Animal visits and their meaning—plus a poem. #writingcommunity #spiritualwriting #animalguides #messages #poetry community

As you know, I love nature. I am at peace amongst the trees, by the river, or with an animal. You find this in my poetry and writing. There are times, though, when I lose my way. Stress builds up, and things get scattered. I take those times to sit and be in the forest or by any water. Usually, I get the balance I am seeking.

Sometimes, though, I seem to need a bit of extra help when messages from beyond come in different packages. I won’t go into the full message, but my takeaway from it.

Recently there have been many messages. The first one to get my attention was a bite from a black widow. Unusual since they usually hide. This one was sitting mid-air where I turn on the hose to water the plants. With very few side effects, I took this seriously and gratefully because it could have been so much worse. Spiders coming around me have always carried the message to be more creative. I apply this to my writing. Black widows can also warn that we are on the wrong path. To work on oneself and work on artistic endeavors. They are powerful females, and I believe here is the message I am one too.

My next event followed soon after with being attacked by several ground nesting bees on my ankles, while my husband and I were clearing our property for our home insurance (it was renewed.) 😊 They didn’t appreciate me raking over their nest. One clung to me as I raced back to the house. I finally got it off and got inside. Bees rarely bother me, so this was a new message to pay attention to my surroundings and trust my intuition. Got it! They are close by when I go outside, so I am paying attention to what is around me.

Coyotes have been making their presence more known lately. I’ve seen three this summer when I’ve never noticed any around the house or forest through the years. Maybe I’m paying more attention? One was walking through our front yard, and I only glimpsed it. The second time I was leaving the house in my car, one crossed the street and then stopped and stared at me. The third time I was exercising and saw two out the window. This couple headed for the Magical Trail. Seeing them includes the need to be more playful, adaptable, patient, and even having good luck. Also, I can handle what is coming to me.

Not a good picture, but here is the frog from that night.

Now the oddest of the bunch. A couple of days ago, I was in bed watching a movie while my husband played music. It was a calm, warm summer night. Right then, something wet splatted onto my arm, and I immediately hit it away. Then I jumped out of bed, flipped all the lights on, and began my search. Soon, I saw a little frog hopping along the floor. I have no idea how he got into the house or my bedroom, but he was there. The little frog gave me the most intense stare when I captured him. He was soon moved to the outside water fountain. I looked up a frog’s meaning and was relieved to find it was good luck. Jumping on me could mean a period of growth, abundance, and getting to know myself better.

Then there are the white feathers. I see many of them on my walk, and we don’t have white birds here, gray yes, white no. I feel only love coming from those, though.

So, many messages lately signal to me that a change is coming. I can already see the start of it and my part to play. It may involve a helping role while ensuring I take care of myself. A balancing act. I’m hoping that it will all work out for the best. It sounds like everything will ultimately be okay according to the messages received. Fingers crossed.

What about you? Do you get little messages too? Does it make it into your writing?

I’ll end this with a haiku:

magic hand

gentle breeze

blows forest magic

in my soul

Embrace your inner child by reading a magical book! D. L. Finn

New Release: “SŬBMARINE-ËR: 30 Years of Hijinks & Keeping the Fleet Afloat” by Jerry Pait (Author), Robert G. Williscroft (Editor) #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #militarybook #navalbook

Welcome to guest blogger Robert G. Williscroft, submariner and author of multiple series including The MacMcDowell Missions, The Oort Chronicles, and The Daedalus Files. Robert compiled and edited the true-life adventures of retired US Navy Lt. Commander Jerry Pait in his new book, Sŭbmarine-Ër.

book cover

Jerry Pait enlisted on September 15, 1964, was assigned to Fleet Sonar School, volunteered for subs, and ended up on USS Entemedor (SS-340). After Advanced Sonar School, he was transferred as an STS-2 to USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632B) in the Philly yards right after her collision off Cadiz, Spain. I was a newly minted Lt. j.g., fresh out of Poseidon Missile School, having come through the NESEP program and Univ. of Washington in marine and atmosphere physics. I guess the skipper made me Sonar Officer because I was a former sonar tech. Jerry and I served together until I left for the Man-in-the-Sea Program and ultimately Operation Ivy Bells, tapping into Soviet underwater communications cables in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Jerry went on to become COB on Von Steuben, served in a senior position in Sonar/Torpedoman School, and then was commissioned as an LDO Ensign. He returned briefly to Von Steuben and then served as a division officer on several sub tenders. After that, he was assigned to NOTU, supervising underwater ballistic missile launchings for several years, working closely with NASA. He rose to Lt. Cmdr., was selected for Cmdr. But was mustered out on retirement as part of Clinton’s force reduction efforts.

Jerry took a senior field position with the major defense contractor Brown & Root, but during his first year, he fell from 20 feet in a way that fractured his back and cracked his skull. He survived, received a significant settlement, and has struggled ever since to regain as much function as possible.

I was on Jerry’s emailing list. He began to send out periodic stories from his past. They were fascinating, and the response from his list was remarkable. I saw their potential and contacted Jerry—we hadn’t communicated directly with each other in decades. I suggested that I work with him to compile his stories into a coherent whole, and that we put out a book. He agreed, so we found a publisher who was willing to work with us on this strange project, and we completed the book last month.

Jerry’s book, Sŭbmarine-Ër: 30 Years of Hijinks & Keeping the Fleet Afloat, will be released on September 15, exactly 58 years after he enlisted. The book is on pre-publication sale right now as an ebook for only 99¢. The ebook price will rise to $3.99 on September 15. Each chapter has a color photo that illustrates the contents of that chapter. The trade paperback printed version has half-tone photos and will sell for $19.95 The hardbound, jacketed edition is in full color throughout and will sell for $36.95. Both will be available for pre-order within two or three days.

Why am I doing this? Jerry is our brother—and he’s a genuine American hero. His story deserves to be told far and wide. I’m not here selling books. I’m here asking you to help me preserve the memory of one of the best among us. By purchasing the ebook on pre-order (only 99¢), you will help boost his sales ranking, so that on September 15, the release date, his ranking will shoot up. If you want the trade paperback, or the really cool hardbound, jacketed, full color version, you can pre-order those as well from Amazon or any other online bookseller, or you can order it from your favorite brick and mortar store as well. Should you want an autographed copy, please use the Contact form at, and I will put you into direct contact with Jerry.

The Book Trailer!

Live Interactive Podcast with Pait and Williscroft!

Call (516) 453-9902 or hashtag #FreshInkGroup in tweets during the show.


The Book Blurb!

Lieutenant Commander Jerry Pait’s semi-autobiographical collection of sixty stories recounts his thirty years in and around the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet. Ranging from light-hearted to wrenching, all are poignant inside looks at naval operations rarely seen by outsiders. Topics include the real story behind the shuttle Challenger tragedy, risking his own life underwater, discovering a Soviet spy living across the street, surviving when a DELTA Rocket engine ignites, critical missions, and the everyday lives of men and women of the fleet. Dive into Sŭbmarine-Ër for hijinks and breathtaking adventure with this poignant memoir by a true American hero.

Order Yours!

Digital editions at 99 cents during pre-sale are available in all major ebook formats—Kindle, Nook, Kobo, GPlay, iBooks, and 200+ more—worldwide. Full-color jacketed hardcovers and softcovers are appearing at retailer sites over the next week.




#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 286, #THEMEPROMPT #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poetry #tanka

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #283. This week’s theme was selected by Sarah: “Lessons from Nature.”

I went with a tanka format, 5/7/5/7/7, and focused on that magic hidden in nature!


magic’s fragrant breath

caresses creativity

deep in the forest

words and images offered

where muses and fairies dance

99 word short story: A Reminder. Updates #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #microstories #nature #newsletter

I’m still focusing on doing things I want or need to do. This has included many Christmas movies I taped in July, getting to those little projects that have been sitting or sometimes just listening to the cricket’s song on a starry summer night.

Right before my body decided it needed a bit of rest, I spent some time on the front deck writing poetry and short stories. Here is one short story written in 99 words that offers a gentle reminder of what is essential.


Stella sat on the old wooden porch swing and gently rocked. Birds sang their sweet song while the forest swayed to the music: nothing to do and no place to go. The clouds formed shapes that summer afternoon. Day faded into the pink and purple splendor where the day caressed the night. That moment birthed the first joy she’d felt since her days of busyness and usefulness when the world respected her worth. Today, she was reminded of her quiet love of nature. Nature loved back Stella by awakening her wonder and opening her poetic door—a new beginning.


Are you subcribed to my monthly newsletter? I have been doing a book of the month to further promote some good books read. Here is the list of books so far with many more to come! I’ve scheduled out to late 2023, so far.

August Book: Terra’s Call: TetraSphere – Book 1 

July Book: The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

June Book: Life and Soul

May Book:  Things old and Forgotten

April Book: HYPE

March Book: Grinders

Febuary Book: Cold Dark Night

January Book: No Such Luck


December Book: The Reckoning Squad

November Book: Keeper Tyree

October Book: The Contract

September Book: Ghostly Interference

I have and will be doing giveways with these books. This is a new feature I’m enjoying! Thanks Jan Sikes and all others involved for the great idea 🙂

Random Thoughts and Marketing Experiments #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #authorblog #authorthoughts

buck outside window

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a more personal post. Lately, it’s been book reviews, poetry challenges, or new releases. It doesn’t give me much space to explore other interests. I’ve thought about moving the reviews to another day. That leaves me open to new content, but also requires more time. It’s a balance I’m not ready to jump into but will give it a lot of thought.

I said I’d report back on how my marketing experiments went.

The first one was a giveaway through Rafflecopter for three gift cards. What it required from me, other than to put it all together, was some advertising. I did this through Facebook, which I have done in the past. At first, I limited my audience and later I expanded it. It was nice because I capped my spending to under twenty dollars. Plus, I posted it on my website and blog and there was a lot of interest or entries and follows. What I didn’t get were sales, but I added a few new followers. Having done this in the past, it was about the same interest level. One thing I wish I had included in the giveaway was Bookbub.

What I’ve noticed in the past and now is there is a sizeable community that likes to enter contests that have little or no interest in books. That aside, though, I still felt it was worth it for the people who connected with me on social media and stayed after the contest ended.

The second one I tried, which I’ve never done other than through a book club, was a paid tour promotion. I decided on the cheapest option of doing a one-day blitz and scheduled a month out. I didn’t advertise this because I wanted to go outside of my usual blogging world. It was easy enough. I sent in the requested information. There was good communication, and they kept me up to date on what was going on. I also got a couple of book banners to use too. With this tour, there was a ten-dollar giveaway through Rafflecopter.

When my day came, I had a list of those taking part in the blitz through blogs, Facebook, or Instagram. Even at almost thirty hosts, I was determined to thank each one. I only found a couple where I couldn’t locate a post. The main page on the tour site had action, and I was able to respond to several people. A couple of commenters expressed interest in my book, so that was nice.

Another blog had the same activity, but most didn’t. I found many blogs, just did blog tours, and had more than one going on at once. Of these hosts, very few responded to me when I thanked them, and no one commented that I saw but I only checked back for a couple of days.

I did like that the tour ventured out into Facebook and Instagram. Not a lot of interaction other than from the host, but glad for different venues and exposure. My takeaway from my first paid tour was I could tap into a new audience, but I didn’t see any sales. Of course, there is no telling if I was added on Kindle Unlimited. What I did get was meeting a few nice people along the way and I added some new followers from the giveaway, including Bookbub.

There is one option for the paid tours I might consider again. I’d do it using the one or two-week tours and include the people who usually support me. That would be the best of both worlds and, hopefully, less work for me.

I want to thank Jan and her marketing posts over on Story Empire which inspired me to explore different ideas. I’m not done trying new options and will report back here on how they go.

black bear climbing tree

Personal updates:

  • I’ve been busy with some unexpected babysitting, so that has kept me socially quiet recently.
  • I had some good news with a couple of skin biopsies, both benign. I was getting a check-up twice a year and now it’s been moved to once. I have also avoided any more black widow bites or bee stings 😊
  • After losing our dog during our first summer vacation, we are dogless for the first time in forty years. The following vacation we had to spend a lot of it clearing our property for insurance but luckily it got renewed, which is uncommon in our area. So, if you don’t see me around for a couple of days here and there, know I’m taking care of myself. Connecting to that peace that I may have lost recently on many levels. I’m guessing some poetry will come out of this time, but never know where I’ll be led.

Today I have a second post for a new book release from Marje you don’t want to miss, and my new newsletter will come out on the 20th.

Have a great week and embrace that inner child. I know I will be! D. L. Finn xo

Release Day for “The Hedge Witch & the Musical Poet by M. J. Mallon! @Marjorie_Mallon #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #poetry #shortstories #flashfiction #poetrycommunity

I’m excited to have fellow author, M. J. Mallon here today to share the release of her latest book: “The Hedge Witch & the Musical Poet.” I’ve included my review.


The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet is a collection of poetry and flash fiction celebrating the beautiful vulnerability of the forest kingdom. It begins with the poetic tale of the kind-hearted Hedge Witch, Fern, who discovers an injured stranger in desperate need of her woodland spells and magic.

The sweet pairing learn from each other and through Fern’s guidance, Devin embraces the power of magic to leave behind his trouble past to become The Musical Poet.

Poetry/flash fiction titles in section one of the collection include:

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, Rain Forest Love, A Forest Baby Boy, A Forest Baby Girl, A Modern Witch, Rock of Mine, Chester Don & I, The Network of Trees, More Trees Not Less, Two Boys Watching War, Mum Climbing Trees, Let’s Play, The Scorched Tree, Owl’s Holiday Home, A Man’s Holiday Home, A Child’s Excitement, The Teddy In The Woods, Run! The Organutans, All Hallow’s Eve Candy Girl The Forest Bash, Dreaming At Halloween, A Face on Bark, Golden Willow Tree, Rainbow – Parasol of Light, Lollipop Sunshine Tree,

In Section two I pay tribute to the following poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Ruby Archer, King Forest, Bliss Carman, Woodland Rain, Emily Dickinson, Who Robbed the Woods, Rupert Blake, Stopping by The Woods on A Winter Evening,Oscar Wilde, In the Forest.

With my poetry:

The Forest Weeps, The Forest King, Raindrops and Childhood Dreams, The Woodland Treasures, Winter Woodland Moon, Child Me.

Paperback to follow.

Cover and Formatting by Colleen Chesebro’s marvellous new formatting service, more about that here:


Amazon US Purchase Link

Amazon UK Purchase Link

My Review

A unique and beautifully written collection of poetry and fiction weaved magically together. I love trees and nature, so a forest setting pulled me right in. Section one starts off with “The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet.” A whimsical tale of an injured man, Dale, found by a magical woman, Fern, who takes him in to heal. It was great to see a couple more poetic pieces continue this sweet journey. Section two offered poetry based on some famous poems. The beautiful imagery captivated me throughout this book. I appreciated all the poetry and prose, especially “The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet” but here are more favorites, “Rock of Mine,” “The Forest King,” and “The Scorched Tree.” It was great to see a couple of samples that I enjoyed from “Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose” included. If you love poetry and flash fiction, especially the forest and magic, this is a collection you won’t want to miss. I plan to add the print version to my bookshelves so I can keep enjoying it.


Author Bio

MJ’s favourite genres to write are Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories, various forms of poetry and flash fiction. She celebrates the spiritual realm, love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious at her blog home:

She is a reading, blogging and photography enthusiast!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained, and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of lliving and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

MJ writes fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic! Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

The First book in the Curse of Time series Bloodstone has received many fantastic reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other platforms and was awarded a finalist book award recently from Amazon influencer N. N. Light, receiving a review rating of 5+stars.

Her writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and has also written a spin off poetry collection entitled Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic.) where she continues to celebrate the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

Her eclectic blog shares details and information about her new releases, author interviews, character profiles and her love of reading, reviewing, writing, and photography:


Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose, (with photography,) This is Lockdown, (an anthology,) and Lockdown Innit Poems about Absurdity and The Hedge Witch &  The Musical Poet.

Next Chapter Publishing

YA Fantasy series,  Bloodstone and Golden Healer in The Curse of Time.
For details of publications please visit:
Bloodstone Buy Link:
Bloodstone Audiobook:
Golden Healer Buy Link:



Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse
Moons of Autumn by Colleen

Chesebro (Poetry,)
Poetry Treasures 2 Relationships compiled by Kaye Lynn Booth & Robbie

100 Ways To Write A Book Alex Pearl (proceeds to Pen International.)

Stay Home A year of writing through lockdown – Chantelle Atkins (Chasing
Driftwood Writers Group.)

Contributions to Best Selling Horror Anthologies

Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Twisted Sisters“ (Short Story)

Wings of Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Great Pottoo” (Short Story)



Wings & Fire:

Contributions to Ghost Anthologies

Ghostly Rites 2019 compiled by Claire Plaisted “Dexter’s Creepy Caverns“ (Short Story)

Ghostly Rites 2020 compiled by Claire Plaisted  “No. 1 Coven Lane” (Short


Linktree: (all my links in one place.)

Author Blog:

Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon



Tik Tok:,



Spiritual Sisters: https:/

Authors, Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC:




#TankaTuesday #Poetry #Challenge No. 284, #SpecificForm: 4-11 #poems #poetrycommunity #poetrychallenges #poetsoftwitter

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #284. This week is Specific Form. Yvette Calleiro chose Gwen Plano’s 4-11 format. It is 4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4 with the first and last lines the same. This one was a challenge!

Darkness descends
Crushing my soul
clouds hide the stars
hope in the past
youth was breezy
love abundant
happiness flowed
moonbeams magic
I take my path
make the journey
Darkness descends






August Book Reviews Part 2! @Danantion1 @RituBhathal @JoyYorkAuthor @Lizzie_Chantree #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

My Perfect Ex

by Lizzie Chantree

A fun romantic read where the heavier subject of mental health is woven into it. Poppy is hardworking and is trying to get her business going while her boyfriend, Dylan, is more laid back with his company. Also, Dylan has a reputation of being a lady’s man. These issues push doubt into Poppy’s mind about her relationship with Dylan. Although Poppy loves her job and Dylan, her friends encourage her to give her business partner, Jared, a chance, since he is more like her. Poppy’s powerful side is how she steps up to help others, and her pods are a version of that. There is some miscommunication, jealousy, and hidden motives mixed in, which add depth. I enjoyed the friendship between Poppy and her assistant, and her devotion to those she loves. Poppy has some important lessons to learn who to trust and where she can offer forgiveness. A read I can recommend for those who love romantic stories.

Genuine Deceit

by Joy York

Reagan comes home after her grandmother was killed during a house robbery in this fast-paced mystery. Her best friend, Mattie, enlists her ex-seal brother-in-law, Aiden, to look after Reagan when she can’t be there. It’s soon apparent Reagan needs some help since another burglary follows the first. There is a slowly developing relationship between the two as they uncover clues that only add more questions about what happened. Some old play jewelry may be part of the answer, while it becomes apparent that someone wants something in Reagan’s grandmother’s house. Reagan not only runs across old pictures she’s never seen before but begins to piece together her family’s history. There were many twists, and I kept reading to see what would happen next. The end had a surprise that I didn’t see coming. The story was packed with several side stories and shifting suspects. A layered whodunit with a touch of romance and friendship. This is a fun read for all mystery lovers.

Marriage Unarranged

by Ritu Bhathal

“Marriage Unarranged” is a charming romantic story that completely hooked me. Aashti found out her fiancé had been unfaithful to her, so she called off the wedding. Seems simple enough, but it wasn’t as acceptable in her community to break off engagements. So, after much consideration, Aashti, her two brothers, and her best friend decide to take the trip to India that was to be for her wedding shopping. Told through several points of view, including her ex-Ravi, added a lot of depth and insight to the story. My favorite part, though, was learning more about the Sikh culture in Britain and India. Although it seemed like their customs were old-fashioned, the family was always there for each other. It was wonderful how much unconditional love Aashti had, including from her very overprotective brother. This was a journey where Aashti finds not only her way after being devastated by her loss, but her strength. Developing relationships were an important part of the traveling group’s growth and the trip through India was vivid with images and experiences that shined through the pages. A marvelous story that I found hard to put down and I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next.


by Daniel Antion

“Knuckleheads” is a unique and compelling read that focuses on two boys growing up in the late sixties and seventies. Zach and Billy have found a bonding friendship in their differences from other children their own age. Zach has dreams which he can go into, and Billy knows the future outcome of events, but not how they come to that ending. Billy struggles in school and has a label for his supposed lack of intelligence. He is moved into another school for such children. Zach is put into therapy and learns to just say what is expected of him. Their abilities and how they had to deal with them were my favorite parts of the story. I love the connection between the boys and the gifts they were given, but unfortunately, no one was ready for them. They had to hide what they really were. This was a time of not only war and civil unrest but when computers were in their early stages before they were common in households, yet they captured the boy’s attention—especially Billy. Lots of good details went into not only the town, people, and the computers. Zach’s father owns a bowling alley and both boys work there while Zach tried to learn to control going into his dreams. The bowling alley brought back a lot of good memories of when I grew up, it was the place to go,  just like in the story. Zach is retelling the story of his childhood to his daughter Abbie, about him and Billy. So, father and daughter would comment on the story as it went along. A great debut that is a prequel of stories to come. I am looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens next!

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace your inner child this summer, read a book! D. L. Finn

August Book Reviews Part 1! @Anabel1Franklin @YvetteMCalleiro @pat_garcia #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #mustreads #bookreviews

Contemplations of a woman turning sixty-five

by Pat Garcia

“Contemplations of a woman turning sixty-five” is a fun, fast read full of promise. Tessie is about to turn sixty-five and is thinking about what is left for her in this life while dealing with the death of a friend. She is a never-married virgin who had always dreamed of love and a house full of kids. As she dives into the darkness of reality, there was an unexpected twist and a new option she had never dreamed would be possible for her. Is it for real and should she take it? This story offers hope that dreams can come true no matter what age you are. A sweet tale to brighten any reader’s mood.

Escaping the Woods: A Short Story 

by Yvette M Calleiro

“Escaping the Woods” is a children’s story set in the 80s in Mississippi. Isabella and her family have moved to a new town. Isabella immediately meets a new friend, Janine, who suggests they go to her brother’s fort in the forest. Fearful of what could be in those woods, Isabella follows Janine until they get lost. I enjoyed this fast read and felt like I was in the head of an eleven-year-old in 1982. There was humor and I could feel the girls building fear as they kept walking. This short story made me feel like the author was sitting next to me telling a vivid story from her childhood. A fun tale that can either be shared with a child or as an adult being brought back to their youth. I can highly recommend this quick read.

Gateway to Magic

by Annabelle Franklin

A fun story for middle-grade readers about a spoiled boy, Steven, who has everything he could want. Steven spends his time playing video games until one day he sees something unusual in his game that makes sense later. His cousin Tracy talks him into going into the forest and presses that red button that says Do Not Push. Steven ends up in Fairy Land, where everything differs from what he knows. This reminded me a bit of Dorothy trying to get home in the “Wizard of Oz” mixed with the whimsy of “Alice in Wonderland.” I loved the characters he ran into along his journey. My favorite was Nigel, the shapeshifter. Technology is banned in this new land of magic, which makes it hard for Steven to navigate. The food he eats has unusual side-effects, and he has some lessons to learn along the way. The Fairy Queen is supposed to give him the job he is required to do to earn his keep. She is another fun character, and I liked her realm, but he has some miles to travel to get there. I bought this to give to my granddaughter and I know she will enjoy this magical tale as much as I did.

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 your inner child this summer, read a book! D. L. Finn