Book review – Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach

My heart is brimming with the kindness of bloggers who’ve been reading my books and sharing their reviews. What a happy feeling. Maia writes beautifully, and even her review of Catling’s Bane demonstrates her lovely talent with words. I had to share. Thank you, Maia. ❤

My Li'l Place

Catling’s Bane is the first book in the Rose Shield tetralogy by a beloved blogger/author D. Wallace Peach.  The captivating story is woven with the perfect balance of all the elements that only a skilled writer and a masterful storyteller is able to achieve. There is excitement bubbling in me even as I am typing up this post.  So, here goes my first book review…(I promise to do my best to exclude spoilers.)

Catling's Bane Source: mythsofthemirror.com

View original post 704 more words

Clarifying Shampoo

pixabay image combo

Betsy over at Parenting is Funny was recently musing over a bottle of clarifying shampoo (yes, it’s a real thing). Her blog is a hoot, and I encourage you to visit. Her post popped a story into my head. I hope you enjoy.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clara was born a Libra. Not the normal kind of Libra with a smattering of other signs in her chart to balance her scales. She was an anomaly, an astrological case study, solid Libra from her Sun all the way across the galaxy to Pluto. She vacillated like a seesaw and simple decisions were intolerable with all the second-guessing.

Worst of all, she was the epitome of annoying. Potential friends stopped calling after a week, and romantic relationships unraveled before they had a chance to knit. She frustrated counselors. Even her mother had stopped answering the phone.

Clara had to do something, and the only thing she hadn’t tried was consulting a psychic.

Madam Bea’s Fabulous Fortunes occupied the basement below a hair salon. She specialized in Tarot, but the handmade poster on her sandwich-board advertised results, and that was exactly what Clara needed. Results.

At the bottom of the concrete steps, a peeling door led into a tight space cordoned off by red sheets tacked to the ceiling. A disorienting combination of odors—garlic, mildew, and sandalwood—assaulted Clara’s nose. A card table separated two folding chairs, complete with a sparkly glass ball on a plastic stand.

Madam Bea, a beak-nosed woman with painted eyebrows, sat at the table finishing off a pizza. She waved to the unoccupied chair while munching on the crust, and then tossed the pizza box behind the makeshift curtains.

Clearly, Clara had made another mistake, but she accepted the seat and laid out the saga of her peculiar horoscope complete with runny mascara—another miscalculation. She should have applied the waterproof variety.

The fortune teller listened intently while picking her teeth with a ruby fingernail. “I have joost the thing,” she said and disappeared behind the sheets. When she returned, she placed a half-empty bottle of shampoo on the table.

“Shampoo?” Clara frowned.

“Clarifying champoo.” Madam Bea’s eyebrows arched higher than already arched. “Trust me. I give you discount. That be fifty dollars.”

Clara forked over the cash with a sigh and drove home. Before dropping into bed, she washed her hair.

In the morning, she shuffled to her closet and ruminated over what to wear. Slacks or a skirt? Maybe a dress. Or slacks in case the office is cold. But what if it’s warm? A dress with a sweater? Although a skirt…

The lavender suit.

Clara froze. The whispered voice seemed to originate from somewhere above her head. She glanced up and then peeked over her shoulder. Alone. Was the voice real? Inside her head? She backed up and sat on the edge of her bed. Should she make another counseling appointment?

Ivory blouse and low pumps. Pearl studs but skip the necklace.

Clara jolted up with a yelp. She rifled through her closet and wriggled into the lavender suit. Studs in her ears, she dashed from her apartment to the sidewalk, the low heels a wise choice with all the running.

She inhaled a lungful of sunshine to calm her racing heart, shoved the morning’s weirdness from her thoughts, and wavered over whether to walk to work or take the bus. Or drive. Or walk. What if she got blisters? And then there was city parking…

Walk. It’s a nice day. You need the exercise.

Clara frowned and casually swept a hand over the top of her head. Was her hair giving her instructions?

I’m clarifying.

“Clarifying?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why? But what if—”

Clarity never hurt anyone. Now, no time for waffling or you’ll be late.

Still suspicious of her hair, Clara set off for work, and for the first time in three years, she arrived on time, a fact noticed by Harry, the tall, dark, and hunky cubical-occupant across the aisle. Her hair urged her to have tea instead of coffee and to check her emails before returning calls, decisions that would have taken an hour.

By the time the clock struck noon, her lips curved into a relaxed smile, the day’s decision-making handled entirely by her hair.

Harry cleared his throat. “Clara, would you like to join me for a quick lunch?”

“Oh, er, hm.” Clara didn’t know. Should she? What would she order? Maybe she shouldn’t. But then he might not ask again. So, she should. But what if she did, and he ended up being a creep, and then he’d ask her every day? She might have to quit her job. Or he could be nice. “Um, I…”

Gah! Just say yes!

“Yes,” she blurted.

Eighteen years later, while Clara unpacked her shopping bags, her daughter, Elizabeth, sauntered into the kitchen, phone in hand. “Mom, there’s a bonfire at the park tonight. Chantelle and I were planning to go, but her mom needs their car. Can I take ours? I’ll be home by nine.”

Clara wanted to say yes, but driving after dark… And what if there was beer? And boys? There would be boys. Was Elizabeth old enough? Should she say no? Eventually, she’d have to trust her daughter’s choices. She could drive the two of them. But that might be humiliating. Was it worth a fight?

She’s a responsible kid. She said she’ll be home by nine.

Clara sighed. “All right, you can go. I trust you to make good choices.”

“Awesome, mom. I have to hurry and hop in the shower.”

“Oh!” Clara perked up and searched through her bags. “I bought you some shampoo.”

Beyond the Light #Writephoto

copyright Sue Vincent

On my last day, the impenetrable rain finally clears, and my hostess suggests a walk. I’d rather stare out the window and wallow in my disappointment. But her enthusiasm won’t be thwarted, and I can’t very well blame her for the weather.

We venture through her back gate. A gray mist stalls between the trees’ black silhouettes, robbing me of a mere glimpse of blue sky. Spring has dawdled, and leafless twigs knit a dark filigree above the crooked boles. Only the mottled grass seems to have noticed the changing season, but it squishes beneath my feet and soaks my shoes.

I shove my hands in my pockets against the chill. “Is spring always this… dreary?”

My hostess chuckles. “It depends on your perspective.” She steps aside and beckons me to stand in her place.

I smile at her attempt at humor and comply. The morning sun casts rainbows in my eyes.

Gift my gloomy heart
Solace from expectations
Where darkness shelters
A new perspective beckons
In dawn’s awakening light

 

A haibun/tanka combo.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the inspiring #Writephoto prompt.

In Conversation With “D.Wallace Peach” from “MythsOfTheMirror🐉” #AuthorInterview

Today’s my first full day back from my travels, and how lovely to kick off my return with an interview hosted by Himani, an avid blogger and writer. I’m closing comments here so I can hang out over there! I hope you stop by to say hi. 🙂

Books&Sstuff

Omigod! I am just so super excited to start with my Author Interview Series with one of my favourite Blogger (Myths of the Mirror) who is equally an awesome Fantasy writer. I personally like her more because she has helped me extract my (not-so-great, being humble☺) writing talent, hidden deep inside some dark corner of my heart❤ scared of coming out in front of the world😵

(Now the question in your mind would be) How she did that?🤔 Her monthly #writingprompts. If you haven’t participated yet, don’t forget to miss the next one.

I wanted to know more about her and then I thought the other Fantasy readers too, wanted that. So, here I am with this smashing Interview for you all to know more about none other than D.Wallace Peach.

SIh3zWgr_400x400

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

First, Himani, I want to…

View original post 1,300 more words

At the Mirror: Andalusian Resurrection

I was browsing the beautiful site Short-Prose-Fiction and stumbled upon this gorgeous poem (one of many). I hope you enjoy it.

Andalusian Resurrection

by Short Prose Fiction

In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.
Federico García Lorca

open your veins Andalusia
let him drink from your lynx blood
inject the rhythms of the flamenco
under the coldness of his eyes
tattoo his flesh with tiles of azurite
pour the sounds of castanets
into his arms
my fingers swirl
the flesh of ripened olives
covers the old shroud
the flow of blood from the white shirt…

(Continue Reading via Andalusian Resurrection)

7 Steps to a User-Friendly Blog

While I’m away, here’s an older but always a goodie, especially for new bloggers. Good luck!

This isn’t a new topic, but it seems worth a mention every now and then within the WordPress blog community. I love connecting with other bloggers and occasionally a website makes that hard if not impossible to do. Here are a few tips. 🙂

Definitely take a look at these if:

  • You are leaving likes, comments, or follows on other blogs and not getting return visits.
  • Everyone likes your old posts and seems to ignore your recent posts.
  • You’ve changed your blog address at any time (WP may still be directing your readers to the old deleted site!)

1. Make sure your links to your site are working. Unfortunately, this isn’t handled in just one place:

  • In your blog profile: Go to WP Admin – Users – My Profile. At the bottom of the page, make sure your website address is correct.
  • In your gravatar: Go to WP Admin – Users – My Profile. And at the top of the page, click on the tiny link that says, “edit your profile at gravatar.com.” Once in your gravatar profile, click on “Websites.” Be sure that your correct website address is listed. 
  • In WP Reader – this is important as it’s what points back to you when you leave likes and comments! Per WP Support, click on https://wordpress.com/me/account to get directly to your profile page. To get there the long way, open WP Reader. Click on Followed Sites and then on the little circle in the upper right-hand corner. Then select Account Settings and update your Web Address. 

2. Make navigation fool-proof. If readers can’t figure out how to get to new posts or the next/previous post, they aren’t going to stay long. This can happen for a number of reasons including the fact that WordPress sites have a lot of variation. The easiest way to handle this is to have a list of recent posts on your sidebar. Go to WP Admin – Appearance – Widgets. Then drag the box labeled “Recent Posts” to your sidebar.

3. Add a translate button. Readers probably won’t “like” or comment on a post they can’t read, right? And following becomes rather pointless. While you’re in Widgets, also slide over the button that says, “Google Translate: Translate to your language.” Sometimes a translate icon will appear in your taskbar, but not always. Adding this widget solves that problem.

4. Add a follow button. Also in Widgets, you’ll see a “Follow Button.” Slide that one over too. Sometimes a “Follow” will appears as a pop-up thingy in the corner of a post or it will appear after commenting, but not always. Make following as easy as clicking on a button.

5. Static Front Page versus Most Recent Post front page. One way to have followers engage easily with your most recent posts is to have those display when a reader visits your site. Go to WP Admin – Settings – Reading Settings. Set your “Front Page Display” to “Your Latest Posts.”

If you elect to have a static front page – which may make perfect sense for your blog – be sure that readers can access your recent posts by clicking on a menu item named “Blog Posts” or something similar. Make it easy. If readers have to hunt through all your menu headings for something new, they may give up after a few tries.

6. Speed up your blog. I follow a couple blogs that are slow, slow, slow to load, and they tend to bog down the whole system. I can barely scroll, and the little wheely-thing spins and spins and spins. I click “like” and close the site as fast as possible. This is because your blog is trying to load every page of every post you’ve ever written, ever, all at once. Go to WP Admin – Settings – Reading Settings. Where it says “Blog pages show at most” enter 10. Your readers will love you and stick around longer.

7. Make commenting easy. If you make your readers jump through three hoops to comment on your blog, they usually won’t. I recently read a post from someone complaining that no one commented. I tried to leave a comment explaining why no one was commenting, but it was so hard, I gave up. Go to WP Admin – Settings – Discussion Settings, and take a look at “Other Comment Settings.” Unless you have a specific reason for doing otherwise, I would not recommend making a reader fill out name and email, or even worse, register and log in. If you are worried about trolls, look at some of the options further down the Discussion Settings page for moderating comments.

I hope this helps you get lots of visits and follows and blogosphere friends. Happy Blogging!