A Gift of Love Fan Page

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Country Roads, Be It Ever So Humble, Making Memories

Almost heaven...
...Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, growin' like a breeze.
--Country Roads

It's been awhile since I posted anything to my newest blog. Apologies. I've been busy. Busy living life to the fullest, experiencing all the joys and sadness and the ups and downs that go with it, and often going round and round in circles trying to figure it all out.

I'd like to write about last week, last month, even interject a bit of last year, but just for today, I'm writing about yesterday, because yesterday, holds the fondest of memories that I will hold near and dear to my heart for all my days to come.

I have snapped a few photos to show the beauty of the country roads where I live and the accompanying peace that magnifies its splendor.

I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoy living them.

Family arrived for a weekend of fun.
We gathered around the campfire and studied the stars.
Here is G setting up the telescope and searching the sky for stellar constellations.

We managed to capture Jupiter and its moons.
It was an awesome sight.
I can't believe I actually managed to catch it all in a photo.

This is the moon.
If you look real close, you will see a small man waving back at you.
*just kidding, but now that I have your attention...*

A spectacular sight. There were five of us gathered around the telescope and all of us were fighting to look at it "one more time."

Over a fresh-mowed path, Grandson H was free to board his quad and motor the back acres.

 Lilacs the color of snow bloomed out a back window creating a magical moment.

Son G and DDL C worked in the garden. Their completed work is a study in art.
I am so very grateful for all their hard work.

No child should grow up without the memory of catching pollywogs.
Here are Z and H experiencing that moment and learning how tadpoles grow up to be frogs.

If there is one moment in my life that I can identify as rewarding, this is it.
Here are Z and H holding a cupful of baby frogs.

This is Pretend Kitty.
PK just likes to sit and watch the world go by, proving once more that freedom is a beautiful thing. 

We made time for outdoor play.
Did you know that well water is frigid?

my muse.

When the sun went down, when the rain clouds appeared, while E sat guard at the front window, it was time to rest. What better way than with a game of ... Guess?

I got to experience my new ride, Mr. Green, a John Deere S240, and together with Grandson H, we grooved the back acres until the setting sun demanded we stop. The memory of H zipping donuts around me and Mr. Green warms me.

When the sun had set, when my darlings were tucked into gray pickup and blue SUV and on the road for three hour trip home to downstate NY, I was left. Alone. Again. Naturally. And I admit, I was so very sad to see them go. 

my other muse.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Come journal with me,
your book is yet to be.

Farm Tip: Keep weeds and grasses trimmed so tractor and ATV drivers won't run into hidden obstacles and holes that can cause the vehicle to overturn.

Farm Quote: In the city, we work until quitting time. On the farm, we work until the job is finished. --John Blytheway

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Happy Mother's Day, Grace, Dreaming, Doing Nothing

When I look to the sky, I see hope.
And sometimes a vision of love.
Yes, I believe.

Every morning, soon as I open my eyes, I look out a window. Before I know it, my eyes are reaching for the sky to see what they can see.

Today there are clouds the color of snow big as a tribe of buffalo bobbing in a sea of blue in the sky where I sit and write. They act as eye candy and if I let it happen, I will sit here staring seemingly into space for an amazing amount of time soaking in the vision as I did last week.

I confess, there are times I feel like pond scum sitting and staring into space thinking I am doing nothing and worrying that some people will label what I do as doing nothing, but for a writer/artist/poet/photographer/dreamer/lover/coach/mom/grandma/girlfriend-human being, it is my magical moment of a snapshot in time taken to sear into one's mind's eye, something to file away for some other time and write about, perhaps a snippet in an ongoing novel, or put on fb or enter into a blog post.

Last week, with Mother's Day fast approaching, while gazing into a fast moving cloud cover, thoughts of my mom danced the landscape of my mind and I couldn't help but recall her beauty.

One of my mom's beautiful attributes were her full lips and the lipstick of red she painted them. Before I knew it, I thought I saw my mom's lips up there blowing a kiss to me. When I looked again, I thought I saw my mom's face, too.

I snapped a photo.

This is the photo. Do you see what I see?
Do you see what I see?

Happy Mother's Day, Grace.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
"Come journal with me.
Your book is yet to be."

Writing Tip: Open your calendar and make a date to do nothing. It can be as little as ten minutes. If you're lucky, maybe an entire day. Go ahead. I dare you.

Writing Quote:  All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.--Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, May 6, 2018

I've Got a Secret

My Secret Writing Journal

Today is Sunday, May 6, 2018. There is a cool spring chill and the laughter of children at play fills the air while I sit and write in my secret writing journal at my favorite secret writing place about my new secret.

My Secret Writing Place

After a dry spell of seemingly endless blank pages, words spill out my fingers like a running river in pouring rain.

And it feels so good.

Here's to secret writing journals, secret writing places, and secrets, because every writer has one. Or, should.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Come journal with me,
your book is yet to be.

Writing Tip: Read words written above.

Writing Quotation: "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." --Roald Dahl

My Secret

Friday, April 27, 2018

New Day, Favorite Quotations, A Few Photos

It's a new day. I am grateful for that.

Outside my window the sky is gray, a robin struts the graveled driveway pecking rain puddles, and in the far away distance, a vacant single-wide trailer the color of snow perched high atop the hill opposite my home, peers ominously back at me while I sip my morning cup of tea.

Today I share favorite quotations on disappointment.

I hope they inspire you to pick up your pen and write something.

It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck. But. Is it a duck?
--Law 101, 1988, Professor A, Pace University

Any fool can make a rule. And any fool can mind it.--Henry David Thoreau

When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.--Ryan Reynolds

It was like driving 90 miles per hour and throwing reverse.--Linda Della Donna

If you think you had a bad day today, just remember Bill Cosby had a worse one.--JSB

If you look close, you can see The E peering back at me as I back out the driveway.

Sometimes a house is just a house, no matter how pretty it is.

The Mighty E,
My tiny muse.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Come journal with me,
your book is yet to be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ready Player One, A Review,

CityCenter, Theater 2
White Plains, NY

I'm back.

Yes. I know I said I was closing down BookOrBust blog. I said I wasn't writing any more.

I lied.

I just didn't know it at the time.

As every writer knows, there is no such thing as a writer stopping writing, because a writer writes. Writers may say they are never going to write again, and they may even believe it at the time they say it. But it's a lie.

Writers take breaks. That's all. They call it never writing again.

By the way, I saw the movie, Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg Saturday night.

I would like to say it was a great movie, and that I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I would like to say the acting was superb, the plot captivating, and that I identified with the point of view character, and that I just absolutely positively loved that movie.

But I can't.

Because if I did, that would be a lie. A real lie.

I just didn't get it. I didn't get the ape jumping up and down on the bridge, the ax piercing the wall, the river of blood gushing the hotel hallway. Yes, I understand the reference to the 80's and all the characters doing their cosplay thing and I did get the association of the movie, The Shining. But that was it. The rest of it was just a painful nightmare I wish to forget. But that's just me.

On a positive note, I did like the theater I saw it in, and I absolutely did love the seat I sat in. Which is why I waited until the ax pierced the wall before exiting the movie. I was so very comfortable. I hated to leave before the movie ended. But I did.

Best seats in the house.
It felt like I was watching the movie in the comfort of my living room

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Author of
A Gift of Love

P. S. No, it is not true. One's pants do not go on fire when one lies.

Writer Tip: Writers are real people. Don't be afraid to give yourself permission to take a break from time to time.

Writer Quote: I'm a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.
Grace Metalious--

Monday, January 1, 2018

Adios, Amigas/Amigos, Thank You For Being My Friend

"I'll write your story," I said.
I meant it.
"I promise I will let the whole world know what you went through."
"Somebody should." --A Gift of Love

Dear Reader, fb Friend, BookOrBust Follower, Writer, Author, Fan, Publisher, Editor, Interviewee, Guest Blogger, and Anyone and Everyone out there reading this blog post, 

Please know that you are near and dear to my heart always, and that I am grateful for your acts of lovingkindness.

It is a new year and I celebrate that.

This new year brings new goals for me and the blessings of renewed spirit, boundless hope, and new-found courage for a bright and merry future, and a different writing path.

A Gift of Love is written.

My promise to my late husband, Ed Sclier, is fulfilled.

For those reasons, and in keeping with my new goals and the new promise I made to Me, the time is come to shut down BookOrBust. 

Feel free to visit, as often as you like to peruse the archives or to scan the photos. Everything will remain for now.

Thank you, again, for being a part of my writing journey. 

I am grateful.

To you and yours, a Happy Healthy Prosperous Joyous 2018!

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna

"...And sometime when I wasn't looking, I got a new life."
Linda Della Donna

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Linda Della Donna Extends Season's Greetings

It's that time of the year, again.

I'm stopping by to wish everyone a very

Merry Christmas,

...and a

All best wishes for a

Happy New Year,


Friday, September 29, 2017

The Presidents Club, FCEtier, aka, Chip Etier - Book Review

by FCEtier

5 Books
Highest Rating

The Presidents Club
by FCEtier
Copyright 2013
Venture Galleries, LLC
1220 Chateau Lane
Hideaway, TX
Kindle Edition: $2.99
Paperback: From $12.99
ISBN: 978-1-937569-41-9

Delightfully readable, masterfully written, and meticulously detailed, "The Presidents Club," by FCEtier, aka, Chip Etier, takes a reader on a wild ride into the world of political conspiracy, assassination, intrigue, mystery and sudden murder, while tempering it with a dash of romance and good ol' boy common sense.

"The Presidents Club" is that gripping, can't-put-it-down, page-turner tale that will keep a reader's eyes blinking in awe and fixed to every word, first page to last.

In "The Presidents Club," FCEtier writes fiercely about John Hixon, a retired G-man who is recovering from wounds after saving the life of billionaire investor Julian Thibaut, and how when Thibaut calls on Hixon again to protect his seven buddies while investigating murder, Hixon responds rising to the occasion testing his talents, intuition, and experience to the max.

In "The Presidents Club," FCEtier introduces brilliantly, seven believable characters in astonishing detail. Each character unique, likeable, well, almost, and leaving a reader with a lasting impression and wondering are these people real?

Each chapter is short, numbered in words, tightly written and succinct, making reading "The Presidents Club," a fast, fun-filled escape from the real world of politics and current events, or is it? Fast paced, a reader must pay attention, FCEtier writes a fast-moving tale with a punch.

A master at describing historical and current events, FCEtier leaves his reader to wonder does he own a crystal ball? FCEtier hits hard, leads a reader to believe one thing, and then suddenly, he twists to a different path creating that oh-no! moment, causing his reader to gasp out loud, What did I just read? and rereading a chapter or two to make sure.

A master word-spinner and brilliant writer, FCEtier's, "The Presidents Club," will find a reader holding tight to his seat and talking out loud to no one in particular from beginning to end. This is the best book I have read in a long time.

For these reasons and more, BookOrBust awards "The Presidents Club" five (5) Books.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Michele Sfakianos, Author Extraordinaire, The Secret of Her Success

Michele Sfakianos
Author Extraordinaire

Meet Michele Sfakianos, Registered Nurse, Award-winning Author, Speaker, and Personal Life Transformation Specialist living in Estero Florida. Her education includes two college degrees (Nursing and Computer Programming) and several certifications (Legal Nursing, Copywriting and Real Estate). 

Recently I caught up with Michele Sfakianos and asked for an interview. BookOrBust extends sincerest gratitude for Michele's time and sage-filled words.

Here's what Sfakianos had to say:

Q: Welcome, Michele Sfakianos. Please share a little about yourself. 

A: I’m a wife, mother and grandmother and I enjoy spending time with my family. In January of this year, I decided to put my real estate license to the test and sell homes in paradise- right here in SW Florida!

Q: Tell us Michele, what books have you written?

My books and programs provide the answers you’ve always wanted to many of life’s difficult “who/what/why/where/when and how-to” questions. My experience as a Registered Nurse, mother and grandmother, along with my extensive training, qualifies me as an expert in my field.

Q: Which book is your favorite?

Q: Why? 

A: Life Skills have fallen by the wayside in the past 10-15 years. Many parents have to work two jobs and don’t get the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with their children to teach them what they need to know to survive in this day and time, especially when it comes to taking care of themselves and their home. Until you are confronted with taking care of yourself and a home, many people do not realize what is involved. It can be overwhelming to some and totally frustrating to others. Life is meant to be enjoyed. If you equip yourself with the knowledge to take care of the everyday tasks, you will then be able to enjoy other activities. Whether you are moving out for the first time; or going it alone due to divorce or death of a loved one; or starting a family of your own, this information is for you. The material inside will provide a new dimension of potential for you and your family. I’ve put all the cards on the table for you. Ace Your Life, is the “Ace in the hole” that will provide the tools and knowledge, to gain that something, to put you and your family on the pathway of an informed and powerful life.

Q: What inspired you to write your books? What inspires you to write more books?

A: My biggest inspiration for writing several of my books was my daughter. She was a single mother raising a son on her own and I wanted to make sure that I taught her everything she needed to know to, not only help her, but to help her to be able to provide for my grandson. Many parents, like myself, take our actions for granted and do many of the household chores without asking our kids to help so they can learn. That’s why I wrote the books on Life Skills. Knowing that she would one day marry and have a blended family is why I wrote The 4-1-1 on Step-Parenting. I’m constantly looking for gaps in others lives to write books on, to fill those gaps and enrich the lives of others.

Q: What experiences can you share about your role as public speaker? 

A: Being a public speaker has afforded me the opportunity to share the information I’ve written about to help people realize their potential.  I recently spoke to a group on The Power of Focus. The response was overwhelming. It was an eye-opening experience to see that many people didn’t realize how many directions they are being pulled in and that focus was not a priority in their life. The takeaway – “You don’t know what you don’t know”.

Q: Are you available for public speaking events?

A: Yes. I offer customized presentations to fit your individual or team’s needs and budget. I will provide effective team communication and structure that is important for forging relationships and equipping you or your team with the proper attitudes to develop the leader within. I will work through goal setting and communication exercises that will bring cohesiveness and ultimately increase productivity due to the positive influences each member will have on the group as a whole.

Q: How would someone find out more about your public speaking events?

A: I can be contacted via email or at my office (239) 454-7700.

Q: Can you describe a typical writing day for you, do you have one?

A: When writing my books, I like to have background noise to keep my thoughts flowing. I like to write for 30-45 minutes at a time and then take a break to clear my head and bring forth new ideas. I do extensive research to make sure that the information I provide is current and accurate. When I find something interesting, I type it out in a document and keep it for future use, whether for the book I’m writing currently or in the future. I like to keep a file on my laptop with these ideas. I don’t write everyday because I like to allow myself to rest to “keep the juices flowing.”

Q: Any advice or tips for readers writing a book of their own?

A: Everyone has a book inside of them. Whether you ever want to write one or not, that’s a personal preference. If you want to write a book, do your research. See if people are interested in your topic. Create a survey, ask family members and friends if they would be interested in a specific topic. If you write on a topic that no one is interested in, you may be writing the book only for yourself!

Q: As a successful author, public speaker, and so much more, please share: what is the secret of your success?

A: Continuous learning is a big part of my success. I’m a student for life. I love to read, learn and grow myself daily.

Q: Anything you'd like to add?

A: My passion is helping others to reach their full potential. Zig Ziglar said: “In order to get what you want in life, you must first help others to get what they want.” My most successful times have been helping others to get exactly what they want out of life. The Personal Coaching that I offer is an integral part of this success.

Contact Info for Michele Sfakianos:




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Julie Lange Groth, Author - An Interview

Julie Lange Groth

Today we honor Julie Groth, author, wife, and mother. Twenty four years ago Julie experienced the loss of her son. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Groth and was deeply impressed at her resilient loving spirit. I requested an interview. So, here it is.
First, to Julie Groth, my sincerest condolences and appreciation for honoring BookOrBust with your sage words.

Next, tell us a little about yourself.

Q: Who you are? 

A: I am someone who has traveled that dark road every mother dreads above all others, the death of a child. As part of my own healing journey, I discovered shamanism and have followed a shamanic path for almost 25 years. I have become an experienced practitioner and teacher and I lead shamanic grief work programs with groups as well as with individuals to bring comfort and healing after a deep loss.

Q: Where do you make your home? 

A: I live with my husband Lou in rural northwest New Jersey.

Q: Do you have pets?

A: We have a cat named Kiva.

Q: Can you tell us about your son.

A: My son Justin was a lovable, freckle-faced 16-year-old with a huge heart and a quirky sense of humor. He died while using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) with friends.

Q: How did you react to the news of his death?

A: When Justin died I was a 46-year-old single mother of three with a mortgage and a failing business. I had dropped him off at school that sunny September morning without a clue that this would be the day that changed everything forever.

That afternoon after school, he and some friends were fooling around huffing from a tank of nitrous oxide that his friend had stowed in the basement of our home and he overdosed. After three days and nights in a coma, he was declared brain dead.

Losing Justin flattened me. Some days it was all I could do to keep breathing. For almost a year I was emotionally disabled, eviscerated by grief, unable to save my business from bankruptcy and incapable of finding new employment. My home went into foreclosure and my car was repossessed, but none of it mattered because Justin was gone.  Meanwhile, my father was dying a slow, brutal death from colon cancer. He was buried on my birthday a year after Justin died.

That year between Justin’s death and my dad’s was a purgatory of sorrow, doubt and confusion. For the first time in my life, I understood how it might be possible for someone to contemplate suicide. I understood how a strong, intelligent, middle-class person could decline into homelessness and hopelessness. But it was also a time of deep transformation, and ultimately birthed me into a new life of meaning, growth and joy.

Q: How did you get through those early days?

A: I had no particular spiritual beliefs at the time Justin died. I saw myself as an agnostic, someone who didn’t pretend to know the source or purpose of creation. But from the moment Justin passed, I began to sense larger, loving forces operating in my life. In my moments of greatest despair, I felt invisible hands holding me up, and when I was destitute, providence intervened with just what I needed, whenever I needed it. I came to think of this as grace, the only word I could think of to describe being held in the loving arms of a power far greater than myself.

Synchronicity brought me many unexpected gifts and surprises during those first few years, and one of them was a new friend who told me about shamanism and taught me how to connect with the spiritual realms during a type of drumming meditation called journeying. Not long after meeting her, I began my formal training with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. What I learned and experienced was such powerful medicine for me as a grieving mother and it helped me heal on many levels.

Q: How do you get through now? Do you ever have those days?

A: It's been 24 years since Justin died and I still miss him every day. I think about who he might have grown up to be, what he would be doing with his life, and how many children he might have. But I also have come to believe that the soul is eternal, that we came into this life together to learn certain things and fulfill certain purposes.  And I feel that in a certain way, we are still working together on our souls' plans.

Q: Tell us about your books. Please name them. What inspired you to write them?

A: My first book was Life Between Falls: A Travelogue Through Grief and the Unexpected,
It's a personal account of my life during three pivotal autumn events: the death of my son Justin, my father's death the following September, and the death of my grandmother one year later on the anniversary of my son's death. During that period my advertising business also went bankrupt and I lost my home to foreclosure.
The book is a travelogue through the rockiest territory of my heart, but it’s also a kind of resurrection story. Time and again my grieving process was mitigated by little miracles, messages and moments of pure transcendence.
A big part of my healing process was writing. Although I had not thought of myself as a writer before, writing somehow helped me get through my darkest moments, and so I kept a journal. While the book is largely based on that journal, it also offers the reader some practical tips for moving through the grieving process without getting stuck in it, based on my own experiences.

By the time the third “fall" arrived, I had become a professional freelance writer and a passionate community activist. All the trappings of my old life had fallen away and a meaningful new life was unfolding for me.
I began writing Life Between Fallabout 10 years after Justin died because I felt my story might bring encouragement to others during their own dark night of the soul.

Shamanism became a powerful avenue of healing for me personally in the years after my son’s death, and it brought me some huge, unexpected breakthroughs along the way. My deep gratitude for these gifts made me to want to share what I learned through my work as a healer and author, and so I wrote my second book, Healing What Grieves You: Four Steps to a Peaceful Heart, as a step-by-step guide through the grieving process using the tools of shamanism.

In my work as a shamanic healer, I noticed that many people sought my help because they were feeling blocked, inexplicably weary, unable to make decisions or move forward in their lives. In many cases, the problem was simply that they were weighed down by unresolved grief from some past loss.

When I work with people who’ve lost a child or spouse, I’ve heard them say things like, "I’ll never be happy again," as if something has been ripped out of them, never to return. They can’t even imagine themselves being able to reclaim joy in their lives. While it’s true that such a loss does change us in fundamental ways, grieving mindfully can also bring comfort, healing and a deeper understanding of life and our purpose in it.

Shamanism presents us with the opportunity to look within ourselves and discover the deeper meaning in what happens to us. As I describe in my book, it can help us gain the will and the strength to begin the healing process, it guides us through the hard work of grieving and it supports us as we regain our balance in life.

In my own spiritual journey through what had seemed unthinkable and unsurvivable, shamanism helped me find my way into a life of newfound meaning, self discovery, fulfillment and happiness. What better way to honor the dead than to live a life of purpose?

Q: Can you talk about any of the methods you share in your book?

A: I think of a major loss as a sacred wound. It changes us in deep ways. Our grief deserves to be honored and attended to on a spiritual level so that we can move through the pain with awareness and intention rather than getting stuck in it.

As part of that spiritual process I recommend creating a sacred space in your home, a special place where you can spend a little time each day attending to your grief, checking in with yourself and opening up to whatever feelings may be bubbling to the surface. Having this dedicated space and time can help you free up more of your day for attending to your life.

You might create a little a "altar" with a candle, some sage or incense, fresh flowers, your journal, and perhaps a small picture or keepsake that reminds you of the loss you are grieving. Some people like to hang a wind chime there or play soothing music when they're in their sacred space. I recommend getting yourself a rattle or hand drum that you can play in a steady rhythm for five to ten minutes at a time when you're feeling unsettled or stirred up. You'll find that it helps you shift from your present emotional upheaval into a calmer, more reflective state that allows you to work with your grief more productively.

Q: One more thing, Julie, how would a reader contact you?

A: My website is You can find more info there about my grief retreats and online programs as well as my books, how to order them, articles I've written, and lots more.

My contact info is there also, including

By email
On Facebook.
I don't usually give my phone number out in articles, but of course if you need to call me, my number is 908-399-9762.

On behalf of BookOrBust and BookOrBust readers, thank you Julie Lange Roth for your inspirational and informative interview. Best wishes for continued success.