Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Y.A., Romance and Paranormal Author, D.L. Finn

Welcome to my Q & A this month. I’m delighted to be featuring friend and author, D.L. (Denise) Finn here today. Denise is a multi-genre author who writes in the genres of Y.A., poetry, paranormal and memoir. Today we’re going to get to know a bit about Denise and her featured new release – A Voice in the Silence.

About Denise:

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

Blurb:

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.

So great to have you over Denise!

So nice to have you over here today Denise!

Welcome

Let’s get to know more about Denise!

What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?


What I write on, depends on what I’m writing. I love to hand write poetry in a journal. This
allows me the freedom to write in the forest, riding on the back of the Harley, in a plane, by the ocean, or even in bed. Later I put it on the computer.


All new ideas are usually jotted down on paper as soon as I wake up or whenever they come to me. Now, if I am away from paper and pen, I will type myself an email with the ideas and then send it on my cellphone.  


After I get started on a story, though, I’m at my laptop or computer typing away. I always email current WIP to myself, so I never lose anything.


I have always thought it a good idea to dictate ideas, but speaking the words doesn’t work as well for me as writing them down does.

D.G. – Good idea to email yourself notes. If I’m out and think of an idea I want to write about, I’ll use voice recording on my phone so I don’t forget my great ideas. .😁

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If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?


My first choice would be my latest story, A Voice in the Silence. I would love to see that up on a screen. My only concern would be giving a voice to the animals. If that wasn’t done right, it would pull away from the story and end up silly. But there are so many parts that I could see in my mind as I was writing, and I know a viewer could fall in love with not only Drea but the trio of animals. A setting in the forest in a storm could be powerful and beautiful, too.


My second close choice would be A Second Chance. Bringing not only an angel to life but her opposite the evildwel who’s a dark creature with red eyes, would make for some interesting viewing. Plus, the spirit, Eddie, who is helping the angel, is a favorite of mine. I could see his famous smirk up on the big screen as he teases a very serious angel, Zelina. Being set in not only a beautiful Bay Area coastal town but in Hawaii would be an amazing backdrop.


In both stories, it’s the other-worldly creatures that I would love to see come to life on a screen.

D.G. – Those scenarios you shared would indeed make good viewing. 😀

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Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?


Yes, I weave some of my personal traits into my characters. A few of my dislikes and likes come through, but they also develop their own personalities and likes as I write. Drea and I both love animals. I would take in a stray without question. We are both writers and love family, but her obsession with coffee isn’t mine. I’m a tea drinker.


As for personal experiences, I use my knowledge of riding out a snowstorm or driving in it. I have the same reaction to driving on ice. I avoid it if I can. But if forced to drive in it, my hands are glued to that steering wheel, making it a white-knuckled drive like Drea had.

My belief in the afterlife has become a part of a lot of my stories. I believe in angels, fairies, and ghosts. Bears visit often, and we’ve had trees and branches fall during storms, but I haven’t dealt with a serial killer.


Although I have things in common with some of the characters, they take over and become their own person. One thing is for sure, they are much braver than I am.

D.G. – I’m so captivated by everything afterlife. I look forward to reading more of your books.

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Denise is sharing an excerpt from her new release – A Voice in the Silence

A slight breeze wove through the pine trees, making them sway to nature’s song, but Drea and the dog didn’t join in the flowing movement. Instead, they maintained a tense pose, as if studying each other from a safe distance.


Drea made the first slow movement of setting her newspaper down. “Are you lost?” The beautiful brown eyes pulled her in. It was like they could peer into her soul. There was no threat or fear in those eyes as the fluffy dog sat down. Encouraged, Drea stepped back into the garage and grabbed the pink leash and collar still hanging on the wall. The dog watched her every move with a slow tail wag.


A can of dog food she hadn’t donated to the shelter yet caught her eye. “Hungry?” It wagged its tail harder.


She opened the can and shook the smelly chunks onto a white paper plate she kept under the cans. Holding the offering, she moved cautiously to the dog. Using a soft tone and a smile, she kept moving forward. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”


The dog blinked and nodded as if it understood her. The sun fully abandoned the sky, leaving behind the encroaching darkness lit by a half moon. But the sadness that had weighed her down seeped out into the night with each step she took toward the pup. She wished she’d brought a flashlight, but the evening offered its remaining luminescence. Soon she was within a foot of the dog. The posture and build indicated a golden retriever mix like her Lady, but this was a male, and he was beautiful.


“I don’t recognize you. I know all the neighbor’s dogs. You have a home?” The dog blinked and shook his head as her feet crunched through the dry pine needles. The sound reminded her of when Robbie would place bubble wrap on the ground and gleefully jump on it. She would clean them up—tomorrow. As she got closer, the dog’s condition was more apparent. He hadn’t eaten in a while.


“Here, this used to be Lady’s food. I lost her a little while ago.”


He licked his snout as though he understood. Smart dog.


“No collar. Maybe you have a chip.”


She set the food down and backed away. He lunged toward the plate and wiped it clean in seconds, then sat down, licking his chops. She inched her way toward him. Each step toward the mutt brought him closer to her heart, which was beating like she’d run a marathon. She slowly reached out and rubbed his fur. The dog didn’t flinch. In fact, a small sigh escaped him. Drea gently searched for injuries. Other than a small gash on his neck, he appeared healthy and wasn’t afraid.


“You must have someone who loves you. What happened?”

She wished the dog could answer.

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A Review for this book:

I loved this story! The author’s imagination was entertaining. The talking animals were endearing, especially how they protected Drea from the evil in the woods. After the death of her husband and her son leaving to live with his horrific wife, Drea felt lost and alone. This all changed when three animals showed up on her doorstep. She needed their companionship, especially when she found out that someone seemed to be killing single women in the area and she was next on his list!


The author did a phenomenal job in keeping the reader guessing who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Was it the cop with the attitude? Was it her deceased husband’s best friend who just happened to be making the moves on her? Or was it someone else in her life that had it out for her?


With the help of her talking animals and the ghost of her deceased husband, Drea slowly puts the pieces together. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws another loop into the web she weaved!


This is a great story, and I highly recommend it!— Yvi MC

More books by Denise:

Find Denise on her blog and social links:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
D.L. Finn blog
Author Amazon Page

©DGKaye2022

The Perks of Living in a Senior Community … even if you yet aren’t one

I live in a condo complex owned and run by a Property Management company, not by individual owners. When hubby and I sold our last home in a hot market, the last thing we wanted was to rent someone else’s condo so we’d be at their mercy about if they decided to sell and we’d have to move, or that they could raise rents till their heart’s content. This complex was erected, some time in the early 1970s, and back in the day, this complex was touted as a luxury property, where most renters came as empty nesters after their homes were emptied and became too big for them, as well as a lot of divorcees.

The complex is well known in the northern part of my city, and although there are some quite large units, comparably to today’s ‘closets’ passing for condos here in my city of Toronto, these three buildings were never particularly promoted as a place for children. Many mid-life people moving here from their homes liked that aspect.

Through the years and decades, the buildings were always well kept with lots of amenities at our doorsteps without having to walk outside. These features obviously became draws for seniors to move here. And for many that have moved here from their previous homes – they never leave. I have to say that this gives me the creeps when I think about the reality that for many, it becomes the last stop before the final stop. My own father moved into the complex in the mid 70s after he FINALLY divorced my mother. He lived here for approximately fifteen years before his untimely death – his last stop before the final stop.

The grounds are vast and beautifully manicured with gazebos, fountains, and walking trails. I am literally a three to five minute drive to three major highways. Within our complex we have a convenience plus store, a dry cleaners, a library, tennis court, pool table room, swimming pool, sauna, gym and security at the gates. The biggest bonus of all is that they don’t build condos like these anymore, tight building budgets and cheap materials preferred over better now, the golden days are gone. These buildings also have what we call ‘rent control’ on them too, as our government deems any buildings built before 1990, eligible for rent control, meaning the rent can only go up so much annually without gauging, as dictated by governmental rate increases. These units are practically soundproof because the walls are made of plaster. In fact, anything heavy to hang on the walls must be drilled with a cement drill just to get the screws in. But the size of these units are often the sizes of some people’s houses. My husband and I moved here after selling our last home, for the same reasons many seniors do – let go of the home responsibilities and be able to travel through winter without house worries. For six years we lived in a 2000 square foot three bedroom unit. I recently moved to a one bedroom in the same building with 1200 square feet. The smallest place I’ve lived in since leaving home for the first time, but still, huge comparatively to today’s builds where a brand new condo penthouse will typically get you at most 1200 square feet, and the average one bedroom around 500-600 square feet.

At first when my husband approached me to move here I didn’t want to. I think it was the stigma I had set in my mind – the last stop thing I told him I couldn’t shake from my mind, but eventually, I succumbed. Admittedly, I feel like a ‘baby’ in this building because it is predominantly seniors who live here, most of them living here for years and decades. But I have made friends with several older folks here who always have advice to offer and helpful tips. And because I’ve been here a few years myself, already comfortable with my surroundings, and knowing anywhere else I’d move, I’d be living in a shoebox, I decided to stay here and move to another unit after my husband passed, instead of looking elsewhere.

But there are more perks. Besides all of the above, the management looks after the building well. Throughout the year we get notices to enter to fulfill each unit’s maintenance such as: drain cleaning, checking air vents, fire alarm testing, and we make maintenace requests for anything requiring fixing. Each unit is renovated before new tenancy – including wood floor resurfacing, new floor tiles and cabinets, new appliances and painting. When we first moved here we had put in granite counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, new light fixtures and draperies, and paid the painter to paint colors of my choice. I did the same when I moved into this unit. My friend Vinnie was our longtime real estate agent and a builder, so he got me a great builder’s deal on granite, and he switched out all my light fixtures and draperies from my other unit and installed them where I am now. What a good friend!

And still there are perks! What I love about living among so many seniors (besides the peace and quiet), is that we have a great guy as our member of parliament who looks after the district I live in. That would be the equivalent to an American person’s Congressman. Because there are three buildings to the complex with approximately two hundred units in each, we have a sizeable senior community right here. Because of this, many government programs are brought right to our doorstep! First and foremost luxury – a voting station is set up in our library for our elections. We don’t even have to step outside! Typically, when we have our elections, one can find a place to vote, virtually, almost anywhere near where everyone lives, most within walking distance in Canada, but having one right in the building is so convenient. We also had Covid vaccinations, boosters and flu shots organized to have done here too. We received emails inviting anyone to come down to the library last fall to have our QR codes validated for our vaccine passport, made into a business card size code and laminated so that seniors who weren’t familiar with digital would be able to carry the card in their wallets. Of course I went down to get one!

Why not? Yes, people who use phones as appendages  may not be interested, but I can tell you that last fall, while my bestie was visiting from UK, we went out to restaurants quite a few times and had to show our QR codes in order to enter. I can say with certainty, when it comes to my phone that feels as though it’s been possessed by Google and Microsoft with the shenanigans going on with it, it takes me a moment to first dig up my phone out of my bottomless purse, punch in my password code, then go looking for the icon where I downloaded the code to, only to find once again, my icons have been moved around, it is literally faster for me to grab my wallet (so large and easy to spot) and pull out my QR code card! Okay, I know not everyone is thrilled about vaccines, but for me, it’s been a thrill not to have to drive far in my congested city and stand in lines to get vaxxed.

For now, it doesn’t look like I’m moving anywhere soon. But in my head and my heart, I feel I have more living to do and it isn’t here in my city. My bucket list is long, and before my husband took ill, we were considering moving to Mexico. Now alone, I don’t have quite the courage to continue that plan without my husband, but if I keep putting it out into the universe, I believe something is going to give. For right now, the grass isn’t looking too much greener anywhere else.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – My Beloved Son by Martha Perez – #Memoir

My Sunday Book Review today is for Martha Perez’s raw and loving memoir written about and to her beloved son Rudy who tragically died suddenly, and much too young. In this memoir, Perez bares her soul about the life she had with her son Rudy and his passing that crushed her soul.

Blurb:

Oh, Son, I can feel your heartbeat when I’m lying in my bed, too many memories going around in my head. I can see you in my dreams, holding me, protecting me. You would text me every day, “I love you, Momma, it’s going to be alright.”

MY BELOVED SON WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO?
MY PRECIOUS SON WHY DID YOU HAVE TO LEAVE ME ALL ALONE?

When you think life is calm, a storm comes to wipe away your hopes and dreams. My son, Rudy Andalon passed away on March 14, 2017. He was the love of my life; I carried for 9 months–280 days, 40 weeks, and raised him to be an amazing young man. There is no love greater than the love a mother has for her child. As I write this, tears roll down my cheek, tears of joy and sorrow. I miss him so much. I’ve written this book to help me and others who lost a child get through the aching pain burning inside, and to let you know you are not alone. This book is a memoir, inspirational, and a self-help guide. I’ve searched for answers to why God took my son, and there were none to be found; why good people die young, and the mean ones live on. All I know is Rudy’s in a place where there’s no pain, just happiness–an angel up in Heaven. He leaves behind a mother, father, sister, and two nieces.

I will always be brokenhearted, and will always love and adore my son. God bless him.

My 5 Star Review:

This is the heartbreaking story of a beautiful boy, Rudy, the son of Martha Perez who was sadly, laid to rest long before he ever should have been.

Perez tells her story with such rawness in recounting from the birth of her beloved son, spanning through the time of raising her children, often alone, as her sad marriage at the time with her then alcoholic husband, kept her lonely, yet her determination to be a good mother despite everything else in her life, never faltering. She tells her story with such love and compassion we can’t help but feel her pain.

Martha came from hard knocks when it came to her childhood, she was an emotionally neglected child. Her only fulfillment in life began with the birth of her beloved son, Rudy, and then later her daughter.

The author expresses her full heart of emotions for the love she held and holds for her son with no holds back. A moving and telling about the joy and ultimate heartbreak in one mother’s life. Near the end of the book she shares her loving advice about love and family and compassionate words to grievers as she endeavors to describe the depth of her grief. For those of us who’ve walked this journey of love, loss and grief, there is only so much we can reveal that can never be understood of such loss until it happens to us, but Perez conveys her loss so imperatively that one who reads it can’t help but taste the pain.

©DGKaye2022

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka #Poetry Challenge

Colleen runs a different themed poetry challenge every Tuesday at her blog, Word Craft. This week was a photoprompt challenge, known as Ekphrastic poetry. Something about this photo spoke to me, so I hopped on with my favorite style of syllabic poetry – a tanka prose.

WELCOME TO #TANKATUESDAY!

This challenge explores Ekphrastic poetry, inspired by visual art or photographs. Willow provided the photo for this month’s challenge. Now, we can see this is a statue, so get creative and think about what this statue could represent. Think about imagery and symbolism… then select a form and craft your poem!

Photo from Willow Willers

United We Stand

When the world was hurting and hearts required a constant reminder to love their fellow man.

Encapsulated,
Emotional History.
Worldly Reminder.
Commanding man's compassion,
Eternal love conquers all.

©DGKaye2022

Original Source:

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2022/07/19/tankatuesday-poetry-challenge-no-281-7-19-22-ekphrastic-photoprompt/#comment-116555

July Writer’s Tips – Pre Booklaunch List, Internet Trolls and the Kindle Mobi is Dead

Welcome to my July edition of my curated Writer’s Tips. In this edition, I’m sharing some great tips to help organize pre-booklaunch day by D.L. Finn, some big news from the Kindlepreneur – The mobi is dead, and how authors should deal with internet trolls by Anne R. Allen

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Anne R. Allen with some great information for authors about internet trolls and cyber bullies:

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D.L. Finn at the Story Empire with an excellent pre-checklist before publishing your books:

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Jason Hamilton writing for the Kindlepreneur – the Mobi is dead:

©DGKaye2022

D.L. Finn at the Story Empire with an excellent pre-checklist before publishing your books:

Anne R. Allen has a concise article about internet trolls, cyber bullies, and how authors should deal with them:

Visionary Writers of Books and Movies from Decades Ago

Recently, I was chatting in comments with my friend Sue Dreamwalker about one of her posts about the state of the world and what we have to do to help make it a better world. Something she said sparked a famous quote I still use from way back in 1976 from the movie Network, this classic, infamous line: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

The storyline back then, uncannily was written as fiction, but so fitting for current times. The basis of the story was a fictional news station – UBS Network during the 1970s when terrorism was the new up and coming violence that was high up in the news. The aging news anchor, Howard Beale, played by the iconic, Peter Finch, gets fired as the new dawn of ‘ratings on TV’ determine your worth as a news anchor.

During that era, there was plenty of turmoil going on, not unsimilar to today’s world – pre – our technology driven world where there were no tech devices and we relied on newspapers, radio and TV for world news. TV ratings became tied to profits with advertising being the bread and butter of revenues. This was also a time of no cable news outlets and a limited amount of national news stations.

Howard Beale becomes angry as he sees the writing on the wall, greed is taking over service and loyalty, as plenty of ugliness was going on at the time. Howard ultimately, goes on a tirade On Air, threatening to kill himself live on air, and subsequently, stirs up huge ratings. His famous quote from this tirade: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Beale goes on to tell the audience how they are being duped with news that are lies and coverups, as sensationalism becomes a good hook for ratings.

Here a few more poignant quotes from some of Beale’s speeches:

“But, man, you’re never going to get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell…”

“Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers; this tube is the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people…”

I rate this movie one of the greatest movies of the times that depicts humanity and greed, and is more than relevant today. Here’s the infamous scene below where Howard goes on a tirade, all the while Faye Dunaway, his boss, starts to get all excited because his wrath is great for their ratings. But he puts out a wake up call and the people respond: (Finch won an Academy Award particularly for this scene)

I find it almost frightening that quite a few books written back in the 70s and 80s in a fictionally created story, have come, and on their way to coming to fruition. 1984 by George Orwell, wrote essentially, about Big Brother. Margaret Atwood’s horrifying tale of the Handmaids is essentially, parallel to what’s happening in the US now with the crushing of Roe v. Wade and women’s rights.

And let’s go back further to Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World, written in 1932, his most classic masterpiece that was mandatory reading in my high school. A story about world controllers said to be creating the perfect society through brain-washing and genetic engineering.

Not scary enough? How about Sinclair Lewis’s book – It Can’t Happen Here, a cautionary tale about how craftily a government gets taken over by fascism, and turns it into an authoritarian scary country all in the name of power and greed, demonstrating the fragility of democracy – also written back in 1938. Hmm, almost sounds like a scenario that tried to play out in 2020. Then there’s Ray Bradbury’s, Farenheit 451 where a fireman takes on destroying books in fears that people may learn too much and not be able to be controlled. Hmm, again.

Those are just a few books to mention, then referred to as dystopian genre, but if you go read reviews on these books where people who’ve read them decades ago, as well as the younger generation reading now, there is a common thread in comments, and that is the revelation that these stories were written so long ago as fiction and are becoming real life, and all generations are relating the same, collectively.

Did all these writers write about their fears of the future, or for sheer entertainment?

I’m an addict when it comes to reading reviews. I read reviews for everything I buy online, most especially books. Perhaps, that’s why I enjoy writing reviews. If you learn to take the majority of reviews as relevant and honest opinion, and also read the one and two star reviews, we usually find that the majority of the reviews will give a truthful opinion and review. You will also find, on a mostly 5 star rated book that has a few low star reviews, those reviews are usually, nonsensical or irrelevant. Many uneducated reviewers will rate an author’s work or a product with low stars because they are pissed at their untimely or shabby delivery of the product. This has nothing to do with the book or the product, yet seeds doubt in a potential buyer’s thoughts.

But I digress, and wanted to leave you here with some comments people left on the video clip above of Howard Beale’s madness speech:

The comments I’ve chosen to share below are just a few of the over 4400 comments on the video, and most of them all saying the same in personal ways:

“Is it weird that this made my cry? The energy is so contagious”

“God this scene is so relevant in today climate!”

“America in 2020: “I’m apathetic as hell and I’ll take whatever you give me as long as I have my Netflix.”

“This is exactly the problem, people think that just being mad and telling everybody and then going and sitting back down in your armchairs is gonna fix anything. Don’t tell people you’re mad, do something about it”

“One of the greatest movies ever made! So prophetic, so relevent, so true. From 1976. We are living this right now!”

“Tears in my eyes because this is so close to truth. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

“45 years later, still feels relevant, arguably even more so now.”

106REPLYView 4 replies

“If you ask me. I certainly think it’s time we all start getting ‘mad as hell’ and get educated on what is happening in our world.”

“He won the Oscar for this scene alone.”

“I remember when this aired on tv. My kids went to the window without me knowing it and they started yelling that they were as mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. Then, slowly from one neighborhood to the next the chorus was taken up, dogs started barking and you could here the kids laughing from one house to another. Will never forget. Hard to believe it has been 44 years ago that happened.”

“This is with no doubt one of the best speeches in the whole history of cinema. What a goosebumping performance!!!”

“Just one of the greatest movies ever made. Still as relevant today as it ever was. Everyone needs to watch it”

“How did so many of the cautionary tales from the 20th century, end up becoming the instruction manuals for the 21st?”

“One of the greatest movies ever made! So prophetic, so relevent, so true. From 1976. We are living this right now!”

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Personally, I think we should all, collectively, be mad as hell and take heed to truth, compassion, and be doing good things to make the world and this planet a better place to live in, not just for ourselves, but for the generation(s) that will follow.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Queen of Paris #historicalfiction – Coco Chanel

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a book by Pamela Binnings Ewen – Queen of Paris. This is a historical fiction story about the life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, from her poor childhood and dropped off as a young girl, at a nun’s convent by her father, after her mother’s death, through her tumultuous years as a mistress, to her break through idea creating a hat, to her ruthless survival, hanging out with high ranking German officers during WWII, to her eventual fleeing of Paris once France was freed of Germans. As a lover of biographies and my curiosities for how people became famous, I found this a riveting read.

Blurb:

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style—the iconic little black dress—and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII—as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files.

Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-Élysées, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich’s High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall.

While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel—a woman made of sparkling granite—will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?

My 5 Star Review:

As a lover of historical fiction – and my fascination with Coco Chanel, I found this story riveting. If you Google up Coco Chanel and her ‘colorful’ past, you will find all the elements this author covered in the book that seem accurate as much as we can learn about this mysterious woman and her shenanigans. The said facts are woven into this telling about this intriguing woman, her tragic beginnings and love life, and the evolution of her couture and infamous fragrance, Chanel #5, and how far she’d go to protect it.

Gabrielle Chanel came from a poor family and when her mother died Gabrielle was twelve years old, and was sent to live in a nun’s convent/orphanage where she had to work and scrub the abbey floors because she was poor. Once freed, she started singing in cabaret halls and rubbed shoulders with some elite along her path, and ultimately, became part of an elite group of mistresses where she made some colorful liasons. It was a song she sang at the cabarets that inspired her new name – Coco. Chanel’s shmoozing with the elite as a mistress, had her falling in love with Boy Capel, who would turn out to be the one and only love of her life, which was really a tragic love story on so many levels.

She was a clever woman who made her mark when she made up a hat she wore around her elite friends in the early 1900s, and the hat was the beginning of her millinery career, created because of her determination to make her own money to stop being beholden to rich men. It was her lover, Boy Capel who helped her eventually set up shop for her couture business that followed her millinery beginnings.

A few years later, Coco met up with a perfumer, she commissioned him to come up with a scent to match her designs, and after assessing five certain scents, she fell in love with the fifth one and five, being her favorite number for various reasons, became her signature scent. To move this product along, Chanel had already met some people in high society and they hooked her up making a deal with Jewish marketing brothers, Pierre and Paul Wertheimer to run the company of Chanel perfumes. Chanel was given only a 10% cut of her own product, but with no money of her own, this venture helped begin her empire.

The history of the making of this perfume is interesting enough, but with all the hob-nobbing Chanel was involved with, this book takes us into her world once WWII was approaching and her Jewish partners who had fled France to the United States just before the war began spreading into France. They fled with the ‘secret recipe’ and locked down all the Jasmine fields in and around Grasse, Provence with buying off perfumers to make sure the product wouldn’t be altered by inferior or synthetic ingredients, and Chanel couldn’t get to them first.

Chanel did everything she could to get her rights back, but everything she tried, it seemed, her partners were always one step ahead of her. And then the war came to Paris. Chanel fled to the south of France, made some new connections with the elite, and after a few months, returned to Paris, to her beloved Ritz Hotel where the German hierarchy had taken over, but ‘the elite’ Parisians were still permitted to stay. It was during this time she made friends with some of Germany’s most ruthless SS leaders – a dangerous game.

This story also depicts how ruthless and vengeful Chanel was as she tried to declare her product as Aryan, stopping at nothing to get back her perfume rights, while trying to convince some very high gestapo to help her get her company back away from Jews. She is also forced to beg a favor of them for a very personal nature, and as we all know, once you are indebted to the gestapo, you are trapped. Chanel had a big choice to make – betray her country by becoming a spy and aligning with the Germans, or give up on trying to reclaim her company – and something else she loved even more dearly.

The author engages us in great story lines here, spanning between two different decades the early 1900s to 1919 and 1940 as WWII approaches, to the end of the war.

This book takes a deep look at the choices Chanel made in her life, her mission to survive and everything she would do to try and get back her rights. She was a clever woman who made her mark with an unusual hat, growing it into a huge empire. After WWI, when she could finally obtain materials, she began her fashion career. But she paid many steep prices along her way to fame, and this book highlights a lot of her heartache, and ruthlessness, depicting just how far she would go to obtain what she wanted.

Everyone thinks, ooh Chanel, but after reading this book, it left me feeling that Coco was both, a woman who would sellout anyone for personal gain and was sometimes lacking in human empathy in the name of keeping grandiose standing in high society. She was a woman who was very damaged and broken in many ways. I couldn’t feel sympathy for her, as I hold no value for those who value money more than human life. And as it turns out, after the war, many Parisians felt the same way. It wasn’t until ten years after the war she reclaimed her fame in America as Americans knew nothing about her secret life and liasons with the Third Reich.

A truly engaging read!

©DGKaye2022

Colleen Chesebro Announces The Word Craft #Poetry Contest Winners

Colleen Chesebro ran a contest in June using syllabic poetry, using the theme, ‘dreams’. There were certainly some fantastic entries, and winners. Congratulations to Diana Peach for her gorgeous entry. Today I’m sharing my Tanka prose and poem I wrote for the contest. Tanka is written in 5 lines in 5/7/5/7/7 syllables, and the prose relates to the poem.

~ ~ ~

When love is deep, there can’t be measure. The longing for lost lovers never dissipate, but linger in shadows of dreams as we live out the rest of our lives, awaiting glorious reunion.

Waiting

Lost love yearns for time,

Space where all is linear.

Grief seeps into dreams.

Undying love never fades.

Clocks echo love eternal.

..

Visit Colleen’s blog to see the list of winners and their entry poetry.

I’m thrilled to announce the winners of the Word Craft Poetry Syllabic Poetry Contest held to honor the Summer Solstice. The theme was dreams, and the syllabic form to write was tanka prose. Many thanks to all the poets who entered this contest. Thanks for being part of our poetry community… Please visit Colleen’s Word Craft to view the winners and their poetry at:

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2022/07/13/announcing-the-winners-of-the-word-craft-poetry-syllabic-poetry-contest/#comment-116380

©DGKaye2022