Monthly Archives: August 2016

Review: Paintings: A Collection Of Lyrical Tales by Kelley Lee McDonald


Paintings cover by Kelley McDonald

Paintings is a collection of poems and images I put together to portray a particular period of time. In my early thirties I became focused on two questions, “Who am I, and how do I want to proceed through life.”

This project reflects that early contemplation. Compiling this work was liberating yet also confusing because revelations and knowledge, mistakes and ignorance converged all at once. At times, it was difficult to discern which direction I was moving in, but I’ve come to know there is great treasure everywhere, from the terrible to the terrific.

It has taken me 55 years to fully understand I will never reach a quiet precipice while on this planet. I have learned through my own experiences how important it is to know myself so I can nurture and continue to shape that truth from within. I’m so grateful a train of thought was ushered in to provide a place for me to return to in order to remain faithful and fruitful during hard times, but by no means, has this information permitted me to rest.

Everyday, I must decide all over again to be kind, thoughtful, and tolerant of others while forgiving myself as I repeatedly fail at this very exercise.

In short, these writings are about my desire to be better and to reach higher for the balance between body, mind, and spirit.

Paintings consists of 38 poems with 38 accompanying images. Each writing has a reflection of its own. Some relate to moments of great joy, yet others reveal a forlorn sadness while searching for the right path ahead. A few of the poems simply express the beauty of nature that surrounds us.

These are some of my life’s paintings, I hope you enjoy them.

My Rating:  4 Stars!

This is a heartfelt book of poetry written about the meaning of life and insights it presents to us in the concept of life lessons.  The author did a wonderful job speaking of the things she has pondered upon during her journey here thus far.

If you are looking for a book that will inspire and uplift, this is a great one to invest in!  It would make an excellent gift for a friend or loved one.  A perfect addition to a morning cup of coffee or tea!

It paints a beautiful picture in words and art just as the title suggests!

Where you can find Paintings:  A Collection Of Lyrical Tales:

Also available at Apple iBooks

Interview with Kelley:

1. Please tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.
“Paintings” is a collection of poems I wrote many years ago. In 2012 I decided to put images alongside these short tales in order to produce a book. The poems cover a wide range of experiences that include success, failure, wonder and despair.
In my 30s I began to experience for the first time, prolonged moments of genuine happiness. It was through that first glimmer of light a profound sense of joy began to make a permanent home within me. So I would have to say, because of my own experience with inspiration, I was compelled to write about my life lessons.
I have come to respect how very different we all are, and it’s because of our unique backgrounds, experiences and individual decisions that we journey through life beside each other, yet separately. However, it’s through our emotions that we connect deeply with one another to diminish the space between us. It’s within that shared place I want to contribute something.
2. What do you hope to accomplish as an author?
I’d like to be helpful through my words.
3. What would you like your readers to know about you?
I used to think I wanted to be identified as a good writer and receive a pat on the back for my skill in bringing an idea forward.
Yet because I’ve chosen to write about emotional subjects, I now know the real value comes from allowing others to privately recognize something universal about themselves which leaves me, the writer behind.
It is here I would say the struggle, has at times, been strongest because it’s taken much contemplation to understand a feeling of pride won’t sustain me. Within the process of creating and sharing, I continue to be shown if I successfully leave my ego out of the work then I’m fed with joy, and a sense of connection fills my spirit.
4. Do you have any works in progress? What are they?
Yes. I have many files of writings that I intend to format into future collections. These more recent “papers” as I like to call them, have taken a departure from the poetry genre to assume a more direct voice.
As with the poems in Paintings, these works are central to an experience, decision, or train of thought connected to my emotional base.
I’m also working on my autobiography. I have been lucky enough to live an unusually diversified life, and I believe there is good treasure to be shared by way of the many peaks and valleys I’ve come through.
5. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
I want to fulfill my purpose in life. I believe that my writing figures into this concept very strongly, but it’s not enough to simply write about subjects that range from sadness and pain to forgiveness, kindness and tolerance. I have to blend with a higher standard through my daily practices.
If I can tip my inner proclivities in favor of words of light and minimize the hold that anger, fear and confusion have over me, then I’ve done well.
6. Do you have any other creative outlets? If so, what are they?
Yes, I have many! I enjoy rendering digital art, photography, home design and making jewelry boxes.
I particularly enjoy the simple aspects of taking care of the home I share with my partner, Ben. I find much pleasure in adding a special touch to our private world, whether it’s by applying a faux finish to the living room walls or simply cleaning the kitchen. I try to be mindful with every task I take on because that’s where the joy is.
<input type=”hidden” name=”IL_IN_ARTICLE”>

Crying For A Savior

The pain you caused
Has left permanent scars
Like armies of demons
In my brain.

I am stilled by agony
In unguarded moments
Like razor blade cuts
Across my heart.

It’s been years
But somehow
Your deathly grip
Still holds me fast;

I crawl
Like a wounded animal
Through the dust and debris
Of the past

Crying for a Savior.

How is it
That after thirty seven years
You still reach me
From the coldness of your grave?

Groping and grasping,
Ripping my flesh off in layers,
Stabbing your evil
Through my heart and soul?

Will I ever be free
To live as I dream of living
Or will I forever be
Your prisoner of anguish and shame?

I deserve to be happy
I dream of it every day
But somehow your memory
Always succeeds

At burying me with you in a Hell you so adeptly created for both of us.


In Order To Be Successful You Have To Be Reliable

So many times we dream about things we could do or be, only to give in too easily to despair and hardships on our journey. If we really want to succeed, we need to remain reliable to our dreams and ourselves through the good times and bad. Setbacks happen to everyone making success seem like smoke on the horizon…something we think we see but we’re unsure of how to go about achieving it. Or we know how to achieve it and stumbling blocks shorten and delay our stamina. To succeed, we must keep our dreams just ahead of us and continue to strive, to be reliable!

In order to be successful you have to be reliable by Diamante Lavendar

We hear overnight success stories and they do happen from time to time.  More often though, we have to work tediously and slave for our dreams to become a reality.  I am reminded of the saying “nothing in this world worth having comes easy.”  The seemingly overnight success stories often are built on a platform of hard work behind the scenes.  Even the singer who wins the reality show has spent years perfecting his/her voice.  Overnight success is rare.  Very rare.

Never give up.  Unreliability and irresponsibility will kill a dream every time.  Believe in yourself and know you can achieve whatever you believe you can.  Then, if you persevere, chances are you will succeed…if you don’t give up.

And never be afraid to lend someone else a helping hand.  You never know when the favor will come full circle to bless you in the end!

Review: Bravo and Elphie by Hagit R. Oron & Or Oron

Bravo and Elphie cover

Bravo, Elphie’s new pet, is stuck on top of the red slide.
Elphie never climbs the red slide. It’s so high, its goes all the way into the sky.
But now he needs to embrace himself and gather up his courage to rescue Bravo.
Good thing he never leaves the house without his cape!
Join Elphie and Bravo on this colorful bittersweet adventure.

My Rating:  4 Stars!

This is a cute picture book about a young elephant and his pet rat going on an adventure in the park.  The pet rat is a little braver than Elphie and climbs to the top of the slide.  But when he is too afraid to slide down, Elphie has to conquer his fear of heights and go get his pet Bravo. They end up sliding down together and Elphie is amazed at how easy it was.

The moral of this book is a good one:  don’t be afraid to address your fears!  A wonderful concept for young children to grasp which is easily conveyed in this story line.

This is a fun book that kids would enjoy, complete with cute, colorful pictures to add to the experience!

Where you can find Bravo and Elphie:


Spotlight: The Sleeping Town by F.A.R.


It all began the day Michael Walker woke up and everyone else didn’t. Powerful forces are at work, and the small town of Redfield might not survive it. As the uncanny becomes commonplace and truth remains elusive, Michael struggles to discern between friend and foe. Should he fail, not only will his head become a stranger to his neck, but the rest of the town might soon follow his fate.


Format: Kindle Edition

I really liked The Sleeping Town. I really liked this book’s take on magic. I won’t get into it too much because it’s kind of special to the book and I don’t want to ruin anything. Suffice it to say, I thought it was pretty original. That really helped me get into this book. So many books just have a generic view on magic and the like, so when you come across something that’s a little different, it’s easy to get caught up in. There are a lot of things in the book that I really liked, but I don’t want to mention because they were just kind of special to the book itself and I don’t want to ruin anything.

Even though I didn’t say much, I did really enjoy this book and recommend it for anyone looking for something a little different.

By ALY on November 27, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This book was interesting. The description sure does not give much away. But I liked the book. Michael has his struggles for sure but the book kept me on my toes. I was always wondering what would happen next. I think a good first book. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Interview with F.A.R.:
1.  Please tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.
The Sleeping Town is my first book. It is the story of Michael Walker as he wakes up and finds he is the only one in the entire town who did. The book can roughly be divided in two parts. The first part is Michael trying to figure things out and finding himself increasingly out of his depth. The second part is after he identifies the supernatural force at work and tries to do something about it… and finds himself increasingly out of his depth.
I decided to write it, because I have been coming up with ideas for stories since I read my first book. I kept thinking about what I would have liked to see happening and how I would done certain things. Eventually, I got brave enough to sit down and actually write one of those ideas. The Sleeping Town is the result of that.
2.  Do you have any works in progress?  What are they?
As a matter of fact, I do. Just a few days ago I finished the first (very rough) draft of my next book, Devils of Black and Gold. It is a darker tale when compared to The Sleeping Townbut I had fun writing it. It features a guy who thinks he might be a werewolf, a series of bizarre murders, and a cop who is definitely not getting paid enough. Additionally, I am about to start working on the sequel to The Sleeping Town later in October.
3.  What would you like your readers to know about you?
Seeing as how I’m using an obvious Pen name it would be easier to think about things I don’t want readers to know about me, but here it goes. I’m Latino, F.A.R. are my actual initials, and I like to use the kitchen. I’m not saying I am any good at it, but I do like cooking every now and then.
4.  If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?
Tough question. There are so many I would like to meet, but if I had to pick just one… James Spader. Stargate, Boston Legal, The Blacklist, Age of Ultron. How can I not be a huge fan?
5.  Favorites:  color, food, acitivity, place?
I have always been a fan of orange as far as colors go. My favorite food is Fettuccine Alfredo. My favorite activity (other than writing) is swimming. Whether it is in a beach or pool, I love it all the same. My favorite place is a nice park in the middle of autumn.
6.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
Well, it is a bit presumptuous of me to be giving out life advice, but if I had to give one it would probably be something like, “Go for it!”
I spend a lot of time thinking,”I want to write a book.” Years if I have to be honest. During that time I got very little book-writing done. One day I got fed up with that. I started writing every single day and didn’t stop until I had a book, If there is something you want to do, you can’t just think about it. You need to bring that thought into action.
Where you can find The Sleeping Town:
Where you can find F.A.R.:

Spotlight: Elemental Kingdoms by Peter and Lauren Arvo

ElementalKingdomsBook1 - Email File

Once there were many kingdoms of myth and legend, but six stood apart from the rest. They may have lost their origins, but they still possessed their elemental abilities of creation as well as destruction. Their rule was about to be threatened by an unseen group, who have waited patiently to make their move.

A group of powerful royal blooded teenagers are about to experience the time of their lives, but also have their lives turned upside-down. They will have to go beyond what they thought possible, stretching their skills, friendship, courage, love, and powers to the breaking point.


Woodsman‘s review

Jan 19, 2016
really liked it
Read from January 10 to 18, 2016

This book was a wonderful read, beautifully illustrated, with a lot of twists and even a cliff hanger ending. I am recently retired and decided to get either a science fiction, or fantasy book, that looked interesting to read in the evenings. I decided upon Elemental Kindoms, even though this book was probably more geared toward the younger audience, I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to getting and reading the next installment in the series.

I am also impressed, by the fact, the book was written by a father and daughter team.

By A Customer on January 13, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is a well written action adventure story. The story will be of most interest to pre-teens and teens, as most of the main characters are teenagers. The authors have inserted into the story some interesting trivia information.
Interview with Peter and Lauren:
1.  Tell my why you decided to write you book.  Explain the process of father/daughter collaboration.

Peter: Lauren developed many great characters and plot ideas over several years that she kept talking to us about and eventually we convinced her to share these with others in the form of a book. As far as the collaboration goes, she has a laptop next to my computer, and we worked out the remaining details together.

 I loved roleplaying and coming up with stories to entertain myself and other people and eventually I decided to write a book about those stories.
2.  Is there any autobiographical content in the story?

Peter: I don’t believe that there is any autobiographical content, at least for me. I became involved late in the process, so most characters already existed.

 Some of the characters were based on different people I knew and the character Hope in particular was originally based on me. There isn’t any other content really that is autobiographical.
3.  Do you have any works in progress?  If so, what are they?

Peter: Yes, book two, Elemental Kingdoms: Grand Deception, is nearly completed. The writing and editing is done. All that is left is the illustrations.

Lauren: We are discussing book three and working out the details since book two is mostly complete.
4.  What do you hope to accomplish as an author?

Peter: My most important goal is to support Lauren. As for the book, hopefully the book series will entertain people with its great characters and complex plot and super detailed maps. Most people probably don’t realize that there are fourteen maps in the back of book one that Lauren and I hand drew (the maps are based on an actual ancient map). Most of the things in the book series have a basis in real legends and lore. Even the names were derived from different languages (some are a bit of a riddle), which we felt contributes to a better fantasy story.

Lauren: I hope to reach as many people with these books as possible and it inspires them, and let them know that even though you may be young you can accomplish great things if you put your mind to it. I also hope these books make people happy and entertain them.
5.  Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

Peter: After childhood I’ve only read technical, historical, or research books, so my favorite authors would be people like Nicola Tesla’s (famous inventor), Enoch, Moses, Paul (contributors to important ancient texts), Linus Pauling (famous researcher who won the Nobel Prize twice, promoter of vitamin C in curing many ailments, and peace activist).

Lauren: There has never been an author that I liked all of their work, so I can’t say that I have a favorite author in particular.
6.  If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

Peter: This is really tough question, since I think most people believe they know what they want most in life, but if/when they get it, they don’t want it anymore. With this in mind, I would probably wish that everyone in the world would be able to clearly see the best choices to make in life (that would result in the best positive outcome for themselves and everyone else).

Lauren: There really isn’t anything I want so badly that I would wish for myself, I would probably wish for the world to be at peace and everyone to be happy.
Where you can find Elemental Kingdoms:
Where you can find Peter and Lauren:

Finding Peace

Deep down in the heart of every person is the desire to be at peace. The beauty of peace is an innate craving. We try and try to find things that will give us peace. True peace can only be found in God.

The world says that we’ll be at peace when we achieve this or that or when we win this or that. That type of satisfaction is temporary. No matter how many mountains we climb, how many things we achieve, how many dollars we make, it will not bring us lasting peace.

Peace by Diamante Lavendar

Peace is an experience devoid of anxiety; an experience of fulfillment without reason. What do we have to do to find true peace? In reality, the only thing we can do is connect with our Source…the one who created us to begin with. We crave a relationship with God. That’s why we try to find true love in another fallible human being. The only “true” love that exists is the love of the one who made us. The reason being? None of us is perfect. We all fall short and let each other down sooner or later. So how can peace exist in such an environment?

It can’t hinge on our surroundings. Our surroundings are always changing. They’re unpredictable, unreliable. Peace can’t thrive in such a state. Peace depends on the solidity of faith and a power much greater than reason; hence, a state of being which will supercede our everyday existence. Peace is a quandary for the seeker. It can seem like a state that doesn’t really exist. But if you look in the right place, you’ll find it.

It’s a spiritual undertaking: a quest. And when you finally enter its beautiful state of rest, you’ll never be the same. People have found it and learned to treasure it more than their everyday life experiences. The truly beautiful aspect of peace comes when you learn to cultivate your everyday life into its wonderful concept. When you’re truly living “peace on earth and goodwill toward men”, what could possibly be better?

From my viewpoint, not much!

Living In Love Doesn’t Mean Being A Doormat!

To revere peace and love, we are told to live in love and have a good attitude. That is a wonderful way to live but we also need to know our boundaries in that type of lifestyle.

Too many times we think that living in love means to allow others to walk all over us…to be a doormat. In reality, it means to have a loving attitude and to help out any way we can…with limits.

Living In Love by Diamante Lavendar

Once the relationship becomes abusive or we are being used for the benefit of others, there is no shame in walking away.  In fact, walking away is setting a healthy boundary for us to continue to be loving people.  The key is:  walking away with a good attitude.  In order to do this, we must walk away before our anger is ignited because we have allowed others to use us in our process of trying to be loving, caring people.

So….once your good has worn out its welcome in a situation (as it very commonly does)…walk away!  And don’t feel bad about doing it!  Because you will soon find yourself facing another situation where your love is needed to be passed along.  And if you allow yourself to be used, you will be too weary to continue on your journey.

Take care and God Bless!

<a href=””>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

<div id=”MjA5MzU2Mjk=”><a href=”″><img src=”” width=”200″ height=”92″/></a></div>