Monday, February 22, 2021

Rhiannon Gelston with Lark and the Loon

Please welcome Rhiannon Gelston to the blog today!

As someone who has dealt with memoir writing in Dancing With Dementia, I had a question for Rhiannon:


How did you decide on the parts of reality that were going to be the basis of this memoir with a twist?


It was a very organic process that essentially evolved as I was writing it, with no real set plan. I knew I wanted to write about my family, to capture who they were at the time and document some memories of my kids when they were little. The book was originally started out just for them, without actually thinking I was going to publish it but, as time went on, and the novel took form, I started to think I might try and share it with others as well. I eventually pursued having it published.


Within the story the protagonist, Lark, ends up in a magical world in a symbolic tree. He goes on to travel back and forth from ascending this tree with some special friends, to traveling to the real world and experiencing events from the past, reliving moments from his mother’s memory (my memoir).


Essentially, all of the experiences outside of this magical world, in the real world, are the memoir piece. I describe it as almost a modern-day Scrooge journey, without the grumpy part!


The descriptions of the children in the story, from the memoir parts, were easy because it was just them, my five kids, and moments from our life together thus far. I am not quite sure how I decided which moments to share, as some were quite big while others were very simple everyday moments, yet they all taught me something.


I did know I wanted to write down some memories about when my daughter was ill, as that was a big life-lesson. It is one of those things that you wish you didn’t have to go through but, like anyone who goes through a hard time and comes out on the other side of it, you gain perspective, you figure out what really matters, and you try and really live and love the moment you are in moving forward. When the awareness that the next moment may not happen for someone you love, it simply changes everything. I didn’t want to ever forget those lessons.


I hope maybe my children one day, when they are a bit older, and anyone else who reads Lark and the Loon, can gain that awareness too, through riding that ride with us in the pages of the book.


Another big part of the book is from my time spent in Africa, doing my occupational therapy internship and traveling. That experience, in beautiful Africa, was another eye-opening experience that changed how I view the world. It was something I always wanted to write about. I intended on sending a query to some occupational therapy journals upon my return, as my internship experience was so unique. I just never did that for some reason. I guess it was meant to go in this book instead!


So, maybe the answer to your question, now that I think about it, is the way I decided which parts of reality were to be included was they were all some moments from my life, both the big and the small, that shifted how I see the world in some way. Moments that provided me with a greater awareness of what matters in the big picture.


I’m delighted to be participating in author Rhiannon Gelston’s blog tour for her latest release, LARK AND THE LOON.

Genre: Memoir with a Twist
◊ Publisher: WiDo Publishing (July 17, 2020)
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Paperback: 284 pages
◊ ISBN-10: 1947966251
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1947966253

Lark and the Loon follows the adventures of a tentative boy named Lark, as he is catapulted out of all that he knows, into a courageous journey beyond his wildest imagination. 

Upon receiving a special gift from his Gramps, Lark embarks on a reflective journey of self-discovery as the innovative story weaves the true-life memoir of his mother (the author) in with a fantastical journey. With some special new-found friends, Lark travels back and forth from a symbolic tree to his mother’s true memories of life and death moments, and simple moments, found everywhere from wild Africa to their very own living room. Lark and his friends must ascend this tree and gain the important life lessons offered along the way if they ever hope to find their way out. Within this journey, Lark finds these lessons, and ultimately himself, in the space between imagination and truth in this wild tale.  

The story explores friendships, philosophies, and everyday challenges and joys, both from a child's perspective and from a parent's perspective. This memoir with a twist results in a coming-of-age story that ultimately leads to a new understanding of self, others, and the world that surrounds us.


LARK AND THE LOON
is available at AMAZONBarnes & Noble * WiDo Publishing. Also, be sure to add it to your TBR List on Goodreads.

Meet the Author


RHIANNON GELSTON
loves to lose herself in all things creative. She enjoys writing, painting, live music, traveling, sports, being outdoors, exploring, playing, spirituality, and energy work. She has a BA in English and an MS in Occupational Therapy with a pediatric focus. Rhiannon just had her first novel published. It is a memoir with a twist called, LARK AND THE LOON, available wherever books are sold.

Rhiannon grew up on Spa Creek in downtown Annapolis. Home for Rhiannon will always be the sound of the halyards hitting the masts on a breezy day, a pile of crabs saturated in Old Bay, raft-ups with friends as kids cannonball off of the stern, and time with family and friends, in, on, and around the Chesapeake Bay.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, their five lovely and lively children, and their black lab, McNasby.

Connect with Rhiannon on Facebook and Instagram.

Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway. It ends May 3. The grand prize is a $25 Amazon Gift Card and an eBook of LARK AND THE LOON. The second-place winner has to be a US resident as the gift is a signed copy of LARK THE LOON. The third-place prize is an eBook that two winners will receive. If the Rafflecopter widget doesn’t work, you can still enter by clicking HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by today. Doesn’t this sound like an intriguing memoir?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

WEP & The Kiss

Sin and Sunshine 

His Jenny’s lips had always been what she called fully dressed.


It had been the first thing he’d noticed about her. Those full lips had been the stuff of Reg’s fantasies for years. Decades.


She’d been wearing Crimson Poppy when they’d met at the Legion dance so long ago.


Peach Perfection on their first official date the very next weekend.


Petal the night he’d proposed.


Ruby Delight on their wedding day.


He’d kissed them all off of her until her lips were bare and she’d laughed and dressed them again.


Which had always meant Reg was kissing her again.


A man would have to be a saint to not kiss those lips when they were in kissing distance. And, as Jenny often told him with a smile, Reg was no saint.


Not when his Jenny was full of sin and sunshine.


What would her lips wear today? Passion Pink or Desert Nights? Ripeness or Luscious?


So many choices.


Colours, shades, shine, texture. He’d become a connoisseur and had his own favourites.


Crimson Poppy. Just like that first dance.


Yes, it was fitting.


First love.


First kiss.


Last love.


Last kiss.


Reg packed Crimson Poppy with the clothes Jenny had chosen last week. Then he sucked in a deep breath and held it until his emotions were under control.


His Jenny would go into the eternal with her lips fully dressed.

***

Photo of the prompt for the Kiss - a painting in gold showing two lovers kissing

The above story is part of the WEP Challenge. The prompt is The Kiss and the photo above.

Click on the link to access the other stories. There is always a ton of talent in the WEP challenge and the variety of takes on the prompt means it is always worth your time to read! It's even more fun when you join in!


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

IWSG & Friends in the Blogosphere & Jo

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 

February 3 question - Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

A resounding YES to this question!

When I first thought about writing a book, I stumbled onto a site called Agent Query with the forums Agent Query Connect. There I met my first 2 amazing critique partners & found out that Real People published books.

Obviously I knew nothing about the industry.

These crit buddies had blogs and I jumped into the blogosphere about ten (or more??) years ago.

I'm still buddies with many of these people (Hi, Alex!). People I consider friends and not only internet acquaintances.

I'm not going to list people because there are so many!

As an introvert who finds meeting new people stressful, it's interesting that I feel I could meet at least 30 blogging friends and not have that awkward initial interaction. 

Unfortunately my bloggy friends are spread all over the world (Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, England, Singapore...) (with a few close enough to meet one day!) so I doubt most of us will ever meet up in the real world, but I'd love to have everyone over for supper. Who's in for lasagna?

How about you? Do you have bloggers you consider friends? What would you be serving if they (we?) popped over for supper?

***

In Honor of Jo Wake
On February 3, share a recipe that brings them warm memories of friendship and love in honor of blogger Josephine “Jo” Wake at Jo on Food, Life, and a Scent of Chocolate. who passed away December 16, 2020


I didn't know Jo well, but we crossed paths through Sue's blog at Elephant's Child. Jo found out about my book Dancing With Dementia through Sue's post. Jo went on to read the book and post a review on her blog.

Jo and I chatted through email a few times as well and her love of life and joy in cooking were obvious. She will be missed.

If I actually followed a recipe for the lasagna I mentioned above, I'd include that but I tend to change it up & have no idea what the original recipe was!

I feel like Jo would appreciate this recipe too. It's a super simple one that ends up with delicious muffin-sized brownies. No icing required!

In a small pot, melt a cup of butter. Add in a cup of dark chocolate chips until they're melted.

In a mixing bowl, mix 1-1/2 cups of white sugar with 4 eggs. Add in a cup of flour and mix.

Add in the melted chocolate mixture and mix well. Throw in a handful of mini chocolate chips if you like.

Pour into muffin cups (I use the paper liners for easier clean up). Makes 16.

Bake for 35 minutes at 335.

That's it. Easy peasy and delicious. I'm sure Jo would approve!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Bloo Moose Nooz

Does anyone really like marketing? Anyone good at it? I'm not but I've decided "writing the next book" is the best strategy for me to follow for now. That I can do!

I don't think I even posted about the last release, so I thought I'd get everyone up to date with the Bloo Moose Adventures.

Reaching For Trust (Bloo Moose #6) releases tomorrow! 


I love this story and had so much fun writing it. I'm a huge music lover and writing from Trina's pov was a blast. Add in a maple syrup sugar shack, a big floppy rescue dog, and a stalker, and the story flew out of my fingers!

Bloo Moose #7 Reaching For Roots is up next and will release on March 23.

In this one we have a cartoonist who never has good luck staying in one place for long and an undercover agent trying to take down a criminal with a connection to Emmy. Poor Ryan digs himself into a very deep hole! Another story that was a blast to write.

Still working out which should be the next story after that. Jaz LaChance, Nick Grant, and Jenna Wilkes are all knocking on my skull to get their stories written. Any preferences?

In other news, I'm currently planning another series as well. One filled with smart people trying to make the world a better place and the people who are trying to keep them safe. 

Anyone invented a Pause Time For Everyone Except Me Machine that I could use to get all of these stories written???

How about you? Anyone else stink at marketing? What plans do you have for writing/releasing in 2021? Any exciting news to share?




Monday, January 11, 2021

Chrys Fey & A Fighting Chance

 Please welcome my friend Chrys Fey to the blog today!


Jemi Asked: What did you enjoy most about writing a series based on natural disasters?


Chrys Fey’s Answer: Exploring the disasters, of course! The natural disasters are why I wanted to write this series. Other authors have written about disasters, even several of them, like the I Survived series for kids by Lauren Tarshis. Writing a series that (mostly) followed a single couple through multiple natural disasters, and blended crimes and romance, was a new concept. I had a blast with it.

I’ve always been fascinated by disasters and severe weather and Mother Nature’s revenge. In school, I only enjoyed science when we got around to learning about earthquakes and volcanoes. Disaster movies are also my favorite movies to watch. So, I feel I was destined to write the Disaster Crimes series. All good things must come to an end, though. I’m glad to be ending this series with Thorn and Amanda and the disaster featured in it, which I will reveal in a later post on my tour. 😉



Pages: 154

Genre: Romantic-Suspense

Heat Rating: Hot


BLURB:

*A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.*

Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away.

And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.

Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and Amanda have a fighting chance?


Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes


EXCERPT:

Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye. She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.

“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her fingers at April and pointed at the stools.

April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield Amanda.

From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re going to be closing.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”

The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her memories.

Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by that name here.”

“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”

His voice was closer now.



***FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME***

THE DISASTER CURSE

 



 

Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*




 

The Disaster Crimes Series:

*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel)

Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1)

Seismic Crimes (#2)

Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5)

Tsunami Crimes (#3)

Flaming Crimes (#4)

Frozen Crimes (#5)

A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)

The Disaster Curse (short story, #7)

*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.



***LAUNCHING A WEBSITE***


TheFightingChance.org is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series.



***GIVEAWAY***


Prizes: Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2) eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a Volcanic Blast Scented Candle

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a92670/





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press. https://www.chrysfey.com

Author Links:

 Newsletter / Website / Facebook Group /Blog / BookBub

Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon


 


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

IWSG & 2021 & Getting Tossed

Happy New Year everyone!

Wishing you a year filled with love, joy, success, and happy surprises!

***

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

January 6 question - Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

Interesting question!!

I've always found it easy to immerse myself in stories. I can pretty easily take that leap of faith and suspend my disbelief, but when something tosses me out of the world, I have a really tough time finding my way back in.

Some things drive me a little nuts but if the story is intriguing I can put up with a bit (inconsistent world-building, backstory info dumps, stilted dialogue, too many errors). Too much of any of that will have me giving up, though.

Subject matter is probably the main reason I stop reading a book. If there is anything that crosses a line for me, I stop (anything inappropriate with kids, torture,...). If the blurb hasn't let me know that the tone of the book is that dark, I'm not going to be a happy reader.

How about you? What tosses you out of a story?

***

The 6th Bloo Moose Romance will be out and about in the world in a couple of weeks!

Reaching For Trust releases January 19.

Cover of Reaching For Trust showing Trina reaching up to kiss Jack

Thanks to her outrageous onstage costumes, pop star Trina can conceal her identity while working in Bloo Moose and writing her next album, all while avoiding a stalker.

 

Running a Sugar Shack should be easy for a burned-out lawyer, but Jack is soon in over his head. His sweet and sexy new office manager isn’t helping with his focus.

 

Unaware that his last case has ongoing repercussions, Jack attributes the problems at the shack to Trina’s errors and his inexperience.

 

When evidence points to false conclusions, they’ll both have to learn how to trust if they want a future together.


Amazon smart link

Other retailers


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

IWSG & Roller Coasters & Christmas Oh My!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

December 2 question - Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

I try to write every day (except Saturday which is pure family day). It doesn't always work out that way, but that's my intention. If I can't, I'm always thinking about my stories anyway, so every day should be about the same, right?

Ha!

My world tends to follow more of a roller coaster track than a toy train track. The pandemic has added a few loops of its own.

Having said that, my family rolls pretty well with the punches (mixed metaphor alert!) and I write fairly consistently throughout the year with a few exceptions.

I love NaNoWriMo and try to have a book ready to draft during November so I'm almost always very productive then. This year I've been working on Reaching For Connections: Bloo Moose #7. It's such a fun story!

I tend to work on 3 stories at a time (sort of) - one in draft, one in edits, one walking about in my head in the planning stages. Currently, that means I'm finishing drafting Reaching For Connections, diving into edits for Reaching For Trust (last year's NaNo project), and I have 2 more Bloo Moose stories walking around in my head.

Let's not talk about the new series walking around in there at the same time. My head is a little crowded...

How about you? Any super-productive times? Any times when life interferes? Anyone else's head crowded with stories waiting impatiently for their turn?

***

I probably won't post until the new year, so I wish you all the very best the season has to offer. I hope 2020 ends on a great note for you and that 2021 is the year you soar!!

(PS - if you're looking for a Christmas read, check out Reaching for Christmas!)