Welcome to autumn—or almost. I’m posting this a day early since it falls on a Saturday. This is a favorite time for me. The landscape is changing into a rosy glowing sunset. Animals are making final preparations for the coming cold weather and I’m enjoying it all, including the cooler weather. It does make for cozy reading.
Although you’ve seen these books reviewed here, I felt they were worthy of another look—or some of my top reads. Here are the books and their blurbs for fantastic fall reading.
Mari and her husband opted for a simple life as farmers. It’s been decades since the world tore itself apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor and family against each other. They were happy in this re-emerging world, until disaster struck.
Mari sets out on a solo quest to avenge the deaths of her family and loss of everything she holds dear. She’s ill equipped for the task, but seems to have time on her hands. Time alone in the wilderness to deal with her personal demons along the way.
She is helped by a few sympathetic elders and a couple of animal companions with lessons Mari can use if she pays attention. Can Mari find justice for her family?
Set in a post apocalyptic, Gulf Coast world, this is a story for fans of the old Spaghetti Westerns.
A Western with strong romantic elements:
The Wades’ saga continues as Alex and Brandon return to Silverhills, bringing Alex’s friend Lisa with them.
They arrive home just as Jeff Wade, Brandon’s younger brother, is about to head a trail drive across the Chisholm Trail. But there’s a problem, the cattle drive cook has a broken arm.
A week later, Lisa sets out on the drive as the camp cook along with the Silverhills’ cowpunchers and a thousand head of longhorn. Trail drives are always dangerous, but this one has more than its share of perils. Snowstorms, flashfloods, hot lead and rustlers are just a few of the dangers they encounter.
And if that’s not enough for the trail boss to be dealing with, he can’t ignore the white-hot attraction he feels for the petite, lovely blonde who drives the chuckwagon like a seasoned camp cook. Jeff is very much afraid that falling in love could prove more fatal than the bullets flying along the Chisholm Trail.
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn
Fall will be arriving this week! This is one of my favorite times of the year. When the temperatures cool, and nights are crisp. The leaves change to yellow and red bringing the landscape to life like spring does with flowers. Everything is pumpkin flavored and my Halloween decorations are already up. Like I said I’m ready.
The bears are also getting ready for winter. They manage to get into our garbage even when they are tightly clasped shut. We figure it’s better than them breaking into the garage if we store it there.
Then there are the remaining meat bees that are in attack mode, at least with me. They are also known as ground yellowjackets but they are wasps. I got attacked a couple of weeks ago—again. This time I was only moving some birdseed that had fallen to the ground. My mistake. I got stung several times on my chest and a couple on my back. It was itchy and painful at first but no infection like my husband got a few years ago. They eat rotten meat and when they sting, they bite to hold on so they can get a couple of extra stings in. Luckily they died down every year, leaving behind eggs for the coming spring. I know they have a job to do, I just wish it didn’t involve me. I haven’t been able to go outside with them hunting me down.
All a part of living in the forest.
So there’s been no walks on the Magic Trail lately. My outside inspiration is limited to star gazing. Although there is one tree we can’t sit by to enjoy the night sky. A light colored owl swoops low over us heading to the big cedar tree next to the house. After the third time, we realized it wasn’t an accident. There had to be a nest in that cedar. Hopefully, soon this night bird’s babies will fly off and we can go back to our usual spot.
Although we bought the land in the forest, we share it with many creatures. Some of these residents are not as pleasant as others.
My experiences living in the forest have made it in many of my stories. I can use it as a setting to create a mood or even danger. What if your character was allergic, like my mother, to a bee sting? That would create an added layer to a story. Or perhaps a bear enters the house through a kitchen screen like one did recently up the street. Their dog chased it back outside but not before it got into the flour and was having a snack. That would not only be scary but what if the bear didn’t leave the house like this one did?
How about you? Have any pesky critters that find their way into your stories? Updates:
Watch for my newsletter on 9-20 in your email if subcribed, and my Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition post on 10-22.
Next week The Harbor Pointe Inn Series will release book one and I will have a post about it here. Can’t wait 🙂
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. The fifth book is a collaboration with the award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. John’s latest book is titled Eternal Road – The final stop and launched in September 2020. In search of their eternal home, Sam and James discover a threat to human existance. They also encounter the prince of darkness. The question is; can they save humankind and their eternal souls. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the high desert of Arizona, where she writes, gardens, and travels with her husband.
Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It has received multiple awards and is an Amazon Best Seller. The Choice, the unexpected heroes is the sequel to The Contract. It is also a thriller, involving the attempt of an unfriendly nation to take over the world. The third book in the series, The Culmination, a new beginning is an action-packed military thriller that spans the globe and involves multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Only love can change the fate of humanity.
When Gwen is not writing, she’s often in the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona, where she finds inspiration.
Yay! It’s almost here—RELEASE DAY! Tonight “Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms” will make its way into your Kindle if you preordered or be available for those who have Kindle umlimited. Plus, the print copy is ready to go. I am planning on adding a hardback soon. The new video is at the end of this post and some information about winning a gift card.
Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms is poetry that spans over a few years after my other book Just Her Poetry was published in 2019. This current collection encompasses many different types of poetry which I put into seasons, magic, paradise, my emotions, and the back of the Harley. Plus, there’s poetry stories told through haibun style. I have become fond of telling stories in limited words like In the Tree’s Shadows. I continued those shorter stories in this book, but with a poetic twist.
Putting this poetry collection together was overwhelming at first with three hundred pages of poetry to pour through. What to use and how to arrange it was a struggle until I made it more like the first book. After making some deep cuts, I enlisted Colleen Chesebro from Unicorn Cat Publishing to edit. I knew she’d be honest, and she was. She nudged me out of auto-pilot to fly with my words again. That was all I needed to make the cuts and changes. I know I’ve said this before, but never pass by the editing stage, even with poetry.
There are still two hundred pages of poetry that didn’t fit this book but may show up later in other projects.
Next, I worked on the cover. There were several at first, but his one captured my heart. Then came the video which is below. That all went smoothly.
Formatting was the last step. Having never done formatting on a poetry book before, it took some learning. Eventually, I figured it all out. It was one of those hard learning curves that my stubborn side insisted on conquering.
I wanted to get Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms out before the Harbor Pointe Inn Series released, so that added to my final push.
This poetry represents my current journey, but I left many of those COVID-19 year references. I’d rather focus on nature, magic, healing and exploring stories. Some of these poems were used in different challenges, including Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday or the missed Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ so you may recongnize them.
I was going to share my favorite poem, but in the end, I couldn’t choose. Instead, here’s the video.
“Ever So Gently” is a beautiful collection of free verse and symbolic poetry. It is broken into three sections that cover nature, life’s moments, and some author insights. I love nature and I’m drawn to vivid images, but the emotions and insights explored in our shared experiences were equally intriguing. There was a peace within these pages that allowed me to drift off into a poetic slumber when I was done reading. Although I enjoyed the entire collection, here are a few lines that captured my heart. “Fresh raindrops/gently landed/on their wilted spirit/as I witnessed them lifting…”—Wilted Spirits, “You stowed dreams in the clouds,/imaginings rose higher than the heavens…”—First Breath, “Their presence graced my universe beautifully like an endless ceiling of bright blue sky. Then they were gone.”—Friendships Gone, and “Its glow will grow ever so gently/into a bright beacon of hope/rising with the golden sun/bringing clarity to our vision.”—Ever So Gently. A collection that I will be enjoying again and can highly recommend.
“Tales from the Riverside” is a collection of true-life stories that span several decades of Mr. Landgraf’s life. It is an entertaining account of life in the swamp and educational. I live in the forest, so I know little about swamps besides alligators living there. It is so much more than alligators as we are taken on fishing trips to catch, a favorite of mine, catfish, gardening, relationships, equipment, and survival. It is told through humor, but there are some very scary life-threatening parts. I stayed up late reading about hurricanes, snakes, and equipment problems, and enjoyed the author’s recipes and daily life stories. Although I will stick to living in the forest, I could appreciate the peace and independence found in the swamp. A short story memoir of living in Riverside are tales I can easily recommend!
“Fusion: Poems of Life” takes the reader on a vivid journey through nature and life’s emotional aspects. I enjoyed the entire collection, but the nature-based poems really captivated me because I am so comfortable there. It was very hard to pick from the beautiful imagery, but here are a few of the many I highlighted. “The dream of my life was/To fly with the clouds/Drape their colors,/Adapt their shapes…”—Dreams, “Snow clad mountaintops/Kiss capricious clouds./Emerald lake watches,/As rosy hues of dawn smile…”—Ambrosial Love, “Stormy sea swallow/Stories of eons/Some shores speak…”—Changes, “Hold the first rays of sun/Softly in your hands or/Soak them gently in your eyes…”—Magic Moments, “The shimmer of violets allures me/A flower fairy sits smiling/Sprinkling her magic dust…”—Flower Fairy, and “The moment she wears her scarlet gown/She gets a call to cast her spell/Edgy enchantress grabs her crystal…”—The Scarlet Gown. A collection I read in one sitting, but one I will also revisit. I can highly recommend this to all poetry lovers.
“The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack” is a unique collection of short stories and had been sitting on my reading list for way too long. I’m so glad I finally picked it up. It was a fast read that was completely entertaining, down to the intermission. The book begins with “Jack O’ Lantern” which had a twist that made me grin. It was fun to see some favorite characters Lisa the Robot, along with Jason Fogg, and learn a bit more about their backstories. All the stories were full of imagination, with Mr. Boyack’s humor weaved into many of them. “50 Galloon Drum,” and “Soup Ladle of Destiny” are stories I won’t soon forget, but all the tales were great in their way. An excellent grouping of creative stories that I can highly recommend.
“Delilah” is set in the 1880s and follows a young woman who was just released from prison for defending herself and her family. She sets out to return to the family ranch with a young girl, Sarah when they are attacked. Delilah was beaten, raped, and almost lost her life when they tried to hang her. Instead of giving up, even with all the bad that’s happened to her, Delilah’s strength keeps her going. She’s determined to locate the men who attacked her and find Sarah, who was kidnapped. Luck brings her to a family who helps, but cruel fate intervenes and she’s on her own again. Her journey leads her to a thriving mining town and a job. When she isn’t protecting herself from criminals, there are grizzlies and other wild animals to deal with too. Delilah is a character I couldn’t help but root for. She’s not afraid of hard work or to stand up to injustice. I love some relationships she develops, including a potential love interest. My favorite though is the bond with a local Ute boy. The well-written settings and descriptions brought me deeper into Delilah’s world. This is a gritty, fast-paced Western with a strong female character that I can easily recommend. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.