Hinting at Shadows ~ 3rd Annual October Sale #FREE #FreeBook #BookSale

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October is here.

It’s not the usual fun-filled season of Halloween parties this year but there are lots of lovely aspects of autumn to embrace.

I want to enjoy the cool weather, crisp air, apple cider, and pumpkin-spiced…everything. I also want to offer you my deliciously dark, decidedly not pumpkin-spiced words. Because. October. 🎃 👻

Hinting at Shadows, my first collection of flash, will be FREE from October 18th-22nd. 

So, if you haven’t read it, here’s your chance to grab a copy.

What some people are saying about Hinting at Shadows (I am, as always, delighted and grateful):

 

beautifully and richly crafted.

The author’s haunting prose very cleverly invokes strong images with the minimum of words. Sarah Brentyn delivers something quite different, written beautifully…

I was entranced from the very first story.

I’m dumbfounded at how much this author conveys and the emotions she evokes with so few words… Take time to savor this collection and fully appreciate the poignant writing.  

Hinting at Shadows…is sheer poetry in the garb of flash fiction.

 

If you’d like to download a FREE copy, here’s the link:
Hinting at Shadows 🖤

Happy reading, all!

 

A Canopy of Green

 

 

The trees haven’t started to turn.

Usually, this late in September, there’s at least a splash of color touching the uppermost tips of maples and oaks. The proverbial fall picture—yellow, orange, and red. The fiery gems of autumn.

But when I go for walks, I’m covered by a canopy of green.

It’s weird.

When I look out the window this close to October, I want to see a seasonal landscape. The jewel-toned leaves of autumn are gorgeous but, also, they would bring some normalcy to life. I kind of need that right now.

Yes, I know. I know there’s a scientific explanation (weather and such) but it somehow feels like nature is apprehensive. Like it’s mirroring the angst. Like the leaves don’t want us to see what color they are. They hide beneath their chlorophyll so we won’t see what the world really looks like. And right now, this year, the uncertainty of not knowing what color the world will be is too much.

 

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How are things in your world? Has some semblance of normalcy returned? Any autumnal color in your neck of the woods? 

 

Happy Autumn, my friends. 🍃🍂 (And Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.) 

 

The Grass is Always Greener

 

 

You know the proverbial grass is always greener on the other side. Well, it’s literally true here. I’m perched on dried-out, shriveled-up, light brown blades. Looking out the window, it’s like I’m living in the desert. I eventually had to call someone. Here’s what he said:

“Your lawn is really stressed.”

Oh, man. I laughed.

There’s so much stress in this house, it’s seeping outside? I mean, our lawn is stressed? It’s kind of funny.

 

I recently wrote a post about some silly perks during this difficult time but, that said, it’s tough. What with fear, sickness, isolation, uncertainty… The normal, everyday stress that plagues us has been plugged into an amplifier. I guess that’s what happens and we’ll just have to ride it out. But that’s life right now, isn’t it? Yeah. It is.

But here’s the thing, my bloggy friends:

Stress looks different for everyone. It feels different. It comes from different sources. Always has. But now, with the shared experience of a global pandemic, everyone is supposedly “going through the same thing”.

I get where this is coming from but it’s wrong. The assumption is that everyone’s stress looks the same right now. And alleviating that stress looks the same as well.

It doesn’t.

It never has and that holds true now. There is no one-size-fits-all.

We all have our own stress. We all handle it differently. We all need individual coping strategies.

My neighbor’s grass may be greener, but perhaps, when I walk over to admire their lovely lawn, I notice their front door is hanging off its hinges. Maybe their house has termites. Who knows?

So be kind to yourselves. Don’t buy into the notion that, because we’re “all dealing with the same thing”, we should all be able to find relief with the same things.

If you like yoga, downward-dog do it. If you like meditating, breathe in…breathe out. If you like running, go for it. (I, personally, do not. Unless I’m being chased by a bear. Or is that when you should stay still? I don’t know. And sincerely hope I don’t stumble upon a bear anytime soon.) Take bubble baths, hug trees, drink tea, garden, bake… Whatever floats your boat. Sail away, my friends. ❤

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

How are you, gentle readers? How’s the stress level around your house? How are you dealing with it?

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop #BookReview by Graeme Cumming

Every time one of my books gets a review, I’m delightfully surprised and so grateful. Every. Time. When I see a review from someone who either doesn’t like short fiction, doesn’t read it, or prefers epic novels yet loved my collection, well, it’s a remarkable feeling. It is. And I’ve seen more than a few reviews like that.

When someone prefers to sink their teeth into a story with lots of characters, worldbuilding, and/or action, it’s quite the compliment when they enjoy my little book of flash. This review for On the Edge of a Raindrop, by Graeme Cumming, is one of those. It’s brilliant. I’m humbled by the praise from this author:

Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering.

Savour each morsel…

In a single line, she can encapsulate something that I and many other authors would struggle to do in several pages.

Thank you, Graeme! 💖

Please stop by his blog and read the full review here. It really is brilliant.

He’s recently released a book, Carrion, the sequel to Raven’s Gathering, both of which have gathered a number of great reviews. (Pun completely intended.) Do pop over and check out his books.

 

Reblog Lemon Shark

 

New Moon & Magic (Summer Solstice)

 

 

There is magic in the air.

Fairies flutter about enjoying the day, preparing for their feast, and, perhaps, causing a bit of mischief. And, this year, they have even more to celebrate. A new moon accompanies the solstice.

This weekend, I’m celebrating with the fairies.

Wine will flow, my friends. And I will run barefoot in the grass like when I was a child. I’ll breathe deeply, inhaling the heady scents of blossoms that, weeks ago, were tiny buds.

At twilight, I’ll light candles and search for blinking fireflies.

Of course, after this longest day of the year, the days will become shorter. But I will bask in the sun and light and magic then welcome the dark half of the year.

When the sun decides to set after its long journey, I will marvel at the pinks and purples of dusk. I will fill my glass and toast the twinkling stars who, in my wine-induced bliss, will merrily wink back at me.

I will toast the dark, new moon who smiles at me from the shadows, offering me a fresh start. I will soak up the night and all its beauty.

Because, if it wasn’t for the darkness, I could not appreciate the light.

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

To my friends in Australia, Happy Winter Solstice to you!

(Four years ago, I wrote about a full moon falling on the solstice. I thought this a fitting time to revisit that post.)

 

This is the longest day of the year. What will you do with your extra hours of sunlight? New moons are associated with new beginnings. What will you do with that opportunity? Love and light to you, gentle readers. Cheers! 🥂

 

 

 

10 Perks (For Me) During This Pandemic

 

 

1. The gift of distance. 

People are finally staying as far away from me as I’d like them to. I am loving the social distancing thing. Personal space, for me, is 4 feet…minimum.   

2. It’s the small stuff that stings. 

You know what they say about small stuff hurting a lot more than you’d think? Like a paper cut? Those things are tiny but pack a wallop of pain. Same goes for small talk. Painful. Something I could happily do without. And now, I can! And I am! And it’s not weird. Everyone is partaking in the skipping of small talk in exchange for a distant wave. Woot!

3. Hand-washing. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom and seen someone emerge from a stall and walk out the door. Holy crap (pun intended). You’ve got germs and dirt and…human waste on your hands and you’re headed to sit down and grab a dinner roll? Dude.

Now people are washing their hands. With water. And soap. And they’re doing it a lot. Shiny, clean fingers crossed this practice stays in effect long past the pandemic.

4. Do. Not. Engage. 

Strangers are not speaking to me or asking me things or trying to engage me in conversation. (See #2.)

5. Tranquility in quarantine.

I’m an introvert. And not the cool kind we writers like to claim we are. I’m talking severe introversion. Like hermit status. So staying in isn’t torture for me. Quarantine is kind of the status quo around here. Except, now, it’s not eccentric, it’s expected. Rock on! (In the comfort of my own home, of course. Alone. With a book. And wine.)

6. The barren land of toilet paper shelves. 

I don’t waste time in the paper goods aisle anymore, my head swaying back and forth between quilted and two-ply, recycled and double-roll. (Why are there so many types of TP, anyway?) Unrelated: I’ve found a good use for printed political ads.

7. Express yourself. 

I’ve always prided myself on knowing people. Not having five hundred friends but knowing people. Catch my drift? I can spot a jerk from a mile away, have a built-in BS detector, and generally get a vibe from folks right off the bat. (Wow. That’s a boatload of clichés right there. Apologies. Let’s see if I can do some more…) Totally lost my train of thought. Damn clichés.

Oh, right. So with this mask thing, pegging people is a breeze. Are you donning a dust mask? Is Hello Kitty hiding your smile? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? (I may or may not have all of these.) You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to wrap around their face. Whether you’re wearing a sports team, cartoon character, political crap, or a medical-grade surgical mask, you are making a statement. Own it.

8. Wild things. 

My lawn is patchy, dandelions are popping up, dead leaves from fall are collecting in every corner of my yard. Paint is peeling, shrubs need clipping, and NOT ONE of my neighbors is complaining to me about it. Bliss. *waves at neighbor* *trips over vole hole* *falls over* Peace out, y’all.

9. “Kkkhhxx… You’re breaking up…”

You know that old “trick” (I’m using quotes here as it never really tricks anyone) where you make a crackling noise into your cell phone and yell, “You’re breaking up–can’t hear you”? Then you hang up on the person pestering you, asking for a favor, or saying that, no, your new haircut does not flatter your face?

Now we get to do that constantly. Because we’re relying so much on technology, we can claim it isn’t working. So that day I didn’t shower and the day I wore my sushi pajamas, my video couldn’t connect. (How convenient.) But the audio worked. Weird, right? Wrong. I’ve been in many meetings where this happened to others so it’s all good. Plus, you get to play a little game with yourself trying to figure out if folks are telling the truth or just woke up late and are chilling in their underwear. Bonus!

10. Social distancing does not apply. 

I can hug trees. In public places. With people around. When they stare, I wave and shout, “Don’t have to social distance with trees!” 🙂🌲🌳

 

 

I’m not making light of Covid 19. This is serious. There is a global pandemic going on. I get it. I do. Don’t throw your non-latex gloves at me. I’m just trying to find a little fun during this time. Hope you are all healthy and safe. Stay sane, gentle readers. ❤️

 

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop #BookReview by Harmony Kent

What a wonderful surprise to find a review for On the Edge of a Raindrop. It made me smile all week. I needed that smile. A lovely 5-star review from Harmony Kent (who has a rating system that notes: ‘I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to. I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning…’) Yup. Smiling. 🙂

Brilliantly done.

In just a few words, the author evokes so many different emotions and moods.

Thank you, Harmony! 💖

Please stop by, read the full review, and explore her blog. A prolific author whose writing ranges from non-fiction to romance, poetry to post-apocalyptic. There’s something for everyone so do check out her books.

Harmony also writes for Story Empire: This is the home of seven bestselling authors who share a passion for all things related to writing, publishing, and promoting fiction. 

Reblog Lemon Shark

 

When Beauty Is Not Enough

 

 

Spring

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.

Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

It’s spring. Though it feels more like a distant cousin. A time of year in which we struggle to find our place during the uncertainty of seasons. When we throw off our jackets and listen to blue jays. Then huddle in our heavy coats and listen to howling winds. When we both turn our face to the sunshine and dance between raindrops.

It is that unpredictability we crave when the earth beneath our feet is frozen solid in winter or lush with summer greens. But the fickle springtime plays in quicksand, leaving us wishing for stability, making us wary.

Sometimes we know what we know, regardless of the beauty around us. Sometimes in spite of it. And, sometimes, it just ceases to be enough to quiet us.

It is then we raise our voices. To communicate. To be heard. To say that we will not be lulled into silence with the unfurling bud and promise of a bright and beautiful thing.

 

I found this post from last year and thought how fitting, in a very different way, it was this year. The struggle to find our place during this uncertainty. Our craving for unpredictability then, when it arrives, our wish for stability. The wariness. The need to communicate. The promise of an unfurling bud turning into something beautiful not being quite enough anymore. 

Be well, gentle readers. Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. Create your own joy. Dance between raindrops and turn your face to the sun when it shines.

 

My random thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

 

 

You can read the entire poem here: Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

My Blog is Special

 

pink flower in spring

 

Want to know my secret?

Do you want to know what makes my blog so special? Why I stand out like a fuchsia flower in a mess of dirt and weeds?

It’s the clean lines. The crisp space. The typo-free paragraphs, easy-to-read word choice, frequent fragments, awesome alliteration…

There is nothing special.

 

There is no special here. This blog is just a blog. I am just a girl. Standing in front of my readers, asking them to love me.

I like my bloggy friends. They talk to me. And listen. Which is not easy as I can go on a bit. I ramble. I freewrite and hit “publish”.

That’s bad. But, also, good.

I feel like we’re hanging out in a coffee shop, sipping a mocha latte, you know?

Better still, sitting at a bar with a bottle of wine in front of us. *pours another glass* Cheers!

If you read this, you’ve pretty much met me.

This post? This whole blog? It’s just me. Unfiltered me.

The completely awesome thing about you is that you talk to me even when the popular kids walk by.

There are far more fashionable, trendy, nichey, blogs out there yet, week after week, month after month, readers still visit and chat with me.

And that’s pretty special.

 

My Sunday (on Tuesday) thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a nicheless blog? Do you feel like you’re “just another blog” in the big blogosphere? Do you care?

 

My One Word for 2020 #OneWord2020

 

pine-cone-sig

 

I was going to switch this up a bit for 2020 but guess what? I’m not. This is (unfortunately) perfect:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it’s not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Seriously. Like Move Yer Arse, Girl! Or, you know, something nicer, like, Excuse me but would you mind moving? Same, same. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea.

I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

my One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

my One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

Well. Isn’t that something? And here we are again. Another year, another word. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

I’ve noticed my blog has its share of posts about overwhelm. Just a few, really, not, like, dozens. Ahem. So I got to thinking about being overwhelmed. Too much. Too many things. So, naturally, I need to make lists. And prioritize. That will work. Except for the times it doesn’t. Which is to say always. Or never. Whatever.

I’ve got to sort out my priorities. This is more important than that. That is more pressing than the other. Things get put on The List, shifted, knocked down a number, back up, and so forth and, soon enough, nothing is done.

So, instead of putting my life on a piece of paper in order of importance, I’m changing my mindset. (FYI, this is always, always, a good idea. You should try it.) I’ve always sucked at multi-tasking but I’m not sure that’s what this is anymore. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m utterly unfocused.

So here is my ironic focus word for 2020:

FOCUS

I was at a cemetery last month and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

When I tapped on the screen to focus on the little pinecone in my face, the gravestones blurred in the background. And vice versa. Right? Because whether it’s a mobile phone or a fancy camera, it cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

I hadn’t written my One Word post yet but, there, right then, in that cemetery, I wrote it in my head.

I’m not prioritizing the pinecone over the gravestone. But if I try to focus on both of them, they’re both blurry and I don’t get either one. If I tap and zoom in on one, I get an amazing shot. Then, *tap*, another great shot. Done.

Obviously, there will be times when something will demand my focus be drawn to that issue or situation but I will focus on it and move on.

If I’m constantly trying to focus on everything, then everything is out of focus.

Narrow my focus and, boom, I’ve got a clear shot.

As always, a definition (because I’m a nerd):

 

focus

/fōkəs/

noun

  • the center of interest or activity.

center, focal point, center of attention

Get me a spotlight, man. I’m shining it on whatever shit needs attention. Laser focused, my friends. 

  • the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

clear, clear-cut, well-defined

Producing a well-defined, clear-cut visual? Please hold. Your patience is appreciated. The clear visual will be with you shortly. 

verb

  • (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

Seeing clearly? Yes, please. Adapting and becoming able to see clearly are HUGE challenges for me. Two great goals.  

  • pay particular attention to.

give emphasis to, highlight

Dude, this makes me want to whip out one of those big, neon yellow markers and highlight the hell out of the book of my life. On it!

 

I’m going to focus this year. I know I said this last year but 2020 will see another book from me. The manuscripts are sitting here glaring at me. They are more patient than I.

Happy New Year, my friends. ❤ Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 🥂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I’d love to hear what your One Word is for 2020.