My Sunday Book Review is for Stevie Turner’s latest release – Falling, now on pre-order. This is a story of both the literal falling and everything else that falls around James Hynde’s world after his intended demise falls apart, leaving poor 19 year old, Olivia Benet to take ‘the fall’. As always, Stevie always delivers a good story in the women’s fiction category.
Take advantage of Stevie’s pre-order sale now, only 99 cents! Limited time offer!
Death seems preferable to wasting what remains of his youth in prison.
James Hynde, fortified by several tots of whiskey, climbs up onto the roof of Parker Mews’ multi-storey car park and peers over the parapet. The game is up. The police will soon seize his millions, the Maserati, the London townhouse, and the Caribbean mansion on Windjammer Island.
Should he jump feet first or hold out his arms and topple over and over like a somersaulting gymnast? He closes his eyes, feels the breeze on his face, and pitches forward into the unknown.
Sixty feet below, Olivia Benet, a budding ballerina, rushes along Parker Mews towards the entrance to the multi-storey. Her interview for the Royal Ballet had taken much longer than expected, and she has but a few short minutes left before her parking ticket expires.
James has no idea of the consequences his action will have on his and Olivia’s lives.
‘Falling‘ made the finals of the 2022 Page Turner Writing Award.
My 5 Star Review:
This is a story of both the literal falling and everything else that falls around James Hynde’s world after his intended demise falls apart, leaving poor Olivia Benet to take ‘the fall’. As always, Turner always delivers a good story in the women’s fiction category.
James Hynde was in a world of trouble due to his greed and decides the only way out of his mess is to commit suicide – but he couldn’t even get that right because when you’re running bad, the streak continues. Sadly, James’ lame attempt of jumping off a building landed him right on top of poor, innocent 19 years old, Olivia Benet, below. She broke his fall and got the brunt of injuries and paid the price by ending up in a wheelchair and losing her dream to join the ballet company.
Olivia decides to visit James in jail before she began her suing endeavor, to see if she can detect any remorse. Her visits became more frequent to the jail as the more James was rude, the more she felt she had to hear something compassionate. On one of her visits, he finally opens up to her and apologizes. This broke the ice, and we see an ‘interesting’ relationship develop between them. James eventually bares his soul to Olivia, telling her some juicy scoop about some of the money he’d swindled and where it was. This interested Olivia.
When James gets out of jail, his relationship with Olivia heats up. They get together, and then again separate. Later when they reunite, they decide to start up a new business together, out of the city, away from the competition. Some new shady characters are introduced in the new business, along with some baggage from James’ past – mainly, a greedy ex wife.
So, what happens when ex-wife Fiona shows up? Well, you’re going to have to read on to find out what exactly she is after!
Stevie’s books never disappoint. With engaging characters and wonderful plot lines, this book is a lovely escape read.
Visit Stevie’s author page and check out her vast array of engaging books (many of which I’ve read). #Womens Fiction
Welcome to my September Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring, friend and author Trish Power who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Her recent release, Means to Deceive, a psychological thriller, which I’ve read and reviewed, is her latest release.
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.
Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.
Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.
Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.
Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother. But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.
As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build. She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?
When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts. Who can she trust?
Gwen has a dark secret of her own. Can she even trust herself?
Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.
Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.
Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing married principal and spreads gossip.
Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?
Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.
Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.
A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.
If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.
Let’s Welcome Alex and get to know a little more about her.
Hi, Debby! I’ll begin by thanking you from the heart for for this great opportunity to share something about myself and my writing with all of your followers.
D.G. – I’m thrilled to have you over Trish. ❤
Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?
I suspect my whole life is a bit quirky!
There are several practical things I do to try and keep the words coming. For instance, I have a small pile of paper on my desk that has only been used on one side. I fold each sheet in half, blank side outermost, and when a new idea comes to me when the flow is going well, I grab one of these pieces of paper, scribble the idea down and then forget about it to stop it intruding. When I’ve written myself to a standstill, I come back to peruse the idea and decide what to do with it.
In a similar vein, some of my best ideas come to me in the night. Sadly, come the morning I’d remember I’d had a wonderful line or brilliant way to tie-in a new section but had forgotten the details! Turning on the light to write them down certainly meant that I remembered them, but didn’t make for a great night’s sleep for me or my husband… Now, I have a similar stack of used paper on my bedside table with a pencil resting on top of it. When an idea surfaces, I write it down in the dark. Quite often, I’ll have several different things occur to me and I have to try to recall how far down the page I’d reached with the last comment. It doesn’t always work and it’s well nigh impossible to untangle two or more lines of writing scrawled on top of each other.
The ‘half asleep writing’ frequently extricates me from a tricky dilemma I’ve written myself into. My other method is to go into the garden and do some weeding. There’s plenty of weeding to be done and so I never run out of material! There’s something about mindlessly pulling stuff out of the ground that sets the subconscious free to untangle things.
D.G. – Lol Trish, I had to laugh because I use a similar method. When I’m writing and following thought and think of something else I want to add, I add it in the margin – don’t forget, I write longhand. As for night thoughts and not wanting to disturb, you could open your Kindle and use the backlight to shine upon your paper without disturbing hubby. That may work better. Tip: I keep my Kindle on low light at night so it doesn’t keep me wide awake when reading late at night.
Do you find your writing is geared towards a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?
Frequently, my writing is driven by a need to share experiences that concern me. That does sound self-indulgent and “worthy”, but it’s what was behind many of the short stories for magazines that I wrote when the children were tiny. I wrote about peer pressure, domestic abuse, inequalities – that sort of thing. There were others that I wrote simply for fun and they were well-received, too, but those were a pleasure to write and there wasn’t that driving need to pen them.
My first novel, Someone Close to Home, was written because I’d been visiting family and friends in the generation above me in a variety of care homes and what I saw was so upsetting I found myself crying at one point, not in sorrow but in rage. This book crossed so many genre boundaries it was a nightmare to categorise. I decided that my next book would sit nicely withing a recognized niche. It was a romantic suspense/psychological thriller about a young woman damaged by guilt from the past who found herself in increasing danger from someone in the community. Means to Deceive was started when the first book was being sorted for publication. But… … it was the end of 2015 and the situation in our health service was bothering me. Our NHS has been a gold standard model throughout the world, but parts of it were being hived off to private companies and the core of it wasn’t being maintained. So, I stopped the second book and went off on another social grouse! This was Acts of Convenience, but it had to be shelved for several years because my mother developed two different forms of dementia that made writing impossible. When I did get back to it, I ended up with another published book that didn’t sit nicely in a category. So I dug out Means to Deceive again.
D.G. – No doubts our connection is kindred spirits. We are both people bothered by social injustice. Although I say it out loud in nonfiction, you work those issues beautifully into your fiction.
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?
Well, after that last answer, I’m sure you can guess my response!
Someone Close to Home was written in the first person because I wanted readers to be able to identify with the situation where you leave your home and all the possessions you’ve acquired over your lifetime and end up in one cramped room totally dependent on the goodness of others. Most of the staff I came across on my visits were absolutely brilliant, but all it takes is someone who treats you like a commodity – or worse – to turn it into a nightmare. I’ve had so many people write to me about their shared experiences that I know this situation isn’t restricted to the UK. I wrote about residents who were unable to feed themselves, having their food left on the tray in front of them only for it to be removed untouched by someone (tutting) later. That resonated far too often with people. The concerns I’d classify as abuse were also horribly familiar to others.
Acts of Convenience takes the central character Cassie from 2017 to 2055. She’s a nurse and she and the family are at the sharp end of the consequences of expedient legislation made by successive governments. It reflects my concerns about cutting funding for the treatment of the elderly and chronically sick, working conditions, the exploitation of our information and privacy by unscrupulous companies, the manipulation of media, our exposure to foreign hacking – loads of things that concern me! Because Cassie eventually joins a group to expose the corruption she’s witnessing, the book begins as social description and ends as a thriller. I was so unsure of it as a format, I haven’t tried to market it but I’ve had some terrific responses from people and may decide to do so some promotion in the future.
In similar vein, I realized that my romantic suspense/psychological thriller, Means to Deceive, was becoming hijacked by my concerns about social media and so I made a conscious decision to nip that in the bud and stay within the traditional genre. Instead, I’ve transferred my concerns about the abuse of social media into a novella called The Bubble Reputation which I’m polishing at the moment to get it ready for publication.
D.G. – I am looking forward to eventually reading your two other books, which currently are resting on my reader. As you pointed out the content, and had previously warned me of the content, and due to the too much I myself have witnessed with my husband’s frequent hospital visits, I’m not yet ready to read such content. But I am looking forward to your new, upcoming book!
What’s your favourite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?
My mode of writing has evolved through the years. When I was six, I wrote with a stubby pencil in an exercise book. The pencil was replaced with one of those “new-fangled” biros when I was a bit older.
The short stories for magazines were hand written in a big notebook and then transferred to my portable typewriter to send for publication. Typing then was considerably tougher than it is today! For a start, you had to properly jab the keys to get the letters to hit the paper. There was also the dismay when you reached the last line of a page and made a mistake. I never feltI could send a copy with the offending error blotted out in that bright “Bay Watch teeth white” corrector, and so I’d roll another page in place and take it from the top again.
We bought a secondhand electric typewriter in an auction and it was so touch sensitive, I’d written a whole line of “T”s before I managed to add the “h” and “e” of the first word. It was so easy to use but it didn’t remove the irritation of making mistakes. Writing by hand was less frustrating.
Then we come to computers. Oh my! To be able to correct errors was a delight in itself, but it’s also blessedly easy to move things around, change vocabulary, check for overused words and insert new material that improves a section.
When mapping out a novel, I always start with a pen and paper because it’s easier to brainstorm that way, but for the actual text it has to be my trusty laptop.
(Here I must add a caveat: when saving my precious work at the end of the day, I add the current date to the title. This prevents me uploading an older version or, worse, overwriting one. Learn from my bitter experience!)
D.G. – So nice to learn that you too write longhand, even to start. As you know, I’m a dinosaur who writes her books, reviews and blogs in longhand first. Lol. And thanks for your last tip, adding the date. Don’t get me started how many times I found myself creating new copies with edits. Oye! ❤
How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?
Overwhelming doesn’t come close!
I’m from that generation that was castigated for “blowing their own trumpet”. I find it really hard to sell from that point of view alone.
I’m only on Facebook. (I tried to get to grips with Twitter but reading the guides to it were like wading through molasses in concrete boots.) Everyone who knows me also knows what an eejit I am when it comes to Facebook. I feel anxious every time I have dealings with the site (daily) because I don’t know if I’m following etiquette correctly or posting where I should. I could do with someone to go through it with me in short sentences composed of simple one-syllable words. An example of my stupidity is that I haven’t had any notifications for at least four days. I wondered if everyone was on holiday (!). When I dug deeper today, I discovered hundreds of posts, some of which were important. I’ve been on the help site but, despite thinking I’m fairly competent in the English language, I still don’t understand what’s going on – or what on earth a push post is.
It’s also a source of shame to me that I don’t have my own blog where I can post other people’s reviews. I don’t know how you do it and still find the time to exist. Our three children and seven grandchildren all live within a few miles of us and can drop in any time (still socially distanced) in our garden. They fill my days with delight. I also have several health issues that mean that when things are bad I need to slope off to bed. These are my excuses, but I know that others who manage blogs have families, full-time jobs and other commitments.
My admiration and unbounded gratitude go to people like you, Debby, who give me the oxygen of publicity in a form that I can handle. Well, to be honest, I’m not handling it -you are! It must take considerable time and trouble to organize this promotion for me and I can’t stress how much I appreciate it, particularly as I know you have your own writing projects on the go.
Sally Cronin is also a tireless promoter of authors which must cut considerably into her own writing time. Diana Wallace Peach is yet another terrific writer who goes out of her way to review and boost those of us without big publishing companies behind us. There’s really too many supportive people to list here but I have to give another shout-out to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore who give me a nudge when there’s a review about me on Facebook that I’ve missed, and who post those same reviews for me. I really do need that Facebook lesson!
D.G. – First, don’t beat yourself up about ‘fakebook’ (as I prefer to call it, lol). They are forever changing their set up. Most of us don’t get our notifications until days or weeks later. They have taken away all the easy ways for us authors to navigate our pages. I, along with several author friends have discussed this and have given up posting on our author pages, or our author pages, period. We are a supportive community, and I so appreciate the sharing and help from others when I too need it. I will second what you said about Sally. As for me, I’ve been a multi-tasker all my life and spent a lot of time learning the tediousness (Is that a word?) of social media. But trust me, I, along with others, have certainly had our share of technical blog issues. I am grateful to have Colleen Chesebro as a Sister/Friend who always comes to my rescue when things get out of control. It does take a village sometimes. I love promoting other authors and giving back, so it’s worth the work for me. ❤
It was a pleasure having you here today Trish. I do hope readers will check out your addictive books.
Excerpt from Means to Deceive
The blisters have burst and some of them are seeping blood. I’d been so desperate to obliterate the obscene writing that I’d worked through the pain but now the sensation is making itself known and I suck my lower lip between my teeth and clamp down on it.
Ben speaks quietly. ‘I didn’t appreciate the extent of the damage. This must hurt like the devil.’
I shake my head and release my lip. ‘It’s just a few blisters.’
‘Well, let’s get some antiseptic onto them and then see about covering them up. I’ll try to be as gentle as I can.’
He opens an antiseptic wipe and dabs my damaged palm. For someone with such large hands he has a remarkably light touch.
‘I’m afraid some of this is down to me.’ He continues dabbing at my palm which is now on fire. ‘That shower will have softened the skin allowing things to get this bad.’
I shake my head. I’m trying to keep the pain hidden and don’t trust my voice. He picks up the cream and applies a coating that quickly brings the fire down to a smoulder and then he fixes a clean white dressing in place.
‘Right. Time to do the other one.’
He takes my left hand and studies it. Mine is pale and tiny in comparison with his.
‘These don’t look so bad. They’re still raw but they’re not bleeding.’ He starts to dab at them. ‘I think you’ll get away with some plasters on these.’
I say nothing, watching as his hands continue to work methodically and efficiently. There’s something soothing, almost mesmerising, about the process and it comes as a surprise when he announces, ‘There. I think that’ll do.’
‘Thanks. You were right. It was quicker and easier this way.’ I don’t know what else to say and that familiar gaucheness overcomes me. ‘You’ve obviously done this sort of thing before.’
‘I’ve a younger sister who was always getting herself into scrapes.’ His mouth tightens into a straight line and he busies himself putting things back into the green tin.
The kitchen door opens and Claire bustles through. ‘Right. Well, that’s me finished, Gwen.’ She notices the two of us sitting together and adds, ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise you had your young man here.’
Our response is instant and she simply nods and carries on as normal. ‘Well, your grandmother’s comfy. She wouldn’t have a shower but she’s had a good wash, eaten most of her breakfast and she’s watching TV now.’ She heads for the door and turns to add, ‘Don’t forget she has an appointment with Dr Kumari at 4.30 this afternoon.’
A groan escapes me. ‘Thanks, Claire. It’d gone completely out of my mind.’
‘It ain’t surprising, my dear, after all the …er…’ The words drift off and I appreciate her tact but squirm at the knowledge that she’s aware of what’s happened. ‘Well, I’ll leave you to it then.’ She takes another couple of steps and then stops again. ‘Will you be able to get her there? Without your car, I mean?’
I can feel heat flame my face. ‘Yes. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.’
‘There we are then. I’ll see you again on Tuesday. Bye’
Ben hands me the tin and I cross to the dresser and replace it in its drawer. I stand with my back to him, giving myself time to recover from this latest blow. How am I going to get her to the surgery without my car? Can I afford two taxis?
I turn back to Ben. ‘Many thanks for all your help. If there’s anything I can do to repay you, please let me know.’
It’s a dismissal and he knows it. He clicks his fingers at Atticus who chooses to obey him and crosses to his side. But he’s hesitating.
‘What will you do without your car this afternoon?’
‘I’ll get a taxi.’ I’ve made my voice light and assured. ‘It’s not a problem.’
He heads towards the door, Atticus lolloping faithfully at his heels, but he pauses and then comes back. ‘Look, I need to book myself in with a medical centre and I may as well do that today as I have to be in town this afternoon anyway.’
‘No. It’s all right. We’ll manage.’
He runs a hand around the back of his neck. ‘Are you always this obstinate?’
I’m stuck for an answer. Part of me is bristling at the accusation while the rest of me is shouting that his help in this would be a godsend.
‘Gwen, I’m going into town later. It would be no bother at all to give you and your grandmother a lift to the centre. It’s up to you.’
I swallow my pride, audibly. ‘Thank you. It would be a great help.’
He gives a nod of his head. ‘Right. If I come round at about ten past four will that give you long enough?’
‘That would be perfect.’
‘And I’ll come in to the centre on my way back from dropping off some plans at the office, sign up and drop you back home again.’
I open my mouth to protest, notice the humorous challenge in his eyes, and meekly thank him.
Alex’s upcoming book:
Coming soon! – The Bubble Reputation! An unscrupulous editor does a hatchet job on Emmie Hobson, based on weasel words such as ‘our sources say’, ‘an insider confides’ ‘friends disclose’, etc. Social media picks up the baton runs with it, unleashing hateful rhetoric that threatens Emmie and all that she holds dear…
I was introduced to the poetry of John Roedel by my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon. Roedel writes heartfelt poetry from his soul. As a writer myself who writes raw from my soul, and as a griever, John’s poetry hits the mark with everything he writes. Upon Departure is his newest release I was eagerly awaiting to read. Roedel’s storytelling through prose and poetry is sure to touch anyone who has ever loved and lost.
From bestselling poet, storyteller and speaker John Roedel, comes a collection of poetry that explores the concept that our grief as a natural wonder that terraforms the landscape of our world in increments. It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.
let’s lace our hands as if eternity is opening up the veil into the great mystery right in front of us
let’s feel our fingers against each other as if this is the last time we will touch before we become celestial kites
let’s part our lips and say what we should have said to each other years ago:
“I love you. I love you so. I forgive you.
I’m sorry. I’m blessed to know you. I’m so grateful to you.”
My 5 Star Review:
Upon Departure is one of the best books I’ve read on heartfelt poetry, and on loving, life, and losing. After reading, Untied – the poetry of how knots become strings, also by Roedel, and as a writer myself, and one who is also living through grief, I will say that Roedel’s poetry speaks to me louder than some of the other many books I’ve read on grief. And this is simply because the rawness and realness of his pain jumps off the pages, especially to those of us who have also walked the walk – and are still walking through the haze of grief.
In this new release of prose and poetry, the book begins with a short introduction to Roedel’s journey of losing his father, the whirlwind of emotions, the unacceptance and disbelief, till the final acceptance, the ‘what ifs’ of doing things differently he experienced, and how the lingering effects continue through his own journey through life. In this beautiful book, you won’t find a table of contents, nor will you find titles of each poem, rather a story in prose spoken through poetry of words that paint pictures of loss, loving, hope, and eternal love, in metaphors. For anyone who loves emotional poetry, looking for comfort in poetry, or seeks a path in understanding grief, this is a book for you.
poem #1 begins:
“I don’t care what form
you return to me
I just want you back”
The poem continues on with stanzas about how Roedel doesn’t care in which form ‘you’ appear to me in various appearances:
“If you come back to me
as our favorite song on the radio
I’ll pull the car over immediately
and let the music retell our love story
on 80s power ballad at a time…”
“If you come back to me
as a row of goosebumps on my bare arm
I will trace my fingers across my skin
Carefully so I can read the love letter
you wrote to me in spirit braille…”
“If you come back to me
As a passage in a book
I will grab the fattest eraser I can find
And get rid of all the periods so you
Can become a run-on sentence…”
One of my favorites, Poem #10, grief summed up in a post card:
“Your grief is the purest love letter that you can ever send to the one you have lost to death…every tear that rolls down the grooves on your face is the most tender postcard you will ever write…”
“…everybody that you have lost along the way
returns to you on your last day
-it turns out that
love is a boomerang.”
Roedel has another wonderful book titled, Hey God, and wrote another excerpt for this book:
#13 – Me: Hey God…
“Grief keeps sneaking up on me.
God: To grieve means that you have loved. Grieving is one of the truest human experiences that you will ever participate in. It often arrives without warning – like a late-day summer storm – obscuring the sun and drenching you in downpour. It’s a gift, isn’t it?”
“…Bereavement is the debt you must pay for having loved. There is no getting over the loss of a beloved who is now resting in the arms of endless love. Grief has no expiration date. Despite the pass of time, the phantom pain of mourning is always one memory away from returning.”
From poem #15
“Every tear of
Loss that we shed
Carries with it
The DNA-of the relationship
Of the love
Of the story
That two people
Poem #16 might be my favorite:
Tells about the writer stating he’s just a tourist in the world, and writes of all earthly experiences and possessions he’ll leave behind:
“…except for my
thoughts of you
-they are coming with me…”
Poem #22 – Where the author uses metaphors likening grief to a field of “rosebushes and bees”
“…Grief is a stretching field full
of thick beautiful rose bushes
and bees that you must travel
through to get to the other side…”
“…On the other side of the field of
grief is another – even bigger field
of grief that has even more beautiful
rose bushes and even angrier bees
and even more pointy thorns that you
must get through…”
“Being mortal means that we are all caught in a loop of meeting each other at Baggage Claim…”
Roedel goes on to say “To grieve the death of a beloved isn’t something that we check off in a box. Once we experience grief it changes us forever. Grief transforms us. Grief doesn’t just stay for a weekend, Grief moves into the loft of our hearts…”
“Grief isn’t an obstacle we overcome – it’s a masterclass in what it means to be human.”
“It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.”
“Life is life
there can be no after
for something that never ends…”
“…because love is the act of holding hands with
another person and counting to infinity by twos…”
“There is this unspoken call for us to have our wounds become scars long before they are ready to.”
“To grieve means that we have taken the risk to love without fear.”
“These tears are proof.
That I loved.”
“It’s okay, my love. Eternity is holding me. Death isn’t an end. Death is a threshold. I’m still here. I never left. Love doesn’t die. I remain. There is no afterlife. There is only life. I’m here wih you. Love doesn’t die.”
“…After somebody that you love dies, it feels as if you have lost a limb. Even years later there can be phantom pains that can send you to your knees…”
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I was delighted to finally get to reading Pete Springer’s wonderful book on his memoirs of how he finally became a teacher, and his sharing about how he became a successful and nurturing teacher, offering a wealth of worthy advice that any teacher should be reading to help them strive to excellence.
Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human!
Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)
My 5 Star Review:
I am going to start this review by saying that every teacher should read this book! The author begins this book by sharing his journey of becoming a teacher. That wasn’t his original plan as he tried to figure out through various other jobs, what he wanted to do in life. The universe certainly led him to the right place. This book reads like a memoir, and it surely is a recounting of Springer’s teaching, but also offers a wealth of lessons for educators and parents.
The author shares information about how to be a great teacher, with more than just knowing the curriculum. He describes the various things he did in his teaching years to not only educate his students, but to teach them about compassion for others, sharing, kindness, inclusiveness, as he goes the extra mile to grow their self-esteems, helping them to become worthy of themselves. As the author says himself, he played many more roles than just a teacher.
Springer gives praise when it is deserved to validate his student’s accomplishments and discipline when warranted in a fashion that didn’t criticize, nor embarrass a child, but with speaking gently so the child could learn the errors of their ways. He shared some of his own hurdles, pitfalls and accomplishments to give insight to his students so they could find a common ground and understand that even the teacher made mistakes. He found best methods of organization in classrooms after assessing his kids and grouping them where he deemed they’d fare best, and disciplined justifiably with understanding for the students, rewarding them for great accomplishments. Show and Tell in class was used for a student to demonstrate an accomplishment, while teaching others in the class something useful. These are the positives an adult can instill in a child to grow their pride moving forward in life. This teacher even spent special one-on-one time outside of a school project to form bonds.
Springer then goes into his interactions with parents because of the importance of them appreciating what they need to know about their child, including some of the more challenging discussions teachers may encounter with parents and how to handle those situations. Similarly, he shares the importance of interacting with both colleagues and the boss (the principal). He discusses good working relationships, sharing different teaching techniques, getting along, the importance of not gossiping, and sharing info without crossing privacy boundaries. He talks about discipline, how to discipline so the child learns their mistakes in a positive light. As he explains, if you only berate a child, all they would take from that is retreat, hurt, and wouldn’t learn to grow from their mistakes.
Springer offers excellent insights for all teachers to understand there is so much more to being a teacher than just teaching curriculum. He shares his own insights as to why he used certain methods and why they were effective.
Springer shares some personal stories of memorable moments, and students, how he rectified certain situations that every teacher will encounter, and his passion for teaching and its rewards. He covers a lot of ground, from the importance of laughter – embarrassing moments teaching health class, field trip shenanigans, even the sad topic of preparing with drills for lockdowns. He even covers the state of affairs currently with teacher shortages, supply room shortages, and how he went the extra mile bringing things in to give his students a great and enjoyable education.
Springer was so much more than just a teacher to his students. And it’s no surprise why some of them would call him ‘Mom’ by mistake, as they felt that comfortable with this remarkable teacher.
This book is not just for teachers. I think it’s an excellent understanding for every parent who have children in the school system. Often parents don’t know all of what goes on with their child in school. But teacher Pete had an excellent execution of keeping parents informed and engaging with them.
Welcome to my Sunday book review. Today I’m reviewing one of the most important books I’ve read yet on grief and loss and a path to healing by Christina Rasmussen – Second Firsts. She received her masters in bereavement in 1998, and as she claims, when she had to live in her own words in 2006 when she lost her own husband at age 35, nothing she learned had prepared her for such loss. She knew her husband’s fate, yet when she lay with him in his final moments of life listening to his last heartbeats, she felt like she had died with him. This is my life! She explains how she came to write this book, questioning herself how she could tell people their hearts would someday mend when she felt her own would never. “Grief takes us into the Waiting Room but our Survivor fear of losing it all again is what keeps us there.” Below, I’d like to share her message to the reader in the beginning of this book:
“I have lived in the shadow of loss-the kind of loss that can paralyze you forever.
I have grieved like a professional mourner-in every waking moment, draining every ounce of my life force.
I died-without leaving my body.
But I came back, and now it’s your turn.
I have learned to remember my past-without living in it.
I am strong, electric, and alive, because I chose to dance, to laugh, to love, and to live again.
I have learned that you can’t re-create the life you once had – you have to reinvent a life for yourself.
And that reinvention is a gift, not a curse.
I believe your future self is a work of art and that science can help you create it.
If you’re lost . . . if you’re gone . . . if you can barely absorb the words on this page . . . I want you to hold this truth in your heart: when it’s your time to go, you won’t wish you had spent more time grieving; you’ll wish you had spent more time living.
That’s why I’m here. And why you are, too. Let’s live like our lives depend on it.”
A widow and therapist explores grief, loss, and our innate resilience in this updated guide, drawing on neuroscience and personal experience to lead the bereaved through the five stages of healing
After studying to become a therapist and crisis intervention counselor—even doing her master’s thesis on the stages of bereavement—Christina Rasmussen thought she understood grief. But it wasn’t until losing her husband to cancer in her early 30s that she truly grasped the depths of sorrow and pain that accompany loss. Using the knowledge she gained while wading through her own grief and reading hundreds of neuroscience books, Rasmussen began to look at experiences in a new way. She realized that grief plunges you into a gap between worlds—the world before loss and the world after loss. She also realized how easy it is to become lost in this gap.
In Second Firsts, Rasmussen walks you through her Life Reentry process to help you break grief’s spiral of pain, so you can stop simply surviving and begin to live again. She shows you that loss can actually be a powerful catalyst to creating a life that is in alignment with your true passions and values. The resilience, strength, and determination that have gotten you through this difficult time are the same characteristics that will help you craft your wonderful new life. Her method, which she has used successfully with thousands of clients, is based on the science of neuroplasticity and focuses on consciously releasing pain in ways that both honor suffering and rewire the brain to change your perception of the world and yourself.
Using practical exercises and stories drawn from her own life and those of her clients, Rasmussen guides you through five stages of healing that help you open up to new possibilities. From acknowledging your fear, to recognizing where you stand now, to taking active steps toward a new life, Rasmussen helps you move past the pain and shows that it’s never too late to step out of the gap and experience life again—as if for the first time.
My 5 Star Review:
This book should be on every griever’s reading list. A raw, compassionate telling begins this book of Rasmussen’s own experience with a great loss precedes the premise of this book, a path to healing through her 5 Stages ‘Reentry Model’ – how to enter back into the world of the living from an abyss of grief and loss and a feeling of loss of our own identity. The author will tell us about ‘the Waiting Room’, a space where us sufferers are stuck between the inseparable past and the unfathomable future, and our ‘invisible losses’. As she states in the beginning of her book, she got her masters degree on bereavement in 1998 and had to live her own words in 2006 when her own husband died, claiming, nothing she’d been taught prepared her for her own grief and loss.
The author tells us that grief makes us question our reality, our safety, and our abilities. “You are more than your loss; you are a whole human being waiting to come back to life.” Rasmussen explains she wrote this book to help us see the light and build a bridge from our past to where we are now. When our identities have been ripped from us through grief and uncertainty and despite our wanting to move forward, we get stuck, and this book will reignite parts of us that have been shattered by loss.
This book is about the five stages of self-guided discovery and reentry process. It teaches us how to use the brain’s ability to rewire itself to help move past fear and sadness that looms over us. “You can live as you grieve.” Teaching us that we can meld our two worlds of grief and living. “Starting over isn’t only about the life you leave behind. It’s about the life that lies ahead of you.”
She speaks at first of the three stages to recover from loss by creating new habits to rewire our brains instead of staying stuck in grief and making it our default mode. Focus on new things to move forward. Loss forces us to leave behind the life we knew and we can’t just push out the old life, so we’re stuck in a gap between two lives – the ‘waiting room’, where we reside while afraid to take steps forward in our new present life because we’re safe in that grief. “It’s not the grief that stops us from starting life over, but fear of losing that life all over again.” Fear keeps us stuck in grief. She teaches us to create a ‘launchpad’, not staying in survival mode for distraction, but to move forward. “Loss can be a launchpad into a new dimension of living.”
Five stages of Reentry – 1. Get real – losses are real, grieve and acknowledge and validate your loss and feelings to begin getting real about our new life. Explore and confront our grief, write out our invisible losses. The more we understand our invisible losses (loss of security, support, identity, etc.), the better we leave ‘the waiting room’. Instead of reflecting on our futures, the grieving brain stays locked in the past – the ‘infinite loop of loss’. 2. Plug in – learn to replace fear induced procrastination with action. Reconnecting with life in small steps, ie: going out, making plans, inviting life back into grief. And letting go of what no longer serves us – including relationships. 3.Shift – “When the dream that was, no longer can be, you have to dream a different dream.” She explains how switching ‘Survivor’ thoughts back to the living by getting ready to join back into life, using positive thoughts to overcome the voice of loss. “The goal is to end the habit of repeating thoughts of loss by instead repeating thoughts of life.” How to face the fears that block our happiness. How to shift our thoughts using affirmation and visualization because “Grief creates habits and beliefs in our minds that don’t serve us.” She demonstrates methods to learn to love ourselves again by focusing on people who lift us and our positive attributes and offers us to take ten minutes to visualize us in a brighter future. “Evolution does not take place when our hearts break but when they mend.” Advising us to create a new relationship with ourselves and find a supportive tribe. 4. Discover – she reminds that our ‘Survivor’ self needs to get out of the ‘Waiting Room’ with our false sense of feeling wanting to remain comfortable there and get back into a mindset of connecting with the ‘Thriver’ self that remains within us buried. Relearn how we overcame and triumphed over losses of the past to create a happy future. 5. Reenter Life – Finding your new life, dreaming big, and setting goals. The author instructs us to write out goals we want from our new life, and affirm those aspirations daily, as we get what we focus on. She speaks about the certainty that we will have moments of guilt and betrayal as we venture on to a new life, and possibly a new relationship, reminding that ‘Survivor’ mode will occasionally surface – “Because of your sadness, you have more depths in you to feel joy.” And adds, we also gain the compassion to help mend other’s broken hearts. We are told to create a separate place for the grief and guilt that will occasionally push through and to envision a separate housing unit for those feelings to dwell in. It’s okay to visit there when we need, but we know the way back, and not to stay there. Once we’ve processed our grief, “Reentry doesn’t mean we forget those we once loved or forget our pain. It means we remember how to live.”
Rasmussen concludes by saying some pieces of our old life are now scattered in the universe, never needing to be found again, but tells us our hearts will give birth to new pieces. The new ‘me’ is born from loss, every cell changed in us when our hearts broke.
This book is a most helpful guide to help grievers learn to separate grief from getting on with living, in stages.
“The heart remembers the past by loving in the present.”
“There are no words to describe the experience of losing someone you love more than life itself. You cannot know the feeling unless you have experienced it.”
“Loss is not something that keeps happening to you; it’s an event.”
“In the midst of his death, I lost my life too…we were both in a place between two worlds.”
“He died on July 21, 2006 at 2:00am. I died with him at 2:01 am.”
“The silence of grief attacks your body.”
“Everything about me changed, and everything about the world around me was altered forever.”
“Why hadn’t the world prepared me for this agony?”
“Mending is the ability to reenter life with a broken heart, while it’s getting fixed.”
My Sunday Book Review this week is for Joy Lennick’s ‘factional’ story – The Catalyst. The train bombing event that took place in July of 2005 in the U.K. was a tragedy that Joy has taken and built an interesting story around the incident, bringing in her two main characters who got caught in the fallout, as she takes us into their lives as the incident occurs, and their lives after.
When a terrorist blows up an Inner Circle line train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate at around 8.50 am on 7th July 2005, it leaves seven people dead and many others injured, some badly. In the horrific explosion one of those injured is journalist Ian Grosvenor. Also trapped and wounded is a young mother and artist, Serena Mason. Among the ‘walking wounded’, Ian becomes a reluctant hero by helping other passengers and carries Serena from the train, before collapsing. Ian and Serena slowly recover from the worst of their injuries, both physical and mental, but are haunted by the memory of each other and what they suffered on that dreadful day. The desire to trace and discover how each fared grows stronger with time, until it becomes almost an obsession. In all, three trains and a bus were blown up, killing and injuring young and old alike. It was ‘an act of indiscriminate terror’ affecting Britons and non-Britons, Christians, Muslims, and those of other or no religion. This story covers more than the young couple’s aftermath traumas and recovery; it reveals a dark family secret, and highlights the importance of the love and support of families and friends in times of need. It also illuminates the ever present ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘coincidences’ which weave in and out of all our lives, and the wonderful power of humour. Will Ian and Serena ever find each other? And if they do, will they find happiness?
My 5 Star Review:
This story begins with the horrific bombing incident that took place in London, July 7, 2005. The author takes us into the horror of the event, and introduces us to two main characters, Ian, a journalist who was severely injured, and despite his injuries, he manages to rescue, Serena, an artist and fellow passenger in his same carriage on the train.
The story grows from the bombing to Ian’s injuries while in hospital, where we are introduced to some of his family members – his sister Sally, his dad, and Sally’s husband Mark. As the story continues, we are taken into Ian’s divorced life, the bonds he shares with his family, and some very picturesque scenes later when Ian is back out in the field on assignment in Spain. But all the while he cannot help but wonder what has become of the young woman he rescued on the train. There was certainly no time for conversation in the midst of a disaster when the mission was survival. And as the author takes us through wonderfully detailed story of incidents in Ian’s life with some of his friends and family, the question continues to haunt Ian about whatever happened to the young woman he rescued.
In the last part of the book, we are taken into the life and struggle of Serena and her healing, the woman that Ian rescued. We’ll learn about her past, her raising a son as a single mother, her deep friendships that helped nurse her back to the living from her PTSD and physical injuries, and her same curiosity that lingered within, wondering about what ever became of the man who rescued her.
Without spoilers, let’s just say that the universe eventually brings us to where we need to be. What we do with it when we get there, you’ll have to find out by reading this engaging read of life, circumstances, and relationships.
Welcome to my August Q & A. Today I’m happy to introduce and feature, friend and author, Martha Perez. Martha has authored many books and currently writes quite a few series on Kindle Vella. Honestly, I don’t know how she finds the time to put out so many books! Recently, I’ve read two of her books that I’ve reviewed on my Sunday Book Review, her memoir on the loss of her beloved son Rudy in, My Beloved Son, and The Calm and the Storm, a nonfiction inspirational book. Today Martha is sharing her newest release with us, A Little Piece of Me.
Martha Perez was born in raised in Los Angeles, CA. She now lives in West Covina. Martha is a wife, mother, grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters, and dog lover of Toby and Bella. Broken Pieces is her first book; Broken Heart is her second book and is an accomplishment of which she is very proud. Now she has over 25 books. She is a woman with simple tastes. She loves reading books. Martha reads one book a week, and because of this, her love for writing stories was born. She likes taking long walks in the evening to unwind and sipping a glass of her favorite wine Moscato. Martha enjoys going to baseball games, movies, and unknown adventures.
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 him for nine months–280 days, 40 weeks, and raised him to be an amazing young man. No love is more significant than a mother’s love for her child. As I write this, tears of joy and sorrow flow down my cheeks. I miss him so much and his beautiful smile. I’ve written this book to help me and others who lost a child get through the aching pain; and to let you know that you are not alone. This book is a memoir with poems and is very inspirational; with lovely pictures of our family. 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. I know Rudy’s in a place where there’s no pain, just happiness–an angel in Heaven. He leaves behind a mother, father, sister, and two nieces. I will always be brokenhearted, love, and adore my son. God bless him.
My Beloved Son Reviews: Eva Pasco
In the genre of Memoirs/Teen & Young Adult Biography, this book resonates with the grief of losing a son unexpectedly at the age of 37. Told from his mother’s point of view, her heartache and sorrow fill every page. Honesty, candidness, and authenticity also fill every page, painting a realistic picture of family dynamics during Rudy’s childhood. She writes about respecting how a husband and wife handle grief differently in their own way. There are even a couple of chapters where Rudy’s father adds his perspective. Because this story is written by a mother who has experienced a parent’s worst nightmare, the coping strategies mentioned by the author and her husband can be taken to heart. She divulges her daily struggles and resolve to get through one day at a time. Her best advice, regardless of our circumstances in life:
“Time will leave us one day with only memories and you don’t want to be on the side of regret, of not having told someone how much you love them or show how much you care. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing’s too important than your family and loved ones, everything else can wait.” Moreover, Ms. Perez pays a beautiful tribute to Rudy—undisputedly a beloved son, loyal friend, and upstanding individual I’m grateful to have come across between the pages of her book.
A heart – wrenching personal love story Martha wakes up one morning feeling uneasy. She knows something is wrong. She goes about her normal routine with a nagging feeling that she can’t shake. She feels anxious and distracted. Then, she gets the phone call that is the nightmare of every parent on earth. Her son, Rudy isn’t breathing. Following a page-turning beginning, Martha gives a moment – to – moment account of what happened after that devastating call as well as the days that followed. Here is where her ability as a writer shines. Author Martha Perez bears her shattered heart as she pens this touching love story. Her profound words grab at the reader’s heart, as she expresses her anguish and grief, without hesitation. She tells the reader exactly how she is feeling, how devastating this is to a parent and how she and her husband are handling their son’s untimely death. You cry along with her as you read her deepest thoughts during the first few days and weeks. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has lost a child or a loved one. My soul ached along with the author as she expressed her grief. Martha speaks freely and openly about her loss in a way that every person can relate to. As a lovely bonus, “My Beloved Son” is filled with beautiful poetry, writings of Rudy’s father, and photos of the author’s son and her family scattered within. I give Martha Perez’s book five stars for its beautifully written, honest, and heart – wrenching story of love.
Another Inspirational Book by Martha Perez! This book will help you in so many ways. Due to the number of readers that wanted “The Calm and The Storm” to be available in a book, Martha Perez created, “A Little Piece Of Me”. By adding extra chapters, quotes, photos, and stories of inspiration, you will not be disappointed. It doesn’t matter what you are dealing with, this book will have something in it that will help you along the way. We all have moments where we need to be uplifted. This book will put you in a better mood or keep you in a good mood if you’re in one already! “A Peaceful Promise” is an inspirational book that got a lot of people inspired by Martha Perez. “A Little Piece Of Me” will be a great book for you if inspiration is what you’re looking for. Enjoy!
Let’s get to know more about Martha!
Did you have a passion for writing as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
My writing and thoughts come from happiness and days of deep sorrow. The only way of life’s profound mysteries and love was by writing it in words, emotions not otherwise addressed. I have always had a passion for writing and reading. My journey in life gave me the tools to be creative with my imagination. I ran wild with it; it was my escape from reality. I remember my teacher always made me read first, and when I would write a story. He made me stand up in front of the class. That was the only time the kids in my class wouldn’t make fun of me or bully me because I was different from them. When you are not anyone’s child, your clothes are dissimilar, and you are not good enough to have groups of friends; so I became a loner. When summer came, most kids went on vacation.
When we returned to school, we had an assignment; to write what we did and where we went for our vacation. When I heard that the kids in my class went and did things that were fun, I felt sad because all I did was clean the house. I sneaked out to play for a couple of hours.
The following day as I had predicted, Mr. Montejano asked me to stand and read in front of the class. My hands were shaking as I held the white piece of paper filled with the words that I have written.. I said my Mom and Dad took me to Hawaii. I had created a make-believe family and used my imagination about how Hawaii looked and what we did. I had everyone’s attention; you could have heard a pin drop. When I finished reading from my paper, everyone clapped, and my teacher gave me an A for my story. He told me that he was very proud of me. He knew I lived with my grandma. He knew my story wasn’t true. He also knew that I had to do my homework at school because I wasn’t allowed at home.
My job at home was cleaning and waxing the floors. My teacher taught me a lot; he understood what I was going through and helped me become more of a great person. I am thankful for his caring and kindness. Yes, I remember the stories I wrote for school. My teacher taught me to believe and told me I would achieve too. Achieving is something you work hard for; it’s a passion you have to reach your goals; go for the stars, climb the highest Mountain. Have faith in yourself and have faith in yourself and everything else will fall in place; that took me a lifetime to believe. Writing is compelling, reading feeds the mind, and my hunger will never stop because I love to write and read.
D.G. – Martha, your story is both heartbreaking and inspirational. I am so glad you had one wonderful teacher who showed you compassion. You are a warrior woman for bringing yourself so far in life. 🧡
Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.
The little girl in me wanders out in the big world. The hills and the park I used to play in made my life blissful. I felt the breeze blowing on my face as my legs moved when I chased the ball as I played; what a lovely day. In my teenage years a boy kissed me with a promise that we would stay together while we were growing up. With life rules, many dreams of hope came true. My spirits are so high I feel as if I can touch the sunny sky. I’m singing a song and laughing with my inner self. Books move me in the way of magic. Adventures take me so far, far, away. I read all genres, and ever since I was a teen, I’ve always loved romance novels.
I was in the third grade and the school was selling books that I had to order. I wanted to buy books so badly. I took the order paper home and ran to my grandmother to ask her to buy some books for me. She told me I had to raise the money myself. I picked my book, “Charlotte’s Web.” I honestly had to order that book with a pencil, making a vast circle around the order form. I focused on selling my soda bottles and helped the lady next door to walk her dog. I even washed a couple of cars to raise money just for that one book. I was ecstatic and read that book over and over again.
That book became my little treasure, and reading it to my granddaughters Mikayla and Caylee was the most beautiful feeling in the whole world. Now, I write all genres. I’m fascinated with books, and everything ensues. I’m delighted to share this little piece of me.
I am all grown up now. I read every day, loving the way the stories make me feel so excellent. Find a book that will take you out of this world; Fiction or Scifi. The books that are based on true stories are endless. However, take a road of magical adventures and get away from the real world for a while.
D.G. – Your love for books spills over in your voracious appetite for such a wide genre of reading Martha. I’m so glad you became a writer. You are an inspiration for so many young writers. 🧡
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?
All my books have a message. My journey took me to a place where I have seen so many good and bad things. I also know people close to me with unhealthy relationships, so I wrote the book Enough Is Enough; about Domestic Violence. I have written different stories so people can understand this is happening to people every day. I was a victim, and many family members were, so this was important. I also volunteered in a shelter in my younger years, so I have seen many women hurt and beaten. Broken Pieces has a lot of my life in it. It’s an intense story about a girl who was being abused and bullied at school. I wanted to share that when I had a book signing, a young man held my hand with urgency and told me his girlfriend was crying right now. She wanted to meet me but got sick and wanted a signed copy.
He said Broken Piece’s story was her life; then he put her on his cell phone. I spoke to her and calmed her to the point that we were laughing. It’s not about the money you make from your books but when you touch the reader because the memories stay with you forever; especially when you have been abused mentally or physically. In some of my books; my imagination ran wild. My inspirational books had many messages, especially in ‘A Little Piece Of Me.”
D.G. – No doubts your writing has touched so many Martha. It is no surprise how the universe has connected us together as friends. I look so forward to reading your new book, along with others of yours I have on my Kindle. 🧡
Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?
I would love to share my projects and ideas for my books. I have been an author for six years, and my goal was to write twenty-five books. Well, I overpassed my dream, and I’m happy to say there will be many more books in the years to come. I have begun to write stories on Kindle Vella. I write episodes until it’s finished; I have twenty stories and am doing well. I have many ideas for more different levels of tales for next year.
I’m writing a novel about Tex Baller, a homicide detective. He is a steak and taters kind of man, a Cowboy who rides the horses in the morning until dusk—no rules and never a fool. You have to have the right tools; and he does. He has no fear; it takes a lot for him to have tears. When Tex Baller loves a woman, it’s forever. It’s a romance with a suspense and thriller feel to it as well. I keep busy loving what I am passionate about, and that’s my writing. I’m a full-time writer, so this is why this is possible for me to write so many books.
D.G. – Wow! Six years and so many books! You are definitely a full on, full time writers! And I envy that you write so many stories on Kindle Vella. As you know, they don’t offer that opportunity to Canadian writers. 🧡
Name some of the influential authors who inspired you to write and why?
I adore reading romance novels. I was that little girl reading Charlotte’s Web with a flashlight under the sheets until my teens; then I started reading romance novels from the library. I read ‘The Other Side of the Mountain’ and many more teen magazines; one of my favorite books is ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. So many authors inspired me to be a writer, and it’s hard to pick just one that I can call my favorite. Here are three that motivated me: Megan Hart because she writes romance stories that are moving with many plots and twists. Sylvia Day writes romance with sexy dialogue, and Kristin Hannah writes stories that are heartfelt with emotions that touch your heart. I love to read their books. They write with such passion and the stories are captivating with each page, and they have me wanting more. They are successful and talented, and I have read all of their books. Of course, Sylvia Day gives a little hot spice in her stories; that is a plus. I always feel like being under sheets with a flashlight reading these fabulous books. I am an avid reader, and if I could read all day, it would be heavenly.
D.G. – Thanks for sharing books that have inspired your fictional stories. Omg, I remember watching The Other Side of The Mountain when I was much younger. All I know, I used up a lot of Kleenex, lol. 🧡
Thanks so much for sharing some of yourself and writing inspiration with us here today Martha. Wishing you much success with your new book! ❣
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?All my books have a message. My journey took me to a place where I have seen so many good and bad things. I also know people close to me with unhealthy relationships, so I wrote the book Enough Is Enough; about Domestic Violence. I have written different stories so people can understand this is happening to people every day. I was a victim, and many family members were, so this was important. I also volunteered in a shelter in my younger years, so I have seen many women hurt and beaten. Broken Pieces has a lot of my life in it. It’s an intense story about a girl who was being abused and bullied at school. I wanted to share that when I had a book signing, a young man held my hand with urgency and told me his girlfriend was crying right now. She wanted to meet me but got sick and wanted a signed copy.He said Broken Piece’s story was her life; then he put her on his cell phone. I spoke to her and calmed her to the point that we were laughing. It’s not about the money you make from your books but when you touch the reader because the memories stay with you forever; especially when you have been abused mentally or physically. In some of my books; my imagination ran wild. My inspirational books had many messages, especially in ‘A Little Piece Of Me.”D.G. – No doubts your writing has touched so many Martha. It is no surprise how the universe has connected us together as friends. I look so forward to reading your new book, along with others of yours I have on my Kindle.Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?I would love to share my projects and ideas for my books. I have been an author for six years, and my goal was to write twenty-five books. Well, I overpassed my dream, and I’m happy to say there will be many more books in the years to come. I have begun to write stories on Kindle Vella. I write episodes until it’s finished; I have twenty stories and am doing well. I have many ideas for more different levels of tales for next year.I’m writing a novel about Tex Baller, a homicide detective. He is a steak and taters kind of man, a Cowboy who rides the horses in the morning until dusk—no rules and never a fool. You have to have the right tools; and he does. He has no fear; it takes a lot for him to have tears. When Tex Baller loves a woman, it’s forever. It’s a romance with a suspense and thriller feel to it as well. I keep busy loving what I am passionate about, and that’s my writing. I’m a full-time writer, so this is why this is possible for me to write so many books.D.G. – Wow! Six years and so many books! You are definitely a full on, full time writers! And I envy that you write so many stories on Kindle Vella. As you know, they don’t offer that opportunity to Canadian writers.
Today I’m happy to be sharing my friend, Fey sister, and author/poet, Marjorie Mallon’s new release – The Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet. This is a lovely book with a magical story, some flash fiction stories and some touching poetry. I’d also like to add that our other sister – Colleen Chesebro from Word Craft Poetry, has recently opened up shop with her Unicorn Cats Publishing, and she formatted Marje’s book and also created the beautiful cover. Check out Colleen’s publishing page if you’re looking for some help in your self-publishing.
MJ’s favourite genres to write are Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories, various forms of poetry and flash fiction. She celebrates the spiritual realm, love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious at her blog home:
She is a reading, blogging and photography enthusiast!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained, and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.
MJ writes fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic! Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.
The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet is a collection of poetry and flash fiction celebrating the beautiful vulnerability of the forest kingdom. It begins with the poetic tale of the kind-hearted Hedge Witch, Fern, who discovers an injured stranger in desperate need of her woodland spells and magic.
The sweet pairing learn from each other and through Fern’s guidance, Devin embraces the power of magic to leave behind his trouble past to become The Musical Poet.
Poetry/flash fiction titles in section one of the collection include:
The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, Rain Forest Love, A Forest Baby Boy, A Forest Baby Girl, A Modern Witch, Rock of Mine, Chester Don & I, The Network of Trees, More Trees Not Less, Two Boys Watching War, Mum Climbing Trees, Let’s Play, The Scorched Tree, Owl’s Holiday Home, A Man’s Holiday Home, A Child’s Excitement, The Teddy In The Woods, Run! The Organutans, All Hallow’s Eve Candy Girl The Forest Bash, Dreaming At Halloween, A Face on Bark, Golden Willow Tree, Rainbow – Parasol of Light, Lollipop Sunshine Tree,
In Section two I pay tribute to the following poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Ruby Archer, King Forest, Bliss Carman, Woodland Rain, Emily Dickinson, Who Robbed the Woods, Rupert Blake, Stopping by The Woods on A Winter Evening,Oscar Wilde, In the Forest.
With my poetry:
The Forest Weeps, The Forest King, Raindrops and Childhood Dreams, The Woodland Treasures, Winter Woodland Moon, Child Me.
My 5 Star Review:
This is a lovely book by MJ Mallon. She brings to life stories of her loving family, in poetry and flash fiction stories. The Hedge Witch and the Magical Poet is a short story about Fern, who rescues a man she names Devin, distraught and parched, found under a tree. When he recites a poem to her in such lyrical fashion, he sounded like an instrument. We also find some touching poetry in mixed styles, reminding us of some yesteryears of the past – some spoken by the trees. These poems recall some of the easier days of the past when children played in nature and climbed trees – and not on their digital devices, as the trees lament.
In other poems, like, ‘Let’s Play’, the author calls for reforestation to improve air quality and shade, as climate change is taking that away. The flash story of ‘The Network of Trees’ is another lament as the trees discuss among themselves what will become of them as they are cut down and are replaced with cement and buildings.
There are some wise words here from both Mallon and the trees about life in simpler times, stories about nature, childhood memories in snippets of flash fiction, as well as some whimsical Halloween tales. One of my favorites was ‘All Hallows Eve’ – Candy Girl, with rich magical descriptions.
Mallon’s love for trees and nature shine through all of her stories. If you love nature and enjoy lyrical prose and poetry, you will enjoy this book.
Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre “Scrabble Boy” (Short Story) Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre “The Twisted Sisters“ (Short Story) Wings of Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre “The Great Pottoo” (Short Story)