Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Blog Post: How a Corgi Supercharged My Writing Life by Regina Buttner (Author of “Down a Bad Road”)

I have never been dogless. When I was a child, my family had a succession of pooches of various breeds. As an adult, my kids and I adopted a string of dogs, including two incorrigible beagles and a lovely golden retriever named Juliet.

After my children were grown, I decided to trade the cold winters of upstate New York for the endless summer of coastal Florida, where I could enjoy the sunshine and write more books. There was a hitch, though—faithful Juliet disliked hot weather, so my son gladly took her in.

Being dogless gave me the freedom to pursue new pastimes in my new home: paddling my kayak, exploring the beaches, and planning my next novel. But then, an emptiness hit me. No damp doggy nose nudging me awake in the morning, nobody wagging their fanny off in greeting when I arrived home. My beach walks were solitary, and the space next to me on the couch was sadly vacant when I curled up to read in the evening. My writing suffered, too. With all the disruption of moving, the daily writing routine I’d worked so hard to cultivate was in danger of falling apart.

What to do? I wasn’t sure at first. Then one day, while sorting through my boxes, I came across a photo of a house I’d lived in twenty years ago. I recalled the wintry day when my young family moved in. The driveway was so long and narrow that the moving van had to park on the road, and the crew schlepped our belongings up to the house by hand. The cheerful driver wasn’t fazed though, because he had a secret power hidden inside his truck. “Mind if I let my dog out to play with yours?” he asked, and of course I agreed.

Next thing, a little dude named Edgar came bounding through the gate. He had short, stumpy legs, a ridiculously long back, and tall, pointy ears like satellite dishes. Where his tail should have been, there was only a fluffy pair of buns that resembled oven-browned loaves of bread. Edgar launched himself across the snowy backyard like a ping pong ball on steroids. “He’s a corgi,” his owner informed me, and I was instantly smitten.

As I sat there with my memories, a realization dawned: I need to get a dog. A month later, I acquired Pekoe, a 10-week-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and all heck broke loose. Having a puppy forced me to rise with the birds in the morning, for urgent potty and walkies. The vet had warned me that corgis tend to think they’re the boss of the world, so I worked diligently on Pekoe’s obedience training. Needless to say, she wasn’t too psyched about the whole doing-what-you’re-told thing, but I persevered. I developed a daily routine with a healthy blend of play time, training and naps, and structured my writing time around it.

The discipline of a daily schedule worked wonders with my pup, and it also jump-started my stalled writing life. The four basic commands I taught Pekoe—COME, SIT, STAY, FETCH—were essential to her training; and in a happy coincidence, I found they could be applied to my writing as well. 

Take COME, for instance. When the muse knocks, the writer must come to greet her, or risk her disappearing into the dreaded maw of writer’s block. Then there’s SIT. Your book won’t get written if your butt is traipsing around town, instead of at home in that desk chair where it belongs. And once you’re seated at the keyboard, you must STAY. Silence those pesky notifications and close the door, because it’s writin’ time! The last command you must master is FETCH. Your book ain’t gonna write itself, so let’s get after it! Clamp those needle-like puppy teeth around your story, give the muse a ferocious growl, and don’t let go until it’s done.

I’m happy to report that Pekoe has grown into a happy, healthy, and reasonably obedient corgi who only occasionally indulges her fantasy of being the supreme leader of the universe. With plenty of loving care, I hope to have Her Royal Corginess by my side for many more years and books to come. If you’d like a glimpse of Pekoe’s life of leisure, she’d be delighted to have you follow her on Instagram at #pekoecorgi.

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About the Author

Regina is a registered nurse-turned-writer who was raised in beautiful upstate New York, where she spent many happy years exploring the winding back roads and scenic hiking trails of the Adirondack mountain region. She recently traded the snowy northern winters for the tropical breezes of the Sunshine State, where her favorite pastimes are kayaking among the mangroves, strolling the gorgeous beaches, and attempting to teach tricks to her boisterous corgi. 

Learn more on Regina’s website or follow her on InstagramFacebookGoodreads or BookBub

You can read more about the book (and read a preview!) by going to: https://www.amazon.com/Down-Bad-Road-Regina-Buttner-ebook/dp/B0BSN7F7KT

Add Down a Bad Road to your Goodreads TBR list or purchase a copy at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org.

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Blog Tour Calendar

May 29th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the blog tour launch of Down a Bad Road by Regina Buttner. You’ll have the chance to read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Stop by author Anthony Avina’s blog to read his review of Down a Bad Road by Regina Buttner. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

May 31st @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog

Join Lisa for an interview with Regina Buttner.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

June 1st @ World of My Imagination

Stop by World of My Imagination to read Nicole’s review of Down a Bad Road

https://worldofmyimagination.com

June 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read “How a Corgi Supercharged My Writing Life” by Regina Buttner. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

June 5th @ A Lit Life

Stop by A Lit Life read Stephanie’s review of Down a Bad Road

http://www.alitlife.com/

June 7th @ Sue Edwards’s blog

Visit Sue’s blog to read an interview with author Regina Buttner.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

June 8th @ Michelle Cornish’s blog

Read a guest post from Regina Buttner about cultivating writerly discipline.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

June 9th @ Reading is My Remedy

Check out Chelsie’s Instagram where she’ll review Down a Bad Road.

https://www.instagram.com/reading_is_my_remedy

June 10th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog where Regina Buttner is a guest for “Three Things on a Saturday Night.”

https://worldofmyimagination.com

June 12th @ Reading is My Remedy

Stop by Chelsie’s blog to read a guest post by Regina Buttner about disguising your friends and family in your stories.

https://www.readingismyremedy.wordpress.com

June 13th @ Michelle Cornish’s author blog

Join Michelle as she reviews Down a Bad Road.

https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

June 14th @ Create Write Now

Visit Mari’s blog to read a guest post by Regina Buttner about growing up old-school Catholic and daring to write about it!

CreateWriteNow.com

June 15th @ The Knotty Needle

Join Judy for her review of Down a Bad Road.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

June 16th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog

Stop by Mindy’s blog to read “A Humorous Look at NOT Dating After 50” by Regina Buttner.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

June 16th @ From the TBR Pile

Join Kari as she reviews Down a Bad Road. 

https://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

June 18th @ Lady Unemployed 

Stop by Nicole’s blog to read “How Joining a Professional Writers Organization Transformed My Writing Career” by Regina Buttner.

Welcome to Lady Unemployed!

June 21st @ Life According to Jamie

Join us as Jamie reviews Down a Bad Road

http://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com

June 22nd @ Sue Edwards’s blog

Return to Sue’s blog to read “From Nurse to Writer” by Regina Buttner.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

June 23rd @ Nikki’s Book Reviews

Read Nicole’s review of Down a Bad Road.

https://nikkitsbookreviews.wordpress.com/

June 24th @ The Faerie Review

Stop by The Faerie Review to read a spotlight of Down a Bad Road

https://www.thefaeriereview.com

June 25th @ A Lit Life

Return to A Lit Life to read a guest post from Regina Buttner about how a visit to the Stillwater Hotel in Upstate New York inspired the setting for Down a Bad Road

http://www.alitlife.com/

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Guest Blog Post from Author Donovan Hufnagle, author of “Raw Flesh Flash: The Incomplete, Unfinished Of”

Publishing is just another trial as part of the writer’s journey. When we cross the threshold from the known world into the unknown world, answering the call to adventure, entering OZ, Wonderland, the Athenian Forest…into our dreamworld, “somewhere over the rainbow,” we follow the yellow brick road, follow gold bricks in the form of words to counter the white space on the page and, perhaps, in our life. The perfect word(s). This word and not that word. We pass through the abyss, reach the Emerald City, and eventually come back home. But before we can reach the city, earn our gift, tap our heels together, and share it with the known world, the trial of publishing confronts us. 

Publishing is not the end of the journey nor is it a gift. When my first book, Sunshine Special, was published, I thought the world would change. It didn’t. I did, however, reach a revelation…publishing isn’t the key to a magical door that opens a garden of poppies and avenues. When my current book, Raw Flesh Flash: The Incomplete, Unfinished Documenting Of, won a publishing contest and was published by Uncollected Press, I understood that the work had just begun. And I think understanding is crucial. Writers, especially poets, should understand that there may be many times we hear the word NO. It feels personal. It’s not. But when you write and write, edit, and write some more then finally build the strength to submit your work, placing your work on display for someone to just cut it open until it bleeds seems pretty damn personal to me. And, simultaneously, impersonal, since most of the time you receive a cookie cutter rejection from the publisher like they didn’t even bother to read it. 

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On a side note, if you receive a personalized rejection, cherish it. 

Understand that publishing is a business like any other business and your success as a writer is not dependent on publishing. I just received a rejection through Submittable just the other day for one of my poems. I place it in a folder titled “submissions,” forget it and move on. Publishing is not an enemy; it is just a necessary hurdle along the way. 

My advice, then, is to keep writing, and one day you may become published (if that is what you are striving for).  It will feel good. It will be exciting. Someone out there appreciating your work as much as you do. Your hard work will finally be on display for others. You can stop plucking rose petals, wondering if they love you or if they love you not (maybe). Also, understand that the journey is not over. You will need to work just as hard for the next thing, to conquer the next trial. 

It took a long time for me to truly think about publishing—decades. As a younger poet, I wasn’t that interested in publishing. I would submit a poem here or there. But it wasn’t until I crafted my art to a point where I wanted, no, felt like I needed to share it with more than my wife that publishing seemed like the next logical step. So, I put my stuff out there. Scary and exciting. I received rejections. Dejected. I received acceptances. Elated. Some won contests. Some still have never seen the light of day. 

I am at a place, now, in my writing career that I know my talents, I know my successes, and they don’t depend on those publications. But it sure does feel nice. My writings are like my tattoos, on public display for all that I encounter, simultaneously, holding a personal meaning no one else will ever know, unless you ask. Every writer’s journey is unique; some trials along the way may come easy, some may never be conquered, but know the real gift is that you wrote something, you created new, you crafted art for a world where the “dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

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About the Book

Donovan Hufnagle has assembled a careful poetic ethnography of tattooed bodies and the stories that they tell. Just as the tattoo inscribes meaning on the body, this book elegantly reveals the stories that only the body can tell. It is a book that connects tattoo adorned bodies to a profound human truth: we are each other’s mirrors, and the artful inscriptions of our bodies connect us to each other in ways that transcend political and social divides. This is an urgent book that does what only the best poetry can do; it opens spaces for conversation, connection, and healing.-Kristin Prevallet, author of “I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time”.

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About the Author

Donovan Hufnagle is a husband, a father of three, and a professor of English and Humanities. He moved from Southern California to Prescott, Arizona to Fort Worth, Texas. His new poetry collection, Raw Flesh Flash: The Incomplete, Unfinished Of, is a poetic scrapbook of interviews, poetry, and documents about the universal narrative of tattoos. 

He also has three other poetry collections: The Sunshine Special, a “part personal narrative, epic poem, and historical artifact;” Shoebox, an epistolary, poetic narrative about Juliana’s “past and present, love and lack, in language that startles;” and 30 Days of 19, inverted Haiku poems juxtaposed to Trump tweets, capturing the first thirty days of the Covid 19 quarantine. 

Other recent writings have appeared in The Closed Eye Open, Tempered Runes Press, Solum Literary Press, Poetry Box, Beyond Words, Wingless Dreamer, Subprimal Poetry Art, Americana Popular Culture Magazine, Shufpoetry, Kitty Litter Press, Carbon Culture, Amarillo Bay, Borderlands, Tattoo Highway, The New York Quarterly, Rougarou, and others.

http://www.donovanhufnagle.com/

Guest Blog Post and Blog Tour for Author A.K. Holubek’s “The Empath and the Soldier”

The Empath and the Soldier

Guest Post

Thanks for the opportunity to talk a little about my new book. In this post, I’d like to discuss one of the central themes of The Empath and the Soldier and where it originated

Growing up, I was obsessed with the movie Stand by Me. As a lonely tween and adolescent, I longed, almost ached, for the kind of friendship shared by the four main characters. In the middle of my fourth-grade year, my dad had moved us from Indiana, where I had multiple close friends, to Colorado, where I had none. For some reason I had quite a bit of trouble making new friends in our new home, and for many years I was a lonely, reclusive kid who spent hours either reading or creating imaginary worlds. So the camaraderie between the four boys in the movie was a glimpse into a world I felt I was missing out on.

Actually, looking back, I can guess why making friends was so difficult for me. I think even my pre-pubescent self knew that I was different from other boys. And it wasn’t just that I didn’t care much for sports and loved musical theater. Deep down, I knew that somehow my feelings for other boys were different than what they felt for me. I also knew that these feelings would be considered grotesque by other kids my age. I kept my distance from everyone else in order to keep them from finding out who I really was and because I didn’t think they’d like me anyway. Who wants to be around a gay kid who’d rather watch The Sound of Music than a football game?

In junior high and high school, I did hang out with people, but I never really was myself with them. It was more like I was playing the part of a typically straight, male teenager. With other boys, I pretended to like girls and be interested in “typical boy stuff.” But I wasn’t very good at this pretense, so I mostly kept quiet, earning a reputation as the tall, quiet guy who was maybe a little boring, but at least harmless.

I felt much more comfortable with my female friends. At least with them I didn’t have to feign excitement for things that were of no interest to me. But still, I held some part of me back. I was certain even they would think less of me if they knew who I truly was.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school and into college that I finally began to make friends with whom I felt I really belonged. People who I somehow knew would accept all of me, not just a filtered version. Eventually, I came out to these friends and my instincts were proved correct; they didn’t think any less or any different of me. 

It would be impossible to adequately describe the absolute elation and contentment I felt after finding a group of friends that fit me. I finally had a crew, a squad, that I could count on, and who counted on me. I finally had what the kids in Stand by Me had. These friendships would become the benchmark against which I would measure all future friendships. I won’t call anyone a real friend until I reach the same level of comfort with them that I felt with my first group of close friends.

Finally finding “my people” in high school was such a significant point in my life, that I made it one of the central themes in The Empath and the Soldier. In the book we see the main character, Tyrran, really start to blossom as a person after finally finding a group of people with whom he feels he can relate. It’s through them that he learns self-confidence and gains self-esteem because they value him for who he is.

When I tell people about books that inspired my novel, I usually mention other fantasy books like Lord of the Rings or even the novels of Jane Austen, upon which the book’s setting is modeled. But I often forget to mention that, outside all the fantastical elements and the Bridgerton-esque backdrop, this novel is really about friendship, inspired by books and movies like Stand by Me, but also by my own experiences. One core message I hope readers take away from The Empath and the Soldier is that there’s a group out there for everyone, and if you’re at a particularly lonely or friendless point in life, know that you can and will eventually find people that fit you. It may take some time, but they’re out there. 

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The Empath and the Soldier - A.K. Holubek

A.K. Holubek has a new MM Regency period fantasy book out, The Unconventionals book 1: The Empath and the Soldier. And there’s a giveaway.

The situation seemed hopeless. But Tyrran couldn’t pretend to be ignorant of the danger and just wait for his home to disintegrate around him.

As a Favored male, Tyrran belongs to a select group of men born with one of the Four Gifts, a blessing usually reserved for women. Quiet, introverted, and filled with self-doubt, Tyrran has always struggled with living up to the responsibilities that come with being Gifted. Still, he had managed to achieve the near impossible — admission to the prestigious Lyceum Institute in Corvit, the Coarian Sovereignty’s bustling capital city. With this success, Tyrran’s future seems clear: the best education, a position in a Temple, and, one day, marriage to a young man of good fortune.

That is, until sinister forces intervene to shove him down a much bleaker path. Tyrran’s plans are thrown into upheaval when a deadly attack reveals the existence of an insidious evil festering within the ranks of the Sovereignty’s elite.

Now, he must use the privileges afforded him as a Lyceum student to uncover the secrets of a corrupt government. Targeted by relentless assassins and trying to ignore his growing attachment to the handsome exchange student Adwin, Tyrran must gather trustworthy allies to face the dangers that threaten to tear apart his nation and his home.

Bridgerton meets The Magicians in this fantasy novel about the importance of confidence and the strength of friendship.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

A.K. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47280/


Excerpt

The Empath and The Soldier meme

At that moment they stopped suddenly, startled by someone crawling out of the pond almost directly in front of them. The someone turned out to be a man—an East Silacian, Tyrran noted right away, due to his black skin. He was shirtless, wearing only white tights, and he looked about Tyrran’s age. He was shorter than Tyrran and his chest, stomach, and arms were muscular—sculpted was the more appropriate term, his skin stretched tight over every muscle. His physique was compact rather than large, he had deep brown eyes, and his black hair was cut close to his head.

Tyrran had always suspected that the Silacian reputation for beauty was exaggerated, stemming from the inferiority complex Coarians held towards Silacians, whose empire was much larger, wealthier, and more advanced than the Sovereignty. But if Nyri and this man were any indication, then their reputed good looks were understated if anything.

“Good morning, soldier,” the man said, addressing Lena as he wiped water from his face with his hands. He spoke the Common Tongue with a sophisticated accent that sounded very similar to Nyri’s.

“Good morning, Adwin,” Lena replied, looking puzzled. “Did you, uh, fall in the pond?”

“Not at all. I was just going for a morning swim.” He smiled as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

“In public? In the middle of campus?”

“But of course. This appears to be the closest body of water to our college. However, by your expressions, I assume Coarian notions of decorum discourage public bathing. I did swim wearing my tights, since I know public nudity is frowned upon.”

He may as well have removed them, for what little use they were in covering his nudity. The material clung to his skin, revealing bulging leg muscles as well as other bulges that Tyrran was making a concerted effort not to stare at.

“We do tend to prefer bathing in secluded areas,” Lena said. “Spaces set aside for bathing. Like the bathhouse next to the Barracks House, for instance.”

“I did try the bathhouse, but the water is heated. Quite uncomfortable on a warm day like today. Do you suppose I shall be sent packing back to Silacia for this breach of conduct?” An impudent grin spread across his face.

“It’s early enough that I’m sure no one but us has seen you. Though I do suggest you put the rest of your clothes back on soon. Where are they, by the by?”

“My clothes? I left them further down the trail. In truth, I was swimming about the pond for exercise rather than for bathing, then I saw the two of you and thought to come greet you. And now I think I have finished with swimming. Would you mind accompanying me to fetch my clothes?”

Tyrran could see that Lena was annoyed by the request and had every intention of replying in the negative. But Tyrran didn’t want Adwin to be offended, so he quickly spoke up.

“We would be happy to.”

That earned him an evil look from Lena.

Adwin offered his arm to Tyrran. “Adwin Mekalbe, at your service.”

Tyrran grasped his forearm, “Tyrran Kens, at yours,” he replied, trying to keep his voice from squeaking.

“I assume you do not attend the Military College,” Adwin continued, as the three of them resumed walking along the trail.

“No, I’m at Roothe College. Lena and I are friends from Temple Academy.”

“Ah, yes. In Hifield City. I am truly sorry about the attacks. I do hope you were not directly affected.”


Author Bio

A.K. Holubek

The moment A.K. Holubek stumbled across a ragged copy of The Fellowship of the Ring in his elementary school library, his life changed forever. The rest of his childhood, his adolescence, and even his college years were spent living only part time in the real world. He much preferred spending time in the fantasy lands of his imagination than in the reality of life as a closeted gay kid. As real life got better, he left his fantasy worlds behind. But a few years ago, those worlds called him to return, and to share his created worlds with others who might also need a place to escape. He now endeavors to carry out this mission from his home in Baltimore, supported by his husband and two ridiculous cats.

Author Website: http://theunconventionals.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/andrew.holubeck

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/akholubek

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theunconventionalsbooks/

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Guest Blog Post: What are Women Willing to Sacrifice for Freedom by Norma Watkins (Author of In Common)

What are Women Willing to Sacrifice for Freedom

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In the mid-twentieth century, women were encouraged to sacrifice freedom for marriage, and discouraged from ever sacrificing that marriage for freedom. I have written about both.

Growing up in the South, we noticed the rules early: white people ruled over Blacks and men over women. My father certainly ruled our house; we feared his anger and obeyed his commands. By we, I mean his three daughters and our mother (whose cardinal sin became not giving him a son). 

During the years covered in my novel In Common, men had careers and women did not, or at least proper white women in northeast Jackson, Mississippi, did not. Women were to serve by supporting their men, making sure a drink awaited when they got home, along with a nice, hot meal, and obedient children. Support meant not bothering the man with trivial household problems or asking for money. It meant not getting in the way of his work, his dinner, or his rest.  

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Properly brought up young women absorbed these lessons. We were sent to college primarily to find a man like our fathers, one who would go out and earn the living. In return for the great freedom of staying home, we were to keep quiet, run a good house, and give birth to at least one son. We were not to complain of boredom or purposelessness. 

In my novel, two extremely capable women, Lillian and Velma, (Lillian could run an entire hotel; Velma was a superb secretary), sacrifice their talents for the love of a man who hardly appears to notice. Today, their choices look absurd, but we forget how little agency women possessed in those days. A married woman could not get a credit card in her own name, nor own property, or serve on a jury. If she complained too much, she could be declared a hysteric and institutionalized.

My first memoir, The Last Resort, is about one young female’s quest for freedom. The protagonist (me) looks for it initially by following the rules: find a man, marry him, give birth. In each instance, the promise of freedom turns out to be hollow. The man (in the middle of the civil rights troubles) is not the tolerant person she’d believed. Marriage brought a boring, poorly paid job and equally boring, unpaid household chores. Childbirth freed her from the job, but exponentially increased the chores.  

In the end, she gives up home, husband, children, and reputation in exchange for autonomy—the freedom to think, and enough education to acquire a job she loves. The sequel, That Woman from Mississippi, shows the consequences of that bolt for freedom. 

Literature (and life) are filled with far more dire sacrifices than mine. Saint Agatha, a high-born Sicilian beauty, lived during Roman rule in the middle of the third century. The Prefect wanted to possess her, but she refused his advances. She desired only the freedom to remain chaste and devote her life to the church. Outraged, he had her breasts torn off and she was sent to a dungeon to die. According to legend, the Lord sent an angel to heal her. Hearing this, the furious governor had Agatha dragged over hot coals until she died. In Sicily, February 5 is St. Agatha day, and bakeries sell breast-shaped buns in her memory.

Freedom is a moving target. Be careful of your choices.   

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Book Summary

Lillian Creekmore grows up at her family’s popular rural spa. She successfully runs an entire hotel, yet longs for a husband. Then she meets Will Hughes.

Velma Vernon accepts life on a small, struggling farm until a boy she barely tolerates proposes marriage. To accept means duplicating her parents’ hard life. Alone, she leaves for the city and triumphs, not as a wife, but by being the best at her job. Velma is content until the most beautiful man she has ever seen walks into her office.

This moving and darkly humorous novel follows the intertwined lives of women willing to surrender everything to a man.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

ISBN-10: 1684339235

ISBN-13: 978-1684339235

ASIN: B09V1NNLSZ

Print Pages: 595 Pages

Purchase a copy of In Common by visiting Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. Make sure you also add In Common to your Goodreads reading list.

About the Author

Raised in the South during the civil rights struggles, Norma Watkins is the author of In Common and two memoirs: The Last Resort, Taking the Mississippi Cure (2011), which won a gold medal for best nonfiction published in the South by an independent press; and That Woman from Mississippi (2017). She lives in northern California with her woodworker husband and three cats.

You can find her online by visiting her website or reading her blog.

https://twitter.com/normascribble

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Blog Tour Calendar

February 13th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the blog tour launch of In Common by Norma Watkins. You’ll have the chance to read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

February 15th @ Michelle Cornish’s blog

Visit Michelle’s blog to read about good food as reward and vengeance by Norma Watkins.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

February 18th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra as she features In Common and shares a guest post from Norma Watkins about writing truths about people who might be hurt by them.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

February 20th @ Lisa Buske’s blog

Stop by Lisa’s blog to read a guest post by Norma about civil rights and growing up in the South during Jim Crow.

https://www.lisambuske.com/

February 22nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Join us today for author Anthony Avina’s review of In Common.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

February 24th @ Fiona Ingram’s author blog

Stop by Fiona’s blog to read a guest post by Norma Watkins featuring a look at how women were treated in the South pre-feminism.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

February 25th @ The Book Diva’s Reads

Visit Vivian’s blog for a feature of In Common by Norma Watkins. You’ll have the chance to read an excerpt too!

https://thebookdivasreads.com/

February 27th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog

Stop by Mindy’s blog to read a guest post about bad sex.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

February 28th @ Seaside Book Nook

Join Jilleen for a spotlight of an excerpt of In Common by Norma Watkins.

http://www.seasidebooknook.com/

March 1st @ The Mommies Reviews

Join Glenda as she reviews In Common and shares a guest post from the author about sharing the hard stuff.

http://TheMommiesReviews.com

March 2nd @ The Frugalista Mom

Join us for a guest post from Norma Watkins on how you are unique and irreplaceable.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

March 4th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog where Norma Watkins is a guest for “Three Things on a Saturday Night.”

https://worldofmyimagination.com

March 5th @ A Wonderful World of Words

Visit Joy’s blog for a feature of In Common by Norma Watkins.

https://joyffree.blogspot.com/

March 6th @ Life According to Jamie

Join us as Jamie reviews In Common

http://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com

March 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read “What are Women Willing to Sacrifice for Freedom?” by Norma Watkins.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

March 9th @ The Knotty Needle

Stop by for Judy’s review of In Common.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

March 10th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog

Join Lisa for an interview with Norma Watkins.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

March 11th @ Reading in the Wildwood Reviews

Join us today for Megan’s review of In Common.

https://www.wildwoodreads.com

March 12th @ Jill Sheets’s blog

Stop by Jill’s blog to read her interview with Norma Watkins

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Guest Posts: Forks in the Road: Investigating my own writing process By Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

I write how I read, in multiples. I typically have several writing projects going on at once, usually a picture book, middle grade, and a YA (and then the occasional non-fiction piece for work). Switching between genres helps keep my brain fresh. If I have been working on one piece for a while, and writer’s block looms, I switch to another project for a while to maintain momentum.

The variance in my approach to writing picture books versus novels isn’t necessarily intentional, but rather the formats of the genres lend themselves to different paths. Of course, every author must discover their own writing groove, and the following is what works for me. 

Picture Books 

Picture books are recommended to be 1000 words or less, with the emphasis on or less. To keep focused, I have to be methodical. The limited word count requires every word to have purpose. After the idea hits me, I list all the page spread numbers first. I favor writing picture books in short bursts, mirroring the brevity of the picture book’s page length.

First, I determine the climax and hook and which page spread the climax will fall. Of course, this spread is moveable, but I like to have a target to build toward. My current books all contain back matter, as they are addressing facts about the natural world and yoga. I calculate in the back matter to my page count, as to not go over the recommended page length. All of the back matter is referenced or connected to the book content, so I ensure to use consistent terminology through the book. 

Also as illustrations are involved, I think about which pages lend themselves to full page spreads and which are single-page illustrations. Having a vision for the overall book concept helps me to balance the text. Of course the editor might suggest moving things around, but my picture book editor likes for me to have some vision for the illustrations before we start.

Picture books consist of many moving parts!

YA Novels

With picture books, I tend to write more than required and then cut back on the unnecessary details; however, with novels I do the opposite. For the first draft, I focus on assembling the skeleton, which for me means dialogue and the major plot points. I add descriptive details and the “color” in subsequent drafts. 

For novels, I have the exposition, climax, and resolution determined first, and then figure out how to get there. After writing the exposition, I formulate a timeline of major plotline events. I never know how many chapters a book will have until it’s finished.

I prefer to write novels in longer strides, so if I don’t have at least time to knock out a chapter I wait and work on something else. When I get stuck, I take a break (notice I said when and not if, blocks happen to every writer). Often my breakthrough ideas come when I’m doing something else, like driving, gardening, and particularly after teaching a yoga class!

Understanding your typical patterns will help you to be a more efficient and productive writer; however, most importantly, know how to take a quality break. 

When Daddy Shows Me the Sky (picture book) from Belle Isle Books, released 11.19.21

Whispering Through Water (YA) from Monarch Educational Services, released 1.4.23

When Mama Grows with Me (picture book) from Belle Isle Books (releases Summer 2023)

Instagram: @rebeccawwheeler_author

Twitter: @RWW_author

www.rebeccawwheeler.com

Publisher: Monarch Educational Services, L.L.C

ISBN-10: 1957656052

ISBN-13: 978-1957656052

ASIN: ‎B0BCCW8T54

Print length: 265 pages

Purchase a copy of Whispering Through Water on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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About the Author

Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler was raised in West Point, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. From the moment she submitted her first short story to a young author’s contest in second grade, Rebecca knew she wanted to be a writer. Her love of writing led her to earn a BA in English and an MEd in English education. She spent several years as a high school teacher, during which she also developed a passion for mental health advocacy. Rebecca completed an MA in professional counseling and now works in the school-based mental health field and as a college adjunct psychology instructor. Rebecca also teaches yoga for the young and the young at heart, and she likes to infuse yoga and breathwork in her counseling practice wherever she can. 

She believes the most valuable use of her time is teaching youth how to love and care for each other and the world around them. Her stories share her focus on positive relationships and a love of nature. Rebecca now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two children, and two spoiled Siamese cats.

Whispering Through Water is her first YA novel and second book. Her picture book When Daddy Shows Me the Sky was released November 2021. You can follow Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccawwheeler_author and www.rebeccawwheeler.com.

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Blog Tour Calendar

January 9th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. We interview the author and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 10th @ Mindy McGinnis’ blog

Visit Mindy’s blog to read Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s guest post about things she’s learned about the author and editor relationship.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

January 10th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Visit Lu Ann’s blog for her review of Whispering Through Water. You also have the chance to win a copy of the book!

January 11th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog for an interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

January 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he shares his thoughts about Whispering Through Water.

January 13th @ A Storybook World

Deirdre features Whispering Through Water in a book spotlight.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 14th @ Just Katherine

Katherine treats us to an excerpt of Whispering Through Water.

https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/

January 15th @ Reading is My Remedy

Join Chelsie for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

January 16th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about how her graduate program in counseling helped her write fiction.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

January 18th @ Word Magic

Fiona spotlights Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

January 19th @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

Visit Joan’s blog for her insights about Whispering Through Water.

https://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

January 21st @ Life According to Jamie

Visit Jamie’s blog for her thoughts about Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

January 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Join Anthony as he shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about her different processes when writing young adult versus picture books.

January 26th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews the book Whispering Through Water.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

January 27th @ Storeybook Reviews

Come by Leslie’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

January 28th @ Reading is My Remedy

Cheslie shares a guest post from Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about gardening.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

February 1st @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley as she reviews Whispering Through Water.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 2nd @ Celticlady’s Reviews

Check out a book spotlight of Whispering Through Water. A must-read book to add to your collection!

https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

February 2nd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog again for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about growing up in a small town.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 5th @ The Mommies Reviews

Join Glenda as she reviews Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://themommiesreviews.com/

February 6th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue will be interviewing Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Learn more about this prolific writer!

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

February 7th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Whispering Through Water. She also shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about simple things to do at home to be more eco-friendly.

https://liberateandlather.com/

February 9th @ Chapter Break

Julie interviews author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about books, writing, life, and more. 

https://chapterbreak.net/

February 10th @ From the TBR Pile

Visit Kari’s blog for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

February 11th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler and her book Whispering Through Water.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

Guest Blog Post: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WRITING POETRY by Raven Howell

“I’m a poet and don’t even know it!” At some point, you’ve probably said something in an unintentional rhyme. Poetry? Sure, maybe those two seemingly silly sentences you shared with your spouse or with a parent were a little poetic:

Every year an ornament cracks

And there’s the cat – his smile is back!

The main obstacle with those considering writing poetry or getting into reading it, is that they assume it has to be serious, Shakespearean, and therefore, a little irrelevant and bland. But poetry can be found everywhere and in everything. 

During one school visit, I asked the students to consider an ordinary object right there in the classroom to write their poem about. After several minutes passed, a flummoxed child asked, “Miss Raven, all the ‘good’ regular items are already being written about. How can I write a verse about a staple remover?”

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I asked her what those metal clamps reminded her of. Oh! Metal teeth! Suddenly she saw the staple remover as a metal-mouthed gnasher with only one goal: gnawing and twisting those tin soldier staples from a paper battlefield. How’s that for finding a little poetry in something ordinary?

Tell me, what happened today? Were you frustrated that the wind blew away your scarf or hat? Think there’s no poetry in that? Try a haiku to get yourself going. The pattern is simple (traditional haiku: 3 lines, 5/7/5 syllables per line).

Wind stole my red scarf

Old man winter craves color

Scarlet for snow’s white.

This is just a quick idea off the top of my head, but the point is, attempt to add a little wonder and mindfulness somewhere in your words. Here, the ivory white canvas of winter is unintentionally decorated with the red scarf you lost.

You can look up the various formats of poems and their history online or research in the library, but my goal is to stir up some inspiration because that spark will begin your poetry journey. And – it’s not as hard as you may think.

I’ve found even those who don’t think they’d have any interest in poetry, find themselves with a smile or a tear in their eyes when they hear or read a good poem. 

My new children’s poetry book, The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes explores the world around us from the whimsical child’s perspective. Because I’ve been a full-time writer now for decades, and somehow naturally end up composing a verse or idea daily, it wasn’t too difficult for me to pick out 20 poems from my files for the compilation. 

I already had the title of the book. Not much rhymes with “poems” and my manuscript was originally being submitted to a publisher called Gnome Publishing, so I put together that title – The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes, thinking it sounded cute and was appropriate. Although the publishing house I signed with is a different one, the book title was already etched in my brain and I believed in the verse I imagined a group of magical gnomes or elves would enjoy reading while enjoying tea and honey biscuits perched under a mushroom cap. And so it came to be! 

I hope that reading the poems in my book, and viewing the playful artwork illustrator Naz Tarcan provided, may provide a good place for you to jump start your own love of poetry – and your own way of expressing or enjoying it!

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Book Summary

Discover the magic in simple moments when a child peers in the mirror to unintentionally come upon his smile, where kittens nap in boots, fairy hugs feel good, mice delight in reading books, and January snowflakes taste yummy.

Twenty whimsical poems warm the heart and inspire cheer; a collection enticing both the young and seasoned reader to explore the enchantment of the wonderful world of poetry.

Publisher: Handersen Publishing

ASIN: B0BJNT69WG

ISBN: 1647030757

ISBN-13: 978-1647030759

Print Pages: 28 Pages

Purchase a copy of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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About the Author

Raven Howell writes stories and poetry for children. Having published several award-winning picture books, she enjoys sharing her love of literature by visiting classrooms and libraries. Raven is Creative & Publishing Advisor for Red Clover Reader, served as Poetry Director for Monster Magnificent, and writes The Book Bug column for Story Monsters Ink magazine. Her poems are found in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, Spider, Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty, and Hello Magazine. She’s an editor, and collaborating author for Reading is Fundamental SoCal.

When not writing, Raven enjoys sunshine and the beach, spending time with her family, hiking, laughing, reading, goofing around with artwork, and inventing new recipes.

You can find her on: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/atpearthkeeper

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atpearthkeeper/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RavenHowellAuthorandPoetPage/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pickward/_saved/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raven-howell-5a813015b/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ravenhowell22

Blog Tour Calendar

— Blog Tour Calendar

December 26th @ The Muffin

Join us at our WOW! blog today, The Muffin, for the blog tour launch of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell. You can read an interview with the author and have a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

December 28th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Join Wendi as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell.

December 28th @ Reading Girl Reviews

Gina reviews Raven Howell’s book The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes

https://www.instagram.com/readinggirlreviews/

December 29th @ The Faerie Review

Visit Lily as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com

December 30th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he features a guest post by author Raven Howell featuring a beginner’s guide to writing poetry.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

January 1st @ Page Peeks

Visit Jeanne’s book review column as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

January 2nd @ Mother Daughter Book Club

Join Cindy as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

January 4th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog

Join AJ as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

January 6th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy as she shares her insights into Raven Howell’s book The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

January 8th @ Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

Join Linda as she features a guest post by author Ravne Howell about why we love gnomes so much.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

January 10th @ Mother Daughter Book Club

Visit Cindy’s blog again for a guest post by Raven Howell about arts and crafts, making fun gnomes for all ages.

January 12th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog as he reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

January 12th @ The Mommies Reviews

Visit Glenda’s blog today to read her review of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell. You’ll also have a chance to win a book copy too!

https://themommiesreviews.com/

January 16th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog as she shares author Raven Howell’s insights about the impact on children through author visits to schools or libraries.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

January 15th @ Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

Linda treats us to her review of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes by Raven Howell.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

January 17th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Lisa interviews Raven Howell about her book The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

January 18th @ Bev A Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she features a guest post by author Raven Howell about her lifelong journey as a poet and how she made it happen. 

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

January 20th @ Bev A Baird’s Blog

Come by Bev’s blog again as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes. A must-read children’s book you’ll love!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

January 20th @ Editor 911

Margo treats us to her review of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

https://editor-911.com/

January 22nd @ World of My Imagination

Nicole shares her thoughts about The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

January 23rd @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog and read a guest post by Raven Howell about gnome fashion and how the fairy realm influences fashion today.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 25th @ Carole Writes

Visit Carole’s blog for her review of The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes.

https://carolemertz.com/

January 27th @ Editor 911

Come by Margo’s blog again and read Raven Howell’s guest post featuring yummy treats with a gnome theme.

https://editor-911.com/

January 28th @ Lisa’s Reading

Join Lisa as she reviews The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes. You also have the chance to win a copy of the book too!

https://lisasreading.com/

January 29th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog as she interviews author Raven Howell about her writing journey and her experience as an author.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Guest Blog Post: The best writing/life advice by K.E. Bonner

Preop is a hive of activity at 6:45am. Metal charts clink, heart monitors beep, and a mingled aroma of betadine, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol wafts through the air. Nurses, aides, mid-levels, and doctors side-step one another as they check orders, see patients, and sign consents. 

“Hi, I’m Karen, and I’ll be your anesthetist this morning,” I say as I enter the preop bay. An elderly man is lying on a stretcher. He answers my questions and I turn back to the chart to double check his paperwork. 

“Young lady,” he rasps, and reaches out his liver-spotted hand out.  I take it. Wrinkles crisscross his face like a cracked desert landscape. “I need to tell you something.” 

After a long career in healthcare, I’ve learned to listen to my patients. Our eyes lock and he squeezes my hand.  

“You will never be able to accomplish everything that you want to accomplish without a life of sobriety.” An impulse flickered between us, an undeniable shared action potential. 

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“Okay,” I nod, taken aback. Why would he say this to me? Did I look like a heavy drinker? 

His matter-of-fact way of speaking stayed with me. There was no possible way that this man knew that I was struggling to accomplish my goals.  At that point I’d been writing, editing, and re-writing my first novel, not to mention that I was working long shifts at the hospital, raising two young children, and struggling to keep my marriage and our finances together. I wasn’t a heavy drinker, a few glasses of wine over dinner to unwind after a long day. What did he see in me that compelled him to speak his truth? I chewed on his words but wasn’t ready to quit drinking, yet.

One Sunday morning I lay in bed with a large bottle of Gator-aide praying for the nausea and pounding headache to recede. It was my day to write, and I could barely lift my head from the pillow. This hangover is a waste of my time, I fumed. I thought about my adoptive mother, and how she steadily drank herself into dementia. I spent most of that day on the couch lamenting the loss of the most precious thing that I possessed: time. I couldn’t write while I was drinking, and my hangover rendered me completely useless. This was the beginning of me developing a distaste for alcohol. 

Clarity followed sobriety. My energy skyrocketed, I was writing more consistently, and better. I reasoned that I’d unknowingly been in a constant state of dehydration. My scale started a downward trend as I began to exercise, which increased oxygenation to my brain, and increased my energy even more. I began to see how much time I had wasted by drinking, and to understand that I had been self-medicating with wine. 

Most people are not ready to hear my patient’s words, and in truth, it took me ten years to process and act on them. These days I drink half a glass of wine on special occasions, but I write every day. Time is precious and limited, make every effort to use your to the fullest.

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About the Author

K. E. Bonner, author of Witching Moon,was always the first kid to sit down during a spelling bee. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained why she always had to study three times harder than her peers. Being dyslexic taught her perseverance and kindness, her two favorite attributes. She lives in Georgia with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. When not writing, she loves to read, swim, explore new places, and meet fascinating people. If you have a dog, she would love to scratch behind its ears and tell it what a good pup it is.

Learn more about K.E. Bonner on her website or follow her on Instagram @kebonnerwrites. 

You can purchase a copy of Witching Moon on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add Witching Moon to your Goodreads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

December 19th @ The Muffin
Join WOW as we celebrate the launch of K.E. Bonner’s blog tour of Witching Moon. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book!
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com


December 20th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog
Stop by Mindy’s blog to read “Release the Idea of Getting Rich or Published and Focus on Your Craft.” by K.E. Bonner
https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

December 20th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Join us as Lu Ann reviews Witching Moon.

http://www.rockinbookreviews.com

December 21st @ All the Ups and Downs

Join Heather as she spotlights Witching Moon. Enter to win a copy of the book!

https://alltheupsandowns.blogspot.com/


December 23rd @ Michelle Cornish’s blog
Visit Michelle’s blog to read her review of Witching Moon.
https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

December 24th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features a spotlight of Witching Moon.
https://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 27th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog
Join Lisa for an interview with K.E. Bonner.
https://lisahaselton.com/blog/


December 28th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Join us today for author Anthony Avina’s review of Witching Moon.
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read “The Best Writing Advice I Received” by K.E. Bonner. 
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com


January 4th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Join us on Bev’s blog as she reviews Witching Moon.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

January 5th @ The Knotty Needle
Stop by for Judy’s review of Witching Moon.
http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

January 6th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Meet us back at Bev’s blog for “Ideas are Everywhere” a guest post by K.E. Bonner.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com


January 6th @ Look to the Western Sky
Join Margo as she reviews Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://margoldill.com/

January 7th @ Chapter Break

Visit Julie’s blog where she interviews author K.E. Bonner about her book Witching Moon.

https://chapterbreak.net/

January 9th @ Sue Edwards’s blog
Visit Sue’s blog to read “Magical Realism Surrounds Us” by K.E. Bonner.
https://suebe.wordpress.com/


January 10th @ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Visit Kathleen’s blog and read her review of Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

January 10th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole’s blog where K.E. Bonner is a guest for “Three Things on a Saturday Night.”
https://worldofmyimagination.com


January 12th @ Life According to Jamie
Join us as Jamie reviews Witching Moon
http://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com


January 14th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda as she interviews author K.E. Bonner.
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com

January 15th @ Fiona Ingram’s author blog 

Stop by Fiona’s blog to see her spotlight feature of Witching Moon

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

January 16th @ the Freeing the Butterfly blog
Visit Freeing the Butterfly to read “Life is Short, Do What You Love” by K.E. Bonner.
https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/blog

January 18th @ Jill Sheets’s blog 

Stop by Jill’s blog to read her interview with K.E. Bonner. 

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Guest Blog Post: WHY A JOURNALIST WROTE A MEMOIR – ACROSS CONTINENTS by Ira Mathur

In writing this memoir, I combined my two loves, journalism and creative writing.

The journalist’s task is to find the dark corners of the world of injustice and sadness and illuminate them. The bigger job is to be the watchdog of democracies, to ensure there are checks and balances in governance on behalf of the people.

If there is one thing it taught me is that humans are essentially the same. Everyone is looking for a way to survive the dark days of our mortality and the trials of being human, whether they are gangsters who end up getting shot at 20 and buried with gold chains down to their stomachs; or priests who have lived ascetic lives; or indeed, families around the commonwealth navigating the damage of Empire.

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It was with this understanding that I began to write a memoir.

As an immigrant to Tobago, where my parents moved when I was a child, and later to Trinidad, I felt the past was being cut away from me.

My son was born, and I had begun forgetting words in Urdu and Hindi. As an immigrant to Trinidad, I started feeling the past was being cut away from me. I wrote it to remember the past and understand the present of the glittering islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where my parents moved when I was a child. 

As I wrote about my experience as a journalist, somebody who chronicles the events that shape a country, I realised that my past was not unique. My grandmother told me how my ancestor was brought from Uzbekistan to put down the mutiny in India in 1856. As a recruited member of the British Army, he was forced to shoot his fellow Muslims, something he regretted till he died. I began making connections. It was also the story of colonial islands in the new world, where people were stripped of language. The narrative continued with my parents travelling to Trinidad and Tobago, which also has a complicated history of colonisation by the French Spanish and English. That interested me – how the personal can be so political, how the unravelling of one family living under decades of colonialism can echo a crumbling empire.

The overall theme of the crumbling Empire is relevant, especially now; after the death of Queen Elizabeth 11, we can see how similar post-colonial worlds are. The history of brutality was identical. In India, we grew up with stories of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar Puja when General Dyer ordered the British 

Indian Army to open fire on over a thousand unarmed, nonviolent protestors, Churchill’s active role in perpetuating the Bengal famine, or the signs my mother remembers in exclusive clubs that read “No Dogs or Indians” and the sly inroads of the East India Company. In Trinidad, as in much of South America, there is the brutal history of slavery, indentureship and genocide of millions of native Indians. In India from 1765 to 1938. the British got an estimated 45 trillion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods like textiles, rice, iron, and timbre, not to mention jewels from the Raj, which are housed in 

British museums today. Similarly, Caribbean islands like ours were looted for sugar and cocoa. It’s a shared history of exploitation.

 When my grandmother left India to join our family in Trinidad, she told me stories about a vanished India of the British Raj. She told me of generations of women born into Muslim Indian princely families of Bhopal and Savanur. I had to infer the calamity upon her life when my mother broke hundreds of years of tradition and understand why my grandmother disinherited my mother for marrying a Hindu army officer.

There were unanswered questions. I wondered why my grandmother ended up alone and penniless despite all her privileges- born a princess into Indian royalty, beauty, and musical talent. 

As I wrote the story, the puzzle came together. I began to understand how patterns are created in how we treat our daughters and how that damages the people we love. At my grandmother’s funeral, I was aware of how incongruous this was, a woman born in colonial India dying in the new world so far from everything she grew up with and knew. It was a way of bringing tother the old and new worlds and introducing the question of how and why this happened. How did a princess of the Raj die in Trinidad? 

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The colonial idea that subjugation, cruelty and even corporal punishment can be justified for the greater good filtered down to how people in colonies viewed their children.– how neglect, abandonment or abuse is passed on to their daughters and that pattern is continued. 

Migration is also a very personal issue. At the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth, dozens of security guards were of South Asian origin. According to an Indian Ministry of External Affairs report, 32 million Non-Resident Indians live outside India, overseas Indians comprise the world’s largest overseas diaspora, and over 2.4 million Indians migrate overseas yearly. Our family was just one in this ocean of movement. So the themes aren’t heavy, but 

illustrates how politics always becomes personal and affects families.  

When I wrote it, I did not expect it to resonate with so many people across continents. Michael Portillo for Times Radio was moved by the story of Poppet, the child in the book. Anita Rani of Times Radio was moved by the story of migration. The Observer found it was reminiscent of the times of the Raj in India, which has connected India and Britain for generations.

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About the Author

Ira Mathur is the author of Love The Dark Days – a Peepal Tree published a memoir on the emotional ruins of Empire on three generations of women set in Trinidad, St Lucia, India and the U.K., bookended with a weekend with Derek Walcott. Love The Dark Days was selected as a UK Guardian Best Book of the Year 2022 ( Memoir and Biography)

Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian multimedia journalist and columnist with a body of writing that includes over 800 columns over 20 years. (www.irasroom.org) She was longlisted for the 2021 Bath Novel Award for Touching Dr Simone. (Out in 2023)

Mathur studied creative writing in London with The University of East Anglia/Guardian & the Faber Academy with Gillian Slovo, Maggie Gee, and James Scudamore. In 2019 Mathur was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. She holds degrees in literature, law and journalism. 

Purchase on Amazon U.K.: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Dark-Days-Ira-Mathur/dp/1845235355#detailBullets_feature_div

Purchase on Amazon U.S.: https://amzn.to/3YaoVmH

Guest Post: What You Love Will Get You Through by Kate Brenton

I have always been a doer and banked on working my way through anything, but how effective that is change throughout life. My first hint was at 41 years old and a few weeks away from delivering my first and only child, when my midwife was packing up her bag from our visit, she looked over her shoulder to say, “You know it’s good for moms to have things to do that are just theirs.”

I nodded.

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“You, know,” she mindfully continued, “some Moms have to work, and some moms choose to work and it’s not so much the money at times, but what you get back for doing something that you really love to do, or just like to do, but it is something for you.”

“Uh-huh,” I smile. I am so naive in this moment I can only esoterically nod at what she was saying; I cannot really understand the lifeline she has thrown me before she walks out the door that day, but I bet she did. 

My son came into this world fully loaded with fire and change; his arrival opened a new era, and all change brings some dissolution. We can be surprised in the form, but as we journey forward in years we can start to sense those waves of change coming.

“You should start a podcast,” my sweet and reliable friend Joe told me one day out of the blue.

“What? I have a baby. I have no time,” I retorted.

“It’s not that hard and I think you would really enjoy it. Our podcast together has the highest ratings,” he continued. “And I could share my equipment with you..”

“What do you mean highest ratings?” I listened as Joe talked about the numbers on our one off show, and the details of microphones, and the help he was going to give me to get going. Our decades-old friendship had this swinging cadence of uplifting each other, so I was able to entertain this perplexing thought of me starting a podcast with only internal scrutiny because I knew his intentions were pure.

I hemmed and hawed over it. Crafted an intention and an arc, reached out to inspirational people I knew and the Rebirth podcast was born. You know what? I loved it. I loved talking. I loved the microphone. I loved sharing people’s stories. It brought me so much joy. Even when I had to record episodes in my car because the baby was sleeping, and there was no reception in the basement to record. Even when someone asked me how many listeners I had, and I didn’t know 50 downloads an episode was low, because 50 people was a great number for a local talk, which was how I looked at it. The podcast became a respite of creativity in a sea of self-less motherhood.

Life wasn’t in the easiest flow otherwise, and someone said to me, “You spend a lot of time on that podcast and it doesn’t make any money.” 

I was sitting at a table eating, legs crossed, fork in hand; I blinked. I felt a small dip in my stomach, when a voice inside—who I hadn’t heard for awhile—quietly cautioned me that this was not the thing to let go of. Her quietness gave me pause, even as my mind agreed that the podcast was not producing monetarily. I kept a solid face. I gave a non-verbal acknowledgment of the statement and decided to stay the course, with or without support.

About six months later, and I tell this story in the book, an acquaintance calls and tells me she is starting a publishing company and she wants to sign me as an author. I say yes, and again tell no one. If I had no time for a podcast, I certainly didn’t have the resources to write a book, but a someday-author doesn’t say no when the call comes. 

A good six months after the call from my now publisher, I have moved out of the house where I held my fork and my tongue, and I am sitting at a new coffee-table, a single parent with a book contract, immense writer’s block and deafening pressure. I keep going though, unseen and well loved hands, helping along the way. I invite my publisher on to my podcast to share her story of leaps and faith.

She calls me the next day, “Kate, the podcast is the book.”

“What?” I echo.

“You are so good at asking the questions and distilling the essence. I was thinking about it last night and I woke up this morning and realized, the podcast is the book.”

I felt a full body rush of agreement. 

The podcast began on a borrowed microphone in 2018, and the book hit #1 in New Thought on its release day (purposely set on Fall Equinox, a day of balance and harvest) in 2022. The book started as a postpartum project in agreement that sometimes it is good for a person to have and create what they love, to not get lost in the waves of sacrifice. The fire of change and dissolution that came through in my son’s birth, also created fertile soil for the lifelong-someday dream of being a published writer. If I had planned it, I would not have lived the process of growth to become it. 

Do not let go of that which brings you joy, for in the moment when you think there is no way possible, the innate roadmap of your rebirth has already begun making its way to you.

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About the Author

Kate Brenton, author, teacher and mother, helps women connect the dots between their purpose and their passion. Her first book Rebirth: Real-life stories about what happens when you let go and let life lead hit #1 on Amazon for New Thought, and can also be found at your favorite bookseller. Once a high school English teacher, Kate spent seven years in Hawaii learning holistic healing and now braids the power of story — whether in the bones or on the page — to inspire and uplift. She teaches online classes and retreats for spiritual development and inspiration. She also hosts a cohort, Sit & Write for mission-led authors.

Buy the book:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rebirth-kate-brenton/1142118168?ean=9781953445261

https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=Rebirth+Kate+Brenton

Website: www.katebrenton.com

Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rebirth-real-life-stories-of-letting-go-and-letting/id1451833998?i=1000581844581

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katembrenton/?hl=en

Substack: https://katebrenton.substack.com

Bookbubhttps://www.bookbub.com/profile/kate-brenton

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22872643.Kate_Brenton