Goodreads 2019 Challenge

2019 is old news now and what a crazy, hectic year it was – spending weeks on the road, living in other people’s houses, and sitting in doctor’s offices and emergency rooms. I’m glad it’s over, but there were a few highlights – especially when it came to reading.

My Goodreads reading goal was a whopping 30 books.  I read 100! 

What fun to browse the covers and remember all the books that kept me sane. Do you see yours in there?

If you do, THANK YOU!

 

What’s your reading goal for 2020?

Guest Post: Hannah Blatter – Dreams of a writer/illustrator

Hannah Blatter is beginning her journey as an author of children’s books. I was enamored with her personal story and hope it warms your heart too. Over to Hannah:

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Hannah Blatter

In early 2019, I was diagnosed with panic disorder. It took me 10 years to make that step to seek help and receive an official diagnosis. When this happened, I felt like I was inferior, as a mother, as a wife, as a human being. I had these moments, hours, weeks, when I didn’t think I would ever reach my goals. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Like other people can handle this, but I can’t.

My son was 6 years old at the time, and I did not want to feel like I failed him. I didn’t want him to have high hopes and dreams and not go after them if he ever had a mental or physical illness. I never wanted him to feel like he was not good enough no matter what diagnoses he carried.

“In Colorado, you can ride a dinosaur with a saddle”

 

“You could also raft the Zambezi river with a paddle”

I have always had a background in art, working with design and illustrations. I wanted to give my son something, to show him that if there is something he wants to do, it’s possible. I had this idea stirring in my head from working with young children in my job.

When you ask them what they want to do when they grow up, they always say “a firefighter, doctor, mermaid!” and so on. Well, it’s wonderful that they have headway on their careers, however, what about what they want to see? Where do they want to go? There is so much in this world, why not open up their little minds to how much more there is.

I want my son to get the message that if you want to write a book or direct a movie, you can find resources to help you do that. If you want to drive on the longest bridge on earth, there are things you can do to make it happen. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared to do these things. It’s okay to say you’re scared to do these things. And most importantly, it’s okay to ask for help.

“You can go sing on Broadway and learn how to dance”

 

“Or, you can feel like royalty when you stay at a castle in France.”

We all have our limitations, mentally, emotionally, physically. We have limitations in our knowledge, in our relationships, and in our environments. If we all gave in to our limitations, nobody would ever get anything done. It’s okay to accept these things and ask for help to work with them and around them.

So I am asking, graciously, for help to gain access to tools that will give me the ability to show my son that these things I say to him are true. I want to walk into a bookstore with him and see our book. I can say “Look, I get scared, I get upset. I am different. But, I can still do this, and so can you.”

“You could just watch the stars from a Cappadocia hot air balloon”

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A question from Hannah for any children’s authors and illustrators:

What was the most difficult roadblock you overcame in publishing your first children’s book?
I’d love to hear your tips or advice.
Thank you!

Connect with Hannah on Instagram: @blatterhannah

And Merry Christmas!

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Ani’s Advent 2019! Cats, Honey Bear and D. Wallace Peach

My dog, Honey Bear, wrote a poem for Ani’s Advent 2019. Ani is Sue Vincent’s adorable and talented pup. The spelling is atrocious, but there is a translation for those who don’t read “dog.” I hope you get a smile. Happy Holidays from Honey Bear.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear Santa,

I’m having an interesting time with the resident cat here… I have to say, it isn’t as difficult to get on with as I thought it would be.

They are weird… but then, so are two-legses and I like them.

I mean, I’ve had a few problems with them before, invading my garden and such…

But maybe it is like she says about two-legses… you just have to get to know them, one at once, and then they seem different.

Mind you, Honey Bear seems to have got to know a bunch of them and the poem she sent me tells me that maybe I should still be a bit wary…

Much love,

Ani xxx


A translation by Diana Wallace peach of Honey Bear’s Poem:

Christmas with Cats

by Honey Bear

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I don’t like cats

In the Christmas tree

They make a big mess

And blame it…

View original post 2,125 more words

More Indie Book Reviews

It’s time to share a few more reviews. Another eclectic bunch: short stories, a middle-grade gem, and of course, speculative fiction. I have a stack of reading for the holidays. I hope I can add a book or two to yours.

Flights of Fancy

by Sally Cronin

I’ve read several of Cronin’s books of short stories, and this collection of eleven tales is as enjoyable as the others. I inhaled it in a single afternoon, completely immersed. As usual, the author includes a wonderful variety of tales from touching stories of eternal love in The Other Side of Heaven and Curtains, to adorable cuteness in Henry’s Story, and humor in Psychic Parrot. Highly recommended for anyone who loves short stories and well-told tales.

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Talon

by Gigi Sedlmayer

I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. It seems appropriate for middle-grade readers with short chapters and a charming story, but will appeal to younger kids as a chapter book, as well as adults.

Matica is the ten-year-old daughter of missionaries in Peru. She has a disability that leaves her tiny for her age and socially isolated from the indigenous community. She befriends a pair of condors and her adventures begin, changing her life in marvelous ways. Matica is delightful, caring, and undaunted by these giant birds.

The setting adds to the book’s interest as well as the details on the condors. Matica interprets the bird’s “language” which adds a bit of magic to the tale. The pace is just right and the plot wraps up nicely with more to come. A wonderful first book in the series. Highly recommended.

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The Gate

by D. L. Cross

An alien invasion is imminent, and Landon Thorne goes from being a recently fired college professor to a much sought-after expert. His unconventional theories on ancient alien astronauts have caught the attention of top-secret government operatives and a group of mysterious bad guys.

This is classic first-contact sci-fi, and Cross appears to have done her research. Combine fact with a dose of imagination and a bunch of ruthless characters, and this is a story that moves at a fast clip.

And those “ruthless characters” include just about everyone. The main characters are well-rounded, ambitious, competitive, and argumentative. And Cross has no problem letting characters cross the line and/or killing them off.

The Gate, the first book in the Astral Conspiracy series, leaves off with a cliff-hanger, so be prepared to read the next books to reach the conclusion of the tale. Highly recommended for readers of sci-fi thrillers.

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More to come. Have a lovely holiday season and Happy Reading!

 

November Challenge Round Up

Pixabay image, artist unknown.

Oh, my. What amazing stories this month. Somehow, magically, when I thought up the Challenge, I knew I’d be diving into some wonderful creativity. I loved the mystery of the characters, the slow reveals, and how the “show” hooked me. I enjoyed every single one and was sad to see them end. Thank you to all who participated and to all those who stopped by to read. I hope you were as mesmerized as I was.

Here are the stories from November’s Challenge. I hope you enjoy them.

Ederren – Jagen

Cosistories – They

Trent McDonald – Final Battle

Kevin Parish – Satisfy Me

Stephen Tanham – The Unmelt

JP – Sorrow

Audrey Driscoll – The Network

Robbie Cheadle – The Blob

Jen Goldie – Tidbits for Starters

Teagan Geneviene – Untitled Tesla Punk

Sue Vincent – Questing Beast?

Kerfe – Go Away Now

Jane Dougherty – Shade in the Mist

HRR Gorman – Water Striders

Geoff Le Pard – The Triangulation of Superheroes

Len- Infinity

Diana – Dinner

Diana’s Nov. Writing Challenge: Dinner

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I dragged the child through the forest by his grubby ankle. He howled and grasped at passing tree roots, but I gave him a sharp-hooved kick. I’d not tolerate his misbehaving ways. No, not I.

“Let me go,” he begged.

I flattened my ears and bared my teeth, newly sharpened for the occasion. I hung him upside down, my tail wrapped around one bare foot like a python. Quick as spit, I used my claws to peel off his clothes, and I tossed the rags into the fire. He wouldn’t be wearing those again. They were as grimy as he, so rank that a skunk would pinch its nose and flee.

Tired of his pleading and threats, I stuffed the flailing child into my pot and slammed down the lid. The worst of the ordeal was over but for the boulder to keep the youngster inside. That I’d planned in advance, and I used my knees when hefting it onto the lid. Earlier that afternoon, I’d prepared the kettle with an aromatic blend of woodland herbs mixed with salts and plenty of water for a long stew. Nothing less would do in this particular case. The parents insisted the lad was “tough.”

“Let me out, please,” the child cried and blubbered, but I didn’t care. His parents had given up and offered him to me, wanting no details regarding what I’d do to him. I sorted out the fire, pushing the embers closer to the pot. Not boiling, but hot enough to have him done by dinnertime. I placed a delectable casserole near the heat and satisfied, squatted on a rock. There was nothing left to do but wait.

“It’s dark in here,” the lad griped. “And it’s getting hot.”

I ignored the complaints until they fell silent, frittering my afternoon away with grooming while anticipating my supper. I combed my long beard and polished my horns, taking utmost pride in my appearance. Unlike one germ-ridden, flea-bitten child. Every now and then, I tossed a stick on the fire.

When the sun slid behind the autumn leaves, I knocked the boulder from the lid and peeked inside. The aroma was delicious, and the child perfectly done, his skin rosy and wrinkled. I wrapped my tail around his skinny body, lifted him from my pot, and set him on a level stone.

He glowered at me. “You’re mean.”

“And you’re clean.” I shooed his little naked self away. “Off with you. Scamper home to your parents. My casserole is done and so is your bath.”

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I hope you enjoyed the story.

For those who celebrate the holiday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

See you in December!