Fairies Myths & Magic Part 2 by Colleen Chesebro

Today I am delighted to have my dear Blog Sis, Colleen Chesebro over to tell us about her newest book, Fairies, Myths & Magic, part two!

Many thanks to you, Ritu, for the opportunity to share the news of my new
book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule.

I often write about spirituality and faith in my poetry. In Fairies, Myths, & Magic II, I concentrated on some of the more mystical aspects of faith.
It’s not unusual for me to use the symbolism of a tree to represent a connection between the different cosmic zones. There is always an upper, middle, and lower level the mystic travels to arrive at a mystical revelation.
In the story poem “A Prayer to the Rowan Tree,” I share the legend of the Rowan tree as it connects to Paganism. It’s interesting how these myths and legends endure. The Rowan tree is still recognized as protection against witchcraft and enchantment.
The physical characteristics of the tree contribute to its protective reputation. If you examine a berry from the tree, you will see a small five- pointed star or pentagram on the bottom of the fruit. The pentagram is an ancient protective symbol.

(Image by H. Hach from Pixabay)

Another attribute of protection was the colour of the berries—red! Ancient people believed the vibrant red protected them against magic!

I’ll share the poem portion of the story “A Prayer to the Rowan Tree” here:

sacred rowan tree—
life-giver to all women
motherhood, birth, blood,
the fragility of life,
represents to us
protection and survival
under your abundant boughs
fleeting white blossoms
five-pointed starred red berries
start anew each spring
frail trees of the bleak highlands,
grows next to heaven
protects the living from the dead
no evil can enter here…
© Colleen M. Chesebro

Thanks so much, Ritu. I enjoyed spending time with you.

How lovely, Colleen! I had a chance to read an ARC of the book, and I will share my review, below.

My Review:

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fairies, Myths & Magic book 2, as it brought a sprinkling of mysticism to the darkening nights.
Colleen Chesebro has woven her poetic verse and stories within recounts of various myths and legends, all things fae, and it won my heart!
The first story, about the changeling, was my favourite read. These things fascinate me, and if you are looking for something to add a little magic to your life, then you should really pick up a copy of this!

About the Book:

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world
where dark fairies, and other magical beings converge in a collection of
poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter
From Autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule,
prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the
world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of
Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime.
Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, The Irish Goddess of Winter—the
Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.
Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the
symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II Links:
Colleen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-

Amazon Universal Link: https://mybook.to/FairiesMythsMagicII

About the Author:

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry
after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves
crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.
In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes
participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and
poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft
Poetry.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge,
called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and
current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.
Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash
Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and
Carrot Ranch.
In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist
poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In
addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.
Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by
the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.
Find Colleen here:
Word Craft Poetry: https://wordcraftpoetry.com
Colleen M. Chesebro, Author, Poet & Unicorn Cats Publishing Services:

Facebook Page: Colleen M. Chesebro, Poet & Author:
LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/colleen-m-chesebro-6b856b237

The Necromancer’s Daughter by @Dwallacepeach #BlogTour #NewRelease

I am so excited to have a special guest today, my dear writer friend, Diana Peach!

She is sharing details about her newest release, The Necromancer’s Daughter, with us.

Stunning cover!

Thanks for having me over today, Ritu. I thought I’d share the story of Kwan-yin, a tale from Chinese mythology on which I loosely based The Necromancer’s Daughter. I think readers who give the book a try will see some similarities. Here goes:

Kwan-yin was the daughter of a Chinese king. She was educated and goodhearted toward all people, the rich as well as the poor and suffering. The king decided that she would marry, and when he died, she would inherit the throne, and her husband would rule the kingdom.

But Kwan-yin didn’t care for the splendour of court life and feared she’d be unhappy. She asked instead to spend her days in a convent where she could continue her life of study and ministry. Her father refused and on the eve of her wedding, Kwan-yin ran away to a convent.

Rather than greet her with kindness, the nuns made her a servant and treated her cruelly, wanting to break her spirit. She worked hard and tried to earn their love.

One day, she met a sacred dragon while she carried water down the road. She knew the dragon wouldn’t harm her, and she wasn’t afraid. Instead, the dragon admired her goodness, and in her honor, he gave a gift of a well to the convent. Despite the dragon’s gift, the nuns continued to treat her poorly.

In time, her father sent an army to retrieve her. They threatened to burn down the convent, and though the nuns cursed her for their troubles, Kwan-yin prayed to the almighty powers to save the convent and the sisters. The rain came and put out the fire.

Her father’s army took her to the capital, and he gave her one more chance to comply with his orders. If she didn’t obey, she would be put to death. Kwan-yin said that heaven itself had commanded her to devote her life to deeds of mercy.

That night Kwan-yin was executed. No sooner had she stepped into the dark country of death than it burst into bloom. Kwan-yin ascended to heaven for her goodness and became the immortal goddess of mercy.

Thanks so much for letting me share the story of Kwan-yin. In The Necromancer’s Daughter, readers will find a young woman who longs to be a healer, a king with other plans, a cruel religious order, flight from soldiers, and several dragons. For other parallels … well, I won’t spoil the fun. Happy Reading!


A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

And here’s my review!

The Necromancer’s Daughter by D. Wallace Peach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic book, filled with fantasy, dragons, kingdoms at war, healing magic, necromancy and love!
I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say that this isn’t my usual genre to read. However, as I got into the book, I could not put it down.
Barus is a crippled healer who finds himself in a situation where he is mistaken for his mother, who, along with healing, was able to practice the art of necromancy.
The king has demanded the necromancer’s presence to save his queen and unborn heir from certain death, but Barus’s mother is no longer alive.
He accompanies the guards to the castle and ends up with the dead baby princess in his possession. What follows is the story of Aster, the princess who was brought back to life by Barus, who she considers her father. As she learns the truth about her origins, it opens up a wormhole of hatred and misunderstandings that force the father and daughter to flee their home.
Aster’s journey through different lands to reach her uncle introduces her to new people who find a way into her life and heart. She gains fans and accumulates enemies as she uses her healing powers and, at a push, the art of necromancy.
An intricately woven tale of hope, faith and love.

Author bio:

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.



Amazon Global Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B92G7QZX/?tag=adnruk-21

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-necromancers-daughter-d-wallce-peach/1142003172

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-necromancer-s-daughter-1

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-necromancers-daughter/id6443278849

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1160370

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

Women Like Us by @MrsAmandaProwse #BlogTour #AudioBook @FMcMAssociates @AmazonPub

I am so thrilled and honoured to be host to the absolutely fabulous and indeed down-to-earth literary sister of mine, Amanda Prowse. And we kick off the Audio Book Tour here on But I Smile Anyway!

Amanda’s most recent release, Women Like Us, is not a work of fiction but a memoir, and I cannot stress enough how amazing a read (and listen it is)!

I think you should read the blurb first, before reading my review.


I guess the first question to ask is, what kind of woman am I? Well, you know those women who saunter into a room, immaculately coiffed and primped from head to toe?
If you look behind her, you’ll see me.

From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency—and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible—against the odds—to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success from a woman who’s done it all, and then some. 

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book and an audio version.

Amanda has narrated all her audiobooks, and to hear this whole book in her own words was just fantastic and added another layer of genuine feeling to the whole experience. Her voice is so soothing, and you feel she is talking to you personally.

And so to my review!

Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know when you read books, and you have that favourite author?
Then she goes and releases a memoir, and you just HAVE to read it because you are in awe of her?
That was me when I heard that Amanda Prowse was writing her story.
She has always come across as a true, down-to-earth, ‘real’ woman, who has had her fair share of struggles, including being an army wife, battling cancer, and how her family coped with the depression her son Josiah went through due to them both writing about it.
Yet, she has never been afraid to talk about these things.
I felt I already knew her.
But reading Women Like Us made me aware of how much I didn’t know.
We all have a backstory, and it is that which moulds us to be the people we become.
Amanda Prowse has opened up about her life in a way that I feel will relate to many women.
Without wanting to give too much away, because I would urge anyone reading this to read the book themselves, Amanda’s life has had huge amounts of love poured into it by her wonderful family and husband.
However, there have been events and situations that have tested her and almost broken her at times.
An undiagnosed medical condition, loss, abuse, miscarriages, and that overwhelming feeling of never being good enough or thin enough.
I read each chapter, and yes, there were times I smiled and laughed out loud. I’m as clumsy as Mrs Prowse and could relate to many things she wrote.
My eyes moistened at other times, reading about some of the things Amanda had gone through.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I realised that some situations hit much closer to home than others. I’ve been there before, too, and maybe, I’m there right now.
And Amanda has come out of the other side, not necessarily unscathed, but a brighter, happier, more positive woman for it.
It takes a brave person to open up the way Amanda has, and I truly applaud her. I would be giving her the hugest of hugs right now if she was in front of me.
Amanda, thank goodness you managed to overcome the words of that English teacher because where would I be without my Prowse books?

This woman, honestly, I love her to bits!

About the Author

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty-six novels,
non-fiction titles and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart-topping No.1 titles What Have I Done?, Perfect Daughter, My Husband’s Wife, The Girl in the Corner and The Things I Know have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations, including
LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, A Mother’s Story won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award while Perfect Daughter was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

My Perfect Ex by @Lizzie_Chantree #NewRelease

Oh, I do love to be able to support my fellow friends and authors when they have a new book coming out and today is no different!

The lovely Lizzie Chantree has a new book out on Monday and it sounds like a cracker! (oh, and if you preorder, you should get it for the promotional price of 99p!)

Join bestseller Lizzie Chantree for a wonderfully romantic, feel-good summer read.

Poppy Marlowe, a mental health advocate, moves into Cherry Blossom Lane to escape her past and build a future with her gorgeous, but troublesome, boyfriend, Dylan.

Dylan lives in the house across the street. But his reputation as a heartbreaker is legendary and Poppy reluctantly decides that she must walk away to protect her heart.

Poppy’s friends think she is perfect for go-getter Jared, who’s ready to step into Dylan’s shoes and whisk her into his glamorous world.

Taking a chance on happiness is harder than Poppy imagined. Can she let go of her past and allow herself to fall in love with the same man again, or should she step into the limelight and walk towards a life with someone new?

Will love find a way to bring them back together, or are they destined to go their separate ways?

Universal book buy link: My Perfect Ex: viewbook.at/MyPerfectEx

I hope you’ve preordered yours! I’ve already clicked and ordered!

The Blunder by @muttlon #BlogTour @fmcmassociates

Today I am hosting a translated fiction release by Mutt-Lon, The Blunder.

The Blurb

From a bold voice in African fiction comes a satirical and unputdownable reimagining of an overlooked episode in Cameroon’s colonial past.

Cameroon, 1929. As colonial powers fight for influence in Africa, French military surgeon Eugène Jamot is dispatched to Cameroon to lead the fight against sleeping sickness there. But despite his humanitarian intentions, the worst comes to pass: seven hundred local villagers are left blind as a result of medical malpractice by a doctor under Jamot’s watch.

Damienne Bourdin, a young white woman, ventures to Cameroon to assist in the treatment effort. Reeling from the loss of her child, she’s desperate to redeem herself and save her reputation. But the tides of rebellion are churning in Cameroon, and soon after Damienne’s arrival, she is enlisted in a wild plot to staunch the damage caused by the blunder and forestall tribal warfare. Together with Ndongo, a Pygmy guide, she must cross the country on foot in search of Edoa, a Cameroonian princess and nurse who has gone missing since the medical blunder was discovered.

As Damienne races through the Cameroonian forest on a farcical adventure that unsettles her sense of France’s “civilizing mission,” she begins to question her initial sense of who needed saving and who would save the day.

You are lucky enough to read an extract from The Blunder here, today!

Damienne Bourdin’s first priority, as she emerged from the airport, was to track down the Pygmy guide who’d saved her life in 1929. She hadn’t set foot in Cameroon for thirty-two years, and wondered if it might be a waste of time to look for him. Most of the protagonists of “the blunder” were no longer living, and the guide might have died too, like Dr. Jamot and native chief Atangana. It was important she find out, because if that strange fellow was still alive, Damienne wouldn’t dare return to the scene of the revolt without him.
The France-Soir she was leafing through mentioned a monument in honor of Dr. Jamot in front of the Ministry of Public Health and also the facilities he’d left behind in 1931, now a hospital bearing his name. In the taxi on the way to the hospital, she kept her nose glued to the window. How Yaoundé had changed! There was asphalt in the city center, electricity, a big traffic circle, and people weren’t wandering around in loincloths. Some blocks of houses still had mud walls, but only a few were thatched or had roofs covered in straw or woven raffia mats. Buildings were going up, Peugeots and Renaults racing around them every which way, like ants. Drivers shouted through open windows as they passed each other on either side, but Damienne didn’t mind the chaos, she was just relieved she wouldn’t have to walk the whole way to Bafia this time.
The area around the hospital was completely transformed, not one landmark from her time there survived. Still, Damienne recognized the hospital itself right away. She noticed as she approached that no additions had been made; at most, they’d slapped a coat of lime on a few walls.
Inside, she found that Dr. Jamot’s apartment had become the radiology department, and the room where she’d spent the night was now a pulmonologist’s office. Since sleeping sickness had been largely eradicated, the Jamot Hospital focused on psychiatry and fighting tuberculosis—there were sickly people with emaciated faces everywhere. Damienne offered a prayer that this new prevention campaign, unlike the last, would be blunder free, and that no other French doctor would experience what she’d lived through under Dr. Jamot.
The director of the hospital was reading a newspaper, its front page dedicated to President Kennedy, assassinated six days earlier. He greeted Damienne with the particular courtesy reserved for those who regularly appear in the press. He was honored to meet her, he’d read almost all of her books, and particularly loved the last one, about the Jamot Mission, for which she’d won numerous prizes. Since the book was about to be made into a film, he offered to put the hospital facilities at the disposal of the film crew. Damienne was obliged to answer all his admiring questions, and even accept an invitation for dinner with him and his wife, before she could raise the subject she had come to discuss. Was the Pygmy still alive? After what felt like an eternity, the director gathered all the hospital personnel together, and they found an old nurse who said he’d met Ndongo, the Pygmy in question. T
he nurse had last seen him toward the end of the 1930s, before Ndongo went home to Bipindi.
So Damienne went to Bipindi to look for him. Bipindi was in a part of the bush that hadn’t changed for thousands of years, and Damienne thought to herself that in some ways, the town seemed more backward than the remote villages she’d gone through back in 1929. Here, everyone was a hunter, even the women, and no one needed to go far from their home to hunt game. One inquiry and two false leads later, the Pygmy was found. Ndongo was alive. When at last she saw him, Damienne
hugged and kissed him without hesitation, and burst into tears before his whole surprised clan. Ndongo hadn’t changed much, still wiry and stunted, but now an old man. Like Damienne’s, the skin on his hands was paper thin. He lived with his wife and children in mungulus, huts made of branches and green leaves, which she’d once seen him build in just a few minutes, on that unforgettable day when they were lost in the forest . . .
What struck her most was his attire: Ndongo still wore a loincloth fashioned from an animal hide. He was bare chested and had the same amulets tied around his waist and biceps as he’d worn on the day they’d said farewell. She couldn’t believe it! In his small, lively eyes, Damienne saw a flash of that primitive man she remembered so well. There was one remarkable change: Ndongo spoke French. She was almost chagrined that she no longer needed to act things out for him.
He agreed to go with her to Bafia.

My Review

An interesting book based on a historical event, but with a fictional twist.
Mutt-Lon has taken the little-known pandemic of Sleeping Sickness that swept Cameroon in the early 2oth century and its subsequent mishandling by a white doctor and added his own flavour.
We follow the story through the eyes of another white doctor, female, Damienne Bourdin, who is sent to help ease tensions in the villages where it has become apparent that the incorrect treatment by one particular doctor has resulted in many natives getting better from the pandemic, but ending up blind.
Reading fiction that has been translated is always hard, as the passion that comes through the native tongue of a writer is tough to replicate in other languages, however, the translator has done a pretty good job of giving a true feel for the story and the characters.
There is a little jumping around within the story, in terms of the present and the past, and sometimes points of view are a little erratic, but, once I got into the story, I really wanted to know what happened at the end, and whether everything was resolved!

Mutt-Lon is the literary pseudonym of author Nsegbe Daniel Alain. His first novel Ceux qui sortent dans la nuit (Those Who Come Out At Night, 2013), brought him critical claim when it received the prestigious Ahmadou Kourouma Prize in 2014. Les 700 aveugles de Bafia (2020), published in English as The Blunder, is his third novel and the first to be translated into English. He lives in Douala – Cameroon’s most international and cosmopolitan city – and speaks English fluently

Amy B. Reid is an award-winning translator who has worked with authors from Cameroon, Côts d’Ivoire, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti.

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