It’s an exciting day today to share the goodnews with you about my friend, Elizabeth Gauffreau’s new release GriefSongs: Poems of Love & Remembrance.
About the Book
“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review
“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review
Grief Songs: Poems of Love and Remembrance is a poetry collection written in Tanka form. After her mother passed away, Elizabeth Gauffreau cleaned up the “forbidden rooms” and found the “hidden photographs.” These are the photographs of the author and her father, mother, and brother George.
Grieving is a personal process that can last for any length of time. The memories of the loved ones could be fleeting or lingering moments, and the emotion of grieving could be of the surface or intensely deep.
In Grief Songs, the photos brought back the intensity of the precious memories to the author. Elizabeth expressed her grief in poetry. She paired the poems with each photo included in this collection.
One poem was about the author’s mother took her and George to the vaccination. Their mother gave the kids a treat of root beer floats for being good for the occasion. By the way, root beer is a soda, not a beer with alcohol! Another fun poem was about a youth group picnic when the author and her brother waited for their dad in the car after the picnic. Apparently, their dad didn’t come right away. They pressed the honk for so long that when their dad finally came back; the battery was dead. I loved the poem and the photo with Elizabeth and George sitting on their father’s lap for reading time as a nightly ritual. The lines were, “Waiting until your father gets home, not a threat but a promise.”
There were poems about Elizabeth as a kid for the first sacrament, confirmation, and baptism. What precious memories as she could see the history from the beginning of her life when father and mother holding her in their arms that led to her present life.
Family time such as clam bake at the beach and the family reunion always flashed back fond memories that ache the heart yet bring smiles on the face. The dying takes away a part of the ones left behind yet leaves them something sweet and long-lasting.
The poetry is a short read, yet the emotion of joy and sorrow lingers long after I put down the book. Highly recommended
Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.
The 2021 WordCrafterParanormal Anthology, Where Spirits Linger, was released today – September 20, 2021!
Where Spirits Linger Authorswith Kaye Lynne Booth, editor
“I hope you will stay with us and follow thetour to each blog stop to learn more about the stories within to picque your interest. Of course, I hope you buy the book, but each comment you make along the way earns an entry into a random drawing for a free digital copy of Where Spirits Linger, so you could be our next lucky winner!” – Kayne Lynne Booth
I’m excited to host the tour on Day 2 featuring Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s piece “Listen to Instructions.”
I’ll let Roberta tell you about the process she went through to write her story. Here’s Roberta:
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The Location of “Listen to Instructions”
This year the WordCrafter short story challenge required a story built around a specific place. This was a new idea for me as my stories are usually built around an event or a character. Never before had I tried to write a story that focused primarily on the setting.
I went through my file of story ideas and came across a true South African haunting of a farmhouse in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. The clip about this haunted house was only a few sentences long and involved a man who had stolen a large sum of gold coins. Following his death, the thief returned to haunt the house where he’d stowed the treasure.
This story interested me. I wondered if the ghost regretted stealing the money which led to his being trapped indefinitely in the nether world between life and death. Would the spirit take an opportunity of redemption if it was offered?
I wondered how any person who occupied the farmhouse and found the hidden money would feel about it? Would the finder keep the treasure, or hand it over to the state? How would the ghost react if his hidden horde was discovered?
From these thoughts and questions, my short story, Listen to Instruction, was borne.
Stellenbosch is a university town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The town is surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg.
Stellenbosch was established in 1679 by Simon van der Stel, the governor of the Cape. He granted land in the vicinity of Stellenbosch to interested farmers. Stellenbosh officially became a village in 1682 and in 1685 it became the Cape’s second magistracy, with an authority that extended for 25,000 square kilometres. It is the second oldest European town in South Africa.
The farmers build Cape Dutch houses with graceful gables and irrigation furrows for their lovely gardens.
In 1690, some of the French Huguenots settled in Stellenbosch and planted the grapes that turned the town into the centre of the South African wine industry. Stellenbosch became an important educational hub in 1859 when the Dutch Reformed Church opened a seminary. The University of Stellenbosch was established in 1918.
Thank you, Roberta, for the interesting information. Now, here is my review of the story “Listen to Instructions.”
I listened to ghost stories with my dad when I was a kid. Once a week we stayed up late because the ghost broadcasting didn’t start until 11:00 p.m. A perfect hour to cuddle up next to someone in case I got scared. I still hear a vibrating voice announcing the Midnight Zone.
If you enjoy ghost stories, you’re into a treat with the new release of Where Spirits Linger, an anthology with Kaye Lynne Booth, Robbie Cheadle, Stevie Turner, Enid Holden, Sharon Kretschmer, and Crysta Planko.
We hear the cliché “RIP” (rest in peace) when someone passed away. Do all the spirits rest when people passed away. Will they have unfinished business to cause them to linger?
In Where Spirits Linger, Roberta Eaton Cheadle writes about the spirit of Simon Pienaar, who didn’t cross over to the other side of the world. He broke into someone’s home one night, killed the owner, and stole his collection of antique Kruger coins. The police arrested Simon Pienaar and charged him with murder, but nobody found the treasure.
Jake bought the 19th-century house owned by Simon Pienaar despite rumors and gossips about the haunted house and all the stories behind it. He got a bargain on an auction, planned to renovate it over time, and wanted to live there while he did so.
He soon found out the restless spirit haunted him by asking for help. He ignored the chilling voice that invaded his dreams night after night but finally asked what the ghost wanted him to do. It was Simon Pienaar’s spirit asking him to do something with the antique Kruger coins he had stolen. He gave instructions to Jake to help him take care of his unfinished business.
How hard could that be to help a ghost put the closure in his business? It’s not as easy as it seems, especially for following Simon’s specific instructions. Roberta will let you know Jake shouldn’t have messed around with Simon.
Roberta’s “Listen to Instructions” is entertaining, so are the rest of the ghost stories. Highly recommended for an evening reading. I received a free ARC to do an honest review.
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lies in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behavior towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Through the Nethergate
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specializing in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
The haiku is my favorite form of poetry. It has been part of my life for almost two decades. I have written hundreds of them. However, it is not the reason why I opted for the haiku for this new collection. And this is what I would like to share with you today.
In the English-speaking world, when people think of the haiku, they may remember what they were taught in school: a short poem of three lines that follows the 7-5-7 syllable pattern. The seasonal reference (‘kigo’) and “cutting word” (‘kireji’) may be mentioned, but the obsessive focus remains on the 17 syllables. If your haiku does not contain those 17 lines, it does not qualify as such. This is wrong.
The haiku was invented in Japan. Japanese poets count in phonetic sounds or units called ‘on’, ‘onji’ or ‘morae’, which are different from English syllables. An “English syllable may contain one, two or three morae” to quote Wikipedia. In his excellent book titled The Haiku Handbook, William J. Higginson states that the 17 onji of traditional haiku are about 12 syllables in English. Other books talk about the number of words and recommend sticking to 8-12 words.
There is something liberating in knowing that you do not have to stick to a rigid syllable pattern when you write haiku. Your creativity is suddenly unleashed.
The haiku is an intimate form of poetry that goes beyond its syllable count. To write a memorable haiku, you need to understand the importance of conciseness and simple language, and how to leverage the kigo to evoke a specific mood. Every word counts!
A haiku does not just freeze a scene in time. It also implicitly reveals the author’s innermost feelings at that precise moment. As such, it tells a story about the human journey.
Ultimately, that’s what Kahlil Gibran and Alphonse de Lamartine successfully did with their writing. They were driven by a desire to awaken the human spirit. And that is what the haiku allows me to do.
Thank you for reading!
NB: Wondering who Kahlil Gibran and Alphonse de Lamartine are? Read my posts here and here.
Originating from Japan, the Haiku has been a source of inspiration and comfort for people of all ages and from all walks of life for many years. This versatile poetry form is cherished around the world. Inspired by the timeless words of authors Kahlil Gibran and Alphonse de Lamartine, After the Fires of Day is a hymn to life, the emotion of the moment, and our connection to nature. Every haiku in Cendrine Marrouat’s collection is sure to stay with you for a very long time…
Formats: ebook and paperback
Release date: September 7, 2021
Availability: Everywhere books are sold, including Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Chapters-Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and FNAC. Readers are encouraged to support independent
Cendrine Marrouat is a French-born Canadian photographer, poet, and the multi-genre author of more than 30 books. In 2019, she founded the PoArtMo Collective and co-founded Auroras & Blossoms with David Ellis. A year later, they launched PoArtMo (Positive Art Month and Positive Art Moves) and created the Kindku and Pareiku, two forms of poetry.
Cendrine is also the creator of the Sixku, the Flashku, and the Reminigram. Cendrine writes both in French and English and has worked in many different fields in her 17-year career, including translation, language instruction, journalism, art reviews, and social media.
It’s my pleasure to have Robbie Cheadle on my blog today to celebrate her new release.
Dear friends, please join me to welcome Robbie and her new book Behind Closed Doors, a Collection of Unusual Poems.
I’ll let Robbie tell you about her book cover, the title, and the different aspects of the poems. Here’s Robbie:
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The cover of a book and its title are both important selling points.
The cover needs to be eye catching, suit the genre, and hit at what the book is about. My previous poetry book is called Open a New Door, a phrase taken from the song Open a New Window from the musical production of Mame starring Angela Ladsbury and Beatrice Arthur.
I first listened to my mom’s record of Mame when I was a little girl of five. My mom had numerous records most of which were Broadway musicals, but Mame was always my favourite. I loved this song the best. It is rejection of the run-of-the-mill ordinary life and a quest for something new and exciting.
I wanted to retain the doors concept for my second poetry book, Behind Closed Doors, even though it had a different focus. The poems in this new book look at the various parts of my life and what effectively goes on behind those doors that are closed to social media and the world.
The poems are collected into the categories of In the Boardroom, In death, In my mind, In relationships, In lockdown, and In nature. I wanted a cover that would complement the idea of the many doors into people’s lives and souls so when I saw this cover of multiple multi-coloured doors designed by Teagan R Geneviene, I knew this was the one.
The doors in many different colours suited my own personal idea that the doors in peoples live come in different shares. Some are the yellow, pinks, and oranges of joy, the reds of love, the blues and greens of comfort and coolness, and the purples of sadness and depression.
What are your thoughts about the importance of covers? Tell me in the comments.
Thank you, Robbie!
Now, here is the book information
What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.
What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like
This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.
I’ve read Robbie Cheadle’s first poetry book Open a New Door and loved it. I knew I would enjoy reading Behind Closed Door. I’ve also read Cheadle’s children’s books, a young adult fictionalized biography about her mother’s life, and her historical fiction. She is a prolific writer while maintaining her demanding full-time job and home-schooling of the two teenage boys during the pandemic.
Behind Closed Doors is a poetry collection with themes about the author’s complex emotions and thoughts on her cooperated world, her personal dreams, her family life as a daughter, wife, and mother, as well as her thoughts on the lockdown during the pandemic.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specializes in corporate finance. The poem “Climbing Cooperated Ladder” vividly portraits the harsh reality of the cooperated world. Many individuals give up their family and social life to meet the never-ending demands with no guarantee of success:
“Sit in your office, juggling ideas and possibilities, while your friends watch movies, eat out, drink, and socialize, spending their weekends having a jolly good time.”
“There are no friendships in the corporate jungle Colleagues left to demise in this uncaring world.”
It reminds me of the headache, heartache, and disappointment during my ten years in administration.
I could relate to the poem “He Walks Away” that describes the mother’s joy, pride, and pain:
“She watched over him tenderly as he learned about life… her smile healed all wounds; her kiss cured all pain…
“It’s heart-wrenching to let go knowing he must… encounter setbacks and loss before success… but it’s the duty of a mother to set her son loose to fly alone.”
Cheadle’s poems about lockdown remind us how vulnerable life is. “One day I had freedom, the next, it was gone. How will this end? I find myself wondering, Will we take a big step backward in time fifty years or more?”
Cheadle’s Behind Closed Doors is a delightful hour-long short read, but the provoking thought will stay for a long time. I highly recommend this book to poetry lovers and non-fiction readers.
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 1 poetry book.
The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.
Several weeks ago I read and reviewed Pam Wight’s Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary. It’s my pleasure to share the review with you.
About the Book
Wow! Life goes by in a flash.
Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.
“Flashes of Life will draw you in and put a smile on your face. These poetic, personal, fun, and funny vignettes of life are uplifting and relatable. Love, joy, and care exude from the pages, which are beautifully written and fondly shared. By the end of this book, you’ll wish the author was your own mother, daughter, sibling, or friend!” Liesbet Collaert, author of Plunge
Pamela Wright’s Flashes of Life is a short read which could be done in one sitting in a late afternoon or evening. It’s refreshing to read about the author’s honest emotions, humor, and deep appreciation of life. Wright’s flashes are the fond memories of her childhood, her life as a daughter, mother, wife, and grandmother. They are the everyday experience many readers could relate to. I felt like we chatted on the phone as she recounted them, and I couldn’t help but chuckled over so many.
As a child, she asked her parent what her middle name was again and again. Eventually, her parents told her they couldn’t agree on one, so they didn’t give her a middle name.
She feared flying. On one trip, she and her husband were on the plane, and she wanted to get off because she didn’t want to walk all the way to the last row of the aisle. A passenger in row 5 volunteered to switch seats with her. Eventually, she got over the fear of flying and got to a point of fear of not flying because she didn’t want to miss seeing the grandkids and some exotic places.
There are many memories of food. She talked about shrimp not being her favorite food but loved it when her son-in-law cooked shrimps. She elaborated on why she loved it.
Wright loves music, and she responded to the Rock-and-Roll with twisting hips feeling like in her twenties. Then she glanced at the mirror on a far wall that showed a middle-aged woman.
There are many more light-hearted stories many would love to read. I highly recommended this book. Ratings: AmazonGoodreads
About Pamela S. Wight
Pamela Wight is a successful author of romantic suspense novels; two illustrated children’s book.
Her first book, The Right Wrong Man, got rave reviews for taking readers “on an exciting adventure with lots of intrigue, unexpected plot twists, and romance.” A year later, Wight published her second novel, Twin Desires. “Lots of suspense, plot twists, romance, and excellent character development makes this a fun read!”
The gorgeously illustrated children’s book, Birds of Paradise, finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards, has received many enthusiastic reviews: “This creative, compassionate story about birds will inspire children to notice the everyday adventures of backyard birds.”
Wight’s second picture book, Molly Finds Her Purr, published Fall, 2019, follows Molly the Cat, who can’t find any friends. And almost worse, she can’t find her purr. After looking for friendship in all the wrong places, Molly learns that making friends is as easy as looking up in the trees and on the ground, where other lonely creatures are hiding in plain sight. Whether hard-shelled or soft as a bunny, everyone needs friendships that help them find their purr. Both books are for ages 3 to 93.
Pamela earned her Master’s in English from Drew University, continued with postgraduate work at UC Berkeley in publishing, and teaches creative writing classes in Boston and San Francisco.
She lives in the Boston area with her “right man” and hikes the New England trails while concocting her stories. Wight travels frequently to the San Francisco Bay area for additional inspiration. She speaks to book clubs, schools, and libraries in both locations.
I’m delighted to have my exercise buddy Jacqui Murray on my blog. Jacqui and I use Strava to track our exercise, cheer and give kudo to each other.
Today Jacqui will share with us about her new release Laws of Nature, book 2 of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy. Please join me to welcome Jacqui and help her celebrate the great success of her research-based prehistorical fiction.
Laws of Nature: A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.
On the right side of Jacqui’s blog, she has scheduled the publication of her next four books in 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2026. Have you wondered how she could keep up the schedule?
I asked her to share with us about her writing day, and here isher answer.
My Writing DayBy Jacqui Murray
Much of my day is spent writing, either freelance articles, client reviews, guest posts, or working on one of my many fiction and nonfiction WIP. Any leftover time goes to marketing what I’ve written–trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. That includes outreach, responding to inquiries, interactions with fellow writers, and exploring new marketing channels.
Since I work out of my house, I like to break my day into three parts:
I consign tasks to each portion of the day, stopping for lunch and dinner and a few breaks to pet the dog. Because I’m not writing to a deadline (as is required by agents or publishers), I don’t count words like some writing efriends. I count what I get done.
Here’s a rough list of tasks that I sprinkle throughout my writing week:
In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.
Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.
A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.
I’m delighted to share my review of The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by Diana W. Peach. The book cover intrigued me when Diana first revealed it. She then announced the book release and posted the trailer on her blog. She is the master of trailer creation. I loved it. Diana’s books kept me up at night. I read The Ferryman and the Sea Witch almost in one sitting, only one and a half chapters short of finishing because I promised my hubby to watch the Netflix series with him. We watched until midnight. After he went to sleep, I was tempted to get up to finish the chapters but didn’t because I would want to write the review right after that.
The story is sensational, the language is beautiful, like music playing on the harp.
About the book
The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.
The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.
Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.
Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.
And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.
Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.
Diana Wallace Peach’s The Ferryman and the Sea Witch is a well-constructed fantasy world with implications of reality. Her writing is beautiful and poetic. The leaders of the two countries had the power to defeat and overcome each other. Their needs and limitations held them back from exerting their power. They also didn’t want to jeopardize something of life and death of their own in the destruction of other countries. In order to keep the peace, the two countries traded infant hostages as a commitment until the prince and princess turned 16 years old. The time finally came, and Callum was the one who could do the swapping.
Brid Clarion’s officers captured a merrow, the Sea Watch Panmar’s daughter, in the mesh. Callum, the ferryman, demanded to free her, but the captain refused. The Sea Witch and merrow came in a swell to rescue. Finally, the caption allowed Callum to cut through the net. The Sea Witch’s silver tail splashed the swell, and her fin ripped the ship, which sank to the Deep.
Callum survived. The Sea Witch’s daughter died because Callum delayed in setting her free. Since Callum attempted to save her daughter, Panmar allowed him to be the only one to cross the Deep between the countries of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick. The punishment for Callum was that he couldn’t step on land, and the price for crossing was a human sacrifice until royal blood satisfied her vengeance.
The queen of Haf Killick Caspia gifted a ship to Callum because he was the only captain who could cross the merrow’s trench for the trade without wrecking. She needed the fruits, vegetables, cloth, and other livelihood items for her country and the return of her daughter. She wanted to kill Thayne, the king of Brid Clarion, and take over his country, but her ships couldn’t cross the Deep.
The king of Brid Clarion, Thayne, didn’t pay the royal blood to satisfy the Sea Witch’s vengeance and cost hundreds of lives of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick as sacrifices. He kept the trade going with Haf Killick because he needed the treasure from that country and the return of his son.
Diana W. Peach skillfully constructed the twists and turns of the story throughout the book. It surprised me to find out Callum had a secret that kept him going as the ferryman and negotiator for the bargains that Panmar, Thayne, and Caspia wanted. His secret was revealed gradually in the second half of the book. The secrets and deceits from the two countries toward each other motivated them to continue their dealings as long as they could. Panmar, the Sea Witch, was not a wicked witch who started evil. She exercised her power only when humans didn’t keep their bargains. Caspia was the worst evil and manipulator of all three leaders. She got away with almost every mistake she made.
It was their secrets that kept me turning the pages until the last chapter. I was satisfied with its surprising ending. You would be into a treat by reading this book.
Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.
I’m over at Sally’s blog in the Children’s Reading Room. Please head over to read the updates. It’s a wonderful place to meet children’s book authors and find out more about their delightful children’s and YA books.
Welcome to the Reading Room update with reviews for books on the shelves for children up to the age of twelve.
The first author with a review is Miriam Hurdle for her first children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd t
About the book
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults…
I’m over at Claire Fullerton’s blog. She is featuring Tina Lost in a Crowd with her delightful and insightful review. She also included Carla’s review from Carla Loves to Read. Please head over to visit her. While there, browse around to learn more about her many awarding-winning books.
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.
My review of this delightful children’s book:
Third grader, Tina Tyler, looks forward to summer. It is the last day of classes, and she has had such a great school year that…
I’m excited to have Denise L. Finn on my blog to share with you about her new releaseTree Fairies and Their Short Stories. She’ll also share with you about her love of nature, the forest where she resides, and the facts about the redwood trees.
Thank you, Miriam for having me and the fairies here today to celebrate “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories” release day!
Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories is set in a place I adore. I have a deep love of nature and have lived in the forest for 31 years. Although, I visit the ocean often, as it still calls to me. I have considered living in the trees above the sea… maybe someday. Redwood forests have always felt magical to me, and anytime I can visit one, I do.
For Mother’s Day 30 years ago, I received a sequoia tree to add to our forest. It has grown faster than I expected, and with it comes that redwood/sequoia magic that is so strong in my story.
Here are some redwood tree facts:
1. They can grow to over 200 feet tall.
2. They are believed to have been around in California for over 20 million years.
3. There are redwoods over 2000 years old still standing.
4. They are resistant to insects, fires, and rot.
5. There are three types of redwood trees: Dawn Redwood, Giant Sequoia, and Coastal Redwood (this is the one in my story.)
Fun Finn Facts:
The forest sounds at night from foxes and mountain lions are chilling.
I’ve driven through a giant redwood.
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.
Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
“I had a dream about them,” I replied before I could stop myself.
Colette was studying the treetops like she was hoping to find fairies.
Dad tossed me another marshmallow. “Tell us about it, Danny.”
I pushed the dirt around with my sneaker. “I don’t think—”
“Please! For me? Pretty please with sugar on top!” Colette’s eagerness was contagious.
“It’s just a dream, but I guess I could try to tell it like a story. You know, because we’re around the campfire and all.”
“Good idea! Thank you for sharing this with us.” Mom’s smile gave me the courage I needed.
“Well, okay, but don’t expect much. I’m not a writer like you.” I cleared my throat and finished my cherry Kool-Aid. The silence was heavy with expectation, which made my palms sweat, but part of me wanted them to hear this. So, I took a deep breath and started. “There is a forest where the fairies live in the trees. No one sees them except the squirrels and birds. Until one day, this boy and his family were camping in the woods. The boy went off by himself while wishing he had his tunes to listen to on his new radio. Bummed, he sat down below one of those giant redwood trees.
“He hung out for a while, watching two squirrels run up and down a tree. A nearby stream and a bird’s tune lulled him to sleep until a small branch hit his nose, waking him up. Rubbing his nose, he looked around and saw a bird directly above him. He shrugged and sank back against the tree and fell asleep again.
“Another branch hit him, startling him awake. This time there was no bird, so it had to be a squirrel. The sun had set, and the moon was rising. Soon it would be dark. He knew it was time to get back to his campsite, but he heard humming coming from above as he got up.
“He squinted and tilted his head back. All that he could see were needles, branches, and a darkening sky. He turned to head back to camp when a female voice began singing. It was beautiful, like he imagined an angel’s voice would sound, but he couldn’t understand the words. That’s when he saw the colors and thought they were dragonflies until they got within a few feet of his face. They were tiny, humanlike beings with silver wings. He almost fainted when the green one spoke to him.
“‘Hello . . .’ I reached out to her, and then I woke up, so that’s the end.”
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.