Life & Soul #NewRelease @harmony_kent #Poetry

It is with great pleasure I welcome fellow Story Empire contributor and long-time friend, Harmony Kent to my blog today. She has a brand new book of poetry to share with you. If you are not familiar with her work, now is a great time to get acquainted.

So, Welcome, Harmony!

PURCHASE LINK

Hi, Jan. Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s always wonderful to visit with you. Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry …

From Brief Soul:

roads and paths

swimming

in tears

This poem comes from my experiments with short-form poetry, both counted syllables and freestyle. I love the pivot in understanding the last line brings. Some of the short poetry in the Brief Soul section are obvious at first read, while others may take further study. As with many poems, much is left to interpretation and can change with the weather.

I hope you enjoyed this poem and would love to know what you think.

Life & Soul blurb:

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane

Universal Link: mybook.to/LifeAndSoul

About the Author:

AUTHOR BIO:

Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem, and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award-winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Harmony’s Website

Twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: Harmony Kent

BookBub: Harmony Kent

Story Empire (co-authored blog): Harmony Kent

The Friendship Pact – Jill Shalvis #BookReview #Netgalley @JillShalvis

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and Avon Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

PURCHASE LINK

The Friendship Pact is a story about family, friendship, and forgiveness. The characters in this story are deeply flawed and fighting to rise above their limitations, both physical and mental.

I enjoyed many of the tertiary characters in the story, but the story focuses mainly on Tae Holmes and Riggs Copeland, as well as Tae’s relationship with her mother, April, and Riggs’ relationship with his brother, Jake.

Mistakes were made when April discovered she was pregnant after a one-night stand at a party. Lies were told. But can those lies stay buried?

Tae and Riggs essentially grew up together, both coming from hardships and struggles. Riggs’ father was an abusive alcoholic. He and his brother Jake caught the brunt force of his fists too many times. Joining the military was their way out.

Tae’s entire world revolves around her mother. They are all each other has. They’ve always struggled to make ends meet. April sought security and a better way of life for her and her daughter through a continuous flow of men through her door. As a result, Tae has become independent and tough, her heart closed to the idea of any deep relationship with a man. After all, she had no father and none of the men April chose came close to her idea of a father.

So, at age 28, Tae is a successful businesswoman, dedicated to her mother, and consumed by her work. She’s good at her job and good at protecting her heart. But now Riggs is back in town for the summer to help his disabled brother provide summer activities for wounded veterans and other disabled adults and children.

Sparks fly between Tae and Riggs. She’d lost her virginity to him in high school. But then he’d gone into the military and disappeared from her life. And she isn’t ready to let him back in. They have to find a way to work together for the summer, so a friendship pact is formed.

It doesn’t take long for that to grow into something bigger. But both are better at running away than staying. Add in the complication of a father Tae thought to be dead, showing up very much alive and this story takes lots of heart-stopping twists and turns.

The author did a fabulous job at weaving all the characters together. They are complex, multi-dimensional, and believable with relatable struggles. Tae was my favorite character. She fought hard for independence. She needed no one. Riggs’ brother, Jake, is a character I admired. Despite the paralyzed legs, he dared to live life, fall in love, and help others struggling with disabilities. While this is a romance, it is also much more, diving into dysfunctional family struggles and the attempt to forgive and heal. I highly recommend it and give it a solid four stars!

Memorial Day U.S. #MemorialDay2022

People say all the time, “Happy Memorial Day.” But Memorial Day isn’t meant to be happy. It is a day of mourning for those who have lost their lives defending this country.

Canva

While it is typically the holiday that kicks off summer vacations, cookouts, camping, and other outdoor summer activities in the U.S., did you know that this day was originally established in 1868? And it was originally set at the end of May because that is the time when flowers are blooming across the country.

So, instead of my regular Monday post, I pause to honor those who have fallen on the battlefields around the world so that I can sit here and write this post.

Comments are closed.

Off the Grid

Hello, everyone. I am going off the grid for a couple of days, so will not be visiting blogs, responding to emails, or social media. I will catch up when I return.

That being said, I want to remind you the Rafflecopter is still going on. Two Amazon gift cards are up for grabs. So, if you haven’t entered yet, there is still time, but only three days left!

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

And, Jagged Feathers is still on sale for only 99 cents! PURCHASE LINK

PURCHASE LINK

Would you like an extra entry in the Giveaway? Visit YouTube, like and share the Book Trailer for Jagged Feathers!

And last but not least, Jagged Feathers was featured on N.N. Light’s Book Heaven site this week as a Bookish Salute to the Military! I would appreciate any comments and shares!

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/jagged-feathers-smbe

That’s it from me for now. If you are in the U.S. enjoy the long holiday and be safe!

Amazon Gift Card #Giveaway – #99Cent Sale – Sneak Peek!

I am thrilled to announce that Jagged Feathers is temporarily on sale for only 99 cents!! This won’t last long.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about Jagged Feathers:

“The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end.”

“The characters are developed in a way that you bond with each one, and the author left has left me anticipating what the white rune will bring in the next story.”

“For those who enjoy reading the blend of fast-paced suspense and steamy military romance with an engaging war vet longing for true love, I recommend Jagged Feathers.

What are you waiting for? Grab your copy HERE!

Who can use an Amazon Gift Card? The answer is everyone!

Submit your entries via this Rafflecopter! The most entries wins!

Rafflecopter giveaway


And last but not least, here is a sneak peek at the first draft of the book cover for the final story in The White Rune Series, Saddled Hearts! This is NOT the final cover, but I do love the way it’s coming together!

That’s it. Please share and help me push JAGGED FEATHERS to the top!! I’d be most grateful! And enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a gift card!

#MondayMotivation – #Meditation #TarotReading #DragonOracleCard

Welcome to another Monday post. Today’s theme seems to be all about making choices.

The Tarot reading for the week ahead focuses on exposing darkness and illusions and celebrating!

Photo by Jan Sikes

The Devil card focuses on our shadow selves – the negative part of us we don’t want anyone to see, that holds us back from being the best version of ourselves. The Devil card often appears when you have been tricked into thinking you have no control over your shadow self or these negative forces and that you can never break free from their hold. When this card shows up in a reading, see it as an opportunity to bring these negative influences into your conscious awareness, so you can then take action to free yourself from their hold. Shine your light on the negative patterns that have been standing in your way for so long, and over time, you will loosen the grip they have on you. 

The Moon can indicate a time of uncertainty and illusion—when nothing is what it seems. Be careful of making fast decisions when The Moon appears because you may later realize you only had half the information you needed. You need to listen to and trust your intuition so you can see beyond what is in front of you. Feel into situations rather than thinking about what they mean. Let go of your conscious mental blocks or negative self-talk and allow your intuition to guide you. Your dreams, intuitions, and inner guidance will lead you forward toward higher levels of understanding if you listen and use your judgment to help interpret the messages of the subconscious.

The Three of Cups is a card of celebration, friendship, sisterhood, and creative collaborations. Your friends and family are here to support you and lift you up to even higher levels of success. Celebrate with them and enjoy their camaraderie. The Three of Cups often indicates a very sociable period. This card also invites you to collaborate with others on a creative project and inspire one another to reach new heights. Collectively, you are working towards a common goal for the greater good of others. This is a very creative card, suggesting that you may pursue a creative outlet within a group environment.

MY TAKEAWAY:

When we think we have no control over our shadow selves, we get stuck in negative and destructive patterns. But we always have a choice, and if we listen to our intuition, choose the higher path, shine a light on the darkness, and let go of negativity, we get to enjoy a celebration of friendship, joy, and possibly creative collaborations.

And now for another lovely Dragon Card!

It’s a Mad Mad Murder – #BookBlitz @LoneStarLit

IT’S A MAD, MAD MURDER
A Maddie Montgomery Mystery
by
CINDY VINCENT

Cozy Culinary Mystery / Women Sleuths / Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Whodunit Press
Date of Publication: November 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 303 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Things are a little too hot to handle for famous culinary-mystery author, Maddie Montgomery, in her normally quiet neighborhood set in the Houston suburb of Abbott Cove. Especially after her neighbor, Randall Rathburn, has a heart attack and rams his vintage car into a light pole. Though his death is ruled an accident, another of Maddie’s neighbors insists that Randall was murdered, and he implores her to investigate. But Maddie isn’t on board with the half-baked idea, not until she attends the over-the-top funeral where she develops some suspicions of her own. That’s when she decides to take the leap from crime writing to crime solving. After all, she doesn’t exactly want a killer running around her cul-de-sac . . .
But the murder of her neighbor isn’t the only mystery she’s got cooking. When her publisher goes belly-up and her agent happily dumps her in favor of younger, dystopian authors, Maddie boils over into a full-blown career crisis. And while she tries to simmer down, her new role as amateur sleuth only stirs the pot even more. Then from car chases to stakeouts, and from a neighbor who owns a suspicious amount of spy gadgetry to a widow who seems a little too merry, Maddie’s first case has her head spinning like the beaters on her handheld mixer. And soon Maddie finds that solving a crime in “real life” is a lot more difficult . . . and a lot more dangerous . . .
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
Amazon
Cindy Vincent is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, and the Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mysteries. She is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and she starts the planning for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display sometime in the early spring.
FACEBOOK AMAZONGOODREADS
————————————–
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS!
1ST PRIZE:
Signed copy of It’s a Mad, Mad Murder, a sweetheart-neckline apron, a set of multicolored, Farberware measuring cups, and a set of stainless steel, oblong measuring spoons.
2ND & 3RD PRIZES:
Signed copies of It’s a Mad, Mad Murder and novella, Yes, Carol…It’s Christmas!, which features a heroine trying to get back home to Texas
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/26/2022)

#NewRelease – From Brick and Darkness by @JLS_author @wildrosepress

I am thrilled to introduce a new author to you today. J.L Sullivan is a fellow Wild Rose Press Author, and this is his debut novel. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Welcome, J.L.!

PURCHASE LINK

Thank you for the warm welcome, Jan!

I love cities. The bigger, the better. A city creates adventure around every corner. I’ve traveled to New York City several times and never experienced the same trip twice. For my wife’s birthday, we took a train to Chicago for a long weekend. We did all the tourist requirements, but the best part was when we accidentally stumbled into a tiki bar we found around the back of a building that served insanely indulgent—and often aflame—cocktails. That “accident” became the most memorable part of the trip.

So when I wrote From Brick & Darkness, it was important to me to set it in the right city, with all of the excitement—and uncertainty—that accompanies an urban setting. Where else could you find a hundred-year-old apartment building with an abandoned cellar down the street from a comic book store owned by an eccentric storyteller?

I’ve lived most of my adult life in St. Louis, and have always appreciated its nooks and crannies. It has vibrant neighborhoods clustered beneath luxury high rises that sit next to abandoned buildings. The juxtaposition was the perfect setting for a dark novel about djinn.

And like my protagonist Bax, St. Louis has more to offer than it appears, has made some questionable decisions, and in the end, will need to rely on friends to surmount some of its greatest challenges. Telling Bax’s story in my hometown made perfect sense.

I hope you enjoy going on Bax’s journey in St. Louis as he learns you may not always want what you wish for.

Courtesy Wild Rose Press

BOOK BLURB:

Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

EXCERPT:

Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.

A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.

“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.

His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.

It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.

His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”

Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?”

The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brick-Darkness-J-L-Sullivan-ebook/dp/B09THQ24TC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QI1IHMS3OVJV&keywords=from+brick+and+darkness+sullivan&qid=1646400481&sprefix=from+brick+and+darkness%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-1

BN.com: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-brick-darkness-j-l-sullivan/1141068076?ean=9781509240081

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60508978

Bookbub:https://www.bookbub.com/books/from-brick-darkness-by-j-l-sullivan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J. L. Sullivan writes young adult stories inspired by gritty urban environments and the tales that percolate within abandoned buildings and desolate alleys. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Princess Penelope Picklesworth.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: www.jlsullivan.net

Twitter: @jls_author

Instagram: @JLS_author

Facebook: @jlsullivanauthor

#WednesdayWonders – Lapis Lazuli

Time sure has a way of flying by, and it’s been WAY too long since I did a gemstone post.

Created in Canva

I’ve had a couple of small pieces of Lapis Lazuli for years, but on my recent trip to Missouri, I picked up two new ones, and I’m just loving them!

Photo by Jan Sikes

Lapis Lazuli stone meaning came from the Latin word Lapis means stone, and from the Persian word, Lazhward, meaning blue. It was used as the finest art through the ages, especially when it was used in ancient Egypt, beloved by the Babylonians, Minoans, Chinese, Greeks, and up to the Romans. It was historically used in the death mask of King Tutankhamen, where they inlaid it with turquoise and carnelian in bright gold. It was also a subject from a well-known writer Marco Polo way back in 1271. Michelangelo grounds up this stone to create blue paint called ultramarine that brings color and brings the robes of Mary of Nazareth painted on church walls.

Lapis Lazuli’s benefits consist of a powerful, intense royal blue stone used to open minds and give enlightenment. It is used to encourage self-awareness, self-confidence, self-knowledge, peace and harmony, compassion, and morality, putting the wearer in a good mood throughout the day.

Lapis Lazuli’s healing crystal was discovered to relieve anger and negative thoughts. It is a useful tool for those who suffer emotional breakdowns. It calms the senses and opens up the mind to produce knowledge and self-awareness. It is a stone of protection against anxiety and psychic attacks, allowing clearer thinking and enhancing the ability to be more creative. it stimulates clarity and objectivity and speaks one’s truth and emotions. It also brings to balance the male and female aspects of your personality, which vibrates with the energy of the inner king or queen, and are historically stones of royalty.

Lapis Lazuli’s emotional healing is not just with the inner issues, but it can help to generate goals and determination. It strengthens the mind to influence your body for being active at work, career, and in life, in general.

This stone can connect your heart and mind forcing it to create a good flow of blood and calms your emotions. It aids in the treatment of skin issues and respiratory ailments. It is good for the nervous system that controls brain disorders. It is also believed to boost the immune system, help the blood circulate normally, and soothe the areas of inflammation. Because of its intense blue color, it is related to the throat chakra, therefore being beneficial in helping regulate the thyroid gland.

This stone has a way of making you fearless with your choices or decisions throughout your journey, which lifts your spirit to become more motivated every day. It’s a highly spiritual crystal that expands your thinking, gives deeper connections to the spiritual world, and promotes awareness. 

**It is not uncommon to find Sodalite in stores being sold as Lapis Lazuli. The best way to tell the difference is the intense royal blue color and the specks of gold and pyrite found in Lapis, whereas Sodalite will have some gray and white, but not the other reflective minerals.**

I hope you enjoyed this!!

#MotivationMonday #Meditation #RuneReading #DragonoracleCard

Happy Monday! I don’t know about the weather where everyone is, but here in Texas, it’s triple digits this week. Very early for those kinds of temps. Here’s today’s inspiring quote. I love it!

inspiringquotes.com

Today’s meditation is effective and short. Enjoy!

I found myself drawn back to the Runes for this week’s reading. Here’s what I got.

Photo by Jan Sikes

Jera, in the first position, is the rune of harvest. It signifies that each season has a purpose, so it reminds us that attainment of goals often takes time. A seed planted in the spring must be given time to grow. And it can only be harvested at the proper time. Jera indicates that your efforts will be successful. If you have been dealing with adversity and obstacles, Jera is a welcome sign that troubles are receding. (Always good news, right?) In addition, Jera symbolizes the union of opposites, such as dawn and dusk and the liminal timelines between seasons. You are advised to acknowledge any adversity you are or have been experiencing will ultimately contribute to your growth. You are who you are because of the lessons life has taught you.

Hagalaz in the second position can indicate temporary delays that are beyond your control, such as the forces of nature or other circumstances that you cannot change. A good example that is relatable in the present day is computer issues. And with Mercury in retrograde, it is not uncommon for electronics to fail or to “act up.” However, these are temporary, and eventually, everything gets ironed out.

In the third position, Elhaz is the rune of defense and protection. It indicates you are safe from danger and have no need to fear. However, you are warned not to take this protection for granted. We still must do our due diligence and remain alert, clear-minded, and in touch with our intuition. By listening to our higher guidance, we will know which moves to make to stay out of harm’s way. Additionally, Elhaz may refer to an upcoming opportunity or quest. Usually, this involves one or more other people. As long as your intuition agrees, you are encouraged to go for it.

MY TAKEAWAY:

If you have been dealing with adversity or obstacles, take comfort in knowing the situation is indeed temporary and you are protected.

On a personal note, I have certainly been dealing with several issues that could be considered adversity or obstacles. When I made my trip to Missouri, I booked hotels through Travelocity. It seemed an easy way to do it all. However, when we arrived in Oklahoma the first night, the motel I had booked at said they had no rooms. Long story short, they charged me for the room, and I am fighting for a refund. This reading encourages me that it will come to a satisfactory conclusion. Lesson learned. Never book through a third party! I am involved in another difficult situation beyond my control. My publisher experienced a devastating hack of their website a few weeks ago, and email communication has been down since the hack. I am hoping for a resolution to that one as well.

Your turn!

I am thinking I may have drawn this Dragon Card before, but if so, it has turned up again. It’s gorgeous!!