?
I recall managing to go for a long time without a soaker. I’d see others earn one in those instants of foot breaking through ice, a leg sliding over the edge, fruitless flailing while water taunts from the nadir of an unplanned slippery slope’s slide. Yes, somebody would inevitably step where no child was meant to step—whoosh, swish, slop, shoe waterlogged, sock sopping, pants wicking water toward thigh-land, and suddenly that way-cool-if-clunky boot would transform from friend to enemy, its dry twin mocking the loser in all its sanctimonious hauteur of proper use. One of those boots could fill with water instantly, leaving the hapless adventurer no easy way to empty it, especially in the suddenly so-much-colder winter freeze.
So the victim of a good snicker-worthy soaker would trudge to high ground and drain as much as possible. If the next stop was school, he would earn a disapproving sigh from the teacher and titters from a few of the dry kids, then have to suffer the awkward discomfort of squish-stepping his way to the very seat under which a puddle would eventually collect, his wrinkly foot wet until time to pull on the betraying boot and head home.
Now, any child in danger of suffering one of these soakers could have carried a small sack with a change of pants and footwear, but nobody at that tender age plans so far ahead. And who really expects to wind up in such an unexpected predicament?
Well, scuba divers do, and skydivers, too. So do hikers and boaters and bikers and climbers and all the adventurers who anticipate needing spare air or extra hoses or reserve chutes or another coil of rope or glue-patches or first-aid kits . . .
And who doesn’t expect any chance of predicament? Those who have no business getting behind the wheel, people saving money on substandard equipment, reckless souls who think life preservers are too much hassle. Worse, these types are often known for talking friends into joining them for that proverbial slide across the cracked ice, people who ought to know better but too often don’t.
See, grown-ups understand that having fun often means something can possibly conceivably worst-case potentially inexplicably go, well, you know, wrong. No matter how many times we step into it, no matter how much we depend on the water to fall just below the tops of our boots, that simply won’t always be the case. Complacency is no excuse, whether borne of experience, false bravado, or an ingrained pattern of habitual miscalculation. Sometimes it’s sheer luck that we manage to avoid a soaker, or even a long series of good-lucks that keep saving us, but sometimes that luck simply runs out.
Some say we should never take a chance, never chase the fun, never even need to wear the boots. Just stay home, they say, the world is a dangerous place. They plop themselves in front of that television plugged into a tangled mass of sparking extension cords, smoke-detector batteries long dead, extinguishers languishing unbought on store shelves, loved ones never having developed a plan for escaping fire.
I say slide down any ditch that’s shallow. Carry a change of clothes if the water’s just a bit deeper. When it’s so deep you might fall through, use the good sense of a smart ice fisherman who monitors conditions, takes ice samples, wears the right outfit, carries the needed gear, and pre-plans all manner of rescue contingencies.
I have another bit of advice, too: Know where the tops of your boots are.
I did get a soaker once, and it caught me completely by surprise. Still, I survived an awkward foot-squishy day, and though I’ll never know for sure, I suspect it might have played some small part in keeping me healthy all these years since.
So get out, enjoy life, and indulge your childlike sense of adventure. Yeah, soakers can be a drag, but if they really get you down, buy bigger boots.
Or simply change your perspective. Remember, if that’s the worst the world brings your way . . .
Well, sometimes a soaker can be part of the fun.
Author Bio: Writer, editor, publisher, TV producer, music composer, entrepreneur and more, Stephen Geez has long honed a keen eye for the foibles of human nature. His writing since taking undergrad and grad degrees at Michigan includes novels and short stories in various genres from literary to mystical adventure, non-fiction covering academic to how-to, commercial arts spanning corporate training to consumer advertising, and web-based content including the collections at StephenGeez.com and GeezWriter.com. Easing gingerly into his second half-century, he can’t hop, skip, or jump like the old days, but he never stops noticing and taking notes.
I jumped right into the seventh book of the Star Trails Tetralogy series and hoped I wouldn’t be completely lost not having read the previous books—I wasn’t! What I found was an amazingly well-written science fiction story set in the 1970’s with my new favorite character: Thyron the highly intelligent plant. I was immediately drawn into the story with the spaceship ending up on earth while a plant was hiding from authorities. Soon, the ships passengers: a young human girl, a robot, and Thyron ended up “contained” in area 51. An astrobiologist Gabe, is called in to help with the plant-life. Gabe soon finds out his sensitivity, helps him communicate with Thyron. This was my favorite part of the book. It was insightful and humorous with the relationship between human and plant. There’s also a lot of depth and research that makes this a fascinating journey with aliens, humans, plants and robots. The ending fueled my imagination. I’ll be reading the rest of this series and hope to explore and learn more about Thyron and friends! I highly recommend this book!
“Circumstances of Childhood” is written in the unique style of Mr. Howell and was a book that kept me up late into the night reading! Greg and Keith are childhood friends and Greg ends up living with Keith’s family. They play football together creating new plays and plan out their future. Unfortunately, only one of them make it to live those dreams. When one of them is killed in an accident, the other one goes on to be successful–with a happily ever after. But, that happy ending is ripped away when money is stolen from Greg’s company and his life falls apart. Parts of the storyline are told from Greg’s prospective and the rest by Keith. I loved the bond created between the two, who were like brothers, that existed beyond death. Choices that are made can affect the characters for the rest of eternity. This is a perceptive and an exciting read with a whodunit mixed in. It’s a skillfully written story with well-rounded characters that I couldn’t help but care about. The storyline kept me engaged until the last page with some unexpected twists. Although, this is a different type of story than Mr. Howell’s John Canon series, it is worthy of your read if you enjoyed that series like I did. This has become my favorite book from this author. I highly recommend!
Embrace your inner child by reading a book! D.L. Finn