The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz

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I bought it on my Kindle for Indie Reader. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz | Fiction | Action | Adventure | Book Review | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Mass of Men
Author: Rachel K. Wentz
Genre: Fiction, Action, Adventure

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Rachel K. Wentz
Publication Date: January 2021 (originally October 2013)

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz is a fascinating read with great insight into what people need to go through in order to become a firefighter. While the actual story elements are fiction, the rest of it – training at the academy – is true.

Knowing someone who went through the academy and is now a firefighter, I found this book to be pretty relatable, even though I didn’t go through it myself. However, Sam, the protagonist, is the only female at the academy. There are issues of sexism in the story as not all of her peers thought she should be there. I was annoyed at these characters but it was done well. Each character had their own ups and downs and struggles and learned to work as a team.

If you know a firefighter in real life or are just interested in seeing what they have to go through, this is a great read.

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz is an action-packed story of a group of people going through the academy to become firefighters. Not only do they need to do well in class but they also have to work as a team. This is an insightful read with interesting characters.

4

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 049 Now Live!

What are some tips for running an anthology? | The Merry Writer Podcast | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 049: What are some tips for running an anthology?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I bring on our friend, Mikki Noble, to discuss all things running an anthology. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag, #TheMerryWriterPodcast. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below. Enjoy!

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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About Mikki Noble

Mikki, the eccentric Canadian, has been writing in some form or another for nearly a quarter of a century; since writing her very first poem at age eleven. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her cats, guinea pig, and rabbit.

She found her niche in teen fiction because it’s captivating, open-minded, fast-paced, and every sense is heightened. And that’s also the reason why it’s her favorite genre to pick up at a bookstore.

Mikki has a diploma in both, Business Administration and Creative Writing. She loves creating things, animals, books, and movies, trying to make people smile, and talking to her social media friends.

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Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission should you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

I read the hardcover that I bought from Amazon. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter | Book Blogger | Fantasy | Middle Grade | RachelPoli.com

Title: Thunder Rising
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Series: Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 3, 2013

Thunder Rising by Erin Hunter takes place not too long after the ending of the first book in this prequel series. In the Warriors world, there are four groups of cats split into Clans. At the time of this book, every cat is trying to find their place in this new territory.

Split into two groups, cats go back and forth between one group and the other or simply living along or going to live with Twolegs (humans).

Thunder, Clear Sky’s son, is torn between living in his father’s territory or remaining with Gray Wing, the uncle who raised him. Tensions rise as Thunder (among other cats) find their place and attempt to figure out there place in this new area.

There was plenty of action in this book, including a forest fire. However, more family drama unfolded and Gray Wing’s confidence began to slip away all the while Clear Sky grew strong, strengthening his own group of cats.

This book ended on a cliffhanger, so I’ll reading book three soon enough.

The Sun Trail (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 1) by Erin Hunter

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter felt as though it was a lot of build-up for book three. A lot happened – there was character development and the plot moved along smoothly and I’m eager to see what will happen next.

4

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How I Use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks [Mental Health Monday]

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am not a mental health professional. I speak about my own experiences with mental health but it should not be taken as medical advice. This is just a safe space for all to check in with one another. If you are having a hard time or have medical questions, please seek help through your doctor. Thank you.

Mental Health Monday: How I use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks | Mental Health Matters | Fight the Stigma | Mental Health | RachelPoli.com

Everyone experiences different levels of anxiety. It makes each of us feel a different way. One method of dealing with it may work for one person, but it may not work well with another.

With that said, I’m going to explain what I do to get myself through a panic attack. If you haven’t heard of this method, feel free to try it next time an attack hits you. I hope it helps.

When I first began having panic attacks, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I always just let it pass. Then my therapist told me about worry stones and I started carrying one of those around with me. I always hold and rub it whenever I get nervous or feel my anxiety coming. I also would find someplace cold. Sometimes I would sit on the bathroom floor, touching the tile or splash cold water on my face.

But then I heard about the grounding technique, where you “ground” yourself and, more or less, talk yourself out of a panic attack.

54321 grounding technique

The point of the grounding technique is to remind yourself of where you are and that you’re in a safe space based on your senses. The reason the numbers are part of it is to think of multiple things and also count backward in some way.

For example, think of five things that you can see, four things you touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

I don’t do it exactly in this way. As I said earlier, I typically will find a cold spot, which is usually the bathroom. There’s not much to hear, smell, or taste in there. So, I do the grounding technique but I just think about what I have in the room with me at present.

The way I do the grounding technique

I will do the grounding technique in a similar manner.

Usually, when I have a panic attack my vision fails me. So, I can’t actually see anything and if I move, I’ll most likely pass out. So, I imagine the room and where I am in general. For example, if I’m in my bathroom, I’m also in my house.

When I start to feel a panic attack coming on, I’ll splash some cold water on my face and if that doesn’t help, I sit down on the ground. With my worry stone in hand, I’ll close my eyes and begin reciting the grounding technique to myself.

I remind myself of where I am and that it’s a safe place. I’ll remind myself that my sister and parents are in the other room (or somewhere around the house), but the point is that I’m not alone. Sometimes I can hear them in the other room.

If I’m anywhere else, I’ll see if my dog or cat happens to be nearby and I’ll give them a pet, which, in addition to my worry stone, helps me with the “touch” sense.

It’s not too different from the 54321 method, but it helps me and I tend to get out of my attacks faster. I hope it helps you too.

Are there any methods you use to get out of panic attacks? Let me know in the comments below.

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Short Story Sunday: “Plain” [328]

Short Story Sunday: "Plain" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

It happened in plain sight. Yet, no one witnessed it. No one called it in until much later. It wasn’t until a random passer-by felt as though something was wrong and felt the need to call the police. When the police arrived to the scene, they were baffled. A dead body of a man lay in the middle of the park. The park was a common place where people brought their children, couples took a stroll, people walked their dogs and let them roam unleashed. It was a laid-back place for all the citizens to come and enjoy themselves and each other’s company.

So, why was there a dead body in the middle of the grass without anyone to notice how he got there, when, and why?

Detective Wright was called to the scene the moment the police had realized what happened. When he arrived, he didn’t know what to expect. All he knew was there was a dead body in the middle of the park.

“Are there signs of struggle?”

“No.”

“Can you tell what may have caused his death?”

“No.”

“Were there any witnesses?”

“No one has come forward.”

“What about the person who called it in?”

“They threw a ball for their dog and when the dog didn’t come back, they went looking for it. They found their dog sniffing around the body.”

Detective Wright was beside himself. The police who initially arrived on the scene were unable to answer any of his questions. Not that the detective expected them to know the straight facts of the incident right away. However, this was such an odd case that he wasn’t entirely sure how to go about it.

“Did you ask any of the other people around the park? Where is the witness with the dog?” the detective asked.

The officer shook his head. “We haven’t asked anyone else yet. We immediately called you and then called for the coroner to come. The man with the dog is in the parking lot discussing the matter with another officer.”

Detective Wright nodded. “Alight, I want to talk to him right away. I want to be the first to know when the coroner arrives too.”

“Of course,” the officer nodded his head.

The detective left the scene and made his way to the parking lot. He saw a police officer standing by a squad car talking to a short man holding onto a lap dog in his arms. He made his way over and listened in to the last bit of conversation between the officer and the witness.

“So, to clarify, you played fetch with your dog,” the officer said, “and each time the dog brought the ball back. Until you threw it in another direction and your dog disappeared behind some bushes and didn’t come back? You went looked for it and that’s when you found it sniffing around the body.”

“Yes,” the man replied. “I immediately scooped up my dog in my arms, picked up the ball, and walked away. I called the police as soon as I was able to. I had left my cell phone in my car.”

“You didn’t check to see if the man was still alive at all?”

He shook his head. “He laid on his back with his eyes staring up at the sky unblinking. He wasn’t phased at all by my dog sniffing him. I assumed him to be dead or else I’m sure he would have reacted to my dog. Besides, I’ve seen those criminal shows. I know enough not to touch anything at a crime scene, especially a dead body.”

The officer nodded and wrote something down in his notepad.

Detective Wright stepped forward and reached out his hand to the witness. “Detective Ethan Wright. I take it you’re the man who discovered the body?”

The witness shook his hand in return with a nod. “James Hudson, yes. I found the body. Well, my dog did, I guess.”

“Please explain everything in detail to me. What time did you get here and around what time did you discover the body?”

“I arrived at the park with my pup around ten o’clock this morning. It was just about 10:20 or so when I threw the ball and my dog didn’t come back. It didn’t take me long to find him, of course. He didn’t go too far. So I guess I found the body around 10:20? It took me about five minutes or so to make it back to my car so I called the police around 10:25 or 10:30, I believe,” James explained.

“Did you happen to smell any odor?” Detective Wright asked.

“Like what?”

“Like a dead body?”

James shook his head. “I mean, it’s springtime and there’s a light breeze in the air. I didn’t smell anything except freshly mowed grass.”

Detective Wright narrowed his eyes. James took a step back.

“I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?” the witness wondered aloud.

“No, not at all. In fact, you said something that may help this case,” Detective Wright turned to the officer. “Go check when the lawn care is for the park, please. I want to know when the last time it was taken care of. Surely, if someone mowed the lawn, they would have noticed a body lying in the middle of the grass. Depending on when the time of death occurred, of course.”

The officer nodded and turned away to carry out his orders.

Detective Wright turned back to his witness. “Did that officer take your name, address, and phone number?”

“Yes,”

“Great. Don’t leave town,” Detective Wright turned away.

“Am I a suspect?” James asked.

“Not at the moment, no. However, we may need to get back in touch with you at some point to ask you any more questions. So, I would stay put if I were you,” The detective answered.

James nodded, looking nervous.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s just standard procedure,” Detective Wright said. “I would suggest you go home now though. We’re going to have to close off the park. Also, please don’t tell anyone about this. I’m not sure if this is ready to go public yet or not.”

James nodded again. He turned away with his dog and headed toward his car. Detective Wright saw him get in the car and drive away. He took note of the car make, color, and the license plate. He wanted to be better safe than sorry just in case. The detective didn’t see any reason to suspect James, but one could never be too careful.

As the witness left the lot, the coroner van pulled up. Detective Wright hadn’t had a chance to look at the body just yet and figured he could tag along with the coroner to inspect the scene before taking the body away.

As the detective waited for the coroner to get out of the van and gather her things, he wondered just what this case was going to have in store for him. It didn’t seem as though it was going to be an easy case. Then again, they never were.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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