Welcome to another Monday post. Due to my summer work and travel schedule, I am going to limit these Monday posts to one per month. I will return to my weekly schedule when the granddaughters return to school. Thank you for understanding!
Wow! This quote from Ray Bradbury hit home with me. I’ve spent most of my life frantically building wings.
This is one of the most beautiful meditations I’ve found in a while. Enjoy!
Beautiful Tarot cards for the month of June!
I get excited when a card from the major arcana shows up, and The Wheel of Fortune is such a powerful one. It reminds us that the wheel is always turning and life is made up of cycles and changes. Round and round it goes—where it stops, no one knows! By understanding the cycles of life on a deeper level, we build strength and resilience. Focus on what you can control in order to find and maintain a sense of peace within. By doing this, you open yourself up to fated events and meetings without forcing your fate. What is meant for you will not miss you!
The Four of Swords indicates a pause or a recovery period. It asks you to relax, calm your mind and engage in introspection. Allowing time for rest creates space within your mind to receive ideas and intuitive messages that lead to solutions. It is a good time to focus on some tapping or breath work as they calm the nervous system.
The Two of Swords reminds us that we cannot always see the full picture. When multiple options are presented, indecision can prevent you from making a bold choice. You may feel conflicted or hesitant in making a decision. Sometimes the fear of making the wrong choice can paralyze us. The advice here is to take the time to consider all options and possibly consult with someone you trust. Take off the blindfold and see each choice in full light, eyes wide open and intuition engaged.
To me, these three cards complement each other in a big way. As the wheel turns and we find ourselves faced with opportunities, it is wise to take a step back, pause and let your strong intuition kick in, then remove the blindfold and make clear, concise decisions. The choice is always ours. With a busy month ahead, I will be taking this reading to heart and watching for opportunities to show up. Remember, you never know what’s around the next corner! Isn’t that what makes life so exciting?
I was drawn back to the Angel Oracle cards this month, and this card jumped out at me.
I wish you a creative and productive month ahead! Looks like June is shaping up to be amazing!
Happy Friday and happy first weekend in June! This year is flying by in one big blur.
As I thought about what I wanted to talk about this week, I ran across a blog post that I think might be of interest to a lot of you. It came into my inbox through Writer’s Digest, and I found it interesting.
Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic lately, as more and more of our daily lives are taken over by it. There’s been a lot of talk about AI replacing authors and they’ve had some limited success with AI-created books. But can it really replicate our unique humanness?
I thought this author expressed it perfectly in this blog post.
“AI cannot feel or sense. AI cannot be swept away or pulled in close. It cannot put up a fight, battle tooth and nail, rise like a phoenix and survive to tell the story. AI cannot sit in awe at its divinity one day and disappointment at its deeply flawed humanity the next, and it cannot write about the fathoms in between. It cannot confront pain and bitterness nor lock eyes with rapture and love. It cannot grapple with itself or search for its better angels. And it cannot carve and reshape itself with words as it goes.”
Remember in the movie WALL-E, how he fell in love with Eve?
That’s only in the movies. AI is not capable of emotion, at least not yet. Emotions are fluid and changing, and no computer program can replicate that so far. Who knows where it will all go, but I don’t feel threatened by AI taking over the art of creating stories that change and move me. And I have little to no interest in reading a book created by AI.
I am currently reading a book, Answering The Call by Parris Afton Bond, that is making me question my daily existence. Have you ever read a book like that? I’d love to hear about it and what aspect of the story made you question your life. We are a collective consciousness, and we all have things to learn from each other. That is one reason I enjoy writer’s conferences so much. The workshops are great, but often I learn as much or more over a cup of coffee with other authors.
That being said, as the date of the Ireland Writer’s Conference gets closer, I am feeling a bit of excitement start to build that I haven’t felt in a very long time. Will it be life-altering? I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.
I really enjoyed the music festival last weekend. It was truly more like a big family gathering than a festival, and the music is my favorite kind, featuring the songwriters. It’s all about the lyrics, the message, and honest communication with a melody added. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures to share. Most of the time, I didn’t even have my phone with me. It was pretty much a total disconnect. It fed my soul.
With school out, my daily routine during the week is changed as I will be spending more time looking after my two granddaughters. So, if I fail to make it around to your beautiful blogs, know that I’m with you in my heart and will try to make as many as I can while I still squeeze in a little time for working on my WIP.
That’s it for me today. I look forward to your comments.
Goodreads tells me I’m on track for meeting my reading goal for 2023, and what fun I’m having!
From the stunning cover to the last page of the story, Restless Mayhem drew me in for a fast-paced ride! This author merged ancient Native American ceremonies and traditions with modern times in such a profound way. I loved all the prayers, ceremonial fires, the grandfather’s tea and wisdom, painting the body to prepare for battle, and most importantly, the respect for nature and Mother Earth. Poachers are capturing gray wolves, who are on the edge of extinction, and selling the chance to hunt them to the highest bidder. Not only wolves but majestic eagles, cougars, and other animals. Plus, they are breeding wolfdogs, which is strictly forbidden. Someone must stop them. Mr. Mayhem is the man for the job. But he needs a partner, and Shawnee is ready and eager to learn. There are so many things that stand out about each character in this story, and I’m not sure I can list them all. I love Mr. Mayhem’s strength, connection to nature, sheer brutality when fighting the bad guy, his relationship with the beautiful white crow (his wife) and the black crow, Poe, his son. But it’s his relationship with Curious Cat that kept the story moving. Curious Cat, aka Mourning Dove, aka Shawnee, is training to be an eco-warrior, and she is as tough and determined as they come. Her grandfather loves her unconditionally and tries to protect her. Yet, she needs to know how to exist as one with nature and how to fight the enemy. So Mr. Mayhem puts her through rigorous training that would deter a weaker person. But not Shawnee. She embraces each lesson, determined to prove her worth. They make a good team, her and Mr. Mayhem. While there were times I was a little confused by the various character names and mention of prior events, the book works as a standalone. If I had read previous segments of the series, I would have had a better understanding of each character’s role. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you love learning more about Native American traditions and beliefs while immersed in intense action, you will enjoy this book.
Author, Linda Broday, is well-known for her ability to place the reader inside the story with the characters, and this new release is no exception. Mariah Bartee is struggling to survive in a small isolated town in the Colorado mountains. Tasked with raising her two younger siblings after the death of her parents, life is anything but easy for her. There is not only danger from nature but from the ruthless moonshiners that keep everyone in fear and looking over their shoulders. But where else could she go? She knows nothing but this mountain. She’s never even seen a city. When a handsome stranger, Dax Talon, arrives searching for his sister, who is missing, Mariah feels something new and foreign to her. She’s attracted to the stranger. Dax follows a trail that takes him to the small town in hopes of finally finding his sister and bringing her back home. He’s not expecting to find a beautiful young woman that takes his breath away. This story has all the elements you’ve come to expect in a Broday story. Not only does it have titillating romance, but danger, suspense, life-threatening situations, and family dynamics. An added bonus to the story is the hobos who frequent the town, bringing news from far away and providing much-needed entertainment. If you’re looking for a book that will entertain you, sweep you away to another place and time, and give you hope for happy endings, this is the book for you!
Mary Claire DeWinter has been summoned to her dying grandfather’s bedside. She is blind and eighteen years old. She is prepared for the icy welcome from her aunt, but she is not prepared for the reading of her grandfather’s will. She is the sole heir to Westfield Court with one stipulation. She must marry within a year. Otherwise, the estate will revert to the state of Massachusetts. Not only is Mary Claire not looking for a husband, but she is also anxious to resume her studies and further her education. As with any large estate, there is a staff of servants, including a war veteran chauffeur, Neil Vincent. Neil befriends Mary Claire, and they have lively talks about books, Neil’s favorite pastime, and religion, Mary Claire’s favorite subject. The story takes an unexpected and unusual twist as romance buds between the two. Neil is old enough to be the girl’s father. Mary Claire is looking for a friend in a hostile environment. The author takes the reader through situations where the characters are forced to examine their faith, their beliefs, and their true feelings. It is an easy read and a heartwarming story. If you are a fan of an unlikely romance in an unusual setting, you will enjoy Bridges by Linda Griffin.
Jacquie Biggar is an author I can always rely on to deliver a great story. And this book is no exception. I read this book in one sitting. I fell in love with the characters and the setting immediately. Sophia left the family ranch, where she’d lived all her life, to move to New York and pursue a career far away from the one man that could make her knees weak and blood boil. Sophia and Tony were teenage sweethearts. So, when Sophia left, it crushed her that Tony never tried to reach out, never asked why and apparently didn’t care enough to try. But when Sophia is called back to the ranch after her grandmother’s death, sparks immediately fly between them. Their history is so strong it pulls them both back into a passionate relationship. The story deepens as the ranch is in financial trouble, and Sophia’s two brothers can’t seem to agree on anything. Tony is exasperatingly complacent and obviously holding secrets that he is eventually forced to share to save the family’s legacy. As I said, I loved all the characters. And while this is the second book in a series, I was not lost. It works as a standalone. If you like an intense romance with a great storyline and plot, you will enjoy this story.
In this short read, the author takes us through the lives of two characters from childhood to adulthood. Simone has been in the Catholic orphanage since she was a baby. It’s all she’s ever known. Anndre’ arrives at the orphanage at the age of 11, angry, grieving for his lost parents, and closed off to everyone. Simone is determined to show Andre’ compassion and love, so she chooses to do that with the gift of a frog from the pond. From that moment forward, their friendship and close bond develop until they are inseparable. When Andre’ turns 18 and leaves the orphanage, Simone grieves daily for him. They’d fallen deeply in love. Then all communication stops, and she never recovers. Did their love mean nothing? Then she gets the shock of her life when Andre’ shows up in a priest’s frock. I won’t spoil the story for anyone, but I will say this book drew me in from the first page to the last. The secrets, the demons, the betrayals, and most of all, the undying love is a story that will tug at your heart.
This book is part of this author’s Order of The Dragon Knights series, and while it is the first one I’ve read from that series, I was not lost. I think I might have had more of a connection to some of the characters and their backgrounds if I’d read some of the other books first. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this story immensely. The story begins in modern-day times, with Gwen Hywell, a weaver, who has been commissioned to weave a tapestry for the MacFhearguis family living at the newly restored Leòmhann Castle. I loved the description of the ancient castle and the conversations between Meggie and Adam MacFearguis, which include glimpses into Adam’s past as a Dragon Knight. When their young son, Jamie, takes Gwen on a horseback ride to see the countryside surrounding the castle, the lure of a golden thread embedded into a yew tree sends Gwen tumbling back in time to the year 1209, where she finds herself in danger of being kidnapped by King John’s men. It is Patrick MacFearguis who takes an arrow in the shoulder while rescuing her and takes her to Castle Urquhart, where Patrick can heal. I loved all the characters in this story, but especially the women at Castle Urquhart. My favorite conversation is between Gwen and the other women, where she learns she isn’t the only one who, through the magic of the fae, has tumbled back in time to find their true love. They each talk about the things they miss from their previous modern-day world. While struggling to accept that she is indeed in a time period eight-hundred years past, she and Patrick fall in love. Will Gwen decide to stay? Will she send herself back to her time period, to an empty life with no family and no one to love her? You’ll have to read the book to find out. The descriptions are rich, the story compelling, and the characters three-dimensional. Going forward, I will be reading other books from this series.
That’s it from me for this month. I only post 4 and 5-star reviews, and all opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I hope you found something to add to your towering TBR pile!
Introducing The Puppy Adventures of Porter and Midge: Out and About – a quick introduction to early socialization and training for puppies that will make them outstanding canine citizens and wonderful family pets.
Kids will love following along with the two puppies’ story set in Austin, Texas, as they learn about how to take care of their own puppy. This is the first book in a series of story books, journals, and activity books.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Gift this book to any new puppy owner you know!”–Lynn M. Hayner, Author at dogster
“Chen and Nevada write in an easy and enjoyable style…If you are a dog lover, this storybook is for you. Help your children become the best dog companion they can be.”-Philip Van Heusen,Reader’s Favorite
Jennie Chen is a homesick Austinite who founded Keep Austin Dog Friendly. Over the last 20 years, Jennie has owned Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Lowchen. She has earned numerous titles in conformation, competitive obedience, rally, herding, animal assisted therapy, and more. She is passionate about the relationship people build with their beloved canines, and she has been an advocate for people living with disabilities who need a service dog to live independently. She is active in various dog clubs and can be seen on AKC.TV from time to time.
Giselle Nevada has owned several mastiffs, acquired both from reputable breeders and via rescue. Fostering rescued mastiffs and helping them work through their issues led to a keen interest in socialization as a means of preventing future issues. She loves working with her dogs and has dabbled in carting, conformation, agility, rally, trick dog, nose work, and many other canine sports. Her puppy Porter is a testament to early socialization – he has achieved many performance dog titles and has done commercial work. He also has a role in a movie called Match Me If You Can directed by Marian Yeager.
Many of the locations and characters featured in The Puppy Adventures of Porter and Midge: Out and About are based on our real-life experiences. Dr Weaver and Edna are two of our favorite people and we are so happy to have their support in bringing our vision to life! We are grateful for their unwavering commitment to animal welfare and their outstanding service to our four-legged friends. Thank you, Dr. Weaver and Edna, for being a part of our adventure and for being such an inspiration!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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