writing


Pru Marlowe is an animal psychic and behaviorist—she also happens to be an amateur sleuth! Together with her furred and feathered friends, Pru investigates the crimes in her sleep Berkshire town. This time the victim is a prominent lawyer, and the only witness is a small, white kitten.

Kittens Can Kill is the fifth book in Clea Simon’s Pet Noir series, but don’t let that stop you from jumping in—each book is enjoyable on its own! In this one, Pru is hired to help a kitten adjust to his new home. Upon arrival she finds the kitten…and a dead body! When little Ernesto becomes the prime suspect, Pru races to solve the puzzle before the kitten is put down.

Now, you might be thinking that an amateur sleuth who talks to animals might make for a slightly unbelievable story, but not in Simon’s hands. She has successfully blended the basic non-verbal communications that all animal workers read with the emotional-hit impressions physics try to process.

Although I haven’t read the earlier books, it is clear that Pru has not had it easy. She has a bit of an edge to her, like someone who’s been through too much. Between her “gift,” and (what might be) a painful past, she’s very self-protective. Personally, I find the character “flaws” make her more a more believable character.

And speaking of characters, this book is full of them–spoiled rich girls, crooked business people, busybodies, and a lovably aloof-yet-motherly feline, just to name a few. I had a pretty good idea of “whodunit” before the end of the book, but I still enjoyed the chase.

Please enjoy the following excerpt from Kittens Can Kill, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Synopsis:

coverThe dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.

Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital’s money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?

 

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: 03/03/2015

Number of Pages: 434

Series: Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #5 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)

ISBN: 9781464203589

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

There’s nothing cute about a death scene. Not the shards of the mug that rested in a puddle on the cold tile floor. Not the scent of the tea—acrid and sharp—that now mingled with the mustier odors of a body’s last struggle. And certainly not the body itself, sprawled contorted beside the shattered ceramic, one arm reaching out for succor, the other frozen in rigor as it clawed at the argyle wool vest that covered the still chest.

No, there was nothing cute about the tableau that greeted me when I made my way into the kitchen of Mr. David Canaday, Esquire, after twenty minutes of pointless knocking. But the kitten that sat beside the puddle, batting at a metal button that must have popped off the vest in that last desperate effort? That little white puffball, not more than eight weeks old and intent as he could be on his newfound toy as it rolled back and forth? He was adorable. The cutest little bundle a girl could ever swoon for.

He knew it, too. As I stood there, staring, he batted that button toward me. Rolling around on its rounded top, it made its slow circular way toward my feet.

“Play?” The message in those round blue eyes was clear. I was supposed to kick the button back. To get it moving—make it livelier prey than the still man on the floor would ever be again. “Back to me?”

The button hit my boot, and the kitten reared up when I stepped back, his front paws reaching up to slap the air.

“No, kitty. I can’t.” I took another step back the way I had come.

“Play?” And another.

I had no desire to kick the button. What I wanted to do was scoop up this little puffball and run.

To remove such an innocent creature from the horror before me. That had been my plan, even before I’d walked into the room. Get the kitten, get out. Get on with my day.

That didn’t look like it was going to happen. Not now, and as much as I wanted to snatch the kitten up I restrained myself and, fiddling with my bag, found my phone while I took a third step and a fourth back to the kitchen door. As much as I wanted to grab up the kitten and run for dear life, I knew better than to disturb what just might be a crime scene—or to remove what I assumed to be the only living witness.

Chapter Two

The paramedics arrived first, and for that I was grateful. They had the body on a stretcher by the time the daughter arrived, straps across those jolly blue diamonds and a blanket covering the soiled khakis below. Better still, they were the ones to tell her what that still, pale face should have. What had been patently obvious to me from the moment I’d stepped into the room: Dad was dead. They were taking him to the hospital—that was protocol—but there’d be no sirens wailing because there was no great rush. Lucky for me, she opted to ride along.

I didn’t envy the paramedics. The daughter looked like the type who would fight them. Insist on CPR or defibrillation, even as the old man’s color faded to a muted version of that vest, the blood slowly settling in his back.

She didn’t look much better. Pale as dishwater, with hair to match. That hair, a listless bob, had been dark once, maybe as black as mine, but time had dulled its color and its sheen, much as it had softened what might have once been impressive cheekbones and a jawline that now sloped gently into a chubby neck.

Between that pallor and the way she had carried on, I had thought at first that she was the wife. Then I remembered: the old man was widowed. It was his daughter who had called me, asking for help in settling a new pet with an increasingly shut-in and by all accounts difficult elder.

“It needs everything,” she had said when she’d called. “Shots, whatever.”

I’d been bothered by that impersonal “it.” Sexing a kitten can be difficult, but this smacked of something colder. Still, I’d said I’d call Doc Sharpe, our local vet, to set up a well-kitten visit and silently figured on adding taxi and escort charges.

In the meantime, I’d told the daughter that I’d drop by to set things up. As the woman on the phone had gone on, though, I’d begun adding services. Neither she nor her father had expected this kitten. She had errands to run, she’d said, and sounded particularly put out by its sudden, unannounced appearance.

It—that impersonal “it” again—had been an unexpected gift, the caller had said. And while that sounded odd, I wasn’t going to question it. Not if they were willing to pay.

That gig was shot, I thought as I watched the ambulance from the shelter of an eager rhododendron, blossoms ready to pop.

Sure, I could bill for my time. I’d certainly charge for the load of supplies in my car. But I wouldn’t count on getting paid, not soon anyway. Spring and my business usually picked up. The tourists started filtering back, and the seasonal condos filled with troubled dogs and angry cats, all confused by the very human idea of relocating for fun. But even though the May days were growing soft, my client base hadn’t warmed up yet. I’d been counting on this job for at least a few regular checks.

“Mama? Where did you go?” The soft cry brought me out of my musing. Male, definitely, though still much more a baby than a boy. Spring. I looked through the bush’s dark green leaves for a nest. For a den in the dark, damp leaves beneath the trees.

“Where are you?”

The kitten. Of course. With all the hubbub, the tiny animal must have been spooked. Must have darted for safety and gotten outside. I couldn’t recall anyone mentioning the little cat as they strapped the old man to the gurney and bundled his daughter in for the ride.

“Play?”

The kitten was determined, I’d give him that. And he seemed to have gotten over his fright. I looked around. The EMTs had left the door ajar when they first stormed in, and the little fellow probably snuck out. Normally, I’d cheer him on. Self-determination is a virtue that I applaud, but a baby is a baby, after all.

And while the east side of Beauville might look nicer than our shabby downtown, part of the appeal was its old-growth woods.

I thought of the foxes that would be nesting soon beneath those trees. And the fishers, and a few other predators, all of whom would be looking for a tasty morsel for themselves or their own young. Nature, right? With a sigh that probably revealed more about my human nature than I’d care to admit, I dropped to my knees. Besides, it wasn’t like I was doing anyone else any good just then.

“I’m here, little fellow,” I called out softly, peering around the shrubbery. “Where are you?”

He didn’t answer, not that I really expected him to. I should explain that this is odd for me. I have a sensitivity, you see.

Some people might call it a gift. I can pick up what animals are thinking, hear their thoughts like voices in my head. Yes, I know how nutty that sounds. That’s why I keep my particular sensitivity to myself, although I have a feeling that others are growing suspicious.

But the thing about picking up animals’ voices is that they don’t talk like you or I do. They have no need for meaningless conversation, and they certainly don’t chatter just to hear themselves speak. And so although I tend to perceive their voices in human terms—that kitten asking for its mother, for example—that’s just my weak human brain trying to make sense of what I’m really getting. Which was a young animal coming to terms
with its environment. That kitten wanted to play, because playing is its job—how it learns to hunt, to survive. He had appeared to address me because kittens, like all mammals, learn from their mothers, their peers. From the world around them. He wasn’t calling to me, specifically. He was reaching out, because he was alone.

Alone. That was part of what I was getting, but there was something else, too—an undercurrent of loneliness and confusion, a jumble of noise and fear and…

“Back to me? Kick it again?”

Boredom? Well, as I’ve said, play is a young animal’s job.

And while I didn’t necessarily want to play kick the button, I was grateful for the repeated plea. The voice was clearly coming from inside.

I turned back to the silent house. Although I’d walked in with no problem—Beauville still being that kind of place—someone had thought to lock the door. Luckily, the latch was a simple one, and it gave way quickly to the thin blade of the knife I always keep close at hand. This wasn’t breaking-and-entering. Not really, I told myself as I closed the door carefully behind me. I’d been hired to take care of a kitten, and that’s what I was going to do.

“Kitten? Hello?” As I’ve said, I wasn’t really expecting an answer. What I was doing was announcing my presence, trying to sound as nonthreatening as I could, which for me meant voicing my thought in the form of a question.

“Back to me!” I tried to echo the thought I had picked up. The kitchen remained still and apparently empty. I proceeded through the open archway into what appeared to be a living room. “You there?”

“Play with me!” That insistent voice. “Why won’t he play with me?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him, but I had to. “He’s gone,” I said.

“Gone?” The question bounced back, like that button. The small creature was trying to make sense of my response. Of the word. I kicked myself. I wasn’t doing the kitten any favors with my euphemism. Animals live or die in the physical world, and despite this one’s infant appeal, he probably had a better sense of reality than most of the humans in this town.

“Dead,” I said, summoning the memory of the still, cold body.

“Gone?” The damage had been done, and I felt the confusion as the kitten continued to roll that word—that concept—about in his tiny feline brain.

“Catch me!” The button appeared, rolling in a slow semicircle from under a chair. “Let’s play!”

“Kitten?” I ducked down and leaned beneath the coffee table.

There, eyes wide, crouched the little creature. He’d taken refuge from all the commotion. Up close, I could see he was undersized and a little ragged, more ready to pounce than to groom. I reached for him and he reared up, batting at me with cool paw pads. “Okay, little fellow.” I scooped him up, and as he nuzzled against my shirt, I felt a wet spot on his back.

“Feels like you’ve been trying to wash.” No wonder his fur looked patchy. “Or did you get splashed?”

***

I sniffed the kitten and caught something funky. Tea, I hoped, and not something more gruesome. I didn’t think I was imagining a slight mint scent, and any puddles on the floor where the body had fallen had been trampled into dark stains. Mimicking my action, the kitten stretched around to sniff the wet spot, and promptly sneezed.

“Gesundheit, little fellow.” He looked up at me, eyes wide, and sneezed again. An adorable little snort, prompted perhaps by that touch of mint. But I’ve been in this business too long not to think of the other possibilities: feline viral rhinoneumonitis—FVR, better known as feline herpes—for example. Not fatal, but something to manage. At any rate, I held the little creature under the tap for a moment. He was young enough
to take my impromptu bath without too much fuss and was purring as I rubbed him down with a dish towel.

“Excuse me.” The voice behind me made me twirl around and the kitten jumped to the floor. He landed by a pair of cowboy boots—turquoise blue—attached to jeans that fit like a second skin. On top of these, a woman’s face scowled at me, the eyes wide and regal. “But who are you, and what are you doing in my father’s house? And what are you doing with my kitten?”

 

Author Bio:

authorA recovering journalist, Clea Simon is the author of 1​7​
mysteries and three nonfiction books. Parrots Prove Deadly is the third in her Pru Marlowe pet noir series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their cat, Musetta, and can be reached at

 

Clea Simon's website Clea Simon's twitter

Click Here to Follow the Blog Tour

Giveaway:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Clea Simon & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through June 3rd, 2015.

 

Advertisements

CrowsRestcoverimageToday we’re celebrating the release of Crow’s Rest by Angelica Jackson with a blog hop of spooky, “true tales.” First, I’ll share my Ouija Board story—then I’ll tell you more about Crow’s Rest. There is a trailer to watch, a contest to enter, and a link to a list of participating bloggers sharing their own tales!

 

A Ouija Disc Takes Flight

It’s just an innocent game, right? They say the planchette moves by something called the ideomotor effect (subconscious muscle movements), but my own Ouija Board experience proved otherwise.

I must have been in fifth or sixth grade at the time. There was a girl named *Katie who lived down the street; we often hung out together. One day we discovered a Ouija Board in the top of the coat closet and decided to give it a try. The fun lasted for a couple days. We would go into my room, place the board on the bed, and kneel on either side of it. There, with the curtains drawn, we would take turns asking stupid questions.

On the second day, Katie asked the “spirit” if he was the Devil. The planchette moved to “yes.” We began accusing each other of moving the disc and, being a smarty-pants, I decided to challenge the idea that the planchette could move unaided. I said, “If this is the Devil I’ll bet he won’t like this…” and I placed a cross necklace on the board. To our amazement, the disc scooted away from the necklace.

Katie and I each backed away from the board. I picked the necklace up off the board and placed it right on top of the planchette. Immediately, the planchette flew off the board, colliding with the bedroom wall! Laughing, I turned to see Katy’s reaction—but she was already out of the house and halfway down the street.

(*Names have been changed to protect the wicked.)

Why are we talking about paranormal experiences in the middle of spring? Because Angelica Jackson’s new book, Crow’s Rest, has just been released! We’re all celebrating by sharing spooky, “true tales” and giving away prizes.

Join in the fun! CR swag 2

Share your own spooky tale here in the comment section.

Visit Angelica Jackson’s site to learn more about the author and
follow the blog hop to read other chilling tales.

And, there’s a Rafflecopter contest to enter! You could win a signed copy of Crow’s Rest, signed bookmarks, and/or swag. Just use the handy form at the end of this post.

 

About Crow’s Rest:
Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam’s, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers-and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone-some thing-has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel-and get him back-plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

Title: Crow’s Rest
Author: Angelica R. Jackson
Published: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Angelica R Jackson photoAbout the author:
In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here.

She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California’s Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too.

Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary.

Website: Angelica R. Jackson
Blog: Angelic Muse

Rafflecopter Contest:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharing thoughts; it sounds like an innocent concept, so innocent that most of us never bother speaking up. After all, who wants to hear what we think? But somewhere there may be someone just waiting for a little nudge–waiting for someone else to voice what they have been holding back. And when the writer and the reader connect, magic happens!
I’m sharing just such a story today from Don Russell, author of Lifting the Curtain: the Disgrace We Call Urban High School Education. Maybe his story will encourage you to share your own thoughts!

Lifting the Curtain

 Yearend is a time for reflection.  And while I took off two weeks off from this blog to concentrate fulltime on all the new chapters and teacher submissions for the 2nd edition of Lifting the Curtain, I kept getting struck by the passion of the thousands of teachers I have “e-met” (is that even a word?) over the past few months.  Deep thanks are in order.

Just three months ago I launched this blog with a singular focus – let teacher voices finally be heard so that we could fix the real issues destroying the education of our children.  I was tired and frustrated that the invaluable views of teachers, from within the classroom, were being hidden—intimidated into silence by bullying and cronyistic school administrators, and drowned out by the loud voices of the same inept career DoE bureaucrats and legislators who were responsible for the…

View original post 979 more words

Lifting the Curtain

It’s reported that about 20% of the American population is functionally illiterate*; that means that approximately 1 in 5 people over the age of 15 are unable to complete a series of tasks necessary to function in today’s society. They read below 5th grade level and may not be able to follow a basic recipe. These are everyday, intelligent people that just have a few gaps in their education—and chances are you know one. In fact, there may actually be someone in your family struggling right now!

As Americans, we like to think that our public educational system fully prepares each individual to not only function but thrive out in “the real world.” As parents, we send our children to school assuming they are learning everything they need to know. As long as they pass their classes, we feel we don’t need worry. Sadly, this is not always the case…

View original post 314 more words

By the time I got to high school I was pretty disgusted with the quality of education I was receiving–which included five years of Algebra (even though I consistently received “A”s) and a teacher who took roll call with a cheerleader in his lap. By the end of tenth grade I knew I couldn’t face another two years of this ridiculousness. Luckily the state offered a “proficiency exam” which I passed, allowing me to go on to junior college instead of into my junior year of high school. That was in the late 70s to early 80s, I was hoping that in all this time things had improved—sadly, they haven’t.

Today I’d like to introduce you to D.A. Russell, author of Lifting the Curtain: The disgrace we call urban high school education. Kirkus Reviews calls the book, “An impassioned look at the shortcomings of public education, from the perspective of an inner-city high school teacher.” In it, Russell exposes the systemic failures in today’s educational system and offers a solution geared to put the focus back onto the best interests of the children. Anyone who cares about a child should educate themselves about what is really happening in our schools. (You may win your own copy of Lifting the Curtain by entering the giveaway!)

 
Q. What do you love most about teaching?

Russell: There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a child that has given up on him or herself finally discover that they are smart. We have a system that has absolutely eliminated self-motivation in a large minority of our children. Extreme pressure on schools to pass children has done far worse than just generate unneeded IEPs or result in so many cheating scandals on standardized testing. (The Washington Post confirmed cheating scandals in thirty-seven states, and was convinced that there were far more actual incidents than were ever discovered.) The real failure of the system was dumbed-down teaching to make sure everyone passed.

Yet these children really want to pass and have pride in what they accomplish!

My most treasured note from a student, one of many like it expressing pride in learning, came from a Special Ed student who was convinced she was a loser. “I did good (sic) in math this year because you pushed me and told me I could do it. I went from a 57 to a 96 in a matter of three months. Thank you for everything and showing me I am smart and can do math and do it correctly.”

I still remember the day Kayla got her first A on a test. She started crying right in front of the entire class, and asked me if she could call her mom (cell phones were not permitted to be used in school). I let her call, and watched the joy on her face as she smiled through all the tears to say “…Mom, I just got an ‘A’ in math.” That was a Friday afternoon. I went home and was on cloud nine for the whole weekend. One Kayla in a teacher’s life cancels out a whole lot of tough times. I framed that letter on my wall at home – it encourages me every time I glance at it.

 
Q: While writing Lifting the Curtain, you surveyed both students and teachers regarding the state of education. What surprised you most about the students’ responses?

Russell: I was really taken aback by how much our children want to have better and more challenging teaching. In the student survey, the most common comment in the “what is best… or what is worst… or what needs change” section of the questionnaire was from students angry about not learning enough! Some of the responses were amazing to hear:

My teachers think I’m incapable of doing work because I’m in standard. I want a challenge.

The work they give us is stupid is (sic) like they don’t want to challenge us to do something bigger.

The lack of work that is given. Personally I rather (sic) be challenged than given a free pass.

When I followed up with students on this issue, I tried to see what made the difference for them. In almost every case it was a teacher who set expectations far above what the child had ever experienced before, and then that teacher was passionate about working to help the child earn good results. One of the most intriguing (and absolutely spot-on) studies of what makes a great teacher found only two common factors — a passion to teach, and a knack for engaging children.

The only dumb ones (children) are the ones we teach to be dumb. A free ride through high school is not an act of love or kindness!

 

Q: What happened to all the policies that were supposed to improve our educational system like No Child Left Behind?

Russell: I suspect that had I the opportunity to personally know the individuals who authored many of the federal and state education programs of the past 20 years, I would truly admire and respect those who came up with such a wonderful concept as “No Child Left Behind.” That phrase, in four short words, encapsulates everything I believe about teaching. I enthusiastically supported NCLB when it was launched. Even with 20/20 hindsight, based upon what I envisioned then I would still be an enthusiastic supporter of the NCLB concept.

But it turns out that I was wrong. Horribly wrong. The two most destructive unintended consequences were not allowing failure by children, and holding teachers totally accountable for many factors that are totally out of their control.

First of all, we have taken away from children the possibility of failure – mandating their “success” to the point where a rapidly increasing majority of students know they do not have to try in order to graduate from high school. The “system” now forces teachers to find a way to pass them regardless of effort – phony do-overs and extra credit, dumbed-down teaching, “adjusted” grades, and even outright cheating scandals on standardized tests – or the teacher is held accountable for the failure.

Second, the ages-old education partnership of teacher, student, and parents has been eroded to the point where teachers are often held solely responsible for the performance of a student, while the student and a minority of parents often take no co-responsibility. Teachers are expected to motivate and parent today’s children, despite the growing minority of parents who demonstrate no effective interest in their child’s education. Two disturbing results from the student and teacher surveys graphically make this point. First, both students and teachers felt one quarter of all students in urban high schools do not care what grade they get as long as they pass. Second, a third of all parents were seen as not caring how well the child did as long as they passed and graduated.

The unintended results of all these programs are undeniable – a decade of degrading readiness for college: Only 43 percent of test-takers in 2013 met the SAT’s definition of being prepared for college, a statistic that has remained stagnant since 2009.
Policies are only one piece to the puzzle on declining education. To read more about what’s happening in today’s schools please visit the website at http://liftingthecurtain.com/.

Are you ready to see what else is behind the curtain?Enter to win a copy of Lifting the Curtain, The disgrace we call urban high school education. Giveaway is being held on the book’s Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/owx4mz6

About the Author:
D.A. Russell has spent the last ten years as a math teacher in one of the urban high schools used as an example in Lifting the Curtain. He is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College, and received his master’s degree from Simon School, where he was valedictorian of his class. Russell is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has two children that he treasures, and four grandchildren. His son is a police officer who served in the US Army in Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star for valor. His daughter is a lawyer and his most passionate fan and honorary literary agent.

Russell has taught and coached children for decades. Few things are more important in his view than to cherish the children who are our real treasures in this world.

Connect with the author at:

Website: http://liftingthecurtain.com/

Blog: http://liftingthecurtainoneducation.wordpress.com/

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

 
Lifting the CurtainTitle: Lifting the Curtain: The disgrace we call urban high school education

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lifting-Curtain-disgrace-school-education/dp/0615939171/

GeographyofLoss_cover-349My first experience with the heartfelt writing style of Patti Digh was when I came across her book Life is a Verb, a book challenging the audience to live intentionally. The message sank in, and I made some changes in my life. I also took notice of the beautiful artwork submitted by readers; the book felt like “community” to me. Since then Patti has written several books, the most recent being The Geography of Loss. This time our challenge is to face the many painful experiences of life, explore the markings they’ve left on us, and fully embrace our life. Like most self-help books, this one offers exercises to help move the reader through various emotional states. This book is different though, artwork and topography lead us through this emotional territory.

Each chapter begins with a story or personal essay, followed by three prompts: a journal prompt, a map or image exercise, and a meditation. I appreciate the user-friendliness of this format; being written is such a way that you can choose which order to read the chapters and which exercises feel right for you. The journal prompts and map exercises fit together to bring you deeper into the emotional memory. Personally, I think this is brilliant. Therapists often use art exercises in their work with abused children and other trauma patients. They say that imagery is our first language–the “language of the soul”. Working with imagery bypasses our logical mind, helping to access the deeper areas.

Many of us carry fears or resentments centered on loss—an injury, betrayal, divorce, or loss of a loved one. In some situations we’ve judged ourselves; in others we have trouble forgiving. Often we carry this pain like a wall, hoping it will protect us from further injury—the wall is the injury. It is only by courageously, and fully, exploring our grief that we can be free to embrace and love our life.

If you’ve been carrying Loss or Grief, I encourage you to pick of a copy of The Geography of Loss—available at Amazon or your local bookstore. On a personal note, my artwork is on page 18!

HeartTracks by RLC

HeartTracks by RLC. Image published in The Geography of Loss by Patti Digh

Connect with Patti Digh at http://www.37days.com/home

Sometimes the fruit falls off the tree, and rolls far away from the others–the lone drummer, the enigma…the black sheep. Of course, we don’t eat drums or sheep—at least I don’t—but I digress… point is, my sisters and I are about as different as you can get. In case you’re wondering, I’m the rolling fruit.

In a state of wonder and disgust, I watched them primp for hours with make up and hairspray.

With rolling eyes they watched me pick up injured birds and “will” them back to life.

They pride themselves on holding the same job for three or four decades.

I’ve had thirteen jobs, all in completely different fields.

While they play board games, gossip, and watch sitcoms I talk to my plants, refinish furniture, and enroll in online courses. Meanwhile, my parents still swear we’re related. Apparently I’m not the only one with sister issues; Jazz and Olivia seem to be having a tough time as well. Let me introduce you to the Moon sisters.

The Moon Sisters is Therese Walsh’s new novel. To celebrate, Women On Writing is hosting an Everybody’s Talking about Sisterhood party, and a contest to win a copy of the book. I’ll get to the contest in a minute. First, here is more about Therese’s new novel.

MoonSisters“In The Moon Sisters, her second novel, Therese Walsh wanted to write about one sister’s quest to find will-o’-the-wisp light, which was her mother’s unfulfilled dream. Also called “foolish fires”, these lights are sometimes seen over wetlands and are thought to lead those who follow them to treasure. Despite the promise, they are never captured and sometimes lead to injury or even death for adventurers who follow them. The metaphor of that fire – that some dreams and goals are impossible to reach, and that hope itself may not be innately good – eventually rooted its way into deeper meaning as the Moon sisters tried to come to terms with real-world dreams and hopes, and with each other, in their strange new world.

Olivia and Jazz Moon are polar opposites: one a dreamy synesthete, able to see sounds and smell sights and the other controlling and reality driven. What will happen when they are plunged into 24/7 togetherness and control is not an option? Will they ever be able to see the world through the other’s eyes and confront the things they fear the most? Death. Suicide. The loss of faith and hope. Will they ultimately believe that life is worth living, despite the lack of promise?

The writing of The Moon Sisters was a five year journey and at times author Therese Walsh felt like it was her own “foolish fire”. But remember, some fires are worth the chase!”

Party Time!

Explore “Sisterhood” with all our blogging friends!

There’s no telling what people may decide to share! Visit Women on Writing (http://muffin.womenonwriting.com) for a list of participating blogs and start hopping.

Win a copy of The Moon Sisters!

Leave a comment here by March 15, 2014. One randomly selected semi finalist will be sent on to Women on Writing’s final contest. The winner will be announced March 18, 2014. Tip: You can enter more than once! Simply leave a comment with our other party hosts.

Games!

And while you’re waiting to win your copy of The Moon Sisters, get ready to board the train with Jazz and Olivia by getting your own train-hopper name  http://www.theresewalsh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Ng.jpg (mine is Clack-a-lacka Polecat), or take a personality quiz to find out which character you are most like http://www.theresewalsh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Personality-Quiz.pdf (I’d get along well with Babka). Of course, don’t forget to check out the author.

See you on the rails!

Connect with the Author

TheresaWalshCatch up with Therese at her website http://www.theresewalsh.com/

Purchase The Moon Sisters at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Sisters-Novel-Therese-Walsh/dp/0307461602/ref=wri

Also by Therese, The Last Will of Moira Leahy Last Will of Moira Leahy bookcover

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Will-Moira-Leahy-Novel/dp/0307461580/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393534252&sr=1-1&

 

03/24/14 update: Thank you for joining in WOW’s book giveaway. Three winners have been chosen; one from WOW’s Rafflecopter contest, one from all the visitors to participating blogs (each blog host entered one visitor’s name), and one blog host.

The winners are
Book giveaway on The Muffin (rafflecopter): Maria M.
Book giveaway from the finalist from each participating blog: Robyn at Words by Webb
Book giveaway for a participating blogger: Vickie S. Miller at Vickie S. Miller Blog
If you didn’t win this time around don’t give up–WOW has lot’s of contest coming up! Just check out the Blog Tours and Events schedule on the right side of the page at The Muffin.

Next Page »