Thelma Mariano: Heart of Stone

Book’s Blurb

Following a wager of the gods, a statue of Aphrodite springs to life. She has thirty days to find true love or return to stone.

After two hundred years trapped in granite, Daphne will do anything to stay alive. However, she’s past her prime as a woman and her face is pockmarked after prolonged exposure to acid rain and pollution. Without the advantages of youth or obvious beauty, how can she attract a suitable partner in so little time?

 

 

Heart of Stone

In a world of instant gratification and hookups, is it even possible to find anything real? And do so before the month runs out?
Desperate for answers, she turns to others for advice and looks for love in all the wrong places. With days, then minutes remaining to her, she must listen to the wisdom of her now-fragmented heart.

 

 

…the story symbolizes the dilemma faced by many women – to open our hearts to love and risk vulnerability (in Daphne’s case, death) or to resist and turn to stone.

Heart of Stone is a romantic fantasy.  Thelma Mariano began writing fiction in the confessions field, where she sold over 40 stories to women’s magazines (such as True Story, True Confessions and True Experience) put out by NYC publishers in the days of mass readership. She is also the author of three published novels: Night Cries (women’s fiction), ConneXions (psychological suspense) and SeaStruck (a paranormal romance).

Heart of Stone is a short and easy read. It ponders the notion of true love and the pain of a broken heart. The novel is set in some of Montreal’s landmarks: Old Montreal,  Le Plateau and St. Denis Street. But the most remarkable one for me is of the chapel in the Old Port where the statue of Our Lady of the Harbor is immortalized in Leonard Cohen’s haunting song Suzanne.

The book is offered for free right now on Smashwords and Amazon. I had difficulty downloading it on my Kindle through Amazon but had no problems sending it to my iPad. Go figure!

 

 

Bau: The Elizabethan Collar

 

Not even a month back with my mistress and here I am with this shameful contraption around my neck. Apparently it’s so that I don’t pull out some stiches that she forced me to have. Humans can be so cruel. When she tried to take me outside I strongly protested by sitting and pulling on my leash. She picked me up and although I do love snuggling up to her I didn’t at all appreciate her taking me outside where everybody could  have a good laugh at my expense. It was totally embarrassing. I tried to keep my head down so that the other dogs wouldn’t recognize me but the cone kept getting in the way and I bumped into a bush which injured my pride. I could hardly wait to go back inside and hide. 

 

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This is so humiliating!

 

Introducing Mr. Baudelaire

Dog Notebook

My original name was Harry, which is an excellent name for a dog like me, especially since I am very princely looking. Yet, my mistress decided that because I am a Bichon of French decent she thought it appropriate that I have a French name and a literary one at that.

So she re-named me Mr. Baudelaire after the famous French poet but calls me Bau which many humans rightly confuse with the French word beau which very suitably means very handsome.

I was 3 months old when my mistress came into my life but because of her lazy life style she found me too much trouble and responsibility and returned me to my former owner. I was happy to see my mother and father and little brother but still being rejected is never an easy pill to swallow. 

But, being the adorable dog I am she began to miss me and even felt heart-broken over my absence and begged to have me back. Now, I am teaching her dog language, which unfortunately she often doesn’t get. Anyway, I cross my paws with hope that she will come to recognize my enormous enrichment to her life and her blog. 

 

Ana Linden: Albatross

albatross

In her collection of stories Ana Linden refuses to have her characters see through rose colored glasses or have happily ever after futures.

Don’t expect extraordinary individuals, always able to make the world a better place, when they can hardly save themselves. This world is not one of untainted, selfless, righteous spiritual leaders either, just as it is not one devoid of violence, crime, pain or punishment.
https://analindenblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/albatross-the-big-day/

In Albatross, the opening story, Linden gives us an honest perspective of husband and wife regarding the staleness of their marriage.

Then there is the single woman’s paranoia and fears that accompany what it’s like to live alone after being robbed.

And the story about the affair. “The moment we met, we knew the week spent together would be one of those times so essentially shallow, that it can have nothing less than a profound effect on both of us.”

Ana Linden has the ability to surprise and at times shock. Her characters are often “running away from someone, something or running to catch them, him, whoever.”

Running away from memories and the past, Ana Linden’s stories challenge us to dig deeper where safety lies. Safety and home are recurring themes in these stories. In Freedom her character builds herself a home with an inheritance: It’s so fulfilling to have an endpoint in sight, after all this time.”

A second layer to these stories has to do with self-awareness. Not the fluffy kind but an honest awareness of the fear of losing one’s identity by getting too close. The kind that brings you to the scary heart of emotions and thoughts, of guilt and doubt. The kind that makes you feel uneasy and provides insightful (sometimes horrific) snippets of what goes on behind closed doors and minds.

Ana Linden writes with a certain innocence, breaks the rules and is at times obscure and experimental. Like her nameless characters she is unconventional in her writing. A writers’ writer, one might say.

Click here for an excerpt of Albatross.

 

Jacqui Murray: Born In A Treacherous Time

This post is part of Jacqui Murray’s book launch.

Jacqui Murray

 

Jacqui Murray took twenty years to write Born in A Treacherous Time. One might think that’s a long time but then the setting of her novel goes back 1.8 million years. Yikes!

Drawing from insights from various fields in paleo sciences and history the novel takes us into what survival and living everyday must have been like during this period in the hot, dry savannas of East Africa.

Lucy, whom you may remember from To Hunt a Sub  shows both ape like and human traits. She exhibits empathy, kinship, responsibility, inquisitiveness and tenderness. In her efforts to belong  into her new group Lucy confronts jealousy by the female members who disapprove of her going out to hunt. (Not a female thing to do).

The hunt plays a major role in this novel where Lucy – sometimes stalked by predators, sometimes herself the predator – encounters life and death situations. Murray excels at describing the different hunts and the rituals attached to them. I found these aspects of the novel to be very informative as well as adventurous.

Murray has a way of placing the reader right there in the jungle following Lucy in her will to survive. Right there with her in the climatic changes, witnessing man’s first weather forecaster. You are running/jogging/racing alongside Lucy. Learning how her group communicates. You admire her creativity and passion to solve problems and invent tools. Admire her knowledge of plants and their healing properties. You root for her. She is our pre-historic heroine!

We are far, far away from online shopping, walking on the moon, finding cures for diseases, building high-rises and even the invention of the wheel. Born in a Treacherous Time is a testament to the greatness and dominance of man against nature.

This is a novel which filled me with gratitude and respect for my ancestors and their resilience.  To somewhat quote Jacqui Murray in an interview with Tina Frisco:

Murray treats early man with majesty and nobility.

 

 

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Available at: Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daffodils

Daffodils are my favorite flower. Last fall I planted dozens of daffodil bulbs at my family grave. Today, when I went to check on the daffodils I was delighted to find a host of golden daffodils lighting up the aisle.

I picked enough for a bouquet and left the rest behind for joy and beauty.

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Here’s William Wordsworth’s famous poem on daffodils: 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wishing you all a joyous weekend. 

 

Anneli Purchase: The Wind Weeps

The Wind Weeps ​

A romantic fishing tale​​​​​​​​​

Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.

Annel photo

photo source

In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.

 

Anneli

The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.

Click here for more details on Anneli Purchase’s books.