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Make the Best of Your Life Now

Bella Lynn Thompson
Bella Lynn Thompson Author Interview

Sudden Widow shares your emotional true story of losing someone deeply connected to you and your journey through grief. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wrote the book for many reasons. My own process and hoping to help other widows/widowers feel understood. I wanted to write something raw and authentic. A book that did not say ‘your life is definitely going to be great again.’ I wrote a book that says, ‘your life is tremendously different than the life you thought you would have and yes, it may be less colorful, but you still have to attempt to make the best of your life now.’

What is a common misconception you feel people have about loss and grief?

The most common misperception is that grief ends after a loved one passes away. Grief changes over time and you learn to manage it differently, but it does not end.

I appreciated all the great advice and experiences you share in this book? What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope anyone that lost a spouse or partner feels understood, validated, and a bit of solace from reading the book. I hope people close to a widow or widower gain a better understanding of what their surviving loved ones may experience.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you lost your spouse?

Don’t expect people to understand what you’re going through, just hold on to your process and try everyday.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Sudden Widow, A True Story of Love, Grief, Recovery, and How Badly It CAN Suck! is a book for widows/widowers and anyone trying to make sense of an unbearable loss. Bella Lynn Thompson offers commiseration for widows in a world where many don’t comprehend the all-consuming grief and magnitude of change after losing a spouse. Reading this authentic, personal book, readers feel seen, heard, and supported. The inspiration of powering through an inexplicable life event is evident on every page. Perhaps most importantly, other widows will feel understood and less alone.

Dead Mom Disease

Dead Mom Disease by [Lucy Layne]

Dead Mom Disease, by Lucy Layne, is a memoir of a teenager who talks about a rather uncomfortable topic for most people – Death, especially the death of a mother. In this book, she narrates her experience witnessing her mother die, of living without a mother after her death, of how grief makes people uncomfortable so they offer you advice to be happy when you don’t want to be happy, and the never-ending process of grieving. She tells us about the gut-wrenching moment of losing a loved one and of life, all through her own thought-provoking words. It also talks about the all-encompassing maternal love and how the balance of life can never be restored after the death of a mother.

Lucy Layne writes honestly and unapologetically about a topic that makes people leave the table when it is brought up. The death of a loved one is a dark topic and people are afraid of the dark. It takes courage to introspect on one’s dark feelings and then write about them with openness and humility.

The author was very realistic in narrating a painful death experience. She moves through the book while capturing the lasting process of grief very aptly. She takes you through the various emotions of anger, denial, depression, deep sadness, and finally acceptance and how these emotions are a necessary part of experiencing the death of a loved one. The book provides a glimpse into a terrifying reality but also reassures you that even after such an abysmal moment in life, you will still survive.

Another critical aspect of the book is how important it is to let the bereaved grieve. Grief is unavoidable in such a circumstance and to take that moment of sadness away from the bereaved can be very damaging on both a mental and physical level. While society fixates on being happy, a person with a great loss must go through grief slowly to provide a channel for emotions to flow out. This is important to get back into the routine of life.

Lucy Layne’s narration feels personal, like you are not alone in this grief. This book makes you cry and laugh as well. It’s not a depressing tale, but rather an uplifting and insightful one. It gives you honest details of what the death of a loved one feels like and brings you solace through shared human experiences of tragedy, joy, tenderness, fear, and love.

Pages: 146 | ASIN: B07KVHMYDN

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Love & Homegrown Magic

Love & Homegrown Magic by [Patricia Bossano, Kelsey E. Gerard]

Patricia Bossano’s Love and Homegrown Magic is a coming of age novel that encompasses the life of Maggie, a woman caught between the folk magic she was raised with and the Catholic teachings instilled in her during her formative teenage years. The story is told in chronological order, beginning with Maggie’s rustic youth years in Ecuador, continuing with her journey into marriage and motherhood, and culminating with her golden years as a matriarch.

The character development is strong from the onset. Maggie is depicted as a determined and ambitious woman driven by her values. These characteristics make her a natural matriarch once she enters marriage and motherhood. Even when confronted with life-altering changes, she has a knack for making the best out of any circumstance. Her three daughters, Kelly, Lizzy, and Marie, have distinct personalities that are apparent from the time they are young girls. Their individuality is best reflected in the unique floral symbols that both define and connect all three women with their mother – and with the magic that serves as a fixture in the lives.

Bossano does an incredible job at using these floral symbols to depict the strong bond between Maggie and her daughters. This connection is both ethereal and dynamic, changing as each of the four women age and enter different stages in their lives. The floral symbols continue to remind them of not only their love for each other, but their ties to Mother Superior.

Alonzo’s role in the story – and Maggie’s reaction to the idea of him – is particularly interesting. He ultimately serves as a litmus test for her readiness to reconcile with the past. Her persistent decision to lock his letters away and ignore the thought of him is driven by her Catholicism-fueled devotion to her husband, Angelo. Only with Angelo’s passing and her daughters’ persistence that she let happiness in is Maggie able to come face-to-face with the man she left behind for so many years. It is at this crucial point that the story also comes full circle.

Overall, I enjoyed this read. A text does not need to be long to be impactful, magical or give readers a sense of completion. Love & Homegrown Magic is a page-turning tale that blends love, magic, family, womanhood, and purpose.

Pages: 322 | ASIN: B08HYDMDXV

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Brian’s Journey: A Mother’s Healing After the Death of Her Son – Trailer

An emotional memoir by a mother who shares the harrowing experience of losing her son to suicide. Brian was her first baby boy: from the very beginning, he was a quick learner who readily made friends. As a teenager and young adult, he grew into a talented artist and musician, who also had a facility for languages, loved food and travel. He lived life. In this emotional memoir, Brian’s mother tries to understand the sudden mental illness that took over Brian’s life and led to his suicide. She describes the failures of the systems that could have helped him. And she shares her efforts to heal—a difficult path that other grieving families know all too well.

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Close To My Heart

Virginia O'Malley
Virginia O’Malley Author Interview

Key to my Heart is a collection of love poems that I thought were thought-provoking and stirring. What serves as your inspiration when writing poetry?

I am inspired by places, events, people, and my poetry reflects the things I love or in my vision at that time. This collection was written as individual pieces and my most recent poetry. I will be revising this and making the book into a bigger collection with additional artwork.

I have an interest and inspired by world mythology, history, astrology, archaeology, photography, art, poetry, and music. I come up with a variation on my poetry from these influences. I have written over 200 poems and some are still unpublished because they do not fit into any category to put into a collection. I am working on publishing more books in the future.

What are some themes you find yourself often moving towards when writing?

I have a strong link towards mythology and the wonderful world of faery. I find the stories fascinating and feel inspired to write poetry after reading up on the subject. I have done a lot of research in the past on Irish mythology which is a subject close to my heart. I have been inspired to write a complete book on this subject with my favourite tales and original poetry to accompany the stories. I also like to create writing with a moral to the story which inspired by children’s book, “Princess Sweetness & Light”

My favorite poem from the collection was An Element Of The Horoscope. Do you have a favorite poem from this collection?

The Ghosts of Wuthering Heights is my favourite poem, based on the book by Emily Bronte published in 1847. The first time I read this book was on our school syllabus and I loved the story so much it has stayed with me all through the years.

Do you plan on publishing more books of poetry?

I am working on a new book of poetry, but this will not be ready until next year.

I spent all the lockdown writing and rearranging some works I had previously written and I have already independently published the following books which are available on Amazon worldwide:

Mythos Early Ireland (formally A Celtic Moment in Time) – based on my favourite Irish mythological stories with original art.

Princess Sweetness and Light – Illustrated children’s book with the moral of the story, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

The Faery Tree – Earth Queen of Faery – Illustrated children’s-young adult story with adventures to faery.

Eire West – Poetry based on the West of Ireland – Mayo and Galway (original homeland)

Lockdown 2020 – Short read collection containing thinking time poetry/verse with my own photography.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

This is a collection of poems about love in all forms and love related issues. Some are suitable for weddings and special occasions, and others deeper inside your soul. Some are inspired by authors like Emily Bronte with “Wuthering Heights” and Baroness Orczy with “The Scarlett Pimpernel.” Suitable for all types of poetry lovers whether it be everyday verse or more deep thinking. There is a poem here to suit everyone’s taste.

Silent Screams

Silent Screams by [Zachary Ryan]

Silent Screams by Zachary Ryan follows the lives of four high school friends forced to grow up due to a school shooting. Lane struggles with whether or not to come out to his friends while mourning the loss of his lover. Cass struggles to find someone to save her from her home life. Zachary deals with losing what she thinks makes her special. Ben finds his life of luxury torn away and struggles to figure out who he is without it. Being friends with the shooter, these four students battle with their own demons while attempting to cope with the guilt and responsibility they feel for their friend’s actions.

The raw emotion and authenticity of the characters is something that is outstanding in this book. I applaud Zachary Ryan for creating such imperfect characters that are so relatable. Each character deals with something different and grieves in a unique way. Each character, even background ones, go through so much character development and really grow up and learn how to trust and depend on each other. We get to see through each character’s eyes through point of view changes that happen each chapter. It’s refreshing in a way because you get to see into the heart of each of the four main characters and see their innermost secrets and insecurities. Silent Screams is a story about friendship, love, insecurities, trust, and the dangers of keeping secrets in for too long.

I enjoyed this book, but there were some times I had to reread a line because of a typo. There was also one background character who’s name was inconsistent, being Violet in some places and Valerie in others. However, this book is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Silent Screams was a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a couple of times. This is the sort of book you pick up and can’t set down until you finished it. I’m not sure that I would class this as a feel good story but it ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08BK4DPN5

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Brittany’s Rose: Finding Peace After Losing a Loved One

She was a bubbly and jovial little girl one day and sickly the next. Brittany’s condition deteriorated along with her family’s spirit. When a loved one passes away, they leave with a part of us. You are left with a big hole in your heart that you have no use for. How then do you get past the loss? How do you feel the sun on your face again? How do you accept the loss and learn to live with it rather than let it derail your life? How do you finally find some peace despite the ache in your heart?

Brittany’s Rose is the story of a little girl’s death and her family’s journey through grief. It tells the story of their struggles with mourning. Mary Jane Clayton gives a candid account of what she and her family went through for the benefit of the reader. You can never truly prepare for such a loss. But with a book like Brittany’s Rose then you can hope for a better day. You can hope for a day when the grief will be more of a background ache than an earth-shattering life stagnating condition.

This is a quick read meant to help you get past the fog. To hold your hand through this turmoil. Because, really, there is no way to avoid it. The only way to get through it is to go through it. The author creates a sense of kinship with the reader by being honest and open. This book is written with the utmost empathy and is all heart. It is evocative and sad but comforting at the same time. It works whether your loved one passed recently or a decade ago. It is personal and uplifting and written in simple language. It is almost casual but still in a tone that lets you take in the message therein.

The simplicity of this book, the tone, the emotion, the personification of it and the honesty and transparency all make this book a great companion. Sometimes you have to let the healing happen naturally rather than forcing it. It is a natural process. You will also learn the importance of faith in the process.

Brittany’s Rose is a personal story that is always important and useful to someone. The one telling the story requires bravery and courage to tell their story especially one of this caliber so kudos to the author for letting us in. May all who have suffered losses be divinely guided through their grief to a space of peace and acceptance.

Pages: 206 | ASIN: B0792Y4LFF

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Duplicity

Duplicity by [Maralyn Frances]

Duplicity by Maralyn Frances is a delightful mix of a novel that is a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, and a whole lot of fun. It is a charming amalgam, being both thoughtful as well as a little quirky and outrageous, in a good way. Frances succeeds in balancing serious topics such as guilt, physical and emotional abuse, and grief with the exciting and fast-paced romance of the main characters. My favorite part of Duplicity was its structure: I adored that the the first third of the novel is told from the perspective of protagonist Toby Wendell, the middle third recounts the same series of events but from another character’s perspective, and the concluding third brings the story together with a heartwarming and surprising close. While the turn of events of Duplicity may, at the surface level, appear almost impossible to readers stuck in reality, it is an engrossing read to escape the drudgery of everyday life and it will charm readers with its full-hearted plot.

Duplicity centers on Toby Wendell, the up-and-coming executive of his father’s agricultural equipment company located in rural Australia. With Toby, Frances has created a handsome, well-read, and thoughtful lead star who is delightfully tasty to read about. Toby has the piercing eyes and the chiseled body, as well as a university-educated and well-traveled intellect, making him a triple-threat to the unsuspecting women of his small hometown. But, one evening, Toby happens across a forlorn beautiful, young woman on the side of the road, and his world is unexpectedly turned upside down. With Toby and the mystery woman, Frances crafts a unique relationship that builds in heat over the pages, tantalizing readers with its colorful and tempting language. And, just when you’re getting settled in with Toby’s story, Duplicity takes you back to the beginning to show you the story from a very different set of eyes. Personally, I loved being able to see the same series of events from two characters’ perspectives, and I enjoyed imagining how fun Duplicity would be to watch as a movie due to this unique structure.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about Duplicity was how Frances kept the plotline varied and moving quickly. It could be possible that reading the same story twice, effectively, could become dull with other authors, but Frances does a truly impeccable job of hiding “Easter eggs” throughout the middle third of the novel for readers to rediscover after having already read them.

Overall, Duplicity is a thoroughly enjoyable and unique book to read. The plot will surprise and delight; the romance scenes will fill readers with romance and excitement; and the characters will begin to feel like real-life friends. With Duplicity, Frances creates a world for readers to escape to and soak up the feelings of overcoming grief, coming to terms with guilt, and falling in love anew.

Pages: 380 | ASIN: B081TN17CM

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