Writing as Restoration

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In a recent post on Writers Unboxed, author KL Burd shares his perspective on the restorative powers of writing. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Writing has the power to restore, not only within your life but the lives of others as well. That’s why our words, our art, our craft is so powerful. It can be used to tear down or build up. It can be used to enslave and entrap. To inspire and set free.

There are two ways that you can bring restoration through your art. The first is to write your story. It can be fiction or nonfiction, but there’s a certain freedom that comes from putting your story to paper and letting it burst forth into life. You open your world to others and invite them in. There’s healing in knowing that you are not alone.

The second way is the same as the first:

Write your story.

This time, however, you have to go to the place where your human skill and imagination collides. You have to take whatever hope you have, be it small or large, and cast it — like an anchor — into the future. Take your imagination and dream up what your story can be, what it will be. Use your imagination to create your future reality.

Read the rest of the article here.

Excerpt Tour: City of Lights

I’m happy to welcome middle-grade author Kelly Byrd. Today, Kelly shares her new release, City of Lights.

Blurb

What happens when oh so ordinary Mary Jingo, follows her instincts (and her nose) and ends up in a magical land Far From Home?

In City of Lights, author Kelly Byrd introduces readers to Mary, who is one week away from finishing fifth grade. Mary’s mind is on starting middle school in the fall and finally getting her own phone. But then this ordinary girl notices glimmers of light and meets a strange little man who conjures the best smell she has ever smelled. Before she even stops to consider what she’s doing, she agrees to accompany the man to the land of LeeChee, where our Mary Jingo from the Shadowlands in seen as warrior and a great hope.

Now this very ordinary girl must find a way to help save LeeChee from Thrall and restore the Everything—a magical life- and joy-giving force that somehow connects Mary’s world to LeeChee. How can she face the Void, the foul-smelling Shoeboxians, or the evil Mellie? And how can she do all of the Far From Home?

Excerpt

“How do you feel, Mary Jingo?” Heavy Dill asked. He was behind a table full of gadgets and instruments, some of them giving off a heavy smell of the Everything. His robes swished pleasantly as he walked back and forth.

“I think I’m okay. I feel, well, more or less normal. Showing everyone my memories really tired me out.”

Mary looked around at all the objects and instruments and wondered if she would get in trouble if she picked any of them up. She couldn’t try anyway, with her hands full of a hot teacup, which she remembered and slowly sipped.

“That was a powerful bit of controlling. Not many oracles or forecasters have that talent.”

Heavy Dill paused as if she were meant to respond. Mary only nodded silently.

“It seems to me that you have heard that phrase many, many times since you arrived here.”

Mary thought about all the things that she had done and been able to do since she arrived in LeeChee. She had disabled Flikes in the air, called a forest to her aid, sensed an entire army of Shoeboxians, and now shown People her memories. She was in awe of it all and still unsure what any of it meant. She looked up and Heavy Dill’s wise eyes were trained on her. She expected him to respond to her thoughts, as so many People here seemed to always know exactly what she was thinking.

“You have gotten better,” he said. “Better at what?”

“Better at shielding your thoughts.” “How do you know?”

“Because you were silent for a very long time, and the only thing that came across Mindspan was your wondering if I could hear your thoughts. So, either you spent that entire pause with nothing on your mind, or you have already figured out a way to quiet your mind.”

Mary felt shocked. This was yet another skill that she had just developed out of the blue.

Author Bio and Links

Kelly Byrd is a middle-grade author by choice, a writer by discipline, home-grown chef, and amateur gardener. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cute-as-buttons rescue pups. The Far From Home series is about growing up, finding your voice, and rescuing the Everything.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Kelly Byrd will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Kelly on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Honoring My Inner Sloth

For too many years, I subscribed to the busy bee myth: Complete all given tasks and start on tomorrow’s To-Do List. That was my modus operandi for the first fifty years of my life. Or, more precisely, the first forty-nine years, seven months, and seven days.

All that changed with a diagnosis that came out of nowhere: Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IIIB. To be truthful, my body had tried to communicate with me many years before the diagnosis. Persistent colds and bouts of bronchitis. Slow-healing bruises. Bone-crushing fatigue. Determined to soldier on without taking advantage of sick days or lazy weekends, I chose to ignore those whispers. But I knew all about them from the Oprah shows.

Continue reading on the 2021 Authors Showcase here.

Book Blast: Body Conscious

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Ana Diamond. Today, Ana shares her recent release, Body Conscious.

Blurb

Mortician, Lily Reynolds is used to seeing bodies, but not the type murdered in her own funeral home. As Detective James Rivers zeroes in on her as the town’s number one suspect she must rise above the accusations and rumors to solve the case herself while keeping her attraction to the troubled detective at bay.

James has a past. The last time he let someone into his life she wound up dead. Vowing never to let that happen again he has sworn off dating for good. Until he meets Lily. In his gut he knows she’s not the murderer but pressure to solve the case puts him on the wrong trail while he struggles to keep Lily off the case.

Can she solve the case on her own or will their scandalous romance get in the way of proving her innocence?

Excerpt

“Lily, can you go down and check on the new body? The last thing I need is a decomposing corpse.”

Lily Reynolds sucked in a frustrated breath at her older sister Shanna’s yell from the Reynolds Funeral Home embalming room.

Zachary strikes again.

“All right.”

Her twenty-year-old younger brother, Zachary, often forgot to secure the latch on the refrigerator doors after he pushed the recently deceased into the compartment. It was a critical mistake no one wanted to explain to the dead person’s family. But Lily didn’t understand what was difficult about doing it right the first time. Zachary had been working at the family business for almost five years—same as her. One would think the importance of the simple task would sink into that thick skull.

Now, she had to stop applying lipstick to Mrs. Klein, whose viewing was scheduled to start in one hour, and go downstairs to check on the refrigerator.

She pulled off her latex gloves and made her way down to the basement level where Antonio, their hearse driver, usually pulled in with Zachary in the shotgun seat and their newly acquired client in the back. Upon arrival, the client was inserted into an individual horizontal refrigerator for preservation until it was time for embalming and then a makeover by Lily.

At the bottom of the stairs, she flicked on the fluorescent lights, and didn’t see the black hearse. That meant Zach was with Antonio, probably picking up another client. It had been a busy week at the funeral home—not a complaint. She liked her job. She got to perform a service for the loved one’s family and be creative at the same time.

What’s not to like?

Author Bio and Links

When Ana Diamond isn’t writing about tough gals finding love in unexpected places, she’s at work by day in the medical field. She writes romantic cozy mystery novels with feisty strong women and alluring men who can’t resist them. Her books are fast paced, entertaining and heartfelt all at once.

Ana is a 2020 Tara Contest Finalist for Body Conscious and 2015 Melody of Love contest finalist. She lives in New York with her husband, two children and two needy but wildly entertaining kitty cats.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Tiktok | Books2Read

Giveaway

Ana Diamond will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here

Visit Ana on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Wisdom from Rumi

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Words matter…Advice to keep in mind before speaking your mind.

Happy National All or Nothing Day!

Celebrate this day by throwing caution to the wind and going for broke.

Think of one goal you would like to accomplish but feel fearful or hesitant to do so. It could be writing a novel, running a marathon, eschewing sugar, improving your technology skills, learning a new craft, decluttering your home…

Decide to make the necessary changes and then take that first small step.

Here are ten quotations to inspire you:

Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step. Mohammed Ali

The most effective way to do it, is to do it. Amelia Earhart

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

Well done is better than well said. Benjamin Franklin

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.
Estée Lauder

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. Peter Marshall

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. Zig Ziglar

Excerpt Tour – Nuclear Power Nuclear Game

I’m happy to welcome author Helen Huong. Today, Helen shares her debut novel, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game.

Blurb

The year is 1950. Zoe and John, two young nuclear scientists from Berkeley, seem to have the perfect life, with promising careers and marriage plans. But their innocence is soon shattered when the Chinese Communist Party seizes power. Choosing to postpone the wedding and return back to her home country, Zoe finds herself locked in a political cage and separated from John indefinitely.

Caught in a complex web of revolutionary propaganda and forced to participate in dangerous research, Zoe must confront the looming question of where her true loyalties lie: with her country or with John back in America?

Set during China’s march towards nuclear power amidst the political turmoil of the Cold War, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game spans multiple decades and countries across the globe to tell the story of two nuclear scientists’ fight for world peace and a love torn apart by conflicting ideologies.

Excerpt

The one-room apartment was simple, small for three people but comfortable enough to accommodate daily life. The communal kitchen, shared with five other neighbors, served as a community center where they could work together and socialize. Unlike Little Red, Lanying found the local dialect incomprehensible, but with some guessing, hand gestures, and lots of laughter, she was able to connect with their neighbors. At last Zoe felt she could fulfill her duty as both mother and daughter and pay back everything her parents had given her. She had her own home, a real home, a place where she could laugh and talk freely without fear or intimidation.

“Mama, you look beautiful,” Little Red said through a mouthful of porridge.

“Thank you.” Zoe smiled, smoothing the black-and-white checked skirt. One of the things she loved about her new life was that no one frowned over her choice of clothes. No longer constrained by Chairman Mao and his wife’s dress code, she felt free to indulge her feminine side.

“Can you get home a little early today? I have some questions I need to ask you for one of my assignments.”

“Can it wait until the weekend? Today I’m accompanying the Minister of Energy on an inspection tour, so I’m afraid I’ll be home quite late.” Zoe smiled, amazed at how quickly Little Red had adapted to their new life. At just ten years old, Little Red had become fluent in the local dialect in less than six months and made many friends at school. She was even elected vice-class president. Zoe had never imagined her daughter would be so confident and outgoing.

“OK.” Little Red smiled, proud of her mother’s scientific knowledge and important position at the Institute.

Zoe checked on Lanying, who was still dozing in bed, and then closed the door quietly as she left. After the dim room and crowded kitchen, the brilliant autumn sun in the front courtyard momentarily blinded her. She closed her eyes until her vision adjusted to the light, and then she found her bike propped against the concrete wall. Usually only one gate panel was open, but today both stood wide, creaking as they swung in the morning breeze. She bolted one side, admiring the Western-style façade of her building that reminded her of Berkeley. Lingering, her fingers curled around the bars of the gate as she lost herself in a moment of nostalgia: John’s apartment had the same look, the same filigrees and latticework. John. He would be fifty years old now, a professor if he’d stayed at Berkeley, or perhaps a prominent researcher for some prestigious organization. Maybe he had three or four grown-up children by now; he always said he wanted a big family. Does he still think of me? Or even remember me? she mused. With a short laugh, she dismissed the pointless fantasy. Why would a man like John—a man with a happy family, a beautiful wife, a successful career— think about a stubborn, selfish woman who jilted him almost twenty-five years ago? She had made her choice, and this was her life now. With a deep breath, she repeated the words she’d said so often before: That’s over, move on. Climbing on her bike, she pedaled toward Institute 1970.

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kindle | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Smashwords | Apple

Author Bio and Links

Born and raised in Shanghai, Helen Huang now resides in Melbourne, Australia. Nuclear Power Nuclear Game is her first novel, inspired by her own experience living under the Communist regime and working at a nuclear institute in China.

To be a novelist was Helen’s childhood dream. She started writing Nuclear Power Nuclear Game when she was a housewife looking after her four daughters. It took her sixteen years to write, as she raised her children and grew her house design and construction business. Helen hopes to finish a sequel to Nuclear Power Nuclear Game next year.

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway

Helen Huang will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Helen on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Replace Your Fantasies

Replace Your Fantasies

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. This recent message stresses the importance of releasing our fantasies:

The older we grow, and the more real-world tragedies and challenges we witness, the more we realize how incredibly blessed we are, and how frequently the fantasies in our heads hold us back from these present blessings. In fact, you’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches dozens of times in the past year alone. We all do this to a greater or lesser extent…

We stress ourselves out, because of fantasies.

We procrastinate to the point of failure, because of fantasies.

We get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large, because of fantasies.

We miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments, because of fantasies.

So today, I challenge you to move through this day and practice seeing the real life right in front of you as it truly is…

Do what you have to do without fantasizing and fearing the worst, lamenting about what might happen, or obsessing over how unfair everything is.

See others and accept them without hasty judgments. Choose not to allow their behavior to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Just be present and accepting. Then decide if you want to spend extra time with them (or extra time thinking about them). If not, part ways with dignity.

Replace your fantasies with full presence…

And invest your best into what you’ve got right in front of you.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Book Blast: Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream

I’m happy to welcome author Elizabeth Roderick. Today, Elizabeth shares her new release, Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream.

Blurb

Grace Morgan has been on the music scene long enough to know the life of sex, drugs & rock & roll is just a dream. But after a messy divorce, Grace wants to give her dream of being a music journalist one last shot.

She moves to LA with her 21-year-old foster son, Zeus. They live in a motel on cup noodles and hope, until Grace finally gets a break: a story about Inez Carter, hot-mess frontwoman of the popular band Karma Korn.

The story delivers more sex, drugs and rock & roll than Grace bargained for. Karma Korn’s drummer, Nelson, has Grace rethinking her post-divorce vow of celibacy. And after they’re invited to an elite Hollywood rave, where they mistakenly drink the electric Kool-Aid, Zeus is scouted to be the lead guitarist for another star band.

However, the story soon goes sideways, and things aren’t adding up. Someone is spreading rumors about Grace, trying to sabotage her career and reputation. Then someone tries to kill her. Grace is left frantically trying to connect the dots in the dwindling hope she’ll be able to salvage the story, her relationship with Nelson, and her life.

Excerpt

A beefy guy in mirrored aviators stood sentry outside the door, three people lined up in front of him.

“I write for a very popular music blog, The Night of the Living Dude,” the one in front pleaded. “We get almost a thousand hits a day. It would be great publicity for the band.”

“That’s what Karma Korn needs, is more publicity,” the security guy drawled. He raised his chin slightly, and Grace could feel him watching her from behind his sunglasses. “And who are you?” he asked. “You write for Suzie’s Super Opinions on Music blog or something?”

The others turned to watch her suspiciously. Grace swallowed, giving the goon her best smile. “I’m Grace Morgan. Lawrence Shaupin from High Note sent me to do an article about Karma Korn’s new album.”

The goon’s eyebrows inched slightly higher as the three other hopefuls shuffled their feet. Flies buzzed around the sticky spot in Grace’s hair. “High Note,” the goon said. He gazed off toward the potted palms flanking the entry, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “There’s already a chick in there says she’s doing an article for High Note. Nice chick. Looks like that actress in all the action movies, except lankier, more freckles.”

Grace’s heart sank. Marla Pocchino. “I know her, she’s another freelancer.”

The security guy watched Grace with crossed arms. Sweat soaked into the cheap fabric of her pantsuit as she waved the flies from her hair. Finally, the guy nodded. “Go ahead.”

Author Bio and Links

Elizabeth Roderick is the author of Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream a romantic comedy meets cozy mystery released by Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC May 11, 2021 as well as many short stories in various anthologies.

She and her daughter help run a small, diversified farm in Eastern Washington. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands—mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.

Elizabeth’s stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness, with characters of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the neurodivergent. She is a neurodivergent person and a disability rights activist.

Elizabeth believes if people get to know those who live on the fringes of society, both in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Elizabeth Roderick will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here

Elizabeth on the rest of her Goddess Fish Tour here.

Blurb Blitz: Lady Deception

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Bobbi Smith. Today, Bobbi shares her novel, Lady Deception.

Hi Everybody!

Lady Deception was the first book in my “Women Who Were Ahead of Their Times” series. All my books with Lady in the title are in this series. They feature strong heroines who are inspiring and great role models. I hope you enjoy Cody’s story. Best, Bobbi Smith

Blurb

The Lady

Cody Jameson—the name sent chills down the spines of every sidewinder west of the Pecos. A master of disguise, a genius of deceit, the infamous bounty hunter always had the advantage over any prey: No desperado knew Cody’s real identity—or even suspected that the tracker stalking him was a fiery beauty.

The Deception

The first time Cody caught sight of Luke Majors, she was dressed as a lady preacher. But nothing could conceal the way the gunman thrilled her. Still, it wasn’t Luke’s body or soul Cody was after—it was the price on his head. And she was sure to collect the reward, if only she could convince herself a fistful of dollars was worth more than a lifetime of passion.

Excerpt

Luke had time to think as he rode with Cody, and he wasn’t happy about it. Memories of the time he’d spent with her disguised as Sister Mary taunted him. He’d been protecting her, and all the while she’d been trying to take him in for the reward they were offering on him for the bank robbery! He silently laughed at how completely he’d been fooled by her act. Cody had gone to El Trajar to catch him, not to save any souls.

Luke recalled how he’d thought Sister Mary was everything a woman was supposed to be—honest and forthright, gentle and caring. He’d thought she was a complete innocent. He’d been wrong. Cody had used every trick in the book to bring him in. Disguised as Armita, she’d even used her body!

He immediately stopped at that thought. There had been no mistaking her untouched state. Memories of their lovemaking made him wonder anew just what kind of woman Cody Jameson really was. Was she a saint or sinner? A deceitful woman or a clever bounty hunter?

Luke tried to imagine that her response to his lovemaking had been an act, but he knew instinctively that wasn’t true. She’d wanted him as much as he’d wanted her.

But not anymore.

Cody Jameson had caught him. She was taking him in to collect her reward, and then she was going to go on to her next conquest. He’d been a job to her. Nothing more.

His mood was black. The only good thing he had to cling to was his knowledge that all the time he’d spent undercover with the outlaw gang hadn’t been for nothing. He had learned that El Diablo, the leader of the gang, was a woman. When they got back to town, he would contact Jack and let him know.

With Stalking Ghost taking the lead, Cody kept an eye on Luke. When they stopped for the night, she noticed how he seemed to be in pain from his shoulder wound as he dismounted.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m worth the same to you, dead or alive. So it really doesn’t matter. You’ll get your money.” He turned his back to her.

Cody’s heart ached. She wished she could change the way things had turned out, but she’d given her word to Jack Logan that she would bring him in.

Author Bio and Links

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym, Julie Marshall.

Website | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Bobbi on the rest of her Goddess Tour here.