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“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #2 @pursoot

 I always want to take part in blog writing challenges, but I never do. When I saw the picture, and challenge to write a story under 750 words, over on Suzanne Burke Blog, a story came to me right away. Here is the link: FICTION IN A FLASH.

I am a slow writer. That doesn’t mean I’m slow at getting words down. It’s the process after or the arranging of the words, so they make sense. Editing is why I usually avoid challenges. This time the story wouldn’t let go, so I went with it and pushed the words around, trying to make sense accurately and quickly.

I’m also slow at processing my emotions as I try to comprehend them. I’m numb to what is going on around me right now and can’t put it in words yet. But this piece allowed me that final closure in losing our three pets last year over a small period. I dedicate this to them: Thunder, Alice, and Hermie.

 


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It was our bench. I felt the familiar tug at my heart as I quickened my pace and maneuvered through the pungently earthy orange, red, and yellow leaves. I hated making this walk alone through the fall splendor.

I jumped when something brushed against my leg.

“Sorry. Lady escaped from her collar again.”

The pug sat at my feet with an amiable head tilt. I mumbled. “No problem.”

“She’s friendly if you want to pet her.”

I shook my head and stepped around the dog. Passing the brightly lit coffee shop that usually provided me with a latte, I kept going. Finally, I plopped down on a cold cement bench and was immediately greeted by a distant chorus of barking dogs.

A young boy burst through the door directly across the street. He was cradling a small black kitten.

“Can I name him Skitter, mom?”

As the mother agreed, I flashed back to the day I brought my kitten home from this animal shelter. Felix died right before his 18th birthday. I decided, after crying for two weeks, I didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.

A wind kicked up, and the sun was sloping down. It was time for me to head home. I stood up to go but froze when a young couple exited the building with a small exuberant black lab just like… Tears flowed unchecked down my face. I missed my walking companion, Bessie. When I had to put her to sleep, after she lost her battle with cancer, it tore me apart holding her for the last time. My two constant companions were taken from me in only two months. Now, at sixty-five-years-old, I was not only a widow but petless too.  With a heavy heart, I slowly made my way home.

The final one-hundred yards before turning into my driveway, I heard a muffled cry coming from a bush.

“Hello?” I called out, getting my keys ready to run inside.

It answered with a whimper.

“Pup?”

I carefully pushed the branches aside and found a taped cardboard box.

“Oh god…”

My heart was racing as I ripped the box open and peered inside.

The yellow puppy barked and jumped on the side of the box with its tail wagging. I quickly scooped it up, and it nestled into my neck. The smaller black one wasn’t moving, and the black and yellow puppy could barely lift its head.

“You poor babies! What kind of monster would do this?”

I raced to my car and gently set the box down while still hanging on to the yellow puppy. My hand brushed over the black pup, finding no life, but the other pup let out a small sigh as I stroked its soft fur.

I dialed my vet and started the car, “I found some puppies in bad shape. Are you still open?”

“We just closed but bring them in, Marsha. We’ll wait.”

Soon the two puppies who had survived were on the vet’s examination table.

“They are around four weeks old and look like a shepherd/lab mix. It was lucky you found these two when you did. We will do everything we can for them and call you in the morning. Are you considering keeping them?”

I frowned. “I don’t think so, but I will pay for whatever they need.”

I spent a long night tossing and turning. Their sweet faces haunted me as well as the cruelly taped box. I knew I was meant to find them, but that didn’t mean I had to keep them. When the sun finally rose, I knew what I had to do.

The phone rang after breakfast. “Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry the boy didn’t make it, but the girl did. We will keep her here another night so we can monitor her, and we found someone to foster her so—”

I cut her off. “No, she has a home with me.”

A year later, Molly was proudly wearing her new pink collar. She yanked me toward our bench. Today we couldn’t sit there because a neighbor’s adolescent daughter had taken it over with a box of kittens that had a free sign taped to the side. Our walk was cut short when I locked eyes with a tiny black cat. We had found the missing member of our family and I had learned that having a pet’s love was worth any loss endured.


Embrace your inner child with a good story, and embrace each person’s soul that you meet along the way. D. L. Finn

 

 

 

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“This Last Chance” First Reviews!

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I had an amazing release week, thank you. I’m always grateful for the support the writing community gives.

Waiting for that first review to post on Amazon is nerve-racking. It’s here so I wanted to share it and say thank you to Sandra for reading and reviewing:)

Verified Purchase
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“This Last Chance” Book Video

With release this week, I got to work and made a book video. This is the first one I’ve done alone. I included the original bear picture:)

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon

Smashwords 

Barnes & Noble

 

I will be visiting some amazing blogs this week!  Each day I will post a link here, and let you know how to find out more about the host. Be sure to drop by and say hi:)

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Behind “This Last Chance”

This Last Chance internet cover

After This Second Chance, I hadn’t planned on writing any more stories using angels/evildwels. When I started writing The Button, they weaved their way into the story, and it became a prequel to This Second Chance for the angels. I knew This Last Chance would be about the angels and evildwels. The very first image I had of the book was an evildwel telling someone his life story. I was fully focused on Nester and his issues, and I got some answers about the evildwels, like where they came from.

With all my attention centered on Nester and his one-sided conversation with the angel, I started to wonder about the human under the angel’s care. What was the human’s story? This led to a longer than normal amount of time writing, while hitting roadblock after roadblock. I concluded I had to take what was offered to me and let the characters guide the story. I can allow that in fantasy, but when writing historical fiction, like Elizabeth’s War, I must plan around real-life events and don’t have the freedom I do in this genre.

Looking back from where this all started, I’m amazed. It began with a woman trying to find happiness but was haunted by her past. Now there’s a monster seeking help from an angel. This is something I couldn’t have planned or predicted, along with a couple of short stories, Red-Eyes in the Darkness, and A Long Walk Home.

I have declared This Last Chance would be my last angel/evildwel book, but I can’t guarantee the characters won’t have another opinion on that.  Those angels seem determined to stick around. I guess I will have to see what they have in mind. I’ve become fond of Zelina, Thomas, Olivia, and Ed. They are my unseen superheroes, fighting for the innocent and protecting the good. It’s always been about the angels and how they help us, humans. The evil is more fluid, but still lurking in one form or another. I like to believe Zelina is right when she says, love always wins. I sure hope so!

BLURB:

Six months after Amber’s sister is brutally murdered, she’s still looking for answers, and now someone is stalking her and no one believes her. Home alone with a powerful snowstorm approaching, Amber is determined to take control of the investigation by hiring a private detective, but her plans are disrupted when she finds herself snowed in with people she may not be able to trust. Meanwhile, Nester the evildwel, whose entire existence has been feeding on fear and pain, is seeking help from the angel who’s protecting Amber. Nester and Amber need answers. Can Amber figure out what’s going on with some subtle help from an angel? Will Nester find what he needs from his enemies? The worlds of good and evil clash, and the outcome will determine not only Amber’s and Nester’s fate but life as they know it.

AMAZON PRE-ORDER LINK

Fun Finn Facts:

  1. I painted a blue sky with clouds on the ceiling in the living room.
  2. I love the smell of bee’s wax candles.
  3. We take day trips to Lake Tahoe on the Harley.

Updates:

  1. Next week I hope to have the trailer done for This Last Chance to share!
  2. If you are subscribed to the newsletter it will be coming out this week. Watch for it in your email:)

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book, then thank the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn

 

 

 

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May Book Reviews Part Two! @MarieDrake72 @spolakoffauthor @psteph55 @SarahAngleton

Smoke Rose to Heaven (a companion to Gentleman of Misfortune)

by Sarah Angleton

Ada Moses is a fortune teller in the late 1800s and has her life turned upside down by a visitor. Knowing her life is in danger, she hurries to tell her story to a Mormon prophet, armed with a manuscript she’s had since childhood. Although that part of the plot held my interest, when Ada told the story of her childhood, my heart was with her. Her abandonment was heartbreaking enough, but who she was left with was even worse. I could not find many adults in her life that I liked, which spoke highly of the author’s ability to make me dislike them. There were con-men, religious zealots, mental illness, and a lot of broken souls surrounding this poor girl as she grew up. She learned to maneuver through the craziness, and there were some chances to explore a bit of her natural abilities. I understood how Ada could put her trust in one person, even though he had betrayed her before. Ada’s weakness made sense to me and strengthened her when she needed it. I will be reading more by this author and highly recommend this! Five-Stars


 

The Altar Boy: A Dark Tale of Comedy, Sorrow and The Catholic Church in the 1960s

by Phil Stephens

“The Altar Boy” is a historical fiction coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. Carl is meeting up with his brother’s for drinks in the 80s when Carl reflects on his childhood. I loved seeing the world through a young Carl’s eyes, how he dealt with friends, school, his awe of the altar boys, and becoming one. Yet, it was understanding his parent’s problems as a child would that was the strongest part of this story. I felt for Carl’s father most of the time and couldn’t find much sympathy for his mother. The Priest, though, I thoroughly disliked and wished he’d made better choices.  All the small details, including the music, trying to catch bats, running home in the dark, hippies, and the Catholic Church, all added that extra depth and made me nostalgic for this period. This is a clever story that provides not only laughter but a few tears, too. Four-Stars


Shaman

by Sam Polakoff 

“Shaman” is a supernatural thriller that held my interest until the last page. I enjoyed all the thorough research about Shaman and Peru, along with all the other details that added to the story. The political and environmental aspects were woven nicely into the plot, giving it lots of depth. Dan was mountain climbing on his fiftieth birthday when strange and bad things happened, while his unexplained visions were taking a toll on him. I enjoyed the relationship between him and his assistant, Tally. There was a twist at the end I had hoped would be gone into with more detail, but the outcome was satisfying to me. Learning about the shaman ways was my favorite part of the book. This is a great story that takes you on a journey into the past and future with consequences for the now. Four-Stars


Three Rules

by Marie Drake

“Three Rules” takes you into the mind of a young woman, Hope, and her world. The story deals with child abuse that focuses on the consequences of it over the act, which I found very powerful. Hope holds everything inside from her brutal sexual assaults. She is attempting to move on with her life, but her past isn’t allowing that. The writing is unique, and it fits Hope’s withdrawn state and how she robotically responds to people. I loved her relationship with her childhood friends Joey and Karen and how she’s always there for them, but she doesn’t allow them to be there for her, especially Joey. I hadn’t planned on reading this in one sitting, but I sat up most of the night until I finished it. I needed to know the outcome and was surprised by the twist at the end. This is a story I won’t forget, and I highly recommend it.  Five-Stars


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

UPDATES:

I’m participating in the RWISA Rise-Up Tour through May 18th! So there will be a blog here daily.

I will continue my weekly blogs and will start posting about my upcoming release, “This Last Chance” next week. I’ll send out the blogs this week to those who offered to help with the release, thanks!

“This Last Chance” is available for pre-order AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, including furry baby moms:)

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

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New Book Release: “Mateo’s Law” by Sandra Cox! @Sandra_Cox

Please welcome fellow author, Sandra Cox here for the release of her new book, “Mateo’s Law.” I just finished it and the review is included at the end of the post!

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Sandra has a question for us: If you were a shapeshifter and had the choice, what animal would you be? Would you choose a secluded or highly populated area to live in? Got a place in mind?

MATEO’S LAW

Blurb:

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.

He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.

 

Excerpt:

Mateo took a step past her, alert, dangerous.

Blair put a hand on his arm. Warmth surged through her fingers.  Motionless, his nostrils flared. She withdrew her hand.

One heartbeat. Two. The dark closed in around her.

Then the tension in him vanished as quickly as it came.

“Whatever, whoever is gone.”

“How do you know?” But she knew what his response would be. The same one it always was.

“Gut feeling.” He shrugged.

A gut feeling that caused his nostrils to flare and draw in a heavy inhale as if he sniffed the air. She shrugged it off. She was too much a realist to give credence to ‘gut feelings’ but she was also savvy enough not to argue about the sheriff’s. Instead, got down to the matter at hand.  “Don’t worry about it. Something’s come up.”

He cast one long, last look into the deep, dark of the woods then turned his sharp gaze back to her. “What?” He raked fingers through thick black hair, sprinkled with silver. Moonlight outlined damn fine pecs and a lean torso.

“We need to get to the rez.”

“Not our jurisdiction.” He started toward the house.

“The chief of police specifically requested you.” She fell in step beside him. Demanded more like, but she wisely kept that to herself.

“Kipp? Jesse Kipp?” His eyebrows rose.

Blair strove for patience, not her strong suit, and just managed not to roll her eyes. There was only one on the rez. “Yup.”

“Why?”

They crossed the porch and he swung through the door.

She stepped in behind him and looked around. A small entryway led into a sparsely furnished, spacious living room with a large west window that always drew her. Pine and oak beckoned. And when the sun went down, it turned the whole landscape into a crimson and purple pallet of glory. But tonight, the view she loved made her feel vulnerable as the sky blackened and the branches reached out twisty, skeletal fingers. Impatient with herself, she pulled her mind back to the reason for being here.

“There’s a little three-year-old girl that’s lost. The weather is supposed to drop. Jesse needs all the help he can get.”

He straightened. His strange amber-colored eyes flared. He gave an abrupt nod. “Give me two minutes.”

Amazon Purchase Link

 

SC

Bio:

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

Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.

Connect with Sandra here:

 Website

Twitter 

Amazon Page

 Thanks for hosting me!

Here is my review:

Mateo’s Law 

by Sandra Cox

“Mateo’s Law” is an exciting paranormal, western romance that I read in two sittings. It is set in a small town in Montana, where Blair moved to join the force as a deputy. She is in a long-distance relationship but is attracted to the sheriff, Mateo. When something attacks a town resident, they investigate it together, but Blair is unaware of Mateo’s secret of being a shapeshifter. I love it when Mateo is in his alternative form, and I felt his freedom. The scenery is lush and the town a place I’d want to call home. Blair and Mateo have great chemistry, conversations, and working relationship. I was definitely rooting for Blair and Mateo and hope more stories are coming with these characters. If you love a paranormal page-turning romance, you won’t want to miss this! Five-Stars

 

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May Book Reviews Part One! @JoanHallWrites @maurabeth2014 @Sandra_Cox @FrostFyre

 

Guardian of the Deep (Wytchfae, #2)

by Flossie Benton Rogers

“Guardian of the Deep” is a quick sexy-paranormal read. Layla is a succubus whose only job is to seduce men, but she finds herself attached to Samael, who watches over the ocean. They decide to take a vacation to a 1950s Montana Ranch to avoid all the issues their relationship is causing. Things don’t go as planned, though, and Layla is pushed to find the strength required. Samael and Layla definitely have strong chemistry and interactions that held my interest until the last page. I enjoyed the mythology mixed into the story, along with the determination of Layla. I will be reading more of this series. Four-Stars


MINDER

by Sandra Cox

“Minder” is an exciting paranormal shapeshifter YA read! Aurora goes out to dinner with her aunt on her eighteen birthday and is told a strange Indian Legend about a princess being a minder or shapeshifter. When Aurora is out with her best friend, she finds the legend is more than just a myth.  I love the attraction between Aurora and Kylar and how that progresses. I could easily see the world through the black panther’s eyes and was intrigued by the puma.  This moves at a fast pace, and I read it in two sittings. A fun read for YA and adults if you love the paranormal with some sweet romance sprinkled into the action. Five-Stars


The Ex Chronicles

by Maura Beth Brennan

“The Ex Chronicles” is a quick read that had me laughing out loud. Angie is headed home to her parents while she shares how a relationship ended badly with the reader. The descriptions were vivid, and although a serious topic, the humor came strongly through. Angie sees the world like a happily ever after movie, but reality pushes its way in with humorous results. A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. Five-Stars


Unclear Purposes (Driscoll Lake Book Three)

by Joan Hall

“Unclear Purposes” is the final book in the Driscoll series and a great way to end it. Each book has focused on one woman in a group of three friends. Christine is a widowed teacher and raising a teenage daughter. Vince, the ex-FBI agent, came back to town when he opened a Private Investigation office in town. A run through the park brings them together in an unusual way, a murder. The characters were all well-developed.  The friction between Christine and her daughter was very realistic, and the misunderstandings Christine and Vince dealt with made sense to me. I love how characters show up from the other two books, so there’s an update on how they are doing.   Jason and Tami were two flawed characters that I appreciated. The mystery side of the book had me guessing until the end. I kept thinking it was someone only to think it was someone else right after that. There was a satisfying conclusion, and I look forward to reading more from this author. This is for you if you enjoy a good romantic mystery. Five-Stars


Unknown Reasons (Driscoll Lake Book Two)

by Joan Hall

I have been wanting to read “Unknown Reasons” after enjoying the first book, “Unseen Motives.” When I started reading, I couldn’t put “Unknown Reasons” down. I finished it in two sittings. Rachael is a local doctor from a prominent family who has developed a friendship with Brian, who was a troubled teen but overcame that and now owns his own construction company. I loved these characters, and how they interacted, they felt real to me. I really sympathized with Brian’s struggles to overcome his negative messages from the past as he tried to move forward. The mystery of who was the arsonist had me guessing until the end. This was a page-turner because I had to see what was going to happen next. I’m already reading the next one in the series. If you love romantic mysteries, you will enjoy this one! Five-Stars


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

UPDATES:

Watch for a special edition blog this week!

“This Last Chance” is available for pre-order AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

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

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April Reviews Part Three @MaeClair1 @Virgilante @rijanjks @Jinlobify @KarensStories

 

A Candle in the Darkness

by Karen Black

“A Candle in the Darkness” is a short story that pulls you right in. Valerie was driving home after her husband’s funeral and was caught in a storm. She finds a motel to ride it out, but a tornado comes, and she must find shelter. I felt her fear as she raced to the cellar through the rain and wind. The internal struggle with losing her husband and questioning if there was an afterlife felt very real. The twist at the end was satisfying, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Four-Stars


JONAH 

by JAN SIKES

I was lucky enough to read this story as a series a while back on Ms. Sikes’s blog. I found this short story was even a better read the second time around. Jonah chooses to live on a dangerous island, over going to prison. I love his inner journey as he struggles to survive. This is an exciting read that’s layered with a spiritual meaning that I could relate to in my life. I highly recommend this. Five-Stars


THE VISIT 

by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

This micro read is set in Lagos, Nigeria. The author provides a very detailed setting so the reader can fully visualize the neighborhood. When a visitor’s car is stolen, a mystery ensues to find the missing vehicle. A quick, entertaining read. Four-Stars


Satin & Cinders 

by Jan Sikes

I loved this micro read about a wild stallion who fell in love with a stabled horse, Satin. This is not only a sweet love story but has a strong message never to give up. I felt like I was standing in the forest with the wild horse as he watched his beloved. He had to decide what was important to him and act on it. His bravery to be with her was inspiring, making this the perfect read to uplift your spirits. I highly recommend this! Five-Stars


Grinders

by C.S. Boyack

Grinders” is set in the future in my favorite city, San Francisco. The waters have risen to change the landscape of the city, but people are still the same in the essential ways. Jimi is a cop who, after a mistake, was put on the grinders squad. They partnered her with the veteran, Lou, who used to patrol his beat on a horse. The grinders squad is the job no one wants, and Jimi is determined to move on by finding a wanted grinder. The relationship between Jimi and Lou felt real to me, but my favorite relationships were with the AIs, especially Cole, the cat. His comments had me laughing. I fell in love with the forest that generated energy and wanted to save it. There was a lot of detail that made this world easy to picture. I loved Jimi’s underwater apartment with an octopus living outside her window on her “porch.” I felt a lot of sympathy for the grinder’s family and situation. All the advertising that surrounded them even through their AIs irritated me as much as current commercials do on TV. This was a fantastic, imaginative story that I loved. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars


In Search of McDoogal

by Mae Clair

“In Search of McDoogal” is a fun short story. Brady helps his girlfriend, Vanessa, by working in her art studio when she’s out of town. He finds out he sold a painting of a beloved cat that he wasn’t supposed to. So, he grabbed his best friend Declan and headed off to get it back. I loved the easy friendship between the two men and Brady’s fear of disappointing his girlfriend. I smiled many times reading and was wholly entertained. It was funny how Brady disliked the painting, as well as others who had seen it, too. This was a quick read with a surprise twist at the end that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. Five-Stars


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

UPDATES:

  1. Watch for upcoming special edition blogs, including my cover release!
  2. I have decided to make the release date for “This Last Chance,” May 26th. It was cutting it too close to get the Kindle out on the 19th. It will just be a belated release for my daughter’s birthday!
  3. Thanks for all who offered to help with the release, much appreicated! If you are interested you can still email me! xo

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

Featured

April Books Reviews Part Two @FizaPathan @sharrislaughter @teagangeneviene @EichinChangLim @Sandra_Cox

Montana Shootists

by Sandra Cox

“Montana Shootists” starts off on a modern-day ranch where Marine, Abby, comes home to heal after losing her fiancé. She is immediately drawn to a glowing rock and transported back into the late 1800s. I loved the instant connection between her and Jake. It was fun seeing a strong modern woman navigate the wild west. Ms. Cox created a place I would want to live, down to the sheep ranch. Although Abby was always looking for a way to get back home, the place she was in seemed to suit her. There was plenty of action, a quest to save her dead fiancé, a hired gun with a softer side, a brothel, and a man who wants to control and own everything. Abby’s relationships felt real to me, down to an orphaned wolf pup, who I adored. This was a Western Romance with a time-travel twist and a satisfying ending. I highly recommend. Five-Stars


The LoveLock

by Eichin Chang-Lim

“The LoveLock” is a story of Dylan and Violet’s love and separation. They met in a hospital as children, but don’t reconnect again until college. The couple decides to get married, but that doesn’t happen for reasons unknown. Next, Violet is living in LA and struggles to survive. I could feel her anguish when she had to decide how to make money to pay her rent.  How she self-medicated and numbly went through the motions was realistic. Then the POV switches to Dylan, who comes back for her, only to be stopped. I was rooting for them as obstacle after obstacle got in the way, including themselves. I loved both of their journeys, although some heavy subjects were dealt with along the way. The truth shocked me when it was revealed why they didn’t get married. I was all in with this story and read it in two sittings, although I tried to do it in one. If you love drama, self-reflection, and tragedy in a love story, this is for you. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars


Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine: A Steampunk Novelette 

by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

“Fiona Finch and the Pink Valentine” is a uniquely fun read! I read it in one sitting and had a smile on my face when I finished. I loved the duck, Quellie, and her determination to keep a particular letter. Fiona receives a box with that hidden letter that offers some mystery as to what it contains. As the story unfolds, I was charmed by a sweet love story. The use of pink and all the wonderful descriptions really added to the depth. A great uplifting steampunk love story that I highly recommend. Five-Stars


Ronald L. Powell: Missing in Action

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Ms. Harris-Slaughter wrote a very moving tribute to her brother, who was a Marine. He was listed missing in action. This short memoir brought to life the unknown circumstances of his death and fifty-seven others. This was a reminder of the bravery of our soldiers and the pain their families are left to endure.   Four-Stars


My Sweet Lord: Short Story 

by Fiza Pathan

“My Sweet Lord” is a short story that shows the brutal treatment of the Buddhist citizens in Dil-e-bad. A woman is returning from an errand and is about to offer some money to a Buddhist Priest when the unthinkable happens right in front of her. The descriptions are detailed and very graphic. The woman’s reactions of horror matched that. Ms. Pathan shows what happens when people are unfairly treated, and they’re pushed to do something unbelievable in protest.  Then the story goes back to show how this action came about. I won’t say I enjoyed this, but I definitely cared about the story, and it tapped into my emotions. Four-Stars


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

UPDATES:

  1. Next week will be part three of my reviews.
  2. Here is something I’m a part of: Authors Give Back Sale! March 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020. Only at Smashwords! All my children’s books, memoir, and short stories are free! 60 percent off the rest of the catalog. All formats are available, including MOBI for Kindle. Don’t miss out. SMASHWORDS LINK

  3. I have set a release date for “This Last Chance!” Watch for the cover, pre-order, more information this week. Also, I’m looking for some help with the release in May! Email me if you are interested. d.l.finn.author@gmail.com

  4. The Monthly Newsletter goes out on April 20th. Check your email if you are subscribed.

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

 

Featured

Cover Release and Pre-Order for “Mateo’s Law” by Sandra Cox! @Sandra_Cox

Please give a warm welcome to author, Sandra Cox. She’s sharing her beautiful new cover with us today and a link for the pre-order! I ordered my copy:)


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MATEO’S LAW

Blurb:

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.

He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.

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Amazon Pre-Order Link

 

SC

Bio:

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

Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.

Connect with Sandra here:

 Website

Twitter 

Amazon Page

 

Thanks for hosting me. You rock!

 

 

Featured

April Book Reviews Part One @PeggyHattendorf @NonnieJules @pursoot @BeemWeeks @maurabeth2014

 

Stardust

by Maura Beth Brennan

I was completely pulled into the life of Maeve as she rode her bicycle through town. I loved her quirky personality, love of books, and Halloween. Then there was the one trip that changed everything. It felt authentic as it unfolded down to my concern for all of them involved, including the animal.  Relationships that developed were a surprise and endearing. The survivability of one part was the only thing I questioned, but the change after that showed the tradeoff you have in life for the choices you make. I enjoyed this short story and will definitely be reading more by Ms. Brennan. Four-Stars.


The Thing About Kevin 

by Beem Weeks

A quick read about a man, Jacob, returning home after his father dies. Jacob reconnects with his sister and mother while wondering if his older brother Kevin will come home after thirty-seven years. As Jacob explores what he wants out of life now, he follows the trail of why his brother left home. I liked Jacob and felt I got to know him in this short story. The picture was painted nicely for what type of man his father was and what role his mother played in that. I felt the ending gave the reader the answers Jacob was seeking. I enjoyed this story. Four-Stars.


The Reckoning Squad 

by Suzanne Burke

The Reckoning Squad starts with a young caring girl, Chastity/Chaz, who is forced to act during a horrific event. The story follows her into adulthood as she becomes part of a Black-op group. The story’s pace is fast and exciting as Chaz is trained and then works with her group on special operations. Her dedication to duty and relationships with her fellow Black-ops are what drives her. When they are attacked, Chaz’s determination to survive and figure out what happened is not only page-turning but inspiring. Ms. Burke knows how to write a thrilling story, but also make you care about the characters, too. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and character developments that I had me invested. I highly recommend this book, especially if you love a good psychological thriller. Five-Stars.


NO PEDIGREE: A Really Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

“No Pedigree” is a short story able to convey so much in a few words. It tackled difficult subjects, including racism and poverty. Baylee was thrust into an elite high school where her mixed-race left her shunned and cruelly treated in a world of designer clothes and attitudes. Her mother worked hard to make ends meet, giving her daughter a good example of how not to give up. Baylee’s strength was the center of this story, especially when she suffered through a horrendous attack. Karma came to mind as it all played out to a satisfying ending. This was a well-written short read that I highly recommend. Five-Stars.


Son of My Father-A Family Dynasty

by Peggy Hattendorf

“Son of My Father” is about the multimillionaire Barrington family and had the feel of the TV show, “Dynasty.” Christiana Barrington is recently divorced. She has a young daughter and a very controlling father, Jonathan. She is the heir apparent to his company, and they work side by side. Their relationship is mostly one-sided or his way. Jonathan is protective of his family, but also ignores the questions his daughter asks. I liked the relationship between Christiana and her daughter, along with the co-parenting with her ex and his feelings for her. Christiana showed some strength with her business dealings and was trusting her gut when she needed to. I appreciated that side of her, but how she let her father run her life made me think if I were her, I’d toss the money and run. I got a bit confused with the many POVs, who was talking and when, but that didn’t take away from the story of this family. The ending was a surprise, even if I guessed part of it, I was very satisfied with the conclusion. If you love drama, reading about a powerful family, and some interesting twists, you will enjoy this book. Four-Stars.


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

easter pic

My Easter Tree:)

 

UPDATES:

  1. There will be two other parts to my April Book Reviews. I did a lot of reading in March!
  2. Watch for special edition blogs.
  3. There will be no post next Sunday for Easter. To those who celebrate it, Happy Easter:)

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

Featured

Nature Poems

lots of snow

I recently wrote some poetry. The poems are on the darker side and right now I think something more positive is needed.  The gloom I felt in that moment will be shared later– maybe. They were written in the darkness of a power outage while I was snowbound, sick, and the news grew increasingly bad by the hour. So, here’s two poems I wrote while sitting in the forest just a few weeks before.

tulips and mountains

 

WOODPECKERS

The forest is silent…

Not a woodpecker within its boundaries

But their past work is on display.

Broken trees still stand proudly reaching for the sky

Filled with abstract holes creating a stunning design

All from the bird’s simple search for bugs.

Some of their creations are arranged on the ground

Where the carpenter ant’s creativity takes over.

It is a limited forest engagement, though

The artwork will disappear into the landscape

Only to become part of another tree and concept

The woodpeckers will start all over again

One peck at a time, hunger pours into beauty.


PEACE

I find peace here deep in the forest

Away from modern conveniences.

Sitting on a hard-cold bench

That’s long lost its visual appeal

I don’t mind; it’s my special place

Where I find heart amongst the beauty.

Its intelligence is more than a feeling

From the long-standing cedars, pine, and firs

Knowing wonder in the design of a pinecone.

I deeply breathe in health…

Releasing all the anger, frustration and worries

As the gentle winds caress my soul.

I know from the alertness of my dog

Others join in the moment, safely hidden

Deer, bears, raccoons, foxes, and rats.

They leave a bit of their presence

A welcome gift to me that I accept.

We all share this place…

A place we can be free under the sun

As it filters down into a healing

I’m grateful for my moment of peace.




My blogs in April will be all reviews since I’ve done a lot of reading this month. I’m taking off one Sunday for Easter. There will be special edition blogs to watch for.

Sorry I’ve been quiet on social media. I was processing what’s going on in our world, and focusing on family.

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

Featured

The turtle

turtle

Meet “Simon” a Western Pond Turtle. He was found crossing a street by a person who should have relocated the turtle to a safe spot where he was found. But that didn’t happen and the turtle ultimately ended up with my husband. My husband brought him home. Then, he made several phone calls to find out where to return the turtle. Once it was established what type of turtle he was we picked the perfect pond to release him.

 

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

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


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

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

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

Featured

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

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


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

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

by Bette A. Stevens

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


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

NO PEDIGREE: A Really Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

“No Pedigree” is a short story able to convey so much in a few words. It tackled difficult subjects, including racism and poverty. Baylee was thrust into an elite high school where her mixed-race left her shunned and cruelly treated in a world of designer clothes and attitudes. Her mother worked hard to make ends meet, giving her daughter a good example of how not to give up. Baylee’s strength was the center of this story, especially when she suffered through a horrendous attack. Karma came to mind as it all played out to a satisfying ending. This was a well-written short read that I highly recommend.


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

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

by Shirley Harris Slaughter

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

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

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


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

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

Featured

Welcoming Back Spring, A Poem

trail pic

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

TRAIL

The trail weaves through the forest

Winding around logs of past lives

It takes me past a mysterious pit

While brushing the edge of wilderness.

I meander slowly on the red dirt

Like a river on a warm summer day.

Each step brings me closer to my soul

As spring magic sprinkles the trail

Awakening the beauty of renewal

It rises from its quiet hibernation

With a long stretch, its eyes open.

It embraces me in a cyclic cuddle

That flows through me an awareness.

Each tree becomes a welcomed friend

The birds are now my exclusive guides

While the insects teach me about life.

This eternal nexus tethers me to the moment

Grateful, my meditative walk continues

Guided only by the magic on my trail.


UPDATES:

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

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

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

 

Featured

End of Winter Poetry

 

furry muses

FURRY MUSES

On my old cement bench

Where the colored tiles have faded

Sits my two furry muses

One at my feet…

One at my side…

Alert for anything unusual around us.

Their fur is the shade of the tree’s bark

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

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

My patient companions wait for me

As my pen fills the blank journal pages.

Their constant presence introduces me…

To the possibilities around us

To being in the moment

To giving unconditional love.

These furry muses tell me a lot

Without ever uttering a single word.


LIGHT

The afternoon sun filters through the trees

Allowing its beams to caress me gently

With the day’s splendor and hope.

I breathe in the gift

I can almost touch the silence.

My senses feast on the beauty

All in a warm winter’s day

While I sit on my bench in the forest

Grateful for its blessings.


A Haiku

Sitting in thick dust

Taking up precious space

Are things of your past


Watch for a special edition blog this week:)

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

Featured

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

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

Serang

by C.S. Boyack

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


The Hanged Man: A Digby Rolf Mystery

by Raymond M. Hall

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


Terra’s Call (Tetrasphere #1)

by P.T.L. Perrin

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


The Istanbul Conspiracy (Code Raven #7)

By Lynda Filler

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


Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words

by Sally Cronin

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


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

by Kathryn Chastain Treat

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


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

Featured

Editing my life

DOLPHINS

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

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

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

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

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

 

MONKEY AND STUFF

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

BOOKS AND PIC

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

KIDS ART

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


Please check out my interview over on Heather Kindt blog:

Interview with D.L. Finn

 

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

Featured

“Me” Day Poetry

a walk in the woods

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

Warm

It’s a warm winter day

The forest is silent and solemn

The bees, birds, and bears are absent

But the ravens follow me with interest.

I hike over the dry terrain

The leaves still scattered

From the winds of fall.

The woodrats nestled in their cozy houses

While the caterpillars are awaiting spring

I, alone wander through the pines

With my dog by my side

On a warm winter day

When rain and snow should be falling

In a time when nothing is normal

The trees remind me of what we can survive.


The soaking rains stopped

Winter’s magic vanished

Fire danger returns


The beams of sunlight

filtering through winter trees

caressing my face


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

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

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

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

 

Featured

Five Year Anniversary!

coco and colors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Featured

February Book Reviews! @Sandra_Cox @FizaPathan @JohnJFioravanti

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations

by John Fioravanti

Foreword by Nonnie Jules

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


Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai

by Fiza Pathan

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


Love, Lattes and Mutants (Mutants #1)

by Sandra Cox

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

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

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One of those nights and a poem

night pic for blog

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

SOAK

I soak up my surroundings slowly

It’s dark, dense, and full of doom

My hand clasps my comforter like a clamp

My breath grasping for balance or bliss

My heart reaches for heaven and hope

It’s an empty effort as darkness fills my eyes

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


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

Watch for a special edition blog tomorrow:)

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

 

 

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Reflections in a new year and a poem

mushroom

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

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

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

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

ROAD

2019 was to be the year of the leader

A shining star surging into existence

Instead, the year led me shivering down a dark road

Alone, I hastened my stride on the solid surface

Squinting into the darkness, I scanned for light

There was none, so I kept walking

Hoping my flashlight wouldn’t fail me

With its narrow beam of light urging me forward

Scared that I couldn’t see where I was going

I cautiously made my way into the night

Breathlessly I reached the top of a peak

Where I was greeted with a distant glow.

Forward I treaded to iridescent hope

At the edge of darkness.

The road was suddenly bathed in light

Now I could see I wasn’t alone

Others were in the distance on their roads

I wondered if they were making the same journey

I glanced back at the road I had traveled

But it had merged into the darkness

I shrugged and pushed on into the new year

Guided by only what could-be

Leaving what-was where it belonged.


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

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

One Dyke Cozy
by Rhani D’Chae 

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


Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

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


Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3)

by Mae Clair

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


 

The Playground

by C.S. Boyack

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


 Silver Bells

by Jacquie Biggar

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

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

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Holiday Season in Nevada City, CA

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


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

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

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

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

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

This picture is from two years ago. It’s the National Hotel’s balcony and my favorite view of town. Right now its closed for renovation so no shot this year. The sign is from a Victorian Christmas past.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays with you and yours. Embrace your holiday child, D. L. Finn

 

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Books That Changed Me–2019 Winter Edition! @MAAdlerWrites @pursoot @WordDreams @MaeClair1

beam of light

Happy almost winter solace! I know I’m a few days early, but with it being so close to Christmas I will be busy with family and preparations.  Know how hard it is to pick from all the books I read. This year I came in at 75 books read on the Goodreads Challenge. There are a few I read that didn’t get included in that number.  Each book has its own flavor that tugged at my heart, opened my eyes, or just entertained me. These types of books always leave that lasting impression and why I do this four times a year as the seasons change, I change reading these books. Here are my winter choices:


This set in the Bay Area where I grew up was exciting for me. I loved knowing the areas and learning more of the history. I think about my great uncles and grandparents talking about this time frame, too. But it wasn’t just where the story was located, it was the story itself that made this such a great read for me. I loved the author obvious love of animals, especially dogs that came through strong in the story. Mixed in the with the history and insights was mystery and plenty of action to keep a reader entertained. It’s just a great all-around read.

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

By Mary Adler

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


I have to warn you this is a hard read, but an important one to read. Starting with a young girl being abused and finally standing up for herself makes you want to cheer for her and want to see justice. The treatment is cruel and had me up thinking about it at night. Talking about her experience with homelessness will make you rethink how you look at people who have to live on the street. To know the author survived this and became a successful author and a wonderful human being is inspiring on so many levels.


Empty Chairs

by Stacey Danson

“Empty Chairs” is the story of the author’s life when she was a very young girl in Australia. I can’t say I’m shocked very easily, but this was shocking. The woman who gave birth to Stacey– Gwen, because she certainly didn’t deserve the title of mother, sold her YOUNG daughter’s body to provide for her. If Stacey didn’t comply she’d be beaten and locked in a closet. The woman was sick on so many levels, but I had to wonder about the people that paid for sex with a girl not old enough to be in school? What were they? Even when one of these clients insisted that Stacey get some education, that wasn’t enough to erase what he did to her. Then, finally when Stacey had enough she exploded. I felt no empathy toward Gwen getting beaten by her 11-year-old daughter. Here is where Stacey became Sassy-Girl and now is living on the streets. The one thing that made this slightly easier to read was this girl’s attitude and strength. I loved her wisdom and feistiness, yet I kept thinking how does this go on around us? I believe the real strength of this book is educating people it’s happening. This is well-written, and you can’t help but fall in love with Sassy-Girl/Stacey. There is a second book that finishes the story of young Stacey and I will be reading it. It is a very tough read, but one I highly recommend you try.


Like I said in the review, I have never read this genre before. So this was completely fascinating to me all the research and details this author provided. You can really understand the different lifestyles they had. Although, my usual genres are more fantasy based I also love historical fiction and now prehistorical fiction. The storyline is very strong and this is well written which makes this a fantastic read and a series I plan to continue. I now think about how it used to be way, way, way back when.

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

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


Here is a short story/novella for the holidays:

I love cats and Christmas so what could be better than both paired together. I’m rereading it again because I enjoyed it so much the first time. I always love how this author researches and comes up with legends to mix into her work. Really adds that extra depth and gives it some holiday magic.

Food for Poe

by Mae Clair

What starts off as a sweet Christmas novella abruptly changes course, and the reader is taken on a thrilling and unexpected ride. Quinn and her newly adopted black cat, Poe, find themselves in a huge snowstorm driving home Christmas Eve. After sliding off the road and passing out, Quinn wakes up in the house of handsome Breck and his unwell daughter, Sophie. The attraction between Quinn and Breck is immediate, but the story takes an unusual turn. Christmas magic and the dark side that comes with it are introduced. I loved the pureness of a new love–and the shadowy twist of the mysterious thrown in. This is a very different Christmas story that I highly recommend if you love paranormal added into the mix of a holiday love story.

Happy Holidays and Winter Solace! Embrace your inner child by reading a life-changing book! D. L. Finn

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Life-Changing Events

 

Coming to the end of a year and decade brings out my introspective side. In the last few days, I’ve been thinking about all the wonderful and life-changing things that have happened to me. This bubbled over into a list. So today, I will share these amazing events.

  1. First place goes to all my family-related events, including my marriage and the birth of my children and grandchildren. I’ve been beyond blessed in this department over many decades and I’m very grateful.
  2. Hearing the message when I was in a coma at 14 years old, “You need to go back. You have more to do.” These words will always remind me of how important each person is in this life and not to give up.
  3. When I swam with a sea turtle and my youngest daughter this year in Kauai. It reminded me to always look for miracles.
  4. Surviving being sick in bed for six months and recovering. It was a scary time filled with many doctors and a lot of uncertainty. Even if I never know what got me to that point, I know faith propelled me forward each baby step at a time. I had to learn to trust myself, and if I need to do it again—I will.
  5. When my family and I moved from where I grew up to go live in the forest. I often wonder if I would be the person I am today if I hadn’t taken a chance leaving all the familiar behind. Would I have finished college, started writing, or taken the inner journey I have? Doubtful.
  6. Breaking my foot ended up being lucky. Over 20 years ago, I sent my work out to publishers with one article published in a magazine. I had a lot of nice rejections and encouragement but eventually stopped sending. Finally, almost five years ago, I self-published right after I broke that foot. It took that nudge to do it, but I’m glad I took a chance on myself.
  7. I received an AA in English in my late 40s, along with a liberal arts degree, both with honors, while juggling a family, health issues, and long distant caretaking. I’m still contemplating getting a BA via the internet this time, but I’m not compelled to do so right now. My take of this was never giving up on your dreams. No time will be the perfect time to get what you desire.
  8. My husband and I accidentally attended mass while sightseeing in Florence, Italy, on a once in a lifetime trip. This event reignited my faith in things that are meant to be, will be. That part of me had taken a beating. A bonus was it was in English and I felt the presence of a recently deceased relative sitting next to me. It gave me the peace I had been searching for.
  9. I saw an angel in my hall reflected on a door right before dark times. Even though I didn’t connect it then, I now know that there is always light to guide us out of any darkness—if we look for it.
  10. When I flew in a water plane on a trip to Alaska. This is something that I always wanted to do for as long as I can remember. My inner child woke up and had a huge smile. I imagine myself flying onto a lake to get to that private log cabin. You never know what the future holds but fulfilling some of these items on the so-called bucket list may achieve them in ways one can’t imagine. Will I end up in Alaska flying water planes? Who knows… and isn’t that great? Always dream.

I’m sure I will think of more, but you get the idea of things that helped shape into the person I am right now. We’ve all had our life-changing moments and events that have made us into what we are. I hope that this new decade brings us all a lot of new memories full of joy and some positive change.

Pictures: Florence, swimming with the turtle, and standing outside the water plane on the water with my husband.


UPDATES:

1. Next week is holiday pictures of Nevada City or the final blog of the year and decade! I will be shutting off the comments for this post.

2. I’ll be sending out the Monthly Newsletter early due to the holidays. Watch for it in your email if subscribed on December 18th.

3. “Books That Changed Me–2019 Winter Edition” will post early, too on December 18th.

4. I will be back here on January 12, 2020, but I’ll still keep in contact on social media.

5. WordPress has taken upon itself to keep removing email notifications on blogs I follow. I really depend on these notices to keep me informed and updated. So, if I’ve missed some of your blogs I apologize and it’s not intentional! I will go through my list again and re-add the emails.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Embrace your inner child by enveloping those special moments in life. D. L. Finn

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December Book Reviews Part 2 @RobertaEaton17 @linneatanner @harmony_kent

 

Apollo’s Raven(Curse of Clansmen and Kings #1)

by Linnea Tanner

“Apollo’s Raven” is historical fiction blended with mythology. Catrin is the King’s youngest daughter that a curse follows. I love Catrin’s strength as a warrior and how she connects to her spiritual side. The relationship that blooms between her enemy, Marcellus, exposes her vulnerability. There was plenty of detail that pulled me into the story and enough action to keep me on the edge of my seat. The clash of Roman culture and Celtic ways showed the stark difference in how women were treated in each society. A lot was going on in this story, but I never got lost in that. I appreciated the many layers of the plot that included betrayal, love, power, bravery, duty, and malice. Catrin’s trust was tested many times over as she tried to make sense of her situation. This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Tanner, and with Britannia’s survival at stake, I’ll be reading the rest of this Celtic series!


Through the Nethergate

by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

In this YA paranormal story, Margret moves into an inn her grandfather runs after her parents die. She has a unique gift of seeing the ghosts that live there. My favorite part of this book is the ghosts and their stories, which are taken from history. The attention to detail drew me into the story and tugged at my heart. I loved it when Margret interacted with them, but I couldn’t bond with her at first in everyday life. Yet, the rest of the story was so intriguing and held my attention to the very end. Not only does Margret deal with ghosts, but there are also evil entities involved. The description of hell and bringing in current events was clever. The rich history shared through the ghosts and the good vs. evil theme made this a page-turning read.


Oh Baubles

by Harmony Kent

“Oh Baubles” is a charming holiday story that I read in one sitting. Charlene is involved in a horrific accident, leaving her a widow with a long recovery ahead of her. The details of Charlene’s recuperation and how she dealt with losing her leg helped me understand what she might be going through. I loved the relationship between Charlene and her sister, who pushed her to move on with her life, but it was the interaction between her and John that was the strongest. Their attraction was immediate, but they both held back for different reasons. This is the perfect read for not only the busy holidays but at any time of year.


UPDATES:

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  1. I completed the Nano Challenge! Whew:) I had to do it in three weeks because of the holidays and other family events.  What I found was that I disliked writing on days I didn’t feel inspired, but I still did. Those days will require a lot of editing later. So I got a very rough draft that has three events happening that need to be connected more. I can’t see getting back to this until maybe next summer. Then I’ll be ready to put all together in many edits. It was definitely a tell instead of show first attempt. Thanks for the gentle nudge to participate, Mae!
  2.   I will have two more regular blogs before my holiday break. There will be an early “Winter Books That Changed Me Edition,” and Monthly Newsletter.
  3. Now I’m taking a break from reading and reviewing books to enjoy my holiday reads and rereads. After that, I plan on finishing some series I started.  I wonder if I’ll ever get through my TBR list? I hope not… lol.
  4. During Thanksgiving week our fire season abruptly ended with a 1.5 foot of snow. It was followed by a lot of rain. Thanks for all the thoughts and rain dances on our behalf. It worked.

Embrace the holidays by reading a good book. Then, leave a review. It’s the best present an author can receive! D. L. Finn

 

 

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December Book Reviews! @KIngallsAuthor @pamelawight

 

When I Rise: Tales, Truths, and Symbolic Trees 

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

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


Molly Finds Her Purr

by Pamela S Wight

Shelley A. Steinle (Illustrator)

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

 

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

 

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

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Thankful Tree

thanksgiving tree

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

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

I’m thankful for:

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

UPDATES:

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

The picture is from last year.


 

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

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More than words…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


UPDATES:

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

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

 

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Poetry in November

fall sun

ROARING BEAST

The electrical current’s flow has ceased

The stillness shrouds the space

And the dense darkness appears endless.

Then, a roar saturates the silence with a shimmer

And some are flooded with modern conveniences.

This constant rumble requires an offering of petrol

We gladly feed this beast no matter what the cost.

The howl of a generator is a small price to pay

For the glowing lights and hum of the refrigerator.

We easily fall asleep knowing the sound…

Is keeping us safe, healthy, and comforted.

When the sparking current goes silent…

The roaring beast awakens at our invitation

We lounge in this brief utopia, feeding the beast

While we wait for the ordinary to return.


Here’s what I’m hoping for VERY soon!

THE DAY AFTER THE RAIN

The ground is full of yesterday’s rain.

The drops linger on the rose petals

Trees glow a growing green

Blue peeks from behind the clouds

The birds sing in a joyful tune

The woodpecker feasts on insects on the dead tree

The dog lays in the sun at my feet

While the bees go back to work

Each gathering their needs before the next storm

But for now, I enjoy this day with nature

With a grateful heart for the day after the rain.


UPDATES:

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

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

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

 

First Blood (The Blood Series, #2)

by Michael Lynes

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


Fairies, Myths, & Magic ~ A Summer Celebration

by Colleen M. Chesebro

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


The Weaver (Weaver Trilogy #1)

by Heather Kindt

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


Prey for The Dead

by Susanne Leist

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


TumbleStar

by  Sandra Cox

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


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

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

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

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

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

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A Fall Walk in Nevada City

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

Here’s the color:  

We crossed over Deer Creek on the way to downtown.

deer creek pic

Downtown Nevada City where we stopped at the candy store. 

Then on to the Halloween decorations. 

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

An Indian Medicine Rock.

medicine rock pic

We ended our walk with a stroll through the cemetery.

The road to Nevada City.

the road to nevada city

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Mountain Justice

by Karen Black

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


Monsters

by Christina Winds

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


Caste Metal: Short Story

By Fiza Pathan

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


Macabre Sanctuary

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

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


UPDATES:

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

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

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

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

 

Viral Blues (The Hat #2)

by C.S. Boyack

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


Strawberry Moon

by Joy M. Lilley

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


 

The Quest for Home (Book 2 of Crossroads trilogy)

by Jacqui Murray

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


 

Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies

by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

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


UPDATES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

October_Ween

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

Here’s the winners:

 

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

 

 

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

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

danielle and turtle

HONU

I swam next to my youngest daughter.

Face mask pressed tightly to my face,

Snorkel positioned, providing air.

A large silver-fish followed us

Circling in a mutual curiosity

Slicing slowly through the salty water

I snapped pictures capturing each moment.

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

Decorated the clear cobalt liquid,

Until an eye-catching fish swaddled in a rainbow

Lured us in another direction.

Our flippers propelled us through the dull gray coral.

Unexpectedly, the reef burst into pink and purple.

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

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

While I floated above this underwater magic…

Trying to record these memories.

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

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

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

We swam for eternity, just the three of us

Our souls recognized the significance of this occasion.

Then the honu glanced at me one more time

And with a slight nod from her, that I returned

She sped away into the riptide.

Gone from our sight, but not our hearts

I’m gifted with a saturating-perception of potential

From the blissful time, we swam with a honu.

JUST HER POETRY


THE BUTTON


THIS SECOND CHANCE


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


SHORT STORIES FOR ADULTS:

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS: A SHORT STORY

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


A LONG WALK HOME: A CHRISTMAS NOVELETTE

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


BIGFOOT: A SHORT STORY

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


CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

ELIZABETH’S WAR


THINGS OF A TREE


AN UNUSUAL ISLAND

Thank you for stopping by!

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

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

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INTERLUDE, A Poem

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

dragon fly

INTERLUDE

My mind is adrift in a fog of apathy

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

As I peer deeply into the thickened air

My forward-path is frozen…

When the heaviness of the moment obscures it.

I pull over to wait it out

Restless…

I get out of my vehicle and find lights

They are dim in the gloom…

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

There’s a gazebo ahead with a twinkling glow.

The haze dispels, and I flow in

A chair awaits that I thankfully sink into

I close my eyes and breathe. Just breathe

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

Sometimes when it isn’t possible to advance

I can find my way on a fringe trail.

Here I settle into the interlude

And immerse my essence into life’s magic.


 

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

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

Embrace your inner essence! D. L. Finn

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

coco and colors

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

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


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

Vanished

By Mark Bierman

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


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

Silverhills

by Sandra Cox

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


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

Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneivene

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


 

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

Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide

by Jan Sikes

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

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Year of the Leader?

rose blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Year of the leader? Yes.


UPDATES:

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

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

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

Embrace your inner joy! D. L. Finn

 

 

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A New Bicycle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

trail collage 1

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

Featured

End of Summer Poetry

rose flower

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

POOL POETRY

Splashing chemicals amplify vocal fun

In the rectangle water splendor of the blue depth

Space invaded by towels and bragging youth

I glimpse with a longing to a fleeting peace.

As I sit being the adult in a comfortable blue chair

Trying to squeeze a few words out

Between voices of hello, inquiry, or joking

I reflect that that was once me.

When I was full of mischief and wonder

And I enjoyed every moment of it—even now.

 

PUBLIC POOL YOUTH

They gather in groups

Gossiping, judging, and peering outward

Laughter speckles their words

Motions are meant to draw attention

Embarrassment high, manners forgotten

They fight each other with a new-found rebellion

Words carry out to adults laced in challenge

But a voice of reason tampers that down

Energy high

Expectations higher

Egotism highest

In a broken-up conversation with unmatched replies

All in adolescence wonder…

Are public pool activities of the youth.


UPDATES:

Watch for a special edition blog this week.

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

Featured

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

 

FALLOUT

by Harmony Kent

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


 

Moments We Love

by Balroop Singh

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


Makita (Cats of Catarau, #3)

by Sandra Cox

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


Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories

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

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


Ferrasium (The Windflowers Trilogy #1)

by Wendy Scott

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


 

Fairy Dust (Bedtime Tale #1)

by W.J. Scott

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


 

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

Featured

Trying New Things, 2019

kauai

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

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

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

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

Here’s what I came up with this year:


A SMILE

The sweet-voiced character brings back old smiles.

His presence is high on the movie screen or TV

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

I ask questions, and he eagerly educates me

We collect cards from kids’ meals or stores

Birthdays are brightly themed…

Christmas contains the yellow cartoon…

And Easter baskets have red and white balls.

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

When I see the newer interactive Pokemon game

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

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

Together in memories, we watch Pikachu and Ash

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


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

garbage portrait


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

 

 



Direct from the website:

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


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

 

Featured

Some Summer Poetry

blog collage

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

SILENT HEAT OF SUMMER

The sun blares down on the landscape

The trees and plants welcome its energy

Growth has exploded…

Only slowed by the lack of moisture

Sprinklers offer a welcome drink to the thirsty strawberries

While the roses burst out in blooms

Tomatoes redden, kale offers their leaves,

Pumpkins bloom into bulbs that will be ready for fall

It’s the season of peaceful progression.

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

The forest is wrapped in a hue of hushed harmony…

As the animals shelter from the temperatures

Only the buzz of the bees can be heard

While the whimsical winds wander.

It is a serene moment to just be

As I embrace the silent heat of summer.

FENCE

We put up a fence…

Trying to keep out our worries.

Safety behind a wall we are assured.

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

Where birds can scour the landscape

Where squirrels chirp their annoyance

Where bugs find a home

Bears can knock it down

Mountain lions can climb over it

And foxes go under leaving a way for the skunks.

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

The cats mock the dog from the other side.

It doesn’t repel burglars or fires

Floods will flow right through this barrier

Winds can tear it apart

While snow and rain gnaw on it

Tree roots push it out of their way

Weeds float carefully over.

Still, we keep building them

To protect our belongings and family

From the terrifying world beyond our property lines.

They give us the illusion of power…

In a world spinning out of our control.

 

JUST HER POETRY Amazon link


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

Watch for a special edition blogs this week.

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

Featured

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

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1

by Nonnie Jules & members of RWISA

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


 

The Scout: Dark Crossings

by D.L. Cross

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


 

ThunderTree

by S Cox

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


 

The Kurdish Connection

by Randall Krzak

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

While the Bombs Fell

by Robbie CheadleElsie Hancy Eaton

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


My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

by Bette A. Stevens

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


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

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


Slimmer: A Contemporary Romance

by Wendy Jayne

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


A Soldier’s Children

by Jan Sikes

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


Jewel

by Jan Sikes

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


 

Visitors: Short Story Mystery

by WJ Scott

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

 


Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide

by Jan Sikes

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


Megamax

by Rhani D’Chae

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


 

UPDATES

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

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

Featured

Fifty years ago…one small step

 

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

MOONWALK: JULY 20, 1969

The night loved me.

It was mutual.

The stars,

The quiet,

The crickets,

The moon—especially the moon.

Hours passed

In perfect silence,

Eyes staring

As the huge

Parental face

Stared back,

Its familiar glow

So far away.

All things were possible,

And just as impossible.

So, no surprise on my seventh birthday

When I watched and heard,

“That’s one small step for man,

One giant leap for mankind.”

The astronaut Neil Armstrong,

The spaceship Eagle,

The Sea of Tranquility

Were my gift.

I’m positive

That gentle, glowing face,

Swelling each month

So I can see its full magnificence,

Hasn’t forgotten me

Or the day

When man first encroached

On the moon and our innocence.

The moon still watches me,

And sometimes

I remember to look.


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

Featured

Loss and Gain

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

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

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

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

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

Poems from “Just Her Poetry”

LOSS AND GAIN

My losses and gains over the years have been extreme.

Sometimes I ride high thinking nothing would touch me,

All was right in my world and I was invincible.

Later, a heavy loss would wipe that all away.

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

Thinking nothing would change…it would, though.

Gains would change the gloom.

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

Each moment fully lived not worrying what was to come.

Unfortunately, it always came when I least expected it.

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

Sometimes the storm would pass immediately or sit upon me.

I would have no shelter as the rains pelt down.

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

Darkness would set in, heaviness weighed me down.

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

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

No matter—how grim things looked.

No matter—I had any answers.

No matter—I was breathing and waiting.

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE JOURNEY

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

The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.

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

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

It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.

Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell

The tiny bird carefully passed that point without stopping

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

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

It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.

Tucked underneath, the little bird found limited shelter

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

Finally, the brave bird is immersed into the green branches

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

Gone from my sight now I contemplate its journey.

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

It passed the point where it had been impeded

There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.

Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.

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

Instead it kept climbing until it reached its goal…

Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.

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

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

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

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


UPDATES:

Watch for July’s Monthly Newsletter later this week.

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

Always embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn

Featured

July Book Reviews! @gmplano @Sandra_Cox

 

Silverhills

by Sandra Cox

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


The Choice: the unexpected heroes

by Gwen M. Plano, Harmony Kent  (Editor)

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


UPDATES:

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

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

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

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

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

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Brothers

where the rivers meet

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

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

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

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

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

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


Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn