Friday Free-For-All – #conclusion #MemorialDay

Happy Friday!

We are celebrating a long holiday weekend here in the United States, and I will be out of pocket through Monday. If any of you are traveling, I wish you safety. If you’re staying home, I wish you a great weekend.

This will not be a long post, but I did want to recap the conclusions from last Friday’s post about finding readers for our books and how readership is declining.

Author Joan Hall found these interesting statistics I want to share with you. I was somewhat surprised by the results of the research. Thank you, Joan!

Courtesy of

Based on the many comments from last Friday, we all feel pretty much the same about marketing our work to potential readers. It’s difficult at best. And yet, we are compelled to keep writing with the hope that a few people will read and enjoy our stories.

Believe me, if I ever find a magic bullet, you will be the first I share it with. I saw this on Facebook and had to share. This sums up book marketing!

John Howell is sharing some interesting book sales statistics over at Story Empire today that you will find interesting.

In the meantime, I’m happy to report that I’ve started a new story that is the second in a series. The working title is “A Bold Bargain,” and like its predecessor, it is set in the late 1940s. This story starts out in Arkansas and makes its way to Missouri. It is always exhilarating to start something new!

I was so proud of my youngest grandson this week. He is in 3rd grade and scored the highest math score of his entire class! I love that he got some recognition!

Me and Connor

I will be out of pocket most of the long weekend, attending another music festival. This one is close by and is a small one that focuses on the songwriters, so there is no wild craziness to deal with, like I’m seeing more and more of at the bigger festivals.

I would be remiss not to take a moment to thank our men and women (and their families) who have sacrificed so much in their service to our country. I do not take it lightly.

Happy Memorial Day!

There will be no regular Monday Post. The Motivational Monday posts will resume on June 5th.

#MotivationMonday #PositiveAffirmations #TarotReading #AtlantisOracleCard

Welcome to another Monday post. My hope, as always, is that you leave with some inspiration for your day or week ahead.

I love this profound quote!

Instead of a meditation, I am posting some positive affirmations for you today. Listening to them does help to raise your vibration.

The message from the Tarot is uplifting for the week.

Photo by Jan Sikes

The King of Swords can represent you or another person who embodies the qualities of authority, intelligence, and use of logic to attain success. It can also represent the energy of a situation requiring you to take decisive action on your own behalf or to stand up for others who may not have the power to defend themselves. Listen to your intuition for messages that can guide you when it’s time to take action. Have the confidence to be the authority of your life by taking this action.

It seems we’ve had the Six of Wands show up recently, and here it is again. So, maybe we didn’t get the message the first time. This card is all about rewards for hard work, especially after a period of struggle. It focuses on feeling proud of your accomplishments, acknowledging your success, and accepting praise from others without shame or downplaying your success. It can also indicate a leveling up in all areas of life with good news coming to you related to your home or personal life.

The Nine of Pentacles goes hand-in-hand with the Six of Wands in that it is all about enjoying success after putting in the hard work and making intelligent choices. It’s time to relax and enjoy the comfortable world you’ve cultivated for yourself. This card indicates prosperity, and while we can see prosperity in many different ways, this card specifically indicates monetary abundance. You have everything you need.


The King of Swords speaks directly to me in relation to my finished WIP that I’ve been trying to decide on how I want to proceed with publishing. Do I want to go through a publisher or self-publish? This card is inviting me to make a decision based on intelligence and authority (or, as I see it, past experience). Maybe the Six of Wands keeps showing up because we rarely take the time to celebrate our accomplishments before moving on to something new. And how often do we shy away from praise for our work? I know I do. And while I love the symbolism in the Nine of Pentacles, and it is something I long to achieve, when I look at my bank account, I don’t see it yet. So maybe the message here is to have faith that it is on the way.

Your thoughts? Do these cards resonate with you in any way? Let’s chat!

I was drawn to share something different with you today from another deck of cards I have and love. I am fascinated by the story of Atlantis and its demise, and this deck of cards brings messages from that realm. I added a purchase link in case you’d like this deck for yourself.

Purchase Link

Friday Free-For-All – Are readers burnt out? #freebies

Hello, wonderful blog subscribers! Happy Friday!

What’s on my mind today is based on two recent book marketing experiences that raise big questions. So, I look forward to your input.

If you read these posts, you know I recently took my books to an International Guitar Festival in Dallas. It is huge. There were tons of people. It was there I first began to ponder the thought that, in general, folks don’t read anymore. Thousands of people passed by my table, and most looked the other way. It’s true most folks were there to look at musical instruments, but all of my stories have either a primary or underlying music theme, so they fit in with the atmosphere of the event. Yes, I sold a few, but for the size of the event, the sales were minimal.

Yet, because of a deep need to maintain a positive attitude, I have to believe there will always be a core group of people who love to read stories.

However, I found some statistics that support the idea that readers are dwindling in numbers.

According to recent book reading data, Americans read three fewer books on average last year than they had in the previous three decades.

According to the Pew Research Center Survey of American Adults conducted from January 25 to February 8, 2022, around a quarter of Americans (23%) said they haven’t read a book in full or in part in the past year, whether it be in print, electronic, or audio form.

So, what does that mean for us? Do we stop putting out new stories? Do we put out less? Do we put out more?

I know many of you write because of a deep innate need to tell a story, as do I. I’d dare to say most of us never think about who will read our books while we are writing them. In a recent interview, I was asked who is my target audience and do I write specifically for them? That question gave me pause, and I had to answer honestly. When I’m writing a story, I never stop and consider who might read it. I just write it. Perhaps that’s why I’m not more successful as an author, but if I get caught up in the commercial aspect of it, all creativity dries up. And without that creative spark, we may as well put our story ideas into AI and let a robot write them.

Now, I want to go a step further in this thread of thinking and talk about freebies. At one time, readers clamored for freebies and grabbed them up. But not now. There are so many books offered for free that it no longer holds any appeal or excitement.
I recently participated in two separate group giveaways. One was with the Fresh Fiction group to gain more newsletter subscribers, and the other was a BookSweeps giveaway designed to gain more BookBub followers. The Fresh Fiction campaign gained me a handful of new subscribers, for which I am grateful. It ran for one week. The BookSweeps campaign ran for ten days, and I gained a measly 32 new BookBub followers. That is disappointing and not worth the money I spent. The first campaign I ran with BookSweeps a few years back gained me over 400 new email subscribers. So, why the big drop in interest?

It’s just my own theory, but I believe it’s directly because there’s an author on every corner giving away a book, trying to gain some traction. Readers are numb to the giveaways.

That brings me to the question of where do we go from here? How can we get people engaged and interested in reading our stories? Are we beating a proverbial dead horse? I am discouraged and weary from the whole marketing rat race.

Courtesy Canva

Lots of questions without answers. I’d love to hear from each of you. Tell me your experiences, your thoughts, and, if you have one, your plan of action. At this point, I have no plan.

I do, however, have a new story or two to write. I’m not discouraged about writing the stories.

Thoughts? Ideas? Let’s talk!

Ricochet – #NewRelease @97_taylormoore @HarperCollins @NetGalley #BookReview

Having read the first two books in the Garret Kohl series, I jumped at a chance to read the third, and I was not disappointed!

I received a copy of this book via HarperCollins and NetGalley. All opinions expressed here are my own.



Garrett Kohl is completing his final mission and paying his debt to the CIA when this book opens. He’s promised his adopted Afghan son, Asadi, that he won’t be leaving again. He’s home for good, focused on rebuilding his Texas Panhandle ranch after a devastating wildfire and deepening his relationship with Lacey.

But, as in each Garrett Kohl novel, the bad guys have other ideas. This time they bring the fight to him.
The Pantex Nuclear facility is the target.

I’m always amazed at how deep the corruption goes in the different agencies and branches of government. This author doesn’t shy away from revealing it in a realistic, believable, and knowledgeable way.

So, once again, Kohl and everyone he loves are placed in heart-stopping danger. And while he wants more than anything to protect his family, there is something deeply embedded inside him that won’t let him walk away from making every attempt to stop a bold terrorist act that could destroy America. And he recruits a ragtag crew of outcasts and outlaws to help him.

I love everything about this character. His dedication to and love for his family is the true mark of a hero. He’s tough, fearless, and invincible, yet on the other hand, he’s stumbling his way through his new role as a father.

This is the third book in this series, and even though the author wrapped up the ending nicely, he left enough loose threads to continue the story. Every book by Moore is well-written, gripping, and realistic. Any of these scenarios could happen. I love the setting, the wide and expansive Texas Panhandle. It’s a place where a man can get lost or found, depending on the situation. It was great to revisit all the characters from books one and two and to see how Asadi is adjusting to the ranching way of life. If you love a good thriller with underlying family dynamics, you will enjoy this series by Taylor Moore. Even though each book stands alone, I do recommend starting with the first book, Down Range, to get the characters and their roles established.

Ghostly Bugles – #NewRelease #Giveaway @LoneStarLit @knightml_author

It is an honor to feature a new Historical Fiction release from this author! Read to the end to see my review, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Max L. Knight
Historical Fiction / Texas History
Publisher: Wild Lark Books
Date of Publication: February 23, 2023
Number of Pages: 210 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Do the souls of the dead reach out from beyond the grave? Do echoes of the past resound through the ages? Are such insights a privilege or a curse? An old man grapples with these questions and his own mortality as he re-examines one of the most famous battles in history – the Alamo.
The 1836 siege and battle, as well as current efforts to restore Alamo Plaza to hallowed ground and create a world-class attraction unfold as the old man tries to make sense of his memories, dreams, and perceived outreach by the dead whose souls cry out to him for inclusion and recognition. Beyond the myth and the legend are their stories as well as his own.
Ghostly Bugles is a fictional re-creation of the Alamo story, rich in historical detail with a unique paranormal element. The narrative combines elements of the traditional storyline with contemporary efforts to “Re-imagine the Alamo.” The dual timelines balance our understanding of this world-renowned event and provide new perspective and appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of everyone involved – Texian and Tejano defenders and Mexican soldiers.
MAX L. KNIGHT was born in Panama and grew up in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas, where he and his wife reside. In addition to degrees from Texas A&M University and Campbell University, Max served twenty-four years in the United States Army (1973-1997), retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He became the first Alamo Docent in 2004, but the tragic events of 9/11 compelled him to reactivate his security clearance and, when the approval finally came through, he returned to work in support of U.S. Counterintelligence operations. A stage IV throat cancer diagnosis in 2014 abruptly ended that phase of his life, and he turned to writing to help him get through the chemo, radiation, and surgeries. Max is currently cancer free.
His other works include Silver Taps, Palo Duro, and Tarnished Brass.
Signed copy of Ghostly Bugles
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 5/25/23)

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue reading “Ghostly Bugles – #NewRelease #Giveaway @LoneStarLit @knightml_author”

#MotivationMonday – #Meditation – #TarotCardReading #AngelOracleCard

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I enjoyed spending Mother’s Day with my daughters and grandchildren. There’s nothing better!

This quote from Tennessee Williams touched me, and I hope it will you as well.

There are so many wonderful meditations on YouTube to choose from, and I found a new source today.

Our weekly reading indicates a mixture of possible events.

Photo by Jan Sikes

The Two of Cups indicates a partnership or sharing of ideas and emotions. The meeting of two brings balance and harmony to a nurturing relationship. This card indicates you are ready to or have taken an existing connection to a deeper level. The lion symbolizes passion and protection from above, while the caduceus evokes balance in communication.

The Sun always brings clarity and enthusiasm. Often the sun will appear after a dark period, illuminating murky situations and dispelling confusion and doubt. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child or connecting to your own inner child is a rewarding and productive way to utilize this card’s energy. The Sun card brings renewed vitality and improved health. Be on the lookout for any opportunities that may come your way, as they may prove to be very beneficial.

The Six of Swords is often referred to as The Ferryman card. It is indicative of moving forward on a healing journey, leaving behind what no longer works for you. And you are not alone. While the water is choppy on one side of the boat, what lies ahead on the other side is peaceful and serene. It’s not always easy to make this journey and release old patterns. But the effort is worthwhile, and it’s comforting to know we are never alone. This card may also indicate physical travel.


The Two of Cups describes my Mother’s Day yesterday. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and deepen our connection through honest communication and sharing of love. I’m always happy to see The Sun card as it dispels darkness and brings optimism and clarity. And when can we not use that? I need it every day! We’ve had the Six of Swords before, and it is always a sign of moving forward and releasing the past. I love that we are moving toward something better. That should always be our goal in life.

What about you? Do any of these cards speak to you?

Here is our beautiful Angel card for the week.

Archangel Raguel: "Notice your recurring physical and emotional feelings, as they signify Divine guidance."

Friday Free-For-All

Happy Friday, y’all!

I started out writing today’s post about the mass shooting at the Allen, Texas, outlet mall last weekend, only to delete what I’d written. The mall is literally 5 miles down the road from where I live. What a horrific event. So many innocent lives were lost, and for what?

I don’t understand the heavy darkness that takes over a person’s mind, body, and soul causing such senseless slaughter. Nor, do I want to start any negative controversy. So here is my prayer.

For our beautiful planet, let’s keep positive, loving thoughts flowing as we visualize a peaceful world.

Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay

And since Sunday is Mother’s Day, here’s a small tribute to my mother, who left us in 2004. She worked hard all her life and had little to show for it, but her smile could light up a room, and she could make a peach cobbler that would melt in your mouth.

Her name was Marian. Almost everyone who knew her called her Granny, and she never let anyone leave her house hungry. I wrote this song for her shortly after she passed away.

Have a great weekend!

#MotivationMonday #Meditation #TarotCardReading #AngelOracleCard

It’s time for another Monday post that I hope you will find inspiring! I love this quote!

And this meditation left me feeling relaxed and confident!

Now for some guidance from the Tarot cards.

Photo by Jan Sikes

This is a feel-good draw for the week ahead. The Ten of Cups basically represents a celebration of some sort. I had two pretty big celebrations over the weekend, so it is fitting for me. Another interpretation is a culmination of emotional fulfillment, which opens the gateway to the next adventure. Emotional fulfillment looks different for each individual at different stages in their life. So, take a minute to think about what that means to you. If you have longstanding family issues, this card indicates a positive resolution. Enjoy the sensation of feeling secure with your overall well-being, and make time to celebrate your successes with people who feel like family. The number ten indicates the completion of a cycle. One cycle is ending so that another may begin.

The Strength card is pretty straightforward. It reminds us that it’s not the size of our muscles but the willingness within our hearts that matters. When we show courage, we can endure any obstacles we encounter. You can trust yourself to handle any situation that arises. The infinity symbol on the card indicates we are all capable of overcoming struggles both internally and externally. Whether you’re making changes in your life or working to reach the next deepest level of your connection with the divine, you have what it takes to face and overcome any challenges with bravery trusting your inner strength.

The Three of Wands can indicate an adventure that lies ahead. You use your energy to work with others. Surrounding yourself with inspiring people will help you expand to the next level of personal growth. There may be an element of waiting for the right opportunity to come to you, but you are reminded to be creative and productive, allowing expanded prosperity to grow. This card can also often indicate travel of some kind.


On a personal level, the celebration card fits my weekend perfectly. I took my books to the guitar show on Saturday, then celebrated my youngest grandson’s birthday on Sunday. I love that it is a completion and gateway card. It’s always exciting to see what the next adventure might be. And it’s comforting to know we have what it takes to overcome challenges, whether internal or external, with courage. Then be aware of opportunities for your next adventure that will expand growth. Sounds like a great week ahead to me!

Thoughts? Does this reading resonate with you in any way?

And this Angel oracle card is perfect for spring cleaning season!

Clear Your Space
Archangel Jophiel: "Get rid of clutter, clear the energy around you, and use feng shui."

Friday Free-For-All!

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to a wonderful weekend. It’s my youngest grandson’s birthday this weekend. and we are celebrating him on Sunday.

Connor is such an incredible little boy. He is turning nine and is so smart. Last year he became obsessed with our world. He memorized every country, the country’s flag, and the capital of each one. He can spout it all off at the drop of a hat.

This is a photo of us taken on New Year 2023. He has the bluest eyes!

Happy Birthday to Connor!

I’ve been invited to take my books to the Dallas International Guitar Festival on Saturday.

Fingers crossed that I’ll sell a few. This is a huge event drawing in people from around the world. This will be the second time I’ve taken my books in hopes of finding new readers. Wish me luck!

I have to take just a minute to rant a little. I do not like to rant, and I hate even more to whine. I live in a fourth-story apartment with a balcony. I’ve been here six years (which blows my mind), and for six years, I have fought pigeons.

Image by Jay Patel from Pixabay

Don’t get me wrong. I do not hate birds. I think they are beautiful and see them as messengers, but pigeons. Well, first of all, they are nasty and leave poop behind everywhere they go. So, to solve the problem, I recently put garden netting all around my balcony. That worked like a charm. But now the apartment manager is insisting I take it down, which I’ve done. My question to you is this: Do you know anything that will repel pigeons and keep them off my balcony? I already have an owl, and they ignore him. I’m at my wit’s end with these birds. Suggestions are welcome!

I started reading Sue Coletta’s latest book, Restless Mayhem, this week. And while it is the sixth book in the series, I haven’t found myself too lost yet. I love that the story delves deep into Native American tradition and lore. My review will be coming soon.

Last week I mentioned I had an upcoming podcast interview and promised to share the link when it was available. Well, here you go. I hope you enjoy it!

On the writing front, I’m attempting to get caught up on the Storyworth questions my daughters have sent. I got behind while finishing the novella. You may remember that I talked about this before. It’s a great platform and a wonderful way to record family stories for future generations. One of the questions waiting for me to answer is, “Do you believe in ghosts?” That will be a fun one to write. Not only do I believe, but I’ve seen, so I’ll be sharing that.

My oldest grandson got a new camera and took some photos of me last Sunday. I shared them on FB with a poll to vote for the best one. This is the one the majority chose.

I love that we got some of my books in the background!

That’s it from me this week. I hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend ahead!

April #BookReviews @JenMcMurrain @dlfinnauthor @Virgilante Elizabeth Gauffrau Leona Nichole Black

Welcome to my April book reviews! I hope you find something here you can’t live without. 🙂



As a long-time student of Tarot, this book caught my eye. What I found between the pages is a fresh new look at the practical everyday use of tarot cards presented in a truly profound way. I love that the book is divided into eight sections.
Starting with Love, the author shares a deeply personal story and journey. The following sections, Purpose, Healing, Change, Truth, and Hope, give the reader a detailed look at ways to utilize the major arcana in a tarot deck to help flesh out the answers to these universal questions. I found the writing to be superb and easy to read and follow.
The final section, The Modern World of Tarot, takes everything shared earlier in the book and gives practical applications that anyone could find helpful and inspiring.
The book is put together in such a way that it does not require linear reading. I love that about it. I went to the sections that appealed to me on my personal journey and found exactly what I needed to find in each segment. This book is a great tool for anyone just starting out with reading tarot cards as well as the seasoned reader, as it offers a different approach to enhancing daily life.
I will be purchasing the paperback format of this book to add to my library.



This book has two elements I love in a story—a ghost and a budding romance. The book opens with Cooper Davis not understanding why Sage won’t talk to him or even acknowledge his presence. It takes a long minute for him to realize he is dead. He perished in a shipwreck in the frigid Bering Sea, even though Sage had begged him not to go.
Sage is grieving, but she’s ready to move forward with a big dream she shared with Cooper. They’d planned on purchasing a cabin on a lake and turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. The motivation for Cooper taking the job on the boat was to finally get the downpayment they needed to make that happen. Now Sage is forced to continue alone. But she can’t do it by herself. She needs some serious help with repairs before it can ever be ready for guests.
Enter Noah Finnley. Noah is a down-on-his-luck, out-of-work carpenter on the verge of getting evicted from his apartment. Sage makes him an offer he can’t refuse, and he joins her as a partner in the B&B. There’s only one major hitch. Noah can see and communicate with ghosts. The conversations he has with Cooper are, at times, humorous, and, at other times, they take a turn toward violence as Cooper sees Noah as an intruder and a threat to his alpha male position in Sage’s life. After all, Cooper had promised Sage he’d never leave her. It doesn’t matter that he’s dead. He selfishly refuses to think of Sage moving on without him. I love all the different complex layers this story takes on when Cooper’s father is brought into the mix, not to mention the local sheriff, Richard. I don’t want to leave any spoilers here, but I will say if you are up for a good ghost story with a heavy dose of romance, this is the story for you!



This collection of short stories is unusual, covering several different genres and all with satisfying endings, which is no easy feat for short stories. In this book, you’ll find everything from a character finding exhilarating freedom to terror in an earthquake (with which California residents are all too familiar) to chilling ghost stories, sci-fi, and so much more.
I’m hard-pressed to pick any favorites from this collection, but I’ll give it a try. I Loved “End of the Road.” You see, I believe there are angels watching over us and there to give us nudges when we need them.
“Lyrical Dragon” is so cleverly written. The dragon communicates in haikus, which this author does extremely well.
An excellent sci-fi story, “The Playdate,” takes an unexpected twist, leaving the reader gasping. “The Bike” is a heartwarming story of generosity and forgiveness.
The 99-word flash fiction pieces are so enjoyable and well done. If you are looking for a collection of short stories that has something for everyone’s reading palate, this is the book for you! I highly recommend it!



It’s no secret I am a huge fan of C.S. Boyack’s speculative fiction writing. But this book tops the list for me.
Mari White returns to the farm one morning after hunting for meat for the family to find her husband and only child brutally slain and the house turned upside down. On top of that, they even killed the ox they’d used for farming.
Life is hard enough in the apocalyptic setting without the marauders adding to the already astronomical difficulties of trying to rebuild after the 2nd World War that destroyed everything.
She reports the murders to the local sheriff, only he brushes her off, saying he has bigger problems than her murdered family.
Mari is hell-bent on revenge. The men who destroyed her world have to pay.
Examining the tracks leading away from the farm, she gathers the one onery ox that hadn’t been killed and hooks him to a wagon that, from the author’s description, is more like the back end of a pickup truck. She sets off to find them with only a 22 rifle and a knife that had belonged to her husband.
The journey is long and tedious through Florida swamp land filled with deadly creatures, both animal and human. The author does a fabulous job of describing the scattered remnants of society, destroyed roads, and numerous unforgettable characters as the story unfolds. Each character Mari encounters has something to offer.
If I had to pick a favorite side character, it would be Kelilah. She nurses Mari back to health after the same horrible men attack and rape her, then leave her for dead. Not only does Kelilah help Mari heal, but she also teaches her valuable lessons on ways to defend herself with a knife.
I love that quarters are the money system in this dystopian society, and white dog is the liquor of choice.
There were times along this journey when all hope seemed lost. Mari developed a keen sense of smell and could tell by sniffing a man’s saddle where he’d been or if a deer had recently crossed the path. That ability served her well. A stray dog she named Worthless tugged at my heart as well as the stubborn ox, Dirt. Her relationship with the ox didn’t start out on good terms, but she figured out how to control him with her small son’s whistle and a bucket of figs.
The story is told in first person through Mari’s point of view, so it is up close and personal. The progression of the story is steady, and it kept me engaged throughout. I rooted for Marisol White and wanted her to find what she sought. If you like to be entertained and are a fan of dystopian fiction, this is the book for you. I can highly recommend it!



I chose to read this beautiful book of poetry on the anniversary of my husband’s passing. I found exquisite poetry from the author’s heart that expressed so much of what I was feeling. While we never stop missing our loved ones, we can hold the memories close. This author lists the birth and death dates of three family members at the beginning of the book, so you know right away this is a deeply personal expression.

Here’s one example of the striking poetry you’ll find in this book:

this wasn’t supposed to happen
this final indignity
this querulous voice
this hollow-eyed stare
this startled shuffle
this bemused bobble
this timorous tremor
this unreasoning hope
for life

If you have lost someone you love, are seeking healing, or even just confirming words, you will enjoy this book of poetry. The photos the author includes add to the personal expressions.

That’s it from me this month. Hope you enjoy!