“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry

I’m participating in the “Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #11 NEW Image Prompt by Suzanne Burke. I played around with different types of poetry last week. Here’s the Haibun Poem I came up with for this image:

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The river roars over the precipice. Its cry is heard for miles as it travels its painful path down the jagged granite. The clear sapphire essence turns cloudy and white. There is nothing to cling to as it’s thrust into the unknown.

The great fall of tears
Rapidly release the pain
In the pool’s peace.

 

Embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn

August Book Reviews! @YvetteMCalleiro @Sandra_Cox @jamescudney4 @JessicaBakkers @HLawsonAuthor

My Mechanical Angel

by Harmony Lawson

“My Mechanical Angel” is a YA fantasy with Christian overtones and my favorite, angels. This book was recommended to me, and I’m glad it was. I enjoyed the uniquely written story told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old, Emmaline. She lived in a small rural town where their leader, Reverend Archibald, warned of the evil in the forbidden city, Seraphton. The city intrigued Emmaline and made her feel like an outcast in her community. Then she meets a resident from Seraphton, Aleksander, during a storm one night. The meeting is the start of a change of events for her. I loved the instant connection between Emmaline and Aleksander, which brought about her softer and braver side. Her relationship with her family, especially her grandfather, felt real to me, including their push for something she didn’t want. Her journey, along with a few surprises, held my interest the entire way. This is not only a love story, but how people are capable of change — or not. I will definitely be reading more from this author! Four-Stars


Guns of Perdition (The Armageddon Showdown Book 1)

by Jessica Bakkers

“Guns of Perdition” is a dark western horror story with a biblical twist. Jessie worked in a salon but was compelled to follow a drifter named Grace. They immediately drew me into their strange world where there were not only cowboys, but bloodsuckers and an evil man Grace called the Darksome Gunman. I enjoyed learning along with Jessie and rooted for him, even though there were times his actions frustrated me.  Grace made it hard to know her, but her interactions with Kaga, her wolf brought out her more tender side, but that wasn’t often as her strength pulled them forward.  “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King series came to mind when I was reading this with its mixture of horror, settings, and complex characters. The story tugged on my emotions in several places where I wondered how this could happen, which only showed how involved I was in the story. This is a great debut by Ms. Bakkers, and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series. Five-Stars


Watching Glass Shatter (Perceptions of Glass #1)

by James J. Cudney

“Watching Glass Shatter” is a fictional drama that centers on the wealthy Glass Family. Olivia lost her husband after 40 years of a wonderful marriage. She is surrounded by her five sons after his death when she learns her husband kept a secret from her. This takes her on a journey of learning about herself and her sons. I admit I wasn’t a big fan of Olivia at first. She was very opinionated and self-absorbed. I loved her visits to each of her son’s households. This is where she learned more than expected from her excursion. There was some laugh out loud moments and some that brought tears to my eyes. The characters were well developed and were able to grow as the story went forward. I dreaded the final reveal of the secret but was completely satisfied with how it was handled. If you love a good drama, with a wonderful insight into the family dynamics, you won’t want to miss this book. Five-Stars


The Sundial

by Sandra Cox

“The Sundial” is a fun time-traveling western. Although it started with a ghostly appearance, the story soon veered from modern-day to Texas in a historical setting. This is where it all fell together for me in the 1800s. I loved how strong Sarah was and spoke her mind, even if it got her into trouble. Jesse was a perfect counterbalance with his loyalty and stubbornness. Monet, the cat, joined Sarah on her journey, and he added in some fun along with his protectiveness. The history and slang were nicely mixed into the action. This is a love that not only crosses through time but many lives, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Five-Stars


Breathless: A Short Story 

by Yvette M Calleiro

“Breathless” takes the reader in a new direction showing what happens when the handsome, rich man, William, meets up with the peasant-like female, Selina. Ms. Calleiro provides a refreshing change to the usual storyline. I loved the setting in the 1920s, with the slang weaved in so seamlessly. When Selina decides a bit of magic couldn’t hurt, there is a twist I didn’t see coming. A well-written story that I couldn’t put down. Five-Stars


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!

Watch for a special edition blog this week:)

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

“I Wouldn’t Be Surprised” Release Day! #releaseday #shortstory #dlfinn #kindle

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Today is release day for my new short story, “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised!”

I WOULDN'T BE SUPRISED_ A Short Story final copy for cover

Excerpt:

Did you ever wish you could take back something you said, even if it was just a joke? One of those moments happened while sitting around the Easter celebration table in our dream house, only the two of us. The world was spinning out of control. The news was glum, and we missed our family, so in true Janice-fashion, I tried to add some lightness to the meal.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Bigfoot came to our door with a plate of food.”

Dale paused a second from devouring his favorite turkey meal and burst into laughter.

Encouraged that I was in a brilliant comedic mode, although I’m sure the wine had more to do with it, I added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if a UFO landed in our front yard.”

Now I was laughing too. I sucked back a giggle. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a herd of serial killers stampeded down our driveway.”

I continued throwing out my zingers until I ran out of ideas. Our good spirits lasted through dessert. Soon reality’s somber mood crept back into the day.

A week later, I found out my comments might have been taken seriously when someone or something visited us.

“This looks good, thanks,” Dale peeked in from the garage late Sunday morning.

I frowned. “What does?”

“This plate of bread.” He held up a foil-covered paper plate.

“Not mine. Where did you get it?”

Dale’s graying brows pulled together over his puzzled brown eyes. “It was sitting on the back of my truck. Must have been out there all morning. I just noticed it.”

His look of longing at the plate of bread worried me. Dale’s celiac disease meant no gluten or wheat flour. “Set it down, and I’ll see who brought it to us.”

He nodded and left the present as I scanned the security camera on my cell phone, thinking a neighbor dropped it by earlier in the morning. Nothing. I checked each motion recording until I found what I was looking for. My mind clicked into the opening narration of an old crime show, Dragnet. “This is the town, Greenville, California. It is a sleepy mountain community where people still leave their doors unlocked. It was a Saturday, April 18, at 11:30 p.m., when an uninvited guest walked down the dark, football-field-length driveway. The unidentified person carried a circular item. They proceeded to place what appeared to be a foil-covered plate on the back corner of a truck and retreated into the night…”

Amazon Link

(At the correct price of .99)


Comments off for vacation! Hugs to all:)

Embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn

My Cover Debut & Pre-Order for “I Wouldn’t Be Suprised: A Short Story!” @dlfinnauthor #shortstory #newrelease #paranormal

I WOULDN'T BE SUPRISED_ A Short Story final copy for cover

I spent last week searching for a picture I took several years ago while sitting around the fire on a camping trip at a local lake. I almost gave up and used another night shot I had, when finally I found it. So, I happily created this cover.

Although it was great I found the picture I was looking for, that isn’t the interesting part of my upcoming release.

At the beginning of this story, Janice and Dale are alone on Easter Day enjoying their meal together. Janice lightens the mood by throwing out a few “I wouldn’t be surprised” zingers. A few days later, a gift of bread was delivered in the middle of the night. It gets worse for them from there.

This really happened to my husband and I. We spent Easter day alone because of the shutdown, and I used the real “I wouldn’t be surprised” jokes which included, Bigfoot delivering food, Aliens landing in the front yard, and a pack of serial killers running down our driveway to name a few in the story.

Then a strange “gift” of bread showed up on the back of my husband’s pickup one morning soon after.

We do have a video recording and a grainy picture of an older woman on our security camera. No one we know. It was chilling to watch her walk down our dark driveway, where she met up with a dog and disappears. No car…nothing. Just darkness.

We put the bread back outside that night. No reason, we just didn’t know what to do with it really and felt guilty throwing it away. Maybe they wanted it back, I reasoned. Our security camera stopped recording motions that night, but the bread was gone the next morning–only a plate and some foil, which the ravens found.

Why is this strange? Well, we live in the middle of the forest. There are no streetlights, parking or sideways, just a road and trees. Houses are separated by acres, and wild animals live around us. We know most of our neighbors, and none of them would be out wandering around at 11:30 p.m. without a flashlight. Our driveway is longer than a football field, so it a long dark walk to a darker street.

I did immediately think my daughter dropped off a gluten-free treat for her dad, but that wasn’t the case. I talked to neighbors, nothing. It was a mystery we never solved, but my mind never let go of it.

I went in many directions with this story, some of which ended in death for Dale and Janice. That didn’t feel right to me and why I missed the orginal deadline. Besides, I figured I should be careful after what happened.

A few familiar characters paid a visit, and a new one made an appearance.

So except for the dog, the older lady who pays a visit in the story, it happened. What follows the delivery of the bread is what happens when strange events come to a writer. It’s been three months since our special nighttime gift. I can throw it into the its been a strange year theory, but…

Blurb:

Do you ever wish you could take back your words? Janice and Dale Hart sat around the dinner table laughing at silly “I wouldn’t be surprised” jokes that included UFOs, Bigfoot, hand-delivered food, and serial killers. A week later, an innocent plate of food is left on Dale’s truck in the middle of the night. That’s only the beginning, and the presents go from harmless to life-threatening. Will the Harts find help in time to survive an evil bearer of “gifts”? Find out in this paranormal thriller.

 

NOTE: DO NOT BUY AT THE $2.99 PRICE ON AMAZON. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE .99. I was unable to fix it, even though it was before the deadline, and now it won’t be corrected until JULY 21ST.

If anyone bought it at the wrong price, let me know and I’ll send you an Amazon gift certificate for the difference. Sorry for any inconvenience. I’ll add this to my 2020 odd list 🙂

 

Pre-Order on SMASHWORDS HERE!

 

Amazon  (7-21-20)

 

Release Date: July 21st


 

UPDATES:

I’ll be on vacation next week so there will be no blog. I’ll be back on August 2nd. I also won’t be on social media or visiting my favorite blogs.

My Monthly Newsletter will be out a day late on July 21st. I’ll be celebrating my birthday the day before… So, watch for it in your emails if subscribed!

Don’t forget to give the moon a glance on the 20th. That’s the day when a human first set foot on the moon. This moonchild will be looking up and imagining the possibilities!

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

 

 

 

 

 

July Book Reviews Part 2 @Jinlobify @JanSikes3 @DonnaOw70073779

Brother’s Keeper

by Jan Sikes

“Brother’s Keeper” is a short story centered on two brothers. Quentin is the older brother whose job it has been to watch over his younger brother, Rowdy. An event when they were children cemented that caretaking into adulthood. The mother created this situation and still pushed it. I detested her, which shows how well the author writes characters. My sympathy was for Quentin, whose loyalty was misplaced. It saddened and frustrated me what happened to Quentin, but it suited his personality. A well-written quick read. Five-Stars.


Brazos Wind

by Jan Sikes

“Brazos Wind” is a western short story set in Texas in the 1880s. Jack McClean comes across the widow Savannah as her house burns and then takes it upon himself to help her. I immediately fell in love with Jack’s character. He was strong, kind, and had some mystery mixed in. Savannah’s sad state was understandable after she shared her story. The friendship that developed between Savannah and Jack felt very real. This is a fantastic read, and I would love to see a book come from it. There is so much more I want to know about both characters. I highly recommend it! Five-Stars!


The Agent of Death

by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

“The Agent of Death” is a short story that focuses on several deaths in one family. It starts with a dream and goes into how unexpected deaths are dealt with in the spirit realm. The uniquely told story explores how to break the curse believed to be placed on the family. A lot was going on, making it hard to keep up, but it was also insightful and surprising. This was an interesting read for me. Four-Stars.


Eternal Darkness

by Donna Owens

“Eternal Darkness” is Ms. Owen’s debut poetry collection. Her words are dark and disturbing. The untitled poems deal with subjects including abuse, suicide, and murder. The reader gets the perspective of both sides, killer/abuser, and victim. The poetry is emotional-based and in the genre of horror with a good dose of painful reality. This is meant for mature readers—a read for horror fans and those who like to delve into the darkness.


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!

UPDATE:

Next week I will be debuting the cover to my new paranormal short story, “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised!”  I’ll be sharing the real-life event behind this story. I hope to release it on my birthday–it will depend on how next week goes. No, it didn’t make the contest deadline, but I was still determined to release it.

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

July Book Reviews Part 1 @teagangeneviene @MarciaMeara @fredsdiary1981 @hmkindt @WendyJayneScott

Tiger House (The Chronicles of Jairus Tanner #1)

by Wendy Scott

“Tiger House” is a fantasy set in a world after the emperor dies. Takagi is the daughter who has now lost position and power after losing her father. She sets into motion a plan to get her power back. I kept looking for something to sympathize with her, but I didn’t find that only a perfect villain. Jairus is a farm boy who is kidnapped from his world to take part in the games that will determine who is the leader in this cruel society. Everything is stripped away from him, and they force him to fight. When the game ends, he survives at Takagi’s pleasure. It is here I see him grow, while Takagi continues her ruthless push forward. Although there were a couple of things I would have liked better explained, I found the world beautifully described and the characters full of depth. The story was fast-paced, and many twists kept me on the edge of my seat. This was an action-filled dark fantasy read that ended one chapter and opened another. I look forward to reading what happens to Jairus next. Four-Stars.


The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts #1)

by Heather Kindt

“The Green Door” is a YA fantasy that focuses on the lives of two teens in their last year of high school. Meg works at a record store to make ends meet at home, while her best friend, Brek, is preparing for college. They find a flyer about a game, and the two teens try it. The first step is to choose a door that is based on the money awarded if they complete the task. The action starts the moment they open the door. I enjoyed what was behind the entrance and the unknown world’s storyline that included magic. I liked the friendship between Meg and Brek and how protective they were of each other. Then enters someone from their school, and it sets up a romantic triangle. There are a couple of adult scenes in this story; otherwise, this would be an enjoyable read for younger readers too. The story is a quest with some moral decisions. The book ends at a place where some questions were answered, but others were left unanswered for the next book — which I will be reading. Four-Stars.


Summer of ’77: Beaches, bars and boogie nights in Ibiza

by Robert Fear

“Summer of ‘77” is a slice into Mr. Fear’s life when he was 21 years old. After taking a vacation to Ibiza, Spain, Fred, his nickname, went back the next year to stay six months. He walked away from his job and girlfriend and found a place to live and work. I loved being back in the 70s, it was such a different time.  I could imagine being on the island and walking through the streets with Fred. There was hard work involved, but also a lot of partying and enjoying female company. This is a journey of a young man who was determined to explore more than his corner of the world. I not only loved seeing this through his eyes but being able to read the letters he received from back home. I felt that gave a balanced perspective. This was a page-turning read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Five-Stars.


Wake-Robin Ridge

by Marcia Meara

“Wake-Robin Ridge” is centered on a house in the Blue Ridge mountains. The story was told through two different timelines almost fifty years apart. The storyline set in the 60s pulled me right in as it focused on an abused wife, Ruthie. Her emotions felt very real in the situation she found herself in. She was the strongest character for me and her husband, a true villain. Sarah was in the second timeline in the 2010s, who moved to the Blue Ridge mountains to write a book. She immediately met her neighbor, Mac. They sparked a friendship, and she learned about him slowly. That storyline was more thoughtful. I loved the setting and could easily imagine creating a book at Sarah’s cabin, then taking a break and walking to the creek. This was an entertaining read with some paranormal mixed in that I appreciated.  I will be reading more of this series. Four-Stars


Brother Love – a Crossroad

by Teagan Geneviene

I read “Brother Love” over several weeks on Ms. Geneviene’s blog and enjoyed it. I was happy to see it released and read it as a book. I appreciated it just as much the second time around. My favorite character was the magpie, Jinx, and his insights. Although Birdie, the town outcast, is a second close, because of what others perceived her mother to have done and where she lives near. The humor and setting drew me into the story that was set in the south in the 50s. I could see myself at the town revival as people went forward to get healed. I loved the magic woven into a story that otherwise felt very real. I recommend this novella for all fantasy readers who appreciate a unique tale as I do. Five-Stars


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 by reading a good book and embracing each soul you meet! D. L. Finn

A Local Vacation

 

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Staying close to home on vacation turned was nice. We went on a Harley ride, visited an empty state park, and explored nearby places. Here are some highlights from local spots in, or very near, Nevada City, CA.

There were a couple of road trips. We ended up at a trail that was closed, so we headed across the street to the waterfalls and explored. The next picture is an overlook of the Sierras off of Highway 20. Then there is the South Yuba River, and an old Wells Fargo building past Bridgeport in the South Yuba River State Park.


 

The Harley ride to Downieville, CA is a favorite. The road flows along the South Yuba River. The last picture is in Downieville in front of a place we stayed for one of our anniversaries years ago.


Here is our day at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. We were the only ones there and enjoyed exploring. North Bloomfield is the name of the tiny town within the park. I used to enjoy field trips there with my kids and working in the “Drug Store.” We couldn’t go inside this time, but the grounds are so lovely we didn’t mind, and we found this great little bridge to cross.

As we exited the town, we stopped at an old Catholic Church. Next to that was an old white schoolhouse. I felt uncomfortable near the schoolhouse, so I avoided it and pictures. Later I found out there’s a story about the schoolhouse and is believed to be haunted. It is said the schoolmaster killed and hung a student from the rafters above the classroom.

We left there quickly and continued to explore the beauty that surrounded us. I hope you enjoyed seeing some beauty we enjoyed on our vacation.


Embrace your inner child by reading a good book, and enjoying nature. D. L. Finn

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #5. #FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Below is my interpretation of week #5 Fiction in a Flash on Suzuanne Burke’s Blog. 

flash-best-marionette-1

This picture took me to a dark place. I ended up writing three poems about it, but I’m only sharing one of them.

INVISIBLE STRINGS

The golden couple enters hushed admiration.

Their beauty captures the imagination.

Women ache to stand in “her” shoes.

I don’t.

I’ve heard his tone…

I’ve seen the bruises…

I’ve heard her cry.

But now, she grins and laughs

While clinging to his ego.

They are so in love people declare

But they don’t see the invisible strings

They are knotted in oppression.

Her eyes reflect only fear…

Her mouth set in a dark smile…

Her motions are jagged as he tugs her strings.

He is a puppeteer of hatred

Controlling each action…

Each word…

Each breath.

My heart feels her pain,

Yet, she won’t leave him.

I offer her safety,

She clings to sadistic devotion.

No one sees what makeup covers

No one hears his degrading words

No one feels his anger like she does.

It is a delicate illusion held together by string

Someday, I know that string will break

And I will either comfort her… or grieve by her grave.

As I turn away, I glimpse a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

It goes unnoticed by her pathetic puppeteer.

I smile as I leave in hope,

Knowing the invisible strings are finally fraying.


Embrace your inner child. D. L. Finn