Saturday, April 21, 2018


Mary Adler is an accomplished author, member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors. She is a retired teacher and lawyer, now happily retired in northern California where her garden is a habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds.

Karen's touching novel, Davida, is a book filled with love, so I think it's fitting to share a thought about love here on her blog.

While rereading David Corbett’s illuminating book, The Art of Character, I was struck by a passage in his discussion of vulnerability that hadn't resonated with me the first time through. 
“But having a strong sense of connection and worthiness does not assure us we will be loved, because love is a gift, not a right. It’s given, not earned.”
Love is given, not earned. 
         That statement took me back to that most bewildering of days—the 
day we received our report cards in grade school. My classmates jumped for joy because they had only gotten one D, or hadn't failed anything, or because they finally had gotten an A. They anticipated rewards and praise from parents who would be happy with their less-than-perfect grades. I didn't realize until I was much older, that their parents loved them for being who they were, and that affection was not based on their academic achievements. It was given, not earned.


We can argue that every living creature has the right to be loved, and they do, but in a real world, the world that isn't fair, too many living beings are not loved---no matter how talented or giving or worthy they are.

We see Corbett's assertion play out in memoirs. The stories of a wife struggling to build a life with a narcissistic husband; or the child vowing that today she will be perfect, and they will love her; or the teenager denying his own uniqueness and struggling to be accepted by a peer group not known for being inclusive.

We recognize this truth in books. When we see a fictional character devoting herself to an abusive man who will never change, we say no, no, don't go there, the way we warn characters in thrillers not to go into the cellar. But in she goes, into a relationship that might destroy her as completely as that monster in the dark.

I believe we love certain mystery series, like Louise Penny's Gamache books, or Fred Vargas' Adamsberg books, because although the continuing characters are realistically flawed and sometimes at odds with each other, in the end they will resolve their differences without ugliness. We can count on it, and that assurance creates an environment that is comforting. For however long we are in those characters' company, we vicariously enjoy the warmth and respect they have for each other, something we might be missing in our own lives.                                                  


If love is a gift, we will find it in the company of people who are loving. Obvious, isn’t it? Luckily, those people are easy to recognize, if not always easy to find. 

We know them by the warmth we feel when we are near them, by the way we feel better after seeing them, by the way they include others, find good things to say about them, by their generosity and gentle spirits, and by the support they give to others. (It occurs to me that we have found those people in Rave Reviews Book Club).

The narcissistic parent, the selfish husband, the judgmental friend, the self-promoting authors, will never be one of those people. We can understand people who cannot love, and we can offer them support, but unfortunately, we can't fix them by loving them.

Consider the dog--a most loyal, forgiving, and affectionate being. One will be neglected, mistreated, and abandoned, while another will be safe and cared for. They are equally deserving dogs whose lives are dramatically different because one found a loving owner, and one did not.

So find good, giving, generous people whose love is available. And become a loving person, one who loves herself first, and then shares that love with everyone around her. No judgment, no conflict, no negativity---and the rest will take care of itself. Especially if you have a dog.
In my Oliver books, I have recreated my Italian family—improving certain members as I would have liked them to be. When I write, I am in that loving place even if my characters are struggling with conflicts and challenges and narrow escapes from death. I profoundly hope that my readers find a place of community in Point Richmond and the Cafe Avellino, and that they take comfort in knowing that at least there, good will always triumph.
Twitter:  @MAAdlerWrites

Monday, April 16, 2018


MUSIC is an important part of my life. My choice of music is quite the opposite of most people, including my husband. My preference is quiet and melodic, so I listen mainly to classical (Beethoven, Schumann, Mozart, Brahms, to name a few) and what is often called "New Age" music. 

I listen to such music when I am writing, meditating, and reading. It relaxes and inspires me. If I hear lyrics I am disrupted. The music that was played during my video for my book, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens captured the essence of this true story about unconditional love.


Over my many years of reading, I have read several books about Beethoven, Mozart, and Rachminoff. I have learned a deeper appreciation for each of them who had difficult challenges to face: deafness, poverty and mania, and depression. Yet they each overcame their individual challenges to compose magnificent music. 

I gained appreciation for music primarily from my grandmother who had dreamed of being a concert pianist. When I would visit her she played my three favorites: Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Mozart's Requiem, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachminoff. She would tell me about each of them and lessons to be learned from their lives, which were never give up and follow your dreams.

The previous sentence leads to a different kind of book about music. It might be different, but it is powerful. If Only There Was Music..." by Nonnie Jules and Giani Jordan is a collection of poems about forbidden love. The poems can be touching, sexy, thought-provoking, and emotional. Each one is very special. Available at

My review: 5 stars 

I do love poetry so I was excited to read this book. And since my husband and I met and fell in love while still married to others, forbidden love fit for me. Except it was not really forbidden...only in the eyes of society. Thirty years later we are still deeply in love.
The poems through HER eyes truly spoke to me. I liked the rhythm and music of them more than those through HIS eyes.Some of my favorites were "If That's Wrong," "This Is It," and "If You Should Ever."

I highly recommend this book for anyone in love, falling in love, or been in love. It is easy to read, yet the messages are deep and poignant.

A sequel is now available (...And the Music Played) It is a short story that continues the story about the love between Giani and Christine. It is on my TBR list. 

What role does music play in your life? Does it capture the essence of who you are? Does it inspire, bring you peace, make you joyful, or increase your creativity? Does it express the love you have for another person?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I am honored to have author and blogger, Jan Sikes as my guest. She is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors. Her award winning books are biographical and most recently, poetry. 

Thank you, Karen, for generously offering to host a guest post. I deeply appreciate it. 

You know, people ask me all the time if I wrote my books as a tribute to my late husband and my answer is always a quick, “No.”

These were stories that begged to be told and we thought for years that someone would come along to write them. 

After he passed away, I still thought someone else would write the story. I awoke one morning to the realization that I was the only one who could write it as I was the only one there. 

So, I got busy. I took writing courses at local Community Colleges and started with Chapter 1. 

I originally started writing in first person. After a couple of pages, I realized that wasn’t going to work. I was too close to the story to effectively tell it. 

A friend suggested that I tell the story through fictitious characters and I loved that idea. The names for the characters came almost instantly. When I was born, my mother had wanted to name me Darlene. My older brother had insisted on naming me Janice. Knowing that story, my character, Darlina, was born. Then Luke Stone’s name came just at fast. My favorite uncle growing up was Uncle Luke and the last name Stone fit, as did Darlina’s last name of Flowers. The last names also described their personalities. 

After that decision, it was much easier to step back and let the characters tell the story. 

Each book carries a different theme or premise. 

Flowers and Stoneis a love story. It starts in 1970 in the West Texas town of Abilene. Darlina Flowers is trying to figure out how to fit into a world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason for caring about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome?

The Convict and the Roseis not about how horrible prison is, but instead a story of how Luke Stone struggled to find the strength to think, act and do only positive in a dark and negative place. It’s also the story of how Darlina Flowers, trapped in a prison of her own, attempts to go on living with only half a heart. This is a tale of triumph and tragedy, loss and gain, accomplishments and redemption and is meant to inspire hope. 

Home At Lastis all about starting over from nothing to attempt to build a life. Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

‘Til Death Do Us Partconcludes the series. Luke Stone has cheated death more times than he cares to remember. With a second music career opportunity, he knows he won’t fill the Texas dancehalls and honky-tonks like he did in his younger days but is determined to give it his all. Darlina, his rock and anchor, longs to see his dreams fulfilled and vows to do everything possible to help him find success. But, will time allow Luke to sing his last song?

Because these stories all revolve and evolve around music, I also released a music CD with each book that matches the time period of the story. It is original music written by Rick and Jan Sikes. 

DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKESis a beautiful book of poems and pen-and-ink drawings. 
When all of life is stripped away, left with no freedom except in his mind, Rick Sikes journeys deep inside to discover his true self. He finds the only way to survive hopeless negativity is through creating with his hands and imagination. They confined his body in an iron cage but could not lock away his mind.
What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from both Rick and Jan Sikes.

In honor of NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, the eBook version of this poetry and art book is discounted.


Sunday, April 8, 2018


One of the many benefits being a member of Rave Reviews Book Club is meeting some very talented Indie authors. Their books are listed in the catalog so I am able to easily peruse them according to genre.
Today I am sharing about two books that I have recently read and reviewed.

Bruce A. Borders is a prolific writer who started writing when he was about fifteen. He wrote songs, short stories, and newspaper articles. He has fourteen completed books, many short stories and more than 500 songs in a catalog. He writes about the Bible, politics, legal issues, and westerns.

"Dead Broke" is the third book of Mr. Borders I have read and several other of his books are on my TBR list.

Detective Lana Denae is assigned to solve this murder case, which appears to be the perfect crime. Behine a locked door an elderly woman is found shot to death from one bullet. There is an inheritance of a million dollars, which adds to the intrigue and eliminates concern that this was a random murder. 

There are only a few characters and the crime scene is the primary scene to which the reader is returned several times. The detective is faced with a difficult challenge to first determine how the victim could be murdered inside a locked room, and then to find the individual responsible when there were no suspicious characters.

My review:

A story full of intrigue, mystery, suspense, and interesting characters. Lana is the main detective who is believable and likeable. The main suspect in the seven murders leaves the reader if he is guilty or is working for the real killer. Well written and a page turner. An interesting twist to the ending. A great read. (Feb. 17, 2018)


Harriet Hodgson is also an accomplished author who has many award winning books. She is listed in Who's Who of American Women, World Who's Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. "The Family Caregiver's Guide" is the book I am highlighting today.

After the sudden deaths of her daughter and son-in-law, she and her husband raised their twin grandchildren. The role of caregiver was thrust upon them. They learned about grieving, loss, and helping teenagers to come to healthy acceptance of the loss of their parents. 

This particular book is more detailed, informative, and helpful about the caregiver's role, the emotions involved, and resources available. She offers step by step solutions guiding the reader through the myriad of emotions, legal and health issues, and coping methods.

My review:

A very informative and well-written book about the role of the caregiver. Resources, groups, contacts are listed as well as some step by step ways to deal with the family member and understanding the caregiver's role. Ms. Hodgson has been in the role of caregiver for her mother and grandchildren and now for her husband. Her compassion, love, and gentleness is quite evident.
A must read for everyone.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


The following poem is by D.L. Finn, an author, blogger, and member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writers International Society of Authors. Her gift in writing covers a wide spectrum from children's, biography, novel, to poetry. She encourages everyone "to embrace your inner child."
This poem is beautifully composed and has a message about the seasons. Enjoy!

Gone are the days when I lay on the couch
By the crackling wood stove
Huddled under a blanket with five cats…
Sleeping on, or near me.

Gone are the cabin fevered stares
Of those cats who don’t understand
When I tell them it’s too cold outside…
It’s snowing.

Gone are the silent crisp nights
When I have to convince
Our two dogs they need to go outside…
They can’t hold it all night

Gone are the mornings
When I leave early to remove the built-up snow
From my car’s windshield…
And drive more carefully on the ice.

Gone are the times
When I sit in wonder.
Watching the landscape turn white…
In a beautiful dance of the snowflakes.

Gone is the silence of snow
And the soothing patter of rain
Or the roar of the wind…
Pounding its fury against the house.

Gone are those candle lit nights
When the outside rages on
Gone are the coats, boots, hats and mittens…
All tucked away until next season.

These things are gone
But, they are coming back
Until then I sit outside…
Surrounded by life.

The birds are singing,
And the crows screeching
As I catch the sweet scent of the flowers…
A small fluffy cloud floats by.

The cats sit by me, again
Basking in the sun, along with my dogs
This will be gone soon, too…
When the leaves start to fall.

Each season is unique
In what they have to offer
Now, I’m blessed in a spring moment…
In its blissful brilliance before--it’s gone.

Embrace your inner child with poetry! D.L. Finn


Sunday, April 1, 2018



The story goes that initially they were created without them. Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”
The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air. When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first. Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.
For some time, the load, this burden, seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies. They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air.
The burdens had become wings.
We each have burdens that we must carry until we learn how to carry them and tie them to our hearts. We must not run from them…where would we go? To be bitter or angry about them…only makes the burdens heavier. To try to have others carry our burden…what would we learn? To deny the existence of the burden…will keep us from growing.
Spring is a time of renewal. Trees get their leaves, flowers bloom, baby animals are born, and the weather warms up. The message of Easter is one of renewal, of giving our burdens to God thereby freeing ourselves to spread our wings and use them to soar like an eagle or fly from flower to flower like the hummingbird.
Wishing you the blessings of Easter today and everyday.
Fable of how birds got wings is from Streams in the Desert

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Welcome to the first ever ALL ABOUT THE SPONSORS BLOG HOP!  These kind members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC)donated their support during the 2017 conference, in the way of gift card and Kindle e-book donations for our Gift Basket Raffle. They supported us and now we are showing our support of them by pushing their book(s).  

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There are several books on tour today, so please visit the HOP'S main page to follow along.  

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP'S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!


You are invited into D.L. Finn's life, written through a princess’s viewpoint. While it’s usually assumed in fairy tales that the princess is beloved by all, this is one princess who doesn't feel loved. She dreams of a moment when her father will walk through the castle door, sweep her up in his arms and proclaim how much he misses her. That never happens. Instead, she is introduced to a new step family. Just like in the fairy tales, this is where the story takes a dark twist; where addiction, abuse and adolescence thrive together in retched misery. From her lowest point as a hopeless fourteen-year-old girl who gives up all hope-- comes a spark of faith. This is where she begins her quest for a happy ending.

Although the princess ends her very real fairy tale, D.L. Finn steps in and shares her thoughts, poetry and photographs. This entire narrative is the author’s reality from childhood through adulthood. She maintains the privacy of those involved while hanging on to her truth. 

                              This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing