Sunday, February 16, 2014

Seven Tears by Sheila Joyner

Seven Tears is a compelling story of a young girl’s struggle in trying to live a normal life within a sadly dysfunctional family.

Written in first person point of view, this story takes the reader straight to the heart of what Birch Thomas is experiencing and feeling. Her mother’s substance abuse issues left this youngster virtually on her own to manage life. The close residential proximity to Birch’s maternal grandparents should have been a blessing, but it turned out to be just the opposite. Rather than offering her protection, it was the location from which sexual abuse would emanate and denial would conceal.

The story continues with more traumatic circumstances occurring and lack of solid, positive support from home. Birch finds herself in the foster care system and unable to stop her self-destructive behavior.

Something that was impressed upon me in reading this book is the importance of growing up with a stable, loving, caring parent or parents. Parenting isn’t easy. That’s a fact. Even the most well-intentioned, engaged parents will find their kids testing the waters at some point; however, when there are parental addiction issues in the home, the kids will automatically suffer. They are the innocent victims of  compulsions, whether it be of the alcohol or other substance abuse variety, sexual or even a golf or tennis obsession--anything that is the top priority over the children’s best interests and creates limits or even excludes quality time spent with them. The addiction or obsession becomes what matters most, and the children are left to their own devices to fill their free time.

It’s also not easy being a kid. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere, and most children are going to participate in the same activities as their friends. One can only trust that the friends are on the right path.

Seven Tears paints a vivid portrait of Birch’s difficult situation and the effects of addictions in the home. It is a quick, but captivating read that leaves one wondering how many kids are out there silently suffering. I was incredibly  thankful for the positive ending!

Joyner approaches a difficult topic through the eyes of an innocent child, a rebellious adolescent and, finally, a young adult. I hope that this author has future books in the works.

Book Description

I was six years old when I lost my innocence. Keeping quiet about it was more out of fear of his wrath. When it was finally revealed, I was a drama queen, they said. At age thirteen, they didn’t believe me after the gang rape, but found it justified to send me away to have the baby. I was a drama queen, they said. Living in a family of dirty little secrets, I began acting out in a big way.

For seven years I fought neglect, abuse, and even death. And then one day it happened. For Birch Thomas, life is not easy. She had fought neglect, abuse, and even death for seven years, living with the dark secrets her family hid. Birch can’t seem to catch a break from the negatives of life, and she doesn’t know where to turn. She isn’t sure she’ll ever escape her secrets. Inspired by actual events, Seven Tears will captivate and inspire young adults and parents. Take an inside look at the skewed foster system and discover the true meaning of home.

In the Author’s Own Words

Sheila Joyner
“A friend once said, it only takes one person to change the direction of your life. Well, it happened to me and I started writing.

Raised in rural West Virginia and the daughter of a coal miner, my first job was with the hometown newspaper.

I now live in the seaside village of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. We have a saying in our town... ‘quaint drinking village with a fishing problem.’  I love to fish.

My favorite quote is ‘Gardeners know the best dirt.’ I'm the type of person that has to be in the know, the inner circles, the front lines. I love gardening also.

Favorite genre is anything with a true story.

I'd be thrilled to get your friend request. Gracias!”

And More

Joyner was compelled to write Seven Tears when she experienced the life-changing event of losing several grandchildren to the foster care system. A debut author, she is now a therapeutic foster parent and advocate for children in foster care and kinship care. She lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, with her husband, Sonny.
Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is now available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at, or by visiting or
Connect with Sheila Joyner on Facebook at
See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Circles in Time by Trilby Plants

It seems that Brant has a big problem. He is plagued with severe headaches, lapses of memory that involve substantial periods of time, inability to recognize his own sister and a plaguing sense that something is happening that is far beyond his control.

This intriguing, supernatural story brings us from the present to a distant past and back again. Unexplainable events are occurring in Brant’s life, and all he knows is that he can’t remember much more than a hazy vision of a beautiful woman, a fairy-like creature, whom he believes he encountered at his family’s remote cabin in the woods.

Why is he experiencing gaps in time? What part does his family history play in these episodes? His loving sister Maeve and police officer brother-in-law Rich desperately want to help him, but he doesn’t even seem to know or trust them.

Did fairy-like beings really exist? Reading Circles in Time sparked my interest and made me curious to dig deeper, and I found a quote by Benjamin Radford, LiveScience Contributor at, who said in an article discussing leprechauns, “Leprechauns are a type of fairy, though it's important to note that the fairies of Irish folklore were not cute Disneyfied pixies; they could be lustful, nasty, capricious creatures whose magic might delight you one day and kill you the next if you displeased them.”

What would it have been like to live as a half-Faerie with exceptional powers, interacting with humans in a tumultuous time in history? Siobhan is experiencing difficulties of her own as she navigates an unexpected situation that changes everything.

I can only tell you after reading this historical/time travel fantasy that Trilby Plants’ enchanting Circles in Time might just leave you spellbound!

Book Description 

When a magic potion goes wrong, the consequences can reach through centuries….
In 10th Century Ireland half-Faerie Siobhan is shunned by both fey and humans. She unwittingly ingests an unscrupulous druid’s potion. Siobhan’s quest to be part of human society leads her down a perilous road that culminates in her summoning forbidden magic that causes suffering to her descendants into the present day.
Drawing from Gaelic folklore and mythology, the story follows a half-Faerie woman who desires to belong in the human world, a clan chieftain who will do anything for an heir, an evil druid who concocts magic potions, time travel, a modern day man who experiences missing time, and a Faerie’s spell that has far reaching consequences.

Link to paperback version:

In the Author’s Own Words

“This book came about decades ago when I wondered what it would be like if a real fairy traveled from long ago to the present. The 9th and 10th centuries in Ireland are not well documented as little remains, so I filled in the gaps with my imagination. I have always been fascinated by the stories of the daoine sidhe or Tuatha De Danann. According to Celtic and Gaelic myths, these were beings who came from the sky in shining ships. They possessed powers humans did not and lived long lives.
I did a tremendous amount of research to get the historical aspects somewhat correct. The setting in Washington state came about because my parents lived there for quite a while and there are vast tracts of forested mountain terrain devoid of people. Ideal for a portal from the past.”

About the Author

Trilby Plants was hooked on words when, at the age of four, her mother read her Gulliver’s Travels. Plants has published poetry, creative nonfiction, short stories and a self-published fantasy novel, GATEKEEPER. She is currently editor of The Petigru Review, the literary anthology of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her husband in Murrells Inlet, SC.

Author of Gatekeeper and children’s book Hubert Little’s Great Adventure, Plants also creates amazing book trailers. Watch for the upcoming spring release of  Meena Mouse's Perfect Raspberry, her new children's picture book illustrated by Deborah Gagnon. Visit Trilby’s website at

See you soon!
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!