Indie Author Spotlight: Daley Downing – and a new release

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome to week three of Indie Author Spotlight by The Edifying Word! Today I’m talking to a new-to-me author of fantasy and speculative fiction, Daley Downing. I just purchased and started reading her new release and first-ever e-book, I is for Invisible, M is for Moth: Eight Stories of Magic and Adventure, and I’m enjoying it. Maybe I’ll even have finished it by the time this post goes live!


So, Daley Downing is the first author I’m featuring without having read one of her books in its entirety. I usually wouldn’t do such a thing – what if I read them and don’t like them? Eek! But I feel totally fine with it after chatting on Twitter (@invisiblemoth1) and checking out her blog, which is spectacularly well written! I enjoy her insights and normal-human-mom conversations, and I am intrigued to learn more about her experiences living with Autism. I hope you enjoy getting to know Daley as much as I have, and give her books a go!

So, you just released your first e-book last week! Do you have other published books, or upcoming projects?

I did; my other books are available only in hard copy at the moment. The newest book is a collection of short stories, and I have a fantasy/speculative fiction series. They’re currently available in paperback from Barnes and Noble, and I’m working on e-books and sales with other distributors. My next project is a standalone novel in my Order of the Twelve Tribes universe, called Fire And Wind.

I like to ask authors why they write and I feel like I get a lot of variation on the same theme: they have to. I suspect you’re not going to let me down.

I am not. I write because I think I would explode if I didn’t. I feel like I’e been writing since before the dawn of time. Seriously, even as a youngster, I was always interested in storytelling and creating my own spin.

We’ve talked a lot recently about this crisis homeschooling nonsense and I appreciate your support for going easy on ourselves! I know things are challenging in a completely different way now, but before COVID-19, how did you fit writing into parenting? 

I carve out time for writing. I have two special needs children, and my spouse works long hours, so most of the time it’s just me. I also was working two part-time jobs to help make ends meet.

Do you have a favorite genre to read, or favorite books we should check out?

My favorite to read is fantasy, but also sometimes historical fiction. High-ranking titles include Mort and Thud! by Terry Pratchett, Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

What do you want readers to know about you or your work?

My little fantasy series is important to me, so I write it just how I want to – I don’t go in for publishing trends or “bandwagon” topics. There are lots of heavy things going on in the world, and while I grasp and appreciate other authors tackling them, I prefer to inject some humor and lightheartedness into my work. Yes, I address serious stuff, too, but it’s not the only focus for me – art needs to be beautiful and caring and inspiring as well.

Please take a look at Daley Downing’s blog and look for her books at Barnes and Noble


Would you like to be featured, too? Please contact me at!

Emotionally mature and complex, one of the best short stories I’ve read! “Wings” by Kia Thomas (a review)

Last week, author Kia Thomas (@kiathomasedits) put out a call on Twitter: for her birthday, help get her short story, Wings, to #1 in Amazon’s Literary Short Story category. For $1.29, I bought the book, and I recommend you do, too! (Looks like she got to #11 that day, which is awesome!).

Wings: A Short Story by [Thomas, Kia]

The Hunters hunt.
The Elders rule.
The women care for the young.

Everyone knows their place. Except for one young woman. Every day, she sneaks away to a clearing in the forest. One morning, she finds an injured creature in her secret hideaway, and she decides to nurse it back to health.

But she is not where she should be, nor doing what she should be doing. And this will not be tolerated…

The power of the book lies in its depth of emotion and the complexity of the characters. The story’s short chapters are told in the first person, from the points of view of the woman, a hunter, and an elder. Thomas weaves so much content into such short chapters – I really felt like I knew the characters. I rooted for (or against) them; I felt connected to them; I saw and felt them learn and grow. Wings, in a completely non-pushy way, makes a statement about challenging societal limitations and allowing oneself the space to grow; about the ability to think for oneself and stand up for what’s right rather than what’s expected; about the willingness to show vulnerability. I particularly like how the characters process their emotions without necessarily being able to name what they’re feeling — they don’t need to, they just feel them, and assess them, and use them to make decisions about how they will act.

Overall, it’s a very emotionally mature story, capturing both male and female, young and old characters. I’m impressed by the depth of the writing and look forward to seeing more from Kia Thomas!

5 Stars! (PS – It’s worth your $1.29!)

Book Review: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl

Earlier this year I picked up The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl to read with my daughter (who is now 8), having been under the mistaken impression that it is a children’s book. Eek – it is NOT. It’s a good book, and I’m glad I read it, but I’m equally glad that she lost interest after a couple of stories.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More

The book is an interesting mix of stories, including several fictional stories as well as an autobiographical story and one true narrative. Overall, though, my feeling about the book is that it’s pretty dark. One story in particular follows young boys as they strap another child to a train track and watch as the train passes over him (!) – this story prompted my daughter to ask, “Mom, why would someone write that story?” My response was something along the lines of how there are bad people in the world, like those mean characters, and sometimes writers will write those stories to help them understand the bad things in the world. I told her that all stories present some truth from the world and have something to teach us, but that we don’t have to read those stories if we don’t like them. That was the last story we read together in the book, but I went on to finish it myself.

I give the book three stars, because it was well-written, engaging, and interesting…but not amazing and slightly disturbing. The autobiographical story is illuminating as to the author’s life though repetitive if you’ve read part of his autobiography (as I have). I do think it should be clearly advertised as NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK, though!