May’s Featured Blogger: D.L. Finn

My Featured Blogger this Month is author D.L. Finn.

D.L. Finn is a native of the Bay Area who now lives in Nevada.

Her work includes children’s books, poetry, fantasy for young
adults and adult paranormal romance.

Her latest work is a book of poems, ‘Just Her Poetry, Seasons of a
Soul’.


What was it like to grow up in the Bay Area 70’s and 80’s?

It was an awesome time and place to grow up. I was born and raised in Castro Valley, which then still had some open land with horses and farms. I was within walking distance to town and the bus. So, I could go anywhere my feet, or the bus took me. It was great to live by The City, San Francisco, and visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, etc.  I also was a big fan of the ocean, redwoods, and Berkeley. As a teenager, I appreciated the music and local bands that included attending many Day on the Greens. Sports were always a big part of my life, too. My grandparents took me to baseball or hockey games in Oakland; football was deemed too rowdy for me.  I was never bored. Now it’s a place I visit but it will always be close to my heart.

When did you start writing?

I always enjoyed writing in English classes, but when I took a writing class in high school, I was able to explore writing more. The teacher of this writing class accused me of copying a writing assignment out of a magazine that I had spent a great deal of time working on. It was a questionnaire for teens on dating. In a very strange way, it was a compliment, but I could never convince the teacher that I had written it. She had both of my parents as a teacher, so I suppose I was pre-judged. I was a very rebellious teenager and being told I couldn’t do something, only managed to encourage me. I didn’t write much out of high school, but in my mid-twenties got back into writing again. Then, I just kept building on it and learning.

How does a poem come to you?

I usually decide I’m going to write a poem. I grab a notebook and write what comes to me. I relax and pour out what I see or what I’m feeling. It’s different than writing a story where the ideas come to me first, and then I write. Here I write and the ideas come through. At first, it may be a few odd lines, but then it begins to flow as I go on. I love sitting out front and feeling the landscape through words.

 

 

 

You write that you use poetry to vent your frustrations. How do you decide to share a poem?

My poetry book was twice the size when I began. I took out the ones where I mainly got off my chest how someone made me feel angry. One poem might have been all swear words…lol. The ones I removed were what I decided had no point or value. I also had several on my feelings about the current divide in our country. I felt adding those would only add to the divide that currently is frustrating me. What I wanted to do was mostly nature, but found I had other things to say. There were some I went back and forth with and decided to share how I felt dealing with illness or weather-related issues with the fires and the shootings, or death. I guess I took my darker poems out and left the ones I felt offered some hope in the darkest of situations. I did talk about abuse, which was in my books, but I always want to leave it open for hope. I’m very conscious of the words I put out.

How did you come to write the motorcycle poems?

I got the idea to write poetry in as many different places as I could when I decided to do a poetry book. I’ve always felt free sitting there with no walls around me, and that made it the perfect place to do it. The first time I took a pen and a couple of sheets of paper and gave it a try–it worked. Later, I was given a wonderful gift of a small journal by an amazing fellow writer, and that made it much easier.

When you say embrace your inner child, what do you mean?

When I think of that inner child, I think of that innocence we all come into the world before we learn what hate and judgments are. It’s that pure way of looking at the world through your soul. It’s a hard place to hang on to in this world with instant information and so much discord, but worth it when we can.

What sparked your interest in the paranormal?

I’ve always loved a good ghost story. I would watch “Creature Features” with my grandmother when I visited her. Night Gallery caught my interest as a young girl, too. I do believe there are things we don’t understand around us. I’ve seen things I can’t explain over the years. Some of that gets channeled into my writing and poetry.

While going through your books I was drawn to No Fairy Tale: The reality of a girl who wasn’t a princess and her poetry. I love the title, what inspired the book?

 

My main intent in writing that book was to talk about my experience at 14-years-old when I was in a coma. I had tried to kill myself, bad home life, and ended up floating over my body and being told “You’re not done yet. You have to go back.” I’ve always felt pushed to get that message out. I struggled writing that book and decided to present myself as a princess.  Later, I went to my voice and finally added in poetry to finish showing who I was.

How much if your personal history goes into your writing?

There’s a lot of me in “The Button.” I’ve used what I’ve seen or experienced with others in my writing. “This Second Chance” was based on a good friend and what I watched her go through. I’m always looking for a happy ending, so my books do the same thing. My love of sports came through in my children’s books, along with looking for that magic that I experienced in the coma. I throw little things in each story for my family and friends to
find.

 

What advice do you have for new writers and bloggers?

If this is your calling, then learn the craft, believe in yourself and above all never give up.

 

You released a new book of poems in late April, will you tell us a little about it?

After writing “No Fairy Tale” that’s a half memoir and half poetry book, I got some good feedback on my poems. So, I began thinking about doing just a poetry book. That’s where I came up with the title.  I have always been drawn to nature, and that came out in my poetry. I was going to do a book of that, but other things came up in the two years when I was writing it. These poems became a part of the book and why I added in part two.

 

Will you share a poem?

THE JOURNEY is a favorite of mine. I was on my elliptical watching a storm rage when I spotted a small bird. The bird’s struggle got me to thinking about my journey.

 

THE JOURNEY

The tiny brown and white bird clung to the cedar’s bark

The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.

Then, the bird slowly began its journey by climbing upward.

A few feet up the tree, it was knocked back down to the ground

It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.

Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell

The tiny bird carefully passed that point without stopping

It moved higher, toward the promised shelter from the pounding chaos.

Wings open, it faltered a few times, but hung on…

It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.

Tucked underneath, the little bird found limited shelter

But it wisely did not linger there as it continued the climb…

Finally, the brave bird is immersed into the green branches

Now it is safely nestled in the cedar, as the storm rages around it.

Gone from my sight now I contemplate its journey.

When the bird was knocked down it got up and tried again

It passed the point where it had been impeded

There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.

Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.

It didn’t accept the first offer of partial protection,

Instead it kept climbing until it reached its goal…

Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.

And, having watched this journey—I was just a bit wiser for it

Because I knew whatever life threw at me, I needed to pick myself up

And keep climbing, no matter what the odds, until I reached the top

Exactly like the wise and brave bird did on its journey in the storm.

 

This is one of the first poems I ever wrote:

THE BEARDED OLD MAN (No Fairy Tale)

The bearded old man

Walks across the quiet desert,

His hooded white robe

Protecting and sheltering him

From the burning sky.

His feet are silent against the sand.

He walks day and night,

Going to a place that he knows exists.

He beckons strangers to join him

As he keeps walking toward…

That place he calls home.

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Denise.


Purchase Links:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

BARNES & NOBLE

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

 

Rob Goldstein 2019

All images, videos and poetry in this post are the property of D.L. Finn.

In Conversation With “D.Wallace Peach” from “MythsOfTheMirror🐉” #AuthorInterview

An interview with D.Wallace Peach.

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Books&Sstuff

Omigod! I am just so super excited to start with my Author Interview Series with one of my favourite Blogger (Myths of the Mirror) who is equally an awesome Fantasy writer. I personally like her more because she has helped me extract my (not-so-great, being humble☺) writing talent, hidden deep inside some dark corner of my heart❤ scared of coming out in front of the world😵

(Now the question in your mind would be) How she did that?🤔 Her monthly #writingprompts. If you haven’t participated yet, don’t forget to miss the next one.

I wanted to know more about her and then I thought the other Fantasy readers too, wanted that. So, here I am with this smashing Interview for you all to know more about none other than D.Wallace Peach.

SIh3zWgr_400x400

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

First, Himani, I want to…

View original post 1,300 more words

Ritu Bhathal, My Featured Blogger for March

I’m pleased Ritu Bhathal agreed to be my featured blogger for March.

Ritu: Thank you so much Rob for featuring me on your blog! I was humbled and thrilled to be asked, and I do hope you and your readers enjoy learning a little about me and my blogging career!

Tell us a little about your history, where you were born?

I guess I have quite a colourful background in that I was born here in the UK, in Birmingham, to Indian parents, who were themselves, both born in Kenya. As a result, I grew up learning a mish mash of Punjabi and Swahili alongside English! I lived in Birmingham until I was 18 when I went to University in Kingston-Upon-Thames in Surrey, and stayed there for around seven years, then when I married, I moved to Kent.

I have had many memorable trips back to Kenya as a child, to see where my parents grew up, and post marriage, trips to India to see more of my heritage, and the family and villages of my in-laws.

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

It’s been nearly three and a half years since I started blogging, and I fell into it quite by accident, to be honest! A friend of mine wrote a very candid post about her mental health state, and posted it to her Facebook page. A brave thing to do.  I read it and wanted to comment my support and had to register with WordPress in order to do so. As I did the site asked me if I wanted to start my very own blog, and after about thirty seconds of pondering, I decided to go for it! Honestly, I didn’t even know what a blog was to be honest! A little rambling from me, and a lot of advice from many other bloggers out there and this is what culminated! A place where I can be me, be creative, and lay my thoughts on the line. I also like to spread positivity around too via my posts.

3. About the Blogger’s Bash?

The Annual Blogger’s Bash is an event that has been set up by Sacha Black.

It is an event where bloggers are celebrated for their hard work and talent, and you can network with many other like-minded individuals. The last two years have also included inspirational talks by some of the bloggers, and special guests, which have been wonderful!

And there are awards which are voted for over the course of the run up to the event by thousands of people.

It started four years ago, with a simple get together and meal out, and I was unable to make the first one. I hadn’t been blogging that long, and I was a little scared to be honest, to go and meet these people, whose online presence I had come to enjoy. But the last two have just got bigger and better, with more international bloggers, flying in for the event, and I have felt like I am meeting family and friends and not relative strangers!

It must have felt good to win the Best Overall Blogger Award 
for 2017, were you surprised?

Surprised is not the word! I was up against some amazing bloggers, powerhouses, I would call them! People I had followed for a long time, those I admired, and aspired to have a blog and following like, so to hear that I had actually WON was just jaw-dropping wonderful!

How often do you post
?

I don’t have a strict schedule as such. There is a regular slot on a Sunday, Spidey’s Serene Sunday, which started when I found my son’s Spiderman figure in a rather contemplative, meditating pose. ‘He’ finds a motivating or inspiring quote which I discuss, and try and leave my Peeps (readers) with something positive to ponder over. Other than that, I post whatever and whenever something pops into my head. As I like to write creatively too, I take part in several challenges over the week, so there is more often than not, a post a day at least with some form of prose or poetry. Last year I gave myself a silent challenge to post EVERY DAY! It was hard work, but I did it!

You published your first book in 2016. How does it feel?

I feel so proud to see my name on the cover of a book, to be honest! Poetry was an easy start for me, but the ultimate is to see my fiction book finally completed, and out there on people’s bookshelves and e-readers!

How did Poetic RITUals evolve?

 

The Cover of Poetic Rituals Ritu Bhathal
The Cover of Poetic Rituals

I have always enjoyed writing poems and little rhyming ditties. Over the course of life I have penned many verses, and I had kept quite a few in a little book. When I started blogging, I got to know many published poets, and thought, “Why not? I could do this too!” The poems I had posted on my blog always tended to get a good response, so I compiled all my work, sorted the poems into sections, and went about editing the book, via Amazon Create Space and KDP Direct. I had always wanted a book to be out there, and my novel was taking so long, that this was a way for me to get my name on the spine of the cover of a real book!

What have you learned about blogging and marketing from the experience of publishing your first book.

If I am honest, I have not used my blog to its fullest potential for marketing my book.  I have promoted it a bit, I have advertised offers on it, and written the odd guest post, mentioning my little book at the end, but that’s as far as I’ve gone.  Looking back, I see that there was so much more I could have done, Blog tours, more guest posts, in your face posts ‘selling’ my book, but that isn’t me to be honest

What is your number 1 piece of advice for new bloggers?

My biggest advice is to not expect overnight fame and success. A blog is a very personal thing and can take a long while to establish. To have a good blog, you need the right community behind you, and by building that, you will automatically find the support you need to make your blog feel like a real haven for you

Will you share one or two of your poem with our readers?

Of course!

 

The first, a humorous take on the infamous Mummy Tummy!

 

“Mummy, thank you for that tum
You know, the one where we came from.
That wobbly, squidgy bit of jelly
A comfy pillow, when we watch telly.
We like to play, to squish, to knead
On this, us kiddies have agreed.
Your tummy really is tum-tastic
So don’t do anything too drastic!”
Thank you kids, I needed that
A reassurance, I’m not fat.
So when I go out, I’ll wear some Spanx
And silently, I’ll whisper “Thanks!”
The children love their cuddly mum!
Now…what do I do about my BUM?

 

And a more serious one, penned during the various terrorist attacks that have hit over the last few years

 

Brown Skinned and British

 

I’m brown skinned and British
That’s what I am
Don’t label me by colour
Just see me, if you can
Don’t question my religion
Beliefs don’t mean a thing
Cos in the grander scheme of life
I’m jus’ a human being
So I may pray quite differently
And eat other types of food
But to label me a terrorist
You know that’s kinda rude
Get to know me, talk to me
And then I guess you’ll see
That there ain’t no difference
Between you an’ me
We need to live in harmony
And celebrate our quirks
Jus’ please don’t judge me
By the deeds of other jerks

(C) 2015 RituBhathal

Portrait of Ritu Bhathal
Author Ritu Bhathal

Social Media Profiles

Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhantomGiggler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phantom_giggler/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/@Phantom_Giggler
Stumbleupon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ritubhathal75
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

And by clicking the following link, you get to Ritu’s author profile on Amazon, where you can find the link to her poetry book, Poetic RITUals.

Author.to/RituBhathal

 

December’s Featured Blogger: Danica of Living a Beautiful Life

This month my featured blogger is Danica of the Living a Beautiful Life Blog

Her writing has a wonderful sense of adventure.

  1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging despite the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  I created Living a Beautiful Life when I left the hospital emergency and was waiting to learn whether I’d need eye surgery or would simply lose my eyesight.  Living a Beautiful Life is my first blog and I hope to continue for a long time.

  1. I’m glad you didn’t lose your eyesight: What caused the doctors so much concern?

I’m not sure I want to go into more detail…the medical stuff kind of creeps me out.  It was the result of injury though, not a condition or degenerative issue.

Would it be fair to say that the crisis over the potential loss of your eyesight precipitated a crisis of identity?

Interesting question.  I love reading – and have since I learned how to read.  When I was a kid a big treat for me meant going to the bookstore and picking a book to bring home.  I’ve always felt that one of the best gifts I’ve ever received is exposure to books, and how fortunate I am to be literate.  When I was at risk of losing my eyesight, I thought, “Oh no!  Why can’t it be a limb or something else?”  It would be fair to say my identity is wrapped up in reading, ideas and learning.  Writing was always on the horizon for me and the possibility of leaving that unexpressed was devastating.

 

 

“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”

~ Gabriel García Márquez

 

  1. When was the first time you felt an urge to write?

I’ve wanted to write for most of my life.  I only started taking that vague notion off the back burner and putting it into action with my blog.

 

  1. How did you decide on the name, ‘Living a Beautiful Life?

When I started my blog I didn’t know what I’d write about or even what my general theme would be.  I thought about having a tiny speck of a space on the internet – what that would mean and what I wanted to contribute.  On a fundamental level, I believe there is always room for more beauty in the world and it wouldn’t hurt to focus on that.

 

Digital photograph of a Hedgehog
For more about Hank the Hedgehog click here
  1. You say you knew nothing the day you started your blog, what have you learned about blogging and bloggers since that day.

    I’ve learned the importance of what I call “blogging your love”.  The closer to my heart a blog post is, the more rewarding it is for me to write and publish.  It’s also more risky too; it just matters more.  I still expect to hear crickets when I post something.  Reader response is amazing.  The fact that one other human reads something I wrote and takes time to comment just tickles me.  I also enjoy reading other blogs and getting to know other bloggers.  The blogging community is amazing and I’m so lucky to be a part of it.~ Danica – (Living a Beautiful Life blog)