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Join Me at Bourgeon

Over the last weekend while on vacation, I got the wonderful news that a very personal poem about my Vovó, who passed away two years ago.  I knew that she was ill and didn’t have much time left, and I was furiously writing.

I planned to read it at her funeral, but I was so emotionally wrecked, I was unable to do so.  I did the next best thing — after seeking sage advice from a few writer friends — I let the poem rest with her.

Fast forward two years, I tried to read Pergola at the poetry reading I participated in this year, but failed miserably at that as well.  However, during that reading, I met the wonderful Gregory Luce, who suggested I send him a few poems.

I was happy when he told me Pergola found a home at Bourgeon.  Please feel free to check it out.

Vacation To-Read List

When we get ready for vacation, my daughter takes the time to pack her favorite stuffed animals, books, and her sleeping bag. You never know when you’ll need that for a sleep over. This year, she’ll probably add her favorite swim goggles and toys for the pool.

Me, I pack the essentials — BOOKS. I always over pack books for a trip. If we go away for a long weekend, I bring at least 5 books. While I don’t often read them all, I do change my mind on which one holds my attention while away. A kindle has helped in years past, allowing me to take several more books than usual. This year will be no different, but my top three picks this vacation are below.

Let me know if you’ve read them before and what you think I should start with:

The Inseparable Mr. & Mrs. Darcy by Jennifer Joy, this is book three in the Meryton Mystery series.

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have had their fill of crime-solving. Now engaged to be married, their greatest wish is to leave Meryton with its penchant for mysteries for the serenity of Pemberley. If only Mr. Bennet would give his consent.

When a secret correspondence is discovered, revealing a possible elopement, a plot against Parliament, and exposing their families’ reputations to shame, the investigations begin anew. The couple’s search for answers unfolds more trouble as Mr. Bennet becomes the target of their unknown enemy … or is it merely the desperate act of a lonely father unwilling to part with his favorite daughter?

Darcy and Elizabeth team up to once and for all prove that family trumps adversity and love conquers all — if they can make it to the altar…

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.

To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts: Stories by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.

What do you pack as a must-have on vacation?

Guest Post: Books That Are Great for Writing Inspiration

Writer’s block is more common than you think. Most writers experience writing block at least a few times in their writing careers. When you feel like you cannot come up with good, creative ideas or you cannot produce exciting chapters for the book you are working on, there are a few things you can do. The most recommended thing is to keep writing and to not give up even though you struggle. Another great recommendation is to read as much as you can. You might wonder which books are the best for a writer who suffers from writer’s block so here are my suggestions:

1. Writing Exercises Books

The first thing that comes to writers’ minds when they are no longer able to write is that they need to read books about writing techniques. While this trick may work for some writers, the best writing books focus on more than writing techniques. They also include writing exercises that can be practiced on a regular basis to rewire the creative part of the brain that is responsible for writing. The Daily Writer is just an example of a book that offers information about writing techniques combined with writing exercises and it is definitely a must for all writers who lost their inspiration.

2. Spiritual books

Reading spiritual books when dealing with writer’s block may seem strange but the main purpose of spiritual books is to make people improve their lives by making them aware of their spiritual sides and hidden desires. This recommendation works best for writers who are open minded enough to try a totally new approach or for those who are in touch with their spiritual side. However, every writer should give this a try and if you are willing to do this there are plenty of spiritual books you can read.

3. Children’s Books

Another surprising recommendation maybe, but before dismissing it, think about it for a minute. What all children books have in common? A lot of creativity, a simple writing style and inspirational stories. Sometimes writer’s block happens when a writer is too stressed. This can be due to a deadline, due to self-doubt or many other problems that affect creative minds. The best way to disconnect and to find motivation again is to read an easy book that can reopen the creativity drawer in your brain. Also, in order to test your creativity you can find new ways to interpret the classic stories or to find new meanings for certain situations. Houghton Mifflin Books For Children is a publisher that offers a variety of children’s books with old and new characters that can help you find your muses again.

Besides these book recommendations, I have to say that a writer has to keep his mind and heart open in order to be able to try new things all the time. New experiences can mean new sources of inspiration so instead of locking yourself in the house, go outside, observe people and have the courage to do something that you did not do before.

Come Join Me at Mothers Always Write

It’s funny how life works sometimes. I had participated in a poetry prompt workshop through Two Sylvias Press in April and had one poem critiqued.

While the poem published this month in the new issue of Mothers Always Write was not the one I had critiqued by Two Sylvias Press, it was one of the poems created from one of the prompts in April.

“A Poem to Save Us” was a fun poem to write and work on. I’m happy to see it in print. Click the badge above to read it yourself. Feel free to leave comments.

Come Join the Modern Creative Life

Following my poetry reading in June, I set to work on an essay about the experience.  If you’re interested click the image and feel free to join the conversation.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July festivities.  Happy Independence Day!

Summer…..Reads, a Giveaway, and More

It may be summer, but the weather does not really feel as sweltering as normal.  We have cool mornings and breezes, instead of stagnant, bogged down, humid air.  That will come as summer moves in more, but I’m enjoying these days with the windows open at night, less air conditioning, and my hot coffee at the desk.

As many of you probably know already, my daughter is on a summer swim team.  She’s having a blast, though yesterday’s meet was the first time I saw her cry over her race in kickboarding.  She complained to me that she was not fast anymore.  I told her that everyone has a bad day, but she really didn’t cheer up until her best friend came to see her second event, the freestyle.  She was much happier after that.

I’ve finished quite a few WWII books lately, and my best of list is expected to keep growing for 2017 since I’ve read so many gems.  It’s amazing how many great books are out there.  Currently, I’m reading through a collection of Pride & Prejudice short stories in The Darcy Monologues.  I’m really enjoying them so far, and I love that they are all from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.

I’m working on a list of books I want to read this summer, too.  I’m a bit behind in my planning.  Shhh.

June 12 was my 10-year blogiversary.  It’s hard to believe that this blog started that long ago.  I feel like I’m still discovering new books and new readers online.  It’s not as close-knit as it once was, but this club has expanded beyond my imagination, and I hope it continues to do so.

In honor of this blogiversary, I’d love to hear from readers about when you started reading, why, and what book you’d pick from my reviews, if you could win one.  

Open internationally.  Just one book per person.  Browse the reviews.

I’ll pick a couple winners at the end of July.

Seasons of Joy: Every Day Is for Outdoor Play by Claudia Marie Lenart

I had the pleasure of working with Claudia Marie Lenart to edit her children’s poetry book, Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play, which was published by Loving Healing Press in April 2017.

Her needle-felted wool paintings are incredibly detailed and depict children at play in all kinds of weather.  Multi-cultural and joyous, these children become life-like characters that children will want to see and touch.  Each poem calls to mind the carefree days of childhood.  The games played and the imaginations running wild as the children romp and play with bunnies, birds, and in trees.

These pages are full of bright colors and fun games that kids can take with them into their own communities and neighborhoods.  Not only do the poems show children enjoying the company of others who look different from themselves, but it also shows how much fun sharing can be.

Pick up a copy and share with your kids, grandkids, and others in the community.  Get out there and play.

Poetry Reading in Gaithersburg, Md., Sunday, June 11, 3-5 p.m.

I am honored to be a part of the group at this inaugural poetry reading at The Gallery at Chesapeake Framing.

When Lucinda Marshall asked I was floored, as I am often behind the scenes promoting the poetry of others (a labor of love).

Even after sending her some sample work, I still did not expect to be asked given that I still have not finished a manuscript of poetry and I am in area with a ton of poetic talent — powerhouses, really.

At the same time that I am thrilled to be included, I’m also terrified.  I am not a great public speaker, and yet, I continue to put myself in front of audiences either introducing people or reading poetry — mostly not my own which means this will bring a different level of anxiety.

BUT, enough of that!  Despite all my whining, if you are in the area and would love to hear some great, local poets, I encourage you to come.  I’ll be reading with these lovely people:

The Where:

123 Crown Park Ave.
N. Potomac, MD 20878

The Date and Time:

Sunday, June 11, 2017
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Refreshments will be served.

June Readalong: Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

At War Through the Generations, Anna and I have chosen to read Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum for our June read-a-long.

We hope you will join us for discussions each Friday starting June 9.

About the book:

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer. Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life. Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

Discussions will be held every Friday as follows, and as always, we encourage you to share your thoughts and even pose your own questions.

June 9: Discussion of Prologue – Chapter 15

June 16: Discussion of Chapters 16-29

June 23: Discussion of Chapters 30-45

June 30: Discussion of Chapters 46 – End

We look forward to reading what sounds to be a fantastic book, and hope you will join us!

Cover Reveal: Déjà You: Stories of Second Chances by Kelly Cain, Bianca M. Schwarz, Amanda Linsmeier, Jamie McLachlan, and C.H. Armstrong

RELEASE DAY: Déjà You

E-books 99¢ RELEASE DAY SPECIAL

Paperbacks $10.99

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TITLE: Déjà You

PUBLISHER: Emerald Lily Publishing

RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon | B&N Paperback | Create Space Paperback

In Déjà You, five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves.

Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor.

Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford.

Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual.

The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house.

Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ.

Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances.


The Birth of Déjà You

About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.”

During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.


About the Authors

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Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a young adult urban fantasy series. Most of her stories are set in Texas with frequent travels to her home state of California, and all of her stories have an excess of food weaved throughout.

If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Or maybe cooking. Check out her website for recipes for dishes featured in her books, and some other fun stuff. She has two adult daughters and lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas.

Kelly is the author of Altered, a new adult multicultural romance and Connections, a steamy short story exclusively available on Amazon. Visit her on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Tumbler.

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Bianca M Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and has a US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Amanda Linsmeier is the author of Ditch Flowers and Beach Glass & Other Broken Things. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child Magazine. Besides writing Women’s Fiction, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. She can be found blogging about writing and books at amandalinsmeier.com. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and two half-wild cats. You can Amanda’s blog for book reviews and random musings, or check her out on Twitter or Facebook for more information.

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Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of Mind of the Phoenix, an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy and the first novel in the Memory Collector Series. The third, Rise of the Phoenix, is set for release in summer of 2017. When not writing, Jamie reads, dabbles in various crafts, and spends time with her family. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma-native transplanted in the Midwest. A life-long lover of books, she made her author debut with the 2016 release of her historical fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere, which was inspired by her own family’s struggles during the one-two punch that was The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl. Armstrong is currently working on two young adult novels and is a regular contributor to the Minnesota-based women’s magazine, Rochester Women. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


For more information on Déjà You or the Book Besties, visit their website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

Cover Reveal: Aphrodite’s Closet by Suzy Turner

Welcome to today’s cover reveal for fellow Book Blogger Suzy Turner’s latest novel, Aphrodite’s Closet.

About the Book:

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before. Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

***Can you imagine the uproar in this little town?  Everyone needs a fun beach read, and this could be the one for you!***

Purchase links: Amazon U.K. and Amazon USA

About the Author:

Suzy Turner was born in England and raised in Portugal, and she lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, two crazy dogs and a cat.

Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever FredlessAnd Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.

In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.

Visit her Lifestyle blog, on GoodReads, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, and at her book blog Fiction Dreams.