I had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday morning, I spent gardening. I planted the pumpkin, lettuce, kale, zucchini, and cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse. Then, I spent Saturday afternoon enjoying my middle granddaughter’s 4th “Spiderman” birthday party. Sunday morning included my oldest daughter and the rest of the grandkids, then my son called me for a nice long chat. I was spoiled with new blue-tipped eyelashes for my car, candles, a plant, and flowers. Later that day, my husband and I took a Harley ride with the youngest daughter and her husband.
I only wrote two poems on this ride to Lake Bullards, since I was too busy taking pictures and simply enjoying the moment. The day ended with the first BBQ of the year. I still haven’t gotten back to writing like I should, as the birthdays and events continue, but the memories being created are worth it.
Lake Bullard with my youngest daughter, Danielle, her husband, Paul, and my husband “Creator of the Magical Trail”. You’ve met Danielle here before on this blog. Today is her birthday! Happy Birthday, Danielle xo
Here is one of the poems I wrote:
Hands of the oak trees
Reach down from the steep hills
For a quick high five as we pass
Welcoming us back to nature’s home
Under the blue skies lit by a glowing orb
The wind carries back my gratitude
And it disperses my love
To the shades of green lining the peaks
And the tall, round, and coned vegetation
That surround these generous trees
The beauty seems to go on into eternity
On our magical Mother’s Day ride
With the hands of oak trees greeting us.
My kids. The first picture is from last Christmas, and the second picture is from a Christmas a long, long time ago…
Watch for the Monthly Newsletter coming to your email on May 20th if you are subscribed.
I will be silent here and on social media from May 24th-June 1st because I’ll be on vacation. So no blog next week. I will try to check in, and post a picture or two. I’ll be back on June 2nd with June’s book reviews.
Embrace your inner child with the magic that surrounds you. D.L. Finn
Please welcome Staci Troilo here today with her new book “The Gate” written under the pen name, D.L. Cross. Isn’t that an amazing name? I think that makes us pen name sisters! I don’t usually have the book read and reviewed for release day posts, but this time I do. So, I’ve included the review at the end of today’s post
Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe.
“Wait,” Landon said.
Nadia turned around.
“How are we going to pay for all this?”
“There’s no one here to pay.” She rolled her eyes.
“But taking this stuff is stealing. It’s going to come out of someone’s wages. Or prices will rise. And what if we’re on their security cameras?”
“This is Armageddon, buddy.” Dev slung an arm around Landon’s shoulder. “I doubt the owners will miss what we took, and in two days, this place will have been looted to the last nail. The cops will have more problems on their hands than one in a large number of thieves.”
Three. Not one. But making sure they shared the blame was hardly the point at the moment. “I just don’t feel right about it.”
“If you find this troublesome, you’re probably going to hate … well, everything from this point forward.” Nadia turned then walked out the door.
Dev followed, munching on cheese puffs.
Landon longed for the days when people carried cash. He’d have left money at the register. But if they were right, it probably wouldn’t matter. And with that bleak thought, he followed them out to the Humvee. After a silent debate with his inner Jiminy Cricket, he caved and selected a bag of nacho chips and a cola.
It was well past the park’s posted operational hours when they arrived. It closed at four o’clock on weekdays, but they were about fifteen minutes from dusk.
“I forgot about park hours,” Landon said. “I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to get in there.”
“You’re kidding, right?” Nadia shook her head and jumped out of the vehicle. “You sure are slow to process info, Professor. Rules no longer matter.”
Professor. That made the stolen chips and soda slosh uncomfortably in his gut. He wasn’t a professor anymore. He wasn’t anything anymore. Just a washed-up crackpot with outlandish theories. What if he was wrong about the disc being there? They might leave him in the middle of nowhere to find his way … where? Landon had nowhere to go. If this government-helper thing didn’t pan out, he was screwed.
Maybe he should have asked for a contract of some sort.
Dev tossed a shovel to him and shouldered the other. Then he grabbed both sets of gloves. “Can’t drive around the gate. We walk from here. Lead the way, Doc.”
“Sergeant,” Nadia said. “Stay with the vehicle. Keep the lights on. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll help.”
They wouldn’t. The mouth of the serpent was too far away. But Landon didn’t want to tell her that.
The three of them climbed over the gate, the agents much more gracefully than him. He hefted the shovel and nodded down the road. “This way.”
The click of a gun’s safety was unmistakable in the silence of the gloaming.
Then came a single chilling word in a deep, gravelly voice. “Freeze.”
He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.
Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.
Until an alien armada targets Earth.
Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.
They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.
D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.
My five-star review:
I’ve been looking forward to this release and was impressed from the first page. “The Gate” is the beginning of the Astral Conspiracy Series, and I found it was like reading a movie it was so vivid. The characters felt very real including my favorite, Landon Thorne. He had theories others made fun of until they realized he was right. I connected with him staying true to himself and not allowing others to force change. With so much action and urgency in the story, it was hard to put down. I found myself saying more than once: “They don’t have time for this!” There was plenty of history and research mixed into the story that added another level of intrigue. Ancient Alien Theories fascinate me, so I was thrilled to find an exciting story with that woven into it. I highly recommend this well-written book, especially if you love aliens, the what-if scenario, action, history, theories, and characters you can grow to love–and hate!
My husband and I went on our first motorcycle ride of the year. It was a beautiful day as the river roared with the melting snow, and all the new life surrounding us. Here’s the first poem I wrote that day as we rode through this beauty.
FIRST RIDE OF SPRING
Roaring through the lush emerald landscape
The granite walls are sprouting orange and violet
In their fleeting moment before summer.
The river’s blue whitens and crashes over rocks
Its thunder harmonizes with the engine’s rumble.
The blue skies bathe this scene in connection while….
And winds caress
Following this flamboyant flow of spring…
From the back of the Harley.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, including mom’s of furry babies! I’ll be taking the usual family hike and/or ride to magical places unknown.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. D.L. Finn
Today is the Release Day for “Whatever it Takes” by Suzanne Burke. I had the pleasure of being a Beta Reader and now can’t wait to read it in its final glory! If you haven’t picked up your copy I highly recommend you do!
James Kincaid had it all.
He’d made it to the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized winners above all else. Three golden statuettes currently graced the mantle of his Los Angeles mansion. Next year’s Oscars held the sweet promise of more.
Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly.
He couldn’t move on with his life or the dream without knowing why.
Andi O’Connor is the woman he’d hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.
Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of one besotted human’s insanity?
From Hollywood to New York, the body count continues to rise. Time is not on their side.
Today I’m celebrating the release of Whatever It Takes by introducing you to Andi O’Connor.
I had such a marvelous time creating Andi. She was both a challenge and a joy to breathe life into.
In Chapter 1 we first meet Andi. After much soul searching she has tendered her resignation as head of crack Homicide Investigation Team with the NYPD.
Say Hello to Andi the morning after her farewell celebration.
Excerpt: Chapter 2.
Andi grabbed her ringing iPhone and smiled as her best friend Keiko’s number came up. She tried not to give away how hungover she was as she answered. “G’mornin, sunshine.”
“Sunshine is it? How’re you shaping up this mornin’?”
“I’d like to say great, but, it’s not pretty. Just how much did we drink last night?”
“You don’t want to know, trust me.”
“I vaguely recall a couple of the guys pouring me into a cab. Did I do anything I should have been arrested for?”
“Not unless murdering karaoke is now a capital offense. That was some farewell, girlfriend.”
“Oh, God. Really? Karaoke?”
“Well, the guys actually voted for pole dancing. I figured karaoke might be easier to live down.”
“It didn’t end well, did it?”
Keiko spluttered, “Last I saw, two of the uniformed guys went searching for duct tape.”
Andi laughed before she remembered how fragile her head was. “Oh, hell. You know I actually caught myself getting into work mode just before you rang. Then reality kicked back in.”
“You need to get away for a while, Andi. Get your head sorted.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I do. You know I’m gonna miss it. Well, some of it.”
“Have you thought through your options? You could always use that Harvard degree, girlfriend.”
“Oh hell, Keiko, I know. I need to give that a lot of thought. I always have that as an option whatever I decide to do now. I just don’t know which direction I’m headed in yet.”
“Whatever you decide to do, you know they’ll welcome you back here with open arms.”
“Thanks, hon, but I can’t see me ever doing that. I’m not good at traveling backward.” Andi closed off discussion on that topic, “Anyways, are you on shift today?”
“No, thank God. My stomach couldn’t handle a homicide scene at the moment.”
“That’s what you get for being so good at your job.”
“Anybody can read a camera image, Andi.”
“Not everybody can find the things you find in those images. I wish I had that skill.”
“Yeah, and I’d love to head a team the way you do. Did. So let’s just admire each other’s brilliance and get on with it.”
Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of-miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.
Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.
Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.
Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke
I’m excited to welcome author, Joan Hall, here today to share her cover for the soon-to-be-released new book “Unclear Purposes!”
Some people take secrets to the grave…
Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.
Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.
When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.
As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.
“Frost Fyre” is a poetry collection of mythology, whimsy, darkness, and love. There’s an abundance of imagery, which includes winter and the moon, that drew me in. There’s a Cinquain section towards the end which I enjoyed, but I loved the poems dedicated to the author’s husband layered with love and passion. I felt the stories within the poems which intrigued me. I’m eager to explore more of Ms. Rogers books.
“Journey to the Rainbow’s End” is a reflective, insightful, fictional-reality told through poems and short stories. The story felt like I’d found his personal journal because the writing was so intimate. I could relate and empathize to the pain, confusion, and hope that came through the words. As I read, I began to contemplate the exquisiteness of rainbows. It’s the blending of colors that make the rainbow so special. Mr. Stepnowski’s book shows his readers how beautiful every person is and needed to make the rainbow of humanity. This is a journey to acceptance that was not only heartbreaking, but inspiring and a beautiful voice that needs to be heard.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Medici Series. “Tortured Soul” is the finale, and I was sad to see it come to an end. This book’s focus was on the final Brother, Coz, and Notaro sister, Toni, and their connection. The relationship felt very real with their baggage, especially Toni’s self-image issues. Watching the couple navigate from what was expected of them, to what they felt was intriguing. I enjoyed Coz’s development as his unique power revealed itself. The history and Italian culture mixed in with the action and romance made it hard to put down. This is a well-written steamy romantic-adventure that I suggest you read from the beginning, to fully enjoy the outcome. I highly recommend this book and series. I look forward to more from this author.
The Medici Series continues with the focus on one of the brothers, Nico, and, Donni, a Notaro sister that the brothers are assigned to protect. I loved Nico’s inner struggle throughout the story especially when it came to Donni. Nico is the brother’s computer genius and more in his head than the others. The very question as to what was real or magic and his own will was intriguing. It was the perfect match for Donni and her willingness to go after what she wanted. The small details when the group ate or relaxed added another dimension to the story and wove the Italian culture throughout. This is a well-written exciting thriller and steamy romance. I’m heading off to read the final book and can’t wait to see how it all ends!
This is a historical fiction book based on the epic poem “The Song of Roland.” I read this poem in my literature class in college, so I knew the time frame and some of the history surrounding it, which helped me dive right in. Although I’m not a huge fan of war and battles, this story had my attention from the first chapter. It is well-written, and the attention to detail and history was outstanding. There’s plenty of power grabbing, gory battles, love, betrayal, murder, and honor. “The Silver Horn Echoes” is not my normal genre to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you love history, knights, war, political/religious intrigue, and bravery, you’ll enjoy this tale.
Watch for two special blog posts this week:)
Embrace your inner child by reading a great book! D.L Finn