Review in Practice: Booked to the Gills

Booked to the Gills

Purchase links: Barnes & Noble Amazon

Booked to the Gills by Aisley Oliphant is designed to help those participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days. Many writers who would like to be more prolific may find the advice and strategies outlined in this book to be quite helpful. In fact, many of the time management tips, such as time blocking, can come in handy for any writer who juggles several projects along with a day job, and relationships with family and friends, and ‘me time’.

For many of us, that ‘ me time’ is what is forfeited when things get to hectic. And the author openly admits that she has not a fun person to be around during previous NaNoWriMo challenges. For others, relationships might be strained when family and friends are put on the back burner and writing takes the forefront. And the author openly admits that she has not been a fun person to be around during previous NaNoWriMo challenges. This book is packed full of strategies to salvage relationships and keep your sanity, while still cranking up the word count.

Topics which are covered include time management, setting boundaries, adjusting wordcounts, prioritizing…

I have mentioned before that I am not a prolific writer. Authors such as Kevin J. Anderson, who can crank out right or ten books in a year, totally blow me away. But in these pages are strategies which will certainly be useful in increasing my writing output and helping me be a more productive writer, as well as giving me organizational tools that will be helpful in managing the numerous writing and publishing projects which I always seem to have going.

I attempted the NaNoWriMo challenge once, back in 2010, and failed miserably. When I picked up this book, doing this challenge was the furthest thing from my mind, but thinking about putting some of the strategies in Booked to the Gills to the test, I’m thinking it might be worth another try this year.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and author, Yvette Prior and a book review #Poetrylovers #readingcommunity @bookreview

Today, I am very excited to welcome Yvette Prior from Priorhouse blog as my September Treasuring Poetry guest. Yvette is among the first bloggers I met when I started Robbie’s Inspiration and she was always encouraging and supportive of my artwork and writing. Thank you, Yvette.

Today, Yvette, a talented poet and author herself and a huge supporter of other writers and bloggers, is going to share some of her thoughts about poetry and some readings from her lovely poetry book, Avian Friends.

What is your favourite poem and why?

Winter Chill

Stood and listened

to birds tweet and whistle

had breakfast to make

day to begin

stuff to do

but standing

in winter chill

at the back door

harmony

stopped me

hope flew in

melodious infusing during a winter chill

trees still bare

yet birds were there

dulcet air

momentary loss of care

cold days

soon to part ways

winter hard is exiting

birds returning

spring soon erupting

green grass, pleasant breeze

flowers, butterflies, bees

replacing freeze

shivering, I shut the door

musical deliverance once more

Behind the poem

Winter Chillwas written about a brief experience I had when I opened the backdoor one winter’s day. I was stopped in my tracks. It was the first time I had heard the birds in a long time and their “harmony stopped me” as “hope flew in.” I am not what people would refer to as a “birder.” I do not put out seeds and we don’t have any feeders on our property (although I might add some later). The birds have just found a nice little habitat on their own and I am grateful. In this poem, I described the scene exactly as it unfolded -opened the door, heard the birds, and I was reminded that a better season was on its way. This idea could apply to more than just a cold weather season ending – it could also apply to the trials and heavy times in life. Challenging times do not last forever and sometimes we might just need to pause – in the midst of a difficult season – and find small (healthy) ways to enjoy “momentary loss of care.” Hope can mean so much too – and so anytime we have Hope fly in – let’s embrace it. 

Please share a poem you enjoy and why you enjoy it

This is just to say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

***

and which

you were probably

saving for breakfast

***

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

Williams’ poem whispers so much to me and one takeaway is the freedom someone felt to indulge in the plum. There are times we sacrifice times we do outreach and hold back – but this depicts the opposite – it shows us someone so comfortable with the other person where they ate the plum (while knowing the person was saving it). The poem makes me smile because I can imagine how juicy and tasty it was. And the title and tone of the poem lets us know that the consumer here is not apologizing for eating it either. That’s my take. 

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I try to write every day, in a paper notebook, and most of this year I have been busy working on non-poetry projects so I only wrote a handful of poems this year. My goal is to get back to my musings with poetry. Even if all of the poems do not make it into a future book, I enjoy writing them.

 I started writing in middle school but really got into poetry while in college. In between classes, I created free verse poems. I moved words around andenjoyed simple rhyming schemes. 

I know that folks sometimes put down the easy rhymes, but I like them.  It is not about creating difficult poetry for me – it really is a type of solitude with words and ideas. 

Thank you, Yvette, for your lovely answers and for being my guest today.

Yvette has shared a lovely YouTube video recital of some of her poems from Avian Friends.

My review of Avian Friends by Yvette Prior

What Amazon says

In Avian Friends, you will find more than forty poems that offer encouragement and uplifting stories. The poems are free rhyme and connect to different life scenarios. Each poem also includes a “behind the poem” section, which provides personal reflections, teaching tidbits, and ideas for wellness. Backyard birds inspired the poems and the topic of faith has been gently woven in (not in a religious way) with the hope that diverse readers can enjoy the content.

The poems in this book are not complicated poems; instead, they are light and can lift the reader’s mood. The poems are for those who do not always read poetry – as well as for the poetry lover.

My review

Avian Friends is a delightful book of poetry that centres around the author’s interactions with birds in her personal life. In the reactions and interactions of her avian friends, the author finds threads of similarity to human reactions to circumstances and experiences and in relationships. She weaves these thoughts into the observations expressed in her poems.

One of the most interesting section of poems for me where the ones written following the death of a young and close relative. The author’s grief is palpable and her understanding of nature and the role of all creatures in the cycle of life help her come to terms with her sorrow and emotions.

An verse from Part III Life and Death:
“The nest was found
on the ground after the storm
nestlings didn’t make it
we mourned
fuzzy little creatures
oversized eyes
chests without air
buried with care
patting down soil
reminded me that we, too, will die …”

I have referred to the poet as the author because there is a lot of reflective prose in this book. Each poem is followed by a discussion which provides the poet’s inspiration for the poem, and includes quotes and information about birds and other aspects of life that contribute to the meaning behind the poem. I really enjoyed these explanatory sections and gleaned a lot of insight into the poet’s emotions and thought process from it.

Enjoyment of this book is certainly not limited to people who love birds as, in many instances, the birds are a metaphor for human life. This book will be enjoyed by all lovers of poetry.

Purchase Avian Friends

Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Yvette-Prior-Ph-D/dp/1973831228

Amazon kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Encouraging-inspired-Backyard-ebook/dp/B07QHNZF81

About Yvette Prior

Yvette Prior lives on the East Coast of the United States with her spouse, Chris, and together they have three adult children, two grandchildren, and no pets (after having many dogs over the years).

Yvette enjoys working with people and her varied work background includes education, social work, hospitality management, and lots of outreach. Her passion area is studying about health and wellness and after earning a Ph.D. in I-O Psychology, she poured into waiting book projects and she has not stopped writing since.

Her goal as a writer is to educate, edify, and encourage readers. Her personal blog can be found at priorhouse.wordpress.com

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Review in Practice: Fearless Author

Feaarless Author

Fearless Author, by Ashley Emma, is a self-publishingbook launch Plan and checklist, which was not as valuable to me as I had hoped, because nowhere did it say that this was an Amazon author exclusively, so I did not realize what I was getting. Don’t get me wrong. This was a free book, so I’ve wasted nothing but my time, and it was not a total waste. For those who don’t understand why the advice of an exclusive author might be of lesser value to a wide author, such as myself, let me paint a word picture of the state of the independent publishing industry currently, as I see it.

In order to be a KDP author and have your books featured in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon requires an author to download directly to thier site, (you can’t use a third party aggregator to publish your book and they demand exclusivity. Kindle Unlimited can be a substatial income stream for authors, because page reads add up to comprable sales, and some authors, in genres with voracious readers, earn more from page reads than they do from actual sales. I can see why some authors might feel that to be a fair trade for exclusivity, but that exclusivity means that you can’t sell your book anywhere else, including on your own website. That’s why I chose to publish wide. I didn’t want to give up that much control over my books. It is up to me where my books will be sold, which allows me more opportunities to reach more potential readers.

And tactics like rapid release, or free or .99 cent first in series, may not be as effective with other distributors as they are on Amazon, because other distributors don’t use the same algorythyms that Amazon does. For example, Ms. Emma recommends utilizing Amazon’s free days, which are only available to KDP exclusive authors. That is why I didn’t find Ashley Emma’s Fearless Author to be of more value. While her advice for launching and taking a book quickly up to bestseller status may be quite valuable to an Amazon author, but many options are only available to exclusive authors.

All of that to say that Fearless Author might have been more helpful by indicating in the description the fact that Ashley Emma is an Amazon author, offering useful tip to be used with KDP and Kindle Unlimited. At least then I would have known what to expect when I downloaded the free book. There were some tactics which could be of value to all authors, even those who publish wide, like myself.

The lesson learned from this experience: the importance of accurate book descriptions which don’t mislead potential readers. Although I may use some of the advice found in Fearless Author, I would probably not download more of Ashley Emma’s books, even though I might find portions of it useful and I found no fault with her writing.

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Treasuring Poetry – Welcome poet and author, Patty Fletcher and a review #poetry #bookreview #poetrycommunity

Today, I am delighted to feature poet, author, and blogger, Patty Fletcher and share her thoughts about poetry and her favourite poems. I really enjoyed the poems included in this post, those written by Patty herself, and those included in A Poetic Apostrophe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

What is your favourite poem?

Hello, Robbie. Before I begin, I’d like to thank you for including me in Treasuring Poetry.

Honestly, poetry isn’t my forte. I do, however dabble some and in fact this poem, Ever Lost in the Moment was eventually published in an issue of The Avocet Nature Magazine.

It is a favorite because writing it allowed me to put words to a fantasy which played out in my head.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

In the poem, Ever Lost to the Moment you see two lovers who have longed for one another for many years finally come together. This, along with the raw bones of nature roaring around them makes it magical to me and since I’m a huge believer in manifestation I still read this poem with the belief that one day it might come true, and I like the lady in the poem may be reunited with someone I love and we would come together as the lovers in the poem do.

Here it is below for your reading enjoyment.

Ever Lost in the Moment

By Patty L. Fletcher

The scorching wind roared angrily across the jagged peaks above. The thundering waves pounded the steep cliffs below.

 Standing, their bare toes clinging to the rocks, naked in the fading day. Faces moist with the ocean spray.  The sunset a ball of fiery molten liquid melting into the churning sea.

He, seeing her there, dangerously close to the edge. She, breathing the dank salty air. Her ebony hair streaming long and beautiful round her there.

He, drinking her in, his senses catching fire with want and desire, she, like a deer, sensing danger in the wind, felt him there.

Turning to him her mouth parting in a gorgeous smile, they stood, the only sound the roaring of the wind, pounding of the waves, and song of the gulls. Their hearts beat as one. In perfect time with the rhythmic sea, they knew, they would be, ever lost in the moment.

Ever Lost in the Moment was originally written in 2018 and the rewriting of it was inspired by:  http://scvincent.com/2019/02/14/thursday-photo-prompt-new-writephoto/ .

Another of my favorites, I happened upon while putting this interview together is called Ice Cream on the Fly. I wrote it after a visit from my daughter and six grandchildren after eight years of separation.

It tells the tale of our last day together and still makes me laugh until I’m near tears.

I hope you enjoy it too.

“Ice Cream on the Fly”

By Patty L. Fletcher

May 14, 2021

Ice Cream on the fly.

Sun shining bright in the sky.

Laughter on the air.

Happiness everywhere.

Kids got a sugar high.

Go to the park, let them swing, run, and slide.

Ride the merry-go-round round and round.

Oh, jeez if I did that after ice cream, well, I’d be sick on the ground.

Finally, momma says time to go. Must go home to ready ourselves so on the second part of our road trip we may go.

Back in the van rolling home with the setting sun.

WOW! We’ve had a great week of visiting and fun.

Home again, out we all flow.

Into the house we troop. Just one, big happy chattering group.

Eddy, we’re back nearly in unison we call. Eddy, no longer put off by our noise at all.

Meow! Jeez, what’s a cat to do. Nearly starved waiting for you.

“Who needs the bathroom?” I call. But though several said they did no one makes a move.

“OK, you snooze you lose.” I call to the room at large and then into the bathroom I barge.

Just when I think we’re gonna make it through the week with no serious issue. My beliefs are quickly washed away.

I flush and ready myself to leave the room when suddenly, Oh! What from yonder toilet breaks? What the… not to curse in several languages, all of my strength it takes.

Water is flowing across the floor, with every second which passes there is more and more.

Then, as I try to flee with my very life, the door refuses to budge and I fear I’m to be washed away.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! I scream! And yet, the water continues to stream.

“What the…” I demand of the air. This flipping water is everywhere.

“Turn it off! Make it stop!” Polly commands. Yet dumbfounded I continue to stand. “Turn it off! Turn it off!” She continues to insist, but in my brain, I continue to resist.

“I don’t know how.” I hear myself say. All the while knowing it’s not what I mean to state.

Suddenly my brain and fingers, they won’t connect. I’m panicked, what would one expect?

I am shoved aside, and Polly flashes past with a mighty cry.

“Here, in the back, turn it quick!” Still the words in my mind will not stick.

Then I see the water is everywhere. And all we can do is stand and stare.

Finally, with me and the others tucked safely out of the way, my oldest granddaughter begins to wipe the flood waters away.

After a time, all is set to right. We sit having supper in the deepening night.

Sweet Eddy hovers near, in hopes a morsel to his paw will drop near.

All too soon we’re calling good night. For they must rise with the early morning’s light.

Into the van sleepily Polly’s six-pack of kids, my beautiful grands they will fall.

As sure as the sun will warmly rise into the morning’s sky. I already know tears of good-bye I shall cry.

So, my friends I say to you wherever you go or what you do, be sure to hold those nearest and dearest to you.

Because you never know when they will return to you.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

Until recently, I never gave it much thought but while rummaging around in folders looking for some pieces, I could use in a Paranormal Romance Science Fiction manuscript I’m working on I ran upon a few more poems I’d written while dreaming of love lost so, I’ve been thinking more about trying to learn how to correctly write poetry.

I can write it but I’m never certain if I’m writing in the correct form. But as with a lot of things I want to learn, I keep putting it onto the back burner to simmer while other works bubble happily on the front of the stove.

Here, is one of the poems which was written after an encounter with someone with whom I used to have a secret relationship with.

I hope it’s OK to share.

If Only a Moment

Patty L. Fletcher

 January 22 2018

They stood, their backs to the world, safe.

 Even if only for a moment, happy and content.

Their arms round each other, her head on his shoulder.

His body, strong and lien. Muscles at the ready, hands like a cloud of thunder.

His voice, deep and rich.

They move through the house, talking in each room.

Stopping in the hall for a kiss.

Going onward into the study.

There, only a moment.

Moving as one to the bed.

Tumbling together, in a tangle of hands, arms, and legs.

Fire between his fingers, cold, as ice, yet somehow flames on her skin.

As they flow together, their passion runs deep.

Her mouth on his.

Their bodies become one.

They melt together in the molten lava of their sex.

Their hearts fly.

Their passions rise.

Her need peeks.

His fullness she seeks.

Together they explode, the white-hot throbbing, hums low.

After, they stand.

 Their backs to the world. safe, if only for a moment, happy and content.

What is your favorite poem?

Robbie, had you asked me this a month ago, I’m not certain I’d have had a great answer. Though several of my clients are poets and some of their poetry does speak to me nothing has spoken to me quite like A Poetic Apostrophe by Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker.

Here it is below for you.

A Poetic Apostrophe

By Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker

Good poetry is the expression of an open heart and a creative spirit. The ability to fashion these qualities into moving and meaningful word images develops with practice of course. Practice rooted in honest self-reflection.  And sometimes, the honest mirror of self-reflection resides in another poet.

Several months ago, Annie, Win and Joan started coming together to be that mirror for one another. In weekly sessions they alternate between reading and analyzing famous poetry and creating their own. They use the craft of such notables as Robert Bly, Amy Lowell, and Wallace Stevens as tutor and springboard for experimentation with word choice, rhythm and style.  The three are dedicated to the process of learning as they write, grounding their exchanged feedback in honesty– for the sake of the poem only.

When the trio found Edgar Allen Poe’s    piece, A Valentine less than pleasing, they used Billy Collins’s poem Workshop as inspiration to devise a suitable response.  While each response relates to a specific element in the poem, all of them acknowledge  Poe’s use of the apostrophe.

The apostrophe isn’t only a punctuation mark used in writing. It’s also a form or style of poetry. The Poetry Foundation defines an apostrophe poem as An address to a dead or absent person, or personification as if he or she were present. An apostrophe may provide a structure or reason for the poem. It can also provide tonal and figurative effects such as giving the poem an intimate or ironic tone.

The literary apostrophe is a tonal element of Poe’s poem, to be sure. But the essence of the piece feels more like a riddle. You see, “A Valentine is an acrostic wherein the letters of the poet’s love interest are to be discovered.

Now for the Poe poem the trio studied

A Valentine

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

     For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

         Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,

     Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

         Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

     Search narrowly the lines! —they hold a treasure

         Divine—a talisman—an amulet

     That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure—

         The words—the syllables! Do not forget

     The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!

         And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

     Which one might not undo without a sabre,

         If one could merely comprehend the plot.

     Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

         Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

     Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

         Of poets, by poets—as the name is a poet’s, too.

     Its letters, although naturally lying

         Like the knight Pinto—Mendez Ferdinando—

     Still form a synonym for Truth—Cease trying!

         You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

This poem is in the public domain.

And below are the individual apostrophe poems written in response:

A Raven’s Dark Valentine

By Ann Chiappetta

There is only one poem I like, the

One with chilled somberness and a raven

This one, though, bores me

Taunts and jabs my intelligence 

like the ebon beak

of the more Popular poem.

When I think of you

The sitcom comes to mind, you know

The one, with the altered family

Who lives on Mockingbird Lane. 

And I snicker, recalling

the family’s clock that should have

held a   black forest cuckoo.

I only wish what was once thought clever

Will never be more.

The Tell Tale Valentine

by Joan Myles

right off the rhythm grabs me line by line

a beating heart of sorts this valentine

but just as quick a mystery you pose

the name of your beloved to disclose

Greek allusions bleak confusions play

as I attempt the task and lose my way

I must confess I find it all a bore 

your raven spoke with wisdom” Never More”

Poe’s Poem

By Winslow Parker

So, Mr. Poe,

Acknowledged mournful poet and macabre storyteller,

You wrote a love poem to Miss Frances,

Who died young,

Just like your tragic heroines.

You hid her name,

In the heart of your poem,

A clever way of declaring your love.

But then you spoiled it all with:

“You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do,”

Did you think so little of her intellect,

Her knot untying skills,

That you could not resist the impulse to make her feel small

In the presence of your mighty wit?

Is that love?

4/26/22

©2022 Winslow E. Parker All Rights Reserved

Annie, Win, and Joan encourage you to read poems wherever you may find them. Take your time to linger over the poet’s choice of words and images, to delight in shifting rhythms and rhymes, to let your mind and spirit play. And if you should find your thoughts stirred by an unexpected turn of phrase, or bedazzled by a sudden insight, a simple smile will do. For that’s the poet’s gift to you!

Why do you like this poem?

As you can see, not only is this an incredible piece of work by three poets but it’s as if the universe heard me grumbling about what I don’t know concerning the writing of poetry and WHAM! Just like that, a lesson appeared.

As I’m reading over this before sending to you, it occurs to me, I might have a poet somewhere within waiting to emerge.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to ask you indulge me with the privilege of sharing one more poem I wrote. This was written shortly after I returned from The Seeing Eye® with my first guide dog Campbell.

The Puppy Grew Up and Became

Once upon a time long ago,

When you were very small you know.

In the morning’s early dawn you were born,

But all too soon from your mother you were torn.

You were sent to live far away with a family you thought forever you would stay.

You learned the neatest and  most awesome tricks.

So much more than chasing sticks.

You learned to sit to rest to lay,

You learned to obey in every way.

You did all these things so very well,

And every day you grew.

All too soon your life changed again,

And you made another new friend.

He was your teacher, your very own guide.

Would you forever walk by his side?

No! This was not to be.

You learned all you could from him,

And then,

You were given to me.

Fast we became best of friends,

And it is with me you will now stay until our work together ends.

In honor of Guide Dogs, puppy raisers, Trainers, and Handlers Everywhere!

Thank you, Robbie for allowing me to share a bit of my poetry with you. Though I’m sure you have more talented poets than I among your guests it’s been a pleasure.

Review of Pathway to Freedom – Book One: Broken and Healed – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life

What Amazon Says

In this, the first book in her memoir trilogy, Pathway to Freedom – Broken and Healed: Book One – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Patty shares how her decision to gain complete independence with the help of ‘The Seeing Eye Guide Dog’ school in Morris Town, New Jersey, reveals to her a glimpse into worlds she had never before known existed. Once home from ‘The Seeing Eye’ she soon begins to realize all is not right in her world. Watch your step as you journey down the pathway with Patty and Campbell, for there are many obstacles along the way. There are triumphs and tribulations, tears and fears, but through it all that forever guide by her side, King Campbell works tirelessly to keep her safe from harm.

My review

When I started reading this book I thought it was a memoir of the author’s experiences being trained as a guide dog handler by the Seeing Eye Institution in the USA. I was keen to read about Patty’s experiences and learn more about the process of both training a guide dog and also the handler of the guide dog. I’d realised from conversations and correspondence with a few non-sighted friends that the handler develops a very close relationship with the guide dog and I wanted to learn more.

This book did offer that insight into the training process offered by Seeing Eye and I followed Patty on her informative and wonderful journey of gaining independence through becoming a handler. I was interested in all the detailed including the different types of training the pair undergo including a trip to New York.

Right from the beginning of the book it was obvious that Patty was in a difficult relationship with a man who did not have her best interests at heart. This flawed relationship is also a major theme in the book and the negative impact on Patty of having to walk on eggshells around her partner in many areas of her life was evident and upsetting. Certain details about Donnie were also revealed that make him quite a difficult character to like the least of which was his ill-treatment of his own two dogs.

The last section of the book was a little unfulfilling for me as I didn’t really understand why Patty’s relationship with her trainer from Silent Eye and her daughter broke down completely. I could make a reasonable assumption about it based on the information provided, but I would have like a little more clarity. I would also have liked to have known a little more about Patty’s father and how he recovered from his ill health.

All in all, this is an interesting and compelling story and certainly a worthy read.

Purchase links

Amazon US

About Patty L Fletcher

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. In July 2021, she returned to The Seeing Eye® and was paired with a Black Labrador Golden Retriever cross named Blue.

PATTY’S BLINDNESS…

Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS…

Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn.

She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.

WRITING GOAL…

Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.

HOBBIES…

Patty’s hobbies include reading, music, and attending book clubs via Zoom.

FAVORITE TUNES…

Some of her favorite types of tunes are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country.

FAVORITE READS…

Patty enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. She loves books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Norah Roberts, and many more. Some favorite books include Norah Roberts’ Hide Away, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

SPIRITUAL FAITH…

Patty describes herself as a spiritual Walker. She says she knows both Mother Goddess and Father God and embraces all they have to offer.

CONTACT…

Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

Visit:  https://pattysworlds.com/

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Will Write for Wine” & “Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard” Book Blog Tour

Will Write for Wine & Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard Book Blog Tour

Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard is a collection inspired by Venetian history. The fictional character, Alexis Lynn, wrote these stories in the novel Will Write for Wine by Sara W. McBride, but they are fun stand-alone adventures to be enjoyed with an excellent glass of Italian wine.

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Welcome to the WordCrafter Will Write for Wine & Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard Book Blog Tour. This is going to be a fun tour because we have two fabulous books to celebrate by a wonderful new author Sara W. McBride. Will Write for Wine is her debut novel about a writer, Alexis Lynn, and her funny and romantic escapades when she moves to Venice to start a new life. Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard is the recently released short story collection and companion to the novel. Her fiction is well researched and presented with a witty flare which I find refreshing and I think you will too. I hope you’ll follow the tour and join us at each blog stop. You’ll find the schedule and links below.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 27 – Opening Day Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post: Inspiration for the Devil’s Bridge” & Review of Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard

Tuesday, June 28 – Showers of Blessings – Guest Post: Inspiration for “Stealing Georgione’s Mistress”

Wednesday June 29 – Carla Loves to Read – Guest Post: Inspiration for “The Masked Kiss”

Thursday, June 30 – Writing to be Read – Guest Post: Inspiration for “A Dowry for Safron” & Interview with Sara W. McBride

Friday, July 1 – Zigler’s News – Guest Post: Inspiration for “The Pregnant Man” & Review of Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard

Saturday, July 2 – Annette Rochelle Aben – Guest Post: Inspiration for “The Haunted Palazzo”

Sunday, July 3 – Roberta Writes – Guest Post: Inspiration for “The Secret Vault”

Monday, July 4 – Wrap-Up Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post: Inspiration for Will Write for Wine & Review of Will Write for Wine

Give-Away

In addidtion, to the awesome guests posts, interview, and reviews at each tour stop, Sara is offerin a chance to win a digital copy of each book, Will Write For Wine & Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard. Leave a comment and click on the link below to enter for a chance to win:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9280cae1/?

Introduction

I must begin by giving kudos to Sara W. McBride for the clever way that she has braided these seven short stories in this collection in with her debut novel, (and I’m told that she is currently working on a companion wine tasting journal). While both of these books stand alone easily, they really should be consumed together. In the novel, Will Write for Wine, we see the story of how Alexis Lynn comes to write these stories, but we don’t get to actually see the stories. For that, you must read Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard, which offers not only the stories, but the true inspiration behind them. After reading her delightful novel, and seeing Alexis’ digging up the background for the stories and seeing Manu’s reaction to reading them, one can’t help but be curious about the actual stories and want to read the collection. It’s brilliant!

Now let me turn things over to the author, Sara W. McBride, so she can share her inspiration for the story.

Ponte Del Diavlo – The Devil’s Bridge

https://www.puckpublishing.com

Inspiration for “Devil’s Bridge”

Guest Post by author Sara W. McBride

What inspired the story, “The Devil’s Bridge?”

The moment I saw the sign “Ponte del Diavolo,” I knew I had to write a story. At the edge of the bridge sits Palazzo Priuli, home to several Doge Priulis and is now an elegant hotel (www.hotelpriuli.com) in the Castello area of Venice. I had already been researching the tragic death of Antonio Foscarini, and then I discovered that the doge—Basically the president of Venice—who had him executed lived in the palazzo at the edge of Devil’s Bridge. It’s not often that history simply hands me a story, but there it was, burning bright in the Lancet windows of a 14th century palazzo. Here’s the real history behind the Devil-possessed Doge Priuli and his most famous victim:

Antonio Foscarini, executed on April 22, 1622, was a Venetian ambassador to London (1611-1615) and is rumored to have had an affair with King James’ Queen, Anne of Denmark. He returned to Venice during a “Spy War” with Spain and was suspected of betraying Venetian secrets to Spanish officials. Someone who knew about his affair with the Queen of England might have seeded this rumor. Upon his arrival in Venice in December 1615, he was arrested and held prisoner for three years under Doge Bembo, who uncovered the Bedmar plot which would have permitted Spanish mercenaries to march on Venice. In the midst of the crisis, Bembo died—or was possibly assassinated by the Spanish—and Doge Nicolo Donato reigned for a mere 35 days before he died. I believe he was assassinated by the Spanish, but have found no clear evidence for such a claim.

I’m considering writing a novel on the Venice/Spain Spy War of 1615-1622 because it’s super fascinating and an interesting statement on what fear does to a governing body.

Antonio Priuli (1548-1623) was elected doge in 1618 and released Foscarini in order to monitor him and his activities. Priuli was a brutal doge who arrested hundreds of innocent Venetians suspected of plotting against Venice. Was he possessed by the devil? Probably not, but how Devil’s Bridge earned its name is a mystery, so I took license and speculated that the devil enjoyed his residence at the bridge’s end.

On April 8, 1622, Foscarini, then a Senator of Venice, was arrested and accused by the Council of Ten—basically the governing body of Venice, particularly over state security matters—of meeting with ministers of foreign powers and communicating the most intimate secrets of the Venetian Republic. The evidence was weak and Foscarini denied all charges, yet he was still condemned to a public execution for high treason. Why? The answer will never be known, so I had fun speculating that perhaps a guest of his, under her own volition or persuaded by a demonically possessed doge, provided false evidence to seal his fate.

By the end of 1622, Doge Priuli showed signs of illness. In January, 1623, the same Council of Ten revoked Foscarini’s guilty verdict—Whoops, they were wrong—and reinstated the family’s honor with a posthumous exoneration. His bust and tomb can be found in the Church of San Stae in Venice. There’s more on Foscarini’s final resting place in “The Masked Kiss,” another story in this collection.

Doge Antonio Priuli died on August 12, 1623, but oddly, I am unable to locate his tomb. It’s usually pretty easy to find a doge’s tomb. I would have thought him to be buried in Santi Giovanni e Paolo (aka San Zanipolo), which houses tombs of 25 doges, but I haven’t found him there. The art and sculpture in this basilica-sized ediface is amazing! This behemoth church manages to hide on the North side of the Castello and is off the beaten tourist path, but you should definitely seek it out.

Two other Priuli doges, brothers Girolamo Priuli, 1486-1567, and Lorenzo Priuli, 1489-1559, are buried in San Salvador, but apparently there was no space remaining for their Priuli descendent, or perhaps the family just didn’t like Antonio.

Another source claims that the spy-hunting doge is buried alongside Marco Polo in the Church of San Lorenzo in the Castello district, but San Lorenzo has been closed for over a hundred years, only recently reopened, and I have not seen or read any evidence of the doge’s tomb being contained within. They couldn’t find Marco Polo either.

If you find the tomb of Venice’s 94th Doge, Antonio Priuli, please write to me at sara@puckpublishing.com. Otherwise, I’ll just have to assume he’s buried in the depths of the canal under Ponte del Diavolo.

Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Stole-Lord-Byrons-Bastard-ebook/dp/B0B27TS5GL

My Review

Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard

Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard is a short story collection by Sara W. McBride which will tickle your sense of adventure and discovery, and perhaps, your funny bone. A companion to her debut novel, Will Write for Wine, these stories bring Venetian history to life with a personal touch of humor, adding in the missing details which historical archives and family histories only elude to. Each story is accompanied with the history and inspiration behind it, and it’s fun to see how McBride crafted in characters to transform legend to story.

Included are tales of an unsuspecting hero who gets the girl, in “The Masked Kiss”; an apprentice who betrays his master in the name of love in “Stealing Giorgione’s Mistress”; a bridge occupied by a demon, in “The Devil’s Bridge”; a nun who chooses life on a plague island over marriage in “Lazzaretto Vecchio: A Dowry for Saffron”; a smuggling operation gone awry in “The Secret Vault”; and a delightful tale of a young artist forced to masquerade as a male in order to ply her trade in “A Gentleman’s Portrait by a Pregnant Man”. But, I’d have to say my favorite story in this collection is “The Haunted Palazzo”, because I’ve always been a sucker for a good ghost story, and the mysterious specter and wet windowsill are certainly prime food for ghostly fodder.

Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard is a collection of short historically inspired stories which are light and entertaining reads. Fun and enjoyable. I give it five quills.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Hope for the Tarnished” Book Blog Tour & Review

Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the WordCrafter Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour. On this tour you’ll learn about a touching new young adult novel, Hope for the Tarnished, with guest posts by the author, Ann Chiappetta, as well as reviews and an interview. I hope to see you all at each tour stop. Here’s the tour schedule so you don’t have to miss any of the stops:

Day 1: Writing to be Read – Introduction and Review

Day 2: Patty’s World – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 3: Writing to be Read – Interview with Ann Chiappetta

Day 4: Roberta Writes – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 5: Zigler’s News – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta and Review

About Hope for the Tarnished

Young Abbie struggles to cope with the traumatic experiences in her life. Ripped from everything familiar after her parents’ divorce, she is dropped into a strange neighborhood and is emotionally abandoned by her unstable mother. Abbie is caught up in the cruel nature   of one sister’s addictions and often rescued by her other sister’s sense of familial responsibility and love.

The story takes place in the 1970s, revealing family secrets   and the shift of cultural norms as Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a bright future.

My Review

Hope for the Tarnished, by Ann Chiappetta is a young adult novel about a young girl who triumphs over the adversities of life to find a chance for happiness as a young woman. It’s a story of tragedy and triumph. It’s a story of hope that will tug at your heartstrings.

Growing up as a latch-key kid, before it was ‘thing’, with a mentally unstable mother, who is indifferent to her daughters’ needs, and sister who is an addict, Abbey faces loss and tragedy head on. But as she grows into a young woman, love complicates her life and makes her doubt her own decisions. With time, social norms and personal situations change, making Abbey dare to hope for happiness once more.

A touching story of love and hope, with the message that nothing ever stays the same, Hope for the Tarnished leaves you with an overall good feeling. I rooted for Abbey all the way through.

$11.50/3.99 Purchasing links: Amazon/Kindle Smashwords

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Book Review: There Will Be Consequences

There Will Be Consequences, by Loretta Miles Tollefson is a biographical historical novel which tells the story of 1837 New Mexico territory history from a biographical perspective, using multiple P.O.V.s. 1837-38 is a complicated period of New Mexico’s history, when rebellion broke out, which Tollefson has undertaken to portray, and she chose an effective way to illustrate all of the different perspectives. There Will Be Consequences tells the story of an historical conflict in which there were no winners.

Although I am familiar with Colorado’s history for this period, this book shows that there was a lot more going on on the western frontier than just cowboys and Indians, wagon trains and mining. This is not a tale of high adventure, but one of the backbone of this country just trying to survive, and it is filled with events that most will find astounding.

There Will Be Consequences

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/There-Will-Be-Consequences-Biographical/dp/1952026059

There Will Be Consequences is skillfully crafted to offer an inside look into the events of the 1837 rebellion and the resulting events. If you are familiar with this historical period and area, you’ll enjoy the thoughtful insights Tollefson offers through the different perspectives offered. If you’re not, you’ll find it all quite interesting. I give it five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

When not writing, she keeps up her author’s blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. In addition to creating her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, she offers quality author services, such as editing, social media & book promotion, and online writing courses through WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services. As well as serving as judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Review in Practice: Self-Publish Strong Books 1-4

Let me just start by saying that I’m a big fan of Andrea Pearson, the author of these books. I listened to her on the Six Figure Authors podcast, along with her two co-hosts, Lindsay Barker and Joe Lallo, all through the fall and spring semesters. So, when I found out we were going to be using Rock Solid Newsletter in our class, I jumped at the opportunity to buy the whole set, even though I only needed the one book for class. Which is just to say, that I knew these books would have lots of valuable information for me as an author before I ever cracked them open, and indeed they did.

In Book 1, Rock Solid Book, Andrea offers tips for making sure you have a book that readers will want to read. Book 2, Rock Solid Platform, gives advice on finding and acquiring fans who will read just about anything you write. Book 3, Rock Solid Promotion, discusses book marketing, protons and deals that sell. And finally, in Book 4, Rock Solid Newsletter, she tells how to set up your newsletter and automation sequence and clean your newsletter email list, so you know you have true fans who want to hear about you and your books, which increases your open and click rates and is more effective at selling books.

Self-Publish Strong Books 1-4 is filled with valuable information for independent authors, which I’m using to improve and grow my newsletter list, which is soon to become my readers’ group, and set up promotions for all of my 2022 releases. Andrea Pearson offers tips, advice and good strategies for producing a quality book which readers will buy, getting the word out about your books and finding readers who will buy them.

What she doesn’t do in Rock Solid Newsletter, is to instruct on the technical set-up of the newsletter, because each newsletter platform is different. I don’t hold that against the book though, as these books are not instruction manuals, but instead, they offer strategies to leverage your books into a better selling position. I managed to change my reader magnet and my welcome email so it will be delivered as intended. (I think,. I still need to test it.) And that’s where I’m stuck, because I don’t understand the technicalities of setting up an automation sequence, but I know I need to set one up. I may have to find someone to help me on that one. So, although I haven’t put all of the advice offered in Publish Strong Books 1-4 to use yet, I’m well on my way.

You can get your copy of Self-Publish Strong Books 1-4 here:

https://www.amazon.com/Self-Publish-Strong-Books-1-4-How-ebook/dp/B06X3W91BV

Or they can be purchased individually here: http://selfpublishstrong.com/books/

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Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

When not writing, she keeps up her author’s blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. In addition to creating her own imprint in WordCrafter Press, she offers quality author services, such as editing, social media & book promotion, and online writing courses through WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services. As well as serving as judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or hiking, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Sign up for the Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for and book event news for WordCrafter Press books, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of Kaye Lynne Booth’s paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, just for subscribing.


Book Reviews – First Bite: A Limited Edition Vampire Romance Collection

I’m kind of hesitant about vampire stories. I’ve read a few that were crafted quite well, like those created by Anne Rice, which I loved and more than a few with twinkling vampires or other gimmicks which veered from traditional tropes, which turned my stomach just a little. But when I received a review invitation from Jordan Elizabeth for the new anthology in which she has a story featured, I didn’t think twice before saying yes.

The Creative Words anthology, First Bite is a varied collection of vampire romance stories: vampires romancing vampires, vampires romancing humans, vampires romancing hunters, or vice verse, etc…., which might be classified as vampire erotica. While I must admit that horny vampires don’t do a lot for me, but many of these stories were explicit and the erotic portions were tastefully done. But be aware that some of these stories bordered on sizzling.

Several of the stories featured are prequels, leading into the rest of the series, rather than complete stand-alone stories. This may be a clever marketing trick to entice readers into the series, but it may also be frustrating to a reader who is expecting a complete story arc in each offering.

I personally, find this tactic annoying, because just when the author has grabbed your attention and you are really getting into the story, they pull it all away and say, “If you want more, go buy my book.” Seems a little underhanded, doesn’t it? But, I know this is a marketing tactic authors are often using these days. You usually see it in newsletter magnets and freebies, although I’ve not seen it in an anthology before.

But… I loved the unique, (at least to me), story concept for “Vampire Occupation”, by Kat Parrish. Although it ends with “to be continued…”, it left me intrigued enough that I’d like to read more. Apparently the tactic works, annoying or not.

There were no prequels or “to be continueds…” from the author requesting the review, Jordan Elizabeth. I’ve reviewed many of her YA novels in the past, and always find them quite enjoyable, and her story, “October in Elmdale “, was no exception. I was drawn into this story immediately by her skillfully placed hook, and her full story arc kept me riveted to the end, where love blooms around a broken curse.

Also worth mention in this story collection is “Must Love Humans”, by Amada Aggie, a complete story where love is kindled over a bet on a game of billiards; “Immortally Yours”, by Lenore Danvers, a complete story in which the vampire plays the part of knight rescuing a damsel who doesn’t yet know she is in distress, and “Once Bitten”, by Kathleen Ryder, a complete story where lost love is reclaimed in spite of a dark secret.

Only a vampire can cherish you forever.

Hidden among average cities and quaint little towns, monsters hunt unsuspecting prey. Secret predators prowl in plain sight, watching. Waiting. The lost souls they consume never see the beast before it hits. If they did, they’d willingly give in to the intoxication of the vampire’s sex appeal.

Overall, First Bite: A Limited Edition Vampire Romance Collection is a captivating anthology of vampire romance stories for the adult reader. I give it four quills.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/First-Bite-Limited-Vampire-Collection-ebook/dp/B09L356DG1

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Treasuring Poetry: Meet poet and author Abbie Taylor

Today, I am delighted to introduce poet and author, Abbie Taylor, to discuss her favourite poems and poetry in general.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

“The Bedroom” is one of those red herring poems that makes you think it’s about one thing, then turns out to be about another. It illustrates how much my late husband Bill depended on me after suffering two strokes that paralyzed his left side. It’s my favorite because even today, almost ten years after his passing, I’m amazed that I was able to meet his needs for six years after his strokes, despite my limited vision. Here’s the poem:

The Bedroom

At three in the morning,

I’m mildly aroused

by the gentle touch of his hand.

He only has one good arm and leg

but still knows how to please me.

As he strokes me,

and I breathe the scent of his sweat,

I purr with anticipation.

The mood is shattered

when he whispers, “I need to pee.”

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

Every night, after I brought Bill home from the skilled nursing facility, where he recuperated after his strokes, he woke me at least once, sometimes more than once, during the night, because he needed assistance to sit on the side of the bed and use a urinal. He was never demanding during this time. He gently woke me by rubbing my back and shoulders. Once I was fully awake, he said, I need to pee.” After he heard me read the poem during a public event, when he woke me, he would say, “What does your poem say I have to do?” Eventually, he was able to use the urinal in bed without sitting up first. So, all I had to do was get up and empty the urinal periodically, which made life a lot easier.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I don’t have any definite plans. I’ve put together several collections but haven’t had much time to do anything with them. I imagine I’ll eventually publish them.

What is your favourite poem?

I’m assuming you want to know about my favorite poem by another author. Well, that would be “The Lanyard” by Billy Collins. Here it is, along with a link to a video of him reading it.

The Lanyard

BY BILLY COLLINS

The other day I was ricocheting slowly

off the blue walls of this room,

moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,

from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,

when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary

where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist

could send one into the past more suddenly—

a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp

by a deep Adirondack lake

learning how to braid long thin plastic strips

into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard

or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,

but that did not keep me from crossing

strand over strand again and again

until I had made a boxy

red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,

and I gave her a lanyard.

She nursed me in many a sick room,

lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,

laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,

and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,

and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.

Here are thousands of meals, she said,

and here is clothing and a good education.

And here is your lanyard, I replied,

which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,

strong legs, bones and teeth,

and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,

and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

And here, I wish to say to her now,

is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,

but the rueful admission that when she took

the two-tone lanyard from my hand,

I was as sure as a boy could be

that this useless, worthless thing I wove

out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Why do you like this poem?

In a humorous way, it emphasizes the idea that our mothers do so much for us but we feel we don’t do enough for them.

About Abbie Taylor

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where, for six years, she cared for her totally blind  late husband who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after they were married. Before that, she worked for fifteen years as a music therapist in nursing homes and other senior facilities. During that time, she also facilitated a support group for blind and visually impaired adults, taught Braille, and served on the advisory board to a state trust fund providing adaptive equipment to blind and visually impaired children and adults.

Contact Abbie Taylor

Website: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Blog: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Abbies-Corner-of-the-World-988391584616528/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Abbie-Johnson-Taylor/e/B00GDM1BWK/#nav-tophttp://

My review of The Red Dress by Abbie Taylor

The Red Dress is a lovely novel about a woman, Eve Sawyer, who has become a best selling author and has a devoted husband and three children, but who has never been able to move on from an unfortunate incident in her younger years when, in a fit of embarrassed irritation, she gave away the red dress that her mother had made for her to wear to her prom. Although Eve was goaded by her selfish roommate, Charlene, into giving her the dress, her mother has never forgiven her for this transgression and it has impacted heavily on their relationship. Her mother is now suffering from dementia and is being cared for in a home for the elderly, but she still remembers that Eve gave away this dress and holds it against Eve.

Eve wore the dress to her prom and she associated the dress with bad memories as her date had disappeared with her best friend, Adele, and she had found them in a compromising position in the back of his father’s car. Eve cuts Adele out of her life and has not contacted her in many years, even though Adele had returned to their home town to raise her son, conceived on the night of the prom.

The story starts with Eve receiving a Facebook request to connect with her old roommate, Charlene. She accepts the request, although she had doubts because she didn’t like Charlene. Before long, her daughter, Ashley, is in touch with Charlene’s daughter, Brenda, and the situation is irreversible. Eve is having her own problems with overwork and issues with her older daughter, Julie, who feels neglected as a result. Her husband is also irritated with her because he feels she favours their younger daughter and son and is harsh with Julie.

This is a story that tackles the themes of working mothers, unresolved grudges and situations from the past, raising teenage children, forgiveness, terminal illness, and death. The author does a good job of sharing Eve’s frustration at her mother and older daughter, irritation at Charlene for the trouble she has caused her, and hurt at Adele’s betrayal of their friendship.

Eve has to confront her negative emotions to resolve these lingering troublesome relationship issues from her past and move on with her future.

I enjoyed the character of Eve and found her to be realistic and relatable. Her situation vividly establishes the difficulties that can result from unsettled emotional problems from the past and juggling work and motherhood.

I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to readers of family dramas.

What Amazon says

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again. Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

Purchase The Red Dress

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My review of How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver (Poetry)

How to Build a Better Mousetrap is a memorable book of poetry which covers two distinct time periods in the author’s life.

Part 1: On Being a Family Caregiver, revolves around the poet’s role as caregiver to her husband following his having two strokes, a year apart, and becoming partially paralysed.

The second section section of the book comprises of Part 2: Recollections, Part 3: Reflections and Part 4: In the End which describes through the medium of freestyle poetry, the various states of the poet’s life from her early childhood through to her old age. There is little mention throughout the book of the author’s visual impairment, but I am aware of it as I have previously read an anthology, Understanding edited by Stevie Turner, that disclosed this information.

The poetry in this book is compelling and quite fascinating in its honesty as the poet ventures to express feelings and emotions that many people might seek to hide. It is refreshing to read expressions of helplessness and even the occasional anger and resentment towards a set of circumstances that have so drastically and unexpectedly impacted on the poet’s life. These emotions are overwhelmed by the poet’s clear devotion and love for her partner.

These verses from three different poems in this collection illustrate this internal conflict:

“In the beginning, you knew all about me
which buttons to push,
how to hook me up,
install programs, fix problems.

Now, you hesitate,
push the wrong buttons.
When I don’t give you the desired response,
you beat my keyboard, proclaim I don’t work.”
From Before and After

“I open my eyes,
gaze upon his sweet sleeping face,
long to hold, kiss him,
caress his hair, his cheek.”
from Awakening

“I’ll never tell you you’re stupid
when you forget something or don’t understand.
I’ll never tell you you’re lazy
when you sit at the kitchen table in your wheelchair
while I fix dinner, clean up.
I’ll never tell you you’re a baby
when I must do most things for you.”
from Things I’ll Never Tell You

What Amazon says

In January of 2006, Abbie Johnson Taylors husband suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side. After months of therapy in a nursing facility, he returned home in September of that year. Although he still had little use of his left arm and leg, it was hoped that through outpatient therapy, he would eventually walk again. In January of 2007, he suffered a second stroke that wasnt as severe, but it was enough to impact his recovery. In August of that year, his therapy was discontinued because he showed no progress. He has never walked since.

The first five poems tell the story of how Taylor found her husband when he suffered his first stroke, detail events in the first few months afterward, and describe Taylor and her husbands reactions. The rest of the poems in the first part were inspired by Taylors experiences while caring for her husband. Covering such topics as dressing, feeding, toileting, their relationship, and his computer, they often provide a humorous outlook. Some poems are from the husbands point of view. Poems in the next two parts cover childhood memories and other topics. The last section of poems was inspired by Taylors fifteen years of experience as a registered music therapist in a nursing home before marrying her husband.

Purchase How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Amazon US

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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