Final Book Review 2016 – P.S. I Forgive You -by Judith Barrow

D.G. Kaye's books


Wrapping up the year of reviews, I just came across this wonderful review on the blog of Judith Barrow. I was delighted to find that Judith had read and reviewed my latest book, P.S. I Forgive You.



My Review:


When I reviewed  D. G Kaye’s Conflicted Hearts ( I wrote “I laughed and cried with D.G.Kaye and finally, applauded her. A wonderful book from a woman of great strength.” On reading P.S I Forgive You  I can only reiterate those words yet also add that the author reveals a great wisdom in the acceptance and forgiveness for what she endured in the past (none of which she could control). Her words show an inner peace that many of us, who have been in the same circumstances, may never reach.

There is such honesty  in D. G Kaye’s writing.   P.S I Forgive You  is threaded through with sorrow. But it’s not a self-serving or selfish sadness, it’s a  lament for a parent who never had any self awareness, who never grew away from that belief we all have as a child; that the world revolves around us. Over riding all that this is an account that reveals understanding and compassion for the author’s mother.

This is an empowering book; a must read for anyone trying to make peace with their past in an effort to making the most of the future. . .Continue Reading 

Source: My Review of P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D.G. Kaye | Judith Barrow

Reflections: Another Year Draws to an End – Happy New Year

Happy New Year


As this year of 2016 draws to an end, many of us will reflect on what has transpired in our lives in the last 12 months. We may re-evaluate some of the decisions we’ve made, take pride in our accomplishments, kick ourselves for things we didn’t get done, and be busy planning for the new year.


Personally speaking, this year has been one of the most challenging for me of any I can remember. The year started off exciting as my husband and I got to spend our dream winter vacation, 2 months in Arizona, and within one day of landing back home, our health related nightmares began, first with our both contacting Influenza on the airplane coming home, knocking us both out, me for almost 2 weeks and for him, setting off underlying issues which had him in and out of hospitals till mid May, and my almost losing him twice through his demise.

In the midst of the mayhem I was finishing my latest book and spent the summer in re-writes and edits and gathering oodles of information in defense of the Revenue Canada Agency audit that had been ongoing since the previous year, claiming being an author isn’t a job. Ya, pretty funny eh? Well after 14 months of that battle, I managed to win, not without costing thousands of dollars in accounting fees which proved to be almost as much as the government wanted back from me in the first place. And my husband’s audit is still in appeals since last year.

I spent a lot of time with my sister this year, trying to help her with her own unpleasant issues, health and otherwise, and even began writing a new book. I began doing my Sunday book reviews and weekly authors with a new book interviews, and had been invited to do several interviews myself, which was a thrill for me and a great boost to my book sales. And with all that’s gone on, I’ve been enduring my own health issues, residual effects of stress I’m told. I say that because I never know when to stop even though my body sends me the warning signs. So with that said, I know I have to come up with a new plan of action in the new year.

I have never taken a blogging break in almost 4 years. I always feel as though everything I’ve worked hard to build for my following and readership will disappear if I abandon the blogosphere, so I never stopped, even when on vacation. But I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I’ve seen other bloggers come and go on vacation and it seems their lives pick up where they’ve left off without others abandoning their blogs, so I think this winter when, hopefully we get another chance to go away again, with the expense it costs to do so and especially with extra insurance costs to make sure my husband is covered to travel with peace of mind, this time I’m going to take a time out and savor every moment of my vacation. I’m working on my plans for the new year.

I will continue my Friday author interviews until the end of January, and book reviews will become sporadic, as I finish one, I’ll review through January. And in hoping that our plans to leave for Florida in early February take off, I’ll be busy sorting out things to prepare for the trip, and of course PACKING, which is a full time job for me, LOL as many of you may know from my book, Have Bags, Will Travel  .

I’ll be around in January, so before I take off in February, I’ll write a post stating whatever I decide to do with blogging while away. I’m hoping to venture into some different promoting next year, finish writing another book, and extending my writing to doing some freelance content writing to supplement ‘the author income’. So I already know I have a full plate set for next year.

I’d like to take this moment to wish all of you a beautiful New Year. May it be filled with health, peace and happiness, and a little prosperity is always nice too.



Addiction and The Power of Letting Go – Guest Post…Tina Frisco| Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Reblog and featuring

Addiction and the Power of Letting Go


Today I’m reblogging a poignant post Tina Frisco has written for the Story Reading Ape’s blog. The article delves into the Power of Letting Go of our addictions, which I thought would be a fitting post to end the year and begin a fresh one with positive thinking. The power remains in our subconscious as Tina tells us, and shows us a method to deal with our addictions.

“You’re extremely disgusted with an old habit. You’re ranting. You’re pacing. You’re regurgitating. You’re spent. You pick yourself up from the floor, dry your tears, and swear on your life that this is the last time. You throw away all accouterments, all paraphernalia, all reminders of the loathed and dreaded addiction. You make it through the day with firm resolve. Then you awaken the following morning with an insatiable craving. You recall your commitment and fight doggedly not to give in. You argue with yourself. You become frustrated. The stress grows into a pressing mass in your belly. Then suddenly… a comforting thought: One more day won’t hurt! You acquiesce. You give in. And the roller coaster ride begins…

A teacher once told me that the masters, the avatars, often carry an addiction in order to stay in form — to remain incarnate. She explained that the addiction weights them down, anchors them in the physical, and without it they would ascend into the realm of spirit. This implies choice. It implies that they’re in charge. It suggests they have power over their thoughts and actions.

But most of us mortals fall prey to addiction unconsciously, without awareness. Prompted by pleasure or necessity, we engage in an activity that, over time, becomes a habit — a predator – a persecutor. And we soon learn how difficult it can be to break its hold on us.

Addiction controls us because if we let it go, a void is created, a void that the subconscious mind fears and seeks to fill. If we have nothing at the ready with which to replace it, the old and familiar will quickly return, like water filling a hole.

The most effective way to let go the old is to simultaneously bring in the new. . . .Continue Reading

Source: Addiction and The Power of Letting Go – Guest Post… | Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Memoir Bytes – Beginnings and Endings – Familiar Faces

Memoir writing

Beginnings and Endings – Familiar Faces


Where the number of funerals outweigh the number of weddings I attend, funerals being a sad parting of ways whereas weddings are joyous and the promise of new beginnings in life, there is one parallel I find in both –  meeting up with old familiar faces – people we haven’t seen in years, or decades. These events are usually good reminders of how much time has actually gone by in our own lives.


Awhile ago a dear family friend had lost his beloved wife of 62 years. As is customary in our faith, the mourning period ensues for the immediate family known as the ‘Shiva’. At this time, friends and family come to visit the mourners at their home throughout the Shiva period. The visitors come to the open house and may come and go at random from noon till around 9pm at night. Every morning and evening there are prayers for the dead, called a minion, where at least 10 men are required to form this minion. It’s a given that this is protocol, many male friends of the lost loved one or remaining family members will drop by in the morning on their way to work and often at night and many bring their wives and families to pay respects to mingle with the females while the men do prayers. Evenings and Sundays (no Shiva on the Sabbath) are times when we’re mostly likely to run into ‘old familiar faces’ when they drop by to visit.

While I was visiting our friend one evening, I began scrutinizing the faces of those there who I recognized from the long ago past, trying to place their face back in time when I remembered them being a more frequent part of my life.

After prayers ended, I was sitting on the couch with my sister conversing with the our recently widowed friend. The house was crowded and many visitors came up to him to offer their condolences. I nodded hello to them as they brushed up against me in efforts to hug or shake the hand of our grieving friend.  And then there were 4.

I looked up at the rather tall man with kind eyes who’d almost stepped on my foot while struggling to fit through the crowd and squeezed in between me and the coffee table to say hello to my sad friend. I stared at this man whose height had shrunk some, now hunched shoulders and sallow eyes as the decades had diminished his posture,  and sucked his sunny demeanor from his face, and I said “Hello, do you remember me? I’m Tody’s daughter and this is my sister Marni.” He wore a blank look on his face and managed a nervous smile while nodding hello in politeness. I wasn’t sure if he remembered me or perhaps didn’t hear me. The years had been kinder to his wife as she maintained her looks well through the years and her hair was still the same recognizable, vibrant red. They both had to have been pushing 80.  That moment took me back into a time warp, back to when I was a young girl.

Tody was the nickname everyone knew my father by, given to him as a toddler. The man I saw was one of his closest friends since his childhood.

Within minutes the next couple making their way over to my friend in mourning walked right past me. At first I didn’t even recognize the man. The years past had overhauled anything familiar to me about the man, but then his wife peeked out from behind and once again I recognized who they were. This woman too had preserved herself nicely for an 80 year old woman. She was still blond and pretty, and although sporting a few lines of wisdom on her face she was still attractive. She stared at me as though I too looked familiar to her, but never acknowledged me.  I think I was overwhelmed in the moment where I was re-living my childhood with the presence of these people standing in front of me, so I bowed my head to break the eye connection between us until they finally left the room.

Because I didn’t recognize the women’s husband, I was trying to make the connection in my head. I suddenly realized , Yes! I know who her husband is, it was my father’s best friend when he was young. I wrote about that couple in my memoir – the man my mother was in love with, the man who didn’t succumb to my mother’s advances, the reason my mother chose to go after my dad in hopes that this man would get jealous and break up with his then childhood sweetheart who had become his wife.

After my sister and I left the Shiva house, while walking to the car, I exclaimed, “Wow, how freaky was that? I haven’t seen those couples in 40 years and only recently published my latest book with the story about Mom being in love with Dad’s best friend.”

My sister replied, “You should have gone up to him and thanked him. If it wasn’t for him, you would never have been born.”




Sunday Book Review on Monday – A Woman of Substance – Barbara Taylor Bradford


Book reviews


Today’s book review to end book reviews for this year is on A Woman of Substance, by Barbara Taylor Bradford, a book published in 1979, yet, timeless in storyline.


Bradford was my most favorite author for years and decades before I began to diversify my reading into other genres other than great reads to escape into someone else’s imaginary world. I consider this book second to my all-time favorite, The Thorn Birds. This book also coming in at over 800 pages also became a blockbuster hit and mini series which I too enjoyed. After the success of the book there were several more books written as part of the continuing saga of the heroine of the book, Emma Harte, and I thoroughly enjoyed and waited in anticipation for every new book as it came available to purchase.


A Woman of Substance

This was the original cover

A Woman of Substance revised


This is the new and improved cover (I prefer the original)


The Blurb:


One of the top ten bestselling novels ever written with more than 32 million copies sold!

This record-shattering New York Times bestseller was Barbara Taylor Bradford’s breakout novel. It tells the story of a determined woman who will face betrayal from those closest to her, as well as the loss of a great love, only to emerge triumphant.

From the servants’ quarters of a manor house on the brooding Yorkshire moors to the helm of a profitable international business, Emma Harte’s life is a sweeping saga of unbreakable spirit and resolve. Rising from abject poverty to glittering wealth at the upper echelons of society, there is only one man the indomitable Emma cannot have–and only one she yearns for. The novel was also the subject of a popular 1984 miniseries starring Jenny Seagrove and Deborah Kerr.


From crushing poverty to the height of wealth and success, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s The Emma Harte Saga begins with the groundbreaking international bestseller A Woman of Substance, tracing Emma Harte’s legacy through multiple generations of indomitable women.

Emma’s vision and drive have an indelible impact on her family and the men who dare to love her. Through the sequels Hold the Dream and To Be the Best, her granddaughter Paula must defend everything Emma built–not just from outside competitors, but also from internal threats. Told with deep emotion, humor, and compelling honesty, the strong heroines of this series continue to move and inspire readers decades after first publication.


My Review – 5 Stars

The saga of Emma Harte takes us to Yorkshire, England where the story begins where she is a servant in a manor home. The story spans over 6 decades, taking us from Emma’s beginnings in poverty to her determined rise of power as she vows to avenge those (her employer and son) who had wronged her in efforts  to never be poor again, or to be at the mercy of others.

Through the story, old friends remain, such as Blackie, Emma’s dearest friend, and barely the only one she can trust as the years ensue with various loveless marriages and some shady characters, family and otherwise, out to ruin and steal her business. As the years unfold we meet more of Emma’s family, and ultimately the family who she decides will be trustworthy enough to carry on the Emma Harte empire.

This was an epic read full of emotion, encompassing courage, love, deceit, empowerment, death and ultimately, Emma’s determination to outsmart all those evil doers seeking to ruin her. Applause for Emma Harte, a true Woman of Substance.


Get this book here on Amazon 

Who Has a New #Book? Featuring author Tina Frisco


I’m thrilled to feature friend and author Tina Frisco as my guest today, and to introduce her newly released book, Vampyrie.


Tina is a beautiful soul whose compassion for humanity shows up in her words in all of her writing. Tina is a spiritual person who advocates for kindness and many causes for animal and human rights and justice. You can visit Tina at her blog where you will find many inspirational posts. Tina has many accolades to her credit. She is a registered nurse, a singer/songwriter, an activist, a student of Shamanism, author of Plateau, Gabby and the Quads, and now her newest book, Vampyrie. Author Tina Frisco

About Tina Frisco:

Tina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, and student of shamanism. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a young child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many different venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews, essays, articles in the field of medicine, her début novel – Plateau, her children’s book – Gabby and the Quads, and her latest novel – Vampyrie. She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles. Vampyrie by Tina Frisco

Get this book on Amazon!


The Blurb:

What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell? Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor? Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau, join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.

A Note from Tina about the origins of this book:

“Don’t let the title fool you. This is not your typical vampire book. I’m incapable of writing a book without a spiritual bent. Vampyrie also has a basis in science, specifically medicine. I’ve always been intrigued by the myth of the vampire and often have wondered if the phenomenon actually could exist. My background in medicine led me to speculate about how this might have a basis in reality. If rooted in science, how might this myth come to life? The most likely answer would be as a physical disorder or disease.


Today we’re going to get to learn a little more about Tina and her newest book. I’m excited to find out Tina’s approach to her writing, and certainly more about this already ‘hot selling’ book!


  1. Tina, I’ve read your book, Plateau, and I was immediately taken in by your gift of storytelling, so I’m excited to read your newest book. Your writing has almost a lyrical sense to it. Can you tell us when you began writing and what inspired you to write books?

First I want to thank you, Deb, for inviting me to be a guest on your fabulous blog. Your posts are outstanding, and you have an impressive number of followers.   Like most authors, I began writing as soon as I could hold a pen. Of course, back then it was a crayon; I wrote on anything that was available. I quickly learned walls were not an option. When I got a little older, I made up songs my sister and I would sing to anyone who would listen. At fourteen, I began playing guitar and writing songs, both of which I continue to this day. I’ve performed in many different venues. I’ve also written essays, book reviews, and articles in the field of medicine that were published in journals and newspapers.

I published my first novel – Plateau: Beyond the Trees, Beyond 2012  – in July of 2012. Doomsday documentaries abounded relative to the Maya Long Count Calendar and the cycle ending on December 21, 2012. Many were sure Armageddon was upon us. But most indigenous cultures speak of humankind moving into the Golden Age of Enlightenment. Add to this my own empathic sensing of a brighter future for us, and I felt an urgency to send a message of hope into the world.

  1. Based on the reviews on Plateau, it seems your readers (and me) are hoping there may be a sequel to that book in anticipation of finding where the new world will take the characters. Do you anticipate writing a sequel?

I have no idea! I write organically and when spirit moves me. Two primary characters in Plateau play a major role in my new novel, Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire. At first sight, the theme of the two books might seem disparate, but they are not. Truly, I’m incapable of writing almost anything without a metaphysical bent. I can envision a third novel that would include characters from the first two; but where it would take place and when I might write it are unknown to me as yet.

  1. Your writing always contains a message of hope and inspiration, no matter the genre, exuding an inner knowing. Is this something that comes natural to you, or was your level of spirituality developed through your learning of shamanism?

I’m an optimist by nature and very tolerant of different ways of being. I’m also an empath and, as far back as I can remember, have always had a strong sense of what was and was not truth, as well as the ability to see things others did not. How I managed to get through life without repressing these gifts is beyond me, because children often are invalidated when expressing their visions and inner knowing. I see spirituality and empathic sensing as different but not separate. The former is a choice; the latter, an inherent quality. One cannot be an empath without being spiritual, because that which we sense travels within a realm other than the physical. The study and practice of shamanism validated and fostered my inner knowing as well as my journey within the spiritual realm.

  1. Can you explain to us exactly what learning shamanism entails?

You most likely would get as many different answers as people of whom you ask that question. Some of my experience involved inner journeying; meditation; the making of sacred objects; journaling; individual and group ceremony; the use of music to evoke and enhance visions. All of these combine to achieve an altered state of consciousness that allows us to interact in the spirit realm and return with new knowledge and energies. Shamanic practice tends to be culturally based, so the style and accouterments can vary widely.

  1. Are you still practicing nursing and writing songs?

I had to quit working eighteen years ago when I became seriously ill. It took many years for me to recover. I physically haven’t been able to return to (outside) work, but family and friends still come to me for advice. So I’m very grateful I’ve been able to keep my nursing license current. Regarding music . . . It’s an essential part of my life. I still play guitar and write songs, although I haven’t written a new one for a few years. Writing books and blogging has taken mainstage; and as you know, Deb, once we head down that road, a momentum develops that we can’t deny and that becomes all-consuming.

  1. I happen to know that you’re friends with an iconic legend, Joan Baez, and she even endorsed your first book. Can you share with us how that friendship came to be?

I met Joan in 1973 while working with Amnesty International. Her family is Quaker, thus the practice of nonviolence. When she wasn’t touring, several of us would gather at her house on Sundays for an hour of silence followed by a potluck. When I returned to nursing, Joan and I saw little of each other but have been back in touch for many years. Now we have movie night with a potluck once a month. Notice how food remains a major element in our gatherings? And one of our friends always brings a bottle of champagne. Me? Well, I always bring the chocolate!

  1. Please tell us a bit about some of the types of articles we can find on your blog?

I’m an inspirational writer of all things spiritual, emotional, psychological; and I plan to add physical to the mix in the New Year. I have posts on the New Age, love and fear, rejection, empathy, war – to name a few – as well as my post on addiction, which just appeared as a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog.

  1. Your first book was published by a Canadian press, and your next two books were self-published. Have you decided to continue self-publishing your future books, based on what you’ve learned since the first one?

Absolutely! When I began writing Vampyrie, I thought I might submit it to Daw, Tor, or Baen. Gratefully I came to my senses by the end. I have my fellow authors and bloggers to thank for that. The more blogs I visited and the more I read of others’ experiences, the more I realized indie was the way to go. We have complete control over all aspects of our work, not to mention higher royalties. I do, however, wish there were an equivalent to Amazon for self-publishing. I don’t like monopolies and prefer not to patronize them. From what I’ve gathered, IngramSpark might be a viable alternative in the future.

  1. Do you have any advice you’d like to share for new writers?

Follow your passion! Don’t downplay your talent and abilities. Maintain a positive attitude, because energy follows thought. What we think, we become. Make sure your work is well-written before you publish. Have your work edited and ask for beta readers; the more feedback, the better. Be objective when reading these critiques; step out of your own way and become the witness, relegating your ego and inner critic to the back burner.  Above all, don’t give up. If the fire burning within you insists on having a voice in the world, then make it so. You’ll know by your reviews if what you’re giving people is what they want. Remember: There is always room to improve; there is always room for change. Nothing is written in stone, and anything is possible.

  1. Please tell us a bit about your newest book, and what inspired you to write it. And can you share an excerpt with us?

Vampyrie was the most organic of my three books. With Plateau and Gabby and the Quads, I knew the theme and storyline before I started writing. Vampyrie was a whole other ballgame. I hadn’t even thought about writing such a book. Earlier this year during one of my morning walks, I began reminiscing about the nursing school I attended in Valhalla, NY. I recalled how I’d first learned about the Norse myth of Odin, the valkyries, and Valhalla. Then a myth shift took place and vampires came to mind. One thought lead to another and valkyrie became Vampyrie.

I always have been fascinated by the myth of the vampire and often have wondered if the phenomenon actually could exist. My background in medicine led me to speculate about how this might have a basis in reality. If rooted in science, how might this myth come to life? The most likely answer would be as a physical disorder or disease.

When I returned home from my walk, I felt as if I physically were being pushed by an unseen force to sit down and begin writing. So I did. I had the title but not much else. I didn’t even know what to name my characters, so I opted to name four of them after my cats. When I decided which of the four would be the protagonist, I started typing. I had no idea from one chapter to the next where the story would go or how it would evolve. It was an amazing process.

Thank you again for hosting me, Debby. You’re an incredible supporter of fellow authors. I appreciate you more than I can say and hold you in high regard.


Phoebe had no sooner regained composure when an arm whisked across her shoulders and a hand covered her mouth. Alarmed, she grabbed the wrist and wrenched her body as she tried to pull away. But the arm held her firmly in place. She tried to kick but couldn’t move her legs. She felt paralyzed from the waist down. She tried to scream, but the hand over her mouth pressed with such force that she almost asphyxiated herself trying.

As she wiggled and squirmed in a vain attempt to free herself, a masterful yet genteel voice whispered, “Be very still. We must let them pass in quiet, lest we be discovered.”

Lest we be? Who talks like that in this day and age? Terror had nothing on Phoebe’s sharp, critical mind. As her curiosity piqued, she began to calm down.

The voice was male, and the person restraining her, a gentleman. In any other situation, she would have considered his presence ominous. Instead, her panic subsided. For some strange reason she felt safe, protected. Yet her keen intellect warned against taking anything at face value.

Was she deluding herself, disregarding her inherent good sense? Always ready to fight rather than flee, she thought it odd she had no inclination to ignore this man’s warning and further resist his hold. Ordinarily, her instinct would compel her to thrust an elbow into the solar plexus while ramming a heel into the foot. But this man’s voice was soothing, and she was too exhausted to put up a fight. She found herself atypically willing to heed his advice.

As he held her tight against his chest, she could tell he was about a head taller than her five feet ten. His sleeve was made of a silken fabric, and she thought she detected the scent of roses.  Wondering if he could feel the pronounced pounding of her heart, she noticed she didn’t feel his. Nor could she hear his breathing. She wondered if he was alive. She wondered if he was even real.

Yet she felt eerily attracted to him. He exuded a magnetism that defied her sensibilities. She concluded either she subconsciously was longing for an intimate relationship or he was an evil sorcerer who had just cast a spell on her. Whatever the reason, she knew she wouldn’t move even if he released his hold. And that surprised her.

All was quiet for several minutes. Her curiosity waned in the stillness as he relaxed his hold. Then a foul odor crept into the air and his grip tightened. A few yards up ahead, shadowy figures carrying torches glided across the corridor in total silence. Her gasp would have betrayed their presence if his hand hadn’t been covering her mouth. As the last figure melted into the darkness, she relaxed a little and leaned back into the body supporting her. But her repose was short-lived.


Thank you so much T for guesting here today. As you know, I think you’re one of the most compassionate souls I know, and I’m always fascinated by the many articles you write on the human psyche and the universe. It was a treat to have you over and I especially loved your advice to other writers. And from your excerpt, I can already get a feel for the book, ‘not your average vampire book!)


Wishing you continued success with the new book and I’m definitely hoping that you’ll consider writing a nonfiction book, sharing your knowledge about how the universe works, humanity and compassionate stories, and share more of your wisdom about the state of the world.


Visit Tina’s Amazon Author Page Here and visit her blog 


Find Tina on the social platforms:


Website ~

19 Self-editing Tips | WordDreams… – Jacqui Murray

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Had to share this wonderful post for writers from Jacqui Murray of Worddreams. Jacqui is an author/blogger and adjunct professor of integrating technology in education and every week she shares some informative writing tips. This week’s share is her 19 Tips for Self-Editing.


Now that I’ve published my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I can say from experience that writing it and editing it took equally long periods of time (and marketing is just as involved).


After finishing the final rough draft (yeah, sure) and before emailing it to an editor, I wanted it as clean possible. I searched through a wide collection of self-editing books like these:


The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall


…and came up with a list of fixes that I felt would not only clean up grammar and editing, but the voice and pacing that seemed to bog my story down. Here are ideas you might like:


  • Use ‘was’ only twice per page. This includes ‘were’ and ‘is’.
  • Limit adverbs. Search for ‘ly’ endings and get rid of as many as possible.
  • Watch out for bouncing eyes–
    • He dropped his eyes to the floor.
    • His eyes roved the room
  • Use gerunds sparingly. Search for -ing endings and eliminate as many as possible.
  • Eliminate ‘very’.
  • Eliminate ‘not’ and ‘n’t’–switch them to a positive. Rather than ‘he couldn’t run, he was so tired‘, say ‘he stumbled forward, his legs so tired they refused to obey’.
  • Eliminate dialogue tags as often as possible. Indicate a speaker by actions. Those you keep should be simple, like said. CONTINUE READING

Source: 19 Self-editing Tips | WordDreams… 

Memoir Bytes – What is a Sister?

Vision perception

Memoir Bytes – Sister Love

Sisters come in all shapes and sizes and so do the relationships we have with them. We have best friends and tribe friends we sometimes call sisters and sometimes we don’t have to be blood related to someone to think of them as a sister. But there are just some sacred things that sisters share that nobody else could fill those shoes. So today I’m writing about my one and only sister who is 6 years younger than I am, although many times in my life I’ve considered her my big sister.


When I think back to our growing up years in our dysfunctional family, there were 4 of us and my sister and I each had a brother we chummed up with who stood by our sides through thick and thin and defended us when it came to secret oaths, ‘not to tell mom’. But my sister and I had never developed a closeness when we were younger. Being that she was the youngest and I the eldest, and her having the least guidance from our mother, she was a bit of a wild child while I was anal about trying to be the best I could be to avoid my mother’s wraths. Marni was fearless.

When we finally got our own bedrooms, I was glad for my privacy but would often scream at my sister for snatching a sweater or blouse out of my cupboard. We had nothing in common with our age gap, and to me she was just a pest. But our relationship changed when I turned 18 and moved away from home, Marni was only 12 years old.

By the time I turned 20 we became friends. And when she’d had enough of my mother’s rants she’d flee to my apartment for some sanity and peace of mind. Oh how I took on my mother when she’d call to scream at me about my sister running away and telling me that when she gets home what her next punishment would be. I’d reply the same thing as always and tell her, better Marni was with me than out on the streets. And so my bond with my sister began to grow.

D.G. Kaye and sister


I was single, going to University part time and working part time. Money was tight and through the next couple years, Marni quit school and started waitressing. She made more money than me in tips alone and I’ll always remember how she’d come over, buy me a quart of milk, a pack of cigarettes and give me $20.

My sister married young, and if you ask me, I think her decision to marry young was enhanced by her desire to get out of my mother’s rule. From the get go there were problems, yet she had 3 beautiful children with that man who she finally wound up booting out when the kids were still very young. Her kids were and are like my own.

Our relationship moved to her house from my apartment as she’d never leave her kids with a babysitter, and we had many card and game nights through the years where our girlfriends would congregate at Marn’s to pass an evening together. Those years were especially life saving for me when I was stuck in an abusive relationship for many years and I’d run to her house for refuge.

There was always drama in our family, lots of sickness, too many deaths, financial issues, abusive relationships, and a narcissistic, demanding mother who gave us grief on a daily basis. But somehow, what didn’t kill us certainly strengthened our relationship.

I was always spiritual, interested in magical things, laws of the universe, spirits of the dead and witchcraft. I was gifted with a sixth sense and an inner knowing passed on through my grandmother and mother, all of which my sister didn’t believe in. In my early 30s I became very interested in natural health and studied naturopathy for years, while my sister would laugh and say I’m crazy to believe in ‘that stuff’. We were certainly different in our beliefs, yet we got along.

My sister was always the ‘Florence Nightingale’ in our family, the first to rush to anyone’s aid should they need it. I always had a great fear of blood and hospitals, and did my best to dodge having to be around sick people. My empathetic nature makes me very uncomfortable around people in pain.

When I was diagnosed with a tumor on my heart valve in 2006, my sister’s kids were in their mid teens and she left them for 3 weeks to come move in with me and my husband to take care of me after my open heart surgery. I couldn’t even change my own bandage without wanting to vomit, but she did that, showered me, propped pillows around me so I could sit comfortably when it was time for bed, as I couldn’t lie flat for a few months. She drove me to the numerous hospital visits prior to the surgery for tests when I lived a good hour and a half away from that hospital.

When my siblings had taken all they could from our mother and I hung around for more, my sister begged me to get her out of my life as she exasperated my flare ups with my Crohn’s disease. It took me a few more years of taking my licks until I finally walked away too, and still, I carried the guilt. My sister used to tell me if I didn’t find a release for the guilt I carried I’d be a mess the day our mother would finally die. I’d tell her I can handle it. We both knew I was lying.

I began writing Conflicted Hearts a few years before my mother died, and the writing became my savior. Although I wasn’t completely cured of guilt, writing the book became therapeutic. And then once again, at the brink of my mother’s death when new guilt had set in for my abandoning her and my resolve not to go back one more time, I knew I had to find closure. I had to find forgiveness for her and for myself, for my decision to remain estranged. Writing P.S. I Forgive You was emotionally painful but when it was all said and done, the weight of guilt had finally lifted. My sister is proud of my accomplishments, yet still hasn’t brought herself to read those books. Some people just refuse to go back ‘there’.

Our once large family has dwindled. Our parents are gone and so are all of our aunts and uncles. Marni and I are now the matriarch. We’re still different in so many ways. I am the feminine, she the masculine. I like girly things, she’s happy in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. We find solace in one another when hard times strike, and celebrate our victories with one another. No longer does she borrow my sweaters. But she’d give anybody the shirt off of her own back.