Sunday Book Review: Something a Little Different-Reviews by Sally Cronin and MJ Mallon

Welcome to Sunday Book Review. Although it’s me who usually reviews a book here on Sundays, once again, I haven’t finished one of the two almost 400 page books I’m reading so I’m going to share a couple of book reviews today by other authors for two of my own books – Twenty Years: After “I Do” and P.S. I Forgive you, plus reviews for Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s – Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees, and Frank Prem’s – Small Town Kid. Thank you to Sally Cronin and to Marjorie Mallon for reading and reviewing and for sharing on your blogs 💕

 

First up are Sally Cronin’s reviews for both, P.S. I Forgive You and Sir Chocolate, followed by her review for Twenty Years and Small Town Kid, shared from Sally’s Smorgasbord Book Reviews.

 

Welcome to a new series where I will be sharing book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

 

 

P.S. I Forgive You - D.G. Kaye

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Blurb:

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

 

By Sally Cronin

The first author today is D. G. Kaye and I was honoured to be asked to write the editorial review in 2016 for P.S. I Forgive You.

 

My Five star review for the book in 2016

It is challenging to write about emotional pain and to revisit events, times when you felt powerless. Not everyone is courageous enough to undertake such a task. D.G. Kaye bravely faces her childhood and her relationship with her mother, sharing this complex experience with us in her memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy. Kaye writes from a place of maturity and strength, bringing hope to others who need to find forgiveness to heal.

The book will resonate with those who have experienced a childhood marred by a narcissistic parent with its long term repercussions on self-esteem and the ability to develop a trust in relationships.

It is also a testament to the strength of character of the author to distance herself from this harmful relationship and thrive on her own terms.

 

The next review was for  Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

 

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Blurb:

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

 

My review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook. 2017

This book will be a delightful read for a child, and their adult companions for that matter. A brightly coloured cast of characters, with Sir Chocolate himself created from one of the most favourite treats of all time.  Ten year old Michael Cheadle came up with the idea of this charasmatic character and also his lovely Lady Sweet. Robbie not only creates these characters from fondant icing, but composes the story in verse that takes us on this current adventure.

From a conservation perspective it is wonderful to see a children’s story that gently introduces the subject of creatures who are at risk, and whilst the villain of this piece is a greedy snail, there are parallels with our own encroachment into nature. However, the colourful fondant snail with long fangs is monster enough for this fairy story.  The other characters include sweet pink and apricot sugar mice, a cluster of endearing yellow and black sugar dough bees and very elegant fruit drop fairies.

In between the verses and illustrations are other gems in the form of recipes which are easy for both children (and some of us less proficient bakers) to make. Terrific Cheese Bread, Delightful Butter Biscuits, Jammy Scones, Rainbow Cupcakes, and one that will be made very shortly Bold Banana Bread.

This book may do little to reduce your waistline, but for children it will stimulate their imaginations and lead to some wonderful baking sessions with parents and grandparents.

Source and complete post: Originally posted on Sally’s Smorgasbord Invitation

 

 

If you are a frequent visitor to the blog you will have seen D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies here many times as a contributor, and supporter. It is no secret that we are friends. This however, does not influence my views on her books, and this applies to her memoir. Twenty Years: After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.

Twenty Years After I Do - D.G. Kaye

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Blurb:

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

 

My review for Twenty Years After “I Do”

The emphasis on partnership is present throughout D.G. Kaye’s story of her 20 year marriage to Gordon. Whilst it is clear, that theirs was a wonderful love affair from the beginning, she does not flinch from describing the various aspects of their relationship in a very forthright and honest way.

Their relationship is a May/September love affair that was put to the test from very shortly after their marriage. Despite the nearly 20 years age difference, it was Kaye who suffered a near fatal medical emergency, which brought home the fact, it is not necessarily the older partner, who will be the first to suffer ill health.

The book does highlight that in a relationship where there is a significant age difference, issues arise that might not for a couple the same age. Having children for example, or the dynamics in a relationship after retirement  and natural aging; reversing the traditional roles, as one becomes more dependent on the other.

D.G. Kaye allows us an intimate view into her marriage, encouraging us to look at our own relationships, appreciate how they have triumphed over challenges over the years, and to celebrate the love that endures.

I certainly recommend the book for those who are about to embark on a relationship, whatever the age difference. In this modern day and age, when the pressures on couples and families are ever present, it is very useful to be offered the experience and guidance from someone who has successfully navigated their way through those same obstacles.

 

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Blurb:

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

 

My review for the collection

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Source and complete post: Originally posted reviews at Sally’s Smorgasbord

 

Marjorie Mallon’s review for my book P.S. I Forgive You

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.

 

P.S. I Forgive You

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Original Post and review: Book Review: P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D. G Kaye #Memoir #Family #Mother #Daughter – M J Mallon YA Author and Poet

 

©DGKaye2020

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Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge – Synonyms Only

It’s been awhile since I jumped into one of Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Poetry Challenges. This week Colleen invites writers to choose a form of syllabic poetry and use synonyms only for the words BOLD and HINT. I’ve written a Tanka.

 

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

 

This week, Annette Rochelle Aben selected the words for the syllables only challenge. That means you can’t use those two words. You must find synonyms to replace them. Fun, right?

 

Here are your two words:

Hint & Bold

 

Visit Colleen’s Original Post for rules and feel free to join in!

 

 

History book
Image by daseinuxd from Pixabay

 

The Oracle

 

History reveals,

Heroic efforts by some,

Law and order broke.

Protecting ersatz leaders,

Actions tantamount to crime.

 

©DGKaye2020

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Foundations of Storytelling – #Loglines – #Blurbs by Sean Carlin

 

Screenwriter/author, Sean Carlin wrote this gem of an article on Loglines. He states in his informative post that successful stories should emerge from a logline (elevator pitch) and outlined around the logline. This is a fascinating post from the always informative and articulate Sean, who is as generous with this replies to comments with nuggets of worthy information as he is with his succinct and in-depth posts on the various aspects of writing. Sean breaks down each stage of writing beautifully with examples.

 

This is the first post in an occasional series.

With the Second World War looming, a daring archaeologist-adventurer is tasked by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant—a Biblical artifact of invincible power, lost for millennia in the desert sands of Egypt—before it can be acquired by the Nazis.

On Christmas Eve, an off-duty police officer is inadvertently ensnared in a life-or-death game of cat-and-mouse in an L.A. skyscraper when his wife’s office party is taken hostage by a dozen armed terrorists.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, a resort-island sheriff finds himself in deep water—literally—when his beach is stalked by an aggressive great white shark that won’t go away.

All of the above story concepts should sound familiar—that’s why I chose them.  Yes, Raiders of the Lost ArkDie Hard, and Jaws are all popular—now classic—works of commercial cinema.  But they are also excellent exemplars of storytelling at their most basic, macrostructural levels, as demonstrated by the catchy summaries above, known in Hollywood as “the logline.”

THE LOGLINE AS A SELLING TOOL

The logline is a sales pitch:  In a single compact sentence, it conveys the protagonist (respectively:  the adventurous archaeologist; the off-duty cop; the beach-resort sheriff), the antagonist (the Nazis; the terrorists; the shark), the conflict and stakes (possession of the Ark for control of the world; the confined life-and-death struggle; the destruction of a man-eating leviathan), the setting (1930s Egypt; an L.A. skyscraper at Christmas; a summer resort), and the tone/genre (action/adventure; action-thriller; adventure/horror).  You can even reasonably glean the Save the Cat! category of each:

  • Raiders as Golden Fleece (Subgenre:  “Epic Fleece”)
  • Die Hard as Dude with a Problem (“Law Enforcement Problem”)
  • Jaws as Monster in the House (“Pure Monster”)

A cogent synopsis like any of the above allows a prospective buyer to “see” the creative vision for the movie, ideally triggering the three-word response every screenwriter longs to hear:  “Tell me more.”

Note what isn’t included in the logline:  The names of any of the characters.  Thematic concerns.  Emotional arcs.  Subplots.  Descriptions of particular set pieces.  That’s the “tell me more” stuff, and none of it is necessary—it is, in fact, needlessly extraneous—for the “elevator pitch,” so called for the brief window one has to hook to an exec before he steps off onto his floor (read:  loses interest).  The point of a logline is to communicate the story’s most fundamental aspects, and to capture what’s viscerally exciting about the premise. . . Continue Reading at Sean’s blog

 

Note: Don’t forget to read the comments under Sean’s article, they are also filled with tips.

 

Source: Foundations of Storytelling, Part 1: The Logline as Both a Sales and Writing Tool

 

©DGKaye2020

 

Sunday Book Review – Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I came across this series when the title grabbed me in a list of free books for the day I receive from Reading Deals. As a person who loves Mexico and has been to Acapulco many moons ago, and knowing how Acapulco, once the number one party vacation destination has sadly, turned dangerous to visit this past decade, I was curious to read this crime/mystery series. This book, Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series is a prequel to the rest of Amato’s 8 book series, and I believe it is perma-free as an introduction with short stories from some of the other books in the series. The author Carmen Amato is an ex CIA officer! I love police procedural mystery solving and Amato brings it plus, through Emilia’s tough, smart and sexy character in a world full of dirty cops and criminals.

 

 

Blurb:

Acapulco never had a female police detective before . . . And nobody wants one now.

How did Emilia Cruz fight to become the first female police detective in Acapulco? This collection of prequel stories goes behind the scenes of the award-winning police series!

 

“A thrilling series” — National Public Radio

 

MADE IN ACAPULCO is a collection of 5 stories that introduce Emilia Cruz, the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force, and her first cases:

The Beast captures Emilia’s struggle to become the first female police detective in Acapulco. It previously appeared in The Huffington Post’s 50 Featured Fiction showcase.

The Disappeared sees Emilia search for a friend who goes missing. Those who have gone missing amid Mexico’s drug war violence is a continuing theme throughout the mystery series.

The Artist was inspired by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia’s efforts to bring awareness to the plight of families impacted by the drug war violence and references photos of some of the rallies held in Mexico in recent years.

The Date explores the downside of a job that pits Emilia against Mexico’s enduring culture of machismo, while also drawing on real events that occurred in a nightclub in Mexico in 2006.

The Cliff is the original Emilia Cruz story. Written for a literary critique group, the story introduces hotel manager Kurt Rucker. It became the first chapter of CLIFF DIVER, the first Emilia Cruz novel.

Grab your copy today

With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the news, the series goes inside Mexico’s drug war with a fearless style and a woman who will be hard to forget.

Poison Cup award for Outstanding Series — CrimeMasters of America

Author Carmen Amato is a former CIA intelligence officer who uses her own counterdrug and espionage experiences to craft intrigue-filled crime fiction that keeps you guessing until the very end. Amato is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

If you love international police procedural series by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, Peter May, Louise Penny, and Jussi Adler-Olsen, you’ll want to read the Detective Emilia Cruz series. It’s a must-read for fans of Don Winslow’s cartel and border thrillers set in Mexico.

PRAISE FOR THE DETECTIVE EMILIA CRUZ SERIES

CLIFF DIVER
“Consistently exciting.” ― Kirkus Reviews

HAT DANCE
“Emilia . . . is a force to be reckoned with.” ― MysterySequels.com

DIABLO NIGHTS
“Amato’s unique setting, realistic characters, and intriguing plot set her apart.” ― OnlineBookClub.org

KING PESO
“Danger and betrayal never more than a few pages away.” ― Kirkus Reviews

PACIFIC REAPER
“A thrill to crime-loving aficionados.” – Latina Book Club

43 MISSING
“Astounding.” – Nightstand Reviews

The Detective Emilia Cruz series
CLIFF DIVER
HAT DANCE
DIABLO NIGHTS
KING PESO
PACIFIC REAPER
43 MISSING
RUSSIAN MOJITO
MADE IN ACAPULCO

 

My 5 Star Review:

Detective Emilia Cruz is the protagonist of the series, and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. This prequel gives us the beginnings background of how she made detective in a city where the cartel have infiltrated, in a male dominant police force where it’s difficult to learn who is corrupt and who to trust. In this 8 book series, I believe they are each stand alone stories featuring Detective Cruz, and this prequel will give you enough background history to for reading the books randomly.  Emilia is a brave female cop in a man’s world facing having to deal with some gruesome crimes – murders, kidnappings, and counterfeits, and often not knowing who she can trust both, at work and in her personal life.

The scenery descriptions are beautiful as is Acapulco, makes me sad of the political happenings that changed the landscape from the fun, safe party vacation town to a dangerous place for tourists. Amato keeps the stories interesting with pace and action, and rich and authentic descriptions of locations and real events.

These short stories kept me glued with wondering – how do you know if you can trust your own colleagues? I am looking forward to reading more in this series as two of Amato’s books already await me.

©DGKaye2020

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Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Diana Peach and Hot #NewRelease – Liars and Thieves

Welcome to September Q & A where I’m thrilled to be featuring Fantasy writer and world-builder extraordinaire, Diana Peach on blogtour now with her hot new release, Liars and Thieves – the first of another riveting trilogy, in the Unraveling the Veil series. And of course after the book intro, Diana will share some of her own thoughts on her writing.

 

Diana Peach

 

About Diana:

D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

 

 

 

Unravelling the veil series

 

It looks as though Diana fans are in for another riveting read! I already have my copy and for all you fantasy reader addicts, Diana’s book is still on pre-order price, so grab your copy for .99 cents!

 

Blurb:

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

 

First Review:

Jacqui Murray

Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2020

D. Wallace Peach’s latest fantasy novel, Liars and Thieves (2020), Book 1 in her new fantasy series, Unraveling the Veil, is one of those stories you wish you could read again for the first time. The concept is simple–bad guys cause havoc and good guys must stop them. What makes it a story you won’t forget is how Peach reveals the characters, the plot, and the amazing world where they live:

“…they fed the Veil’s mass with heat harvested from the mountains’ core, from pristine forests and wildflower meadows, from creatures of hoof and wing. All withered, browned, and blackened. Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“The Veil thinned and solidified, releasing the energetic mass that had fortified it against the storm.”
Her choice of words, always spot on, are never wasted:

“…the ambition of a well-fed cat on a sunny sill.”

“Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“He sniffed the air. Scents of blue snow and dank earth mingled with something new—the electric tang of power.”

The stunning reality she has built includes an eclectric mix of elves, changelings, and goblins, some purebred and others mixed, and all the problems and challenges that go with different cultures intermingling. To stop chaotic events that could destroy the world, these folks find themselves working with old enemies, relying on those they previously distrusted, and discovering new alliances. Though presented as a fantasy world, it will remind you of real-life. As you read, you will never really know what the truth is, when something you thought you knew turns out to be upside down. This made for an excitingly fresh tale like few I’ve ever read. The detail she includes is riveting and in large part why you will think this world could really exist. To give you an example, read Diana’s explanation of what happens to an individual’s bones, hair, organs, and muscles when switching from animal to human.

“The skeletal changes came first. He sank to his knees as his oblong skull crushed inward at the muzzle and bulged in the cranium. His neck compressed. Shoulder blades and ribcage shrank while hip bones expanded and rearranged their connections to fibulae and spine.”

As with every book Peach has written, her world building is believable, her characters likable, and her plot never stops surprising readers. Grab a copy, sit back, and enjoy.

 

Excerpt:

(In this scene, my characters just discovered that they’re stuck with each other. It’s not
pretty.)

 

A shower of sand rained from Alue’s hair as she scraped her fingers over her scalp. The endless heat and humidity, the dirt and sweat, fouled her mood as much as it fouled her nose. She needed a hot soak with oils and soap, a hair wash, and something to eat that didn’t taste like an unwashed shirt.

Arianna had released the three of them onto the trail heading north to the railway spur, a three-day walk. Any deviation from the path, any mention of what had occurred in the jungle would result in a gruesome death, and Alue didn’t doubt the queen’s willingness to see the threat through.

Still a day from the spur, Talin led them to another tree-stand, the changelings’ method of spending a night safe from cats if not insects, snakes, and monkeys. She sat on the platform’s edge, one leg dangling, while she attempted to lob balls of light from her fingers—without them disappearing the instant she let go.

The goblin wrinkled his nose.

“What is your problem?” she snapped.

He scowled at her. “You have the odor of an ape.”

She gaped at him. “I haven’t had a chance to bathe.”

“Elves always smell like apes.”

Talin blurted out a laugh. He sat at the platform’s other end, eating some kind of hideous, withered root.

“Is that so?” Alue was tempted to push Naj over the side, but he sat against the tree in the middle of the platform. “And I suppose goblins smell like jasmine petals.”

“Goblins don’t sweat,” Naj informed her. “Changelings bear the scents of animals, but not as pungent as elves.”

“You can’t smell your own breath,” Talin said. “It reeks from eating meat.”

“Speaking of food…” Alue plucked up one of the roots Talin had gathered for her and tossed it over the edge. “I’m famished.”

“Don’t throw good food away,” Talin muttered. “You’ll be forced to ask Naj to spear you a snake.”

“Don’t make me vomit.” Alue shook her head when Naj glanced her way. His glaive had been confiscated in Glenglisan along with her pulser, and though he acted as if its loss didn’t matter, the ropey muscles in his neck tightened at its every mention. “I thought changelings forbade the killing of animals?”

“We do.” Talin brushed the dirt from a flesh-colored root. “We never know when one of us might be mistaken for a wild creature… like a panther.”

Alue stared at him, her empty stomach rolling over. “Was that… was the panther…”

“A man named Janu.” Talin slouched, dark eyebrows lowered in her direction. His chin bristled with rough scruff, and his long hair needed a comb almost as much as hers. “You shot him near the falls, and Naj finished him off.”

“I ate his…” Alue’s hand slapped to her mouth, and she closed her eyes, reeling. If Naj hadn’t gripped her arm, she might have fallen.

“He was the aggressor,” Naj said as if somehow that justified chewing on a man’s heart.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Alue shrieked. “I ate a changeling, a person!”

“Thank you for acknowledging that we’re people,” Talin said.

“Gah! I never said you weren’t. We’re all people. And that’s beside the point. You tricked us.”

“I saved your life,” Talin yelled back. “I didn’t need to do any of it. I could have left you in the pit, left you in the cell. Gone on with my life.”

“Why did you help us?” Naj asked.

Talin crossed his arms. “I thought I knew. Now I don’t remember.”

 

And now that we’ve all had a delicious sampling, let’s get to know a little bit more about Diana and her personal thoughts on why she prefers self-publishing, and she shares some worthy advice for writers – seasoned and new. 

 

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

I love self-publishing. I started out on the traditional route, and overall, the publisher was honest and cooperative. But after six books, I cancelled all my contracts and self-published. I haven’t regretted it for a moment.

In some ways, self-publishing is more work. I’m responsible for every step of the process and every cost from engaging with an editor to hiring a cover designer. I have all the responsibility for the final product, and there’s definitely more upfront cost. But here’s the thing… after I switched, not only did my sales and margins go up, my covers improved, I didn’t have to pull teeth to promote, and marketing was much LESS work. A lot less.

How is marketing less work? I was responsible for that chore either way. Marketing is easier if you have control over pricing, which allows you to discount and promote. Traditional publishers control pricing, and in my experience, they don’t like low prices and are resistant to discounts. At full price, promotional opportunities are limited and a lot of work. Low prices, discounts, and promotions are a great way to get readers if that’s your goal. You’ll have a much larger distribution, and though your prices are lower, you’re not sharing the profits… which meansyou have more revenue for more promotion and more readers and more revenue. Thus, the cycle continues.

D.G. – I appreciate your thinking, these were my same thoughts when I decided to do my own thing on my own time. Oye! Nope, I’m happy to control my own publishing too and not collect 1000 rejections waiting, lol. But it’s nice to hear it from someone who moves from trad to indie.

 

Do you have any advice you can share for new writers?

I’d suggest that every serious writer seek out criticism, not from our moms or best friends, but from other writers.  Join a local writer’s group, find critique partners online, pay for an in-depth edit of your first three chapters if it’s all you can afford. Ask for tough love, soak it up, and painstakingly apply the principles.

Of course, positive comments are nice. But the most valuable feedback you’ll ever receive is constructive criticism. I was a member of a writers’ critique group for five years, and I never would have landed a publisher without feedback from my fellow writers. I longed to improve and grow, and to accomplish that, I needed to know everything I was doing wrong. I learned a tremendous amount about the craft and had an opportunity to find my voice.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone provide an unsolicited critique of someone’s blog post! But when requested, private, constructive feedback with contextual examples encourages growth. Though I’m no longer part of a group, I do swap editing projects with a writing partner or two. I’m still learning!

D.G. – I love your answers Diana. We are always learning, and if we aren’t then we’ll get left behind. The best education came from my own editor, teaching me how to properly self-edit learning from her feedback.

 

If you’ve published more than one book, do you find or notice your writing changes or evolves with each new book?

Oh, yes! Practice makes… better. It’s no secret that the more we write the better we become. Hopefully we are lifelong learners, seeking tips from bloggers, reading books about our craft, taking classes, sharing critiques, and writing our little hearts out. That can’t help but change how we write.

But I also think we’re influenced by the things happening in our lives and environments. Our stories change with our moods and perspectives and age. We’re influenced by what we watch on television and what we read, what we care about and what interests us. I’m very influenced by my reading selections. It’s one reason why my writing has become darker with time. I love reading dark fantasy. At the same time, I don’t think inspiration follows a straight line. So who knows what the next story will bring.

D.G. – I so agree with you on how we grow. I think many writers can agree, we can see how our writing evolves with every next book. And yes, we are influenced by what we read as we grow and learn and what hangs around our minds. It has certainly influenced my poetry.

 

You have a new release: Liars and Thieves, Book 1 of the Unraveling the Veil series. What was the inspiration for this story?

US politics to be honest. I’m disclosing this on your site, Debby, because we’ve shared rants, and you haven’t “unfriended me.” Lol. I started this series in 2017. Blaming based on untruths had started taking the national stage in the US, not for the first time, but in blatantly disturbing ways. Bias and blame ran (and runs) rampant through my country as opposed to taking responsibility, working together, and making the hard choices for positive change.

So, I created a world where the First of Chaos, a god named il Drakk, creates an inciting event. It stirs old biases and activates cycles of blame. My three groups of people – goblins, elves, and changelings – don’t seek the core truth of the situation. Instead, accusations escalate. Civilization spirals downward because truth and cooperation aren’t valued or are too hard. Il Drakk gets to sit back and watch the people become the “Lords of Chaos.” Only by coming together and seeking the truth can they overcome the dire mess they’ve created. There is hope
for my characters, and perhaps for my country as well.

D.G. – OMG I got goosebumps reading this. And I have to tell you, when I first saw the title of your book, I couldn’t help but wonder what inspired it! Of course we write about what’s at our forefronts – if we aren’t digging back to the past for something else. The way you described your story sounds eerily similar to Sinclair Lewis’s book – It Can’t Happen Here, written in 1935 similar idea, fiction, but not fantasy, the take-over of America. My review written two years ago.

 

Books by Diana

Books by Diana Peach

 

 

Find Diana on Social Media:

 

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myths-of-the-Mirror/187264861398982

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dwallacepeach

 

©DGKaye2020

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts? | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to my August edition of Realms of Relationships, my monthly column I write for Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation. In this edition, I’m discussing Intuition and tips to learn how to learn to trust your own intuition.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts?

 

Welcome to my August edition of Realms of Relationships. Today I’m going to talk about our intuition, how to trust it, and how to sharpen our own intuitive skills.

 

Intuition

 

What is intuition? There are a plethora of descriptions and explanations for intuition. But the basic mechanics of how it works is with our natural instinctual reaction – memories usually trigger something from a past lesson, which the mind often overlooks. In the same way we know when there’s danger around, intuition or our 6th sense, is automatically activated within us.

The term ‘gut instinct’ is often associated with intuition. But did you know there is a physical connection between the brain and the gut? This is no myth. Deep within the tissue of our guts is what’s called the enteric system. There is a scientific explanation for the correlation of things we feel internally, which are connected from the brain to the gut. When my intuition is trying to get my attention, it feels like an intestinal tug in the stomach is how I explain it. Thus, the said correlation between the brain and the intestines is a sign for me.

 

Brain/gut connection

 

We’ve all had that ‘familiar’ feeling, often labeled as a déjà vu moment when our instincts pick up on a remembered moment from the past – which doesn’t necessarily mean the triggered sense of familiarity occurred in our present life, but perhaps from a past life? Déjà vu translates to ‘already seen’ from French. It’s a common term we all use when we come upon a moment that feels so familiar, having us feeling as though we’ve already been in or experienced that precise moment, quite possibly from another place and time, as it’s an inexplicable feeling without an exact recollection of where the experience was first felt.

 

Intuition

 

Intuition is often referred to as ‘non-conscious emotional information’. Einstein had referred to it as a gift. It’s a sense of knowing without a rational and sometimes inexplicable fact. Many say that only psychics and mediums are guided by intuition, but intuition is a culmination of all things we’ve learned in our experiences that are stored in the archives of our minds, which quite possibly become the catalyst for our heightened alert system, ignited by a situation that feels remembered. Material retained is deeply buried within us, although we’re unaware of the influence the sum of our memories have on us. . . please hop over to Sally’s blog to continue reading.

 

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts? | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

 

©DGKaye2020

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