Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl
This week’s theme is Love
This week’s theme is Love
Trusting The Currents is a form of conscious storytelling. It is the story of two women: Lynnda Pollio who reached a point in her life when she was ready for a spiritual journey, and Addie Mae, a Southern African-American woman who chose to speak about her own teenage life through Lynnda.
‘Then, one afternoon, Addie Mae laughed, and every plan I had entertained evaporated.’
At a time when many are awakening to their own spiritual paths, Addie Mae’s story will resonate with those ready to hear her words. Addie Mae’s tale is set in the 1930s; she lived in a small town, with her mother, uncle and his step daughter Jenny. They were people who relied on the land for most of their food, supplemented by a small income her mother made from sewing. The community was friendly and hard-working.
Addie Mae and Jenny were best friends; while Addie Mae had a thirst for learning at school, Jenny was more of a free spirit. Jenny spent hours in nature; listening to the trees and earth spirits. She followed her own path, was pretty and caught the attention of the boys.
The one dark cloud which hung over their lives was Uncle Joe. Addie Mae reckoned he was born bad; unhappy with his lot, he spent most of his time drinking and at times took his anger out on the family and their home.
This is a multi-layered book; the poetic writing creates beautiful pictures of 1930s Southern America, and Addie Mae’s rich Southern dialect drops you right into the era.
“Let go, fool child. Can’t hold to anythin’ too tight.”
Addie Mae’s own story is about self-discovery and her strength to break away from the small town expectations. But this is much more “It’s not what happened to me that matters.” She tells Lynnda at the outset. This book will be about what each reader can take from it: messages, lessons and inspiration may resonate with readers. This book was full of meaning for me, and I thought about it a great deal, afterwards; I’ve been excited about spreading the word to others, and hope you will take as much from it as I did.
I’ll leave you with one more quote from Lynnda about Addie Mae.
‘She taught me how much we are shown in a flickering moment. How many secrets are hidden in the ordinary if we only take occasion to notice.’
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Some moments change everything you become.
Author Lynnda Pollio’s life as a busy New Yorker abruptly changes when she unexpectedly hears the mystical, elderly voice of Addie Mae Aubrey, a Southern, African American woman. Her first words, “It’s not what happened to me that matters,” begin a spirited remembering of Addie Mae’s teenage years in the late 1930s rural south and the hard learned wisdom Addie Mae asks Lynnda to share. As women from different times and places, together they embark on an uncommon journey.
Narrated by Addie Mae Aubrey, Trusting the Currents carries living messages of faith, courage, forgiveness, and the uneasy search for one’s place in life. Beginning at age eleven with the arrival of beautiful, mysterious cousin Jenny and her shadowy stepfather, Uncle Joe, Trusting the Currents explores Addie Mae’s reluctant awakening. As Jenny, the story’s mystical center introduces Addie Mae to the spiritual world, a caring teacher, Miss Blanchard, guides Addie Mae with the power of reading. Romantic love enters her life for the first time with Rawley, and we experience how Addie Mae’s emerging sense of self compels her to a life-altering decision.
Throughout the story her mother remains an unwavering source of love, even when fear and evil shake their lives. Unfathomable loss and rising trust in the “Invisibles” not only transforms Addie Mae’s budding life, but leads to the author’s own spiritual awakening. This unlikely pair becomes partners in showing us how to trust our own life currents.
Trusting the Currents represents a new literary genre of conscious storytelling, engaging high spiritual frequencies that resonate with the reader’s heart, guiding them deep into their own truth and transformation.
Born in rural New Jersey, I grew up surrounded by trees. I communicated to insects, raised baby birds and wandered through a childhood feeling like I belonged somewhere else…like there was always some time, some place that was waiting for me. As an adult, I moved to New York City and began experiencing life from many perspectives. After my father died, I heard a voice tell me to go to Sedona, AZ, and that began a journey into spiritual awakening. I immersed myself in raw foods, spiritual disciplines, energy work and levels of awareness.
I have always been deeply committed to elevating human consciousness. This life purpose has guided me as an accomplished advertising executive, as a consultant and thought leader in conscious business practices, and as the world’s first Chief Consciousness Officer, supporting Fortune 500 companies by helping them engage the human technologies of wisdom, intuition, compassion, empathy, forgiveness and gratitude. Currently, as an Empathic Consultant, I continue to connect people with the universal truths that lie within their hearts.
I never expected to be a writer until I heard the mystical voice of Addie Mae Aubrey, a Southern, African-American woman asking me to tell her story. Together we shared an amazing journey through space and time that transformed my life forever.
We are all in the process of becoming something unexpected. I am no exception.
Today’s team review is from Judith B, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/
Judith has been reading The Circumstantial Enemy by John R Bell
The Circumstantial Enemy drew me in from the first page; Bell has a writing style that has great depth, tells a story that has so many sub-plots, mixes facts with fiction, yet is easy to read
This book is based on real events that happened during World War II and it is obvious the author has also researched extensively. The plot reads authentically with many twists and unexpected events. Set between 1941-1952 , It’s a cross-genre story of history, politics, war and romance: a story that exposes the devastation and horror of war, the reactions of human beings to the stress and trauma of enforced separation from family and friends, of enduring love against all the odds. The pace is swift and encompasses the difficult period when Yugoslavia was divided into Serbia and Croatia, moving to Italy, the stockades in North African, American prisoner of war camps and on to post war Europe.
Yet all is not doom and gloom; there are touches of humour here and there, showing the resilience of the human condition.
The characters are well portrayed with authentic and individualistic dialogue, particularly that of the protagonist, Tony Babic, shown in so many layers through both his actions and internal dialogue as the story progresses. As the story moved forward I felt, as a reader, that I almost knew what his responses would be to everything he faced. This is a strong protagonist, embodied by self-respect, honour, courage; a man who faces life with stubborn perseverance even in his darkest moments. And the minor characters, being well drawn and believable, give excellent support within the plot.
The descriptions of each of the settings are extremely well written and give a great sense of place.
If I had any reservations about this debut novel it would be that sometimes, just sometimes, a point is belaboured, slowing the action down. But, as I say, it is a small irritation compared with the enjoyment I had reading The Circumstantial Enemy.
Striking cover as well!
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with wars as the background and a touch of romance and I look forward to reading John R Bell’s next novel.
When Croatia becomes a Nazi puppet state in 1941, carefree young pilot Tony Babic finds himself forcibly aligned with Hitler’s Luftwaffe. Unbeknownst to Tony, his sweetheart Katarina and best friend Goran have taken the side of the opposing communist partisans. The threesome are soon to discover that love and friendship will not circumvent this war’s ideals.
Downed by the Allies in the Adriatic Sea, Tony survives a harrowing convalescence in deplorable Italian hospitals and North African detention stockades. His next destination is Camp Graham in Illinois, one of four hundred prisoner of war camps on American soil.
But with the demise of the Third Reich, repatriation presents a new challenge. What kind of life awaits Tony under communist rule? Will he be persecuted as an enemy of the state for taking the side of Hitler? And then there is Katarina; in letters she confesses her love, but not her deceit… Does her heart still belong to him?
Based on a true story, John Richard Bell’s The Circumstantial Enemy is an energetic journey to freedom through minefields of hatred, betrayal, lust and revenge. Rich in incident with interludes of rollicking humour, it’s a story about the strength of the human spirit, and the power of friendship, love and forgiveness.
John Richard Bell was born in Chigwell, UK and now resides in Vancouver, Canada. Before becoming an author of business books and historical fiction, he was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and a global strategy consultant. A prolific blogger, John’s musings on strategy, leadership and branding have appeared in various journals such as Fortune, Forbes and ceoafterlife.com.
Monday – Eleanor reviewed fantasy The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal
Tuesday – Saw a book promo for Irish family romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan
Wednesday – Terry reviewed women’s fiction Bear Medicine by G Elizabeth Kretchmer
Thursday – Noelle reviewed WW2 #PTSD Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day
Friday – Alison reviewed fantasy Keepers by Sacha Black
and I reviewed fantasy romance River by India R Adams
Saturday – Karen B reviewed suspense Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar
Discussion Post – 40 Days Until She Dies, discussed Emily Barr’s book The Truth And Lies Of Ella Black
Posts from around the blogosphere
Tips for debut authors
How to run a Goodreads Giveaway
Four Point Five Stars.
Broken is book #1 of the Breach Chronicles YA fantasy series.
The opening prologue sets the scene: The Purge, a great war between humans and supernaturals ended with the supernaturals forced to live in a parallel realm called Htrae. The two worlds are now guarded by members of the Heichi clan, who are powerful sorceresses.
A young human boy was rescued during the war by the sorceress Ava, and taken to a safe place in the future. She didn’t know that this small boy harboured evil which would later threaten their kind.
Years later, Caitlin, a new guardian sorceress, was born from the well of creation; however, her birth was tainted by a prophecy warning her not to fall in love. She shut herself away from her sisterhood, but life was lonely and her gift of pure love led danger to her family and her own downfall.
The sorceresses in this book have vibrant blue hair, it was a bold choice from the author and I loved its various descriptions that were sprinkled throughout the story. Each chapter includes a short letter from a girl called Talia; early on we know she is trapped somewhere. The letters gave me hints and snippets and made me yearn for more details, so kept me engaged; the style worked well for this book. I particularly enjoyed how the author effortless created pictures in my mind of both the characters and the settings. The fantasy world was well thought out and quite believable. A very good start to a series.
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One sorceress changes the future to save the life of an innocent child.
Another ignores the curse of an ancient prophecy and chooses a forbidden love and a life in the shadows.
One king’s obsession with magic and a time he no longer belongs to will tear a family apart and reshape a young boy’s life.
Obsessed by revenge, Talia escapes a relentless hunt. Reluctant to embrace love she finally has a chance at happiness.
Then the past rears it’s ugly head and it’s secrets begin to unravel.
Now Talia must choose between her happily ever after or righting a wrong. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice?
Today’s team review is from Karen B, she blogs here http://sassyredheadbookreviews.wordpress.com
Karen has been reading Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar
Magdalena (Maggie) Holt, a DEA Agent undercover in a Cartel who is in danger and has become a captive, is working very hard to get back home and take down the man who has taken her a prisoner and intends to sell her to the highest bidder. She’s helped some women escape the hell that has become her reality, but will she survive long enough to help the women she is locked away with and herself?
Maggie’s intent on getting home and taking down Chenglei in the process so that she can rid the world of one of the scariest men she has met. She’s locked away in a compound in Mexico and needs to find a way to get home and take Chenglei down in the process. She manages to escape along with 5 other women who were being held with her, they make it out of the compound and hide until help can get there to take them back to the US and home.
Adam O’Connor, Maggie’s partner in the DEA and former lover, is beside himself that Maggie has been gone for so long and that they cannot locate her to bring her home. His SAC Amanda Rhinehold wants nothing more than to bring Agent Holt home as well, but she is a woman who is in charge and has to follow protocol to do it. She is trying to get Agent O’Connor off the case because she feels he is too close to it. Adam is sure that once Maggie gets back home they can work things out and get back together, but he’s confused because he’s attracted to his SAC.
This is the 6th book in Jacquie Biggar’s Wounded Hearts Series and is the first one I have read in the series. I wish I had read the stories in order from the first one to this one, but it did not retract from the story as Ms. Biggar gives a lot of back story to understand what is going on. I really enjoyed this story and enjoy reading Ms. Biggar’s books. They are well written and the characters feel like someone you would meet on the streets and like as a person if you talked to them and got to know them.
If you like a strong men and very strong willed women and enjoy a story where the heroine hides her fear when doing her job, but always has to win, then you will love this book. I give this story a 5 star review, and I look forward to going back and reading the other stories in this series.
DEA Special Agent Maggie Holt is fierce, smart, beautiful– and in over her head.
Maggie has been working undercover 15 months when she is taken by Chinese-Mexican cartel leader, Chenglei. She tries to escape with 8 other women and is captured and brutally punished.
Adam O’Connor is angry and frustrated. It’s his fault his partner, and one-time lover, is missing and no matter how many leads he chases, they don’t bring Maggie home.
An unexpected break in the case sends Adam south to Texas. His old SEAL Team Chief, Frank Stein, offers his home and his help in the search effort.
Will these two strong men find Maggie? And will their decades old friendship be destroyed by their love for the same woman?
My name is Jacquie Biggar and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a total sucker for my dog and cat.
I’m also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest The Voice fan ever, and can be found every Monday night with my nose plastered to the television laughing at Blake and Adam’s shenanigans.
I enjoy going to my grandson’s hockey and lacrosse games, hanging at the beach with DH (darling hubby), taking pictures, and reading romance novels.
I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession. I love gardening. I love the color pink… and did I mention I love my husband?
JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love.
She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.
She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart.
Four point five stars.
River is book #2 of The Stranger In The Woods series of magical realism tales. Set in woodlands of North Carolina, book #1 introduced us to Guardian Warrior Elves, entrusted to guard humans against evil and bring balance to the universe.
In a complex love triangle, two elves fell in love with Rose, a human, who became pregnant. She could not choose between her half-blood best friend and her soulmate, but the child she carried was surrounded by a prophecy, and blood demons wanted to kidnap her for their leader.
In book #2 baby Rain has been born. Rose and her baby are now part of the Elven community and live with them deep in the woods. Guards are assigned to protect both Rose and the baby, but will it ever be enough against the evil of the one called King? This powerful entity of the underworld is able to manipulate time and slip beings into alternate universes. No one knows the lengths he will go to, to have Rose by his side.
This is an emotion filled book. Adams knows how to write characters that grasp you and tie you to their story. It is written in alternating chapters from points of view of Rose and Ryder. There are multiple layers of themes within the story: the Elvish ways, spirituality, the good versus evil and sexual relationships. But they are written in such a way that they also reflect deep human needs, emotions and teachings that have got lost into today’s speeding world of consumerism. However, the book isn’t slowed down by the emotional depth, or lost on a spiritual path. Adams uses plenty of light-hearted banter to lift the mood and show us the camaraderie of the Elves.
A good second book to a series, but I would recommend reading book #1 (Rain) first to get the most from this fantasy series.
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He wipes blood from his mouth with his bare arms. “I need you to hold still so I don’t feel the need to chase and conquer. Do you understand?”
I feel his breath on my skin. “My chances if I run?”
I had wondered if I would be strong enough to love Ryder, my stranger from the woods. I learned that I was—still am. But now Ryder, Gunner and I have a young together, Rain, the Princess go the Guardian Warriors. And a very powerful being, King of the Shadow Clones, wants her dead. The only time I ever saw King was in the dream where forced a kiss on me, sending me into labor. Yes, I learned I was strong enough to love Ryder, but with a new stranger in the woods, will he be strong enough to love me?
India is either hiding away and writing in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, in a studio writing and recording songs for the Forever series, in yoga trying to find her Zen (that keeps escaping her), walking down an old dirt road (no joke), outdoors with her dogs and family (because to live without the sun is a crime), in a coffee shop talking books, or floating in a lake (when the weather permits). She thinks reading books is the answer to all problems (and having a glass of red wine is a fabulous second solution). She loves to chat with readers because she says they are brilliant and most passionate.
Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs here http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/
Alison has been reading Keepers by Sacha Black
This is the first in the Eden East Novels series and the first of the author’s novels. Eden is a Fallon – a royal Keeper whose role it is to ensure Balance in the world of Trutinor. The Keepers have different powers and are either Elementals, Shifters, Sirens or Sorcerers. Eden, an Elemental, is destined to be bound forever to another Fallon – a Shifter for whom she feels no attraction. But it isn’t up to her. Things change when there is a murder, and when Trey, a Siren who was Eden’s close childhood friend, reappears after a long absence, and confuses Eden further. They are forced together as they try to find the killers and avoid a fate that could have far-reaching consequences.
The author builds her world compellingly. There are some really well-crafted scenes here and the dialogue is, on the whole, authentic. Eden is a strong yet sympathetic main character and it’s always great to have strong female leads, whatever the genre. And Eden is also a character that a reader will care about – her strength is balanced well with her vulnerability, which adds depth to the narrative.
The writing is technically sound, and the plot has enough intrigue, mystery and surprises to hold the reader’s attention.
There were a few places where I felt the writing could be tightened a bit, and where the focus was too heavily on Eden’s reactions and feeling. There were also lots of characters that it was sometimes hard to keep track of. I do have a problem with fantasy books in that I always find the characters’ names and the names of imaginary places distracting– but I do appreciate that this goes with the territory. The definitions of the terms and traditions/conventions of Trutinor were also very long.
That said, this is a solid first novel from a debut author, and Eden has great potential for future books in the series.
Four out of five stars
Saving the world is easy: all Eden has to do is die.
Seventeen-year-old Eden East’s life is perfect… until her soul is bound to her worst nightmare. Then her parents are brutally murdered, and everyone’s a suspect, including her best friend.
As her world spirals out of control, a charismatic Siren, from a past she can’t remember, returns offering help, hope, and a heap of distractions.
Eden must put aside her grief to solve the mystery of her parents’ murder. In a race against time, can she break the binding to her enemy before he destroys her and her world?
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.
Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.
Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.
When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.
Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com
Noelle has been reading Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day
Fred’s Funeral is a novella by Sandy Day, inspired by hundreds of letters written by the author’s Great Uncle Fred, but a wonderful concoction of her imagination.
Fred Sadler has just died in his room in a hospital for the mentally ill. He sees his cousin and his brother and a whole family of those who died before him, congregating on the other side of an ethereal divide. The problem is, he can’t cross the divide. He finds himself – or at least his consciousness – watching from the ceiling of his room, as his priggish sister-in-law, Viola, and her brother, Thomas, open his one possession, an old battered suitcase. It is Viola who gives her interpretation of Fred’s life based on old memories and the contents of the suitcase.
As they paw through his belongings, Fred is shocked to find Viola’s version of the events of his life is not as he remembers it. Why had he spent so many years locked up in Whitby Hospital for the Insane?
As Fred moves through his funeral and the gathering of the family afterward, and between his memories and the pronouncements of Viola and others, we learn that the young Fred went off to fight in World War I and came back damaged: addicted to binge drinking, constantly angry and full of anxieties. At that time, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was not recognized, and the remainder of his life was consumed by his trying to govern his emotions and fit in, his family’s attempts to provide and adjust for him, and finally, his placement in the hospital. We are reminded of the barbarity of the so-called modern treatments for patients at that time in such institutions.
What I particularly liked about this story are the ways different people look at the same events, and the ability to see how his confusion, frustration, and mental breakdown – now so understandable – were met with misunderstanding by his family. Fred desperately wants to gain control of his life, to spend his life in the home and with the family he so values, but can’t help pushing them away. The reader can feel his angst and understand his actions, but at the same time see themselves in the family’s shoes. The author does a wonderful job of describing family relationships and deep-seated feelings.
This is a short, but very profound read.
Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.
Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?
Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.
Sandy Day is the author of Poems from the Chatterbox and Fred’s Funeral. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.
Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Bear Medicine by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer
4 out of 5 stars
Bear Medicine tells two stories. The first is that of Brooke, a middle class, marathon-running, oddly unworldly wife of a domineering Oregon politician, who, when taking some ‘time out’ from family life, gets mauled by a bear in Yellowstone National Park. In alternating chapters we read about Anne, in 1877, a young wife of a domineering husband, who gets separated while on an adventure trek with him, again in Yellowstone.
Brooke and Anne’s stories run constantly parallel, and are connected. Brooke goes to recuperate from her injuries nearby, cared for by a woman called Leila in a cosy log cabin; their lifestyle builds her confidence and makes her reluctant to return home. Anne is saved by a young Native American woman, Maggie, who educates her about the reality of the evils done to her people by the White Man, builds her confidence, and makes her understand how badly she was treated by her husband. Both women get early chances to return/be ‘rescued’, and reject them, though the differences in options for the women of the 19th and 21st centuries is more clearly marked later.
I found this book immensely readable, written with understanding of the author’s subjects, and well-placed wit. Ms Kretchmer sets a scene perfectly, and both her narrative and dialogue flow so well. The two women’s stories run side by side most comfortably, as the parallels and connections emerge. All characters are clearly defined, and the pace is just right, with slower passages (inner dialogue/descriptive narrative) interspersed evenly with events to keep the reader turning the pages, and I loved the insights into Native American lifestyle; the reminder of their tragic history at the hands of the so-called civilised invaders was heartbreaking.
The theme is very much one of women standing together and overcoming male domination, and I think it would be of great interest to female readers who have felt oppressed by the men in their lives or by society as a whole. I found this aspect of the novel a little dated, having been a reader of people like Erin Pizzey 20/30 years ago, but I understand that in Brooke’s world it was still very much an issue, and reading about Anne’s life was certainly enough to make me feel grateful I was born 80 years later!
I have one minor complaint, of a proofreading nature: the use of hyphens (-) instead of em dashes (—) throughout the book, which was an irritation; sometimes they were used to create both pauses and hyphenated words in the same sentence, which was very confusing (example: Shane-still on the dock-fiddled with his keys, wallet and phone-double-checking to be sure); as it was, I kept thinking random words had been hyphenated when they weren’t. Publisher, sort out your proofreader! On the whole, though, I’d definitely recommend this book, and I’d read more by this author.
When Brooke sets off on a trail in Yellowstone National Park to train for an upcoming marathon, she is savagely attacked by a grizzly bear. One hundred forty years earlier, Anne accompanies her husband on a camping trip in the nation’s first national park and awakens one morning to find he’s been captured by Nez Perce warriors. Both women encounter a sacred but savage landscape. Both fall under the care of American Indian women. Ultimately, Brooke and Anne must each overcome multiple obstacles, with the help of their new friends and native lore, to find what she seeks.
Alternating between contemporary and historical times, Bear Medicine is a story about women helping women in a complicated, male-dominated world.
G. Elizabeth Kretchmer holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University. Her short story collection, Women on the Brink, and her debut novel, The Damnable Legacy, were both published by Booktrope Editions. Her short fiction, essays, and freelance work have appeared in The New York Times, High Desert Journal, Silk Road Review, SLAB, and other publications. When she’s not writing, she’s facilitating therapeutic and wellness writing workshops or spending time in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three sons, and Lani the Labradoodle.
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