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Loss and Gain

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

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

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

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

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

Poems from “Just Her Poetry”

LOSS AND GAIN

My losses and gains over the years have been extreme.

Sometimes I ride high thinking nothing would touch me,

All was right in my world and I was invincible.

Later, a heavy loss would wipe that all away.

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

Thinking nothing would change…it would, though.

Gains would change the gloom.

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

Each moment fully lived not worrying what was to come.

Unfortunately, it always came when I least expected it.

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

Sometimes the storm would pass immediately or sit upon me.

I would have no shelter as the rains pelt down.

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

Darkness would set in, heaviness weighed me down.

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

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

No matter—how grim things looked.

No matter—I had any answers.

No matter—I was breathing and waiting.

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE JOURNEY

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

The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.

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

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

It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.

Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell

The tiny bird carefully passed that point without stopping

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

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

It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.

Tucked underneath, the little bird found limited shelter

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

Finally, the brave bird is immersed into the green branches

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

Gone from my sight now I contemplate its journey.

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

It passed the point where it had been impeded

There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.

Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.

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

Instead it kept climbing until it reached its goal…

Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.

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

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

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

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


UPDATES:

Watch for July’s Monthly Newsletter later this week.

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

Always embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn

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July Book Reviews! @gmplano @Sandra_Cox

 

Silverhills

by Sandra Cox

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


The Choice: the unexpected heroes

by Gwen M. Plano, Harmony Kent  (Editor)

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


UPDATES:

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

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

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

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

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

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Brothers

where the rivers meet

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

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

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

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

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

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


Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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

IMG_2266

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


 

ninja mum pic

Ninja School Mum 

by Lizzie Chantree

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


TheGate-2-bluegreen

The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1)

by D.L. Cross

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

 


what sara saw pic

What Sara Saw

by Stephen Geez

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


grime reaper

There is a Reaper

By Michael Lynes

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


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

 

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

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

Here’s the cover:

Copy of Red Eyes in the Darkness.jpg

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

AMAZON PRE-ORDER

 


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

danielle and turtle

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

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

our fur babies gone

 

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

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

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

 


UPDATE:

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

Soul Swallowers  (The Shattered Sea #1)

by D. Wallace Peach

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


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

by Guy Worthey

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

 


Whatever It Takes

By S. Burke

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


The Gate (Astral Conspiracy #1)

by D.L. Cross

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


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

by Mary Adler

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


Shardai (Cats of Catarau #1)

by Sandra Cox

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


The Truth Will Set You Free

by Young

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


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

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

dirving

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

 

 

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


Here is one of the poems I wrote:

HANDS

Hands of the oak trees

Reach down from the steep hills

For a quick high five as we pass

Welcoming us back to nature’s home

Under the blue skies lit by a glowing orb

The wind carries back my gratitude

And it disperses my love

To the shades of green lining the peaks

And the tall, round, and coned vegetation

That surround these generous trees

The beauty seems to go on into eternity

On our magical Mother’s Day ride

With the hands of oak trees greeting us.


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

 

 

 


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

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

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

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A New Spring Poem

yuba river

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

FIRST RIDE OF SPRING

Roaring through the lush emerald landscape

The granite walls are sprouting orange and violet

In their fleeting moment before summer.

The river’s blue whitens and crashes over rocks

Its thunder harmonizes with the engine’s rumble.

The blue skies bathe this scene in connection while….

Butterflies search

Birds build

Bees collect

And winds caress

Following this flamboyant flow of spring…

From the back of the Harley.



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

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

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May Book Reviews @MichaelEging @stacitroilo @frstepnowski @FrostFyre

Frost Fyre: and Other Poems

by Flossie Benton Rogers

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


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

by Forrest Stepnowski

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


Tortured Soul (Medici Protectorate Book 4)

by Staci Troilo

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


Body Armor (Medici Protectorate Series, #3)

by Staci Troilo

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


The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland

by Michael Eging and Steve Arnold

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

Watch for two special blog posts this week:)

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

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Furry Family

spring flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Perfection and a Poem

purple flower pic

PERFECTION

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

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

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

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

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


Watch for the Monthly Newsletter this week!

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

There will still be special edition blogs to watch for!

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

 

 

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“Just Her Poetry” Reviews

roses pic

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


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

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

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


 

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


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


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

Thanks to all who made this such a memorial experience!


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


Watch for a special edition blog this week!


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

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“Just Her Poetry” Blog Tour Day Six

flowers

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

Finn Facts:

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

Blurb:

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

 


Excerpt from THE EMOTIONS: Darkness and Light

 

YOUR WORDS

You feel so powerful and in control.

A keyboard.

Your words.

No consequences.

You don’t see the pain.

Cruel talk.

Shoulders slumping.

Souls crushed.

You’re educating that person.

Never seen.

Haven’t met.

Tears flowing.

You are only spreading your truth.

Its reality.

Their pain.

No dilemma.

They took it wrong and are too sensitive.

Toughen up.

Buckle down.

Who cares.

Wait, you were only trying to be funny?

No laughter.

No smiles.

Only frowns.

What if someone said that to you?

Suffer hurt.

Experience pain.

Feel low.

It’s not effective, it’s cruel.

Keep writing.

Attack more.

Be alone.

It’s your choice to spread negativity over caring.

Give support.

Show love.

Be happy.

Amazon Purchase Link

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

spring pic

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

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


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

Son of the Serpent by Vashti Q

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angel #2)

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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


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

lantern pic

Voyage of the Lanternfish

by C.S. Boyack

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


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

dog bone pic

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

by Bette Stevens

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


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

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

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

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March Book Reviews @StephenGeez @ammanay @stacitroilo @BalroopShado

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

 

Timeless Echoes

by Balroop Singh

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


Mind Control (Medici Protectorate #2)

by Staci Troilo

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


Unclean

By A. M. Manay

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

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


What Sara Saw

by Stephen Geez

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


This will be a busy week:

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

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

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

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

 

Just her Poetry Season of a Soul picture

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

poetry

[poh-i-tree]

noun

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

imaginative, or elevated thoughts.

literary work in metrical form; verse.

prose with poetic qualities.

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

JUST HER POETRY PRE-ORDER LINK

Just Her Poetry Cover

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


Watch for a special edition blog this week!

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

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


Sources:

dictionary.com

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

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

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

Just Her Poetry Cover

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

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

 D.L.’s interview with Nature.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DL: Some of it isn’t good?

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

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

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

DL: I can’t argue that.

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

 PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON


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

.disneyworld

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

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

Strange Hwy

by Beem Weeks

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


Voyage of the Lanternfish

by C.S. Boyack

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


 

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

by Larry Landgraf

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


End of Day(Hode’s Hill #2)

by Mae Clair

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


LOTS OF NEWS (AND A REQUEST) THIS WEEK:

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

 

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in hospital

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

Watch for a special edition blog this Thursday.

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

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

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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 3

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

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Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week is the final part of this series.


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

There will be another special post later today.

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

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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 2

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

Part 2

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

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

Soon everything was back to me. I was ready. With a shaking hand and racing heart, I uploaded my work and cover to Bookbaby. I was published. Within several days, I was holding an expensive printed copy of my first book. It was like Christmas morning when I was a child. I sent it out to reviewers and got a lot of great expensive feedbacks, for the most part. I started my blog and ran a giveaway. I built up a small base, had a couple of readers and made some wonderful friends along the way. I repeated the process with “An Unusual Island” while I was writing my first book in years, “Things on a Tree.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week will continue with Part 3.

Watch for another special blog post this week.


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

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Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 1

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

Part 1

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

Then an incident happened in 2015 that ended up being a great story. Four years ago on a cold winter’s night in February, on Friday the 13th, I had just finished reading and was about to go to sleep. I had to use the restroom, so I threw the covers back and raced across the 20 feet to my destination. I didn’t make it. On our large throw rug was a picture of a black bear and our black cat Coco on top of that. In my rush, I didn’t see him, and my foot caught underneath him. I tried to grab the dresser next to me to balance, but instead, I kept falling. I remember my cat watching this with interest, but not moving either. I twisted to avoid landing on him and heard a loud crack. I was face first on the cold floor with Coco still on top of the bear. It wasn’t that he was stubborn either, he completely trusted I wouldn’t hurt him, and I didn’t. My other cats I have accidentally stepped on, and they move when I walk near them. That came later with him. Now he gets out of my way, most of the time.

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

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

It took a bit of urging to wake him up, but he finally got me into the bed where I decided to wait the night out and see how I was in the morning.

After a long night of trying to get comfortable, morning came. I knew I needed to see a doctor. It was the weekend so ER was our only option. After a long process of getting dressed, my husband and I made it to the car and the hospital. The hospital staff seemed to enjoy my Friday the 13th story, and my husband said he was glad to be with me on Valentine’s day no matter where we were. (you can see why we’ve been married for 35 years) I was diagnosed with a high break on my left foot. It was wrapped up, I had crutch lessons, and we headed home.

Being laid up with a broken bone over being sick was a new experience for me. I had a lot of time of my hands. I did some projects I had wanted to do like go through all my grandparents’ old slides. I watched hours of TV, including started watching Supernatural. Catching up the seasons filled the hours, but still, I couldn’t do that all day. So one day my daughter was visiting and suggested I publish my work myself on Amazon. I thought…maybe.

Next week continues with Part 2

Watch for a special edition blog this week:)


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

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More 2019 Book Reviews @Sandra_Cox @teagangeneviene @VashtiQV

Memoir of a Mad Woman 

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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


Atonement in Bloom

by Teagan Geneviene

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


Vampire Bay (Hunters #3)

By Sandra Cox

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


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

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

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Leader

little tree

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


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

noun

a person or thing that leads.

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

Music.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

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

 

Trails and Trials: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

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


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

by Maretha Botha

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


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

by Nicholas C. Rossis

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


Mistletoe Inn 

by Jacquie Biggar

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


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

by A. Raymond, S. Jackson

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


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

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

deck night snow

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

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


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

area 51 pic

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

By Marcha A Fox

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


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

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Jazz Baby

By Beem Weeks

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


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

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A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant)

by Mae Clair

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


Bonus read:

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

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Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

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


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

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

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

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

 

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody Kindle Edition

by Marcia Meara

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


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

by Ellie Collins

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


Merry Ex-mas

by Michael Lynes

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


When We Finally Kiss Goodnight

by Staci Troilo

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


Moon Watchers (Hunters Book 2)

by  Sandra Cox

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


If You Love Me, I’m Yours

by Lizzie Chantree

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


UPDATES:

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

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

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

 

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A Magical Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Happy Birthday to the trail maker!


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

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

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

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

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Recent Books Read!

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2)

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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


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.


The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella

by Marcia Meara

This paranormal novella has an angel and a new being an emissary, or Jake. With the world so over-populated Jake was recruited after his death to come back down to earth and help. I have not read “Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2”, but it didn’t matter because I was quickly pulled in and understood the situation. I loved the tension between Jake and Azrael at first, and then the humor.  Jake is still very human with his reactions, while having some extra gifts. I felt an array of emotions as I read and was invested in all the characters and relationships. I’ll be reading the next installment of “The Emissary” and the “Riverbend” series, too. This is a well-written story that I highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of angels like I am.


Second Chances

by Aaron D. Brinker

“Second Chance” is a story of anger, an accident, and the outcome of that. Guilt and having to go on is Chaun’s life now after a car accident but, strange things begin to happen around him. While his family deliberated on this strange situation, I found myself rooting for a good outcome to the circumstances that would have had me running for the hills. This book offers a new chance at life, along with the paranormal that is determined to ruin that. There is also relationships, family and forgiveness. The story had a very journal-like feel to it and I was surprised how long the family took to get to that aha-moment, but it was a unique tale with a refreshing result I didn’t see coming. As a bonus there was a hockey game included and I’m a big fan. This story is a reminder to “think before you speak” because in life you never know how fast things can change.


Embrace your inner child in a good book over the holidays! D.L. Finn

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Thanksgiving Memories

Although I have many wonderful Thanksgiving memories over the years, I have one that stands out.

It was a sunny day in the mountains. We made the decision to stay home-alone for Thanksgiving for the first time since our move to the mountains. Usually, our holiday had consisted of a three-hour drive to the Bay Area and the three-hour trek back on the same day. Sometimes, we went to a relative’s house, other times we’d end up in a restaurant with family. There was always traffic increasing our traveling time or when we’d run into the dreaded fog. But, we felt it was worth it to spend time with loved ones. Then, there’d be occasions when people would come to our house, too. We’d spend our time entertaining and visiting them, then I’d collapse on the couch at the end of the day in exhaustion. This year, for many different reasons, we stayed home and had no guests. It was a first for our family of five.

I arose that beautiful November morning and got the 20-pound turkey in the oven. I turned on the Macy’s Day Parade and drank a cup of tea, while the rest of the family woke up. Then we ate a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, bacon, eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice and cheered-on our favorite floats and balloons. We fantasized how it would be to have a hotel room along the parade-route watching this in person and to see New York during the Christmas season. Then came the excitement of Santa Clause’s appearance, signaling the end of the parade.

While our stuffed turkey continued to cook, it was time to get dressed. My family was done way before me. So, my husband took the kids outside to ride their bikes. My two pre-teen girls were on their mountain bikes, while my pre-school son was on his Big-Wheel. I slipped into my dress that would match my daughters and applied my make-up. Searching through my drawer I found the one pair of nylons that wasn’t snagged. Wearing my best jewelry and my slippers I was ready.  I stepped out of the kitchen, filled with the smell of turkey, into a beautiful fall day. I was greeted by my children all lined up behind my husband, who was in his white dress shirt, black slacks and suspenders. They went by oldest to youngest, with my son at the end wearing his favorite train conductor hat riding through the forest.

I quickly grabbed my camera and recorded this pure moment. Smiles lit everyone’s face, including mine, while laughter was layered into the air. All was right in our world. I grabbed my bike and joined the fun.

It was a day when there were no schedules to honor, no traveling, or guests to entertain–it was just us enjoying us. That day still brings me joy many years later. I don’t remember if the turkey was moist or the pies were perfectly seasoned with a tender crust. What I do remember is we ate together and then played a family favorite “The Disneyland Game”. Who won? Didn’t matter then nor now. It was a time of innocence and love. A time of laughter and joy that is etched forever in my mind as the perfect Thanksgiving Day that still exists in that magical place where memories dwell.

This year we are spending Thanksgiving with our oldest grand kids, and son who is making the trek from college. Our Thanksgiving tree is up, so whoever enters our house can write something they are grateful for on the “tree leaves”.  Later, we’ll be visited by one of my daughters and her husband who’ll be eating their second meal. The rest of the family has their own places to be, but they will be in our hearts forever and in our memories. My hope for the day is, that maybe, just maybe, we can create some more magic to remember in the years to come, that will compare to that day in the sun so many holidays ago.


*I could only find one picture from that happy day. It is of my husband riding his bike, but the kids weren’t in the picture. The other picture is our current Thanksgiving tree. The leaves underneath are from years past.

The monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow.

I won’t have a post on 25th because of the holiday, but will be back on the 2nd.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it! Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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Fall Colors and a Book Review

 

 It’s been one of the most beautiful fall seasons I’ve ever seen on our mountain. The dogwoods have been wearing the biggest crown of colors. Their pinks, reds, and golden hues actually glow at times. Maybe it’s because we’ve had such a dry fall and that’s left the leaves alone to change and stay on the trees longer? I’m not sure of the science behind it, but I’m enjoying it. But, as beautiful as this is and capturing it on my camera has been fun, I’m hoping California gets some rain soon. I’m not used to being on high fire-alert in November, but my house is as ready as can be and certified by CAL Fire as such. Until the day we get the goats (that I always talk about getting who keep the underbrush down) it’s up to my husband and I to make that fire-break around our house–and we have. 

Since I wrote this more devastating fires have started. My thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Paradise and other effected communities in Northern California, along with all the people dealing with the out of control fires in Southern CA and their losses.

 


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Destroyer’s Blood: The Adventures of Devcalion- The Blood Series Book 1

By Michael Lynes

This is a fantasy about a young Greek demi-god Devcalion “Dev” and his sword, and closest friend, the Betrayer “Tray”. Although his father is Prometheus and uncle is Zeus, it starts out with Dev doing a normal human activity climbing half-dome, with his telepathic sword after several months of hiking. Dev runs into a relative during a fall, Hermes, who has a warning for him. This message changes Dev’s carefree life and leads him back to Mt. Olympus—or a place he hates. Here things happen quickly that could throw him into a task with someone he’d rather avoid. The characters pulled me into the story. I really enjoyed the relationship between Dev and Tray including their inner communications and battles. There were a lot of details, so you could easily imagine his god-filled world. I don’t want to give away any of the surprises in the story, but some of the descriptions had me wanting to take a long shower after reading them. This is a well-written story of a complicated relationship between not only a young man and his father and uncle, but someone who considers himself an outsider. Dev had to learn what he, and others, were capable of, besides learning what was important to him. If you love fantasy with lots of intrigue and plenty of action this is the book for you. I eagerly await the second book in this series.


 

“A Long Walk Home: A Christmas Novelette” went live this week. It includes a character from “The Button”. Thanks for the review Mae:) I’m smiling in Nevada City.

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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New Christmas Short!

I wrote a Christmas short based on a character from “The Button”.  It’s now available for pre-order with the release date of 11-7.

final cover for A Long Walk Home A Christmas Novelette eBook

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.

Get your copy here:

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble


Embrace your inner child!  D.L. Finn

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Halloween Book Reviews

Pandora Reborn

By John Coon

This is Mr. Coon’s debut YA novel. There were many things I loved about this story. I enjoyed a boy’s viewpoint, since I usually read YA’s through a girl’s perspective. The characters were strong, flaws and all, while the story line was unique. Ron moves to a small town, after his parent’s divorce, with his mother and little brother. He leaves his friends and soccer team behind. The first day at his new school, he ends up in detention. Ron’s introduced to some new friends, and a strange “town lore” that he brushes aside. But, things begin to happen, and people are disappearing. Ron seems to be in the middle of it all.  Ron’s only goal up to this point had been to play soccer, but now he must pull himself out of that comfort zone. I recommend “Pandora Reborn” if you love a well-told paranormal YA with a bit of gore and romance thrown in.


Hounded

by Ellie Douglas
 “Hounded” is a full-out Zombie apocalypse with a lot of visual detail and gore. It had the feel and violence of the show “The Walking Dead”. Yet, it focused on animals over humans becoming Zombies which was a nice twist. There were two story lines focusing on brothers in different states. I like apocalypse scenarios, and Zombies thrown in are a bonus. Plus, there’re a lot of well-done descriptive passages of the carnage that goes along with these creatures. The Zombies were chilling eating machines and the humans confused and trying to survive. I was rooting for some of the characters, but a few I didn’t care what happened to them, which I’m sure is what Ms. Douglas intended. There were a couple of editing issues I noticed along the way, but it didn’t pull me out of this exciting horror story. Although, I’m not a huge fan of “tons of gore” I will have to read “Hounded 2” to see what happens next. If you love Zombies, descriptive bloody details, and action–this is the book for you.

This is a horror tale told from the past and modern times, with a bit of everything including: witches, hauntings, demons, romance, and mystery. I enjoyed the two timelines of the same town that met up at the end.  There was the progression from when the town was formed by three families in one prospective. In the current timeline was Jess, a widow, and her two children who were new to this town. She buys a house where strange things begin to happen. In another point of view in the current timeline is Mason newly released from jail who grew up in the house Jess bought. Mr. Jones goes back and forth between the past and 2017 adding new information to explain the current events. I found the story line well thought out and interesting. The demon/beast was terrifying to me and nothing I’d want to ever run into. There were a couple of little editing issues that jarred me a moment when I was reading, but nothing that kept me from wanting to continue with this intriguing tale. I thought of “The Exorcist”, “Poltergeist” and other scary tales as I was reading. If you like a good scare with the history behind it, this book has it and more.


by Harmony Kent

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King so I couldn’t wait to read this after seeing the comparison. Although, “Pet Cemetery” isn’t one of my favorite Stephen King books, “The Glade” didn’t have in it what I disliked in Mr. King’s book but instead had the intrigue I did like.  Helen and Geoff Wenstrop spent a holiday in a small village. They found some property, and against warnings not to purchase it, they did and built a house. Helen later goes there to die from cancer, but mysteriously recovers. I found myself reading late into the night to find out how Helen got to the point she did. I liked the story being told from two different time lines and eagerly awaited the moment they converged. The relationship between husband and wife was strained and a bit confusing–as were some of the other relationships. The landscape was its own character and added to the story. At times I found myself struggling to have much empathy for Helen and her decisions. But, there were many plot twists that I didn’t see coming after that. When the two story lines did meet up, I had many aha moments that changed my perspective of Helen and other characters while clearing the confusion. “The Glade” is a unique horror tale. I recommend this creepy story to those who love horror presented in a King-like fashion, with a bit of a romance thrown in.


A LONG WALK HOME: A Christmas Novelette is available for pre-order with a release date of November 7th! Here is the link:

Amazon 


Embrace your inner ghost with a good book. Happy Halloween! D.L. Finn

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The Missing “The Button” Reviews!

small button pic

I’m not sure why Amazon removes some book reviews. Indie authors work hard to get these reviews. I personally appreciate the time each reader takes to write one. Thank you to all who have left reviews it means the world to me and all Indie authors:)

A huge thanks to Rave Reviews Book Club for making sure these reviews are seen on their website!

Here are two reviews Amazon recently removed from”The Button”:

I was intrigued from the beginning of The Button reading the prologue. Usually, these things put me to sleep, but D.L.Finn packed hers with information about the paranormal side of this story that became the handbook for the rest of the tale. We readers were brought in early to the fact that the protagonist was a depressed person who had no regard for her life. We were also given the inside information that the two angles who are casually discussing the protagonist’s future are tasked with helping avoid a soulful disaster. It is not often I read a prologue that is useful, but this one is excellent.

I enjoyed this book. There was enough excitement, intrigue, mystery, and paranormal maneuvers for anyone to enjoy. The characters were well defined and carried a depth that was utterly satisfying. The pace of the book was just right to keep the reader involved while still getting enough of the details into the scenes to make them live.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-written story that is very hard to put down. 5 Stars–John W. Howell


This is a fascinating tale of good and evil. Replete with angels and demons, it takes the reader on a journey through complicated family dynamics. It is a thriller that keeps us on edge as one page after another exposes the dark side of generational abuse.

D. L. Finn is ingenious in her approach and manifests her writing skill in this well-crafted and equally well-edited novel. 5-STARS–Gwen Plano


NOTES:

Thank you John H. and Gwen! Also a huge thanks to: Jan, Billy, John C., Rhani, Mae, Marcha, Shirley, Maretha, Karen, Wendy, and Sandra for your recent reviews:)

Next week I’ll be sharing my Halloween Book Reviews!

I will have pre-order available very soon for my new novelette: A Long Walk Home: A Christmas Novelette. It’s in editing now and is a bit over a short story–unless it becomes a short story again during editing process…lol  Thomas from The Button made an appearance in this story! I’ll keep you posted, but plan on a early November release date.

Newsletter is out! Check your emails if subscribed.

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

 

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Fall Poem

Here’s a poem I wrote from the back of a Harley last weekend. I added it to  “Just Her Poetry” that is an upcoming release:

THE OCTOBER SUN

The October sun bleeds through the trees

Clotting up before it reaches me.

The wind is a chilling reminder that I’m alive.

And it’s the end of a day…

On a ride through the tall pines and cedars.

It’s the end of the weekend…

As we race the impeding darkness home.

Ending in a grateful moment…

Existing in the changing blood-tinted landscape,

Dripping its beauty upon my eyes in memories.

I am at peace with myself and the changes.

In a time when my body and nature

Surges through each other, flowing and ebbing.

Feeling the grip of fall in my bones

I welcome it all as we pass a house…

Decorated for the coming holiday

In spiders, tombs, pumpkins, and ghosts.

This is an October ride…on the back of a Harley.


I hope that put you in the Halloween mood like it did me!

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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October Book Reviews

Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens

by Karen Ingalls

Having read and loved “Novy’s Son” I was intrigued to learn about Novy’s parents. This story started out with the life of a girl Albertina who left Sweden with her mother for a new life in America. Written in first person enabled me to experience this journey with her. I loved her peaceful life with her mother, aunt, and uncle in America. The details about Swedish culture were fascinating and added another depth to this story. I delighted in her trips into the forest to connect and find answers. I appreciated learning about all the artwork and how it would feel to be a model for it. Although Ms. Ingalls didn’t know much about Albertina/Davida, she still created a story about her great-grandparents that was spell-binding. Albertina’s innocence and obedience to her mother, merged with her curiosity and emotions blending into a story that felt very real to me. I understood the woman who went from Albertina to Davida. I felt for everyone person involved–including the wife. For Davida to love that unconditionally, even with society’s disapproval, shows not only a tragic situation, but one where she had so much strength and respect for that love. This was an amazing read that I got lost in. What a legacy that their great granddaughter wrote about.  I highly recommend this if you love art, history, human relationships–or a love story.


The Lost Years of Billy Battles: Book 3 in the Billy Battles Trilogy 

By Ronald Yates

In this final book “The Lost Years of Billy Battles” the story continues with Billy and his wife Katharina living in Chicago. It seemed like Billy had found some peace and happiness. But, that all changed when Billy and Katharina went to help out an old friend. I love the history incorporated into the story. I knew very little about this Mexican revolution, so that really held my interest. The relationship between Katharina and Billy is well done and I couldn’t help but root for them. I could easily picture each place the characters went and appreciated the time-period. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books and was sad to see the story come to an end. I will be looking for more from this author. I highly recommend this series especially if you like history and action combined.


Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories

By Beem Weeks

This is a collection of twenty short stories that embrace the full spectrum of emotions and life. The descriptions were vivid, and the characters drew me into each story. There’s a vast array of subjects covered that made me feel so many things ranging from: sadness to satisfaction to surprise. I tried to pick a favorite story as I read, but as I declared this was my favorite, I would feel the same way about the next story. I was very happy to see a short with Baby from “Jazz Baby” in one of these stories. I can easily recommend “Slivers Of Life”.


Kentucky Kernels: Book of Short Stories & Poetry 

by B. R. Chitwood

This is a unique collection of Mr. Chitwood’s work. It starts off with a two-part short story that I really enjoyed. His work is well-written with depth, intrigue, action, and humor. There is an introduction to each part that is infused with the author’s humor. There are teasers from two of his books along with poetry, personal stories, and insights. The poetry was my favorite part of the book. Mr. Chitwood has a beautiful, almost musical, way of presenting his poetry while adding in the emotional element. This collection has an anthology-feel to me. I’m already a fan of this author having read one of his books, “Stranger Abduction” that earned five stars–and I don’t miss his blogs. I recognized several parts of the book from the blog. I recommend this author, and this collection gives you a chance to get to know him.


Here are the winners for The Button Giveaway:

The Fire HD Tablet: Dianna H.

$25 Gift Card: Ashleigh S.

Signed copy of “The Button”: Kayla R, Jeanne S. and Sarah M.


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

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The Button’s first reviews

pretty rose.jpg

I have to thank everyone who pitched in and made this an amazing book release for The Button ! Yay!

I wanted to end September with the first two reviews on Amazon for “The Button”. Thank you Sandra, Mae, and Gwen for your reviews:)


Good and evil, angels and demons collide in this NA thriller. What struck me about this novel was the way the author got into the head of her heroine, a young woman who had grown up in an abusive situation, and made us see and feel how those formative years affected her life. Not to mention this story had several unexpected twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. And best of all…it’s a HEA..–Sandra Cox


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“The Button” Research


pay phone

My research is usually limited for fiction, especially when I create my own villain. The Button had some necessary fact-checking being set in 1983. Although, I lived through this time period I can’t remember a timeline of when things came out or happened. So, luckily the internet helped me out.

First thing I checked was the music. I wanted to make sure that songs I talked about was timely and had been released by September of 83—even earlier if club bands were playing the music.

Fashion was another area I dove into. Stacy wanted to make a fashion statement by imitating Madonna. Was the timing right for that? I found Madonna’s popularity started that year, so I limited her influence to lace gloves.

In 1983 I didn’t use a cell phone to contact someone, instead there was the public pay phone. What I couldn’t remember was did it still cost a dime to make a call–it did. Was 9-1-1 around? Yes.  TV’s were different and much heavier than they are now, but you could connect it to a format that was making its way into households: a VHS player. Watch a movie any time you wanted or record a show to watch later? Amazing in 83. There were no satellite radio options in a car so you didn’t have to listen to all the commercials, but there were cassette players (or as in my case) an 8-track player where you could control that and what you listened to.

Yes, there were some obvious differences thirty-five years ago in: music, fashion and technology, but why 1983? Although it was the year I got married, I had planned on using 1981.  But, I wanted to use the quote, “Can I see your papers please” from a Clint Eastwood movie; so I pushed the story-line up to 1983 to accommodate that. This particular quote was something my husband used to say quite often so you can understand why I wanted to use it. He is almost as big of fan of quoting movies as Kent is in “The Button”.

The opening bar scene was based off a few of my youthful observations at a trendy dance club, a biker bar, a rocker bar, and a bar that did showcase male strippers. These were the places that would take my “fake” ID before I was “of age” to drink. I clumped them all together into this fictional bar.

Fact checking was also different in the 80s. If we were sitting around and wondered about something, we’d have to look it up in an encyclopedia. There was a hotline, I remember, that offered information– or Ask your librarian. It came in handy when we played some of our board games or had a person who insisted they were right.

There was no research when it came to things that happened to me. The eight-hour coma was real and came from my memories, but then it was twisted into the story. I didn’t have a conversation with angels like Lynn did. I did grow up in an alcoholic house where there were parenting issues and a blended family. Yet, Lynn Hill’s family bears no resemblance to my real family, including the step brother Warren. I added a couple of things scattered throughout the book a person or two will recognize. That was for the love and friendships that endured over the years.

So, know I always try to get my facts straight now and in the past.

Get your copy here: Amazon


The Button Giveaway has begun! Enter here for a chance to win a new Kindle Fire or other great prizes:

The Button Giveaway Link

 

Note: You can also find the link at the bottom of this page and on my Facebook page under giveaway.


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

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Books That Changed Me: Fall Edition

fal walk 2017

Fall has arrived with its red leaves, and cooler nights. I love walking through downtown Nevada City capturing the colors with my camera. I’m the one kicking the piles of leaves, too. It’s a time of color, harvest, and wondering what I’m going to be for Halloween. Pumpkins are my main choice of decorations, while spiderweb sheets grace my bed. It is also the perfect time to cuddle up with a book. I’ve found three amazing books and a bonus short story that are as changing to me as the autumn leaves are to the trees.

Here are my three choices along with the Halloween bonus read!


I found myself very attached to this character. I hated finishing the last chapter, but at the same time I couldn’t wait to finish it. This is a series I am going to fully enjoy…and have to wait for. I will re-read it before the second one comes out which I reserve only for the really good ones.

hexborn pic

Hexborn (The Hexborn Chronicles Book 1)

by A.M. Manay

I loved Ms. Manay’s November Snow Series. I wondered if a new story line could rival that…yes it could. In fact, it could even surpass it. I found myself drawn deep into “Hexborn”. Shiloh grew up considered unclean by the population even though the laws against her kind had disappeared. Shunned, she was being educated to use her strong magic. Dealing with illness and deformity she develops an inner grace and strength. Suddenly when her teacher dies Silas arrives to bring her to the King’s court. Silas seems the perfect villain and I love the relationships she builds in court. Then there were surprises along Shiloh’s journey that she answered with her heart. I admired that about her. The flashbacks were skillfully used so the reader could understand how things developed. What her body lacked, her fortitude made up for.  I’m hooked on the magical girl with pink hair and eyes. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.  If I could give this more than five stars I would. It may be a YA, but it’s for adults, too.  I highly recommend this book!


This has stuck with me after reading it. The message of miracles jumped off the pages at me. It was a reminder I needed at the moment and even now– to have some faith. It makes me want to just go sit under a tree and be–or take off on a roadtrip to explore. To follow my heart.

love the beat

LOVE The Beat Goes On 

by Lynda Filler

I believe in miracles and this is what “LOVE The Beat Goes On” is about! Sometimes, in life we forget about the miracles that surround us, and this book is a reminder of them. Ms. Filler was faced with a dire diagnosis from her doctor and set out on a healing journey. This is an uplifting book that reminds you to trust your inner voice.  To joyfully do things that only make sense to yourself.  It is necessary to heal our bodies, minds and souls.  With references to Dr. Wayne Dyer, and a reading guide at the end, the reader is given some tools to do this journey on their own– if they are ready for it. I will definitely be listening to the Shaman’s chants and checking into books I haven’t read. This book was recommended to me and I am thankful for that recommendation! I have fought past some of my own health issues, but this story is a guiding beacon for everyone dealing with that– or just needs an uplifting story in their lives.  I highly recommend this for anyone on a journey to find themselves, heal—or needs to be reminded of miracles.


All three books of this series have lingered with me. I’m already a person who thinks about “what if”. Surviving after what we know as civilization comes crashing down is one of those “what ifs”. I do buy that extra bag of rice and keep a canned food supply…just in case. This story is a good warning and just darn entertaining at the same time.

into winter

Into Winter: The Armed Invasion (The Four Seasons Book 3) 

by Larry Landgraf

This is the third book in the “Four Seasons” series. It continues with the residents of Peaceful Valley– following the grid shut down that caused the collapse of society. After Robbie and Sean find their way back from the cruel dictatorship in Corpus Christi, there is a price to pay for leaving. Sandra is determined to attack Peaceful Valley. It was an interesting process to watch them prepare and defend their way of life, with very real consequences on both sides. What I found most thought-provoking was their realization that what goes on outside of Peaceful Valley affects them. There is some great insight into what makes a good government from the ground up. Although, it’s a brutal process I found it a spell binding read. I loved learning survival skills in the first book, the exploration in the second book, but this one gets you to wonder “what would you do” and then admire when the characters go beyond their own comfort. I’m eagerly looking forward to “Into Summer” and seeing where Mr. Landgraf takes us next.

Halloween bonus read:

There was something about reading a story through the killer’s eyes. I kept thinking of the TV show “Dexter” which was a family favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately. There have been so many outstanding ones, but this one made itself right at home.

I've always pic

I’ve Always Loved Women

by Rhani D’Chae

This was a fascinating read! Although it stated clearly in the beginning there was going to be a murder I was still surprised when it happened. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I had to know why. It was chilling to see through the killer’s point of view. The characters were real, the subject matter of abuse important, and the rationale almost makes sense—almost. I loved this story and highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy a story told through the “serial killer’s” prospective!


The Button Giveaway has begun! Enter here for a chance to win a new Kindle Fire or other great prizes:

The Button Giveaway Link


Happy Fall! Embrace your inner child. D.L. Finn

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“The Button” Blog Tour Link for 9-17

I have to thank Mae Clair for generously sharing her blog with me today. Check out today’s “The Button” post over on Mae Clair’s blog.  Before you go, take a peek Mae’s “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link” below. Mae is not only an amazing author, but she’s supportive of other authors, too. I hope you got to see her amazing new book cover for her up coming release “End of Days”. Please take a moment to support Mae.

LINK TO TODAY’S BLOG

Mae Clair:

They say everyone has a story to tell.

I wrote my first childish “masterpiece” at six and was immediately bitten by the writing bug. Since then, I’ve been composing nonstop, and have dabbled in multiple genres over the years, writing everything from fantasy, westerns, and horror to inspirational fiction, romance, and sci-fi. It took me a while to find my niche, but I’ve settled comfortably into the mystery/suspense genre.

Several of my earlier works have strong romantic themes, but all are infused with threads of mystery. I have a passion for folklore, myth, and urban legends and that attraction usually factors into my writing. You’ll find threads of archaic tales and mysterious places woven throughout many of my novels.

I am a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and a past president of the Central Pennsylvania Writer’s Organization. If I’m not camped out at my keyboard or have my nose buried in a book, I’m likely looking up blurry images of cryptids on Google, sorting through vintage photographs, or imagining life as a cat.

MAE CLAIR’S AMAZON PAGE

Thank you and embrace that inner child with a good book! D.L. Finn

 

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Newly Released: The Button!

It’s finally here! Here are two excerpts, the blurb, and new “Random Finn Facts”.

Button_covEbkFinal

 

Blurb:

Lynn Hill left a difficult childhood behind when she turned eighteen. The 1980s were going to be the beginning of a great life. Then what started as an ordinary evening out with her best friend, Stacy, turns into a nightmare. Lynn hears warnings: “Go!” “Leave!” Believing she is hearing things after partying too much, she goes back for one more drink before going home. That decision sets off a chain of events that nothing could have prepared her for. While humans and not-so-human beings are attempting to either help or harm her, Lynn risks everything to find the only person she trusts, Stacy. Who can help her? The stepbrother who shows up right when she needs him or the attractive, helpful bartender who gives her his phone number? Lynn must learn to trust again. Her survival depends on it in this paranormal thriller.

Excerpt one:

PROLOGUE (part one)

Castro Valley, California, 1976 

Lynn was suddenly aware of her surroundings. It was tranquil floating above her still body next to angels. She felt indifferent at seeing her pale form hooked up to wires and IVs, although the beeping machines indicated that her body was still alive.

“You have to go back—you have more to do,” the female angel informed her.

Lynn met the angel’s steady gaze. While she was in awe of her beauty, it was the angel’s silver dress that drew her attention. It reminded her of how the water in her grandmother’s pool had wrapped her in serenity when she sat at the bottom. She’d loved doing that for as long as she could hold her breath. It was one of the few times she felt safe, cocooned in water where no one could hurt her. That dress, flowing like water around the angel, affected Lynn in the same way as the pool did—it made her feel safe. The angel pushed her hair back, causing it to cascade over her peacock-green wings.

Lynn turned her attention to the male angel. His smile was mesmerizing—like a lava lamp, hot and fluid. What a babe! With his long brown hair, strong chiseled features, and green eyes she could get lost in, she felt she could totally spend eternity with him. He smiled broadly at her, but the smile quickly disappeared when the female angel scowled at him. Wait a minute—do they know what I’m thinking? Not cool! Lynn felt her face redden.

The embarrassment was quickly erased as both angels smiled at her again. Lynn wished they’d say more, but she wanted to continue to hang out with them. She was feeling a peace she’d never felt before.

She started to express her desire to stay. “I don’t—” was all she got out before images of an older version of herself filled her mind all at once. Then she was thrust back—into her life and that pallid body hooked up to the beeping machines…


Excerpt two:

CHAPTER 1

Castro Valley, California, 1983

…In high school Lynn Hill had a black button with white writing that said “F*** Off and Die.” It was pinned to her worn, flower-embroidered denim purse. Lynn relocated her button to the inside of her purse when she graduated, so only she could see it. It wasn’t that Lynn had suddenly changed her attitude upon accepting her diploma with 451 other people representing the first class of the new decade, either. As far as she could tell, 1980 was no different than 1979. What prompted the removal of her audacious public expression was the acquisition of a job and an apartment, or basically becoming a responsible adult. Lynn was mindful that appearing to be an upstanding citizen was necessary, an opinion confirmed by her old history teacher.

“Young women who are successful do not have swear words pinned to the outside of their purse,” the teacher, who reminded Lynn of a shriveled apple doll, had informed her while handing back her essay in the final month of high school.

Lynn was fully aware that the teacher didn’t like her, but she didn’t care. Most teachers didn’t like her, but she always got A’s and didn’t cause problems, so they usually left her alone. No one had ever tried to take the button away, but Lynn did get some looks, which she shrugged off.

She was convinced that more than one teacher had the same sentiment, but they had to pretend to be responsible adults, like she was doing now. Lynn only hid the button from her parents, who would have shown their displeasure in ways both physically and emotionally painful. She escaped that house the day she turned eighteen, moving into an apartment with her best friend, Stacy.

Lynn’s fingers brushed across that button on the inside of her purse as she searched for her strawberry lip gloss. It wasn’t that she hated everyone and wanted them to die, as her button stated; she simply didn’t trust most people. Why should she? They only managed to disappoint or hurt her, but she wished for their absence, not their actual demise. Although there were a few people she felt the world would be better off without. They seemed to have no reason to exist other than to cause others pain.

Lynn applied her lip gloss, slipped it back into her purse, and pasted on a fake smile. It was her final touch before entering the rundown bar with Stacy. A blonde and a brunette together got the attention of guys at the bars, Stacy insisted. Lynn didn’t bother pointing out that it was Stacy’s large bust and fashion-model looks that got all that interest. She knew Stacy was aware of her effect on the opposite sex.

The young women flashed their fake IDs to the guy at the door. It was obvious that the old biker didn’t care about the age of the females who entered the bar as long as they were somewhat pretty, boosted alcohol sales, and had a card, legal or not, that showed they were old enough. Lynn was immediately greeted by loud music, a local band whose name she had already forgotten. They were playing a current hit from the radio. No big deal, just some wannabes, Lynn thought. There wasn’t even a cover to see them. How good could they be?

Stacy and Lynn squeezed between the red vinyl barstools to order their drinks. “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…” Why was the song from Sleeping Beauty in her head? She hadn’t thought of it in years. It had been one of her favorite songs when she was a young girl. She used to listen to the record while following along in the book. She would sing the song loudly if no one was around and pretend she was dancing with her prince through the forest.

In those days she believed she would find her prince someday. Did she still believe in love and happily ever after? Not really. She sighed right as the bartender caught her glance. He had wavy brown hair and the most beautiful brown eyes she’d ever seen. She gulped and started to sweat. She needed a drink, and fortunately, Stacy was already ordering them.


Random Finn Facts:

  1. I believe in the unseen.
  2. I used to play the piano when I was young.  I’m attempting to relearn it–if my fingers will cooperate!
  3. I love to take pictures of nature…and my family, too:)

Get your copy here:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

D.L. FINN BANNER WITH WORDS


My appreciation and thanks to Mark for offering your blog to help celebrate The Button’s release:)

What a great tour last week. A big hug and thanks goes out to everyone who’s helped celebrate my release:) Watch for more links this week as the tour continues.

Get ready for the announcement of “The Button’s Giveaway” in this month’s Newsletter:) I will post it in next Sunday’s blog, too.

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

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The Button Blog Tour Link for 9-10

I’m grateful to Sandra Cox for sharing her blog with me today. Check out today’s “The Button” post over on Sandra’s blog.  Before you go, please take a peek below at Sandra’s amazing “Author Bio” and “Amazon Link”, which includes her extensive book catalog. Let’s thank Sandra for being so supportive to other author’s–by being supportive of her.

TODAY’S BLOG LINK

Sandra Cox:

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte, and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

AMAZON LINK

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

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“The Button” Characters

sunset

Was I as wild as Lynn and Stacy “back in the day”? That’s an interesting question. I suppose it depends on how you define the word “wild” and the time frame. 1980 was the time when I got my first apartment and I found ways to have fun, but in 1983 I got married. So, it was a limited time frame to explore and add my limited knowledge and research to this book.

I might have a friend or two wondering if I’d bring “that” up. Good thing about “that” is we are the only ones that know whether I did or did not.

The characters for “The Button” grew out of those memories I have–and some I don’t.

Lynn Hill is a survivor. She grew up in an abusive household. She lost hope for a moment at 14-years-old and tried to take her life. But, that moment may have changed her because of an angelic intervention. Now she’s a rebel with a button, a determination to take care of herself and unsure whether she believes in love. I’m sure there’s a bit of me hidden in Lynn the survivor. We were both hairdressers, too.

Kent Stuart works at the local bar serving drinks. Lynn is immediately attracted to him, even with his goofy quotes. But, it seemed like his interest was in Stacy until they talk again. Lynn quickly learns he reads the same horror books as her and comes from a family with drinking issues, too. Kent gives Lynn his phone number, yet he has another side and another job unknown to her. Lynn has no idea if she should trust him or not.

Stacy Kelly has been Lynn’s best friend since they were kids. They’re room mates and like sisters. She’s a beautiful blond that is full of herself, but very loyal to Lynn. She’s the only person Lynn completely trusts. The two girls look out for each other. When Stacy goes missing, Lynn will do whatever it takes to find her.

Warren Stone is Lynn’s step brother. He’s newly released from prison after embezzling from a company he worked for. He reaches out to Lynn when she needs someone the most. He says he has changed and learned a lot from being in jail. He wants to make up for not being there for her in the past. They both share the same abusive childhood and she wants to trust him.

The Angels: Zelina who was in This Second Chance is the angel training Thomas, who had issues in the past. Zelina brought Thomas along when she spoke to Lynn during her coma. Zelina and Thomas are keeping an eye on Lynn until she needs them again.

Dian the evildwel has a hold of someone near Lynn.  She thrives and feeds off fear. Her current host satisfies all her needs, but she desires Lynn’s death.

The battle begins…will Lynn survive it?


My appreciation and thanks goes out to John for offering your blog to help celebrate The Button’s release:)


Pre-order The Button here: Amazon


I’m celebrating the release of “The Button”  with a blog tour. I’ll post the links here so you can stop by and say hi! The “Random Finn Facts” will be different at each stop.

Tomorrow there will be two blogs. One will be a tour link and the other is: Mae Clair’s cover release! Don’t miss out on all the fun.


With a new release comes a giveaway. Watch for more information here and my newsletter!


Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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“The Button” Idea…

button collection

The “idea” for this book was a question from my husband. “Do you still have that F*** off and Die” button?

“Yes, I do.” He laughed when I handed it to him.

It has been tucked away in my closet for years (without the asterisks). It’s a reminder of the “old” me. The one who might have pushed some boundaries. The one with an attitude.

I found this button in Berkeley in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It made me laugh so I bought it. No, I didn’t wear it on my purse like Lynn in The Button, but the message might have been my mind set for a while. Lynn was a more forward with her button, but then she had a lot more to deal with than I ever did.

Now, I have a big collection of buttons in my laundry room.  They tell of the history of my life and the life around me. I still add to them when I find just the right button with a saying that makes me laugh, a “hey that’s right” or simply a memory or like.  I may have lost a few buttons over the years before I realized I was collecting them.

The day when I was asked if I still had this button the next thing I found myself joking: “I should write a book based on it”.

We might have laughed, but the idea stuck.  That rebellious side of me woke up and created Lynn. She was far more rebellious than the book shows–she wanted me to tone it down a bit.

Then other ideas started to form. I wanted a character who grew up in an abusive household which Lynn took on.  I had some knowledge to bring to the story, too. Then the angel Zelina insisted on being with Lynn back in 1976 when she was in that coma. With Zelina came another evildwel and an angel in training, Thomas. Making The Button a kind of a prequel to This Second Chance  but with a different tone.

The Button is not as much a love story as a survival story set in the 1980s, although there is love, too. Lynn is much younger than Rachael from This Second Chance and Lynn still experimenting with “things”. After my input Lynn completely took over the story. I’m not sure I would have made some of the decisions she did.

I must point out this was all fictional besides that button. Even the things that did happen, didn’t happen the way they did in The Button.

So, I wrote this book based on a question about a button. And after much reflection yes, the word is in my book–without the asterisks in it.

Pre-order it here: Amazon


My appreciation and thanks goes out to: Eden, Jan, and Mae for offering your blogs to help celebrate The Button’s release:)

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

Featured

August Book Reviews

Hexborn (The Hexborn Chronicles Book 1)

by A.M. Manay

I loved Ms. Manay’s November Snow Series. I wondered if a new story line could rival that…yes it could. In fact, it could even surpass it. I found myself drawn deep into “Hexborn”. Shiloh grew up considered unclean by the population even though the laws against her kind had disappeared. Shunned, she was being educated to use her strong magic. Dealing with illness and deformity she develops an inner grace and strength. Suddenly when her teacher dies Silas arrives to bring her to the King’s court. Silas seems the perfect villain and I love the relationships she builds in court. Then there were surprises along Shiloh’s journey that she answered with her heart. I admired that about her. The flashbacks were skillfully used so the reader could understand how things developed. What her body lacked, her fortitude made up for.  I’m hooked on the magical girl with pink hair and eyes. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.  If I could give this more than five stars I would. It may be a YA, but it’s for adults, too.  I highly recommend this book!


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.


My appreciation and thanks goes out to: Wendy, Staci, Sandra, and Suzanne for offering your blogs next month to help celebrate The Button’s release:)


Starting next week, and the whole month of September, my weekly blogs will focus on The Button and its upcoming release! (I’ll still be doing the Fall Edition of “Books That Changed Me” on 9-22)Button_covEbkFinal

The Button is now available for pre-order:    Amazon Link

                                                                                       Barnes & Noble Link

                                                                                        Smashwords Link


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

Featured

Trying new things

HaiKu Moonlight D.L. Finn

My daughter Danielle, who you met in a previous blog, got my husband and I involved in a worldwide scavenger hunt or what was installed on my cell phone–GISH. She was our group leader and worked on many things including earning money for charity. I was given tasks to do during this week-long event.

The first task was to write a poem that rhymed and included world history. I got that done in less than a half hour and sent it off to her to submit.

Another task I was given was to learn a new skill. I puzzled over that one and then decided to write the Haiku above. That 5-7-5 poem was a lot harder to write than I would have imagined. It was more time consuming for me, but I got it done.

Then, one night we got together with my daughter and a friend to finish up our tasks.  I helped out with a picture.  My part was to hold up a blanket, so it was under the sun while Danielle “read” the setting sun the book “Goodnight Moon”.

Next, I got to judge a belly flop contest at a neighbor’s swimming pool. The flops sounded painful to me, but everyone got a 10! I personally placed the gold medal around the winner’s neck. The following event I was required in the pool to do water ballet to heavy metal music. I think we looked pretty good as my husband filmed us going in a circle bringing our arms in and out of the circle and then jumping together.

Out of the pool and wrapped in our towels Danielle placed large goggle-eyes on the neighbor’s tractor. Moving the bucket up and down got the eyes moving or that task. Finally, the “Goodnight Moon” book was presented to the neighbor’s son.

Back home again on our side of the street again, Danielle’s friend tried to fling chocolate pudding into my daughter’s mouth from three feet back while I filmed that. All you can hear is my laughter.

Later that night I helped my husband on his task to learn a new skill.  I showed him how to do some night photography…or make me look like a ghost. Boo!

Jeff pic smaller for gish

Joining my daughter’s team became about: spending time with loved ones, learning and trying something new, and laughter. Things we need in our lives, especially the laughter.

Here is the the poem I wrote during this event.

MIND

Since the beginning of humankind

We have pushed forward with our mind

With the useful first stone wheel

To the current luxurious automobile

From revolutions that tore down a wall

To gruesome wars that produced bombs to fall

This mind has been used for bad: including pure greed

Or for generosity, charity, altruism and to lead

Now in this time in history humankind has a choice

To decide which side, we are on and raise our voice

We can stand by our fellow human being

And lift our world up to a place our minds are seeing.


Embrace your inner child with laughter! D.L. Finn

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Favorite Books

IMG_2025I did a survey a couple years ago on my blog:

  1. What was your favorite children’s book?
  2. What was your favorite adult book?
  3. Who was your favorite book character/person?

I obtained responses from either over the internet or in-person. I wanted to share those original results again:


FAVORITE BOOK SURVEY

Favorite Kid Books

More than one vote (series included): 

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (3)

Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault (3)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (3) D.L. Finn’s pick

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene (3)

Amelia Bedelia Series  by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril (2)

Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope (2)

Children’s Bible (2)

Curious George by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey (2)

Are you there God it’s me, Margret? By Judy Blume (2)

The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright (2)

Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (2)

Single votes (series included):

A Ghost in the Attic by Suzan Reid

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Alice’s Adventure Under Ground by Lewis Carroll

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott

BFG by Roald Dahle

Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen and Mark Buehner

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Boxcar children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Choose your Own Adventure by R.A. Montgomery

Cinderella by Jane Werner

Dick and Jane Series by Penguin Young Readers

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahle

Gilbert and the lost Tooth by Diane deGroat

Tanglewood Tales: Greek Mythology for Kids by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Little house on the Prairie books by Laura Engle Wilder

Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Love you forever by Robert M. Munsch and Shelia McGraw

Loudmouse by Richard Wilber

Magic Tree by Mary Pope Osborne

Nothing Fair in the 5th grade! By Barthe DeClements

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Polar Express by Chris Van Allburg

Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

The Best Little Monkeys in the World by Natalie Standiford

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahle

The Strawberry Roan by Darragh Metzger

The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon

Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak

Favorite Adult Books

More than one vote (series included):

The Bible (6)

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card (3)

Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) by George R. R. Martin (2)

The Stand by Stephen King (2) D.L. Finn’s Pick

Single votes (series included):

A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan

Alex Delaware Series by Jonathan Kellerman

Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor

Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey

By the Light of Day by Dean Koontz

Dark-Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Foxfire Light by Janet Daily

Hot White Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout

Interview with a Vampire by Ann Rice

Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

Message from Nam by Danielle Steel

Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

The Men of the Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels

The Agony and Ecstasy by Irving Stone

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

The Dark Half by Stephen King

The Girl with a Snake Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Last Ride by Nicolas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Prophet  by Kahlil Gibran

The Sphere by Michael Crichton

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Voice of the Eagle by Linda Lay Shuler

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

You Can’t Win by Jack Black

Favorite all-time Book Character/Person:

More than one vote:

Jesus from The Bible (2)

Single votes:

Amelia from Amelia Bedelia Series

Baloo from Jungle Book

Bilbo from The Hobbit

David from The Bible

Charlie from I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo! by Charles M. Schulz

Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice

Ender from Enders Game

Frodo from Lord of Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Harry from Harry Potter Series

Hercules from Hercules Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie —D.L. Finn’s very hard pick!

Hester from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Jack from Jack Reacher Series by Dan Ames

Jason from Jason Bourne Series by Eric Van Lustbader

Jessie from Boxcar Children

Jo from Little Woman

Katniss from Hunger Games

Lestat from Interview with a Vampire

Mordred from King Author and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green

Moses from The Bible

Mouse from Loud Mouse

Nancy from Nancy Drew series 

Noah from The Bible

Odd from Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz

Roth from The Dark Elements Complete Collection by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Sherlock from The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sodapop from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Stephanie from Stephanie Plum Series

Stuart from The Stand

Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander from Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind

Extra–just the author:

Debbie Macomber

Dick Francis

Lynn Harris

Patricia Cornwell

Stephen King

Terry McMillan


I hope you enjoyed this list! Was your favorite on it?

I might try this again someday–as long as I don’t have to manually keep track of it again!


I’m looking for blog hosts in September to help launch “The Button”. Email me at: d.l.finn.author@gmail.com if you are interested! Thanks:)


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

 

 

 

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Part 2 of Summer Short Stories Reviews!

Lost and Found: Family Ties

by Maretha Botha

I enjoyed this short story of a woman, Marissa, who’s about to get married and her older sister Miranda who has feelings for the groom. The characters were so well done I found myself disliking the groom, Johan. I liked all the twists this story took. It’s a fast and satisfying read that I couldn’t put down. If you like love stories with some karma thrown in…you’ll enjoy this one!


Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe

by Wendy Jayne

Cassidy is a witch who falls hard for Hunter the warlock. There’s one problem, they can’t be together. Someone has put a hex on her with an entertaining outcome. It’s cute how Cassidy tries to avoid Hunter’s advances. I like when they start working together to resolve the “issue”. This was a fun quick-read full of magic and frustration!


Zombie Dawn

by Rhani D’Chae

It starts with the natural death of two neighbors. What happens next isn’t natural when they become zombies in this chilling short story about the inception of a zombie apocalypse. It was clear how quickly it spread, and I felt the sheer terror when someone was caught by a zombie. I understood the confusion of the characters when they saw people they knew and loved now monsters. This was a story I couldn’t stop reading, with the action not stopping from the moment it started.  If you enjoy horror stories, like I do, you’ll love this!


A CITIZEN’S GROUP IN ACTION: Saving a Train Station

By Shirley Harris-Slaughter

This is a detailed and interesting insight into a group of people who are pulled together, after failed attempts, to save a historical train station. I never gave much thought about the work and planning that goes into an event to accomplish this. I enjoyed learning about it.


Feeders: Madeson Reid, PI: Paranormal Short Story.

By Wendy Jayne

This takes us to a time when humans share the world with vampires and robots. I loved the characters, especially the robot secretary with ideas of her own. The PI was investigating human deaths, while navigating vampire celebrity and the undercurrent vampire and robot policies. This short story has mystery, monsters, and was thought provoking—a perfect combination!


Lost Time: Family Ties

by Maretha Botha

Two sisters love the same man, but only one gets him. Nellie carries many emotions from winning the man, David, who is her husband. She relives her past on a trip to see a lawyer.  This is a quick read full of guilt, anger and some love.


The release date for “The Button” is scheduled for September 12th–with a pre-order available in mid-August. Now, here’s the part I always dread…the promotion.  I’m looking to promote the entire month of September. Please email me at: d.l.finn.author@gmail.com  if you can lend me your blog;)

Thanks!


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

Featured

Summer Short Story Reviews

 

OPEN, SHUT: A Short Story

By Nonnie Jules

Darcy’s older sister was killed while walking to school with her siblings. After her sister’s death, Darcy noticed doors, and other things, opening and shutting on their own. Then, she discovered her sister’s journal that changed her world. I found this to be an inspiring read about a girl finding her faith and applying it to her life after a tragic event. It shows we can overcome loss–if we have faith.


 

I’ve Always Loved Women

by Rhani D’Chae

This was a fascinating read! Although it stated clearly in the beginning there was going to be a murder I was still surprised when it happened. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I had to know why. It was chilling to see through the killer’s point of view. The characters were real, the subject matter of abuse important, and the rationale almost makes sense—almost. I loved this story and highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy a story told through the “serial killer’s” prospective!


 

Short Stories of Fantasy: Sarpati, The Slot Machine, Broken Toys in the Attic, The Fair Lady

By Patricia A. Guthrie

This is a collection of four short stories that held my attention. The tales ranged from seeing Adam and Eve from the snakes’ prospective, what a slot machine is thinking, not to enter an attic if you are a spoiled child, and books that should never be read. Each had its own flavor that I fully enjoyed. This was a fun read for me. If you enjoy the paranormal with a bit of horror mixed in, you’ll enjoy this collection.


Two Shorts and a Snort

By Jan Sikes

There are two short stories and a poem in this collection. My favorite short story was “Obsession”. It takes the reader to a place of greed and lust, and what a dark path they can drag you down. I could sympathize with the characters and at the same time cringe at the things they did. The other short story “Maggie” was a sweet tale when a rancher finds a gift in a snow bank. I left this story wanting to know more, but very glad the couple got what they desired. The poem rang true about relationships that shouldn’t go ‘there’. “Two Shorts and a Snort” is an ideal read before bedtime–or even your lunch break.


Tequila Rose Virginity Blues: Contemporary Romance Short Story

by Wendy Jayne

Ms. Jayne takes us on a chance meeting and a forgetful morning after. Tequila wakes up with a major hangover and tries to figure out what happened between her and Jack. Was this a person she might want to have a relationship or forget she met him? I enjoyed the storyline and humor. The characters were well-written, and I was curious to see what happened between them. It wasn’t a rushed short-story ending–even with “speed-dating”.


 Saving The Evergreens: Garden Secrets 

by Maretha Botha

This is a charming short-story of a little Evergreen from the Tree Quarters named Smallun. Smallun meets up with a butterfly he names Flutter and he quickly shares his story of his home being attacked by the Zondies and escaping to safety. It reminded me of a similar issue we have in our area with tree beetles killing the pine trees. This story makes you want to look twice at what grows in our gardens or forests.


 

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

Featured

Noises in the Dark…

moon in the sky pic for blog

 

I’ve been working overtime on the final edits for “The Button”. I decided to use our trailer to work uninterrupted with the bonus it has air conditioning, which the house doesn’t. The trailer is parked in a space above the house, but near the garage and back yard. One side faces the long dark driveway and the other side (where the door is) there’s a heavily forested area. It’s a lovely place to work during the day.  I appreciate seeing the douglas firs, pines, oaks, dogwoods, madrones, and other assorted greenery.

But, I’ve added night shifts to meet my upcoming deadline. After dinner I’d head out with my cell phone and laptop and get to work. The backyard and garage lights provide enough illumination to make me feel somewhat safe. Yet, there is the side of the trailer that borders the murky forest. Even leaving the porch light on it doesn’t throw out enough glow to alleviate my fears of what could be lurking in the night.

The first night out–power outage. The only way that would happen was if the trailer came unplugged from the outlet on the house. Of course, my mind raced with thoughts…who unplugged it? What did they want? I texted my husband and got no reply because he was asleep. My lap top’s battery was exhausted, and I wasn’t done working for the night.

Setting my fears aside was all I could do. I hurried out the door to see what happened. Luckily, both dogs were outside and kept watch on my rush to the outlet.  It was unplugged. I thought perhaps my husband or I tripped over it and didn’t notice. I left it at that, while trying to ignore the other scenarios my mind was creating including serial killers.  So, I brought Sara our Shepard-mix back with me to the trailer and left Hermie our black lab to watch over my sleeping husband. All went smoothly the rest of that night with Sara by my side.

Sara became my night-time companion in the trailer. Each night when I was done she’d bravely make sure it was safe with the darkness of the forest taunting us. This place is where shadows don’t exist and where an animal had screamed loudly a few nights ago. That cry was so piercing I heard it from the house. My first response was to go outside and yell at whatever was hurting the animal. It didn’t listen though, and after a while there was silence. That night I researched the sound and decided it was either a fox warning or a rabbit being killed. I went with the fox. That ‘scream and silence’ stayed with me all week.

A few nights later right before 11:00 pm, I was working with Sara next to me. It was a warm night, so I had the door open. I was editing the evildwel’s part when something heavy walked through the darkness right outside the door, but out of sight of the yellow porch light. Sara’s ears were up, and she was alert. My heart started racing along with my mind. I froze for a moment as the sounds of twigs and branches snapped under its weight. I decided it would be a great time to shut the door and lock it–once I convinced my feet to move. Sara’s attention was on the doorway while my fear changed into panic. Finally, I got my body to move and I raced to close the door. I held my breath until the moment I turned the red latch on the door locking it.

I could still hear the creatures’ progress through an open window. My next step was to shut all the drapes so it couldn’t see me lit up by a computer’s screen. That is also when I noticed it was darker than normal outside. I’d forgotten to turn on the backyard light. Everything was bathed in nighttime. I was convinced that this thing wanted me. I didn’t have the house phone, so I texted my husband. Like before, no response he was asleep. Perhaps if I stayed where I was and slept in the trailer, it would go away? But what if it got into the trailer—there was no place to hide. I would have to defend myself. Why didn’t I think to keep a weapon out here with me? Maybe I should try to reach out to someone. One of my kids should still be up. I couldn’t make a call from where I was at, but I could text. What would I say? I would either worry them or have them laughing at me. What little pride I had left, I decided I was saving them from worrying.

About then my rational thoughts started breaking through my fears.  I wasn’t going to let noises in the dark scare me. It was just a byproduct of writing about scary things. So, I settled back to work, with Sara now sleeping quietly next to me. She didn’t seem worried about anything. I took that as a sign all was well. Around midnight I closed my laptop. Done for the night, I knew the only person that was going to get me inside my house, was me. I let Sara out first to clear the path and walked as quickly as I could behind her in the darkness. That 50-foot journey took forever. Luckily, I didn’t need to test my theory whether laptops make good weapons or not,when I made it safely into our garage, and then the house. I locked the door and the darkness out. The next day I was back in the trailer enjoying the green splendor. Yet night wasn’t far off…

When I write about those evil entities that feed off fear and I hear a noise at night…. will I be scared? Yes. Will that fear find its way into my writing? It will.  Will I bring some protection with me next time? Guaranteed. Will I make sure the backyard light is on encroaching on the night? Absolutely.

You see I’ve done my research of things that go bump in the night. These things haven’t found me yet, but I know they are there. It may only be a fox, deer, bear, coyote, or mountain lion, but I haven’t ruled out Bigfoot, evil monsters, aliens, or one of those crazy humans, either.

So, know when I’m writing about something scary, I’ve been that scared before. And my heart may have been racing as I typed the words, but that never stopped me from writing. When reality finds me creating fiction, I’ve found it takes a bit of bravery not to run away…and just keep writing.

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

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35 years later…roadtrip

I talked about a road trip to Southern California I took 35 years ago with my husband in a previous blog: Roadtrip. In May, my husband and I hit the road again, this time pulling the long, long trailer behind us.

long long trailer....

We went south and settled in Anaheim after a long nine-hour drive on Highway 5. After relaxing to an already cooked dinner (thanks to a day of cooking before we left) we headed outside to watch the Disneyland fireworks from our RV park. We got six days of it! There is something magical standing in the darkness and watching the sky light up in beautiful colors.

fireworks pic

The next two days were given to exploring Disneyland. As always, we headed first to our favorite ride, The Pirates of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it was closed for refurbishing for several more weeks. So, we proceeded next to the Haunted House or another favorite as a first ride for us. It was closed—it had broken-down. Not to be discouraged, we got in line for Thunder Mountain ready for the thrill of a roller coaster. Right when we got up ready to board…it also broke.

thunder mountain

At this point I was beginning to wonder what was going on. After they cleared us out of the line at this ride we headed over to Peter Pan– another one of our favorites. Twenty-five minutes, we were in the shade. We thought we’d made it. Guess what? It broke down, too. By now I was laughing and wondering what the message was. I didn’t ponder on that thought too long, as I was determined to get onto a ride.

We waited as others left for them to fix the ride. Finally, we saw the first boat come into port. It was going again. We got seated and were whisked off into Neverland. We weren’t disappointed, and things went smoothly from there. Then our fun continued as we flew through outerspace on Space Mountain and raced in Radiator Springs (I admit to giggling a bit on this ride).  My inner child got quite the work out.

After our amusement park fix we got a nice visit in with some relatives and then headed for the beach. Exploring on the sandy landscape always brings me to a peaceful state of being.

beach trip

Then, on our final day we headed to the San Diego Zoo. It had been 35 years since we’d been there. It had changed a lot in many good ways. We started with the bus tour and then when it was done we worked our way downhill through the many different areas with the map in hand.

map

We had lunch with the elephants and I spent some time watching a tiger (I was born in the year of the tiger and have a connection to all cats big or small…).

me and tiger

The grounds were beautiful with lots of greenery and waterfalls, and it brought back a lot of memories of a younger version of us walking the same path.

Then, we headed back home knowing we had two more road trips to come…

Thirty-five years might have separated these trips, but they were both amazing. Our younger versions had more energy and we explored further. This older version paced ourselves, stopped more and observed. Either version of us, though, our hearts were still the same along with our wonder. We laughed like children on the rides, were amazed at nature’s beauty and at peace around the animals. This time we slept in comfort and had a kitchen to use, over an ice chest and a bed in the back of a van 35 years ago, but it was still us–together.  And the message was when the rides kept breaking, that it didn’t matter what we did as long as we did it together.

on boat

Embrace your inner child! D.L. Finn

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July poetry and book reviews

pretty roseHere is a poem from the “Just Her Poetry” which I hope to release in a few months. This is a runner-up for being used in “The Button”:

TRAPPED 

I feel her trapped in me…

That scared little girl from so long ago.

I’ve tried to reassure her…

To embrace her…

To comfort her…

Yet, she still hides…

While trying to protect me…

In scared and illogical ways that don’t.

She doesn’t know that though, she’s too little.

Too young to understand, that I’m okay now.

That it is safe…we are safe.

I keep trying to reach her.

With the hope that someday

She will feel protected

And not try to hold me back…

In her attempt to keep us safe.

That together we can move forward…

Just the two of us…. in trust and wonder.


 

cusp of night pic

Cusp of Night (A Hode’s Hill Novel)

by Mae Clair

“Cusp of Night” is a suspenseful story that has two timelines blending together beautifully. Maya moves to Hode Hill and sees a man attacked by what she believes is a monster, and at home she experiences strange events at 2:22 am. While all of this is taking place in modern times, the other timeline, set in the late 1800’s, explains the life of Lucinda who was born with blue skin. I love all the details Ms. Clair adds that enhance the story-line and characters including: the history of mediums and people with blue skin–which I’ve never heard of before. I’m already a fan of Ms. Clair and expected a lot from this book…I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a stand-alone read, but I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series. A must-read for paranormal/thriller fans.


lodestone pic

Lodestone: (Witch-Hunt) 

by Wendy Scott

Ms. Scott wrote an entertaining story told from two different time-lines. Sabrina the healer-witch lived in times when magic had been removed, while Lauren lived in the past when there was magic. How their lives intersected I found fascinating. As Sabrina sets out to right the wrongs of the past she develops a relationship with an apprentice monk Micah, that was one of my favorite parts of the story. Getting the history through Lauren’s journal though showed that even with good intentions and a mother’s love things can go very wrong– was the strength of the story. It was a long process to get Sabrina to the place she needed to be, and many people suffered along the way– and after. If you like a story with a quest, magic, forbidden love, fantasy with dark undertones, you will enjoy this book!


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

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“The Button” Cover Reveal and a Poem

Here is the cover for The Button:

Ebook Copy of Button

Ta-da!

I wanted to carry over a theme from This Second Chance with the red eyes, but I couldn’t come up with an idea for this cover as easily as I had in the past. At first, I took pictures of pay phones to use, but that didn’t seem to capture the essence of the story. Then, I came up with the idea to use bullets, and a button or the things Lynn finds in her bed (yes, the button does say what Lynn’s does in the book). But, it still needed something else, so the final touch was Zelina’s wings that I wore last Halloween. The next thing I needed was something to put it all on. In the closet where costumes are stored, next to the wings there was the velvet cape that became the background.  Once I took several pictures I picked the top three and sent them over to my cover designer Monica Gibson. She added the graphics and eyes that pulled it all together. I had many options for title colors, but I think the red stood out the best.

I’m heading into my final edit before sending it in for its professional edit in mid-July. I have to thank the Beta Readers who are taking time out of their busy schedules to give feedback. It is much appreciated and been very insightful so far! Thank you, thank you! If all goes well there should be an end of summer release!


Here is a poem that I feel relates to this story from my upcoming poetry book: Just Her Poetry:

moon in the sky pic for blog

 

UNWELCOME PROTECTOR 

I feel it when I’m uncomfortable.

It is always there hiding…waiting.

That shallow breath…

That tight grip…that feeling.

 

It draws my attention

Back to where it came from.

A time…

A time when I wasn’t so strong.

 

I was helpless,

I was young,

I’m none of those things now…

Yet, it stays.

 

It’s an unwanted guest

That lurks in my body

That has over-stayed…

Its welcome.

 

It seems unaware

That it isn’t wanted anymore

So, I carefully guide it to the door…

Fumbling with the lock.

 

It clings to the doorway

Hanging on to my past

Smiling, I gently push it out…

We are both free as I release it.


There will be no blog on July 1st. I’ll be off the final road-trip of the year, but will be back on July 8th. Happy 4th of July– may your day sparkle like the night skies!

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

 

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Books That Changed Me–Summer Edition

for blog summer edition pic

Happy Summer! It’s the season when air conditioners are running, swim holes are appealing, the BBQ is fired-up and the stars beg to be observed. There is the thrill of baseball games or the Fair when it comes to town offering food, rides, and farm animals. Then, there’s the quieter times to stretch out on the freshly cut grass watching a cloud or two float by, or roasting marshmallows around a campfire. The most important thing about summer is to remember that carefree child again.

Books have the same effect on me that seasons do. They can be renewing like spring or like summertime taking a journey to that special place remembered from childhood. That trip can be either in wonder or to that scary place that keeps eyes focused on the darkness instead of sleeping. All I know is I am never the same again after reading a great book.

Here is my second list of the year for the summer of books that have changed me by reading them!


Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir 

by Karen Ingalls

outshine pic

Although, I have not had cancer, family members have– and I’ve dealt with many health issues over the years. This is a book that shines hope on a challenging situation and left me inspired and ready to face anything! It also reminded me of what is important in life.

Here’s my 5-star review:

“Outshine” is the journey Ms. Ingalls took when she learned she had ovarian cancer. This is a subject I’d usually avoid because the word cancer scares me, and I’ve seen what it can do to loved ones, but I was surprised how inspired I became as I read it. The author is a nurse who educated herself with all the facts once she learned her diagnosis. She dug deep into her faith and found ways to nourish her soul throughout the process. I loved all the quotes and the positive way she approached a very scary situation for anyone. She got the help back she had provided in her career two-fold. We were with her during her surgery, chemotherapy, when she lost her hair and her daily walks and prayers. I loved how she talked about sending a card and really meaning the message and how much it meant to her at this time. I was impressed how she learned to let her ego go when she lost her hair, how she embraced each day as a gift, and her husband’s unconditional love for her. These are good lessons for us in life whether we are fighting an illness or not. I ended reading this feeling more hopeful and inspired. This is a book for anyone dealing with cancer or any illness, but it is also for anyone who wants and needs to be encouraged. I highly recommend Ms. Ingalls’ book!


Tails (Silver Wishes Book 1)

by WJ Scott  (Author), John Helle Nielsen (Illustrator), Belinda Mellor (Editor)

tails pic

This may be a book for children, but it was the perfect read for me, too. I fell in love with the dog Buster-Boy and shed a tear or two over him, while Kywah’s bravery tugged at my heart. This has not only fantasy and magic (which I love) but it offers the reality of human nature.

Here’s my 5-star review:

“Tails” is a children’s fantasy book for the 9-12 age group, but is for adults, too. I’m already of fan of Ms. Scott, so I went into reading this with high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed!  “Tails” takes us to a place where magic is hard to come by, and the wizards have lost their power. That all changes when a hunter, Samsa captures Kywah, a silvertail and cuts his tail off which has magic in it. The silvertails were thought to be extinct and this renews the interest in ‘harvesting’ them. The hunters set out to find the pack, so they can sell the tails and fur to the wizards who want to recapture their powers. Kywah, who is considered handicapped among his pack, leaves on a journey to find the ‘Wise One’ to prevent the killing for greed and power. He does this without the senses his tail provided. I loved the relationships Kywah made along the way, especially with the dog Buster-Boy.  This is the first of the series–I can’t wait for the second book! If you love a story with magic, adventure, wizards, hunters, fairies, bravery, friendship and a journey you’ll love this book!  I highly recommend “Tails” and would give it six stars if I could.


Circumstances of Childhood

by John W. Howell