Born in Memphis, TN, Dannye Williamsen is insightful and innovative in her approach to life, and her writing is designed to share that experience with you. In "Second Chances" and its sequel "The Threads That Bind," Dannye offers you characters whose strength and humor in the face of adversity draws you into their world. Her subtle unfolding of the lives of her characters, especially the adversaries, manipulate your emotions until you are no longer able to place them neatly into their predetermined roles.
Her first nonfiction work with co-author John Dean Williamsen titled "It's Your Move! Transform Your Dreams From Wishful Thinking To Reality" won a Bronze Award in the 2004 Book of the Year Awards. Through Williamsen Publications, she offers nonfiction books and CDs to help you appreciate who you really are; apply what you learn to your day-to-day experiences; and finally, just experience the joy of change. Her nonfiction writings seek to provide information that not only helps you balance your physical, emotional and intellectual centers, but helps you develop a conscious awareness of your use of them.
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Smashwords book reviews by Dannye Williamsen
- Like Casablanca
on Feb. 20, 2011
Like Casablanca Is A Tasty Dish!
Cat Ryan, the main character in Like Casablanca, is on the cusp of forty. So, it’s not clear whether this book is Chick-Lit or its older sister, Hen-Lit. What is clear is that it has all the elements of a Chick-Lit romantic comedy. It has a confiding, personal tone, accomplished through compelling first person prose. Cat’s flip, yet endearing attitude toward herself draws you into her story. Her feistiness, while a refreshing quality, could also be her undoing.
Having suffered a devastating breakup with Josh, Cat is at an unsettled time in her life, and it is reflected in her business life. She is working part time in an antiques shop for Scotty, her gay best friend, and trying to make extra money writing a blog on the pitfalls of Internet Dating for her former magazine editor. At the same time, she has promised herself to write her dream book on Renaissance art when she gets around to it!
When her path crosses that of Rick Blake, the handsome owner of Rick’s Café ,she quickly learns that Scotty’s description of the café as being “like Casablanca” was more telling than she could have imagined. Rick is not only mysterious, he is dangerously irresistible to Cat. Unfortunately, fate continually conspires to keep them apart. Will Cat’s cheekiness and Rick’s dispassionate air work against each other? Are they destined to give up the great love of their lives – like in Casablanca?
Told from the first person, Like Casablanca was entertaining and humorous. Sylvia Massara allowed her main character to be real. It was like listening to your closest friend filling you in on all the latest. Cat Ryan wallowed when she felt like it, was a good friend when she needed to be, and struggled to stay above water financially—just like most of us do even if we don’t want to admit it. All the while, she never really gave up hope of finding someone special to share her life.
The biggest complaint I had about Massara’s writing is that she was so descriptive in describing food dishes that I wound up reading this book to the tune of my stomach growling!
- Project: Dragonslayers
on May 11, 2011
From Misfits To Heroes
Project: Dragonslayers is set in a military environment, which was not a difficult adjustment for the author, Kathy Rowe, who comes from a military family and has spent 22 years in the Air Force herself.
Lieutenant Colonel Eagle Tryggvesson is a gritty woman determined to bring her dream of developing a Joint Service Special Forces Team, tagged the “dragonslayers,” into existence despite the opposition of the self-serving and as she discovers, disreputable Admiral Westland.
Despite what you might expect, the story is not really about the military as much as it is about rites of passage. The behavior of each man has separated him from his group or his rank. In facing the legal consequences of his actions, he is in transition from the military life he has known to one that is unknown. Becoming part of the Dragonslayers’ team is the beginning of the third phase of the rite of passage for each of these men. The process of becoming a team—learning to trust each other and to stretch themselves beyond their own expectations—creates a sacred bond between them. At the end of this rite of passage, each team member achieves a new status for themselves.
Lieutenant Colonel Tryggvesson is not exempt from this rite of passage. As the leader of Project: Dragonslayers, she has separated herself from the good graces of her superior, who is now Admiral Westland, the man who wants the base for his own project as a “safe location” for high ranking officers to keep an eye on things—complete with all the amenities! As Westland continues to sabotage her efforts, she finds herself in transition, having to lay aside her controlled approach for one that is more fluid, more responsive to the moment. Then she, too, experiences the transformation from being part of a team struggling to become whole and discovers a new side of herself in the process.
The length of this novel (577 pages) may be daunting to some, especially if you read it as an ebook; however, the story is entertaining and the characters are flawed as they should be and will surprise you with their resilience. It is worth the read.
Reviewed by Dannye Williamsen www.BreakthroughBookstore.com
- Cats: Instructions For Use
on Jan. 11, 2012
"Cats: Instructions For Use Or How To Survive Being Owned By A Cat" by Annarita Guarnieri is the first nonfiction book I have chosen to review. I was hesitant at first because my only relationship with cats has been through swollen eyes and sneezing. I have to admit that even though I don’t own a cat and never expect to own one, I was pleasantly entertained by the author’s illuminating descriptions of a life with cats. Not only was it educational for feline owners, whether newbies or veterans, it also provided through personal anecdotes a glimpse of the joys and yes, even the hurdles awaiting them.
Annarita is a native of Italy and having spent many years as an English/Italian translator, has developed a grasp of English phrasing that makes her writing easy to read. In this delightful book she has given a new twist to the typical “how-to” genre by drawing you into her own obviously blissful co-existence with her 34 cats.
- The Soul Bearers
on Jan. 19, 2012
Once the mystical tale of the Soul Bearers is revealed, the impending sorrow is evident. However, "The Soul Bearers" is not about this loss. It is about the journey that surrounds the loss. It is about discovering unconditional love, about letting go of the past in order to rejoice in the present, about learning how to love yourself enough to be open and receptive to life. Author Sylvia Massara does an excellent job of weaving the psychological evolution of the characters into the story, drawing you into their pain as well as their joy.
Alex is a woman who was damaged by her stepfather’s abuse and left home at fifteen, eventually becoming a travel writer, which allows her to avoid commitments to people or places. Her life begins to change when she makes her first commitment to putting down roots and facing her fears because it draws her into the world of Matthew and Steve.
Matthew is the gay and extraordinarily handsome partner of Steve, who is dying of AIDS. Thrown out of his home when his father discovered he was gay, Matthew depended on friends for support until he met Steve, who became the love of his life. Despite the joy of having Steve in his life, Matthew has never reconciled his feelings about being rejected so completely by his parents or the superficiality of those attracted solely by his looks.
Steve has had to face the ultimate challenge—the knowledge that he is dying. He has developed a sense of peace around the process—a peace that allows him to offer those around him unconditional love and understanding. It is a gift that both Alex and Matthew need if they are going to survive their pasts.
It takes courage to change one’s life, and Massara’s characters exhibit this reality of change. Massara doesn’t trivialize the effort required or sugarcoat the angst involved, which makes it all the more real for the reader. You may be surprised at the turn of events in this novel, but Massara doesn’t disappoint as she takes you on an emotional journey that will touch your heart.