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Book Research for Dolphin’s Cave. #NewRelease #ChildrensBook #YA #DophinsCave #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Research and Reality 

My fiction research is limited compared to when I wrote my historical fiction book, Elizabeth’s War. I used my travels to Hawaii for a background in Dolphin’s Cave, along with This Second Chance and  An Unusual Island.

There were a few things I had to look up. The correct time was one since I didn’t realize Hawaii doesn’t do daylight savings time, and my timeline would have been an hour off if I hadn’t caught that. What time was the sunset in December was another detail I had to make sure of to fit into the story.

Since the family was traveling during the holidays, I wanted to describe how the airports decorated accurately. Reno Airport was the quickest to respond to my inquiry and even sent pictures. Honolulu international airport shared with me details of how they decorated the luggage pickup area. Maui’s airport had fewer pointers because they do it differently each year, which is vaguer in my descriptions.

I am always thankful when people take time out to help with details when my characters take a trip to actual places.

On Oahu, I had to research the mall where the Pennys and Coral went shopping. I found pictures of how they decorated for the holidays and included that. I also had to investigate how the hotels and residents of the island celebrated the holiday. Of course, Santa would know how to ride a surfboard when he made a stop on the Islands. Someday I will get to Hawaii during the holidays, but at least Coral and the Penny’s got to see it.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen Pearl Harbor, so I wanted to see what had changed. The security is something I don’t remember from my honeymoon, but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lesser version of it then. I had to find a tour for my characters to take and what they’d see along the way. Driving from the airport needed a time frame, and I double-checked how long it takes in traffic to get to Waikiki Beach.

I’ve learned a lot about Sea Turtles and Dolphins over the years, but still rechecked what I put in Dolphin’s Cave.

When I have a retired General in my story, I want to be positive it was possible to move up the ranks in the time I gave him. My intention is to be as accurate as humanly possible when I mention something outside of fantasy.

Scuttle Valley is not an actual place in Nevada, but Reno certainly is. I live an hour and a half from Reno and have made several shopping trips to the mall Coral and Ruby went shopping in to prepare for their trip to Hawaii. I left the stores anonymous, but they are typical of all malls across the United States, which include holiday decorations, helpful employees, and Santa Claus. There isn’t a Dunning Corporation, either, but I based it off what I thought might be out there searching for that untapped magic to make a profit off of it.

I use my actual experiences snorkeling and being a tourist in Hawaii. I swam at the black beach that shows up in two of my books. It was an amazing spot that we had to ourselves for a while on my honeymoon.

I have never seen an underwater cave to enter—yet. But Coral did, and she was rewarded with another place hidden from us, Air People.


This week there is a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. It is a day I have much to be grateful for all I have been blessed with, including all my amazing writing friends I’ve made along the way.

Next week I will reshare the cover from Dolphin’s Cave and share a bit about it. This book has been a long time coming to this point of sharing.

Embrace your inner child with new knowledge! D. L. Finn

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WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 203 #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT #TANKA #WritingCommunity @ColleenChesebro

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful picture, plus I got today’s word count in for NaNo done early.

Here’s Colleen M. Chesebro’s WEEKLY TANKA TUESDAY POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 203 EKPHRASTIC PHOTOPROMPT.

For more information about Ekphrastic Poetry here’s a link: Ekphrastic

My Tanka poem for the picture. 5/7/5/7/7

THE FAIRY

The forest breathless

A protective lion near

By the serene lake

Witnessed only by two birds

Nature gave birth to magic.

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My Aloha experience. #DolphinsCave #ComingRelease #YA #ChildrenBook #Hawaii #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Aloha!

Hawaii is a place I hold close in my heart. I heard many tales of this magical place growing up. My family had done business there, and my mother had been there many times during this. Although the family business had ended, I was lucky enough to see this place when I was in the fourth grade. Oahu was magical through a nine-year-old girl’s eyes. I spent hours swimming and exploring the island with my great grandparents. I remember touring the pineapple groves and sitting next to a very nice fourth-grade teacher.

Pineapples were a cornerstone of my diet there. We ate pineapple ice cream at Woolworths and fresh pineapple at the International Market. What I will remember most about this trip is the Brady Bunch (one of my favorite shows growing up) went to Hawaii the same year. We stayed in the same hotel they did, but not at the same time. Although I didn’t get cursed or learn how to surf, I got a hula lesson at the Kodiak show.

Then, when I was twelve years old, I went back again with my great grandparents.  We stayed in a hut (that was torn down soon after to make way for more hotels) with a path to the beach. I found a Hawaiian lady who was making leis with plumeria flowers along the path. She took the time to show me how to make them, and then I got to keep my work. I spent hours swimming and ended up with the worst sunburn I ever had. For nights after I sprayed myself with water to cool it down and later my shoulders bore freckles of my Hawaiian journey. We picked up some souvenirs at the International Market (now gone) and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where we walked through villages while interacting and learning. Then a beautiful show floated by on the river.

My next trip back was on my honeymoon. We explored Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, and a Luau. When we weren’t seeing the sights, we hung out on the Waikiki Beach and ate lots of crab Louie and pineapple. Another week was added, and we headed to Maui. Here we drove the famous Hana Drive that took us through all the waterfalls and an amazing black beach that we had to ourselves. Every night in paradise, we sat and watched the sunset.

It was almost 30 years before we went back to Hawaii for our second honeymoon. This time we focused on Kauai and Maui.

On Kauai, we made a point of doing things we’d never done before, including a helicopter tour over Kauai, which produced some amazing views and pictures but also left my husband with a queasy stomach. Next, we took a boat tour to snorkel (my second time ever), and the spinning dolphins and a couple of turtles entertained us. Then we rented a Harley and cruised the south shore of the island, including the spectacular little Grand Canyon. Kauai is an amazing garden island filled with roaming chickens.

We spent week two on Maui. We took the Hana drive again, where I was less brave than I had been on our honeymoon with the narrow road, but it was still just as beautiful as I had remembered it. We explored the town of Lahaina and the Hard Rock Cafe, and other wonderful restaurants. The thing that has the fondest memories was staying at the hotel and lounging around the pool— and snorkeling. We’d get up each morning and suit up for the ocean. There was usually a turtle greeting you at the shore, but we were warned not to touch them it could make them sick. However, the turtle seemed determined to touch me.

Hawaii is truly paradise, full of wonderful people, scenery, and memories. It has become my home away from home and has found its way in An Unusual IslandThis Second Chance, and soon to be released, middle grade/ YA Dolphin’s Cave. I’m hoping for an early December release if all goes well.

The Aloha spirit has found residence in me and my work.

Embrace your inner child with the Aloha Spirit in your heart. D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #Haibun #Haiku #Poetry

Here’s  Suzanne Burke’s:

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 New Image Prompt! Join in the fun!#IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot

I’m halfway through with my NaNo Challenge, hitting 25,000 words today. The story is finally flowing with more ideas I’m adding in. So, I celebrated by doing the image prompt this week. Plus, I couldn’t pass this picture up!

This is a Haibun Poem, which is a prose paragraph and a Haiku combined.

THE BOOKCASE

The dusty-book aroma filled me with happiness. The old house was mine now, including this exquisite library. My hand brushed over some of the great classics Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Little Women. I sneezed as I continued to rescue the collection from its grimy lair. There would be hours of reading seated by a roaring fire. I breathed in gratitude, knowing all my dreams had come true. Then, I ran across a book that would not budge. A heavy tug revealed what was hidden.

The bookcase a door

A stale room with one rare book

Gutenberg Bible.

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November Book Reviews Part 2! @BalroopShado @Virgilante @MarciaMeara @JacqBiggar @sgc58 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #whattoread

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

by Sally Cronin

I was drawn in by Sam’s picture on the cover, having had a collie as a young girl, so this called me to read. The story’s told from Sam’s perspective, which was interesting, amusing, and sometimes sad. I loved his journey, meeting his loving family, and living in Ireland and Spain. Henry, the stray cat, who became part of his pack, quickly won my heart. We can only imagine what our pets are thinking, but I believe Ms. Cronin really captured Sam’s spirit in this book. I came out feeling like I’d been part of his pack. This was a feel-good read with some of life’s realities mixed in with just the right touch. When I finished, I was left thinking about all my pets over the years and wondered what they might have to say about their journey. This is a must-read for all pet lovers! Five-Stars!


Perfectly Imperfect

by Jacquie Biggar

“Perfectly Imperfect” is a fun romantic read. Georgina started the company of her dreams and was expecting the representative who she merged her company with for capital. Unfortunately, the two met before their upcoming appointment and had some mishaps. Rhys is the son of the company’s owner and is posed to sell Georgina’s company unknown to her. The story is told in the first person from both points of view so you can see both sides of their story and appreciate their misunderstandings. Then throw in a puppy and a dinner, and it gets interesting. I enjoyed reading this sweet short story in one evening.  If you want a good HEA, this is for you! Four-Stars!


The Emissary 3: Love Hurts

By Marcia Meara

I’ve enjoyed the story of Azrael the Archangel, who needs help and brings in two emissaries, Jake and Dodger. I was excited to see how the story concluded, but sad to see it end. Jake and Dodger have a sweet father and son relationship as they help others. Dodger sees a woman and immediately falls in love with her. Can he find her again, and will he be allowed to explore his feelings? That alone kept me reading way past my bedtime. I love how Dodger explored his place now in the world throughout the book. Then there are Azrael’s sudden arrivals that always made me chuckle, plus I loved the humor between Jake and Dodger. Azrael’s presence is intimidating to the two men, but you can see the archangel’s heart underneath. I highly recommend this story. Five-Stars!


The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat, #3)

by C.S. Boyack

Lizzie is a young woman with a family secret, a hat. I love how Mr. Boyack brings the Hat to life and the hilarious exchanges between Lizzie and the Hat. Mrs. Molony’s addition and what it meant to their vampire hunting and missing woman quest is something I wasn’t expecting. I love how Lizzie and the Hat’s band travel and interact with the crowds. It’s a mini-concert while serving justice. This is a quick read that I didn’t want to put down, so I read it in one night. All three stories in The Hat Series are entertaining, fast-paced, and creative. The author made sure they could be read out of order, so you could start here and work your way back. I highly recommend “The Ballad of Mrs. Molony.” Five-Stars!


Magical Whispers

by Balroop Singh

I’m already a fan of Ms. Singh’s poetry, having read and enjoyed her past poetry books. “Magical Whispers” is a delicate blend of nature and human introspection. It’s divided into two parts. One part focuses more on Mother Nature, and the other offers an insight into our journey. The words painted beautiful pictures that captured my imagination and left me thinking. This is a collection that I will want to read more than once and will be added to my bookshelf. I jotted down some of my favorites as I read, but my list became too long to list here in its entirety. Here are just a few that touched my soul: Stream Whispers, Starlight, Magic in Her Pocket, Little Beetle, and Love is Love. If you love poetry, you won’t want to miss out on this collection! 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!

I’m working furiously on my NaNo story, and other things have come up, especially this last week, so I’m not active on social media, especially blogs.  I have gone days without reading.

We finally got some rain and a bit of snow this weekend. Looks like fire season might finally be over here. Whew!

Embrace your inner child by reading a fantastic book and giving the author your review! D. L. Finn

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 201 #POET’SCHOICE #HAIGA #HAIKU #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity @ColleenChesebro#PHOTOS #TURTLES

Here’s Colleen M. Chesbro #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 201, #POET’SCHOICE!

I went with one of my photos and a Haiku or a Haiga Poem. Explanation below.

This was an amazing spiritual experience I had swimming with a turtle.  That’s my youngest daughter Danielle in the picture who shared this moment with me.

What is a Haiga Poem? An explanation from Colleen’s Poetry Challenge Cheat Sheet:

“HAIGA IN ENGLISH: First, the haiku or senryu portion of the poem is the most important part and must standalone without the image. It is created by using the traditional 5/7/5, or the current 3/5/3, or the current 2/3/2 syllable structure (but not all three together). Haiga, often called observational poetry, contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it. Haiga usually combines three art forms:  imagery: photographs or original art, poetry, and calligraphy.

  • Second, images cannot complete the haiku or senryu. If the image is necessary, to understand the poem, then both the image and the poem fail.
  • The image should add something to the reader’s appreciation of the piece.
  • The image can create an alternative interpretation to the one articulated by the literal reading of the poem. That additional interpretation is what the poet should strive to convey.
  • The image should form a contrast, or comparison with the imagery expressed in the poem. We should strive to produce an emotion of the moment between the poet and the reader, the image and the poem.”
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November Book Reviews Part 1! @stacitroilo @Sandra_Cox @PTLPerrin #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Triton’s Call (Tetrasphere #2)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I read and enjoyed the first YA book, “Terra’s Call.” I was eager to get back to the series and see what happened next. The story is told in the first person with multiple points of view, which painted together created a full picture. I love how Ms. Perrin draws the reader in with her vivid images and settings. The mixture of aliens, mythical creatures, and folklore are blended and weaved into reality. Each of the four teens has their charm and issues, but their devotion to each other is inspiring, even with the misunderstandings. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey to see where it takes the four next as they continue saving the world one artifact at a time. If you love YA fantasy mixed with sci-fi, you’ll want to read the Tertrasphere world. Five-Stars!


Ghost for Sale

by Sandra Cox

“Ghost for Sale” is a charming YA paranormal read. It was funny to think about ghosts being sold over eBay and Marcy wanting a refund when she was disappointed. When the order arrived, one tube was broken, and one appeared empty. My first thought was, ‘what were you thinking’, until the roommate, Caitlin, saw a ghost. It was a good-looking ghost from the late 1800s that Caitlin kept secret from her cousin, Marcy. It was fun seeing the ghost, Liam’s reactions to the modern woman and all the technology, and how well he adapted. The broken tube was his twin sister, and then Caitlin and Liam worked together in an attempt to reunite the sister with the man she loved. The ending surprised me because I expected this to go a different way, but I like how it ended. This is a sweet paranormal love story with a twist that I thoroughly enjoyed! Five-Stars!


The Lab (Astral Conspiracy Book 5)

by D.L. Cross

I started reading the Astral Conspiracy with book one, “The Gate” and was immediately pulled in with the fast pace and amazing characters. I was excited to see how this story of conspiracies, aliens, and relationships was going to end. There were a few twists and surprises to navigate through to arrive at an ending that was not only satisfying but might have left the door open a crack to continue. Landon Thorne was the first to capture my heart as the unwilling hero whose theories had been shunned until the aliens came, and suddenly his expertise became valuable. I loved his character’s progression through the books, along with the introduction of new characters. Some I loved, especially the twins, and some I didn’t, but there was a couple that changed my opinion of them by the end. The research and thought that went into this made it feel very real to me. If you love a good sci-fi story with well-written characters, along with some mystery thrown in, this is the perfect read for you. I highly recommend reading all the books in order, so you don’t miss a thing. Five-Stars!


The Twins (Astral Conspiracy Book 4)

by D.L. Cross

I’m enjoying this sci-fi series. I love Reverie’s twins’ addition as the characters are trying to survive and figure out who to trust—throwing in children to protect added another dimension to the story. The twin’s psychic abilities give them an edge the adults don’t have. There are several characters I’m rooting for, including one I didn’t think I would. While some relationships ebb and flow, a few grew stronger, making me very invested in their well-being. There are surprising revelations and a couple of twists that kept me reading way past my bedtime. The pace is nonstop as everyone tries to survive in this well-constructed world. This is a highly recommended series you want to read from the beginning. I can’t wait to plunge into the final book! 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 that inner child by reading a great book. Then, give a gift back to the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #23 @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #Poetry #Tanka #Haiku

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #23 NEW IMAGE PROMPT.

I’ve been busy editing late into the night all week to meet a deadline. I think I’m finally done in time to start the NaNo. Whew! Sorry if I’ve been missing the last couple of days, but this ran into Halloween which I’m enjoying today.

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful picture. I have two poems, a Tanka and Haiku that came to me last night. I couldn’t choose.

Here’s the Tanka which is 5/7/5/7/7:

THE FLIGHT

Aloft over river

The landscape glows with autumn

Peaceful under wings

When a hollow hunger calls

Abundance rewards the hawk.


And now the Haiku 5/7/5:

My wings carry me

High above the autumn glow

I soar with angels.


 

Happy Halloween! I’m off to enjoy more scary fun. D. L. Finn

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My Paranormal Experiences Part 2. #paranormal #ghosts #writer #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Ghost Post Part Two 

In March 1990, we left the Bay Area and moved to an old mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The house search took us a while; we found most lacking.

One Victorian house had an uncomfortable-oppressive feeling. I loved the layout and the idea of living in such a beautiful house, but once inside, I couldn’t wait to get out. My husband felt the same way, so we moved on. Later, the person who bought that house was attacked and stabbed several times by someone who had come in to do some work. Thankfully the person lived and was able to crawl for help, but an understanding passed through me having “felt” the house.

Our current house of 30 years was built by the owner who we bought from and was nestled in the forest. I was moving into Sleeping Beauty’s cottage, where the fairies raised her.

The house had an airy feel, except for what we refer to as the “Hall Ghost.” I felt no fear of it. No one did. It’s had many sightings, and our kid’s friends had said they thought it was me, or saw a woman with red hair. My experience with it is a shadow peeking around the corner, usually when I am writing, or music is playing. Everyone who spends any time in our house ends up seeing it. It’s startling but not fear-inducing. I have decided it is watching over us.

In our garage, several people, including me, have seen a long hair man walking around at night. Also, nothing intimidating about him. He’s just there. My feeling, and a psychic confirmed, this was an indigenous person from before the miners settled here.

During star gazing, we’ve seen more than our share of white orbs in the forest.

None of these things worried me or caused fear, but the single room upstairs was a different story. I used to write in this room that we had used as a guest room years ago. I used a typewriter over a computer, which shows you how long ago that was. I’d scare myself as I wrote some rather gory details which I’ve never shared. I felt like I wasn’t alone, but not with the intensity, or evil I’d felt at the other house. My husband said he was tapped on the back once while playing his guitar, but it only startled not frighten him.

Later, the room was put to use by our teens,  first the eldest and then the youngest. There were stories of hearing their name whispered, breathing on the back of their neck while on the computer, vivid dreams, and feeling like they weren’t alone.  At times I’d find a teen sleeping downstairs, but they wouldn’t give up the room either. The middle child, who kept her downstairs room, spoke of feeling cold air the minute she started up the stairs.

A few years ago a person, who is now a member of our family, banished this entity. I have no reason to doubt that, but still, something less intimidating still lingers.

No one sleeps in there anymore since our youngest moved out. It’s become the band room where now I hear an angel singing when my husband plays certain songs. Our angel interactions will have to be another blog.

To be on the safe side, we’ve done many sage smudgings, holy water, and blessings in that room and the house. Whatever heaviness had bothered my kids was gone, and what’s there now seems to enjoy music.

The paranormal has always surrounded me in one form or another. I’ve definitely seen and felt things I can’t explain and this experience makes its way into my writing.  Happy Halloween!


Note:

In November, I’ll be participating in the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ll still be doing my weekly posts for my book reviews and for a new book coming out in December. More details to follow.

That means I won’t be doing any of the challenges that I’ve been doing during the week. Plus, my time will be limited to visit blogs and social media while I try to balance everything– including the holiday.  I will be back to my normal presence by the end of the month.

If you need a promotion or a beta reader for December, or beyond, send me an email at d.l.finn.author@gmail.com. I will respond:)

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

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My Paranormal Experiences Part 1. #paranormal #ghosts #writer #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Ghost Post Part One

With Halloween quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some of my paranormal experiences.

In 1984, we proudly bought our first house. As we signed some papers in our soon-to-be home, I heard a voice say to me, “You are going to die soon.”

Now maybe I should have run at the point when only I heard that, but I didn’t. I figured it was the stress of becoming heavily in debt, and besides, no one else heard it. The person who sat next to me and helped with this purchase was my beloved great grandmother. Sadly, a few months later, she died shortly after a stroke. I realized the dire warning was meant for her.

Then things started happening. In the downstairs room, which we used as a guest room, there was an old music box that you’d have to wind to hear it play. It would play by itself when my husband or I passed the room. We laughed that off.

Going up the stairs, we always felt like something was chasing us from the downstairs. It was unnerving. In our master bedroom, at our door, when I would wake up, I’d see a man whose face I couldn’t make out wearing a top hat watching me over the door. One time he waved. I didn’t wave back. There was a presence in that house that we couldn’t explain.

On a cold winter day, my husband was at the store, I was a few months pregnant and carrying my oldest daughter. Heading downstairs as I hit the first step, I felt something push hard on my back. I clung to my toddler as we bounced down the stairs on my tailbone until the very end when I needed both hands to upright myself. We were both fine, just very shaken up, and a bit bruised. The baby survived too.

At this point, we started looking to move to accommodate our growing family. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The house sold fast when we put it on the market, and we were soon in our new place with a five-week-old baby and two-year-old toddler. We gave everything from that downstairs bedroom to charity, including that music box. We took very few things from that house, just to be safe.

Whatever evil that stalked us in that house hadn’t bothered the people who owned it before, nor the people after that from what I know. It was something about it the house didn’t like us there, and we honored that by getting out of there.

The house we lived in next we were only there two years but had no paranormal experiences. Next week I’ll share our family experiences in our current house😊

NOTE: We’re still dealing with high fire danger here in Northern California with no rain in sight. So, if there is a power shutoff I will disappear for a bit. When the red-flag winds die down and we trade generators for the old power grid and I’ll be fully back. Reading great stories takes my mind off the constant fire dangers here and living on high alert this time of year, so thank you all for giving me the escape of a good book.

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt! #IARTG #WritingCommunity #flashfiction #writingprompts @pursoot

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt!

A Haibun Poem combines a prose poem (the paragraph) and a Haiku/Senryu.

THE TRUTH

Wood slats replace the glass in my childhood home. Rocks and years have stripped away its beauty. Long ago, this empty house was full of life. People traveled great distances to attend the lavish parties. Our family was admired and respected until I disappeared. They hung my beloved husband for a crime he didn’t commit. Only I knew that, though, and no one heard my ghostly protests. Someday we’ll be reunited, but only after people finally learn the truth.

The house isn’t haunted

I only want to be found

My murderer died with me.

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New Release and Review! “Cafe Confidential” by Lynda Filler @LyndaMFiller #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

I’m pleased to share Lynda Filler’s latest memoir here today along with my review! I read and loved “LOVE: The Beat Goes On.” I message I took away from both books was a reminder to live fully in our moments.

BLURB:

There’s no turning back.
I’ve sold everything.
I bought one-way tickets around the world with no return destination.
My friends think I’m crazy.
What if I don’t find what I’m looking for?
I’m not chasing love. Not exactly.
What if he’s not the one?

So grab a cappuccino or herbal tea if you prefer and join me at Café Confidential. I will share my adventures and secrets as I travel to France, India, Israel, Malaysia, and Turkey. Perhaps I can convince you that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

CAFE CONFIDENTIAL:
“I finished (reading) this memoir 3 days ago…I can sincerely say it has not left my mind since completing it. I will start by saying that without any doubt this is not just my favorite book of 2020 but is absolutely one of my top 5 of all time.” KirscherSmiles

MY REVIEW:

CAFE CONFIDENTIAL: An unfiltered and intimate memoir

by Lynda Filler

I read Ms. Filler’s first memoir, “LOVE: The Beat Goes On.” It was a book that has stayed with me, so I was excited to continue her life’s story. “Café Confidential” does a bit of recapping her past, but then it dives into selling her belongings and traveling. I loved seeing the world through the author’s eyes in her writing and photography.  It isn’t a straight line of places visited, but her thoughts, history, and philosophies are weaved into the book. There is a pure joy embracing each moment as well as dealing with life’s sorrows. I know I have wondered, at times, what it would be like to sell everything I own and explore. I come away from reading this inspired by Ms. Filler. We should all take that leap of faith and follow our path in life.

AMAZON PURCHASE

 

About Lynda Filler

“The author’s style is reminiscent of CLIVE CUSSLER, LEE CHILDS or BALDACCI.” N. Huff

Lynda Filler spent 2019 traveling. She left Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and visited the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Malaysia, and India. Her travels have filled her creative mind with plots and intrigue. Book 7 in the Code Raven Series, The Istanbul Conspiracy, is the combination of her vivid imagination and the beauty and mystery of Istanbul, Turkey.
She writes Mystery, Action, Contemporary and Romantic Suspense, Urban Poetry, and Memoir. Lynda’s been accused of writing autobiographical stories, but so far no can get her to admit it! She loves to hear from her fans on Facebook where you can find her book news, crazy fun quotes, and photographs of both Mexico, Istanbul and all of Lynda’s travels.
Her work is both thought-provoking and entertaining. Her memoir is “Powerful and unforgettable, the journey of a remarkable woman.”
2020 will see another Code Raven Book and a Memoir/Inspirational/Motivational book.

Readers Favorite 2018 Bronze Medal in Contemporary Fiction Social Issues Lie to Me, an exposé on sex for money.
Her work was honored in Book of the Month October 2017 RRBC
Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 for Target in the Sun, BTRC

“Fall in love with a beautiful mind and a deep soul. It’s like drowning in something that leaves you breathless, but still full of life.” iambrillyant, Love is the Answer

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October Book Reviews Part 2! @jamescudney4 @MaeClair1 @Virgilante @judypost @DawnDun66350980 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Haunted House Ghost (Braxton Campus Mysteries #5)

by James J. Cudney

I wanted to get into the Halloween mood and chose this book to kick it off! Not having read the Braxton Campus Mysteries, it worried me I’d be lost in the story, but Mr. Cudney does an excellent job making sure the reader keeps up with the extensive list of characters and relationships. I enjoyed meeting Kellan, the college professor who seems to run into many murders that need solving. He’s moving into a house that needs some TLC, so contractors are fixing it up, but things happen that seem to point to a ghost. While Kellan works on that mystery, there is the planning of the local festivities for fall and Halloween, which is a favorite time of year for me, so I enjoyed that. There’s a budding romance with the local Sheriff and lots of interaction with family, my favorite being Nana D who adds humor. When there’s a body found, then a murder, there’s a long list of suspects. I changed my mind several times about who the killer was, and my final guess was incorrect. This is an entertaining cozy mystery set in a town I wouldn’t mind living in, minus all the murders. It will be fun to go back and read the other books in this series.


Murder They Wrote

By Judi Lynn, C.S. Boyack, Mae Clair, Kathleen Palm, Julia Donner, D.P. Reisig, Rachel Sherwood Roberts

I’m already of fan of C.S. Boyack and Mae Clair and was looking forward to this anthology. Their stories were as good as I expected them to be. There was a continuation of a familiar character “In the Files from Jason Fogg” by Mr. Boyack. I find it intriguing when Jason disappears into fog and how he handles it. In “A Winter Reckoning,” by Ms. Clair, was riveting. I felt like I had just read an incredible novel complete with love, mystery, and family drama. Then, I was introduced to five new writers and their stories. They all had a different feel and flavor, including a haunted attic, a dead body in the middle of a house renovation or garden party, a widow’s butterfly collection, and Abraham Lincoln. There were some gems in those stories, and one of my favorites was “Within the Plum Attic.” A diverse collection of seven stories kept me entertained, and I got to meet some wonderful new authors. Four-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! D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20! @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #ASMSG #WritingPrompts #poetry #tanka

Here’s my Tanka Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20 NEW Image Prompt!  

THE LAST RIDE

Your long journey over

Fiery sun succumbs the day

Horses side by side

As I release your ashes

You’ll fly high amongst the stars.

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 198, #POET’SCHOICE #HAIGA #Haiku #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity @ColleenChesebro

Today I’m sharing a Haiga Poem for the COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 198, #POET’SCHOICE.

What is a Haiga Poem? An explanation from Colleen’s Poetry Challenge Cheat Sheet:

“HAIGA IN ENGLISH: First, the haiku or senryu portion of the poem is the most important part and must standalone without the image. It is created by using the traditional 5/7/5, or the current 3/5/3, or the current 2/3/2 syllable structure (but not all three together). Haiga, often called observational poetry, contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it. Haiga usually combines three art forms:  imagery: photographs or original art, poetry, and calligraphy.

  • Second, images cannot complete the haiku or senryu. If the image is necessary, to understand the poem, then both the image and the poem fail.
  • The image should add something to the reader’s appreciation of the piece.
  • The image can create an alternative interpretation to the one articulated by the literal reading of the poem. That additional interpretation is what the poet should strive to convey.
  • The image should form a contrast, or comparison with the imagery expressed in the poem. We should strive to produce an emotion of the moment between the poet and the reader, the image and the poem.”

This image is one of my favorite pictures. I took it by the Yuba River, and it holds a special place in my heart. My words try to capture a bit of what I felt gazing upon the beauty that nature freely offers.


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October Book ReviewsPart 1! @Virgilante @HowellWave @Dwallacepeach #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cheetah and the Dog

by Patricia Furstenberg

I bought “The Cheetah and the Dog” for my granddaughter’s birthday. She loves books, and I knew the subject of a dog and cheetah, and the colorful pictures would appeal to her. I read it after it arrived and loved the flow of the rhyming words. A sweet tale that’s based on a real dog’s relationship with a cheetah with a lesson in friendship, no matter what your differences are. Then, after the story, there are facts and photos of cheetahs, which is a wonderful bonus. I can’t wait to share it with my four-year-old grandchild. I’ll be buying more of Ms. Furstenberg’s children’s books as gifts. Five-Stars!


Liars and Thieves

by D. Wallace Peach

“Liars and Thieves” is a fantasy with Elves, Goblins, and Changelings living in an uneasy truce with crystals as their energy. The theme of greed and need felt current to me, and the world was brilliantly written in beautifully described images. My favorite character is Talin, who is a spy with a heart, and Alue is a close second as an Elf who has more sense of justice and temper than most. I enjoy the interactions between them in any form. Naj, the half-Elf and half-Goblin, approaches things more logically but is a solid leading character with a charming relationship with the Goblin he loves. I like what binds the three together. Then, there’s a lack of trust and blame between the three groups that felt very real to me as well as some misplaced loyalties. The unexplained disappearances and earthquakes threw in some chaos. I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens. If you love fantasies, you will want to read this. Five-Stars!


Eternal Road: The final stop

by John W. Howell

James dies and ends up with a girl he hasn’t seen since they were children. This is only the beginning of his journey. I loved the places they traveled together, and the history weaved into them. Each stop had a different story they had to maneuver through without making any changes that could affect the future. I appreciated the relationship between James and Sam how they fell back into the connection they had as children that worked now that they were adults. Then having to deal with Lucifer, who interfered with their travels, was both amusing and a bit chilling to me. Their time travels were not only action-packed with lessons weaved in, but each place they visited was an engaging tale within the main story. The attention to detail and research was well done. Many parts had me laughing and a couple that left me teary-eyed. The ending surprised me, but I was satisfied with its conclusion. This is a story I won’t soon forget, and I highly recommend it! Five-Stars!


HMS Lanternfish (The Lanternfish #2)

by C.S. Boyack

I loved the first book of this series, Lanternfish, so I was excited for the seafaring journey to continue. I was not disappointed with all my favorite characters back, including the root monsters. Those little guys always bring a smile to my face, even when they are up to no good. James Bloodworth is pulled out of retirement into a war that could ultimately affect his peaceful life. He calls for a return of the old gang, which was satisfying to have them back together, along with some new characters. It was nice to see Serang in her element, along with the rest of the crew.  Back at sea, they do what they do the best — forage for what they need. Captain Bloodworth is an excellent leader of his pirates turned soldiers; he not only is trying to undo what his father did, but helps in ways I didn’t expect. Each stop along this voyage offers new friends and a lot of enemies, which kept me reading late into the night. All the small details and created images are weaved into this story so vividly that it brings this world of sea creatures and assassins to life. I can’t wait to see where the third book goes. I highly recommend this if you love a well-told tale. 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!

NOTE: I’ll be hosting two fabulous authors this week. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

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

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 197, #SPECIFICFORM: Tanka @ColleenChesebro

Here’s Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #197 with the specific form being Tanka. Here’s a little bit about it from Colleen’s website:


“TANKA IN ENGLISH: 5/7/5/7/7 or the s/l/s/l/l/ syllable structure. Your Tanka will comprise 5 lines written in the first-person point of view from the perspective of the poet.

When writing a Tanka, we consider the third line your “pivot,” but feel free to let it happen anywhere, or to exclude it. It is not mandatory. If you use a pivot, the meaning should apply to the first two lines, and the last two lines of your Tanka. Remember, we can read great tanka poems both forward and backward.”  


If you want to know more please click on the link above–there is some good information!

I took this night shot, but it wasn’t the inspiration for my poem.  It does have a certain feeling that the words do.

WORDS

From a golden stage

Darkness penetrates souls

Heavy words divide

Acceptance magnifies hate

Extracting humanity.

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“Books That Changed Me” 2020 Fall Edition @JessicaBakkers @MarciaMeara @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #fiction #booksthatchangedme #mustread

Happy Fall! I love this time of year when the leaves are changing, the nights are cooler, and apples are in abundance. Halloween and Thanksgiving are ahead promising joy, fun, and family. Rainy nights by the fire can’t be too far behind, I hope. In these cozy moments is the perfect time to read a great book. Here are three amazing stories that have taken me to new worlds, offered a different perspective, or introduced a character I’ll never forget. I may have finished reading them, but they linger in my thoughts.

I’m continuing my format using the blurbs over my reviews. I want to focus more on the stories or poems that moved me enough to “change” me.

In no particular order, the books and their blurbs

Guns of Perdition (The Armageddon Showdown Book 1)

by Jessica Bakkers

IT TAKES GRACE TO HUNT WHEN IT’S DARKSOME

Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace, with her pearl-handled revolvers, and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.

Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.

The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.

Join Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict…the Armageddon Showdown.

A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2)

by Marcia Meara

In Book 2 of the Wake-Robin Ridge series, Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, returns to the rugged beauty of the North Carolina mountains, introducing a little boy whose remarkable gift will change the world for everyone he meets.

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.

Finding Katie

by Harmony Kent

I killed someone, you see. I killed the girl, who used to be me.

I’m Kate … Kate Charlesworth. I’m seventeen, and self-harming. This time I cut too deep, and I’m in hospital. I hadn’t meant for it to be so bad—it just sort of happened. I needed a lot of distraction that day.

You’ve had bad days, right? Days it hurts too much to think. Days you just wanna stay in bed. Days when the world needs to go away for a while. Right?

What do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom? When there’s nowhere left to turn?

This one little mistake lands me back on a psych unit—the last place I wanna be. Only this time, the nurse I end up with isn’t content to stick on a band-aid and send me home. She wants me to face my demons. But to do that, I’ll have to face who I am … who I used to be … I’ll have to find Katie.


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

 

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Some random thoughts and a #Tanka #Poem! #filters #cats #halloween #poetry #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Our kitty, Zuzu, expressing her thoughts on 2020 in a modern dance pose.

Things have been smoky in our forest with all devastating fires on the west coast. I had to get creative in finding ways to clear out the smoke that crept into the house. People were posting ideas and this is one of them, taping a heater filter on a square fan. I don’t have one of those fans so I improvised with this. It seems to be working, along with a couple of other fans too:

Staying indoors all the time in a worried state isn’t a healthy way to live. So, I pulled out the Halloween decorations:

Only poetry has come easy for me lately, besides revising. So, I’m sharing a recent Tanka poem.  I was going to save it for October, but since I’ve already decorated…

The Moment

The howling begins

As the full moon approaches

This is the moment of change

When the wolf sheds fur for skin

The night he walks as a man.


NOTE:

1. There will be no weekly blog on September 27th. I will be on vacation:) I’ll be back on October 4th with reviews.

  2. If you are a monthly newsletter subscriber watch your email for it later today.

  3. My time on social media and blogs will be limited this week. Not sure if I’ll be able to participate in the challenges.

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Poetry #Haibun @pursoot

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 NEW image prompt.

Her Grief

The heavy dark clouds shrouded the sun in a weary sorrow that mirrored Alice’s mood. She stood alone in their spot under the old cedar tree. It was where Sam had proposed to her fifty years ago. Now her weathered hands were scattering what remained of him. As her tears fell, an icy rainstorm mixed with her grief. She sunk down on the cold ground and lovingly placed their song, and a single red rose from the garden. A hand touched her shoulder, and a familiar warmth ran through her—but no one was there. The wind blew through the forest, playing their song. She smiled, knowing Sam was still with her.

Pleasant memories
Will never be forgotten
When encased in love.

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #EKPHRASTIC #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 195 #PHOTOPROMPT @ColleenChesebro

Here is this week’s Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 195.

I learned a new term Ekphrastic. “This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). Lisa Thompson, from last month’s challenge, has provided the photo for this month’s challenge.”

My Tanka Poem is based on this picture.

MAGIC

She sits silently

Under the mushroom’s safe glow

The humans too close

They’re searching for her magic

A gift the fairy can’t share.

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September Book Reviews Part Two! @KarensStories @pdoggbiker @SusanneLeist @NonnieJules

The Dead At Heart

by Susanne Leist

I have read the first two books in the Dead Games Series and was eager to continue the story. “Dead at Heart” takes off with plenty of action where two ended. Shana is involved with a powerful vampire William but doesn’t completely trust him. I enjoyed the relationship between Linda, her best friend, and another powerful vampire, Gregg. But what kept this a page-turning book was the battle not only in the vampire community but also in Shana’s heart. While she loves William, she appears to have feelings for the sheriff Sam still. That sets up for an intriguing love triangle.  I wasn’t sure who Shana would end up with until it happened. I love the friendship between the women and how they have each other’s backs no matter what. The undercurrent in the vampire community made me wonder who the good side was and kept me guessing until the end. I walked the streets of Quebec with the characters and now have added it to a place I’d like to see. Plus, I became of fan of the other entities that showed up. This is an exciting addition to the series, with a satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy vampire books with some romance mixed in, this is for you. Five-Stars!


THE DAY THE LIGHTS WENT OUT … on Education (The COVID19 ‘LIGHTS OUT’ Series Book 1)

by NONNIE JULES

This was an interesting read that is very current. Ms. Jules’ opinions on how education is being affected by the pandemic followed facts, ideas, and quotes. It was thoughtfully presented with personal examples. “The Day The Lights Went Out” is something every parent and teacher struggles with, and this quick read offers a solution on how to help our next generation through the crisis in their education. Four-Stars!


Unhinged: A Micro-Read

by John Podlaski

I grew up loving horror movies, and “Unhinged” tapped right into that. Two fourteen-year-old boys gratefully took a job to clean up the drive-in for food and movies. They watched “Night of the Living Dead,” which I can still remember watching and being terrified. After that, they had to walk home. I loved seeing the world through their scared eyes. I really enjoyed this quick read that captured the youth of the past so well! Five-Stars!


Treacherous Love: A Short Story of Misdirected Passion

by Karen Black

Rochelle and Ethan seemed to have the perfect marriage. In reality, though, Rochelle couldn’t contain her jealousy, and it boiled over into insecure abuse. It was an unhealthy relationship that ended up hurting their son, which made me cringe.  This is a well-told insight into violence directed at the husband with an ending I wasn’t expecting. Four-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! D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #17 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry #haibun

Here’s my take on Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #17 NEW Image Prompt. This picture took me all over the place, including a short story and different types of poetry. This Haibun Poem is the one that called to me today.

THE MESSAGE

The fog penetrated my skin, adding heaviness to my existence. The furious waves crashing against the shore fueled my anger. The salty air was bitter in my lungs, making each breath a battle. Alone, I pushed through the frigid sands, going nowhere, until I couldn’t take another step. I sat down on a flat rock and waited for the pain to end. This went on ceaselessly until I caught a glimmer in the haze. A bottle had washed ashore at my feet.

Foggy depression

A healing message offered

Remember, you’re loved.

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 194 #SYNONYMSONLY #Fires #orangeskies

Here’s my tanka poem for Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge. Two words were chosen and then we picked a synonym of them. Here are the words: Hint & Bold. I wrote this when our power was shut down, which meant I used my old paperback Thesaurus to find words to replace them.

The first line was going to be “The stagnant gray gloom.” That had fit the smoke we’ve been dealing with the last few weeks since those lightning storms.

But then came a strange dark orange that covered the skies from the fires this week. So I made a last-minute change. Thankfully, our power is back and we are still safe.

This is a surreal and anxiety-filled time for much of the west coast. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Ominous Orange

Filters through the evergreens

A rude reminder

Of the furious fanned flames

When nightmares come to life.

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September Book Reviews Part One! @stacitroilo @MarciaMeara @MaeClair1 @WordDreams #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #RecommendedReading #WhatToRead

 

The Nine (Astral Conspiracy, #3)
by D.L. Cross

I’m really enjoying the Astral Conspiracy Series. The thrilling pace hasn’t slowed down one bit in “The Nine.” Landon Throne is a fantastic character who is at the center of the story and key to helping humanity. His flaws, abilities, and inner conflicts make him very real, and I can’t help but root for him. There’s more insight into the aliens. I was particularly fond of one and can’t wait to read more about the alien in future books. One storyline was chilling and cruel. I yelled at one point, which shows how well Ms. Cross creates believable characters that I care about. The Nine reminded me of the current conspiracy climate. Full of action with well-written exciting ongoing stories, this makes for a compelling page-turning read. I can’t wait for book four to see what happens next. Five-Stars!


Eclipse Lake

by Mae Clair

I love Ms. Clair’s books, which means I’m working my way through her catalog. Although there was no paranormal theme like her current books, “Eclipse Lake” had mystery, family dynamics, and some romance, which completely captured my attention. Dane Carlisle had changed since he was a troubled teen. He’s a good father and runs a successful business, but he wants to reconnect with his brother Jonah. The strain between them seemed so real to me I had my fingers crossed they’d work it out. Dane’s son, Jesse, was determined to find out his dad’s secret, and Ellie, the photographer, made an impression on Dane. Then comes the discovery of a dead body and a lawman who had a chip on his shoulder, which added the layers that made this read intriguing. This is a great book to read on a lazy summer day or curled up next to the fireplace. I found it to be a page-turner, wondering what would happen next. The twist at the end completely surprised me. If you like a mystery with action and a budding romance, this is the book for you! Five-Stars.


Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy)

by Jacqui Murray

I’ve read the first two books in the Crossroads Trilogy and loved them. So, I was eager to read the conclusion in “Against All Odds.” It kept me reading late into the night or until I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore. I’ve gotten very attached to this group trying to find their home in 850,000 BC. Xhosa, the leader, had her flaws, but also her strength and bravery. Pan-do’s compassion and insight made him an excellent advisor for Xhosa. But it was the wolves who always had my full attention. The research that went into the story shines through as I read it. I could easily see the world through their eyes and imagine how it was to live in those times. Their food sources, shelters, and relationships felt very real to me, thanks to Ms. Murray. The enemies are chilling for many reasons that I won’t give away. Although this could be read as a standalone, I recommend going back and reading the previous two books first. This is a great read for those who enjoy prehistoric fiction and those that like a good story. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars!


A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2)

by Marcia Meara

I read the first Wake-Robin Ridge book and had been looking forward to continuing with the series. It was good to see Mac and Sarah back, but the new character, Rabbit, stole my heart. I fell in love with his innocence and wisdom. If I could have reached into the book and hugged him, I would have. The world, through his eyes, is a place I want to live. He was raised away from the world, in the woods, by his grandparents. He believed people were evil, but on his grandmother’s deathbed, she let him know there are good people too. She sent him on a quest to find one of those good people. His growth inspired me as much as it inspired those he encountered. There were some heart-wrenching parts along with some endearing ones, and I deeply felt each one. I highly recommend this book and look forward to continuing the journey with Rabbit. Five-Stars!


The Stones (Astral Conspiracy, #2)

by D.L. Cross

“The Stones” starts where “The Gate” ended. Landon has come back with information that might help with the Astrals from the Akashic Records. Others with him have their own knowledge, and they, for a good reason, don’t trust each other. This adds to the book’s tension. Landon is a favorite character of mine, flaws and all. He has the feel of your average guy that no one believes but is still trying to do the right thing. In this story, Quinn won my heart, and I wanted to know everything about him. But the focus is on Landon by the aliens and different fractions of humans. There’s constant action while they are busy fighting aliens, and at the same time, there are power grabs and religious beliefs that undermine a straight path forward. Ms. Cross pays attention to details and fleshes out some alien, history, and conspiracy theories that I enjoy. I can’t wait to read book three to see how this plays out. Four-Stars!


NOTE: It’s that time of year again, the peak of our fire season in the Sierra Foothills. So, if I disappear a day or two it might be a power shut down during high winds to prevent more California fires. We are expecting shut down this week.

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! D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #16 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry #freeverse

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s “Fiction in a Flash” Challenge Week #16 Image Prompt. I was torn between this free verse poem and a tanka poem. This one narrowly won out today, but I have a feeling my tanka will make an appearance around Halloween.


CALL OF THE WILD

I hear him call me

One howl in the distance

It rolls over the frozen snow.

My reply is muted behind a barrier

I try to jump…

I try to dig…

I try to scratch…

Through the wooden prison planks.

I’m offered meals…

A small house…

A manicured lawn.

I’m cared for, yet unhappy.

My blood runs through the forest

A place where I can roam freely.

Then a bright light washes over me

The portal to heat and treats opens

I stop to mark my territory.

Holding my tail high…

I pad across the alpine tundra

And lay by the crackling fire.

Listening for the call of the wild

I drift to sleep with my favorite chew toy.

Tomorrow I will answer that call—tomorrow.

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 193, #POET’SCHOICE #HAIGA #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity @ColleenChesebro

I had fun with COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 193, #POET’SCHOICE. I decided to pick one of the photographs that I have used as a cover picture on Facebook and write about it. I ended up combining a Haiku/Senyru and one of these pictures with the end product a Haiga. There were several poems to choose from and pictures. I have a nature Haiga I almost went with and will be sharing later, but this combination (even though the picture quality isn’t good) tugged at my heart. Maybe because that little boy is turning 26 years old this month.

Years ago after a snowstorm closed down our main road we were able to sled on it. We’ve never been able to do that again, so this holds extra fond memories of that snow day.

An innocent time Buried deep in memories Still creating joy. (1)

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An August Poem #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry

sara pic

CHAOS
In the midst of chaos…
Where words are fear-filled
And actions nourish anger
There is a dismal judgment
And hopelessness is the new normal.
I sink into my chair in dark-despair
Until I hear a sound and wearily lookup
A pair of brown eyes hold my gaze.
Unworthy, a soothing spark surges through me
Confused, I’m gifted possibilities
Accepting, I’m filled with deep peace.
It’s here I find the absent affection…
Offered to me generously.
I reach out and revel in it.
Her tail wags knowingly
Reminding my inner child
There is another direction to take
I willingly choose it
And we walk the path together
My dog and I supported by nature
And… unconditional love.

 

Watch for a special edition blog this week, along with any challenges I’m doing!

 

Embrace your inner child with unconditional love! D.L. Finn

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COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 192, #THEMEPROMPT #Map #Senryu #Haiga @ColleenChesebro

This week’s Colleen Chesebro Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge is a word prompt: Map. I came up with several ideas but this Senryu/Haiga is the one I connected with the most. I felt it needed a visual.

Senryu

With no map to guide
My pets and suitcase with me
I drive through the flames.

Keep those who are in danger from fires, hurricanes, tornados, flooding, earthquakes, and other dangerous situations in your heart.

Embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

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Take A Walk With Me On The Magical Trail! #AuthorWalks #Nature #WhereToWrite #MagicalTrail #Poetry #Inspiration #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

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After running into packs of dogs and dodging cars on the road my husband decided to create a path to walk on at home. This is how The Magical Trail came into being.  I’m about to take a walk. So, grab a bottle of water, a mask, and join me:)

  1. I was inspired by pictures of painted rocks. For my birthday, I got a paint set to decorate rocks. Here are some of my grandchildren’s artwork that is scattered throughout the trail.

rocks pic 1

2. Pictures of the trail. You can spot our dog Sara who is always in the lead.

nature shots pic 2

3. This is what happens when lightning strikes in the forest. It is from a long time ago not recently:

lightening shots pic 3

The rest of the pictures are our decorations and one of me. I’m masked up not for the virus but because it was smoky from a local fire, and some not so local. We’re safe right now but so many in California (and other states) aren’t thanks to some highly unusual monstrous lightning storms – with more on the way.

4. The wooden signs are made by my husband. It’s his latest hobby. The guitar is usually black but it’s covered in ash from the fires.

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5. When the mosquitos aren’t in full attack here’s the bench where I write poetry:

bench real pic 5

6. The archway was used in two weddings and now is the beginning of the trail. Bigfoot has very special dietary needs…

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7. The leprechauns have several food allergies so we make sure no one feeds them!

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8. Our tiny haunted house lights up at night when no one is around…

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9. The forest dwarf watches over the deep pit below him.  The pictures I took don’t show its depth. We have no idea where it came from. Maybe an old mining tunnel?

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10. Here’s our forest key. That pile of rocks below is a water fountain my husband created. It’s not running right now and I’m working on some rocks to surround it:)

key pic 10

Thanks for taking a walk on The Magical Trail.  It’s a special place where there’s always something new to see or magic to seek.


Embrace your inner child by taking a walk in nature. D. L. Finn

 

 

 

 

 

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“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #14 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Poetry #Haibun

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s Week #14 Fiction in a Flash” Image Prompt.

week 14 picture for fiction challenge

The Final Stand

On this majestic mountain peak, we stand against evil. The blood flows below us like a raging river. The air is heavy with fear as we breathe in its hopelessness. Soon, the stars will be seized from us in a swirling cloud of hate. They are writing humanity’s loveless obituary. We must fight.

They came from the stars
Conquest, war, famine, and death
The apocalypse.

 

Embrace your inner child with love. D. L. Finn

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#Tanka Tuesday Challenge #PhotoPrompt! @ColleenChesebro #Poetry

Here’s my Tanka Poem for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge #PhotoPrompt!

Colleen's Weekly Challenge pic

 

ESCAPE

Exiting the trees

The old train tracks offer hope

Exhausted she slows down

There is no noise of pursuit

Exhilarated, she escapes.

 

Embrace your inner child with some poetry! D. L. Finn

 

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #13 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Below is my piece for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Flash in a Fiction Challenge’ Week #13 Image Prompt. I had a heck of a time choosing the poem to post here. I ended up with several peoms, but narrowed it down to two. One was full of images and a connection to the soul, but the other one reminded me of a favorite poem, “A Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost. Here’s the one that narrowly won out.

image 13 challegne

 TREASURE

I searched day and night

For this promised treasure.

Given no map or guidance

Only a family quest to fulfill.

Each morning started the same…

Through the pines, cedars, and dogwoods

I followed my path.

My eyes scanned the hushed forest.

And when the filtered sunbeams departed…

So did I.

I repeated this ritual daily, never changing my course

Until that one day…

A shimmer sparkled between two large sugar pines.

Encouraged, I veered off into the unknown.

I soon found this careless choice difficult…

Leaving me conflicted…

And scraped and bruised from this uncharted territory.

But the small light beckoned me forward…

Until the sunbeams dissipated…

I turned to go home.

That’s when I saw it… shiny, bright, and golden.

I knew it was the promised family treasure

Quickly I swooped up the old key, studying it.

It was exactly as described down to the three holes,

But it offered no answers, only more questions.

I carefully tucked it away in my pocket.

All I had to do was… find the lock.

Here’s where my next journey began.

I’ll continue until I find what I seek…

The lock that my treasured key opens…

And what exists beyond.


Embrace your inner child by trying something new. D. L. Finn

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Poetry from the back of a Harley #poetry #motorcycle #motorcyclepoetry #freeverse #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Although my birthday was a few weeks ago, I wanted to share a poem and some pictures from that day. My husband and I stayed local. We rode up Highway 20 right outside of Nevada City and made one stop by a favorite waterfall.

RIDE

We ride through the sierras

Open to the world.

Leaning with each turn…

Braking for obstacles…

Flying through the straightaways…

While the sun illuminates our way.

We cruise over our paved path

With a loud rumble announcing us.

It’s here I find my stillness…

Deep within, on the back of a Harley

Flying through the forest’s freedom

The day of my birth is celebrated.

In the last picture, I found a face in the debris. Can you find it?

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book or finding your peace in nature. D. L. Finn

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #12 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Here’s my take on Suzanne Burke’s “Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #12 Image Prompt.

Week 12 Fiction in a Flash ChallengeTHE CLOCK

I gently shifted my weight in the chair, trying to pry my bare legs off the brown vinyl. Several deep breaths did nothing to relieve the tension in my shoulders. I pulled my sweater tightly around me with the realization it wasn’t wise to be dressed for a hot summer day while sitting in a cold hospital room. There had been no change in the last few hours. The constant beeps continued, and the oxygen flowed in and out with a gentle whoosh.

I shook my head at the tragic irony of a man needing me after how he treated me growing up. My father had an undiagnosed mental condition. He hid it well, so only those who lived with him knew his explosive violence under the shrewd mask of a family man. No one saw the marks; they were never on my face. He was careful even when he had lost control. The war and his parents had hurt him so deeply that when it bubbled to the surface – it hurt us. He never seemed aware of his faults, so there was never an opportunity for him to seek any help. My family spent every waking moment, trying not to upset him in the hopes all would be well. It wasn’t.

I sighed loudly and took the protein bar out of my purse. Though I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want to pass out and end up in a hospital bed, too. I washed the crunchy honey oats down with a bottle of water. The nurse entered the room right after I finished. I pretended to be asleep. There was nothing new she could share with me.

Finally, she was gone, and I sat up staring at the lump of a once proud and cruel man. We were the only two left from my family. Alcohol and drugs took everyone down, except me. I knew when to quit. The man lying in bed had upped his intake of drinking until it was all he did. Today I watched them remove twenty-one bottles of liquid from his abdomen, relieving his labored breathing. He had no idea it was happening.

A flash of light caught my attention, and I quietly got up to investigate. It was coming from the nurse’s station where someone had placed a small golden clock that looked like a holiday ornament. It was the same as…a chill shot through me.

It looked exactly like the clock from my dream last night where I was boxing up my father’s belongings. My only thought had been he wasn’t dead. Then, in one box, was this device. It had a clock face on all four sides as it gently spun in a circle playing my father’s favorite Hank Williams Jr. song.

“Can’t be,” I whispered, hoping I’d seen it the day before.

A loud conversation cleared that up.

“Did you see what that patient in 202 left us today, Sissy?”

“I’ve never seen a clock like that before. How sweet of him.”

I gulped when I saw the time was the same as my dream. Unsure what to do, I stood there frozen until a sudden warmness wrapped me in its wisdom. I quietly closed the door and stood over my father.

“I forgive you, father, even after all you did to us. You weren’t happy here on earth, and I hope you’ll find some happiness where you are going. Please know I’m doing this in love, and I believe it’s what I’m meant to do. Rest in Peace.”

I picked up the extra pillow and held it tightly over his face. He never struggled, but at the last moment, his bloodshot eyes opened. I saw approval in them, as the machines went silent. His eyes closed. I put the pillow back and pushed the nurse’s button right as they threw the door open. Mercifully, they couldn’t revive him.

Later, when I left his room, I hurried past the clock still set at the same time, 11:53. After a long wait for the elevator, the clock began playing my father’s favorite song. I held back a smile when I saw the hands had moved to noon, which only justified my actions.

No one knew what I did that day. I was okay with that because he was free, and so was I.

 

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When Life Gives You Lemons…Write Poetry! #Poetry #WritingCommunity #IARTG #ASMSG #TANKA #CINQUAIN #HAIBUN @ColleenChesebro #tryingnewthings

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It’s been a strange sixteen months for me on many levels. There were several deaths of pets, friends, and family, plus a period of things breaking. Then came 2020 with high expectations. Halfway through this year, I find myself wishing for someone to shut down the rest of the year. This is the point where my emotions caught up to me, following several weeks of being sick. It was bronchitis/sinus infection that was heading into pneumonia because I waited too long to see my doctor. After a surreal doctor’s visit and, yes, a painful COVID test, I found out twelve days later it was thankfully negative. Finally, I started feeling better, so I got out to trim some hedges, which flared up my shoulder and lower back.

 

So besides some editing, I found myself unable to focus on current stories. It was time to take care of myself. I got back into my exercise routine and then wanted to try something new. I have always had a love of poetry. When I write it, I’m visiting my soul, where I can reflect on my emotions and life. The free verse will always be my go-to, but I decided it was finally time to explore some different types of poetry that I have been enjoying lately. I tried Haiku a couple of years ago, and that stuck with me and a part of my normal poetry writing.

 

Last week, I took some notes on some poetry I’ve wanted to learn and headed outside to write, hoping for the best. Right away, I found I loved Haibuns, mixing prose poetry and Haikus. Then I tried Tanka that was like a longer Haiku which I enjoyed. The most challenging type for me was the Cinquains. I have a lot to learn, but here’s another way to express my deep feelings and explore my enjoyment of patterns while I heal in nature.


Some of my first attempts:

TANKA

THE WORDS

Hearing heavy words

Sends chills through the listeners

A surreal moment

Where hate and fear are enshrined

Love lingers just out of reach.


HAIBUN

A SUMMER DAY

The flowing water soothes shattered nerves. The tall pines sway seductively in the wind’s gentle caress. The roses burst forth in their scented glory while rewarding the humming toil of the bees their ultimate gift.

Peaceful moment

Provided by a summer day

Soak in its splendor.


CINQUAIN (I admit this one makes me giggle…)

Raven

With black feathers

Perches on a branch cawing

Its mate answers in the same shrill

Bird love.


BUTTERFLY CINQUAIN

The bear

With a black coat

Lumbers through the forest

Scrounging for its next tasty meal

Alert

It never misses the garbage can

Noise sends it up a tree

Where it’s safe

Watching.


 A special thanks and hugs to Colleen Chesbro and her wonderful blog for inspiring me to branch out and try something new! As time and creativity permits, I’ll be participating in her challenges soon and post them here:)

You won’t want to miss this week’s special edition blog.

Embrace your inner child by taking good care of you, D. L. Finn

 

 

 

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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

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“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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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

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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

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“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. 

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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

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Poetry to head into summer with…

OUTSIDE MUSE 

Four of my cats remain indoor muses

Only one now ventures outside.

He is a tiger cat, who was once a feral

But he is gentle and loves my company.

Our dog travels in both realms.

Both animals had shunned each other…

Until something changed–a miracle.

One day their wariness of each other…

It was forgotten.

The feral cat and dog greeted each other…

Tentatively.

Fear floated away and they soon became friends

There is no more flinching when they touch.

As they head into their twelfth year

My muses have gained a new best friend…

They now rush to greet each other in joy.

They both sit by me…

Keeping me company in the peace

Encouraging me in creation

Keeping each other safe.

My wise muses brave the trails with me

It’s our peaceful world together

The three of us walk into the forest’s soul

Given a bond only found in love.

A love that I hope can reflect into the world.

HORIZON

The horizon offers me the world.

It rolls out into forever

Like a tree-covered carpet

Into the mountains.

It is a glance into possibilities

Of abundance offered to all

The horizon gives my soul the hope…

Of what life can offer… if we only believe.


Updates:

1. My Monthly Newsletter went out this week. Check your email if you are subscribed:)

2. Yesterday I posted “Books That Changed Me” — Summer Edition.

3. Stop by for tomorrow’s special edition blog with guest author, Mark Bierman!

4. Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing Dads. That wish includes our fur babies Dads!

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. And remember when the cat and dog lost their fear, they became friends. D. L. Finn

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“Books That Changed Me”– 2020 Summer Edition! @ColleenChesebro @dehauthor @jhawker69 @boom_lyn

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The longest day of the year has arrived along with thoughts of swimming in our lakes and rivers. It’s the perfect time of the year to lounge under the stars gazing at the possibilities while being serenaded by the crickets. Yes, summer is here, and when I’m not swimming or watching for a comet to streak across the sky, I will be reading and posting my reviews.

Today there will be a different look for my “Books That Changed Me” Summer Edition. I’ve changed the format and won’t be re-sharing my reviews for the books anymore. I want to focus more on the stories or poems that moved me enough to “change” me.

In no particular order the books and their blurbs:

Neon Houses

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by Linda C. Mims​

Blurb

Murder, mayhem and suspense abound in this action packed page-turner set in 2087 Chicago. Our heroine, Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head. They are the screams of her young friend, 20-year-old Zarah Fisher. She’s miles away and screaming for her life!

Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret that not even her husband, handsome mayoral aide, Richard Kennedy, shares.

As the youngest Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.

Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from Zarah Fisher’s murder investigation and he urges Noel to let it go, too. But a new killing involves Noel’s cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.

Who can Noel trust? Should she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?

If you like flying cars, robots, androids, dystopia and utopia mixed in with your thriller then this is the story for you!


 The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles: Book 2, Finding Billy Battles Trilogy 

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by Ronald E. Yates

Blurb

Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots and his improbable journeys are just starting.

The year is 1894 and Billy is aboard the S S China sailing to the inscrutable Far East. Trouble is not far behind. He has met a mysterious and possibly dangerous German Baroness. He has locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea.

Later, he is embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Then, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the brutal anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are only beginning.

As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, and an assortment of vindictive and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? The answers are just ahead.


Spirit of the Book

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by D.E. Howard

Blurb

Do you believe in magic?

Ellie Forrester didn’t.

Raised an only child by a mother who never hid her resentment Ellie learned from an early age to be self sufficient.

Finally moving away from her mother’s negative influence Ellie thought her small run down flat was a little piece of paradise.

The old book she found hidden away didn’t seem to be anything remarkable but Ellie soon discovered that it contained far more than just the words on the pages.

Ellie soon discovered that not only did magic exist but it was within her reach.

Do you believe in magic?
Ellie Forrester does!

Second edition of this book released July 2016 – now fully re-edited


 Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration

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By Colleen M. Chesebro

Blurb

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.


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

 

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June Book Reviews! @Sandra_Cox @edenbaylee @dehauthor @JacqBiggar

The Player (Men of WarHawks Book 2)

by Jacquie Biggar

“The Player” is the second book in the WarHawks series which focuses on hockey players. I loved the first book and felt the same way about this one. Roy has an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go, which ends up getting Roy benched. Patience’s job is to salvage his reputation and get him back on the ice in time for the playoffs. I love these two working together and their obvious chemistry. All the little details like Patience’s strong family ties, including her protective brothers, a stray cat, and Patience love of shoes, really drew me into the story. Not only is there humor and a budding romance, but it also deals with more serious subjects like mental illness. This can be read as a standalone, but it’s nice to be familiar with the WarHawks team. A well-written romance with that happily ever after that I enjoy and highly recommend!  Five-Stars


Akasha

by Sandra Cox

“Akasha” is the second book of the Cats of Catarau Series. Akasha and two of her kittens die in a storm and end up in cat heaven or Catarau. One of her kittens is left behind, calling for her mother. Akasha finds a way back to earth, but her journey is riddled with obstacles.  I was glad to see a cat from the first book make an appearance, but my favorite cat was Bo. The relationship between Bo and Akasha was endearing.  There is a lesson that everything happens for a reason, even if it makes little sense at the time. This is a sweet and somewhat sad story for cat lovers with a happy ending. Five-Stars


Spirit of the Book

by D.E. Howard

“Spirit of the Book” is a YA tale about a young woman starting her life. An uncaring alcoholic mother raised Ellie, and the moment she could escape that life she did. It drew me in by how determined Ellie was as she quickly found herself a place to live and a job. Here Ellie makes over the shabby apartment, which is where she finds an unusual book. I love where the story goes from this point. What comes out of the book is my favorite part. The two timelines gave me better insight into the book’s story. Watching Ellie’s growth and doing what was right was the inspiring part of the magic. A great read that made my inner child happy at the end. Five-Stars


Stranger at Sunset

by Eden Baylee

“Stranger at Sunset” is a psychological mystery set at a Jamaican resort. Kate is a psychiatrist who heads to Jamaica to help her friends after a critical review hurts their business. Matthew is the reviewer who is invited back with the hope he rethinks his opinion of the place. The story is told through several points of view, and the scenery is brought to life almost sensually. I was surprised at the twists the story took and can honestly say there was an event I’ve never seen done that way. Although I might have suspected what was going on, I still couldn’t have predicted the outcome. Other storylines and characters added layers to this. Ms. Baylee has a way of getting into her character’s heads. I appreciated some of the little details, like how Kate would take the first three letters of a person’s name and come up with three words that fit their personality.  This was Ms. Baylee’s first novel in this genre. I haven’t read Ms. Baylee’s erotica, but I felt she brought a unique touch to this story I found entertaining. I will be reading more psychological mystery or thrillers from this author. Five-Stars


Mateo’s Law 

by Sandra Cox

“Mateo’s Law” is an exciting paranormal, western romance that I read in two sittings. It is set in a small town in Montana, where Blair moved to join the force as a deputy. She is in a long-distance relationship but is attracted to the sheriff, Mateo. When something attacks a town resident, they investigate it together, but Blair is unaware of Mateo’s secret of being a shapeshifter. I love it when Mateo is in his alternative form, and I felt his freedom. The scenery is lush and the town a place I’d want to call home. Blair and Mateo have great chemistry, conversations, and working relationship. I was definitely rooting for Blair and Mateo and hope more stories are coming with these characters. If you love a paranormal page-turning romance, you won’t want to miss this! 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!

UPDATES:

  1. There will be no blog next Sunday as I am on vacation celebrating my 37th wedding anniversary this week:)
  2. I’ll be silent on social media, except maybe a picture or two on Instagram if we are able to explore on this vacation.
  3. I will be posting “Books That Changed Me” Summer Edition on June 20th! These are books I’ve read and have stayed with me. It’s hard to pick, I’ve been reading a lot of outstanding books.
  4. The Monthly Newsletter goes out June 20th too. I always thank those who read my books, offer a glimpse into my current work, and there’s an Amazon gift card giveaway. I also really love hearing from everyone:)

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book and embrace the soul of each person you meet! D. L. Finn

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“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #2 @pursoot

 I always want to take part in blog writing challenges, but I never do. When I saw the picture, and challenge to write a story under 750 words, over on Suzanne Burke Blog, a story came to me right away. Here is the link: FICTION IN A FLASH.

I am a slow writer. That doesn’t mean I’m slow at getting words down. It’s the process after or the arranging of the words, so they make sense. Editing is why I usually avoid challenges. This time the story wouldn’t let go, so I went with it and pushed the words around, trying to make sense accurately and quickly.

I’m also slow at processing my emotions as I try to comprehend them. I’m numb to what is going on around me right now and can’t put it in words yet. But this piece allowed me that final closure in losing our three pets last year over a small period. I dedicate this to them: Thunder, Alice, and Hermie.

 


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It was our bench. I felt the familiar tug at my heart as I quickened my pace and maneuvered through the pungently earthy orange, red, and yellow leaves. I hated making this walk alone through the fall splendor.

I jumped when something brushed against my leg.

“Sorry. Lady escaped from her collar again.”

The pug sat at my feet with an amiable head tilt. I mumbled. “No problem.”

“She’s friendly if you want to pet her.”

I shook my head and stepped around the dog. Passing the brightly lit coffee shop that usually provided me with a latte, I kept going. Finally, I plopped down on a cold cement bench and was immediately greeted by a distant chorus of barking dogs.

A young boy burst through the door directly across the street. He was cradling a small black kitten.

“Can I name him Skitter, mom?”

As the mother agreed, I flashed back to the day I brought my kitten home from this animal shelter. Felix died right before his 18th birthday. I decided, after crying for two weeks, I didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.

A wind kicked up, and the sun was sloping down. It was time for me to head home. I stood up to go but froze when a young couple exited the building with a small exuberant black lab just like… Tears flowed unchecked down my face. I missed my walking companion, Bessie. When I had to put her to sleep, after she lost her battle with cancer, it tore me apart holding her for the last time. My two constant companions were taken from me in only two months. Now, at sixty-five-years-old, I was not only a widow but petless too.  With a heavy heart, I slowly made my way home.

The final one-hundred yards before turning into my driveway, I heard a muffled cry coming from a bush.

“Hello?” I called out, getting my keys ready to run inside.

It answered with a whimper.

“Pup?”

I carefully pushed the branches aside and found a taped cardboard box.

“Oh god…”

My heart was racing as I ripped the box open and peered inside.

The yellow puppy barked and jumped on the side of the box with its tail wagging. I quickly scooped it up, and it nestled into my neck. The smaller black one wasn’t moving, and the black and yellow puppy could barely lift its head.

“You poor babies! What kind of monster would do this?”

I raced to my car and gently set the box down while still hanging on to the yellow puppy. My hand brushed over the black pup, finding no life, but the other pup let out a small sigh as I stroked its soft fur.

I dialed my vet and started the car, “I found some puppies in bad shape. Are you still open?”

“We just closed but bring them in, Marsha. We’ll wait.”

Soon the two puppies who had survived were on the vet’s examination table.

“They are around four weeks old and look like a shepherd/lab mix. It was lucky you found these two when you did. We will do everything we can for them and call you in the morning. Are you considering keeping them?”

I frowned. “I don’t think so, but I will pay for whatever they need.”

I spent a long night tossing and turning. Their sweet faces haunted me as well as the cruelly taped box. I knew I was meant to find them, but that didn’t mean I had to keep them. When the sun finally rose, I knew what I had to do.

The phone rang after breakfast. “Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry the boy didn’t make it, but the girl did. We will keep her here another night so we can monitor her, and we found someone to foster her so—”

I cut her off. “No, she has a home with me.”

A year later, Molly was proudly wearing her new pink collar. She yanked me toward our bench. Today we couldn’t sit there because a neighbor’s adolescent daughter had taken it over with a box of kittens that had a free sign taped to the side. Our walk was cut short when I locked eyes with a tiny black cat. We had found the missing member of our family and I had learned that having a pet’s love was worth any loss endured.


Embrace your inner child with a good story, and embrace each person’s soul that you meet along the way. D. L. Finn

 

 

 

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“This Last Chance” First Reviews!

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I had an amazing release week, thank you. I’m always grateful for the support the writing community gives.

Waiting for that first review to post on Amazon is nerve-racking. It’s here so I wanted to share it and say thank you to Sandra for reading and reviewing:)

Verified Purchase
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“This Last Chance” Book Video

With release this week, I got to work and made a book video. This is the first one I’ve done alone. I included the original bear picture:)

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon

Smashwords 

Barnes & Noble

 

I will be visiting some amazing blogs this week!  Each day I will post a link here, and let you know how to find out more about the host. Be sure to drop by and say hi:)

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Behind “This Last Chance”

This Last Chance internet cover

After This Second Chance, I hadn’t planned on writing any more stories using angels/evildwels. When I started writing The Button, they weaved their way into the story, and it became a prequel to This Second Chance for the angels. I knew This Last Chance would be about the angels and evildwels. The very first image I had of the book was an evildwel telling someone his life story. I was fully focused on Nester and his issues, and I got some answers about the evildwels, like where they came from.

With all my attention centered on Nester and his one-sided conversation with the angel, I started to wonder about the human under the angel’s care. What was the human’s story? This led to a longer than normal amount of time writing, while hitting roadblock after roadblock. I concluded I had to take what was offered to me and let the characters guide the story. I can allow that in fantasy, but when writing historical fiction, like Elizabeth’s War, I must plan around real-life events and don’t have the freedom I do in this genre.

Looking back from where this all started, I’m amazed. It began with a woman trying to find happiness but was haunted by her past. Now there’s a monster seeking help from an angel. This is something I couldn’t have planned or predicted, along with a couple of short stories, Red-Eyes in the Darkness, and A Long Walk Home.

I have declared This Last Chance would be my last angel/evildwel book, but I can’t guarantee the characters won’t have another opinion on that.  Those angels seem determined to stick around. I guess I will have to see what they have in mind. I’ve become fond of Zelina, Thomas, Olivia, and Ed. They are my unseen superheroes, fighting for the innocent and protecting the good. It’s always been about the angels and how they help us, humans. The evil is more fluid, but still lurking in one form or another. I like to believe Zelina is right when she says, love always wins. I sure hope so!

BLURB:

Six months after Amber’s sister is brutally murdered, she’s still looking for answers, and now someone is stalking her and no one believes her. Home alone with a powerful snowstorm approaching, Amber is determined to take control of the investigation by hiring a private detective, but her plans are disrupted when she finds herself snowed in with people she may not be able to trust. Meanwhile, Nester the evildwel, whose entire existence has been feeding on fear and pain, is seeking help from the angel who’s protecting Amber. Nester and Amber need answers. Can Amber figure out what’s going on with some subtle help from an angel? Will Nester find what he needs from his enemies? The worlds of good and evil clash, and the outcome will determine not only Amber’s and Nester’s fate but life as they know it.

AMAZON PRE-ORDER LINK

Fun Finn Facts:

  1. I painted a blue sky with clouds on the ceiling in the living room.
  2. I love the smell of bee’s wax candles.
  3. We take day trips to Lake Tahoe on the Harley.

Updates:

  1. Next week I hope to have the trailer done for This Last Chance to share!
  2. If you are subscribed to the newsletter it will be coming out this week. Watch for it in your email:)

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book, then thank the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn

 

 

 

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May Book Reviews Part Two! @MarieDrake72 @spolakoffauthor @psteph55 @SarahAngleton

Smoke Rose to Heaven (a companion to Gentleman of Misfortune)

by Sarah Angleton

Ada Moses is a fortune teller in the late 1800s and has her life turned upside down by a visitor. Knowing her life is in danger, she hurries to tell her story to a Mormon prophet, armed with a manuscript she’s had since childhood. Although that part of the plot held my interest, when Ada told the story of her childhood, my heart was with her. Her abandonment was heartbreaking enough, but who she was left with was even worse. I could not find many adults in her life that I liked, which spoke highly of the author’s ability to make me dislike them. There were con-men, religious zealots, mental illness, and a lot of broken souls surrounding this poor girl as she grew up. She learned to maneuver through the craziness, and there were some chances to explore a bit of her natural abilities. I understood how Ada could put her trust in one person, even though he had betrayed her before. Ada’s weakness made sense to me and strengthened her when she needed it. I will be reading more by this author and highly recommend this! Five-Stars


 

The Altar Boy: A Dark Tale of Comedy, Sorrow and The Catholic Church in the 1960s

by Phil Stephens

“The Altar Boy” is a historical fiction coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. Carl is meeting up with his brother’s for drinks in the 80s when Carl reflects on his childhood. I loved seeing the world through a young Carl’s eyes, how he dealt with friends, school, his awe of the altar boys, and becoming one. Yet, it was understanding his parent’s problems as a child would that was the strongest part of this story. I felt for Carl’s father most of the time and couldn’t find much sympathy for his mother. The Priest, though, I thoroughly disliked and wished he’d made better choices.  All the small details, including the music, trying to catch bats, running home in the dark, hippies, and the Catholic Church, all added that extra depth and made me nostalgic for this period. This is a clever story that provides not only laughter but a few tears, too. Four-Stars


Shaman

by Sam Polakoff 

“Shaman” is a supernatural thriller that held my interest until the last page. I enjoyed all the thorough research about Shaman and Peru, along with all the other details that added to the story. The political and environmental aspects were woven nicely into the plot, giving it lots of depth. Dan was mountain climbing on his fiftieth birthday when strange and bad things happened, while his unexplained visions were taking a toll on him. I enjoyed the relationship between him and his assistant, Tally. There was a twist at the end I had hoped would be gone into with more detail, but the outcome was satisfying to me. Learning about the shaman ways was my favorite part of the book. This is a great story that takes you on a journey into the past and future with consequences for the now. Four-Stars


Three Rules

by Marie Drake

“Three Rules” takes you into the mind of a young woman, Hope, and her world. The story deals with child abuse that focuses on the consequences of it over the act, which I found very powerful. Hope holds everything inside from her brutal sexual assaults. She is attempting to move on with her life, but her past isn’t allowing that. The writing is unique, and it fits Hope’s withdrawn state and how she robotically responds to people. I loved her relationship with her childhood friends Joey and Karen and how she’s always there for them, but she doesn’t allow them to be there for her, especially Joey. I hadn’t planned on reading this in one sitting, but I sat up most of the night until I finished it. I needed to know the outcome and was surprised by the twist at the end. This is a story I won’t forget, and I highly recommend it.  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!

UPDATES:

I’m participating in the RWISA Rise-Up Tour through May 18th! So there will be a blog here daily.

I will continue my weekly blogs and will start posting about my upcoming release, “This Last Chance” next week. I’ll send out the blogs this week to those who offered to help with the release, thanks!

“This Last Chance” is available for pre-order AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, including furry baby moms:)

Embrace your inner child safely with a good book! D. L. Finn

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New Book Release: “Mateo’s Law” by Sandra Cox! @Sandra_Cox

Please welcome fellow author, Sandra Cox here for the release of her new book, “Mateo’s Law.” I just finished it and the review is included at the end of the post!

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Sandra has a question for us: If you were a shapeshifter and had the choice, what animal would you be? Would you choose a secluded or highly populated area to live in? Got a place in mind?

MATEO’S LAW

Blurb:

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.

He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.

 

Excerpt:

Mateo took a step past her, alert, dangerous.

Blair put a hand on his arm. Warmth surged through her fingers.  Motionless, his nostrils flared. She withdrew her hand.

One heartbeat. Two. The dark closed in around her.

Then the tension in him vanished as quickly as it came.

“Whatever, whoever is gone.”

“How do you know?” But she knew what his response would be. The same one it always was.

“Gut feeling.” He shrugged.

A gut feeling that caused his nostrils to flare and draw in a heavy inhale as if he sniffed the air. She shrugged it off. She was too much a realist to give credence to ‘gut feelings’ but she was also savvy enough not to argue about the sheriff’s. Instead, got down to the matter at hand.  “Don’t worry about it. Something’s come up.”

He cast one long, last look into the deep, dark of the woods then turned his sharp gaze back to her. “What?” He raked fingers through thick black hair, sprinkled with silver. Moonlight outlined damn fine pecs and a lean torso.

“We need to get to the rez.”

“Not our jurisdiction.” He started toward the house.

“The chief of police specifically requested you.” She fell in step beside him. Demanded more like, but she wisely kept that to herself.

“Kipp? Jesse Kipp?” His eyebrows rose.

Blair strove for patience, not her strong suit, and just managed not to roll her eyes. There was only one on the rez. “Yup.”

“Why?”

They crossed the porch and he swung through the door.

She stepped in behind him and looked around. A small entryway led into a sparsely furnished, spacious living room with a large west window that always drew her. Pine and oak beckoned. And when the sun went down, it turned the whole landscape into a crimson and purple pallet of glory. But tonight, the view she loved made her feel vulnerable as the sky blackened and the branches reached out twisty, skeletal fingers. Impatient with herself, she pulled her mind back to the reason for being here.

“There’s a little three-year-old girl that’s lost. The weather is supposed to drop. Jesse needs all the help he can get.”

He straightened. His strange amber-colored eyes flared. He gave an abrupt nod. “Give me two minutes.”

Amazon Purchase Link

 

SC

Bio:

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

Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.

Connect with Sandra here:

 Website

Twitter 

Amazon Page

 Thanks for hosting me!

Here is my review:

Mateo’s Law 

by Sandra Cox

“Mateo’s Law” is an exciting paranormal, western romance that I read in two sittings. It is set in a small town in Montana, where Blair moved to join the force as a deputy. She is in a long-distance relationship but is attracted to the sheriff, Mateo. When something attacks a town resident, they investigate it together, but Blair is unaware of Mateo’s secret of being a shapeshifter. I love it when Mateo is in his alternative form, and I felt his freedom. The scenery is lush and the town a place I’d want to call home. Blair and Mateo have great chemistry, conversations, and working relationship. I was definitely rooting for Blair and Mateo and hope more stories are coming with these characters. If you love a paranormal page-turning romance, you won’t want to miss this! Five-Stars

 

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May Book Reviews Part One! @JoanHallWrites @maurabeth2014 @Sandra_Cox @FrostFyre

 

Guardian of the Deep (Wytchfae, #2)

by Flossie Benton Rogers

“Guardian of the Deep” is a quick sexy-paranormal read. Layla is a succubus whose only job is to seduce men, but she finds herself attached to Samael, who watches over the ocean. They decide to take a vacation to a 1950s Montana Ranch to avoid all the issues their relationship is causing. Things don’t go as planned, though, and Layla is pushed to find the strength required. Samael and Layla definitely have strong chemistry and interactions that held my interest until the last page. I enjoyed the mythology mixed into the story, along with the determination of Layla. I will be reading more of this series. Four-Stars


MINDER

by Sandra Cox

“Minder” is an exciting paranormal shapeshifter YA read! Aurora goes out to dinner with her aunt on her eighteen birthday and is told a strange Indian Legend about a princess being a minder or shapeshifter. When Aurora is out with her best friend, she finds the legend is more than just a myth.  I love the attraction between Aurora and Kylar and how that progresses. I could easily see the world through the black panther’s eyes and was intrigued by the puma.  This moves at a fast pace, and I read it in two sittings. A fun read for YA and adults if you love the paranormal with some sweet romance sprinkled into the action. Five-Stars


The Ex Chronicles

by Maura Beth Brennan

“The Ex Chronicles” is a quick read that had me laughing out loud. Angie is headed home to her parents while she shares how a relationship ended badly with the reader. The descriptions were vivid, and although a serious topic, the humor came strongly through. Angie sees the world like a happily ever after movie, but reality pushes its way in with humorous results. A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. Five-Stars


Unclear Purposes (Driscoll Lake Book Three)

by Joan Hall

“Unclear Purposes” is the final book in the Driscoll series and a great way to end it. Each book has focused on one woman in a group of three friends. Christine is a widowed teacher and raising a teenage daughter. Vince, the ex-FBI agent, came back to town when he opened a Private Investigation office in town. A run through the park brings them together in an unusual way, a murder. The characters were all well-developed.  The friction between Christine and her daughter was very realistic, and the misunderstandings Christine and Vince dealt with made sense to me. I love how characters show up from the other two books, so there’s an update on how they are doing.   Jason and Tami were two flawed characters that I appreciated. The mystery side of the book had me guessing until the end. I kept thinking it was someone only to think it was someone else right after that. There was a satisfying conclusion, and I look forward to reading more from this author. This is for you if you enjoy a good romantic mystery. Five-Stars


Unknown Reasons (Driscoll Lake Book Two)

by Joan Hall

I have been wanting to read “Unknown Reasons” after enjoying the first book, “Unseen Motives.” When I started reading, I couldn’t put “Unknown Reasons” down. I finished it in two sittings. Rachael is a local doctor from a prominent family who has developed a friendship with Brian, who was a troubled teen but overcame that and now owns his own construction company. I loved these characters, and how they interacted, they felt real to me. I really sympathized with Brian’s struggles to overcome his negative messages from the past as he tried to move forward. The mystery of who was the arsonist had me guessing until the end. This was a page-turner because I had to see what was going to happen next. I’m already reading the next one in the series. If you love romantic mysteries, you will enjoy this one! 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!

UPDATES:

Watch for a special edition blog this week!

“This Last Chance” is available for pre-order AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

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

Featured

April Reviews Part Three @MaeClair1 @Virgilante @rijanjks @Jinlobify @KarensStories

 

A Candle in the Darkness

by Karen Black

“A Candle in the Darkness” is a short story that pulls you right in. Valerie was driving home after her husband’s funeral and was caught in a storm. She finds a motel to ride it out, but a tornado comes, and she must find shelter. I felt her fear as she raced to the cellar through the rain and wind. The internal struggle with losing her husband and questioning if there was an afterlife felt very real. The twist at the end was satisfying, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Four-Stars


JONAH 

by JAN SIKES

I was lucky enough to read this story as a series a while back on Ms. Sikes’s blog. I found this short story was even a better read the second time around. Jonah chooses to live on a dangerous island, over going to prison. I love his inner journey as he struggles to survive. This is an exciting read that’s layered with a spiritual meaning that I could relate to in my life. I highly recommend this. Five-Stars


THE VISIT 

by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

This micro read is set in Lagos, Nigeria. The author provides a very detailed setting so the reader can fully visualize the neighborhood. When a visitor’s car is stolen, a mystery ensues to find the missing vehicle. A quick, entertaining read. Four-Stars


Satin & Cinders 

by Jan Sikes

I loved this micro read about a wild stallion who fell in love with a stabled horse, Satin. This is not only a sweet love story but has a strong message never to give up. I felt like I was standing in the forest with the wild horse as he watched his beloved. He had to decide what was important to him and act on it. His bravery to be with her was inspiring, making this the perfect read to uplift your spirits. I highly recommend this! Five-Stars


Grinders

by C.S. Boyack

Grinders” is set in the future in my favorite city, San Francisco. The waters have risen to change the landscape of the city, but people are still the same in the essential ways. Jimi is a cop who, after a mistake, was put on the grinders squad. They partnered her with the veteran, Lou, who used to patrol his beat on a horse. The grinders squad is the job no one wants, and Jimi is determined to move on by finding a wanted grinder. The relationship between Jimi and Lou felt real to me, but my favorite relationships were with the AIs, especially Cole, the cat. His comments had me laughing. I fell in love with the forest that generated energy and wanted to save it. There was a lot of detail that made this world easy to picture. I loved Jimi’s underwater apartment with an octopus living outside her window on her “porch.” I felt a lot of sympathy for the grinder’s family and situation. All the advertising that surrounded them even through their AIs irritated me as much as current commercials do on TV. This was a fantastic, imaginative story that I loved. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars


In Search of McDoogal

by Mae Clair

“In Search of McDoogal” is a fun short story. Brady helps his girlfriend, Vanessa, by working in her art studio when she’s out of town. He finds out he sold a painting of a beloved cat that he wasn’t supposed to. So, he grabbed his best friend Declan and headed off to get it back. I loved the easy friendship between the two men and Brady’s fear of disappointing his girlfriend. I smiled many times reading and was wholly entertained. It was funny how Brady disliked the painting, as well as others who had seen it, too. This was a quick read with a surprise twist at the end that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. 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!

UPDATES:

  1. Watch for upcoming special edition blogs, including my cover release!
  2. I have decided to make the release date for “This Last Chance,” May 26th. It was cutting it too close to get the Kindle out on the 19th. It will just be a belated release for my daughter’s birthday!
  3. Thanks for all who offered to help with the release, much appreicated! If you are interested you can still email me! xo

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

Featured

April Books Reviews Part Two @FizaPathan @sharrislaughter @teagangeneviene @EichinChangLim @Sandra_Cox

Montana Shootists

by Sandra Cox

“Montana Shootists” starts off on a modern-day ranch where Marine, Abby, comes home to heal after losing her fiancé. She is immediately drawn to a glowing rock and transported back into the late 1800s. I loved the instant connection between her and Jake. It was fun seeing a strong modern woman navigate the wild west. Ms. Cox created a place I would want to live, down to the sheep ranch. Although Abby was always looking for a way to get back home, the place she was in seemed to suit her. There was plenty of action, a quest to save her dead fiancé, a hired gun with a softer side, a brothel, and a man who wants to control and own everything. Abby’s relationships felt real to me, down to an orphaned wolf pup, who I adored. This was a Western Romance with a time-travel twist and a satisfying ending. I highly recommend. Five-Stars


The LoveLock

by Eichin Chang-Lim

“The LoveLock” is a story of Dylan and Violet’s love and separation. They met in a hospital as children, but don’t reconnect again until college. The couple decides to get married, but that doesn’t happen for reasons unknown. Next, Violet is living in LA and struggles to survive. I could feel her anguish when she had to decide how to make money to pay her rent.  How she self-medicated and numbly went through the motions was realistic. Then the POV switches to Dylan, who comes back for her, only to be stopped. I was rooting for them as obstacle after obstacle got in the way, including themselves. I loved both of their journeys, although some heavy subjects were dealt with along the way. The truth shocked me when it was revealed why they didn’t get married. I was all in with this story and read it in two sittings, although I tried to do it in one. If you love drama, self-reflection, and tragedy in a love story, this is for you. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars


Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine: A Steampunk Novelette 

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

“Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine” is a uniquely fun read! I read it in one sitting and had a smile on my face when I finished. I loved the duck, Quellie, and her determination to keep a particular letter. Fiona receives a box with that hidden letter that offers some mystery as to what it contains. As the story unfolds, I was charmed by a sweet love story. The use of pink and all the wonderful descriptions really added to the depth. A great uplifting steampunk love story that I highly recommend. Five-Stars


Ronald L. Powell: Missing in Action

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Ms. Harris-Slaughter wrote a very moving tribute to her brother, who was a Marine. He was listed missing in action. This short memoir brought to life the unknown circumstances of his death and fifty-seven others. This was a reminder of the bravery of our soldiers and the pain their families are left to endure.   Four-Stars


My Sweet Lord: Short Story 

by Fiza Pathan

“My Sweet Lord” is a short story that shows the brutal treatment of the Buddhist citizens in Dil-e-bad. A woman is returning from an errand and is about to offer some money to a Buddhist Priest when the unthinkable happens right in front of her. The descriptions are detailed and very graphic. The woman’s reactions of horror matched that. Ms. Pathan shows what happens when people are unfairly treated, and they’re pushed to do something unbelievable in protest.  Then the story goes back to show how this action came about. I won’t say I enjoyed this, but I definitely cared about the story, and it tapped into my emotions. Four-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!

UPDATES:

  1. Next week will be part three of my reviews.
  2. Here is something I’m a part of: Authors Give Back Sale! March 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020. Only at Smashwords! All my children’s books, memoir, and short stories are free! 60 percent off the rest of the catalog. All formats are available, including MOBI for Kindle. Don’t miss out. SMASHWORDS LINK

  3. I have set a release date for “This Last Chance!” Watch for the cover, pre-order, more information this week. Also, I’m looking for some help with the release in May! Email me if you are interested. d.l.finn.author@gmail.com

  4. The Monthly Newsletter goes out on April 20th. Check your email if you are subscribed.

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

 

Featured

Cover Release and Pre-Order for “Mateo’s Law” by Sandra Cox! @Sandra_Cox

Please give a warm welcome to author, Sandra Cox. She’s sharing her beautiful new cover with us today and a link for the pre-order! I ordered my copy:)


1200x1800

MATEO’S LAW

Blurb:

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.

He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.

1800s2740 (2)

Amazon Pre-Order Link

 

SC

Bio:

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

Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.

Connect with Sandra here:

 Website

Twitter 

Amazon Page

 

Thanks for hosting me. You rock!

 

 

Featured

April Book Reviews Part One @PeggyHattendorf @NonnieJules @pursoot @BeemWeeks @maurabeth2014

 

Stardust

by Maura Beth Brennan

I was completely pulled into the life of Maeve as she rode her bicycle through town. I loved her quirky personality, love of books, and Halloween. Then there was the one trip that changed everything. It felt authentic as it unfolded down to my concern for all of them involved, including the animal.  Relationships that developed were a surprise and endearing. The survivability of one part was the only thing I questioned, but the change after that showed the tradeoff you have in life for the choices you make. I enjoyed this short story and will definitely be reading more by Ms. Brennan. Four-Stars.


The Thing About Kevin 

by Beem Weeks

A quick read about a man, Jacob, returning home after his father dies. Jacob reconnects with his sister and mother while wondering if his older brother Kevin will come home after thirty-seven years. As Jacob explores what he wants out of life now, he follows the trail of why his brother left home. I liked Jacob and felt I got to know him in this short story. The picture was painted nicely for what type of man his father was and what role his mother played in that. I felt the ending gave the reader the answers Jacob was seeking. I enjoyed this story. Four-Stars.


The Reckoning Squad 

by Suzanne Burke

The Reckoning Squad starts with a young caring girl, Chastity/Chaz, who is forced to act during a horrific event. The story follows her into adulthood as she becomes part of a Black-op group. The story’s pace is fast and exciting as Chaz is trained and then works with her group on special operations. Her dedication to duty and relationships with her fellow Black-ops are what drives her. When they are attacked, Chaz’s determination to survive and figure out what happened is not only page-turning but inspiring. Ms. Burke knows how to write a thrilling story, but also make you care about the characters, too. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and character developments that I had me invested. I highly recommend this book, especially if you love a good psychological thriller. Five-Stars.


NO PEDIGREE: A Really Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

“No Pedigree” is a short story able to convey so much in a few words. It tackled difficult subjects, including racism and poverty. Baylee was thrust into an elite high school where her mixed-race left her shunned and cruelly treated in a world of designer clothes and attitudes. Her mother worked hard to make ends meet, giving her daughter a good example of how not to give up. Baylee’s strength was the center of this story, especially when she suffered through a horrendous attack. Karma came to mind as it all played out to a satisfying ending. This was a well-written short read that I highly recommend. Five-Stars.


Son of My Father-A Family Dynasty

by Peggy Hattendorf

“Son of My Father” is about the multimillionaire Barrington family and had the feel of the TV show, “Dynasty.” Christiana Barrington is recently divorced. She has a young daughter and a very controlling father, Jonathan. She is the heir apparent to his company, and they work side by side. Their relationship is mostly one-sided or his way. Jonathan is protective of his family, but also ignores the questions his daughter asks. I liked the relationship between Christiana and her daughter, along with the co-parenting with her ex and his feelings for her. Christiana showed some strength with her business dealings and was trusting her gut when she needed to. I appreciated that side of her, but how she let her father run her life made me think if I were her, I’d toss the money and run. I got a bit confused with the many POVs, who was talking and when, but that didn’t take away from the story of this family. The ending was a surprise, even if I guessed part of it, I was very satisfied with the conclusion. If you love drama, reading about a powerful family, and some interesting twists, you will enjoy this book. Four-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!

easter pic

My Easter Tree:)

 

UPDATES:

  1. There will be two other parts to my April Book Reviews. I did a lot of reading in March!
  2. Watch for special edition blogs.
  3. There will be no post next Sunday for Easter. To those who celebrate it, Happy Easter:)

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

Featured

Nature Poems

lots of snow

I recently wrote some poetry. The poems are on the darker side and right now I think something more positive is needed.  The gloom I felt in that moment will be shared later– maybe. They were written in the darkness of a power outage while I was snowbound, sick, and the news grew increasingly bad by the hour. So, here’s two poems I wrote while sitting in the forest just a few weeks before.

tulips and mountains

 

WOODPECKERS

The forest is silent…

Not a woodpecker within its boundaries

But their past work is on display.

Broken trees still stand proudly reaching for the sky

Filled with abstract holes creating a stunning design

All from the bird’s simple search for bugs.

Some of their creations are arranged on the ground

Where the carpenter ant’s creativity takes over.

It is a limited forest engagement, though

The artwork will disappear into the landscape

Only to become part of another tree and concept

The woodpeckers will start all over again

One peck at a time, hunger pours into beauty.


PEACE

I find peace here deep in the forest

Away from modern conveniences.

Sitting on a hard-cold bench

That’s long lost its visual appeal

I don’t mind; it’s my special place

Where I find heart amongst the beauty.

Its intelligence is more than a feeling

From the long-standing cedars, pine, and firs

Knowing wonder in the design of a pinecone.

I deeply breathe in health…

Releasing all the anger, frustration and worries

As the gentle winds caress my soul.

I know from the alertness of my dog

Others join in the moment, safely hidden

Deer, bears, raccoons, foxes, and rats.

They leave a bit of their presence

A welcome gift to me that I accept.

We all share this place…

A place we can be free under the sun

As it filters down into a healing

I’m grateful for my moment of peace.




My blogs in April will be all reviews since I’ve done a lot of reading this month. I’m taking off one Sunday for Easter. There will be special edition blogs to watch for.

Sorry I’ve been quiet on social media. I was processing what’s going on in our world, and focusing on family.

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

Featured

The turtle

turtle

Meet “Simon” a Western Pond Turtle. He was found crossing a street by a person who should have relocated the turtle to a safe spot where he was found. But that didn’t happen and the turtle ultimately ended up with my husband. My husband brought him home. Then, he made several phone calls to find out where to return the turtle. Once it was established what type of turtle he was we picked the perfect pond to release him.