Sunday Book Review – The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin, #WWII #historicalfiction

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing a book by one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Paulette Mahurin. This is her newest release I was thrilled to be able to obtain a copy from Netgalley – The Peaceful Village. Based on a heartwrenchingly true story about one of the biggest WWII massacres on French Soil that occurred because of a lie.

Blurb:

During the German occupation of France, nestled in the lush, verdant countryside in the Haute-Vienne department of central France was the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It was a community where villagers woke to the medley of nature’s songs: roosters crowing, birds chirping, cats purring, and cows shuffling out to pasture. The people who lived there loved the tranquil nature of their beautiful home, a tranquility that existed year-round. Even with the German occupation and Oradour-sur-Glane being incorporated as part of Vichy France, Oradour – the village with cafés, shops, and a commuter tram to Limoges – remained relatively untouched by the stress of the occupation.
While Oradour enjoyed the lack of German presence, twenty-two kilometers to the northwest in Limoges, the Germans were reacting with increasing cruelty to organized attacks on their soldiers by the armed resistance organization Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). Headed by Georges Guingouin, the Limoges FTP was considered the most effective of the French Resistance groups. Guingouin’s missions fueled the German military to kill and incarcerate in concentration camps anyone perceived as supporters or sympathizers of the Resistance.

Up until the middle of 1944, the German anti-partisan actions in France never rose to the level of brutality or number of civilian casualties that had occurred in eastern Europe. A little before the Allies landed in Normandy, that changed, when German officers stationed on the Eastern Front were transferred to France. It was then that FTP’s increasing efforts to disrupt German communications and supply lines was met with disproportionate counter attacks, involving civilians. Guingouin’s response was to target German officers. When Guingouin set his sights on two particular German officers, all hell broke loose.

Based on actual events as told by survivors, The Peaceful Village is the story of the unfolding of the events that led up to one of the biggest World War II massacres on French soil. But it is not simply a story of Nazi brutality and the futility of war, it is a story of love. The love of family. The love of neighbor. The love of country. Compassion and courage burn from the pages as the villagers’ stories come alive. Written by the international bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, Paulette Mahurin, this book is an homage to the villagers who lived and loved in Oradour-sur-Glane.

My 5 Star Review:

Marguerite lives on her carrot farm with her husband and other family in the beautiful, peaceful village of Oradour, France. During WWII, this quiet and peaceful village had not yet been threatened or occupied as much as other parts of France and Europe by the nazis, despite the Vichy accepting German rule, until a German capture that had gone wrong had brought forth the brutal nazi regime (no, I will NEVER capitalize the word ‘nazi’) to this peaceful ‘untouched’ by war, town, just before the allies landed in Normandy.

As Marguerite was approaching menopause, the gruel of farming without enough hands was getting to her physically and mentally. She went to church one Sunday and discovered the clergy could use some well needed office help and approached her understanding husband asking for time away from working the farm and by taking up the offer to work for the church office. When she discovered a horrifying piece of paper in a book, as she was tidying the rectory, she approached Father Chapelle, asking if anyone else shared the office, ultimately, showing him what she’d found in a book as she was organizing a bookshelf. Their eye contact established a mutual understanding that they were both on the side against the nazis, when the Father let her know that he was part of the resistance helping place Jewish families where he could. Marguerite’s sympathetic and good nature led her to helping out the church by delivering secret messages, food and clothing where she could.

All was calm, but Marguerite had a foreboding feeling in her stomach, and it wasn’t long before the SS butchers rounded up the whole village in retaliation for the resistance killing one of their higher up murderous high rank nazi leaders. It was first the resistance who made a fatal mistake by letting another of their captured nazis escape, who made it back to headquarters and lied about what happened to him in this innocent village.

Mahurin tells a gripping story in such detail, it’s as though we are there witnessing the action. She paints a picture of this blissful town full of compassionate, loving, neighborly people going on with their business as though the rest of France had nothing to do with them in their sacred untouched perimeters, and just as the serenity turns to hell on earth, she equally writes of the pain, brutality, butchering of innocent mankind because of one SS trying to cover his ass by lying about his attack saying it had taken place in Oradour – when it did not! This lie became the war that wiped out an entire peaceful village in one day.

Based on true events as told by survivors, one of biggest WWII massacres that ever took place on French soil. The expensive price of human life paid for letting one of those heinous, murderous nazis escape capture. The author never disappoints in her gripping true tales of some of the true horrors that innocent people endured under the brutal tyranny of Hitler and his nazi evil regime.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Garden Black by Frank Prem #Poetry

My Sunday Book Review is for the latest collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. I have enjoyed reading many of Frank’s books because his poetry interpretations take us along with him on his observations whether real or fiction, his truth shines through.

Blurb:

The Garden Black poetry collection is a venture into fantasy and speculative fiction based on the dual themes of rain forest and fantasy.

. The rainforest becomes a desert, and then the sea.

. A man in a satellite orbits the earth while playing his violin and pondering. A girl gazes up at the passing light and dances.

. Od Ovo – a youth who is from here, raises the dust of frustrated boredom on a mining asteroid, and cannot believe traveller tales of places where water falls from the sky.

. What colour are the flowers in the Reaper’s garden? They are all colours . . . They are black.

Welcome to the speculative fantasies that are The Garden Black.

My 5 Star Review:

From fantasy to the deep is what you will find in this new interesting collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. Prem’s poetry reminds that life is fragile and fleeting. Life is brief and can be both harsh and beautiful at times. The author shares conversations evoked in his mind through his observations and imagination, life’s incidences and moments.

A few poems in particular, caught my attention and touched deep. I’ll share them here through partial excerpt:

Not sorry only grief (waiting)

"I have no wish
to go back
home

home
never
quite
had room
for what I was

but
I do wish
that home
could spare a
thought - 
just ocassionally -
for me ..."

Unbound (goodbye)

"gravity
would hold me down
but
I was not made
to be
earthly tied

I set my sights
somewhere
over the tree tops

the strength
my strength
lives
in the will I hold ..."


Jet on night

"he
is a silhouette

she
a shadow leaning
up against
the wall

he reaches
to touch her
with the sun
shining behind him

she holds up
a phantom hand
to better feel
their connection

darkness on
darkness

he isn't there

jet on jet

she isn't there ..."



©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Picture Poetry, A Lake Sambell Walk by Frank Prem

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I have a sweet review for a recent #Newrelease by Frank Prem – A Lake Sambell Walk. Frank is known for his free-verse poetry and in this book he has created a picture book to accompany his observational prose.

Blurb:

A Lake Sambell Walk is a stroll around the iconic man-made lake that lies at the heart of historically significant Beechworth, Victoria (Australia).

The lake was created by gold miners of the 19th century washing away the soil in their wild search for gold at the height of the gold rush era.

Today, the lake is a beautiful setting for fish and ducks and dabchicks (grebes).

Join Frank Prem for pleasant armchair stroll in A Lake Sambell Walk.

Welcome to Beechworth!

My 5 Star Review:

As a lover of free-verse poetry, I’ve enjoyed several of this author’s books. A Lake Sambell Walk is another of Prem’s beautiful poetry books where he shares a walk along the lake and the intricate thoughts and memories the scenery evokes, accompanied by serene images inspired by the author’s words and observations. A once fervent mission to discover gold took place on this man-made Lake Sambell in Australia, now a tranquil lake where the writer visits and takes in the scenery as his conscience absorbs the sights and sounds of the surrounding nature as he shares his vision from his observations in this lovely book of picture poetry, using crisp and short prose to evoke a bigger picture.

The corresponding image to this poem evokes a tangled web of tree branches and hope:

Yours

Up
through your tangled 
self . . .

the blue sky
waits

reach tall

be straight

it is yours
if only
you take it

reach tall
take everything
that is yours

The corresponding image evokes a lonely, lost pair of gloves abandoned atop a fence:

gloved by no one

was it cold
last night . . .

warm today . . .

who
left them

who
wants them

no one
loves them

there is no one
to glove

©DGKaye2022

Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Deborah Jay and her Hot #NewRelease – The Prince’s Heir

Welcome to my last Q & A post for 2021. I know I have been sparse this year with Q & A features due to my world turning upside down, but  I couldn’t end off the year without sharing the news here from one of my oldest blogging friends, Deborah Jay, who has just released Book 4 in her 5 Kingdoms series – The Prince’s Heir.

About Deborah Jay:

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training, and judging, competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE

PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, released December 14th 2021.

Blurb:

Read the gripping conclusion to The Five Kingdoms series…

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.

Excerpt from Prince’s Heir

“Risada,” said Marten in a tone that sent ice crawling down her spine. “There’s something we didn’t tell you last year. We thought it would never be an issue once we’d destroyed Charin’s Cult.”

The king paused, pursing his lips. Blood pounded through Risada’s head, filling the silence. She felt nauseous. What had they kept from her, and why?

Marten drew a deep breath, then continued. “You know they wanted our child. What you don’t know is that things came to a head when you returned with Halson. Charin wanted a child of the royal bloodline, and it seems Hal’s would have satisfied Him as much as mine.”

Risada gripped the back of a nearby chair, clinging to that spot of reality in a world turned hazy.

Halson! Charin wanted her son!

A fierce rush of protectiveness blasted through her. She would die before she allowed that to happen. Staring into Marten’s eyes, she saw the same intent reflected there. Of course, he and Betha had been willing to sacrifice themselves before, and now he feared Betha might be forced to make that call again.

“We won’t let it come to that; I promise.” She took one of his hands and squeezed it, but he shrugged and disengaged his grip.

“Sadly, that’s not something you can promise. Not where Charin’s involved. I’ve faced Him, remember? I was lucky to survive, and I don’t give much for my chances if it comes to a rerun.”

“Marten.” Risada employed the same tone she used when Halson was being difficult. “You’re not alone in this. You will never be alone to deal with such an attack again; that I can promise.

Let’s get to know more about Deb’s writing and dressage life in our Q & A session:

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

Nine so far, plus novellas and short stories. Two non-fiction books on horse training (my day job), one SF (not published), five epic fantasy (one not published) and one urban fantasy. The unpublished books were where I cut my writer’s teeth, learning about plot, pace, and technique. One day I’d love to revisit them, but with so many other projects on the go, who knows if I’ll find the time?

My favorite book will always be the last one I finished. If you are anything like me, as we write more books our style changes, develops and (hopefully) improves. I am still proud as punch of my first published novel – THE PRINCE’S MAN – which in the early days before self-publishing, netted me two agents and a slew of positive feedback from the Big Six (as they were in those days) publishers, although no contract. Now, I’m really happy it didn’t sell – I would never have been allowed to write the sequels the way they’ve turned out, and I wouldn’t have control of my own career.

D.G. – You’ve certainly come a long way my busy friend. And yes, you are spot on, the more books we write, of course, our styles change as we learn new things. How many of us would like to go back and rewrite all our published books? Lol 🙂

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

As a hybrid author – both traditionally and indie published – I can definitely say the latter is far and away my preferred route. Not only do I get to write what I want, when I want, I also earn a markedly higher percentage of the income from my indie published books (70% from Amazon, 60% from some other platforms, paid each month) than I do from my trad published books (10% from my publisher, paid annually).

Sure, traditional publishers can get you into bricks-and-mortar stores, but that’s far less important since Covid struck, closing so many, or forcing them to sell online. Publishers also have extremely limited funds available for marketing, and contracted authors are expected to do most of the grunt work themselves – marketing, networking, selling in person, etc. – so I’d rather put my efforts into my indie books for a higher return.

D.G. – My sentiments exactly Deb. And I’ve heard same thoughts from a few different authors who left trad to take control of their own books. 🙂

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

I don’t know about a passion, I just always assumed I would write. It seemed the natural progression – read other people’s stuff, then write your own.

As a child, comics took my interest, and my earlier attempts at writing were accompanied by awful illustrations (I’m no artist). When my mother died a couple of years ago, in amongst her papers (she was also a writer) I found what must be my earliest attempt, aged about 6 – ‘The travels of Sammy Snail – Scotland here I come’. Weirdly prophetic, as at that time I had never been to Scotland, nor had any of my family, and yet that’s precisely where I now live.

After that, came ‘The Adventures of Galloper’, another illustrated comic book, and then ‘Samantha the Adventurous Poodle’, a novel which failed at chapter 3 because it had no plot!

D.G. – What a gorgeous find! I know you have tons on your plate and agenda, but wouldn’t it be fun if you revised and published her work in a children’s book someday, authored by both of you? Food for thought. 🙂

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

While this week’s release brings to a conclusion the main story of one set of characters, I still have plenty of other tales to tell about them. One of the best aspects of self-publishing is the option to publish books of any size. I already wrote one short story that fits in between books #1 & #2, with another underway. I plan to write a set of them, with the ultimate goal of gathering them into a book of their own.

I have also plotted out and started a novella, telling the back story of a minor character who grew to become a major force in books #3 & 4. In addition, years ago, I wrote the novel that takes place before this set, so I plan on going back and rewriting that to a publishable standard too.

Beyond that, I have a rough outline for the next sequence of books, featuring the next generation. I’ve set up a lot of worldbuilding ready for them to walk right into, so, although the over-arching plot appears to end in book #4, it has a lot further to go – I’m thinking maybe 10 books in all?

Next up is putting together a boxset of books #1 – #4, and start editing for audiobook production – something I still have to dip my toe in. I also have one novel and a short story published in an urban fantasy series, with 6 chapters of the next book already done and just waiting for me to pick it up again.

Finally (as if that lot wasn’t enough!), I am currently writing a commissioned non-fiction book on horse training to go with the two already published, and sketching out two new in-person presentations now we are allowed to do such things again.

I’m certainly never short of stuff to do!

D.G. – You’re a machine girl! I hate to add to your plate, but I was hoping you would come out with a sequel to Desprite Measures with your Cassie character. 🙂

Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?

Neither!

I’m really fortunate to have worked with an awesome writer’s group for many years – thirty, to be precise! Members have come and gone, but the core has remained. New members have to put in an audition piece, so we can assess the standard of their writing. If we feel they aren’t ready to join us yet we point them towards where they can find more basic help to develop.

The group consists of (almost) exclusively published authors – some short fiction writers, some novelists. We do include a uni student, reading creative writing (what else?), but fundamentally we all write professional pieces that sell. We used to meet in person once a month, now we do it on Zoom, which means a couple of former members who moved away have rejoined.

One of the best aspects is that between us we cover a wide range of professions and interests, such as a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a travel writer, and a stand-up comic! Between the lot of us, we’re pretty darned good at the whole gamut of editing. And knowing we will all be on the receiving end at some point, we’ve become well practiced at constructive critiquing – the best sort of group.

D.G. – Sounds like a great plan and a wonderful and eclectic bunch of writers! 🙂

What was the inspiration behind the series you’ve just completed?

I was always frustrated that the super-spy, James Bond, was never allowed (until now!) to develop as a character. Enter my leading man, Rustam Chalice – a shallow, womanizing, spy. During THE PRINCE’S MAN, alongside the action and politics, everything he thought he knew is challenged and proven to be false, bringing about profound changes to his life, which continues to develop through the entire series.

I chose a fantasy setting partly because of my love for Lord of the Rings, but also because of the incredible scope available to my imagination. I can do whatever I want with the world (provided it’s consistent and makes sense), which allows me to put my characters through a crucible unlike anything they would experience in a real-world setting.

Out of these two things came tagline for the series: Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.

D.G. – Brilliant concept! 🙂

It was a pleasure having you over today Deb. I wish you much success with your new release, and no doubts the Prince’s Man fans for this series are anxiously awaiting this new release.

Connect with Deborah:

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story: http://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

©DGKaye2021

Sunday Book Review – Waiting for Frank-Bear – (Beechworth Bakery Bears)

 

My Sunday Book Review is for Frank Prem’s new release in the Beechworth Bakery Bears series – Waiting for Frank-Bear. This is probably my fifth book I read by Frank. I enjoy his non conformitive prose and poetry he uses to execute his stories. And the bears are adorable. I was thrilled to receive an ARC from Frank, this book is available now on pre-order.

 

 

Waiting For Frank-Bear: as heard by . . . (The Beechworth Bakery Bears) by [Frank Prem, Leanne Murphy]

Available on Amazon

 

Blurb:

The Beechworth Bakery Bears are still just as friendly and eager to please as ever.

 

But, where is Frank-Bear?

 

He does not come in to see them as often as before and they miss him.

 

They would love to tell you about their lives now, and how they wait for their best friend Frank-Bear to visit.

 

Step back into the bakery and find out what is happening in the world of The Beechworth Bakery Bears.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

Prem brings us a new treat from his Beechworth Bakery Bear series. In this poetic story he takes us into the inside musings of the Beechworth bears who are now feeling a bit perturbed at the lack of customers, and question why people must lineup to enter the bakery, only so many at a time. As they patiently await customers to come in, the bears go about their business, tidying the shop and preparing baked goods.

 

The bears are also puzzled because they can’t see people’s full faces anymore, now covered with masks. What is going on? And where is Frank? It seems Frank is one of their favorite customers and as they go about their daily business of setting up shop, they keep their hopes up in anticipation that Frank will soon show up for a drink and his favorite snack. Another night passes as they patiently await their friend Frank-bear to visit. A sweet read!

 

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Lauren Scott – #NewRelease – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose

Welcome to my Q & A for September. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring my friend and author, Lauren Scott and her beautiful new book – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. Lauren writes beautiful poetry and short story memoirs. I’ve been following her blog for a few years now and as Lauren has recently released her newest book, she’s on blog tour now, so I thought I’d jump in on her booklaunch tour with doing a little Q & A here with her. Enjoy!

 

 

Lauren Scott

 

About Lauren:

 

Lauren has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). In the last couple of years, she began exploring memories from her past, penning them into short memoirs. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Matthew, and their lovable canine, Copper; they have two adult children. Family has been an aspect of life she has always held dear. From her experiences over three decades: raising a family, grieving through loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and the many backpacking and camping adventures, her writing takes a magical path of its own.

 

The marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds never disappoint in providing inspiration. Recent backpacking trips with Matthew along the California coast and Sierra Nevada have stirred up thoughts to write about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren is marveled at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She is a poet, short memoir writer, and nature lover who hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

 

 

Welcome

 

 

Let’s get into a little Q & A and get to know more about Lauren!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

Inspiration is derived from a simple walk around the neighborhood with my dog: flowers blooming in springtime, bees buzzing in the distance, clouds forming art in the sky, or a subtle touch of a breeze. Family is most important to me, so I write about the love of my life, my husband of 32 years, who I met in a comical manner. My parents who have since passed away have been the fodder for poetry and short memoirs – losing one parent is difficult enough, but both is beyond surreal. It’s like the family foundation slipped into a sink hole. I find inspiration from my son and daughter who have turned out to be compassionate, amazing adults, and how it took some getting used to when my husband and I became empty nesters.

 

I write about loss and grief – the importance of letting those tears flow – but also the necessity of occasionally giving freedom to your silly self. Camping and backpacking have played an integral part of our life, so living in the wilderness near a sparkling freshwater lake encourages a plethora of thoughts eager to be written. Hiking five miles further up the mountain to a lake filled with lily pads is like entering a fairyland inspiring a new level of ideas for my muse.

 

When work on my memoir began, my mind transported to the past: recalling formative childhood years, finding forever love, becoming a mother, and taking on challenges that I never would have attempted before. I strive to convey the value of slowing down and reveling in surrounding beauty, feeling gratitude, meeting a challenge head-on, and living in the here and now. We’re only gifted one ride around the sun, so why not make it the best possible ride?!

 

DG: Even your response here is beautiful prose Lauren. Yes, writing about truth in life is all about the moments we take in and how we interpret them. 🙂

 

 

What are your writing goals for this year?

 

I had set a writing goal to publish my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose which was released in early September. What a feeling of accomplishment, especially because my first two books were collections of poetry. More than Coffee speaks of memories from the past written in freeform poetry and in short memoirs. The process took longer than I anticipated, and I thought the editing would never end. Eventually, the point of confidence that every comma and verb was written correctly was finally achieved. I am thrilled to check that box off, but in the process, I was able to relive many wonderful moments from my childhood into my adulting. When loved ones have passed on, it is the gathering of fond memories that sustain us and bring them to life.

 

DG: I’m glad you accomplished what you set out to do Lauren. I know how life can get in the way of our good intentions. Writing memoir is certainly reliving the moments. 🙂

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

As I inched closer to the finish line with More than Coffee, the wheels in my mind started turning again, and I wondered what will come next? I have written more than a dozen new poems I would love to see in print, but those may have to wait. I recently pulled a children’s book idea from my archived computer files. This book or a possible series commenced over two decades ago. And then life happened, raising children took precedence, and that idea became complacent in the archives. I feel now is the right time to breathe some life into this project. However, I don’t know the first thing about writing a children’s book. For now, though, I’m enjoying the ride on Cloud 9 from the release of my new book and the positive feedback I’ve received, along with the generous support from wonderful blogging friends. Once this ride slows down, the children’s book research will begin, and I’ll see where it takes me.

 

DG: That sounds fantastic Lauren. I could definitely see you as a children’s writer. That will be a wonderful project to dive into no doubt!

 

 

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

 

My advice is to simply write! Don’t think too hard! Years ago, I allowed intimidation to prevent me from pursuing my writing passion – intimidation from not holding that BA or MFA in Creative Writing. However, several years ago, I attended English classes required for an associate degree at our local community college (baby steps to a bachelor’s degree), and I’m proud to say that I aced those classes. I loved the writing and the experience. But what halted me on that path to a two-year degree was the requirement to take other classes that might not interest me, then to spend time doing that homework. Instead, my son nudged me into starting a blog. I slowly began to share my writing, feeling a little timid in the beginning. At the same time, I followed many talented authors. Before I knew it, WordPress transformed into an online classroom. I learned about various formats of poetry. I read compelling fiction with authentic dialogue. I laughed and let the tears fall when reading memoirs. I delighted in immersing myself into charming children’s books.

 

Thus, I made another choice, pouring my heart and soul into writing for my blog, a wonderful platform to engage with other like-minded bloggers. Regardless of age, learning is infinite, as well as growing in one’s craft. Maybe I’ll step foot on a college campus again? Whether that happens or not, I’ll continue to read, letting myself be drawn into fantastic tales of fantasy, mystery, and romance. I’ll feel the myriad of emotions when reading beautiful poetry, gaining more knowledge along the journey. And when inspiration moves me, I will write. So, follow your writing passion regardless of credentials or age.

 

DG: I’d say that is the best advice for new writers afraid to take the plunge. Oh yes, it can be so intimidating when we first begin. But the blog gives us our own platform to experiment with our writing and a great audience to inspire us to keep writing. It’s all about community for us writers. 🙂

 

 

Books by Lauren Scott

 

Lauren Shares an Excerpt from her story – Ascent

 

When we reached the top and I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side of the dome, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, drank some water, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I was relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and sat on a log for a time-out. I was so overwhelmed that the tears found freedom. I didn’t fight them. I cried for the loss of Dad. I cried for having completed this hike that I didn’t think I was capable of. I would’ve backed out graciously had I known the details.

 

After a few minutes, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water, a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

 

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know a bit about Lauren, her writing and her new book. Visit Lauren at her blog and at her Amazon author page to discover some of her other books.

 

Visit Lauren:

 

BLOG: https://baydreamerwrites.com/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NCRH4MK

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, Featuring #Thriller Author, Leyla Cardena

Welcome back to my author interview series – Q & A with D.G. Kaye. It’s been quite a turbulent year for me, but as I’m slowly getting back to regular program blogging I wanted to bring back my Q & A series. And to kick off the series, I am thrilled to have over my lovely Swiss author and friend, Leyla Cardena. Leyla recently released her newest thriller book – Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, and today we’re going to get to know a little about Leyla, her writing, and her books.

 

Leyla Cardena author

About Leyla:

Leyla Cardena was born on the 2nd of August 1990 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since her childhood, she became fascinated by all creative mediums such as cinema, writing and theater plays, which drove her to write since the age of eleven. At 23, after night school in the domain of Swiss law and working as a corporate assistant, she followed her dream to become an author and wrote her first novel in French titled “Karmicalement Vôtre”, published in France in 2013. She then, in 2019, published her second novel written in English “Becoming Insane”, and its sequel “Existing Creatures, Living Dragons” in July 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Underneath the earth, John Crane’s bones are cracking and his flesh is burning. His memories are at present as alive as his body, a body, preparing itself for metamorphosis and freedom. In the black box of Jack Vain’s mind, his belongings explode, his past life is an illusion, and ultimately, is a tower destructed by his unfulfilled desires. The recurring nightmare, the hand on Dr. Brooke Ashley’s thigh, is now a warning sign against danger, an appropriation that leads her instinct into the right directions. The djinn that Hassan Maroun met, is the little and magical voice that makes him wonder if the current events can be clearly and scientifically explained.

The creature from John and Jack’s dreams and fantasies, is the master of their evolution. Will the two childhood friends be able to accept their transformation in order to make the investigation advance?

 

 

Let’s get to know more about Leyla!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

I believe that book ideas can grow from anywhere at any time. For creators, I suppose they come from subjects they are passionate about, the same applies for me. For Becoming Insane and its sequel, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my ideas came from my personal experience with panic attacks and OCD which I suffered from for a period. It came during a time where I chose to leave my job behind (and a lot of other things) to start new and become an author. The issue of taking a risk without any guarantees, while also not taking any and feeling suffocated is the first main theme in Becoming Insane. The creativity that my main characters, Jack Vain and John Crane possess, becomes during their adulthood the unfulfilled and hungry creature that haunts and stalks them. The need to create comes back with a vengeance. Also, for those two novels, psychology is a very important subject. Probably because I have a great passion for it and did my best to convey my own emotional experience and a scientific point of view in the books. In other words, I would be reading books about psychology like the DSM when I was a teenager instead of doing my math! For the novels, it’s important to understand that what my main characters are going through, and what happens to them in a “horror and fantasy” way, is interpreted through a Jungian lens. The reason for that is Jung’s works which revolve around archetypes, mythology, and their interpretation, gives the novels the fantasy and fairy tale atmosphere which breaks reality. I thought it fitted well with my characters, who are creative.

 

D.G, – Sounds fascinating Leyla. I love psychological thrillers and looking forward to reading both your books. 😘

 

 

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

 

Always, however, it came first by simply wanting, then needing to create a story by using my toys when I was a child. To the point where my parents would go crazy because I would ask for so many dolls and plushies and whatever I could find that I could use as a character for the story I had invented. As I was only a very young kid my stories were still very basic, with a main character, usually a woman that had to go on a quest of some sort to save someone or the world. Or a more fairy tale-historical kind of story about a character climbing up the social ladder and becoming a leader. Also, some science-fiction when I felt like it. A child’s imagination has no limits! But I adored preparing the set before playing out my story. The first story I ever wrote was when I was about nine years old which I never finished. It was a very simple one about a young ballerina (because I used to do ballet and returned to it a few years ago) who witnesses some ghostly apparitions of another ballet dancer and must discover the secret behind her disappearance. Nothing original I’m afraid!

 

D.G. – You were certainly gifted the creative bug as a child Leyla. No surprise you became a writer. Maybe you should consider going back and rewriting that ballerina story? 😘

 

 

What would you like to see change to make the world better?

 

I’m extremely sensitive to children’s causes and cannot point out enough how much education is important. I unfortunately had to witness some degree of violence when I was very young, and then quickly was on my own to take responsibility of my own life when I was only sixteen. To the point where I could relate to a lot of the characters in Dickens’ books. That’s why I always say that every century and generation will have their Oliver Twists and David Copperfields. I cannot insist enough on how it’s important, and in some places urgent, to not only give knowledge, but understanding and love. And of course, a good and stable family structure so that the child can be emotionally fulfilled and feel good about himself/herself before diving into the adult world. Yes, I’m very sensitive to that. It’s always good to remember that we are not just raising children, but future adults, and that no matter the hardships and the struggles, to make sure that they have enough self-confidence to follow their dreams and avoid bad situations. The subject of childhood is immensely present in my two novels so yes, children, education and having people around them to help them grow and possess good health (physical and mental) is one of the things that can (or should) evolve for a better world. I suppose it will seem strange coming from me, as I’m not a mom and still haven’t considered becoming one.

 

D.G. – I’m with you on your thinking about children. I particularly liked, “we are not just raising children, but future adults” so much truth! It sounds like we both lived ‘interesting’ and colorful’ lives as children. 😘

 

 

Does anything you watch on TV prompt ideas for your own writing?

 

I haven’t watched TV in years! Except maybe for the daily news. I watch everything on Youtube and for movies I watch them on Netflix. There are a lot of subjects I’m passionate about that I explore by watching a documentary, then reading a book about the subject I chose to get more details and information about it. The subjects I usually enjoy discovering are (apart from psychology as mentioned above) history, true crime, nature, mythology, and its relationship with theology. There are so many things to learn about, and as I’m a curious person by nature I just can’t stop. I think it comes from my background. I come from a family with many origins, my father is Moroccan, and my mom is half British and half Catalan. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) is half Swedish too. So, I would be transported into different worlds and scenery just by being read a story to by my parents. It’s extremely enriching and makes a child open minded about different cultures while also spotting the similarities we share in storytelling. Music is also one of my greatest inspirations. I love all kinds of music, as it helps me visualize scenes and characters before translating all of it into words.

 

D.G. – What a fascinating mix of ethnicity in your bloodline Leyla. And good for you for not watching TV, lol. Seems we enjoy reading same subjects too! 😘

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

I’m currently working on a series of novels entitled “God, Men and Beasts”. We’re still in the thriller/horror genre, but the theme is about survival. Survival in society paralleled with survival in the wild. In Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my main character John Crane, introduces the first chapter of God, Men and Beasts as his own work as a writer. This new series is about a journalist that must write articles about crime or court cases involving different people that are mysteriously linked to each other. Even though they live in different countries, have different lives, and have lived in different ages and decades, they share something between them that the journalist will discover later (I’m not telling what it is). These future novels are heavily influenced by the geographical location of the characters. For example, if I take England or the north of France, the story happening in this specific location will have a European fairy tale kind of atmosphere, in which the dark woods play a big role, and will represent the mystery, magic and horror of the story. You can also add in an air from the Arthurian legends. However, while Becoming Insane and its sequel Existing Creatures, Living Dragons talks about childhood, inspiration, imagination and even fantasy and how to implement them in our lives and not forget them, God, Men and Beasts is about reigniting our senses and instincts. Talks a lot about different species of animals and our relationship to them, what they used to represent before (which was power, freedom and a specific quality depending on the culture) and now. I’ve been diving into a lot of documentaries about animals, animal behaviorism and animism, which came before paganism and its different mythologies. I’m also continuing a story that is an homage to a Swiss artist that I admire a lot. But I won’t tell you who it is until the book is published!

 

D.G. – Wow, you have so much on the go! Good for you. All subject matter sounds fascinating to me. I love that your stories all encompass the element of human nature despite that there may be horror or fantasy with their themes. I wish you lots of success! 😘

 

 

Leyla is treating us to an excerpt of her book, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons

 

CHAPTER 8
Laughing Dragons

 

Too much pain, for too long. Worse thing is, it’s for free for everyone. Even if John knew that he wasn’t alone feeling such, and that there were far worse tragedies in the world, the suffering wouldn’t disappear, and now, it became physical, as he could feel each inch of his body itching and then burning every time his skin would peel off, revealing his red flesh exposed to the air. He cried, putting his two hands on his face, realizing that there wasn’t any skin left there either. He screamed, nearly fainted, hoped he would never have to see his face in a mirror again. The pain was constant, and sometimes came in violent shots to different parts of his body. But he knew that the suffering hadn’t climb to a climax yet, and that he could still do something to avoid it. In order to do that, he gazed around, crawling on all fours like an animal, staring at the grass, the trees and the earth, searching for any tool sharp enough, so that he could get rid of the pain, and eventually, himself.

 

“Help me!” John screamed. Only desperation was left in him as he could not find the tool that would release him, he suddenly felt another kind of physical pain in which he could feel something inside his back trying to get out, it wasn’t a beast, a creature, just something that was part of him…which frightened him even more. He crawled again far from the cabin where the hobo had sheltered him, he then found a dead tree with a hole in the ground beneath it, he ran to it.

 

“The pain will kill me before I cut it away!” John mumbled, tears streaming down the flesh of his face.

 

When he wished to dig the hole deeper, he saw that his hands, skinned, had long dark nails at the tip of his fingers, and had now become claws, which helped him dig the hole further into the ground.

 

“I’ll die inside of there. Like that no one, Mom, Robert, nor Jack will see me like this…” he thought to himself. When he felt that he hadndug deep enough, he inserted himself inside the earth with some agility that was left in him, which surprised him for just this onemsecond in which he didn’t think of his suffering. Once inside, he continued his journey into the depths, and breathed the air of nature.

 

“No one must see me…” John didn’t understand that it was his pain that was repugnant, not him. He would have given anything to disappear. Which was happening, but not as he wanted.

 

“Why do you think you can control death?” It is the most painful thing everyone has to go through.” said the voice of the creature inside John’s mind.

 

“I’ll wait to die in here…and while doing that, I’ll pray, and remember the best of my life…” John answered.

 

The suffering, the beast that devoured every centimetre of John’s body, the cancer, the virus, began its works, and inside the earth, underneath the dead tree, no one could guess, that a metamorphosis was taking place. It was by remembering what John considered the best times of his life that he could comfort himself inside his earthy refuge, like a story to be written, he made the effort of remembering each detail of the beginning until the ending, even though his brain would inadvertently follow the logical path of the story, even if it wasn’t a happy ending. It was an evening in which he and Jack were heading to Martha’s ballet repetitions to pick her up, as they would then have a drink together for Jack to introduce his best friend. They entered the corridor giving into the classroom, sitting down on the benches where several other people (probably friends and parents) were gazing at the dancers.

 

“Here she is!” Jack exclaimed trying not to be heard by others to John, pointing his finger towards a young and pretty Martha, standing on the dancefloor with the other dancers, waiting for the choreographer’s instructions.

 

“She’s beautiful!” John answered.

 

“Isn’t she? She looks like Audrey Hepburn…” Jack added joyously and proudly, hearts in his eyes and his mind on cloud nine.

 

Thirty minutes passed where the two friends stayed to watch the dancers prepare for their next representation, which was, as John recognized by the music playing on the piano, Swan Lake. Their main professor shouted, interrupted the dancers, made them do it all over again until each little detail was done at the utmost perfection, giving the pianist, that John had looked to for a couple of seconds, a bad time, having to stop and begin again. While Jack was beginning to be impatient for the repetition to finish, John continued to gaze at the frustrated pianist, staring at him with full admiration for his talent at the piano, and his handsome face. Elegant and classy brown hair combed back, golden skin and the most beautiful hands John ever saw…the hands of an artist. John guessed the pianist must have been in his late twenties, which agreed with him, as he was now twenty-five. He was so taken by the beauty of the musician that he could not even realize that the repetitions were finished, and that Martha was advancing towards them. She embraced Jack and said:

 

“I’ve got some wonderful news darling!”

 

“Really? What is it?” Jack asked unable to come back from her wonderful kiss.

 

“I’ll tell you later once we get out of there. I’ll just go and change.”

 

While they embraced again, John stared at what the pianist was doing. He was now talking to the choreographer while putting away his partitions, talking about the dancers and certain changes in the group. He got up, revealed his wonderful body, put his partitions in his suitcase, walked in front of John, said “Hello” rapidly, and vanished from the classroom, leaving John desperately lovestruck, and unable to say a word to anyone until he got a drink in his system at the restaurant.

 

“I was chosen to be the princess in Swan Lake!” Martha exclaimed happily. They raised their glasses when hearing the excellent news. John, who had previously introduced himself, asked by mere curiosity:

 

“What happened to the other dancer?”

 

“Well, I don’t know if you saw during the repetition, but she continued making the same mistake for her entrance so…they decided to have me play the Swan Princess!”

 

“Oh…” John could only say, as he realized that he hadn’t listened to what happened during the repetition as his attention had been fully taken by the pianist.

 

“I told you she’s the best dancer!” Jack added proud and in love.

 

It was one of the best evenings. An evening of joy, laughter, drinks, good food and love. Maybe even for John. They left the restaurant at 11 pm and dropped Martha to her parent’s place by using Jack’s car. They got out in front of a big residence, where John left the two lovers to say goodbye while smoking a cigarette near the car. Jack came back with a big smile on his face, and most importantly, hope for the future in his eyes and attitude.

 

“I’m so glad you got to meet her!” Jack exclaimed while lighting up a cigarette.

 

“Me too. She’s respectful, elegant, has a good vocabulary. She’s great,” John answered.

 

“If only I had my apartment now! If only I lived alone! I wouldn’t have to end my evenings with like this!”

 

“Listen don’t be too eager for that. The contrary is fine, she’ll have more confidence in you! And I find that romantic not to have to hit the sheets at the first date.”

 

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Q & A with Leyla Cardena, and the excerpt. I hope you will check out her books!

 

Find Leyla on Social Media:

 

Blog: Blog | Leyla (leylacardena.com)

Twitter: Leyla Cardena (@CardenaLeyla) / Twitter

Instagram: Leyla Cardena (@leylacardena) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook Page: Leyla Cardena – Becoming Insane | Facebook

Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com: Leyla Cardena: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – #NewRelease, #Poetry by Sally Cronin – Life is Like a Mosaic

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m thrilled to be reviewing Sally Cronin’s new release, fresh off the press – Life is Like a Mosaic – Random Fragments in Harmony.

 

Sally is known for her wonderful and heartfelt shortstories and has created this book full of syllabic poetry and beautiful images to highlight her words in story written through her perspective of life. Later in the book, Sally invites us into a peek at her own life – triumphs and challenges written in rhyming prose.

 

 

Blurb:

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.

An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.

In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams and loss.

The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?

At the end of the collection there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits and love of food!

 

My 5 Star Review:

This author is well-known for her heartfelt short stories and poetry alike. Haiku and Tanka syllabic poetry along with beautiful images are used to express stories about life and nature. Sally Cronin knows how to take the reader in, even in short prose, leaving profound messages to savor and to come back and revisit again and again. She touches on several aspects on life and the human condition with stories about aging, friendship, legacy, birthdays, world peace and more.

In the second part of the book, Cronin treats us with some of her own ‘slices of life’, where she shares tidbits in rhyming prose about some of her own challenges and victories in her life, and the lessons that come along with them with her observations. I enjoyed every single story, but I will point out a few that resonated with me along with my short summations:

Our Legacy – A reminder that being kind will add to our legacies

Silver Lining to Isolation – A good reminder that clocks shouldn’t decide how we use our time.

Advancing Years – The passing of time and  what we have to show for it in the end

The Day After – A peaceful day of reckoning when there is no more war

The Air – Giving air a breath

Friendship – Power and weakness

Birthdays – Marked by wrinkles and laughter lines, a life well-lived

Loose Lips – Those friends who can keep secrets is part of a life well-lived

Ageism – Those who are quick to forget where much of invention originated

Scepticism – Otherwise interpreted as ‘fake news’, scattered truths, misleading media, and as the author states, ”planned outcomes”. “Politics, where truth is scattered on the wind.”

Life’s Progression – The marking of time by learning and love

Thanksgiving – Not the holiday, but every day is good for thanks

Immortality-Writers – What we leave behind

Yearning – For the world that once was, pre-pandemic.

The author shares some of her ‘slices of life’ experiences in rhyming prose:

Childhood Memories – Growing up in Ceylon

Summer Holidays – At the beach

Rebellion in Frome – Age 16, the author defies her mother and gets away with it

The Leftovers – Love and acceptance

Farewell to Colourful Friends – Going back to her roots – pun intended.

As I mentioned earlier in this review, this author can tell big stories in minimal words, always encompassing compassion and goodness in her stories and messages. Recommended reading!

 

Visit all of Sally’s books

 

Sally Cronin's Books

 

©DGKaye2021