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.

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

Meet the Author

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


Woohoo!! Congrats to the other winners and to all the entries - another challenge full of brilliant writing!

I'm thrilled Reg & Jenny touched hearts of so many - thank you!!

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.

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! 

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!