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#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 248, #PHOTOPROMP @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #haiku #poetrychallenge

Here is this week’s Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #248. It’s a Photo Prompt, and the picture was provided by Sangeetha, from MindFills .

I love photo or image challenges for writing poems and short stories. This one immediately spoke to me and became a haiku 5/7/5.

Tilini – The Himalaya, 2021 photo credit – sangeetha

life strips away leaves

leaving imagination

where happiness blooms

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October Book Review Part 3! @Dwallacepeach @stacitroilo @jlbryanbooks #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

Socerer's Garden Book Cover

The Sorcerer’s Garden

by D. Wallace Peach

Madlyn loses her job, but quickly finds one where she reads to a young man, Cody, who is in a vegetative state after an accident. After running out of things to read to him, she finds a fantasy book he’d been working on and starts reading that. This is where reality and fantasy blur. I could relate to Madlyn and her confusion with what was happening, plus all the strange hints the grandma threw at her. Both beautiful and dark settings, along with poetic images, drew me deep into this story. I loved Madlyn’s developing relationship with not only Cody but his brother Dustin. My favorite parts were when the book was being read. Greed, evil, and power crossed both worlds and mirrored many current issues. This was a clever intertwining of fantasy within reality that took Madlyn, and others, on a journey that came out in a place that made sense. A fantasy story that I can easily recommend. Five-Stars!


Valuable Treasures

by Staci Troilo

Having read and loved the Medici Protectorate Series, I was thrilled to see there was a short story prequel to it. Ottavio and a very pregant Anita are trying to find the American Dream in the Colorado mountains. Ottavio puts in long hours with little to show for it. One day he comes home with an unexpected find right as Anita goes into labor. They hope to be able to use this to go back to Italy, but things quickly change. This is beautifully written, and I could feel the hardship they had endured, including down to the detail of their poor diet. What happens next is heartbreaking, but then comes a relief to see a familiar group. This can be a standalone read, but I highly recommend the following books in the Medici Protectorate Series. Five-Stars!


Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper

(Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)

by J.L. Bryan

Ellie professionally removes unwanted ghosts from buildings. She’s teamed up with a newbie partner, Stacey, on a new case. A ghost haunts a family trying to renovate an older house and make it into a Bed and Breakfast. There is a lot of detail that goes into ghost hunting and the ghost makes an appearance quickly in the story. What seems like a normal haunting has many more layers to it. The in-house investigation was scary, but I felt my heart race when they visited an old asylum. I would have been terrified to have been with them. I like the relationship that develops between Ellie and Stacey as we slowly get to know them. This haunted house held my attention and had an unexpected twist. A good start to a ghost series with a likable main character. This is for anyone who enjoys a ghost story with ghost trappers involved. Four-Stars.


For the next two weeks, I will be doing my personal short story challenge with new words, faith & effervescent—and their images.


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!

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

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“A Day on the Lake” A Horror Short Story Challenge on Vocal! #WritingCommunity #shortstory #challenge #horror #halloweenstory

I did my first short story fictional challenge over on Vocal. It was a Horror Fiction Challenge set by a body of water. How could I pass that up?

Here’s what I came up with. If you like it, please give it a heart and share if you can.

LINK

 

 

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New Release! “Things Old and Forgotten” by Mae Clair. @MaeClair1 #writingcommunity #newrelease #shortstories #magicrealism #fantasy #speculative #mildhorror #indieauthor

I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire Author, Mae Clair, here to tell us about her new book. I already read it and loved it! Here’s my review.

Hi, Denise. Thanks for hosting me today and allowing me to share my newest release with your readers. Things Old and Forgotten is a collection of short fiction that includes stories in several genres—magical realism, fantasy, speculative, even two that touch on mild horror.

When I’m writing, I often visualize in colors. My father was an artist, and although he would not consider white a color (technically, it’s a shade) it has long mesmerized me. It speaks to the ethereal, visionary, and the otherworldly. The color white floats—a wisp of the insubstantial we can never quite touch, like an echo weaving future and past.

I had all those elements in mind when I wrote Desert White which—among other strangeness—includes a white dog. When I was eight years old, I wrote my first short story, The Night Dog, about a spectral canine. It took me decades to pen another about a white canine. Below is a short excerpt taken from the beginning of Desert White.

EXCERPT:

“His name is White.” The gravelly tone of the old man’s voice matched his lined and weather-beaten skin.

“It’s fitting.” Micah eyed the dog from his seat at the kitchen table. If not for the German shepherd’s dark eyes, he would have thought the animal was an albino. White had sniffed around his mutilated wrists in the desert, nudging him with a cold nose. Now, curled up on the floor of Floyd Henley’s trailer, the canine didn’t seem the ghostly presence it had under a pale moon. Even so, he wished it wouldn’t lie so close. Large dogs made him nervous.

The shepherd was the last of his worries.

Earlier, he’d caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror above Floyd’s bathroom sink while the old man fussed over his wounds. When he’d driven into the desert that evening, his hair had been ink-black. Now, it was the same spectral white as Floyd’s dog.

I must be dreaming—still.

“Drink this.” Floyd thrust a cup of foul-smelling liquid into his hands. The concoction looked like yellow mud threaded with licorice.

“What is it?”

“Healthy. That’s all you need to know.” Floyd hobbled a short distance away, pausing by the rear door to snatch a plaid jacket from a peg. When he returned, he dropped the frayed garment over Micah’s shoulders. It reeked of must and stale pipe tobacco, but the fabric was warm.

Grateful, he gathered it close. He hadn’t been able to stop shivering since his brush with death. “Thanks.”

Floyd nodded to the cup in his hands. “Drink.”

He forced down a mouthful of the tonic. Tasted bitterness in steeped tea leaves, caraway, and something citrusy. “What were you doing in the desert?”

“I could ask you the same, but no need.” Floyd busied himself filling a basin with water. A crisp yellow towel hung from his shoulder. “We both know what drew you there.”

Shame heated Micah’s face. Tightening his hand around his cup, he studied the dried blood beneath his fingernails. The ugly rust-colored blots on his jeans.

I should have bled to death. Would have, if not for the old man and his dog.

He forced another swallow of the abominable brew, taking perverse pleasure in the way it curdled his gut. At least he was alive to feel the acid.

Floyd drew a chair close then set his basin on the linoleum-topped table. Pale green with chrome edges, the surface had a repetitive design that reminded Micah of boomerangs. How long would it take to count all those angled wedges flying into infinity? Long enough for the blood to drain from his body after slicing his wrists?

The old man had already lined up fresh bandages and gauze pads, well stocked for a recluse who lived in the middle of nowhere. Maybe he had no choice, holed up in the run-down trailer like a hermit. As far as Micah could tell, there wasn’t another soul for miles. Damn fortuitous he and the dog had been there.


BOOK BLURB:

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.


Thanks again for hosting me today, Denise. In honor of my love for autumn—a fantastic time to curl up with a book—Things Old and Forgotten will be on sale for .99c through October 31st.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

 

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#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 247, #SynonymsOnly. @ColleenChesebro #poems #challenge #tanka #poetrychallenge #poetrycommunity #writingcommunity

Hi! Today I’m doing Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #247. This week is Synonmyns Only and the words, Twilight & Hue were chosen by Willow Willers.

I came up with a Tanka poem and found this picture to accompany it.

landscape tinted red

under the heavy sunset

as darkness descends

luminescent moon rises

offering magical hope

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October Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @Virgilante @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #whattoread #bookreviews #indieauthors #goodreading

cover for The Yak Guy Project

Dead of Winter: Journey 9, Doors of Attunement

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Journey 9 takes Emlyn, Osabide, and Fotia/Zasha into a new place called the Other Realm. They hope to restore Zasha in this strange place. Here, they find three doors and have to pick the right one. I love how Emlyn is starting to trust herself more, which includes her intuition. The setting and surroundings are a vital part of this story, along with the beings they run into. While the trio explores, an army is massing — which hints at what is coming. I can’t wait for the next installment. Five-Stars!


The Yak Guy Project

by C.S. Boyack

“The Yak Guy Project” takes Ted on a spiritual journey in a strange world. Ted wakes up, not knowing what happened to him. A talking Yak becomes Ted’s guide as he learns his selfish ways of the past won’t work where he is. Ted was a character that I rooted for, but he also frustrated me with some of his decisions. I could see The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot in Ted like the author had compared him to. This story had me not only invested in whether Ted could learn and grow, but the world he found himself in captivated me. It was a place where technology had gone wrong many years before, and they were back to living on the land. There were many well-placed layers with life lessons, humor, war, and relationships that made this a read that I couldn’t put down. Five-Stars!


Maggie’s Revenge (Wounded Hearts #6)

by Jacquie Biggar

I have read and enjoyed the first five books of the Wounded Hearts series, but I’ve been eager since book two to find out what happened to Maggie. She has been undercover for the DEA but then was put into horrible conditions with the other women sold into sex trafficking by cartel leader, Chenglei. Back home, her partner, Adam, hadn’t given up hope of finding her. Adam joins forces with his boss, Amanda, and Ex-Seal Frank in that search. Maggie is an amazing character. She is strong, funny, determined, and caring. I like her interactions with the other women and how she can take care of them and herself. I could feel the heat of the desert or the blinding rays of the sun in the richly written settings. This is my favorite of the series so far and one that I kept reading just one more chapter until I was done. I can’t wait to continue to “The Seal’s Temptation” to see what happens next! I highly recommend “Maggie’s Revenge” and the entire 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!


Oops, I spoke too soon, sorry! Next week will be October Book Reviews Part #3, and then two Personal Short Story Challenges will follow.


Even when the power is out, you can read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

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#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry #Challenge #246 @ColleenChesebro #haiga #haiku #poem #writingcommunity #poetrychallenge

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #246. This week it is the poet’s choice.

I went with a picture I took while waiting to pick up my husband after a surgical procedure. I couldn’t be inside with him due to COVID, so part of the time I sat in the hospital parking complex. Here’s where I saw a dolphin-shaped cloud. I immediately knew that meant he’d be okay, and he was. I wrote some poetry that day too and added one to the picture which makes this a Haiga Poem.

 

dolphin in the clouds swimming in heavenly skies washing love ashore

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New Release! “Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse” @word_weaving @ColleenChesebro #poetry #poetrycollection #haiku #tanka #haibun #cinquain #mustread #newrelease #poems

BLURB

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.

Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andreea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, and Cheryl Wood.


I’m honored to be included in this amazing book! Colleen encouraged the poets to share their poems that were in this beautiful Word Weaving collection.  So here they are mine, and my hope is they inspire you to not only write some poetry but pick up a copy of the book and enjoy some phenomenal syllabic poetry! Thanks, Colleen and Jules 🙂
Watch for my review here in November Book Reviews
PURCHASE LINK

(This was one of the three favorites!)

MOON’S MAGIC

A lone black cat sits on the edge of our world, under the harvest moon. Her green eyes reflect the celestial beams, and her fur absorbs the stars. She rubs against the night’s promise, and its magic fills her soul.

our perceived shackles

released in nature’s healing

under the moonbeams


HARVEST MOON

full moon

autumn’s forest

fairies celebration

of a season full of magic

joyful

all the woodland creatures join them

dancing under the stars

before the snow

arrives.


blood red trees

autumn’s forest glows

hunter moon

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October Book Reviews Part 1! @YouAreTheExpert @JacqBiggar @CathleenTowns #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #indieauthors #mustread #goodbooks

Son of BOOKU: more halloween haiku

by Annette Rochelle Aben

I’m a huge fan of Halloween and couldn’t pass up a book of Halloween haikus and pictures. Ms. Aben goes into the background of Halloween decorations and her sibling’s part in that. It’s pictures of the displays that are used to inspire the poetry. The poems were clever and had me laughing. Here’s one of them that was paired with a haunting decoration: “I met this vampire/said he hadn’t had a bite/offered him a stake.” This is a quick read to be slowly enjoyed. Reading this book got me into the Halloween mood. If you love poetry and Halloween, this collection is for you.


Summer Lovin’(Wounded Hearts #5)

by Jacquie Biggar

“Summer Lovin” is set in Tidal Falls like the four previous books in the series. Rebecca had a crush on Mitch back in high school. They ran into each other in Las Vegas and ended up married. Rebecca leaves the next morning, and they didn’t stay together. Five years later, they are still married and run into each other again in Tidal Falls. I love how she fights her obvious feelings for him and how Mitch is still there when she needs him. It’s great to see all the wonderful couples from past books and the interest they take in this couple. Although, it’s the side story that captures my heart of a young boy Rebecca runs into at the school she works. His story, and Rebecca’s concern, made this a fantastic read I didn’t want to put down. Another great addition to the Wounded Hearts series, and I can’t wait to move on to the next book!


Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

I started reading this with the plan to read one story before going to sleep, but I ended up reading the entire book instead. I don’t regret the missed slumber. A fantastic collection of short stories that offer a twist on classic stories or a modern take on the classics. I loved them all, but a few favorites were “Dragon Hoard,” “Teenage Driver,” and “Gargoyle.” Some tugged at my heart, others had me laughing, but all made the characters feel real in a fantasy world. A well-written collection that I can 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!

NOTE: You might notice a repeat review here today. That’s because these are my regular reviews, and Books That Changed Me is a special blog where books get showcased.

Read a great book this fall and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

 

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#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 245, #THEMEPROMPT @ColleenChesebro #tanka #poems #challenge #poetrychallenge #writingcommunity

Here’s Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge # 245. It’s a Theme Prompt and Eugi (Franci Hoffman) picked the theme, The Harvest Moon.

I went with tanka poem 5/7/5/7/7.

glowing harvest moon

reflects in offered crystals

they light up the night

a moment of pure magic

where grateful souls emerge healed

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Stop by and say hi! Vocal Challenge, “That Moment.” #writingcommunity #indieauthor #challenge #writingchallenge

Hi! I’ve been inspired by stories written by Staci Troilo, Harmony Kent, and John Howell over on Vocal. So, I decided to give a challenge a try. Here is the challenge I did as described on site: “Coming of Age. Share a story about the time or event in your life that changed everything.”

So I took the theme and wrote a singular event that gave me a new perspective on life. It may be a heavy read, but it gave me the faith and strength to be the person and writer I am today.

If you like it, I’d appreciate a heart 🙂 Here’s the link:

LINK

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September Book Reviews Part 4! @bakeandwrite @1rburkey @EnigmaSeries @KIngallsAuthor @wandalu64 #bookreviews #writingcommunity #whattoread #indieauthors

Behind Closed Doors

By Robbie Cheadle

“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.


Out Of Poland

by Rox Burkey  & Charles Breakfield

“Out of Poland” is a fast-paced short story set in 1939 during the fall of Poland. The story paralleled with the confusion of the invasion as three young men were tasked to obtain something called “Baby” from the Germans. Although there wasn’t a chance to learn about all the characters, there was a chilling insight into this moment in history. I couldn’t put this story down, and my heart was racing at the end. I knew what would happen to the country, yet I couldn’t help but root for their success. This is a great short story for history buffs and those who like to root for the heroes.


 

Learning About Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Discovery and Love: A Charter School, Teaching Methods, & Resources 

by Karen Ingalls

“Learning about Autism” is not only a great resource of information but inspiring. Carol and Allen Tucker are almost empty nesters after raising their two children. They decide to adopt a special needs child into their family, Justin, who is dealing with cerebral palsy and autism. Later, they add Joshua, who has down syndrome. The book details how they loved and helped these boys and covered Carol’s path to opening her school for autism. I learned a lot reading this and came away with more understanding of the challenges and gifts raising and advocating for these boys. There is plenty of help and knowledge, but there is also an amazing example of love. This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand.


Hayley the Halloween Cat and the Search for Bitty the Bat

by Wanda Luthman, Author, and Mara Reitsma, Illustrations

In our house, we love all things Halloween. So, when it was time to buy my soon-to-be five-year-old granddaughter a book, I had to get this one. Hayley, the black kitten, is searching for her friend, Bitty, the bat. It’s a few hours before Halloween Evening, and she can’t find him anywhere. There are adorable illustrations that were colorful and brought Halloween to life without making it scary. The rhyming added a pleasant flow and made it fun to read aloud. The story shows a great friendship and a nice surprise. As I always do, I read and review “Hayley the Halloween Cat” before wrapping it up. I know I’m going to enjoy reading this with my granddaughter many times over.


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: You’ve seen my weekly poetry challenges from Colleen Chesebro here. Well, Colleen and Jules are putting out a book on 10-1-21, Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse. It has a lot of poets who contributed; myself included. I picked up my pre-order. If you like poetry, I have a feeling this will be a must-read.

Here’s the LINK

Read a great book and embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn

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Books That Changed Me—2021 Fall Edition! @Dwallacepeach @CathleenTowns @gmplano #writingcommunity #indieauthors #goodreads #whattoread #fantasy #shortstories #thriller

Maple Tree in fall

Fall has finally arrived! It’s my favorite time of year when the leaves turn the landscape into a sunset, the night is cooler, and there is the hope of some much-needed rain. Halloween is right around the corner and it is time for all things pumpkin, while the Magical Trail gets a visit from some friendly ghosts and goblins. It is also the perfect time of year to read. Here are three books that have changed my outlook on life in their own special way.

Cover to The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

by D. Wallace Peach

BLURB

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

MY REVIEW

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!


Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie

by Cathleen Townsend

BLURB

Explore twelve tales of Faerie, and discover its paradox–both close and inaccessible–peopled with heroes, rogues, and ciphers.

•A modern dragon who desires more than mere gold,
•A troll who longs for the kiss of sunlight on his skin,
•A teenage driver who discovers her driving test is going to be far more difficult than anyone expected,
•A gargoyle who yearns to safeguard not only a church but a young girl as well,
•And a woman who bargains for Faerie help—only to be confronted with a cost that is more than she can bear to pay.

Come join them.

MY REVIEW

I started reading this with the plan to read one story before going to sleep, but I ended up reading the entire book instead. I don’t regret the missed slumber. A fantastic collection of short stories that offer a twist on classic stories or a modern take on the classics. I loved them all, but a few favorites were “Dragon Hoard,” “Teenage Driver,” and “Gargoyle.” Some tugged at my heart, others had me laughing, but all made the characters feel real in a fantasy world. A well-written collection that I can highly recommend!


The Culmination: a new beginning

by Gwen M. Plano

BLURB

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

MY REVIEW

“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series.


Read a book, it can change your life! Happy Autumn 🙂 D. L. Finn

 

 

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#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 244 #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT @ColleenChesebro #Tanka #Poem #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #indieauthors

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s TANKA TUESDAY Weekly POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 244.  It’s an Ekphrastic photo prompt with the image  chosen by Merril. D . Smith.

I went with a tanka format 5/7/5/7/7.

black and white print with distorted houses and a skelton sitting on the porch
Image Credit: https://libwww.freelibrary.org/digital/item/66272
humanity stripped
world tilted and distorted
exposed to the pain
haunted by heavy mistakes
I live in my misery

If you enjoy the weekly poetry challenges from Colleen Chesebro, then you don’t want to miss pre-ordering Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse. It has a lot of poets who contributed; myself included. I picked up my copy! I have a feeling this will be a must-read for poetry lovers.

Here’s the Amazon LINK

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September Book Reviews Part 3! @AnnikaPerry68 @StephenGeez @teagangeneviene #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

 

Oskar’s Quest

by Annika Perry Author, and Gabrielle Vickery, Illustrator

I purchased “Oskar’s Quest” as a gift for my youngest granddaughter’s upcoming birthday and wanted to read and review it before wrapping it up. It is a charming story about a young bird, Oskar, who fearfully veers off from his group of birds hunting for dragons. He finds a sad little island where a cloud has taken the songbird. I love how the little bird finds his courage in a search for the songbird. This story teaches not only to push past fears but to understand each other. The illustrations are colorful and bring the story to life. I enjoyed this tale and can’t wait to share it with my granddaughter soon!


Comes This Time To Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

by Stephen Geez

“Comes This Time to Float” is an impressive collection of short stories that cover many genres. I enjoyed all of them, but “Vapor Girl,” “Comes Time to Float,” and “Age Eater” were some of the very favorites that I know will stick with me for a while. Each fictional piece had a common thread of attention to detail and emotions that drew me in. Before each story, Mr. Geez shared why he wrote or the history behind each one, which was fun to know. There was also an accompanying picture that added to my reading pleasure. There’s a lot of heart inside the 19 short tales, which I really felt in “Veneer,” but humor, intriguing insight, and variety were also woven in. It’s a wonderful read where each piece offers something different. A well-written collection that I can easily recommend.


Dead of Winter: Journey 8, The Lost Library

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was excited to explore the Lost Library with the characters. It’s a place I’d definitely go, even with all the other stuff going on around, and in it. There was some insight into the Deae Matres and a glimpse into what Arawn was doing. Then comes a leap of faith to save not only a friend but the world. I thought I had some characters figured out but found I might be wrong. This one was fast-paced and full of new things to ponder. I can’t wait for Journey 9 to see where this all goes. I highly recommend the Dead of Winter Series, but make sure you’ve read the other journeys before reading 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!

Happy Birthday, Jeffry!

Newsletter goes out tomorrow 🙂

Watch for “Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition” on September 22nd!

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

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September Book Reviews Part 2! @JacqBiggar @Marjorie_Mallon #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthors #bookreviews

 

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time, #1)

by M.J. Mallon

“Bloodstone” is a paranormal YA story that centers on 15-year-old Amelina. Her family life drastically changed after her father disappeared and then returned home a different man. Her once happy household was gone. When she gets an invitation to a mysterious place, she goes down a forbidden path by the river. Here she meets Ryder, who completely mesmerizes her after saving her from a robbery attempt. There were many great secondary characters, including her band members and cat, Shadow, but I think my favorite was Esme or the girl who lived in the mirror. There was a lot of depth in Esme, and the subject of self-harm was dealt with well. I’m a fan of rocks/crystals, so their importance in the story was a plus. The magic and darkness weaved into the plot of finding the truth contrasted with Amelina’s constant conflict. The poetry before each chapter was a nice addition, and I enjoyed the descriptive passages. The ending answered some questions, but not all. I look forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens next. If you like a paranormal story told from a teen’s perspective who is not only finding herself but discovering her unique abilities, this is for you.


Twilight’s Encore (Wounded Hearts #3)

by Jacquie Biggar

I have enjoyed the first two books of Wounded Hearts, so I was happy to see them back in Tidal Falls planning a wedding. Katy left town ten years ago with her mother and leaving Ty broken-hearted. She is a doctor now, coming back to supervise her wedding plans to another man. The old theater is being redone for her nuptials, and the man doing it is Ty. Sparks immediately fly between Katy and Ty while someone is trying to disrupt the renovation of the old building. A secret surprised me, and there was a person with negative intentions toward Katy. Since this is set in basically the same time frame as book two, there is no update on what happened to Maggie, which didn’t take away from this story. Twilight’s Encore can easily be read without reading the first two books, but it’s better to have the background on the secondary characters. I’m eager to start the next book to see what happens next in this great series!


The Rebel’s Redemption (Wounded Hearts #2)

by Jacquie Biggar

I read and enjoyed the first book, “Tidal Falls,” where Annie and Jared caught my attention as secondary characters. Jared finally comes home for good after making some mistakes since leaving the SEALS. He reconnects with his mother and runs into his ex-best friend, Annie, or the woman he had a one-night stand with before leaving to join the service the next day. Jared had made many missteps in his past, but seeing Annie and her son brought back old feelings and guilt. But this reunion doesn’t go smoothly. His past is chasing him, putting those he loves in danger. There was a side plot with Maggie, a DEA agent, who was also introduced to in the first book. This part had me on the edge of my seat with the dangerous situation she was in. Not only is there a romance trying to rekindle between Annie and Jared with someone wanting revenge, but Maggie is trying to survive. This page-turner left one question answered, and another that needs to be explored in future books. If you like a good romantic thriller, this is for you!


NOTE: I’ve been quiet the past few days and haven’t been able to visit blogs or do my usual social media. My husband had a planned-rescheduled surgery Thursday and we were only given a few days’ notice. He’s doing well, but my attention and energy has been on his procedure and recovery. He has this week off to recoup and then things should go back to “normal.” Hugs xo

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

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September Book Reviews Part 1! @sgc58 @WordDreams #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #WhatToRead

Laws of Nature Book CoverLife is Like a Mosaic by Sally Cronin Book Cover

Life is like a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony

by Sally Cronin

“Life is like a Mosaic” is a book of poetry that offers images to add to the journey. I have always loved the mixture of pictures and words, and this collection is a delightful blend of that. I like how honest and insightful the poems are with various subjects that take daily life into a deeper realm. Here are a few of my favorite lines: “defies monochrome hues/with a splash of colour/softening their/harshness,” “Clarity as the memories cascade/tumbling down the precipice of time/as if the floodgates have opened,” “The moon/hangs in the sky/lighting the earth at night,” “Sit/serene/with wise thought/and let them drift,” “Nature’s young frolic in the sun/under blossom topped tree/celebrating/new life,” and “Washed up/are words that haunt.” A thoughtful collection that I can highly recommend for poetry lovers.


Laws of Nature (Dawn of Humanity Book 2)

by Jacqui Murray

I loved the first book of “Dawn of Humanity” and had been eager to read this story. This engaging read followed two groups, split apart in the last book, trying to find each other. The most interesting was the character following these two groups and the one who joined up with him. When reading, I was completely drawn into the story down to saying “ick” when they ate their raw meat or sucked the marrow out of a bone. The attention to detail and amount of research is amazing, including how they communicated, groomed, interacted, and traveled. Lucy’s group shows an inclusion that is inspiring and relevant, especially in modern times. I appreciated a strong female character who applied logic to dangerous situations. I can’t wait for the next book and highly recommend “Laws of Nature!”


Born in a Treacherous time (Dawn of Humanity)

by Jacqui Murray

I have read and loved the Crossroad Series by Ms. Murray and have been eager to read this series. When the second book came out, I rushed to get started. Lucy and her journey immediately pulled me in. After leaving her first group, she finds a home and a new pair mate. Within this group, there is jealousy and distrust, but the most important thing is their survival. The amount of research and thought that went into this story amazed me. I could easily imagine how it was to live in their prehistorical times. I’m very glad that we found a way to control fire and cook our food. Their eating habits and being scavengers were so detailed and well-written that they made me shudder as they tore into their meal. Although everyone didn’t appreciate Lucy, her strength kept her and those around her going. As the group shifts and changes, so does the world around them. I dove right into the second book when I finished this one. I highly recommend this!


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

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Short Story Personal Challenge #3! The Playdate. #writingcommunity #shortstory #challenge #indieauthor

Here’s my third short story challenge coming in at just a touch over 1000 words. My husband came up with this week’s word, ruthless. This image caught my attention.

I discarded the first ending because it felt too expected. This one worked for me 🙂

THE PLAYDATE

I forced a smile and turned away from the picture. I swore the yellow eyes were still watching me. I nervously stuffed a cucumber sandwich into my dry mouth. Big mistake. It caught in my throat and then burned. I could taste the hot peppers as I coughed. I was positive I was going to die.

“Are you okay, Sandy?” Jessie’s clear blue eyes showed concern as she handed me a glass of water.

“Yes, I just swallowed wrong.”

Bobbie clung to my arm while Freddie sat on the couch with the same terrifying expression as the picture. This playdate was taking a dark turn.

“Freddie, why don’t you show Bobbie your room.”

Freddie smiled. “Sure, I can show him my new ax.”

I cleared my throat. “Ax?”

“He asked for it for his birthday, but it’s been put away. He knows we don’t play with weapons when we have guests. Right, honey?”

Freddie let out a loud sigh. “Yes, Mommy. No real weapons on playdates. I remember. But can we show him later?”

Jessie winked at me. “Maybe later.”

I gently detached myself from Bobbie’s tightened grasp. “Maybe we should go with them.”

“We’d just be in the way.” She waved. “You two be good.”

Bobby followed Freddie down the hall like he was on death row and making that last walk to his end. I was with him. The house was decorated like a haunted house, and the windows had dark drapes keeping the light and world out. What wasn’t black was gray and the pictures… I shuddered. These were things of nightmares, including the so-called school picture of Freddie.

I sipped my water, trying to think of something to compliment in her house, but I drew a blank. “It’s so kind of you to have us over. You didn’t need to go to all this trouble with these sandwiches.”

Jessie offered another one. “Please, help yourself.”

“I didn’t know we’d be eating. We just ate lunch, and I’m stuffed.” I patted my stomach.

“I forgot to say something. My fault. Can I get you more water?”

I set my empty glass down. “No, I’m fine, thank you. So, are you an artist?”

Jessie set down the platter of her little cucumber sandwiches. Her face lit up like a flashlight, pointing right into my eyes. “I am! I did all those photos and would love to make it into a business someday.”

“Your own business, what a great idea.” I stood up and walked over to a wall that was covered with Freddie. All had the same theme of him holding an ax. “So, you take the pictures and then add in the effects?”

“Oh, I never Photoshop a picture.”

I held a frown behind my plastic smile. “You certainly have a way of capturing the shot.”

Jessie clasped her hands together and squeezed next to me. “Thank you. Would you like to see my studio?”

I glanced at the old grandfather clock. Only fifteen minutes had passed since we had arrived. “Sure, I’d love to see it, but maybe we should check on the boys first.”

“I say when it’s quiet, you leave them alone, right?”

Against my better judgment, I nodded. She led me down a dark hall into a lightless room and flipped on a light.

I gasped.

“I know, isn’t it wonderful! I’ve got it just the way I wanted it.”

“Wonderful,” I mumbled, taking in the horror.

The walls and ceiling were black, and two round lights were on a stand looking much like angry headlights waiting to shine their light on their victim. A rounded black chair was pushed against the gloom, while off to the side was an assortment of black clothes and props that included hands, legs, guns, knives, axes, and a guillotine. The farthest wall had metal shackles. A powerful scent of copper hit my nose as pain tore through my gut. I needed to get Bobbie out of this madhouse.

Jessie smiled and put a hand on my shoulder. “That will pass soon.”

The room spun as I sunk to the floor. “What are you talking about?”

“Your human-ness, silly. What I put in your water is returning to your beautiful form. I tried to make it easier by showing you the picture of Freddie.”

My muscles spasmed like a seizure, and suddenly the room was too bright. I closed my eyes.

“I’ll get the light. I know how bright the earth is for us. You’ll stay here until the ship arrives. That way, you don’t have to wear all that makeup, contacts, and worry about the sun damage.”

When the spasms stopped, it all came flooding back to me. I volunteered for this. I secured a relationship and then married a top-ranked government employee. In my deepest sleep, they were able to extract the important secrets I had obtained. Bobbie wasn’t supposed to happen, of course, and the poor thing will have to live with the shame of being part human. I reached up and stroked my leathery face. I was back.

“Feeling better?” Jessie wiped off the rest of her makeup. The beautiful deep red around her yellow eyes and almost transparent white skin was a relief to see.

“Yes, much. Is Bobbie…” I couldn’t find the words to ask.

Jessie smiled. “He looks like us, thankfully. Although we had to give the poor baby the human drug immediately after birth and adjust some memories. Nothing can pierce his skin now that his beauty has been restored too—like those old axes.”

I grinned. “Thank you, Jessie. When does it start?”

“In a week. We are gathering our spies now and have all the information we need to simplify it. This planet will make a great second home once humans have been rendered docile for our food supply. Thanks to you, we found the perfect virus that won’t affect us. Our alliance appreciates your service.”

I stood up, slowly finding my balance again. “Thank you it was an honor. I’m glad you could continue your artwork; the humans must have made great subjects.”

She brightly smiled. Her pointed teeth shone like stars. “Yes. Their surprised look when they realized what was about to happen was the best. Let’s go to the boys and have a nice snack. Too bad no one will get their mail today.”

I laughed and swayed my tail. “Great! I’m hungry.”

It was good to feel myself again, and I couldn’t wait to get back home. Bobbie had a new world to explore where beautiful darkness ruled.


Next week is back to book reviews that will go through September! This was fun, and I hope you enjoyed it. I might try this again in the future.

Embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn!

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#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 240, #THEMEPROMPT #haiku #haiga #writingcommunity #indieauthors #poems #nature

Here’s Colleen Chesbro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #240. It is a theme prompt that was provided by Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Lullaby.

I took a picture of my visit to the redwoods this summer and added a haiku 5/7/5 which makes this a haiga.

picture of redwood forest and a poem. the forest's sweet song caresses my weary soul with healing beauty.

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Short Story Challenge 2! THE BONSAI @WritingCommunity #shortstory #personalchallenge #indieauthor

Here is this week’s personal short story challenge. It’s only a few words over my 1000 target. The word Bonsai was chosen by my daughter, Danielle. I searched using that words and picked this picture.

THE BONSAI

The fog slowly crept in and covered the landscape in a dull gray. The distant lighthouse’s mournful warned the ships of land. The gentle sway of the ocean had always been my meditation, but today the sound grated on my nerves.

I turned my attention to the bonsai that Henry had named Blossom. It had been a wedding gift from Henry’s parents. Blossom had stood at the edge of the cliff for more than forty years. Here is where I scattered Henry’s ashes last week. Sitting on the bench made out of driftwood that he had made right after retiring three years ago didn’t bring me the closure I desired.

Our golden years were cut short by aggressive cancer. I was left with an empty ocean view house and Blossom. She was the closest thing to kids since I could only miscarry babies, not have them. After losing four, we couldn’t bear any more loss. We let that dream go. We became each other’s everything, and now I was lost without his easy smile or quick wit.

Dr. Denny’s declaration rang hollow this morning. “You’re in perfect health, Mrs. Duffy. You’ll live to be 100 years old.”

I had smiled, but inside I almost wished it had been bad news. How could I live for thirty more years without the one person who made life worth living?

A sudden chill ran through me, and I pulled my knitted cap down over my ears and zipped up my coat higher.

“I should have brought my scarf today, Henry.”

A lone seagull dove past me, screeching toward the open water. The cold filled me, and I stood up. “Henry?”

I scanned the area. Nothing. I shook my head as a gust of wind tore the hat off my head.

“Hey!” I chased the blue hat as it headed for the cliff. “Come back here!”

My foot slipped on a rock, and I started sliding toward the edge. My only hope was grabbing Blossom. I had one chance, or I’d be painfully joining Henry. My hand reached and missed the tree, and my foot was off the cliff. Everything moved in slow motion as I prayed for a miracle.

What happened next, I’ve never shared with anyone. Blossom bent toward me, and I swear her branches were reaching for me like hands, right as a huge blast of wind blew in from the ocean. A branch wrapped around me as I collided with Blossom’s trunk. I hugged the tree as tears ran down my face.

Carefully, I moved my fingers and then the rest of my body. Nothing felt broken, just bruised. I lay there for a moment taking long, deep breaths to calm my racing heart.

“That was a close one, Henry.”

Black tennis shoes were suddenly next to Blossom.

“I wish I could help you up, Darcie.” came the familiar voice.

I sat up so quickly I hit my head on the bottom branch.

“Careful, sweetheart.”

I rubbed my head where a bump was already forming. “I either have brain damage, or I’m dead.”

The loud laughter that I so loved drowned out the ocean. “Neither.”

I moved a branch and saw the man I loved in his 30s. “But you’re dead. How can I see you?”

He shook his head. His brown curl that I had loved to play with bounced around his ear. “In my panic to stop you from going over the cliff, I was able to communicate with Blossom. She offered her life to the wind to save you.”

Using the tree that had split in two, I pulled myself to standing where I was eye to eye with Henry. It was unnerving I could see through those beautiful eyes. “Blossom?”

“Yes. I had no idea that was possible, but I’m grateful to her. I wish it could have been me to save you, but I didn’t know how. She did. Wise tree.”

I shook my head. “I don’t understand. How can you bargain with the wind?”

Henry gestured to the landscape. “The wind and the world are alive where I am. Anything is possible. Blossom is with me, using the last of her strength to help me talk to you.”

“I’m so confused. Our tree is a spirit? Can I see her?”

“Yes, a spirit, but is too weak right now to appear to you. She wants you to know she’s eager to play with our children.”

I caught my breath.“Our children are there?”

He held out his arms. “Of course, they have always stayed close to us.”

“This is crazy.”

His face softened, and he reached out. All I could feel was the cold, not his warm touch. “As much as I want you here with me, I know you still have so much good left to do. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

He started to fade. “Blossom says you’ll soon find what you are meant to do next and plant another bonsai next to her. Its soul will watch over you. Bye, sweetheart.”

“You can’t leave.”

“I can’t stay. Be happy.”

“Wait!”

Then he was gone. I dragged myself to the bench, collapsed onto it, and let the tears flow. The winds kicked up, finishing the destruction of the bonsai. I slowly made my way back to the house. As I climbed the stairs, a small furry black kitten was crying by the red door. I scooped it up.

As soon as the kitten was settled in a warm box, I went back to look for the mother and the rest of the kittens. I never found them. This was what Henry was talking about—my love of animals. I always wanted to have them and take care of injured ones but Henry’s severe allergies had prevented that.

Now I could volunteer at our local wildlife rehabilitation center or foster unwanted pets. First, though, I had a little guy to take care of who had a home with me. He was purring contently in his warm blanket after gobbling down some tuna. Maybe I would start an animal sanctuary. There were so many possibilities, thanks to Blossom’s sacrifice and Henry’s love. I wouldn’t let them down!


NOTE: Next week will be my last short story challenge for a few weeks. I have book reviews to offer instead. The word I will be working with is ruthless provided by my hubby.

I’m visiting with Rox Burkey. Stop by and say hi!      LINK

Embrace your inner child by hugging a tree! D. L. Finn

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#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY #CHALLENGE NO. 239 @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge # 239, Ekphrastic, Photo Prompt. The image was chosen by fellow poet, Cheryl.

I went with the tanka: 5/7/5/7/7.

meteor shower

wisdom streaks silver
across the inky canvas
we seek its knowledge
but worship indifference
a missed opportunity

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Short Story! My personal challenge. #writingcommunity #shortstories #indieauthors #theboy #challenge #writing

This week I decided to do something different and challenge myself. So, I searched pictures on Canva using the word scary. This image intrigued me. Then, I wrote a short story to go along with it. My goal was to keep it under 1000 words. I only went over by a couple of words 🙂

When I first wrote this, I didn’t like it and wasn’t going to use it. The next day I went back and started reworking it and got this version.boy in hood walking down foggy lane.

THE BOY

Bella snapped the picture right before the boy disappeared. Although she’d been the only one to see him, now there was proof.

For the last two weeks, she’d seen the boy in the same place, right after the school bus dropped her off by their private road. He wore jeans, a grey hoody, carried a black backpack, and never looked back or spoke. Then he would vanish into a heavy mist of fog.

She couldn’t wait to show her mother the photo.

Mother was sitting on the porch in the old wooden rocking chair, sipping her iced tea. The hair went up on Bella’s arms when Mother’s bloodshot eyes fixed on her. “Why do you have my camera?” Her words slurred together like they were in a wind tunnel, but the leaves on the trees were still.

“I borrowed it to get a picture of the boy. I got it. Look, Mother!” She held the camera up, hoping she was wrong about Mother’s condition. The last three years had been peaceful ones since Mother remained sober and took her meds.

Mother slammed the drink down hard, shattering the glass. “Liar! There’s no boy out there, and stop calling me Mother. You know I hate that word.”

Bella sighed when blood dripped from her mother’s hand. That scary woman had returned. “Sorry, Stella. You’re hurt. Where’s Dad?” She scanned the area, hoping he had come home early.

“Gone. He got tired of raising another man’s brat. I wish I’d never had you thirteen years ago.” Stella sank into her chair and started weeping. Tears mixed with her blood into a tie-dye swirl of insanity.

“He is my dad, and he wouldn’t leave without me!” Bella’s jaw clenched in a painful spasm that she gingerly rubbed.

Stella’s sorrow turned into a cruel smirk. “I had plenty of boyfriends in my day. I was very popular. When I got pregnant, your love-crazy dad offered to marry me. For a while, I thought I loved him back, but I was wrong. He left both of us. Good riddance, I say. Now, go do your homework or whatever it is you do and leave me alone.”

Bella wrapped her coat tightly around her slim body. The red trees brought the colder days and the hope of the holidays. There was none of that at this moment as she tucked the camera into her backpack while Stella stumbled into the house.

The last time Stella was here, she tried to run over Bella in their driveway. Dad had given her an ultimatum; get help, or they were leaving. After a year of full-time treatment, Stella was gone, and Mother came home. Although Mother lacked warmth, things had been okay until now.

The high-pitched vibration of more breaking glass came from inside the old gray house, which hurt Bella’s soul. She turned away from the place where second chances had seemed possible and walked back down the tree-lined driveway.

When she got to the road, the boy was there again. Instead of going to town, she raced toward him. There was an overpowering, musky smell, like the cologne her father wore.

“Please talk to me. My mother is sick and needs help.”

For the first time, he stopped but didn’t turn around. “She killed me, you know.”

“What?” Bella reached out to him, but he stayed out of her grasp.

“Run!” the boy screamed and disappeared.

She heard their van start. Its wheels squealed down the driveway. Bella did what the boy told her—she ran.

“Time to join Daddy!” Stella screamed.

Bella veered off the road, hoping to make it to the forest and away from her crazed mother, when an excruciating pain shot through her body. Then nothing.

When she opened her heavy eyes, her father was kneeling next to her. “You’re safe now, my little Bella. I’m sorry, I wasn’t there to protect you.”

Bella sat up, feeling no pain. “She’s drinking again.”

“I know, and it’s obvious she stopped the meds and therapy. I can’t believe I missed Stella’s return.” He buried his face in his hands.

“It’s okay, Dad.” Bella patted her dad’s arm.

The boy stood behind her father. His hood was down, and he appeared to be about ten years old, with the most beautiful green eyes, messy brown hair, and a huge grin. She smiled and waved. He returned her gesture.

“Can you see the boy, Dad?”

He gathered Bella into his arms and held her like he used to do when she was a child. “Yes. His name is Jake.”

“Jake? You told me to run. Thank you.”

Jake’s smile faded, and a shadow crossed his face. “I failed you.”

“How?” Bella frowned and met her father’s brown eyes. He nodded toward the old cedar tree and flashing red lights. Their van had plowed into the tree, and her mother was being loaded onto a gurney. “Is she alive?”

“Yes. Her body will recover, but I’m not sure about her mind. I’m going to set you down now if that’s okay?”

“Sure, Dad. I feel fine.”

Tears ran down Jake’s face, and he put his hood back up. After a loud sniffle, he said. “Bella deserved to live, not that woman.”

“I…” Bella stopped when her father pointed to the wreck. There was a familiar person between the car and the tree. “I’m dead?”

“Yes, sweetheart. We both are, but I think you’ll like it where we are going. Right, Jake?”

Jake wiped his tears away. “Yes. It looks amazing, but I stayed here hoping to stop her from doing this again. It wasn’t a deer your mom hit two weeks ago, and she buried me over there.” He pointed to a grove of trees next to the accident. “I was running away from one drunk mom and got killed by another. I hope they find my body someday. Even my mom deserves to know what happened.”

Dad grabbed Bella’s hand. “Time for all of us to go.”

Jake scooped up her other hand, and they started walking. Soon, the world they left behind was forgotten as peace and love filled their souls. They entered a golden light where three beautiful angels waited for them. Their journey had just begun.


I will be doing this again next week. My daughter provided the word, bonsai for the picture.

The Newsletter will be coming out at the end of this week. Watch for it if you are subscribed!

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

 

 

 

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#TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 238, #SYNONYMSONLY @ColleenChesebro #cinquain #butterflycinquain #poem #achase

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #238, Synonyms Only. The two words to work from were: Sanctuary & Follow.

I first came up with the line “collapsing onto the altar.” So, I decided this fit nicely into a Butterfly Cinquain 2/4/6/8/2/8/6/4/2. The picture was chosen for the dark mood.

HUNTED

I ran

bare feet bleeding

beaded white dress ragged

collapsing onto the altar

voices

Their cruel chase would continue

No longer my wedding

everyone dead

I ran

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August Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @pamelawight @RobertaEaton17 #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ghost and His Gold

by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Michelle and Tom moved into a house that had once been the home of a Boer family. During their housewarming party, they played with a Ouija board and innocently opened the door to the past. From that night forward, three ghosts stayed and changed their lives, sometimes in terrifying ways. There was now a soldier from each side and one soldier’s daughter, Estelle, sharing the house with the couple. The past was my favorite part of the story, and Estelle’s narrative was riveting and heartbreaking. The storyline leads to why the ghosts wanted to be heard. This is a fantastic historical fiction with so much incredible detail mixed in with the current timeline where the past can be resolved. I learned a lot about South African history and applauded the author for how realistically the war was presented. If you love historical fiction mixed with a modern paranormal timeline, you will enjoy this read.


Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary

by Pamela Wight

“Flashes of Life” is a charming collection of real-life tales. Ms. Wight shares micro-stories that are broken into eight sections and come from all stages of her life. Each one is a quick read that touches on everyday life. I could relate to each story. I found myself shaking my head in agreement with some of these tales, and a couple had me laughing out loud. I appreciated the gratitude weaved in, and it left me pondering on my blessings. The well-crafted writing brought me into Ms. Wight’s world, and I felt like I was sitting next to her on the beach, talking about life. A fantastic glimpse into the world of a daughter, mother, wife, friend, and grandmother. I highly recommend reading about these extraordinary ordinary tales!


Dead of Winter: Journey 7, Revenant Pass

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Journey 7 begins with a prologue that is pivotal to “Revenant Pass.” It not only explained what happened, but what is possible. I love how the reader gets to view the world through the evil eyes of Arawn for a bit. It offered an insight as to what the Deae Matres are dealing with. The group is still trapped in Realm of the Dead, and Emlyn is drawn to explore. This dark world is described beautifully in its chilling drabness. The group’s will to survive captures my attention while I’m rooting for them. I can’t wait to see where the next installment goes, and I’m enjoying my journey!


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

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#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY #CHALLENGE : POET’S CHOICE #237 @ColleenChesebro #tanka #poetry #poems #nightsky #bluelights #writingcommunity

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY POETRY CHALLENGE: POET’S CHOICE #237!

We have blue lights reflecting off the trees next to the back deck. It’s a spectacular combination of the twinkling stars above and the bugs that fly through the light beams that add to the night show!

This is a picture I took while laying on my lounge chair stargazing. It was the inspiration for the Tanka Poem below.

pine trees against night sky with blue lights on them

encroaching darkness

retreats into the forest

beneath stars soft glow

Brilliant blue beams decorate

my piece of eternal night

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August Book Reviews Part 1!@YvetteMCalleiro @BalroopShado @W_Angels_Wings #BookReviews #MustRead #BooksToReadThisSummer #indieauthors #writingcommunity

Mad Max & Sweet Sarah(Greek Mythology Fantasy Series #3)

by Ellie Collins

Max leaves his home in Hawaii and goes to Seattle to spend the summer with a father he doesn’t know and a place he doesn’t want to be. He agrees to stay for at least two weeks and work at the local pool as a lifeguard. His younger half-sister, Sarah, is determined to forge a relationship between them and convince him to spend the entire summer there. Max quickly makes a friend who has some strong opinions about family and people. Although this is a fast read, it dives nicely into good communication and judging others. Like the other two books, Greek Mythology was woven into the story and brought new insight into developing situations. This is a great read for children with some good lessons that I also enjoyed.


Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

by Balroop Singh

“Slivers: Chiseled Poetry” is another amazing collection of poetry by Ms. Singh. The poetry is based on the Japanese forms of Haiku and Tanka, and Acrostic poems. They are short but packed with a lot of emotion and images. Although it was hard to choose, here are just a few of my favorites. “full moon still lingers/trees delight in divine light/blissful spectacle,” “where two hills meet/clouds hide and seek/river watches calmly,” “we fly on the waves of whim/when our dreams get wings/ clouds crumble to comply,” “when we try to cage/each precious moment of life/harmony edges away,” “celestial confetti/that fell on me mesmerized./magical messages,” “far into the woods/we wander in quest of calm/which lies within us,” “I wrote my song on the wind/I know that it touches you gently/when you step out/I know you can hear its melody/deep within your pining heart,” “Her skirts are dark/She rides on the billowy clouds/Love in her eyes/could move the horizon/A thread binds her to eternity,” “Dream/Dauntless we walk into the Realms of our choice, Enamored by the hues of hallow, Accentuated by ardent yearning of accomplishing a Myriad ideas that mentor our journey.” I loved this collection and highly recommend it!


The One Chosen: A Diasodz Short Story (Chronicles of the Diasodz)

by Yvette M Calleiro

I’m a fan of the Chronicles of the Diasodz Series. So, when I learned there was a short story related to it, I couldn’t wait to read it. Valerie leaves home to train to be a Diasodz warrior. She is immediately taken with one of her instructors, Nolan, but he doesn’t appear to be interested in her. I don’t want to give too much away, but another Diasodz is interested in Valerie. I love the characters and how Valerie adapts outside of the strict dress code of the 1600s as she explores a new world with one of her instructors.  The settings are vivid, especially in the forest. The friendships and budding relationships develop at a nice pace while the monsters are terrifying. Some moments made me smile, and others had me worried they wouldn’t survive. It’s a fantastic short story that can be read on its own, but I highly recommend reading the series to learn more about this amazing world Ms. Calleiro created.


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 summer child! Read a book 🙂 D. L. Finn

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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.