A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Rave Reviews Book Club’ Category

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Welcome to Day 8 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @ptlperrin @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


SUNSET

By P.T.L. Perrin

Eden backed her Boston Whaler, Eden’s End, away from the dock, swung her nose into the current and gave the outboard a little gas. Still in the no-wake zone, her granddaughter hung over the side near the stern and trailed her hand in the water.

“Leigh, a shark’s gonna bite that thing right off.”

“No, it won’t. See the dolphins alongside?” She pointed her dripping finger at a pair of breeching dolphins. “Everyone knows they protect folks from sharks.”

Eden shook her head, grinned, and watched the sleek bodies leap through gray water until the pod outdistanced them. She’d never heard of a shark this far up the intracoastal, but she enjoyed teasing Leigh, even if the girl didn’t like it much. Besides, she wouldn’t have to put up with it after tonight. Her heart dropped at the thought.

Right now, they needed to get into the channel where she could open the throttle and let her fly. They’d need a bit of speed to get through the chop at the inlet’s mouth.

“Where’d you stash the drinks, baby girl? I’m thirsty.”

“Coke or ginger ale?” Leigh reached into the cooler behind the captain’s bench and waited for Eden’s answer.

“We have any bottled water?”

“Yuck.” Leigh wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out. At thirteen, she didn’t care for plain water. She grabbed a coke for herself and tossed the water toward the captain’s bench, where her grandma easily caught it.

“Come up here with me.” Eden scooted over, but Leigh grabbed the canopy support bar and stood next to her to wave to passing vessels.

They entered the main channel and accelerated. “Look at them all!” Leigh held tight to the support with one hand and with the other, pointed out small boats like theirs, yachts and excursion ships heading out to sea. “I’ve never seen so many in the channel all at once. Is all this for the sunset?”

Eden didn’t answer. She glanced at her granddaughter and wished she could keep this moment forever. Evening light bathed Leigh’s face in a gentle glow, the pink in her cheeks showing through the Florida tan she wore summer and winter. Her luminous eyes, the same amber as the natural streaks in her sun-bleached hair, crinkled at the corners as she squinted at the water. She’d be a beauty in a couple years and Eden had looked forward to scaring the sin out of any boys with the wrong idea. Just another thing she’d never get to do.

The chop demanded her attention, so she drove while Leigh held on and whooped every time their bow hit another wave. The sea calmed when they reached the Gulf of Mexico, and they found a spot to drift about a hundred yards out, away from other vessels. The current turned the stern toward the northwest, where they had a perfect view of the horizon to the west and the inlet to the east.

Eden moved to the cushioned top of the cooler in the aft cockpit. Leigh joined her, pretended to push her off with her hip, and settled close. She sipped her coke while her grandma threw an arm around her in a hug.

The ocean breeze played with Eden’s short hair and blew tendrils of Leigh’s long hair across her chest. Eden reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a hair tie.

“Turn around, baby girl. You don’t want hair in your eyes just as the sun sinks, do you?” Leigh leaned forward while her grandma caught her hair back in a tail. She reached for a blanket bunched on a corner seat.

“Here, Grandma. The breeze is a little cool.” Leigh pulled it over their laps.

A bank of cumulous clouds towered to the east, each layer a living painting, shifting through pink, purple, orange, and salmon in majestic slow motion. A low swell slapped against the hull, a rhythmic percussion to the visual symphony.

Eden took several deep breaths, enjoying the tang of salt air with a hint of seaweed. The scent of grilling fish tickled her nose. Her mouth watered and her stomach rumbled. They’d eat with Leigh’s parents later, at one of the seafood places on the main dock. A special treat.

Leigh snuggled close to Eden, who pulled the lightweight blanket up to cover her girl’s shoulders.

“Are all endings sad?”

Eden swallowed hard before she could answer. “Not all.”

“Like what? Name some happy endings.”

Eden dug past the lump in her heart to find one or two. “When the prince kisses the princess and they live happily ever after. When the hero escapes from the dungeon.”

Leigh slapped her arm. “I mean for real.” She turned her gaze toward the setting sun, now barely touching the horizon’s edge. “I can think of lots of sad endings. Like when we had to leave our friends in Minnesota. And when Scruffy ran away. And when…”

Eden interrupted. “Farmers are happy when a drought ends. And what about the end of an icy cold winter? You had those in Minnesota, remember.”

“Oh, yeah. But the end of snow wasn’t so happy.”

Eden grabbed her granddaughter’s hand and pointed toward the sun, now a half-circle sitting on a dark line.

“Every ending starts a new beginning.” Just saying it lifted her own spirits a tiny bit.

Leigh picked up on it. “School starts at the end of summer. I like school.”

“And cooler weather,” Eden reminded her.

“Morning comes when night ends. I’ll be fourteen when thirteen ends.”

“And we’ll meet in heaven when life ends.” Eden wanted to take back the words as soon as they left her mouth. She sucked air in thick gulps to keep from bursting into tears. She felt her granddaughter tremble.

Eden turned Leigh’s face toward her and kissed her forehead. She kissed each precious cheek and wiped her tears away with her thumbs. “You know I’ll always love you, don’t you? Everything I have is yours, and no matter what, we’ll see each other again.”

“Death is a sad ending, Grandma. I don’t care what the next beginning is. I don’t want you to go.” Leigh covered her face with her hands, bent over her grandma’s lap and sobbed, shudders racking her body and tearing the heart out of Eden.

“Watch, Leigh. Sunset isn’t over yet.”

Leigh sat up, wiped her eyes, and took a shuddering breath. Eden’s heart swelled with love and pride at her granddaughter’s courage as the ocean swallowed the last sliver of sun, leaving the eastern clouds a gray canvas. There should have been more drama.

Eden returned to the console and started the engine.

“Wait, Grandma. Can’t we wait for the stars to come out? I need more time.”

Eden turned the key off and wrapped her arms around Leigh’s slender body. They sank to the deck, neither trying to control the eruption of grief tearing at their cores.

When their sobs turned to hiccups and they let each other go, Eden lifted Leigh’s chin and pointed to the sky. “Look at that magnificence, baby girl. God’s story written in the stars. You’re there, and so am I.”

“What do you mean, Grandma?”

“Our last sunset is an ending, but tomorrow’s a new day for both of us. I’m going home very soon, and you have a long life ahead with happy endings and beautiful beginnings.

Leigh sighed and snuggled close. “And we’ll meet again. In heaven, right?”

“That’s right.” Eden returned to her bench and turned on the engine. “I’m hungry and your parents must be starving. How about you?”

Leigh nodded, stood, and held on to the support. “I love you, Grandma.”

*****

Leigh backed her whaler, Eden’s Dawn, from the dock and headed to the channel where she joined a smattering of fishing boats, her lights joining theirs on the way to the Gulf. Her daughter snored softly, asleep beside her on the bench. Leigh tapped her shoulder to wake her.

“Faith, we’re getting to the chop.”

The child stretched and yawned, jumped to the deck, held on to the support, and whooped at every wave they hit until they reached calm water.

“Now, Mommy?” Faith pointed at the pretty box on the console that held Grandma’s ashes.

“Soon.” Leigh headed out until land was a smudge to the east and cut the engine. “Now, Sweetie.”

Leigh and Faith held the box over the stern together. Leigh kissed it, and they dropped it into the ocean while the sun rose behind a cloud bank, its golden rays streaming out to paint the morning sky pink and orange.

Leigh hugged her daughter as the box sank beneath the waves. “Goodbye, Grandma. We love you.”

Faith reached up and held her mother’s face between her small hands. “Are you sad, Mommy?”

“A little. But every ending starts a new beginning.”

Leigh lifted Faith to the bench, kissed her, and turned Eden’s Dawn toward home.

###

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

PTL Perrin’s RWISA Author Profile

Thanks so much for stopping by to enjoy P.T.L. Perrin’s short story today. We would love to hear what you think in the comments. I’m delighted to have Patty, a talented fellow #RWISA author with us today. I invite you to check out her Author Profile and take a peek inside her awesome books. I’ve got two of them on my kindle and can hardly wait to start turning page. ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Magical Whispers by Balroop Singh—New Poetry Collection—#BookRelease #BlogTour


I’m delighted to host Balroop Singh—author, friend and poet—as she announces the release of her latest collection.  I started reading Magical Whispers last night… As I stroll through its pages, I’ll continue to reflect upon the beauty bound within each penning. Read more about the book and I think you’ll agree, this is a collection that you’ll want to add to your book shelf too! ~Bette A. Stevens https://www.4writersandreaders.com 

Book Blurb

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whisper life into us.

Book Information

Title: Magical Whispers

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KJQ6K5D


US
UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

Excerpt

The Last Whisper

I could never plan my life
It just flitted by
Before I could figure it out.

I had just a few desires
Though they kept multiplying
You fulfilled them with a smile.

I have just one more
The last one, I promise
I hope you would consider that.

I want a little cabin in the woods
A tree house with four windows
And a solarium with royal recliners.

Don’t forget to add your bar
One corner could be enough
For the best crystal we bought.

If we have a bridge that swings
I could spend the rest of my days
Reclining in that heavenly bliss.

© Balroop Singh

Meet the Author

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educator always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and  Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

Find & Follow the author

Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Balroop Singh and enjoy a peek inside her new book—Magical Whispers. Balroop and I would love to hear from you. May all your days be filled with magic! ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Welcome to the #RRBC “ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY” BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER Block Party! @BetteAStevens #Giveaways


 

Hi, and welcome to the Rave Reviews Book Club’s 2020 BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY at Watch Nonnie Write! 

Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today



Leave a comment & YOU COULD BE A WINNER!

  • One (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • One (1) e-book copy of 🌲 MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons 🌲by Bette A. Stevens

# of Winners for this stop:  2 



Even with a world-wide pandemic raging, the blessings of 2020 abound…

It’s a Girl!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today. As a Maine writer and poet, I hope you enjoy taking a peek inside the state I know and love.  It’s a Girl! is a haiku poem about one of the many miracles—the bounty and beauty—that 2020 has brought to us at the farmstead this year. If you haven’t been to the U.S. state of Maine yet, I invite you to add a trip to The Pine Tree State to your wish list. No matter the date or the season, Maine’s miracles are sure to capture your heart and soul. In the meantime, I invite you to watch MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons book trailer later in this post to get a taste of what we Mainers are blessed with 365 days a year.  Maine, you’ll  see, is the way life should be!

As the new year began, I was sure it was going to be a year to remember—and it has proven to be just that.

My perspective has changed on so many things. Hubby Dan and I have been self-isolating since March 12. We order groceries online once a month then put on protective masks and gloves as we head out to pick packages up curbside in a town eight miles north. We only go out in public when we must—for things like medical appointments, and banking. This month we’ll pick up our absentee ballots at the town hall and return them in person to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Here in Maine, our 37-acre farmstead has always been a haven. We grow and preserve a lot of our own food (vegetables and fruit), clean up fallen trees to use as supplemental heat in the wintertime, and spend a lot of time outdoors working, exploring and enjoying the beauty and bounty that the land has to offer.

 

Miracles abound… Discovering a fawn in the back field was just one of them.

Rolls (I’m making all my own breads and desserts these days) were baking in the oven when Dan burst through the back door and hollered, “Grab your camera and get out here!” He wouldn’t tell me what was up until we gingerly approached a stand of birches in the back field and he pointed down. There in the tall grass (which he had planned to mow that afternoon) lay a newborn fawn. She was beautiful. The moment I was back at the house, I discovered as much as I could about whitetail deer online. I read everything I could find and prepared to watch and wait for the little one to appear with her mom.

Did I say she? You bet!

I found out that the sex of a fawn can be discovered by the shape of the crown of its head. Round for girl, flat for boy. I expected her to be out and about with mama in early July and I walked the field and trails each day to discover as much as I could first hand. By early July, we discovered that she had a twin—they came out each day romping, stomping and entertaining us while mama cautiously watched them from a distance. It’s been a summer of laughter and fun with our two whitetails on the loose.  If it hadn’t been for self-isolating during the 2020 pandemic, I would have missed it all!

It’s been a great summer of discovery. Check out these  16 Things to Know about Whitetail Fawns https://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/big-buck-zone/2013/05/fawn-facts/

 

CLICK Book Trailer  below TO TAKE A PEEK INSIDE...

 

Grab a copy of MY MAINE today! 

 

More of Bette’s Maine

Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine authorThanks so much for stopping by to read about It’s a Girl and take a peek at MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons today! I would love to hear what you think. Your comment could make you one of today’s two Giveaway Winners!

~Bette A. Stevens

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Liars and Thieves (Book 1 in new fantasy series) by D.W. Peach—#Blogtour Book Launch


If you love fantasy fiction and enjoy descriptive writing at its best, D.W. (Diana Wallace) Peach is an author you won’t want to miss… If you’re like me and fantasy is not an auto-go-to genre for you, this is the perfect time to give it a try!  Diana, it’s wonderful to have you here today to give us a peek into the first book of your new series—Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil series).  Diana’s writing is superlative!

Liars and Thieves (Fantasy Fiction) by D.W. Peach

 

 

Blurb

Behind the Veil, the hordes gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—

When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—

Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—

Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

Q & A

Why are changelings vegetarians?

In this series, changelings have the ability to transform into animals. Talin, one of my main characters, explains at one point that spending time as an animal has given him a greater respect for them. He’s personally experienced their lives: the freedom, the danger, instincts, and emotion. Changelings don’t see themselves as masters over animals, but as part of the vast diversity of creatures. In his own words, “There are consequences to shifting over time. You’ll see. After a while, you start understanding the beauty of animals in a new way, how they have a right to their lives as much as we.”

Liars and Thieves Book Trailer

Liars and Thieves Global Purchase Linkhttp://a-fwd.com/asin=B08FGQ2W3Q

 

Author Bio

Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Find D.W. Peach and her books

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Diana and check out her latest book. I invite you to visit her Amazon book page and stock  up on some fabulous fantasy fiction from an author who knows how to keep readers turning the pages!

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Get away from it all without leaving home—MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens


MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection) by Bette A. Stevens. 150 haiku poems, 49 of the author’s original photographs + interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State. 

My Maine…

Staycation in “Vacationland” (One of The Pine Tree State’s nicknames). No need to leave your comfy lounge chair. No matter the season, MY MAINE is a collection of poems and photographs to soothe the soul. Put up your feet, sit back and relax. Let MY MAINE take you away…

Did you know?

In the early 20th century, lumber, textiles and other industries began to leave the state, and the government doubled down on stimulating tourism. In the 1960s, the state adopted a new nickname on its license plates and highway signs: “Vacationland.”

Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to the Pine Tree State to enjoy scenic vistas, outdoor activities and the unhurried pace of life. But a visit to Maine is more than just lobsters and lighthouses. USA Today

MY MAINE

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry!”

~ Bette A. Stevens

 

Summer Songs

Excerpts from MY MAINE Haiku through the Seasons (Summer Songs) by Bette A. Stevens

Pristine forest lands
Rockbound footpaths appealing
Seek your solace here

Lady slippers chant
Madrigalian ballads
Timeless tales reborn

Moose shielding twin calves
Wades tranquil mountain waters
Head raised, ears twitching

Swallows consuming
Millions of swarming creatures
Ouch, ouch—they missed some

Loons at lakeshore wail
Campers bewitched by the sound
Sacred summer songs

Waves play taps on shore
Tall pines salute by moonlight
Waking stars stand guard

Lighthouses stand tall
Regaling stories of ghosts
From a bygone age

Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Hubby and I are enjoying a great “Staycation” right here at the farmstead. Confined by the 2020 pandemic restrictions, we’re playing it close to home and enjoying the magic of Maine moment by moment. Wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful end of summer and hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of a virtual Maine summer respite with us. ~Bette A. Stevens

[Visit Bette’s Blog]

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PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens—“A single day—a lifetime of lessons!” ONLY 99¢/£ thru July 4th, 2020


PURE TRASH (Literary Fiction/ages 11-adult) by Bette A. Stevens—ONLY 99¢/£ for a limited time at Amazon.com & Amazon.uk   http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ — is a short story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied. It may redefine your concept of bullying. If you grew up as a child who was thought of as different in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its descriptors. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social standing of the dysfunctional family, the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

This short story set in the 1950s offers readers and book clubs insight into poverty and prejudice in rural New England during a time in history when many families were living the American Dream.

Take a peek inside and Grab a copy of PURE TRASH today! http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ 

 

 

Hop on your bike and tag along with Shawn and Willie Daniels for the ride…

EXCERPT

Pedaling up the half-mile hill was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and not for just the empties. Flying down the other side gave me the best feeling in the whole wide world. I guess that’s how that old chicken hawk feels when he soars above the pines at the edge of the field out back of the house.

Once we reached the peak, we plopped our bikes on the ground and threw ourselves onto the soft, damp bed of leaves at the edge of the woods. It was so peaceful. My mind wandered into the sky and I dreamed about the ride down the other side and the 10 cent Orange Crush I’d buy at Stark’s General Store.

“Hey, Willie,” I finally asked, “did ya bring the slingshot?”

“Sure did, Shawn. Whatcha wanna shoot today?”

Willie’s brown eyes looked as big as Mum’s pan fried donuts and his smile pretty nearly filled his round face as he jumped right up from his leafy bed and hovered over me like a bear.

I helped Willie make that slingshot out of rubber bands I’d sliced from one of the old inner tubes piled out by Dad’s rusty Ford Roadster. That Ford had headlights on top of the fenders and the “old jalopy,” as Mum called it, was just rottin’ away out back of the two-holer. We broke a crotched limb out of the choke cherry bush to use for the handle. I tied the rubber band and the handle together with string from one of the flowered chicken feed sacks that Mum used to make her house dresses. That string was real strong and I was good at tying knots. Willie was proud as a peacock when it came to showing off that slingshot.

“How about we find some old tin cans and pile them up like a tower?” I asked Willie. “Better yet, let’s both make towers and see whose gets knocked down first.”

“Yes, siree!” Willie hooted as he made a mad dash to grab as many of the rusty cans as his chubby arms could hug together at one time.

 

  • Join Shawn and Willie for a 1950s Saturday adventure—Download PURE TRASH for ONLY 99¢/£ through JULY 4th!

This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s novel DOG BONE SOUP.

 

Reviews

“A great book for young adults, parents, guardians, mentors, and educators to read. Strongly recommended!” Yoong

“A nostalgic gem – I was swept away from the first paragraph and thoroughly enjoyed this skillfully written short story. This author knows how to paint mind-pictures and flavor them with taste, smell, and sound.”  WJ Scott, Children’s Author, Fairy Dust.

“Pure Trash is unlike any story I’ve read. At first, it reads like a memoir from Reminisce Magazine, but as the story unfolds, I connected with the characters at a deep level. The author explores prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying. It’s a story all audiences over the age of ten can enjoy. While reading this story, the reader will experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough.” Tricia Drammeh, AuthorsToWatch

Take a Look Inside at your Amazon to read more of the 77 reviews.
  • Download PURE TRASH for ONLY 99¢/£ today!
  • Also available on MATCHBOOK: Purchase the paperback from Amazon for only $5.49 any time and download the eBook version for #FREE any time.

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, award-winning Maine author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher. Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book about the lessons learned by a monarch butterfly as she metamorphoses ; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her debut novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a baby boomer’s coming of age story. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons—Stevens’s first poetry and photography collection—takes readers on an unforgettable journey through The Pine Tree State’s four glorious seasons.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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#RRBC #RWISA #RWISARiseUp – Jan Sikes with a #Mother’sDay post (+ a great giveaway)


I’m delighted to welcome Jan Sikes back to 4writersandreaders to share a #Mother’sDay piece she’s written for the  2020 RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! 

 

DEPRESSION SOUP 

by Jan Sikes

 

She stood in a line her head bowed low

There was nowhere to run, no place to go

With clothes that were ragged

And shoes that were worn

There were millions just like her

She wasn’t alone

America’s Great Depression had stolen their homes

Took its toll on their bodies

Tried to squash their souls

But she squared her shoulders, raised her eyes

Fierce determination replaced her sighs

She’d fight to survive, that much was true

Although many times, she’d be sad and blue

Someday there would be plenty

But for now, she was caught in a loop

She held out her bowl

For another serving

Of Depression Soup

 

Born in Missouri in 1917, my mom, Marian Edith Clark, learned about hardships at a young age.

Her mother, my grandmother, Sarah Jane, was sickly. The household chores fell on my mom’s shoulders when she was still a child. She shared memories of having to stand on a box so she could reach the stove to cook their meals.

My mom blue eyes sparkled, and her smile could light up a midnight sky. She started school in Treece, Kansas. Her family were migrant workers. Anytime they found an abandoned house, even if it was spooky, they moved in. Eventually, they landed in Pitcher, Oklahoma, where her father found a job in the iron and ore mines. She was in the ninth grade when he had an accident in the mines, and she had to quit school to help make a living for the family.

Her father became a bootlegger in Oklahoma. He would often get caught and wind up in jail for six months at a time, leaving the family to fend for themselves.

They eventually moved to Arkansas, where they had kinfolk who were sharecroppers. They picked cotton, and in Mom’s words, “Nearly starved to death.”

When she was around fourteen, her dad took the family to the Texas cotton fields. The whole family could pick, and they would make twenty-five cents for every hundred pounds of cotton.

We found this story written in a journal after Mom passed away.

“My last school was in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, population around 2,000. We lived two miles out in the country. I went to a two-room school. A man and his wife were both teachers. He taught in one room and her in the other. The man teacher went crazy and tried to kill his wife. When she got away, she came to our house. I’ll never forget how bloody her head was. When the police found him, he had crawled up under their house. So, they put him in a mental hospital.”

The Great Depression hit America in 1929, wiping out any semblance of a prospering economy. It was during that catastrophic era that my mom and dad met in Sayre, Oklahoma. At the time, she was babysitting for one of Dad’s sisters, and living in a government migrant camp with her family.

She was only seventeen, but they fell head-over-heels in love and decided to marry.

Mom had no shoes to wear for the ceremony, and a woman next to them in the camp loaned her a pair of shoes.

On April 14, 1934, they said their wedding vows in a preacher’s living room and began life together.

There were no pictures, no fanfare, no parties, and no honeymoon.

They spent their first night as newlyweds, sharing a bed with some of my dad’s younger brothers and sisters.

Their first home was an old farmhouse with nothing in it but a wood stove, a bed, and a table. Mom had no broom to sweep the floors, and when snakes crawled across, they left trails in the dirt.

Through the years, she shared many harrowing stories of how they survived as transients. They stayed within their family group and moved from the strawberry fields in Missouri, to potato fields in Kansas, to cotton fields in Texas. Often, they had no shelter from the elements, sleeping outdoors under a shade tree. Other times, they managed to have a tent or share a tent with other family members.

Mom and Dad’s life together, began under this umbrella of hopeless poverty.

Hunger was a constant companion. My mom had an older brother who often would go out at night and steal a chicken or watermelon.

Enmeshed in daily survival, they could see no future.

Sometime around late 1934, they moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas not knowing it was in the middle of an epidemic. They were lucky enough to find housing in a WPA camp. My dad got a job digging graves for fifty cents a week, plus a small amount of food. A man working with him warned him to stay clear of the hospital; that no one came out alive.

However, the hospital laundry was the only place Mom found work. Automation wasn’t yet widespread, and especially not in Arkansas, so all of the washing had to be done by hand on rub boards.

A large scowling woman marched up and down behind the workers with a blackjack in hand. If she thought they weren’t working hard enough or fast enough, she’d whack them across the shoulders.

During this time, my mom fell ill with Scarlet Fever and they quarantined her. They kept her in a room under lock and key. My worried dad climbed to her window with food. It became apparent that they had to get out of there, or Mom would die. One night when all was quiet, she tied bedsheets together and lowered herself from the two-story window to the ground, where Dad waited.

They caught a ride to Oklahoma on the back of a flatbed truck, and Mom eventually recovered. They never went back to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

As the years passed, much of my dad’s family migrated to California, the land of milk and honey. But Mom and Dad didn’t go with them due to my grandmother’s failing health, and a younger sister who was inseparable from my mom. They all stuck together. My grandmother passed away in 1942 in Roswell, New Mexico. Pictures show a large goiter on her throat. She died long before I was born.

Mom gave birth to my siblings with help from family and friends. I was the only one to arrive in a hospital setting.

By 1951, the year I was born, Mom and Dad had settled in Hobbs, New Mexico, and purchased a lot on Avenue A. They stretched their tent and immediately started building a house. They put down roots and said goodbye to the transient life they’d known.

Like everything else in their lives, they built our house themselves. A place not too far from Hobbs, The Caprock, had an abundance of large flat rocks. Every day Dad wasn’t working, he’d head up and bring back a load of rocks to cover the sides of the house. That house withstood many storms, and still stands today.

When I was around twelve, I distinctly remember watching Mom climb up and down a ladder with bundles of shingles to roof the house. And she did this alone.

I believe I can declare with all certainty that no two people worked harder than my mom and dad.

Mom was a fantastic cook, having learned from necessity at a young age. She had a sweet tooth and loved to bake. Her specialty was pies. She could make a peach cobbler that would melt in your mouth.

She never measured anything. She’d throw in a handful of this and a pinch of that, and it turned out perfectly every time.

Mom was not a worrier. Her philosophy was, “If I can’t fix it, there’s no need to waste time worrying about it.”

I’ve strived to adopt that same philosophy.

She lived by these seven wisdoms:

  1. Count your blessings every day.
  2. Don’t whine or throw a fit if things don’t go your way.
  3. Take whatever trials God sees fit to give you and make the best of it. Never sit down and give up.
  4. Believe in yourself and your dreams, and they’ll come true.
  5. Love life and live for God.
  6. Hard work never killed anyone. Try your best and don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the way you first thought.
  7. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.

I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my mom, as you know if you’ve read my books. But I never forgot her teachings, her strength, and her determination. And for the last thirty years of her life, we were close.

She was the best grandmother my two little girls ever could have hoped for. She adored them as much as they loved her.

I watch my daughters now and see them practice some of Mom’s ways with their own children, and it makes me happy.

So, here’s to my mom – the strongest woman I ever knew.

Contact Jan Sikes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour page! Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well. Thank you, and good luck!

 

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Celebrate EARTH DAY with a Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Monarch Butterfly eBook—ONLY 99¢/p Limited Time (April 21-24)


Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ HAPPY EARTH DAY

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Monarch butterflies are a threatened species. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat. Yet these butterflies, once a familiar sight, are plummeting toward extinction due to landscape-scale threats from pesticides, development and global climate change. That’s why the Center is working hard to win them protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

AMAZING MATILDA written and illustrated by Maine author Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢/p thru April 24:

“Award-winning picture book adventure follows a monarch butterfly through her life cycle and teaches kids important life lessons along the way!”

 

About the book

AMAZING MATILDA (Ages 5-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly. This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf, she stretches and yawns and wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit, as you follow Matilda from egg to imago.

Review Excerpt Blurb:

“Matilda crunched and munched and lunched, leaf after leaf, day after day.”

If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here! ~Jacqui Murray, WordDreams 

DOWNLOAD a copy of AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢/p April 21–April 24award-winning monarch butterfly picture book— at YOUR AMAZON

Free Reading Resources for Amazing Matilda

Meet the characters and download Bette’s  #FREE Character Puppets HERE.

Beyond the book

  • Find monarch butterfly resources at your finger tips:

Have fun and learn even more about Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ our amazing monarch butterflies by downloading Bette’s FREE PDF Click here: FUN & LEARNING with Monarch Butterflies where you’ll find:

  • Monarch Facts
  • Coloring Pages
  • Crafts
  • Gardening
  • Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
  • Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
  • FIND OUT how you can help protect our Amazing Monarchs

 Find out more about Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens and her books

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Happy Birthday, Maine! + #WritingChallenge


Celebrating #Maine’s Bicentennial through Poetry

Maine officially celebrates its 200th Birthday on March 15, 2020! Find out more about “The Pine Tree State” and help us celebrate all year long with a haiku of your own. #WritingChallenge

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. At that time Maine was not one of America’s original thirteen colonies because it had never been granted a royal charter from Great Britain. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence (summarizing the colonists’ motivation for seeking independence) before Maine gained official statehood.

The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from “Spring Awakenings”~

 

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Granite boulders rise
Above the winter mantle
Midway the meltdown

Dark mask shrouds the land
Soaking downpour foreshadows
Season’s renewal

Rivers spill over
While ice jams—slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

Pot holes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back

Hills and vales exult
Rivers and streams sing arias
Mud season arrives

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy reading & writing poetry!” 

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Celebrating #Maine2020 through Poetry with Author John W. Howell


More Maine—Arts & Culture

  • Maine officially celebrates its  Bicentennial (200th birthday as an independent US state) on March 15, 2020.
  • The Pine Tree State (Maine’s official nickname)—provides a sanctuary for arts and culture—check out these famous Maine people (Arts & Literature) at Maine.gov.
  • Maine has been inspiring artists and art lovers for more than two centuries and continues to provide a cultural haven for residents and visitors alike. You’ll find a treasure chest of museums and galleries spattered throughout the state. Be sure to check out these “10 Must-See Maine Art Museums.”
  • Maine is known as Vacationland From pristine wilderness to pine forest mountain ranges to crystal clear waterways and majestic shorelines, Maine is a perfect place to spend your vacation.

Maine Watercolor by John Cable JOHN HOWELL

 

I’m delighted that John W. Howell stopped by to help celebrate Maine’s Bicentennial with a fine piece of Maine art that inspired his My Maine haiku poems! John is one of my Rave Review Book Club #RRBC author friends. I invite you to check out his bio and books— His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. Howell’s John Cannon series rank among my favorite mystery thrillers. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

John Howell: “This is a watercolor by Maine artist John Gable. I bought it when I was on vacation at Kennebunkport, Maine. I had the pleasure to meet the artist and discuss some of his art while there. This painting has been with me since I bought it in 1981. If you would like more information on the artist here is a link to his website—John Gable Fine Art.”

My Maine

by John W. Howell ©2020

Before the parade,
A treasured water color. . .
Created in Maine.

Is a physical,
Reminder of such good times. . .
Which are forever.

The air and seashore,
Are still pondered in the heart. . .
Someday to return.

 

About John W. Howell

John W. Howell, author of suspense thrillers, short stories and poetry.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. Howell’s first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The fourth, Circumstances of Childhood a family life story published (2017). The fifth book, The Contract is written with Gwen Plano (2018).

John is currently finishing his sixth novel Eternal Road – The Final Stop, to be published in June 2020. All books are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Follow the author and find his books on Amazon.

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Bette A. Stevens is celebrating Maine’s 200th birthday as an independent US state on her blog all year long through her new release,  My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection). She’s inviting friends and readers to join in the celebration with their own photo and haiku creations highlighting The Pine Tree State.

Whether you’re a Mainer or from away, I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net  SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul
—to me, Maine is poetry.”
~ Bette A. Stevens

 

 

“See Maine through the eye of a poet…”

Grab a copy of My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons today! 

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