#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 209 @ColleenChesebro #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Haiku #Haiga

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s final challenge this year, No. 209! The theme is to write about hope in a favorite poetry form.

This picture and poem fit how I interpreted hope. I feel like I’m riding into 2021 after a very long ride. I’m stiff, hungry, and tired. Yet, my hope reawakens as we roar into the new year, where a warm fire, a comfortable couch, and a nice meal await.

Why did I choose Haiku/Senryu? They have become one of my favorite poetry formats to use, especially with photographs. I love being able to say a lot in sparse wordage. Freeform poems will always be where I can fully express myself, but making each word count in a Haiku/Senryu Poem’s limited space is a challenge I’m enjoying.

I took this picture from the back of the Harley. (This is one of the calendar pictures. I did this instead of Christmas cards.)

HAPPY 2021! May it be filled with blessings and happiness 🙂

2020 “Books That Changed Me” Winter Edition! @BalroopShado @HowellWave @Dwallacepeach @JacqBiggar #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #MustReadBooks #BooksThatChangedMe #ReadingList #WhatToRead

(2011 snowstorm, looking out our garage. It’s time to read.)

On the shortest day of the year, I can’t think of a more perfect time to read a fantastic story. This has been my best year of reading so far! I hope to hit my elusive 100 books read by the end of it.

I had a really difficult time picking this edition because I read SO many amazing books this year. I pulled a short story from past reading to round out my list and add a touch of holiday cheer as it did for me.

Each one here had me either laughing, crying, thinking, or kept me on the edge of my seat. I lost a lot of sleep reading these authors.

I’ve tried not to repeat authors, but I can’t help it if they write more than one good book. I’ve included one here today. So, now in the future, I can honor more of these:) I have repeated for short stories.

I’m continuing to use the author’s blurb over my review. This isn’t about my reviews. This is about great books! You can’t go wrong reading any of these.

Here they are in no particular order:

Magical Whispers

by Balroop Singh

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.
‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.
Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.

Liars and Thieves

by D. Wallace Peach

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

Eternal Road: The final stop

by John W. Howell

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

Mistletoe Inn 

by Jacquie Biggar

Fall in love this holiday season!

A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love in this heartwarming holiday romance.

Molly McCarty is in need of a new beginning after a disastrous divorce. When the opportunity to invest in a bed and breakfast appears online in Christmas, Michigan she’s intrigued.
A snow storm derails her travels and leaves her at the mercy of a grim stranger- who turns out to be her new partner!
Noah Kincaid loses his parents in a tragic fire that leaves him scarred inside and out. He’s raised by a great-aunt and is devastated when cancer takes her life. But vowing never to care about anyone again is hampered by his troublesome new partner and her son.
Will a Christmas miracle bring three lonely hearts the gift of love?

Note: Newsletters are out. If you are subscribed, check your email:)

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. Happy Winter, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  Until next year… D. L. Finn


New Release! “The Culmination, a new beginning” by Gwen Plano @gmplano #writingcommunity #NewRelease #war #spies #intrigue #spirituality #IARTG #ASMSG

I’m thrilled to have Gwen Plano visiting here today to tell us about her exciting new book. I’ve included my five-star review at the end of the post 🙂

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Denise, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. I’m super excited to see it published on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To celebrate, the Kindle edition is on sale at 99¢ through December.

So, what’s the book about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.

I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys.


The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.


Photographers commissioned to capture the Aurora Borealis in the skies above Norway, notice several private jets landing at the Harstad-Narvik Airport. Surprised by this development, they photograph the jets and notify investigative journalists, who in turn, inform military authorities.  

At Begert Air Force Base, Sergeant Gruner focuses on his assignment: an in-depth explanation as to why five luxury jets—two Bombardiers BD-700, two Gulfstreams, and a Falcon 7x—landed in Lofoten, Norway, the week prior. The General expects Gruner to uncover possible links to the recent assassination attempts.

As a first step, Gruner contacts his counterpart at the Royal Norwegian Air Force station in Evenes. He explains the reason for his call and sends the digital photographs in question.

The Norwegian Airman says, “Well, I know that a week ago, Madam Edel Berven contacted us to explain she’d invited guests to her husband’s seventieth-birthday party. Since her guests needed to fly into Evenes, she asked for landing clearance at the Harstad/Narvik Airport and explained that her private helicopter would take the guests to their mountain estate. We approved and thought no more of it. Now you suggest there may be something nefarious involved?”

“I have nothing concrete, but it’s an unusual gathering, don’t you think?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“I trust your Commander implicitly. Has he raised any concerns or particular events that he wants you and your team to watch out for?”

“He mentioned that the Americans believe that some rich people might have formed a cabal.”

Gruner smiles with relief. “Right. We think they might be responsible for a bunch of assassinations and attempted killings.”

The Airman gasps. “It’s hard to believe that Madame Berven would be involved in such a thing. She’s a leading supporter of the arts in our area. Highly respected. Nevertheless, I’ll request the flight plans for the jets. Perhaps points of origin will help resolve this mystery. Give me two hours.”

“Perfect. Call me at this number when you’re ready.”

“Ha det bra. Goodbye!”

True to his word, the Norwegian Airman returns the call within the hour. “Billionaires associated with the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the pharmaceutical industry, and technology, own the jets in question. Mr. Berven is a wealthy man. It’s entirely possible that this gathering was, indeed, a birthday party. But, then again …”

Gruner asks, “What are you thinking?”

“Don’t birthday parties usually include family members and the spouses of guests? There were none—the Berven children didn’t attend, and the owners of those jets didn’t bring their partners. To add fuel to the fire, I checked our files, and Mr. Berven was born in December, not March.”

Gruner gasps, “You’re serious? So, if Berven blew out candles, it wasn’t on a cake? This changes everything.”

The Airman sounds alarmed, “There’s more. Two days before the arrival of Berven’s guests, a Gulfstream landed. It departed at the same time as the others. We’re looking into its ownership, but we know one thing—the point of origin for his flight to Lofoten was Beijing.”

Contact Gwen:




Amazon Author’s page

Book links:

Letting Go into Perfect Love 

The Contract between heaven and earth

The Choice: the unexpected heroes

The Culmination, a new beginning 



The Culmination: a new beginning

by Gwen M. Plano

“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series. Five-Stars!

New Release! “Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter” by Sandra Cox @Sandra_Cox #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #westernread #westerns #newrelease #mustread #romance #bountyhunter #strongfemalecharacters

I’m VERY excited to have Sandra Cox here today to share the release of her exciting new book, “Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter”!

My review is at the end of the post.

Thanks so much for having me today, Denise.

Old West Factoid:

There were bounties in the thousands for some outlaws, i.e. Jesse James. But the majority of the bounties were in the low hundreds or less.

Bounty hunter Gwen Slade always gets her man. Until she meets charming outlaw Jordie Kidd.

After Jordie saves her family, she finds she can’t in good conscience turn him in, even if he is worth a thousand dollars dead or alive. Instead she sets her sights on the meanest, most-wanted gang in Kansas. Gwen always works alone until she goes after the gang then finds herself partnering with an unlikely source.

This time around, not only her life, but her heart is on the line.



“Hello, in camp.”

She cursed under her breath as she recognized the voice.

“Come in and keep your hands where I can see them.”

Jordie Kidd rode in.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m coming with you.”

Her jaw went slack and she stared at him. Recovering herself, she snapped it shut. “No, you’re not.”

“Yes, Gwen. I am.”

He swung out of his saddle.

“Get back on your horse and ride out of here.” For emphasis, she motioned with Betsy.

She might as well have saved her breath she thought in irritation as he loosened the saddle girdle of his Appaloosa.

“If what I hear about you is true, we’re the two fastest guns in Kansas and we’ll still be at a disadvantage going up against those boys.”

“Don’t you understand English? You aren’t coming with me.”

“Worried about your virtue?” He threw her an amused look.

“No. And even if I were it wouldn’t have anything to say to the matter. Now get on out of here.”  She motioned again with Betsy.

“I’m not going anywhere. Get used to it. I’ll sleep on this side of the campfire if it makes you feel better.” He motioned to the far side of the fire. “Though we’d be a sight warmer if we were sharing some body heat. Strictly platonic you understand.” He flashed that disarming grin again.

She stared, trying to figure out how the situation had gotten so quickly out of her control. Throwing up her free hand, she set down Betsy, dug into her saddlebag and tossed him a piece of jerky. “You can ride with me to the next town, but that’s as far as you’re going.


Available at Amazon.




About Sandra Cox

Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Her stories consist of all things western and more.

She can be found at http://www.sandracoxwriter.com .   If you’d like to stay abreast of what’s going on in her world and any new releases you can send a note in her comment form while you are there.  Or simply sign up on the follow by email request form. Her twitter handle is: Sandra_Cox and her Amazon page is http://tinyurl.com/SandraAtAmz


Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter

by Sandra Cox

Gwen is a young woman who’s raising her little brother with the help of a family friend, Chen. She took after her father, who was a Bounty Hunter. After a job, she comes home to a man who saved her family from a would-be robber. The hero, Jordie, leaves the minute the sheriff arrives. Gwen finds out that Jordie is wanted, but she doesn’t go after him after saving her family. Gwen wants to move to Montana and start a new life on a horse ranch, so she takes the job of catching three of the worst outlaw brothers. I love Gwen’s strength and ability to take care of herself in a time when women were more dependent on men. Promising one last job to her little brother, she sets off, against the sheriff’s advice, to catch her outlaws and earn her big retirement payoff. She ends up with an unexpected partner. I love the relationship that develops between them on the trail. There are great conversations and plenty of action. As the two learn about each other, a dog finds them. You can’t help but fall in love with these amazing characters or the dog. I didn’t expect a couple of twists, and the scenery was detailed, making me feel like I was along on the ride. This is an exciting Western romance that I didn’t want to end, but it did, and very satisfactorily. I hope we aren’t done hearing from Gwen Slade. She’s a wonderful heroine. I highly recommend “Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter.” Five-Stars!




I’m attempting something new, a renga poem based on the image below.

I borrowed Colleen’s explanation of this type of poem from her site.

A renga poem is a cooperative poem, written by two or more poets.

The first three lines, the hokku (haiku portion in 5/7/5),  are written by Colleen.

The next two lines are mine. They are called the wakiku: two seven-syllable lines that connect with the interaction between the different links.

More information here: Cheatsheet

hazy reflections—

crows gather to remember

the gifts of summer

As winter slowly creeps in

Burying those sweet memories.



New Release! “Ghostly Interference” by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #newrelease #mustread #newage #runes #solider #ghosts

I’m thrilled to have Jan Sikes here today to share her new release, “Ghostly Interference!”


Ghostly Interference is book one in The White Rune Series. I am often asked the question, “What are runes?” 

Here’s the simple answer. In the academic sense, the runes are known as the characters in a group of alphabets used to write in various languages spoken by the Germanic peoples of Europe, during a period starting roughly in the first century B.C. and ending several hundred years later. Over time, the runes were gradually replaced by the letters we know today as the Latin alphabet.

However, unlike our modern letters, runic symbols had been in use for magical purposes long before they were fashioned into a writing system. The runes carried deep meanings for the people who used them, and for this reason, they never disappeared completely, even though once they were outlawed by the Christian church.

Today, it is quite common to see runes in New Age metaphysical shops and, much like the Tarot cards, are used for divination.

In Ghostly Interference, a white rune stone with the Wunjo symbol inscribed on it came into Rena Jett’s hands through a soldier who had served in Afghanistan with her brother, Sam.


Rena stood. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing Sam’s letter to me.”

Vann got to his feet with a groan. “You are most welcome. Like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones.” Pride still showed in his face. He wasn’t going to let anyone pity him.

They walked toward their vehicles. Before he climbed into the Jeep, she softly kissed his cheek. “Take care, Vann Noble, and I’ll be in touch if I find a cabin for you.”

“Thanks, Rena. I’ll drop by the diner tomorrow for a meal and to check on you.”

He got inside and slammed the door, then turned over the engine and backed out.

Rena stood until he was out of sight. She glanced at the letter she clutched in her hand and held it up to her pounding heart.

Somehow, she couldn’t force herself to go home. She sat with her back against the tree, beside Candy Kicker, and carefully opened the envelope with trembling hands.

A white, oval-shaped, polished stone that bore an odd symbol, a straight line with a triangle attached the top, tumbled out. She quickly picked it up and turned it over. An unusual warmth filled her hand and radiated up her arm.

She wiped her eyes and read the letter.

Hey, Lil’ Bit,

If you’re reading this, then I didn’t make it home

from this damned war. Writing last letters is something

all my buddies have started doing. We made promises

to each other to deliver or mail them to wives,

girlfriends, mothers, or whoever if we don’t make it. So,

after seeing lots of men go down, I decided I owed you

some last words.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the stone

enclosed. Now, don’t go thinking this is some weird

religion shit. It is a talisman. A guy I met over here

from California gave it to me, and now I want you to

have it. It’s called a “Rune”. Go to the library and look

them up. They’re from an ancient alphabet and were

used by the Norsemen hundreds of years ago. The

symbol on this white rune is called Wunjo and is the

“happily-ever-after” symbol. Sis, that’s what I want for

you. It’s what you deserve.

We had so many dreams when we were kids. I still

  1. I’ve never stopped wanting to go to college and

help kids like us that are stuck in a broken foster care


But, to do that, I would have to survive. Seems like

that’s what life’s been for you and me from the start,

but we now have the choice to make it better…

Throughout the rest of the story, Rena begins to understand and embrace the magic of the rune that her brother sent.

Have you ever heard of the Runes, or had any experience with them? I’d love to hear about it.

This is a photo of a set of Runes I own and a single photo of the ‘Wunjo’ symbol.


Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?


AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Interference-White-Rune-Sikes-ebook/dp/B08KW1KFMW/

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghostly-interference-jan-sikes/1137871003?








http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8DK  (Author Page)



Formatting and a Healing Hike! #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #nature #hike #sierranevada #theforest #formatting

This is my last regular post for 2020. Next week I will do the “Books That Changed Me, ” and I might still do a challenge or two.

Also, this week I will have three guests visiting my blog. Don’t miss sharing their good news.

I finally got out my print copy of Dolphin’s Cave. This was my first attempt at formatting a book for eBook and Print.  I’ve had some experience with using Kindle Create for my short stories. Smashwords requires a bit more work. However, I made my first TOC, which was easy for Amazon’s copy, but not Smashwords. I finally gave up on including one on Smashwords.

Then I began the process of the print book. I printed out Amazon’s instructions. I read through the 16 pages and went through each step. I put a check by each one I did. This was a bit time-consuming. I learned a few things, including what a Drop Cap was. I wished I had that information when I did the eBooks, but now I know.

My brain was exhausted when I finally hit the last step, ready to upload to Amazon. Whew! During the preview, I found it had margin issues. So back I went to fix those…then I uploaded again. This one passed and then went into review.

It made its way onto Amazon and I was happy with the results. I’ll have to see how it goes with Ingram Sparks soon. Only one mishap that I couldn’t figure out how to fix. I won’t share what it was, but it will grace my print copies. I’m calling it my “Wizard of Oz” moment when the TV goes from black and white to color.

So after heavy editing Dolphin’s Cave in October, NaNoWriMo in November, and then going right into the final edit and formatting for Dolphin’s Cave…I needed a break. The sun broke through after some much-needed rain. Well, really sprinkles, but we’ll take it.

These pictures are from this break on a hike near Nevada City, CA with my husband and our dog, Sara.

I felt a calm wash over me, being part of nature’s beauty. You might recognize the spot, I’ve posts pictures from there before, but this day held some healing magic.

Note: The top picture of the waterfall and rocks is exactly as I took it. The river and puddle was golden with the trees reflected in the puddle. I know the fairies had to be close by.

Embrace your inner child! Happy Holidays! D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #29 Final Image Prompt for 2020! #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #tanka #poetry

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s week #29 ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge.’

This image reminded me of dreams that were just out of reach. I wrote a few Tanka poems about that. This is the one that fits the picture the best.

Tanka is 5/7/5/7/7.


Life’s long pathway

Tugs me towards its promise

Always out of reach…

Undeterred, I keep going

Until I reach my rainbow.

RELEASE DAY! “Dolphin’s Cave” by D. L. Finn. #writingcommunity #newrelease #childrensbook #youngYA #preteen #fantasy #dolphins #otherworlds #hawaii #IARTG #ASMSG #HappyBDayJeff

It’s finally here! Release day for “Dolphin’s Cave.”

This is my first attempt to format a book, so I’m still working on the print version, but the ebook is available on Amazon and Smashwords. The print is following soon, in time for Christmas shopping.

“Dolphin’s Cave” is a book that is for children and preteens as well as those who are young at heart:)


The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?


Chapter 1

In Her Dreams

Darkness came as it did every evening—quietly and completely. Slumber always brought the same dreams ever since Coral Dover’s parents’ plane had disappeared off the radar en route from Oahu to Maui. Coral never gave up hope that her parents were somewhere waiting to be found. Her faith had been solid for eight long years, but now it was eroding like rocky sea cliffs, constantly being battered by the ocean’s salty reality. Her escape was her dreams. Every night the same events replayed, but they seemed new every time—like dream-state amnesia. Covers over her head and eyes tightly shut, sleep engulfed her as she sank into hope.


The ocean water was warm as she swam away from the protected cove of a black sandy beach. Suddenly a painless grasp at her legs pulled her underwater. There was no fear, only curiosity. The deeper she went, the cooler the water became, yet she wasn’t cold. More important, though, she wasn’t fighting to breathe.

Eyes burning from the saltwater, she couldn’t see who or what pulled her. Abruptly she was released and settled into a neutral buoyancy. Surroundings came into focus. The blue encased her, and there was no way to tell which way was up. Goosebumps covered her arms, and she turned around. She saw a turtle and a dolphin—her kidnappers.

The turtle held back while the dolphin moved in and nudged her leg with its snout and then turned away from her. It was ten feet long, dark gray on top fading to white underneath. She knew it was a bottlenose dolphin thanks to her mom, who had written and illustrated a children’s book called What’s Swimming in the Hawaiian Sea?

Coral used to insist that her mom read her newly published book to her before bed. This turtle looked exactly like the one in the book—a green sea turtle, or honu, as the Hawaiians called it. It was brown and about three feet wide. Unsure what to do next, she watched the turtle and let the memories surface.

“The turtle’s name comes from its adult diet of seagrass and other plants, which are stored in its fat and turn it green. The color isn’t external, but internal.” A warm smile danced across her mom’s face. “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was judged by the color of their fat, or what was on the inside and not the outside?”

Waves of her past washed over her every time she thought about her parents. Instead of drowning in her pain, she was kept afloat by the hope of one day seeing them.

The dolphin nudged her with its nose again, bringing her back to this dream reality. Its expression looked like a smile. She knew there was a mouthful of teeth behind that smile that the dolphin used to catch food. Coral was caught. The dolphin nodded its head, then swam under her and waited. Carefully and gently she touched its fin. The dolphin showed no signs of being upset by her touch. It didn’t attempt to bite or release a burst of bubbles from its blowhole. Both good signs, yet she held back.

The dolphin took control and pushed up under her. And just like that, she was riding it. She clung to its dorsal fin as it swam, surfacing every seven minutes to breathe. She almost slipped off a few times, but the dolphin slowed and maneuvered so that she could adjust herself. Unlike the dolphin, who breathed air, Coral was able to breathe both air and water.

How am I doing this?

Bewildered, she focused on what was occurring, how the water entered new slits on her neck and exited through her nose. When they broke the water’s surface, she took in air through her nose or mouth. The dolphin’s process was different. It blew out its used air from a blowhole on top of its head when it surfaced, sounding much like a balloon quickly losing air. Then it sucked air in through the same hole and refilled its lungs. Coral’s intake of air was quiet yet dramatic as she switched from water to air.

The dolphin stopped and waited in the sunlight, which was blinding. Coral’s eyes watered from the salt while they slowly adjusted. There was a small island off to the right, and the dolphin swam in that direction. There were no hotels or people around. Was she going to be stranded here, or was there another purpose? A knowing poured through her. Her parents were stranded somewhere and couldn’t get back to her.

There was no sand on this shoreline, only jagged black rocks from years of volcanic eruptions. They were heading for the tallest cliff when the turtle bumped against her leg.

“Where are we going?”

They swam right up to the cliff.

“Are my parents here?”

The dolphin dove into the clear blue water. A school of bright yellow-and-blue fish swam by, and Coral saw an underwater cave straight ahead. Her grip tightened on the dolphin’s fin as they swam into it. She could see lights ahead. Finally they were about to surface, and she’d have some answers—




Embrace your inner child… always! D. L. Finn

December Book Reviews! @TPolen6 @Dwallacepeach @CynthiaSReyes @jamescudney4 @bakeandwrite #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook

by Robbie Cheadle

I love seeing Ms. Cheadle’s cooking creations on social media. They are always fun and creative. When it was time to buy my granddaughters a gift, I knew a book about fairies and cooking would be the perfect fit for my four- and five-year-old grandkids. Before wrapping the book up, I read it. I was charmed with the story, loved the recipes, and impressed mother and son wrote it. I look forward to reading this with my youngest grandchildren and then picking a recipe to make together. This is a great combination book to give as a present!

Myrtle the Purple Turtle
by Cynthia Reyes

I bought this for my youngest granddaughter for Christmas. I knew she’d love the bright illustrations and a story that involved a turtle. Before wrapping and placing it under the tree, I read it. I loved the message behind this story. A purple turtle wanted to be green like the rest of the turtles. This is an excellent lesson to accept yourself and others for who they are. I can’t wait to watch her open her gift so we can enjoy this wonderful story together. I highly recommend this young children’s book.

Hiding Cracked Glass (Perceptions of Glass #2)

by James J. Cudney

This sequel has outdone the first book that I loved, “Watching Glass Shatter.” The story is based on a blackmail note found and a party. The name is unreadable on the envelope, so Olivia doesn’t know who the letter is for, adding another layer to the mystery. The story is told through multiple POVs, which gives insight into what is going on in this family. I found a couple of characters made me mad at how they were acting, and I had a lot of empathy for the young widow, Emma. The mother, Olivia, has grown stronger and wants to do the right thing if she can figure out what that is. The sons each have their issues, making them think they are the subject of this note, which kept me guessing until the reveal. As the plot weaved together and things were exposed, it made an exciting family drama that was hard to put down. I highly recommend this book, but start with the first one to appreciate this story.

Lords of Chaos (Unraveling the Veil Book 3)

by D. Wallace Peach

“Lords of Chaos” is the last book in the Unraveling the Veil Series. It starts up where the last book left off. The beginning was brutal when Talin is in prison. It felt very real and equally disturbing what one being can do to another. The trio of changeling, elf, and goblin fights the destruction of their world while societies were still fighting each other. There was a lot of depth and insight into our current social situations, which are weaved into the story seamlessly. The Lord of Chaos wants to end what Alue, Naj, and Talin are trying to save. I love the relationship between Talin and Alue and how Naj fits into it. They have all grown, changed and learned not only about themselves but about the world around them. This is a fast-paced action tale where they are constantly fighting to survive, and the story and characters are riveting. This will be a series I won’t soon forget as it leaves a message to work together instead of fighting each other. Very timely. I highly recommend this fantasy series that was entertaining and thought-provoking.

Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2)

by D. Wallace Peach

“Allies and Spies” is the second book in the Veil Series and the best so far. The story continues with the trio of unlikely heroes who are thrown together. An elf, goblin, and changeling try to develop a working trust that isn’t present in their world between their societies. With earthquakes and people disappearing, the blame and suspicion grow between the kingdoms. The group spends some time traveling together and apart to find answers. The continued relationship between the three is strained, with feelings right under the surface. Their connections grow as time goes on, but, it goes in the opposite direction too, but they all experience growth. Alue, Naj, and Talin can’t agree on what is going on, which adds to the mix as they try to survive. As soon as they seem to get an answer, more trouble arrives for them. They swear their allegiance to more than one kingdom, and there is some personal information learned that’s all blended into a beautifully created world. Chaos is determined to destroy it all, and the planet’s inhabitants make that fairly easy to accomplish, which reminded me of our current conditions in our society. These three are the only beings who can stop it, but their flaws make it difficult and almost impossible. I just started the third book and can’t wait to see how this ends for the characters I care about. I highly recommend this fast-paced fantasy but suggest you read it from book one because it is a world you want to learn about from the beginning.

Subject A36 (The Colony #1)

by Teri Polen

“Subject A36” is a YA story set in the future. There is a divide in how people are treated. The Colony contains the people who have all the money and power. They harvest good genetic traits from the insurgents or the have-nots, a process that kills the donor. The insurgents rescue those who are picked up to do the harvests. It’s a time where having a certain color of eyes or being intelligent means death to those who don’t live in the Colony. Seventeen-year-old Asher lost his family to this horrible practice and found his place on missions to release people from certain deaths. I love his relationship with his team, especially Brynn, the one who holds his heart. The connections feel very real to me and all the complications that go with hidden truths. This is a fast-paced story told in first-person through different points of view, which added to understanding the complicated world in which Asher exists. There are a lot of twists and surprises for Asher and his team.  A couple of times, I was so invested in what was happening, sleep became unimportant. Although this is a YA read, it’s a story for adults too. I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace that inner child by reading a great book. Then, give a gift back to the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn