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#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 236, @ColleenChesebro #THEMEPROMPT #Tanka #Nature #photo #writingcommunity

Hi! Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #236. It is a theme prompt and the word given is, Expedition.

I went with an inner journey and presented it in Tanka form. I liked adding it to a picture I took when we visited the redwoods last month.

Photo of path in redwood forest. Poem included in picture: my soul disengaged left me behind in the past submerged in worry today my journey begins with only love as my guide

 

 

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July Book Reviews Part 2—Birthday Poem! @Dwallacepeach @Sandra_Cox @Didi_Oviatt @jamescudney4 #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Cover to The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

Weathering Old Souls

by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt

“Weathering Old Souls” is a unique collaboration that was seamlessly written. Abigail was living with an emotionally distant father, but luckily the family next door is there. Abigail has some issues that doctors believe need to be medicated, but that doesn’t happen. This allows a journey for Abigail to explore what is happening to her. Her research and insights not only take her to the south during slavery, the Titanic, and Japanese internment camps during WW2, but she finds a serial killer in the mix. Margaret, who was there for her growing up, became her big sister and biggest supporter. Told through more than one POV and several settings allows a complete look into what Abigail is dealing with throughout her youth into adulthood. I enjoyed the mystery and examining the idea of past lives. Although I recognized the serial killer when introduced, I was still drawn into how that would play out. The use of crystals and psychics was a nice addition to the story as she seeks answers. Good blend of genres and authors. If you enjoy a mystery with an uncommon other-worldly twist, this is for you.


Keeper Tyree

By Sandra Cox

“Keeper Tyree” is a fast-paced western that focuses on revenge. Keeper is a bounty hunter who has a reputation with women and fast draws. A widow, Cathleen, approaches him to find the man who killed her son. He reluctantly agrees to help her. After meeting Cathleen’s father and daughter, he sets off to find this criminal and collect his bounty. He doesn’t expect to be followed, though. I love the story is told from only Keeper’s POV and found it fascinating to see things from his perspective. There was good chemistry between Keeper and Cathleen with fun dialog. The settings were vivid, bringing me right into the story. I love the people they came across on this journey. A favorite became Maybell and her group. The action began immediately and never let up. This was a page-turner that I read in two sittings and would have in one if I hadn’t needed to sleep. It was nice to see a nod to another bounty hunter from a past book. If you love westerns with some romance and good characters, this book is for you. I highly recommend it.


The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

by D. Wallace Peach

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Ferryman and the Sea Witch because I love all things ocean and fantasy—and was not disappointed. When he was a young boy, Callum tried to save the sea merrow queen’s daughter tangled in fish netting. The crew paid for standing by, but Callum was offered a deal to never set foot on land and become the Ferryman. He was the only one allowed to cross the sea, if a human sacrifice was offered each crossing. So, Callum transported goods between two warring cities. Then comes the time for him to deliver more than goods. Secrets are revealed that change everything. I love how skillfully Ms. Peach weaves in the details and scenery. It makes a fantasy world seem very real. The characters were flawed and well-rounded, and I rooted for several outcomes and relationships. Beautifully written with dark undertones made this a story I didn’t want to put down. This is a book I highly recommend!

***

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

NOTES & A Poem:

  1. I will be on vacation this week celebrating my birthday! So there will be no blog next Sunday, and I will be quiet on social media and blogs:)
  2.  Newsletters went out early yesterday because of vacation. Check your email if subscribed!

Now here is the poem I wrote years ago, and is in No Fairy Tale, about the first step on the moon. As a young girl, I really did believe that was part of my birthday gift. Since that moment, I’ve always been fascinated with the moon!

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 reading a good book! D. L. Finn

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Virtual Book Blast For “Laws of Nature” by Jacqui Murray! @WordDreams #newrelease #mustread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to have Jacqui Murray here today to talk about her newest release, “Laws Of Nature!” I’m already of fan of Jacqui’s prehistorical fiction and this is up next on my reading list—right after I get caught up by reading book one 🙂

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
Hunting

South Africa
Lucy

Fresh blood streaked Short-tooth’s muzzle, her golden eyes alert to every movement around her as she munched on Gazelle’s meaty carcass. Each movement made the Cat’s tawny fur ripple over the powerful muscles beneath her skin. She raised her head, chewing slowly while studying the grass field in front of her, especially toward the back where it blended into the forest. She couldn’t see Mammoth but smelled it, close to the Uprights, maybe protecting them. Despite being the size of a boulder, this pachyderm could outrun most predators and would think nothing of crushing them beneath its massive feet.
Short-tooth wasn’t interested in the Uprights. Their bodies had little meat and less fat. Gazelle was more satisfying.
Cat ripped a slab of fragrant meat from the hind leg. Snarling-dog—to the far side—slapped the ground. He was hungry but wouldn’t eat Gazelle until Short-tooth finished. Cat purred loudly, close to a snarl, and Snarling-dog withdrew, but not far. Carrion-bird overhead tightened its circle and a tiny shrew the size of Short-tooth’s paw waited patiently, out of Cat’s range, eyes bright, nose twitching. A shred from the carcass was all it needed.
None of these creatures mattered to Short-tooth. She was the apex predator in her savannah habitat.

Sticky yellow globs of Mammoth dung slid down Lucy’s back and plopped to the dry thatch. The dung coat was melting under Sun’s intense heat, exactly as Lucy planned. Its purpose was to confuse Short-tooth Cat. The hotter Sun became, the stronger Mammoth’s smell.
Lucy and her young pairmate, Garv, lay motionless, like Snake sleeping, bodies pressed into the prickly grass, oblivious to the feathery feet that scurried over their backs. She and Garv, too, wanted what Short-tooth didn’t consume. They were more patient than Snarling-dog but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t eat first. The first to arrive got the best of the leftovers.
Lucy rubbed her raw eyes, bleary from watching Cat bite, rip, and chew. If Short-tooth knew of their presence, it was not because she saw them. Lucy and Garv blended into the landscape. Their skin was the color of dirt and dry grass, impossible to find if you weren’t looking. No part of their bodies moved except their narrowed eyes as they scanned the surroundings, evaluating each new arrival to the feast. The dominant scents never changed—Snarling-dog, Short-tooth Cat, something decaying in the nearby forest, her pairmate Garv’s sweaty body, and Gazelle’s ripening offal.
Sun’s relentless heat washed over Lucy in waves. Sweat dripped down her face, over her pronounced brow ridge and into her eyes, but for reasons she didn’t understand, despite his fur pelt, Snarling-dog was dry. He reminded Lucy of Ump, her tribe’s Canis member. Even on the hottest days, Ump didn’t sweat. Instead, he panted more.
Today, Snarling-dog panted hard.
Short-tooth raised her feline head, inspecting her habitat as her jaws crunched through the fresh carrion. She reeked of malevolence which meant scavengers like Lucy and Garv willingly waited their turn.
Sun climbed through the cloudless blue sky. The morning haze had burned off long ago. The dew Lucy hadn’t licked off the leaves, Sun’s heat had. Her throat was dry, lips cracked, but that mattered less than securing scavenge. Her tribe was hungry.
Lately, unexpectedly, when Lucy sat quietly as she did now, a tingle deep inside her chest told her Raza, her former pairmate, was in trouble. The first time she experienced this tingle, what Garv called “instinct”, it churned through her body as a current does in a stream. She thought she was sick until Garv explained this was instinct and it warned of danger, not illness. He told her always to listen, but how was she to do that? Raza had been captured by the tribe’s worst enemy, a formidable Upright called Man-who-preys. She didn’t know where they’d taken him. As often as she brushed the feeling away, it returned, each time stronger than the last.
Cat’s yellow eyes snapped open and her methodical jaws slowed. Something caught her interest, maybe Snarling-dog’s impatience or Carrion-bird’s relentless approach. After a warning hiss, Short-tooth shook her big head and pawed her face. A swarm of black flies lifted, buzzed briefly, and then resettled where they’d started, again gorging on the blood and carrion that stuck to Short-tooth’s face
The flies are thicker than usual.
Short-tooth returned to her meal and Lucy sniffed, wondering what drew Cat’s attention. She didn’t expect to see Man-who-preys here, but took nothing for granted. The tall, big-headed, hairless enemy always carried a long stick which he used to kill prey. Sometimes, he didn’t eat the animal, just watched it die. This unpredictability, that he followed no norms, made him more treacherous than other predators.
She inhaled, but didn’t smell his stench so turned her attention back to the hunt.
Carrion-bird floated overhead, feet tucked beneath its sleek body. The longer Cat ate, the more of the huge birds arrived. They thought their powerful sweeping wings, sharp claws, and piercing beaks made them the mightiest among the scavengers. What they didn’t realize was that Lucy and Garv possessed an even greater weapon: They could plan. Before Carrion-bird or Snarling-dog got too close, Lucy and Garv would take what they needed and flee.
They always did.
In the edging forest, Cousin Chimp hooted, the pitch and length describing the location of a tree newly bearing fruit. Leaves rustled as his band raced away. Lucy hoped they would leave enough of the succulent produce for her and Garv.
She hunkered deeper into the tall waving stalks, tracking the other scavengers and noting again how far away the trees were in case she needed to flee. A snake slithered over her foot, through the thatch and out of sight. She and Garv had been motionless for so long, Snake probably viewed them as dirt mounds in its path.
Garv tweaked an eyebrow and Lucy motioned, hands a tight circle in front of her chest, well hidden, “Dull colors, no knobs on snake’s tail—no danger.”
Her kind—Man-who-makes-tools—used a sophisticated blend of communication including body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, mimicking, and vocalization. One of their greatest defenses in this brutal world was the ability to become part of their surroundings. Voices were unusual sounds heard nowhere in nature except from Uprights, mostly the big-headed Man-who-preys. Lucy’s kind occasionally whispered and Tree-men, like Boah who was part of Lucy’s tribe, rarely made any sounds beyond huffs, grunts, howls, and moans. Only Man-who-preys jabbered endlessly.

Lucy’s eyelids drooped. This hunt had started yesterday when Lucy and Garv found the fresh cloven prints of a Gazelle herd. Lucy’s kind ate copious amounts of roots, nuts, fruit, juicy stems, and insects, but only meat gave them the energy to survive their dangerous lives. Because they hunted only dead animals, they depended upon predators to make the kill. Gazelle’s fleshy body always attracted Cat and its cousins, like Short-tooth. They would pick off the injured, and Lucy’s tribe would eat what they left.
Because not enough daylight remained yesterday, Lucy and Garv set out today, at Sun’s first light. They followed the herd while the rest of the tribe—the Tree-man Boah, the child Voi, and the Canis Ump—stayed at the homebase’s cave. Before Sun had traveled far, a snarl and a screech told Lucy a predator claimed its prey. When Carrion-bird and its cousins started to circle, she and Garv knew exactly where to go.

Garv nudged Lucy, the movement so subtle the grass didn’t even move. “Short-tooth is leaving.”
Lucy bit her lip and shot a look at Garv. His face radiated excitement.
She studied Short-tooth, tried to see what Garv saw and finally gestured, “I don’t see anything. Why do you think she’s finished?”
He motioned, one finger moving against his palm, “Instinct.” Nothing else.
But that was enough. Garv had taught her to stalk prey, knap tools, hunt, and protect herself. Because of him, she became an accomplished hunter, never missed a print, a bent frond, the fragrance left on leaves or bark, or any other sign. As partners, they always brought meat to the tribe. Most hunters didn’t.
Garv’s instinct had found more prey than Lucy’s tracking skills or senses ever did. She had no doubt Short-tooth would soon leave.

Cat’s big tongue, as long as Lucy’s forearm, licked the bloody scraps from her muzzle, a sign even to Lucy that she had finished. Lucy shifted to her hands and toes, knees hovering above the ground, prepared for what must come next. Garv did the same, his body hard from the life he lived, senses alert to every noise. Carrion-birds cawed and tightened their circle. On the opposite side of the field, Snarling-dog’s pack bared their canines, tails stiff. Drool dripped from their jowls and their gaze bounced between Cat and the Uprights, knowing from experience the scrawny but agile creatures were vigorous competitors.
You are fast, Snarling-dog, but we are smart. We will always get there first!
Lucy tensed as Short-tooth pushed up to her massive paws, canines red with blood, saliva dripping in strands from her jowls. She yawned, her mouth a dark cavity vast enough to swallow Lucy’s entire head, and ambled off. Lucy and Garv exploded to their feet and sprinted toward the carcass. Their powerful legs churned while nimble hands pulled cutters and stones from the sacks strung around their necks. Lucy’s job was to delay Snarling-dog and Carrion-bird while Garv stripped the carrion.
“Argh!” Lucy roared, waving a leafy branch through the air to make herself bigger to Snarling-dog while Garv attacked the carcass. Ignoring the fetid stench of dung and urine, he swung the sharp cutter and sliced through the hide and then muscle and tendon.
Lucy flung a stone at the lead Snarling-dog. It hit his temple, hard, and he dropped with a squeal. His pack slowed to reassess the upright creature and Lucy threw another stone, this one at the new leader’s eye. He yipped and stumbled, shook his head, and pawed at the blood that oozed from the wound and dribbled down his muzzle.
“Lucy!” Garv tossed an almost pristine haunch to her and then swung his chopper at Gazelle’s ribs. Carrion-bird, well into its death dive, talons extended, screeched its imminent attack.
“Let’s go!” Lucy called, the unexpected sound of her voice meant to startle the scavengers.
She hurled a rock at the lead Carrion-bird. It squawked and withdrew, which slowed the rest of the flock. Lucy grabbed an almost-meatless leg bone. It would be filled with nutritious bloody marrow. Meat secured over her shoulders, she and Garv fled. No one chased them. Why abandon certain meat for an uncertain meal? Lucy raced past a termite mound, noted its location, rounded a boulder bed, and lost sight of the fracas.
Not the scent, though. The tantalizing aroma sailed through the air, announcing to every scavenger around the availability of meat.

Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature
Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital at Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU Kindle India

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page

Blog

Instagram

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Twitter

Website

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Colleen Chesebro’s #TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 234, #SYNONYMSONLY @ColleenChesebro #Haiga #Senryu #poems #challenge

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #234. This week is Synonyms Only and the two words are “Green & Morass.”

Although we are now offered more symbolic poetry choices, I went with a favorite format Haiga. This is a combination of a picture and Haiku or Senryu, but the poem can stand alone without the photo.

My synonyms are: naive for green & confusion for morass.

naive confusion darkens the pure love offered inside fear's cold grasp

 

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July Book Reviews Part 1! @ColleenChesebro @teagangeneviene @JoanHallWrites #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Cold Dark Night

by Joan Hall

I read the prequel to this story, “House of Sorrow,” and loved that, so I was eager to read the first book in the Legends of Madeira Series. Jason and Tami Montgomery left Driscoll Lake for Jason’s new job as the town’s police chief in Madeira, New Mexico. They buy the house that was in the prequel and quickly settled into the small, mostly welcoming town. It was nice to see characters from the Driscoll Lake series, but unnecessary to have read those books to appreciate this story. I enjoyed Jason’s growth and how he approached his new job. Tami immediately made friends and got involved in the town’s historical society that was doing a book on the town’s history. Tami, who had been a journalist, jumped right into her part of researching past police chiefs. She soon found herself looking for more answers as she dug deeper into the murder mystery of two of these chiefs. I loved the characters, and Madeira was a place I’d like to visit. Many subplots were woven in that added an extra depth to the story. Tami was a favorite character, as was the neighborhood’s stray cat, Oscar. There was a mystery to be solved, and it appeared Jason was in danger. I had a few guesses and changed my mind more than once, but finally, by the end. I realized who it was, but not why. I love the use of legends, history, and psychic abilities mixed in with well-rounded characters and a mystery that goes back over one hundred years. This is a nicely paced read that I can highly recommend.

Dead of Winter, Journey 6 — The Fluting Fell

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I have loved the journey through “Dead of Winter.” Journey 6 offered some answers, but also added more questions. Emlyn is pulled into another’s dream and experienced a horrible time in the other dreamer’s life. That moment made it clear what evil the group was dealing with. After the reactions to the shared dream, they continue on their way. I love where they make camp for a while. I could easily imagine the old mansion through the vivid descriptions. Learning more about the household, and interacting with ghosts made this one another page-turner. They ended up in a strange place that didn’t appear to be safe, but it certainly set the stage for the upcoming Journey 7, which I can’t wait to read.

Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry

by Colleen M. Chesebro

In “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry” Ms. Chesebro has written a detailed guide of syllabic poetry. There’s history, instructions on writing the poem, several examples, and then the information is recapped for each form. Section one of the book offers Japanese Syllabic Poetry. Here are the chapters covered, Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, and Renga. Then the second section is the American Syllabic Poetry. The types covered here are Crapsey Cinquain and all variations, Etheree, Nonnet, and Shadorma. Although I’ve spent years writing free verse poetry, I’ve come to love syllabic poems too, thanks to Ms. Chesebro. This is a fantastic guide to learn about syllabic poetry and how to write them. I will buy the paperback version for a quick reference to a style I want to try or simply refresh my memory on writing a certain type of poem. I highly recommend this guide for all poets who love this style or would like to learn about it.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

NOTE: The monthly newsletter will be coming out a few days early, July 17th, due to an upcoming vacation! Watch for it.

There is a special guest blog this week you don’t want to miss!

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

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#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 233, #POET’SCHOICE @ColleenChesebro #Shadorma #indieauthors #writingcommunity

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #233 Poet’s Choice.

This week is the poet’s choice and I decided to try a new form. I picked Shardoma which is 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables and no rhyming. I had three to pick from, one dealt with a medical procedure, another anxiety, but I ended up with a similar theme as last week.

THE EMPTY PROMISE

oppressive

heavy drought heat

dries & withers

the landscape

saps the forest’s searching soul

for the rain goddess.

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COLLEEN’S 2021 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 232, #SPECIFICFORM @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #indieauthors #poem

Here’s Colleen Chesebro 2021 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #232. This week she challenged us to take a favorite form of poetry, change it up, and give it a new name.

So, I took the Tanka form of 5-7-5-7-7-7 and changed it to 7a-5x-7a-5b-5x-5b. I not only altered the syllable placement but added in some rhyming and called it a Ranka Poem 🙂

With the drought and fire danger that surrounds so many, including me, this poem came to mind of a careless match thrown and the destruction it can cause.

oppressive summertime heat

a silent forest

dry leaves crunch under bare feet

two well-lit matches

careless disposal

death’s fire attaches.

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Stop by and say hello! #VoiceofIndiePodcast #VoiceofIndie #AuthorInterview @VoiceOfIndie #WritingCommunity #AuthorSupport #IndieAuthor

Hello! Later today I’m thrilled to be a guest on Voice of Indie Podcast with hosts, Stephen Geez and Beem Weeks. The show starts at 5:00 PST, my time, or 8:00 EST.

You can always listen later if you can’t make it. I’ve been catching up on all their great shows and added them to my Spotify List.

There is one thing I wanted to share with you before the interview. I deal with what is called brain fog, or I simply forget a word I want to use while talking. This made me shy away from socializing, phone calls, and public speaking for a long time, but I decided why let this hold me back? So, if you hear that pause and me describing something instead of saying the word, that’s what is going on. This comes from my autoimmune issues and Fibromyalgia. Neither of which are causing too many medical issues, but I do experience little things like this. It’s much easier to get away with when I’m typing 😉

Hope to see you there! Here’s the link:

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/voiceofindie1/2021/07/01/voice-of-indie-episode-048

 

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A week of exploring. #Redwoods #MuirWoods #ocean #Fairies #ladybugs #lakes #LakeTahoe #AuthorVacation #renewingthemuse #writingcommunity #interview #voiceofindiepodcast

pathway through redwoods with wooden fence

It’s been a great month, including a successful blog tour that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fairies and I appreciate all who supported it! Thank you:)

It was equally nice to take a week off and explore nearby destinations with day trips. After releasing a book set in the redwood forest, it only seemed natural one of those days we’d venture into one. The closest to our house, and one we’ve hardly been to, is Muir Woods with Stinson Beach fairly close. So, I scheduled our time to park, yes you have to make a reservation.

We set out early to make the three-hour drive. It went smoothly, although when we got there the road leading down was fairly windy with no road barrier protecting the cars from going off steep cliffs. I tried not to look as we wound down to the park.

As soon as we parked, we ate a packed lunch and headed into the park. It was an easy walk on paved or wooden walkways. The tall redwoods towered over us as the sun filtered through the trees. I immediately started taking pictures, as I’m known to do. We crossed a charming wooden bridge over a creek and veered off the comfortable path to explore another trail. This turned out to be an uphill walk but offered spectacular views of the creek and trees below.

Then we returned to the main trail and continued on. We strolled through the cathedral grove where the sign encouraged all the be quiet, of course, no one was quiet. As we exited into an open area we saw hundreds of little red bugs flying around.

redwoods reflecting in creek, Muir Woods

My husband commented with a slight grin, “Must be your fairies.”

I smiled and agreed. Why not?

This park was full of magic, and I just knew the fairies were close by. The little red insects turned out to ladybugs, which was pretty exciting too. Our hike continued and we’d stop here and there to touch the gentle giant trees. You could feel their energy and wisdom in that brief connection.

man standing in redwood treeWhen it was time to go back, I turned the hike into a walking mediation to fully appreciate the beauty and peace that surrounded us. I felt stress and worries stripped away from me.

A quick stop at the gift shop where I added to my magnet collection for the fridge, we left the redwoods behind.

Then we took another nail-biting drive down to the ocean. Here we took in the beauty, meandering at the edge of the water and watched the surfers who had a parachute attached to their boards. I have no idea what it was called but it was fun to watch as they would get lifted into the air or glide across the water. This wind made it fun to surf but wasn’t good for eating. So, we decided it would be better to enjoy our packed dinner in the car and watch the ocean waves.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day of redwoods and ocean.

The other days were spent visiting relatives and going out on a lake to swim, traveling to Reno, and taking a day to drive around Lake Tahoe with a quick stop at Hard Rock Cafe.

Each day offered something new, but the one thing they had in common was they filled me with joy and wonder. My muse was equally inspired and couldn’t wait to get back to work on my latest book. I’ll update you more on that later but I can share it was my first NaNoWriMo challenge. The story includes a ghost, animals that can communicate, snow, and a serial killer.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Did you spot any fairies in the redwood trees?

NOTE: There will be no blog next week, I’ll be out enjoying the fireworks. Happy Fourth of July!

Also, I’ll be chatting with Beem Weeks and Stephen Geez on June 30 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Here is the link to the Podcast for this Wednesday: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/voiceofindie1/2021/07/01/voice-of-indie-episode-048

I’ll send out a reminder on the day of the podcast! I’m looking forward to it and hope you can listen:)

Embrace your inner child by taking a break and exploring! D. L. Finn

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June 24th Tree Fairy Final Blog Post! #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #authorsupport #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories book cover over a forest background and a fairy

Hello! The fairies and I invite you to the celebration of the final post over on fellow Story Empire Author, Jan Sikes’ Blog! She’s an author who is the first to offer a helping hand or advice—as well as a fantastic writer. We’re thrilled to be concluding this amazing journey with her.

LINK

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June 22nd Tree Fairy Blog Post! #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #authorsupport #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories cover within a tree background and a fairy.

Today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire Author, Harmony Kent! Not only does she offer her support to indie authors, but she a wonderful writer. Her book, The Vanished Boy, made the Summer Edition of “Books That Changed Me.” Stop by and say hello to us!

LINK

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Stop by and say hi! “Writing and Social Media” #storyempire #writingcommunity #indieauthors

 

Hand holding social media tabs with the word social media in the middle.
Photo courtesy of Canva

Happy Monday 🙂 Today I’m over on Story Empire with my post WRITING AND SOCIAL MEDIA. Stop by and say hi!

LINK

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“2021 Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition” @startrailsIV @harmony_kent @Virgilante @CynthiaSReyes #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #MustReads #BooksThatChangedMe

Summer has already arrived with the hot temperatures and the grandkids running through the sprinklers to cool off! It’s the longest day of the year to enjoy the sunny weather, but there’s still time to treasure the stars when the sun finally sets.

This was a time of year when I read more as a child, and I still look forward to it as an adult even though I’m not on vacation all summer. In the heat of the day, sometimes, the best thing to do is pick up a book and find a nice cool spot by the water to enjoy reading it! With summer arriving, it also the time for my “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition.”

Happy Summer, and Summer Solstice!

The books are listed in no particular order. I’m still offering the book’s blurbs over my reviews because this is about the books, not my reviews—although I do add some of my thoughts!

***

The Vanished Boy took on not only a mother’s fear of a son gone missing but the realization that she didn’t know her son as she thought. This was a perfectly paced story that held on to my emotions and kept me guessing until the reveal. This is a book—and a mother—I’ll never forget.

THE VANISHED BOY

by Harmony Kent

It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …

A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.

When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.

All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.

And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.

Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.

When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust? 

***

The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon was a book that I couldn’t read fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end either. I loved that the story was co-authored.  It made for a perfectly blended mystery, setting, well-rounded characters, history, and learning about the Cheyenne Culture. It’s a journey I’m eager to continue.

THE CURSE OF DEAD HORSE CANYON: CHEYENNE SPIRITS (DEAD HORSE CANYON #1)

by Marcha A. Fox and Pete Risingsun

In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.

When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.

A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.

But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.

Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.

Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.

As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.

A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.

Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.

Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.

Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.

In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.

These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.

***

Grinders is set in the future in one of my favorite cities, and where I spent a lot of time growing up, San Francisco. There were so many things to like, including amazing characters, the storyline felt possible, and there was the always present and appreciated humor. But what really stood out was the setting. Living in an apartment underwater with an octopus on the porch, a glowing forest that generated power, or having an AI running the house, were all things I could easily picture and want to be a part of it.

GRINDERS

by C.S. Boyack

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

***

A charmingly illustrated children’s book that has an important lesson accept yourself and others for who they are, whether your shell is purple or green. This made a magnificent gift for my grandkids, and it’s gotten lots of use — and readings.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

by Cynthia Reyes

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers of human or furry children!

Note: The Tree Fairy Blog finishes up this week. I’ll post where they are visiting!

If you are subscribed to the newsletter, it goes out tomorrow:) Check your emails.

I had a wonderful vacation. I will share a bit about it next week.

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

 

 

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New Release! “Cold Dark Nights” by Joan Hall! @JoanHallWrites #WritingCommunity #IndieAuthor #NewRelease #Mystery #MustRead #StoryEmpire #WhatToRead

I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire author, Joan Hall, here today to share her latest release, Cold Dark Night. It is a book I loved and look forward to the rest of the series. Here’s my review: LINK

Thank you for hosting me today, Denise. I’m delighted to be here to talk about my newest release, Cold Dark Night. It’s the first novel in the Legends of Madeira series. Each book begins with a historical event that ties to modern day.

We both share a love for animals. I think when character has a pet, it tells readers a lot about their personality. Although I like all animals, I’m especially fond of cats. I have two of my own, a seven-year-old tuxedo named Tucker and a six-year-old black Manx named Little Bit. We adopted Tucker, but Little Bit found us.

Both cats, but especially Tucker, are extremely sensitive our moods and emotions. He clings a lot if one of us is sick.

Oscar is a black cat that readers first meet in House of Sorrow. He’s a “mixture” of my two cats. Just as Little Bit “found” us, Oscar “found” Ruth. After her death, he roamed the neighborhood where neighbors made sure he had food and received proper care. Oscar wouldn’t stay with any of them, remaining a bit reclusive, but things changed when Tami moves to town.

And like Tucker, Oscar is sensitive to Tami’s emotions. I’d like to share two excerpts. The first is when Tami first meets her new fur baby. The second scene comes later in the book.

Excerpt:

Tami walked to the door with Abbey. When she opened it, a large black cat darted across the deck.

“Fantastic. Oscar finally showed up.”

“Is he your cat?”

Abbey shook her head. “He belonged to Ruth. He’s been roaming the neighborhood since she died. Everyone looks after him and makes sure he has food and shelter, but he won’t stay with anyone for long.”

The cat meowed, reached a paw out to Tami, then twined between her legs.

“Well, hello there. You’re certainly friendly.” Tami bent down to scratch him behind the ears.

“That’s unusual. He’s been standoffish, especially to strangers. But I’ve often heard people don’t choose cats, cats choose them. It looks like you have a new buddy.”

><><><><

It was mid-morning when the uneasiness gripped Tami again. She’d been in her office, trying to slog through an article for a regional magazine.

After the conversation with Jason, her disparaging mood left. But now she couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen, as if danger lurked nearby.

Oscar jumped from his spot on the love seat onto her desk, then nudged her arm. During the past few weeks, the cat had acted sensitive to her emotions. It was as if he knew when she was upset or troubled. His presence never failed to comfort her.

“Hey, buddy.” She scratched behind his ears. He rewarded her with a soft purr. “You always know how to make me feel better, don’t you?”

The cat continued to rub his head on her hand before lying across her keyboard—something he hadn’t done before.

“Guess I won’t get any more work done this morning.” Tami laughed as she reached to power down her computer. It was then she noticed the date.

February 16. Lee Hazelton died on this date thirty-eight years ago.

She looked out the window. The expected cold front hadn’t arrived. Three months ago, she’d visited Ruth’s grave on the date of her death. She could do the same for Lee.

><><><><

Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon for .99 through June 15. After then, the price goes to $3.99, so now is a good time for readers to grab a copy.

Blurb:

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.

Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads | Instagram

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June Book Reviews Part 2 @crystalnapolit2 @Virgilante @LBroday #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Pink and Purple Bob

by Crystal Napolitano

I bought this book for my grandkids. I had planned to read the book before sharing it, but they found it first and insisted it be read to them. My son was visiting and volunteered, so I got the story read to me, which was a treat! Bob loves pink and purple so much that he’s sad if he doesn’t have it. His friend, the mouse, makes sure Bob has plenty of pink and purple, but it never seems to be enough. Then comes the lesson where Bob learns friends are much more important than things. The illustrations are colorful and inviting, and the words flowed nicely through rhyming. The pictures of the real Bob at the end caught my grandkid’s attention and mine. Bob has fans at our house, and I can easily recommend this book.


Lunar Boogie (The Hat #4)

by C.S. Boyack

“Lunar Boogie” is the fourth book in the Hat Series, but you don’t need to read the others to enjoy this exciting story. Lizzie and the hat are back with their usual banter, which always makes me smile. I was happy to see the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, playing in their venues, along with past characters who make an appearance, but there is a new killer on the loose that is soon named “Sausage Maker.” The first death occurs during a full moon, and all the authorities find is a few body parts and lots of blood. This catches Lizzie’s attention, but the hat tries to steer her away from investigating it. The story offers a second insight into these murders through a police officer, Yoder. I liked the added addition of a ghost watching over her beloved and the wisdom of a witch. This is a fast-paced read that hasn’t slowed down since the first book, “The Hat.” The mystery of who the werewolf was kept me guessing until the end, and I was wrong! This is a book and series I highly recommend.


A Cowboy of Legend (Lone Star Legends #1)

by Linda Broday

“A Cowboy of Legend” is a western romance and the first book I’ve read of Ms. Broday. Set in the late 1800s, Grace Legend lost a good friend killed by her drunk husband. She joins the woman’s movement to get alcohol out of their town. Here she meets a tavern owner, Deacon, and they immediately clash. When the woman’s group destroys all his supplies, Grace’s father steps in and replaces it but insists she works there to clean up the mess they made. I love the developing relationship between Grace and Deacon as their backgrounds slowly come to the surface. Although they disagree on everything, I love how they come together to help the homeless children that live around the tavern. The history of the woman’s movement for rights and a voice is nicely weaved into the story adding another dimension to the tale. Fast-paced with several side stories made this a book that was hard to put down.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and recommend this if you’re a fan of western romance or just like a good story.


 

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!


NOTE: I will be on vacation this week. Although there will be a visitor here Monday on the blog—you won’t want to miss it. So, drop by and say hi!

Otherwise, I’ll be missing from social media and blogs unless I post a picture on Instagram. I hope to make it to the redwoods and ocean this week:)

Next week’s blog will be “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition!”

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

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June 10th Tree Fairy Blog Post! #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #authorsupport #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

Hi! Today I’m visiting fellow Story Empire Author, Mae Claire! Not only is Mae a supportive friend, but an author who is on my must-read list! Please stop by and visit her amazing blog and say hello.

LINK

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June 9th Tree Fairy Blog Stop! #newrelease #childrenbook #middlegrade #fairies #writingcommunity #summerreading

Hi! Today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire Author, C. S. Boyack:) His stories are always entertaining, and he’s created some of my favorite characters, including the Root Monsters. Here is the link to stop by and say hello:

LINK

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June 8th Tree Fairy Blog Stop! #newrelease #childrenbook #middlegrade #fairies #writingcommunity #summerreading

Hi, today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire author, Staci Troilo. She’s not only an amazing writer but a truly gracious host. Stop by her beautiful site and say hello—or as better said by Staci, “Ciao, amici!”

LINK

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June 7th Tree Fairy Blog Stop! #newrelease #childrenbook #middlegrade #fairies #writingcommunity #summerreading

Hi! Today the fairies and I are visiting fellow Story Empire Author, Gwen Plano! Gwen was one of the first people who reached out to me when I started publishing my books—and was my first interview! Her words and presence are a constant inspiration to me.

Please stop by and say hello:)

LINK

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June Book Reviews! @teagangeneviene @sasspip @MarciaMeara #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Dead of Winter: Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

“Llyn Pistyll Falls” is another great addition to the story. I especially loved the ghosts wandering around outside the veil. One ghost made me smile when she reprimanded one character. I enjoyed learning some background and following Emlyn’s adjustment to a new way of life. The settings are full of imagery that captures my imagination. It’s impossible to put this down, and I was left on the edge of my seat. I love the world Ms. Geneviene has created and eagerly await Journey 6!


Three Against the World

by Sarah Stuart

“Three Against the World” is the story of a man, teenager, and Jack Russell terrier. Richard’s life has taken a turn for the worse, losing his job and fiancé, when his ex-wife shows up at his door with a teenage girl claiming she is his daughter. He takes Maria in and decides to raise her as his own. Without the proper paperwork, he hides her and then moves to London to start over. Maria carries the burden of being unloved by her mother, while Richard begins a quest to find a wife once he’s settled in London. Even with Maria’s help, his choice of women is an issue that plays out more than once. Maria has her past to overcome, and she trusts the wrong people. Richard’s character is complex and flawed in a way that makes him an interesting read. Maria seems almost childlike at first, unable to see her worth, yet capable of caring for a household. Ben, the dog, is my favorite as he is always there for them and can be protective when needed. The setting is detailed and rich, and I could imagine their house and the bar easily. This story takes you on Richard and Maria’s journey through several years, which had a few surprises I couldn’t have predicted. I will be reading more by Ms. Stuart.


Swamp Ghosts

by Marcia Meara

I’ve read the Wake-Robin and Emissary Series by Ms. Meara, so I was eager to jump into this story. This was a romantic thriller with some added mystery that I couldn’t put down. I loved the developing relationship between Maggie and Gunn. Their exploring Florida’s wilderness in search of a believed extinct bird was one of my favorite parts. Showing Maggie opening up was handled well and believable, even at the fast pace, it happened. A serial killer is thrown in along with a misunderstood man. I guessed who the killer was, but I still enjoyed the characters figuring it out. I loved the pets and their names in this story, including Gunn’s cat, Maggie’s bird, and Lester’s array of reptiles. It added that extra layer to the story. Maggie’s best friend is someone I’d like to know and have on my side. I enjoyed this and look forward to reading the rest of the series.


I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

This week the fairies will be doing some traveling. I will post here where they are so you can visit them!

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

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June 4th Tree Fairy Blog Stop! #newrelease #childrenbook #middlegrade #fairies #writingcommunity #summerreading

Hi! Today I’m visiting fellow Story Empire author, Joan Hall! An extra huge thanks since she’s also in the middle of her own tour promoting her new book, Cold Dark Night. I just started reading it and I’m already completely engaged! She will be visiting here on June 14th to talk about it, but right now stop by and say hi over on Joan’s site!

LINK TO POST

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#Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 228, #Poet’sChoice #Haiga @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #poetrywrittenonharley #nature #harleypoetry

Here’s Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #228. This week is the poet’s choice.

I decided to use one of the poems I wrote on the back of a Harley last weekend, along with a picture I took. No pens lost during this process. Here is my Haiga.

floating fluffy shapes
triggers imagination
childhood in the sky

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Cover Release and Pre-Order “Keeper Tyree” by Sandra Cox! @Sandra_Cox #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #newrelease #westerns #romanticwesterns #mustread #indieauthors

Please welcome, amazing author and friend, Sandra Cox, here today for her cover release and pre-order! She’s gotten me hooked on westerns again:)

Here’s the new cover, blurb, and pre-order link:

KEEPER TYREE

An aging bounty hunter and a woman bent on vengeance form an unlikely alliance.

Keeper Tyree is an aging bounty hunter who lives by his own set of rules. He’s a hard man but just and his word is his bond. Keeper’s a loner and likes it that way. Then Cathleen O’Donnell catapults into his life looking to hire his gun. Josiah Pardee has killed her boy, and she’s out for vengeance. Somehow all his hard and fast rules, including working alone and minding his own business, crumbles in the face of the immovable widow he now works for. He finds himself rescuing soiled doves, a myopic bookworm more suited to city life than the Wild West, and a Kickapoo who’s in deep trouble with some angry card players as he tracks down the murdering sidewinder Josiah Pardee.

Amazon Pre-Order

BIO

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

Her stories consist of all things Western and more. She is a category bestselling and award-winning author.

https://www.sandracoxwriter.com

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“Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories” is now available! #childrensbook #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #middlegrade #mustread #indieauthors

“Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories” is here! Last week I shared the cover and blurb. Today I’ll talk a little about it, share some Finn Facts, and offer an excerpt.

I originally wrote Tree Fairies as a poem, which I included in the story. It was inspired over 25 years ago by one of my husband’s acoustic song that reminded me of fairies flying. Then, a story grew from that poem, and it sat for years.

A couple of years ago, I wrote the two fairy stories and finally decided to make it into a collection, but still, it sat.

When I was in-between stories and needed something for my group to critique after I published Dolphin’s Cave last December, I pulled this story out. Once I was drawn back into the tree fairy world, I stayed there. It took many years to get here, but  I’m happy to finally share their story.

FUN FINN FACTS

  1. We have fairy houses in our forest, just in case.
  2. Yes, I’ve hugged a redwood tree.

TREE FAIRIES EXCERPT

A Walk through the Forest

I awoke suddenly in a dark tent lit only by moonlight. It was quiet—not even a crackle or pop came from the campfire. Mom and Dad were zipped up in their sleeping bags on my right side. Their gentle breathing soothed me as I turned over toward Colette to go back to sleep. Her sleeping bag was open, with no Colette inside. Alarmed, I sat up, grabbed my flashlight, and double-checked the tent, especially the area near Mom and Dad. She was gone.

I unzipped the tent door and stepped out into the cold night with a shiver. I immediately spotted a light in the forest near the outhouse. I guess she forgot that Dad set up the porta-potty in the tent for night use.

“Colette went to the outhouse alone. I’m going to check on her.”

My parents didn’t reply.

I tapped Dad’s shoulder to wake him up, but he didn’t stir. I figured I could handle my little sister. I slipped on my shoes and grabbed my coat and flashlight before I rezipped the tent door and headed into the darkness.

Branches littered the forest floor, and tiny pine cones crunched underfoot. A light bobbed in the distance. Colette had a good lead on me, and now she wasn’t headed in the direction of the outhouse. I paused, wondering if I should go back and get Dad, but if I did that, I might lose her. I quickened my pace.

“Colette!”

No response. Was she lost? I shone the light toward her, quickly gaining ground.

“Colette! Wait!”

She didn’t answer. Was this some sort of game? Right when I got to her, my flashlight died.

“I just changed the batteries,” I mumbled, shaking it.

Sighing loudly, I shoved the flashlight in my pocket and followed Colette’s narrow beam of light. Tripping over branches now only lit by the moon’s glow, I finally caught up to her.

Colette! Where are you going?”

She didn’t respond and kept walking.

“Stop!”

Amazon Purchase Link

Smashwords Purchase Link

Available in print too!

I will continue to post links here for the continuing Tree Fairy Blog Tour. It is spread out over June.  There will be no posts in the third week of June because I’ll be on vacation. The final post will be on June 25th.

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

 

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May 28th Tree Fairy Blog Stop! #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #authorsupport #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

Today on the Tree Fairy Tour I’m visiting Sandra Cox’s blog! She a wonderful author and supportive friend. I hope you stop by and see what the fairies are up to today!

Here’s the link:      BLOG POST

 

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WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 227, #THEMEPROMPT @ColleenChesebro #WritingCommunity #poems #indieauthor #authors

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge. This week is a theme based on, Travel and Journey.

I decided to use a Tanka format 5/7/5/7/7 and a picture from last week’s hike for inspiration.

NATURE’S REMINDER

The moment floats by

safely behind a wood fence

when nature beckons

gently evoking wisdom

recognizing souls can fly.

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Celebrating Release Day! #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #authorsupport #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

 

Today is release day for “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories!” I’m celebrating it over on Miriam Hurdle’s The Showers of Blessing Blog. She throws a great party! Stop by and join in the fun:)

TREE FAIRIES RELEASE DAY LINK!

 

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New Release “Lunar Boogie” by C. S. Boyack! @Virgilante #StoryEmpire #IndieAuthor #NewRelease #WhatToRead

I’m excited to welcome fellow Story Empire author, C. S. Boyack, here today to talk about his latest release, “Lunar Boogie. ”  I’ve loved the Hat Series, and couldn’t wait to dive into this great story. Here’s my review.

Thanks for lending me your space, Denise. I’m here to tell your fans about my newest publication, “Lunar Boogie.” This is book number four in The Hat Series. This is an ongoing series that uses the same main characters in subsequent tales. They are intended to be dark comedy.

I’ll let the cover and blurb do their jobs. Today, I want to talk about what comes next. This is kind of a standard blog tour topic, but it’s a fun one.

Lizzie St. Laurent is a regular twenty-something college dropout. She works hard to make ends meet. I paired her up with a creature from another dimension, known only as the hat. He has supernatural abilities, but they need each other to take advantage of them.

When they debuted in the first book, “The Hat,” it was very well received. This is my best seller, and has more reviews than any other. Many readers asked for sequels and the series was born. They also wanted to explore deeper into the witchcraft world presented in that story. This is something I also wanted to do, but it posed a little problem.

Lizzie is a regular girl. She’s also our point of view into all the strange things going on in this underground environment. This means she isn’t going to attend some school and learn all about witchcraft. She has to observe it as an outsider, and the readers do too.

I wanted Lizzie to get some seasoning before I returned to that environment. After four unique adventures, it’s time to get on with it. The next book in the series will be called “Good Liniment,” and it’s going to take a deep dive into the world of witchcraft.

This will include a bunch of new characters, but they’re going to be unique enough that readers will remember them. As the series grows, I want to have a pool of characters that can appear in future stories.

This poses a challenge for me, because one of my goals is that readers can pick up any volume and enjoy the story without prerequisite reading. I don’t know if I can keep pulling that off, but have every intention to try. It requires a small introduction for the recurring characters, but, as long as it isn’t obtrusive, long term readers might appreciate the reminders. I don’t mind a good challenge, but I can only produce about one of these per year.

Today, you have “Lunar Boogie” to check out. It’s brand spankin’ new, and I’d appreciate some readers and reviews to give it a good launch.

Stick with me, because I have about four more storyboards going in this series, and two of them are ready to write today.

***

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.

This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.

At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox.

Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.

PURCHASE LINK

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Cover Reveal and Pre-Order! “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories” by D. L. Finn #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #newrelease #childrensbook #mustread #indieauthors

I’m excited to share the cover and pre-order for my final planned children’s book, “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories!” It is a chapter book suitable for middle-grade and those young at heart.

Here’s my first attempt at a children’s cover:)

BLURB:

When reality and magic meet in the forest

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.

Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.

Pre-Order Amazon

SMASHWORDS PRE-ORDER

The release date is May 26th:)

I ended up picking this date not only because it’s my son’s age, but it’s a full moon and lunar eclipse! An event made for fairies:)

Paperback to follow!

Note: I was focused on this release so I wasn’t around as much on blogs and social media this week. I will try to catch up as best I can, and will be around more next week:)

There will be a Tree Fairy Blog Tour weaving through the end of May and into June. Miriam Hurdle has graciously offered to host on release day to get the tour started. Watch for it, and all the other amazing sites the tree and city fairies will be visiting!

I will keep you updated here.

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May Book Reviews Part 3! @ElizabethMerry1 @mhurdle112 @teagangeneviene @harmony_kent #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

MINUS ONE: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life

by Elizabeth Merry

“Minus One” is a wonderful collection of poems that took me on an emotional journey. There was a mixture of Haikus and free verse that offered an insight into the highs and lows of life. Plus, there was the bonus of lovely pictures. Here are a few of my favorite passages: Seascapes, “Damp knees in the damp sand. Uneasy in the stillness, /watching for the yellow hair of fairies, /hidden in the tide, their voices from another world,” Haikus, “Blessed, healing rain/soaks my parched skin and/flushes out all grief,” and more Haikus, “Broken by the storm/branches bent as if with grief/hold their beauty yet.” A beautiful read that any poetry lover would enjoy.


Tina Lost in a Crowd

by Miriam Hurdle(Author), Victoria Skakandi (Illustrator) 

“Tina Lost in a Crowd” is a sweet children’s book for beginning readers and parents reading to them. I loved the beautiful illustrations that enriched the story and the fact this was based on an actual event. Tina, who just finished 3rd grade, invited a friend to go on a family excursion to see a symphony and fireworks. Everything was going perfectly until intermission, and the girls needed to use the restroom. I loved how Tina and her friend handled being lost. It was a good lesson on how to handle a situation like this. As a parent, I know the fear of not finding a child, and reading this story with children allows talking about what to do if it happens. I’ll be adding the paperback to my collection for my grandchildren, and we’ll be reading it together—a wonderful debut children’s book by Ms. Hurdle.


Dead of Winter, Journey 4, The Old Road

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I love the journey Ms. Geneviene has taken us on, so far, with this series. In this installment, “The Old Road,” the focus is more on the Deae Matres, with more attention going to Boabhan. The Lady in Green, Boabhan, intrigues me, and I feel like there is so much more to uncover. With peril surrounding this group, Emlyn finds herself in constant danger. I don’t want to say too much, but I was happy with returning characters and terrified of ones who made an appearance. I enjoyed this being a longer read than the first three, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!


The Vanished Boy

by Harmony Kent

“The Vanished Boy” is a terrifying glimpse into an 18-year-old’s disappearance. Carole is a widow who never stopped grieving. When her only child, Jayden, left a cryptic message on her cell phone and then didn’t return home from a party, she began searching for him. I couldn’t imagine being in her place, yet I felt all her pain as I read it. Finding his laptop, Carole began digging into her son’s digital life. This is when the realization came that she didn’t really know her son. That was a great insight into how the internet allows us to reach out to others yet be more distant from the ones we love. Carole is a strong character that was relatable and determined. Her relationship with her sister felt very real, and the love for her son pushed her beyond any normal limits. As I kept reading, I formulated some theories, but I couldn’t have guessed the outcome. This is a well-written story that was hard to put down, and I highly recommend it!


I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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Stop by and say hi! Writing and Emotions #StoryEmpire #WritingCommunity #indieauthor #authors

Unrecognizable Woman Walking a Black Dog in the Park created in Cavna, FreeSplash Getty Images.

Today I’m over on Story Empire. Stop by and say hi!

WRITING AND EMOTIONS

Featured

#Tanka Tuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 225, #SynonymsOnly @ColleenChesebro #haiku #writingcommunity #poems #nature

Here’s Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #225 “Synonyms Only.” The two words are, Life & Move.

I used a picture from a recent hike for inspiration and went with a Haiku 3/5/3.

Existence

Stirs constant yearning

To explore.

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May Book Reviews Part 2! @bakeandwrite @JoanHallWrites @Marjorie_Mallon #BookReviews #WhatToRead #WritingCommunity #IARTG #ASMSG #IndieBooks #MustRead

Open a new door: a collection of poems

by Robbie Cheadle and Kim Blades

“Open a new door” is a collection of various types of poetry penned by two poets. The book was broken down into four sections, and within those, there were three reactions the authors called the good, bad, and ugly. This offers insight into living in South Africa and how the women navigate their lives. It’s deeply personal, and at the end of most of the poetry, there is more insight from the author which added another depth. Ms. Cheadle and Ms. Blades’ thoughts, fears, and reflections examine family to human existence, and are mixed with many other emotions throughout the book. This was an honest assortment of poems that I enjoyed, with so many ideas all combined nicely into this compelling compilation.

House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira

by Joan Hall

“House of Sorrow” is a short story and prequel to an upcoming series. Ruth lived by herself, and her family wanted her to move into assisted living, but she refuses. Then she reflects upon her past and what led her to that point in her life. I loved going back to the 1960s and reliving the trips to the moon. I can still vividly remember that event, and Ms. Hall caught the excitement, pride, and worry of the moment through Ruth’s eyes. Ruth and her husband had moved to a new town and an older Victorian house. She fit right into the community with her infectious personality. I loved her relationship with the neighborhood kids and an older neighbor, Sam. Although Ruth didn’t believe in curses, as more of the house’s history is revealed, it doesn’t concern her. This story pulled me in, and I can’t wait to read the first book to see what happens next.


Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity

by M.J. Mallon

“Lockdown Innit” is a glimpse into the pandemic through poetry. There were various subjects and types of poetry, including going to the supermarket, driving, cancer, and books. I laughed when reading “SuperMarket Bozos,” it reminded me of my feisty grandmother. “ROAD RAGE DURING COVID-19” is an all too often occurrence, even during the last year. While “Little Library” offered a picture of something one could do during the stay-at-home orders, read. The collection ended with “THIS author longs for Pets,” and I admit jumping into a cat’s dream might be that perfect escape from the heaviness of the epidemic. This is a book I’d like to go back and read ten years from now as a reminder of this time in history because it gives a unique perspective into strange times.


I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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New Release! “Weathering Old Souls” by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt @jamescudney4 @Didi_Oviatt #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

I’m pleased to welcome authors, James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt, here today to share their new release, “Weathering Old Souls.” I’ve picked up my copy!
Weathering Old Souls
by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt
Genre: Metaphysical, Spiritual Historical Fiction
Abigail has always struggled with the voices. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that changes her future.
Moments from the past serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, and also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of the mysterious voices, while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator.
Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between people they meet during the journey, and long-buried secrets come to light in devastating ways. As elements twist, numbers align and spiritual powers connect, no one will be the same again.
Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle.
James J. Cudney
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Didi and James are giving away 4 prizes as part of this marketing campaign. Winner will be drawn the week after release:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
$40 Psychic Services
1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)
Featured

#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 224, #POET’SCHOICE @ColleenChesebro #WritingCommunity #cinquain #butterflycinquain

Here’s Colleen Chesbro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #224. This week is the poet’s choice!

I decided on a butterfly cinquain: 2/4/6/8/2/8/6/4/2 and used a picture I took walking along the river for the visual.

INSPIRATION

The path

Becomes my guide

Awakening senses

Dazzling me with its beauty

Magic

The moment caresses my soul

Thoughts flow with the river

Words are blooming

I write.

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May Book Reviews! @stacitroilo @NatalieDucey @MarciaMeara #bookreviews #indieauthors #whattoread #writingcommunity

Summer Magic

by Marcia Meara

“Summer Magic” is a wonderful collection of poetry presented in two parts. The first part was based on a character, Mac, from a favorite series of mine, Wake-Robin Ridge. The poems are an amazing glimpse into his childhood and the mountains he grew up in. The second half of the book offered beautiful images that tugged at my heart or took me on a journey. Here are a few of my favorite passages: “Stars, he thinks, pulled loose/From the fabric of the sky,/And flung toward earth/Trailing silver and gold,/And bringing a piece of Heaven/To those watching below,” “Caught in that space between/Daylight and dusk,/When all things seem possible,/And the ordinary,/Remarkable,” “Reminds me of those early days/When all water rushed clear and cold,/And teemed with Promise so bright/You could almost catch it in your hands,” and “Bees moving slowly from/Flower to flower,/In dance weighed down by heat.” This is a collection I highly recommend, and I’ll definitely be reading it again.

The Heart’s Lullaby

by Natalie Ducey

“The Heart’s Lullaby” is a beautiful collection of poems that come from love. I felt many emotions as I read through the poems, some made me smile, and others brought tears. Each one offered something of the heart’s experience. Here are a couple of passages that moved me: “The power of a thousand suns/Delicate as morning dew/The dawn course of enchantment/This is my memory of you,” and “His haggard guitar;/Every note frees his soul/His voice carries on the wind/All welcome this one man show.” A thoughtful book to enjoy more than once.


Mystery Ink.: Mystery Heir

by Staci Troilo

“Mystery Heir” is a fast-paced, cozy mystery. The Dotson twins, Naomi, and Penelope live in a town that believes it’s cursed, but they don’t. Following the murder of a prominent local man, a burglary occurs during the town’s festival. Naomi, who is the more determined of the twins, jumps right into the situation. Her sister is thoughtful and fashion-oriented and tries to interject reason. I love the interaction between the sisters, including their fights. They can take care of themselves, having learned defensive arts, plus they have each other’s backs. When someone they don’t believe is guilty of the crimes he was accused of, they jump in to clear his name. Naomi is my favorite twin. Although she can get herself into trouble, her relationship with the mayor was fun to watch evolve. I thought I had figured out the whodunit many times, only to be wrong. A well-written mystery with characters I cared about and rooted for until the very end. If you enjoy a good cozy mystery, this is for you!

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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New Release! “House of Sorrow” by Joan Hall @JoanHallWrites #writingcommunity #IARTG #ASMSG #WhatToRead #NewRelease

Please give an extra warm welcome to Joan Hall and her latest story, “House of Sorrow! Here’s my review for this wonderful prequel:)

House of Sorrow: February 1980

Thank you for hosting me today, Denise. I’m delighted to be here, to visit with your readers, and talk about my newest release.

House of Sorrow is a short-story prequel to my upcoming novel Cold Dark Night, book one of my Legends of Madeira series. It’s the story of Ruth Hazelton, a reclusive older woman who lives in a two-story Victorian house in the fictional town of Madeira, New Mexico. Ruth reflects on her life, particularly when she and her husband Lee first moved to town.

This story began as a 350-word blog post years ago. From there it evolved to around 2,000 words. While planning Cold Dark Night, I decided Ruth’s story would be perfect for a prequel.

Most of the scenes occur in the late 1960s/early 1970s, so I used actual events in the story. I also drew on a few of my memories from that time. The part I’m sharing today takes place in February 1980.

Probably the biggest story of February 1980 was the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. I was recovering from a hospital stay and spent much of my time watching the games, saddened that Tai Babalonia and Randy Gardner wouldn’t be able to compete in pairs figure skating. I cheered Eric Heiden won five gold medals for speed skating and celebrated the “Miracle on Ice,” when the US Hockey team beat the Soviets for the gold.

 Public Domain photo of Lake Placid Olympic Medals

But while the rest of the US was celebrating, something was afoul in Madeira, New Mexico. Let’s hear more.

Excerpt:

February 16, 1980

I wish Lee would confide in me more often. Something is bothering him. I can tell by the way he acts. He’s always been the quiet one. Never wanting to burden me with his problems.

After twenty years of marriage, doesn’t he realize we’re in this together? I want to help. He’s always been there for me, but I know better than to push him. If and when he’s ready, he’ll talk.

Maybe I’m reading too much into things. He turns fifty in a few days. Could be a mid-life crisis. I’ll probably be the same way when the time comes for me.

Ruth closed the journal then went into the kitchen to check on the pot of stew. It was one of Lee’s favorites—a hearty meal perfect for a cold winter night. She lowered the burner. Looked out the window toward the driveway. There was no sign of her husband.

The clock read six-thirty. He was already half an hour late. She debated on calling the station but decided against it. She’d never been one to phone him at work unless it was an emergency.

There was nothing more to do than wait, so she went back to the living room. This time she opted for the television.

An hour later, Lee still hadn’t shown up.

“Okay. It’s been long enough. I’m calling.” Ruth started to pick up the phone when the doorbell rang.

She opened the door to find Detective Juan Garcia and another police officer who she didn’t recognize.

“Hello, Juan. Lee isn’t home, but I’m expecting him any minute. In fact, he should have been here by now.”

“May we come in?” Juan’s voice was somber. His face expressionless.

“Of course. No reason for you to wait outside. The living room is nice and warm.”

The officers entered the foyer. Ruth closed the door against the bitter cold.

“Would you like something hot to drink?” she asked.

The younger officer shook his head then glanced toward the seasoned detective.

“Ruth, why don’t you sit down?” Juan spoke softly.

Her heart plummeted. For the first time, she noticed the wording on the second officer’s badge.

Nathan Turner, Chaplain.

She sank into a chair, her hands shaking, and her stomach in knots. A million scenarios raced through her mind, searching to find an explanation for Juan’s demeanor and the presence of a chaplain.

Other than the obvious.

But in her heart, she knew. They weren’t here to see Lee. They were here to tell her about Lee.

Blurb:

Dream home or damned home?

Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.

But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.

Until the unthinkable happens.

Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.

Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Bookbub  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

 

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April Book Reviews Part 3! @JacqBiggar @BalroopShado @startrailsIV @Sandra_Cox #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Tidal Falls (Wounded Hearts #1)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Tidal Falls” is a romantic thriller set in a charming small town. Sara and her daughter Jessica are on the run from her abusive husband. She feels peace she hasn’t felt in years when she settles in Tidal Falls. Nick is her neighbor who is ex-military and still carrying some wounds from his service. There is steamy chemistry between Nick and Sara, but I love the developing relationship between Nick and Jessica. A wonderful bonus character is Nick’s dog, which really shows his heart. There is enough insight to understand why the characters have the reaction they do, and my favorite part is Nick’s response to danger. This story is fast-paced, and the relationships all felt real to me. Sara harbors enough mistrust to keep her alive, and that spills into her budding friendship with Nick. As backstories unwind and current situations take front and center, I couldn’t stop reading. I am curious about a few unanswered questions yet was satisfied with the ending. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Emerging From Shadows: Poetry by Balroop Singh

by Balroop Singh

“Emerging From Shadows” is a deeply emotional collection of poetry. The words were a journey that showed the darkest of moments but extended the light of hope on the horizon. The poetry is free verse, and it swirled around the bleakness of a situation and then offered possibilities of what might be. Here are a few of my favorite passages: “When sun smiles at the horizon/Gloriously beaming its buoyant banter/A hope emanates from the dimming light/Disseminating a metaphorical message…,” “You inspire me to look at the clouds/Creative fairies step out and smile/Sober thoughts spill out to greet you/You enthrall them when you meet,” and “Smooth silvery clouds of/Myriad shapes, shifting, forming/Moving, mesmerizing, merging/Into the azure blue.” This is a book to be read slowly and will leave you thinking after reading it. If you enjoy poetry exploring those shadows we carry inside, you will want to read this.

The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits (Dead Horse Canyon #1)

by Marcha A. Fox and Pete Risingsun

“The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is a thrilling adventure full of mystery and knowledge. This is a longer read, but I didn’t notice. I loved the Colorado setting and could relate to the mining details and the aftermath because I live in an old mining town. I’ve seen firsthand the damage it left behind. The characters immediately pulled me in, and I had empathy for Sara when she lost her husband, and almost her own life, in a car accident in a cursed area. Her memory of what occurred was gone, but that didn’t stop her from trying to find the truth. Her husband’s best friend Charlie starts a journey to unravel the mystery of what happened to his friend and exploring his culture. Although I loved both characters and their mutual support, Charlie was my favorite character and storyline. I have always had a deep interest in Native American Culture and the details and history, which would usually be too much in any other story, were perfect in this book. Sara’s relationship with her father and stepmother was realistic, and I especially loved her stepmother introducing her to something new, which tied in nicely to what was going on. Sara and Charlie’s love for Bryan pushed them into a world of greed and corruption. This is a riveting read, and it left a lot to resolve in the upcoming books, which makes me eager for their release. I highly recommend this!

Love, Lattes and Danger (Mutants #2)

by Sandra Cox

“Love, Lattes and Danger” is the second story in the Mutants series. Having read and enjoyed the first book, I was eager to continue the story. This one is told from Joel’s POV. He is a dolphin mutant with turquoise eyes, and along with his sister, was sold to a company to find underwater oil leaks. When Joel stumbles across a test-tube baby who is his, he promises to free her and find the girl he loves, or the mother. There’s a love triangle and a group that is determined to end Joel’s quest and life. The action starts immediately and doesn’t let up. This is a sweet YA sci-fi/fantasy that I easily read in two sittings. It brought a smile to my face each time they interacted with the dolphins. I look forward to reading the next book to see what happens.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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April Book Reviews Part 2! @SueColetta1 @SCVincent @JillWeatherholt #indieauthor#IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

Midnight Haiku: A Year in Contemplation

by Sue Vincent

Midnight Haiku” is a thought-provoking collection. Seven Haikus accompany a beautiful photograph. There are 365 poems, one for each day of the year. Although I read this in two sittings, this would be a perfect book to pick up each morning or evening and contemplate the daily poem—which I will be doing. The words touched my soul many times. Then, I’d have to stop to reread and absorb the meaning. There are so many images offered within seventeen syllables that are layered on top of each other. I love the idea of writing a single poem at midnight for a year when the world is quiet. Over the last couple of years, I have developed a deep respect for Haiku poems. Here are a few of my favorites: “Leading anywhere, each path is a mystery, until it is walked,” “Surrounded by gloom, still there is a patch of light, alive against the darkness,” and “Not all birds can fly, not all who fly have feathers, but all dreams have wings.” This is a collection I highly recommend for those who love poetry and those who like to ponder life’s mystery.

Pretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs

by Sue Coletta

“Pretty Evil New England” documents five women serial killers at the turn of the nineteenth century. Broken into sections, it was a fascinating insight into an era and murder. Each woman’s true story reads smoothly like a fictional tale, and the court proceedings were meticulously detailed. I learned a lot about forensic abilities and poisonings. The mindset of a woman killer over a male was not only astonishing but scary at the cruelty involved. A well-researched book that is for any true crime reader or someone who wants to understand a female killer’s mind.

A Home for Her Daughter

by Jill Weatherholt

“A Home for Her Daughter” is a dramatic romance that focuses on forgiveness. Janie has just left an abusive marriage, and she went back to her hometown with her daughter, Riley, where her brother lives. She’s inherited a business and home, but only if she can get it up and running by a certain date. The catch is she must work with an old friend and someone she used to like in school. This friend, Drew, is a widower who blames himself for his family’s death. I love how they find a way to work together, but it’s Riley that’s the shining star. She has a way of bringing people together and a contagious joy. I fell in love with the town and was cheering on each improvement made to the lodge. This story is about faith and giving two damaged people a second chance. If you enjoy sweet romantic tales that tug at your heart while offering hope, you won’t want to miss this one.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 221 #SYNONYMSONLY @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #poem #nationalpoetrymonth

Here’s Colleen Chesbro Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #221 Synonyms Only. The two words were chosen by Jude: Search & Lost.

I went with a Tanka this week 5/7/5/7/7.

The picture is 2020’s Christmas Star.

ALONE

The sun’s warmth vanished

Silence enters the forest

Nighttime cloaks reason

Guided only by the stars

I seek life’s veiled magic.

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April Book Reviews Part 1! @JacqBiggar @Sandra_Cox @teagangeneviene @pat_garcia#IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Turn The Light On

by Pat Garcia

“Turn the Light On” is an unusual short story with a lot of twists. Della is a successful career woman who has been meeting a man for dinner. Yet, they don’t sit at the same dinner table or speak except through book passages. None of that matters because she is drawn to him. A well-written romantic story full of mystery and intrigue. This is a story where I could never have guessed the outcome, and I thoroughly enjoyed that!

Dead of Winter: Journey 3, The Fever Field

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

This is the third installment of Dead of Winter, and so far, my favorite. I loved getting to know the youngest of the Deae Matres, Zasha. She has a passionate personality that drew me into her part of the story. The Deae Matres were searching for answers, which lead them to the Fever Field or a graveyard. Then the story returned to Emlyn, and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happened to her. I’m loving this story and can’t wait to see where the next journey goes.

Queen of Diamonds

by Sandra Cox

“Queen of Diamonds” was a lot of fun and kept me on the edge of my seat. A best-selling author, Logan, and his assistant, Kendall, spent three years working together, yet Logan didn’t really know her. Kendall had a secret life that no one knew about. She went beyond what most would do for their family. That path led her to a secret life that was completely opposite of what people thought of her. It made the book a page-turner to see what would happen next. The interaction between Kendall and Logan was entertaining, but I really loved the relationship that developed between Logan and Kendall’s family. A quick but satisfying read that kept me guessing how it would resolve itself until the very end. If you love suspenseful romance with a strong female character, this book is for you.

The Lady Said No: An Augustus Grant Mystery- Book 1 (An Augustus Grant Mystery-Prequel)

by Jacquie Biggar

“The Lady Said No” is a murder mystery, with some romance, set in Kentucky in the 1950s. Detective Augustus Grant, Gus, is sent to investigate what appeared to be a suicide of a prominent horse breeder. Rebecca, the woman Gus had left behind to become a detective, works for this family. When Gus realizes the death wasn’t self-inflicted, Rebecca is on the list of suspects. This sets up a nice inner battle between his heart and head. I loved the setting, horses, and era, although the time frame made the role of a single mother more of a struggle. I admired Rebecca’s independence and her ability to support her child alone. Then there was something charming about the Detective, and it was beneficial that most underestimated him. This is a quick read that kept me guessing until the exciting end. I really enjoyed this and hope there will be more Detective Grant books coming. I can easily recommend this book, especially if you like a cozy mystery.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Had a wonderful vacation, and I’m happy to be back! I shared a couple of pictures on Instagram and Facebook:)

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

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Stop by and Say Hi! New post at Story Empire, “Writing and Our Health!”

I’m over on Story Empire today with my latest post, “WRITING AND OUR HEALTH.” Stop by and say hello 🙂

LINhttps://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2021/04/05/writing-and-our-health/K

Note: I’m off this week on vacation, except for this post. I’ll be quiet on social media and blogs this week, but will be back soon rested and refreshed. Have a great week!

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021 Week #43.’ @pursoot #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #Haibun

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021 Week #43.’

I went with a Haibun format this week to fit this image. It is a prose paragraph combined with a Haiku/Senryu.

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

The red and orange sky covered everything in death. Three months ago, the world lost its beauty. We were celebrating my daughter’s fifth birthday the day a deadly Nano bioweapon escaped from a laboratory. Trees, crops, and fish died immediately. Food and water became scarce, and people turned on each other. Only a few of us survived, scattered throughout the world in our shelters. My family and I only had supplies to last us a few days when help arrived from another planet. These green people, who weren’t much different from us, gave us two options. Board one of the old pirate-type ships that would take us to live in our past or die here. What choice did we have? We got on the last departing boat, leaving our destruction behind. The sea breeze blew our ships forward, and then everything spun, making me dizzy until I passed out. When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the boat under a blue sky with a message tucked into my hand: Try again. Change the past to prevent that future.

Help or just a game

Destiny’s cruel repeat

Can the outcome change?

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Happy National Poetry Month! #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry #poems #NationalPoetryMonth #Haiku #FreeVerse #Haibun #Senryu #Tanka #Cinquain #Etheree #Haiga

Happy National Poetry Month!

To honor this month I’m going to write a poem every day. Although I’m not joining the NaPoWriMo challenge officially and posting daily, I will be challenging myself and filling up my journal:)

How can you challenge the poet inside of you this month? I will be writing it.

Will you be reading poetry this month? I will!

Here’s my first poem, a senryu, to kick off the month.

Beyond boundaries
Your moment of clarity
You can touch the stars.

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#TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 219, #SPECIFICFORM #Haiku #Senryu @ColleenChesebro

Here’s Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge. This week’s challenge is to write either a Haiku or Senryu. There is some great information if you click the link above.

I have two Senryu poems. The first one is 5/7/5 and the second one is 3/5/3.

I dedicate this to Sue Vincent.

Existence silent

When the soul is awakened

Energy released.

*****

Vast blue sky

Carries my spirit

To heaven.

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Dolphin’s Cave Book Reviews #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #indiebooks #ChildrenBook #YABook #Fantasy #reviews

I released my YA/middle grade “Dolphin’s Cave” at the end of 2020. I had a couple of blogs leading up to it and announced its release. Then, I got busy and didn’t do much after that.

So, I thought a blog would be in order to share what others are saying about this book.

Here are the last three reviews are taken directly from Amazon:

Cathleen Townsend

Coral has always wanted to go to Hawaii, ever since her parents died there when she was only a kid. A recurring dream has visited her every night since—she rides a dolphin to an underwater cave. Only there will she find the answers she seeks about her parents’ death. But she always wakes up before she discovers what really happened.

Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, she’s thrilled to learn her aunt and some friends are taking her to Hawaii for Christmas. Coral loves the ocean, and she doesn’t get to see it very often, living as she does in a desert near Reno, Nevada.

But once they arrive in Hawaii, disquieting events steal some of her joy. Her aunt has met a new guy—nothing wrong with that—but this one seems to be nothing but a weasel. When Coral’s aunt nearly gets run over in the street, he merely stands there and watches. And everywhere they go, people seem to be taking their picture. Not just catching them in group photos, but specifically shooting photos of them, as if they were celebrities or something.

But then matters turn dangerous. Her aunt is hospitalized, the result of a near-fatal car crash. Coral can’t afford to ignore all the strange things going on anymore, or some of them may never make it home…

***

Dolphin’s Cave is a YA coming-of-age story that should appeal to fans of teen adventures, especially ones who love dolphins.


JanS
Fifteen-year-old Coral is a typical teenager except she’d lost her parents at the age of eight and lives with an aunt. Oh, and she has this recurring dream every night where she rides on a dolphin’s back to another world that can only be accessed from deep within the ocean. Try as she may, she can never reach the end of the dream and enter the golden city. Then a trip to Hawaii with her aunt and family friends changes everything. Coral is convinced that going to the place where her parents’ plane went down will bring her answers. And it does, but not what she is expecting. This YA has a bit of everything from spies and murder to magic, and budding young love. This author did a fantastic job of world-building. Once Coral enters the Golden City, or Mearth, the descriptive writing put me inside the book with the characters and I ooohed and ahhed over the amazing architecture, dragons, strange food, and shape-shifting animals. This story will spark the imagination of any reader. It is a well-written fantasy with a touch of realism.
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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #42. @pursoot #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #shortstory #microfiction

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021’ Week #42.

I did another 99-word story for the picture below.

Photo by Marka Merka on Unsplash

WHEN THE CLOCK STOPPED

The delicate porcelain clock trimmed in gold had stopped running at exactly 4:08 a.m.—when I took my first breath.

“You were my miracle.” Mother would say, dusting the clock no one was allowed to touch.

Now it sits on my mantel. My grandson tried to fix it, but the motor, and the clock’s arms, wouldn’t budge.

Today I woke up feeling unwell. I picked up the phone to call my doctor when I heard a gentle ticking. The clock was running.

Then, everything disappeared into a golden glow, and I found myself gathered in my mother’s arms again.

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#TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 218 #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT @ColleenChesebro

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #218. This week the poem is based on an image, and it was my turn to choose it.

I decided on a Tanka 5/7/5/7/7. I found it harder to write with it being my own picture.

The story behind this photo is interesting. My youngest daughter, Danielle, decided to film a dance for a show on the Magical Trail. Of course, we followed along to watch, and I took many pictures. This is one of them.

My husband set up a fog machine, and my daughter’s friend filmed it. I can’t say I have ever seen anyone do a contemporary dance in the snow before. Her dance is about her struggle with anxiety and depression, which was always in the back of my mind writing this. Yet, in this picture, she reminded me of a fairy. Note: She found peace at the end of her piece, and I look forward to seeing it in its final glory 🙂

THE BLUE FAIRY 

Sadness withered wings

The fairy clings to the stump

Her sweet song is masked

While winter feeds foggy grief

She dreams of spring’s gift—magic.

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A #Tanka #Poem for #Spring #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

To celebrate Spring’s arrival. Here’s a tanka poem.

SPRING’S ARRIVAL

A single snow patch
Clinging to the winter’s chill
Wildflowers emerge
As spring slowly awakens
Bringing life’s renewal.

Watch for a special guest post this week, along with the challenge posts!

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

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“Books That Changed Me–2021 Spring Edition” @JanSikes3 @sgc58 @TPolen6 @MaeClair1 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks #BooksThatChangedMe

Spring has arrived with the return of the birds and wildflowers pushing through the icy soil. It’s a time of change and rebirth as winter slowly fades away. This makes a perfect time to read. I’ve had a good start to reading this year—26 books and counting!

As you know, if I don’t like a book, I won’t read it. There have been a few books I tried to read more than once. I couldn’t get into the story and finally give up.

So, I enjoy all the books I make to the end, but some of them leave a lasting impression on me. They’ve held me captive from the opening paragraph, made me think, or opened my eyes to something new. These are the books that I highlight here in “Books That Changed Me,” and will continue using the author’s blurb over my review.

Here is my 2021 Spring list in no particular order:

I loved the entire Hode Hill Series, but this last one was my favorite. “Eventide” offered everything I appreciate in a story which includes a haunted house, graveyard, and mystery. But that wasn’t all! There were fantastic characters, intriguing relationships to root for all presented in a dual timeline.

Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3)

by Mae Clair

BLURB:

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

*****

This YA story is set in the future where there is a very strong divide between the have and have nots. It wasn’t simply some people living better than others; they used the have nots body parts for their own improvement. It chills me to think that our society could become so self-centered and greedy that this would be possible.

Subject A36 (The Colony #1)

by Teri Polen

BLURB:

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

*****

The perfect blend of short stories, poems, and images made this a great read. But what drew me in further was I felt like I was reading about people I knew. There were heartbreaks and humor that carefully engaged my emotions. What I ended up with after reading this collection, there’s hope in everyday situations.

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet 

by Sally Cronin

BLURB:

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

*****

A bonus short story with the theme to never to give up! Plus, it’s written from a horse’s point of view. How could I not like it?

Satin & Cinders

by Jan Sikes

BLURB:

A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.

*****

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #41. @pursoot #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #99words #flashfiction

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021’ #41.

This week I decided to write a very short story where I used 99-words. No more, no less.

WAITING

I stood every night on the edge of the precipice. My tears had stopped flowing, but the valley hadn’t stopped burning. Everything I’d known was gone. Only my father heeded the signs and prepared our escape. Unfortunately, he could only take my baby brother and sisters. He sent mother and me to the mountain, promising to return. Mother never left the cave but kept our fire going. I caught fish and lugged our water from the icy stream. She insisted we were the only ones alive, but I believed. Tonight, my dreams were answered as my father’s balloon appeared.

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TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 217, #THEMEPROMPT #Haiku #senryu @ColleenChesebro

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #217.

This week’s theme is “Immortality.”

I immediately wrote several haikus/senryus when I sat and thought about his word. I put three together to explore what’s next, and added a picture I took recently.

My soul a tenant

An earthly body rental

Soon I’ll return home.

*

My body withers

As my memories flood me

Pure light welcomes.

*

I free my last breath

Leaving behind all I’ve known

Starting my journey.

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March Book Reviews Part 2 @MarciaMeara @Virgilante @ejhomusic #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #WhatToRead #MustRead #IndieBooks

Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Piccadilly Street #1)

by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is a paranormal middle-grade story that is set in 1967, Canada. Mary and her family move into a large house. The action starts when her family spends their first night in the new residence. They soon find out the house is haunted, but Mary finds additional residents, two Brownies. Those small, magical men from Scotland quickly became the characters I enjoyed the most. I appreciated their backstory and humor. The Brownies need Mary to help them get back home. While Mary struggles in a new school and deals with a bully, she gets very sick. What the Brownies do next was my favorite part of the story. This is a fun read those middle-grade readers and young at heart will enjoy. Four-Stars!

Will O’ the Wisp

by C.S. Boyack

“Will O’ the Wisp” is a YA paranormal tale that focuses on fifteen-year-old Patty Hall. The Hall family seems to have been cursed, and Patty is determined to find out why. I love that this story is set in the 1970s. The high school dance and well-placed details of that era brought back some memories. The strained relationship between Patty and her mother is realistic, and Patty’s rebellious side is portrayed nicely, especially with wearing her leg braces. That side of her not only showed her determination, but her inner strength that’s needed to overcome evil. There were some truly terrifying parts, but there was also friendship, trust, and family. I could relate to Patty’s position that no one, other than her two friends, would believe her. If you like a teen protagonist with some horror and a strong female character, this book is for you. Five-Stars!

The Light (Wake-Robin Ridge #4)

by Marcia Meara

I’m a fan of the Wake-Robin Ridge Series, so I eagerly jumped right into book four. Rabbit is a character I’ve fallen in love with and enjoyed watching his growth since he first walked onto the pages. His relationship with his adopted parents and sister is stable and loving, giving him a base to explore his gift or “the Sight.” When Rabbit wants to see the Brown Mountain Lights on Halloween, he not only sees the lights but meets a young man, Austin, and befriends him. This relationship is an impressive addition to the series. At the end of the light show, Rabbit finds one light that differs from the rest. The story follows what happens to Rabbit, the light, and a new character, Boone, through several POVs, which allows the reader more insight into the carefully crafted tale. This had the charm of family and friends and the mystery of the orb and what it wanted from Rabbit. Although some bad people were lurking around this story, they weren’t front and center like the previous books, but this story was just as good, if not better. I highly recommend this series and now have added seeing the Brown Mountain Lights to my bucket list. Five-Stars!

Harbinger (Wake-Robin Ridge #3)

By Marcia Meara

“Harbinger” is the third Wake-Robin book, but the second one with a favorite character of mine, Rabbit. I’m drawn to seeing the world through innocence or eyes that aren’t jaded. Eleven-year-old Rabbit offers that. His determination to help while being guided by his “sight” no matter what the cost, is not only endearing but makes him a hero. He has found his place with his new parents and baby sister. I loved the relationship between siblings and the caring and support within the family. Their love balanced out the bad that they dealt with because of Rabbit’s gift. The POV switches between his parents, Mac and Sarah, and a troubled man, Cadey. Seeing inside Cadey’s mind gave a painful glimpse into how he got to this point. Rabbit and Mac’s decision to help Sheriff Wardell on a twenty-year-old cold case blended seamlessly with Cadey’s tormented thoughts. Add in Ol’ Shuck, the big black dog who is the harbinger of death, made this paranormal thriller hard to put down, even to sleep. I’ll be reading book four next and highly recommend this series! Five-Stars!

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021’ #40 #lARTG #FlashFiction #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #poetry #HaibunPoem #Haibun @pursoot

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021’ Image Prompt #40.

I went with a Haibun Poem which is the combination of a prose paragraph and a Haiku/Senryu.

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

THE GOLD MASK

My pulse quickened as I set the black and gold mask down for the last time. That was my past, and the gold mask was my future. The musical notes sent a knowing quiver through my body. I was born to wear this. The musical birthmark was on the front of my neck like the others before me. I gently stroked the smooth pearl that had adorned the chosen few. Its energy flooded my senses, opening a world saturated in astonishing colors like a rainbow. The autumn feathers that showed my status would always garnish my meticulously braided red hair. In just an hour, I would stand before my people and accept this honor. Then healing and prophecy, from the music of our ancestors, will release my silent voice.

The new fairy queen
Put on the magical mask
Becoming its song.

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#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 216 #SYNONYMSONLY @ColleenChesebro #haiga #senryu

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 216, Synonymons Only. The words to work from are Eager & Hope!

I chose a picture to work with and came up with this Hagia, (5/7/5 Senryu and image.)

The flame is my faith

Longing for you to emerge

From the dire darkness.

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March Book Reviews Part 1! @PTLPerrin @ColleenChesebro @teagangeneviene @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead #MustRead

Slices of Soul

by Harmony Kent

“Slice of Soul” is a beautiful collection of poetry that tugged on my emotions. There is a story weaved into the poems that had a memoir feel to it. Each section was a narrative of the author progressing through periods of her life. So many feelings arose, but each one felt authentic and direct from the soul. I really connected to the ocean or guitar passages but appreciated each part of the journey. This is a book I will be reading again.

Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn
by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I loved the first journey and had been waiting for the second installment. The story begins where it left off with 12-year-old Emlyn, who lived in repressive religious times with powers she had to hide. The story was told from two points of view, Emlyn’s and Zasha. It gives an encompassing view of two strong young women. One can embrace herself, Zasha, and Emlyn, who can’t. The images and details paint a cold and cruel world Emlyn lives in with her family. I’m all in and rooting for Emlyn and Zasha. I can’t wait for the next journey and highly recommend “Dead of Winter.” Start from the beginning you don’t want to miss anything!

The Heart Stone Chronicles (The Swamp Fairy, #1)

by Colleen M. Chesebro

“The Heart Stone Chronicles” is a magical read for upper middle grade and the young at heart. Fourteen-year-old Abby is in the Chicago foster system after her drug-addicted father abandons her. She is sent to her only living relative, her father’s sister, who lived in rural Florida. The story began for me when she set foot in her new town. I fell in love with the area, wondering if I’d like to live there. I was glad her aunt turned out to be nice, and Abby made a friend right away. Then Abby finds out she’s inherited swamp land from her mother, who had died a few years before, and someone has put in an offer to buy it. The relationship between Abby and her aunt was heartwarming, and I liked her new best friend, Savannah. The local bullies seemed realistic, and Mr. Cobb, who had to have Abby’s swamp, no matter what it took. That was a bit terrifying how far he’d go. My favorite part of the story was Abby’s gift to communicate with animals. Never ridden a horse, Abby’s ability allowed her and the horse to bond, so she could easily ride him. I could almost feel the wind blowing my hair as Abby rode across the field on her horse. Meeting the swamp fairies was beautifully illustrated and captivating. This story was well-paced, with a gentle reminder about the importance of nature that I appreciated. I recommend this to all who love fairies, which I do. I’m hoping there will be another book to continue exploring with Abby and the fairies.

Terra’s Anthem: The TetraSpehere Series: Book 4 (TetraSphere)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I have thoroughly enjoyed this YA series. The fate of the world depends on four teenagers, and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow, and relationships develop. Told in the first person through the four teens gives a good insight into what they are going through. There are many twists and turns in this final book, and when I think they are safe, something happens. There’s plenty of action in this sci-fi tale with some romance mixed in, and I fell in love with the newest addition in their group. The alien community has good and bad, or the same as the humans, which deepened the storyline. One alien is particularly bad and extremely easy to root against. The detail in descriptions is amazing and makes it effortless to picture the surroundings. The ending was satisfying, with another twist weaved in. If you love a good sci-fi YA story, this is definitely for you. I highly recommend this series, but make sure you begin with the first book—you don’t want to miss anything.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #39.#IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #shortstories #WritingPrompts @pursoot

Here’s Suzanne Burke ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021 #39.’

This is the image:

Photo by Amanda Cottrell from Pexels

THE LAST RIDE OF THE NIGHT

The monsters remained in the shadows…. waiting. My husband and I sat at the top of the Ferris Wheel. Any other time I would have enjoyed the view, but not with death lurking below us. Pete had his arm wrapped protectively around my shoulders as the last hopeless scream faded away from the older man who operated the ride. The same man who had just winked at us and said we had the ride all to ourselves because it was almost closing time. We didn’t even know the name of the hero who had stopped the ride right before… No, I couldn’t think about that.

I tried to dial 911, but there was no signal. I couldn’t text or email. There was no way to communicate or get information.

“We’re safe up here, Lacy.”

“What if they climb up?”

“These creatures can barely walk. They are like zombies.”

I nodded, watching the monsters make their way toward a building that a family had just run into. I’d seen the beautiful family in line when we got our favorite chocolate swirl ice cream in a cup. The two young boys had been so excited about seeing their first monster trucks at the show. I hope the actual monsters didn’t find them now.

Our car swayed, and my hand dug into Pete’s leg.

“What if they knock the wheel down?” My mouth was so dry the words barely escaped.

“It’s too heavy, don’t worry, sweetheart.” Pete handed me my water bottle. The cool liquid soothed my throat.

Words spilled out of me. “All I can do is worry. How can we not? We were enjoying our night at the fair. Heck, we even danced to our song. If we hadn’t had to ride this thing, we’d be safe in our car escaping this… whatever it is. These things came out of nowhere, and it feels like we’re in a horror movie. This can’t be real. Do you think it’s all a show?”

For the first time, I felt hopeful. Yes, it wasn’t real.

Pete’s mouth tightened. “I wish it weren’t real; I really do. You saw what they did to our friends, they…”

Tears overflowed my eyes as I glanced at the dark forms on the ground by the cinnamon rolls. Thankfully, the glow of the colorful fair lights missed them. Yet, I could see their bodies weren’t intact. I shuddered as my fear overflowed until there was nothing left. Pete put his head on top of mine, and we just held each other, listening to the screams and car horns.

“Many people got away. And surely help is coming,” I sniffled as Pete handed me a Kleenex always kept tucked away in his jean pocket.

A rumble was headed in our direction. It was a helicopter! It hovered over the fair, shining its light. Soon another one joined.

“We’re saved!” I cried as Pete stood waving franticly as the car swayed heavily.

A voice came over the loudspeaker as a siren flashed in the distance. “We see you, sir. Remain seated. We will get you out of there.”

“Thank you!” Pete called, but I don’t think they heard him as they began shooting.

The monster’s bodies piled up quickly. Soon three men and a woman repelled down ropes. I had never been happier to hear the steady rain of bullets.

“There’s one! Lookout!” We heard a woman’s voice.

Another barrage o