Blogging Mama

Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Sign Up TODAY for "Ghost With Two Hearts" by Michael R. French - a WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour launching December 12th 2022!

 I am thrilled to invite you to a Blog Tour with my dear friend and talented author Michael R. French! 


December 12th 2022
WOW! Women on Writing
Launches
An Amazing Book Blog Tour
for
GHOST WITH TWO HEARTS
by
Michael R. French




 



Categories:  Magic, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Love Story 


Sign-Up Today using this google form:  


About the Author, Michael R. French:

National best selling author Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is an avid mountain trekker, likes to visit developing countries, and with his wife, Patricia, started a 501(c) 3, Dollars4Schools, to support public school teachers in Santa Fe.

He has published twenty four books, including fiction, young adult fiction, biographies, and art criticism. His novel, Abingdon's, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal.

The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder was released January 2013.

Mountains beyond Mountains was released April 2013.

Once Upon A Lie was published on March 15, 2016.

The Beginner's Guide to Winning an Election, a YA/crossover novel, published in  2019


and now...

"Ghost with Two Hearts"


 

#ghostwithtwohearts


The Blog Tour will begin on December 12th and last until the end of January 2023 (how fitting that Ghost with Two Hearts spans two calendar years)! You can participate by reviewing the book,  spotlighting the book, choosing a guest post written by the author, or interviewing the author.

 
Physical copies available in the U.S.  or PDF available for all! (digital copies available NOW, physical copies will become available after 12/1)

I'd love to have you for this Blog Tour!
Questions? Send me an email: crystaljotto@gmail.com or call/text: 920-645-7529


,  

        Summary of Ghost With Two Hearts        

          

        Approaching  30,  Adrian,  a  talented  software  engineer,  takes  stock  of  his  wealth and  accolades—and  also how unhappy he is.  He doesn’t make friends easily, boycotts social media,  and was recently bloodied in a divorce he didn’t want.   He finds no common purpose in a country  marred by political vitriol, distrust, and inequality. Taking a leave of absence from his company,  he travels to  Japan with a samurai katana that his grandfather lifted from a  Japanese captain  killed  in  World  War  Two.  Adrian  is  determined  to  find  the  sword’s  rightful  heir.  Doing  the  morally correct thing make him feel better about himself. 

He  discovers Japanese  society to  be the  antithesis  of almost  everything  in  the  States. People honor authority, esteem education, follow laws and customs, and have a reverence  for  nature.  Virtually crime-free, Japan has less than a dozen murders a year. In Shintoism, the galaxy  of gods and demons are taken seriously. There are clean lines, sometimes absolute ones, between  right and wrong, reward and punishment.  

               When Adrian visits his first Shinto temple in Kyoto, someone pickpockets his cell phone. By luck, he thinks, he finds it on an empty table in a café. He later realizes that  his photos and  messages have been tampered with.  He rents a house on the Philosopher’s Path, which parallels  a tranquil canal lined with gorgeous cherry trees.  The landlord, a former Shinto priest, reveals that a special ghost called a “kami” lives in the attic. Her name is Emiko and she showed up  five years ago, he says. All kami are  invisible but reputed to have human capabilities and emotions.               Adrian has already read about these highly-esteemed spirits of the dead, millions of them,  but  a  few are  actually  evil  and  being  punished for  eternity.  Emiko’s  erratic,  prank-playing  behavior is a sign that she is one of the damned, the priest says with sorrow. He doesn’t know why she  ended  up in  his  house.  Happy  renters write reviews  about  a frustrated, angry,  yet  

essentially harmless ghost. They are entertained. The priest never lacks for future business. One night, Adrian hears footsteps outside his bedroom. On several occasions, the shower  turns on and off.  It’s like he has a housemate, he thinks, convinced he is imagining everything.  When  his  grandfather’s  sword  vanishes from  his  bedroom, however,  he  panics. He’s  already  located  its  rightful  owner—the Japanese  captain’s  80-yer-old  daughter.  He  has  promised to  deliver it to her promptly. He has to keep his word or lose face. 

He scours the house for the katana, but stops short of going into the attic. On a whim he  writes the ghost a note, politely asking if she knows where his sword is. He’s stunned to get a note back. Emiko admits to taking the  katana, but it’s only to protect Adrian.  She insists  the  captain’s  daughter will  pray  to the  gods  to  punish  Adrian.  His  grandfather’s  theft on  the  battlefield was a moral crime and someone has to do penance. 

Who,  and  what  kind  of  penance?  he wonders. Adrian  pleads  and  nags until Emiko reluctantly returns the sword.     

In the attic, she writes in her diary that Adrian is a naïve Westerner, hopelessly ignorant about the spiritual world, and needs to find a “teacher.” Otherwise, he’ll be a lost soul forever. Unlike tenants she’s put up with in the past, she finds Adrian sincere and likable.   

The captain’s daughter, once she has the sword, asks a powerful Shinto goddess, Inari, to  destroy Adrian. The dark side of Japanese culture seems like a complicated game to Adrian, but  when Emiko hints at her own sad story, he takes her seriously.  On her behalf, Adrian  begins  praying to  Inari,  the same goddess who has been solicited  to  take revenge on him. In a large  shrine,  he  prostrates  himself  in  front  of  a stern-looking  effigy,  praying  for Inari to  reverse  Emiko’s fate. Worshippers give him strange looks but he doesn’t care. He never fits in anywhere.

Emiko is filled with gratitude for Adrian’s  support,  as she, too, prays constantly to Inari. When he admits he has feelings for her, even if she’s a ghost, she hints he’s wasting his time. They  can never be together, as she has her own destiny, though she won’t explain what it is.  She urges  Adrian to leave Japan immediately, in case Inari turns against him. Instead, he hangs around the  house, wanting  Emiko  to  teach  him  how  to  be a better person. Despite her bleak, tormented  existence, the ghost’s strength and purpose inspire him.   

Adrian hears ambiguous rumors about the priest’s past. At the same time,  a new kami  enters his life. The ghost of the Army captain lures him into a dark alley. Wielding the katana that  Adrian had returned to his daughter, he attacks viciously, and would have killed Adrian but for a last-second intervention from Inari. Adrian becomes a true believer in Shinto gods because they  ultimately do the right thing, both sparing an outsider like him and taking Emiko’s side. They  finally see she is not an evil kami. The vengeful captain meets a bitter end. 

Emiko disappears in the middle of the night, after leaving Adrian a good-bye letter. They  should never see each other again because it’s too painful, she writes.  Piecing together clues, he finds her at Japan’s most hallowed cemetery, under a full-moon, sitting by a small Jizo statue, the  Buddhist  god  that  protects  children,  including  the  unborn.    Emiko finally  reveals the  priest  invited  her  to  live  in  his  house  when  she  was  having  trouble  with  her  parents.  He  got  her  pregnant and forced her to have an abortion. In Japan, shame is a powerful motivator, as are right  and wrong. Having brought dishonor on her parents, Emiko hanged herself.  

Redeemed by Inari, she can now join the spirit of her unborn child.  

Their good-bye in the cemetery is awkward, and overwhelming to Adrian. The rare and  tender relationship he cultivated is about to turn into a teasing memory.       I love you, always, he whisper to the ghost, after she vanishes into a star-glazed sky. He becomes  furious with the priest as he returns to the house.  It’s surrounded by police.  The priest has hanged himself in the attic.  

Adrian  returns  to  the  States,  quits  his  job,  and takes  an  apartment  in  a  new  city.  He  aimlessly  plies  the  streets,  searching  for a  new future.    While  reading on a  park  bench,  an  attractive young woman sits beside him. The stranger hints she knows Adrian well.  Nervous,  hopeful,  he asks if she is Emiko in some incarnated form.  The woman denies it, but admits she  was sent here by Emiko.  She challenges Adrian to figure out who she is.  If he does, she promises  to make room  for him in her busy schedule. He knows what’s at stake, but before he can say  anything, she disappears on him. 

               The next day, he finds her crossing the street. He’s overjoyed with  this stroke of  fate.  “Teacher,” he shouts out. “I’m here.”




Also by Michael R. French….



Adult fiction:


Club Caribe (1977)

Abingdon’s (1979)

Rhythms (1980)

Texas Bred (1986)

Family Money (1990)

The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder (2013)

Once Upon a Lie (2016)

Ghost With Two Hearts (2022)


Young adult fiction:


The Throwing Season (1980)

Pursuit (1982)

Lifeguards Only Beyond This Point (1984)

Soldier Boy (1985)

Us Against Them (1987)

Circle of Revenge (1988)

Split Image (1990)

Cliffhanger (2020)


Young adult adaptations:


Basher Fifty-Two, with Scott O’Grady (1997)

Born To Fly, with Shane Osborn (2000)

Flags of Our  Fathers, with James Brady (2001)

Lang Lang:  Playing with Flying Keys  (2008)

Mountains Beyond Mountains, with Tracy Kidder (2013)


Children’s book adaptations:


Flyers (1983)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)


Other books:


Speaking for Ourselves Too (1990)

The Art of Frank Howell (1997)

Why Men Fall Out of Love (2007)


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Book Review - 5 Stars for The House on Linden Way

 

Special thanks to WOW! Women on Writing for including Bring on Lemons with the book blog tour of author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's latest book The House on Linden Way

The book is a ghost story with elements of horror and Gothic suspense. A perfect fall season read! Here's a bit more about The House on Linden Way:

While passing through her hometown a decade after she left, Amber Blake impulsively revisits her old house on Linden Way. She only means to stay a moment, to show her three-year-old daughter Bee the place where she grew up. But when the kindly new owners invite them inside, Amber cannot resist.

Soon Bee is missing, the owners have disappeared, and Amber finds herself in a houseful of ghosts. Time takes on new meaning as she loses herself in living memories and a past that does not wish to be forgotten. 

As Amber fights the powerful lure of a childhood she’d long left behind, her tenuous hold on the real world slips further from her grasp. Is it merely nostalgia she’s battling, or something far more menacing? Who haunts the house on Linden Way, and where are they hiding her child? 

Categories: horror, gothic suspense, haunted house, ghost story, magical realism, thriller
ISBN-13: 979-8809149051
ASIN: B0B74ZSXZM
Pages: 178 pages
#thehouseonlindenwaynaranjo

The House on Linden Way is available for purchase as an ebook and in print at Amazon. Add it to your list at Goodreads.

About the Author

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is the award-winning author of The Fourth Wall (WiDo Publishing, 2014). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in Brevity Magazine, Superstition Review, Fractured Lit, The Portland Review, Hunger Mountain, Hospital Drive, Reservoir Road, Literary Mama, Motherwell, and a few other places. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essay, and Best of the Net. All links to Elizabeth's work can be found on her website at elizabethmarianaranjo.com.

Twitter: @emarianaranjo


---- 5 Star Review by Crystal Otto

The House on Linden Way is one of those unexpected books with countless plot twists! After reading it the first time I need to let you know I'm going to read it again - like immediately! It's one of those books that is written so well that once you get to the end you find yourself wanting more - and when you re-read some of the chapters, you find little hidden tidbits you missed the first time! 

The House on Linden Way had me leaving dishes in the sink and clothes wrinkling in the dryer - I didn't care about anything except Amber's journey! Naranjo's writing is fantastic and her character development is top notch! This is a fabulous book to add to your collection and you'll also want to purchase a few extra copies to gift to your friends. My 15 year old is currently reading my copy and loving it as much (if not more) than I did!

Most definitely a 5 star read! Very well done Elizabeth Maria Naranjo! I love The House on Linden Way! 


The House on Linden Way by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo Blog Tour


-- Upcoming Stops on the Tour 
 

October 2nd @ Word Magic with Fiona Ingram
Fiona from Word Magic is hosting Elizabeth Maria Naranjo today. This is a great opportunity for readers to learn about Naranjo's latest book: The House on Linden Way as well as read her guest post titled: "The Lingering Ghosts of Our Childhood Homes." Readers will be thrilled to hear from Naranjo! 

October 3rd @ One Writer's Journey
Sue Bradford Edwards offers her review of The House on Linden Way by fellow author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. Find out what Sue thinks and learn more about this thriller!

October 3rd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles of WOW! Women on Writing offers a thoughtful review of The House on Linden Way by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo - readers won't want to miss the opportunity to learn more about this thrilling book and it's talented author!

October 8th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda interviews Elizabeth Maria Naranjo about her latest thriller, The House on Linden Way! This book blog tour is one readers won't want to miss - it's THRILLING!

October 10th @ Girl Zombie Authors
Chris at Girl Zombie Authors shares her review of Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's The House on Linden Way - will it be too thrilling for this fellow author? Find out TODAY and be thrilled! https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

October 10th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Today's post is titled: "Tips For Getting Unstuck While Writing Your Novel" and it's penned by none other than Elizabeth Maria Naranjo as she just released her latest thriller The House on Linden Way. Find out more today!

October 11th @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina puts fellow author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo in the spotlight today as readers learn more about The House on Linden Way - this is a book blog tour stop that will thrill and delight! 

October 13th  @ Knotty Needle Creative
Judy reviews The House on Linden Way for readers at Knotty Needle Creative. Find out more about this thriller and it's talented author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo!

October 16th @ Literary Quicksand
Jessica from Literary Quicksand reviews The House on Linden Way by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo - what will she think? Will fellow author Elizabeth be able to thrill Jessica? Stop by today to find out! 

October 18th @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews the work of fellow author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and offers his thoughts about The House on Linden Way!

October 20th @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsea from Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's The House on Linden Way for readers of her blog. This is a thriller and we can't wait to find out Chelsea's take on it! 

October 23rd @ Literary Quicksand
Jessica from Literary Quicksand interviews Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. Learn more about this talented author and her latest thriller, The House on Linden Way!

October 25th @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo pens today's guest post at fellow author Anthony Avina's blog with the title: "The Art of Brevity; Writing a Novella." Hear from Elizabeth and find out more about her latest thriller, The House on Linden Way.

October 27th  @ The Frugalista Mom
The Frugalista Mom offers her review of The House on Linden Way by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. Find out more and stop by today!

October 30th  @ Wildwood Reads
Megan from Wildwood Reads offers her review of the thriller, The House on Linden Way by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo! Stop by and get in the mood for tomorrow!



Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Book Review for Helena P. Schrader's "Moral Fibre"

 

I'm excited to be part of  Helena P. Schrader's blog tour of Moral Fibre. This is an exciting historical fiction novel that is perfect for people who are interested in an authentic portrayal of life in wartime Britain combined with high-tension action and moving romance. Thank you WOW! Women on Writing for including Bring on Lemons in your tour! 

About the Book: Moral Fibre:

Riding the icy, moonlit sky—
They took the war to Hitler.
Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.
Their average age was 21.
This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew, and the woman he loved.
It is intended as a tribute to them all.

Flying Officer Kit Moran has earned his pilot’s wings, but the greatest challenges still lie ahead: crewing up and returning to operations. Things aren’t made easier by the fact that while still a flight engineer, he was posted LMF (Lacking in Moral Fibre) for refusing to fly after a raid on Berlin that killed his best friend and skipper. Nor does it help that he is in love with his dead friend’s fiancé, but she is not yet ready to become romantically involved again.

Publisher: Cross Sea Press
ISBN-10: 1735313993
ISBN-13: 978-1735313993
Print Length: 436 pages

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

About the Author, Helena P. Schrader

Helena P. Schrader is an established aviation author and expert on the Second World War. She earned a PhD in History (cum Laude) from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking dissertation on a leading member of the German Resistance to Hitler. Her non-fiction publications include Sisters in Arms: The Women who Flew in WWII, The Blockade Breakers: The Berlin Airlift, and Codename Valkyrie: General Friederich Olbricht and the Plot against Hitler. In addition, Helena has published eighteen historical novels and won numerous literary awards. Her novel on the Battle of Britain, Where Eagles Never Flew won the Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and a Maincrest Media Award for Historical Fiction. RAF Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Bob Doe called it "the best book" he had ever seen about the battle. Traitors for the Sake of Humanity is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES awards. Grounded Eagles and Moral Fibre have both garnered excellent reviews from acclaimed review sites such as Kirkus, Blue Ink, Foreword Clarion, Feathered Quill, and Chantileer Books.

You can follow her author web    site for updates and her aviation history blog.

--- 5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Helena P. Schrader's "Moral Fibre" and would recommend this historical fiction novel to anyone highschool age or older. My middle grade readers enjoyed the story but some of the harsh reality seemed a bit confusing for them. I did however share parts of Kit's story with them as they were intrigued by the cover art and wanted to know what mom was reading. 

Kit's heroism and ability to push himself beyond the fatigue and stress of war is admirable. Author Helena Schrader is a talented author and her characters are well-developed which drew me in right away. I was fully invested in Kit's tale from the very beginning of "Moral Fibre". There's so much to enjoy about this book - the characters, the storyline, the dialogue, the romance, and the historical accuracy - it's definitely a page-turner. 

I'm happy to give "Moral Fibre" 5 Stars and look forward to sharing this novel with friends and family who will undoubtably enjoy it as much as I have. 



--- Complete Blog Tour Calendar

August 15th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. Read more about this fascinating historical fiction novel and learn more about the author. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

August 17th @ Deborah Adams' Blog
Deborah Adams features Helena P. Schrader's guest post about dissecting a novel.

 August 19th @ Life According to Jamie
Join Jamie as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 21st @ What Is That Book About?
Join Michelle as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. 

August 22nd @ Mindy McGinnis' Blog
Join Mindy as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about how editors are not optional.

August 23rd @ Lisa Haselton's Book Reviews and Interviews
Don't miss an interview with author Helena P. Schrader about her book Moral Fibre.

August 24th @ A Writer of History
Read Helena P. Schrader's guest post about the challenges of designing book covers for historical fiction.

TODAY: August 25th @ Bring on Lemons
Join Crystal as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 26th @ Bookshelf Journeys
Read Terri's review of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

August 27th @ Mercedes Rochelle's Blog
Read Helena P. Schrader's guest post featuring her book Moral Fibre.

August 30th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 1st @ The Faerie Review
Check out a spotlight of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina
Anthony reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 5th @ Choices
Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about the author and the seven drafts.

September 10th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdre as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

September 12th @ Word Magic
Fiona shares a guest post by author Helena P. Schrader about the lack of moral fibre.

September 17th @ Jill Sheets' Blog
Visit Jill's blog today where she interviews author Helena P. Schrader.

September 18th @ Wildwood Reads
Join Megan as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.



Thursday, July 7, 2022

Sign Up TODAY for the WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour for Elizabeth Maria Naranjo's "The House On Linden Way"

 


September 26th 
WOW! Women on Writing
Launches 
An Amazing Book Blog Tour 
for
THE HOUSE on LINDEN WAY
by
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

The book is a ghost story with elements of horror and Gothic suspense. This is a perfect October read - and here's a bit more about The House on Linden Way:

While passing through her hometown a decade after she left, Amber Blake impulsively revisits her old house on Linden Way. She only means to stay a moment, to show her three-year-old daughter Bee the place where she grew up. But when the kindly new owners invite them inside, Amber cannot resist.


Soon Bee is missing, the owners have disappeared, and Amber finds herself in a houseful of ghosts. Time takes on new meaning as she loses herself in living memories and a past that does not wish to be forgotten. 


As Amber fights the powerful lure of a childhood she’d long left behind, her tenuous hold on the real world slips further from her grasp. Is it merely nostalgia she’s battling, or something far more menacing? Who haunts the house on Linden Way, and where are they hiding her child?  


Categories: horror, gothic suspense, haunted house, ghost story, magical realism, thriller





About the Author, Elizabeth Maria Naranjo: 

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is the award-winning author of The Fourth Wall (WiDo Publishing, 2014). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in Brevity Magazine, Superstition Review, Fractured Lit, The Portland Review, Hunger Mountain, Hospital Drive, Reservoir Road, Literary Mama, Motherwell, and a few other places. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essay, and Best of the Net. All links to Elizabeth's work can be found on her website at elizabethmarianaranjo.com


TO SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING BOOK BLOG TOUR, PLEASE COMPLETE THE GOOGLE FORM BELOW AND YOU WILL BE CONTACTED SOON WITH THE TOUR DETAILS AND WILL BE PROVIDED YOUR COPY OF THE BOOK.






Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Living After My Son's Suicide - guest post by Judi Merriam


On the afternoon of December 23, 2011, Judi Merriam's eighteen-year-old 
son, Jenson, took his life - an act that blindsided everyone who knew him - changing her life and those of her family forever. The suicide of a loved one is devastating for those left behind and brings deep despair and seemingly endless grief. Judi was forced to confront profound feelings of loss and guilt and a future so very different from what she thought it would be. In this honest and soul-searching memoir, Judi reflects with grace and courage on the experience of living life after an unfathomable loss.   



About the Author:

Judi Merriam loves her roles as wife, mother, singer, actor, director, speaker, and writer. When these vocations allow her free time, she can be found hiking, swimming, sewing, reading, or watching British murder mysteries. Her most favorite people on earth are her husband, Brian, and her two living children, Tyler and Kalina. Judi makes her home in the historic Mohawk River Valley located between her beloved Adirondack Mountains and New York City. She sings and speaks for various churches and community organizations throughout Upstate New York and has played an extensive number of leading roles, as well as directed, for musical theater companies across the same area. Judi is continuously grateful for the sustaining grace of God as she walks through the messiness of life in this broken world. It is her heart’s desire to shine a light of hope into the lives of those who grieve, especially parents who have lost children to suicide


Excerpt from Empty Shoes by the Door


Life is so very different from what I thought it would be. It’s fragile and amazing and terrifying and broken and glorious and devastating all at the same time, and it can change in a matter of seconds. A breath can continue a life, or a breath can end a life. Sometimes the ending of a life or the continuing of a life comes down to a choice that should not be ours to make.

On the afternoon of December 23, 2011, the sweetest, kindest, most loving, endlessly creative, intelligent, thoughtful, and polite young man I’ve ever known, died by suicide and robbed my world of one of my most precious treasures.  He’s my son, Jenson; my second born, blue-eyed, smiling eighteen-year-old. My life hasn’t been the same since he left this earth, and it will never be the same again while I’m still here. 

This is my story of Jenson, his life, his death, and how I’ve survived without his physical presence throughout my days since he died. I write this so I’ll never forget who he was and who I am because of him.  I write so others will understand who and what I lost on that day Jenson chose to end his life.  I write because he wrote, and it seems a fitting way to tell my chosen details of the intriguing, complex, brilliant and fine young man he was and what my survival has looked like. Jenson was a master weaver of stories and loved the written word in a most passionate way. Stories were the cornerstone of his creativity, whether in written form or in film.

This isn’t my husband Brian’s story, or my daughter Kalina’s story, or my oldest son Tyler’s story; it’s mine, and I’m telling it the way I think it should be told. More than anything, though, I want you to know that because I take so much time to speak of only one of my dear children, this by no means lessens the great love and admiration I have for my other two, or my husband. I am, most frequently, their biggest champion when challenging those who would challenge them. I would willingly lay down my life for any one of these dear ones in the nucleus of my present soul-cluster of four. They are my treasures, my heartbeats, my DNA of love and commitment. If you ever get to meet my amazing family, it will be a good day for you. 

 I often wonder if I’m too dark or negative in what I’ve written, but I can’t answer that question. Sometimes I’m dark; sometimes I’m light; sometimes I’m both at the same time because of the gamut of sensations that go hand in hand while walking through grief and mourning on a daily basis for several years. After tragedy stakes a claim in our lives, grief runs in waxes and wanes like the moon’s monthly journey across the sky. I am whatever I am as I speak the truth of my memory’s moments throughout these pages. I imagine it’s the same for any of you who may be reeling in the aftermath of whatever has brought grief to your hearts and minds. 

I may come across as a woman of negativity, but be patient as you read, for without darkness, there wouldn’t be light when the sun rises and morning arrives. Charles Finney tells us not to doubt in the darkness what we know in the light. When truth is spoken, darkness loses its power. We have to move through the darkness in order to inhale relief when the light comes. And when the light comes, we gain a perspective we couldn’t see when all was black before our eyes.

I don’t hate the darkness, but when it’s all there is, my eyes endlessly flutter here and there to find a pinpoint of light – a star, the moon, a glow on the opposite shore, an illuminated window - anything I can fix my eyes on so as to nurture the hope all is not totally black. Total blackness suffocates the life in my soul, but that pinpoint of light on the horizon tells me darkness is not all there is.

If you want a happy ending according to the world’s standards, this isn’t the story to read. Although pain and grief aren’t all consuming the way they once were, my family and I continue to walk with them, and I anticipate we will for the rest of our days on this side of heaven. I suppose it would make everyone feel better if I could say “and we all lived happily ever after,” but life isn’t a fairytale, and I refuse to be delusional or live my days in denial.

We can’t escape reality no matter how hard we try; it always catches up with us and finds our heart’s hiding places. If we don’t accept truth early on, grief redefines itself into even greater darkness and devastation. Fairytales aren’t true no matter how many times we cross our fingers or wish upon a star.

I believe truth is typically the best course, so I follow Brene’ Brown’s advice and “rumble” with it regularly not wanting deception to claim victory. I’m convinced the only healthy way to deal with the factuality of a suicide is to meet it face to face from the heart wrenching moment it happens and not redefine it into something more acceptable. We also need to personally dictate how we’ll deal with it so as to avoid any delusion that would capture our thoughts and change it into something it isn’t. It’s impossible to dress up a suicide death and be truthful about it at the same time! Some try, but I don’t believe them. 
I desire the truth of my own brokenness and survival shine a light on your personal path of grief if you need a pinpoint upon which to fix your eyes and gain encouragement. And I hope this glimpse of one of my fine children allows you a small understanding of what this world lost the day Jenson died, as in the words of Charles Dickens, “And can it be, in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up?” 




Thank you Judi for today's guest post. Please reach out if you or someone you know needs help.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A 5 Star Rating for Until Next Sunday

 

 



Hi! I'm Carmen and I'm a freshman at a small rural high-school in Wisconsin. I'm just starting drivers ed and when I'm not tractor driving or playing with cows and horses I LOVE to read!

I'm excited to be part of the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author and Audry Fryer and her book Until Next Sunday. 

As a high-school Freshman I have books I have to read for school, books I read for fun, and books I start reading and want to share with everyone I know. Audry Fryer's book is one I think everyone should read. I loved it so much I'm sharing a copy with my school library so my friends and future students can read it as well. 

Here's a bit about the book:

 After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, 
illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. 
When separated, will letters keep their love alive? 

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. 

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. 

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit. 

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever? 

Until Next Sunday is a sweet historical romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: Smashwords, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

About the Author


Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com.

Social Media Links:

#untilnextsunday



...............review by Carmen J. Otto (that's me!)

The only negative thing I can say is I wish I had started this book after more books were available. I love reading a series because once I fall in love with a character I feel deflated when our relationship ends abruptly at the end of the book. That's how I'm feeling right now... I want to read about them having babies and raising them, and grandchildren and the many meals and recipes they all shared. Anyway - that's literally the only negative thing I can say. My mom would tell me to turn that around and say something positive: I can't wait until there are more books available about this amazing couple and their beautiful love story! (there mom...)

I love that the actual letters have been included - it helps tell the story. Reading some of the blog posts and interviews with the author make me realize how difficult it must have been to fill in the pieces between the letters. I think Audry did a really great job weaving things together for me as a reader. It felt pretty seamless. I can't imagine what it must have been like for either Rosina or Gianni to be separated during a time when they couldn't just send a text or snapchat to one another. (it kind of makes me appreciate living in the here and now.)

I'm positive if I were someone who found letters like these, that I would want someone to help me figure out the story behind them. I really appreciate all the time and work that went into creating Until Next Sunday and I'm looking forward to more books (hint hint) and the movie! Thanks Audry Fryer and WOW! for giving me this opportunity to read and review this wonderful five star book!




- Future Blog Tour Calendar


Today @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen Otto
Teenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday. Otto can't wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!

May 31st @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday. Find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it's talented author!

June 1st @ Lisa's Reading
Lisa from Lisa's Reading has Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!

June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer's Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention - find out what Beverley thinks!

June 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer's latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!

June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don't miss this insightful interview!
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

June 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog - today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.

June 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
The Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won't want to miss!

June 10th @ World of My Imagination
WOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole's review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance - find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!



ABOUT TODAY'S REVIEWER







Carmen is a teenager from Wisconsin where she enjoys all the animals on her family farm, reading, swimming, and spending time with friends!