Thursday, June 17, 2021

Guest book review - The Other Shore: Ordinary People Grappling with Extraordinary Challenges by Madhu B. Wangu


The Other Shore: Ordinary People Grappling with Extraordinary Challenges. A collection of twenty stories where we meet people struggling with inevitability of death, unavoidable circumstances, relationships gone sour, and our connection with nature. Some tales hover between reality and fantasy, while others reflect on outdated customs and tradition, prejudice and bigotry, altruism and kindness. The stories come alive with characters living in India, or Indians living in America, their American friends and people from around the globe. The stories are about human heart, hurt and search for life’s meaning and purpose.

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"The Other Shore showers you with aesthetic pleasures by allowing you to examine the cross-cultural experience. Madhu Bazaz Wangu’s tales are filled with physically vigorous and mentally vital moments that exist in the now. Her narration has strong leanings in establishing identity, and her conversational style makes you feel relaxed as if you are getting acquainted with the characters face to face. I cannot help but feel moved by the story of Unrequited Love, as the theme profoundly illustrates one typical problem that arises among close-knit Asian families. There is always a striking point in all of these twenty stories where Wangu seems adept at scrutinizing the role of women in contemporary society. In the end, it is difficult not to feel moved or affected after reading these stories.” - Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

More to enjoy from the author
        

Guest book review by Rachel Quaill
These stories of human interrelatedness and existence speak to your soul on such a deep level. Madhu B. Wangu has the innate ability to propel you to the ins-and-outs of the character’s sense of being in such a relatable way that you cannot help but reflect on each character and see something you recognize in them, either in yourself or others that have come in and out of your life.

Each unique story is like you are meeting someone new yet so familiar as you are given a view of their world and how they see things. Wangu’s use of prose to place you right in the middle of each place and time offers every reader the opportunity to take yourself out of your reality and feel that you can taste the foods, smell the scents, envision the landscape. Yet, you still get the opportunity after each chapter to reflect on your own life and what the meaning of the story offers to you and how you can learn from it.

I look forward to much more of Wangu’s work in the near future.

5 Stars

About the author
Madhu B. Wangu is an award-winning author and the founder of Mindful Writers Groups and Retreats. She has a doctorate in the phenomenology of Religion from the University of Pittsburgh (1988) and a post-doctoral Fellowship from Harvard University (1989-1991). For fifteen years she taught Hindu and Buddhist art history at the University of Pittsburgh, Rhode Island College and Wheaton College. She joined Pennwriters Organization in 2005 and served as a Board member from 2007-10012. In 2020 she won Pennwriters Meritorious Award for being “a valuable asset to the writing and publishing world.” Dr. Wangu also serves as a board member for Books Bridge Hope, the non-profit organization with a mission to promote reading, writing and literacy to community members residing in shelters and on the streets of Pittsburgh. 

More than three decades of meditating and journaling led Dr. Wangu to teach meditation and to write. The work resulted in a practice she calls Writing Meditation Method. You are welcome to join her every morning at Online Mindful Writers Group. 

Madhu Wangu’s CDs, Meditations for Mindful Writers I, II & III, inspire professional as well as novice writers to improve focus, remove blocks, and increase writing flow and productivity. Her CDs include: Meditations for Mindful Writers: Body, Heart, Mind (2011), Meditations for Mindful Writers II: Sensations, Feelings, Thoughts (2017), and Meditations for Mindful Writers III: Generosity, Gratitude, Self-Compassion and Trust (2019) 

Dr. Wangu has written books about Hindu and Buddhist goddesses: Images of Indian Goddesses: Myths, Meanings and Models, (Abhinav Publications, New Delhi, 2003) and A Goddess Is Born, (Spark Publishers, 2002). Her illustrated books for young adults are, Hinduism (Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1991) and Buddhism (Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1993). Madhu has also held five one-person shows of oil paintings and prints and has exhibited with art groups in India as well as USA. 

Dr. Madhu Bazaz Wangu also writes fiction including Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion (2015), and two novels The Immigrant Wife: Her Spiritual Journey (2016) and The Last Suttee (2017). 

Currently, she is writing her second collection of short stories, Little Journeys (forthcoming in 2021). The manuscripts of her third novel, Meaning of My Life (2023) and a guidebook, Unclog Your Creative Flow, Enrich Your Daily Life (2025) are currently being written. 

Read her daily posts that she writes for Online Mindful Writers Group on Facebook

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Guest book review - I'm Not Weird, I Have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD): Alexandra's Journey (2nd Edition) (Growing with Love) by Chynna T. Laird


Through Understanding Comes Respect and Love 
This book was inspired by the author's daughter, Jaimie, who struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) every day. It was written to validate Jaimie's feelings and to show her other children feel things the way she does. This book can help children with SPD learn how to explain their disorder to others; help peers understand what children with SPD go through; and also help therapists, teachers and/or counselors learn how to talk about it. Helping others learn about children with special needs brings understanding to them and help to make them seem less... different. 

New 2nd edition includes suggested activities teachers or caregivers can do with children to help develop a deeper understanding of how SPD "feels" plus new pages on vestibular and proprioception systems. 

Praise for I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD: 
"This book is a must-read for any parent who has a child suffering with Sensory Processing Disorder. It also helps your child put words to what they are feeling on a daily basis. Teachers and other professionals working with children who have SPD also come to a better understanding of how to help these children." --Tanya Wilson 

"A heart-touching book, written in a straightforward, kid-friendly manner that provides an excellent insight to the trials, frustrations, and new discoveries children with SPD and their families may encounter. This book has assisted in creating an appreciation and acceptance of the unique qualities within all of us, and that we are not 'weird'-we are 'wonderful'!" --Lillian Baulkham, Grade 3 teacher, Sweet Grass School, Edmonton, Alberta 

"When I read Chynna Laird's I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, I almost cried. Not because the story of a child struggling with severe sensory disorder is so sad, but because the frustration shared by child and family alike before diagnosis is so heart-wrenching. Ms. Laird leaves the reader with a moment of with a moment of joy and a real hope for a brighter tomorrow!" --C. Hall 

From the Growing With Love Series from Loving Healing Press 
Juvenile Fiction : Social Issues - Special Needs 
Education : Special Education - Communicative Disorders

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Enjoy these excerpts...


Guest book review by Devorah Bergman
As a teacher, this book spoke to me. I learned a lot about SPD that I did not know. Written from the perspective of a child, this is a great book to bring into the classroom if a student has SPD. Children WANT to help their friends and this book can really help children understand why their friend gets upset. This book is also great for parents if they have never heard of SPD.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
CHYNNA LAIRD – is a psychology/criminology major, freelance writer and author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder, mental and emotional disorders and other special needs. You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored two children’s books, two memoirs (and another in the works), an adult Suspense/Thriller, a Young Adult Suspense/Paranormal series, two contemporary New Adult novels and a parent-to-parent book. Stayed tuned as Chynna has several Works-In-Progress on the go.

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Guest book review - The Magician (The Donora Story Collection Book 3) by Kathleen Shoop


NEW RELEASE....
Donora 2019. 
Ninety-two year old Patryk Rusek is on the run, bath-towel flying off, with nothing but his new Nikes to carry him to freedom. His plan to escape from Blue Horizon Retirement Community is in motion. Except his great-grandson Owen isn’t at the pickup point. Resigned to his fate, Patryk returns to his room and reads from his incredible hand-drawn chronicle of Donora, luring half the nursing home’s employees and residents into the room, mesmerizing them with childhood tales of Stan F. Musial, beloved baseball hall of famer. 

Donora 1920. 
Mary Musial is expecting again. After four daughters, her husband Lukasz is losing hope for a son. But Jupiter is rising when Stanisław Franciszek Musiał is born on November 21, 1920, and the midwife predicts he will live an extraordinary life. Young Stanley’s physical talents show themselves at the Polish Falcons and on the baseball field. But rather than pride, Lukasz’s spirits plummet after mill injuries turn his American dream into a living nightmare. 

When the Depression hits and the mills close, tension grips every Donora household. Meanwhile as Stan matures, he draws attention from the press, college coaches, and professional baseball scouts. Suddenly his singular dream is set against options he’d never imagined. Every choice threatens to disappoint coaches, teachers, his girlfriend, and most of all his parents. Even with the talent to achieve his goals, doubt creeps in. Can he find the courage to leave everything he knows and all the people he loves to fulfill his destiny? Or will he wait too long and risk it all?

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"Shoop elevates the story of working-class Donorans in her carefully sculpted prose woven deftly with both historical research and fictional craft that rival any of her contemporaries. Through her words, readers are privy to the hard scrabble life lived by Stan Musial's parents, Mary and Lukasz, whose love story we followed in The Strongman and the Mermaid. The Magician is a must-read for anyone who loves baseball, small town life, and the pursuit of the American Dream." --Christina Fisanick, PhD, Associate Professor of English, California University of Pennsylvania

Guest book review by Carly Louise Wilson
The Magician is the incredible new book by one of my favourite historical writers, Kathleen Shoop, and it is the third book in the Donora Story Collection.

You can read this book as a stand-alone, or as a new addition to an already incredibly imaginative and realistic series.

Shoop has a way of creatively hooking her readers from the onset, and this book was no exception. For I immediately loved the idea of Patryk, a ninety two year old man attempting to make a grand escape from the nursing home where he resides, only to be left disappointed and left returning to his room and reading an incredible story to the fellow home residents and employees.

This story was imaginative, and believable, Shoop has a way of taking real life historical events and embellishing them, turning them into great magical stories where you feel like you are sitting right before Patryk learning of the tales of the town and the Great Depression.

This book is action packed and also focuses on the story of Stanislaw Musial, an immigrant who makes it in the big leagues of baseball and gets a taste of the American Dream. I love the story within a story, and the transportation back through time so you can really embrace the characters lives, journeys and histories.

Captivating, addictive and incredibly well-written and detailed are what come to mind when I think of this book. Shoop really captures the essence of a moment in time, and I absolutely adore all of her books.

If you love historical reads, or just love the cover, then this book will be for you. It will keep you entertained for hours, and will put you under a magical reading spell.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Donora Story Collection Book 1 - After the Fog
Historic, environmental drama wrapped in a love story... 

It's 1948 in the steel town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous “killing smog.” Public health nurse, Rose Pavlesic, has risen above her orphaned upbringing and created a life that reflects everything she missed as a child. She’s even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her doting husband, loving children, and large extended family. 

When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose’s nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she’s not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family—and the whole town—splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family’s healing begin?

***2013 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist*** 
***Independent Publisher Awards: 2012 Silver, Best Regional Fiction–Mid-Atlantic*** 
***National Indie Excellence Awards: 2012 WINNER-- Literary Fiction***

Available to buy from the following sites...
The Donora Story Collection Book 2 - The Strongman and the Mermaid
2019 Donora, Pennsylvania 
Ninety-one-year-old Patryk Rusek hides in his attic, hoping the searchers think he’s escaped. When Lucy finally bursts in, she discovers her beloved grandfather clutching a fat, hand-illustrated, antique book. In it is the story of Donora, the town that shaped America, its people and Patryk himself. Before long, Lucy and her son Owen lose track of their goal to get Grandpa Patryk somewhere “safe” as they’re drawn into the book, back in time, into stories that read like real-life fairytales born of purpose, hard-work, and chance.

1910 Donora, Pennsylvania 
In the early dawn of Donora, Pennsylvania, the mills make and shape the steel that builds America. Mary Lancos lives in a home on the hill overlooking town and its mighty Monongahela River. That tiny house bursts with her siblings and boarders. Wind whipping through the walls and windows makes Mary determined to marry well and create a better life.

Shy Pole, Lukasz Musial, arrives in Donora seeking the clear blue skies, green lawns, and better life he’d seen pictured on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill. Life is set on course to achieve the American Dream. All he needs is a wife who believes in him, in his mighty, quiet, strength.

After a series of casual, friendly meetings, fate brings Mary and Lukasz to the river under a snowy, pink moonlit sky and everything changes. Their attraction is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents she and Lukasz must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.

Available to buy from the following sites...

About Kathleen Shoop
Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Readers’ Favorite and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. Kathleen coordinates Mindful Writing Retreats and is a regular presenter at conferences for writers.

I adore writing historical fiction (The Letter series, After the Fog and Donora Stories) but am having a blast writing romance like Home Again, Return to Love and Tending Her Heart (Endless Love series). Thank you so much for the time you take to read.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Guest book review - Maybe We Will (Silver Harbor) by Melissa Foster


Embracing Her Heart (The Montgomerys Book 1) by [Foster, Melissa]
NEW RELEASE........
From Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of She Loves Me, comes a sexy and heart-warming novel about finding love—and family—where you least expect it. 

When chef Abby de Messiéres returns to Silver Island with her sister to get their late mother’s affairs in order, she expected to inherit her mother’s bistro along with their childhood home, not to discover a half sister they never knew existed, and a handsome vacationer camped out on her mother’s patio. 

Workaholic Aiden Aldridge has been sent to Silver Island on a work-free vacation, armed with a “Let Loose list,” and ordered to get a life by the much-younger sister he raised after the death of their parents. After years of focusing on his sister’s well-being, he’s blindsided by his intense attraction to the gorgeous, free-spirited Abby. 

Aiden might not know much about chilling out, but he’s excellent at striking deals. He helps Abby with the restaurant in exchange for her help in tackling the items on his list. Sparks fly as Aiden and Abby work, and play, side by side. Intimate conversations lead to steamy kisses and undeniable passion. But there’s more to Aiden than Abby knows, and when the truth comes out, their new romance is put to the test, as the two find out if true love really can conquer all.

Available to buy from ...
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The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in paperback and audio formats, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a FREE Kindle reading app HERE (or order the paperback)

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Also available in audio!

"Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!" - NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely​

"You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that's fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won't want to stop reading. Every book's a winner!" - New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak 

"With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!" - New York Times Bestseller J. Kenner

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Guest book review by Devorah Bergman
This book was AMAZING! Aiden and Abby definitely went through their ups and downs as a couple but I really enjoyed sharing their journey.

Aiden needed a vacation. He raised his sister but was learning that she found her own happily ever after and did not need him in the same way. She sent him on a vacation that ended up showing him what he was missing.

Abby returned to the island after her mother's passing to try to restart the restaurant her father had purchased and run before his death. Along the way she learned a lot about herself and how to love a person.

Aiden and Abby definitely have some bumps in their road (one of which I figured out early on as a reader) but ultimately find their happily ever after.

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

Releasing November 2nd!!
Maybe We Should (Silver Harbor)
An emotional and sexy novel about guarded hearts, finding love, and families lost and found by Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe We Will. 

After spending years wondering who she was, tattoo artist Cait Weatherby finally found her answers on the sandy shores of Silver Island. With two half sisters she never knew existed, a group of friends she adores, and a devastatingly charming admirer who flirts with her at every turn, she’s ready to figure out her next steps. The trouble is, Cait lives in the shadows of a dark past, and she can’t afford complications that might cause her to lose the family she’s only just found―complications like blue-eyed boatbuilder Brant Remington, who is as open as she is guarded. If only the sexy charmer would take the hint… 

Brant is Cait’s opposite in every way, but he’s drawn to everything about the sexy newcomer―from the quiet strength that rivals the caution in her mossy-green eyes to her tough facade that he can’t wait to strip away. 

As Brant works his magic, Cait’s walls come down. But as sweet as that feels, Cait knows how quickly good things can turn bad. It’s going to take more than a little trust to beat the ghosts of her past and claim the future they both deserve.

Available to pre-order from ...
**FREE in KU
The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in paperback and audio formats, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a FREE Kindle reading app HERE (or order the paperback)

About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and new adult romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa enjoys chatting with readers and book clubs. Send her an email invitation to your next event!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Guest book review - Love on the Edge (Mindful Writers Retreat Series Book 3)


Experience love’s emotional gamut from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to bring joy and bliss to your heart any time of year. 

From love in the time of war… to love at first sight and long walks in the snow… to sparks flying because of nosy neighbors… Love on the Edge reveals the essence and evolution of the human need for relationship, written in a time when we’re all searching for deeper meaning and connection. 

Featuring works by: Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet, Jennifer D. Diamond, Abigail Drake, Judy England-McCarthy, Phil Giunta, N. J. Hammer, Kimberly Kurth Gray, Hilary Hauck, S. M. Kraftchak, Ramona DeFelice Long, MaryAlice Meli, Amy Morley, Gail Oare, Kim Pierson, James Robinson, Jr., Kathleen Shoop, Demi Stevens, Lisa Valli, Deborah Vita, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, Denise Weaver, and Michele Zirkle. 

Proceeds benefit Allegheny Children’s Initiative—Partners For Quality, Inc.

Available at....
Free on Kindle Unlimited

Book Excerpts

Finn & Chloe

Kathleen Shoop

O

nce upon a time a guy sat in a bar. Stood up, mortified, unmoored. Finn Corbett’s perfect life had been balled up and tossed into the garbage like a plane spiraled out of the sky when its engine gave out. He sighed then downed the rest of his Iron City Light, glancing around the Three Rivers Tavern. Had anyone noticed the fat bouquet of ranunculus sitting beside him like it was his Valentine date? He’d gone to three florists on his postal route to find the right combination of every shade of pink and red colors that ValentineDreamer2 had said would melt her heart.

Turns out she was heartless, leaving a guy to stew in his ranunculus juices after sounding so excited to meet him. He checked his watch. Over an hour late. The lights dimmed, the dancefloor filled, and the band cranked out its first moody love song. Time to escape. He slid a twenty for a $4.50 beer under the bottle and stuffed the bouquet into his mail bag. Slipping out of the booth, trying to stay as small as possible, he jiggled the table, knocking the bottle off. A waitress breezed past, scooping it up just before it hit the floor. She set it on the table and bent down. “Um, your flowers.” She straightened bearing a couple of stems.

Pulling up to his full six feet four height, his hairline pricked with sweat.

“They tumbled out of your bag there… oh…” she brushed the blooms with her fingertips. “Like velvet. Ranunculus. A lucky la-dy…” her voice trailed off when she looked back at the table and realized there was no lady. She shoved them toward him. “They’re beautiful.”

“Keep ’em.”

Her face brightened, but before she said more, a customer called her away. Finn pulled his bag-strap over his shoulder and balked, the shocking pain reminding him he’d never get back on the pitcher’s mound if he didn’t baby it a little. Switching the bag to his other shoulder he limped, dismayed. He stopped and lifted his foot. What had he done to it? The leap over the fence when the Rottweiler chased him? The slip off the wet curb when the downpour kept Mrs. Renfrew on her porch with a letter she’d forgotten to add to the box?

He shook his head. Five months since he’d been released by the minor-league baseball team, Altoona Curve. There was only one way back to making his dream come true and that was to be fully healthy. Turns out, being cut from Double-A ball, having no savings or health insurance, made that harder to do than most would expect. But then his luck shifted, just a little tiny bit, like the sun splitting through dark clouds and an ump saying “Play ball,” he found the job as a postal carrier in Pittsburgh.

It had been perfect. His route kept him moving, he had the energy to work out and do physical therapy in the evening and the job paid that bill. All seemed to be going in the right direction until that night there in the tavern when his aloneness sat heavy as a just-filled mailbag. Weaving through dancing couples toward the exit, he considered that he’d never been stood up before, not once in his entire life. Perhaps he should have added the fact he had been (and soon would be again, he just knew it) a professional baseball player to his profile, and ValentineDreamer2 would be nesting the ranunculus in her arms that very moment.

But then he’d have to explain the whole system, why he wasn’t playing right then. It was true, very few people understood the competition in Double-A ball was often better than Triple-A… oh, there he went again. How often did he talk about baseball? Maybe ValentineDreamer2 could sense it through the internet, his self-centeredness sucking away all the energy in the room. Wasn’t that what Sarah had always said to him? Yep. He shook his head as he wove through the Valentine lovers, arms looped around necks, as bodies melded on the dance floor. Perhaps his loneliness had settled in long before he admitted it that night. Perhaps he was getting just what he deserved.


***

Angelica
(A Toxic Botanical Romance)

Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet

A

ngelica’s veins oozed of envy and spite. The sap coursed around her, bleeding down to her last veinlet. The unwanted jealousy was uncontrollable – and it was all Rosemary’s fault!

Before Rosemary’s herbaceous arrival, Edelweiss hovered over Angelica, showering her with loving dew-drops in the morning and glistening winks of his filaments at sunset. He hung high overhead from the rock wall’s crag, anchoring his roots deep into the gritty crevices.

Angelica lived amongst the wildflowers in the field below. She was grateful that she stood a solid foot above the others and closest to Edelweiss’s reach. He was her Noble White Matterhorn and she was his Chartreuse Elixir.

Angelica swooned remembering the days when she would splay her umbels wide and flash her snowy starburst to get Edelweiss’s attention. She wished that his silvery-white leaves would reach down to protect her from the sun and his hairy bracts caress her. Now, looking lovingly up at Edelweiss, all she could see was Rosemary’s orangish underside.

A tender perennial, Rosemary sat in her terracotta throne with the other potted plants: happy-go-lucky pansies, delicately drooping fuchsia, and sweet alyssum. Her handcrafted earthenware accentuated the oversized wrought iron stand that was strategically placed against the rock wall – blocking Angelica’s view of Edelweiss. The entitled plants luxuriated in a three-tiered towering complex, soaking up the organic tilth. From dawn of day until dark of night Rosemary flaunted her soft summer-blue flowers and petite sapid needles. She could almost, but not quite, touch Edelweiss. He shortened the gap, stretching his fuzzy filaments in her direction.

Angelica, on the other hand, was down with the dirt-trodden muck, disrespectfully grouped with the weeds. Her blistering sap was bubbling over! She could not allow Rosemary to connect with her true love. Born and bred on the wild side, Angelica had strong invasive and irritating qualities. But even with all of that going for her, she couldn’t tackle this devious task alone. Angelica called upon the queen of poisons, Aconite. Together they would formulate a lethal toxin to take out Rosemary and win back the undivided attention of Edelweiss. Aconite, the root of all evil, was devilishly up for an herbicidal attack.

Meanwhile, the unsuspecting Rosemary enjoyed being pruned and pampered and praised.


***

For Cheeku

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

A new sun rises, golden yellow, exquisite.

You spread freshness of swaddled joy in my lap.

Lips velvety petals, black amber eyes, silken eyelashes.

Fussy cheeks, wrinkly neck, dimpled hands.

Delight rises from the bottom of my belly, my heart, my head.

I am showered with bliss.


“Do you know who I am?” I ask, smiling from ear to ear. You simply stare.

I can’t stop hugging, can’t stop kissing until

you lay in your bassinet under moonbeams.

When you cry, adoring parents wrap you in a cocoon.

You lull back into a womb like trance.

Kisses on your forehead, on your cheeks, on your tummy

leave a sweetness in me lingering like a lullaby.

My cradle song puts me to sleep to treasure the day in my dreams.


***

Guest book review by Carly Louise Wilson
Love On Edge is a beautiful collection of stories written by multiple authors around the differing types of love. They are all charming, romantic and heartwarming in their own ways, and there wasn’t a single story within this collection I didn’t like.

I’ve been a fan of Kathleen Shoop for a long time, so when I saw she was featured within this collection, I knew I would be taken back to a different time and to become beautifully immersed in a love between fictional characters.

There is a story for everyone, and due to the book being split up into lots of short tales, it means people can read a story per evening, or as much as they’d like. I love how each story is unique, detailed and makes you understand the incredible feeling of being in love.

This book contained beautiful strong stories which painted clear pictures in my minds eye, and it was such a wonderfully refreshing collection of stories and poetry.

I’d recommend to all romance lovers, those of which who enjoy reading short stories and would like to be acquainted with an array of characters. Truly beautiful and left me feeling warm and fuzzy and in love with love.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Also available in the Mindful Writers Retreat Series...
Into the Woods is the title and theme for this assortment of short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods. The twenty-six contributors who attend Mindful Writers Retreats in the mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds to support the research and work of The Children’s Heart Foundation.

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A holiday pastiche from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to light your festive candles!

From a Thanksgiving snow storm that mends old feuds… to the family misunderstandings that fuel new ones… a quirky elf and some romantic stardust will get you ready to go Over the River and Through the Woods on a journey through time!

Proceeds benefit Ligonier Camp & Conference Center Home of the Mindful Writers Retreats, Ligonier, PA

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Mindful Writers Retreat Authors 

The Mindful Writers retreat together several times a year in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. While there, they write books and come up with some wonderful stories. They share these in their anthologies.


Find the Mindful Writers Retreat Series on Facebook HERE

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I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

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