July 21, 2018

The Dream Daughter (First Impression Review)

First Impression Reviews are written after reading the initial ARC chapters of a book.
They are not whole-book, full-story reviews.

This is an emotional mystery. Caroline is experiencing a potentially life altering pregnancy when she learns of heart issues in her unborn child, and Hunter’s mysterious entry into the story alters things even greater.

Hunter’s dilemma intrigued me enough to learn more about him, and the opening scene in a PT Center setting is one in which I’m familiar.

Depression is a prominent problem in society, so I hope it is addressed well in this book. I sympathize with Caroline and Hunter even though I know little about their predicament, and certainly want to read more of the story.

The 1970s is an interesting time, and having lived through them, brings a bit of nostalgia to the story. With interesting characters, time period, and Midwest setting, this book is sure to appeal to many.


I received an ARC excerpt from BOOKishFIRST.
#AfterTheFall

Virgil Wander (First Impression Review)

First Impression Reviews are written after reading the initial ARC chapters of a book.
They are not whole-book, full-story reviews.

Having lived in the Midwest when I was young, the setting intrigues me. But what ultimately draws me fully into a book is the characters and the writer’s voice. Being told in first person keeps me in the narrator’s head, feeling his emotions, living through his experiences.

I’ve worked with clients who’ve undergone TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) and have learned some of the hardships that run alongside them. This story holds an intriguing concept, and the preview has piqued my interest.

I received an ARC excerpt from BOOKishFIRST.
#NewLifeWanderer


The Byline Bible (First Impression Review)

First Impression Reviews are written after reading the initial ARC chapters of a book.
They are not whole-book, full-story reviews.

I'm so impressed with the provided first impression that I'm using my collected point to insure I get a copy! I've been published in fiction and non-fiction venues, yet still found valuable information I wasn't aware of. I love the author's writer's voice and how she exposes her vulnerabilities. Definitely a keeper.

I received an ARC excerpt from BOOKishFIRST.
#EverybodyHasAStory

Grand Finale & Giveaway - Stolen Obsession

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Stolen Obsession
By Marlene M. Bell

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

Q: What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

A: There are many morals in this book. Here are the top three: First, you are stronger than you think you are. Shown by Annalisse’s trials with personal loss and helping those around her. Secondly, keep those around you close to your heart because you never know when they can be taken away. Annalisse experiences a great deal of personal loss. Third, judge people not by what others say about them, but by how they truly are. Give people a chance to redeem any negative qualities that come from hearsay. Annalisse learns this with Alec Zavos, her love interest in Stolen Obsession. The tabloids paint him with a broad womanizer brush, and Annalisse takes her time deciding for herself who Alec is and if he can be trusted.


“Now, what do you think of the necklace?” Generosa twirled her arm toward the case in game show host style.

Annalisse loved the way Generosa’s gestures followed her words. A modest woman whose confidence and positive attitude had rescued Annalisse from more than a few scrapes with Harry.

“It scares me, Gen. I’d like your permission to cover it tonight.”

“Nonsense, bambolina.” Generosa escorted Alec to the display.

“It’s a bad omen. Where’d you find it?” Annalisse balled a fist and banged her hip.

#bookish - Review

"The characters in this book seem so real and so obviously flawed in a good way. I loved this story which starts action packed and stays that way until the very end. Annalise and Alec,as well as the other characters in this book, have a pretense in your heart from beginning to end. I could not put this book down and ended up reading it in two back to back reading sessions. This book is an absolute adventure with a perfect mystery."


SEVERAL WILD-EYED WOMEN stood in a semicircle, their hands pressed against their cheeks or over their mouths. Annalisse broke for an opening in the rigid line of guests. Her heart stopped at the sight of Alec administering the Heimlich maneuver to her boss. A cool clamminess rushed the nape of her neck while she watched Alec’s repeated cupped fists to Harry’s upper abdomen. Harry’s stoic, ashen face left her woozy.

“Alec, let me help.” Annalisse ran to Alec’s side.

Harry’s dead weight collapsed on Alec, and he stumbled to keep Harry from falling on her. Alec slowly laid him on his back. Lifeless. Not breathing. Annalisse’s suspicions were confirmed. Harry was sick.


He trapped her between his body and the wall, a human sandwich. “You freak!” She wrenched against him but made no headway against his surprisingly strong grip. The photo crashed to the tile, shattering glass at her feet.

He worked one hand over her mouth.

Annalisse squirmed, fighting to breathe through her nose. Blood pounded her eardrums. Think. He’s drunk, and your mind’s clearer than his. Spin the nozzle. Pick your moment.

fundinmental - Review

"Numerous times Marlene M Bell takes me to the brink of suspenseful tragedy, only to keep them safe and let me know there is more danger to come. I am very suspicious and she leads me to the edge of a cliff. I feel I’ll fall off, but she yanks me back from the precipice saying…not yet…but soon. I love that!!!"


Alec waited by the stairs and whispered, “Your bedroom up there?” He pointed upstairs.

She nodded, lifted the mahogany stand upright and, with both hands, replaced the hefty bronze to its rightful place next to the desk.

“Stay downstairs. You’ll be safer. I won’t be long, and I’ll look for your cat.” Alec hit the first step.

“Be careful.”

Whoever destroyed her home had acted with malice. They had her personal data and internet search history, where she shopped online, email correspondence as well as business contacts. A privacy breach she couldn’t afford. Compiling a list of possible suspects in her head, she felt so violated, even more so than by what had happened with Peter. Names and faces blurred together. With fingertips pressed at her temples, she willed the jackhammers in her head to stop.

Bri's Book Nook - Review

"I have to say that the story started off really fast, slowed down in the middle, and then sped up again...

The worldbuilding of this novel was also nice...

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new mystery/thriller to enjoy on a nice summer day."

Colorimetry - Excerpt

Licking her lower lip, she tore her eyes from his pecs to his shoulder and gently pulled the adhesive tape. She peeked at the neat row of stitches to calm the flutter in her heart. The area around the sutures had reddened and were puffy.

“We’ll watch the swelling. Having been in battle with metal and gunpowder, I expected worse. I’d find something waterproof to put over it in the shower. Like a liquid bandage. And finish all of your antibiotics even if you feel better.” His skin was smooth under her fingertips.

“I’ll do that, Dr. Drury. Thank you.” He glanced at her fingers on his shoulder. “Anything else?”

Annalisse’s face flushed with heat. She jerked her wrist back and balled her hand in her lap. Her mind told her to get some distance from him, but her feet had other ideas.


"I found the novel to be an interesting read. The beginning was a bit convoluted and hard to get into. However, towards the middle of the book, it started picking up. The book had a lot of intrigue and plot twists. A very thrilling book!"

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

ANNALISSE WOKE TO the snap of a log in the fireplace. One more compact but just as grand as the fireplace in Alec’s formal room. She was no longer lying on the green chaise lounge, staring at the forty-foot rock wall. Confused, she slid her hand across a grand silk coverlet. Turning her head, she checked the other side of the bed, her heart knocking in her chest. She’d slept alone.

“The perfect gentleman. Him in a guestroom and me in his bed,” she mumbled, with a pang of regret that she’d conked out so soon after supper.

As hard as she’d tried to convince herself she didn’t need him, he’d made himself indispensable with his concern for her since the party. The tug-of-war between his reputation and the way he’d lifted her spirits was exhausting to work through...


“What’s wrong?” Alec looked at his father who’d jumped up, staring at a section of water.
“Hand me the binoculars. Hurry.” Pearce pointed to the table next to Alec.

Annalisse looked over her shoulder at a tiny black dot speeding toward them. A faint hum broke through the call of gulls overhead.

Pearce spent seconds with the binoculars, for Annalisse the wait was excruciating. She got up to check the ocean for herself.

“Ladies, get below. And take the keys to the yacht with you. Hide them someplace where no one will find them and hide yourselves,” Pearce said.


"The pace of the story moved along swiftly and drew me in from the first page. The suspense is well crafted and had me on the edge of my seat several times, wondering who was in on the conspiracy. The romance in this book was very solid. . . . A sweeping romantic and often deadly adventure, Stolen Obsession is my new standard for excellent suspense fiction."


Patting the cushion next to her, she managed a smile.

“Sit next to me. We’ve had a few horrible days, but I couldn’t imagine spending them with anyone else.”

He laughed and patted her knee as he sat beside her.

“Good thing my ego’s in check.”

“That’s twice today my attempt at humor’s bombed.”

He laughed. “It’s charming.”


"This was a great romance. I wanted Alec and Annalisse to end up together, and as they worked together the chemistry between them built. . . . The mystery was very interesting. was it a curse? A killer? Or both? I definitely kept turning the pages to find out what was going on."


BOOM!

A horrific noise shrouded the sound of their engine.

An unseen force jolted Annalisse. She grabbed her seat with both hands and screamed.

The concussion from an outside blast shook the Jeep.

A bright glow filled the sky.

“Down!” Chet barely got the word out when a second explosion rocked the vehicle. He fell over Annalisse, crushing her body with his massive torso, shielding her head and neck with his arms.
Annalisse stayed folded over, her heart banging in her chest.


"The action kicks off right away. . . . Loved their chemistry. . .

I like how quickly the story moves. You don't have to do a lot of skipping around and waiting. . . . I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...

Stolen Obsession
(Annalisse Series #1)
By Marlene M. Bell
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 294 Pages
June 30th 2018 by Ewephoric Publishing

People die, but legends live on.

New York antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury recently lost her best friend to murder. The killer’s identity may be linked to her friend’s expensive missing bracelet—a 500-year-old artifact that carries an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a matching necklace at a Manhattan gallery opening. She begs the owner to destroy the cursed piece, but her pleas fall on deaf ears—despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate, Annalisse enlists the gallery owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. When the killer changes tactics and goes after Alec behind Annalisse’s back, can her plan to rescue Alec’s mother save them all?

Hold on for a heart-thumping, thrilling adventure through exotic lands in this fast-moving romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M. Bell.

Praise for the Book

"Debut author Bell delivers a great, slow-building romance, gently examining her characters' painful pasts." — Kirkus Reviews

"An irresistible page turner and a successful melding of thriller and romance. With a splash of international adventure and plenty of surprises, Stolen Obsession is an entertaining read and a great beginning to the Annalisse Series." — Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½


About the Author


Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com. Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterGoogle+

Tour Giveaway


- 1 Grand Prize winner will receive: One signed copy of STOLEN OBSESSION, One lined Journal with handcrafted pen, One set of Wool Dryer Balls, a Pair of Stolen Obsession style earrings and a $50 gift card from Amazon
4 winners will each receive: One signed copy of Stolen Obsession, One sheep bookmark, One lined journal and a pair of Stolen Obsession-style earrings-Gold-various styles
- US only
- Ends July 25th

Book Release & Giveaway - The Songs of You and Me

July 16th was the Release Day to The Songs of You and Me by Mylissa Demeyere!
To celebrate the release of this great book we're giving away $50!




The Songs of You and Me by Mylissa Demeyere
Jane Hartford fell head over heels for Jackson at the tender age of fifteen. She spent most of high school pining for him, until she realized he wasn’t going to see her as anything more than his baby sister’s best friend. Now she finds herself single with a daughter, a broken heart, and songs that remind her of a long lost love.

Jackson Wright is a man living with regret. His biggest one, never acting on his feelings for Jane. When he returns to Bellebrook, the town they grew up in, he literally runs into her and his world gets tossed upside down and sideways.

This time, Jackson isn’t willing to give up. With a meddling sister eager to push both of them together, he believes things might actually work out. That is, if they can overcome the heavy baggage they both carry. Follow Jackson and Jane as they revisit their past, figuring out what went wrong so long ago.

Will they learn they have the power to make things right in the present?  

Also available on Kindle Unlimited
Add to your Goodreads Shelf
 
   

What Readers are saying: 
A tender debut novel that will leave you remembering the sweet angst of first love. The Songs of You and Me is a charmer. - Taylor Dean, author of I’m With You and Chasing Fireflies.

In this romantic debut about first love, second chances, Ms. DeMeyere weaves the past and present together in a way that brings the characters' hearts to life as they heal from tragedies and struggle to move on in life. Sweet and heartwarming.Charissa Stastny, author of Between Hope and the Highway and the Rules out Romances Series.

A fun and enticing love story that combines the bitter with the sweet and keeps you laughing amidst the tears. You won't want to miss this touching story that explores true love in all its depth and beauty. Aubrey, Amazon Reviewer 

The Songs of You and Me pulled me in from page one. The characters came to life and I felt as if I was part of their story. I stayed up night after night fascinated with their personal and individual challenges. Their obstacles were relatable and tugged at my heart. I couldn’t wait to finish and yet I didn’t want it to end. As I read the last page, I was ecstatic to see what would come next from Mylissa Demeyere. Jamie, Amazon Reviewer

   
Excerpt: 

(Jane) “What a nice surprise to see Jackson at Emma’s party.” Mom was baiting me.
“Mhm,” I mumbled.
“You two were always such good friends,” she continued.
“We were,” I agreed. Thinking of Jackson’s strong arms wrapped around me caused my cheeks to flush. Those arms sure didn’t feel all that platonic. Trying not to read too much into it, I added, “I guess we still are friends.”
“He always was such a good boy.” Mom’s lips curled up into a smile, and her eyes turned wistful, probably recalling fond memories from our past.
“He isn’t a boy anymore,” I blurted out without a second thought.
Mom’s smile turned into a much less innocent one as the wheels in her mind turned.
“He sure isn’t. I’m glad you’ve noticed.” Mom smirked and gave me a slight squeeze.
“Mom! He’s half your age. Seriously.” What was up with her?
“Oh, honey, I may be old, but that doesn’t mean I can’t notice a good-looking man when I see one. And that man is very fine looking.”
I was too stunned to reply.

  

 
Author Mylissa Demeyere Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast. The Songs of You and Me is her debut novel, with a sequel already in the works.  
Connect with Mylissa
Giveaway Details $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in PayPal Cash Ends 7/29/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Into the Woods Benefit & Giveaway




Into the Woods is the title and theme for this assortment of short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods. The twenty-six contributors who attend Mindful Writers Retreats in the mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds to support the research and work of The Children’s Heart Foundation.

Available at....









Book Excerpts
Short Story
TRAIN WRECK
by Kathleen Shoop

Ellie Trumbull squinted out the window of the Uber, gripping the door handle. The car swerved and bounced up the long driveway leading to the retreat center where the courts had sent Ellie for punishment. She grabbed her stomach to stave off nausea, but when it began to launch itself she smacked the driver’s arm. He slowed and stopped. Ellie pulled the handle, and tumbled out of the door onto all fours, heaving.
She gasped for breath, dizzied. Voices sounded as she struggled to stand. She focused on the group heading toward her: two women, a man, and several children who simply bolted past her, their squealing laughter filling the air.
A graceful woman with gray, bunned hair and dark skin approached. She took Ellie’s arm and pulled her close, leading her into a building. “Welcome. I’m Vera.”
“I’m Alice.” A stout woman with platinum spiked hair followed along.
A lanky man with hair so perfect it looked plastic picked up Ellie’s duffel bag. “I’m Brandon. Your husband’ll send the rest of your luggage shortly.”
Ellie grunted. They led her upstairs. Brandon rushed ahead to open a door. Ellie shuffled inside.
“Your room,” he said. “I’ll set your bag here.”
Ellie looked over her shoulder to see him smiling, as he’d been doing since she arrived. “Thanks, Guy Smiley.”
“What?”
She ignored his question, held onto one of the top bunks and surveyed the space. Three large windows at the end of the room and three sets of bunks with plastic mattresses belted the perimeter.
Ellie collapsed onto a bed.
“Plastic makes it easy to clean,” Vera said.
“Shut those.” Ellie shook her hand at the windows.
The woman sighed, closed the curtains and lowered the blind that covered the center pane. She lifted Ellie’s feet off the floor and swung them onto the bed. “Housekeeping’ll make up the bed in a little bit.”
“Fine,” Ellie groaned.
Vera loosened Ellie’s shoelaces.
Ellie snatched her feet away. “I’m fine.”
Vera backed away, her large hands flailing for a moment before she tucked them against her belly. “Our healing circle begins in an hour.”
Ellie turned away and balled up. Leave me alone.
And a few seconds later the door clicked shut.
***
Giggling children and the sound of feet running down the hallway outside Room 2 woke Ellie. Her mouth was desert dry, so she headed downstairs to the great room where she saw a kitchen area. With the kids gone, the silence felt good.
Ellie startled at the sight of Alice, Vera, and Guy Smiley sitting around an island. Guy Smiley poured coffee. Healing circle.
“Ellie,” he said. “Welcome.”
Vera sliced banana bread. The scent threatened Ellie’s stoic facade. A smile tugged her lips, but she tucked away the fleeting happy sensation, hid it where it wouldn’t remind her how Maggie’s face would light up when she bit into her favorite treat.
Alice clomped her feet onto the coffee table. Vera batted them away and pushed the banana bread toward Ellie.
She looked away.
“I’ll take hers,” said Alice.
“I’d like to begin,” Vera said, her voice gentle and melodic. “The healing circle guides us into continued acceptance and strengthens our endurance as we grow through the pain that comes with losing a child. Each of us understands the daily shock of waking and realizing our lives will never be the same. So how do we go on?”
Guy Smiley sipped coffee. “Feels good to be with everyone.”
“Each time we meet I do better back home,” Vera said.
“Same,” Alice said.
“We hope you’ll find our group helpful, Ellie,” Vera said.
When Ellie didn’t respond the others went around describing how they lost their child. Ellie blocked out every word, rubbing her temples. Her own pain was enough. She wasn’t about to invite theirs inside. Her gaze strayed to the kids outside, the game of tag that left them breathless, rolling down the hill and out of sight. How lucky they were.
“Ellie?” Alice asked. Ellie turned her gaze back to see Alice glaring.
“It’ll help,” sweet Vera said. “To share.”
Guy Smiley slid forward in his seat, fingers steepled. “Change brings…blah, blah … comfort, healing…” He droned on and on and finally Ellie’s mind snapped back to what he first said.
Change?” Ellie said.
He nodded. They all did.
Ellie’s anger surged. She wiped spittle from her lip. “I don’twantchange. I feel Maggie more now than I ever did… before she died I couldn’t wait to get to work, or girls’ night out or go away with my husband. My daughter… difficult from the day she was born… is dead. I’ll never sit with you people thinking about change and eating stinking banana bread.”
She stood and stomped away.
“She don’t want help,” Alice said.
“But her husband…” Brandon said.
Ellie got farther away, unable to hear what they said. Her husband? He was finished with her. She jogged to her room and crashed onto the mattress that housekeeping hadn’t yet returned to make. She covered her face and held back tears. With balled fists she tried to resist.
But she couldn’t.
Up off the bed, Ellie dug through her duffel and found it. Vodka. Cap unscrewed, she gulped, washing away the scent of banana bread, the thought that she’d never again see Maggie’s smile when she took a bite of it.

***
Short Story
EIRA
by Wende Dikec

The lights went out, and Eira held her breath, waiting for the emergency generator to work. It started with a shudder and a horrific crunching noise, but at least it continued to function.
She closed her eyes, feeling the fear in her chest ease when she heard the comforting sound of the humming engine. She couldn’t bear the thought of being left cold and alone in the dark.
Tugging her pale, blond hair into a ponytail, she pulled her ragged wool cardigan tightly across her body and walked over to the window of Alexander House, a grand name for such a Spartan hunting cabin, to peek outside. She waited for the sun to come up, looking out the dirty glass pane, and continued to stare out the window long after the sun rose in the sky. She didn’t know why she bothered. She saw nothing outside except the same white expanse she’d seen every day for the last five lonely months.
Eira opened the door to grab some wood from the pile for her fire, her body flinching from the chill of the icy wind. She had enough wood to last a few more weeks, and then she’d have to make the dangerous trip into the forest to chop more. She dreaded it, but not as much as she dreaded living without the generator. If she rationed carefully, she’d have enough fuel for another month, but she wasn’t sure what she’d do after that. She hadn’t planned on being stranded for such a long time. Spring should have arrived almost two months ago.
She blinked in surprise when she saw a figure moving toward her house, struggling in the waist deep snow. Eira squinted against the harsh sunlight reflecting off the white landscape, trying to make out if the approaching form was human or animal, friend or foe, but she could see very little at this distance. She stumbled back into her warm little house, and reached for her heavy coat. She quickly slipped on her snowshoes before grabbing her gun, a nervous sense of excitement building inside her. If it was a person, it would be the first human being she’d seen in months. If it was an animal, she’d shoot it and have food for a week. And if it was one of the strange ones, the creatures that were no longer human yet not completely animal, she’d kill it without remorse and leave its carcass for the hungry bears to find.
She waited on her front porch, her gun ready as it came closer. It looked human, bundled under layers of heavy clothing, but she wasn’t taking any chances.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice echoing in the quiet wilderness.
The figure stopped moving and looked directly at her. She could see a dark beard covering the skin exposed beneath protective ski goggles. It was a man.
“My name is Ben,” he said, his voice sounding scratchy and strange, as if it hadn’t been used in a long time. “I saw the smoke from your fire. Can I come in and warm up?”
Eira paused, considering his request. He seemed human enough, but it was a risk. He could steal her food, hurt her, or take her precious fuel. She weighed her options quickly. Loneliness won out over caution, but she wasn’t stupid. She clenched her gun as she waved him in.


***
Poem
FOREST BATHING
by Martha Swiss

I am alone in this place that is alive, anticipating the gift before me.
I open it slowly, with grateful breath, footsteps and heartbeats,
then thankfully sink into the purifying molecules of chlorophyll and humus.
I bask, now able to sense the purpose of ferns, snakeroot, noble trees and the creek that tumbles past my feet.

Crayfish pay me no mind in their muddy caverns.
Trees skyrocket overhead, on a mission.
Chipmunks skitter through leaf litter
and a kingfisher pounds its teal wings heading upstream.
I am dwarfed by the hillside vaulting from the floodplain. Boulders and saplings cling to its spine.

I am free to bathe here in clarified cells of cambium, xylem and phloem.
I wring my sponge in the generosity of flora.
The stream’s effervescence cleanses the tangled energy seeping from my pores.

I celebrate my fresh spirit with a confetti of scarlet, orange and yellow leaves that bob on the breast of the creek
as silently,
the trees disrobe.

***
Short Story
LIGHT OF THE MOON
by Ramona DeFelice Long

After three weeks in jail, Mama asked me to talk to Judge Rousseau about getting her some decent food to eat.
Mon Dieu,I am wasting away,” Mama said from her cell. Behind her, the narrow cot was covered with a quilt from home, and on top of the wooden crate she used as a table was a kerosene lamp on a doily. She’d left a half played game of solitaire spread over the doily. Where she got playing cards, I didn’t know. The Bible that had been on the pillow was nowhere to be seen.
She showed me her bowl of half-eaten stew. I think it was stew. “That old cow Lorraine Badeaux is poisoning me.”
“Hush, Mama,” I said. “Mrs. Badeaux is doing no such thing.”
Mama pressed her face between the bars. Her eyebrows and cheeks lifted up. That, plus the pounds she’d lost eating jail food and all the naps she took out of boredom, made her look as young as me. Trust Mama to turn getting arrested into getting prettier.
“Geneva,cher, just go ask him,” Mama wheedled. “That sheriff can hardly look at this slop. He passes me my plate and runs away. Or maybe he believes I’ll bewitch him, too.”
I begged her not to joke about that.
She narrowed her eyes at me. “And pour l’amour de Dieu, when you go see the judge, don’t wear what you got on. You look like a blind nun dressed you.”
“Mama—”
“Your hair’s all right, but get you some lipstick and rouge and use it. Judge Rousseau is old, but he ain’t dead.”
No, he wasn’t, but his brother-in-law was, and that’s why Mama’s bail was set high as the moon. But explaining that to her was like talking to a tree stump.
I said I had to leave. I was Mama’s only visitor, and she was bitter. Where was our family? Where were her friends? She was lonely and felt forsaken. I never told her that, at home, nobody came to visit me either, and I had not even murdered anybody.
Most days she begged me to stay, but tonight she told me to get on home. I suppose she thought I had a busy evening ahead tarting myself up before going to see the judge.
***
When the young deputy was on duty, he sat in a chair five feet away from Mama’s cell, as if he thought I’d help my mother escape by slipping a bolt cutter under my dress—a dress fit for a convent, indeed, because my teacher contract said I had to “act and keep my person modestly.” I worried every day I’d be fired over Mama’s scandal.
Sheriff Reyes usually sat in his office up front and read the newspaper. When my visiting time was over, he always asked, “Things all right, Miss Geneva?”
I answered, “Yes, Sheriff, thank you,” except for the time or two when Mama asked for a warmer shawl or the quilt off her bed.
Once, horrifyingly, I had to say I needed to come right back; when he frowned, I whispered that Mama needed some womanly things. He let me into her cell with a paper sack that he did not inspect. Had I been wily, I could have slipped her anything—a pistol, liquor, tonic from Madame Velda—but wily was Mama’s way, not mine. The sheriff trusted me. If you can’t trust a twenty-year-old spinster schoolteacher who dresses as modestly as a nun, you have faith in no one.
Tonight, Sheriff Reyes stood at the window. The kerosene lamp on his desk lit him up from behind: tall, broad-shouldered, brown hair cut short but still wavy. On one of those shoulders was the scar from a shell that blew him out of the sniper’s nest he’d sat in for three days, picking off Germans but never giving away his position. I’d read that in the Bossier City newspaper, when he’d come home a hero after the war ended.
He turned around and said, “Your mother’s right. Mrs. Badeaux can’t cook.”
I didn’t speak; he was also very handsome.


***

into the woods SQ teaser


Mindful Writers Retreat Authors 
Many of the writers who contributed to the anthology. 
The retreats happen at Ligonier camp and conference center in Ligonier, PA. Tenth retreat is coming up this fall!


Twenty-six Mindful Writers Retreat Authors contributed to Into the Woods. The group consists of bestsellers, award-winners, first-time authors, seasoned veterans, poets, memoirists, essayists, musicians, journalists, novelists, and short story writers who are traditionally, self and hybrid published. At Mindful Writers Retreats the labels don’t create a hierarchy, but instead reveal the richness of those who attend. Every single writer contributes to the magic and the fun that results from meditation, walking in the woods, and hour upon hour of mindful writing.

Authors in alphabetical order:
Lorraine Bonzelet
Wende Dikec
Teresa Futrick
Selah Gray
Hilary Hauck
Michele Zirkle
Eileen Enwright Hodgetts
Larry Ivkovich
Lori M. Jones
Kimberly Kurth-Gray
Laura Lovic-Lindsay
Ramona DeFelice Long
MaryAlice Meli
Gail Oare Sher Pensiero
Kim Pierson
Cara Reinard
James Robinson, Jr.
Larry Schardt
Linda K. Schmitmeyer
Carol Schoenig
Kathleen Shoop
Martha Swiss
Amy Walter
Madhu Bazaz Wangu
Denise Weaver

Many of the writers who contributed to the anthology. 
The retreats happen at Ligonier camp and conference center in Ligonier, PA. Tenth retreat is coming up this fall!

Find the Mindful Writers Retreat Series on Facebook HERE

Follow the tour

Photobucket
I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY
1st Prize 
$50 Amazon GC and a copy of into the woods 
2nd Prize 
$25 Amazon GC and a copy of into the woods
Open Worldwide
Ending on Sunday 5th August at 11.59pm EST


Enter Below and Good Luck !!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team - Apply Here x

Current book tours open for sign ups HERE