#Tanka Tuesday Challenge: Inspiration and Plan

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When I was eleven years old, I somehow got the idea that my family (and my best friend) should homestead on one of the uninhabited Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.

Committed to my inspiration, I perched behind my dad’s old typewriter and with one finger, tapped out a list of everything we would need from 7 chisels and 50 hinges to 100 lbs of tuna fish and 30 sheep. Yes… sheep.

The four-page list is pretty funny. Apparently, I thought 15 rolls of toilet paper were sufficient for this adventure but wanted 200 bars of soap!

A few other items from the list (with conversions):
2 big bells
6000 packs of seeds
20 hair brushes
4 dog sleds
2 dogs
52 lbs of instant chocolate  (23 kg)
400 lbs of chicken noodle soup (181 kg)
1000 lbs of tea (453 kg!)
140 books

The plan never got off the ground, but I saved the list all these years. You never know…

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge was to create a poem using synonyms of inspiration and plan.

~*~

Childhood’s fantasies
rewrote a commonplace life
plotting a passage
my sails filled with misspellings
my dreams charting windswept isles

First Review: Soul Swallowers

I’m on the mend after sleeping off a four-day fever. I apologize for neglecting everyone’s blogs and will start catching up today. I think the old bod was telling me that I’d spent too many days happy-dancing the release of Soul Swallowers.

For me, the first review always feels monumental, and it’s a thrill and relief when it validates the months of hard work. I’m delighted to share Soul Swallower’s first review, written by talented fantasy author Cathleen Townsend. (And I promise that I’m limiting my happy-dancing to my imagination.)

Cathleen’s review:

Have you heard? D. Wallace Peach has released a new fantasy series, and news like that is worth our attention.

Soul Swallowers is D. Wallace Peach’s best book to date, and that’s saying something. From her prior books I’ve come to expect expert plotting, three-dimensional characters, and truly magnificent world building.

In this book, Ms. Peach has taken a single world-building premise—that people can swallow other people’s souls after they die—and worked it into a fantastic, detailed secondary world. Here, the powerful squabble for ever more influence while the wretches and unlucky are sold into slavery. The main character, Raze, has turned his back on a life of wealth and privilege, and joins another man in building up a small farm, a freehold, assisted by former slaves who soon become an extended family.

But the Byzantine politics of Raze’s former circle soon entangle him again, and he’s forced to re-enter his old world to try to save the members of his new family…

(To read the last bit of the review, visit Cathleen’s blog, and while you’re there, you might check out her latest novella: The Golden Key)

Happy Reading whatever book you happen to be holding!

At the Mirror: Timeless Echoes

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I’m a little under the weather this week and happily invited Balroop Singh to the Mirror today. She’s sharing a poem from her new book Timeless Echoes, a collection that invites you to hear the echoes that reverberate around you, reminding you of lost opportunities, repressed desires, cherished moments, and hope that shimmers through clouds.”

Echoes Of Life

Solace sailed away with you
Sinking hit me much later.
Love buried within my entrails
I swam to safety…
Shores don’t ditch!
Tongue is sharper than a thousand knives
Wisdom of the ages warned.
But your sagacity surpassed eons
Your simplicity – a façade…
Only I couldn’t fathom!
What next? I ask myself
Life echoes…no complaints.
I choose life…I love its echoes
Hope mentors my path
Happiness would follow.
The dew on my dreams is still fresh
Sunbeams add a sparkle
Prickly path shines with primroses
A new self is beckoning,
Smiling at my strengths.

***

Balroop’s website Emotional Shadows has a wealth of poetry. If you have a chance stop by and say hello.

Amazon Global Link: Timeless Echoes

Fairies, Myths, & Magic: Book Review

Colleen Chesebro has a new book of poetry and short stories. The tagline is “A Summer Celebration” and how perfect that it was released on the summer solstice. I snapped it up and read it while the sun lollygagged overhead.  Rather than quiz Colleen, I asked her if I could share my favorite short story from the book, and she agreed. Her gorgeous story “The Pond” struck a deep chord, as if she’d written it just for me. My review for the collection follows. ❤

The Pond

by Colleen Chesebro

My journey brings me to a nearby prairie slough where prescient reflections shimmer under the summer sun. Today, I am in pursuit of mythical enlightenment. You know, the kind where magic resonates in the shriek of a hawk and in the howling yips from the coyote pups that play on the sandy shore under a full moon. The alchemy of the moment is not lost on my hungering soul.

A numinous pack –
as turquoise heavens beseech
Mother Gaia’s goal.
Spirit, water, fire, earth, air,
her connection reigns supreme.

As I gaze into the pond, I see the reflections of the woman I’ve become, Past and future meld as one. For today, the wisdom I seek is my bond with the one.

***

My Review:

The tagline on this book is A Summer Celebration, and what better day to read it than on the summer solstice. Chesebro’s book is a collection of poetry and short stories that celebrates not only the presence of summer, but the connection of the human spirit to the Earth, a bond that is ancient, new, and eternal.

Some of the selections are playful like the mermaid bedtime story “A Fish Tale.” Or endearing like “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” in which two pixies get soused in a pitcher of mojitos. Others like “The Healer” take on mythic proportions and read like ancient legends.

But most delve into the mysterious and magical nature of the world around us and our journey through it. The theme of rebirth and self-discovery appears in both story and poem form, and these were perhaps my favorites because they felt both personal and universal. “The Rebirth” is a gorgeous haibun/tanka poem. “The Fairy Spider’s Lair” is full of Earth magic, and “The Pond” is a story that spoke to my soul. Just gorgeous.

I could go on and on, but you’ll have to pick up this book and read them yourself.

Have a free afternoon with nothing to do? …. Amazon Global Link

Bio:

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of YA fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood – or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet.

A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Fairy Whisperer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams.

Colleen won the Little and Laugh Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the CarrotRanch Literary Community.com in November 2017 for her piece, called “The Bus Stop.” Her debut novel, “The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy,” won gold in the 2017 AuthorsDB.com cover contest.

Colleen lives in Colorado with her husband. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. You can learn more about Colleen at www.colleenchesebro.com

Milkweed: #Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge

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Once again, I’m giving Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge a try (honestly, it’s addictive). This time with a haibun/tanka. The prompts were (synonyms for) green and magic. I didn’t know if they were supposed to be in the haibun or the tanka, so I put them in both.

Milkweed

I spiral in a wisp of breeze, an airy fluff of seed unnoticed by the whorl of pollen shimmering in fat sunbeams. The fecund world undulates and exhales. Ribbons of heat flutter in the willow’s leaves and seduce the crickets into a sultry chant. Chaos dances with the bees, bearing me on my journey, I know not where. This masterpiece is woven of random notes and steps, yet, I perceive a conjuring of harmony, a sublime pattern of unfurling precision. I am meant to twirl in languid beauty to the earth.

Bountiful mother
Breathe a summer’s requiem
Spin me in the wind
As beguiled I pirouette
And await my spring’s rebirth

Happy Fourth of July

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The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

by American poet Emma Lazarus, 1883

I hope you all have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world. ❤

 

Soul Swallowers Release Day!

After a year of writing, rewriting, rewriting again, and editing until my eyeballs shriveled, Soul Swallowers is out and about on Kindle and in print. I’m doing a Happy Dance.

 

Soul Swallowers

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.

When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head.

Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight.

***

In this completed series, epic fantasy blends with the wisdom of old souls to create a unique coming of age story of courage and honor in the midst of evil. Slavery is pitted against freedom, anger against forgiveness, and a desire to live peacefully against the necessity to take up the sword.

It’s a story of bitter estrangement and broken hearts, of deception and unfettered ambition. For Raze Anvrell it’s a journey of violence, redemption, and his soul’s growth as he transforms from a reckless youth into a man with a rich legacy of souls.

Global Amazon Link

Thank you, my bloggy friends!

The seeds of this story started a decade ago, and with the first ten chapters written, the tale languished. In 2017, a writing prompt (from Sue Vincent) reawakened Raze, and he walked back into my life. My state of “unknowing” about the nature of the soul, and my belief in its immense beauty and potential, fed the fantastical magic of soul swallowing, and the tale began to unfold.

Many thanks for my wonderful bloggy friends who endure my discussions of the art and craft of writing and encourage my creativity. Special thanks to my beta readers Cathleen Townsend and Erik Tyler whose careful reads of the story added all the spit and polish to my prose. The book shines because of you.

I’m grateful to every reader who picks up a book and is carried away by my stories. I hope you enjoy. ❤

 

Gif credit: Reaction Gifs – Seinfeld Happy Dance