A visit with my animals! #authorpets #writingcommunity #animalsinwriting #furbabies #authorfurbabies

Today I’m sharing my fur babies.

In the top left corner is the gray tuxedo cat, Rupert, who was originally my oldest daughter’s cat, and he moved in with us when he was almost a year old. He’s 16.5 years young and, although dealing with a few health issues, appears to have a few lives tucked away to use. He’s our mother cat who has brought home a baby squirrel who fell out of the cedar tree and a bird who left the nest too soon. He left them safely with me and they were taken to the wild animal rescue. Rupert loves to snuggle and keep all the cats clean and safe. He is very loving, although sometimes, he will let you know with a well-placed bite if over-petted. I have to wrap him like a burrito to give him his thyroid pills or suffer the consequences.

Our only dog is Sara, who is 13 years old. She is a Shepard mix, and we enjoy our walks together on the magical trail. She never lets me out of her sight and is on the frail side now. Although in her day, she found a way over the fence when a bear was near my husband. She is our bear chaser, and they are afraid of her. When Hermie, her companion, was alive, sometimes they would find ways to escape and wander. She would be the one who would come home smelling of skunk. Then it was time for that bath with my special mixture of cloves, hydrogen peroxide, soap, and whatever else I thought of to throw into the mix.

The handsome brown tiger cat with bright green eyes in the top right corner is Chester. He is also thirteen years old and was a feral kitten whose mom was killed in our backyard by a dog we rescued from the pound. We could not keep the dog after that, but luckily she found a good home without cats. Then I had to rescue the scared and wild kitten left behind. It took a few days, but I finally tricked him into the house with tuna. He has his own room because his feral comes out sometimes in ways we can’t live with. He is the only cat that goes outside. Chester is the sweetest of all our cats and gives good standing hugs.

Next in the bottom left corner is our biggest cat at twenty pounds with the one white spot on his chest, eight-year-old Coco. He was born a day later than his littermates and had some health challenges as a kitten with his lungs, allergies, and finding all the parts needed to fix him.  He was treated for his wheezing, and we figured out what he was allergic to that made his claws fall out. (cat sand) Those claws grew back, and after a few attempts, he was fully fixed. His charming personality makes him a celebrity at the vet. He is what I call a people-cat, and he is always bringing us his stuffed animal gifts, which you have to thank him, or he’ll meow until you notice. He and Chester dislike each other, though.

I adopted 2.5-year-old Luna with my grandson. He held her all the way home, and she snuggled under his chin. He was the one who named her. She is tiny but doesn’t know it. She loves music, especially when my husband plays his guitar. This all-black kitty with a single white whisker above her eyes is my husband’s biggest fan and fawns all over him when he is done playing. Coco fell in love with Luna so that she can get away with anything around him—and my husband. This kitty loves to cuddle under the covers but does not like to be held. When she wants in or out of a room, she will stand up and dig (without her claws) at the door until she is let in or out. She is the one that tries to escape outside, and it’s always at night. The chase is a game for her. Luna is clueless that mountain lions and coyotes won’t play with her.

Gray-striped Zuzu, named after the little girl on It’s a Wonderful Life, was a surprise addition to the family. While taking Luna to get her shots, I peeked at the kittens and went into the room with them. Well, I ended up with another cat when she sat at my feet with the cutest head tilt, and I figured Luna could use a playmate near her age. She is the most curious cat I’ve ever had and the most clumsy. If there is a crash in the house, Zuzu is the reason for it. She is why the roses I got for Valentine’s Day sit outside my window instead of the house. She is our lap cat and the one who will take care of any mice, lizards, or moths entering the house.

These are the animals that not only share our house but are my writing companions. When I write an animal or pet into my story, this devoted group has been influential in that process.

So, it’s not surprising that animals took a bigger role in my current story, A Voice in the Silence, that I’m currently finishing up. A dog, cat, and rat find an amiable lady who takes them in—of course, they aren’t your normal animals. More on that soon.




Leap of Faith—Writing! #writingcommunity #indieauthor #writingchallenges #authorsupport

I have been editing my current book, “A Voice in the Silence,” for what seems like forever! It was written during my first NaNoWriMo a couple of years back, with the idea of putting everything I could think of into it. I completed the challenge but was left with a mess.

I pulled all my ideas together, even adding something that fixed what I thought was a long, boring ending. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the editing phase this long, nor had the high levels of anxiety I’ve felt with this book.

When starting something new, I normally jump right into something and feel confident about my direction. This isn’t one of those times.

So, I keep going over this story and still finding little things to fix. I’ve put off thinking about a cover or writing the blurb. And I continue editing hoping to get it to a point where I feel like I can share it with some amazing beta readers that I know will be honest if anything doesn’t work.

My incredible critique group has gone over the first half of it and helped tighten it up, fix the glaring errors, and offer encouragement.

Yet, the anxiety was still there.

I reflected on that and came up with some reasonable conclusions. The last two years of fear and hate in our societies have bled over into my safe writing world and stirred up emotions I thought I had left in my past. Then there is the perfection I’m striving for from myself with this story while taking a step out of my comfort zone. The mixture of these things has made me question myself.

What seemed second nature to me, I’m now second-guessing everything as I learn how to improve my writing skills. It reminds me of when I first learned to drive a car. All the things I had to think about at first became so normal later.

There were days I wondered why I was doing this to myself. Luckily I was born in the tiger year and that helped feed my stubborn side and kept me going. My turning point came when I realized I couldn’t control the world outside of myself.

Like I mentioned in the last poem I shared here, the messages are powerful and abundant in my life. I forgot how to trust myself, pay attention to the little things, and take a leap of faith. I’m applying that not only to myself but to my writing.

It’s a big step to keep learning and growing while moving forward in my truth. The anxiety might keep trying to creep back in, but I know I’m doing what I am supposed to and telling the story I was meant to share. That is all we can do as writers and human beings.

Embrace that inner child and share its knowledge! D. L. Finn

#TANKATUESDAY Weekly #POETRY #CHALLENGE NO. 261, #PHOTOPROMPT @ColleenChesebro #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #haibun #haibunidyll #haibunpoem

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #261. This week’s challenge to write your poem was inspired by the Ekphrastic image below which was selected by Diana Peach.

A haibun ldyll immediately came to mind. It is a prose paragraph that ends with a haiku. I switched out the haiku and ended it with a senyru.

Pixabay.com, compliments of “Pretty sleepy.”


I could barely catch my breath. After all these years, there it was. All the world’s time surrounded me, but only the now was important. My hand shook as I reached out to place the crystal watch on the red door’s knob. Finally, I would understand what I had been searching for, what everyone wanted. The crystal’s energy merged into the black scrolled metal that glowed a deep red. Slowly the door began to open with a sucking whoosh. I stepped inside.

out of the darkness

breathing in the dazzling light

I found Shangri-la

February Book Reviews Part Two! #writingcommunity @Marjorie_Mallon @JillWeatherholt @JacqBiggar @PriscillaBettis #bookreviews #indieauthors #whattoread #yourreadinglist

Golden Healer (The Curse of Time #2)

by M.J. Mallon

“Golden Healer” picks up where the first book left off with Amelina maneuvering through her teen years while embracing her magic as a Krystallos. Some of my favorite parts were the interaction with the girl in the mirror and Amelina and her dad. Not only did the plot take the reader on a rollercoaster, but there was also an actual one in the story. Many good characters all played into finding out more about the darker side or shadows. Ryder is a character who could have an empathic side if he allowed it, but I did like how he developed in the story. Crystals and music added depth to Amelina’s learning quest. Her friendships are still strong and are tested with Ryder involved. There are some beautiful poetic parts, and I love the poetry at the beginning of each chapter. Although this book answers many questions, it also opened the door to new ones. I look forward to more stories from these characters.

Searching for Home

by Jill Weatherholt

“Searching for Home” is a wonderfully uplifting romance full of faith and miscommunication. Meg gives up her successful physical therapy practice to raise her sister’s triplets and take over the bed-and-breakfast. She’s struggling to make ends meet and fixing up the property. When an expected guest, Luke, shows up to recover from an injury—or her high school love. Both are hurting from the past, but right now, it’s the children who need attention and love after being discarded by their parents, along with the business. Meg is a wonderful character who tries to balance being a mother, running the inn, and still doing physical therapy while fighting her feelings for Luke. The love that still exists between the two is obvious to everyone but them. It was easy to have empathy for Luke and his past. I love how he jumped right in to help remodel and develop a bond with the children, especially Tucker. I read this in one sitting, hoping they’d finally have that talk. A sweet romance that I can highly recommend.


by Jacquie Biggar

Sierra has just gotten out of a poor relationship and her nest egg for opening her dream business was gone. Val has agreed to stay at his aunt’s place to take care of things while the aunt recovers from illness. Sierra and Val are thrown together, living in the same house, but immediately clash. It doesn’t help that Sierra works for Val’s sister and he overlooked telling her a few minor details. I like the tension between the two and all the character names, especially Cupid for the dog and Valentine for Val. This is a fast and fun read that I read in one sitting. It would be the perfect Valentine’s Day story or any day you want to celebrate love’s bloom.

The Hay Bale

by Priscilla Bettis

“The Hay Bale” is a short horror story filled with chilling passages and light on gore, which I prefer. Claire has miscarried four babies, was turned down for adoption, and her husband left her. She leaves her job as a professor in microbiology to regroup and heal from all her losses in a quaint country house called Small Claws. When things happen in her rented home, she asks questions, to which she finds some chilling answers. The single bale of hay behind the house adds a strange twist and fuels her curiosity. While Clair struggles with her issues within, some really strange things are going on around her. A spooky story with an ending I didn’t expect and easily read in one sitting.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

NOTE: Today is my seven-year anniversary of when I broke my foot (on Friday the 13th tripping over my black cat.) It turned out to be a good thing as it finally got me serious about publishing my work. Here is the blog from two years ago when I talked about this fall if you missed it 🙂 LINK

Life is short! Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. D. L. Finn

#TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #260. @ColleenChesebro #abhanga #poetry #poem #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poetrychallenge

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge #260. The challenge is to do Abhanga form which is 6a/6b/6b/4c. I did an Abhanga series and used a picture I took in Hawaii. The photo looks out of a dark cave into the light.

I have been getting more than my share of messages lately, including paying attention and trusting myself. As usual, I fought the unwelcomed changes at first, but I came to a point where I see the wisdom in letting go and going with this wiser flow.

sun shining into dark cave


abundant messages
surround my universe
as if brought by a curse
they are ignored

invasion continues
my suppression inept
finally, I accept
darkness ascends

golden beams filter through
cast light in the shadow
love’s compassionate flow
awakes my soul

February Book Reviews Part One! @startrailsIV @ninsthewriter @Sandra_Cox #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustreads #bookreviews

Flower Gardens And More

by Sandra Cox

“Flower Gardens And More” is a great book for those who love working in the garden or enjoying nature. There was an impressive array of topics that included planting zones, types of flowers, composting, poisonous flowers, themed garden, carnivorous plants, edible flowers, aromatherapy, and so much more! I enjoyed a quiz, which led me to my Florascope. I turned out to be an iris. There were charts which my old kindle didn’t do justice, but they were full of useful information. I loved this informative, well-presented, and fun read so much I ordered the print copy so I can refer to it as often as I like. Reading this made me eager to get into my garden and start designing and planting. A gardening guide I can highly recommend!

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

by Nina Romano

“The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley” is a captivating historical fiction set in the 1870s, New Mexico. Darby is a girl becoming a woman who cares for her father and brothers after her mother passes. She dreams of going to school to become a teacher, and Cayo is a slightly older farmhand with whom she has feelings. Their emotions finally come to the surface, but she has plans to go live with her aunts in St. Louis to get her education. This sets up a series of events that tests this new love. Cayo’s past is revealed slowly through flashbacks, showing what happened to his family and how he ended up part of the Jicarilla Apache tribe. He lives with heavy guilt while Darby wants to keep her promise to her mother. The detail given to history and daily life in New Mexico and St. Louis really made the setting and time come to life. Many parts were poetically described, which I fully appreciated. I loved Darby’s strength, honesty, and how she explored life. This is a wonderfully written story I couldn’t put down but didn’t want it to end either. I highly recommend this story and hope to read more about Darby and Cayo!

Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits (Dead Horse Canyon Saga Book 2)

by Marcha Fox, and Pete Risingsun

“Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” picks up where the first book left off. I loved “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” and eagerly dove into this story. Sara is back, still trying to carry on her husband’s last request to bring those corrupt in the government, and outside of it, to justice. She releases some information uncovered in the first book and puts her life in even more danger. Her father spends some time and money trying to protect and help her. While Charlie is working for a big corporation that violates the earth or everything his family believes in. I felt uncomfortable about his situation, but even though he made wrong decisions, they were all a part of his journey. It drew me deep into the story when it focused on Charlie, especially after his accident. Although, I was equally invested when a character from the first book went after Sara. I missed the interaction between Charlie and Sara in “Grandfather Spirits,” but I liked the individual journeys they went on. Charlie going home was my favorite part. All the small details and history held my attention, and the second half of the book was impossible to put down. I can’t wait to read the third story in the series and see what happens next.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review in that case, but I have been known to email the author:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!

Life is short! Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. D. L. Finn

New Release—Jagged Feathers by Jan Sikes! @jansikes3 #RomanticSuspense #WhiteRuneSeries #newrelease #whattoread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to have fellow Story Empire Author here today to share her good news—the release of Jagged Feathers. I just finished it, and LOVED it! Here’s my review on Amazon.

Thank you, Denise, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

I am a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway. He was such a brilliant writer, but he also possessed deep insight into certain aspects of life. I’ll never understand what drove him to commit suicide.

In Jagged Feathers, Nakina Bird keeps a Hemingway quote next to her computer, and it gives her hope for healing from her grief after losing her parents in a horrific accident.


She(Nakina) flashed on the Hemingway quote that was taped to the wall above her computer back home. The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

Finding the quote shortly after her parent’s death, she knew she had broken in places that would, by force, eventually be stronger. She wondered if it was the same for the soldier who had rescued her and so unselfishly and tenderly nursed her back to health.


I’ve given Hemingway’s words a lot of thought and find it them to be true. When my husband passed away, there is no question some part of me was broken. But when I started writing our story, piece by piece, the broken places began to mend and are now stronger than before. So, from a personal perspective, this quote is significant. Does the quote resonate with you in any way? I’d love to hear from you.



Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?













New Release— Golden Healer by M. J. Mallon! @Marjorie_Mallon #newrelease #YA #fantasy #bookrelease #writingcommunity #readinglist

I’m excited to welcome Marje Mallon here today to share her newest release Golden Healer The Curse of Time Book 2! I thoroughly enjoyed Bloodstone and Golden Healer. Click here for my review of Golden Healer: LINK


Dedicated to the one and only rollercoaster that I ever rode. It was in Portugal, and I was on holiday with my young family. I’ll never forget that day, I overcame my fears and rode a rollercoaster with the encouragement of my much-loved family, my husband, David, and daughters Natasha and Georgina. So, it’s time to ride another rollercoaster… I hope you will come along with me for this crazy ride! Let’s meet our fears together…


Golden Healer is The 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…

Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened, and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Series name: The Curse of Time Book 2

Release Date 23 January 2022


ISBN: 979-8407305149

Page Count 336 kindle

Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67

The Series is inspired by:

The Corpus Christi Chronophage clock on King’s Parade, Cambridge. Find out more here:



And Juniper Artland – artist Anya Gallaccio’s sculpture The Light pours out of Me. https://www.jupiterartland.org/art/anya-gallaccio-the-light-pours-out-of-me/

And the 2nd book Golden Healer mentions a popular old haunt of Cambridge which has since closed down – Clowns Cafe.


My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.

And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Accolades: M J is a finalist in the Fantasy category of N. N. Light’s Book Award for her novel Bloodstone and a finalist in the International author. She has also contributed best-selling short stories to Dan Alatorre’s Box Under The Bed anthologies.

Winner of the Blogger’s bash blogging prize with her flash fiction piece The Queen’s Dress Down Day. https://mjmallon.com/2018/03/21/the-bloggers-bash-blog-post-competition-2018-the-queens-dress-down-day/

Winner of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest with her murderous piece: Mr. Blamey https://carrotranch.com/2017/12/19/winner-of-flash-fiction-contest-7/

Also By M J Mallon

Next Chapter Publishing

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1)




Kyrosmagica Publishing

Mr Sagittarius (Poetry, prose and photography)


This Is Lockdown (Anthology/Compilation)

Kindle: http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Paperback: http://mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity (Poetry Collection)


Contributor to:

Writing Skills Anthology

100 Ways to Write A Book compiled by Alex Pearl: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09PHHC2YX/

Chasing Driftwood’s A Year of Writing Through Lockdown:


Short Stories in Anthologies:

Bestselling horror compilations

Nightmareland edited by Dan Alatorre

Scrabble Boy (short story)

Spellbound edited by Dan Alatorre

The Twisted Sisters (short story)

Wings & Fire edited by Dan Alatorre

The Great Pottoo (short story)

Authors Links

Authors Website

Authors Amazon Page

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms)

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page


Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook



Author Instagram


New Release—Pour It On (Keystone Couples Novella) by Staci Troilo @stacitroilo #writingcommunity #newrelease #indieauthor #whattoread #bookreview #romance

Today I’m sharing the good news of fellow Story Empire Author, Staci Troilo’s latest release—Pour It On and my review!


Bold, complex, vibrant. The wine is, too.

Despite Romy Chandler hosting a romantic meet-and-greet at her restaurant, she’s all business. When her sommelier quits without any notice—to work for the competition, no less—she goes into mega-mogul-mode. The last thing on her mind is finding a man. She’s looking for someone who knows his way around a Bordeaux, not the boudoir.

Rick Santucci grew up in his family’s vineyard. After years of hard work, he’s turned his grandfather’s humble produce farm into a profitable winery. Once he gets their bottles into the right establishments, he’ll be able to acquire more land and move into the next phase of the company’s expansion. His mother thinks the next stage should be a wife and children, but his sights are set on different fertile grounds.

When Rick and Romy meet, they both forget all about their ambitions. The evening becomes less about revenue than romance, and they get distracted by the music and wine. She thinks he’s the man she needs, both in the restaurant and out. He finds her to be the perfect partner on the dance floor and believes she’ll be the perfect business partner, too. But a series of mix-ups could put an end to everything they’ve started—personally and professionally.


Pour It On (Keystone Couples)

by Staci Troilo

“Pour It On” is the second novella in the Keystone Couple series, of which I was already a fan. Romy owns a restaurant, and her sommelier quit right before Valentine’s Day and an event. Luckily, she was able to get three candidates to interview for the job. Romy is simply trying to resolve what seems like an impossible situation, and I sympathized with her. Her quick wit, strength, and determination to make her business a success made her an interesting character to root for. I loved the humor in this story, along with the misunderstandings and miscommunications. Rick works for his family winery and is looking to expand sales and do right by his family. I love when — and how — Romy and Rick meet. “Pour It On” pulled me in from the first line and made me smile. I can highly recommend this quick read and fun love story that captivated me.

You can pick up your copy here: PURCHASE LINK

Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor.

Staci is a multi-genre author. Her fiction is character-driven, and despite their protests, she loves to put them in all kinds of compromising or dangerous situations.

You can find out more about Staci on her website!