Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet two dogs, one parrot, a rare bird, and a vendor of apricots

Meet two dogs, one parrot, a rare bird, and a vendor of apricots, plus many assorted writers in this batch of book reviews. I apologize to the authors for being so late posting several of these. My best excuse is I've been writing. But the animal hero of my novels is neither dog nor bird, but rather a very white, sometimes mythical cat with a red stone in its collar and just a hint of wings. Meet it in Divide by Zero, and soon in Infinite Sum as well, coming soon from Indigo Sea Press.

The dogs and parrot belong in a book of essays, Two Dogs and a Parrot by Joan Chittister, where the authors tells what she's learned, and we can learn, from animals. There's a Judeo-Christian dichotomy, she points out, with two creation stories where one gives mankind dominion, but the other invites us to name. Naming meas relationship, and relationship with animals has helped many a person cope with distress. Of course, the animals too have much to cope with, and their coping mechanisms have much to teach. The book is a fascinating blend of learned, personal, and theological. Enjoy with some rich elegant complex four-star coffee.

A bird of a very different nature flies in Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson, a memoir of loss and love. Real life, real death, dreams, visions and those gentle hints that help and guide but seem so meaningless at the time... all play their part as the author details the loss of her oldest child when his life had so far yet to go. It's beautifully written, painful and honest. It questions whether we can shout at God and says yes. And it touches very gently on that veil between here and there. A great book for those who have lost, or who know those who have lost sometime. This is one to enjoy with plenty of tissues in the box and a well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.

The dog is a side-character in Paulette Mahurin's His Name was Ben. This story tells of love and loss as well, with protagonists both seeking a cure for cancer, and love struggling to break through the wounds of the past. Spirituality, humanity, sexuality and loss combine in an unflinching roller-coaster ride. And the result is haunting, uplifting, and wonderful. Enjoy with a bold, dark, intense five-star cup of coffee.

Valerie’s Vow by Ashley M. Carmichael, continues that theme of loss and hope. Valerie's close to giving up on God after the loss of her friend. She's still teaching, and teaching Sunday school, but attending church feels like a lie, and she's promised her friend she'll try new things, so now... she's riding the back of a motorbike, going to bars, skipping church, and... still living her life for everyone else. Valerie's Vow is a wonderfully low-key story of a woman keeping a promise and finding a gift. Enjoy with some well-balance, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.

Love and loss are just two of the themes intertwined in Carrie Jane Knowles' short story collection, Apricots in a Turkish Garden. The stories are beautifully woven, haunting, and evocative. The artistry is as natural as the freshly opened apricots of the final tale. And it's a collection to savor, with apricots I suppose, and a cup of elegant, complex four-star coffee.

Finally, returning to that theme of faith that has slipped in and out of this collection, The Genesis Journey by Sandra Lund is a wonderfully poetic devotional, taking readers through Genesis, drawing inspiration from the Biblical text, and offering inspiring poems and thoughts, without ever overpowering the text. I shall certainly plan to post a review when it's released, and I'll read with well-balanced, smooth-flavored three-star coffee.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What do Fairies. Dogs and Dragons have in common?

What fairies, dogs and dragons have in common, of course, is that they all appear in children's books. Specifically they appear in the books I'm reviewing today. But do I have to have kids at home to enjoy children's books? To review them? To write them? Or can I just relate to the kid (fairy, dog and dragon) within myself?

I suspect the answer is as long as my internal child is alive and kicking, she or he (dog, dragon or fairy) is all I need. Certainly she smiles when I pick up a kids' book in the store. She begs me to purchase things I can't possibly afford (have you seen the price of picture books?). And she laughs and cries, appropriately, when I read to her in my head. She's a pretty good child. (I'll not go into how good or otherwise the real-child-me was in her day, but my Mum would happily tell you - little horror are among the words she might use.)

Of course, I did have kids at home for many years - the years when I just told stories instead of writing them, lacking time to myself. But now they're grown and I still love to read. I'm in no hurry to have grandchildren, but I can't resist a picture book with great images and storyline. I love tales that introduce small children to different cultures and ideas. And I keep writing my Five-Minute Bible Stories series, eager to pass my dreams on to other people's kids.

The first of my children's Bible story books has just reappeared in print, rereleased by Cape Arago Press. (I self-published it first, but this edition is way, way better, and looks better too!) So now I'm eagerly dreaming of when there'll be an Old Testament series to match the (already in print) New Testament series... and maybe even a separate series in between (for Psalms and the not-yet-written Proverbial Tales). Anyway, if you're looking to introduce small children to Bible stories in a real-world way (no myths or fairy tales in sight), the real world, real people, real God tagline might work for you, and Genesis People might make a good Christmas gift.


So much for tooting my own horn. Now for some book reviews of those children's books my inner child has enjoyed over the last weeks.

Wendy’s Wacky Dogs by Hadas Korb and Ortal Zeret is a definite favorite. Great pictures. Great story-telling technique, with simple rhyming words left out for the kids to find and supply as they look at the pictures. Bright colors. And lots of fun ideas. Pour some juice for the kids, and grab an easy-drinking two-star coffee for this delightfully easy-reading picture book.

Also by Korb and Zeret, Tom and the colorful dragon is an enjoyable bedtime story, just a little short, with a sweet bedtime feeling to it. Enjoy this with some mild light one-star coffee.

Of course, with Christmas coming soon (how on earth did that happen?) I really had to read a Christmas book. A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story by A. J. York fit the bill perfectly - a pleasingly different take on stories and ornaments coming to life, filling their attic days with tales of special events, and mourning the changing world when the children grow old. These toys find a way to keep Christmas going through passing years, and it's a fun story to share. Enjoy with with some well-balanced, full-flavored three star coffee.

Another fairy appears in Fairy Good Heart by Nancy Fagan, the first of her Fables of Fairy Good Heart series. This book's written for children and their parents to share, specifically children of divorce, and it offers a nice background for conversation, with pleasant line-drawn illustrations to keep a child's interest. The story's contemporary and real, and the promise that ice cream and fun will return is much-needed and nicely supplied. Enjoy with a well-balanced full-flavored three-star coffee.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

mystery, crime, and the end of the world is at hand!

After recent events, one might be tempted to ponder the natures of faith, freedom, and free will. But beneath any deeds, whether good or evil, lie people trapped by others' dreams and aspirations, real lives informed by cultures and belief, real crimes, real criminals too, and real victims. As troubles loom, it might be well to pray that we be neither doers nor followers of evil. And as Shakespeare wrote, may each of us "to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man" woman or child.

It seemed oddly ironic -- as French detectives seek crime's perpetrators and the faithful, of more than one religious leaning, see the ending of days -- that I should be reading and reviewing a story set in the 17th century, about a monk learning the arts of alchemy and truth. His antagonist, perhaps insane, is sure the world will end soon, and that he's called to act, in ways likewise insane,to bring that end about. But Pilgrim of Love by Charles Davis is no heavy treatise or world-weary mystery. It's a wonderfully atmospheric, evocative, and frequently hilarious tale, set on Mont St Michel where the sands and tides are a mystery all to themselves. It's thought-provoking, an authentic, fascinating and cool mystery like Name of the Rose crossed with the Da Vinci Code. And I didn't even know until the end that it's the second in a series. Great characters, great language, and a highly recommended novel; enjoy with some elegant complex four-star coffee.

The Haunting at Ocean House by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson is the 5th (maybe the last?) in the James Murray Mysteries Series. It has its own magical/mythical undercurrents as James (and his fictional alter-ego) investigate fake seances and find themselves involved in very real dangers. It's also another pleasingly atmospheric novel, evoking the early days of modern Los Angeles when railway stations finally combined in one gorgeous building, big bands played, and the other world was all the rage. Enjoy with some more satisfyingly complex four-star coffee, and read the whole set.

In a similar vein is the not-yet-released Detective Fiction by William Wells. This time the protagonist is a former Chicago detective, now retired to Southern Florida, and his alter ego is the protagonist of books written by a very successful friend. Will the fictional detective be able to help the real in solving his crime? Or perhaps real life is fiction too, at least in the telling, just as twisted and changed as stories told over the bar at the Drunken Parrot. The novel is thoroughly enjoyable, told in an irreverent first-person narrative with pleasantly chatty humor and style. Enjoy with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee.

Engaged in Danger (Jamie Quinn Mysteries Book 4) by Barbara Venkataraman is another first-person tale of detection, this time told from the point of view of Jamie, small-town small-practice lawyer with a seriously big-town, high-profile case threatening to fall into her lap. Unfortunately this happens just as her boyfriend goes out of town. And dangers abound. So does good-humored dialog from all the familiar characters. Enjoy this fast read with some lively easy-drinking two-star coffee.




Friday, November 6, 2015

The Judicious Use of Acronyms with John F. Allen

Today author John F. Allen is visiting my blog, enjoying virtual coffee and cookies, celebrating his book, Codename: Knight Ranger, and offering his opinion on acronyms - The Knight Ranger works for an organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. and you'll have to read on if you want to find out what all those letters mean. But first, let's learn how the author really feels about acronyms. Please welcome John F. Allen.




John F. Allen's Codename: Knight Ranger Virtual Tour
CodenameKnightRangerTourBadge


The Judicious Use of Acronyms in Fiction by John F. Allen

 Plenty of authors are guilty of using acronyms in their writing. I know I am guilty as charged, as I write Spy-Fi and Action Adventure stories/novels, I deal with a lot of “Alphabet Organizations”, quite a few of my own creation.

Of course the acronyms do come in handy as spelling out the individual words can be a real pain, for both the author and the reader. In creating my “Alphabet Organizations”, I find it fun to—most times—get the initials to spell out a word which works to describe the organization.

But, like with most things too much of anything is BAD. That said, I try to limit the acronyms for organizations to no more than two or three different ones (of my creation) within a novel. This is in addition to any already established ones like FBI, CIA, NATO, etc… And even with those established organizations, a good deal of care should be taken as to not overuse them.

There is another use of acronyms within fiction nowadays due to the abbreviations used in texting. For example, IKR, LOL, OMG, etc… I DO NOT use these in fiction unless they are shown as the contents of an email or text message for the reader. I find such acronyms to be annoying and inappropriate outside of those forums. Younger generations don’t bat an eye in using these acronyms, sometimes even when speaking. Yes, it actually happens…

In my opinion, the use of acronyms should be measured and used sparingly to avoid dragging down the prose unnecessarily and cluttering the paragraphs with them. So, if you’re going to use acronyms make sure to choose them judiciously.

 Thank you so much, John. And Genesis? Please read on, dear reader, to learn what it means...


JohnAllenAuthorPhoto_NewAbout the author: John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued all forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, son and daughter.


CodeNameKnightRanger_Cover_1200X800About the Book: Codename: Knight Ranger: Captain Alexandre Cornelius “Neal” Du Bois is a US Army Ranger and decorated war hero. When his unit is ambushed by supernatural hostile forces while in Afghanistan, only Neal survives. When he wakes up in a secret government facility, Neal discovers that his whole life has changed forever.

A shadowy government agent named Elijah Bishop arranges for Neal’s brain to be transplanted, without his permission, into a bio-engineered body capable of amazing feats. Armed with advanced body armor and weaponry, he becomes the epitome of the Ultra Soldier.

To protect his family and those closest to him, he must let the world and everyone he loves believe he is dead. With assistance from Dr. Avery Clarkson–the scientist responsible for his new body–Neal reluctantly utilizes his superhuman abilities to work for Bishop and his organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. (Global Espionage Network of Elite Supernatural Intelligence and Surveillance), in order to track down those responsible for the slaughter of his unit and keep the world safe from supernatural terrorist forces.

So that's it, the acronyms behind the Knight Ranger, and it's every bit as good as Spectre, or other well-known words.

Where to find the author:
Website: www.johnfallenwriter.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnfallenauthorwriter
Twitter: @johnfallen1970

Book links:
Print Version: http://www.amazon.com/Codename-Knight-Ranger-John-Allen/dp/1511496533
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Codename-Knight-John-F-Allen-ebook/dp/B00YG3NJZK
Barnes and Noble Link for Codename: Knight Ranger http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/codename-john-f-allen/1122019036?ean=2940151360548

Where to Find Codename: Knight Ranger
Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Codename-Knight-Ranger-John-Allen/dp/1511496533/
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Codename-Knight-John-F-Allen-ebook/dp/B00YG3NJZK/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/codename-john-f-allen/1122019036?ean=2940151360548

Where to Find out More and Follow the Tour

11/2 On Cloud Eight-and-a-Half Guest Post
11/2 A Charmed Life Review
11/3 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Author Interview
11/4 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post
11/4 Book in the Bag Interview
11/4 RJ Sullivan Top 5 List
11/5 Darkling Delights Interview
11/6 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
11/6 Sheila's Blog Guest Post
11/6 Bee's Knees Reviews Review
11/7 The Infamous Scribbler Review/Interview 11/7 Vampires, Witches, & Me Oh My! Top Ten List 11/8 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Guest Post

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Creation of a Heroine, with Stephen Zimmer

Today, Stephen Zimmer returns to my blog escorting the wonderful Rayden Valkyrie, heroine of his novel, Heart of a Lion (click on the title for my review). I'm delighted to welcome him as he writes about Rayden's genesis, and I'm delighted to welcome you to read his post, learn about his book, and maybe even enter the cool contest to win a kindle fire HD at the end of this blogpost. So, over to you Stephen. Where did Rayden come from?


Stephen Zimmer's Heart of a Lion Virtual Tour

HeartofaLionTourBadge

The Creation of a New Heroine


Rayden Valkyrie truly flowed into my mind at once.  When I was going through some very difficult times in my own life, I had an image of a golden-haired female warrior with piercing blue eyes standing resolute, proud, defiant, and tall.  I knew that this figure had been through hell but still abided by a high honor code that reflected the fact that the storms of her life had not hardened her to indifference.

Her storyline and world rushed in around that image, but looking back on it all I do have some insights about what is important for a heroine who is literally the most critical component of a book like Heart of a Lion. 

A heroine is, at their foundation, still a character.  Whether or not the author reveals everything in a given book or story, I do feel an author should have an understanding of a character's personal history, their personality, and the code, personal values, or set of beliefs they operate by. 

The history of any person incorporates their life experience, which is what teaches, informs, guides, and often forges the substance of a person.  Their personality affects how they interact with their world along the way, and they are guided by the code or set of values that they hold at a given moment.  The latter can change or evolve along the way, often affected by that life experience.

The heroine still has to have all of that, and then they have to have something more, something that sets them apart and makes them heroic.  It does not have to involve fighting ability, but it does have to involve the will to step up when the situation calls for it and do so despite great risk, opposition or danger. 

With Rayden Valkyrie, I think that drives off of the honor code that she has come to embrace and live by.  A lot has not yet been told of her back story, but suffice it to say that she has truly been through a great deal of tragedy and pain and she has found a way to reach down deep and keep going without having it alter her in a negative way.  The essence of her heroism is that she keeps moving forward, grows stronger as a person, and her spirit remains intact despite terrible adversity.

That ability to forge ahead and live consistently by a strong honor code is a big part of what makes Rayden heroic, as that code and will to endure is a big part of why she does step forward to protect the vulnerable, preyed-upon folks in the world. It is girded by compassion and kindness, though none should mistake those things for weaknesses.  She has the will to act, no matter if it will incur the wrath of an entire city guard or empire, as readers of Heart of a Lion will come to appreciate.

Everything that she has been through, learned, and experienced has helped to make her the person she is at a given point in a story, whether in Heart of a Lion or the short story she debuted in, “All the Lands, Nowhere a Home”, from the  Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword anthology.  I think it is very important to bring those formative elements out in the storytelling, even if all of them cannot be tackled at once in a specific tale. 

The focus, therefore, is on who she is, which fuels what she does.  Developing a strong heroine has to establish that in a concise way in order to make the conquering of fears, the courage to step forward, and the ability to follow-through against daunting odds or grave danger fully effective. 

Give the heroine a history, show the strengths they've maintained during that history, show the values they've developed during that history, and then let them live and breath on the page.  The more real they become, the more real their heroic acts will resonate. 


 One day I should love to know more of Rayden's backstory. At the moment, it's part of what makes her so interesting to me as a reader - she's a real character, with history, and I'll have to get to know her more before she'll trust me to know that history. It feels right, and it makes for a really good book - I'm looking forward to more.


StephenZimmerAuthorPhotoAbout Stephen Zimmer: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based in Lexington Kentucky. His work includes the cross-genre Rising Dawn Saga, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, the sword and sorcery Dark Sun Sawn Trilogy, featuring Rayden Valkyrie, the Harvey and Solomon Steampunk tales and the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave short story collections.

HeartofaLionCover_1200X800About Rayden Valkyrie:  She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.

A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.

The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.

Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.

Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.

Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.stephenzimmer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Book Links:

Amazon Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1941706215
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B00T44R6LE
Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-a-lion-stephen-zimmer/1121113044?ean=9781941706213

Find out more; Follow the tour

11/2 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post
11/2 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Interview
11/2 Kentucky Geek Girl Guest Post
11/2 SwillBlog Review
11/2 Kylie Jude Blog Top Ten List
11/3 Kylie Jude Blog Interview
11/4 Book in the Bag Interview
11/4 Azure Dwarf Review
11/4/ Novel-Ties Guest Post
11/4 Sheila's Blog Guest Post
11/4 The Star Chamber Show Podcast (Show is live at 9pm EST)
11/5 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Interview
11/6 WebbWeaver Reviews Guest Post
11/7 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Top Ten's List
11/8 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post
11/8 Anasazi Dreams Review


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Monday, November 2, 2015

It's all about connection, isn't it?

I keep reading posts about connections. Then I think about books I've read and realize they're about connections too. Then I edit a chapter of Subtraction, and yes, it's all about the connections between a dad and his dead child, and how those connections might help him grow and connect to someone else... or something... I guess I'll have to write a blurb one day, but for now I'm going with:

Special ed teacher takes road trip in search of missing child and finds himself.

Does that work for you?


Anyway, here are some books I've been reading, when I'm not writing, and they're all about connections.

Starting with Mr. Memory by Paul Michael Peters, a short, smooth, cool collection of short stories neatly bounded by the man whose memory can connect everything. My favorite introduces a woman whose cellphone connects her to everything, leaving her narcistically unconnected from everyone. Enjoy with some rich elegant complex four-star coffee.

Next is The Hardest Thing In This World by Nicole Eva Fraser, a novel of sisters and their mother, living normal but broken lives, weaving the everyday around flaws that might drive one sister to be declared insane. The author deals with mental illness and its effects tenderly and sensitively, bringing out the connections that make it all so hard, and so filled with love. Enjoy some more complex four-star coffee with this one.

Deadly Adagio by Carole Howard takes readers to the American community in Senegal, where connections are all-important in knowing what's going on and how to cope. Protagonist Emily takes a friend to the market and teaches her how to be polite without spending a fortune. But accepting the manners of female genital mutilation is a much bigger deal. And coping with her friend's murder, while husband and friends tell her to sit back and do nothing, is almost more than she can cope with. Filled with authentic detail and thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable, this is one for another four-star rich, elegant, complex coffee.

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson introduces a character in search of connection with herself before anyone else. Every morning she wakes as a blank slate, not knowing who she or the man beside her is, not even knowing her age. Christine's confusion is very convincingly portrayed, as she struggles to create a journal connected herself to the days before. Soon she's wondering if any of her outer connections are real. A scary, evocative, convincing tale, this is one to read with a bold, dark intense five-star coffee.

E. G. Lewis' Road To Bethlehem looks at those ties that bound communities at the time of Jesus' birth, following the love story of Mary and Joseph, built around wonderfully unobtrusive research that brings their world to life. Enjoy with some smooth full-flavored well-balanced three-star coffee.

Finally, Falling Immortality by Robert Downs introduces a character who's thoroughly averse to connections. First person gritty narration might offend women readers, but it fits this character perfectly, and his penchant for escaping dire situations certainly verges on immortal. Enjoy with a bold dark five-star coffee with grounds for gritty realism.






Sunday, November 1, 2015

Do Authors Identify With Their Characters?

I'm delighted to welcome author Kate Vale to my blog today. You can find her books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Kate-Vale/e/B009SE6634/, where you'll see she has written quite a collection, with fathers, daughters, family bonds, friendship and more. Kate's blogpost here gives her answer to one of those "frequently asked questions" which authors so often hear; I'm sure you'll be quickly drawn in to what she has to say. So... over to you Kate. And readers, please leave any questions for the author in the comments.

Do Authors Identify with Their Characters?
By Kate Vale


A question I frequently receive relates to the character I most identify with. That varies with each book, though some characters continue to be among my favorites. Gillian, for example, in Gillian’s Do-Over,  and Suzanna in Dream Chaser, are two characters I’d definitely love to have over for coffee or tea, if only to find out how their lives are turning out now.

When writing Destiny’s Second Chance, I actually identified with two characters. Not because I am schizophrenic, but rather for the reason I had to write this story. My late mother was an adoptee. Back when she was adopted, people tended to hide that status. She never told me she’d been adopted until the day I, an extra snarky teenager, became convinced that I must have been adopted because my parents were so mean to me. When I demanded to be returned to my “real” parents, she was deeply hurt and then admitted that she had been adopted, that I had not, and that being a parent was the same regardless of how the child had come into the family. My guilt at hurting her (it was so obvious when I looked into her eyes and saw her heart) and surprise prevented me from replying. But I knew I had to make amends. Back then, I wasn’t quite sure how to do so.

When I began exploring the emotions around adoption through conversations with adoptees, the parents of adoptees and others, I imagined my mother hopping from my right shoulder to my left, depending upon which person’s point of view I was focused.

When creating Isabella, Mom sat on my right shoulder, reminding me that she really did love her child, even though she had to give up the baby. It was easy to see how quickly Bella might have grown up as a result of that experience, and how she first exhibited her strength of character by refusing to accept the first adoptive parents who sought her out and by demanding to stay in touch with her daughter.

When I focused on Destiny, Mom perched on my left shoulder, insisting that I show her insecurities. Destiny was more financially privileged than her birth mother, but looking unlike her cousins or either of her adoptive parents was only one of the ways in which Destiny felt unsure of who she really was. Even when she is approached by Bella, she lashes out, demanding to know why Bella didn’t keep her.

Another person was insecure about adoption: Destiny’s adoptive mother, Vanessa. She deeply regrets that she was unable to get pregnant, but she loves the baby she has raised, her own fears becoming more obvious as she clings to Destiny after her divorce.

Throughout this story, I tried to show how all three of these people grew in understanding of themselves and of each other. My only regret is that my mother never lived to see how her experience informed me, her daughter, in so many ways.


You can reach me via my website: http://katevale.com/
Or on Facebook (
https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Vale-Writer-113196142160870/), 
Google+ (katevalewriter@gmail.com), 
and Goodreads.com https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6584463.Kate_Vale. I review books and place those reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon.com. 

It's nice to meet a fellow author/reviewer, Kate. And I really enjoyed your post. I love that image of your mother hopping from one shoulder to the other. My characters have a disturbing habit of perching on my shoulders too. But my mother perches mostly when I'm washing or cleaning; my dad when I'm driving, my brother when I'm trying to understand politics, and my husband... he's there in my mind all the time. I wish you lots of sales of Destiny's Second Chance and your other books. They all sound wonderful.