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December Book Reviews Part 1 @PriscillaBettis @WordDreams @Ivyloganauthor #bookreviews #whattoread #mustread #readersoftwitter #authorsoftwitter #writingcommunity

Dog Meat

By Priscilla Bettis

“Dog Meat” is a challenging read for any animal lover, but with a lot of insight and depth. Ward lives in a society where freedom isn’t even an idea. He scored low on the placement test because of an illness and was given the horrendous job of slaughtering dogs for food. This part made me queasy, but there was so much beyond that job. The Colony controlled the people and every aspect of the citizens’ lives with the message that everyone was doing their part. The problem with that was that you had no choice on that part. There was no equality, religion, or different points of view — and some had it better than others. Ward struggled with what was expected of him and knew that if he refused to do his assigned job, he would be arrested and reeducated. As we learn of his past and lack of hope for his future, we are quickly shown how unfair this way of life is for many of the ones who didn’t do well on a test. This read will stay with me for a very long time, while I think about lack of choice and how we treat animals reflects how we treat others who aren’t like us. A powerful and painful story that I can recommend, but be ready to handle some very tough subjects and images.

Metamorphosis The Breach Chronicles #2

By Ivy Logan

Amelia’s parents were killed in a car crash when she was little. She goes to live with her beloved uncle, where she discovers he has a dark side that she learns to live with while residing in luxury. As Amelia grows up, she quickly learns how to protect those she loves from a brutal dictator. She ends up being the fashionable face of pink diamonds while trying to right a wrong. Although she is kind, she’s surrounded by many who hate what she represents. Not only is “Metamorphosis” a fascinating coming of age for a girl who has everything but who also has nothing. There is a magical element carried over from the first story that gives this a dark fairytale feel. I love her relationship with her bodyguards and her adopted grandma. She trusts the wrong people, but her kindness is her strength. This also takes on a more severe subject of mining diamonds and the people used to do so. A captivating tale I found hard to put down with a few twists I didn’t expect. I never stopped rooting for Amelia and am eager to read the next book to see how this ends and if she gets a happy ending. I can easily recommend this story.

Natural Selection Dawn of Humanity #3

By Jacqui Murray

I have read and loved the first two books in the Dawn of Humanity Series and have been looking forward to this final story. I wasn’t disappointed. Lucy sets out to rescue her tribe mates after they were captured. I have grown very fond of many of these characters and was rooting for them. The detail of their daily life brought me into a life I otherwise couldn’t imagine. Eating raw meat or insects while trying to survive in harsh conditions was just a way of life for our prehistoric ancestors. The amount of research into this story and series was impressive and made Lucy’s quest more real. I loved the animals that joined this tribe, including the Canis and Homotherium kit. Although I was sad to see this end, I enjoyed the journey into the past. A book and series I can highly recommend!

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like I book, I won’t finish it. I don’t think it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

NOTE: I know I’ve been quiet other than being here for my guest blogs, but I’ve been under the weather. COVID finally found its way into our house. I’m recoverying well and my husband is a few days behind me, but I’m not 100 percent yet. It is very lucky I was prepared for the holidays early this year

I’m taking a short review break, although I managed to do a couple during my recovery time of new releases. I just finished Fairy Tales by Stephen King. I won’t even rate this one, but would love to edit it. I would get rid of the first third of the book which read more like a coming of age before the adventure…lol. Now I’m on to The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz. I should be able to leave a rating for this one. Then back to new releases and reviews before my Christmas reading break!

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

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New Release! “Fairies, Myths & Magic” by Colleen Chesebro. #newrelease #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m thrilled to welcome friend and fellow poet Colleen Chesebro to talk about her latest book, “Fairies, Myths, & Magic 2.” Here’s my review: LINK

Thank you, Denise for the opportunity to share the news of my new book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule.

You and I love fairies, Denise. However, in Fairies, Myths, & Magic II, I embraced the darker side of fairies. Not too dark, but just enough to show the difference between the two fairy courts. There must always be a balance between the light and the darkness.

From Scottish folklore, we’re introduced to the Seelie Court, and the Unseelie Court. Representing the Summer Solstice, the Seelie Court signifies a blessed time of the year. However, it is during the darkness of winter, the Unseelie Court of fairies makes its appearance.

It is the Unseelie who are most associated with the belief in witches. They are a malevolent bunch. It’s thought that if members of this court grew fond of a human who was respectful to them, they’d likely chose them to become their pet. Think bogies, boggarts, brownies, and other dark creatures of the night.

Here’s a little story I wrote especially for Denise to illustrate the darker nature of fairies. This story is not found in the new book but keep your eyes out for Tomte. He’s the Swedish version of the Russian Domovoi.

The Domovoi

The minute she opened the door, Danica felt the presence of the Domovoi in the kitchen. Flour covered the floor and the table.

“Did you make this mess?”

“Da,” a small voice answered.

“Don’t you want to celebrate the winter solstice with me?

Dusa was her home’s guardian, and he often helped her with household chores.

“I was afraid you forgot me.”

“I never forget you. Come, have some honey cakes. I’ll leave them on the table for you. They will sweeten your mood.”

Danica set the plate of honey cakes on the table. She hurried into the other room to prepare for her winter solstice celebration.

As soon as she left, Dusa gobbled up the treats. With a snap of his fingers, the mess disappeared.

Danica smiled. She added honey cakes to her shopping list. She could never have enough with a house fairy in residence.

~~~

So, the moral of the story is to always remember to take care of your house fairy and not neglect them. Especially during the holidays.

The Domovoi is a Slavic gnome-like house spirit that attaches themselves to a family. As benevolent spirits, they often protect the home and family from harm. Their primary purpose is to take care of the family. But they can be a handful to have around.

You don’t see them, but some people can sense their presence. In fact, from everything I’ve read… you don’t want to see them! It’s considered bad luck to see your Domovoi.

They are sensitive little beings who if ignored, will cause mischief. It’s always best to not piss-off the fairies. Seriously!

It’s customary to leave treats (always the best from your celebration) such as milk, honey, beer, wine, cake, cookies, etc. which will let the Domovoi know that you appreciate them.

About the Book:

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.

From Autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, The Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.

Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II Links

Colleen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Amazon Universal Link: https://mybook.to/FairiesMythsMagicII

About the Author:

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.

In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft Poetry.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.

Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch.

In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.

Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

Find Colleen here:

Word Craft Poetry: https://wordcraftpoetry.com

Colleen M. Chesebro, Author, Poet & Unicorn Cats Publishing Services: https://colleenmchesebro.com

Facebook Page: Colleen M. Chesebro, Poet & Author: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085941528913

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/colleen-m-chesebro-6b856b237

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Stop by and say hi! “What Every Writer Should Know!” #StoryEmpire #writingcommunity #writers #authors

Today I’m over on Story Empire with my post, “What Every Writer Should Know.” Stop by and Say hi:

LINK

NOTE: I’ve been a bit under the weather the last week and a half. I’m doing better but need a bit more time to recoup. So, I’m not doing anything other than responding to my blogs at least until next week. Sending everyone hugs and will be back soon. xoxo

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New Release! “Do What You Love” By MJ Mallon @Marjorie_Mallon #newrelease #poetry #flashfiction #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m thrilled to have a fellow writer and poet, MJ Mallon here today to share her latest release, Do What you Love! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is the review: LINK

Blurb

Do What You Love Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography & Flash Fiction is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me

create clouds of sweetest joy

to do what you love

hold fate’s hand as we venture

near and far on life’s journey

Buy Links for Do What You Love:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections, (Mr. Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit,) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.

Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love

The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/my-services

Portfolio:

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/portfolio

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/unicorn-cats-publishing-services/

Other poetry/flash fiction collections:

Kyrosmagica Publishing

The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet

https://books2read.com/u/mv1OeV

Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Anthology – This Is Lockdown, (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)

http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit

 http://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series. Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/golden-healer

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

Author Bio

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK, and often times in Portugal.. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.

BLOG:

About Me… M J Mallon, Author, Poet, Blogger and Reviewer

UNIVERSAL LINK:

https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor

 

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November Book Reviews Part 3! @JacqBiggar @JanSikes3 @bakeandwrite #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #bookreviews

Letting Go- The Defiant Sisters Book 1

By Jacquie Biggar

Renee left home after her father committed suicide, leaving her boyfriend, mother, sister, and brother behind. She returns after her mother dies, knowing her sister, Izzie, would be angry and that her brother was not a little boy anymore. Renee immediately runs into her ex-boyfriend, Simon, who is engaged to be married. She considers leaving again more than once. The story unfolds in first person through three points of view: Izzie, Renee, and Simon. I rooted for each of them to find peace and happiness. The family dynamics made this a hard story to stop reading, along with finding out what made Renee leave after her dad passed. Each person has their grief to deal with, and I kept hoping Renee and Izzie would reconcile, at least for the younger brother who needed a guardian. I loved Simon’s grandma, who is not only tough but direct with both Simon and Renee. This story tugged on my heartstrings as there were no bad people, only people in bad situations. I can’t wait for the second book to come out so I can see what happens next. I can highly recommend “Letting Go.”

Saddled Heart (The White Rune Series Book 3)

By Jan Sikes

I read and loved the first two White Rune Series stories and was looking forward to this one. Colt runs a horse sanctuary ranch. I love his relationship with the horses and the beautiful setting of the ranch. He is their first suspect when a stranger dies after a run-in with Colt. Now he needs help from the beyond and finds that in a medium, Sage. The blend of a western romance with spirituality and the developing relationship between Colt and Sage makes this a hard story to put down. Seeing other characters from previous stories was heartwarming, and the music was woven in naturally. I went back and forth about who the killer might be, and none of my guesses were correct. This might be my favorite of the three because of the ranch, but this has been a fantastic series that I can highly recommend!

Haunted Halloween Holiday

Robbie Cheadle and Michael Cheadle

Another fun young children’s adventure from Robbie and Michael Cheadle with beautiful fondant creatures. Each character is introduced with a cute limerick. Count Sugular and Witch Honey travel to a Halloween party with Baby Howler. A charming Halloween read parents can share with their children or beginning readers can appreciate. I enjoyed this tale and will happily pass it on to my six- and seven-year-old granddaughters!

NOTE:

If you are subcribed to my Newsletter check your email, I sent it out on the 20th. Don’t miss the new Book of the Month and not only a chance to win a gift card but one of the amazing Books of the Month 🙂

I will be off next weekend for the Thanksgiving Holiday. For those in the US who celebrate it, I wish you a peaceful and magical day.  Book reviews will be back on December 5th.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like I book, I won’t finish it. I don’t think it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

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

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November Book Reviews Part 2! @teagangeneviene @maurabeth2014 @LyndaMFiller #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread

A Peril in Ectoplasm: Just Once More

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

“A Peril in Ectoplasm” is a paranormal thriller that centers on a rich spiritualist, Daphne, and is set in the roaring twenties. Daphne is engaged to a Cuban Count whose intentions toward her are very sketchy. He is a character that was created to dislike, and I did! During a séance, Daphne is warned she needs to find someone but is given little clues other than an image with eyes. Her life may depend on locating this person. Being a medium has taken its toll on Daphne, but her fiancé pushes just one more time. The settings immersed me in Florida in the 1920s and the search for the person offered little clues that came nicely together. It was the fight between the good and bad that had me unable to put the story down. I loved the relationship between Daphne and her protective housekeeper, while I kept hoping Daphne would really see the man in front of her. This was a well-written story that I can easily recommend.

I’ll Be Right Back

by Maura Beth Brennan

“I’ll Be Right Back” is a short but satisfying read. Warren’s much younger wife, Iris, takes her dog for a walk in a snowstorm. He later finds the dog, Petal, in the garage, but no sign of Iris. After he gets no help from the police or family, he sets out to find her. A quick-paced story that took a couple of turns that I didn’t expect. There is a man in love, an ex-exotic dancer, a surprising twist, and a cute dog that kept me entertained. I can easily recommend this story, especially if you want an engaging tale that can be finished before bed or as an afternoon read.

Destiny’s Daughter: It was the best of times.

By Lynda Filler

“Destiny’s Daughter” is Ms. Filler’s third memoir and focuses mainly on her current Istanbul journey and relationships. I have read the two previous memoirs and have always been inspired by the author’s insights, and her latest book didn’t disappoint. It read like she was sharing her diary with us. Some of the information was repeated in a way that felt like processing and bringing to the front what was essential to her. I thoroughly enjoyed the history and learning more about a city I know little about. There is the honesty of personal struggles and triumphs. Being a cat lover, I was happy to see the felines treated so well in this city while reading about the Russian War ships passing by brought chills. You can easily enjoy this without reading her past books since she gives a glimpse into her history. A book that shows that you can do anything at any age while sometimes you have to deal with the past at unexpected times. A fantastic read for those who love to be a part of someone’s candid journey through life.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like I book, I won’t finish it. I don’t think it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

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

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New Release: “Saddled Hearts” by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #romance

I am thrilled to have friend and fellow Story Book Empire Author, Jan Sikes, here today to celebrate the new release of her book, “Saddled Hearts.” Here is my review: LINK

Denise, I am super excited and honored to be visiting your blog site today. Thank you so much for offering to let me take over. Your support is much appreciated.

I love including animals in my stories. They can add so many opportunities for a deeper look into the characters or sometimes a bit of humor. In Saddled Hearts, Colt Layne has two Australian Shepherds, Mattie and Sheila. Since I love well-behaved dogs, I add that into their character. They are loyal and devoted and are helpful with ranch work. I first introduced them in Jagged Feathers.

Here’s a few of examples.

EXERPTS:

Gravel crunched under tires in the driveway, and Mattie and Sheila raised a ruckus on the front porch. Colt set his guitar on a nearby stand. “Sounds like we have company.”

He strode to the door and called to the two dogs. They stopped barking but kept their ears straight up and eyes on the vehicle that belched black smoke as it came to a stop.

***

Once she’d settled, she called to the dogs. They didn’t waste a second in joining her.

Leaning over, she rubbed both of their heads and backs. “They’re so well-behaved.”

“I started teaching them when they were pups. Do you have any pets?”

“I have two cats, Bella and Luna. They’re probably wondering where I am about now.”

“Animals can become like family. I’m lucky to have two such smart children.”

Sage threw back her head and laughed. “Children? That’s an odd way of referring to them, but it fits.”

***

He reached her as she stepped out of the car. With no hesitation, he pulled her into a warm embrace. “You made it.” The dogs ran in a circle around them, stirring up dust. “Girls, sit,” Colt commanded. They obeyed with soft whimpers, never taking their eyes off Sage.

***

Fierce barking from Mattie and Sheila brought Colt to his feet. He propped the guitar against a chair, then strode out onto the front porch.

“What’s got you so riled up, girls?” Probably a raccoon or opossum.

They ran along the perimeter of the large porch and back again, barking.

Colt’s nostrils twitched. Smoke!

But where was it coming from? He made a beeline around the porch to the backside of the house, and spit dried in his mouth. The back pasture glowed with flames.

***

Mattie and Sheila also helped round up rogue cattle in another scene in the book. I loved creating both of them. I’ve had dogs throughout my life but one in particular stands out. She was a Doberman named Penny. At first, I was afraid of her, but she turned out to be the most loving and loyal animal. Right now, I have four granddogs. One is quite elderly and not in good health, but I love to see them, and they always respond to that love. Do you have animals, or is there a special animal that stands out in your memory? Let’s talk!

BOOK BLURB:

Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?

He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?

Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.

The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.

BOOK TRAILER: https://youtu.be/_MQ9fYH5PrI

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com
BLOG: http://www.jansikesblog.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sikesjan/
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

 

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November Book Reviews Part 1! @JacqBiggar @Ivyloganauthor @JItakali #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #mustreads

The Beast Within(Mended Souls #2)

by Jacquie Biggar

I loved the first Mended Souls book and was eager to read “The Beast Within.” I wasn’t disappointed; there was a mystery, suspense, romance, and my favorite part, angels. Lucas is a new angel trying to find his way while partnered with the man who hates him the most, Mike. They have much pain to work through while someone Lucas cares about has become part of heartbroken Mike’s revenge. On earth, Mike’s widow, Julie, comes across something unexpected on a walk along a beach, and she catches a killer’s eye. Conner is a skeptical cop with a massive attraction to Julie, who is still grieving her losses while finding her place as a mother and journalist. Together and separately, they attempt to find the killer, while from the other side, Lucas tries to help keep her alive in ways Mike can’t. A lot of healing must take place in both angels’ hearts so they can move forward, but Julie must survive for this to happen. This well-written story had a few twists I didn’t expect and a killer I didn’t guess. I hope there is another book because I’ve grown fond of these troubled angels. This is a story I can highly recommend.

Broken The Breach Chronicles #1

By Ivy Logan

“Broken” is a uniquely written YA fantasy about two generations of sorceresses. Caitlin is born a fully developed sorceress as a guardian of the earth who is warned by the wraiths about what could happen in her future. Her sister, Aster, helped an orphaned boy find a new home. These two events come together when Caitlin falls in love with a mortal, Michael. They have two children, Talia, a half-sorceress, and a magic-less son. Meanwhile, the orphaned boy grows into something Aster couldn’t have expected. Caitlin makes some poor choices out of love and her daughter Talia lives with the consequences of them. This was a story with strong female characters, which I appreciated. I enjoyed the family bond, especially between Talia and her little brother. An evil king, a conflicted dragon, and a desire to protect loved ones made this a fascinating read. A fast-paced story with a twist I didn’t see coming. I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.

Realms of the Mist

By Jude Kirya Itakali

“Realms of the Mist” takes place in the mountains of Africa within the hidden areas where the gifted live. Kamau is a part of the Hadiza, who are guardians of the veil between the living and the afterlife. They not only repress their emotions but are separated from family. There was a mistake, and Kamau and his sister, Kimya, ended up together. When his sister suddenly dies, he questions everything before becoming a full member of this community. He starts a quest to find answers about his sister but finds more than he could have ever imagined. I love the people he meets along the way that join him. His best friend, Irina, is the first to help, and their relationship is a favorite. When Ninwe from another realm becomes a part of this quest, the exchanges and undercurrent between her and Irina are a lot of fun and, at times, painful. The settings and poetic descriptions were amazing as they weaved a special depth to this story. As Kamau learns more about himself and his quest, it only gives him more questions. Each stop in his journey added to his knowledge, and there were some twists I didn’t expect. Although the ending answered some questions, it left many unanswered, making me eager for the next book. This unique fantasy offers gods, love, danger, hidden agendas, duty, and a young man trying to do the right thing as he must figure out what, and who, he can trust. I can easily recommend this fast-paced story I found hard to put down.

I only post my 4 & 5 star reviews here! If I don’t like I book, I won’t finish it. I don’t think it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

UPDATE:

I had a great break! First I went to Disneyland/Universal with my youngest daughter and renewed that inner child. After being back for a couple of days went on part two vacation with the hubby. Stayed close to home but enjoyed Halloween, and some much needed rain and snow! The Go-Bag was put away as I offically declared fire season over for this year 🙂 We drove to see the summit snow, did some fun couple holiday projects at home, and visted the Hard Rock Cafe in Sacramento. I posted some pictures on Instagram and Facebook of my adventures.

I won’t try to catch up but look forward making my rounds.

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

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New Release! “The Midnight Rambler” by C. S. Boyack. #newrelease #halloweenread #readersoftwitter #whattoread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to have a friend and fellow Story Empire Contributor here, C. S. Boyack. I have read and loved all six of The Hat Series. My review of The Midnight Rambler: LINK

It means a lot to me that you’d open your doors to my blog tour, Denise. I’d love to help you promote your next publication whenever that might be.

There’s a cover and blurb down below that will give you some specifics into this story, but I want to talk about the series itself. This is a collection of stand-alone stories that don’t have any required reading before diving in. If The Midnight Rambler is your first exposure to the series, I promise you won’t feel lost.

One of the things that’s come up with this series is reader expectations. They’re dark humor and corny on purpose. Readers have developed their favorite features and it’s important for me to remember those. As the series grows, I can’t be shackled by them. We have new areas to explore and characters to meet.

People seemed to love Kevin the vampire, who is a kind of street informant for Lizzie and the hat. They love Noodles the crazy pet creature one of the local witches owns. Star St. Laurent, Lizzie’s mother has plenty of fans. Then there are things that seem to be regular features like the silly graphics and Night Bump Radio.

I dropped a few of these here, because I can’t pay homage to all of them in every book. There are times when a girl needs to talk to her mother, perfect for Star. Maybe she needs a street informant, great for Kevin. Detective Yoder and his deceased wife have their fans. I will continue to use these characters, but only when it’s appropriate for the story.

It seems like Night Bump Radio and the legend of Hellpox are finding their way into every tale, but even then it may be a major or minor appearance as the plot dictates. I can’t cover everyone’s favorite in every story. We have new characters to meet and new situations to delve into.

These peripheral characters are around for a reason. I can use them when it helps advance the plot. I can’t revisit them just because they were so much fun in previous volumes. It makes Lizzie’s world more realistic and complete.

Lizzie needs people like her mother to interact with. Her band, The Pythons, and a couple of her employers also fill this role. She can’t talk to them about the supernatural world, so we have Kevin the vampire, the local coven, or even Detective Yoder to fill those roles.

The Midnight Rambler features Elgin the magpie, and Ray C. Adair. These are new characters to love. It doesn’t mean I’m abandoning anyone, and they could reappear at any time in future volumes.

Just in case you’re worried, Dash Goodman and Detective Yoder appear in this story. Even Cyrus Yoder and Noodles are here, but in minimal form. I even revisited a nameless red headed vampire who’s more of a frenemy at this point.

I am honored that people enjoyed the peripheral characters in this series. Unless they’ve been killed any of them could reappear when the need arises. Of course, it’s a paranormal series so they might return even if they’re dead. Who knows? Kevin and the redhead are already dead, so never say never. 

Cover Blurb:

Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die.

The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle.

Join Lizzie and the hat as they battle the elements, the paranormal, and a being of pure evil. Lizzie might be battling some personal demons along the way as she and Ray grow closer.

Get your copy here: https://mybook.to/TheMidnightRambler

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New Release: “Letting Go” by Jacquie Biggar! @JacqBiggar @XpressoTours⁣ #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #newrelease

I’m thrilled to have friend, and fellow writer here today, Jacquie Biggar, to share her latest release, Letting Go The Defiant Sisters Book 1!

Letting Go
Jacquie Biggar
(The Defiant Sisters, #1)
Publication date: October 21st 2022
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

When life gives you lemons…

 

 

Izzy

Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.

Renee

The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

Goodreads / Amazon

SNEAK PEEK:

Izzy

The shock of finding Renée on the doorstep is fading, taken over by the sheer hypocrisy of her arrival. Why now? It’s a little late if she wants to make amends. Not a word for two stinking years and she shows up thinking I’m going to be grateful she’s here?

Not in this lifetime.

The warm sincerity of her embrace, though… it tries to weaken the resentment I’ve fostered since she walked out on her family, leaving me to pick up the pieces.

“I don’t want you here,” I snarl, unable to hide my bitterness. I’d rather act as though I don’t care.

Renée eyes me warily, rubbing a reddened palm. I feel a childish delight to have caused her even a minuscule amount of the pain she’s caused me.

“I’m aware,” she says calmly, bending to pick up a bulging overnight bag. “But I’m here now, so let’s make the best of it—for Mom.”

Red hot rage rises from the pit of my stomach to spit and steam from my ears. “Do. Not. Use Mom against me. You lost that right a long time ago.”

Months of caregiving flicker behind my eyes. My father’s suicide did something to Mom. She shouldered the blame and wore it like a hairshirt, ripping the blinders away from their relationship to show the fractures in the foundation. She shut down. Stopped eating, washing, and caring. It was left to me to get Benjamin off to school, clothes washed, and a semblance of normalcy when everything was insane.

“You should have called.” Renée’s empathetic gaze gets on my last nerve.

I whirl away before I plant my fist in her face. “Your room is the way you left it. You can stay the weekend, then I want you to leave. Ben doesn’t need to get his hopes up.” And neither do I.

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

 

“My name is Jacquie Biggar. When I’m not acting like a total klutz, I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a butler to my calico cat.

My guilty pleasures are reality tv shows like Amazing Race and The Voice. Every Monday night, I can be in my armchair plastered to the television laughing at Blake’s shenanigans.

I love to hang out at the beach with DH (darling hubby) taking pictures or reading romance novels (what else?).

I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession, enjoy gardening, everything pink, and talking to my friends.”

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

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October Book Reviews Part 3! @WriterMSmith @Virgilante @NoFacilities #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads

The Power of Love 

by Marlena Smith

Scarlet is on the run from her past. She ends up in a charming little Montana town but hides away in an old, abandoned house while enjoying her new freedom. She is slowly pulled out of her protective shell when she runs into a town resident. Scarlet’s story slowly unfolds, and I couldn’t help rooting for her. I love the relationships she develops as she rediscovers what has been lost. This is a town and people I’d love to be a part of. A heartwarming short story about second chances if only the past doesn’t ruin it. I can easily recommend this!

The Midnight Rambler (The Hat Book 6)

by C. S. Boyack

“The Midnight Rambler” was another fun addition to the Hat Book Series. Lizzie and the Hat run into some crazy fruit at a roadside stand. This is when Hat realizes his old enemy is after him. The flood they had to deal with creates an obstacle when their time is limited to find this clever monster while trying to save Lizzie’s friend, Ray. I could feel the cold water sloshing through Lizzie’s slippers and her concern for her friends. The relationship between Ray and Lizzie added another layer to the story and created extra tension in the hunt for where Hat’s enemy had Ray’s creator. The Midnight Rambler was always one step ahead and seemed to enjoy a good hunt, but that never stopped their search. A mystery to solve with all the humor, music, and danger blended nicely with every day worries. The ending has me looking forward to the next story. Although this is a perfect Halloween read, it can be enjoyed any time of the year.

The Evil You Choose

By Daniel Antion

I enjoyed “Knuckleheads” and was excited to see where the story went next. Blessed with unusual gifts, Zach and Billy are now adults and Zach is enjoying retirement. An FBI agent contacts Zach with a proposition that unfortunately he can’t refuse. Zach is unwillingly thrust into a world of criminals on both sides, and there is no one to trust but family. Zach must figure out how to protect himself and make sure they don’t find out about Billy. I found it interesting how Zach navigated with the help of Billy in dealing with not only the FBI, but the man they wanted to put in jail. The direction Zach took, along with a few twists, kept me guessing how it would all turn out. There is a wonderful and supportive relationship between Zach and his daughter, brother and Billy that balance all the corruption that surrounds him. Zach’s gifts had me wishing for a good night’s sleep for him. An exciting read for those who enjoy a thriller with the depth of family relationships and a criminal element weaved in.

I only post my 4 & 5 star reviews here! If I don’t like I book, I won’t finish it. I don’t think it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for a unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

UPDATES:

I have a couple of vacations coming up. The first one is October 20-24th. I will be going to Disneyland & Universal with my youngest daughter, Danielle. My monthly newsletter will be a few days late because of this or coming out late on the 24th and there will be no weekly blog here on October 24th & 31st .

Then, I will be around for a few days and off a week starting October 29th to hang out with the hubby. I’ll be back November 7th with a new book review post.

In the middle of all this I’m excited to be hosting a guest you won’t want to miss on October 27th.

I will wish you an early Happy Halloween here and post photos as I can on Instagram.

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

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October Book Reviews Part 2! @WordDreams @BalroopShado @RobertaEaton17 @harmony_kent @mhurdle112 @ColleenChesebro @ElizabethMerry1 @Marjorie_Mallon #bookreviews #whattoread #readersoftwitter #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity

 

To Hunt a Sub (Rowe-Delamagente #1)

By J. Murray

“To Hunt a Sub” is not only a thriller about preventing a terrorist from attacking America but a well-researched story with fascinating characters. Kali is trying to get her research project, Otto, funded when she catches the attention of ex-Navy Seal, Zeke, and a cruel terrorist. Her friends, son, and dog aren’t safe in this crucial battle. Otto not only traces the path and journey of prehistoric woman Lucy but can also find top secret submarines or why Kali has so much interest. I love it when Kali and Zeke join forces, each offering their strengths to the fight. The attention to detail made this scenario seem possible and real to me. The terrorist cruelty was chilling, while the love of a mother was a driving force. Many unexpected twists and surprises were mixed in, as who could be trusted came to light. This story had a unique way of blending our past with a current situation that would affect the future. Not a fast read, but one well worth the time spent reading. I can easily recommend this book.

Sublime Shadows Of Life

By Balroop Singh 

 

I always enjoy poetry by Ms. Singh and this collection was more beautifully written poems. It’s seeped in emotion that not only touches the heart but gets the reader thinking. It can be read within an hour or two but is meant for the reader to savor. Here are just a few of the many lines that caught my attention and moved me. The Land of the Dead: “Someone entered the land of the dead/Dragged life along ahead/Stirred them out of their slumber/but before muffled voices/could be heard, he was yelled at/Cursed, chastised, forced to quit. Know Shadows: “Dark moonless nights/Are the nights I crave for,/All shadows vanish and merge/Into the corridors of life. Eternal Wait: “Misty mornings/Eerie silence, long walks/Through the woods/What is this place? So familiar!/Nostalgia is painfully pleasant. Magic of Heavenly Drops: “Those soft falling drops/Tiptoe into your heart/To carry you along/Into the dripping trees. A wonderful collection that I can highly recommend to all those who loved to be moved by exquisite words.

 

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships

By Kaye Lynne Booth (Editor)Robbie Cheadle (Editor/Author)Colleen M. Chesebro  (Author), Miriam Hurdle (Author), Arthur Rosch  (Author), Elizabeth Merry (Author), D. Avery (Author), Harmony Kent (Author), Leon Stevens (Author), Lynda McKinney Lambert (Author), Jules Paige (Author), M.J. Mallon  (Author), and Lauren Scott  (Author)

“Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships” is a collection of poetry from several authors. I have enjoyed the work of many of the poets, but there were some I met for the first time in this book. It was nice how it was set up to introduce the author before their poetry. I appreciated having many poets together in one collection to experience different views, feelings, and images. The individual take on relationships offered a glimpse into not only their writing but gave me a few new authors to read. There was a lot of great poetry, so I won’t single any out to share. A fantastic read I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.

 

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 292: #Tastetherainbow-Color Poetry #poetrychallenge #poetrycommunity #tanka #writingcommunity

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #292. This week is Taste the Rainbow Color Challenge.

My husband and I went for a Harley ride last Saturday. It was a beautiful day in the low 80s, with no wind, cloudless blue sky, and the road to ourselves at times. I didn’t think I’d be inspired to write poetry until we drove by two tall rock walls that got me thinking and creating. It was a much-needed moment where all my stress and worries disappeared, and I became a part of the surrounding trees and nature.

back of the Harley

surrounded by granite walls

fall revives my soul

roaring amongst the rainbows

through the soul of the mountain.

 

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New Release! “The Power of Love” by Marlena Smith. #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #newrelease #whattoread #contemporaryromance

I’m thrilled to have Marlena Smith here today to share the good news about her new book, “The Power of Love.” Here’s my review: LINK

Welcome to Day 2 of my book launch blog tour! I’m so excited you’ve joined us. A huge shout out to Denise for hosting and all those that have supported my writing journey. It’s a powerful feeling to know you’re not alone.

Today, we’re going to focus on the reason we’re here–The Power of Love. This project has been a very long battle. The manuscript was actually put away for a while because of some negativity, but the story kept resurfacing. Even though I can’t recall where the whole idea came from, I remember how the story flowed almost effortlessly. I immediately fell in love with Scarlet and knew I needed to share her story. So The Power of Love was brought out of hiding and the work began.

Now, how about we share some book facts? Some behind-the-scenes details and such.

  • The cover of this book was the first one I created. (Thank you Canva!!) And I was hooked from that point forward. I love making covers now!
  • The original story had a very different ending.
  • I’ve always loved the name Scarlet, inspired of course, by Gone With the Wind. I adored Miss O’Hara’s determination and spunk. She was such a sassy character!
  • I became quite emotional writing Scarlet’s story. I’ve never experienced pain quite like hers, but I still felt every emotion as we journeyed the story together. I hope readers feel it, too.
  • I knew from the beginning I wanted the main setting to be somewhere in Montana because of its proximity to California. Plus, I’ve always wanted to visit the mountainous state. I felt like there could easily be a small town with that southern-like charm. So I used Google maps, did some research, and discovered this tiny blip on the map–Belmont.
  • The longest part of this book was the editing. I’ve made countless revisions trying to make the story the best it could be. I eventually grew tired of the process and sent it to my editor. I knew she could work some magic on it. She did not disappoint.

 

 Book Blurb:

She only wants a fresh start and a life away from the big city. 

Scarlet finds herself in the small town of Belmont, Montana. It’s a quiet town with a lot of charm. One she didn’t expect to fall in love with, but it offers something magical. 

Will her past catch up to her? Will she be forced back into the life she hates? Will she risk everything for a chance at love? 

Purchase Links:

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Ebook

 

About the Author:

Marlena Smith is a multi-genre author that uses her own small town life experiences to create stories of the same. Her publications include:

Marlena grew up in Alabama with a love of words and creativity. She still lives in that small town today with her family and has never lost that passion. She spends her days working with churches to help them grow and her nights creating tales.

Three Random Facts  (I stole this idea from fellow writer, D.L. Finn!)

  1. I find it very difficult to watch movies about war and slavery. That’s not to say I don’t watch the films because I do think the stories are important to learn and understand. I believe it’s because I’m an empath and become really emotional watching the stories play out. It’s like I’m in the character’s shoes.
  2. I have two tattoos, one on each wrist. Each design was carefully selected. The first I received is an infinity symbol. One side of the symbol has a 4-leaf clover and the other side says faith. The second tattoo reads Ehfar, which means everything happens for a reason.
  3. As a senior in high school, I wanted to earn a degree in business. Instead, I was pushed into education, and have yet to use my Bachelors degree.

If you’d like to connect with Marlena, you can find her online:

I can’t thank you enough for joining us today. I hope you’re enjoying the blog tour as much as I am! A huge shout out to Denise and all those that have taken part in the tour. Thank you & happy reading!! <3

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October Book Reviews Part 1! @Sandra_Cox @mhurdle112 @stacitroilo @MaeClair1 #whattoread #readersoftwitter #writingcommunity

Geller’s Find

By Sandra Cox

Luke Geller is a professor and part-time archeologist. While out hunting potshards, he comes across an old gun and a strange crystal. This find takes him to the same place, but not at the same time. The gun owner, Lily, helps him out and takes him back to her ranch. I love the immediate connection between these two, even though Luke realizes he must leave and return to his life. There are so many great characters in this story that I even rooted for a character I didn’t even trust. The three women running the ranch were terrific, especially Saffron. Her humor always made me smile, including when she suggested a horse for Luke to ride. The setting brought Nevada to life during the gold rush, including a budding town. The ranch named No Gold has other treasures, including fruit and cattle. Ms. Cox has created another place I’d love to live in, but maybe with a few more present-day amenities. I was so drawn into the story that I felt the peaceful pleasure of riding a horse out on the ranch and enjoying nature’s beauty. A fantastic blend of time-traveling, a brewing romance, and the old west. A story that I can highly recommend!

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow

By Mae Clair and Staci Troilo

I was excited to see two authors I admire co-author a book. They blended their talents together seamlessly to create a must-read for those who love paranormal mysteries. “The Haunting of Chatham Hollow” has two timelines and moves with ease between them. In 1888, Victor is a likable authentic medium that cuts corners. He is persuaded to attend a séance run by another medium. Benedict and his very tall sidekick put on a good show but are just cons looking for gold. Then something unexpected happens. That event affects what is going on in 2022. In the present time journalist, Aiden is against the town having a popular ghost show come and film the reenactment of the séance. It isn’t because he’s worried about the curse but doesn’t believe in ghosts and all that goes with that. Aiden is plunged into his own mystery that concerns his boss, while his grandmother pushes him to embrace his natural talents. Each timeline has its own compelling stories within the main one that concerns the town and what happened during that first séance. The settings were vivid in both timelines, with characters to root for and dislike with a couple of surprise twists. This is a story I can highly recommend.

The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival

By Miriam Hurdle

“The Winding Road” is a heartfelt memoir that takes the reader through a cancer diagnosis to the outcome. I felt like I was experiencing this journey with Ms. Hurdle, as she not only talks about how she is feeling, but how she had to deal with insurance, appointments, and the physical toll of the treatments. Once Ms. Hurdle learned how rare and deadly the cancer was, a decision was made to try experimental treatments for six months. I’m not sure I could have handled what she endured. Being so ill during the treatments with no guarantees would be hard, but a strong will to live shined through and balanced that out. This was a painful insight into the reality of cancer, mixed with her belief that life is precious, that left me inspired and full of hope. A read that not only shows us the darker side of life when illness strikes, but how the love and support of family and friends can help carry some of that heavy burden. A highly recommended story that can inspire anyone going through not only illness but other challenges.

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 to leave a review in that case. Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

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

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Fall Walk on the Magical Trail #magicaltrail #writersworld #nature #writingcommunity #fairies #bears #dragons #bigfoot

I thought we’d take a walk on the Magical Trail today. It’s a beautiful day, everything is still green and lush after getting 1.6 inches of wonderful rain last week. The sky is blue and it’s a warm 85 degrees outside. This trail was a gift to me from my husband. He keeps working on it and adding to new paths and decorations. It is where I find not only the magic in life but my poetry inspiration.

Really, don’t feed him! You’ll never get rid of him or those trolls. They didn’t like my red ornaments in the trees. Beauitful birds, aren’t they?

I love that statue of the young girl and birds. I put that in one of the places that was cleared this last summer. Nothing like a bear reading a book. That is our burn pile that we pass going from the front of the trail to the back one. The rock was done by the grandkids. Behind the fairy is our driveway and nothing like a pumpkin house. I never bother the fairies living there.

Lots of things here. My cute little creature guy, the face, an angel, the wreath between the trees, a lighthouse, and an old kids toy that kept breaking.

Or course there had to be a dolphin somewhere, a dragon, a light up troll, another dragon, an angel, and lighthouse.

This is just off the trail in our front yard. It is my fairy land and two other favorite things, dragons and bears.

Deer antlers found in the forest.

Trail side dining

It was decided I needed steps.

Watch your step!

Now you know where the rabbit really lives…

This used to be a tree before lightening hit it.

Our forest is full of fairies , the real ones don’t like their picture taken.

Someone threw this away…

Where I enter the trail by the main road and our driveway. Love this little elephant but he gets knocked down a lot by the passing bears.

This is where I stop and meditate or write poetry. The grandkids like to have their picture taken here too.

It so pretty after a rain!

This is where we snow sled 🙂

It may be past using but not looking at!

Thanks for taking a walk with me today! May it’s magic inspire you too 🙂

 

 

 

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Books That Changed Me—Fall Edition 2022! @RituBhathal @Marjorie_Mallon @Dwallacepeach @MaeClair1 @stacitroilo #writingcommunity #topreads #readersoftwitter #whattoread #mustreads #booksthatchangedme #fallreading

Happy Fall! This is my favorite time of year when Halloween is just around the corner and Christmas is on its way. The leaves are starting to change and the weather has finally cooled down. We even have some rain in the forecast. I’d like to think that means the end of our fire season. Fingers cross.

It’s time to put up the Halloween decorations, enjoy some fall baking, or maybe go on a Harley ride. It’s also a great time to read. There are some books that make me say wow when I’m done reading them. So I’m sharing them again because they deserve the extra attention. They are the books that linger long after you read them and take us to new and exciting places.

Here are my Fall picks with their blurbs:

The Necromancer’s Daughter

A healer with the talent to unravel death. A stillborn child brought to life. A father lusting for vengeance. And a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she, too, learns to heal death.

Denied a living heir, the widowed king spies from a distance. But he heeds the claims of the fiery Vicar of the Red Order—in the eyes of the Blessed One, Aster is an abomination, and to embrace the evil of resurrection will doom his rule.

As the king’s life nears its end, he defies the vicar’s warning and summons the necromancer’s daughter. For his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade. Armed with righteousness and iron-clad conviction, the Order’s brothers ride into the leas to cleanse the land of evil.

To save her father’s life, Aster leads them beyond Verdane’s wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a wilderness of dragons and barbarian tribes. Unprepared for a world rife with danger and unchecked power, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

~*~

From best-selling fantasy author D. Wallace Peach comes a retelling of the legend of Kwan-yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Set in a winter world of dragons, intrigue, and magic, The Necromancer’s Daughter is a story about duty, defiance, cruelty, and sacrifice— an epic tale of compassion and deep abiding love where good and evil aren’t what they see

US AMAZON LINK
UK AMAZON LINK

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow

One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

US AMAZON LINK
UK AMAZON LINK

Marriage Unarranged (The Rishtay Series. Book 1)

It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…

The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium ,exciting beginnings, new life.
Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?
A stranger who’s hiding something…

US AMAZON LINK
UK AMAZON LINK

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet: Poems & Flash Fiction

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet is a collection of poetry and flash fiction celebrating the beautiful vulnerability of the forest kingdom. It begins with the poetic tale of the kind-hearted Hedge Witch, Fern, who discovers an injured stranger in desperate need of her woodland spells and magic.

The sweet pairing learn from each other and through Fern’s guidance, Devin embraces the power of magic to leave behind his troubled past to become The Musical Poet.
Poetry/flash fiction titles in section one of the collection include:
The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, Rain Forest Love, A Forest Baby Boy, A Forest Baby Girl, A Modern Witch, Rock of Mine, Chester Don & I, The Network of Trees, More Trees Not Less, Two Boys Watching War, Mum Climbing Trees, Let’s Play, The Scorched Tree, Owl’s Holiday Home, A Man’s Holiday Home, A Child’s Excitement, The Teddy In The Woods, Run! The Organutans, All Hallow’s Eve Candy Girl The Forest Bash, Dreaming At Halloween, A Face on Bark, Golden Willow Tree, Rainbow – Parasol of Light, Lollipop Sunshine Tree,
In Section two I pay tribute to the following poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Ruby Archer, King Forest, Bliss Carman, Woodland Rain, Emily Dickinson, Who Robbed the Woods, Rupert Blake, Stopping by The Woods on A Winter Evening,Oscar Wilde, In the Forest.
With my poetry:
The Forest Weeps, The Forest King, Raindrops and Childhood Dreams, The Woodland Treasures, Winter Woodland Moon, Child Me.

US AMAZON LINK
UK AMAZON LINK

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New Release! “The Haunting of Chatham Hollow” by Mae Clair & Staci Troilo. #whattoread #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #mystery #ghosts

I’m thrilled to welcome friends and fellow Story Empire Authors here today to share in their good news of a co-authored release! Here’s my review: LINK

Denise, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. Today, I’d like to introduce Victor Rowe, from the 1888 timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRTUALIST: I’m honored you’ve taken the time to visit, Mr. Rowe. Your reputation proceeds you.

VICTOR: Thank you, but it’s not my habit to rest on laurels.

SPIRTUALIST: Yet I understand you’ve cut back with your profession, not nearly as active as you once were.

VICTOR: Since leaving Philadelphia, yes. I was far more engaged there—lectures, spirit circles several times a week, seances for the city’s elite. After the passing of my wife, I needed to step away from the whirlwind. Losing Constance was the catalyst to prompt my move to Chatham Hollow.

SPIRTUALIST: The town has certainly welcomed you. I believe it’s been, what—nine years? And your son, Jordan, lives with you. A young man in his early twenties.

VICTOR: (narrowing his eyes) You’re well informed.

SPIRTUALIST: Consider the subject. You’re a legend among those of us in spiritualist circles. Which is why I find it interesting a man of your standing would concern himself with an unknown like Benedict Fletcher.

VICTOR: I don’t recall saying I have.

SPIRTUALIST: Scuttlebutt around town says you and Fletcher have a rivalry going on.

VICTOR: Nonsense. We’ve crossed paths, yes. Our social circles have intersected with some of the same people.

SPIRTUALIST: The mayor—whom I believe is a good friend of yours—and his wife, Irene? There’s also her sister, Dorinda, and a particular young lady named Elayne Orrman.

VICTOR: I detest when people don’t speak plainly.

SPIRTUALIST: Then I shall… although you may think highly of Miss Orrman, I believe the opposite is true of Mr. Fletcher. I think you would enjoy discrediting him.

VICTOR: Then let me set the record straight. Point one—you will not mention Miss Orrman again. I will not tolerate having that young lady’s name sullied with common gossip. Point two—there is no need for me to discredit Benedict Fletcher. Anyone with a parcel of sensibility will recognize he disguises his lack of talent beneath gaudy showmanship. The man made a mockery of the Founder’s Day séance with his inept attempt at summoning.

SPIRTUALIST: You’re referencing his attempt to resurrect Ward Chatham’s ghost?

VICTOR: It’s beneath discussing.

SPIRTUALIST: According to the Chatham Hollow Chronicle you stepped in and saved the day. But then the editor, Aaron Brock, is a friend of yours.

VICTOR: Do I sense insinuation in your tone?

SPIRTUALIST: (smiling) Against the great Victor Rowe?

VICTOR: (stands) Consider this conversation over.

SPIRTUALIST: It’s interesting how no one really wants to discuss that séance, yet most feel the consequences will linger long into the future. Perhaps centuries from now others will look back and try to fit the pieces together. Maybe even attempt to decipher where Ward Chatham hid his gold.

VICTOR: A fool’s quest. Chatham and his treasure are better left where they belong—buried, and in the past.

____________

 BLURB:
One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

_______

 Thanks again for hosting me today, Denise. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Victor Rowe. (Victor, though a man of principal, is not without his share of rough edges). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Social Media | Newsletter
Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

 

Featured

September Book Reviews Part 3 and UPDATES @Sandra_Cox @JacqBiggar @Dwallacepeach #writingcommunity #whattoread #readersoftwitter #bookreviews

The Necromancer’s Daughter

By Wallace Peach

Aster is the necromancer’s daughter. She and her queen-mother die when Aster is born. The healer, Barus, sees the baby and steals her away to bring her back to life. The king stays in the background but watches as the healer raises this girl as his own because he knows no one would accept a child brought back to life. When the King finally approaches Aster, his only heir, he triggers his enemies to act, who upends her peaceful life as a healer. Determined to set things right and help Barus, Aster sets off to find help. I love the people she meets along her journey, especially when she crosses the mountain. The son of her enemy is a very complex character. Although he helps her more than once, his upbringing and devotion to the Blessed One aren’t too far behind and weigh him down. Aster shows what genuine goodness is over those who use it to seek power. Even if Aster’s actions aren’t popular, her innocence and ability to do the right thing guide her through some dark times. This is a fantasy filled with magic, danger, love, loyalty, fantastic imagery, and dragons that I can highly recommend.

The Guardian Mended Souls #1

By Jacquie Biggar

After a horrible crash that killed three adults and an unborn baby, Scott tries to regain his life. He has money and fame but lost a best friend and sister. Needing closure, he goes to see the bodies but runs into the Medical Examiner, Tracy, and a badly hurt dog. This throws them together while someone seems determined to add to the body count. On the other side is Scott’s best friend, Lucas, who is now an angel and is placed with a surly partner to help people. Lucas was the driver and carried the guilt of being responsible for the accident, but he also has depth and humor mixed in. He doesn’t understand what is required from him as he navigates this afterworld. I felt for all characters’ loss and appreciated the wit weaved into it. There is redemption and learning for these characters, plus some needed justice and forgiveness. I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens next. A fast-paced paranormal romance with second chances I can easily recommend.

Amulets #2 Rose Quartz

By Sandra Cox

Amulets #1 followed Maureen and her journey, “Rose Quartz,” focuses on her new friend, Bella. Back home, Bella quickly finds out that the killer being in jail doesn’t keep her or her amulet safe. She’s a painter gifted with beauty and creativity from her stones and has the help of Maureen’s ranch hand, Hank. He is the ultimate cowboy she is trying not to fall for but is used to using her charms and looks to get what she wants, which doesn’t go over well with him. Bella is a fun character who quickly discovers she can’t take on a madman alone. This leads her back to old friends she desperately needs and the introduction to another woman gifted with an amulet. I love the relationship developing between Hank and Bella and was rooting for them to work it out. This series is not only about the women wearing the amulets but a strong group of friends that look out for each other, especially when a madman is determined to be a god. Another fun read with love, magic, friendship, and danger perfectly mixed in for those who enjoy a paranormal romance.

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 to leave a review in that case. Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

UPDATES

  • I ‘ve been hosting many great new releases in the past couple of weeks. Watch for one this week that you don’t want to miss!
  • I will be sending out my September Newsletter on the 20th. If you are subcribed watch for it in your email. I have a brand new book of the month you don’t want to miss. I read a lot and love sharing some of those great reads. My picks are booked until the until end of 2023 .
  • My “Books That Changed Me” goes out on the 22nd or first day of fall. That will post here. These are books that have stayed with me after reading them. You’ve already seen the reviews here but they are well worth a second share. If you have missed any of the past posts, I have them here on my site so you can catch up and maybe find a great new read! This is the closest you will get to my picks for books of the year.
  • The air has been hazardous on and off here. Makes it hard to think or function sometimes, even if I stay indoors with my air purifers running. So, sometimes I can’t write or do the things I want to like visit blogs, not because I don’t want to but it’s hard to focus. Luckily the fires haven’t come our way so far. I’m looking forward to the predicted rain the next couple of days. I hope it keeps coming and we can end this fire year early, instead of November. You’d think this would be normal for me after 32 years living in the forest, but the worries have ramped up the last few years. Hopefully the drought will take a nice long break.
  • And I’m feeling much better. Although, I am helping out some family members that requires more of my time, but glad I am able to do it.

Embrace your inner child by reading an enchanting story! D. L. Finn

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#TankaTuesday #Poetry #Challenge No. 289, #SpecificForm #Shadorma #poetrycommunity #writingcommunity #poetrychallenge

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #289. This week is a specific form: Shadorma.

The format is 3/5/3/3/7/5 and has a title. I went with an experience I just had with a little hummingbird when I finally got outside after the smoke cleared for the day. It was so beautiful and fresh that I thought it was a good day to write poetry. The hummingbird, a male ruby redthroat, came inches from my face and we looked at each other for several seconds—or eternity. I took it as a good message 🙂

hummingbird

A GIFT

gentle hymn

inches from my soul

hummingbird

angel’s note

nature lovingly dispatched…

hope & inspiration

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New Release! “Geller’s Find” by Sandra Cox. #newrelease #western #timetravel #readersofttwitter #writingcommunity #whattoread

I’m thrilled to have fellow author and friend Sandra Cox here today to share her latest release, Geller’s Find. Review to follow soon—after my re-read 🙂

Character Facts

Doctor Luke Geller is a full-time history professor and part-time
archeologist.
His specialty is Native American artifacts.
Instead of a gun, he carries a Hopi throwing stick.
He likes cats and horses and has a sense of humor.

Excerpt

“Dammit.”

His heels caught in a patch of fuzzy green and gray weeds. Buried in
their center was a large piece of chiastolite. Ancient markings all but
obliterating the standard graphite cross that long ago was used to ward off
evil. The hair on the back of his neck rose and his nerves twitched. He’d
never seen anything like that rock before. He nudged it with his foot. When
it didn’t budge, he bent to pick it up.

The ground under his feet trembled.

The chiastolite glowed. The markings shimmered.

What the hell?

He flapped his arms, trying to balance himself as the ground dropped
an inch. A perfect circle below his feet gave way, the stone still in place.

He fell into a mineral cylinder.

The bottom dropped.

His stomach flopped and he swirled down.

The wind whistled in his ears as he tumbled into a black hole that went
on forever. The chill in the air fell away. The further down he went, the
hotter the air. The rocks around him began to glow. Good God. Either he
was heading for hell or the earth’s core, and neither was where he wanted
to be. His grip on the rifle tightened as he bounced off the hot stones that
closed around him as he whirled in a tube of rock.

Time had no meaning. Seconds, minutes, maybe more passed as the
cyclone of air spun him around. His stomach pushed up to his throat and
he fought off nausea.

With a scraping sound, the spinning lurched to a stop.

Then as if an elevator button was punched, he started upward. Only
unlike an elevator there was no floor, just rough rock gravity glued him
against.

Up. Up. Up. Faster and faster. Then momentum stopped. His body
quivered. A force thrust upward and opened.

He dropped.

Hard earth rose to meet him.

With a thud, he landed.

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UK AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

 

Sandra Cox has written over thirty books. Her works consist of all things Western and more. Sandra is a vegetarian, Muay Thai
enthusiast, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her
husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Foodie Facts:
She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good
Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern
BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.
Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.
She loves pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

Links:
https://sandracoxwriter.com
https://cowboytrivia.blogspot.com

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September Book Reviews Part 2! @Dwallacepeach @pokercubster @Sandra_Cox #bookreviews #whattoread #readersoftwitter #writingcommunity

Amulets #1 Boji Stones

By Sandra Cox

Maureen wakes up in the hospital after a car accident. She is badly hurt and missing an important piece of jewelry. She needs to find this, to not only heal her injuries but keep the stones safe. I love Maureen and her connection to animals, especially horses. Her protective ranch hand is there for her, but someone wants what she has and doesn’t care who they hurt to get it. What Maureen comes home to after an interesting hospital stay is a man who needs his horse healed. Her kind heart can’t let the poor horse suffer even though she doesn’t trust the man who brought the horse. He offers to stay on to pay her back for her kindness, but the only person she can trust is her ranch hand—and herself. I enjoy how Ms. Cox can weave magic into the real world and make me care about what happens to the characters. A fun read that I found hard to put down. Recommended for those who love romance sprinkled with some magic and danger.

Have Bags, Will Travel

D.G. Kaye

This was a quick, fun read for all those adventurous souls who love to travel or read about it. It took us back to days of more effortless traveling, to current times when there’s a lot more involved. Told in a personal, humorous tone, I immediately connected to the antidotes told. I’m glad I’m not the only one who over packs and then had to pay for it when checking the luggage. I shook my head, knowing how hard it is to get traveling purchases home in luggage — and through customs. Luckily, I’ve only had my bags searched once. I can’t imagine being a target when I came back to my country. I thoroughly enjoyed this; it not only made me want to travel but long for the good old days when planes offered more room. This ends with some sound advice for traveling that includes a luggage scale. An excellent read for travelers!

Catling’s Bane (The Rose Shield Book 1) 

by D. Wallace Peach

Catling’s selfish mother wanted to eliminate a mark on her young daughter’s face so the mother can move up in the harsh world they lived in. Eventually, the mother sells her marked daughter. After leaving a cruel life behind, where hangings are enjoyed, Catling settles into a bit of peace. Yet as time goes by, it becomes apparent there is something special about her mark and her. Some brutal scenes are mixed with vivid images of a world ruled by influencers and power. The relationship between Whitt and Catling was heartwarming, and I rooted for them. But the world she was thrust into was cold and calculating. I loved the beasts that lived in the water as the boats navigated on top of their world. Although Catling was only thirteen when the story ended, she was stronger than most adults around her. This was a story I couldn’t put down as I had to keep reading to see what happened to Catling, and I will eagerly continue this journey by reading the next book.

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace that inner child by reading an amazing story! D. L. Finn

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New Release! “The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival” by Miriam Hurdle. #memoirs #cancersurvivor #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m honored to have Miriam Hurdle here today to share her story. This was a heartfelt story and my review is below.

Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Denise. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.

During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.

The Role of Research in Memoirs

Memoirs always require research. They are stories based on real-life events. Fact-check everything can be fact-checked, such as names, dates, places, weather, and events. One person wanted to write a family memoir, but she was not sure if her great-grandmother’s name spelled Emily or Emely. Her research shows Emely was the correct spelling. You can’t make up this information. The inaccuracy takes away the credibility of your story.

Example: In The Winding Road, I wrote I was holding the “10 feet” tall IV stand as my cane to walk on the hospital floor after my surgery. My writing group laughed. One said, “The IV stand feels like 10 feet tall to you because you’re short.” I then Googled the height of IV stands and changed my story to “The IV stand looked like 6 feet tall.”

Another part of the story was that my surgeon told me I had a CT scan right after the surgery. I asked my husband Lynton if there was an imaging facility next to the operating room. He wasn’t sure, but it’s unlikely. My research showed a portable CT scan can be moved to the operating room to perform a scan.  The surgeon can look at the scan result to determine if the margins of surgery are clear.

My memoir is about a medical journey that involved medical terms and medical procedures. I needed to describe them accurately rather than in layman’s terms.

Examples of research for my book:

The stages of melanoma

The procedure for CT/PET scan

The procedure of laparoscopic surgery

Healthcare personnel titles

Anatomy of inguinal lymph nodes

Accurate description of my bio-chemotherapy

Proper Admission and discharge procedures

Medical equipment names, such as incentive spirometers rather than handheld breathing machine

The correct names of places such as St. John’s Health Center rather than St. John Hospital

Fact-check on dates, times, and locations of events

Distance from home to hospital

Distance from home to my husband Lynton’s work

The Importance of Feedback

I’m grateful to my writing group for their skillful and constructive feedback. We conduct our meetings on Zoom. Members take turns reading their chapters. After one person reads, the coordinator facilitates to have feedback from the members. The writers often feel that the ideas are clear to them, but they may not be clear to the readers. When there are any unclear ideas, we encourage the writers to clarify or to do fact-checking.

The accurate facts make my story flow smoothly. The readers have the information needed to understand my immediate events and my overall story.

Blurb

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

My Review

“The Winding Road” is a heartfelt memoir that takes the reader through a cancer diagnosis to the outcome. I felt like I was experiencing this journey with Ms. Hurdle, as she not only talks about how she is feeling, but how she had to deal with insurance, appointments, and the physical toll of the treatments. Once Ms. Hurdle learned how rare and deadly the cancer was, a decision was made to try experimental treatments for six months. I’m not sure I could have handled what she endured. Being so ill during the treatments with no guarantees would be hard, but a strong will to live shined through and balanced that out. This was a painful insight into the reality of cancer, mixed with her belief that life is precious, that left me inspired and full of hope. A read that not only shows us the darker side of life when illness strikes, but how the love and support of family and friends can help carry some of that heavy burden. A highly recommended story that can inspire anyone going through not only illness but other challenges.

Purchase Links

US Amazon

UK Amazon

The Winding Road Trailer

https://youtu.be/HBzt5B3xa9Yhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBzt5B3xa9Y

About Miriam

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her publications include Songs of Heartstrings, and the children’s book, Tina Lost in a Crowd. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching, and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Contact Miriam at

Website/Blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1

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#TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 288: #Tastetherainbow-Color Poetry #writingcommunity #poetry community #tanka #fires #poetrychallenge

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #288.  This week is Taste the Rainbow—Color Poetry.

forest fire

lonely gray morning
lingers heavy in the sky
oppressive whispers
from autumn-colored flames
smoldering dreams fall like snow

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New Book Release, “Necromancer’s Daughter” by @Dwallacepeach! #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #fantasy #mustread

 

I’m excited to welcome fellow Story Empire Author and friend, Diana, here today to celebrate her latest release, “The Necromancer’s Daughter.” Here is my review: LINK

Today I thought I’d share a snippet from Chapter 2 when Barus makes a heartbreaking discovery:

Barus shuffled along a path bordering the rift until something blue caught his eye. Planting his staff, he stepped nearer for a better look. A piece of cloth had snagged on a root. On his hands and knees, he crawled closer, grimacing at the added discomfort of his wardrobe of sticks. He stretched out an arm and caught the cloth between two fingers. What he discovered was no patch of torn fabric, but a long silk shawl littered with pine needles.

Olma’s blue shawl, the one he’d given her as a gift.

He clasped the damp cloth against his chest and sat back on his heels. “Olma?” Shifting again to his hands and knees, he crept nearer to the edge. His heart hammered against his ribs, and his mouth went dry. “Olma, where are you? Can you hear me?”

He lowered himself to his elbows and inched forward until he peered over the lip. Ferns and rocks lined the steep bank except where tumbled dirt exposed a gnarled lattice of roots twisted like brown snakes. Ten feet below him, the brook dribbled along the streambed. Brown leaves twirled in an eddy and collected at one end of a frog-sized pool.

He’d seen enough of death to know the truth of what his eyes revealed.

Blurb

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

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Author Bio

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Links

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

Featured

September Book Reviews! @sgc58 @JacqBiggar #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #mustread

The Sister Pact: Home is Where The Heart is

by Jacquie Biggar

Holly has been ill and came home for the holidays after eight years away. It was time to heal old wounds between Holly and her younger sister, Susan, who stole Holly’s boyfriend, Steven, away and married him. What Holly comes home to seems broken on many levels, not only between her sister but her mother and father. Thrown into this dysfunctional mix is not only the man Holly lost, Steven but his brother, Levi, who she slept with at her sister’s wedding. Information is gently rolled out as relationships clash and communication is limited. There’s a lot of pain and hurt that needs to be healed. Levi was my favorite character with his patience and long-time quiet devotion to Holly. Their fun moments at the beach highlighted what it could be if Holly could get past her fears and past. When Susan needs her help, Holly is there for her. I love the message that no matter what happens, the family will survive and eventually pull together, no matter how long it takes. What a beautiful, well-written reminder of what is important in life, not only finding a soul mate but healing a family, too. I can highly recommend this story.

Dr. Metifunger’s Transdimensional Veterinary Clinic

by Dennis Strubbe

I picked up “Dr. Metifunger’s Transdimensional Veterinary Clinic” after seeing a review that captured my attention and curiosity. A book that offers interdimensional traveling, animals, a mystery, and some romance all mixed with humor—how could I pass that up? I wasn’t disappointed in this unique tale. Dr. Mabel Sassani is offered a job in Florida after having issues in California and having her license suspended. What Mabel found on day one was a disappearing dog, and oh, the clinic was in several dimensions. I love the animals she treats that are unlike anything Mabel has treated in her dimension, and the techs, Sandy, are a lot of fun. There is the silent partner, Karen, who seems to have given Mabel a break, but might be a criminal. Then there’s the handsome Bryce, who is there when Mabel needs help. Mabel is determined to figure this out no matter what world she must do it in, and Bryce becomes the person to do that with. Throwing Dr. Metifunger’s overbearing parents into this mix made for a fun read. A well-written adventure with entertaining characters in and outside of our dimension.

Just an Odd Job Girl

by Sally Cronin

This is a fun read told through the eyes of a recently divorced middle-aged woman, Imogen. She believes she has a perfect life; her kids have moved out, and she has her dream house, but her husband isn’t on the same page. Out of the blue, Imogen is presented with a divorce because a younger woman, who was humorously labeled a “fast-tracker” has replaced her. Her soon-to-be ex-husband offers Imogen a smaller house. She retreats into this home, comforting herself with food. Finally, she concludes it’s time to work. This is where she goes to her first job interview in years and meets a kind man who asks her to tell him about all the jobs she’s ever had. This journey to her past is not only fascinating, and many times hilarious, but opened her eyes to the person she used to be. She gets through part of her life and then is encouraged to keep reminiscing. There are so many parts that had me laughing out loud, like when she got ready for this job interview or visited the hairdresser. As I was reading, it felt like Imogen was sitting next to me telling her story. “Just an Odd Job Girl” dove into a woman’s journey where she found her strength and perhaps another chance at love. I was completely invested in Imogen’s outcome. I can highly recommend this book.

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Featured

Animal visits and their meaning—plus a poem. #writingcommunity #spiritualwriting #animalguides #messages #poetry community

As you know, I love nature. I am at peace amongst the trees, by the river, or with an animal. You find this in my poetry and writing. There are times, though, when I lose my way. Stress builds up, and things get scattered. I take those times to sit and be in the forest or by any water. Usually, I get the balance I am seeking.

Sometimes, though, I seem to need a bit of extra help when messages from beyond come in different packages. I won’t go into the full message, but my takeaway from it.

Recently there have been many messages. The first one to get my attention was a bite from a black widow. Unusual since they usually hide. This one was sitting mid-air where I turn on the hose to water the plants. With very few side effects, I took this seriously and gratefully because it could have been so much worse. Spiders coming around me have always carried the message to be more creative. I apply this to my writing. Black widows can also warn that we are on the wrong path. To work on oneself and work on artistic endeavors. They are powerful females, and I believe here is the message I am one too.

My next event followed soon after with being attacked by several ground nesting bees on my ankles, while my husband and I were clearing our property for our home insurance (it was renewed.) 😊 They didn’t appreciate me raking over their nest. One clung to me as I raced back to the house. I finally got it off and got inside. Bees rarely bother me, so this was a new message to pay attention to my surroundings and trust my intuition. Got it! They are close by when I go outside, so I am paying attention to what is around me.

Coyotes have been making their presence more known lately. I’ve seen three this summer when I’ve never noticed any around the house or forest through the years. Maybe I’m paying more attention? One was walking through our front yard, and I only glimpsed it. The second time I was leaving the house in my car, one crossed the street and then stopped and stared at me. The third time I was exercising and saw two out the window. This couple headed for the Magical Trail. Seeing them includes the need to be more playful, adaptable, patient, and even having good luck. Also, I can handle what is coming to me.

frog
Not a good picture, but here is the frog from that night.

Now the oddest of the bunch. A couple of days ago, I was in bed watching a movie while my husband played music. It was a calm, warm summer night. Right then, something wet splatted onto my arm, and I immediately hit it away. Then I jumped out of bed, flipped all the lights on, and began my search. Soon, I saw a little frog hopping along the floor. I have no idea how he got into the house or my bedroom, but he was there. The little frog gave me the most intense stare when I captured him. He was soon moved to the outside water fountain. I looked up a frog’s meaning and was relieved to find it was good luck. Jumping on me could mean a period of growth, abundance, and getting to know myself better.

Then there are the white feathers. I see many of them on my walk, and we don’t have white birds here, gray yes, white no. I feel only love coming from those, though.

So, many messages lately signal to me that a change is coming. I can already see the start of it and my part to play. It may involve a helping role while ensuring I take care of myself. A balancing act. I’m hoping that it will all work out for the best. It sounds like everything will ultimately be okay according to the messages received. Fingers crossed.

What about you? Do you get little messages too? Does it make it into your writing?

I’ll end this with a haiku:

magic hand

gentle breeze

blows forest magic

in my soul

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

Featured

New Release: “SŬBMARINE-ËR: 30 Years of Hijinks & Keeping the Fleet Afloat” by Jerry Pait (Author), Robert G. Williscroft (Editor) #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #militarybook #navalbook

Welcome to guest blogger Robert G. Williscroft, submariner and author of multiple series including The MacMcDowell Missions, The Oort Chronicles, and The Daedalus Files. Robert compiled and edited the true-life adventures of retired US Navy Lt. Commander Jerry Pait in his new book, Sŭbmarine-Ër.

book cover

Jerry Pait enlisted on September 15, 1964, was assigned to Fleet Sonar School, volunteered for subs, and ended up on USS Entemedor (SS-340). After Advanced Sonar School, he was transferred as an STS-2 to USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632B) in the Philly yards right after her collision off Cadiz, Spain. I was a newly minted Lt. j.g., fresh out of Poseidon Missile School, having come through the NESEP program and Univ. of Washington in marine and atmosphere physics. I guess the skipper made me Sonar Officer because I was a former sonar tech. Jerry and I served together until I left for the Man-in-the-Sea Program and ultimately Operation Ivy Bells, tapping into Soviet underwater communications cables in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Jerry went on to become COB on Von Steuben, served in a senior position in Sonar/Torpedoman School, and then was commissioned as an LDO Ensign. He returned briefly to Von Steuben and then served as a division officer on several sub tenders. After that, he was assigned to NOTU, supervising underwater ballistic missile launchings for several years, working closely with NASA. He rose to Lt. Cmdr., was selected for Cmdr. But was mustered out on retirement as part of Clinton’s force reduction efforts.

Jerry took a senior field position with the major defense contractor Brown & Root, but during his first year, he fell from 20 feet in a way that fractured his back and cracked his skull. He survived, received a significant settlement, and has struggled ever since to regain as much function as possible.

I was on Jerry’s emailing list. He began to send out periodic stories from his past. They were fascinating, and the response from his list was remarkable. I saw their potential and contacted Jerry—we hadn’t communicated directly with each other in decades. I suggested that I work with him to compile his stories into a coherent whole, and that we put out a book. He agreed, so we found a publisher who was willing to work with us on this strange project, and we completed the book last month.

Jerry’s book, Sŭbmarine-Ër: 30 Years of Hijinks & Keeping the Fleet Afloat, will be released on September 15, exactly 58 years after he enlisted. The book is on pre-publication sale right now as an ebook for only 99¢. The ebook price will rise to $3.99 on September 15. Each chapter has a color photo that illustrates the contents of that chapter. The trade paperback printed version has half-tone photos and will sell for $19.95 The hardbound, jacketed edition is in full color throughout and will sell for $36.95. Both will be available for pre-order within two or three days.

Why am I doing this? Jerry is our brother—and he’s a genuine American hero. His story deserves to be told far and wide. I’m not here selling books. I’m here asking you to help me preserve the memory of one of the best among us. By purchasing the ebook on pre-order (only 99¢), you will help boost his sales ranking, so that on September 15, the release date, his ranking will shoot up. If you want the trade paperback, or the really cool hardbound, jacketed, full color version, you can pre-order those as well from Amazon or any other online bookseller, or you can order it from your favorite brick and mortar store as well. Should you want an autographed copy, please use the Contact form at FreshInkGroup.com, and I will put you into direct contact with Jerry.

The Book Trailer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PklESG3x-w

Live Interactive Podcast with Pait and Williscroft!

Call (516) 453-9902 or hashtag #FreshInkGroup in tweets during the show.

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/voiceofindie1/2022/08/25/voice-of-indie-episode-108

 

The Book Blurb!

Lieutenant Commander Jerry Pait’s semi-autobiographical collection of sixty stories recounts his thirty years in and around the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet. Ranging from light-hearted to wrenching, all are poignant inside looks at naval operations rarely seen by outsiders. Topics include the real story behind the shuttle Challenger tragedy, risking his own life underwater, discovering a Soviet spy living across the street, surviving when a DELTA Rocket engine ignites, critical missions, and the everyday lives of men and women of the fleet. Dive into Sŭbmarine-Ër for hijinks and breathtaking adventure with this poignant memoir by a true American hero.

Order Yours!

Digital editions at 99 cents during pre-sale are available in all major ebook formats—Kindle, Nook, Kobo, GPlay, iBooks, and 200+ more—worldwide. Full-color jacketed hardcovers and softcovers are appearing at retailer sites over the next week.

Amazon:

 

 

Featured

#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 286, #THEMEPROMPT #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poetry #tanka

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #283. This week’s theme was selected by Sarah: “Lessons from Nature.”

I went with a tanka format, 5/7/5/7/7, and focused on that magic hidden in nature!

 

magic’s fragrant breath

caresses creativity

deep in the forest

words and images offered

where muses and fairies dance

Featured

99 word short story: A Reminder. Updates #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #microstories #nature #newsletter

I’m still focusing on doing things I want or need to do. This has included many Christmas movies I taped in July, getting to those little projects that have been sitting or sometimes just listening to the cricket’s song on a starry summer night.

Right before my body decided it needed a bit of rest, I spent some time on the front deck writing poetry and short stories. Here is one short story written in 99 words that offers a gentle reminder of what is essential.

A REMINDER

Stella sat on the old wooden porch swing and gently rocked. Birds sang their sweet song while the forest swayed to the music: nothing to do and no place to go. The clouds formed shapes that summer afternoon. Day faded into the pink and purple splendor where the day caressed the night. That moment birthed the first joy she’d felt since her days of busyness and usefulness when the world respected her worth. Today, she was reminded of her quiet love of nature. Nature loved back Stella by awakening her wonder and opening her poetic door—a new beginning.

UPDATES:

Are you subcribed to my monthly newsletter? I have been doing a book of the month to further promote some good books read. Here is the list of books so far with many more to come! I’ve scheduled out to late 2023, so far.

August Book: Terra’s Call: TetraSphere – Book 1 

July Book: The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

June Book: Life and Soul

May Book:  Things old and Forgotten

April Book: HYPE

March Book: Grinders

Febuary Book: Cold Dark Night

January Book: No Such Luck

2021

December Book: The Reckoning Squad

November Book: Keeper Tyree

October Book: The Contract

September Book: Ghostly Interference

I have and will be doing giveways with these books. This is a new feature I’m enjoying! Thanks Jan Sikes and all others involved for the great idea 🙂

Featured

Random Thoughts and Marketing Experiments #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #authorblog #authorthoughts

buck outside window

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a more personal post. Lately, it’s been book reviews, poetry challenges, or new releases. It doesn’t give me much space to explore other interests. I’ve thought about moving the reviews to another day. That leaves me open to new content, but also requires more time. It’s a balance I’m not ready to jump into but will give it a lot of thought.

I said I’d report back on how my marketing experiments went.

The first one was a giveaway through Rafflecopter for three gift cards. What it required from me, other than to put it all together, was some advertising. I did this through Facebook, which I have done in the past. At first, I limited my audience and later I expanded it. It was nice because I capped my spending to under twenty dollars. Plus, I posted it on my website and blog and there was a lot of interest or entries and follows. What I didn’t get were sales, but I added a few new followers. Having done this in the past, it was about the same interest level. One thing I wish I had included in the giveaway was Bookbub.

What I’ve noticed in the past and now is there is a sizeable community that likes to enter contests that have little or no interest in books. That aside, though, I still felt it was worth it for the people who connected with me on social media and stayed after the contest ended.

The second one I tried, which I’ve never done other than through a book club, was a paid tour promotion. I decided on the cheapest option of doing a one-day blitz and scheduled a month out. I didn’t advertise this because I wanted to go outside of my usual blogging world. It was easy enough. I sent in the requested information. There was good communication, and they kept me up to date on what was going on. I also got a couple of book banners to use too. With this tour, there was a ten-dollar giveaway through Rafflecopter.

When my day came, I had a list of those taking part in the blitz through blogs, Facebook, or Instagram. Even at almost thirty hosts, I was determined to thank each one. I only found a couple where I couldn’t locate a post. The main page on the tour site had action, and I was able to respond to several people. A couple of commenters expressed interest in my book, so that was nice.

Another blog had the same activity, but most didn’t. I found many blogs, just did blog tours, and had more than one going on at once. Of these hosts, very few responded to me when I thanked them, and no one commented that I saw but I only checked back for a couple of days.

I did like that the tour ventured out into Facebook and Instagram. Not a lot of interaction other than from the host, but glad for different venues and exposure. My takeaway from my first paid tour was I could tap into a new audience, but I didn’t see any sales. Of course, there is no telling if I was added on Kindle Unlimited. What I did get was meeting a few nice people along the way and I added some new followers from the giveaway, including Bookbub.

There is one option for the paid tours I might consider again. I’d do it using the one or two-week tours and include the people who usually support me. That would be the best of both worlds and, hopefully, less work for me.

I want to thank Jan and her marketing posts over on Story Empire which inspired me to explore different ideas. I’m not done trying new options and will report back here on how they go.

black bear climbing tree

Personal updates:

  • I’ve been busy with some unexpected babysitting, so that has kept me socially quiet recently.
  • I had some good news with a couple of skin biopsies, both benign. I was getting a check-up twice a year and now it’s been moved to once. I have also avoided any more black widow bites or bee stings 😊
  • After losing our dog during our first summer vacation, we are dogless for the first time in forty years. The following vacation we had to spend a lot of it clearing our property for insurance but luckily it got renewed, which is uncommon in our area. So, if you don’t see me around for a couple of days here and there, know I’m taking care of myself. Connecting to that peace that I may have lost recently on many levels. I’m guessing some poetry will come out of this time, but never know where I’ll be led.

Today I have a second post for a new book release from Marje you don’t want to miss, and my new newsletter will come out on the 20th.

Have a great week and embrace that inner child. I know I will be! D. L. Finn xo

Featured

Release Day for “The Hedge Witch & the Musical Poet by M. J. Mallon! @Marjorie_Mallon #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #poetry #shortstories #flashfiction #poetrycommunity

I’m excited to have fellow author, M. J. Mallon here today to share the release of her latest book: “The Hedge Witch & the Musical Poet.” I’ve included my review.

Blurb

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet is a collection of poetry and flash fiction celebrating the beautiful vulnerability of the forest kingdom. It begins with the poetic tale of the kind-hearted Hedge Witch, Fern, who discovers an injured stranger in desperate need of her woodland spells and magic.

The sweet pairing learn from each other and through Fern’s guidance, Devin embraces the power of magic to leave behind his trouble past to become The Musical Poet.

Poetry/flash fiction titles in section one of the collection include:

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, Rain Forest Love, A Forest Baby Boy, A Forest Baby Girl, A Modern Witch, Rock of Mine, Chester Don & I, The Network of Trees, More Trees Not Less, Two Boys Watching War, Mum Climbing Trees, Let’s Play, The Scorched Tree, Owl’s Holiday Home, A Man’s Holiday Home, A Child’s Excitement, The Teddy In The Woods, Run! The Organutans, All Hallow’s Eve Candy Girl The Forest Bash, Dreaming At Halloween, A Face on Bark, Golden Willow Tree, Rainbow – Parasol of Light, Lollipop Sunshine Tree,

In Section two I pay tribute to the following poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Ruby Archer, King Forest, Bliss Carman, Woodland Rain, Emily Dickinson, Who Robbed the Woods, Rupert Blake, Stopping by The Woods on A Winter Evening,Oscar Wilde, In the Forest.

With my poetry:

The Forest Weeps, The Forest King, Raindrops and Childhood Dreams, The Woodland Treasures, Winter Woodland Moon, Child Me.

Paperback to follow.

Cover and Formatting by Colleen Chesebro’s marvellous new formatting service, more about that here: https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/my-services/

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://books2read.com/u/mv1OeV

Amazon US Purchase Link

Amazon UK Purchase Link

My Review

A unique and beautifully written collection of poetry and fiction weaved magically together. I love trees and nature, so a forest setting pulled me right in. Section one starts off with “The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet.” A whimsical tale of an injured man, Dale, found by a magical woman, Fern, who takes him in to heal. It was great to see a couple more poetic pieces continue this sweet journey. Section two offered poetry based on some famous poems. The beautiful imagery captivated me throughout this book. I appreciated all the poetry and prose, especially “The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet” but here are more favorites, “Rock of Mine,” “The Forest King,” and “The Scorched Tree.” It was great to see a couple of samples that I enjoyed from “Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose” included. If you love poetry and flash fiction, especially the forest and magic, this is a collection you won’t want to miss. I plan to add the print version to my bookshelves so I can keep enjoying it.

 

Author Bio

MJ’s favourite genres to write are Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories, various forms of poetry and flash fiction. She celebrates the spiritual realm, love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious at her blog home: https://mjmallon.com

She is a reading, blogging and photography enthusiast!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained, and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of lliving and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

MJ writes fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic! Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

AWARDS
The First book in the Curse of Time series Bloodstone has received many fantastic reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other platforms and was awarded a finalist book award recently from Amazon influencer N. N. Light, receiving a review rating of 5+stars.

Her writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and has also written a spin off poetry collection entitled Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic.) where she continues to celebrate the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

Her eclectic blog shares details and information about her new releases, author interviews, character profiles and her love of reading, reviewing, writing, and photography: https://mjmallon.com/

INDIE PUBLISHED BOOKS

Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose, (with photography,) This is Lockdown, (an anthology,) and Lockdown Innit Poems about Absurdity and The Hedge Witch &  The Musical Poet.
http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius
mybook.to/Thisislockdown
mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Next Chapter Publishing

YA Fantasy series,  Bloodstone and Golden Healer in The Curse of Time.
For details of publications please visit:
https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
Bloodstone Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW
Bloodstone Audiobook:
UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Bloodstone-Audiobook/B09SK9GFB1/
US: https://www.audible.com/author/M-J-Mallon/B074CGNK4L
Golden Healer Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67

 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO VARIOUS ANTHOLOGIES

Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse
Moons of Autumn by Colleen

Chesebro (Poetry,) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09DWDMXWK
Poetry Treasures 2 Relationships compiled by Kaye Lynn Booth &amp; Robbie

Cheadle: https://books2read.com/u/3kP8aK
100 Ways To Write A Book Alex Pearl (proceeds to Pen International.)

Stay Home A year of writing through lockdown – Chantelle Atkins (Chasing
Driftwood Writers Group.) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stay-Home-Writing-Through-Lockdown-/dp/B09HVB6SZ6/

Contributions to Best Selling Horror Anthologies

Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Twisted Sisters“ (Short Story)

Wings of Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Great Pottoo” (Short Story)

Nightmareland: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZG3ZXP3/

Spellbound: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08DM83XKR/

Wings &amp; Fire: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08KJ5SQND/

Contributions to Ghost Anthologies

Ghostly Rites 2019 compiled by Claire Plaisted “Dexter’s Creepy Caverns“ (Short Story) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZQV2Y4Q/

Ghostly Rites 2020 compiled by Claire Plaisted  “No. 1 Coven Lane” (Short
Story) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M9HYBLH

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

Linktree: (all my links in one place.) https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor

Author Blog: https://mjmallon.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mjmallonauthor,

Bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-j-mallon

Spiritual Sisters: https:/www.facebook.com/5SpiritualSisters/

Authors, Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

 

 

 

Featured

#TankaTuesday #Poetry #Challenge No. 284, #SpecificForm: 4-11 #poems #poetrycommunity #poetrychallenges #poetsoftwitter

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #284. This week is Specific Form. Yvette Calleiro chose Gwen Plano’s 4-11 format. It is 4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4/4 with the first and last lines the same. This one was a challenge!

Darkness descends
Crushing my soul
clouds hide the stars
hope in the past
youth was breezy
love abundant
happiness flowed
moonbeams magic
I take my path
make the journey
Darkness descends

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

August Book Reviews Part 2! @Danantion1 @RituBhathal @JoyYorkAuthor @Lizzie_Chantree #bookreviews #whattoread #mustreads #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

My Perfect Ex

by Lizzie Chantree

A fun romantic read where the heavier subject of mental health is woven into it. Poppy is hardworking and is trying to get her business going while her boyfriend, Dylan, is more laid back with his company. Also, Dylan has a reputation of being a lady’s man. These issues push doubt into Poppy’s mind about her relationship with Dylan. Although Poppy loves her job and Dylan, her friends encourage her to give her business partner, Jared, a chance, since he is more like her. Poppy’s powerful side is how she steps up to help others, and her pods are a version of that. There is some miscommunication, jealousy, and hidden motives mixed in, which add depth. I enjoyed the friendship between Poppy and her assistant, and her devotion to those she loves. Poppy has some important lessons to learn who to trust and where she can offer forgiveness. A read I can recommend for those who love romantic stories.

Genuine Deceit

by Joy York

Reagan comes home after her grandmother was killed during a house robbery in this fast-paced mystery. Her best friend, Mattie, enlists her ex-seal brother-in-law, Aiden, to look after Reagan when she can’t be there. It’s soon apparent Reagan needs some help since another burglary follows the first. There is a slowly developing relationship between the two as they uncover clues that only add more questions about what happened. Some old play jewelry may be part of the answer, while it becomes apparent that someone wants something in Reagan’s grandmother’s house. Reagan not only runs across old pictures she’s never seen before but begins to piece together her family’s history. There were many twists, and I kept reading to see what would happen next. The end had a surprise that I didn’t see coming. The story was packed with several side stories and shifting suspects. A layered whodunit with a touch of romance and friendship. This is a fun read for all mystery lovers.

Marriage Unarranged

by Ritu Bhathal

“Marriage Unarranged” is a charming romantic story that completely hooked me. Aashti found out her fiancé had been unfaithful to her, so she called off the wedding. Seems simple enough, but it wasn’t as acceptable in her community to break off engagements. So, after much consideration, Aashti, her two brothers, and her best friend decide to take the trip to India that was to be for her wedding shopping. Told through several points of view, including her ex-Ravi, added a lot of depth and insight to the story. My favorite part, though, was learning more about the Sikh culture in Britain and India. Although it seemed like their customs were old-fashioned, the family was always there for each other. It was wonderful how much unconditional love Aashti had, including from her very overprotective brother. This was a journey where Aashti finds not only her way after being devastated by her loss, but her strength. Developing relationships were an important part of the traveling group’s growth and the trip through India was vivid with images and experiences that shined through the pages. A marvelous story that I found hard to put down and I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next.

Knuckleheads

by Daniel Antion

“Knuckleheads” is a unique and compelling read that focuses on two boys growing up in the late sixties and seventies. Zach and Billy have found a bonding friendship in their differences from other children their own age. Zach has dreams which he can go into, and Billy knows the future outcome of events, but not how they come to that ending. Billy struggles in school and has a label for his supposed lack of intelligence. He is moved into another school for such children. Zach is put into therapy and learns to just say what is expected of him. Their abilities and how they had to deal with them were my favorite parts of the story. I love the connection between the boys and the gifts they were given, but unfortunately, no one was ready for them. They had to hide what they really were. This was a time of not only war and civil unrest but when computers were in their early stages before they were common in households, yet they captured the boy’s attention—especially Billy. Lots of good details went into not only the town, people, and the computers. Zach’s father owns a bowling alley and both boys work there while Zach tried to learn to control going into his dreams. The bowling alley brought back a lot of good memories of when I grew up, it was the place to go,  just like in the story. Zach is retelling the story of his childhood to his daughter Abbie, about him and Billy. So, father and daughter would comment on the story as it went along. A great debut that is a prequel of stories to come. I am looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens next!

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:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Embrace your inner child this summer, read a book! D. L. Finn

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August Book Reviews Part 1! @Anabel1Franklin @YvetteMCalleiro @pat_garcia #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #mustreads #bookreviews

Contemplations of a woman turning sixty-five

by Pat Garcia

“Contemplations of a woman turning sixty-five” is a fun, fast read full of promise. Tessie is about to turn sixty-five and is thinking about what is left for her in this life while dealing with the death of a friend. She is a never-married virgin who had always dreamed of love and a house full of kids. As she dives into the darkness of reality, there was an unexpected twist and a new option she had never dreamed would be possible for her. Is it for real and should she take it? This story offers hope that dreams can come true no matter what age you are. A sweet tale to brighten any reader’s mood.

Escaping the Woods: A Short Story 

by Yvette M Calleiro

“Escaping the Woods” is a children’s story set in the 80s in Mississippi. Isabella and her family have moved to a new town. Isabella immediately meets a new friend, Janine, who suggests they go to her brother’s fort in the forest. Fearful of what could be in those woods, Isabella follows Janine until they get lost. I enjoyed this fast read and felt like I was in the head of an eleven-year-old in 1982. There was humor and I could feel the girls building fear as they kept walking. This short story made me feel like the author was sitting next to me telling a vivid story from her childhood. A fun tale that can either be shared with a child or as an adult being brought back to their youth. I can highly recommend this quick read.

Gateway to Magic

by Annabelle Franklin

A fun story for middle-grade readers about a spoiled boy, Steven, who has everything he could want. Steven spends his time playing video games until one day he sees something unusual in his game that makes sense later. His cousin Tracy talks him into going into the forest and presses that red button that says Do Not Push. Steven ends up in Fairy Land, where everything differs from what he knows. This reminded me a bit of Dorothy trying to get home in the “Wizard of Oz” mixed with the whimsy of “Alice in Wonderland.” I loved the characters he ran into along his journey. My favorite was Nigel, the shapeshifter. Technology is banned in this new land of magic, which makes it hard for Steven to navigate. The food he eats has unusual side-effects, and he has some lessons to learn along the way. The Fairy Queen is supposed to give him the job he is required to do to earn his keep. She is another fun character, and I liked her realm, but he has some miles to travel to get there. I bought this to give to my granddaughter and I know she will enjoy this magical tale as much as I did.

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

Embrace your inner child this summer, read a book! D. L. Finn

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#TANKATUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 282 #THEMEPROMPT #haibun #Ekphrastic #poetrycommunity

Hi! Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 282. This week is a theme prompt selected by Harmony, “The Longest Day.”

I went with a haibun but also used this picture for inspiration or an ekphrastic.

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Point of View

I started this journey so long ago. Every corner turned, I’d find another identical rocky path. It’s been day after day of the same. Each day is longer than the one before it. Although there is food, water, and a place to rest, there are also unpleasant reminders that others have made the same trek. Having no choice, I have only added to that. Occasionally, I’d see a golden light off in the distance shimmering through the open-top tunnel. Encouraged, I quickened my pace toward it. Finally, when I got there, the light would disappear, and I’d be back in the darkness. It’s been a cruel game that has gone on for too long. The promise of finding the meaning of life no longer held my interest. I didn’t care anymore. The problem was, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find my way out of this torture chamber. When I realized I had been looking at this from the wrong perspective. I climbed the wall.

a different view

exposes life’s labyrinth

journey continues

 

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July Book Reviews Part 3 and Updates! @KimCoxAuthor @F_Glass_Author @DevaWhispers @teagangeneviene #whattoread #bookreviews #mustreads

Fe-Lines, a journal with feline quotes

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was excited to see a journal with cats and cat quotes. I am always looking for places to record my poetry, so being a cat-lover, I quickly bought this journal. “Fe-Lines” would also be a good place to write about your health, emotions, or cat interactions. I loved all the quotes and a picture every few pages. I appreciated a place to put my positive thoughts and at the end, there were pages to write about your own cat if you chose to do so. There are a lot of options with this fun little journal. If you are a fan of cats and love journals, this would be the perfect fit for you. I know I’m going to enjoy using it!

Its May and the Lilacs are Blooming

by Elaina Deva Profitt

Elaina Deva Profitt comes from a family of gifted people. They kept it secret until she started using these gifts to help others in a more public way. This is a beautiful autobiography that not only shows her journey through helping the police and people crossing over, but her own personal struggle with a health issue. I admit to being stressed worrying about her health as it got worse and worse. Logically, I knew she had to survive to write this, but I just wanted her pain to go away and doctors figure out what was wrong with her. The friendships she made were inspiring as well as the help offered to so many. It was an excellent lesson when she took the help offered back to her, but it was the near-death experience that really touched me. Her description of pure peace reminded me of a similar experience I had. She described it better than I ever could and takes all the fear out of crossing over when it is our time. If you are interested in people with special abilities and what comes after we go, this is a good read for you and one I won’t soon forget.

Got Ghosts

by Fiona Glass

“Got Ghosts” is a fun novella set in an old, haunted house. Emily has been struggling to make ends meet when she gets a call from a TV show, “Got Ghosts.” They offer her money to film an episode in her haunted house, and she reluctantly accepts. Although she doesn’t really want to share “Grandpa” with anyone. There is a lot of humor, and she starts off being attracted to the producer, Carl, but something seems off with the show. It was a fun spoof on ghost shows, but the story is firmly rooted that there really are ghosts, and Emily talks to them. There are a few fun twists and new relationships to explore. A quick read that I devoured in one sitting, and I was happy with the outcome.

Christmas Cruise (Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery Series Book 4)

by Kim Cox

I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it, so I was eager to read this one with a Christmas theme. Lana and her husband are taking a cruise to relax. Of course, ten ghosts have other ideas about that. Lana is immediately drawn to a woman and befriends her while the ghosts push for answers. Ten murders in ten years is a mystery that needs to be solved. It was brutal when Lana had a painful experience with one ghost. She fully relives the ghost’s last moments, but there is also humor infused into the story. This was a quick-paced read that centered less on the holiday and more on the murders. Although I was glad the ghosts could make themselves heard and found that part of the story fascinating, I wanted to know more about them and their stories. Lucy makes a much-needed appearance while Lana reaches out for help over the seas. I loved the cruise setting and figuring out who the killer was. I enjoy how Lana works with ghosts and will be reading more 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 to leave a review in that case. Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

UPDATES: I had a nice vacation which included a wedding in the redwoods, a spa day in Reno, swimming at the lake, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 🙂 The rest of the time was spent clearing bush to hopefully satisfy our insurance company. There are pictures posted on Instagram, and a few on Facebook.

Outside is where I had some run-ins with some tiny forest dwellers.

The week before vacation I got bit by a huge black widow. She was just hanging out right by where I turned on our water to water the potted plants outside. I mean inches next to my face and where my shoulder was. Luckily, I didn’t have too bad of a reaction, only some local pain and stomach issues the next day. I was fine just in time for our vacation. She spent the rest of the day after biting me, just suspended in mid air—unmoving. Since, the black widow didn’t do more damage to me, my husband set her free. Luckily many of these bites don’t require a doctor’s visit. There were hourly check ups to make sure I was okay.

Sunday finishing up our clearing of brush, I was raking the rest of the debris and being mindful of any spider webs when I apparently stepped on a hornet’s nest. I got stung on the back of each ankle and was chased all the way to the house. My husband fought the angry bee off as I made it safely inside. Still on the painful side, and have concluded I will be staying indoors for a bit…lol. I have only been stung a couple times before this, so I will remember this one and watch my step!

Black widows and angry bees are two of my least favorite things.

Back to writing for me, perhaps this is a gentle nudge to get started on that book, I’ve been thinking about?

My newsletter was late because of vacation. If you are subcribed check your email.

I won’t try to catch up on all the blogs I’m sorry to miss, but doing that cancels all the rest I managed during my break.

I have a one-day blog tour end of this week though Silver Dagger Blog Tours. I’m curious to see how that goes. Also, I’m thrilled to be visting a blog on the 29th. I will post more information that day.

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

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Upcoming Release, “My Perfect Ex” by Lizzie Chantree! @Lizzie_Chantree #preorder #newrelease #romance #satirefiction #writingcommunity #whattoread #readersoftwitter

Today I’m thrilled to have Lizzie Chantree here today to share her upcoming release, My Perfect Ex (Cherry Blossom Lane. Book 1.) I have my copy ordered, and plan to read it over vacation 🙂

BLURB

The brilliant new romance from the author of, The little ice cream shop by the sea.

Poppy Marlowe, a mental health advocate, moves into Cherry Blossom Lane to escape her past and build a future with her gorgeous, but troublesome, boyfriend, Dylan.

Dylan lives in the house across the street. But his reputation as a heartbreaker is legendary and Poppy reluctantly decides that she must walk away to protect her heart.

Poppy’s friends think she is perfect for go-getter Jared, who’s ready to step into Dylan’s shoes and whisk her into his glamorous world.

Taking a chance on happiness is harder than Poppy imagined. Can she let go of her past and allow herself to fall in love with the same man again, or should she step into the limelight and walk towards a dazzling life with someone new?

A deliciously romantic story of friendship and second chances at love. Scroll up and one-click to lose yourself in the Cherry Blossom Lane series, today.

My Perfect Ex is the first book in a series of exciting romance novels set in Cherry Blossom Lane, by Lizzie Chantree.

All of Lizzie’s books are uplifting, heart-warming romance stories, featuring stunning locations and new characters.

Begin an irresistible romance today!]

My Perfect Ex. Book 2 and 3 coming soon!
The little ice cream shop by the sea. Book 1A seaside escape.
The little cupcake shop by the sea. Book 2. A love triangle, by the sea.
If you love me, I’m yoursA small town/ high drama, love story.
The woman who felt invisibleA story of second chances at love.
Finding Gina. Set by Bluebell Manor and full of love.
Babe DriveA secret millionaire, island romance.
Ninja School MumA mistaken identity, friends to lovers, romance.

Reader’s thoughts:

‘I have bought another book from this author and started reading it immediately – such exceptional writing.’

‘Take a few scoops of family drama, drizzle it with some hot men, scatter some sprinkles of misunderstandings along with a wafer of romance, and you get Lizzie Chantree’s new novel, The Little Ice Cream Shop By The Sea.’

‘Rarely has a book held my heart in it’s hands the way If You Love Me I’m Yours has. An incredibly uplifting romantic story that has had me laughing and crying over and over again.’
‘If this was a TV play I would have been shouting at the telly and weeping ‘discreetly’ – I loved it – SUBLIME – 5 stars.’

‘Lizzie Chantree writes lovely romance novels and her latest is no exception. Her strengths lie in creating wonderful characters, beguiling settings and simple but effective story lines.’

‘A stonkingly good escapist read! A sundae of a story full of romance, mystery, community, friendships, determination, humour & following your dreams. Lizzie Chantree’s mouthwatering new book (for its flavours as well as its male characters!) had me gripped from page one.’

‘If sexy, well-written holiday romances with sultry, feisty ladies, smouldering Alpha males and writing that has oodles of attitude and flair are your thing, then pop this one in your suitcase/Kindle then lay back with something long and cool close to hand and the time will just fly by in the most entertaining way imaginable.’

‘Pure escapism!’

‘I was recommended this book by a friend as I am very loyal to Freya North & Lisa Jewell… I’m a bit of chick lit fan!!! By the end of the first chapter I was completely gripped…This is a really compulsive read and not easy to put down.’

About Lizzie

 I write sizzling romances and am an enthusiastic inventor, businesswoman and artist. I founded my first company at the age of 17 and have been creating products and driving my family mad ever since.

I live in Essex, with my gorgeous family and I sit in my rooftop studio daydreaming of new stories about quirky businesses and the romantic escapades of the women who run them. My books are full of romance, laughter and uplifting storylines.

I appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Gloria Hunniford show, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others for becoming one of Fair Play London’s Female Innovators for inventing Runaway Spray, a ‘ladder’ stop spray for hosiery.