The Tap-Dancing Pigeon of Covent Garden

From Amazon: Have you ever seen a pigeon tap-dance? Or heard of a pigeon that loves opera? THE TAP-DANCING PIGEON OF COVENT GARDEN is a charming story that will touch your heart and make you laugh. It’s all about Pigeon, who leaves the family nest and travels to London to find his passion in life and a place he can truly call home . . .

My Review: I loved this beautifully illustrated book for children. The story is unique and children learn that when the time is right, they can leave home with parents and find their own place in life. Children learn through a pigeon how to be watchful, carefull, and how to make new friends in a new area. Five stars.

Raid of the Wolves

Book Title: Raid of the Wolves

Series: (Ormstunga Saga, Book 2)

Author: Donovan Cook

Publication Date: 15th November 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 362 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @DonovanCook20 @maryanneyarde

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Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

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Book Title and Author Name

Raid of the Wolves

(Ormstunga Saga, Book 2)

By Donovan Cook


The only thing that kept him going were the voices of his ancestors, screaming for blood…

Ulf and his shield brothers are sent on a raid against an old enemy — Francia, a mighty kingdom to the south, now ravaged by civil war. During the perilous sea voyage, Ulf can only focus on one thing. He demands closure: to find the man who slaughtered his family — Griml.

A hidden enemy stalks Ulf and his warriors through Francia, striking mercilessly when they least expect it. Soon the hunters become the hunted. The Norse warriors must make the ultimate choice between defying the king or angering the gods. Both could end in fury.

But there is another threat lurking in the shadows. One that Ulf could never anticipate.

Ulf is not the only one who wants vengeance.

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Even as a young child, Donovan loved reading stories about Vikings and other medieval warriors fighting to defend their homeland or raiding in distant lands. He would often be found running around outside with nothing other than a wooden sword and his imagination.

Now older, he spends his time writing about them. His novels come from his fascination with the Viking world and Norse Mythology and he hopes that you will enjoy exploring this world as much as he did writing about it.

Born in South Africa but raised in England, Donovan currently lives in Moscow, Russia with his wife and their French Bulldog, where he works as an English tutor. When he is not teaching or writing, he can be found reading, watching rugby, or working on DIY projects. Being born in South Africa, he is a massive Springboks fan and never misses a match.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2022. 3 Comments

Guest Feature – Mary Schmidt

Patricia M Osborne

I’m delighted to feature Mary Schmidt on Patricia’s Pen. Mary has come along to chat about her co-authored children’s book Davy’s Dragon Castle. Without further ado, it’s over to Mary.

Davy’s Dragon Castle

Mary Schmidt

In my new book, Davy’s Dragon Castle, children learn to get along with others no matter the colour of their fur or skin. It’s important for children to learn the concept of, and how not to be racist, and toddlers are a great age to start the teaching. Anti-racism education in elementary school starts with students’ awareness of themselves, of others and of how those interactions play out. All social and emotional learning helps children to express feelings and be tuned in to the needs of others. This teaching contributes to the development of all children.

Additionally, children are introduced to a character that wears a prosthetic leg, giving children a chance…

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Dragon Gift: Ten Short Stories

From Amazon: ‘This book is a treasure. Ten pots of gold.’ July 2021. ‘Lille herself avoided mirrors. They startled her with their frankness: her white froth skin, her too green eyes, sea thrift lips, and hair which shifted and tumbled like the yellow dunes.’ Runner up in Graffiti Magazine 25th anniversary short story competition 2020. ‘Provisioned with nectar of orange cordial, and slices of the softest bread filled with white and gold fragments of egg and carried in elf-made baskets of satiny tupperware, hunger could not call us away for hours at a time.’ Winner of the Ottery St Mary adult section writing competition 2020. Cheryl Burman is an award winning writer of short stories, flash fiction and novels. Here she has gathered a collection with fairytale, myth or fairytale-like themes of varying length and gravity. A short read.

My Review: Great short stories with a nice mix of folklore and fairy-tale life and more. Interesting mix of characters and takeoffs from other books. Any paranormal or folklore will love this book.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

From Amazon: Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic. The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.

My Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower ~ too bad this wasn’t available for me to read as a freshman in high school. My life would have been more enriched as some choices I made would’ve been different, activities I chose not to participate in would’ve happened, being involved would have been good for me, etcetera would’ve changed my whole world.

A Thing With Feathers #Prose #Poet

Please welcome Joe Nordstrom to my blog. Good morning, Joe, please take a seat while I grab our coffees.

1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

I am J. John Nordstrom (“Joe”) aka Joseph John Jablonski, Jr., born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and raised in the small suburb town of Millbury, by mother Sandra and my late father Joe Sr.  I am a poet, novelist, lawyer, sociologist, and political scientist.  My poetry and fiction nom de plume, J. John Nordstrom, was taken in honor of my great-grandmother Gerda E. Nordstrom and my grandmother, Elna E. (Nordstrom) Anderson, as well as my mother Sandra Lenore (Anderson) Jablonski, who have all, in their own ways, majorly encouraged my literary endeavors.  My great grandmother gave me a now-treasured copy of Aesop’s Fables for a seventh birthday. The fable of the tortoise and the hare was her favorite, as it is mine.  

My poetry stresses intuition over reason and is heavily influenced by the Romantic tradition of poetry in both America and Britain.  It explores natural, emotional, personal and artistic themes, for example, lost love, the mystery of soulmate love, death, beauty, wisdom, the human being’s relationship to nature, the mystery of the Muse, and life’s existential mystery. 

My debut novel, A Thing With Feathers, should be considered as fictional autobiography.  The novel draws from academic, literary, professional, and personal experiences over my lifetime, in Worcester, Millbury, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati OH, Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Richmond, Williamsburg, Charlottesville. and Roanoke VA, Baltimore MD, and Claremont CA.  I have remained a bachelor and have several other novels in the works.  

2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

Yes. Ever since I started writing in the 1st grade. It was when I was 13 that I began to compose my own poetry after I read T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Poe’s “Annabel Lee” and Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers.” I twice won 1st prize for poetry in the ICON Literary Contest at my high school, St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, MA, my sophomore and senior years. I knew it was time to write my first novel after having a compelling experience with a woman named Jill, for whom the novel is dedicated. She is a literary type and she reminded me of Emily Dickinson. Jill used to call me “her rare booksman” and told me that the poetry I wrote for her reminded her of Poe’s poetry. Jill also told me she adored “prose that read like poetry” and so that is precisely what I tried to give her in A Thing With Feathers.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

The novel went through several drafts over the last several years. It was first conceived in 2006 and the actual hard writing of the novel began in 2014 four years after I arrived in Claremont CA in Sept 2010. It was really a labor of love–I spent considerable time improving the story itself and getting the lyrical prose and poetry right. I wanted the product to be “prose that read like poetry,” and I feel that I succeeded to some extent in doing that. Jill was always on my mind when I wrote the novel. Sometimes I would awake at 3am and sense that she Jill wanted me to write this poem or this passage that ended up being in the novel. I filled several black marble notebooks with poetry and prose with 3 am inspirations. I felt I was connected to Jill on some kind of soulmate wavelength and that novel and its poetry are a product of the soulmate energy that Jill created in my own literary heart.

4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

No, I never wanted to give up, but I had often wondered when I was really going to be satisfied enough to hand it over to a publisher. I was writing the novel for “Jill,” to show her how much I loved her and how much influence she had had on my life for the better, and so I cannot say I wanted ever to give up or stop. Jill is my muse. Her identity needs to be kept a secret for now.

5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

My mother has been among the most supportive of my efforts as she herself wanted to be a novelist as a young woman. My mother enrolled in the Famous Writers Course in the 1960s and I still have her books in the attic at home in Millbury. She was enamored of Hemingway, Hardy and Updike, and I was enthralled with Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, D.H. Lawrence, and T.S. Eliot. My mother and I used to challenge each other to remember the author and exact title of a famous novel. She used to buy me Cliff Notes and Monarch Notes for novels I was reading—all of which I still have in my library at home. She always took me to the Worcester Public Library where I used to take out 1-20 books at a time and audiocassettes too.

Jill, the woman to whom the novel is dedicated, had been very supportive of my writing ambition. She believed I had the talent to be a novelist. She told me, “I love prose that reads like poetry.” Jill told me that Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is an example of beautiful lyrical prose.

Aria Ligi,, a great poet who writes in the Romantic tradition, has been and remains a huge support for my prose and my poetry. She has been involved in editing both my prose and my poetry and always believed that my work should receive the highest literary recognition. She pushed me to write my very best.

My friend and fellow novelist Mary Carr Jackson, author of Two Sisters Torn (2012) has been and is very supportive of my writing, both my prose and my poetry.

My editors Daniel Burgess, Rob Bignell, and Gay Walley were all hugely supportive of my work. Joseph Sale, my British editor, @josephwordsmith has been especially supportive of my work.

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

The novel is borne out of my love for Jill who is also a fellow writer but, like Emily Dickinson was during her lifetime, she’s not yet ready to share her work with the world. If I hadn’t met Jill, I could not have written this novel. She reminds me of Emily Dickinson and she gave me the initial inspiration for A Thing With Feathers.

The novel also owes a great deal to a number of Poe’s short stories, including The Assignation, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Oval Portrait. It is difficult to assess precisely how many references, hidden, implicit and explicit there are in the novel to Poe, and to Dickinson for that matter.

Fellow poet Andrew Benson Brown, author of Legends of Liberty Volume One, who recently reviewed my novel, noted that “Poe is everywhere” in Nordstrom’s novel A Thing With Feathers. See

Pulitzer Prize winning poet, the late Sylvia Plath, exerts a profound influence on me both as a novelist and as a poet. Her novel The Bell Jar and her poetry generally have greatly inspired me, “Parliament Hill Fields” and “Ariel.”

7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

Follow your instinct, write your heart out, do not obstruct your deeper self, in all its ugliness and in all its beauty, and then figure out later what your subconscious was trying to tell you. Talcott Notch Literary Agent, Paula Munier, has been a mentor and fan of mine; she advised me that I had to write a crackerjack 1st chapter or you will lose the read from the get-go. Munier thought initially that I was a “new John Irving,” thinking of his novels The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules. Mike Neff, from Algonkian Conferences and Author Connect, compared my work in A Thing With Feathers to Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (Pulitzer Prize 1999) and to A.S. Byatt’s Possession (1990 Booker Prize).

8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience? My target audience is the world of the literate.

I think the women of the US will absolutely love this novel because it revives the tradition of soulmate love which was so written about in the 19th century during the heyday of the Romantic tradition in the US. Poe’s poetry captures the tender sentiments man and women felt for each other in the 19rth century and the novel is an attempt to re-introduce this kind of love in the 21st century that surely and sorely needs it.

9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

Yes, most certainly, I was working with the poet Aria Ligi, and Joe Sale and Ross Jeffery, my British editors, and we all came up with various ideas, Aria wanted a more classically romantic cover design, but I wanted to depict Poe as a raven and Emily as a wren/sparrow as she self-described herself and it was Joe Sale who finally found what we were all looking for. The cover also captured Amherst MA in the winter with the wreath, the forest and the snow motif. See the wraparound cover.

10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I am working on a sequel novel to A Thing With Feathers with more of Jonah’s poetry for Julia and Julia’s poetry for Jonah. It is looking more like a trilogy now. Here is a draft of a poem I am thinking about using in the sequel. Jonah writes another poem for Julia:

Immortal Love 

Jonah Q. Cincinnatuski, Jr.

When my soul first entered yours, 

My heart tentatively followed, 

Still afraid once again to be crushed to powder, 

But I overcame that fear and gladly so.  

We assuaged each other’s anxieties  

Until the storm in each of us lost its rage. 

I fell in love with thee, tempestuous insanity thou art. 

When you told me you loved “prose that reads like poetry,” 

 I heard thee speak my own language. 

You and I discovered soulmate love is real. 

Afraid of the dark were you like I was, 

As I would tremble in the night like an earthquake, 

Until your hand lifted to brush gently my brow.  

When dawn’s rays tiptoed under the curtain 

Like a ballet dancer goes excruciatingly low to the floor, 

Happy as birds in a nest were we for a moment, 

But thence waves of sorrow did crest and break upon us– 

To know death would knock one day, 

And we thus felt like dying together, 

That is, 

In the exact same instant, 

That we would enter the vale simultaneously, 

And that neither would ever have to suffer 

The loss of the other– 

That would be our heaven– 

Together forever. 

And then we walked along the shore 

Of a sea filled with our own tears of joy 

As children do in love with a life 

That no thought of death could ever trespass upon. 

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

I think writing and publishing a novel was the most satisfying project I have ever been involved with. I had written a ton as an appellate lawyer, countless briefs and a few law review articles, but nothing as so much fun as writing fiction which is quintessentially literary. I really enjoyed narrating, from the POV of 3rd person omniscient, the romance between two characters, Jonah (Poe-like) and Julia (Dickinson-like).

“A Thing With Feathers” takes me back to those novels reviewers used to categorize as “sweeping.” Why is that? Because every scene is written so deftly, so vividly, that I felt like I was quite literally standing by the side of the character at the time and living these moments with them. To say this is unforgettable would be an understatement. A litany of emotions are written to the nth degree; heartbreak, longing, hatred, tragedy – you name it, it’s in here. This is a dark, intelligent, suspenseful “game” and, because of the number of genres that are included (mystery/romance/drama), it appeals to a ton of readers.

Winter’s Malice #murder

From Amazon: Three bodies in the span of twenty-four hours… In Weeping Rock, South Dakota—a small town crippled by racism, drugs, and violence—Sheriff’s Deputy Liam Matthews has his work cut out for him when he steps in to take over the duties of sheriff from his father, who for far too long has turned a blind eye to certain crimes for what he says is the overall good of the town. Coming under scrutiny for hiring a Lakota to fill his position as deputy, things quickly go from bad to worse for Liam when the body of retired pro-baseball player Hector Ramirez, who had recently returned home to coach ball at his high school alma mater, is found floating in Crow’s Foot Lake. Hector’s bludgeoned corpse is no sooner on its way to the M.E.’s office in Rapid City, however, when the partially clothed body of a young girl is discovered in a clearing in the snow. With two seemingly unrelated murders, Liam is judged at every turn of his investigation by the local population, Hector’s reality TV star wife Kiki Grey, and his own father. Upon uncovering a tangled web of desperation, lies, and greed, the mounting pressure inside Liam to do the right thing becomes jaded when the skeletal remains of a third victim is found in a submerged car, bringing to the forefront…  

My review: This well written story tears at your heart in many ways. Some blood, not much, not a gore story. It is a truly great book with stories that entwine and when you think you have the perpetrator figured out, think again. I do think is the best story I’ve read in this genre. Five stars.

A Creation of Tomorrow

Please welcome D. L. Fletcher to my blog. Welcome. Shall we have a cup of coffee and a chat?

1.  Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

My name is D. L. Fletcher. I am an indie author with two published works – A Creation of Tomorrow and The Dying Butterfly. I am 47 years old living in Ontario. I am a full-time project admin, mother of two, and grandmother of four married to a very supportive man who writes in her spare time.

2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book? (If you are here as an invite to promo your small business, then please write your own questions and provide relevant photos and links, thank you.)

Yes, writing has always been a part of my life. I have had an infatuation with pens and paper my whole life. At least as far back as I can remember. I had so many notebooks and pens. I still have so many notebooks and pens. When I was a young girl I would write poetry and short stories. It was when my nest emptied that I decided it was time. I had stories that needed to be told and the time to now tell them, and so my writing journey began.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

I didn’t find it difficult to write my first book. The challenge was the confidence to put myself out there. I wrote my first book followed immediately by my second. I simply published them putting them out to the world to maybe stumble upon them. A few people did, and I received good reviews, yet I couldn’t promote myself. I thought “What if it was just dumb luck that these people liked them? What if everyone else hates them?” I eventually was brave enough to let friends know that I wrote, and it was their encouragement that pushed me to finally put myself out there. I now have a webpage and a blog.

4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

Yes, I have wanted to give up. I think writing would always be a part of me, but I was close to tossing in the towel with publishing and debated maybe just keeping my stories mine. A reader wants to meet new people, visit another world. They want to experience something beautiful, dramatic, and emotional. If I can’t give them that then why am I doing it? When a reader reaches out to me telling me they loved my book it solidifies that I am bringing them what they were seeking when they picked up my book. I am sparked with every positive review, by every reader that reaches out to me asking me when the next book is coming. It is my readers that keep me from giving up.

5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

My mother is the most supportive. She has read both my books many many times. She provides me feedback, I make the changes, and she reads it from beginning to end again. She has bought my books in every format. She is the best kind of crazy when it comes to my writing. She shares every post I make on Facebook, and every blog I write. What makes her amazing is I know she wouldn’t allow me to embarrass myself, so if she didn’t think I was good she would tell me. Next up would be my husband. He has listened to me go on and on about my writing, and all that I have learned about building my webpage, promoting, and more. I know he understands little of what I say but he still listens. He has read my work and listened to them when they came out on audio. If I need something for my writing or promoting he makes sure I have it.

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I know I have a lot to learn. I know this because I am learning every day, but I want to thank my readers for taking a chance on me. Your words of encouragement, your positive reviews, your taking to the time to connect with me have been all the encouragement I need. I hope to continue to provide you with more worlds for you to escape into. 

7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

The best advice I have been given was at 16 by my mother ‘Start your RRSP now” If I had taken that advice then and continued with it, I would be retired now and writing full-time. I did not, and so I am still working when I would love nothing more than to be writing all day, every day.

The other was to choose a career where waking up to go to work wasn’t going to feel like work. I wish I had taken that advice years ago. Maybe I would have a lot more books out there and would be spending my days writing.

I can go on and on with great advice given to me but I took none of it. I was young, life seemed long, and choices seemed endless. One thing I did learn, and only while writing is this:

The future ahead is paved by actions and choices made today. Hindsight is 20/20. Make wise choices today and you will be able to predict your future rather than look back into the past and see where you went wrong.

8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

I honestly am not sure I can answer this question. I don’t have a target audience. I mean, I guess I target adults, but man, woman, age group, genre… I don’t really have one. I simply write what comes to me. One book – The Dying Butterfly – is post-apocalyptic/romance and all about hope. It can be read by almost anyone. I think 16yrs and older, and has been read by people from 16 to 65. My readers are both genders. My other book – A Creation of Tomorrow – has had a few men reading it, but mainly women. It doesn’t really fall into a genre. I stuck it in crime/ thriller as it is the best fit, but it still doesn’t belong there. I should probably have a target audience, but I don’t. I just write. Maybe in time, after a number of books have been published I will find I have a target audience or understand mine better, but at this time I don’t have one or understand mine if I do.

9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

I created my covers as I wrote, meaning they kept evolving. I like to have a cover from the beginning, but as I got to know my characters and the feel of the story I would change my cover until eventually, I had one that I felt provided the best feel.

10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

Currently, I am working on completing the sequel to my book – A Creation of Tomorrow, titled – A Creation of Yesterday. Following that I will be working on two books, the sequel to – The Dying Butterfly, titled- Flight of The Butterfly, and another I have not decided on the title. I am leaning toward – The Guardian of Dreams – or -Where our Souls go to Play.

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

Yes, more than anything I want to thank all of those that have taken a chance in reading my books or listening to my audiobooks. I want to thank all of my readers that have taken the time to connect with me either by leaving me such great reviews or by messaging me personally. I am so very grateful for all of you as you have helped provide me the courage to put myself out there. It has been a journey, on that that I am proud of, but I wouldn’t be on it if it wasn’t for all the support and encouragement from you.  I know I am not perfect at what I do, but I am learning more and more every day.

 I also want to thank those that will give me a look and maybe take a chance on me in the future. I hope my writing can provide you with the escape you are looking for when you pick up a book.

 Lastly, I would love for you to visit my website at and subscribe to my newsletter. I promise I will not spam you.




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