Friday Free-For-All – Clutter/DeClutter

Welcome to another Friday post!

I walked into my office the other day and stopped dead in my tracks. It was a MESS!!!

Photos by Jan Sikes

That’s ridiculous! It was time to do something about it. I stay so busy and go in such a fast run all the time, cleaning and organizing get pushed to the bottom of my list, as is obvious by these photos.

According to Psychology Today, clutter causes stress in part because of its excessive visual stimuli. It also signals to our brains that our work is never done and creates guilt, anxiety, and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Wow! Can I ever relate to the part about my work never being done. It is overwhelming to constantly feel as if you are on a hamster wheel, running but never getting anywhere. And yes, then there’s the guilt about never making enough progress.

So, what exactly constitutes clutter? According to The Very Well Mind, The word clutter refers to items that are strewn about in a disorganized fashion. Well, that fits my situation. Things were strewn about and totally disorganized. They go on to say, In general, clutter is a collection of items that people accumulate in their homes and don’t necessarily use, but hold on to anyway. They also state, someone with perfectionist tendencies is likely to be more stressed out by clutter.

I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. If I ever did, I gave up on it long ago, as nothing is ever perfect. But I do have a touch of OCD. Okay. Maybe more than a touch. I obsess over things until they are finished. That’s a good quality for an author to have, right?

Back to the clutter. I decided it was high time I shut everything down and cleaned up. Heck, I had receipts from four months ago that needed to be processed, and that’s just one tiny part of it.

So, I put on music, which is my favorite thing to do when I clean, and got busy. A couple of hours later things looked totally different.

Ahhhh, much better.

Now I could go to work and be productive!

What about you? Does clutter bother you or are you one of those people who keep everything organized and never let it get cluttered? Let’s talk. Maybe you have some wisdom to share.

September Book Reviews @stacitroilo @maeclair1 @brendawhitesid2 @Sandra_Cox @maurabeth2014

I normally wait until the end of the month to share my book reviews, but these wouldn’t wait! Enjoy!

Created in Canva
PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Hang onto your hat with this one, folks!
This story, written in dual timelines is hands-down one of the best books of the year so far!
I struggled at the beginning to keep all the characters from each timeline straight, but as the authors so effectively established each one, it became easy.
I love all the characters. Even the tertiary characters are bigger than life.
The relationship between Aiden and his Gran (Julia) is so special, not just because she raised him. They share something deeper than just family blood. They share gifts passed down through their lineage. But their banter is endearing. I almost laughed out loud when she drugged him with her special herbal tea.
The strong female characters in this story are unique and capable. Greer may be my favorite. Not only is she a talented writer and editor, but she’s also got flaws that make her believable. And that could be said about each character in this story.
Aiden is a non-believer in anything related to the spirit realm. So it was fun watching things unfold to challenge him at every turn.
From seances in the late 1800s to modern-day seances, this story encompasses it all. Some so-called spiritualists were no more than good magicians, while others truly possessed the gift of mediumship. Since I am a true believer in supernatural gifts, I found all of this believable.
I cannot fail to mention Aiden’s faithful dog, Levi. He is as much a character in the story as the humans and is entirely devoted to his master. So, I loved it when he saved the day.
If you love deeply intertwined family stories mixed with paranormal occurrences and a tantalizing mystery, you are going to enjoy this story from these two authors. I’ve been a fan of both of their writings for many years, but the two of them co-authoring this book have taken storytelling to an entirely new level. This is the must-read book of 2022!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I enjoyed this book so much. The author speaks my language. Elidor is an empath. She’s struggled throughout her entire life with how to manage that gift and not let it overwhelm her. She’s also an archaeologist and a good one. She’s traveled the world participating in digs. But this one, in New Mexico, changes her life. Bordering the Mescalero Indian Reservation, she and her partner, Cam make a discovery that will affect the future of the Mescalero Indians and their way of life. What to do? She’s developed a close kinship with a Mescalero elder, Juanita, who is teaching her how to manage her gift as an empath. Then Cam falls off the mountain and dies. Now Elidor is the only one who knows the location of the burial site and the massive accumulation of wealth it holds. She makes a choice that puts her life in danger. Greed can cause men to do unspeakable things. I cheered for Elidor when she made the decision to return home to Joshua, which is a fictitious town patterned after Jerome, Arizona. If you’ve never visited this place, put it on your bucket list, and don’t miss the kaleidoscope store. The author did a fabulous job of describing it. But I digress. I loved Elidor’s family and the hippie community that is bonded together in this quaint town. And while she knew it was always a possibility, she’d not prepared to cross paths with her one true love, Julien, whom she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He is an accomplished journalist turned author and has also traveled the world. Will they be able to renew their relationship? Will Elidor give up her secret? So many questions! You’ll have to read the book to find the answers. While this is book 3 in a series, is it a complete standalone You do not have to read the others before this one. If you are a fan of complex characters and a compelling storyline, you are going to love this book. I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

The cover for this story is the first thing that drew me. It’s gorgeous! I’ll Be Right Back is a short read that portrays a weak man’s obsession with a woman and the ultimate betrayal. Maura Beth Brennan has a distinctive writing style that pulls the reader into the story. She sets the scene, then follows through with the psychological aspects of both characters. Money isn’t everything, and love is truly blind. A short but good read!

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

A sheriff with amber eyes and lean hard muscles, a spunky southern girl, and a small Montana town makes the perfect combination for an intriguing story. Oh, but wait! Let’s add in the fact that the hunky sheriff is a shapeshifter who is determined to keep his inner wolf a secret. But when the people he loves are threatened by a powerful evil force, he has no choice. This story kept me involved from the beginning to the end. While I felt it was predictable as far as the romance part, it is a super entertaining read, and a great way to escape into another world for a while. This author does a great job of creating the characters. I could visualize them all and had a few favorites I immediately related to. Rose, Quinn, Jesse, and Adam, although tertiary characters, all play a big part in the unfolding of the story. If you are looking for a different kind of small-town romance story, there is no doubt you will enjoy this one. It’s a great escape!

#MondayMotivation – Meditation – #TarotReading #DragonOracleCard

Happy Monday! I wish you a great start to a new week. Let’s plant some seeds!

This mindfulness meditation is short but powerful for centering.

The Tarot cards really spoke to me today. I hope something about the reading will also resonate with you.

Photo by Jan Sikes

I know these cards will look familiar to you. We’ve seen them before, but never all three together.

First of all, notice the numbers (5,6,7). Interesting.

The Seven of Cups represents choices and decisions. There are so many things to choose from, and you may find your ideas are not grounded in reality. Often, the Seven of Cups can be a sign of wishful thinking and projecting into the future about what you would like to create, rather than taking action here in the present to make it happen. The Seven of Cups may be a sign of shiny object syndrome, where you keep finding the ‘next big thing’ but fail to see any of those new opportunities through to the end. When you are constantly in the idea phase, you miss the chance to bring your designs into fruition. Now is a time to focus on the one thing that will move you closer to your goal; resist the temptation to get side-tracked with other ideas as they arise. If need be, note your ideas as they come up, but stay focused on the one thing you’re doing. This card is inviting you to move out of the ideas and options phase and choose. Remember your choices today form your tomorrow.

The Five of Pentacles typically represent loss or poverty. It may predict hard times, especially when it comes to your work, career, finances, and material possessions. In this time of need, the Five of Pentacles indicates that you feel isolated and alone. Just like the two people in the card, you feel as if you have been left in the cold. You may wonder, “Why is no one coming to help me!?” It may appear as if no one cares anymore. However, since the windows in the church are lit up, help is nearby, but you are too focused on your problems to notice. You may be waiting for someone to come and help you when really, you need to be proactive and ask for help. You need to swallow your pride or let go of your fear of rejection and reach out. People are here to support you. Find them and let them know you need them. The upside is that this is a Minor Arcana card with temporary effects (rather than a Major Arcana card which has a longer-term impact). This, too, shall pass.

The Six of Swords may indicate that you are in a state of transition, leaving behind the familiar and moving toward the unknown. This change may be your own doing or forced upon you, and you may feel sad to leave behind what is so familiar to you. However, you know this move is essential for your growth and personal development. The card invites you to let go of whatever is holding you back. You are headed toward a much better position in life, so long as you are willing to evolve and shed whatever you no longer need. Do not dwell on what gets left behind. Instead, use this as an opportunity to change your beliefs about yourself, moving away from whom you used to be and toward whom you want to be. Similarly, the Six of Swords asks you to reflect on any emotional or mental baggage you may carry as you move from one phase to the next. In the boat stand six upstanding swords – a sign you are still carrying a heavy weight from your past as you move forward, which might slow your personal growth. These ‘swords’ may be memories, relationships, habits, behaviors, thought patterns, and beliefs that are no longer serving you. Decide what you need to take with you and what you can leave behind. The one comfort that always stands out to me about this card is that you are not alone. The boatman is helping get you where you need to be, and it’s a much better place.

MY TAKEAWAY:

Be mindful of the choices you make. Choosing something that is not grounded in reality is setting yourself up for failure, the feeling of loss, and desperation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is time to leave behind what no longer serves you and move on to something better and brighter. But you are never alone.

And this little Dragon is ready to help clear your way!

Deep Blue Dragon - Keeps you safe by clearing your pathway. Trust that you are protected. Walk on a path of light.

#FridayFreeForAll #Crows

Happy Friday!! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend ahead! Today’s subject may be a little ‘odd’ to some, but oh well, that’s what this Friday slot is all about. Anything goes!

Rick and I had some good friends, Roxy and Judy Gordon, who lived outside of Coleman between Valera and Talpa. (Yes, those are real places – tiny little towns) They were two of the most unique individuals I ever knew. They spent several years living on an Indian Reservation in Montana and practiced the Native American traditions and ways. They built what they called a house-up on top of a hill that overlooked a valley. I looked for a photo to show you and, after an hour of searching gave up. I have it on a video, but I did find this one which would have been taken shortly after they finished building it. (used with permission).

https://www.roxygordonfirstcoyoteboy.com/

Anyway, on the side of the building, they would paint the year and an animal, for example, ‘2002 The Year of The Snake’ or whatever animal had made its presence known that particular year.

What does any of that have to do with my post? I have been seeing an unusually large number of huge crows where I live.

Photo by Jan Sikes

That isn’t normal here. Occasionally I’ll see one or two, but not these large numbers. So, me being me, I had to consult my Animal Spirit Guides book and see what they signify.

Amazon Purchase Link (if interested)

Here’s what the book had to say about Crows:

You are on the verge of manifesting something you’ve been working toward for a while. Be very watchful over the next few days for any clear omens or signs that will guide and teach you. Expect a big change very soon. You’ve noticed something that’s out of balance or an injustice that hasn’t been addressed, and it’s important to speak up about it. You’re about to get a glimpse into some future event that affects your directly.

Hmmmmm. That’s certainly food for thought. Then I also found this on the internet.

Crows are a powerful symbol of change and transition. The crow is a symbol of metamorphosis or change. More importantly, it alludes to a shift in one’s spiritual or emotional well-being. With their keen senses and ability to adapt, birds are an invaluable source of information for people living in urban environments.

Courtesy: https://www.yourtango.com/2020334049/spiritual-meaning-crow

What to make of all the crows? I do believe there is a distinct message for me. I can certainly keep my eyes and ears open. At the very least, the pigeon population decreased when the crows showed up. I count that a win!

Author D.L. Finn embraces the concept of spirit animals in her life and in her books which often includes a bear. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her books, take a look. This is her latest.

And to top it all off, here is a song by my friend, the late Richard J. Dobson that says a lot about crows. 🙂 Enjoy!

If I could paint on the side of a building, I would name 2022 as The Year of The Crow.

What do you think? Do different animals show up at different times in your life? Can you look back and see distinct meanings in their visits? Let’s chat!

#MondayMotivation – #Meditation – #TarotReading #DragonOracleCard

I love how each week there seems to be a theme. This week, Creativity in all forms is the message!

This is such a soothing and inspiring meditation.

The cards today speak to writers everywhere.

Photo by Jan Sikes

The Eight of Pentacles represents a master craftsman honing his skills. When this card appears in a Tarot reading, you are working hard to improve your skills and become a master at what you do. You are diligent and hard-working and you are applying yourself fully to whatever is at the center of your attention. As you do the same task over and over, you work your way towards mastery of your craft, and through your perseverance and unwavering attention, you create success. (Sounds a lot like writing, doesn’t it?) The Eight of Pentacles is encouragement to keep doing what you are doing as it will eventually lead to success. Yes, it requires a lot of dedication, focus and patience but as each day passes and as you stay true to your values and beliefs, you get a little closer to your goal. It may not be as apparent as you may like but events are unfolding that will lead you to the right path. Continue working on yourself, too, and making ongoing improvements and adjustments to ensure that you are the best person you can be.

The Two of Wands is all about contemplation and planning for the future. It’s not necessarily a card of action, but of thought. You are exploring your options and carefully plotting out the path ahead, accounting for all possibilities and potential challenges. You are open to growth and exploring new territories, so long as you maintain a level of certainty that your efforts will work out in the end. The Two of Wands is also about discovery, particularly as you step outside your comfort zone and explore new worlds and experiences. It may take courage to set out, but this card gives you the confidence of self-knowledge. You know what your goal is and are sure of its eventual fulfilment. Let your intuition and passion guide you as you confirm your next steps.

The Ace of Cups represents love, new relationships, passion and creativity. Now is the perfect time for you to open your heart and experience the rich flow of emotion available to you. You are more receptive to creative opportunities, loving connections, and deep compassion for other living beings. As with all Aces in the Tarot, this card comes as an invitation. Will you take it? Will you say “Yes!” to Divine love and compassion, and will you run with it? The Ace of Cups carries the potential for spiritual and emotional fulfilment – but only if you embrace it with an open heart. This card often appears in Tarot readings when you are open to creative expression, especially when you can allow your emotions to shine through your endeavors. You may be inspired to start a new project, take an art class or even engage in interpretative dance. At this point in your life, you are comfortable with who you are and happily express this part of yourself to others. You see fresh potential in allowing your creative juices to flow. Let your imagination and talent unfurl to new possibilities.

MY TAKEAWAY:

To get better at anything we do, we must continue to practice, to learn and hone our skills. Then, we can begin to look ahead at new projects, taking the time to contemplate and plan. Following that, In the flow of passion and creativity, we can embrace new endeavors, particularly ones that involve relationships.

I know I say this every time, but the little Dragon is absolutely beautiful. Look how he’s on the bridge, bridging the gap. 🙂

Orange Dragon. Brings soul families and communities together. Spread belonging, warmth and oneness. Bring people everywhere together.

Friday Free-For-All #4

It’s me again, with another topic for discussion. This one is always a two-edged sword, and I look forward to your comments.

Created in Canva

The topic for today is Social Media.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The dictionary gives this definition of social media: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

I often ask myself if participating on social media platforms is a complete waste of my time and effort. Is there one platform that is more sound and effective than another? Where do we go from here? Is there a point where we throw in the social media towel?

It’s a convoluted maze.

I have attended many author marketing conferences through the years, and every marketing expert drove home the concept that in order to be a successful author, you must have a strong social media presence. So, I believed them. And I worked hard to establish a social media presence.

Now, I hear of some authors who have no social media presence at all and still sell books. Teri Polen recently shared a blog post about her author friend who does not participate in any form of social media. I’m not going to reiterate that post, so if you missed it, you can take a look at it here. Coffee With Larry and An Unexpected Surprise.

Perhaps Larry found the magic solution to hitting a bestseller list.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Then again, it may not work the same way next time.

That is the other frustrating part about all social media. In one instance, I will have a gangbusters book launch with great sales, and the next time, using the same formula, hardly sell anything at all.

I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok (although not for long), and maintain my website and blog. That’s a LOT!

But what do I drop? Each platform has its strengths. Likewise, each platform has its downside.

I like Facebook for keeping up with family and friends. I have both a personal and an author page. I often consider deleting one of them, but so far, haven’t.

I like Twitter for short blasts. I also like Twitter because you can follow your favorite celebrities (if you have any.) I follow some mainstream authors just because I think I might learn from them.

I use Instagram the least because it all has to be done on my phone, and to be honest, I don’t always remember to take photos to share.

I use Pinterest as sort of a storage facility. I save blogs I want to refer back to along with images for future projects.

I put book trailers up on YouTube and have put a lot of Rick’s music on that platform.

I never use LinkedIn, although my blog posts are automatically shared on that platform.

I got a TikTok account because it was the hottest new platform for advertising my books. However, I don’t think it is for me. I am not that good at putting together great videos, and that’s what it’s all about.

I will always continue to maintain my blog and website. If I were forced to choose, those would be the two I would most definitely keep.

I truly am baffled and overwhelmed by all these platforms, and trying to keep current and relevant on each. So, which ones do I drop? Which ones do I give the most attention to?

Should I stop it all?

These are all things I ask myself.

So far, I’ve done a total of 19 Book Marketing posts at Story Empire. I’ve explored a lot of different avenues, spent hard-earned money on each, and shared my thoughts and results. As I look back on it, I’m left to wonder if I learned anything at all. Did I draw any concrete conclusions?

I feel like I’m searching for a holy grail that doesn’t exist. I don’t think there is a single magic bullet to selling our books via social media platforms. What works today might not work tomorrow, and vice-versa.

Keeping up with it all gets exhausting at times.

If you’ve found a solution to managing social media platforms, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s share.

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #NewRelease @MaeClair1 @stacitroilo

I am thrilled to share with you one of the most exciting books to be released this year, and from two of my favorite authors, Mae Clair and Staci Troilo! Take a look!

Purchase Link

Jan, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery, which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  

During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. To kick things off, I’d like to introduce Aaron Brock, the editor of the Chatham Hollow Chronicle in 1888, the “past” timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRITUALIST: I’m surprised you agreed to a reading, Mr. Brock. My understanding is that you’re a skeptic when it comes to anything of a supernatural nature.

AARON BROCK (settling back in his chair and hooking one ankle over his knee): As an editor, I have to maintain impartiality regardless of personal feelings. Any article I write is based on fact.

SPIRITUALIST: Interesting. But you do have opinions, and from what I understand, they’re not favorable. At least not regarding Benedict Fletcher.

AARON BROCK (parts with a snort): Fletcher’s a charlatan. I might not say it in the Chronicle

SPIRITUALIST: But you did. Or at least came close to labeling him one after that debacle he pulled with Ward Chatham.

AARON BROCK:  The séance? Fletcher bit off more than he could chew. He should be thankful Victor Rowe was there to clean up his mess.

SPIRITUALIST: Ah, the competition.

AARON BROCK:  I suppose you could phrase it that way.

SPIRITUALIST: They are rival mediums, correct?

Aaron shrugs.

SPIRITUALIST: Isn’t Victor Rowe a friend of yours?

AARON BROCK:  Aren’t you supposed to do some kind of reading? Isn’t that why I’m here?

SPIRITUALIST: Nicely evaded, Mr. Brock. What I “read” is that you respect Rowe despite his profession as a spiritualist. Despite the fact you profess to be an unbeliever.

AARON BROCK: Rowe isn’t the con man Fletcher is.

SPIRITUALIST: Con man? The women of Chatham Hollow seem to favor Fletcher. I understand he’s regularly engaged with readings or spirit circles—all by invitation.

AARON BROCK: Of course, the women like him! The man’s a peacock. A popinjay. He knows exactly what to say to achieve his ends. But that gift of flattery didn’t help him at the Founder’s Day séance.

SPIRITUALIST: Do tell. All I have is your newspaper account of what happened. I’d like to know more about what took place.

AARON BROCK: Don’t you have a crystal ball?

SPIRITUALIST: I’ll ignore the sarcasm in your voice, Mr. Brock. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

AARON BROCK:  Regardless—if you want details, you’ll have to pick up the book.

SPIRITUALIST: (knits brows):  Book?

AARON BROCK: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. Now, if you’ll excuse me—or not—we’ll skip the reading. This discussion has already taken more time than I can spare.

SPIRITUALIST: You have nothing more to say?

AARON BROCK:  Only that if you really are gifted in communicating with the dead, you might try solving the mystery that has plagued Chatham Hollow for over a century.

SPIRITUALIST: And what is that?

AARON BROCK: Find out where Ward Chatham buried his gold.

____________

PURCHASE LINK

 BLURB:
One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

Thanks again for hosting me today, Jan. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Aaron Brock. (Please excuse Aaron. He can be a bit prickly now and again). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Social Media | Newsletter
Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

The Conflict Thesaurus SILVER EDITION Is Here! (+Giveaway) @WriterThesaurus

Whoo hoo!!!!

Hi everyone! I don’t know about you, but the writing reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are always next to me when I am working. I refer to them often. And now they have a second volume of The Conflict Thesaurus available!

Today’s a big day – The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 2) has just been released, and as a Street Team member, I get to let everyone know that Angela & Becca have a celebration going on at Writers Helping Writers!

But first – let me share a bit about this new writing guide.

The Conflict Thesaurus is actually a two-book set; the first book, the GOLD EDITION, started a deep dive into CONFLICT, and this new SILVER EDITION continues that exploration, helping writers master this oh-so-important storytelling element.

If you’re new to Writers Helping Writers Thesaurus books, each one is part “how-to,” part brainstorming tool. So, in this silver second edition, writers learn about how conflict powers plot and functions as a golden thread that weaves the inner and outer stories together. It also looks at the different levels of conflict in a story and how conflict can characterize, create great clashes, raise the stakes, up the tension, and pull off a climatic finish that will satisfy readers.

The brainstorming ‘thesaurus” portion looks at 115 Conflict Scenarios that will help you dream up a variety of problems and challenges that can shape your characters into the people they must become to achieve their story goal.

Angela and Becca always host a fun event at their book launch. This year, they have two things to check out:

http://www.writershelpingwriters.net

A book about conflict warrants a FIGHT CLUB type of writing contest, don’t you think? So if you want to show off your conflict-writing abilities, come test your skills. You might just win a GREAT prize…and bragging rights, of course!

Also, You Could Win a Digital Bookshelf of Writing Guides

Angela and Becca want you to own some of their favorite writing guides, so follow the link to enter. You might just snag a 5-packs of amazing craft books that will get you one step closer to mastery!

Good luck in the giveaway and writing contest!  

MY REVIEW: THE CONFLICT THESAURUS VOLUME 2 (SILVER EDITION)

As with previous reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, this new Conflict Thesaurus encompasses all things that can be related to conflict and tension in a story. And let’s face it. Without conflict and tension, a story falls flat. There is nothing for the characters to overcome. So, as with Volume 1 of the Conflict Thesaurus, Volume 2 gives examples of conflict scenarios, minor complications, potentially disastrous results, resulting emotion, possible internal struggles, negative traits that may worsen a situation, impact on basic needs, and positive traits and outcomes. It is the ultimate guide to obstacles, adversaries, and inner struggles.

I love that this volume is broken down into sections. It begins with Loss of Control, then moves to Power Struggles, Losing an Advantage, Ego-Related Conflicts, Dangers and Threats, and Miscellaneous Challenges. Each section has numerous examples to help with any conflict situation.

It is truly another essential part of the holy grail for writers. If you are serious about your craft and enjoy having helpful reference books at your fingertips, this is a must-have for you! I highly recommend it, along with Volume 1 as well.

Jazz House – #NewRelease #giveaway @donnavstone @WildRosePress

I am happy to share a new book release from a fellow Wild Rose Press author, D.V. Stone! Take a look!

Jazz House

Impact Series Book 2

by D.V. Stone

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her.

Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie.

Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.

Rock House Grill

Impact Series Book 1

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

**Only .99 cents!**

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo * Bookbub * Goodreads

D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while doing it with humor.

Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.

After retiring, she is now a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.

A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop, and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.

When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41 foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.

D.V. is wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.

My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”

Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.

You can find out more about D. V. by following her on Social Media.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

EXCERPT:

Jordan scrambled to the other side of the limo.

“You sing good tonight.” He scrolled through his phone.

“Yes, Kyrios.”

Outside the window, massive cruise ships docked in the port. Happy older people made their way up the gangplanks toting bags filled with souvenirs, while the younger ones debarked dressed for the nightlife. Sparkly sequins flashed like diamonds as one young woman twirled on the pier.

God, how had she come to this life? She willed her hovering tears not to fall. Kyrios wouldn’t approve.

When she was offered a place in the touring group ten years ago, she thought it was the beginning of great things. Standing in the cabaret with the lights shining down was her dream come true. When she was the woman in the sparkly dress.

Until he showed up.

Each night, Kyrios Vasilakis, Greek business tycoon, sat at the front table watching her. Yes, he was older but so very handsome. Dark hair with silver at the temples, he cut a dashing figure in his black suits.

Jordan began to sing to him. It was the beginning of the end. After a whirlwind romance, she found herself a prisoner in marriage to a brute.

MY REVIEW:

Jordan was born to sing jazz. That’s all she’s ever dreamed of. So, when wealthy greek tycoon, Kyrios promises to make all her dreams come true, she’s thrilled.
Only things aren’t as they seem. Once married to Kyrios, he becomes controlling and abusive. Now, Jordan is trapped. There is no way out of this prison, and she’s tired of trying to cover up the bruises.
That is the scene that sets this story.
Her opportunity to escape comes with an attack at one of the nightclubs he owns. Suffering from a bullet wound, she flees and is presumed dead until all the bodies from the fire are identified. All except hers. Now he knows she is still alive and will not rest until he finds her.
Under an assumed name and fake passport, Jordan makes her way to the United States and finds a jazz club in Pennsylvania where she can finally lay down some roots and continue to do what she loves, and that is to sing.
This is such a good story. Even though it is predictable, there are still a few surprises along the way. Michael Machau is a cop and a good one. He cares about right and wrong and is good at his job. When smitten by Jordan, aka Madeline, he can’t help but be curious about her. But it’s more than curiosity that fans the flame. A relationship is a long shot for both Jordan and Michael, but the heart wants what the heart wants. While this is the second book in a series, I was never at a loss about any of the characters or past events, so it works well as a standalone. I loved all the characters in the story. It is a gentle romance with a heavy emphasis on family and faith. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story with a solid plot and true love.

It’s Labor Day in the U.S. – #RuneCard

What is Labor Day? It is a day set aside to celebrate the millions of workers who keep our nation moving.

Created in Canva

It’s an official Monday holiday in the United States, and I am spending part of the day today with my children and grandchildren at a water park. It’s their last big splash for the summer. For that reason, I am foregoing my regular Monday post as I will be away and unable to respond to comments.

However, I do want to leave you with this inspiration for the week. It’s not only powerful but timely.

From the Rune Oracle Card Deck

Mannaz is the rune that is connected to the sense of union that unites all humanity to the cosmos. The god shown on the card has three faces—one facing the moon, one turning toward the sun, and one looking ahead. His gaze embraces the totality of the world and mankind.

This card alludes to cooperation and reminds us that no one is an island. We are bound by invisible threads that cannot be dissolved. The card indicates collective dreams and the joy of cooperating and having a shared project. Unity is strength. Exchange and communication are two key components of the card.

Mannaz facilitates communication and exchange between us and others.

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll return to my regular Monday posts next week. In the meantime, make it a great week ahead!