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December Book Reviews! @KIngallsAuthor @pamelawight

 

When I Rise: Tales, Truths, and Symbolic Trees 

by Karen Ingalls (Author), Jay Monroe (Illustrator), Angela Winchman (Editor)

This collection of twelve short stories begins with a poem from the author’s grandson, “When I Rise.” The first line caught my attention immediately, “Songs being sung outside in the trees…” what a beautiful image to start the book. Each story talks about a different issue including, abuse, eating disorders, and death. It made it meaningful knowing they were based on real-life stories and I recognized a couple from Ms. Ingalls other books. I love at the end of each one a positive truth about life is offered along with a tree and its meaning. This gave me a lot to ponder upon, along with hope. My favorite story was the last one “Birch Tree, Daisy the Duck.” It had a touch of magic that I like to believe exists around us. A heartfelt and meaningful book that offers truth with hope and brings in one of my favorite things, trees. I highly recommend this, especially if you enjoy a positive outlook in dark times.


Molly Finds Her Purr

by Pamela S Wight

Shelley A. Steinle (Illustrator)

I bought this book for my youngest granddaughter’s third birthday. I read it before giving it to her and thoroughly enjoyed it. Molly, the feral cat, was searching for friendship and her purr. She ran into animals who rejected her, but she kept looking until she found her circle. This has a wonderful message of friendship and finding that inner purr or what I thought of as the inner spark. The illustrations are charming and brought the characters to life. Locating the dragonfly on each page added to my delight.  Adults will enjoy reading this to their children almost as much as I know the children will love having it read to them–or reading it themselves. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my granddaughter. I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book.

 

Note: I did say there wasn’t going to be a post this week, but I forgot to change the date. So next week will be the rest of the reviews! A holiday blunder:)

 

Embrace your inner child this holiday season by giving the gift of reading! D. L. Finn

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Thankful Tree

thanksgiving tree

Our family has a Thankful Tree. We write on notepaper leaves each year, sharing what we’re thankful for, and then hang them on the tree.

I want to share some leaves from years past. There seems to be a theme of family weaved into our thankfulness. I hope you can add to that thankful tree that you have growing inside for all the things in which you’re grateful — may your tree bloom with love.

I’m thankful for:

  1. Cleaning, my family, and my life.
  2. I’m not homeless, that I have a very nice house, and have a happy family.
  3. All my family and able to spend time with everyone.
  4. Video games, my family, and my pets.
  5. Being alive so that I can have so many wonderful experiences with family and friends. And also, pumpkin pie.
  6. Thanksgiving.
  7. My health, abundance, creativity, and joy.
  8. My family, house, food, and love.
  9. All the good I have, which is a lot! I’m grateful for my wonderful family.
  10. The people that play music with me.
  11. This beautiful life and the wonderful family that I’m so lucky to be a part of.
  12. My family, friends, and animals in my life. For the material things, my house, where I live, and everything around me. I’m thankful for all the love directed to me.
  13. My friends, the ability to be healthy, family, home, animals, and all the love in my life.
  14. Hugs and helping people.
  15. My beautiful family, my health, my home, and my musical talent.
  16. The absurdism of the universe and being able to share the present with friends and family.
  17. The opportunities that have been available in my life. The paths taken to where I am today are more than I could ask for. I have a loving spouse who supports my needs to dance and takes care of everyone. I have friends who love me, a wonderful family, and a life that has so many opportunities I am also grateful for my family and cats.
  18. My education and science. Thankful for my family and the support from my parents, and for my friends.
  19. My spouse, who is honest, caring, and loving for our family. For my beautiful children, which I love so much, and my health, musical talents, and my kindness. My grandchildren and my house and the animals, too.
  20. And wish for everyone to have a happy life. We are a happy family. I love my family and everyone so much.

UPDATES:

We didn’t have our power shut off, although the call came after I waited for a few hours for it to happen. We had a brief thunderstorm the night before so maybe that helped. For some reason, it hit really hard all around us but we barely got any of it. Rain and snow is forecast this week. That means I should be able to put my go-bag away until next year. Fingers crossed.

The picture is from last year.


 

Embrace your inner child with gratitude! Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. May Black Friday treat you well. D. L. Finn

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More than words…

I express my love of nature in words, especially with poetry. I share what I’m seeing and feeling in written form, but I also capture moments in pictures. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve taken over the years.  All but three are local photos.

 

A Hawaiian sunset in Kauai, a smoky sunset over Nevada City, CA, and the sun peeking through the trees in Nevada County, CA by the Yuba River.

 

A whale in Alaska, the Yuba River in Nevada County, CA, and a rainbow over the coast of Kauai.

 

Ananda Tulips Nevada City, CA,  Donner Summit (Sierra Nevada near Truckee, CA), snowstorm by the Magical Trail, Nevada City, CA.

 

Donner Summit by Bridge (Sierra Nevada by Truckee, CA), D.L. Finn taking pictures at Yuba River, Nevada County, CA.


UPDATES:

  1. Still no rain. We’ve been having an unusually warm November. There are winds predicted this week. No idea if this means power outages again, but definitely increased fire danger. Still doing my rain dance!
  2. The Monthly Newsletter goes out Wednesday. Watch for it in your email if subscribed!
  3. Have you made it by the Spotlight Author tour? I’ve been having a lot of fun and sharing new “Finn Facts.” I also did a Blog Talk Radio Interview, too. You can click on the links above if you’re interested.
  4. I’ve crossed over the 30,000 words for NaNo. No idea where the story is going to end up, but it’s getting exciting. I lost a chapter overnight last week. Not sure how it happened since I have a backup in place. So that set me back a day. One of those things that led me in another direction.
  5. Next week’s blog I will share our family’s Thanksgiving Tree and some “leaves” or what we’ve been thankful for over the years.

Embrace your inner child with gratitude and share it. D. L. Finn

 

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Poetry in November

fall sun

ROARING BEAST

The electrical current’s flow has ceased

The stillness shrouds the space

And the dense darkness appears endless.

Then, a roar saturates the silence with a shimmer

And some are flooded with modern conveniences.

This constant rumble requires an offering of petrol

We gladly feed this beast no matter what the cost.

The howl of a generator is a small price to pay

For the glowing lights and hum of the refrigerator.

We easily fall asleep knowing the sound…

Is keeping us safe, healthy, and comforted.

When the sparking current goes silent…

The roaring beast awakens at our invitation

We lounge in this brief utopia, feeding the beast

While we wait for the ordinary to return.


Here’s what I’m hoping for VERY soon!

THE DAY AFTER THE RAIN

The ground is full of yesterday’s rain.

The drops linger on the rose petals

Trees glow a growing green

Blue peeks from behind the clouds

The birds sing in a joyful tune

The woodpecker feasts on insects on the dead tree

The dog lays in the sun at my feet

While the bees go back to work

Each gathering their needs before the next storm

But for now, I enjoy this day with nature

With a grateful heart for the day after the rain.


UPDATES:

  1. Still looking for some saturating rain. Although, no power outages this past week, they could make a come back soon if that storm door doesn’t open up soon!
  2. I hit the 20,000-word mark for the NaNo. I hope to make the 50,000 if all goes well, but life usually throws in a surprise or two. So, I’m focusing on being grateful for every word I have time to write for this event.
  3. I was awarded the incredible honor of being the #RRBC NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR! I’ll be doing a blog tour that has started and an interview this week. Here’s the link if you are interested.   https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-a…/
  4. I’m also a part of the “RWISA “RISE-UP” BLOG TOUR.” That starts this week, too.
  5. This leaves my time on social media very limited. I will be back in full capability in December until my holiday break:)

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

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November Book Reviews @Sandra_Cox @SusanneLeist @hmkindt @ColleenChesebro @woodheat

 

First Blood (The Blood Series, #2)

by Michael Lynes

“First Blood” is the second book in The Blood Series, and I would recommend going back to read the first book if you haven’t before reading this.  The story continues with the eternal fight for power and loyalty. It begins in the underworld with a battle for dominance.  Hades and his dead army are being challenged with some surprising and brutal consequences. I was happy to see my favorite characters Dev and Tray. I enjoy how their friendship grew into something stronger. Their devotion to each other and their humor are some of the best parts of this story. I love the use of mythology because it paints a colorful world. There were unexpected twists and plenty of action along the way. Although it took me a few pages to get into the story and remember all the storylines, once I got into the narrative it was a hard book to put down. I’m looking forward to the next book and continuing this journey to see where it goes. If you love mythology and fantasy, you’ll enjoy this series.


Fairies, Myths, & Magic ~ A Summer Celebration

by Colleen M. Chesebro

This is a magical collection of poetry, myths, short stories, and personal insight. I loved the whimsical theme of the book and was drawn into the world of fairies through Ms. Chesebro’s skillful prose. The poetry deserves multiple readings, and the short stories were very entertaining. “Halloween Havoc” still has me laughing at what was traipsing about the front yard. This is a great book to get lost in and be reminded of the magic surrounding us. I highly recommend this celebration!


The Weaver (Weaver Trilogy #1)

by Heather Kindt

“The Weaver” is an NA paranormal romance set on a college campus, although I felt it was more a YA, and the setting reminded me of high school. That detail, though, didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story. I loved the idea of characters coming to life and the consequences. Laney is a freshman at college, but before she gets started, she is pushed down a set of stairs. That leads Laney down a path of mystery to figure out why she was attacked. Laney settles into school and finds herself back in touch with a childhood friend, Jason. As they rekindle their friendship Jason’s roommate, William has her intrigued. I was surprised by some twists in the story that kept me involved until the last page. I’ll be reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.


Prey for The Dead

by Susanne Leist

This is the second YA Book in the series beginning five years later. Linda and Shana had enjoyed peaceful lives in Oasis, after a showdown with vampires, until everything changed. They were thrust in the middle of a battle that took them to an exclusive club in Disneyworld. The girls played the wives of Todd and Sam, but Linda was in a love triangle, with hybrid vampires on opposite sides. I loved being taken to Disneyworld in the story, even though they were surrounded by danger. Linda’s heart was taking her in two directions. Like Linda, I couldn’t decide who she should be with—if either of them. There are beautiful descriptions of the landscape giving a strong atmosphere and plenty of action that kept me reading. I was satisfied with Linda’s ending, but I hope there is more about Shana. If you like vampires, a love triangle, mystery, and deception, you’ll enjoy this story. This can be a stand-alone, but I recommend reading the first book.


TumbleStar

by  Sandra Cox

Texas ranch owner, Coop inherits his young niece, Kallie, after her parents suddenly die. When she arrives, Coop finds his childhood friend, Randa, accompanying Kallie. Convincing Randa to stay on at the ranch, everything goes well until Coop breaks up a beating and kills in self-defense.  This sets up for retaliation and puts Coop and the ones he loves in danger. I loved the connection between uncle and niece, and it showed a gentle side to the cowboy, that was charming. Randa was a strong character that I liked, along with her determination. The interaction with horses, and the introspection if they should be wild, added another dimension to the story. There was a nice mixture of action, relationships, and scenery. I could imagine myself riding out on a horse and finding the peace Randa found on the ranch.  If you love engaging westerns with romance, you’ll want to read this book.


UPDATES: We are still rainless with no rain forecast in the near future, but they aren’t predicting winds here at least for the next week. Now is the time to do that Raindance and hope a storm decides to join in. Fingers crossed no more power outages this year, but this seems to be a long term solution for the power company.

I finally decided to join the NaNoWriMo.  I’m off to a good start on a story that I brainstormed the night before Halloween. I decided to write it for myself. But doing this really limits my social media time. I will try to keep up, but can’t promise I can.

I might be doing more picture blogs or poetry if time gets away from me. I did get a lot of great pictures walking around town on Halloween.  Of course, my reading will be limited.

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

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

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A Fall Walk in Nevada City

I’ve been wanting to share our amazing little town. This week on our stay at home vacation, my husband and I took our oldest grandkids on a walk through downtown Nevada City, CA. The trees were bursting red and yellow and the Halloween decorations were up. A quick stop was made at the candy store for ice cream and candy.

Here’s the color:  

We crossed over Deer Creek on the way to downtown.

deer creek pic

Downtown Nevada City where we stopped at the candy store. 

Then on to the Halloween decorations. 

Here’s the spooky Outside Inn. You can walk on the grounds where they lavish the landscape with Halloween creatures.

An Indian Medicine Rock.

medicine rock pic

We ended our walk with a stroll through the cemetery.

The road to Nevada City.

the road to nevada city

I hope to share some more pictures of our town this Christmas.


UPDATE: We are in the middle of the second power shutdown this week due to high winds and fire danger in Northern California. The estimated time frame to restore electricity where we live is Monday or Tuesday. I look forward to responding to your comments when the lights and wifi return. 

There is another possible wind event following this one at beginning of week. Stay tuned.

Embrace your inner child this fall with a good book. Happy Halloween! D. L. Finn

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October Book Reviews! Part 2 Shorts @FizaPathan @ChristinaWinds @KarensStories @stacitroilo @JoanHallWrites @MaeClair1 @Virgilante @harmony_kent @janmorrill @DowntonCooks @growwithstacy @Chelepie

 

 

 

Mountain Justice

by Karen Black

“Mountain Justice” is a short story that’s about more than a horse; it tackles a difficult subject spousal abuse. Anne is in a horrible situation with a cruel husband, George. The abuse scenes are graphic and realistic, and you can’t help but feel for her and root for her well-being.  Even as grim as Anne’s situation gets her relationship with Rob and her horse, Czar adds hope and heart to this story. Fortunately, this was a short read because I would not put it down until I knew what happened. I highly recommend this read.


Monsters

by Christina Winds

Having come from a background where monsters lurked, I could connect to this metaphorical short story. There’s some insight into why things aren’t always what they seem in households. It offers some hope with a glance back at what was in a broken family. Sometimes you have to move on. This is a quick read for those from verbally abusive situations as a child or even an adult.


Caste Metal: Short Story

By Fiza Pathan

“Caste Metal” is a well-written short story based on the Hindu Caste System in 1877. A young genius untouchable, Cacchar, teaches himself to read. The penalty for this is brutal and cruel. The details are very graphic, and I felt the pain of his entire family. Not only the injustice of Cacchar’s place in society, but the dark side of humanity is portrayed skillfully. This is a story that evoked many emotions from me and one I highly recommend.


Macabre Sanctuary

by Staci Troilo, Joan Hall, Mae Clair, Jan Morrill, Pamela Foster, Stacy Claflin, Harmony Kent, Michele Jones, C.S. Boyack, and  E.J. Lane

“Macabre Sanctuary” is a great collection to read at Halloween or any time of the year. Penned by ten different authors, I was already familiar with the work of five of them, but it was nice to be introduced to new writers. The stories were diverse but had that touch of creepy I enjoy. Each story is a terrific length for a quick read, but you have the option to keep reading, which I enjoy about anthologies.  A couple of the stories will stay with me for a while in a good way, but they all entertained me. If you like a bit of horror in your short stories, this collection is for you!


UPDATES:

1. The monthly newsletter comes out tomorrow. Watch for it in your email if subscribed!

2. I will be on vacation with my husband this week. We are staying close to home, but my social media interaction will be limited.

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

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October Book Reviews! Part 1 @Jinlobify @joygerken @WordDreams @Virgilante

 

Viral Blues (The Hat #2)

by C.S. Boyack

I read and loved “The Hat,” so I was sure I’d be entertained in “Viral Blues.” This is an action-filled story of an unlikely group being thrown together to stop a plot to spread illness and death.  It had a superhero feel with an apocalyptic-supernatural scenario and a lot of humor. The talking hat provided for much of that humor. I enjoyed the hat’s relationship with Lizzie and their band, but there were characters I enjoyed getting to know from previous books that I haven’t read. This includes a man who turns into a mist, a tough guy, and a robot, all adding their flavor to this wonderful mix of personalities. Each one had a different approach, but they found a way to work together. It wasn’t necessary to have read the past books, but after reading this story, I’ll be reading them. I highly recommend this humorous, thrilling ride!


Strawberry Moon

by Joy M. Lilley

Sixteen-year-old Maisie and her family move from the U.K. to France for her father’s work. I loved where they lived, the culture, and the countryside surrounding their community. It drew me into that part of the book. The house they move into is run down with part of the roof missing. The family makes the best of it, but tragedy strikes when her brother disappears. The story moved at a faster pace after Maisie’s brother went missing. Although there was a mystery, I found the aftermath of that event more dominate for Maisie and her family. Maisie seemed rather mature for her age, but she was strong-willed and as confused as a teenager would be. I rooted for her but didn’t fully connect with her until halfway through. I liked some subjects covered, including alcoholism and drinking and driving. “Strawberry Moon” crossed the line once, at least for me as a YA read, along with a reaction that I wished had more reflection on Maisie’s part. Still, this story held my interest until the last page. I’m hoping there’s a second book to resolve all those unanswered questions.


 

The Quest for Home (Book 2 of Crossroads trilogy)

by Jacqui Murray

This is the second book of the Crossroads trilogy, and it picks up right where “Survival of the Fittest” left off. I loved the first book and couldn’t wait to continue the journey. Xhosa continues her quest to get her people to safety. Although I loved Xhosa’s strength and interactions with her people, it’s the wolf that held my heart. The journey in this prehistory world is fast-paced and full of danger. The details drew me into their world without weighing down the action. There is the perspective through the group that broke off from Xhosa’s people which added to the depth of this narrative. The characters all struggled to survive with sustenance, shelter, and the quest for control which is not much different than modern times. I’m enthralled with prehistoric fiction and this series. I can’t wait for book three. I highly recommend “The Quest for Home” and the rest of the Crossroads books!


 

Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies

by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

This is an interesting book of Igbo Mythology that follows a young boy, Osondu and his mother, Gloria, after death. There are different journeys and lessons they learn in the afterlife. The first part focuses more on the son and the second part of the story his mother as they interact with other souls and gods along the way. I found it easier to connect with the mother’s journey than Osondu. I especially loved the places Gloria’s adventures took her to. Some parts left me thinking and wondering about our souls and my own beliefs about what is coming. I found it fascinating reading this perspective from Nigerian Igbo Myths and appreciated all the details that went into it. If you are a fan of myths and legends, you should enjoy this.


UPDATES:

1. Forgive my silence on social media this week, our power, along with 800,000  customers, was shut down for fire safety in Northern California. It lasted three days here. Luckily, we have a generator that powers our well, fridge, microwave, and outlets in the bedroom for my husband’s sleep apnea machine. We haven’t used this new generator since we got it a few years ago for more than a couple of hours. This purchase followed spending a week without water or power eight years ago after an early snowstorm. So this outage was like a five-star hotel for me. The downside? We only had two cans of gas. Unfortunately, all but one local station was closed. My husband spent a long time in line one night. Then the following evening, he made the trek to another town much further away but had open stations. Usually, we can get supplies locally when we are powerless, but they shut everyone down. This weekend, lots of food is being thrown away, but thankfully no fires here.  I’m sure I’ll be talking about this more, but right now I’m happy to enjoy all the amenities that modern living offers, including having our landline back and the internet. The world becomes very distant when you are cut off from it. I worry this has become our new normal and it will happen again. Sending prayers to Southern California where the fires rage.

2. I will be on a short vacation with my daughter on Thursday through Sunday. My time online will be limited, but I will share a picture or two:)

3. There will be two special edition blogs this week. Don’t miss out.

4. Next week will be part 2 of my reviews. All the short stories.

Embrace your inner child with a book this fall! D. L. Finn

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#RRBC OCTOBER-WEEN BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY @dlfinnauthor

October_Ween

Welcome to my stop on the #RRBC OCTOBER-WEEN BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY!

Here’s the winners:

 

(1) $10 Amazon gift card –  John Fioravanti
(1) $5 Amazon gift card – Susanne Leist

 

 

For a chance to win one of these two prizes all you have to do is leave a comment below. 

I’m sharing a poem I wrote after an unusual experience in Hawaii and all my adult and children’s books. I don’t expect you to watch all seven trailers, just the ones that interest you. I’ve included my short stories with their blurbs, too. If you’re intrigued, all you have to do is click on the title!

danielle and turtle

HONU

I swam next to my youngest daughter.

Face mask pressed tightly to my face,

Snorkel positioned, providing air.

A large silver-fish followed us

Circling in a mutual curiosity

Slicing slowly through the salty water

I snapped pictures capturing each moment.

Blue, yellow, black, green, and silver sea creatures

Decorated the clear cobalt liquid,

Until an eye-catching fish swaddled in a rainbow

Lured us in another direction.

Our flippers propelled us through the dull gray coral.

Unexpectedly, the reef burst into pink and purple.

Here the tiny yellow fish with black spots were on diverse display.

A school of thin blue-fish glided at the top of the water

While I floated above this underwater magic…

Trying to record these memories.

Suddenly, to my left, something large caught my eye.

In-between my daughter and I was a substantial sea turtle– a honu.

I met the honu’s gaze and wisdom was reflected back

We swam for eternity, just the three of us

Our souls recognized the significance of this occasion.

Then the honu glanced at me one more time

And with a slight nod from her, that I returned

She sped away into the riptide.

Gone from our sight, but not our hearts

I’m gifted with a saturating-perception of potential

From the blissful time, we swam with a honu.

JUST HER POETRY


THE BUTTON


THIS SECOND CHANCE


NO FAIRY TALE: THE REALITY OF A GIRL WHO WASN’T A PRINCESS AND HER POETRY


SHORT STORIES FOR ADULTS:

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS: A SHORT STORY

What happens when you’re living the good life after retirement and your world suddenly turns upside down? Will and Cass Henderson learn the truth after a family member is murdered, but no one believes them because they’re the prime suspects. The Hendersons have a red-eyed killer in the family, and they’re next on its kill list.


A LONG WALK HOME: A CHRISTMAS NOVELETTE

All alone on Christmas Eve, Kenzie was feeling the betrayal of her recent break-up. While the sky was heavy with the dark clouds of an impending storm, she walked home from work to clear her head. Lost in her memories, Kenzie was completely unaware she was being followed by a man with green-eyes. Was this not-so-human being the good or evil that lurked around her? On the most magical night of the year, will Kenzie be able to save herself from that evil or will she need some divine inspiration? The outcome will depend on whether she can find the strength to forgive as the storm not only rages outside, but deep within her soul.


BIGFOOT: A SHORT STORY

Can you believe everything you read? Steve must answer that question when he finds a strange blog while searching for his friend’s address. It was crazy to consider the government would poison a lake to find Bigfoot–and Steve wasn’t crazy. But, there were also some truths weaved into this unbelievable tale. Steve began to question his comfortable reality as he kept reading.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

ELIZABETH’S WAR


THINGS OF A TREE


AN UNUSUAL ISLAND

Thank you for stopping by!

Don’t miss out on the rest of the tour and fun! Here’s the link:

 WELCOME TO THE #RRBC 2019 OCTOBER-WEEN BLOCK PARTY! 

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INTERLUDE, A Poem

Last week I walked on the magical trail with Sara, our dog. I sat on the bench and composed poetry while taking in the beauty. This dragonfly landed and kept me company while I wrote. Here’s one of those poems.

dragon fly

INTERLUDE

My mind is adrift in a fog of apathy

So, I let it wander, like a Sunday drive.

As I peer deeply into the thickened air

My forward-path is frozen…

When the heaviness of the moment obscures it.

I pull over to wait it out

Restless…

I get out of my vehicle and find lights

They are dim in the gloom…

But, I’m grateful as my feet meet a solid path

There’s a gazebo ahead with a twinkling glow.

The haze dispels, and I flow in

A chair awaits that I thankfully sink into

I close my eyes and breathe. Just breathe

Pulling a blanket over the chill, I nestle into the joy

Sometimes when it isn’t possible to advance

I can find my way on a fringe trail.

Here I settle into the interlude

And immerse my essence into life’s magic.


 

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

Next Sunday, instead of my regular blog, I’ll be hosting my day of the#RRBC 2019 OCTOBER-WEEN BLOCK PARTY!  Stop by and say hello:)

Embrace your inner essence! D. L. Finn

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Books that Changed me–2019 Fall Edition! @mbiermanauthor @Sandra_Cox @teagangeneviene @rijanjks

coco and colors

Happy Fall! The dogwood leaves are just starting to make the change from green to red. The air is cooler, at least for now, and we’ve had our first rare September rain. Although we will be in high fire danger until the weather fully changes over that doesn’t take away the glory of this harvest season. This is one of my favorite times of the year because it includes both Halloween and Thanksgiving. I already have my spiderweb sheets on my bed.

Books, like the seasons, add change to our lives. Here are my picks for this fall with my comments again:


This book talks about a subject I don’t like to think about much less read, but the author wrote it in a fashion that I could do it. What I took away from this is there are terrible people in this world, but at the same time there are heroes, too. It gave me a lot to think about after which is a gift leftover from a story.

Vanished

By Mark Bierman

I knew the topic going into reading this fictional book: child trafficking. Mr. Bierman shows the reader the process, including how children are kidnapped from their families–or the worst when their families sell them into slavery. The poverty and greed that uses children…I have a hard time absorbing that and worried this would be a hard read for me, but it wasn’t. The storyline centers on two American men doing missionary work in Haiti. A young girl is kidnapped, and they start on a journey to find her. The story’s told through different characters, which held my interest as they became interwoven. The action is non-stop and I had a hard time putting it down. I was fully invested in the characters and had a range of emotions from joy to sadness. This is a book that can make you think about an unpleasant subject, while being a good fictional story that entertains. I can easily recommend “Vanished” especially if you love action and the depth of a thought-provoking subject put together.


I haven’t read westerns in years. No reason really, but there was always so many other things to read and not enough time to read everything. Not that I don’t try😊. Being a fan of this author’s paranormal and cat books already, I decided to read her western. I’m glad I did. The details and storyline pulled me right in and made me add westerns back onto my reading list.

Silverhills

by Sandra Cox

When Brandon hired a new trail hand to help herd the Longhorns to market, no one knew it was a woman. I loved the characters and relationships. They were well developed and progressed at a natural rate. The fatherly role of Cookie, Brandon, and Alexandria/Alex or the friendships Alex developed were my favorites. The mystery of why Alex was in this situation kept me intrigued, and there were a few twists I didn’t expect because of that. The setting was detailed and beautifully described. I could imagine being back on the Chisholm Trail or Brandon’s ranch in Texas. My love of animals appreciated Alex’s devotion to her horse, dog, and cattle. I adored this romantic western adventure and highly recommend it!


I’m a fan of unique stories and quirky characters. This book has that and more, between the friendships, house, town and of course the cat. It’s a town I wouldn’t mind living in. The magic and mystery sprinkled throughout is a reminder of life’s gifts and to embrace that inner child.

Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneivene

Ralda Lawton decides to start a new life. She places a low bid on a house that comes with its own cemetery and wins. She relocates into the small town and immediately meets her neighbors. The relationship she develops with her new friends, Lacy, Racine and Bethany remind me of some of my own friends. Then there is the two good-looking mysterious men she runs into Gwydion and Cael. Both hold her interest, curiosity and trigger her inner warning. My favorite character is Lilith her calico cat. I enjoy her POV throughout the story and insights into the humans and the non-humans. I love the magic, mystery, relationships, paranormal, a hint of romance and karma in this uniquely well-written story. I can’t wait to read the second book in this series and see what happens next in Atonement.


 

I like to pick my favorite read after #RRBC has its short story contest and this year I’ll share my pick. There were a couple I loved and it was hard to choose. This was the one I connected with the most. I could have been sitting with those women and doing something like the characters did. This story tapped into that action and made the impossible seem real. Plus, the ending allowed me to decide, and I did.

Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide

by Jan Sikes

Two friends are drinking away Claire’s pain. All in good fun, Claire and Jade make a Voodoo doll resembling the husband who just left Claire for another woman. Ms. Sikes wrote this in a fashion that felt authentic to me. There was a woman betrayed and heartbroken with a friend trying to cheer her up. I could easily imagine sitting with these two women, making a doll to work through all the bad feelings with an unexpected outcome. This short story was a quick read, but a complete story that I thoroughly enjoyed—and highly recommend!

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Year of the Leader?

rose blog

2019 was to be the year of the Leader. I would try new things that would lead me in new directions. I quickly found out it was 2019 that would lead me. After the flu, which I’m still not 100 percent, deaths, other issues, and loss, I found myself burnt out and rethinking writing and life. I’ve tried adding new things to my life to regain that spark, and it lasts for a bit then this feeling of doubt creeps back in. It applies to most aspects of my life and has bled into my writing or my lack of it.

Yes, I still enjoy walking in nature while taking all the beauty and peace in, and spending time with family but something still nags at me. Swimming with the turtle was a spiritual experience on an elevated level but still—something is off.  I can’t quite place my finger on what it is.

Usually, I have a book ready to release this time of year. It sits waiting for me to edit. I haven’t found that connection to it yet, which I hope will be there in the next go-around. So, I’m waiting to tackle that and save up for professional editing. I’ve written some poetry but lack the enthusiasm to do it more often—like when I’m on the back of the Harley. I’ve been working on a short story collection but walk away from a story when I can’t figure out what’s missing.

That is what I’m feeling. Something is missing. The joy of writing that I started with has become more about learning all the rules and proper ways to do everything. It took over my creative side and left more doubt about what I was doing creatively. I know people will either like or dislike what I write. I’ve always been okay with that, but I have to like what I’m doing.

My life has become more a list of things to do rather than looking forward to exploring. It’s been too much news and less creating my own. Then nothing gets done because I’m trying too hard in the wrong places. My mind is in a fog, and that bleeds over into my responsibilities. I no longer can keep track of everything in my head like I used to. I won’t mention how expensive that can end up being.

So, at a strange crossroads, I look forward to with more than a bit of dread. All the negativity that our society has been swimming in has flooded my household. Yes, bad things happen, but how I react to them is my only control over that.

I ponder my questions. Do I want to keep writing, blogging, and socially interacting? Do I want to keep learning and improving? How do I survive my demons which flow into all aspects of my life? Will my health improve, or will I spend most days laying down working and then exercising only to have to rest again from that? Do I push on and plaster that smile on my face and hope it passes? Will I have to suffer as I age like I’ve seen many times?

This is where life led me this year. To the point of wondering, thinking, and having to deal with all that goes with that. Going back to what started me writing and then publishing. Joy. Expressing and not worrying about where it was going or why I was doing it. Intuition. This year led me to silence those critics internal and external that have almost muzzled me. I have forgotten to take care of me—all of me—spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

I have reverted into old bad habits. This is where the leader came in for me this year. It would be a year I lead me back to…. me.

Going forward, I won’t worry about my self-imposed deadlines, that I can’t keep track of everything like I used to, or what my body can no longer do. I will write the things that bring me joy that hopefully will do the same for others. This journey will reflect in my writing like it always has as I embrace that inner spark my child always knew existed. I will finish my next book when life gently lands back to that place again, where joy is always waiting.

Year of the leader? Yes.


UPDATES:

I sent out my monthly newsletter on the 20th. Check your email if you missed it!

There will be a special edition blog, “Books that changed me–fall edition.”

I don’t always have advanced notice of other special addition blogs to post here, but I hope you can stop by and say hello if you notice them in your email!

Embrace your inner joy! D. L. Finn

 

 

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A New Bicycle

 

I haven’t ridden a bicycle in 20 years, yet lately, my husband and I have been talking about riding them. So, when a mountain bike went on sale at a price we couldn’t ignore, we decided why not? Thinking they’d be sold out at that price, we found one locally and a half-hour away. We headed home and got them assembled. Helmet on, I carefully sat down and pedaled.

At first, it was hard to keep my balance and I wobbled. The seat was uncomfortable, and the handlebars made me huddle over. Still, I felt adventurous and headed onto our magical trail that my husband had been working on for the last year. I could navigate my way through the first part but then had to get off and walk it up the hill. After that, I was feeling each bump and some parts of the trail weren’t wide enough to accommodate my lack of practice.

So I headed back to the driveway. Here I found my balance in the simple back and forth. My husband would join in my driveway riding, then head to the front part of the trail, and meet me at the end of our driveway. With the sun in my face and the wind blowing in my hair, I remembered the days of my youth. The carefree expression on my husband’s face said it all. It was like years hadn’t passed for that moment, but then reality interrupted. My body insisted I stop. So I did and carefully parked my new bike with a smile on my face.

Since we had matching bikes, I had to add some bling to mine. I borrowed some Disney stickers from my granddaughter and made my mark with hearts, kittens, and flowers. It was mine now as my husband made some small adjustments to my bike for comfort.

The next day feeling inspired, I added riding my bike up and down the driveway after our walk with our dog, Sara on the magical trail, along with running a small part to this new routine. It is what I now call the Denise-a-thon, walking, running and riding. Yes, I stroll more than walk fast, my jog is a slow trudge matched by my husband’s fast pace, and I only ride up, and down the driveway three times, but it’s a good start.

I’ve been having a bit of youthful fun, and I haven’t fallen off the bike. Although I took a fall during the run portion of the Denise-a-thon when my toe caught a root while I was trying to pass Sara. She seems to think it’s important for her to lead, but when she gets in front of me, she slows way down. Luckily I was okay except for some rather long scratches on my calf and some bruising, from a pile of branches, which are just about healed.

So going down that day and getting those bicycles, I’ve added some fun to my exercise. As the magical trail expands, we keep finding new ways to enjoy it, like adding in bike riding. Then it’s not just the same walk every day with the dog, but it’s always a place to enjoy the peace of the forest. Where we can walk, run, ride bikes, and in the winter snowshoe and sled. My daily walks needed a change which the bike provided, and so does my writing. I’m looking for that writing bicycle to bring back that spark to my rather lackluster writing year. I know that inner child is there waiting patiently down the path on her bike with lots of new stories to share with me as we ride through the paths of life together.

 

trail collage 1

Embrace that inner child with a bike ride! D. L. Finn

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End of Summer Poetry

rose flower

As the summer ends in a mere two weeks, I want to share two poems I wrote while sitting at our public pool with my oldest grandchildren.  My time brought back many memories of my own children there and created new ones with their children. And it wasn’t so long ago that I was doing the splashing while my great grandfather sat in the shade watching our memories.

POOL POETRY

Splashing chemicals amplify vocal fun

In the rectangle water splendor of the blue depth

Space invaded by towels and bragging youth

I glimpse with a longing to a fleeting peace.

As I sit being the adult in a comfortable blue chair

Trying to squeeze a few words out

Between voices of hello, inquiry, or joking

I reflect that that was once me.

When I was full of mischief and wonder

And I enjoyed every moment of it—even now.

 

PUBLIC POOL YOUTH

They gather in groups

Gossiping, judging, and peering outward

Laughter speckles their words

Motions are meant to draw attention

Embarrassment high, manners forgotten

They fight each other with a new-found rebellion

Words carry out to adults laced in challenge

But a voice of reason tampers that down

Energy high

Expectations higher

Egotism highest

In a broken-up conversation with unmatched replies

All in adolescence wonder…

Are public pool activities of the youth.


UPDATES:

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

Embrace your inner child with a book of poetry! D.L. Finn

Featured

September Book Reviews @WendyJayneScott @Sandra_Cox @BalroopShado @bakeandwrite @StephenBentley8 @MrAlldredge @SpotInMyHeart @WAKENOVELLA @kay_castaneda @BauerJ1138 @bookishaly @llkane2152 @harmony_kent

 

FALLOUT

by Harmony Kent

“Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic story that left me thinking and then rethinking again. Set in space where humans settle after the earth becomes uninhabitable, a virus is released changing their way of life. My favorite character, Priya is alone and brutally attacked. Her strength and relationships with the other characters had me rooting for her, and I loved the pet she acquired. Told through several POVs, the reader gets a full picture of a complicated situation that I enjoyed. The characters are flawed and realistic. It surprised me how many times there was a new twist I wasn’t expecting. This is a glimpse into the human condition where power, lies, and manipulation have taken over society. Ms. Kent skillfully gives us a dark peek into a possible future in the hands of a cruel leader. This is a great science fiction read that I recommend.


 

Moments We Love

by Balroop Singh

This is a thoughtful collection that shows life through potent images. There are three sections Love, Harmony, and Life, but the essence of existence connects it all. I was drawn to the sweet poetry dedicated to Ms. Singh’s grandchildren, and “Redwoods” was a favorite, but I fully enjoyed the beautiful words throughout the book. I love how nature is mixed into the poems and felt like I was sitting next to Ms. Singh watching the sunset with her. There is a surreal quality to “Moments We Love” that shows another way of looking at things. I highly recommend this collection if you are a fan of poetry.


Makita (Cats of Catarau, #3)

by Sandra Cox

I read Shardai (Cats of Catarau #1)” and loved it. So, I had very high expectations for this story and wasn’t disappointed! Makita died and was in a beautiful place but insisted on using a life to go back to her best friend, Bennie, the dog. He needed her was her only thought. I’m a huge fan of animals, especially cats, and Ms. Cox has a way of getting into a cat’s mind that makes me believe and root for them. A darker subject was introduced into this tale, a Pit Bull fighting-ring. My heart broke, thinking of all the pain and suffering these animals go through for greed and profit.  Luckily the sadness balances out with the ingenuity of the animals, along with trust, and loyalty. It was a heartwarming story of a cat and her devotion to her animal family. If you love animals, especially cats and dogs, this novel is for you.


Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories

by Stephen Bentley, Greg Alldredge, Kelly Artieri, L. Lee Kane, Michael Spinelli, Robbie Cheadle, Kay Castaneda, Justin Bauer, and Aly Locatelli

I bought this anthology because I was already a fan of Robbie Cheadle. I loved her historical fiction based on real-life stories as expected, but the other authors and their work also intrigued me. This collection is a great variety that includes horror, sci-fi, suspense, and mystery set in various locations that all held my attention. There’s a brief introduction to each author, and I enjoyed getting to know them before reading. It’s a great assortment of short stories and a fantastic way to be introduced to new authors.  I highly recommend “Death Among Us.”


Ferrasium (The Windflowers Trilogy #1)

by Wendy Scott

This was set in ancient Egypt, but it reminded me of ancient Rome, too. A young girl Kalli was taken from her family for a test all girls go through once they reach puberty. Her life changed in horrible ways from that point. It was a cruel and brutal world she found herself a part of that forced strength from her. While I bonded and rooted for Kalli, there were other storylines giving a complete picture of her situation. After an animal was killed in the beginning, I almost put the story down. I didn’t though because it already invested me in it. My first thought was that person who did that needed to pay for that cruelty. I felt a lot of emotions reading this, which speaks well for Ms. Scott’s ability to tap into that. This is a full story that dives deeply into the dark side of humanity with betrayal, greed, power, slavery, and privilege. I will be reading the next installment to see what happens to Kalli next.


 

Fairy Dust (Bedtime Tale #1)

by W.J. Scott

A young girl named, Evelyn, didn’t believe in the unseen or magic. Evelyn finds out whether it is real or not in this sweet story. I found the characters charming, full of wonder, and uncertainty. The last line summed up my personal belief, which I won’t share here and ruin the ending. I will definitely be reading this with my grandchildren!


 

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

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Trying New Things, 2019

kauai

Last year I participated in the Gish Scavenger Hunt with my daughter, Danielle. I posted about it in Trying New Things. It’s that time of year again. I joined a team with Danielle and she researched the items for us to do. One of my tasks was to create a poem about the character, Pikachu. My other two were to make a garbage portrait out of my non-recyclable trash and try something new.

In a mother, daughter, and granddaughter effort Danielle dressed up as a monster (like the monster under the bed) and my oldest granddaughter read to her while I took pictures. 69207798_10157770417253013_3438159163404845056_n

To continue our work we next made a dress out of water balloons for my granddaughter and then she had to accept a wedding proposal of a water balloon instead of a ring. My grandson unwillingly stepped in as the bearer of the water balloon–as long as I promised not to share those photographs.  Then the day ended with a water balloon fight out front.

We always manage to have fun doing this together, but an essential factor is the charity/donations component. Yes, there are prize winners but we don’t participate with that in mind.

Here’s what I came up with this year:


A SMILE

The sweet-voiced character brings back old smiles.

His presence is high on the movie screen or TV

I’m not alone in this memory. I’m sitting with my young son

I ask questions, and he eagerly educates me

We collect cards from kids’ meals or stores

Birthdays are brightly themed…

Christmas contains the yellow cartoon…

And Easter baskets have red and white balls.

When I clean out a drawer and find a card tucked away

When I see the newer interactive Pokemon game

When the show comes on TV or I run across an old DVD

I remember that youthful boy and hearing, “Pika Pika.”

Together in memories, we watch Pikachu and Ash

That moment in the past brings a smile to the now.


I’m not gifted artistically but here’s my attempt at a self-portrait:

garbage portrait


To try something new I read one of my poems…really fast:

 

 



Direct from the website:

GISH is on a mission to wake up the world and change it for the weirder and better— and Gishers make it happen.”


I’m all for embracing that inner child whether from reading a book or being a “Gisher”! D. L. Finn

 

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Some Summer Poetry

blog collage

I took a day to relax in the backyard last week. Impressions of what I saw and how it processed through my mind burst into these poems. I’m planning on doing a second poetry book in the future, but I don’t have a working title yet.  I added a link to Just Her Poetry below if you are inspired to read poetry this summer. I know I am.

SILENT HEAT OF SUMMER

The sun blares down on the landscape

The trees and plants welcome its energy

Growth has exploded…

Only slowed by the lack of moisture

Sprinklers offer a welcome drink to the thirsty strawberries

While the roses burst out in blooms

Tomatoes redden, kale offers their leaves,

Pumpkins bloom into bulbs that will be ready for fall

It’s the season of peaceful progression.

While people cool off in lakes, rivers, or air conditioning.

The forest is wrapped in a hue of hushed harmony…

As the animals shelter from the temperatures

Only the buzz of the bees can be heard

While the whimsical winds wander.

It is a serene moment to just be

As I embrace the silent heat of summer.

FENCE

We put up a fence…

Trying to keep out our worries.

Safety behind a wall we are assured.

Yet, it’s only a few feet that life can climb

Where birds can scour the landscape

Where squirrels chirp their annoyance

Where bugs find a home

Bears can knock it down

Mountain lions can climb over it

And foxes go under leaving a way for the skunks.

The fence can hold a dog in…most of the time

The cats mock the dog from the other side.

It doesn’t repel burglars or fires

Floods will flow right through this barrier

Winds can tear it apart

While snow and rain gnaw on it

Tree roots push it out of their way

Weeds float carefully over.

Still, we keep building them

To protect our belongings and family

From the terrifying world beyond our property lines.

They give us the illusion of power…

In a world spinning out of our control.

 

JUST HER POETRY Amazon link


UPDATES:
The August Newsletter will come out this week. Watch for it in your email if subscribed!

Watch for a special edition blogs this week.

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

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August Book Reviews! @rjkrzak @Sandra_Cox @stacitroilo, #RWISA Authors: @BeemWeeks @bernardfoong @dlfinnauthor @gmplano @healthmn1 @rijanjks @HowellWave @KIngallsAuthor @LauraLibricz @boom_lyn @startrailsIV @_MarlenaSmith_ @MAAdlerWrites @MichelleAbbott4 @NonnieJules @rhanidchae @fredsdiary1981 @jhawker69 @pursoot @WendyJayneScott @YvetteMCalleiro

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1

by Nonnie Jules & members of RWISA

“Watch RWISA Write” is written by the members of Rave Writers – Int’l Society of Authors which is a division of Rave Reviews Book Club. It’s a fantastic collection of work that varies from fiction, poetry, history, reality, and of course, it’s well written. I couldn’t pick just one great piece of work because they were all good. Each author provided an entertaining read with the paranormal, karma, humor, drama, and thought-provoking insights. A great book and no matter what your mood, you can find something to read. I highly recommend this anthology!


 

The Scout: Dark Crossings

by D.L. Cross

Having read and loved “The Gate” by Ms. Cross, I was excited to see a sci-fi short story based on that world. Sent out to scout the aliens, J finds them. His character had so much depth that I felt his discomfort of being alone when J was used to functioning in a group.  J’s commitment to his duty and what he found was fascinating and complicated. This well-written quick read can be a stand-alone. I highly recommend it!


 

ThunderTree

by S Cox

This is the second western romance I’ve read by Ms. Cox. I loved “SilverHills” and had high expectations for this story. I was not disappointed and found it hard to put down.  Ben avoided all attachments except for his eagle. But on his way to Mexico, he rescues Kate and ends up at her family’s ranch as a hand. He only agrees to stay a month but starts to find himself caring about this family and the ranch. The characters had my heart immediately. Kate’s strength and Ben’s honesty was a good blend, and I started rooting for them right away. Kate’s Uncle John T was a man of principles that ran his ranch and house fairly, while Kate’s friendship with Sarah was endearing. I appreciated Ben and his eagle’s connection. There was plenty of action with cattle rustlers and Kate’s friend was in a bad situation. The descriptions were stunning and put me right on this Texas ranch. I highly recommend this if you love a good western romance!


 

The Kurdish Connection

by Randall Krzak

I don’t usually pick middle-east military stories, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. What I found was a very detailed history of the Kurds that included Turkey, Syria, and Iraqi. Many POVs gave a complete picture of all the sides, which I appreciated, but it was a lot to keep track of, too. Getting into the heads of the Kurds in the characters Ismet, Dersim, and Hawre to see their side of things was fascinating and what I liked best in the story. When the Kurds found the twenty-year-old chemical weapons and their decision what to do next made sense–from their perspective and history. Then a secret special operative team was sent into three countries to find these weapons before they were used. I was happy with the conclusion of the book. It was an interesting and sometimes eye-opening read, that gave a lot of information to the reader.


Embrace your inner child by reading a great story this summer! D. L. Finn

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More July Book Reviews @WordDreams @rhanidchae @rijanjks @WendyJayneScott @BetteAStevens @bakeandwrite

I was going to wait and post these as August Book Reviews, but there are so many I thought it might be better to post now. I will do an August Book Review in a couple of weeks.  Several of these reviews are for short stories, along with historical fiction, poetry, and prehistory fiction. All suited for summertime reading.

As usual, I only post 4-5 stars reviews of indie books I’ve read.

 

 

While the Bombs Fell

by Robbie CheadleElsie Hancy Eaton

“While the Bombs Fell” is told through the eyes of a young girl in England during WWII. From food rations to bombs falling, it was a fascinating look into war from a child’s eyes. It was written much like a journal or someone retelling their memories—which it was. I was drawn into what it would be like to live through this period via Elise’s descriptions. Between supplementing their food with a garden, going into the bomb shelter during raids, or the children finding ways to entertain themselves, I felt like I understood what she went through. I loved the addition of recipes at the end. This is a great peek into what it was like to survive in wartime, especially for children.


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 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!


Survival of the Fittest (the Crossroads Trilogy Book 1) 
by Jacqui Murray

I’ve never read a novel set 850,000 years ago. The details and obvious research were amazing, as was the story. Xhosa is a strong female in times when males rule the tribes. I loved her character and how she looked at the world through her senses, instinct, and duty. It repulsed me when they ate their kill without cooking it, but I had to remember they didn’t have control of fire yet. Ms. Murray takes the reader deep into that period, where I could easily imagine how it might have been living then. I was rooting for Xhosa and her tribe as they tried to survive other tribe’s attacks and nature. I loved the relationships that developed as they met up with others fleeing the same situation. I’m completely hooked on this moment in history and storyline. I will definitely read the rest of this series and highly recommend it.


Slimmer: A Contemporary Romance

by Wendy Jayne

I could relate to the main character, Pippa, trying to lose weight for an upcoming event. Determined to fit into a smaller dress, Pippa wanted to impress the man she had a crush on since she was a teenager. Her struggle and attempts were amusing. Satisfied with the outcome and Pippa’s conclusions,  I appreciated this short story!


A Soldier’s Children

by Jan Sikes

I loved this short story about two young girls abandoned by their mother while their father was away at war and declared MIA.  Jennifer, at fourteen years old, takes over the care of herself and her younger sister. This was so well-written I was feeling a lot of emotions reading it including anger at the mother to cheering Jennifer on. All the small details brought it to life for me. If you love heart-warming stories, this is a must read!


Jewel

by Jan Sikes

Jewel, her sister, and mother lived in poverty. Her mother became sick and couldn’t take care of her girls. The mother found new situations for them both to give them a better chance of a better life. Jewel took everything in stride thrown at her. This short story had a fairy tale quality to it with an adult subject. I enjoyed the theme of a young girl who came from nothing and found her place in the world.


 

Visitors: Short Story Mystery

by WJ Scott

Two brothers are sent to live with Aunt Sally because their mother is sick. I loved how Brodie took care of his little brother Tom on the journey there with their aunt. When they arrive, the town appears to be hiding something which made me very curious. The place felt so real and strange at the same time.  I enjoyed the boys trying to find the secret with the aide of their aunt’s dog. The reason surprised me and made this an exciting and highly recommended short read!

 


Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide

by Jan Sikes

Two friends are drinking away Claire’s pain. All in good fun, Claire and Jade make a Voodoo doll resembling the husband who just left Claire for another woman. Ms. Sikes wrote this in a fashion that felt authentic to me. There was a woman betrayed and heartbroken with a friend trying to cheer her up. I could easily imagine sitting with these two women, making a doll to work through all the bad feelings with an unexpected outcome. This short story was a quick read, but a complete story that I thoroughly enjoyed—and highly recommend!


Megamax

by Rhani D’Chae

This short story takes us to a future I hope doesn’t happen but feels very real. Prisoner Maxwell Drake is a part of the fighting ring in the Seattle prison. The fights are brutal, bloody, and controlled by the warden for profit. It immediately drew me into the story, including the predicament of being forced to do something Maxwell didn’t want to and the consequences of refusing. I want to know more about this world and Maxwell and can’t wait for the novel! I recommend this story that takes the reader into an action-filled glimpse of what could be.


 

UPDATES

There will be no blog post next Sunday. August 4th. There’s a family wedding and my son is coming down for a visit. (Plus, I have my weekly older grandkid stay, and it’s fair time, too). So, I will enjoy these happy celebrations and devote my full focus to family and fun. I will be back August 11th or the last weekend of summer before school starts here. Whew!

Embrace your inner child this summer by reading a great story! D. L. Finn

Featured

Fifty years ago…one small step

 

Fifty years ago a young girl watched with fascination, on the state of the art 19 inch TV, when a man walked on the moon. She thought it was a fantastic birthday present. She still believes that years later:) Here’s a poem from “No Fairy Tale” honoring that day when man imprinted his presences on that glowing globe and a young girl’s imagination soared.

MOONWALK: JULY 20, 1969

The night loved me.

It was mutual.

The stars,

The quiet,

The crickets,

The moon—especially the moon.

Hours passed

In perfect silence,

Eyes staring

As the huge

Parental face

Stared back,

Its familiar glow

So far away.

All things were possible,

And just as impossible.

So, no surprise on my seventh birthday

When I watched and heard,

“That’s one small step for man,

One giant leap for mankind.”

The astronaut Neil Armstrong,

The spaceship Eagle,

The Sea of Tranquility

Were my gift.

I’m positive

That gentle, glowing face,

Swelling each month

So I can see its full magnificence,

Hasn’t forgotten me

Or the day

When man first encroached

On the moon and our innocence.

The moon still watches me,

And sometimes

I remember to look.


Embrace your inner child by moon gazing this summer! D.L. Finn

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Loss and Gain

There had been a lot of loss in the past couple of months. We lost a dog, two cats, an uncle, and two of my husband’s friends passed. This group loss has happened before. Over thirty years ago, I lost two grandmothers three days apart, my father-in-law had a major heart attack, my grandmother in law passed, and our house robbed–all within a few weeks. Back then, I was seven months pregnant and had something to hold on to. This time I didn’t.

Each day anxiety crept in as the fear of what life might take next. Sleepless nights added to that fearful fuel. I went through the motions numbly each day. Yet there was something deep inside that walked each painful step with me. This spiritual strength kept me going. It reminded me it was just a time or period in my life, but not my life. Good times were ahead. Life had given me that lesson more than once, even when I ignored that knowledge. This quiet wisdom has always been there.

Instead of closing my heart for future pain, I opened it up again, slowly. Then I was finally ready. It was time to add to our family again. A small black kitten named Luna won my heart over and her purrs soothed my soul.

I know our time on earth is limited, especially with our loved ones—human or furry. But the good outweighs the agony their leaving us causes. Some periods of pain cannot take away all that love.

It may take a moment to get there, but it patiently waits for all of us. Love shares the beauty once again, held up by those memories in our past, present, and what is to come.

Poems from “Just Her Poetry”

LOSS AND GAIN

My losses and gains over the years have been extreme.

Sometimes I ride high thinking nothing would touch me,

All was right in my world and I was invincible.

Later, a heavy loss would wipe that all away.

I thought I’d linger in the immensity of that loss for eternity

Thinking nothing would change…it would, though.

Gains would change the gloom.

I would grasp at the good times with my entire being.

Each moment fully lived not worrying what was to come.

Unfortunately, it always came when I least expected it.

In ways I couldn’t imagine on a bright sunny day came a storm.

Sometimes the storm would pass immediately or sit upon me.

I would have no shelter as the rains pelt down.

At times I was left battered and bruised in my time of loss

Darkness would set in, heaviness weighed me down.

Yet, each moment I drew a new breath and my heart kept beating.

That small moment told me I wasn’t done. I was still here.

No matter—how grim things looked.

No matter—I had any answers.

No matter—I was breathing and waiting.

Soon the clouds began to part, rain stopped, and the sun appeared.

An unexpected gift finally found its way to me and I gladly accepted.

Not worried about the next storm…maybe I should have been.

Maybe I should have prepared, but for right now I enjoyed my gain.

I gladly embraced my good fortune until the next loss—I live in my gain.

 

THE JOURNEY

The tiny brown and white bird clung to the cedar’s bark

The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.

Then, the bird slowly began its journey by climbing upward.

A few feet up the tree, it was knocked back down to the ground

It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.

Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell

The tiny bird carefully passed that point without stopping

It moved higher, toward the promised shelter from the pounding chaos.

Wings open, it faltered a few times, but hung on…

It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.

Tucked underneath, the little bird found limited shelter

But it wisely did not linger there as it continued the climb…

Finally, the brave bird is immersed into the green branches

Now it is safely nestled in the cedar, as the storm rages around it.

Gone from my sight now I contemplate its journey.

When the bird was knocked down it got up and tried again

It passed the point where it had been impeded

There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.

Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.

It didn’t accept the first offer of partial protection,

Instead it kept climbing until it reached its goal…

Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.

And, having watched this journey—I was just a bit wiser for it

Because I knew whatever life threw at me, I needed to pick myself up

And keep climbing, no matter what the odds, until I reached the top

Exactly like the wise and brave bird did on its journey in the storm.


UPDATES:

Watch for July’s Monthly Newsletter later this week.

I will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon with a blog and poem, but a day late. It falls on my birthday and I plan to be sitting on a beach gazing at the Pacific Ocean or the Yuba River:)

Always embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn

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July Book Reviews! @gmplano @Sandra_Cox

 

Silverhills

by Sandra Cox

When Brandon hired a new trail hand to help herd the Longhorns to market, no one knew it was a woman. I loved the characters and relationships. They were well developed and progressed at a natural rate. The fatherly role of Cookie, Brandon, and Alexandria/Alex or the friendships Alex developed were my favorites. The mystery of why Alex was in this situation kept me intrigued, and there were a few twists I didn’t expect because of that. The setting was detailed and beautifully described. I could imagine being back on the Chisholm Trail or Brandon’s ranch in Texas. My love of animals appreciated Alex’s devotion to her horse, dog, and cattle. I adored this romantic western adventure and highly recommend it!


The Choice: the unexpected heroes

by Gwen M. Plano, Harmony Kent  (Editor)

I loved the first book, “The Contract” and was eagerly awaiting “The Choice.” The story continued where the first book left off with action, conspiracy, and romance weaved in just as skillfully. The characters are believable, and I found myself rooting for budding relationships. The theme of love winning over everything and personal sacrifice for the good of many balanced out the fear of greed and power. The details of life on a base added layers to the story, not only increased my knowledge but an appreciation of the research. Although it unnerved me how this plot could become a reality in the current political situation, it left me with hope, too. I recommend this well-written book but start with “The Contract” first, so you don’t miss out on anything! I look forward to the third installment.


UPDATES:

I hope you’ve been enjoying the RWISA tour as much as I have. I will post more this week and a very special edition blog from Sandra Cox, too.

I spent June reading, but not books I review. I consider it a break from reviewing when I don’t read Indie Authors, but I do rate the books. Here’s what I read: The Night Window (Jan Hawk #5) by Dean Koontz, The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind, and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. All enjoyable reads and got four-stars from me for various reasons.

I will be out of town for a funeral at the end of this week. I’ll be checking in here on social media, but not as often as I normally do.

If I disappear for a few days it might be because our power company has promised to shut down the power “Public Safety Shutoff” if high winds kick up this summer. The prediction is outages could go on for up to five days at a time to prevent more fires. We have a generator, and I might get back online. I couldn’t last time we had an outage. See how this goes and pray we don’t have fires like last year.

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

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Brothers

where the rivers meet

Back when you pulled in the TV show “The Brady Bunch” with an antenna, everything was groovy, and people drove orange love bugs, I sat around the dinner table with my extended family. We would eat fried fish caught in the lake earlier in the day, the vegetables from my great grandfather’s garden, and there was always a freshly baked dessert. At my great grandparent’s cabin family was always welcome. There would be times when both of my great uncles would be there. I always loved when they visited because it meant an evening that would begin with jokes and laughter, as we passed the food around the table. It also meant that the two brothers would end up in a lively decision.

One brother wore bell-bottom jeans, a peace sign necklace, had long hair and a beard, while the other one sported a golf shirt, dress pants and had neatly trimmed hair. They couldn’t have been more opposite. The conversation always turned to politics, an area the brothers never agreed on. It would grow rather heated, as each brother stood their ground. Both are asking for proof—neither giving in to the other side. But as quickly as these loud debates began, they ended just as fast with a shake of the head or shrug. Soon the dishes were cleared, and everyone would settle down to play a game of cards together. The moment forgot—differences put aside.

How were these brothers able to disagree on so many things and remain best friends? To most, it must have seemed an odd match, but it worked for them. They did everything together, including work. One conservative running the family business, while the other one free-spirited—adding to the creative side of the company. Outside of work they were together for the holidays, sporting and charity events.  They based their bond on more than just mere ideas. They had family, memories, love, and they balanced each other out in a perfect blend.

When I first posted this blog in 2016, it was in honor of losing one of these great uncles at 92 years old. His brother grieved this loss in only a way he could. This week, we sadly lost this uncle at 94 years old. Although they are both gone from our world, I am comforted that they are together now.

What is left behind now is the memory of the love these two brothers shared. They were an example of how disagreement could be settled and moved past. They weren’t afraid of each other. They didn’t turn their backs when they didn’t agree. They knew both of what they offered was necessary. It wasn’t just one way or the other—it was both.

When I see all the disagreements between family and friends, I remember those nights long ago watching two opposite brothers put their differences aside. I saw that we didn’t always have to agree and we are in this together. That was a valuable lesson I took away from my childhood and carry within me now. I wanted to honor the example of love, hope, and wisdom. I will forever be grateful for being a part of that table with them so many years ago.


Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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Books That Changed Me–2019 Summer Edition @Lizzie_Chantree @stacitroilo @StephenGeez @woodheat

IMG_2266

Time for BBQs, swimming, ice cream, and stargazing. I will spend more time with my older grandchildren this summer, so I get to embrace that inner summer child! When we aren’t swimming at the lake or river, we will find some time to enjoy a few good summer books.
I usually comment on each selection but realized I was just repeating what my review had said. These books are all amazing for different reasons. I highly recommend them all and hope some make it on your TBR list this summer!


 

ninja mum pic

Ninja School Mum 

by Lizzie Chantree

“Ninja School Mum” is about a widowed mother named Skye who has been on the run for years to keep her son safe from her past. As an ex-spy, she needed to keep her former life to herself. She ends up living in a quaint small town in an isolated cottage with her son. I found it interesting to learn her history and why she stayed separate from others yet making sure her son developed friendships. The relationships between adults and children were well-done, including Skye’s new friendship with Thea and her unexpected love interest, Zack. It seemed like she might have finally found a place for her son to grow up. What I expected to happen in this story and what did, were completely different when a twist offered a new insight. I love when a story surprises me, and this one did. If you enjoy a romance with humor, action, a strong female character, and surprises–you’ll love this book!


TheGate-2-bluegreen

The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1)

by D.L. Cross

I’ve been looking forward to this release and was impressed from the first page. “The Gate” is the beginning of the Astral Conspiracy Series, and I found it was like reading a movie it was so vivid. The characters felt very real including my favorite, Landon Thorne. He had theories others made fun of until they realized he was right. I connected with him staying true to himself and not allowing others to force change. With so much action and urgency in the story, it was hard to put down. I found myself saying more than once: “They don’t have time for this!” There was plenty of history and research mixed into the story that added another level of intrigue. Ancient Alien Theories fascinate me, so I was thrilled to find an exciting story with that woven into it. I highly recommend this well-written book, especially if you love aliens, the what-if scenario, action, history, theories, and characters you can grow to love–and hate!

 


what sara saw pic

What Sara Saw

by Stephen Geez

A simple trip to an art gallery and a pen drawing changes the lives of Geoffrey and Phrekka. A friendship ensues over a picture of a young boy. Then an amazing journey begins to find the artist, Sara. What these two people discover is more than just an artist, it is also a journey of finding themselves, too. I loved the inner dialog and insecurities that made both characters incredibly real to me. The story was tender and painful as it unfolded. I was utterly taken in by the complicated relationships and spellbound as each detail was revealed. It is a unique story of love with some cruel realities of life thrown in. Beautifully written, this is a story I will remember.


grime reaper

There is a Reaper

By Michael Lynes

“There is a Reaper” isn’t an easy read, but it is an amazing read. The reader is introduced to the Lynes family, and young Christopher. I was drawn into their world, and then continued on the journey of Christopher’s illness. The interaction of the family was their strength, but it was the wisdom and spirit of Christopher that will continue to linger in my heart. I felt a deep sadness reading about Christopher’s battle with a rare form of Leukemia. Yet, I was inspired by the faith that carried the family through this experience. In addition, this was skillfully written and had poetic descriptions mixed in. “There is a Reaper” is a reminder of what family and love are capable of.  I highly recommend this inspiring book for anyone who has experienced tragedy– or hasn’t.


Happy Summer! Embrace your inner child by reading a fantastic story this summer! D.L. Finn

 

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“Red Eyes in the Darkness: A Short Story” Cover Reveal and Pre-Order

For the second annual #RRBC 90-Day Alpha / Omega (Beginning to End) ‘Short Story’ Writing Contest I put aside my book, “This Last Chance” and worked on a story for the contest. It’s available for pre-order now with a release date of June 27th!

Here’s the cover:

Copy of Red Eyes in the Darkness.jpg

Blurb:
What happens when you’re living the good life after retirement and your world suddenly turns upside down? Will and Cass Henderson learn the truth after a family member is murdered, but no one believes them because they’re the prime suspects. The Hendersons have a red-eyed killer in the family, and they’re next on its kill list.

AMAZON PRE-ORDER

 


UPDATES:
1.  “Books that Changed Me: Summer Edition” will be a special blog post on June 21st. Happy Summer Reading:)
2. The Monthly Newsletter will go out late this month on June 24th so I can be available to respond promptly. Watch for it if you are subscribed! There will be an excerpt from “Red Eyes in the Darkness.”
3. I mentioned in last week’s blog that I’m on vacation again so my responses will be slow.  You won’t see me on social media much either–family time!
4. There will be no blog on June 23rd. The weekly blog will be back on June 30th.
5. I turned the comments off this week. They will be back next time!
Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful father’s out there, including furry baby dads!
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book this summer! D. L. Finn
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When Life Brings You Magic

danielle and turtle

Sometimes life gets overwhelming. It can become stressful, anxiety-ridden, or everything catches up to you. A vacation from it seems to be what is needed. That is what my week in Hawaii was. A time to reset, regroup, and renew. Right after losing our dog, Hermie suddenly, we lost our youngest cat, Alice, or the Huntress. During a storm at night when I went to go to my car, she ran between my legs and shot outside into the rain. I thought she’d be right back because she hated the rain, but that didn’t happen. Weeks have gone by, and I’m not hopeful. Living in the forest has its downsides. This is one of those and why I want our cats in at night.

Our oldest cat, Thunder, during the same period, had what I thought was an eye infection. So I took her to the vet. It turned out to be a mass in her head. We kept her as comfortable as long as we could. We had to let her go a few days ago, which is always hard to do. To add to the loss of our fur babies, a good friend of my husband unexpectedly passed away during his vacation, and my uncle was put under the care of hospice with the diagnosis “anytime.” This all blended in with other challenges in my life and those unprocessed events resurfacing from the recent past until I felt like climbing into bed, pulling the covers high over my head, and staying there.

our fur babies gone

 

Instead, I packed my suitcase to leave and got on the plane to Kauai. I forced myself to settle into the Aloha Spirit with my husband, youngest daughter, and son-in-law.

Here’s where the magic I needed happened. Showing my daughter and husband the island for their first time reminded me of the beauty of nature and life. On one of those days, we wanted to show them what’s under the water or snorkeling. We met our first attempt with less than clear waters, so we headed to another beach. While the boys sat on the sand sunning, my daughter and I were enjoying the colorful fish. I was happily snapping many photos when I saw something off to my left. I quickly turned and was greeted by a huge green sea turtle swimming between my daughter and me. I joyfully shouted into the salty waters. Daughter, mother, and sea turtle swam side by side for what could have been an eternity. At that moment, I found my inner peace, inner child, and my soul again.

The turtle and I made eye contact. I felt his wisdom in those calm dark eyes. Then, he nodded to me and swiftly took off, leaving us behind. My daughter and I surfaced in pure glee of the bond of that shared experience. That Honu left behind the gift to trust the flow, to breathe, come up for air, swim at my own pace and spend more time in nature. I realized no matter what happened or what I came home to; I’d carry the strength of that brief encounter. It helped me give the courage to let Thunder go this week. This was the gentle reminder that I needed to remember no matter how tough things get—there’s always magic around me.

 


UPDATE:

1. There will be a couple of special edition blogs.

2. Next week’s blog will debut short story “Red Eyes in the Darkness” blurb and cover, along with a link for preorder.

3. I will be on vacation starting June 15th, to attend my son’s graduation from college, so responses from me will be slow. I’ll be quiet on social media again, too.

Embrace your inner child with the magic that surrounds us! D.L. Finn

 

 

 

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June Book Reviews @Sandra_Cox @MAAdlerWrites @stacitroilo @pursoot @GuyWorthey @Dwallacepeach @bernardfoong

 

Soul Swallowers  (The Shattered Sea #1)

by D. Wallace Peach

“Soul Swallowers” follows Raze Anvrell who turns his back on his family and title after his commoner wife was murdered. He finds some peace working alongside a man who befriends him. But around Raze is political plotting, arranged marriages, slave trading, religious beliefs, and a witch. While I was captivated with Raze’s journey, I loved both Bel and Nellea’s stories. I connected with them both immediately and was rooting for their outcome. A unique aspect of this story was the swallowing of a soul stone or bringing a deceased person’s soul into your body. Having another person’s urges come out, such as fighting skills, empathy or cruelty, and blending that with their personality was fascinating. This is a well-written fantasy that’s infused with poetic descriptions, believable characters, and plenty of action. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series!


Ace Carroway and the Great War (The Adventures of Ace Carroway #1)

by Guy Worthey

Cecilia “Ace” Carroway is a 16-year-old pilot during World War One.  Her story starts quickly with a thrilling air-battle, but Ace ends up a prisoner when her plane is shot down. That minor detail doesn’t seem to bother Ace, which is why I came to appreciate this character’s spunk. Ace is not only likable but way ahead of her male counterparts. Leadership seems natural to Ace and her much older POWs put their trust in her. This is an exciting read full of vivid details and humor meant for young adults, but I equally enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series!

 


Whatever It Takes

By S. Burke

“Whatever it Takes” has mystery, romance, death, Hollywood, and a cruel serial killer, which, when all put together creates an engaging read! Andi needs a change and leaves her police career in New York to work in LA for the actor, James Kincaid to investigate the death of his wife. I immediately saw a connection between them and loved it. Their working relationship felt very natural, and I enjoyed the obvious attraction they had for each other, even though they didn’t act on it.  Andi’s relationships with James’ driver, personal assistant, and accountant, with their stories, brought an extra depth–along with mystery and darkness. Andi’s search uncovered so much more than an accident. It was great being able to see the evidence unfold and guide Andi down an unexpected path, surprisingly connecting LA and New York. This insight of being thrust into the life of the rich and famous met with the grit of a New York cop was the perfect fit.  Ms. Burke is skilled in getting into the heads of her characters and pulling readers quickly into their world. This is a well-written exciting, suspenseful thriller that will keep you up reading late into the night. I highly recommend it.


The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1)

by D.L. Cross

I’ve been looking forward to this release and was impressed from the first page. “The Gate” is the beginning of the Astral Conspiracy Series, and I found it was like reading a movie it was so vivid. The characters felt very real including my favorite, Landon Thorne. He had theories others made fun of until they realized he was right. I connected with him staying true to himself and not allowing others to force change. With so much action and urgency in the story, it was hard to put down. I found myself saying more than once: “They don’t have time for this!” There was plenty of history and research mixed into the story that added another level of intrigue. Ancient Alien Theories fascinate me, so I was thrilled to find an exciting story with that woven into it. I highly recommend this well-written book, especially if you love aliens, the what-if scenario, action, history, theories, and characters you can grow to love–and hate!


Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery (Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2)

by Mary Adler

This is the second novel in the Oliver Wright Series set during World War ll in the Bay Area. I loved the first book, but I think I was drawn even deeper into this story. It’s 1944 and Oliver is tasked to protect a Polish speaker, Sophia. I liked the interaction between these two characters even though Sophia didn’t want Oliver as a bodyguard. As in the first book, I loved the relationship between Oliver with his dog, Harley, who had served in the war, too.  Within that storyline is another narrative about a young girl trying to assist a friend’s dog Blue. I enjoyed seeing the world through Blue the dog’s perception and his devotion to the young girl helping him. This is not only a well-written story but well researched. I appreciated the attention to details and history that Ms. Adler infused into the story. What happened in Poland during the war is hard to accept and painfully real. It kept me awake late into the night thinking about human cruelty, apathy, and the brave heroes mixed in. “Shadowed by Death” can be read as a stand-alone or as a series. I highly recommend this book especially if you love mystery, suspense, action, history, and of course dogs.


Shardai (Cats of Catarau #1)

by Sandra Cox

Shardai is a regal cat that ended up in the afterlife. He desperately wanted to get back to his human. This is a beautiful story of his rebirth as a feral kitten and journey. I fell in love with Shardai and was completely pulled into his world through his new, and old eyes. There were some heartbreaking moments, humor, and bravery. I was rooting for this cat and his new family. It’s a well-written page-turner that didn’t let up. I admit this had me teary-eyed at the end. If you love cats, you’ll appreciate this heartwarming story that can be for children or adults! I look forward to reading the rest of this series


The Truth Will Set You Free

by Young

This is a short excerpt from “Debauchery” but complete with the insight of a young gay man trying to be kind to a girl who’s interested in him.  It was well-written, a quick read, and a great way to be introduced to this author.


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

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A Poem from a Mother’s Day Ride and some pictures

dirving

I had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday morning, I spent gardening. I planted the pumpkin, lettuce, kale, zucchini, and cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse. Then, I spent Saturday afternoon enjoying my middle granddaughter’s 4th “Spiderman” birthday party. Sunday morning included my oldest daughter and the rest of the grandkids, then my son called me for a nice long chat. I was spoiled with new blue-tipped eyelashes for my car, candles, a plant, and flowers. Later that day, my husband and I took a Harley ride with the youngest daughter and her husband.
I only wrote two poems on this ride to Lake Bullards, since I was too busy taking pictures and simply enjoying the moment. The day ended with the first BBQ of the year. I still haven’t gotten back to writing like I should, as the birthdays and events continue, but the memories being created are worth it.

 

 

Lake Bullard with my youngest daughter, Danielle, her husband, Paul, and my husband “Creator of the Magical Trail”. You’ve met Danielle here before on this blog. Today is her birthday! Happy Birthday, Danielle xo


Here is one of the poems I wrote:

HANDS

Hands of the oak trees

Reach down from the steep hills

For a quick high five as we pass

Welcoming us back to nature’s home

Under the blue skies lit by a glowing orb

The wind carries back my gratitude

And it disperses my love

To the shades of green lining the peaks

And the tall, round, and coned vegetation

That surround these generous trees

The beauty seems to go on into eternity

On our magical Mother’s Day ride

With the hands of oak trees greeting us.


My kids. The first picture is from last Christmas, and the second picture is from a Christmas a long, long time ago…

 

 

 


Watch for the Monthly Newsletter coming to your email on May 20th if you are subscribed.

I will be silent here and on social media from May 24th-June 1st because I’ll be on vacation. So no blog next week. I will try to check in, and post a picture or two. I’ll be back on June 2nd with June’s book reviews.

Embrace your inner child with the magic that surrounds you. D.L. Finn

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A New Spring Poem

yuba river

My husband and I went on our first motorcycle ride of the year. It was a beautiful day as the river roared with the melting snow, and all the new life surrounding us. Here’s the first poem I wrote that day as we rode through this beauty.

FIRST RIDE OF SPRING

Roaring through the lush emerald landscape

The granite walls are sprouting orange and violet

In their fleeting moment before summer.

The river’s blue whitens and crashes over rocks

Its thunder harmonizes with the engine’s rumble.

The blue skies bathe this scene in connection while….

Butterflies search

Birds build

Bees collect

And winds caress

Following this flamboyant flow of spring…

From the back of the Harley.



Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, including mom’s of furry babies! I’ll be taking the usual family hike and/or ride to magical places unknown.

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

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May Book Reviews @MichaelEging @stacitroilo @frstepnowski @FrostFyre

Frost Fyre: and Other Poems

by Flossie Benton Rogers

“Frost Fyre” is a poetry collection of mythology, whimsy, darkness, and love. There’s an abundance of imagery, which includes winter and the moon, that drew me in. There’s a Cinquain section towards the end which I enjoyed, but I loved the poems dedicated to the author’s husband layered with love and passion. I felt the stories within the poems which intrigued me. I’m eager to explore more of Ms. Rogers books.


Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey

by Forrest Stepnowski

“Journey to the Rainbow’s End” is a reflective, insightful, fictional-reality told through poems and short stories. The story felt like I’d found his personal journal because the writing was so intimate. I could relate and empathize to the pain, confusion, and hope that came through the words. As I read, I began to contemplate the exquisiteness of rainbows. It’s the blending of colors that make the rainbow so special. Mr. Stepnowski’s book shows his readers how beautiful every person is and needed to make the rainbow of humanity. This is a journey to acceptance that was not only heartbreaking, but inspiring and a beautiful voice that needs to be heard.


Tortured Soul (Medici Protectorate Book 4)

by Staci Troilo

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Medici Series. “Tortured Soul” is the finale, and I was sad to see it come to an end. This book’s focus was on the final Brother, Coz, and Notaro sister, Toni, and their connection. The relationship felt very real with their baggage, especially Toni’s self-image issues. Watching the couple navigate from what was expected of them, to what they felt was intriguing. I enjoyed Coz’s development as his unique power revealed itself. The history and Italian culture mixed in with the action and romance made it hard to put down. This is a well-written steamy romantic-adventure that I suggest you read from the beginning, to fully enjoy the outcome. I highly recommend this book and series. I look forward to more from this author.


Body Armor (Medici Protectorate Series, #3)

by Staci Troilo

The Medici Series continues with the focus on one of the brothers, Nico, and, Donni, a Notaro sister that the brothers are assigned to protect. I loved Nico’s inner struggle throughout the story especially when it came to Donni. Nico is the brother’s computer genius and more in his head than the others. The very question as to what was real or magic and his own will was intriguing. It was the perfect match for Donni and her willingness to go after what she wanted. The small details when the group ate or relaxed added another dimension to the story and wove the Italian culture throughout. This is a well-written exciting thriller and steamy romance. I’m heading off to read the final book and can’t wait to see how it all ends!


The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland

by Michael Eging and Steve Arnold

This is a historical fiction book based on the epic poem “The Song of Roland.” I read this poem in my literature class in college, so I knew the time frame and some of the history surrounding it, which helped me dive right in. Although I’m not a huge fan of war and battles, this story had my attention from the first chapter. It is well-written, and the attention to detail and history was outstanding. There’s plenty of power grabbing, gory battles, love, betrayal, murder, and honor. “The Silver Horn Echoes” is not my normal genre to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you love history, knights, war, political/religious intrigue, and bravery, you’ll enjoy this tale.

Watch for two special blog posts this week:)

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

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Furry Family

spring flowers

Our house has been blessed with many pets that include two dogs, five cats, and a goldfish. They’ve brought us joy, unconditional love, and were there when it felt like no one else was. They’ve been my muses and writing companions, too.

These pets have inspired poems and many photos. They are our furry family. We watch over them, and they watch over us. Our eldest animal our cat, Thunder, who’s in her 18th year, but doesn’t look a day over 12 years old, still lets the other cats know who’s the boss. Each animal has a unique personality and contributes to the household in its way. Alice, known as the Huntress, brought me a gift recently…a mouse. She was fully prepared to bring it inside when I let her know in a high shrill voice not to do that. That prompted her to drop it, and it ran off. So, another mouse saved that returned to the forest.

Our dogs, the black-lab mix and Shepard mix were what we call, youthfully middle-aged. Walks were always a challenge as their leashes tangled as they went in different directions, but they’d always alert us to bears or raccoons in that unique high-pitched bark. They always greeted us home or when we got out of bed and were our protectors.

There were some subtle signs of aging to these youthful middle-aged dogs with a bit of white, especially on our black lab, Hermie. But age never showed up in his actions. He was full of love, a gentleman and always had a lick ready for you. He was much like an endearing toddler whose one look would melt your heart even after he found his way into the trash or over the fence.

Hermie came to us from the grocery stores parking lot. He was that little black runt bouncing around while his brothers slept soundly. He protected us more than once on walks when an unleashed “pack” of dogs came at us, and never sick a day in his 11 years.

Right before Easter one of those unexpected moments happened when our lab collapsed. No warning.

My husband rushed Hermie to the closest 24-hour vet, an hour away. A phone call later, a decision was made to end his suffering. He had a cancerous mass by his heart and was in the end stages of congestive heart failure. He’d shown no signs of that until that end moment.

He was a treasured, and sometime rascal, member of our family. The emptiness we all feel are filled by his memories. Now we take that walk without him on the Magical Trail where he rests near, but we know that each day we shared with him, was a blessing.

 

Embrace your inner child with memories and blessings, D.L. Finn

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Perfection and a Poem

purple flower pic

PERFECTION

I had a vision as a little girl as to what life should be. It was only an idea in my mind of something I’d read or seen on TV. It wasn’t my reality, but my dream of perfection. I grew up with that idea surrounded by contradictions. Still, I felt I could make this vision appear.

As an adult, I worked on this idea. For a while, I thought I had obtained this perfection of what should be. Unfortunately, I found out this idea didn’t exist, while reality and lessons demanded my attention. I struggled with that and fought the very idea of it. What I came to realize was this was a battle I didn’t want to fight–or be a part of it.

I woke up to myself–my strengths and weaknesses. It was not a life where nothing bad happened, but good things happened along with the bad, too. As I continued on this journey, things continued to change. People grew and transformed. It wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t as bad as it first seemed, either. What I found was the sun always rose and set, the season’s changed, and most importantly, there was love to treasure. This endless journey shows up in my writing and poetry.

To celebrate National Poetry Month here’s a poem from “Just her Poetry.” This shows how brief and beautiful moments are:

PERFECTION
Vibrant…
Beautiful…
Inviting…
Its fragrance welcomes you
Making everything around it
Dull in comparison.
It’s a splendor of—
Yellow, red, purple, white,
Orange, green, and blue.
It illuminates the world.
Delicate, yet strong.
It’s bathed in the sun
It’s nourished in rain
It’s supported by the earth
Hummingbirds are drawn to it
The bees create from it
Humans capture images of it
It’s nature’s art—a limited edition.
Soon, the colors fade.
They wither on the branches.
They carelessly drop to the ground.
They become the balance that creates…more.
But this beauty’s only temporary.
It’s all there is and all it gives.
It is beauty, nourishment, and aroma.
The flower’s gone as quickly as it appeared
But never completely forgotten
In a fleeting moment of petaled-perfection.


Watch for the Monthly Newsletter this week!

Next week is Easter so there won’t be a blog, but I’ll be back the April 28th. Happy Easter to all who celebrate:)

There will still be special edition blogs to watch for!

Embrace your inner child by following your inner truth. D.L. Finn

 

 

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“Just Her Poetry” Reviews

roses pic

To close out this amazing month of celebrating the release of “Just Her Poetry” I wanted to share a couple of the first reviews. I also want to send out a huge thanks and hugs to all the fellow authors and poets who made this so successful!


This is a beautiful collection of poetry with vivid glimpses into the natural world and the many myriad nuances of emotion. The reader is even treated to “musings from the back of a Harley” as the author shares visions penned while riding with her husband on their bike. I was especially enthralled by the nature poetry which is broken into sections for Spring and Summer as well as Fall and Winter.

Sights, sounds and senses come alive in poems like A Day at the River, Thunk, Crisp, and Spring Gone. As a cat lover I also really enjoyed The Huntress which was rendered in such attention to detail it was equivalent to viewing a live-action video. The prose is beautiful and vivid. Some of my favorite lines include:
From Spring Day
The gentle tapping of the woodpecker
Reminding me of a blessing in Morse code.From Mist
It is a time of in-between.
Between the sun baking the earth
Or the forest being covered in ice.From The October Sun:
The October sun bleeds through the trees
Clotting up before it reaches me.

There are so many gems in this book, you’re certain to find your own favorites. So escape to a peaceful setting, and let this exquisite collection of poetry soothe your soul.–Mae Clair


 

5 Stars Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul by D.L. Finn is a full-length book of poetry with high literary quality. It is divided into two halves, one about the healing beauty of nature and one about relationships and emotional situations. Part One—Just Her Poetry—talks about the seasons of the year in the spectacular scenery around the author’s home and contains a short set of vignettes called “Musings from the Back of a Harley,” detailing the thrill of motorcycle rides around the countryside. Part Two—Seasons of a Soul—explores emotions like sadness, hope, and insecurity in the face of destruction from human behavior and natural forces. There is also an area of poetry inspired by or excerpted from D.L. Finn’s other books and some poems about the holiday season. 
I really enjoyed Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul. Rich in content and daily reality, the poems built on each other within each section to take up where the other poem left off. Much like writing chapters in a book of prose, D.L. Finn’s poetry is sophisticated storytelling. It grew in little images gradually to tell a complex story—a novel in verse. My favorite section was “Musings from the Back of a Harley,” a completely unique, distinct set of lyrics in which sharp edges of words brought the excitement of riding a motorcycle into verbal motion. Thought-provoking depth about the fragility of life appeared in other areas of the book, as in a series of poems (“Fire,” “We Wait,” “Wait,” and “Red Flag”) where fine writing brings the experience of living near forest fires into visceral, vivid clarity. Including some poems that connected into Finn’s other writings added more layers and was excellent for putting this book in context.–Sarah Scheele for Readers’ Favorite


IMPORTANT UPDATE: If you pre-ordered “Just Her Poetry” you should be able to find the update now available on Amazon under “Content and Devices.”. They assured me they’d send out emails to let you know, too. Thanks for your patience!


Now here’s the winner of the signed copy of “Just her Poetry”– Jan S, Congrats!

Thanks to all who made this such a memorial experience!


April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate it by reading some poetry. Happy National Poetry Month:)


Watch for a special edition blog this week!


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

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“Just Her Poetry” Blog Tour Day Six

flowers

To celebrate the release of “Just Her Poetry” here’s my portion of the tour!

Finn Facts:

  1. As a child, I loved reading “The Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney” at my great-grandma’s house. My three favorite stories were: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Dumbo. These books reside with me, now.
  2. I estimate there to be over 300 books in my house. I plan to count them…someday.

Blurb:

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

 


Excerpt from THE EMOTIONS: Darkness and Light

 

YOUR WORDS

You feel so powerful and in control.

A keyboard.

Your words.

No consequences.

You don’t see the pain.

Cruel talk.

Shoulders slumping.

Souls crushed.

You’re educating that person.

Never seen.

Haven’t met.

Tears flowing.

You are only spreading your truth.

Its reality.

Their pain.

No dilemma.

They took it wrong and are too sensitive.

Toughen up.

Buckle down.

Who cares.

Wait, you were only trying to be funny?

No laughter.

No smiles.

Only frowns.

What if someone said that to you?

Suffer hurt.

Experience pain.

Feel low.

It’s not effective, it’s cruel.

Keep writing.

Attack more.

Be alone.

It’s your choice to spread negativity over caring.

Give support.

Show love.

Be happy.

Amazon Purchase Link

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2019 “Books That Changed Me” Spring Edition @VashtiQV @Virgilante @BetteAStevens

spring pic

Happy Spring Equinox, when light and dark are balanced. It’s time for the birds, flowers, bears, and bees to return to the forest. While nature is providing spring’s splendor, I debated whether to bring “Books That Changed Me.” back to my blog.  Like my garden that springs forth life every year with growth, color and fragrance, so do the books I read. Many stories are still blooming in my mind with new ones planting seeds in my thoughts. I realized I had to share them with you.

“Books That Changed me” is here for another year celebrating the changing seasons, with the first three books of the year that left a lasting impression.


I really love how this author writes her characters. Her first book was great, but this one was amazing. Mixing in familiar Bible Stories only added to it. What really pulled me in was Dracul’s character. Taking someone coming from so much evil, and trying to do good, struck a chord in me. It was a sharp contrast between characters that came from so much good and ended up so evil. The first book had the same theme, but Dracul gave an insight that I really embraced. He represented to me the struggle we all feel, sometimes, to do the right thing even against all odds. I’m always a fan of the good vs. evil battle and this is the perfect balance of it.

Son of the Serpent by Vashti Q

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angel #2)

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

“Son of the Serpent” continues the Fantasy Angels Series with the son of Satan and Lilith, Dracul. I loved the first book and wasn’t disappointed in this story, in fact I think I enjoyed it even more. Familiar biblical people and events were interwoven into the story line perfectly. It’s told through two points of view: Dracul and Lilith.  I sympathized with Dracul and his quest to be good and helpful, while coming from evil. Self-centered Lilith relished being cruel and malicious, while originating from good. It was a good balance of both sides. Familiar characters from the first book made appearances which I appreciated. The descriptions were vivid and well-written adding to the reality of Dracul’s journey. I highly recommend this book. Although you could read this as a stand-alone, I wouldn’t. Go back and enjoy this dark tale from the beginning.


This is an author who really makes you care about his characters. So much that I wish I actually had my own Root Monsters. I wouldn’t ask them to break any laws, but I can imagine them living with me in the forest. I have a feeling no bear would tip over another garbage can again! I won’t ruin how they were created, but to make me believe in them, that takes a lot of writing skill. Every character is full of life in their own way. Plus, add in a ship, pirates, and a quest–this is a world I’m happy to explore. I can easily picture this story on the big screen.

lantern pic

Voyage of the Lanternfish

by C.S. Boyack

I’ve read other stories and books by this author and have always been impressed by them. When I saw Mr. Boyack had a new book with pirates and magic, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was not disappointed. It’s full of adventure, magic, excitement, friendship, love, family and the best part the root monsters. The Lanternfish is a ship I’d want to sail on and carries people I’d like to get to know. I loved the pirates, the monsters and their relationships, but the captain’s quest to save the woman he loved had me hooked. This is a world I’d like to visit where I could meet root monsters.  I highly recommend this high-seas fantasy.


I think of this story when I make my bone broth soup. I try to imagine the soup being all I had to feed my family. It’s nothing I’ve had to endure. Yet, this author was able to show her readers what sacrifice, selfishness, hunger, and strength were through the characters. How a family could be treated so badly when a kind word might have had a huge difference. A story that made me think of life outside of what I’m comfortably used to. It’s a glimpse into the past, and ourselves.

dog bone pic

DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction): A Boomer’s Journey 

by Bette Stevens

“Dog Bone Soup” is a story told through a boy’s eyes as he grows up in a desperately poor family in the 50’s with an abusive-alcoholic father. Shawn spends time surviving and taking care of his family’s needs, as well as finding time to enjoy life with his brother. I wondered what dog bone soup was and quickly found out it came from Shawn having to get dog bones at the butcher, so his family could eat. Ms. Stevens’ descriptions of the era really pulled me into the story. I loved the relationship between Shawn and his younger brother Willie and the creative ways they found to supply the family with food. It was sad how people treated them and the pride the family had–that ended up hurting them at times. Using an outhouse and having to bring water in each day when everyone else had indoor plumbing was made worse when the father made sure he had electricity for his TV. This was one of many examples of what four children had to endure from a selfish father and a mother struggling to care for her family. A beautifully written coming of age story that I can highly recommend!


The “Just Her Poetry” tour continues! I will post the links for each day.

If you are subscribed to my Newsletter. It is out today. Check your email.

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

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March Book Reviews @StephenGeez @ammanay @stacitroilo @BalroopShado

Let’s take a break from “Just Her Poetry” to talk about some great books I’ve read!

 

Timeless Echoes

by Balroop Singh

“Timeless Echoes” is a beautiful collection of free verse poetry. I loved the echo theme throughout the words that connected them. There were many subjects, but all came from the heart. I could relate as a mother and human being with the poem, “Shrieking Echoes.” It tugged on my soul. Ms. Singh’s use of nature provided solid images to guide me through the feelings. “Captive” reminded me that nothing is permanent, much like the snow–so are our emotions. “First Love” references books, and that brought an inner smile of a reader’s truth. Poetry finds a way to connect us, and this collection did that on many levels.  I recommend this heartfelt book of poems.


Mind Control (Medici Protectorate #2)

by Staci Troilo

This is the second book in the “Medici Protectorate” Series. It continues the story of the brothers whose job it is to protect the bloodline of the Medici family or the Notaro sisters. The focus in “Mind Control” is on Vinnie and Jo and the secrets they both have. Drawn to each other they let their fears get in the way, which only adds to their attraction. Their past keeps them from trusting and in Jo’s case makes her want to run away. I found myself rooting for them to get past themselves. With the enemy one step behind the group, Vinnie and Jo’s steamy romance takes over the story. There were some surprises I wasn’t expecting, which I always appreciate. I loved the Italian culture infused into the storyline along with the magic, family, relationships, betrayal and coming to terms with the past. I’m enjoying this series and can’t wait to read the next book. If you love a steamy romance, adventure, history, strong characters, and family, you’ll love this series, but start with book one and take the whole journey.


Unclean

By A. M. Manay

“Unclean” is the second installment of the “Hexborn Chronicles,” and the storyline continues where the first book left off. I’ve come to adore the new relationship between Shiloh and Silas. I was sad they were apart, thanks to greed, corruption, power and some bad decisions. This left Shiloh finding her inner leader as she takes care of the people falling sick. Then things go from bad to worse, and Shiloh develops new friendships. Her determination pulled me further into this intriguing story that’s filled with magic, royalty, family, loyalty, and deception. Shiloh gains more knowledge of not only herself but how to maneuver within a bleak situation.

This is a well-written, fast-paced adventure with enough twists, making it hard to put down. Shiloh is at the heart of this tale and has quickly become one of my favorite characters with her strength and sense of justice, even though she is one of the “unclean.”  Like I said about the first book, I’m captivated with the magical girl who has pink hair and eyes.   Although this can be a stand-alone, I’d start with “Hexborn.” You don’t want to miss any of this tale. I highly recommend this YA book for all ages.


What Sara Saw

by Stephen Geez

A simple trip to an art gallery and a pen drawing changes the lives of Geoffrey and Phrekka. A friendship ensues over a picture of a young boy. Then an amazing journey begins to find the artist, Sara. What these two people discover is more than just an artist, it is also a journey of finding themselves, too. I loved the inner dialog and insecurities that made both characters incredibly real to me. The story was tender and painful as it unfolded. I was utterly taken in by the complicated relationships and spellbound as each detail was revealed. It is a unique story of love with some cruel realities of life thrown in. Beautifully written, this is a story I will remember.


This will be a busy week:

  1. There will be a special edition blog for “Books That Changed Me” 2019 Spring Edition.
  2. Monthly Newsletter will make it to your email on the first day of spring.
  3. “Just Her Poetry” Tour starts Tuesday,  March 19-29. I will post a link here each day of the tour.
  4. “Just Her Poetry” release day on Amazon, March 22nd! March 31st everywhere else.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Week:)

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

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What is Poetry? “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul”

 

Just her Poetry Season of a Soul picture

What is poetry? Here’s the definition I found on dictionary.com.

poetry

[poh-i-tree]

noun

the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful,

imaginative, or elevated thoughts.

literary work in metrical form; verse.

prose with poetic qualities.

poetic qualities however manifested: the poetry of simple acts and things.

poetic spirit or feeling: The pianist played the prelude with poetry.

something suggestive of or likened to poetry: the pure poetry of a beautiful view on a clear day.”

 


Poetry’s origin isn’t clear. It’s believed to have been around for thousands of years in different forms. Over time it has grown and changed. Now, there are over 50 types of poetry, including Haikus, Lyrical, Dramatic, Cinquains, Epic/Ballads, Sonnets, Couplet, Narrative, Limerick, and Free Verse. For most of these, there’s structure, and rules including lines, stanza, metering (measuring), and rhyming (patterns).

I found my love of poetry when I enrolled in a poetry class in college. I tackled metering, rhyming, played with syllable emphasis, presentation, sound, images, and many other elements of poetry. Free verse became my favorite to work with. It gave me room to express myself fully. I didn’t have to worry about the rules that went along with more traditional poetry.

I still use some of the basic parts of poetry in my free verse. One of my favorites is alliteration or same first letter. Images can be brought forth through similes or metaphors. Sometimes rhyming takes over giving the poem flow, like a gentle creek. This type of writing has a strange side effect on me, though. For the rest of the day, I find myself rhyming everything. This also happens when I read Dr. Seuss books, but it doesn’t stop me from reading or writing it.

“Just Her Poetry” is the product of the last two years of my life, with the addition of fan favorites from “No Fairy Tale.” I love expressing this “Word Art-Form” through nature as in the first half of the book. Certain emotions needed to be expressed differently, which is why there is a second half. Many venting poems didn’t make the cut, but I did feel better after writing them.

In sharing my first poetry book, I hope you will take a moment to join me on the back of a Harley, the beach, the forest…or at my desk wondering about life.

JUST HER POETRY PRE-ORDER LINK

Just Her Poetry Cover

Note: The photo of the ocean was my first choice to be the book cover. No matter what we did with the title, it didn’t look right. So, we tried other pictures and the forest won. I still love the picture of the ocean, but I’m very happy with this cover.


Watch for a special edition blog this week!

Sorry I haven’t been around on social media. I’m recovering from a nasty virus. I’m getting there but have to pace myself.

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


Sources:

dictionary.com

https://blog.bookstellyouwhy.com/a-brief-history-of-poetry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_poetry

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An Interview with Nature. “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul”

Just Her Poetry Cover

For March, I’ll be focusing on poetry to celebrate the release of “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.” This will include a blog tour with some amazing hosts. Although, there will still be my Book Reviews, along with any special edition posts.

This week I’m interviewing Nature, who’s had a huge influence on my poetry and writing. She’s been particularly busy, so I feel lucky she was able to drop by for a quick visit.

 D.L.’s interview with Nature.

DL: I’m happy to be here with you today Nature.

N: Well, I’m happy to be here, but then I’m always here. You are usually inside your house.

DL: Yes, that’s where I live, but I love being outside with you.

N: You do look happier once you are with me.

DL: I am. Thank you. I love to write poetry under your grand trees or by the ocean.

N: I’ve observed that. You sit by yourself with that blue notepad. Sometimes your family is down the beach, or your wonderful kitties are by your side when you are home. I did have to wonder when I saw you on the back of the motorcycle, writing. I thought perhaps you weren’t well or needed help.

DL:  I didn’t think you noticed, but yes, I try to write in as many places as I can, including on the Harley with my husband. His back comes in handy as a table.

N: I see everything and wish more people would notice me. They would be so much healthier and peaceful.

DL: They would, I agree. Your four seasons are amazing, Nature. Do you have a favorite?

N: They are all wonderful in their own way, although some places don’t have all four of my seasons. If I had to choose…well, I won’t. It would be like picking a favorite child. Do you have a favorite child?

DL: No, I love them all equally and get why you won’t pick a season. Each one has their gift.

N: Exactly. You seem to enjoy all of my seasons. I’ve watched you snowshoe through the icy drifts in the winter, lay on your deck at night stargazing in the summer, hike through the fall colors and work in your garden or sit by the river in the spring. I’m glad you’ve included all the seasons in your current poetry book.

DL: It’s because you’ve inspired me no matter what season it is.

N: Thank you. I’m honored to be such a substantial part of your writing. I appreciate your pictures of me, too. I think you’ve captured the forest on this cover. The sun peeking through was a nice touch. I’m hoping that more people will think about me as they read your words. Then, they might start taking care of what I have to offer. In these modern times, they seem to prefer staring at their cell phones.

DL: I’m glad you like the cover. It’s my favorite one to date, but all I did was take the picture, you provided the rest. I’m with you; I hope people will put their phones down, venture outside and enjoy what you have to offer and take care of it, too. You help us connect to our souls.

N: Well your souls are what communicate to me. I’ve learned a lot from those interactions. Mostly all good.

DL: Some of it isn’t good?

N: No. Better not to talk about that while we are promoting your new poetry book. There are a few that…well…never mind.

DL: Understood. I’m thankful you were able to make time to visit with us today, Nature. I know I’ll be seeing you soon.

N: Anytime and yes, I will see you in a couple of hours when you walk the dogs. That always amuses me how you say you are walking them when they are dragging you.

DL: I can’t argue that.

N: No you can’t. I’d better get back to work. Bye.

 PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON


I have a favor to ask! My youngest daughter, Danielle who has been on my blog before, wrote a book and “Mom” has beta read it. I think this requires another set of eyes or two. So if anyone has “extra” time and could help with a read, I’d be forever grateful.  Email me at d.l.finn.author@gmail.com if you can help out. I know how busy everyone, too. I will be helping her publish hopefully this summer. Right now we are “discussing” the benefits of editing and joining clubs…

.disneyworld

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

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February Book Reviews! @BeemWeeks @Virgilante @riverrmann @MaeClair1

Strange Hwy

by Beem Weeks

“Strange Hwy” is another amazing collection of short stories by an author I’m already a fan of, Mr. Weeks. Each story has a unique flavor, but they all tugged a bit at my heart. Although I’m not going to choose which is my favorite because I enjoyed them all, I’m still thinking about Alzheimer, justice and a family reunited after finishing the book. This is a highly recommended read that is not only well-written but filled with beautiful descriptive passages and insight.


Voyage of the Lanternfish

by C.S. Boyack

I’ve read other stories and books by this author and have always been impressed by them. When I saw Mr. Boyack had a new book with pirates and magic, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was not disappointed. It’s full of adventure, magic, excitement, friendship, love, family and the best part the root monsters. The Lanternfish is a ship I’d want to sail on and carries people I’d like to get to know. I loved the pirates, the monsters and their relationships, but the captain’s quest to save the woman he loved had me hooked. This is a world I’d like to visit where I could meet root monsters.  I highly recommend this high-seas fantasy.


 

Into Summer: Dawn of a New Age (Four Seasons Series Book 4)

by Larry Landgraf

This is the fourth book in the Four-Seasons Series and conclusion of the grid collapse. Robbie and Ronnie nobly set out to bring a united government back to the people of southern Texas. Both leave behind women and family they love, while they meet with new people from other areas /towns. I love the idea of trying to bring everyone together, instead of working against each other. One of the brothers is forced to carry this quest on alone. This part was truly heartbreaking, but also courageous, too. Relationships are tested, new ones forged, and signs of civilization emerge. Although it was sad to say goodbye to the people of Pleasant Valley, I found this an engaging read that made me wonder what if all the comforts were removed from my life and what would that future look like? Mr. Landgraf offered a very realistic view of that future. I recommend this series for those who enjoy an end of world scenarios, romance, family, survival skills and human nature.


End of Day(Hode’s Hill #2)

by Mae Clair

Having read and loved “Cusp of Night” I’ve been waiting for the second book of the Hode Hill series. I enjoyed this book as much, if not more than the first one. The budding relationship between Jillian, a reclusive empath, and Dante, the wealthy artist who does seances, was the perfect fit. Several stories were going on and told from two different timelines. It was an ideal balance between now and then. Learning about Gabriel in 1799 and how it affects Jillian and the town now, made it hard to put the book down. As sweet as some of the relationships were, many parts were terrifying. Ms. Clair gave the reader a close-up look at human fear, greed, and cruelty. This beautifully-written paranormal thriller has it all including a powerful emerald, deadly church bells, murder, therapy dogs, grave robbing, monsters, relationships, love, and truth. I highly recommend this book and author!


LOTS OF NEWS (AND A REQUEST) THIS WEEK:

  1. I’m excited to announce that “Just Her Poetry” is available for pre-order on Amazon:   AMAZON LINK

  2. I’M LOOKING FOR A FEW BLOGS TO HELP HOST THE RELEASE OF  “JUST HER POETRY” FROM 3-19 to 3-29. Email me if you are interested and what date you’d like at: d.l.finn.author@gmail.com. As always much appreciated:)

  3. I talk more about the release in this month’s newsletter: Click here

  4. I’m pleased to share that The Button is a 2018 New Apple Annual Book Awards  ‘Official Selection‘ in the E-Book General Fiction Category!

  5. “The Button” is on tour  February 25 – March 6, 2019. Check it out if you get the    chance: Link to Current Events

     

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

 

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 4

In parts 1-3 I talked about what happened to get me writing and my journey until now. In part 4 I’m discussing the part of writing I don’t like.

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Marketing is what I dislike the most since becoming an indie author and my weakest skill. I have a hard time promoting myself. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worth it, but I was raised “not to blow my own horn.” Well, being self-published you DO have to blow your own horn there is no one else to do it for you. I have learned to promote myself by having book launches on my blog and other blogs. I now make sure I have beta readers, they help me with the little things I’ve missed.
I do enter book contests. I’ve been a finalist many times. I like to think that helps someone choosing whether to read one of my books or not. In the past I know it made a difference to me when buying a book. If my kids were looking at books to buy at the book fair, I’d point out award-winning ones first. I hope that still applies.

I know I need to get out there in public more. Attend the local book club I belong to and join in their events. I have not approached any local bookstores, book signings or done a speech. So this is something I will be working on next. Being an introvert makes this my biggest challenge. I live in a very art-oriented community, and I want to make sure I’m the very best I can be before I venture out locally.
Another part of writing that I’m not fond of is the quest to find a publisher.  Honestly, it isn’t cheap to be an indie author. To do it right you need a good editor. As I’ve said, I’ve unfortunately found out the difference between a good and bad one rather quickly. Formatting isn’t something I’m accomplished at, but I’ve found someone who does a wonderful job. Book covers aren’t my skill set either, but again I’m willing to work on all of those areas.

I have used my photography for all my short stories, and books: “The Button”,  “This Second Chance”, and “No Fairy Tale.” I also have an accomplished book cover designer that will help me at any stage of design. I really want to put more time into the visual part of writing for social media and my promotions. Then there are book videos. I have done a few but have a lot more to learn in that department, too.
All of those expensive tasks would be taken care of with a publisher, but then it would also be out of my control, too. I will see what this year brings. I may try submitting to a publisher again. It’s been 20 years since I have, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I know the marketing still falls mainly on the author and I’d be on a deadline which would only add more stress to my writing and personal life.
I’ve been very lucky through this process. It’s inspiring and educational to see how other indie authors handle not only marketing but all the parts of writing. So many are willing to share their stories and skills. Then there are those few “authors” to avoid who are only there to make money off of other authors. They may claim to be authors, but their books are just about making money writing or courses to take to learn. They are making money telling writers how to make money. There are those who prey on first time writers with offers too good to be true–they are. Then you are out a lot of money or even your ownership of your work. There’re contest scams and editor scams. I can, unfortunately, attest to that. Be careful who you use to edit for you. I honestly think some of these so-called editors use a program on your work and never read it. I found a couple of editors who not only read my work but have strong opinions to improve it. I love when I get that kind of feedback!

On to the final thing, once you get your book written, beta read, edited, copyrighted, Library of Congress number for prints, book cover, formatted and the blurb is written—it’s time to upload it. I went from Bookbaby to now Kindle Publishing, Smashwords and Ingramsparks to cover all the markets. I’ve learned to set up a pre-order and have blog tours, promote it in my monthly newsletter and across social media while running a book release contest to go along with that. I still have a lot more to learn in this department, but I’ve made good progress.

Four years ago, after tripping over my black cat on Friday the 13th, I had no idea what I was getting into hitting that “publish” button. In those four years, I’ve learned how important these things are: editing, formatting, book covers, blogging, newsletters, social media, learning, reading, and interacting. The bonus to all the hard work is the friends I’ve made along the way. I call them my writing family and I’m there for them as much as they are there for me. It’s a great place I’ve found myself in. I learn something new almost every day with the bonus of getting to do what I love and reading amazing books — all of this from being laid up with a broken foot.

What seemed like something bad, wasn’t. It opened a whole new life for me. And now I celebrate breaking my foot every year and remember how far I’ve come since I heard that bone snap…because it cracked open my new life as an author.

in hospital

(Recently I found this picture of me in the hospital, that my husband took of me four years ago on Valentine’s Day, with my wrapped broken foot.)

Watch for a special edition blog this Thursday.

The Monthly Newsletter will be coming to your email this week if you are subscribed. I will be making an announcement about “Just Her Poetry” and debuting the new cover and blurb.

I have to share with you that I went to do my once over the night before this blog posted. What I found was no text, no pictures–nothing but a title. Gulp. No idea what happened. Luckily I had an older version. Never happened before and glad I had checked it in Grammarly where the older version was. I attempted to bring it back to its former glory…(And it disappeared again. I hope its here tomorrow!)

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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 3

Part 1 & 2 covered tripping over a black cat on Friday the 13th to the aftermath. Here in Part 3, the changes continue for a person who has not been one to join clubs or read outside favorite genres.

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Part 3

I can’t talk about my writing experience without mentioning more about a book club I joined almost 3 years ago, #RRBC. I started out in the club with only the intention of reading and reviewing books, but I quickly learned to attend the club events. I got to know other members through these events and their books. I was reading at a pace I’ve never read before and genres I’d never attempted, all the while enjoying myself.

Last year I decided to take another uncharacteristic leap and became their Social Media Director. Here I help promote the club and its authors. It was a good fit for me. I’ve learned a lot there, too, like I can schedule Twitter posts for an entire month. I do that for myself and as Social Media Director, although I’m swamped with work at the beginning of the month. I deal with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest (which I am still figuring out). I begin each day and end each night with social media while reading as many blogs as I can and trying to focus on my family. I haven’t figured the perfect balance out for that and writing yet.

I also belong to the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Sierra Writers. But I haven’t participated much in either one of those other than to read the newsletters and pay the membership fees. I plan on changing that this year.

Besides clubs, one thing I found I enjoy doing is beta reading for other indie authors. Editing is not my strong suit, but something I’m always working on. Luckily  I can read, and I know when something seems off.  When a book I’ve beta read comes out, I can’t wait to re-read it and see it in its final form.

I have been reading a lot these past two years, thanks to #RRBC.  Last year I hit 77 books in the Goodreads Challenge most of them from club members. Some perfectly edited and written, some with mistakes but a good story and a few just poorly written and edited. I don’t waste my time now with the latter group. First, all this reading started out as a quest to join the 100 Club at #RRBC. It took me a while to get there, but I did. What I learned was that it wasn’t the getting there that was important, but all the books I got to read along the way that became my reward.

This year I’m attempting around the same amount of books just for the fun of it.

The genres I’ve always been a fan of are fantasy/paranormal, mystery, love stories, or horror. I had my favorite go-to best-selling authors in each genre. Now since joining #RRBC and becoming an indie author, I’m reading memoirs, science fiction, children’s books, poetry, and many other genres.

I strongly believe reading is part of the education for an author. I’m puzzled by writers who don’t read. They are the same people who ask you to read their books repeatedly, too. I tend to read books from authors that interact with me and of course, are amazing writers. These are the people who are the most supportive and usually have interesting blogs, too.

The side-effect of all this reading has been not only a long reading list, but I’m now a fan of many new authors. I don’t even bother with some of my old stand-by best selling authors anymore. All this reading has shown me what is good and what isn’t in a book. Besides a great story,  I appreciate a snappy dialog, showing over telling and those moments when I can pause and admire a brilliant poetically crafted line–there’s nothing better.

I no longer wonder who the readers that indie author are always looking for–it’s the other indie authors and some dedicated readers as well. #RRBC knows that and now so do I after taking a chance and doing things I never would have thought to do before breaking a bone. Strange how life finds ways to inspire and encourage.

Next week is the final part of this series.


Just a reminder: If I don’t respond or comment in a timely fashion it might be a weather-related power outage or phone lines down. We have a series of snowstorms coming at us this week and losing power or the internet can be a part of that. The worst has been a week-long power outage and the internet down for two weeks, but usually, it’s just a day or two. Although we do have a generator now so we have the luxury of water (on a well) and power to the fridge and microwave, I can’t complain (like I might have done when we were without for that period)! A nice side-effect of this is I enjoy candlelight reading.

There will be another special post later today.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Anniversary to my “breaking” into publishing!

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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 2

Last week I talked about the fall over a black cat on Friday the 13th that landed me contemplating publishing. Part 2 is the result of that moment.

Part 2

The “maybe” I should publish 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, whose idea this was, 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. I thought I was ready to go. Soon I’d be a published author.

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, what you see above is its second version. During this time I also copyrighted the story and got a Library of Congress number for the print. I decided to purchase my ISBNs, so I’d have full control of my work. Then all I could do is wait while watching 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 to Bookbaby. I was published. Within several days, I was holding an expensive printed copy of my first book. It was like Christmas morning when I was a child. I sent it out to reviewers and got a lot of great expensive feedbacks, for the most part. I started my blog and ran a giveaway. I built up a small base, had a couple of readers and made some wonderful friends along the way. I repeated the process with “An Unusual Island” while I was writing my first book in years, “Things on a Tree.”

Things were moving quickly, and I kept going. I soon decided it was time to part ways with Bookbaby and I took over the publishing part myself. I made a few changes to “Elizabeth’s War,” adding in a short story, an updated cover and put out the second edition. I removed my other two children’s books from Bookbaby and published them. Bookbaby did their job, but I wanted to do this for myself and not pay all those fees.

Then, I found a wonderful book club #RRBC that I joined. Here’s where I got the rest of my writer’s education (more on this in part 3). I had “An Unusual Island” and “Things on a Tree” re-edited from what I found was poor editing from two different companies. I was pleased with the results, but this editor was too busy to take on any new work.

In the meantime, I published “No Fairy Tale” my memoir/poetry book. The editing company I used for that may have caught all the errors, but the editor more suited to business writing over fiction. I later wondered if some of my personality might have been edited out in that process.

I decided it was time to find a constant editor. I thought I had one for my first adult fiction book, “This Second Chance.” Luckily in a pre-publication review, many errors were found and I changed the release date. I scrambled to find another editor because I had already started promoting my book. Luckily after a ton of research, I found one who could take me immediately! Within three weeks I had my work back. I had found an editor who understood my writing style and wasn’t shy to point out things to me. She made my first adult fiction book readable.

When it’s my story–I know the story. I’ve found I can’t edit my own work nor can some companies that claim to employ proficient editors. It was a hard and expensive lesson to learn as a writer to find good editors. Reviews can be very helpful when choosing an editor as well as other author’s experience and advice. I now look at resumes and many other things.

Also during this time frame, I decided to move my website from Wix to WordPress. This switch opened up how I communicated with other authors and my blog posts. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a writer is how vital it is to interact with other indie authors.

Although, I had no history with blogs before I published. I just knew I needed one from research. So I posted about my books or things I was thinking about. During my move, I gave some serious thought to what content I wanted on my new blog. I decided on book reviews, my opinions, my poetry, supporting other authors and sometimes promoting my books. Then the best part was finding other blogs to follow.  I’ve have become very attached to several authors now, but not in a stalker kind of way. There are several blogs that I do not miss a post.  I love stories, book reviews, advice, humor, and personal insight. It’s time-consuming but very worth it to me.

I rarely share my writing experiences because I feel like I’m still learning. But, when I was asked a question on Goodreads about writing I realized I do have experience now to share.

Next week will continue with Part 3.

Watch for another special blog post this week.


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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 1

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I’m coming up on the four-year anniversary of being a published indie author. In honor of that, I’m doing a four-part series about my writing journey.

Part 1

This writing anniversary always gets me reflecting on my journey. It’s not that I started writing four 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 made the decision to further educate myself. 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 found my love poetry and I began to work on more “adult” short stories, but then after I graduated all of 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. Writing wasn’t a priority.

Then an incident happened in 2015 that ended up being a great story. Four years ago on a cold winter’s night in February, on 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 across the 20 feet 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 on top of that. In my rush, I didn’t see him, and my foot caught underneath him. I tried to grab the dresser next to me to balance, but instead, 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 crack. I was face first on the cold floor with Coco still on top of the bear. It wasn’t that he was stubborn either, he completely trusted I wouldn’t hurt him, and I didn’t. My other cats I have accidentally stepped on, and they 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 for a moment 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 laying 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 decided to wait the night out and see how I was in the morning.

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 seemed to enjoy 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. (you can see why we’ve been married for 35 years) I was diagnosed with a high break on my left foot. It was wrapped 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 of my hands. I did some projects I had wanted to do like go through all my grandparents’ old slides. I watched hours of TV, including started watching Supernatural. Catching up the seasons filled the hours, but still, I couldn’t do that all day. So one day my daughter was visiting and suggested I publish my work myself on Amazon. I thought…maybe.

Next week continues with Part 2

Watch for a special edition blog this week:)


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

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More 2019 Book Reviews @Sandra_Cox @teagangeneviene @VashtiQV

Memoir of a Mad Woman 

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

“Memoir of a Mad Woman” is a short, but chilling read. You’re taken into the mind of a young girl, Emma, who had a very unstable upbringing. Emma ends up in an orphanage. This is where she’s finally pushed completely over the edge. It’s brutal and almost unthinkable what follows. The characters feel real, which makes it all the more terrifying in their cruelty. How Emma responds to what she considers a complete betrayal, you can’t help but to root for her and feel her pain. I thoroughly enjoyed this psychological thriller and felt like I understood her madness. I highly recommend this well-written dark short story.


Atonement in Bloom

by Teagan Geneviene

“Atonement in Bloom” is the second book in the Atonement series and begins where “Atonement, Tennessee” left off.  Ralda Lawton is settling into her new home, has friends and found supernatural beings, too. I loved the narrative going between Ralda and Lilith her cat. I appreciated seeing Atonement through the cat’s eyes. I’d like to think my cats are as observant as this calico. With Faes, glowing pigs, and failed magic mixed with mystery, a small town, a sudden appearing house, and a kidnapping–it was a hard story to put down.  The relationship between Ralda and Bethany is endearing. They retained their memories from the first book, while others didn’t. Then help came from an unexpected ally, which added a new dynamic to their relationship. I loved the Tea Room where Ralda and her friends met. I could picture myself having a cup of tea there easily.  This is an imaginative, fun read that I highly recommend, but I’d start with “Atonement, Tennessee” first if you haven’t read it, so you don’t miss anything.


Vampire Bay (Hunters #3)

By Sandra Cox

This is the third book in the Hunters Series and revisits Zoe and her Uncle Kilmer, after book two visits Zoe’s cousin, Jolene the “weres” hunter.  Zoe and her uncle go to a small town to hunt vampires. They stay in a house that used to belong to a vampire Zoe had killed and immediately have a run-in with “vamps”. I enjoyed the relationship between Zoe and her protective uncle, as well as her boyfriend Sam.  While Zoe appears to be a fashion-conscious teen, she’s also an intelligent hunter. I’ve loved all three of the books in this YA series and hope there are future books about Zoe. I recommend this for not only YA readers, but adults who enjoy a story through a teenager’s point of view.


Starting next week I will be posting a series of four blogs where I’ll be reflecting on my journey as an indie author, in honor of my four-year anniversary in February. I will not have any book reviews posted here until after, but I’ll be reading. Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying, “End of Day” by Mae Clair. Then I’m heading into the final installment of the Four Seasons Series “Into Summer” by Larry Landgraf with a long “Reading List” to follow! I have my list on Goodreads marked under currently reading. I’m very excited to work my way through that list–then add more.

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

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Leader

little tree

I decided to start this year off right by borrowing an idea from a fellow writer, Jan Sikes. I picked a word/theme for 2019; then several family members also chose a card from my cat tarot card deck. My husband got “clan/family/love”, my daughter “do what is right for you,” my son “use both your head and heart.” It fit them perfectly for the life path they are on. The card I chose had a strong message for me. It talked about being a leader/lead and trust. Note: As an introvert, this was not a welcome message.


Here’s the definition of Leader found in dictionary.com:

noun

a person or thing that leads.

A guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group.

Music.

A conductor or director, as of an orchestra, band, or chorus.

The player at the head of the first violins in an orchestra, the principal cornetist in a band, or the principal soprano in a chorus, to whom any incidental solos are usually assigned.


I’m not the leader type, but I will do what needs to be done. I raised kids, took care of relatives and if I saw something needed to be done, I did it.  But I’m not the person jumping in to lead a group, in the army or have aspirations to be in politics. I’m not in a band or a conductor either. So, why did I get this?

My first thought was Hero Girl in the holiday movie “Polar Express” that I had just watched with my grandkids a few weeks ago. Her message, in the end, was to lead. She made sure the shy boy in the back of the train got hot chocolate. Or she took charge when no one knew which way to go at the North Pole to find their way back to the group. It’s not that she always had the answers either, she questioned herself when pressed if she knew what lever to pull to the stop the train. But she decided to trust herself and was right. She was confident and kind. She didn’t follow others blindly. Still, how does a Christmas movie apply to me?

Well, I know I shouldn’t blindly follow others, especially those who want to lead society and people in a dark direction. As a writer that means to lead with my heart and do what I’m supposed to be doing, not to worry about what is selling, what others are doing, or how to make money off these people.

When I lead myself in the right direction, I might or might not be alone where I’m going. When I don’t engage in all the negativity that we are surrounded in our world, that bleeds into our homes, I become a role model to my family, friends, and society. To take care of myself not only leads me in a better direction while I learn from my mistakes. I guess that is where that card is trying to lead me to–an example to family, as an author and to myself. To do this as the person, I am. It’s easy to withdraw from the world and think none of that is my problem, but I believe that everyone is responsible for their actions, as am I. To accept responsibility for all your actions is what I consider Karma. To walk forward in whatever awaits is to lead, either just me or others it doesn’t matter.

I didn’t get the card I had hoped for this year. That one that would tell me to relax and play — not this time. It’s going to be a year to work and try a lot of new things. I’ll see where this all goes. There’s no resolutions for me, only acceptance of what is and what can be as I embrace leading on a journey of self-discovery.


Note: There will be a special edition blog Tuesday. Don’t miss it! I’ll have my January Newsletter out early this month, later this week. Check your email if you are subscribed.

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

 

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First Book Reviews of 2019 @MarethMBotha @Nicholas_Rossis @JacqBiggar @MaryLSchmidt

 

Trails and Trials: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

Trails and Trials is the fourth book in the Fauna Park Tales and so far, my favorite. It’s told through four different stories of animals and humans all headed in the same direction with three of the groups trying to save the orphans from book three. I loved the themes of: family, loyalty, bravery and hope. Crossing a desert is dangerous, but something all four groups set out to do despite the danger. The little details brought this part to life and I could easily imagine crossing the hot sand, with no water, under the blaring sun. This is intended for middle grade readers, but adults can enjoy it, too. I can’t wait for book five to come out to see where the story takes the reader next. All four Fauna Park Tales sit in my grandchildren’s bookcase and are highly recommended.


The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

This is the third book in the Fauna Park Tales and I enjoyed it as much as the first two. It’s still being told through Hope the owl, there’s the charming illustrations, and animals with their humans. I loved the setting and learning new information about the animals that lived there. The story-line showed how dangerous life can be in Molodi Valley, including theft and kidnapping. This was a one night read, that gave good examples of bravery and family. I’ll be reading the next book in the series to see how it all works out. Although this is a great story for middle grade readers, adults can enjoy it, too. I recommend this series but start it from the beginning, so you don’t miss out on anything.


Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings (Author Tools Book 1) 

by Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a book for authors who are looking for new ways to say the same old thing. I know I can get stuck on a word or phrase and this gives many samples to wake up my creative side. I’ll have “Emotional Beats” by me when I edit my next book. This will not only help me freshen up my dialog, but there are many examples throughout the book, that include body parts and emotions, that show instead of tell. I recommend this handy writing tool.


Mistletoe Inn 

by Jacquie Biggar

I’m a big fan of Hallmark Holiday movies and “Mistletoe Inn” is the same type of feel-good story that I enjoy. Molly finds a new job after a divorce and heads with her son Leo to help run Mistletoe Inn. The mother and son find themselves in a blizzard–and crash. They’re rescued by her partner Noah. There’s an immediate attraction between them, but a lot of baggage they are both carrying, too. I love the relationship between Molly and Noah, and the gentleness Noah shows her son, Leo. It’s easy to imagine the beautiful scenery through descriptions and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the guests and residents in Christmas. This is a sweet tale about second chances during the holiday season. If you’re a fan of charming holiday romances, this is a short-story you’ll want to read.


Shadow and Friends Spend Christmas in New York (Shadow Series Book 5)

by A. Raymond, S. Jackson

This is part of a series for children 4-11 about a squirrel named Stubby. He travels to New York to see his twin, Shorty, for Christmas who lives in Central Park. I loved the setting in New York during the holidays. The pictures were small on my Kindle, but charming. I think this would be a great book to add to my paperback collection for my grand-kids. That way I can read it to them, or maybe they can read it to me, and fully enjoy the artwork. I smiled seeing the squirrel at the top of the Empire State Building waving in his guests like King Kong. I liked that they shopped, skated, and went to Church. Then the group gathers for the special day after their Santa paid a visit. A cute story to read to the kids during the Holiday Season. I’ll be reading this to my grand-kids this year.


Embrace your inner child with a good book! Happy 2019! D.L. Finn

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Books That Changed Me: Winter Edition @startrailsIV @BeemWeeks @MaeClair1 @W_Angels_Wings

deck night snow

Winter has officially arrived here in Nevada City, CA bringing with it the shortest day of the year. I’m one of those crazy people who love the cold weather and snow. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Bay Area and only saw it snow properly in Lake Tahoe for the first time as a teen. I was fascinated trying to watch each beautiful snowflake make its way to the frozen ground. I quickly learned if I tried to do that, I’d get motion sickness. So, I enjoyed the entire show without singling out just a part of the beauty. Now I get to see it snow every season. Some years more than others, but it’s always a welcome moment when the rain changes over to snow. Sitting 1000 feet above town we are more likely to see snow at our house, but it is a spectacular sight after the little mining town of Nevada City is draped in snow. When the whiteness does take over our landscape you might find me out building a snow-person, snowshoeing or attempting to cross country ski. Later around the crackling fire it’s nice to cuddle up and read a book with a cup of hot tea or cocoa !

Here is my winter selection for “Books That Changed Me” that would be perfect reading during those cold winter nights–or days.


The humor, story line, the intricate details, aliens, robots, area 51 and a plant blended together into this incredible story. Thyron the plant became a favorite of mine in the story and beyond the story he’s one of my favorite all-time characters. This was not only fun, but made me wonder more about what really goes on underground in Area 51. Science fiction hasn’t been what I’d pick to read first in the past, but this book changed my mind about the genre.

area 51 pic

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51 (Star Trails Tetralogy)

By Marcha A Fox

I jumped right into the seventh book of the Star Trails Tetralogy series and hoped I wouldn’t be completely lost not having read the previous books—I wasn’t! What I found was an amazingly well-written science fiction story set in the 1970’s with my new favorite character: Thyron the highly intelligent plant. I was immediately drawn into the story with the spaceship ending up on earth while a plant was hiding from authorities. Soon, the ships passengers: a young human girl, a robot, and Thyron ended up “contained” in area 51. An astrobiologist Gabe, is called in to help with the plant-life. Gabe soon finds out his sensitivity, helps him communicate with Thyron. This was my favorite part of the book. It was insightful and humorous with the relationship between human and plant. There’s also a lot of depth and research that makes this a fascinating journey with aliens, humans, plants and robots. The ending fueled my imagination. I’ll be reading the rest of this series and hope to explore and learn more about Thyron and friends! I highly recommend this book!


I have always enjoyed historical fiction, blending two things I love: history and storytelling into one book. “Jazz Baby” really took me to roaring twenties in Mississippi down to the dialog.  The descriptions were so beautifully written the book would be worth reading for that alone, but the story…wow. If I could have reached into the pages of this book and intervened on Baby’s behalf, I would have. That is how engaging (and stressful for the mom-me) this story is.

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Jazz Baby

By Beem Weeks

I get excited when I come across a novel that completely draws me in.  Mr. Weeks, wrote one of these books. It’s a historical fiction set in the roaring twenties in Mississippi and New Orleans. It is told from young teenager Emily Ann’s perspective. Born into a poor family, Emily Ann (or Baby as she was called) had a dream of becoming a jazz singer. She would do anything to achieve this and unfortunately, others preyed on her stubborn- innocence. It was painful to read what she endured, while her lack of emotion seemed to be what got her through it. Many times, I found my motherly side thinking, no please don’t do that, but this character was determined to do things her way. The story, through beautifully written words, shows the reader the darker side of prohibition, poverty, and poor parenting. I highly recommend this book.​


I went back and forth between this book and “Cusp Of The Night”. I love them both for different reasons, but ended up choosing this because it was the first book of Mae Clair’s that I read. I find this book to be not only entertaining but carefully researched on not only the paranormal, but the town’s history. To include a murder, mystery and romance had me hooked for the entire series. The town felt real and the monster, both human and otherwise, even more real. This blend of mystery/paranormal with romance thrown in is a favorite genre of mine to read so when I find a new author that has all of this– I’m very happy.

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A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant)

by Mae Clair

“A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant)” is an amazingly well-written paranormal thriller. After Eva Parrish leaves her hometown with her family, (after a tragic incident) she returns after her aunt dies. She finds herself not only dealing with the estate, but with someone who doesn’t want her there. The past still haunts Eva, and the rest of the town. Eva is thrust into a mystery that spans over two decades. She is helped by an unlikely friend, and a family from her childhood. Ms. Clair not only focuses the story on the Mothman legend of Point Pleasant, but give her readers, a mystery, romance, murder, and redemption.  I loved, not only the characters, but the depth, and surprise that went along with the main story. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, and have preordered the third book. It only took one book to become a fan of this author. I highly recommend this book–if you love mystery with a paranormal twist.​


Bonus read:

I can’t say enough about how impressed and inspired I am about this new writer. Her story is amazing and creative. It will be sitting under the Christmas tree for my grand kids. After we read it together I can’t wait to share with them that she is around their age. But age and awards aside, it’s a great book to share with your kids and grand kids. I also read the next book in the series and posted the review in last week’s blog. Another hit.

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Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

“Daisy, Bold & Beautiful” is a sweet story geared for 9 to 12-year-old readers.  Ms. Collins tells the story of a young girl D.J. who moves to a new town with her father, after her mother’s death. She has to start a new school and make new friends.  It’s well-written and I could sympathize with her getting onto the bus knowing no one and heading for a new sixth grade experience. D.J. quickly makes friends and learns about herself along the way. I loved the relationship between father and daughter as well as her new friends.   What makes this story so interesting is what happens when she goes to bed and her experiences in another realm. This book for middle grade readers drew me in, but the amazing part was it was written by a middle grade writer!  This is a children’s book I highly recommend and a new author I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


I hope you enjoyed my four seasons of “Books That Changed Me”. These are all books that evoked deep emotions from me while reading. They gave me hope, made me wonder, had me on the edge of my seat, or took me to new amazing places and worlds. I always walked away from these books, just a little different for having read them. I have to send out my thanks to all the authors who provided this for me–and their readers. Know, I wasn’t able to list all the books that delivered that “change” for me. I hope to do something similar next year so I can thank them, too!

If you missed any editions of “Books That Changed Me” I have them all listed on my website under: Indie Books Read. These books that changed me are ones I’d proudly give as a gift any time of the year! Happy first day of winter!

Embrace your inner child with a good book this winter! Happy holidays and New Year to you and yours! Sending you all lots of warm holiday hugsD.L. Finn, the Trailblazer & Cats: Thunder, Rupert, Chester, Coco, Alice & Dogs: Sara & Hermie!

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Final Book Reviews for 2018! @W_Angels_Wings @woodheat @stacitroilo @Sandra_Cox @Lizzie_Chantree @MarciaMeara

 

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody Kindle Edition

by Marcia Meara

This is the second novella in the series with the Emissaries, Jake and Dodger, working for Archangel Azrael. There’s the same depth and humor in this heartfelt tale that I enjoyed in “The Emissary”. I loved the developing relationship between Jake and Dodger as they work to save people from themselves. Dodger’s regret adds a new layer to this story. I can’t wait to see how that works out…and how Azrael plays into that. This is a perfect Christmas read, but would be great any time of the year. There was an amazing ending and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. If you haven’t read the first novella–you should–then you can fully enjoy this highly recommended sequel!


Mylee in the Mirror (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

by Ellie Collins

This is another great book in the Greek Mythology Fantasy Series. While the first book dealt with sixth grader D.J., Persephone and a move including a new school, “Mylee in the Mirror” takes on high school, Aphrodite, dating, change and expectations. The opening of the book drew me right in with a surprise and I was hooked. Mylee is moving her beloved grandmother into assisted living; her parents are fighting, and the most popular guy in school asks her out–making life confusing for her. But even with all that was going on at least Mylee had her best friends and trampoline and tumbling. The characters are well-written and the relationships realistic. Mylee’s home life felt genuine, and the connection between her and her grammy was sweet. I loved the life lessons about being true to yourself, that applied to the adults in the story, too. Adding in the magic of a Greek Goddess and her interactions with Mylee made this story a lot of fun and exciting to read. I’m looking forward to the next book and highly recommend this imaginative book and amazing young author.


Merry Ex-mas

by Michael Lynes

This is a short science fiction tale of a group of humans traveling to a new planet. Holly’s the only one awake on her shift when an object is spotted coming directly at them. It’s been nine long years of traveling and what happens next brought a smile to my face. I loved the blend of sci-fi and the fantasy of Christmas into one magical story. If you like holiday-themed stories I highly recommend this to you!


When We Finally Kiss Goodnight

by Staci Troilo

“When We Finally Kiss Goodnight” is a steamy romance with an interesting story line that kept me turning the pages. Chloe hoped to leave her life behind with a new job interview in Pittsburgh. What she didn’t count on is running into her college crush who broke her heart, Britt. My favorite part was the tension between Britt and Chloe with their unsaid assumptions and how that played out in conversations. The things being left unsaid with the obvious attraction between them and the potential for growth was intriguing. I especially liked the trip they took to Gettysburg and the legend Chloe ran into along the way. This is a satisfying feel-good holiday short story that I recommend if you are a fan of passionate romance.


Moon Watchers (Hunters Book 2)

by  Sandra Cox

“Moon Watchers” is the second in the Hunters series. The story veers from hunting “vamps” with Zoe on Vampire Island to “weres” with Zoe’s cousin, Jolene, in the snowy forest of Minnesota. It starts with an immediate encounter with both werewolves–and Braden who just shows up to help out. This sweet and exciting YA book has a couple of twists along the way. I love Jolene’s no-nonsense, fearless personality and how it interacts with the mysterious handsome Braden who seems to be hiding a secret. I could easily picture myself in the cabin she’d just inherited. I adored the quaint town she ventured into to get her cup of coffee and supplies. I found this an enjoyable adventure that kept me reading late into the night like the first book did. If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves and their hunters, along with a sweet romance, I recommend this series for both adults and younger readers.


If You Love Me, I’m Yours

by Lizzie Chantree

This was a fun and lighthearted story about a girl named Maud stuck in a sensible life. She’s a teacher who loves to paint. Only her best friend Daisy backs her talent, not her sensible parents. This leads Maud to an art gallery opening after Daisy submits her painting. The night changes her life and leads her to a new friendship with Dot and a new love interest. I love the relationship she develops with Dot. It is changing as they both change within it. She also finds herself with two love interests and a few surprises along the way. The book’s title is how Maud expresses her talent by leaving gifts of her work for others to enjoy, which made me smile. It was fun being immersed into the world of art. I recommend this story especially if you like a good love story with friendship and self-growth mixed in–I know I enjoyed it.


UPDATES:

Watch for an early edition of the monthly newsletter, Monday 12-17-18.

I will have “Books That Changed Me–Winter Edition”  as my last post of the year on December 21st. I’ll be back on 1-6-19.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book in 2019! D.L. Finn

 

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A Magical Trail

Years ago, we did some limited logging on our property. In the after-math we cleared a trail behind our house. Back when I was able to run I jogged along this trail while my son napped.  I would pick up the debris and stack it neatly along the sides, planning to go back and clean it up. Fast forward a couple of decades later this trail had overgrown, and the piles lay buried underneath it.

Recently we had to clear around our house to be certified for wildfires for our home insurance. It was a job too big for us so we hired someone to do the clearing. The end-result was the required cleared area, but there was also a huge pile of branches, small trees, and bushes blocking what used to be the entrance to this trail. We were certified but left with a mess on the rim of the cleared area. I mentioned to my husband in passing this is where we used to walk. That’s all it took.

My husband declared he would bring back our trail. It would be a peaceful walk, no dogs off their leash coming at our leashed dogs or dodging cars on the street. I said that’s too much work, but he didn’t listen.

So, he headed outside with his saw, clippers, rake, and chainsaw. He spent his weekends clearing. I would come out at times and do some minor trimming behind him to help–or until my arms said no more. He finally cleared the original path and we took our first official walk. I was happy, but my husband wasn’t satisfied.

He went off in another direction. He found an area we’ve never explored. A spot I declared would be the perfect campsite or a place to sit and relax. So, as he kept extending the trail, I drug my small white table and chairs that had been sitting unused on my back deck to this spot. They found their perfect home there. Right next to the table was an old tree that had been cut down, but on the sides of it were burn marks. Lightening, I wondered? That’s when I decided this was not only a pretty spot, but a magical one. Here a tree had gotten struck by lightning and there had been no fire. That was magical in my mind, especially since, at that point, we were in high fire danger. This was a protected place where bad didn’t happen I concluded.

Then, I went back to clipping limbs. In one spot I found a tree I didn’t recognize. So, I took a picture and sent it to my son who is majoring in Biology. I thought it might be an offspring of a Redwood tree we’d planted years ago, but it turned out to be a Pacific Yew. I’d never heard of that, but was glad it was growing on our trail, along with the Pine, Douglas-fir, Oak, Pacific Madrone, California Dogwood, Big-leaf Maple and the most prolific tree of all the Cedar.

My husband continued cutting and digging through blackberry brush and a part he called the jungle. Finally, he came out near the beginning after I guided him in the right direction with my voice. Yes, it was that overgrown. As he emerged from the perfect walking path he still wasn’t done. He started decorating it with wind chimes, a bench, and garden statues, while I added some outdoor Christmas ornaments.

So, now I take the dogs on an afternoon walk on our trail. We tread in a place where only the bears, deer and raccoons had roamed. Our black cat Coco likes to follow us, while pretending he isn’t.

This trail is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received–created by the best person I’ve ever known. A place of peace and magic. It’s nothing you could ever buy in a store and it lasts forever. Someday it just might show up in a story. Now my hope is that everyone gets a magical trail in their lives in one form or another.

 


Happy Birthday to the trail maker!


Have you checked out: RRBC “BOOKS & BUDZ” HOLIDAY POP-UP BOOK SHOP?

Don’t miss the Reading Room where the author’s read their work. It’s so amazing to hear the words being read by the writer. You’ll find me among them reading the beginning of “The Button”. It’s something I’ve wanted to do but have always been nervous to do so.  Getting past “thinking” about it and “doing” it, is just one of the things Rave Reviews Book Club has done for me.

So, that was my favorite part of the Pop-Up Book Shop–besides shopping. I have a lot of new indie books to put under my tree this year.

Embrace your inner child with life’s magic. D.L. Finn