Hello! Later today I’m thrilled to be a guest on Voice of Indie Podcast with hosts, Stephen Geez and Beem Weeks. The show starts at 5:00 PST, my time, or 8:00 EST.
You can always listen later if you can’t make it. I’ve been catching up on all their great shows and added them to my Spotify List.
There is one thing I wanted to share with you before the interview. I deal with what is called brain fog, or I simply forget a word I want to use while talking. This made me shy away from socializing, phone calls, and public speaking for a long time, but I decided why let this hold me back? So, if you hear that pause and me describing something instead of saying the word, that’s what is going on. This comes from my autoimmune issues and Fibromyalgia. Neither of which are causing too many medical issues, but I do experience little things like this. It’s much easier to get away with when I’m typing 😉
It’s been a great month, including a successful blog tour that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fairies and I appreciate all who supported it! Thank you:)
It was equally nice to take a week off and explore nearby destinations with day trips. After releasing a book set in the redwood forest, it only seemed natural one of those days we’d venture into one. The closest to our house, and one we’ve hardly been to, is Muir Woods with Stinson Beach fairly close. So, I scheduled our time to park, yes you have to make a reservation.
We set out early to make the three-hour drive. It went smoothly, although when we got there the road leading down was fairly windy with no road barrier protecting the cars from going off steep cliffs. I tried not to look as we wound down to the park.
As soon as we parked, we ate a packed lunch and headed into the park. It was an easy walk on paved or wooden walkways. The tall redwoods towered over us as the sun filtered through the trees. I immediately started taking pictures, as I’m known to do. We crossed a charming wooden bridge over a creek and veered off the comfortable path to explore another trail. This turned out to be an uphill walk but offered spectacular views of the creek and trees below.
Then we returned to the main trail and continued on. We strolled through the cathedral grove where the sign encouraged all the be quiet, of course, no one was quiet. As we exited into an open area we saw hundreds of little red bugs flying around.
My husband commented with a slight grin, “Must be your fairies.”
I smiled and agreed. Why not?
This park was full of magic, and I just knew the fairies were close by. The little red insects turned out to ladybugs, which was pretty exciting too. Our hike continued and we’d stop here and there to touch the gentle giant trees. You could feel their energy and wisdom in that brief connection.
When it was time to go back, I turned the hike into a walking mediation to fully appreciate the beauty and peace that surrounded us. I felt stress and worries stripped away from me.
A quick stop at the gift shop where I added to my magnet collection for the fridge, we left the redwoods behind.
Then we took another nail-biting drive down to the ocean. Here we took in the beauty, meandering at the edge of the water and watched the surfers who had a parachute attached to their boards. I have no idea what it was called but it was fun to watch as they would get lifted into the air or glide across the water. This wind made it fun to surf but wasn’t good for eating. So, we decided it would be better to enjoy our packed dinner in the car and watch the ocean waves.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day of redwoods and ocean.
The other days were spent visiting relatives and going out on a lake to swim, traveling to Reno, and taking a day to drive around Lake Tahoe with a quick stop at Hard Rock Cafe.
Each day offered something new, but the one thing they had in common was they filled me with joy and wonder. My muse was equally inspired and couldn’t wait to get back to work on my latest book. I’ll update you more on that later but I can share it was my first NaNoWriMo challenge. The story includes a ghost, animals that can communicate, snow, and a serial killer.
Did you spot any fairies in the redwood trees?
NOTE: There will be no blog next week, I’ll be out enjoying the fireworks. Happy Fourth of July!
Also, I’ll be chatting with Beem Weeks and Stephen Geez on June 30 at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Hello! The fairies and I invite you to the celebration of the final post over on fellow Story Empire Author, Jan Sikes’ Blog! She’s an author who is the first to offer a helping hand or advice—as well as a fantastic writer. We’re thrilled to be concluding this amazing journey with her.
Today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire Author, Harmony Kent! Not only does she offer her support to indie authors, but she a wonderful writer. Her book, The Vanished Boy, made the Summer Edition of “Books That Changed Me.” Stop by and say hello to us!
Summer has already arrived with the hot temperatures and the grandkids running through the sprinklers to cool off! It’s the longest day of the year to enjoy the sunny weather, but there’s still time to treasure the stars when the sun finally sets.
This was a time of year when I read more as a child, and I still look forward to it as an adult even though I’m not on vacation all summer. In the heat of the day, sometimes, the best thing to do is pick up a book and find a nice cool spot by the water to enjoy reading it! With summer arriving, it also the time for my “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition.”
Happy Summer, and Summer Solstice!
The books are listed in no particular order. I’m still offering the book’s blurbs over my reviews because this is about the books, not my reviews—although I do add some of my thoughts!
The Vanished Boy took on not only a mother’s fear of a son gone missing but the realization that she didn’t know her son as she thought. This was a perfectly paced story that held on to my emotions and kept me guessing until the reveal. This is a book—and a mother—I’ll never forget.
When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.
All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.
And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.
Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.
When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?
The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon was a book that I couldn’t read fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end either. I loved that the story was co-authored. It made for a perfectly blended mystery, setting, well-rounded characters, history, and learning about the Cheyenne Culture. It’s a journey I’m eager to continue.
In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.
When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.
A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.
But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.
Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.
Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.
As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.
A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.
Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.
Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.
Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.
In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.
These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.
Grinders is set in the future in one of my favorite cities, and where I spent a lot of time growing up, San Francisco. There were so many things to like, including amazing characters, the storyline felt possible, and there was the always present and appreciated humor. But what really stood out was the setting. Living in an apartment underwater with an octopus on the porch, a glowing forest that generated power, or having an AI running the house, were all things I could easily picture and want to be a part of it.
Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.
Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.
Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.
Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.
Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.
This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.
I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
A charmingly illustrated children’s book that has an important lesson accept yourself and others for who they are, whether your shell is purple or green. This made a magnificent gift for my grandkids, and it’s gotten lots of use — and readings.
Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.
Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers of human or furry children!
Note: The Tree Fairy Blog finishes up this week. I’ll post where they are visiting!
If you are subscribed to the newsletter, it goes out tomorrow:) Check your emails.
I had a wonderful vacation. I will share a bit about it next week.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! Happy Summer 🙂 D. L. Finn
I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire author, Joan Hall, here today to share her latest release, Cold Dark Night. It is a book I loved and look forward to the rest of the series. Here’s my review: LINK
Thank you for hosting me today, Denise. I’m delighted to be here to talk about my newest release, Cold Dark Night. It’s the first novel in the Legends of Madeira series. Each bookbegins with a historical event that ties to modern day.
We both share a love for animals. I think when character has a pet, it tells readers a lot about their personality. Although I like all animals, I’m especially fond of cats. I have two of my own, a seven-year-old tuxedo named Tucker and a six-year-old black Manx named Little Bit. We adopted Tucker, but Little Bit found us.
Both cats, but especially Tucker, are extremely sensitive our moods and emotions. He clings a lot if one of us is sick.
Oscar is a black cat that readers first meet in House of Sorrow. He’s a “mixture” of my two cats. Just as Little Bit “found” us, Oscar “found” Ruth. After her death, he roamed the neighborhood where neighbors made sure he had food and received proper care. Oscar wouldn’t stay with any of them, remaining a bit reclusive, but things changed when Tami moves to town.
And like Tucker, Oscar is sensitive to Tami’s emotions. I’d like to share two excerpts. The first is when Tami first meets her new fur baby. The second scene comes later in the book.
Tami walked to the door with Abbey. When she opened it, a large black cat darted across the deck.
“Fantastic. Oscar finally showed up.”
“Is he your cat?”
Abbey shook her head. “He belonged to Ruth. He’s been roaming the neighborhood since she died. Everyone looks after him and makes sure he has food and shelter, but he won’t stay with anyone for long.”
The cat meowed, reached a paw out to Tami, then twined between her legs.
“Well, hello there. You’re certainly friendly.” Tami bent down to scratch him behind the ears.
“That’s unusual. He’s been standoffish, especially to strangers. But I’ve often heard people don’t choose cats, cats choose them. It looks like you have a new buddy.”
It was mid-morning when the uneasiness gripped Tami again. She’d been in her office, trying to slog through an article for a regional magazine.
After the conversation with Jason, her disparaging mood left. But now she couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen, as if danger lurked nearby.
Oscar jumped from his spot on the love seat onto her desk, then nudged her arm. During the past few weeks, the cat had acted sensitive to her emotions. It was as if he knew when she was upset or troubled. His presence never failed to comfort her.
“Hey, buddy.” She scratched behind his ears. He rewarded her with a soft purr. “You always know how to make me feel better, don’t you?”
The cat continued to rub his head on her hand before lying across her keyboard—something he hadn’t done before.
“Guess I won’t get any more work done this morning.” Tami laughed as she reached to power down her computer. It was then she noticed the date.
February 16. Lee Hazelton died on this date thirty-eight years ago.
She looked out the window. The expected cold front hadn’t arrived. Three months ago, she’d visited Ruth’s grave on the date of her death. She could do the same for Lee.
Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon for .99 through June 15. After then, the price goes to $3.99, so now is a good time for readers to grab a copy.
New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.
Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.
But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.
Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.
I bought this book for my grandkids. I had planned to read the book before sharing it, but they found it first and insisted it be read to them. My son was visiting and volunteered, so I got the story read to me, which was a treat! Bob loves pink and purple so much that he’s sad if he doesn’t have it. His friend, the mouse, makes sure Bob has plenty of pink and purple, but it never seems to be enough. Then comes the lesson where Bob learns friends are much more important than things. The illustrations are colorful and inviting, and the words flowed nicely through rhyming. The pictures of the real Bob at the end caught my grandkid’s attention and mine. Bob has fans at our house, and I can easily recommend this book.
“Lunar Boogie” is the fourth book in the Hat Series, but you don’t need to read the others to enjoy this exciting story. Lizzie and the hat are back with their usual banter, which always makes me smile. I was happy to see the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, playing in their venues, along with past characters who make an appearance, but there is a new killer on the loose that is soon named “Sausage Maker.” The first death occurs during a full moon, and all the authorities find is a few body parts and lots of blood. This catches Lizzie’s attention, but the hat tries to steer her away from investigating it. The story offers a second insight into these murders through a police officer, Yoder. I liked the added addition of a ghost watching over her beloved and the wisdom of a witch. This is a fast-paced read that hasn’t slowed down since the first book, “The Hat.” The mystery of who the werewolf was kept me guessing until the end, and I was wrong! This is a book and series I highly recommend.
“A Cowboy of Legend” is a western romance and the first book I’ve read of Ms. Broday. Set in the late 1800s, Grace Legend lost a good friend killed by her drunk husband. She joins the woman’s movement to get alcohol out of their town. Here she meets a tavern owner, Deacon, and they immediately clash. When the woman’s group destroys all his supplies, Grace’s father steps in and replaces it but insists she works there to clean up the mess they made. I love the developing relationship between Grace and Deacon as their backgrounds slowly come to the surface. Although they disagree on everything, I love how they come together to help the homeless children that live around the tavern. The history of the woman’s movement for rights and a voice is nicely weaved into the story adding another dimension to the tale. Fast-paced with several side stories made this a book that was hard to put down.
I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and recommend this if you’re a fan of western romance or just like a good story.
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!
NOTE: I will be on vacation this week. Although there will be a visitor here Monday on the blog—you won’t want to miss it. So, drop by and say hi!
Otherwise, I’ll be missing from social media and blogs unless I post a picture on Instagram. I hope to make it to the redwoods and ocean this week:)
Next week’s blog will be “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition!”
Embrace that inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn