Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Earlier this week I had Sally Cronin over here at my blog, featuring her brand new release – Variety is the Spice of Life. As a big fan of her heartfelt poetry and stories that always strike a chord with a touch of the human condition, I couldn’t wait to dig in. So today I’m sharing my review for this beautiful little book encompassing stories that go deep with poetry on life and nature, accompanied by lovely images, and stories to warm your heart.
Variety is the Spice of Life is a collection of poetry and short stories about relationships with others, including pets and animals inhabiting the world around us. The connection with others brings love and friendship, excitement and sometimes surprises, danger, mystery and sometimes the unexpected.
The poetry explores human nature, the fears, desires, expectations and achievements. Nature offers a wonderful opportunity to observe animals both domesticated and wild. Even in a back garden you can observe a wide variety of creatures and the daily challenges to survive a harsh environment.
The short stories introduces you to a healer whose gift comes with danger, a neighbour determined to protect a friend, a woman on the run, an old couple whose love has endured, an elderly retired teacher who faces a life changing accident, a secret that has been carried for over 70 years and a village who must unite as they face devastating news.
Before I share my review, I’ve chosen one of Sally’s poems to share here which struck a chord with me. Everyone has their own interpretation of poetry, and this one touched me profoundly:
Before I share my review, I’d like to share one of my favorite poems in this book that grabbed me at page one. Everybody has their own individual interpretation of poetry as they relate to it, ands one touched me profoundly:
just three words
can make someone’s day
I love you
I need you
I see you
I get you
just one word
can break someone’s heart
My 5 Star Review:
Sally Cronin knows how to capture our hearts with her variety, indeed, full of heartfelt short stories of the human condition and moving poetry accompanied by beautiful images. Along with various poems written in both free verse and specific form, Sally includes a selection of poems about ‘Snapshots from my Garden’, where she shares about the various animals and insects who occupy her garden. We will also get a treat learning about her own DNA! Escape into nature with Sally’s poems about birds, butterflies, and other furry neighborhood visitors. A few of my favorites: Above the World, Kinship – ” … there may not always be harmony, but the ties of love cannot be broken … ,” and, Bear Witness, which emphasizes our freedoms.
Pour a cup of coffee and drift into stories of love, reminiscings, and compassion. A few of my favorites: the Green Hill – in loving memory where Bert and Ivy share a snippet of remembered love. Discover – The Secret about Eleanor’s mother Edith, which took her seventy-five years to reveal. Step into Serena’s world as The Healer who heals the sick while keeping a low profile in doing so for safety reasons as she works as a nurse in a free clinic. The Home Help gives a twist on caregiving (no spoilers).There is something for everyone here, and all guaranteed to touch your heart.
Sally Cronin is known for her short stories that pack a punch, grab at our heartstrings, and often end with an unexpected twist at the end. This new collection is a comforting read guaranteed to stir the soul.
Today I’m featuring Jaye Marie here to promote her new release, Ghost of a Chance. This is book 4 in her DI Snow series.
Jaye Marie came to writing rather late but has always loved books.
She enjoys reading many different genres, so was surprised to discover a passion for writing detective thrillers. Four of them to date, with more to follow.
She also enjoys running a website/blog, https://jenanita01.com and loves meeting all the wonderful people who drop in to say hello!
A damaged detective, out of a job A relationship on the rocks What does the future hold for David Snow? Just when he thought life couldn’t get any worse A ghost with a grudge adds to his pain A ghost hell bent on stopping him from rebuilding his life…
Mae Clair 4.0 out of 5 stars Dark crime fiction with a splash of the supernatural Reviewed in the United States on 5 October 2022 Verified Purchase
Although this book is a continuation in a series, the author did a good job of establishing characters and their past relationships. As a reader I felt on firm footing. The story is told from alternating POVs, all in third person, with the exception of the MC, David Snow, a former DI, who has suffered a debilitating injury that has changed his career path. We get his POV in first person. While the story itself is gritty, the writing is polished, and the pacing strong. The writer has a deft hand with dark investigative crime. A splash of the supernatural adds an intriguing element to this hard-hitting tale that explores the bleaker side of human nature and relationships.
The Interview that Inspired me to write Ghost of a Chance
One of my characters had been in my head a lot lately, constantly nagging me about something. He has featured in three of my books, and I think anyone who has read my work will remember DI Snow. The detective who helped Kate Devereau in Nine Lives, saved her life in Out of Time, and failed miserably to forget her in Crossfire.
I wondered what was on his mind.
I invited him to my office to find out.
‘You have exactly five minutes to say what is on your mind, David, as I am trying to work.’
He looked wonderful, but then he has always been one of my favourite people. Looking just like Tom Selleck from the Jesse Stone tv series, he sprawled in my writing chair, slowly rocking it backwards and forwards, his eyes never leaving my face.
‘I want to know when you will be writing another story for me?’ The corners of his mouth lifted slightly, along with one eyebrow. ‘I have missed seeing you every day, Jaye.’
My insides were melting fast, and right then I would have agreed to anything.
‘There is the small matter of a decent plot…’
He shrugged, as if that was of no consequence.
‘Do you have any idea how hard it is to create a plausible detective story?’
He stood up, towering over me as I sat on the uncomfortable visitor’s chair. ‘You have managed it very well up to now, Jaye. Anyway, I do have an idea, or rather a desire. My marriage is over, mainly because I cannot forget Kate. I want to find her again. You do know where she is?’
I was speechless, which was just as well, for I was desperately trying to imagine what Kate might be doing now. The last time I saw her, she was going to find somewhere to paint herself better. Supposing I couldn’t find her?
As if he could read my mind, David Snow sat back down in my chair.
‘I know how busy you are, Jaye. You probably have several projects on the go, but I’m hoping writing a new story could be one of them. I’m not leaving until we have an agreement.’
Let’s Get to Know a Bit More about Jaye:
What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?
This is an awkward question, but I chose it for a reason. I have always been a busy person, always up to something. Arts and crafts, dressmaking, gardening, and home decorating. My favourite hobby are my bonsai trees. Unfortunately, due to the increasing pressure of writing, sometimes my hobbies have to take a back seat. Not having all the time in the world, at least not enough for everything I love or need to do, I try to make time now and then. Especially for my bonsai. They have priority because they are living trees and most of them have been with me for years…
D.G. – That is beautiful 🙂
How has writing changed your life?
When I was a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. When my appendix had to be to removed, aged eleven, I read my way through all the books on the shelf in the hospital. Books have always been my friend, I used to dream about being a famous author. Of course, life not only got in the way, but it also put a stop to the day dreaming too. I was in my sixties when I started writing, and I can honestly say that my life has never been better. I feel content now and more confident in myself. Something I never felt before. I took a long time getting here, but so glad I made it…
D.G. – I think books have been a saving grace for many of us writers. 🙂
What prompted you to write in your chosen genre?
In many ways, I am still not sure why I chose mystery detective fiction, as it wasn’t my first choice. In the beginning, I tried writing children’s books, then poetry and contemporary fiction. (in other words, any old rubbish that happened to be in my head at the time). I think I liked the idea of writing, but it would be a while before I found what really motivates me. This might be because I am hooked on those popular TV series. And medical dramas. I am surprised I haven’t tried writing one of those yet.
My favourite detective, DI David Snow has been with me for four of my books. Based on my love of Tom Selleck, he is getting old now, so I might have to find someone else eventually…
D.G. – I always find it interesting to learn what motivates a writer to write in a certain genre.
How do you promote your work. Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?
Not sure why I chose this question, for marketing is a bit of a nemesis for me. I do promote my work on our website and social media regularly. My books are on multiple book outlets too, but I haven’t ventured into advertising yet. I have it on good authority that some kind of paid advertising is the way forward, but I have always been reluctant to spend any money, basically because I don’t have much of the stuff to spare! I am old and retired, and definitely related to those poor church mice! I have been saving up, so I will possibly be taking the plunge quite soon, if the fates allow…
D.G. – You are certainly not alone when it comes to the promotion dilemmas. This is why it’s great to be part of a great writing community. 🙂
What’s your favourite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?
I have been writing for nearly ten years and must have tried every method there is, to get my words in some sort of order. In the beginning, of course, I scribbled in a lot of notebooks, transcribing everything to an ancient typewriter. You wouldn’t believe how much correction fluid I used in the process. Learning how to use the word processor on my first computer slowed me down, but I soon got the hang of it. It was so much quicker and far easier to use, and I started to feel like a real writer. I was still writing in my notebooks first. My brain has never liked working straight to the screen. Eventually, I realised I needed a better way. Since mastering dictation, my writing has speeded up considerably, leaving a lot more time for my imagination to run riot…
D.G. – I’m with you all the way on pen and paper. I just don’t feel creative in front of the screen.
Excerpt from Ghost Chance
A faint whisper of flowers greeted me when I opened the front door, but I thought nothing of it at the time. Jane’s perfume still lingered, even after her departure.
My mind was busy, wanting to check out some estate agents. I decided to make coffee before switching on my iPad. I filled the kettle and noticed somebody had moved the rubbish bin. I lifted the lid and found it empty but didn’t recall doing it. I probably had, but my brain was nothing like reliable these days.
Back in the living room, I was about to sit down when I thought I heard a noise upstairs. It sounded like someone closing the wardrobe door.
My detective alarm system had been dormant for so long, and for a moment, I didn’t know what to do. Was there someone upstairs, or did I imagine it? Perhaps it was coming from next door?
Then a floorboard creaked. It was the one by the bedroom door, and I knew I had a visitor.
I made my way to the bottom of the stairs and listened. The silence was deafening, made more so by my straining to hear something. I heard nothing to suggest there was anyone up there. I made my way up the stairs, pausing on the landing. Which room should I check first?
Seconds before I made that decision, the spare room door opened. My breathing slowed as I waited to see what would happen next. It did occur to me that I should have just stormed in, the element of surprise. But it turned out to be me who was surprised.
The look on my wife’s face was a picture when she walked through the door and found me standing with my mouth hanging open.
‘What are you doing here, David?’
Not a terrific way to start, I thought, annoyance raising its head at the sheer affrontery. ‘I do still live here, you know. More to the point, what are you doing here?’
We stood on the landing, several feet apart. Neither of us was happy to see the remains of our once beautiful relationship.
‘None of your business…’ she said, passing me on the way to the stairs.
I watched as she tried her best to stomp down the stairs with attitude, but the large suitcase she dragged behind her spoiled the effect.
I wanted to say so much, so what do you think came out of my mouth?
Mr Nasty, that’s who.
‘Before you go, Jane, leave your keys on the hall table; I am selling this place.’
She looked up at me, an unreadable expression on her face. ‘You enjoyed that, didn’t you?’ I had already regretted it, so I decided to be honest. It wouldn’t hurt, especially now.
‘No, actually, I didn’t.’
‘Then why say it? Or were you trying to hurt me?’
So, it had hurt. I had given up trying to reason with Ms Hard as Nails, convinced she couldn’t care less about anything, especially me.
‘In a way, I suppose I was trying to hurt you. A vain attempt to make you feel as bad as I do.’
Neither of us spoke. We stared at each other with a mixture of frustration and desperation (mine).
‘Get down here, David and put the kettle on. We need to talk…’
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 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)
Welcome to my May edition of Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring friend and fellow author, Jan Sikes. Jan is a multi-talented, multi-genre author and dabbles in tarot, runes and gemstones articles on her blog too, besides the blog tours she hosts and the books she reviews. So today we’re going to get to know a little bit more about Jan and her latest release – Jagged Feathers, Book 2 from her White Runes series.
Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in 2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers released on January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series, and Saddled Hearts will release later in 2022. She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.
Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann. On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed. A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks. Will these two not only survive but find unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?
Jan shares some wonderful quotes from her book:
“Wow! One of the top books I’ve read in a while. I’d give it more sparklers if I could. The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. She starts off hard and fast, then things kind of work out and the book goes into a “safe” lull, which is where most romantic suspense stories would end. But no. She doesn’t let you rest as the danger ramps up again before our hero and heroine are really safe and have a satisfying ending that leaves you happy for them.” V. Burkholder
“What an amazing and phenomenal book. Jagged Feathers has become my favorite suspense book I’ve read in 2022. Jan Sikes has a talent that mirrors the authors, that’s on top of the Best Sellers List.” T. Lucas
“Wow! Few books grab and hold me as quickly as Jagged Feathers. I can’t say enough good things about this story that’s brimming with heart. It has everything- -an ex-soldier dealing with trying to heal from wounds and trauma left by the war, a woman confused and scared by her psychic gift and running for her life, and a dog that’s suffered horribly but hasn’t lost his ability to love.” L. Broday
“This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.” S. Cronin
So, let’s get to know a little more about Jan!
Thank you, Debby, for inviting me to visit with you today. It is truly an honor!
D.G. – Thrilled to be featuring you here today Jan. Thanks for coming!
How has writing changed your life?
That is a great question. After my husband passed away, I was still working full-time. But honestly, I was lost. I didn’t want to stay in the home we’d built together. Too many memories and too much property to take care of. So, I transferred my job to another town where one of my daughters lived. I withdrew from the world and hid behind my children and grandchildren. That was my safe place. Then, when I realized I was the one that would have to write the story of our life together, it forced me to step out and reinvent myself. It took several years before I could comfortably call myself an author. It wasn’t until after my second book won an award that it felt right. Writing not only changed my life completely but gave me a therapeutic way to rejoin the land of the living. It has given me a whole new career and I have met some of the most wonderful people— authors and readers!
D.G. – Do I ever hear you Jan. I know well what you mean about ‘hiding away’ after such a great loss. And no doubts writing was your therapy. 🙂
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?
Oh, for sure! Of course, the first four books I wrote were biographical so that was me all the way. But when I started writing fiction, I drew from a lot of my personal experiences, philosophies, and beliefs and instilled them in some of my characters. I think the biggest example was Jag Peters’ mother, Charlotte, in Ghostly Interference. There is a lot of me in Charlotte. She is a smart but gentle lady who is a vegetarian and teaches yoga. She also instills in her son a lot of the same beliefs I have about Karma and the afterlife. The love of Charlotte’s life is a musician. So, I put a lot of me into her. Someday I want to tell her backstory.
D.G. – Only makes sense that we as writers will instill some of ourselves or other people we know when it comes to creating characters. 🙂
If you weren’t a writer what else do you think you would do?
That is a question I ask myself often. I work really hard at not only continuing to learn and grow in the craft of writing but in marketing as well. There are times when I stop and ask myself if this is what I really want to be doing. All the hard work results in little to no monetary rewards. But, so far, the answer is the same every time. As long as story ideas and inspirations keep coming, I am duty-bound to keep writing them. And, if I wasn’t writing, I don’t know how I would be filling my time. For now, this is what I want to do. It’s a chapter in life I am enjoying letting unfold.
D.G. – Once again, I couldn’t agree more! 🙂
I know you have a very active blog. What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?
Blogging has created a whole new online family for me. I am connected to people all around the world. That is how I met you, Debby. So, I’ve gained a network of supportive and uplifting people as well as made what I consider to be friends. Even though we may never meet in person, through reading others’ blogs, I feel as if I know them. Besides this incredible network, blogging gives me a great platform to talk about my stories, accomplishments, failures, and everything in between. But my greatest joy is featuring others on my blog. I do lots of book reviews and have guest posts often. Another way my blogging platform has enriched my life is through sharing metaphysical things such as Tarot cards and Rune readings, uplifting meditations, and my passion, Gemstones and their healing properties. It’s a way of sharing something that is a huge part of my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and focused while hopefully helping others at the same time. We are all on this journey together. So anything we can do to uplift each other is wonderful! While blogging takes time away from writing, it is worthwhile all the way around. I can’t imagine stepping away from blogging, although it’s healthy to take a short break now and then.
D.G. – We share the same philosophy on blogging, once again. And of course we share a mutual interesting in the spiritual and metaphysical. 🙂
Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.
This is probably the hardest question of all to answer. I’ve been an avid reader since I could decipher words. As a child, I devoured fairy tales and believed life would have a fairy tale ending for me. As a young adult, I read books by Harold Robbins that taught me so much about relationships between men and women. “The Grapes of Wrath” is a book I have read multiple times. I think it has stayed with me because of stories my parents shared about the Great Depression. But a powerful book that changed the way I view worldwide governments is “The Captains and The Kings.” Taylor Caldwell depicted corruption among the leaders in such a way that I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a book I highly recommend to everyone. A book I’ve read within the past couple of years that has stayed with me is “Where The Crawdads Sing.” And now I see that it has been made into a movie and will be showing in July. You can bet I’ll be at the theater to see it. And I want to add one more to my list of lingering stories. “If The Darkness Takes Us,” is such a chilling and realistic tale of what happens when the grid collapses and people are left to figure out how to survive on their own without any resources. Unfortunately, I feel that it may be more realistic than imagined. But there are lots of good survival tips shared in the book. I’ll stop there with an apology. You only asked for one book. 🙂
D.G. – Had to laugh as the only books I could find around my house (in my mother’s room) were Harold Robbins’ books, lol. That was an education. And I loved Where the Crawdad’s Sing! I will now be checking out those other books you mentioned too. Thank you!
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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!