‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #11 entries Part 1) @HowellWave and @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 1)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #11.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1) by John Howell. And Entry 2) My own contribution.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

John Howells one line entry.

“Helen, do I hear the shower still running?”

John Howell can be reached here …

Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

 Twitter:

Author Blog Fiction Favorites:

My Contribution …

adrian-mato-6kaPKnqwaYw-unsplash

“Another Mountain to Climb”

By

Suzanne Burke

Mitchell McCallister hoisted himself up onto the rock platform and reached down to assist his companion. He looked across as his friend gazed around and slowly turned back to him, “Mitch, this place is perfect. So, this is where you disappear when we can’t reach you?”

“Uh-huh, yes this is the place. My dad brought me out here for the first time when I was fifteen. It was around a year after my mom had passed and I was acting out the pain and turning on everyone around me. He said this place would help me regain my center of gravity, he said it would save my sanity … If I let it.”

“You’re probably the sanest person I know. So, why now, I mean what is it that you need to regain your center on?”

Mitch took a deep cleansing breath as he answered. “I have a question to ask and a decision to make based on the answer to that question.”

“Care to share?”

Mitch laughed, “Yeah, that’s why you’re here.”

“Is there alcohol in that backpack? This feels like one of your thoughtful let’s talk over a whiskey moments.”

Mitch nodded his head, “You lay out the groundsheet, and I’ll grab the whiskey.  Then, let’s just sit awhile and take in all of this.” He swept his arm wide.

They sat and sipped on the 12-year-old malt and allowed the thunderous noise from the waterfall to momentarily drown out their other senses. Until the scent of the pine that surrounded them reawakened their sense of smell, and their eyes looked beyond the mist and took in the splendor of the blue sky and the rugged rockface.

Mitch broke the silence. “Everything makes more sense here, you know. I mean every action is interconnected with the well-being of the whole. The only scars on this landscape are the ones our own species slashed across its surface.”

His friend nodded in understanding and held out the paper cup for a top-up of whiskey.

Mitch obliged and poured himself another good belt as well. “There’s a shallow cave we’ll shelter under tonight. The kindling and logs I left last time will be dry now and I have a rock firepit. I can’t wait for you to see the stars with no other light source to impede your view. Let’s finish this drink and then get the camp set up.”

***

Mitch sat gazing into the warming fire and turned to his friend. “I guess now is as good a time as any. Can I ask you a question?”

“Fire away.”

“Will you marry me.”

“Jesus! That’s some question, Mitch!”

“You really didn’t see this coming? Hell, David, and here I was thinking I’d been so obvious.” He tried to laugh again and failed.

David reached over and touched his arm, “I thought it was all just wishful thinking on my part.”

“Oh, thank God. Any chance this means you’re in love with me too?”

David mimicked back to him. “‘and here I was thinking I’d been so obvious.’”

“You will marry me?”

“I’d be honored.”

They kissed and Mitch gently stroked his new fiance’s face. “Now, I need you to know something upfront. My next decision is based solely on you being on board with it 100%. I will walk away from it and never look back if you aren’t comfortable with it.”

“I’m listening.”

“The F.B.I has asked me to Quantico. Seems they want me to take my training and my degree and head up a new task force. They had me study fifteen files over the past week, each file belonged to an FBI member, all field agents. I was asked to provide a detailed profile for each of them based purely on their responses to crime scenes.”

“Looking for what?”

“Statistical anomalies.”

“Any conclusions?”

“Uh-huh, and then some. See none of these men and women hold degrees in Forensic Science. They’re not profilers, but, in every instance, their case files reveal a high degree of success at identifying stand out traits of their perpetrator.”

“So, they’re intensely logical?”

“Sure, it’s partly that, but I believe they are all empaths.”

“The bureau concur?”

“Yup. They want me to train them, to hone their innate skill, and to help them learn to retain sufficient distance from the case so as not to incur damage to their own psyche. They believe this squad will ultimately save lives, and it’s hoped that it will significantly reduce the number of cold cases.”

“So, why the hesitation? God, this is your dream job!”

“I know it. But, I’d be asking you to leave everything you have here behind. You’ve your own career to think about.”

“Being an accountant isn’t going to save lives. I can work anywhere. You have to do this, Mitch.”

“So long as you’re going to be climbing that huge mountain with me.”

“You know I will. I’d be proud to take that journey with you.” He gave Mitch’s hand a squeeze. “So, let’s make the memory of tonight and tomorrow perfect. Do you have marshmallows in that backpack?”

“I love you.”

“Ditto. Now about those marshmallows?”

~~~~~~

I can be reached here …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Later today I’ll be featuring entries Part 2) by Harmony Kent and D.L.Finn.

 

Featured Author Harmony Kent @harmony_kent with her #NewRelease #Pre-Order ‘Interludes 2’ #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

 Hello and thanks so much for joining me. Today I’m delighted to be hosting talented author Harmony Kent with her latest release … “Interludes 2.”

Let’s meet Harmony:

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her adorable husband, ever-present sense of humour, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

And now over to Harmony!

 Thanks so much for having me over at your place today, Soooz.

Hi everyone. It’s great to be visiting with you all.

While I’m here, I’d like to talk about my latest book, Interludes 2. This is a book of short erotic romance fiction. As with the original Interludes (which you can find HERE), the book contains 10 short stories, with the first tale totalling 1,000 words, the second one totalling 2,000, and so on up to 10,000 words in the final story.

For each story, I used prompt cards from a great creative tool called Storymatic.  Here’s what the set gave me to work with:

  1. a) ghost, b) carnival worker … c) logger … conflict = first night in a new home

A and B relate to the main character. C relates to the secondary character. And the final prompt gives us the conflict.

From the above set of prompts, I came up with SOUL MATES—supernatural romance in 10,000 words.

A bereaved woman seeks solace in remote woodland. All too soon, she discovers that she’s not as alone as she’d expected. And her heart isn’t the only one that needs to mend.

 BOOK BLURB

GUEST POST COVER OF INTERLUDES BY HARMONY

Interludes 2

 From author, Harmony Kent, another best-selling collection of short erotic fiction that will tickle more than your taste buds and wet [sic] more than your appetite.

With a range of genres and styles, this book has enough steam for everyone.

WIGGING OUT—contemporary romance in 1000 words. Two strangers. A crowded platform. A collision. And a wig on the floor.

STORM CHASER—ménage à trois in 2000 words. A sabotaged tire. A raging storm. Passion mounts.

MOON-STRUCK—shifter romance in 3000 words. Trapped on a ship orbiting the moon, a horny astronaut falls for a hunky author who has a secret.

THE CLUB—contemporary romance in 4000 words. An invitation and a host, who is so much more than he seems, bring excitement, enticement, and a choice to make.

NUDIST CAMP—contemporary romance in 5000 words. An older woman. A younger man. A gossip discovers their secret tryst. What will happen when it all gets laid bare?

INITIATION—contemporary romance in 6000 words. A pretty daydreamer arrives for her first day at university. A brutal initiation, and a man with an unusual issue, leave her reeling. Strange, the places you find true love.

THE INCOMER—contemporary romance in 7000 words. A divorced beekeeper has spent her whole life in or around her local village. Then a city-slicker architect comes to town. When two worlds collide, a big bang is sure to follow. Can you have a frenemy with benefits?

DOWN AND DIRTY—contemporary romance in 8000 words. On the run from a sadistic ex-husband, Ellie flees to a remote mountain town and takes a job in the mines. Wary of men, she resolves to keep herself aloof, but mother nature has a way of having the last word and will, quite literally, make the earth move if she has to.

REUNION—contemporary romance in 9000 words. A school reunion looms. Not wanting to arrive sad and single, Molly talks her long-time friend Paul into going with her. While the music plays, the sparks fly.

SOUL MATES—supernatural romance in 10,000 words. A bereaved woman seeks solace in remote woodland. All too soon, she discovers that she’s not as alone as she’d expected. And her heart isn’t the only one that needs to mend.

READER ADVISORY: This book contains explicit sex scenes and language hot enough to melt your book. For mature readers only.

Excerpt from Soul Mates:

At the bottom of the lane, her boyfriend let them into a side door. At the front of the structure, she could just make out the reverse of the signage for the attraction, and her brain translated the mirror image: House of Horrors.

She giggled. ‘What, you trying to scare the pants off me?’

The young man chuckled and closed the door behind them, then he pressed her up against the wood and leant down for a kiss. He pulled back and licked his lips. ‘Mmm. Sweet.’

‘All for you.’ She stretched up and kissed him. His hands wrapped around her waist and then dropped to squeeze her buttocks. She squirmed against him. ‘We can’t. Not here.’

‘I need ya.’ He claimed her lips once more. Rough, raw need surged up inside her. No boy had made her feel like this before. And still, she tried for coy, ‘How do I know you won’t just disappear when the carney leaves town?’

‘I love ya, missy. I’d do anything for ya.’

She melted for him. Sensing his opening, he reached down and lifted the hem of her summer dress. Then he trailed his fingers up over her knee and thigh. At the top of her leg, he caressed her hip and then slipped his hand inside her knickers. She tensed, and he stopped moving. Even in the dark, she could tell he was watching her and waiting. After a deep breath, she whispered one word, ‘Please.’

He didn’t need telling twice.

***

 I had so much fun writing this one, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this little teaser. I’d love to hear what you think via the comments at the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping by.

You’ll find Harmony Kent here …

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/

Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/harmony-kent

Interludes 2 Pre-order Link: mybook.to/Interludes2

 

 

 

 

‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge’ Week #10 Entries Part 2. @MaeClair1 and @gmplano #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2)  of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #10.

Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 3) by Gwen Plano and Entry 4) by Mae Clair.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

Flash image free PIER

This contribution by Gwen Plano

As I looked at the photo, I imagined dancing on the pier with a lover and then returning at a much later date alone. The image carries sadness for me and the movement of time. I tried to capture those sentiments in my poem. 

Flash Fiction week 10 poem by GWEN PLANO

Flash Fiction week 10 poem by GWEN PLANO WORDS

Gwen may be contacted … here

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

***

 

This Contribution from Mae Clair

Flash image free PIER

Down Deep

“Don’t do it,” Jake said. “We’re tourists, and they say it has no bottom.”

Sampson eyed the life preserver before looking to the lake. It seemed like a straight shot. Grab the ring and jump off the end of the pier. Everyone knew the water was deep—all the pamphlets he’d studied said as much—but how bad could it be with the preserver to keep him afloat? He wasn’t a novice. He’d been in rough waters before, and the lake was placid. A little cloudy, but he’d take milky over a rough current any day. Jake, on the other hand, was predictably cautious. More scholar than adventurer. They might be twins, but his brother lacked a sense of adventure.

Sampson fingered the preserver, feeling small imperfections like tiny scars, cut into the surface. How many others had given it a try and failed?

Squaring his shoulders, he shot Jake a sideways glance. “Scared?” Bravado was a familiar friend.

“Sensible.”

Sixteen-year-olds didn’t need more than one-word answers.  Even so, Sampson considered it prudent to eye the lake a second time. He swept a hand through his long hair, proud of the shoulder-length locks that connected him to the biblical strongman. And like that Sampson of old, he had faith he could prevail.

Would prevail.

It was time to prove himself to his parents. His mother, the senator, and his father, a high-profile lawyer who hobnobbed with the jet set. Jake never felt the need. Why should he? Already two years ahead in college, he was the golden child, the favored son. Sampson had little more going for him than gut instinct.

Right now, that intuition told him he could make a name for himself by diving into the lake. Screw it all and take a chance. His name would go down in history as the person who discovered what scientists, conspiracy theorists, and countless tourists had failed to prove.

With a backward glance for Jake, he grabbed the life preserver, bolted to the end of the pier, then jackknifed into the water. It parted on impact, leaving the scarred white ring bobbing on the surface. He forced himself deeper into the cloudy depths, pressure building in his ears, his lungs tightening with each downward thrust of his legs. Icy cold and impossible dark enfolded him. There was no up, no down, his sense of direction obliterated within a few frantic heartbeats.

He’d wanted to prove himself the hero but sensed he’d embraced something fatal. He’d never be able to propel to the surface before cold and gloom sucked the breath from his lungs.

Freaking stupid, a hundred times over.

But then as despair slithered closer, something moved below him. A sinuous shadow that flowed through the water with a flick of its mammoth tail. He barely had time to register the movement before it sent him rocketing toward the surface.

Sampson emerged, spitting water.. He clung to the preserver, limp and exhausted, his heart railroading like a locomotive. How had a simple dive left him so depleted? Insight whispered numerous swimmers and explorers had felt the same draining pull before. He wasn’t the first. Wouldn’t be the last.

A slow smile stretched his lips. Raising a hand, he waved to Jake who raced to the end of the pier, eager to haul him back to dry land.

Sampson no longer cared about proving himself to his famous parents or his Brainiac brother. He’d found far more than he’d searched for—not the fame and fanfare of a celebrity, but the quiet wonder of someone who’d been shown a treasure that deserved to remain a mystery—now, forever, and always.

The Lochness Monster.

***

Mae can be reached here:

Twitter:

Amazon Author Page:

Mystery, Suspense & Urban Legends | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up

Website & Blog | Goodreads

~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by. Later today I’ll be featuring Part 3 of this week’s entries, contributions by Karen Ingalls and Jan Sikes.

Book Review: “Roundabout: a modern-day Vanity Fair by Gerry McCullough @gerry1098 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hello and a warm welcome to my book review of “Roundabout: a modern Vanity Fair” a NEW release By Gerry McCullough.

Let’s meet Gerry.

Gerry bio pic

Gerry McCullough has been writing poems and stories since childhood. Brought up in north Belfast, she graduated in English and Philosophy from Queen’s University, Belfast, then went on to gain an MA in English.

She lives just outside Belfast, in Northern Ireland, has four grown up children and is married to author, media producer and broadcaster, Raymond McCullough, with whom she co-edited the Irish magazine, ‘Bread’, (published by Kingdom Come Trust), from 1990-96. In 1995 they published a non-fiction book called, ‘Ireland – now the good news!’

Over the past few years Gerry has had more than sixty short stories published in UK, Irish and American magazines, anthologies and annuals – as well as broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster. Her poems and articles have been published in several Northern Ireland and UK magazines, and she has also done readings from her novels, poems and short stories at several Irish literary events. She writes a regular literary blog – Gerry’s Books – and guest writes for several other literary blogs.

Gerry won the Cúirt International Literary Award for 2005 (Galway); was shortlisted for the 2008 Brian Moore Award (Belfast); shortlisted for the 2009 Cúirt Award; commended in the 2009 Seán O’Faolain Short Story Competition, (Cork) and commended in the 2015 Harmony House Poetry Award (Downpatrick).

Gerry currently (2020) has a total of sixteen books in publication –

Cover ROUNDABOUT by Gerry McCullogh

BOOK BLURB:

A novel set in Ireland, with no hero or heroine – love, comedy, drama – life!

Millie and Sooze set out on their separate ventures into life, meeting Josh, Danny, Johnny, Tommy and others.

For some of these people, their ride on the roundabout of life ends well – for others it doesn’t.

Is there more to life’s roundabout than pleasure or misery?

MY REVIEW: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ If you want an entertaining and thought-provoking read this is the book for you.

Do these complex characters gain happiness and security on life’s journey … or rather should they gain them? Do they accomplish those benefits by being selfless and good, or by acting in their own selfish self-interests? The themes of loyalty without hope of gain are questioned in this thought-provoking new read by author Gerry McCullough.

The author once more takes you to Northern Island and the descriptions color that world wonderfully well for the reader.

The pivotal characters of Millie and Sooze are beautifully fleshed out and clearly visible as they undertake a life as friends that neither one of them initially anticipated. The dialogue is rich, and the interactions between all the characters make for entertaining reading.

This author shows a depth of empathy with these people she’s created, this brings the book alive.

If you want an entertaining and thought-provoking read this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

Gerry may be found here …

PURCHASE ON AMAZON.COM

PURCHASE ON AMAZON U.K

Roundabout on GoodReads

Gerry McCullough
Irish Writer & Poet

 

 

“Old Habits Die Hard” A short-story from my upcoming Anthology. #RRBC #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritersCommunity

Old Habits image

Hello and welcome to “Old Habits Die Hard” a new short story from my upcoming anthology “Glimpses Across the Barricades”

 

Old Habits Die Hard

From the upcoming collection: Glimpses Across the Barricades

By

Suzanne Burke 2019.

 

Cassie sucked in a deep lungful of nicotine and waited for the coughing to start. She shook her head in acknowledgment of her own weakness and abject stupidity, coughed as expected and finished the cigarette. She grinned at herself. Old habits die hard.

The thought caught her unprepared. Were they all simply old habits? Did she cling to things so desperately only because they were familiar? Was it a comfort to know ahead of time how each would respond in any given situation? If that knowledge gave us the tools to avoid the more painful outcomes, did that automatically presume that we’d use that wisdom?

Cassie was irritated with herself for even asking the questions.

She looked across at her iPhone for answers, already knowing she’d find none waiting.

When had he become just another old habit to cling to?

Cassie drew in a shaky breath as the memory of their last conversation played out vividly in her mind.

The 5th anniversary of their sad farewell was tomorrow. They’d been friends long before they became lovers. Their lives had collided the first time three decades earlier. Each acknowledging the chemistry that lit up a room whenever they were both present. They both smiled at each other and refused to allow that fire to burn. Life moved on and so did they.

Then twelve years ago fate had flung them together again.  What had been intended as a casual fling, a one-night stand, had become a passionate affair that neither of them had attempted to prevent from spiralling out of control.

She smiled briefly as a sweeter image tugged at her thoughts. The first weekend they’d run from reality, they’d danced on a rickety old pier in the rain. It was foolishly romantic and memorably perfect, and so was he. She could hear the music they’d played. “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues had echoed out across the deep water of the bay. They’d made slow sweet love in an old fishing shed, and watched on in shared wonder as a violent summer storm came sweeping up from the south. It played out a symphony with shattering crescendo’s and their lovemaking met and matched its passion.

Cassie reached for the safety of the present moment and whispered into the darkness, “Stop it. Don’t do this. Think about something else.”

She stood then and moved about her apartment, only vaguely aware of straightening things on the mantle that didn’t need straightening, and moving books around in the bookcase that hadn’t required moving.

She walked across to the bar, poured herself a double shot of JD and sat back on her sofa and lit up her bong. The balcony beckoned and she moved into the cool night air and the silence, alternating the hits of good weed and the alcohol and waited for the calm she craved so desperately to envelop her.

Yet the memories continued to invade. She was too stoned to avoid them, and they came at her without pity for her vulnerable state of mind.

Her marriage of thirty years had limped to a final conclusion twelve years earlier. She’d initially clung to the memory of it, allowing her mind to paint much prettier pictures of what had actually happened; she’d clung to it long past its use-by date.

Her lover’s staunch Catholic upbringing prevented his long marriage from taking the same course. He never spoke of it. Cassie never asked the questions. It was so much easier to pretend that their relationship may someday lead to them being together.

The memories flowed now, but not in sequence. The laughter they’d shared echoed through time, and conversations that made sense only to the two of them etched themselves afresh in this place and in this moment.

A jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. Pieces that she now went in search of.

They’d been fishing and hunting together often. They’d spent so many cold nights sleeping out under the stars, where their shared body warmth sustained them completely. They both loved the sounds of the night. Or the sounds of that long stretch of beach on the hottest summer days on record, swimming just after sunrise, cautiously waiting until the great white sharks had fed in deeper water off the reef. Cassie moaned as the sound of his deep voice surfaced unbidden, “We need to burn this into our memory. So, we can take it out and look at it when the world goes to hell.”

She brushed the moisture from her eyes. She’d never forgotten that moment. He had a way with words that echoed the romance of his soul.

The years had gone by so quickly. She watched and waited, wondering if she’d recognize the end if she saw it coming.

She saw it over five years ago. Phone calls that had begun every new day for years suddenly stopped coming, until they spoke only every couple of weeks. The visits went from a driving need to be together as often as they could steal the time, to a late-night knock on the door heralding a man who had only one need that remained to be met.

Cassie had tried so hard to ignore it, she floundered like a fish out of water on the sands of indecision.

She began wrapping her isolation around her like a comforting shawl.

The knock on her door at 3.30am on a hot summer’s morning had awoken her.

She knew instinctively who it was, and was angry well before she opened that door.

He stood there looking sheepish, then smiled. “Aren’t you gonna ask me to come in?”

Cassie stood aside without speaking and waved him across to the sofa.

He looked surprised as she stood there watching him, “What wrong, hon?”

“When was the last time we spoke?”

He looked away uncomfortably as he answered, “Guess it’s been a few weeks.”

“Try for three months!”

“Shit. Really? I’m sorry.”

“So, why are you here?”

He stood then, “You’re upset. I’ll call you later.”

She touched his arm. “I deserve better than this.”

For the first time in the thirty-plus years that she’d known him his dark hunter’s eyes filled with tears. She barely heard him as he struggled to speak, “Yes, honey. You do.”

She followed him across to the door and he turned and touched her cheek, then tucked a wayward curl behind her ear. He was shaking and his voice wavered as he spoke, “Goodbye, my love.”

Cassie felt the sobs tear through her, and she let them come.

He’d phoned after that, every couple of months and at ungodly hours. She’d register who was calling and declined the calls. The loneliness threatened to overwhelm her at first, she recalled using a telephone box to phone his work number just to hear his deep voice when he answered. She tortured herself like that constantly after they’d ended.

And now, what about now? She grimaced at her own question.

For now, she’d just get herself through the next anniversary.

And just before the alcohol lulled her into sleep on that anniversary morning her iPhone rang.

She was drunk, but not suicidal. She declined to take the call.

*

And for your enjoyment. “Nights In White Satin” by The Moody Blues.

 

#BlogTour “Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul” by D.L. Finn @dlfinnauthor #RRBC #RWISA #NewRelease #poetry.

I’m delighted to share in the excitement of this New Release by author D.L Finn. This is her first release of a book of her poetry. “Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul” Please make her welcome.

BLOG TOUR DLFINN BOOK COVER JUST HER POETRYJust Her Poetry Cover (2).jpgThank you, Suzanne, for having me on your blog to celebrate the release of my first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”

Finn Facts:

  1. I have a tittering laugh that my older grandkids find amusing.
  2. I’m a cat person who has dogs.

BLOG TOUR DLFINN BOOK COVER JUST HER POETRYJust Her Poetry Cover (2)

Blurb:

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

Excerpt from THE EMOTIONS: Those Feelings

WHIRLWIND

It entered my life like a storm…

Blowing everything familiar away from me.

I clung to the numbness it left behind.

It holds me above the weight of evil

That tries to drown me in its darkness.

I gasp to fill my lungs in this whirlwind

That swirls life around me hitting me with debris.

I’ve stopped ducking the pain, coming to expect it.

My normal life is ripped away from me, cruelly.

My comforts—gone

My emotions—grim

My distrust—growing

I swirl in this whirlwind brought to me like a present…

All I can do is survive this whirlwind of illness.

Amazon Purchase Link

RWISA PROFILE DENISE FINN

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

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

 

Thanks so much for joining in the excitement today. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.

#Valentine’sDay #ShortStory “Shall We Dance.” #RRBC #IARTG #Romance

love is ommortal valentines day image

“Shall We Dance”

By

Suzanne Burke.

 

Valentine’s day was looming again and Candace resisted the temptation to rip the month of February from the calendar hanging on her kitchen wall.

She needed no reminder of the celebration. For so many, it heralded a beginning, a step into the future with a love that they were certain would last a lifetime.

For her, it had been both the beginning and the end. Mitch had proposed on that long ago Valentine’s Day. He’d taken her dancing that night. He’d danced her around a room filled with uniformed Marines and as they watched on he’d dropped to his knees in the middle of the dance floor and proposed. They’d all cheered as Candace had given him her answer.

The sad-faced pastor and Lieutenent Colonel Brian Henderson had arrived at her door on February 14th almost a year ago.  Her Mitch wouldn’t be returning from Afghanistan. What followed was now etched forever in her memory. The hushed voices of their friends as they’d rallied around her to offer their understanding support and comfort. The wives who had hurriedly blessed their own lives, grateful that their own men were safe, for now.

Candace had searched everywhere for comfort. The inside of a bottle gave her only a temporary respite from the agony of his absence.

She and her Mitch had refused to discuss the possibility of him dying in the service of his country. That knowledge hovered unspoken on the peripheral of their lives. Giving it life was unthinkable. The future unimaginable without the enduring love they’d shared for almost fifteen precious years.

They’d already mourned and accepted the fact that they couldn’t have children of their own. Mitch had been eager to explore all the other avenues now available to childless couples. It had been her choice to remain childless. For her, Mitch would be the only love she’d ever need in her life. Her decision came back to haunt her now in the desperate solitude of her days and the eternal emptiness of her nights.

The new future danced in her nightmares. She’d stopped drinking when even the oblivion of alcohol had handed her no solace.

There had been no coffin proudly draped with their countries flag. No headstone to dignify his final resting place. A plaque on a wall was all that signified his passing. He was listed M.I.A and presumed dead along with two others from the Seal team he’d led with such utter devotion.

The bodies of his two team members had finally been located and identified. Candace had attended their funerals and wept along with their wives.

After shutting herself away for many months and drawing the increasing concern of her friends she’d finally begun to see a counselor. Yet as much as she’d understood the words he was saying, as much as her intelligence had accepted the innate wisdom of those words, she’d still steadfastly refused to accept the finality of Mitch’s death. How could he be gone when she could still hear his laughter? And on the long nights, as she lay in the darkness she’d smell the scent of his favorite aftershave waft through the room.

She’d reach for him in the darkness and moan his name, then cry for hours at the empty futility of her longing.

Candace dragged her mind back to the present. The sound of her cell phone had interrupted her thoughts several times in the past two days. She’d ignored the calls. Tomorrow was the anniversary.  She knew it would be folks ringing to check on her and offer up their kindness and willingness to help her in any way they could.  She’d hidden away from the repeated knocks on the front door that had been increasing in frequency. She couldn’t deal with the pats on the shoulder and the looks of sadness. Not now. Maybe not ever.

A car pulled up out front and a young Marine slid an envelope under the front door. Her hands shook as she picked it up, it was from the office of Lietenant Colonel Henderson and marked as extremely urgent.

Candace couldn’t bring herself to open it. She knew what it would be. This explained all the calls and the attempts to make contact. It could only be the acknowledgement that Mitch’s body had finally been recovered. Opening that envelope would leave her no choice at all but to believe he was gone.

It must wait till after Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  She gave herself permission to have this one last chance of disbelieving.

Candace sat on the sofa in the gathering darkness, she leaned her head back, closed her eyes and began humming Shall we Dance from the King and I. That was the marvelous music that Mitch had arranged to be played on the happiness fuelled Valentine’s night when he had proposed.

The memories swept her away for hours and she welcomed all of them. The day was beginning to dawn as she fell into a troubled sleep.  Today would be the final day before she was forced by facts to move on with her life.

Candace jumped with shock at the sound of someone pounding on the front door. She flicked a glimpse at her watch, “Jesus!  Hold on. Do you know it’s four o’clock in the morning!” She threw on her bathrobe and hurried across to the windows and pulled back the curtains. A base staff car with flags flying waited outside the house. “What the hell?”

Candace opened the door. The uniformed man stood alone in the semi-darkness. “Yes, Marine?”

“Candy.”

“That isn’t funny.”

“Candy, honey, it’s me.”

Nobody ever called her Candy … only … “Oh my God! Oh my God! Mitch?”

The man stepped into the light shining on the porch from the sitting room.

Mitch stood there holding himself erect with the aid of two canes.

“Darling, oh my darling, I knew it. I knew it. Hold me close before I believe that I’m dreaming again.”

The man leaned his walking aids against the wall and held out his arms. “It will be a little while before we can go dancing again, honey.”

Candy heard the hesitation. “Mitch, my dearest love. We now have forever to practice.”

All the explanations and questions could wait.

Their arms enfolded each other and they cried together in the joy of reunion.

Valentine’s day had now become their new beginning.

***

Valentine’s night. Five-years later.

Mitch Avery swept a bow to his wife and gave her his perpetually cheeky grin. “Shall we dance, m’lady?”

He held her in his arms and they moved in perfect unison around the dance-floor.

The poker faced Marines watching on cleared their throats as tears threatened, then they began to cheer.

Delighted whoops of joy from their two adopted six-year-old sons rang out as they ran across the dance-floor and threw themselves into the loving arms of their parents.

Candace had finally acknowledged that she and Mitch had more than enough love to share.

The future waited.

They walked forward as a family to greet it.

#

I have a further treat for you all. For those that know and Love “The King and I” Here is the original clip of ‘Shall we Dance” For those who may have never seen it I envy you the new experience.

 

 

 

 

“Art.” A #Paranormal short story for Halloween #RRBC @pursoot #IARTG #Romance

RED HEAD FOR ART SHORT STORY

Hi again and thanks so much for stopping by! Here’s another Paranormal short story to help celebrate Halloween. I do hope you enjoy it.

“Art”

by

Suzanne Burke

The mood on the boardwalk screamed summer.  Laughing, flirting teens and hand-holding couples walked in the early morning sunlight, the waves in their perpetual season of change pounded the golden sand along the shoreline.  It was easy to believe that this had once been my lifestyle, to pretend for a short while that I could still be in that life.

Summer was a blessing; I had no need to remain behind closed doors.  I was free to enjoy the warmth and fresh salt in the air.  It was of my own doing, the isolation.  I chose to separate myself from the proximity of human company. I no longer had a tolerance for it.  I remained closeted away, watching from a distance.  It felt safer that way.  No sense trying, I had never belonged.  The edge of a group was as close as I got.  The need to belong with them simply did not exist.

Why the summer beckoned me was a mystery I had no wish to solve.  My life and the pattern I created within it remained stagnant in the colder months when the wind roared across the ocean with its icy tentacles seeking to hide me away.  Now the warm wind lifted my waist-length mass of red hair, and played with it much as a child would.

The art galleries were opening for the summer season.  Tourists would flock to this seaside town.  I had already sold much of the work I had done in my hibernation. It afforded me the satisfaction of knowing that I would survive another year at least with the money already earned.

I browsed as always, seeking what?  My mind floundered in a vain attempt to identify the thought.  Connection perhaps?  I smiled as always when romantic notions made me aware of their presence.

I was becoming more aware of my fragility with each passing season.
People were gathered around a painting, they showed a good deal of interest, and many opinions were forthcoming on what it represented.

It appeared to attract comment from many and understanding from few; that alone made it worth my viewing.

I looked, and looked deeper.  It was not the sort of thing I normally spared more than a glance.  Yet it drew me.  I stood at the back of the small crowd attempting to analyze why it had pulled my attention.

I have never looked for hidden meaning in artwork … art for me is simply what an artist does.

This artist had depicted isolation, at least to my eye.  A dead tree alone on the edge of a body of water… a murky distance and an object floating in the brackish depths of the pond.  The object is what was being discussed.  I was silently amused at the descriptions various viewers gave it. “Space junk,” mused one.  “A ball into the future,” was another offering.

Admittedly, it wasn’t an object recognizable to me, yet it did not feel alien.  The surroundings it was in however felt … somehow wrong.

Stark and empty, they caused me to shiver, not fearful … merely alone.  The object spoke to me of comfort and vibrancy.  It was a strange sensation.  It was different, and as such intrigued me.  An opaque ball with tinges of green at its center was fixed upon a conveyance of sorts.  Three disks black in color, encircled a metal antenna at the end of a stem.

The object appeared to lie on its side, the one splash of color amidst desolation.

I wanted to touch the painting.  I needed to feel the roughened oils under my fingertips.

A gallery employee approached and a few people queried the price.  “Sorry, folks, this one’s for display only. It’s not for sale.”  She apologized.

A few people showed disappointment and moved on.  I stood mesmerized, unable to tear myself from it.

“What do you see?” A male voice startled me.

“See?  I see a painting,”  I replied.

“What else?”  The voice persisted.

“Sadness.”  My answer surprised me; at that point, I hadn’t even clearly defined it to myself.  Yet that was indeed what I felt.  An almost overwhelming sadness.

“It belongs to you then,”  he said.

I turned to see who he was. There was no one there.  Odd?  I laughed quietly to myself.  No … not odd, not really, my months of isolation often played tricks with my mind when I first ventured out into the world again.

I shrugged.  Imagination.  Great when painting.  Not socially acceptable in company.

I was surprised when the gallery owner approached me.  “Care for a coffee?”  It was the same voice.

“No, no thank you.”

“Afraid?”

“What?”

“You heard me, Katya.”

“How did you kn …?  Of course, you know it, how foolish of me; after all, you sell my work.  But, no … wait.  How …?  I never use that name!”

“I’ve been waiting.  I knew you would come.”  His reply should have shocked me, made me afraid; it did not.

“How long?”

“More than a lifetime.  I have waited.  It is time.  You know that.  Yes, Katya?”

“Yes … yes, I know.  I don’t understand, not yet.  Yet, I know.”

“It’s time.”  He repeated taking my hand.

“Now?”

“You are ready.  No fear?”

“No.” And there was none. I felt joy such as I had never experienced.  I allowed him to pull me gently into his arms.

***

It was summer, the small art galleries were opened in the seaside resort.  One painting attracted a great deal of attention.  People grouped around it exchanging opinions; with much disagreement.

The painting depicted a landscape rich and lush.  A solitary tree in full bloom stood on the edge of a pristine pond.  A man and a woman sat in clear view, their happiness etched on their faces.  Her long red hair seemed alive in a breeze.

The discussions centered on an object floating in the sparkling water, it shimmered in a myriad of colors, radiating life.  The colors seemed to flicker and grow brighter as they gazed.

A young woman approached the group, her red hair caught in a ribbon at the nape of her neck.

The group asked many questions to which she simply replied, “This painting is not for sale; it is only for display.”

“What is it called,” asked one of the group.

“Reunited.” She whispered and walked quietly from view.

#

Contact via:

 Twitter:   @pursoot

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StaceyandSuzie

Blog/Website:

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke

#NewRelease Book Tour: “If you love me, I’m yours” By Lizzie Chantree @Lizzie_Chantree #RRBC #IARTG

 

BOOK TOUR LIZZIE BANNER IF YOU LOVE ME USE THIS ONE

Hello and welcome!  Today. I’m delighted to be featuring the latest release by Author Lizzie Chantree, as part of her “If You Love Me, I’m Yours” book release tour. Available now for Pre-order.

Release date July 9th.

 

Please meet author Lizzie Chantree.

LIZZIE CHANTREE BIO PIC

Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Cover of If You Love Me I'm Yours Lizzie Chantree tour 2

Book blurb:   ‘If you love me, I’m yours…’
Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.
Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.
Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.
Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.
Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

***

A great tip from Lizzie Chantree.

Using keywords in book reviews:  
Like most authors, I am learning new things about the publishing industry every day and try to share what I learn here, in the hope it helps other writers, book lovers and bloggers. I have been looking at keywords and good ways to use them, but had no idea that reviews count as keywords too! Reviews literally take 2 minutes to write and a couple of sentences is plenty, although a detailed description is wonderful too. They are the first place that readers look to discover a new read and are really helpful to both author and reader. Reviews containing keywords make the books even easier to find on Amazon’s search engine. Here are some examples. The keywords are in a different colour. 
Review 1:

A lovely read. I enjoyed the characters immensely and the way the author used description really drew me in. This is a book I would recommend to friends as I couldn’t wait to get back to my kindle to read the next chapter!

Review 2: 
I was recommended this book by a friend as I love Freya North Lisa Jewell... I’m a bit of chick lit fan!!! By the end of the first chapter I was completely gripped…This is a really compulsive romance read and not easy to put down; but quite light hearted and full of humour. The characters are really fun, engaging and believable.
BOOK TOUR LIZZIE CLOSING BANNER

Social media links:

 Website:  https://lizziechantree.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.chantree.

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

 

Universal book buy link: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours

 I love to hear your thoughts and comments. It’s been a pleasure to host Lizzie Chantree today.

 

 

Book Review: “The Contract” by Gwen Plano & John W. Howell. @HowellWave @gmplano #RRBC #IARTG

Hello and welcome to my REVIEW of “The Contract” By Authors Gwendolyn M Plano and John W. Howell.

BOOK REVIEW THE CONTRACT COVER

Meet the authorsBOOK REVIEW IMAGE GWEN PLANOGwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It is available now for pre-order. Author Jan Sikes read the manuscript and wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

And John W. Howell

John Howell Headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Blurb

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

     Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Fast paced and action packed … this book will satisfy even the most devout thriller readers.

I was both excited and curious to read a book co-authored by two authors who have earned my admiration for each of their books. Authors John W. Howell and Gwen Plano both have resoundingly earned five-star reviews from me for their individual works.

Their total diversity of writing styles and genres would have presented them with a challenge when undertaking to co-author this work.

I’m delighted with the outcome. They’ve met and exceeded my expectations.

This book goes beyond man’s earthly desires to dominate and control his environment. It takes you to the dark places fueled by man’s thirst for absolute power.

It shows you the joy of the heavenly plane, and the release from pain that it offers.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien a nurse are chosen by the divine council of heavenly elders to become their representations on earth.

The reader is taken on a thrill ride as the story develops, each of the characters are beautifully crafted and intensely visual, with wonderful dialogue moving the book along at a great pace. The character development is outstanding.

The relationship between Brad and Sarah develops over a relatively brief span of time, as they are thrown together by circumstance, and make the decision to stay together by choice. Their tender and developing love for one another is deftly handled, adding the depth of warmth that the story demands.

This work has been meticulously researched, and all references within it add to the utterly convincing terrorist threat, and the dark forces at work in the corridors of power, bringing into question the motives of players that may have been seen initially to have no hidden agenda whatsoever.

Fast paced and action packed … this book will satisfy even the most devout thriller readers.

The conclusion was intense and utterly believable. These authors have amalgamated their individual skills into a first-rate work of fiction.

This work stands tall in celebration of good people willing to lay down their lives to protect and defend their country and the principles on which it was founded.

I found this to be a riveting reading experience, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend.