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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

heart

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.

welcome shots pic 4

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…

entry pic 9

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

blue ornament pic 7

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

wreath shots pic 6

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?

hobbit pic 8

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. 

flash-best-marionette-1

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

INVISIBLE STRINGS

The golden couple enters hushed admiration.

Their beauty captures the imagination.

Women ache to stand in “her” shoes.

I don’t.

I’ve heard his tone…

I’ve seen the bruises…

I’ve heard her cry.

But now, she grins and laughs

While clinging to his ego.

They are so in love people declare

But they don’t see the invisible strings

They are knotted in oppression.

Her eyes reflect only fear…

Her mouth set in a dark smile…

Her motions are jagged as he tugs her strings.

He is a puppeteer of hatred

Controlling each action…

Each word…

Each breath.

My heart feels her pain,

Yet, she won’t leave him.

I offer her safety,

She clings to sadistic devotion.

No one sees what makeup covers

No one hears his degrading words

No one feels his anger like she does.

It is a delicate illusion held together by string

Someday, I know that string will break

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

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

It goes unnoticed by her pathetic puppeteer.

I smile as I leave in hope,

Knowing the invisible strings are finally fraying.


Embrace your inner child. D. L. Finn

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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 

billy 2 pic

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

faires pic

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.

 


flash-fiction-park-bench-in-the-fall

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

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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:)


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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.

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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.

 

This pond is in front of my youngest daughter Danielle (you’ve met her here on my blog before) and her husband’s house. Lots of turtles live here. So, in a rather big downpour, we all got together and put Simon back where he belonged. Here’s my husband releasing him, as the wildlife lady had directed him to. Simon immediately burrowed into the mud. Hard to see but that is the turtle is under the water.

We were told Western Pond Turtles are the last of native turtles in California. So glad to get him back where he belongs. Apparently, he had just come out of hibernation and was looking for a nice female to make friends with.


Turtles seem to be a theme for our family. Just last year, the same daughter and I swam with a Sea Turtle.  Curious, I looked up the spiritual meaning of turtles entering your life. The meaning is varied including to be patient, peace, and appreciate our blessings. I think it’s a great message right now for all of us.

It’s also a reminder to take the time to do the right thing. Luckily, there are people like my husband who still do that. Every little act of doing the right thing makes our world a better place.

Embrace your inner child and follow your heart! D. L. Finn

Featured

Books That Changed Me–2020 Spring Edition @BetteAStevens @NonnieJules @sharrislaughter

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Spring came early this year in the Northern California foothills, and we even had a few small fires during our driest record-setting February. The only rain that month came in the very last four hours. Yet, winter is paying a visit this week with over 2.5 feet of snow. Still, the birds have returned, including our gentle cooing dove, dogwoods are preparing to bloom, and soon the bumblebees will grace the lavender flowers. When the forest awakens, it is full of beautiful possibilities, like life. Spring is a magical place in time, much like the books I read. Books not only entertain me, but move me, or change my perception. Here are my spring picks in no particular order.


It amazed me that Haikus could tell a story like this! My poetic introduction to Maine has fueled my imagination of a place I want to explore. Each season offers a beautiful vision through Ms. Stevens carefully crafted Haikus.

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

by Bette A. Stevens

“My Maine” is a fantastic collection of nature haiku. Going through the seasons, I would think I’d found my favorite one, but I hadn’t because they were all good. It was impressive with the limited wordage of the poems that so much information came across. The pictures added more depth to the words, and I enjoyed learning some new details along the way. This is an excellent blend of poetry, photographs, and facts about Maine. If you love nature and poetry, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend this!


So much is packed into this coming-of-age, short story. It’s very relevant for the times we are living in and a lesson to look deeper than a designer label or skin. But there was a very dark side of hatred that was portrayed. I hope that ugliness disappears from our society, and we learn to see the soul.

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.


I became Catholic at nineteen years old. There are periods in the Church that make me question that decision at times. Racism is one of those ugly parts I have a hard time absorbing. There is another part of me that is more hopeful. This book teaches us about the past but opens our hearts to the future.

Our Lady of Victory: The Saga Of An African-American Catholic Community

by Shirley Harris Slaughter

I love history and what we can learn from it.”Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community by Shirley Harris Slaughter is exactly that–history we can learn from.

Ms. Slaughter has written a fascinating reflection not only of the Catholic Church but racial issues within it and the surrounding community in Detroit. Not only did the author show the Church through her own family’s history, but the book covered many well-documented backgrounds from the parishioners that attended the Church, the Priests, and Nuns. Included were pictures giving the reader a full insight as to what happened in the rise and fall of this parish.

Ms. Slaughter showed us a past in which we can improve upon. Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community” fills a void in history that I was unaware of was missing. For anyone who has an interest in history, religion or the African-American experience. I highly recommend this book!


NOTE: I was silent for a few days. My power and landline were down during a powerful snowstorm. Kind of living the storyline I’m finishing up editing–minus the killer:) I will try to catch up the best I can. You were all missed!

Stay safe while embracing your inner child this spring by reading a fantastic book! D. L. Finn

Featured

Welcoming Back Spring, A Poem

trail pic

We welcome back the renewal of spring this week in the midst of chaos. To remember the beauty in our world, here’s a poem that shows spring breaking through on my magical trail.

TRAIL

The trail weaves through the forest

Winding around logs of past lives

It takes me past a mysterious pit

While brushing the edge of wilderness.

I meander slowly on the red dirt

Like a river on a warm summer day.

Each step brings me closer to my soul

As spring magic sprinkles the trail

Awakening the beauty of renewal

It rises from its quiet hibernation

With a long stretch, its eyes open.

It embraces me in a cyclic cuddle

That flows through me an awareness.

Each tree becomes a welcomed friend

The birds are now my exclusive guides

While the insects teach me about life.

This eternal nexus tethers me to the moment

Grateful, my meditative walk continues

Guided only by the magic on my trail.


UPDATES:

It’s time for the 2020 Spring “Books That Changed Me” List! Watch for it this week.

If you are subscribed to my newsletter it will come out Friday! Check your emails for it on 3-20.

Stay safe everyone while you embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn

 

Featured

End of Winter Poetry

 

furry muses

FURRY MUSES

On my old cement bench

Where the colored tiles have faded

Sits my two furry muses

One at my feet…

One at my side…

Alert for anything unusual around us.

Their fur is the shade of the tree’s bark

While the dog’s eyes are the color of the forest floor…

And the cat’s orbs are startling, like spring’s new growth.

My patient companions wait for me

As my pen fills the blank journal pages.

Their constant presence introduces me…

To the possibilities around us

To being in the moment

To giving unconditional love.

These furry muses tell me a lot

Without ever uttering a single word.


LIGHT

The afternoon sun filters through the trees

Allowing its beams to caress me gently

With the day’s splendor and hope.

I breathe in the gift

I can almost touch the silence.

My senses feast on the beauty

All in a warm winter’s day

While I sit on my bench in the forest

Grateful for its blessings.


A Haiku

Sitting in thick dust

Taking up precious space

Are things of your past


Watch for a special edition blog this week:)

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

Featured

March Book Reviews! @sgc58 @LyndaMFiller @PTLPerrin @rayhall47 @Virgilante

Here are my recent books read. 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!

Serang

by C.S. Boyack

“Serang” is a companion book to “Voyage of the Lanternfish,” but it isn’t necessary to have read it to enjoy this story. I was very excited to explore Serang’s history, and this book didn’t disappoint. Her mother abandons her at a temple as a young girl, but I like Serang is given a choice about that later. When the new Emperor removes her way of life, everything changes again. This journey into adulthood and her relationship with a monk were the heart of this story. The fights were exciting, and the moments of learning were thought-provoking. The detail in the scenery brought me into her world as they battled, searched for water in the desert, or slept in a cave. There were times I was worried for Serang and other times enjoyed her accomplishments. A fantastic fantasy coming-of-age tale that I highly recommend.


The Hanged Man: A Digby Rolf Mystery

by Raymond M. Hall

I went into reading “The Hanged Man,” thinking this would be a paranormal mystery. When the killer was revealed a third of the way through, it left me pondering — where can this go next? It became a journey of the Prison Pastor, Digby Rolf trying to prove the innocence of John Moorland set in England in the 1950s. Digby is an untrained investigator and appears to be very lucky in his survival or the paranormal part of the story. His relationship with his landlord’s niece, Summer, was nicely mixed into the story. This was told through many POVs, and a few times I found myself lost in that. But I liked knowing what everyone was thinking and doing. Digby’s past still haunted him, which added to his depth, but the story only touched on that part. There were a few gruesome scenes mixed in that made complete sense given the situations. This was an interesting story that took a twist I didn’t expect at the end. I enjoyed this book and was engaged until the last page.


Terra’s Call (Tetrasphere #1)

by P.T.L. Perrin

“Terra’s Call” is a YA science fiction book that can easily be read by younger readers and adults. The story is told through four POVs or the teenagers who had extra gifts and unusual eyes. I loved their community and the relationship between the teen’s three families. The combination of Cherokee, Aliens and the Bible was the right blend for me. Showing a world’s weather out of balance with Jewel, Sky, Pax, and Storm figuring out how they were supposed to save the world had me all in. Jewel was my favorite of the four, and I adored her abilities.  There were a few times I lost track of whose POV I was in since the four teen’s personalities were similar, but that didn’t matter as my interest held. Ms. Perrin takes questions we all ponder and creates a world in which we get some answers. There was a cliff-hanger ending, but I was satisfied with what had been resolved. I will definitely be reading the second book to see what happens next, especially after the teaser at the end!


The Istanbul Conspiracy (Code Raven #7)

By Lynda Filler

“The Istanbul Conspiracy” is the first Code Raven book I’ve read in the series. So, I jumped right in without the benefit of knowing the past stories and relationships. Luckily, Ms. Filler included a brief bio at the beginning, which helped. The story starts with the wedding of Yunus and Sudi that goes wrong and it pulls you right into the action. Then help comes, Raven Group, to figure out what’s going on in Istanbul. There were a few surprises and lots of action, but my favorite part was being immersed into the city with all the details. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but my favorite was Luke and Samaar and her daughter, Alice. Politics and history are a fascinating part of the story and you can tell the author has done her research with that. I am definitely curious to see what happens next in this political thriller series and will be reading the next book.


Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words

by Sally Cronin

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Cronin, but it won’t be the last. It’s a wonderful collection of poetry and short stories. In the first part of the book, there were many different types of poetry and subjects, but my favorites had to be nature and the faeries sections. The Haikus of the different seasons really stood out to me. I’m always amazed at how much can be said in flash fiction, but the short stories were my favorite part. From animals to human enhancement in the future, there was a lot of variety. The animal stories tugged at my emotions and were the highlight of the book for me. I highly recommend “Life’s Rich Tapestry,” especially if you love poetry and short stories with heart.


Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope

by Kathryn Chastain Treat

“Allergic to Life” describes the author’s journey through illness over several years. I grasped Ms. Treat’s frustration as she searched for answers. I understood her fight to survive through her eyes, and I felt like I was at each doctor’s appointment.  The added poetry and pictures brought it more to life, a woman whose life had changed so drastically. Reading this brought back some memories with my health struggles and the anxiety I felt, but what I went through was nothing compared to her fight with mold allergies. This book shows a woman who never gave up trying to get better. She had the support system and determination to get healthy. While being surrounded by some wonderful understanding doctors, she had to deal with those who thought this was just in her head or didn’t understand. I loved how Ms. Treat documented everything carefully and stood up for herself. I know that is hard to do from experience and admired her strength. I highly recommend this book.


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

Featured

Editing my life

DOLPHINS

In a year where I want to get rid of some things cluttering my life, I only have two boxes of stuff I don’t use from the kitchen. It’s a start, and I guess I will go through each room in the house. I want to remove what isn’t serving me anymore and leave room to receive the things I want. That isn’t always store-bought items either. What I’m going through though is. Almost everything has a memory attached to what was happening, the person who gave it to me, or when I bought it. Not all these memories are good or even useful, no matter how well-intended.

Did I mean to collect teacups? No, I did not, but I couldn’t bear to let them be given away either from relative’s houses. So, here they sit. I intended to collect books, and I doubt I will get rid of any until forced to when I downsize someday. Record albums over many generations will stay untouched for now. My rock collection will remain along with my angels. Do I need ten wind chimes in my front window? Probably not. That’s negotiable, but the real problem is being an only child for two generations. I feel like the family keeper. There are some things I can pass down to my children, but the rest…

Editing a book is a very similar process. It’s hard to let any of it go, but it will make for a better story. So, I guess that is where I am in my life, the editing process.  Time to sell, give away or dispose of things I can’t use anymore to improve my home and life, like I do with my books.

Here are a few of my favorite things where their value is priceless to me and they won’t be edited out of my life.

Top picture: Some of my dolphin collection. (D-L-FINN)

 

MONKEY AND STUFF

  1. A statue made by my father-in-law.
  2. Nightmare Before Christmas town.
  3. My tiny happily-ever-after crystal castle.
  4. My grandmother’s monkey. Yes, he’s wearing a tie now.

BOOKS AND PIC

  1. A signed poster from Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
  2. My Disney books from when I was little.

KIDS ART

Final picture: Art from my three children that’s still proudly displayed.


Please check out my interview over on Heather Kindt blog:

Interview with D.L. Finn

 

Embrace your inner child, and soul, by enjoying what you have and passing on what you don’t need anymore.  D. L. Finn

Featured

“Me” Day Poetry

a walk in the woods

“This Last Chance” is in the hands of my beta readers, who I am eternally grateful for their input and precious time.  I decided to take a couple of “me” days to unwind after some intense editing. The weather has been unusually warm and sunny, which I enjoyed. These days always seem to lead me to write poetry. For the very first time, I was compelled to write some Haikus, too. Here’s a sample of my “Me” Day Poetry:

Warm

It’s a warm winter day

The forest is silent and solemn

The bees, birds, and bears are absent

But the ravens follow me with interest.

I hike over the dry terrain

The leaves still scattered

From the winds of fall.

The woodrats nestled in their cozy houses

While the caterpillars are awaiting spring

I, alone wander through the pines

With my dog by my side

On a warm winter day

When rain and snow should be falling

In a time when nothing is normal

The trees remind me of what we can survive.


The soaking rains stopped

Winter’s magic vanished

Fire danger returns


The beams of sunlight

filtering through winter trees

caressing my face


The RWISA “REVOLUTION” BLOG TOUR will continue through 2-19. You will see me this week.

Watch for the Monthly Newsletter in your email this week if you are subscribed!

My landline/Wifi is down at the moment. I don’t get a cell signal either. So, I will drive down the hill to check in and respond once a day. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon. Thanks for your patience. (I’m back now. Yay!)

Embrace your inner child, always! D. L. Finn

 

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Five Year Anniversary!

coco and colors

In honor of the five-year anniversary of breaking my foot and its significance to my writing, I’m sharing a slightly revised blog from last year.

This writing anniversary always gets me reflecting on my journey. It’s not that I started writing five years ago, I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager, although I took it more seriously in the 90s. I wrote a couple of children’s books and many children’s short stories. “Mega Veggies” was published in a children’s magazine, and I was sending out my work to publishers with “nice” handwritten rejections. Also, during this time frame, I educated myself further. So, I took several writing classes and later found myself back in college, where I focused on English, Photography, and Yoga. It was in a college English Class I discovered my love poetry and worked on more “adult” short stories, but then after I graduated all my work just sat. I’d stopped sending my books to publishers and hadn’t submitted an article, short story, or poem to a magazine in a while. I had a family to raise, relatives to take care of, and health issues. The writing wasn’t a priority.

Here is where a strange accident changed my life for the better. Five years ago, on a cold February night, it was Friday the 13th.  I had just finished reading and was about to go to sleep. I had to use the restroom, so I threw the covers back and raced to my destination. I didn’t make it. On our large throw rug was a picture of a black bear, and our black cat Coco was sleeping on top of that. In my rush, I didn’t see him, and my foot caught underneath him. I tried to grab the dresser to balance, but I kept falling. I remember my cat watching this with interest, but not moving either. I twisted to avoid landing on him and heard a loud snap. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor next to my unmoved cat. Not that he was stubborn either, he trusted I wouldn’t hurt him, and I didn’t. The other cats that I’ve accidentally stepped on know to move when I walk near them. That came later with him. Now he gets out of my way, most of the time.

I laid there wondering what to do. I tried to pull myself up with no luck. The pain was too intense when I tried to use my foot. My husband had slept through this entire event.

When I finally called out to him, he sat up and asked, “Why are you lying on the floor? You should get up.” Then his head was back on the pillow again.

It took a bit of urging to wake him up, but he finally got me into the bed, where I waited the night out.

After a long night of trying to get comfortable, morning came. I knew I needed to see a doctor. It was the weekend, so ER was our only option. After a long process of getting dressed, my husband and I made it to the car and the hospital. The hospital staff enjoyed my Friday the 13th story, and my husband said he was glad to be with me on Valentine’s day no matter where we were. I was diagnosed with a high break on my left foot. They wrapped it up; I had crutch lessons, and we headed home.

Being laid up with a broken bone, over being sick was a new experience for me. I had a lot of time on my hands. I did some projects I had wanted to do, like go through all my grandparents’ old slides. I filled the hours watching all the seasons of the TV show, Supernatural. Finally, though, I needed something else to do. So, one day my youngest daughter was visiting and suggested I publish my work on Amazon. I thought… maybe.

The “maybe” quickly turned into a “why not.” Spending so much time immobile finally gave me that time to research and do what I needed to do. I quickly realized I needed to have my work edited, along with starting a website, a blog, and getting on social media, which was a bit overwhelming. So next time my daughter visited, she jumped right in to help.  I soon had my writer’s name, because my Italian last name is impossible for most to say or spell—and I also wanted a bit of privacy. D.L. Finn was born out of my love for dolphins (sound it out). Then I got the domain name for my website, created the site, started social media accounts, found an editor, and a company to publish my book.

Next on my list of things to do while “Elizabeth’s War” was being edited, was a book cover.  Fortunately, I knew of a designer and got her to work on it. During this time, I also copyrighted the story and got a Library of Congress number for the print. I purchased my ISBNs, so I’d have full control of my work. Then all I could do is wait while I continued more seasons of “Supernatural” as I healed.

Soon everything was back to me. I was ready. With a shaking hand and racing heart, I uploaded my work and cover. I was published, thanks to tripping over my black cat on Friday the 13th!


Watch for the #RWISA “REVOLUTION” BLOG TOUR here this week:)

Embrace your inner child and read a good book! D. L. Finn

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February Book Reviews! @Sandra_Cox @FizaPathan @JohnJFioravanti

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations

by John Fioravanti

Foreword by Nonnie Jules

“Reflections: Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations” is precisely what the title says and more. There are fifty quotes from various sources that Mr. Fioravanti explores the meaning of in thoughtful, detailed short essays. Many I found myself nodding in agreement. I enjoyed each quote, but I had my favorites that hit home for me. I was not only inspired but provoked to take a more in-depth look at life. I read this on my Kindle, but I will buy the physical copy because it is a book, I will enjoy reading many times. I highly recommend this.


Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai

by Fiza Pathan

“Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai” is a fascinating collection of essays that bring the reader into the daily life of Ms. Pathan. It’s a blend of the books she’s read and how they affected her and her personal life. I loved her trips to the different bookstores and libraries and how she interacted there. It was a place she felt so comfortable, and the thrill of finding that special book was something I could relate to on many levels.  When she spoke of her personal life, it was heartbreaking that she carried her father rejecting her because she was born a girl. Her education, love of reading, and drive to write were the best response to that.  She discusses many subjects including body shaming, health, rape, religion, political climate, and LGBT and women’s rights through the books she’s read or personal experience. I plan to read more by Ms. Pathan and look forward to seeing what life offers her in the next thirty years. I highly recommend this collection—especially if you love books and reading.


Love, Lattes and Mutants (Mutants #1)

by Sandra Cox

“Love, Lattes and Mutants was a fun YA Sci-Fi story. Eighteen-year-old Piper was living with her grandfather and a senior in high school. She did all she could to blend into the background so no one would find out her secret that she had dolphin DNA. Two new popular students, Holly and her twin brother Tyler, befriended Piper while the school bully targeted her. Until then, she’d maneuvered through school in her baggy clothes and big sunglasses, avoiding getting close to anyone. I enjoyed watching Piper unwillingly become friends with Holly and falling for Tyler, but I have to say it was her relationship with her grandfather I loved the best. Relationships aside, the most significant pull on Piper’s attention was the ocean. This is when she could ultimately be herself swimming with the dolphins. Although her secret was catching up to her which took the story from how she was dealing with high school to saving dolphins and herself. This is the first book of the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! An excellent quick read for YA and adults, especially if you love dolphins like I do!

Embrace your inner child by reading! D. L. Finn

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One of those nights and a poem

night pic for blog

As a child, the night scared me. I imagined all sorts of evil lurking in it. The light became my defender of this darkness. Although I mostly outgrew this, sometimes the darkness reminds me of its power. I had one of those nights this last week. The only thing that resolved that moment was getting out of my safe bed and satisfying myself that the house was secure. Then, I turned on the hall light that cast a glow pushing the shadows away. From this irrational fear came creativity, trying to explain the unexplainable. When dark meets light and good vs. evil is a common theme in my writing. This is the place it comes from, so I accept those moments, knowing the light is never far away. Although I grant wary respect to that darkness and what may be lurking. Here’s a poem from that night.

SOAK

I soak up my surroundings slowly

It’s dark, dense, and full of doom

My hand clasps my comforter like a clamp

My breath grasping for balance or bliss

My heart reaches for heaven and hope

It’s an empty effort as darkness fills my eyes

So, I softly soak up the silence waiting for the light.


NOTE: I’m looking for Beta Readers for my latest book “This Last Chance” (I’m planning on it being the final book in the evildwel/angel saga unless the characters have a different idea.) It should be ready to read in a couple of weeks. I’m furiously editing it right now. Email me at d.l.finn.author@gmail.com if you are interested. Thanks:)

Watch for a special edition blog tomorrow:)

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

 

 

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Reflections in a new year and a poem

mushroom

This is my first 2020 reflection post on what the new year might bring. Last year I was hopeful going into 2019. It was to be the year of me being a leader, but it led me instead. 2020 came in more quietly, and I was cautious seeing what it might bring. Instead of leading it’s the year of landing on my feet — good thing I’ve had some practice sticking those landings. Then things started breaking around me, like a two-year-old stove that’s been deemed unfixable and not under warranty, the washing machine sits waiting for a repair that may or may not be under warranty (a definite pattern so far) and my car in the shop are a few examples.

So, all I could do is use my griddle, do laundry at my daughter’s house, and I enjoy being housebound for now. It’s the little stuff, I know, but for some reason, it felt heavy this time. Things breaking were weighing me down as I talked about getting rid of household clutter. Maybe I needed to be more specific on what I wanted to rid myself of, but I do know that I’d rather it be things breaking other than people.

So, I took this as a time to regroup. What I realized was we can survive anything if we do it together. This doesn’t seem to be a common theme lately in families, the workplace, or society. We don’t seem to be in this wonderful life together; it seems like we are at war with each other—even ourselves. I will be trying to figure out how to bridge this idea of togetherness as I let go of things I no longer need. It will be an interesting year and decade, but I have faith we can work through our problems together and clutter-free.

My end of the year poetry reflects my going into a new decade with no resolutions only hope. 

ROAD

2019 was to be the year of the leader

A shining star surging into existence

Instead, the year led me shivering down a dark road

Alone, I hastened my stride on the solid surface

Squinting into the darkness, I scanned for light

There was none, so I kept walking

Hoping my flashlight wouldn’t fail me

With its narrow beam of light urging me forward

Scared that I couldn’t see where I was going

I cautiously made my way into the night

Breathlessly I reached the top of a peak

Where I was greeted with a distant glow.

Forward I treaded to iridescent hope

At the edge of darkness.

The road was suddenly bathed in light

Now I could see I wasn’t alone

Others were in the distance on their roads

I wondered if they were making the same journey

I glanced back at the road I had traveled

But it had merged into the darkness

I shrugged and pushed on into the new year

Guided by only what could-be

Leaving what-was where it belonged.


Maybe authors can share our example of helping one another with the rest of the world. 😊 Embrace that inner child with a good book! D. L. Finn

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January Book Reviews! @JacqBiggar @Virgilante @MaeClair1 @teagangeneviene @rhanidchae

One Dyke Cozy
by Rhani D’Chae 

“One Dyke Cozy” is a short story about two girls that became best friends at eight years old, Shy and Gabby. They are complete opposites but balance each other. These characters had me laughing and shedding a few tears. Not only did the story tug at my emotions, but it dove into a female’s role in society both straight and gay. Shy and Gabby’s interactions felt very real and I could empathize with the hangovers Gabby ended up with just as much as why she was drinking. I loved how the drink cozy, Mr. Happy, became a real part of this friendship. I highly recommend this!


Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I’m already a fan of Ms. Geneviene, so I was excited to learn that “Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam” was about faeries. Thistledown is a place where faeries live, including Bedlam Thunder. It’s full of color, magic, and beauty. Bedlam has dark visions that not only get her kicked out of school but also affect her health and well-being. I love the little details not only in the scenery, but I can imagine how painful a wing injury would be.  The faery names always brought a smile to my face, and at the end of the story, you can create your faery name. The only downside was that there was repeat information that I found distracting while I was reading. Still, this story was a lot of fun, and it would be great to sit down and read with a child—or alone.


Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3)

by Mae Clair

I have loved this series and was looking forward to the final book. I have to say this was the best of all the stories, and that’s saying a lot. “Eventide” has everything I enjoy in a story, including a haunted house, graveyard, relationships, mystery, and great characters all offered in a dual timeline. I was rooting for not only Madison as she started over in a haunted house after a breakdown, but some ghosts, too. It was great to have past characters and their stories cross over into the current tale. There was plenty of mystery. Some of it I figured out, but there were a few surprises, too. I was happy to see how past romances were doing, but it was Madison’s determination that resonated deeply with me. The settings were poetically presented, which I appreciated, the characters were real with their flaws, and the paranormal believably frightening—what a great way to end a series. I highly recommend this book, but I suggest you go back and read all three so you don’t miss out on anything!


 

The Playground

by C.S. Boyack

“The Playground” is a story told through three points of view, Clovis, Chloe, and Gina. The one that chilled me the most was through the eyes of the little girl, Chloe. She gets a popular talking doll that interacts with her and the other dolls through its programming. This leads her down a dark path that I could easily see happening at some point in our future. Clovis is a hired killer after the programmer of these toys, who meets up with a dog who I immediately loved. The dog made Clovis more likable, even with his tough exterior. Then there is Dr. Gina Greybill who is a caretaker and is thrown into the paranormal. This character was hard to warm up to at first, but by the end, I was all in. Evil is the thread that weaves through this story, along with greed. This is a clever, chilling what-if with a paranormal twist that made for a page-turning read.


 Silver Bells

by Jacquie Biggar

“Silver Bells” is a quick holiday read I finished in one night! Christie and her daughter, Kelly, move to a coastal town in Canada to start over.  I love the relationship between Christie and her daughter while they handle Kelly’s diabetes. That adds another dimension to the story along with the new friend who helps with the daughter. The setting is charming, and I love that Christie’s an artist, but it’s the meeting of Joel, the novelist, that propels the story forward. At first, I didn’t like Joel on any level, but Christie’s attraction was strong and immediate. Then, as Joel steps outside of himself, with the help of his grandmother, I warmed up to him and their interactions. The relationship that develops between Joel and Kelly is endearing. This is a fun read by the Christmas tree, but it could be for any time of the year.

Embrace your inner child by reading a fantastic book this year! D. L. Finn

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Holiday Season in Nevada City, CA

Welcome to the holiday edition of where I live, Nevada City, CA. Here are shots from a day I went with the family to Victorian Christmas. I don’t usually go during the day event, but this time we did. It did get dark before we left so I could enjoy the lights.  Happy Holidays from our town to yours!


Here are three shots from the top of Broad Street. The vendors are in the middle of the closed road. See the mountain in the background? That’s where I live.

Yes, we did go see Santa. Usually, Santa sends out his helpers, but this year he was there in person. Thanks for the visit, Santa. Unfortunately in exchange for that knowledge, I can’t share the pictures of him.

Next to a local book store and the Chamber of Commerce are the restrooms. Pretty fancy area.

The Christmas Tree woman is here every year with the solider. Father Christmas made an appearence. The next picture with the bright pink tree is from one of my favorite store windows.

If you have ever seen the movie “A Christmas Card” that is the church used in the Hallmark movie. Of course, that’s City Hall and then what used to be a really cool house now turned really cool inn.