TANKA TUESDAY POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 209, #POET’SCHOICE @ColleenChesebro #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Tanka #Poetry #Poem


I decided to use a photograph I took last weekend while on a Harley ride as my Tanka’s inspiration.

Now usually in January, the Yuba River is flowing high, but not this year. The warm winter day brought out not only people but something else too.


In the reflection

On a warm winter morning

Over the river

I heard the fairy’s sweet song

That awakened my magic.


A Celebration! @StoryEmpire #celebration #storyempire #writing #authors #WritingCommunity #authorsupport

I’m thrilled and honored to announce I’ve been asked to join the amazing authors of Story Empire!

They have really rolled out the red carpet, so stop by and join the celebration 🙂

We’re Rolling Out the Red Carpet!


When Poetry is Healing. #poetry #tanka #writingcommunity #poem #nature #naturepoetry #IARTG #ASMSG #healingpoetry

I haven’t been writing as much as I normally do over the last several months. It was only poetry I could turn to, and even then, not as often. This new year brought in with it lots of hope, but I don’t think our past lessons are quite done with us and add more worry to our lives.

So, one way I clear out my worries is poetry and nature. Sitting outside and taking in the forest’s splendor surrounding me is healing.

When I sit on my cement bench with pen and paper, the words find their way into my pink journal. At that moment, my soul has opened.

Here’s a Tanka I wrote a couple of weeks ago.



Winter’s sweet silence

Quietly I exhale

Into the frigid air

Along my magical trail

Here is where I find my peace.


Watch for an exciting announcement this week.

The Monthly Newsletters will go out on the 20th. If you are subscribed check your email.

Embrace your inner child with poetry! May we all find that peace we are seeking. D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #32. #IARTG #FlashFiction #poem #poetry #haibun #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot

Here is my poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ New Image Prompt Week #32.

This is another Haibun Poem that is a prose paragraph(s) and Haiku/Senryu that connect based on the picture below.


Darkness was closing in on Dara as the purple sunset’s last streaks gave way to the stars peeking through heavy clouds. The branches clawed at her arms and legs as she pushed her way through the brush. Her sweatshirt couldn’t hold back the icy chill that threatened snow. Dara had escaped that crazy man who grabbed her at the bus stop. She’d walked all day through the thick forest and was positive she’d put enough distance between her and evil, but now she was lost. A chill raced through Dara as she remembered his garbled words behind the clown mask.

“No one will hear you scream here, Little Miss.”

He hadn’t even bothered to learn her name. Dara rammed her foot into a log that sent a jolt of pain through her body. Tears ran freely down her face as she sunk onto the crunchy forest floor. Her hand bumped into a cold glass object that had the bitter scent of kerosene. She felt its handle and base. It was a lantern just like her grandma would use when the power went out. There was a package of matches taped to the top. She struck the wooden match and was rewarded with the scent of sulfur and an orange flame. Hopeful, she turned the knob and held the match to the wick. It worked. The night became a little less scary in the lantern’s warm glow. Please show me how to get back to my family.

Her prayers were answered

When the magical lantern

Brought her safely home.


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021 New Image Prompt #30! #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #poem #poetry #Haibun

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021. New Image Prompt #30.

Sorry, I’m a little late posting this.

When I saw the plane leaving I thought about my character, Coral, watching her parents fly away. So, this is based on “Dolphin’s Cave.”

This is a Haibun Poem that is a prose paragraph and Haiku/Senryu that connect.


She clung to her aunt’s chilled hand as the plane disappeared behind the heavy gray clouds. In her other hand was the smooth, silver dolphin pendant, a gift from her parents for her 8th birthday. It symbolized the promise of a happy future. The sparkling smile and final wave from her mother had settled into a content calm as she turned away. She’d mark each day carefully on her ocean calendar until they returned from their business trip. Soon, they would make that tropical journey together.

Plane found in the sea
Her parents lost but not found
Hope held up her heart.


January Book Reviews! @gmplano @riverrmann @Sandra_Cox @JanSikes3 @CathleenTowns @sgc58 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #bookreviews #mustread #indieauthors

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries

by Sally Cronin

“Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” is a perfect blend of poetry and short stories. The poetry is tucked between the stories that bestowed beautiful images that completed the picture the collection of short stories offered. The characters were engaging, and I could feel empathy for their situation, good or bad. There were five categories covered, and I enjoyed each subject and story. It was like reading about people I already knew. I rooted for the woman with an abusive husband, felt the heartbreak of a woman who had lost a child, and laughed when a woman went to buy her groceries. This collection offers hope in everyday situations. A well-written and heartfelt book that I highly recommend!

Twelve Tales of Christmas: Fantasy and Contemporary Stories to Brighten Your Holidays

by Cathleen Townsend

“Twelve Days of Christmas” was just what I was looking for to read over the holiday season, but this could be read any time of the year. It’s a varied fictional collection that includes a dragon and trolls but had some heartwarming family stories too. There wasn’t a story I didn’t enjoy, but the two that stood out to me were “The Angel in the Tree” and “Snowman.” I loved the idea of a being, or the angel, attached to a tree and a young boy’s quest to help the tree survive. In “Snowman,” seeing a family’s story through an ornament was not only unique but a clever way to show what happened. I highly recommend this collection and will be reading more from this author! Five-Stars!

Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series)

by Jan Sikes

“Ghostly Interference” is Ms. Sikes’ debut fictional novel. I’ve read all her memoirs and short stories and have loved them, so I was excited about this book. It didn’t disappoint with the drama and otherworldly presence. My favorite character was Rena, a hard-working waitress who rides a red Harley. I had to warm up to Jag, who was cautious and in an unpleasant situation at work. Luckily, his mother had left him open to excepting otherworldly experiences. Both characters grew, and their interactions had a nice spark. The realistic details put into the story really captured what it’s like to ride on a motorcycle, along with a glimpse into the music world. This is not only a steamy romance, but it gives the characters room to become who they are, with a paranormal nudge. The end had me on the edge of my seat, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes. A well-written tale that I recommend. Five-Stars!

Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter

by Sandra Cox

Gwen is a young woman who’s raising her little brother with the help of a family friend, Chen. She took after her father, who was a Bounty Hunter. After a job, she comes home to a man who saved her family from a would-be robber. The hero, Jordie, leaves the minute the sheriff arrives. Gwen finds out that Jordie is wanted, but she doesn’t go after him after saving her family. Gwen wants to move to Montana and start a new life on a horse ranch, so she takes the job of catching three of the worst outlaw brothers. I love Gwen’s strength and ability to take care of herself in a time when women were more dependent on men. Promising one last job to her little brother, she sets off, against the sheriff’s advice, to catch her outlaws and earn her big retirement payoff. She ends up with an unexpected partner. I love the relationship that develops between them on the trail. There are great conversations and plenty of action. As the two learn about each other, a dog finds them. You can’t help but fall in love with these amazing characters or the dog. I didn’t expect a couple of twists, and the scenery was detailed, making me feel like I was along on the ride. This is an exciting Western romance that I didn’t want to end, but it did, and very satisfactorily. I hope we aren’t done hearing from Gwen Slade. She’s a wonderful heroine. I highly recommend “Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter.” Five-Stars!

The Adventures of Ollie Orangutan

by Larry Landgraf

“The Adventures of Ollie Orangutan” is a charming story for middle-grade readers about an orangutan named Ollie. Young Ollie was being transported by train to a new zoo when the train crashed. He was able to escape into a swamp area, tasting freedom for the first time. Thrown into something he’s never had to deal with before captured my heart. I didn’t want to put it down and needed to know what was going to happen next. He learned who to trust, including himself. There is a lot of detail Mr. Landgraf brought into the story adding more depth to the dangers that lurk in a swamp for Ollie. I bought this book for my ten-year-old granddaughter for Christmas. I make it a point to read children’s books before gifting them. The story pulled me right in, and I know my granddaughter will love it as much as I did. Five-Stars

The Culmination: a new beginning

by Gwen M. Plano

“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series. Five-Stars!


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!

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! Happy 2021 🙂 D. L. Finn


#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 209 @ColleenChesebro #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Haiku #Haiga

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s final challenge this year, No. 209! The theme is to write about hope in a favorite poetry form.

This picture and poem fit how I interpreted hope. I feel like I’m riding into 2021 after a very long ride. I’m stiff, hungry, and tired. Yet, my hope reawakens as we roar into the new year, where a warm fire, a comfortable couch, and a nice meal await.

Why did I choose Haiku/Senryu? They have become one of my favorite poetry formats to use, especially with photographs. I love being able to say a lot in sparse wordage. Freeform poems will always be where I can fully express myself, but making each word count in a Haiku/Senryu Poem’s limited space is a challenge I’m enjoying.

I took this picture from the back of the Harley. (This is one of the calendar pictures. I did this instead of Christmas cards.)

HAPPY 2021! May it be filled with blessings and happiness 🙂


New Release! “Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter” by Sandra Cox @Sandra_Cox #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #westernread #westerns #newrelease #mustread #romance #bountyhunter #strongfemalecharacters

I’m VERY excited to have Sandra Cox here today to share the release of her exciting new book, “Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter”!

My review is at the end of the post.

Thanks so much for having me today, Denise.

Old West Factoid:

There were bounties in the thousands for some outlaws, i.e. Jesse James. But the majority of the bounties were in the low hundreds or less.

Bounty hunter Gwen Slade always gets her man. Until she meets charming outlaw Jordie Kidd.

After Jordie saves her family, she finds she can’t in good conscience turn him in, even if he is worth a thousand dollars dead or alive. Instead she sets her sights on the meanest, most-wanted gang in Kansas. Gwen always works alone until she goes after the gang then finds herself partnering with an unlikely source.

This time around, not only her life, but her heart is on the line.



“Hello, in camp.”

She cursed under her breath as she recognized the voice.

“Come in and keep your hands where I can see them.”

Jordie Kidd rode in.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m coming with you.”

Her jaw went slack and she stared at him. Recovering herself, she snapped it shut. “No, you’re not.”

“Yes, Gwen. I am.”

He swung out of his saddle.

“Get back on your horse and ride out of here.” For emphasis, she motioned with Betsy.

She might as well have saved her breath she thought in irritation as he loosened the saddle girdle of his Appaloosa.

“If what I hear about you is true, we’re the two fastest guns in Kansas and we’ll still be at a disadvantage going up against those boys.”

“Don’t you understand English? You aren’t coming with me.”

“Worried about your virtue?” He threw her an amused look.

“No. And even if I were it wouldn’t have anything to say to the matter. Now get on out of here.”  She motioned again with Betsy.

“I’m not going anywhere. Get used to it. I’ll sleep on this side of the campfire if it makes you feel better.” He motioned to the far side of the fire. “Though we’d be a sight warmer if we were sharing some body heat. Strictly platonic you understand.” He flashed that disarming grin again.

She stared, trying to figure out how the situation had gotten so quickly out of her control. Throwing up her free hand, she set down Betsy, dug into her saddlebag and tossed him a piece of jerky. “You can ride with me to the next town, but that’s as far as you’re going.


Available at Amazon.



About Sandra Cox

Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Her stories consist of all things western and more.

She can be found at .   If you’d like to stay abreast of what’s going on in her world and any new releases you can send a note in her comment form while you are there.  Or simply sign up on the follow by email request form. Her twitter handle is: Sandra_Cox and her Amazon page is


Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter

by Sandra Cox

Gwen is a young woman who’s raising her little brother with the help of a family friend, Chen. She took after her father, who was a Bounty Hunter. After a job, she comes home to a man who saved her family from a would-be robber. The hero, Jordie, leaves the minute the sheriff arrives. Gwen finds out that Jordie is wanted, but she doesn’t go after him after saving her family. Gwen wants to move to Montana and start a new life on a horse ranch, so she takes the job of catching three of the worst outlaw brothers. I love Gwen’s strength and ability to take care of herself in a time when women were more dependent on men. Promising one last job to her little brother, she sets off, against the sheriff’s advice, to catch her outlaws and earn her big retirement payoff. She ends up with an unexpected partner. I love the relationship that develops between them on the trail. There are great conversations and plenty of action. As the two learn about each other, a dog finds them. You can’t help but fall in love with these amazing characters or the dog. I didn’t expect a couple of twists, and the scenery was detailed, making me feel like I was along on the ride. This is an exciting Western romance that I didn’t want to end, but it did, and very satisfactorily. I hope we aren’t done hearing from Gwen Slade. She’s a wonderful heroine. I highly recommend “Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter.” Five-Stars!





I’m attempting something new, a renga poem based on the image below.

I borrowed Colleen’s explanation of this type of poem from her site.

A renga poem is a cooperative poem, written by two or more poets.

The first three lines, the hokku (haiku portion in 5/7/5),  are written by Colleen.

The next two lines are mine. They are called the wakiku: two seven-syllable lines that connect with the interaction between the different links.

More information here: Cheatsheet

hazy reflections—

crows gather to remember

the gifts of summer

As winter slowly creeps in

Burying those sweet memories.




New Release! “Ghostly Interference” by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #newrelease #mustread #newage #runes #solider #ghosts

I’m thrilled to have Jan Sikes here today to share her new release, “Ghostly Interference!”


Ghostly Interference is book one in The White Rune Series. I am often asked the question, “What are runes?” 

Here’s the simple answer. In the academic sense, the runes are known as the characters in a group of alphabets used to write in various languages spoken by the Germanic peoples of Europe, during a period starting roughly in the first century B.C. and ending several hundred years later. Over time, the runes were gradually replaced by the letters we know today as the Latin alphabet.

However, unlike our modern letters, runic symbols had been in use for magical purposes long before they were fashioned into a writing system. The runes carried deep meanings for the people who used them, and for this reason, they never disappeared completely, even though once they were outlawed by the Christian church.

Today, it is quite common to see runes in New Age metaphysical shops and, much like the Tarot cards, are used for divination.

In Ghostly Interference, a white rune stone with the Wunjo symbol inscribed on it came into Rena Jett’s hands through a soldier who had served in Afghanistan with her brother, Sam.


Rena stood. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing Sam’s letter to me.”

Vann got to his feet with a groan. “You are most welcome. Like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones.” Pride still showed in his face. He wasn’t going to let anyone pity him.

They walked toward their vehicles. Before he climbed into the Jeep, she softly kissed his cheek. “Take care, Vann Noble, and I’ll be in touch if I find a cabin for you.”

“Thanks, Rena. I’ll drop by the diner tomorrow for a meal and to check on you.”

He got inside and slammed the door, then turned over the engine and backed out.

Rena stood until he was out of sight. She glanced at the letter she clutched in her hand and held it up to her pounding heart.

Somehow, she couldn’t force herself to go home. She sat with her back against the tree, beside Candy Kicker, and carefully opened the envelope with trembling hands.

A white, oval-shaped, polished stone that bore an odd symbol, a straight line with a triangle attached the top, tumbled out. She quickly picked it up and turned it over. An unusual warmth filled her hand and radiated up her arm.

She wiped her eyes and read the letter.

Hey, Lil’ Bit,

If you’re reading this, then I didn’t make it home

from this damned war. Writing last letters is something

all my buddies have started doing. We made promises

to each other to deliver or mail them to wives,

girlfriends, mothers, or whoever if we don’t make it. So,

after seeing lots of men go down, I decided I owed you

some last words.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the stone

enclosed. Now, don’t go thinking this is some weird

religion shit. It is a talisman. A guy I met over here

from California gave it to me, and now I want you to

have it. It’s called a “Rune”. Go to the library and look

them up. They’re from an ancient alphabet and were

used by the Norsemen hundreds of years ago. The

symbol on this white rune is called Wunjo and is the

“happily-ever-after” symbol. Sis, that’s what I want for

you. It’s what you deserve.

We had so many dreams when we were kids. I still

  1. I’ve never stopped wanting to go to college and

help kids like us that are stuck in a broken foster care


But, to do that, I would have to survive. Seems like

that’s what life’s been for you and me from the start,

but we now have the choice to make it better…

Throughout the rest of the story, Rena begins to understand and embrace the magic of the rune that her brother sent.

Have you ever heard of the Runes, or had any experience with them? I’d love to hear about it.

This is a photo of a set of Runes I own and a single photo of the ‘Wunjo’ symbol.


Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?








Formatting and a Healing Hike! #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #nature #hike #sierranevada #theforest #formatting

This is my last regular post for 2020. Next week I will do the “Books That Changed Me, ” and I might still do a challenge or two.

Also, this week I will have three guests visiting my blog. Don’t miss sharing their good news.

I finally got out my print copy of Dolphin’s Cave. This was my first attempt at formatting a book for eBook and Print.  I’ve had some experience with using Kindle Create for my short stories. Smashwords requires a bit more work. However, I made my first TOC, which was easy for Amazon’s copy, but not Smashwords. I finally gave up on including one on Smashwords.

Then I began the process of the print book. I printed out Amazon’s instructions. I read through the 16 pages and went through each step. I put a check by each one I did. This was a bit time-consuming. I learned a few things, including what a Drop Cap was. I wished I had that information when I did the eBooks, but now I know.

My brain was exhausted when I finally hit the last step, ready to upload to Amazon. Whew! During the preview, I found it had margin issues. So back I went to fix those…then I uploaded again. This one passed and then went into review.

It made its way onto Amazon and I was happy with the results. I’ll have to see how it goes with Ingram Sparks soon. Only one mishap that I couldn’t figure out how to fix. I won’t share what it was, but it will grace my print copies. I’m calling it my “Wizard of Oz” moment when the TV goes from black and white to color.

So after heavy editing Dolphin’s Cave in October, NaNoWriMo in November, and then going right into the final edit and formatting for Dolphin’s Cave…I needed a break. The sun broke through after some much-needed rain. Well, really sprinkles, but we’ll take it.

These pictures are from this break on a hike near Nevada City, CA with my husband and our dog, Sara.

I felt a calm wash over me, being part of nature’s beauty. You might recognize the spot, I’ve posts pictures from there before, but this day held some healing magic.

Note: The top picture of the waterfall and rocks is exactly as I took it. The river and puddle was golden with the trees reflected in the puddle. I know the fairies had to be close by.

Embrace your inner child! Happy Holidays! D. L. Finn



‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #29 Final Image Prompt for 2020! #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #tanka #poetry

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s week #29 ‘Fiction in a Flash Challenge.’

This image reminded me of dreams that were just out of reach. I wrote a few Tanka poems about that. This is the one that fits the picture the best.

Tanka is 5/7/5/7/7.


Life’s long pathway

Tugs me towards its promise

Always out of reach…

Undeterred, I keep going

Until I reach my rainbow.


RELEASE DAY! “Dolphin’s Cave” by D. L. Finn. #writingcommunity #newrelease #childrensbook #youngYA #preteen #fantasy #dolphins #otherworlds #hawaii #IARTG #ASMSG #HappyBDayJeff

It’s finally here! Release day for “Dolphin’s Cave.”

This is my first attempt to format a book, so I’m still working on the print version, but the ebook is available on Amazon and Smashwords. The print is following soon, in time for Christmas shopping.

“Dolphin’s Cave” is a book that is for children and preteens as well as those who are young at heart:)


The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?


Chapter 1

In Her Dreams

Darkness came as it did every evening—quietly and completely. Slumber always brought the same dreams ever since Coral Dover’s parents’ plane had disappeared off the radar en route from Oahu to Maui. Coral never gave up hope that her parents were somewhere waiting to be found. Her faith had been solid for eight long years, but now it was eroding like rocky sea cliffs, constantly being battered by the ocean’s salty reality. Her escape was her dreams. Every night the same events replayed, but they seemed new every time—like dream-state amnesia. Covers over her head and eyes tightly shut, sleep engulfed her as she sank into hope.


The ocean water was warm as she swam away from the protected cove of a black sandy beach. Suddenly a painless grasp at her legs pulled her underwater. There was no fear, only curiosity. The deeper she went, the cooler the water became, yet she wasn’t cold. More important, though, she wasn’t fighting to breathe.

Eyes burning from the saltwater, she couldn’t see who or what pulled her. Abruptly she was released and settled into a neutral buoyancy. Surroundings came into focus. The blue encased her, and there was no way to tell which way was up. Goosebumps covered her arms, and she turned around. She saw a turtle and a dolphin—her kidnappers.

The turtle held back while the dolphin moved in and nudged her leg with its snout and then turned away from her. It was ten feet long, dark gray on top fading to white underneath. She knew it was a bottlenose dolphin thanks to her mom, who had written and illustrated a children’s book called What’s Swimming in the Hawaiian Sea?

Coral used to insist that her mom read her newly published book to her before bed. This turtle looked exactly like the one in the book—a green sea turtle, or honu, as the Hawaiians called it. It was brown and about three feet wide. Unsure what to do next, she watched the turtle and let the memories surface.

“The turtle’s name comes from its adult diet of seagrass and other plants, which are stored in its fat and turn it green. The color isn’t external, but internal.” A warm smile danced across her mom’s face. “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was judged by the color of their fat, or what was on the inside and not the outside?”

Waves of her past washed over her every time she thought about her parents. Instead of drowning in her pain, she was kept afloat by the hope of one day seeing them.

The dolphin nudged her with its nose again, bringing her back to this dream reality. Its expression looked like a smile. She knew there was a mouthful of teeth behind that smile that the dolphin used to catch food. Coral was caught. The dolphin nodded its head, then swam under her and waited. Carefully and gently she touched its fin. The dolphin showed no signs of being upset by her touch. It didn’t attempt to bite or release a burst of bubbles from its blowhole. Both good signs, yet she held back.

The dolphin took control and pushed up under her. And just like that, she was riding it. She clung to its dorsal fin as it swam, surfacing every seven minutes to breathe. She almost slipped off a few times, but the dolphin slowed and maneuvered so that she could adjust herself. Unlike the dolphin, who breathed air, Coral was able to breathe both air and water.

How am I doing this?

Bewildered, she focused on what was occurring, how the water entered new slits on her neck and exited through her nose. When they broke the water’s surface, she took in air through her nose or mouth. The dolphin’s process was different. It blew out its used air from a blowhole on top of its head when it surfaced, sounding much like a balloon quickly losing air. Then it sucked air in through the same hole and refilled its lungs. Coral’s intake of air was quiet yet dramatic as she switched from water to air.

The dolphin stopped and waited in the sunlight, which was blinding. Coral’s eyes watered from the salt while they slowly adjusted. There was a small island off to the right, and the dolphin swam in that direction. There were no hotels or people around. Was she going to be stranded here, or was there another purpose? A knowing poured through her. Her parents were stranded somewhere and couldn’t get back to her.

There was no sand on this shoreline, only jagged black rocks from years of volcanic eruptions. They were heading for the tallest cliff when the turtle bumped against her leg.

“Where are we going?”

They swam right up to the cliff.

“Are my parents here?”

The dolphin dove into the clear blue water. A school of bright yellow-and-blue fish swam by, and Coral saw an underwater cave straight ahead. Her grip tightened on the dolphin’s fin as they swam into it. She could see lights ahead. Finally they were about to surface, and she’d have some answers—




Embrace your inner child… always! D. L. Finn


December Book Reviews! @TPolen6 @Dwallacepeach @CynthiaSReyes @jamescudney4 @bakeandwrite #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook

by Robbie Cheadle

I love seeing Ms. Cheadle’s cooking creations on social media. They are always fun and creative. When it was time to buy my granddaughters a gift, I knew a book about fairies and cooking would be the perfect fit for my four- and five-year-old grandkids. Before wrapping the book up, I read it. I was charmed with the story, loved the recipes, and impressed mother and son wrote it. I look forward to reading this with my youngest grandchildren and then picking a recipe to make together. This is a great combination book to give as a present!

Myrtle the Purple Turtle
by Cynthia Reyes

I bought this for my youngest granddaughter for Christmas. I knew she’d love the bright illustrations and a story that involved a turtle. Before wrapping and placing it under the tree, I read it. I loved the message behind this story. A purple turtle wanted to be green like the rest of the turtles. This is an excellent lesson to accept yourself and others for who they are. I can’t wait to watch her open her gift so we can enjoy this wonderful story together. I highly recommend this young children’s book.

Hiding Cracked Glass (Perceptions of Glass #2)

by James J. Cudney

This sequel has outdone the first book that I loved, “Watching Glass Shatter.” The story is based on a blackmail note found and a party. The name is unreadable on the envelope, so Olivia doesn’t know who the letter is for, adding another layer to the mystery. The story is told through multiple POVs, which gives insight into what is going on in this family. I found a couple of characters made me mad at how they were acting, and I had a lot of empathy for the young widow, Emma. The mother, Olivia, has grown stronger and wants to do the right thing if she can figure out what that is. The sons each have their issues, making them think they are the subject of this note, which kept me guessing until the reveal. As the plot weaved together and things were exposed, it made an exciting family drama that was hard to put down. I highly recommend this book, but start with the first one to appreciate this story.

Lords of Chaos (Unraveling the Veil Book 3)

by D. Wallace Peach

“Lords of Chaos” is the last book in the Unraveling the Veil Series. It starts up where the last book left off. The beginning was brutal when Talin is in prison. It felt very real and equally disturbing what one being can do to another. The trio of changeling, elf, and goblin fights the destruction of their world while societies were still fighting each other. There was a lot of depth and insight into our current social situations, which are weaved into the story seamlessly. The Lord of Chaos wants to end what Alue, Naj, and Talin are trying to save. I love the relationship between Talin and Alue and how Naj fits into it. They have all grown, changed and learned not only about themselves but about the world around them. This is a fast-paced action tale where they are constantly fighting to survive, and the story and characters are riveting. This will be a series I won’t soon forget as it leaves a message to work together instead of fighting each other. Very timely. I highly recommend this fantasy series that was entertaining and thought-provoking.

Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2)

by D. Wallace Peach

“Allies and Spies” is the second book in the Veil Series and the best so far. The story continues with the trio of unlikely heroes who are thrown together. An elf, goblin, and changeling try to develop a working trust that isn’t present in their world between their societies. With earthquakes and people disappearing, the blame and suspicion grow between the kingdoms. The group spends some time traveling together and apart to find answers. The continued relationship between the three is strained, with feelings right under the surface. Their connections grow as time goes on, but, it goes in the opposite direction too, but they all experience growth. Alue, Naj, and Talin can’t agree on what is going on, which adds to the mix as they try to survive. As soon as they seem to get an answer, more trouble arrives for them. They swear their allegiance to more than one kingdom, and there is some personal information learned that’s all blended into a beautifully created world. Chaos is determined to destroy it all, and the planet’s inhabitants make that fairly easy to accomplish, which reminded me of our current conditions in our society. These three are the only beings who can stop it, but their flaws make it difficult and almost impossible. I just started the third book and can’t wait to see how this ends for the characters I care about. I highly recommend this fast-paced fantasy but suggest you read it from book one because it is a world you want to learn about from the beginning.

Subject A36 (The Colony #1)

by Teri Polen

“Subject A36” is a YA story set in the future. There is a divide in how people are treated. The Colony contains the people who have all the money and power. They harvest good genetic traits from the insurgents or the have-nots, a process that kills the donor. The insurgents rescue those who are picked up to do the harvests. It’s a time where having a certain color of eyes or being intelligent means death to those who don’t live in the Colony. Seventeen-year-old Asher lost his family to this horrible practice and found his place on missions to release people from certain deaths. I love his relationship with his team, especially Brynn, the one who holds his heart. The connections feel very real to me and all the complications that go with hidden truths. This is a fast-paced story told in first-person through different points of view, which added to understanding the complicated world in which Asher exists. There are a lot of twists and surprises for Asher and his team.  A couple of times, I was so invested in what was happening, sleep became unimportant. Although this is a YA read, it’s a story for adults too. I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this.

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!

Embrace that inner child by reading a great book. Then, give a gift back to the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn


#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 205, #POET’SCHOICE #Haiku #Haiga #WritingCommunity @ColleenChesebro

Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 205, #POET’SCHOICE.  I’m using a picture I took and adding in a Haiku, which when combined is a Hagia. For more information on Syllabic Poetry check out Colleen’s Cheatsheet.

Every year I make a calendar for my family and friends using my photographs. I decided to branch out and add my Haigas. Here’s the one I’m using for December.

The picture was taken the year my husband, son, and I took a scenic drive on Christmas day because we celebrated with the family the day before. It was an amazing adventure for us, including some four-wheeling in the snow. We ended up in Reno and had a burger feast.

The three trees reminded me of the three wise men.




Dolphin’s Cave Cover Re-Release! #childrensbook #YA #fantasy #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Dolphin’s Cave has been on a long journey to being released.  The cover has been floating around my website for over the last three years as the story has been stuck in editing. Right now it’s getting a good proofread. Although this one has had the strangest path to publishing, in the end, my inner child happy with the results.

Dolphin’s Cave is a fantasy that is taken from a short story about a dream that I wrote over 20 years ago. I decided to make it into a full-length novel and it was originally for middle-grade readers. I decided to nudge the age group up a tiny bit. It ended up somewhere between middle grade and YA. So I can call it either a younger YA or an advanced middle grade.  I haven’t seen a term for this one, yet.

It’s gone through a lot of revising these last few months and I was able to incorporate all that I’ve learned in the last couple of years.

This isn’t the final version of the blurb but pretty close:

The dream always began the same for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She entered the ocean water alone — and ended up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longed to go to the place her parents’ plane went down, but she was stuck in the middle of a desert. Finally, her aunt announced they were going on a vacation to the place it happened—Hawaii. Everything was falling into place until Coral noticed unusual things happening around them. With only one person who believed her, would they find the secret that could change everyone’s lives? More importantly, was Coral and her family safe as she pursued her dream.

Still looking to release within the next couple of weeks. I’ll keep you updated.

Embrace your inner child, always! D. L. Finn






Book Research for Dolphin’s Cave. #NewRelease #ChildrensBook #YA #DophinsCave #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Research and Reality 

My fiction research is limited compared to when I wrote my historical fiction book, Elizabeth’s War. I used my travels to Hawaii for a background in Dolphin’s Cave, along with This Second Chance and  An Unusual Island.

There were a few things I had to look up. The correct time was one since I didn’t realize Hawaii doesn’t do daylight savings time, and my timeline would have been an hour off if I hadn’t caught that. What time was the sunset in December was another detail I had to make sure of to fit into the story.

Since the family was traveling during the holidays, I wanted to describe how the airports decorated accurately. Reno Airport was the quickest to respond to my inquiry and even sent pictures. Honolulu international airport shared with me details of how they decorated the luggage pickup area. Maui’s airport had fewer pointers because they do it differently each year, which is vaguer in my descriptions.

I am always thankful when people take time out to help with details when my characters take a trip to actual places.

On Oahu, I had to research the mall where the Pennys and Coral went shopping. I found pictures of how they decorated for the holidays and included that. I also had to investigate how the hotels and residents of the island celebrated the holiday. Of course, Santa would know how to ride a surfboard when he made a stop on the Islands. Someday I will get to Hawaii during the holidays, but at least Coral and the Penny’s got to see it.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen Pearl Harbor, so I wanted to see what had changed. The security is something I don’t remember from my honeymoon, but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lesser version of it then. I had to find a tour for my characters to take and what they’d see along the way. Driving from the airport needed a time frame, and I double-checked how long it takes in traffic to get to Waikiki Beach.

I’ve learned a lot about Sea Turtles and Dolphins over the years, but still rechecked what I put in Dolphin’s Cave.

When I have a retired General in my story, I want to be positive it was possible to move up the ranks in the time I gave him. My intention is to be as accurate as humanly possible when I mention something outside of fantasy.

Scuttle Valley is not an actual place in Nevada, but Reno certainly is. I live an hour and a half from Reno and have made several shopping trips to the mall Coral and Ruby went shopping in to prepare for their trip to Hawaii. I left the stores anonymous, but they are typical of all malls across the United States, which include holiday decorations, helpful employees, and Santa Claus. There isn’t a Dunning Corporation, either, but I based it off what I thought might be out there searching for that untapped magic to make a profit off of it.

I use my actual experiences snorkeling and being a tourist in Hawaii. I swam at the black beach that shows up in two of my books. It was an amazing spot that we had to ourselves for a while on my honeymoon.

I have never seen an underwater cave to enter—yet. But Coral did, and she was rewarded with another place hidden from us, Air People.

This week there is a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. It is a day I have much to be grateful for all I have been blessed with, including all my amazing writing friends I’ve made along the way.

Next week I will reshare the cover from Dolphin’s Cave and share a bit about it. This book has been a long time coming to this point of sharing.

Embrace your inner child with new knowledge! D. L. Finn



I couldn’t pass up this beautiful picture, plus I got today’s word count in for NaNo done early.


For more information about Ekphrastic Poetry here’s a link: Ekphrastic

My Tanka poem for the picture. 5/7/5/7/7


The forest breathless

A protective lion near

By the serene lake

Witnessed only by two birds

Nature gave birth to magic.


My Aloha experience. #DolphinsCave #ComingRelease #YA #ChildrenBook #Hawaii #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity


Hawaii is a place I hold close in my heart. I heard many tales of this magical place growing up. My family had done business there, and my mother had been there many times during this. Although the family business had ended, I was lucky enough to see this place when I was in the fourth grade. Oahu was magical through a nine-year-old girl’s eyes. I spent hours swimming and exploring the island with my great grandparents. I remember touring the pineapple groves and sitting next to a very nice fourth-grade teacher.

Pineapples were a cornerstone of my diet there. We ate pineapple ice cream at Woolworths and fresh pineapple at the International Market. What I will remember most about this trip is the Brady Bunch (one of my favorite shows growing up) went to Hawaii the same year. We stayed in the same hotel they did, but not at the same time. Although I didn’t get cursed or learn how to surf, I got a hula lesson at the Kodiak show.

Then, when I was twelve years old, I went back again with my great grandparents.  We stayed in a hut (that was torn down soon after to make way for more hotels) with a path to the beach. I found a Hawaiian lady who was making leis with plumeria flowers along the path. She took the time to show me how to make them, and then I got to keep my work. I spent hours swimming and ended up with the worst sunburn I ever had. For nights after I sprayed myself with water to cool it down and later my shoulders bore freckles of my Hawaiian journey. We picked up some souvenirs at the International Market (now gone) and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where we walked through villages while interacting and learning. Then a beautiful show floated by on the river.

My next trip back was on my honeymoon. We explored Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, and a Luau. When we weren’t seeing the sights, we hung out on the Waikiki Beach and ate lots of crab Louie and pineapple. Another week was added, and we headed to Maui. Here we drove the famous Hana Drive that took us through all the waterfalls and an amazing black beach that we had to ourselves. Every night in paradise, we sat and watched the sunset.

It was almost 30 years before we went back to Hawaii for our second honeymoon. This time we focused on Kauai and Maui.

On Kauai, we made a point of doing things we’d never done before, including a helicopter tour over Kauai, which produced some amazing views and pictures but also left my husband with a queasy stomach. Next, we took a boat tour to snorkel (my second time ever), and the spinning dolphins and a couple of turtles entertained us. Then we rented a Harley and cruised the south shore of the island, including the spectacular little Grand Canyon. Kauai is an amazing garden island filled with roaming chickens.

We spent week two on Maui. We took the Hana drive again, where I was less brave than I had been on our honeymoon with the narrow road, but it was still just as beautiful as I had remembered it. We explored the town of Lahaina and the Hard Rock Cafe, and other wonderful restaurants. The thing that has the fondest memories was staying at the hotel and lounging around the pool— and snorkeling. We’d get up each morning and suit up for the ocean. There was usually a turtle greeting you at the shore, but we were warned not to touch them it could make them sick. However, the turtle seemed determined to touch me.

Hawaii is truly paradise, full of wonderful people, scenery, and memories. It has become my home away from home and has found its way in An Unusual IslandThis Second Chance, and soon to be released, middle grade/ YA Dolphin’s Cave. I’m hoping for an early December release if all goes well.

The Aloha spirit has found residence in me and my work.

Embrace your inner child with the Aloha Spirit in your heart. D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 #IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot #Haibun #Haiku #Poetry

Here’s  Suzanne Burke’s:

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 New Image Prompt! Join in the fun!#IARTG #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts @pursoot

I’m halfway through with my NaNo Challenge, hitting 25,000 words today. The story is finally flowing with more ideas I’m adding in. So, I celebrated by doing the image prompt this week. Plus, I couldn’t pass this picture up!

This is a Haibun Poem, which is a prose paragraph and a Haiku combined.


The dusty-book aroma filled me with happiness. The old house was mine now, including this exquisite library. My hand brushed over some of the great classics Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Little Women. I sneezed as I continued to rescue the collection from its grimy lair. There would be hours of reading seated by a roaring fire. I breathed in gratitude, knowing all my dreams had come true. Then, I ran across a book that would not budge. A heavy tug revealed what was hidden.

The bookcase a door

A stale room with one rare book

Gutenberg Bible.


November Book Reviews Part 2! @BalroopShado @Virgilante @MarciaMeara @JacqBiggar @sgc58 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #whattoread

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

by Sally Cronin

I was drawn in by Sam’s picture on the cover, having had a collie as a young girl, so this called me to read. The story’s told from Sam’s perspective, which was interesting, amusing, and sometimes sad. I loved his journey, meeting his loving family, and living in Ireland and Spain. Henry, the stray cat, who became part of his pack, quickly won my heart. We can only imagine what our pets are thinking, but I believe Ms. Cronin really captured Sam’s spirit in this book. I came out feeling like I’d been part of his pack. This was a feel-good read with some of life’s realities mixed in with just the right touch. When I finished, I was left thinking about all my pets over the years and wondered what they might have to say about their journey. This is a must-read for all pet lovers! Five-Stars!

Perfectly Imperfect

by Jacquie Biggar

“Perfectly Imperfect” is a fun romantic read. Georgina started the company of her dreams and was expecting the representative who she merged her company with for capital. Unfortunately, the two met before their upcoming appointment and had some mishaps. Rhys is the son of the company’s owner and is posed to sell Georgina’s company unknown to her. The story is told in the first person from both points of view so you can see both sides of their story and appreciate their misunderstandings. Then throw in a puppy and a dinner, and it gets interesting. I enjoyed reading this sweet short story in one evening.  If you want a good HEA, this is for you! Four-Stars!

The Emissary 3: Love Hurts

By Marcia Meara

I’ve enjoyed the story of Azrael the Archangel, who needs help and brings in two emissaries, Jake and Dodger. I was excited to see how the story concluded, but sad to see it end. Jake and Dodger have a sweet father and son relationship as they help others. Dodger sees a woman and immediately falls in love with her. Can he find her again, and will he be allowed to explore his feelings? That alone kept me reading way past my bedtime. I love how Dodger explored his place now in the world throughout the book. Then there are Azrael’s sudden arrivals that always made me chuckle, plus I loved the humor between Jake and Dodger. Azrael’s presence is intimidating to the two men, but you can see the archangel’s heart underneath. I highly recommend this story. Five-Stars!

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat, #3)

by C.S. Boyack

Lizzie is a young woman with a family secret, a hat. I love how Mr. Boyack brings the Hat to life and the hilarious exchanges between Lizzie and the Hat. Mrs. Molony’s addition and what it meant to their vampire hunting and missing woman quest is something I wasn’t expecting. I love how Lizzie and the Hat’s band travel and interact with the crowds. It’s a mini-concert while serving justice. This is a quick read that I didn’t want to put down, so I read it in one night. All three stories in The Hat Series are entertaining, fast-paced, and creative. The author made sure they could be read out of order, so you could start here and work your way back. I highly recommend “The Ballad of Mrs. Molony.” Five-Stars!

Magical Whispers

by Balroop Singh

I’m already a fan of Ms. Singh’s poetry, having read and enjoyed her past poetry books. “Magical Whispers” is a delicate blend of nature and human introspection. It’s divided into two parts. One part focuses more on Mother Nature, and the other offers an insight into our journey. The words painted beautiful pictures that captured my imagination and left me thinking. This is a collection that I will want to read more than once and will be added to my bookshelf. I jotted down some of my favorites as I read, but my list became too long to list here in its entirety. Here are just a few that touched my soul: Stream Whispers, Starlight, Magic in Her Pocket, Little Beetle, and Love is Love. If you love poetry, you won’t want to miss out on this collection! Five-Stars!

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!

I’m working furiously on my NaNo story, and other things have come up, especially this last week, so I’m not active on social media, especially blogs.  I have gone days without reading.

We finally got some rain and a bit of snow this weekend. Looks like fire season might finally be over here. Whew!

Embrace your inner child by reading a fantastic book and giving the author your review! D. L. Finn




I went with one of my photos and a Haiku or a Haiga Poem. Explanation below.

This was an amazing spiritual experience I had swimming with a turtle.  That’s my youngest daughter Danielle in the picture who shared this moment with me.

What is a Haiga Poem? An explanation from Colleen’s Poetry Challenge Cheat Sheet:

“HAIGA IN ENGLISH: First, the haiku or senryu portion of the poem is the most important part and must standalone without the image. It is created by using the traditional 5/7/5, or the current 3/5/3, or the current 2/3/2 syllable structure (but not all three together). Haiga, often called observational poetry, contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it. Haiga usually combines three art forms:  imagery: photographs or original art, poetry, and calligraphy.

  • Second, images cannot complete the haiku or senryu. If the image is necessary, to understand the poem, then both the image and the poem fail.
  • The image should add something to the reader’s appreciation of the piece.
  • The image can create an alternative interpretation to the one articulated by the literal reading of the poem. That additional interpretation is what the poet should strive to convey.
  • The image should form a contrast, or comparison with the imagery expressed in the poem. We should strive to produce an emotion of the moment between the poet and the reader, the image and the poem.”

November Book Reviews Part 1! @stacitroilo @Sandra_Cox @PTLPerrin #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Triton’s Call (Tetrasphere #2)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I read and enjoyed the first YA book, “Terra’s Call.” I was eager to get back to the series and see what happened next. The story is told in the first person with multiple points of view, which painted together created a full picture. I love how Ms. Perrin draws the reader in with her vivid images and settings. The mixture of aliens, mythical creatures, and folklore are blended and weaved into reality. Each of the four teens has their charm and issues, but their devotion to each other is inspiring, even with the misunderstandings. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey to see where it takes the four next as they continue saving the world one artifact at a time. If you love YA fantasy mixed with sci-fi, you’ll want to read the Tertrasphere world. Five-Stars!

Ghost for Sale

by Sandra Cox

“Ghost for Sale” is a charming YA paranormal read. It was funny to think about ghosts being sold over eBay and Marcy wanting a refund when she was disappointed. When the order arrived, one tube was broken, and one appeared empty. My first thought was, ‘what were you thinking’, until the roommate, Caitlin, saw a ghost. It was a good-looking ghost from the late 1800s that Caitlin kept secret from her cousin, Marcy. It was fun seeing the ghost, Liam’s reactions to the modern woman and all the technology, and how well he adapted. The broken tube was his twin sister, and then Caitlin and Liam worked together in an attempt to reunite the sister with the man she loved. The ending surprised me because I expected this to go a different way, but I like how it ended. This is a sweet paranormal love story with a twist that I thoroughly enjoyed! Five-Stars!

The Lab (Astral Conspiracy Book 5)

by D.L. Cross

I started reading the Astral Conspiracy with book one, “The Gate” and was immediately pulled in with the fast pace and amazing characters. I was excited to see how this story of conspiracies, aliens, and relationships was going to end. There were a few twists and surprises to navigate through to arrive at an ending that was not only satisfying but might have left the door open a crack to continue. Landon Thorne was the first to capture my heart as the unwilling hero whose theories had been shunned until the aliens came, and suddenly his expertise became valuable. I loved his character’s progression through the books, along with the introduction of new characters. Some I loved, especially the twins, and some I didn’t, but there was a couple that changed my opinion of them by the end. The research and thought that went into this made it feel very real to me. If you love a good sci-fi story with well-written characters, along with some mystery thrown in, this is the perfect read for you. I highly recommend reading all the books in order, so you don’t miss a thing. Five-Stars!

The Twins (Astral Conspiracy Book 4)

by D.L. Cross

I’m enjoying this sci-fi series. I love Reverie’s twins’ addition as the characters are trying to survive and figure out who to trust—throwing in children to protect added another dimension to the story. The twin’s psychic abilities give them an edge the adults don’t have. There are several characters I’m rooting for, including one I didn’t think I would. While some relationships ebb and flow, a few grew stronger, making me very invested in their well-being. There are surprising revelations and a couple of twists that kept me reading way past my bedtime. The pace is nonstop as everyone tries to survive in this well-constructed world. This is a highly recommended series you want to read from the beginning. I can’t wait to plunge into the final book! Five-Stars!

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!

Embrace that inner child by reading a great book. Then, give a gift back to the author by leaving a review! D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #23 @pursoot #IARTG #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #Poetry #Tanka #Haiku

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #23 NEW IMAGE PROMPT.

I’ve been busy editing late into the night all week to meet a deadline. I think I’m finally done in time to start the NaNo. Whew! Sorry if I’ve been missing the last couple of days, but this ran into Halloween which I’m enjoying today.

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful picture. I have two poems, a Tanka and Haiku that came to me last night. I couldn’t choose.

Here’s the Tanka which is 5/7/5/7/7:


Aloft over river

The landscape glows with autumn

Peaceful under wings

When a hollow hunger calls

Abundance rewards the hawk.

And now the Haiku 5/7/5:

My wings carry me

High above the autumn glow

I soar with angels.


Happy Halloween! I’m off to enjoy more scary fun. D. L. Finn


My Paranormal Experiences Part 2. #paranormal #ghosts #writer #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Ghost Post Part Two 

In March 1990, we left the Bay Area and moved to an old mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The house search took us a while; we found most lacking.

One Victorian house had an uncomfortable-oppressive feeling. I loved the layout and the idea of living in such a beautiful house, but once inside, I couldn’t wait to get out. My husband felt the same way, so we moved on. Later, the person who bought that house was attacked and stabbed several times by someone who had come in to do some work. Thankfully the person lived and was able to crawl for help, but an understanding passed through me having “felt” the house.

Our current house of 30 years was built by the owner who we bought from and was nestled in the forest. I was moving into Sleeping Beauty’s cottage, where the fairies raised her.

The house had an airy feel, except for what we refer to as the “Hall Ghost.” I felt no fear of it. No one did. It’s had many sightings, and our kid’s friends had said they thought it was me, or saw a woman with red hair. My experience with it is a shadow peeking around the corner, usually when I am writing, or music is playing. Everyone who spends any time in our house ends up seeing it. It’s startling but not fear-inducing. I have decided it is watching over us.

In our garage, several people, including me, have seen a long hair man walking around at night. Also, nothing intimidating about him. He’s just there. My feeling, and a psychic confirmed, this was an indigenous person from before the miners settled here.

During star gazing, we’ve seen more than our share of white orbs in the forest.

None of these things worried me or caused fear, but the single room upstairs was a different story. I used to write in this room that we had used as a guest room years ago. I used a typewriter over a computer, which shows you how long ago that was. I’d scare myself as I wrote some rather gory details which I’ve never shared. I felt like I wasn’t alone, but not with the intensity, or evil I’d felt at the other house. My husband said he was tapped on the back once while playing his guitar, but it only startled not frighten him.

Later, the room was put to use by our teens,  first the eldest and then the youngest. There were stories of hearing their name whispered, breathing on the back of their neck while on the computer, vivid dreams, and feeling like they weren’t alone.  At times I’d find a teen sleeping downstairs, but they wouldn’t give up the room either. The middle child, who kept her downstairs room, spoke of feeling cold air the minute she started up the stairs.

A few years ago a person, who is now a member of our family, banished this entity. I have no reason to doubt that, but still, something less intimidating still lingers.

No one sleeps in there anymore since our youngest moved out. It’s become the band room where now I hear an angel singing when my husband plays certain songs. Our angel interactions will have to be another blog.

To be on the safe side, we’ve done many sage smudgings, holy water, and blessings in that room and the house. Whatever heaviness had bothered my kids was gone, and what’s there now seems to enjoy music.

The paranormal has always surrounded me in one form or another. I’ve definitely seen and felt things I can’t explain and this experience makes its way into my writing.  Happy Halloween!


In November, I’ll be participating in the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ll still be doing my weekly posts for my book reviews and for a new book coming out in December. More details to follow.

That means I won’t be doing any of the challenges that I’ve been doing during the week. Plus, my time will be limited to visit blogs and social media while I try to balance everything– including the holiday.  I will be back to my normal presence by the end of the month.

If you need a promotion or a beta reader for December, or beyond, send me an email at I will respond:)

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


My Paranormal Experiences Part 1. #paranormal #ghosts #writer #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Ghost Post Part One

With Halloween quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some of my paranormal experiences.

In 1984, we proudly bought our first house. As we signed some papers in our soon-to-be home, I heard a voice say to me, “You are going to die soon.”

Now maybe I should have run at the point when only I heard that, but I didn’t. I figured it was the stress of becoming heavily in debt, and besides, no one else heard it. The person who sat next to me and helped with this purchase was my beloved great grandmother. Sadly, a few months later, she died shortly after a stroke. I realized the dire warning was meant for her.

Then things started happening. In the downstairs room, which we used as a guest room, there was an old music box that you’d have to wind to hear it play. It would play by itself when my husband or I passed the room. We laughed that off.

Going up the stairs, we always felt like something was chasing us from the downstairs. It was unnerving. In our master bedroom, at our door, when I would wake up, I’d see a man whose face I couldn’t make out wearing a top hat watching me over the door. One time he waved. I didn’t wave back. There was a presence in that house that we couldn’t explain.

On a cold winter day, my husband was at the store, I was a few months pregnant and carrying my oldest daughter. Heading downstairs as I hit the first step, I felt something push hard on my back. I clung to my toddler as we bounced down the stairs on my tailbone until the very end when I needed both hands to upright myself. We were both fine, just very shaken up, and a bit bruised. The baby survived too.

At this point, we started looking to move to accommodate our growing family. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The house sold fast when we put it on the market, and we were soon in our new place with a five-week-old baby and two-year-old toddler. We gave everything from that downstairs bedroom to charity, including that music box. We took very few things from that house, just to be safe.

Whatever evil that stalked us in that house hadn’t bothered the people who owned it before, nor the people after that from what I know. It was something about it the house didn’t like us there, and we honored that by getting out of there.

The house we lived in next we were only there two years but had no paranormal experiences. Next week I’ll share our family experiences in our current house😊

NOTE: We’re still dealing with high fire danger here in Northern California with no rain in sight. So, if there is a power shutoff I will disappear for a bit. When the red-flag winds die down and we trade generators for the old power grid and I’ll be fully back. Reading great stories takes my mind off the constant fire dangers here and living on high alert this time of year, so thank you all for giving me the escape of a good book.

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


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt! #IARTG #WritingCommunity #flashfiction #writingprompts @pursoot

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #21 NEW Image Prompt!

A Haibun Poem combines a prose poem (the paragraph) and a Haiku/Senryu.


Wood slats replace the glass in my childhood home. Rocks and years have stripped away its beauty. Long ago, this empty house was full of life. People traveled great distances to attend the lavish parties. Our family was admired and respected until I disappeared. They hung my beloved husband for a crime he didn’t commit. Only I knew that, though, and no one heard my ghostly protests. Someday we’ll be reunited, but only after people finally learn the truth.

The house isn’t haunted

I only want to be found

My murderer died with me.


New Release and Review! “Cafe Confidential” by Lynda Filler @LyndaMFiller #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

I’m pleased to share Lynda Filler’s latest memoir here today along with my review! I read and loved “LOVE: The Beat Goes On.” I message I took away from both books was a reminder to live fully in our moments.


There’s no turning back.
I’ve sold everything.
I bought one-way tickets around the world with no return destination.
My friends think I’m crazy.
What if I don’t find what I’m looking for?
I’m not chasing love. Not exactly.
What if he’s not the one?

So grab a cappuccino or herbal tea if you prefer and join me at Café Confidential. I will share my adventures and secrets as I travel to France, India, Israel, Malaysia, and Turkey. Perhaps I can convince you that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

“I finished (reading) this memoir 3 days ago…I can sincerely say it has not left my mind since completing it. I will start by saying that without any doubt this is not just my favorite book of 2020 but is absolutely one of my top 5 of all time.” KirscherSmiles


CAFE CONFIDENTIAL: An unfiltered and intimate memoir

by Lynda Filler

I read Ms. Filler’s first memoir, “LOVE: The Beat Goes On.” It was a book that has stayed with me, so I was excited to continue her life’s story. “Café Confidential” does a bit of recapping her past, but then it dives into selling her belongings and traveling. I loved seeing the world through the author’s eyes in her writing and photography.  It isn’t a straight line of places visited, but her thoughts, history, and philosophies are weaved into the book. There is a pure joy embracing each moment as well as dealing with life’s sorrows. I know I have wondered, at times, what it would be like to sell everything I own and explore. I come away from reading this inspired by Ms. Filler. We should all take that leap of faith and follow our path in life.



About Lynda Filler

“The author’s style is reminiscent of CLIVE CUSSLER, LEE CHILDS or BALDACCI.” N. Huff

Lynda Filler spent 2019 traveling. She left Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and visited the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Malaysia, and India. Her travels have filled her creative mind with plots and intrigue. Book 7 in the Code Raven Series, The Istanbul Conspiracy, is the combination of her vivid imagination and the beauty and mystery of Istanbul, Turkey.
She writes Mystery, Action, Contemporary and Romantic Suspense, Urban Poetry, and Memoir. Lynda’s been accused of writing autobiographical stories, but so far no can get her to admit it! She loves to hear from her fans on Facebook where you can find her book news, crazy fun quotes, and photographs of both Mexico, Istanbul and all of Lynda’s travels.
Her work is both thought-provoking and entertaining. Her memoir is “Powerful and unforgettable, the journey of a remarkable woman.”
2020 will see another Code Raven Book and a Memoir/Inspirational/Motivational book.

Readers Favorite 2018 Bronze Medal in Contemporary Fiction Social Issues Lie to Me, an exposé on sex for money.
Her work was honored in Book of the Month October 2017 RRBC
Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 for Target in the Sun, BTRC

“Fall in love with a beautiful mind and a deep soul. It’s like drowning in something that leaves you breathless, but still full of life.” iambrillyant, Love is the Answer

Follow her:





October Book Reviews Part 2! @jamescudney4 @MaeClair1 @Virgilante @judypost @DawnDun66350980 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Haunted House Ghost (Braxton Campus Mysteries #5)

by James J. Cudney

I wanted to get into the Halloween mood and chose this book to kick it off! Not having read the Braxton Campus Mysteries, it worried me I’d be lost in the story, but Mr. Cudney does an excellent job making sure the reader keeps up with the extensive list of characters and relationships. I enjoyed meeting Kellan, the college professor who seems to run into many murders that need solving. He’s moving into a house that needs some TLC, so contractors are fixing it up, but things happen that seem to point to a ghost. While Kellan works on that mystery, there is the planning of the local festivities for fall and Halloween, which is a favorite time of year for me, so I enjoyed that. There’s a budding romance with the local Sheriff and lots of interaction with family, my favorite being Nana D who adds humor. When there’s a body found, then a murder, there’s a long list of suspects. I changed my mind several times about who the killer was, and my final guess was incorrect. This is an entertaining cozy mystery set in a town I wouldn’t mind living in, minus all the murders. It will be fun to go back and read the other books in this series.

Murder They Wrote

By Judi Lynn, C.S. Boyack, Mae Clair, Kathleen Palm, Julia Donner, D.P. Reisig, Rachel Sherwood Roberts

I’m already of fan of C.S. Boyack and Mae Clair and was looking forward to this anthology. Their stories were as good as I expected them to be. There was a continuation of a familiar character “In the Files from Jason Fogg” by Mr. Boyack. I find it intriguing when Jason disappears into fog and how he handles it. In “A Winter Reckoning,” by Ms. Clair, was riveting. I felt like I had just read an incredible novel complete with love, mystery, and family drama. Then, I was introduced to five new writers and their stories. They all had a different feel and flavor, including a haunted attic, a dead body in the middle of a house renovation or garden party, a widow’s butterfly collection, and Abraham Lincoln. There were some gems in those stories, and one of my favorites was “Within the Plum Attic.” A diverse collection of seven stories kept me entertained, and I got to meet some wonderful new authors. Four-Stars!

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!

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


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20! @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction #ASMSG #WritingPrompts #poetry #tanka

Here’s my Tanka Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #20 NEW Image Prompt!  


Your long journey over

Fiery sun succumbs the day

Horses side by side

As I release your ashes

You’ll fly high amongst the stars.



Today I’m sharing a Haiga Poem for the COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 198, #POET’SCHOICE.

What is a Haiga Poem? An explanation from Colleen’s Poetry Challenge Cheat Sheet:

“HAIGA IN ENGLISH: First, the haiku or senryu portion of the poem is the most important part and must standalone without the image. It is created by using the traditional 5/7/5, or the current 3/5/3, or the current 2/3/2 syllable structure (but not all three together). Haiga, often called observational poetry, contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it. Haiga usually combines three art forms:  imagery: photographs or original art, poetry, and calligraphy.

  • Second, images cannot complete the haiku or senryu. If the image is necessary, to understand the poem, then both the image and the poem fail.
  • The image should add something to the reader’s appreciation of the piece.
  • The image can create an alternative interpretation to the one articulated by the literal reading of the poem. That additional interpretation is what the poet should strive to convey.
  • The image should form a contrast, or comparison with the imagery expressed in the poem. We should strive to produce an emotion of the moment between the poet and the reader, the image and the poem.”

This image is one of my favorite pictures. I took it by the Yuba River, and it holds a special place in my heart. My words try to capture a bit of what I felt gazing upon the beauty that nature freely offers.


October Book ReviewsPart 1! @Virgilante @HowellWave @Dwallacepeach #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity







The Cheetah and the Dog

by Patricia Furstenberg

I bought “The Cheetah and the Dog” for my granddaughter’s birthday. She loves books, and I knew the subject of a dog and cheetah, and the colorful pictures would appeal to her. I read it after it arrived and loved the flow of the rhyming words. A sweet tale that’s based on a real dog’s relationship with a cheetah with a lesson in friendship, no matter what your differences are. Then, after the story, there are facts and photos of cheetahs, which is a wonderful bonus. I can’t wait to share it with my four-year-old grandchild. I’ll be buying more of Ms. Furstenberg’s children’s books as gifts. Five-Stars!

Liars and Thieves

by D. Wallace Peach

“Liars and Thieves” is a fantasy with Elves, Goblins, and Changelings living in an uneasy truce with crystals as their energy. The theme of greed and need felt current to me, and the world was brilliantly written in beautifully described images. My favorite character is Talin, who is a spy with a heart, and Alue is a close second as an Elf who has more sense of justice and temper than most. I enjoy the interactions between them in any form. Naj, the half-Elf and half-Goblin, approaches things more logically but is a solid leading character with a charming relationship with the Goblin he loves. I like what binds the three together. Then, there’s a lack of trust and blame between the three groups that felt very real to me as well as some misplaced loyalties. The unexplained disappearances and earthquakes threw in some chaos. I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens. If you love fantasies, you will want to read this. Five-Stars!

Eternal Road: The final stop

by John W. Howell

James dies and ends up with a girl he hasn’t seen since they were children. This is only the beginning of his journey. I loved the places they traveled together, and the history weaved into them. Each stop had a different story they had to maneuver through without making any changes that could affect the future. I appreciated the relationship between James and Sam how they fell back into the connection they had as children that worked now that they were adults. Then having to deal with Lucifer, who interfered with their travels, was both amusing and a bit chilling to me. Their time travels were not only action-packed with lessons weaved in, but each place they visited was an engaging tale within the main story. The attention to detail and research was well done. Many parts had me laughing and a couple that left me teary-eyed. The ending surprised me, but I was satisfied with its conclusion. This is a story I won’t soon forget, and I highly recommend it! Five-Stars!

HMS Lanternfish (The Lanternfish #2)

by C.S. Boyack

I loved the first book of this series, Lanternfish, so I was excited for the seafaring journey to continue. I was not disappointed with all my favorite characters back, including the root monsters. Those little guys always bring a smile to my face, even when they are up to no good. James Bloodworth is pulled out of retirement into a war that could ultimately affect his peaceful life. He calls for a return of the old gang, which was satisfying to have them back together, along with some new characters. It was nice to see Serang in her element, along with the rest of the crew.  Back at sea, they do what they do the best — forage for what they need. Captain Bloodworth is an excellent leader of his pirates turned soldiers; he not only is trying to undo what his father did, but helps in ways I didn’t expect. Each stop along this voyage offers new friends and a lot of enemies, which kept me reading late into the night. All the small details and created images are weaved into this story so vividly that it brings this world of sea creatures and assassins to life. I can’t wait to see where the third book goes. I highly recommend this if you love a well-told tale. Five-Stars!

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: I’ll be hosting two fabulous authors this week. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

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



Here’s Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge #197 with the specific form being Tanka. Here’s a little bit about it from Colleen’s website:

“TANKA IN ENGLISH: 5/7/5/7/7 or the s/l/s/l/l/ syllable structure. Your Tanka will comprise 5 lines written in the first-person point of view from the perspective of the poet.

When writing a Tanka, we consider the third line your “pivot,” but feel free to let it happen anywhere, or to exclude it. It is not mandatory. If you use a pivot, the meaning should apply to the first two lines, and the last two lines of your Tanka. Remember, we can read great tanka poems both forward and backward.”  

If you want to know more please click on the link above–there is some good information!

I took this night shot, but it wasn’t the inspiration for my poem.  It does have a certain feeling that the words do.


From a golden stage

Darkness penetrates souls

Heavy words divide

Acceptance magnifies hate

Extracting humanity.


“Books That Changed Me” 2020 Fall Edition @JessicaBakkers @MarciaMeara @harmony_kent #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #fiction #booksthatchangedme #mustread

Happy Fall! I love this time of year when the leaves are changing, the nights are cooler, and apples are in abundance. Halloween and Thanksgiving are ahead promising joy, fun, and family. Rainy nights by the fire can’t be too far behind, I hope. In these cozy moments is the perfect time to read a great book. Here are three amazing stories that have taken me to new worlds, offered a different perspective, or introduced a character I’ll never forget. I may have finished reading them, but they linger in my thoughts.

I’m continuing my format using the blurbs over my reviews. I want to focus more on the stories or poems that moved me enough to “change” me.

In no particular order, the books and their blurbs

Guns of Perdition (The Armageddon Showdown Book 1)

by Jessica Bakkers


Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace, with her pearl-handled revolvers, and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.

Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.

The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.

Join Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict…the Armageddon Showdown.

A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2)

by Marcia Meara

In Book 2 of the Wake-Robin Ridge series, Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, returns to the rugged beauty of the North Carolina mountains, introducing a little boy whose remarkable gift will change the world for everyone he meets.

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.

Finding Katie

by Harmony Kent

I killed someone, you see. I killed the girl, who used to be me.

I’m Kate … Kate Charlesworth. I’m seventeen, and self-harming. This time I cut too deep, and I’m in hospital. I hadn’t meant for it to be so bad—it just sort of happened. I needed a lot of distraction that day.

You’ve had bad days, right? Days it hurts too much to think. Days you just wanna stay in bed. Days when the world needs to go away for a while. Right?

What do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom? When there’s nowhere left to turn?

This one little mistake lands me back on a psych unit—the last place I wanna be. Only this time, the nurse I end up with isn’t content to stick on a band-aid and send me home. She wants me to face my demons. But to do that, I’ll have to face who I am … who I used to be … I’ll have to find Katie.

Embrace your inner child by reading a fabulous book! D. L. Finn



Some random thoughts and a #Tanka #Poem! #filters #cats #halloween #poetry #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Our kitty, Zuzu, expressing her thoughts on 2020 in a modern dance pose.

Things have been smoky in our forest with all devastating fires on the west coast. I had to get creative in finding ways to clear out the smoke that crept into the house. People were posting ideas and this is one of them, taping a heater filter on a square fan. I don’t have one of those fans so I improvised with this. It seems to be working, along with a couple of other fans too:

Staying indoors all the time in a worried state isn’t a healthy way to live. So, I pulled out the Halloween decorations:

Only poetry has come easy for me lately, besides revising. So, I’m sharing a recent Tanka poem.  I was going to save it for October, but since I’ve already decorated…

The Moment

The howling begins

As the full moon approaches

This is the moment of change

When the wolf sheds fur for skin

The night he walks as a man.


1. There will be no weekly blog on September 27th. I will be on vacation:) I’ll be back on October 4th with reviews.

  2. If you are a monthly newsletter subscriber watch your email for it later today.

  3. My time on social media and blogs will be limited this week. Not sure if I’ll be able to participate in the challenges.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Poetry #Haibun @pursoot

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #18 NEW image prompt.

Her Grief

The heavy dark clouds shrouded the sun in a weary sorrow that mirrored Alice’s mood. She stood alone in their spot under the old cedar tree. It was where Sam had proposed to her fifty years ago. Now her weathered hands were scattering what remained of him. As her tears fell, an icy rainstorm mixed with her grief. She sunk down on the cold ground and lovingly placed their song, and a single red rose from the garden. A hand touched her shoulder, and a familiar warmth ran through her—but no one was there. The wind blew through the forest, playing their song. She smiled, knowing Sam was still with her.

Pleasant memories
Will never be forgotten
When encased in love.



Here is this week’s Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 195.

I learned a new term Ekphrastic. “This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). Lisa Thompson, from last month’s challenge, has provided the photo for this month’s challenge.”

My Tanka Poem is based on this picture.


She sits silently

Under the mushroom’s safe glow

The humans too close

They’re searching for her magic

A gift the fairy can’t share.


September Book Reviews Part Two! @KarensStories @pdoggbiker @SusanneLeist @NonnieJules

The Dead At Heart

by Susanne Leist

I have read the first two books in the Dead Games Series and was eager to continue the story. “Dead at Heart” takes off with plenty of action where two ended. Shana is involved with a powerful vampire William but doesn’t completely trust him. I enjoyed the relationship between Linda, her best friend, and another powerful vampire, Gregg. But what kept this a page-turning book was the battle not only in the vampire community but also in Shana’s heart. While she loves William, she appears to have feelings for the sheriff Sam still. That sets up for an intriguing love triangle.  I wasn’t sure who Shana would end up with until it happened. I love the friendship between the women and how they have each other’s backs no matter what. The undercurrent in the vampire community made me wonder who the good side was and kept me guessing until the end. I walked the streets of Quebec with the characters and now have added it to a place I’d like to see. Plus, I became of fan of the other entities that showed up. This is an exciting addition to the series, with a satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy vampire books with some romance mixed in, this is for you. Five-Stars!

THE DAY THE LIGHTS WENT OUT … on Education (The COVID19 ‘LIGHTS OUT’ Series Book 1)


This was an interesting read that is very current. Ms. Jules’ opinions on how education is being affected by the pandemic followed facts, ideas, and quotes. It was thoughtfully presented with personal examples. “The Day The Lights Went Out” is something every parent and teacher struggles with, and this quick read offers a solution on how to help our next generation through the crisis in their education. Four-Stars!

Unhinged: A Micro-Read

by John Podlaski

I grew up loving horror movies, and “Unhinged” tapped right into that. Two fourteen-year-old boys gratefully took a job to clean up the drive-in for food and movies. They watched “Night of the Living Dead,” which I can still remember watching and being terrified. After that, they had to walk home. I loved seeing the world through their scared eyes. I really enjoyed this quick read that captured the youth of the past so well! Five-Stars!

Treacherous Love: A Short Story of Misdirected Passion

by Karen Black

Rochelle and Ethan seemed to have the perfect marriage. In reality, though, Rochelle couldn’t contain her jealousy, and it boiled over into insecure abuse. It was an unhealthy relationship that ended up hurting their son, which made me cringe.  This is a well-told insight into violence directed at the husband with an ending I wasn’t expecting. Four-Stars!

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!

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


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #17 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry #haibun

Here’s my take on Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #17 NEW Image Prompt. This picture took me all over the place, including a short story and different types of poetry. This Haibun Poem is the one that called to me today.


The fog penetrated my skin, adding heaviness to my existence. The furious waves crashing against the shore fueled my anger. The salty air was bitter in my lungs, making each breath a battle. Alone, I pushed through the frigid sands, going nowhere, until I couldn’t take another step. I sat down on a flat rock and waited for the pain to end. This went on ceaselessly until I caught a glimmer in the haze. A bottle had washed ashore at my feet.

Foggy depression

A healing message offered

Remember, you’re loved.



Here’s my tanka poem for Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge. Two words were chosen and then we picked a synonym of them. Here are the words: Hint & Bold. I wrote this when our power was shut down, which meant I used my old paperback Thesaurus to find words to replace them.

The first line was going to be “The stagnant gray gloom.” That had fit the smoke we’ve been dealing with the last few weeks since those lightning storms.

But then came a strange dark orange that covered the skies from the fires this week. So I made a last-minute change. Thankfully, our power is back and we are still safe.

This is a surreal and anxiety-filled time for much of the west coast. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Ominous Orange

Filters through the evergreens

A rude reminder

Of the furious fanned flames

When nightmares come to life.


September Book Reviews Part One! @stacitroilo @MarciaMeara @MaeClair1 @WordDreams #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #BookReviews #RecommendedReading #WhatToRead


The Nine (Astral Conspiracy, #3)
by D.L. Cross

I’m really enjoying the Astral Conspiracy Series. The thrilling pace hasn’t slowed down one bit in “The Nine.” Landon Throne is a fantastic character who is at the center of the story and key to helping humanity. His flaws, abilities, and inner conflicts make him very real, and I can’t help but root for him. There’s more insight into the aliens. I was particularly fond of one and can’t wait to read more about the alien in future books. One storyline was chilling and cruel. I yelled at one point, which shows how well Ms. Cross creates believable characters that I care about. The Nine reminded me of the current conspiracy climate. Full of action with well-written exciting ongoing stories, this makes for a compelling page-turning read. I can’t wait for book four to see what happens next. Five-Stars!

Eclipse Lake

by Mae Clair

I love Ms. Clair’s books, which means I’m working my way through her catalog. Although there was no paranormal theme like her current books, “Eclipse Lake” had mystery, family dynamics, and some romance, which completely captured my attention. Dane Carlisle had changed since he was a troubled teen. He’s a good father and runs a successful business, but he wants to reconnect with his brother Jonah. The strain between them seemed so real to me I had my fingers crossed they’d work it out. Dane’s son, Jesse, was determined to find out his dad’s secret, and Ellie, the photographer, made an impression on Dane. Then comes the discovery of a dead body and a lawman who had a chip on his shoulder, which added the layers that made this read intriguing. This is a great book to read on a lazy summer day or curled up next to the fireplace. I found it to be a page-turner, wondering what would happen next. The twist at the end completely surprised me. If you like a mystery with action and a budding romance, this is the book for you! Five-Stars.

Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy)

by Jacqui Murray

I’ve read the first two books in the Crossroads Trilogy and loved them. So, I was eager to read the conclusion in “Against All Odds.” It kept me reading late into the night or until I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore. I’ve gotten very attached to this group trying to find their home in 850,000 BC. Xhosa, the leader, had her flaws, but also her strength and bravery. Pan-do’s compassion and insight made him an excellent advisor for Xhosa. But it was the wolves who always had my full attention. The research that went into the story shines through as I read it. I could easily see the world through their eyes and imagine how it was to live in those times. Their food sources, shelters, and relationships felt very real to me, thanks to Ms. Murray. The enemies are chilling for many reasons that I won’t give away. Although this could be read as a standalone, I recommend going back and reading the previous two books first. This is a great read for those who enjoy prehistoric fiction and those that like a good story. I highly recommend it. Five-Stars!

A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2)

by Marcia Meara

I read the first Wake-Robin Ridge book and had been looking forward to continuing with the series. It was good to see Mac and Sarah back, but the new character, Rabbit, stole my heart. I fell in love with his innocence and wisdom. If I could have reached into the book and hugged him, I would have. The world, through his eyes, is a place I want to live. He was raised away from the world, in the woods, by his grandparents. He believed people were evil, but on his grandmother’s deathbed, she let him know there are good people too. She sent him on a quest to find one of those good people. His growth inspired me as much as it inspired those he encountered. There were some heart-wrenching parts along with some endearing ones, and I deeply felt each one. I highly recommend this book and look forward to continuing the journey with Rabbit. Five-Stars!

The Stones (Astral Conspiracy, #2)

by D.L. Cross

“The Stones” starts where “The Gate” ended. Landon has come back with information that might help with the Astrals from the Akashic Records. Others with him have their own knowledge, and they, for a good reason, don’t trust each other. This adds to the book’s tension. Landon is a favorite character of mine, flaws and all. He has the feel of your average guy that no one believes but is still trying to do the right thing. In this story, Quinn won my heart, and I wanted to know everything about him. But the focus is on Landon by the aliens and different fractions of humans. There’s constant action while they are busy fighting aliens, and at the same time, there are power grabs and religious beliefs that undermine a straight path forward. Ms. Cross pays attention to details and fleshes out some alien, history, and conspiracy theories that I enjoy. I can’t wait to read book three to see how this plays out. Four-Stars!

NOTE: It’s that time of year again, the peak of our fire season in the Sierra Foothills. So, if I disappear a day or two it might be a power shut down during high winds to prevent more California fires. We are expecting shut down this week.

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!

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


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #16 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry #freeverse

Here’s Suzanne Burke’s “Fiction in a Flash” Challenge Week #16 Image Prompt. I was torn between this free verse poem and a tanka poem. This one narrowly won out today, but I have a feeling my tanka will make an appearance around Halloween.


I hear him call me

One howl in the distance

It rolls over the frozen snow.

My reply is muted behind a barrier

I try to jump…

I try to dig…

I try to scratch…

Through the wooden prison planks.

I’m offered meals…

A small house…

A manicured lawn.

I’m cared for, yet unhappy.

My blood runs through the forest

A place where I can roam freely.

Then a bright light washes over me

The portal to heat and treats opens

I stop to mark my territory.

Holding my tail high…

I pad across the alpine tundra

And lay by the crackling fire.

Listening for the call of the wild

I drift to sleep with my favorite chew toy.

Tomorrow I will answer that call—tomorrow.



I had fun with COLLEEN’S 2020 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 193, #POET’SCHOICE. I decided to pick one of the photographs that I have used as a cover picture on Facebook and write about it. I ended up combining a Haiku/Senyru and one of these pictures with the end product a Haiga. There were several poems to choose from and pictures. I have a nature Haiga I almost went with and will be sharing later, but this combination (even though the picture quality isn’t good) tugged at my heart. Maybe because that little boy is turning 26 years old this month.

Years ago after a snowstorm closed down our main road we were able to sled on it. We’ve never been able to do that again, so this holds extra fond memories of that snow day.

An innocent time Buried deep in memories Still creating joy. (1)


An August Poem #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #poetry

sara pic

In the midst of chaos…
Where words are fear-filled
And actions nourish anger
There is a dismal judgment
And hopelessness is the new normal.
I sink into my chair in dark-despair
Until I hear a sound and wearily lookup
A pair of brown eyes hold my gaze.
Unworthy, a soothing spark surges through me
Confused, I’m gifted possibilities
Accepting, I’m filled with deep peace.
It’s here I find the absent affection…
Offered to me generously.
I reach out and revel in it.
Her tail wags knowingly
Reminding my inner child
There is another direction to take
I willingly choose it
And we walk the path together
My dog and I supported by nature
And… unconditional love.


Watch for a special edition blog this week, along with any challenges I’m doing!


Embrace your inner child with unconditional love! D.L. Finn



This week’s Colleen Chesebro Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge is a word prompt: Map. I came up with several ideas but this Senryu/Haiga is the one I connected with the most. I felt it needed a visual.


With no map to guide
My pets and suitcase with me
I drive through the flames.

Keep those who are in danger from fires, hurricanes, tornados, flooding, earthquakes, and other dangerous situations in your heart.

Embrace your inner child! D. L. Finn


Take A Walk With Me On The Magical Trail! #AuthorWalks #Nature #WhereToWrite #MagicalTrail #Poetry #Inspiration #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity


After running into packs of dogs and dodging cars on the road my husband decided to create a path to walk on at home. This is how The Magical Trail came into being.  I’m about to take a walk. So, grab a bottle of water, a mask, and join me:)

  1. I was inspired by pictures of painted rocks. For my birthday, I got a paint set to decorate rocks. Here are some of my grandchildren’s artwork that is scattered throughout the trail.

rocks pic 1

2. Pictures of the trail. You can spot our dog Sara who is always in the lead.

nature shots pic 2

3. This is what happens when lightning strikes in the forest. It is from a long time ago not recently:

lightening shots pic 3

The rest of the pictures are our decorations and one of me. I’m masked up not for the virus but because it was smoky from a local fire, and some not so local. We’re safe right now but so many in California (and other states) aren’t thanks to some highly unusual monstrous lightning storms – with more on the way.

4. The wooden signs are made by my husband. It’s his latest hobby. The guitar is usually black but it’s covered in ash from the fires.

welcome shots pic 4

5. When the mosquitos aren’t in full attack here’s the bench where I write poetry:

bench real pic 5

6. The archway was used in two weddings and now is the beginning of the trail. Bigfoot has very special dietary needs…

entry pic 9

7. The leprechauns have several food allergies so we make sure no one feeds them!

blue ornament pic 7

8. Our tiny haunted house lights up at night when no one is around…

wreath shots pic 6

9. The forest dwarf watches over the deep pit below him.  The pictures I took don’t show its depth. We have no idea where it came from. Maybe an old mining tunnel?

hobbit pic 8

10. Here’s our forest key. That pile of rocks below is a water fountain my husband created. It’s not running right now and I’m working on some rocks to surround it:)

key pic 10

Thanks for taking a walk on The Magical Trail.  It’s a special place where there’s always something new to see or magic to seek.

Embrace your inner child by taking a walk in nature. D. L. Finn







“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #14 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #Poetry #Haibun

Here’s my Haibun Poem for Suzanne Burke’s Week #14 Fiction in a Flash” Image Prompt.

week 14 picture for fiction challenge

The Final Stand

On this majestic mountain peak, we stand against evil. The blood flows below us like a raging river. The air is heavy with fear as we breathe in its hopelessness. Soon, the stars will be seized from us in a swirling cloud of hate. They are writing humanity’s loveless obituary. We must fight.

They came from the stars
Conquest, war, famine, and death
The apocalypse.


Embrace your inner child with love. D. L. Finn


#Tanka Tuesday Challenge #PhotoPrompt! @ColleenChesebro #Poetry

Here’s my Tanka Poem for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge #PhotoPrompt!

Colleen's Weekly Challenge pic



Exiting the trees

The old train tracks offer hope

Exhausted she slows down

There is no noise of pursuit

Exhilarated, she escapes.


Embrace your inner child with some poetry! D. L. Finn



‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #13 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Below is my piece for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Flash in a Fiction Challenge’ Week #13 Image Prompt. I had a heck of a time choosing the poem to post here. I ended up with several peoms, but narrowed it down to two. One was full of images and a connection to the soul, but the other one reminded me of a favorite poem, “A Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost. Here’s the one that narrowly won out.

image 13 challegne


I searched day and night

For this promised treasure.

Given no map or guidance

Only a family quest to fulfill.

Each morning started the same…

Through the pines, cedars, and dogwoods

I followed my path.

My eyes scanned the hushed forest.

And when the filtered sunbeams departed…

So did I.

I repeated this ritual daily, never changing my course

Until that one day…

A shimmer sparkled between two large sugar pines.

Encouraged, I veered off into the unknown.

I soon found this careless choice difficult…

Leaving me conflicted…

And scraped and bruised from this uncharted territory.

But the small light beckoned me forward…

Until the sunbeams dissipated…

I turned to go home.

That’s when I saw it… shiny, bright, and golden.

I knew it was the promised family treasure

Quickly I swooped up the old key, studying it.

It was exactly as described down to the three holes,

But it offered no answers, only more questions.

I carefully tucked it away in my pocket.

All I had to do was… find the lock.

Here’s where my next journey began.

I’ll continue until I find what I seek…

The lock that my treasured key opens…

And what exists beyond.

Embrace your inner child by trying something new. D. L. Finn


Poetry from the back of a Harley #poetry #motorcycle #motorcyclepoetry #freeverse #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Although my birthday was a few weeks ago, I wanted to share a poem and some pictures from that day. My husband and I stayed local. We rode up Highway 20 right outside of Nevada City and made one stop by a favorite waterfall.


We ride through the sierras

Open to the world.

Leaning with each turn…

Braking for obstacles…

Flying through the straightaways…

While the sun illuminates our way.

We cruise over our paved path

With a loud rumble announcing us.

It’s here I find my stillness…

Deep within, on the back of a Harley

Flying through the forest’s freedom

The day of my birth is celebrated.

In the last picture, I found a face in the debris. Can you find it?

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book or finding your peace in nature. D. L. Finn


‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #12 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Here’s my take on Suzanne Burke’s “Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #12 Image Prompt.

Week 12 Fiction in a Flash ChallengeTHE CLOCK

I gently shifted my weight in the chair, trying to pry my bare legs off the brown vinyl. Several deep breaths did nothing to relieve the tension in my shoulders. I pulled my sweater tightly around me with the realization it wasn’t wise to be dressed for a hot summer day while sitting in a cold hospital room. There had been no change in the last few hours. The constant beeps continued, and the oxygen flowed in and out with a gentle whoosh.

I shook my head at the tragic irony of a man needing me after how he treated me growing up. My father had an undiagnosed mental condition. He hid it well, so only those who lived with him knew his explosive violence under the shrewd mask of a family man. No one saw the marks; they were never on my face. He was careful even when he had lost control. The war and his parents had hurt him so deeply that when it bubbled to the surface – it hurt us. He never seemed aware of his faults, so there was never an opportunity for him to seek any help. My family spent every waking moment, trying not to upset him in the hopes all would be well. It wasn’t.

I sighed loudly and took the protein bar out of my purse. Though I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want to pass out and end up in a hospital bed, too. I washed the crunchy honey oats down with a bottle of water. The nurse entered the room right after I finished. I pretended to be asleep. There was nothing new she could share with me.

Finally, she was gone, and I sat up staring at the lump of a once proud and cruel man. We were the only two left from my family. Alcohol and drugs took everyone down, except me. I knew when to quit. The man lying in bed had upped his intake of drinking until it was all he did. Today I watched them remove twenty-one bottles of liquid from his abdomen, relieving his labored breathing. He had no idea it was happening.

A flash of light caught my attention, and I quietly got up to investigate. It was coming from the nurse’s station where someone had placed a small golden clock that looked like a holiday ornament. It was the same as…a chill shot through me.

It looked exactly like the clock from my dream last night where I was boxing up my father’s belongings. My only thought had been he wasn’t dead. Then, in one box, was this device. It had a clock face on all four sides as it gently spun in a circle playing my father’s favorite Hank Williams Jr. song.

“Can’t be,” I whispered, hoping I’d seen it the day before.

A loud conversation cleared that up.

“Did you see what that patient in 202 left us today, Sissy?”

“I’ve never seen a clock like that before. How sweet of him.”

I gulped when I saw the time was the same as my dream. Unsure what to do, I stood there frozen until a sudden warmness wrapped me in its wisdom. I quietly closed the door and stood over my father.

“I forgive you, father, even after all you did to us. You weren’t happy here on earth, and I hope you’ll find some happiness where you are going. Please know I’m doing this in love, and I believe it’s what I’m meant to do. Rest in Peace.”

I picked up the extra pillow and held it tightly over his face. He never struggled, but at the last moment, his bloodshot eyes opened. I saw approval in them, as the machines went silent. His eyes closed. I put the pillow back and pushed the nurse’s button right as they threw the door open. Mercifully, they couldn’t revive him.

Later, when I left his room, I hurried past the clock still set at the same time, 11:53. After a long wait for the elevator, the clock began playing my father’s favorite song. I held back a smile when I saw the hands had moved to noon, which only justified my actions.

No one knew what I did that day. I was okay with that because he was free, and so was I.



When Life Gives You Lemons…Write Poetry! #Poetry #WritingCommunity #IARTG #ASMSG #TANKA #CINQUAIN #HAIBUN @ColleenChesebro #tryingnewthings


It’s been a strange sixteen months for me on many levels. There were several deaths of pets, friends, and family, plus a period of things breaking. Then came 2020 with high expectations. Halfway through this year, I find myself wishing for someone to shut down the rest of the year. This is the point where my emotions caught up to me, following several weeks of being sick. It was bronchitis/sinus infection that was heading into pneumonia because I waited too long to see my doctor. After a surreal doctor’s visit and, yes, a painful COVID test, I found out twelve days later it was thankfully negative. Finally, I started feeling better, so I got out to trim some hedges, which flared up my shoulder and lower back.


So besides some editing, I found myself unable to focus on current stories. It was time to take care of myself. I got back into my exercise routine and then wanted to try something new. I have always had a love of poetry. When I write it, I’m visiting my soul, where I can reflect on my emotions and life. The free verse will always be my go-to, but I decided it was finally time to explore some different types of poetry that I have been enjoying lately. I tried Haiku a couple of years ago, and that stuck with me and a part of my normal poetry writing.


Last week, I took some notes on some poetry I’ve wanted to learn and headed outside to write, hoping for the best. Right away, I found I loved Haibuns, mixing prose poetry and Haikus. Then I tried Tanka that was like a longer Haiku which I enjoyed. The most challenging type for me was the Cinquains. I have a lot to learn, but here’s another way to express my deep feelings and explore my enjoyment of patterns while I heal in nature.

Some of my first attempts:



Hearing heavy words

Sends chills through the listeners

A surreal moment

Where hate and fear are enshrined

Love lingers just out of reach.



The flowing water soothes shattered nerves. The tall pines sway seductively in the wind’s gentle caress. The roses burst forth in their scented glory while rewarding the humming toil of the bees their ultimate gift.

Peaceful moment

Provided by a summer day

Soak in its splendor.

CINQUAIN (I admit this one makes me giggle…)


With black feathers

Perches on a branch cawing

Its mate answers in the same shrill

Bird love.


The bear

With a black coat

Lumbers through the forest

Scrounging for its next tasty meal


It never misses the garbage can

Noise sends it up a tree

Where it’s safe


 A special thanks and hugs to Colleen Chesbro and her wonderful blog for inspiring me to branch out and try something new! As time and creativity permits, I’ll be participating in her challenges soon and post them here:)

You won’t want to miss this week’s special edition blog.

Embrace your inner child by taking good care of you, D. L. Finn





August Book Reviews! @YvetteMCalleiro @Sandra_Cox @jamescudney4 @JessicaBakkers @HLawsonAuthor

My Mechanical Angel

by Harmony Lawson

“My Mechanical Angel” is a YA fantasy with Christian overtones and my favorite, angels. This book was recommended to me, and I’m glad it was. I enjoyed the uniquely written story told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old, Emmaline. She lived in a small rural town where their leader, Reverend Archibald, warned of the evil in the forbidden city, Seraphton. The city intrigued Emmaline and made her feel like an outcast in her community. Then she meets a resident from Seraphton, Aleksander, during a storm one night. The meeting is the start of a change of events for her. I loved the instant connection between Emmaline and Aleksander, which brought about her softer and braver side. Her relationship with her family, especially her grandfather, felt real to me, including their push for something she didn’t want. Her journey, along with a few surprises, held my interest the entire way. This is not only a love story, but how people are capable of change — or not. I will definitely be reading more from this author! Four-Stars

Guns of Perdition (The Armageddon Showdown Book 1)

by Jessica Bakkers

“Guns of Perdition” is a dark western horror story with a biblical twist. Jessie worked in a salon but was compelled to follow a drifter named Grace. They immediately drew me into their strange world where there were not only cowboys, but bloodsuckers and an evil man Grace called the Darksome Gunman. I enjoyed learning along with Jessie and rooted for him, even though there were times his actions frustrated me.  Grace made it hard to know her, but her interactions with Kaga, her wolf brought out her more tender side, but that wasn’t often as her strength pulled them forward.  “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King series came to mind when I was reading this with its mixture of horror, settings, and complex characters. The story tugged on my emotions in several places where I wondered how this could happen, which only showed how involved I was in the story. This is a great debut by Ms. Bakkers, and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series. Five-Stars

Watching Glass Shatter (Perceptions of Glass #1)

by James J. Cudney

“Watching Glass Shatter” is a fictional drama that centers on the wealthy Glass Family. Olivia lost her husband after 40 years of a wonderful marriage. She is surrounded by her five sons after his death when she learns her husband kept a secret from her. This takes her on a journey of learning about herself and her sons. I admit I wasn’t a big fan of Olivia at first. She was very opinionated and self-absorbed. I loved her visits to each of her son’s households. This is where she learned more than expected from her excursion. There was some laugh out loud moments and some that brought tears to my eyes. The characters were well developed and were able to grow as the story went forward. I dreaded the final reveal of the secret but was completely satisfied with how it was handled. If you love a good drama, with a wonderful insight into the family dynamics, you won’t want to miss this book. Five-Stars

The Sundial

by Sandra Cox

“The Sundial” is a fun time-traveling western. Although it started with a ghostly appearance, the story soon veered from modern-day to Texas in a historical setting. This is where it all fell together for me in the 1800s. I loved how strong Sarah was and spoke her mind, even if it got her into trouble. Jesse was a perfect counterbalance with his loyalty and stubbornness. Monet, the cat, joined Sarah on her journey, and he added in some fun along with his protectiveness. The history and slang were nicely mixed into the action. This is a love that not only crosses through time but many lives, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Five-Stars

Breathless: A Short Story 

by Yvette M Calleiro

“Breathless” takes the reader in a new direction showing what happens when the handsome, rich man, William, meets up with the peasant-like female, Selina. Ms. Calleiro provides a refreshing change to the usual storyline. I loved the setting in the 1920s, with the slang weaved in so seamlessly. When Selina decides a bit of magic couldn’t hurt, there is a twist I didn’t see coming. A well-written story that I couldn’t put down. Five-Stars

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!

Watch for a special edition blog this week:)

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


“I Wouldn’t Be Surprised” Release Day! #releaseday #shortstory #dlfinn #kindle

today pic

Today is release day for my new short story, “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised!”

I WOULDN'T BE SUPRISED_ A Short Story final copy for cover


Did you ever wish you could take back something you said, even if it was just a joke? One of those moments happened while sitting around the Easter celebration table in our dream house, only the two of us. The world was spinning out of control. The news was glum, and we missed our family, so in true Janice-fashion, I tried to add some lightness to the meal.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Bigfoot came to our door with a plate of food.”

Dale paused a second from devouring his favorite turkey meal and burst into laughter.

Encouraged that I was in a brilliant comedic mode, although I’m sure the wine had more to do with it, I added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if a UFO landed in our front yard.”

Now I was laughing too. I sucked back a giggle. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a herd of serial killers stampeded down our driveway.”

I continued throwing out my zingers until I ran out of ideas. Our good spirits lasted through dessert. Soon reality’s somber mood crept back into the day.

A week later, I found out my comments might have been taken seriously when someone or something visited us.

“This looks good, thanks,” Dale peeked in from the garage late Sunday morning.

I frowned. “What does?”

“This plate of bread.” He held up a foil-covered paper plate.

“Not mine. Where did you get it?”

Dale’s graying brows pulled together over his puzzled brown eyes. “It was sitting on the back of my truck. Must have been out there all morning. I just noticed it.”

His look of longing at the plate of bread worried me. Dale’s celiac disease meant no gluten or wheat flour. “Set it down, and I’ll see who brought it to us.”

He nodded and left the present as I scanned the security camera on my cell phone, thinking a neighbor dropped it by earlier in the morning. Nothing. I checked each motion recording until I found what I was looking for. My mind clicked into the opening narration of an old crime show, Dragnet. “This is the town, Greenville, California. It is a sleepy mountain community where people still leave their doors unlocked. It was a Saturday, April 18, at 11:30 p.m., when an uninvited guest walked down the dark, football-field-length driveway. The unidentified person carried a circular item. They proceeded to place what appeared to be a foil-covered plate on the back corner of a truck and retreated into the night…”

Amazon Link

(At the correct price of .99)

Comments off for vacation! Hugs to all:)

Embrace your inner child, D. L. Finn


My Cover Debut & Pre-Order for “I Wouldn’t Be Suprised: A Short Story!” @dlfinnauthor #shortstory #newrelease #paranormal

I WOULDN'T BE SUPRISED_ A Short Story final copy for cover

I spent last week searching for a picture I took several years ago while sitting around the fire on a camping trip at a local lake. I almost gave up and used another night shot I had, when finally I found it. So, I happily created this cover.

Although it was great I found the picture I was looking for, that isn’t the interesting part of my upcoming release.

At the beginning of this story, Janice and Dale are alone on Easter Day enjoying their meal together. Janice lightens the mood by throwing out a few “I wouldn’t be surprised” zingers. A few days later, a gift of bread was delivered in the middle of the night. It gets worse for them from there.

This really happened to my husband and I. We spent Easter day alone because of the shutdown, and I used the real “I wouldn’t be surprised” jokes which included, Bigfoot delivering food, Aliens landing in the front yard, and a pack of serial killers running down our driveway to name a few in the story.

Then a strange “gift” of bread showed up on the back of my husband’s pickup one morning soon after.

We do have a video recording and a grainy picture of an older woman on our security camera. No one we know. It was chilling to watch her walk down our dark driveway, where she met up with a dog and disappears. No car…nothing. Just darkness.

We put the bread back outside that night. No reason, we just didn’t know what to do with it really and felt guilty throwing it away. Maybe they wanted it back, I reasoned. Our security camera stopped recording motions that night, but the bread was gone the next morning–only a plate and some foil, which the ravens found.

Why is this strange? Well, we live in the middle of the forest. There are no streetlights, parking or sideways, just a road and trees. Houses are separated by acres, and wild animals live around us. We know most of our neighbors, and none of them would be out wandering around at 11:30 p.m. without a flashlight. Our driveway is longer than a football field, so it a long dark walk to a darker street.

I did immediately think my daughter dropped off a gluten-free treat for her dad, but that wasn’t the case. I talked to neighbors, nothing. It was a mystery we never solved, but my mind never let go of it.

I went in many directions with this story, some of which ended in death for Dale and Janice. That didn’t feel right to me and why I missed the orginal deadline. Besides, I figured I should be careful after what happened.

A few familiar characters paid a visit, and a new one made an appearance.

So except for the dog, the older lady who pays a visit in the story, it happened. What follows the delivery of the bread is what happens when strange events come to a writer. It’s been three months since our special nighttime gift. I can throw it into the its been a strange year theory, but…


Do you ever wish you could take back your words? Janice and Dale Hart sat around the dinner table laughing at silly “I wouldn’t be surprised” jokes that included UFOs, Bigfoot, hand-delivered food, and serial killers. A week later, an innocent plate of food is left on Dale’s truck in the middle of the night. That’s only the beginning, and the presents go from harmless to life-threatening. Will the Harts find help in time to survive an evil bearer of “gifts”? Find out in this paranormal thriller.


NOTE: DO NOT BUY AT THE $2.99 PRICE ON AMAZON. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE .99. I was unable to fix it, even though it was before the deadline, and now it won’t be corrected until JULY 21ST.

If anyone bought it at the wrong price, let me know and I’ll send you an Amazon gift certificate for the difference. Sorry for any inconvenience. I’ll add this to my 2020 odd list 🙂




Amazon  (7-21-20)


Release Date: July 21st



I’ll be on vacation next week so there will be no blog. I’ll be back on August 2nd. I also won’t be on social media or visiting my favorite blogs.

My Monthly Newsletter will be out a day late on July 21st. I’ll be celebrating my birthday the day before… So, watch for it in your emails if subscribed!

Don’t forget to give the moon a glance on the 20th. That’s the day when a human first set foot on the moon. This moonchild will be looking up and imagining the possibilities!

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







July Book Reviews Part 2 @Jinlobify @JanSikes3 @DonnaOw70073779

Brother’s Keeper

by Jan Sikes

“Brother’s Keeper” is a short story centered on two brothers. Quentin is the older brother whose job it has been to watch over his younger brother, Rowdy. An event when they were children cemented that caretaking into adulthood. The mother created this situation and still pushed it. I detested her, which shows how well the author writes characters. My sympathy was for Quentin, whose loyalty was misplaced. It saddened and frustrated me what happened to Quentin, but it suited his personality. A well-written quick read. Five-Stars.

Brazos Wind

by Jan Sikes

“Brazos Wind” is a western short story set in Texas in the 1880s. Jack McClean comes across the widow Savannah as her house burns and then takes it upon himself to help her. I immediately fell in love with Jack’s character. He was strong, kind, and had some mystery mixed in. Savannah’s sad state was understandable after she shared her story. The friendship that developed between Savannah and Jack felt very real. This is a fantastic read, and I would love to see a book come from it. There is so much more I want to know about both characters. I highly recommend it! Five-Stars!

The Agent of Death

by Joy Lo-Bamijoko

“The Agent of Death” is a short story that focuses on several deaths in one family. It starts with a dream and goes into how unexpected deaths are dealt with in the spirit realm. The uniquely told story explores how to break the curse believed to be placed on the family. A lot was going on, making it hard to keep up, but it was also insightful and surprising. This was an interesting read for me. Four-Stars.

Eternal Darkness

by Donna Owens

“Eternal Darkness” is Ms. Owen’s debut poetry collection. Her words are dark and disturbing. The untitled poems deal with subjects including abuse, suicide, and murder. The reader gets the perspective of both sides, killer/abuser, and victim. The poetry is emotional-based and in the genre of horror with a good dose of painful reality. This is meant for mature readers—a read for horror fans and those who like to delve into the darkness.

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!


Next week I will be debuting the cover to my new paranormal short story, “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised!”  I’ll be sharing the real-life event behind this story. I hope to release it on my birthday–it will depend on how next week goes. No, it didn’t make the contest deadline, but I was still determined to release it.

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


July Book Reviews Part 1 @teagangeneviene @MarciaMeara @fredsdiary1981 @hmkindt @WendyJayneScott

Tiger House (The Chronicles of Jairus Tanner #1)

by Wendy Scott

“Tiger House” is a fantasy set in a world after the emperor dies. Takagi is the daughter who has now lost position and power after losing her father. She sets into motion a plan to get her power back. I kept looking for something to sympathize with her, but I didn’t find that only a perfect villain. Jairus is a farm boy who is kidnapped from his world to take part in the games that will determine who is the leader in this cruel society. Everything is stripped away from him, and they force him to fight. When the game ends, he survives at Takagi’s pleasure. It is here I see him grow, while Takagi continues her ruthless push forward. Although there were a couple of things I would have liked better explained, I found the world beautifully described and the characters full of depth. The story was fast-paced, and many twists kept me on the edge of my seat. This was an action-filled dark fantasy read that ended one chapter and opened another. I look forward to reading what happens to Jairus next. Four-Stars.

The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts #1)

by Heather Kindt

“The Green Door” is a YA fantasy that focuses on the lives of two teens in their last year of high school. Meg works at a record store to make ends meet at home, while her best friend, Brek, is preparing for college. They find a flyer about a game, and the two teens try it. The first step is to choose a door that is based on the money awarded if they complete the task. The action starts the moment they open the door. I enjoyed what was behind the entrance and the unknown world’s storyline that included magic. I liked the friendship between Meg and Brek and how protective they were of each other. Then enters someone from their school, and it sets up a romantic triangle. There are a couple of adult scenes in this story; otherwise, this would be an enjoyable read for younger readers too. The story is a quest with some moral decisions. The book ends at a place where some questions were answered, but others were left unanswered for the next book — which I will be reading. Four-Stars.

Summer of ’77: Beaches, bars and boogie nights in Ibiza

by Robert Fear

“Summer of ‘77” is a slice into Mr. Fear’s life when he was 21 years old. After taking a vacation to Ibiza, Spain, Fred, his nickname, went back the next year to stay six months. He walked away from his job and girlfriend and found a place to live and work. I loved being back in the 70s, it was such a different time.  I could imagine being on the island and walking through the streets with Fred. There was hard work involved, but also a lot of partying and enjoying female company. This is a journey of a young man who was determined to explore more than his corner of the world. I not only loved seeing this through his eyes but being able to read the letters he received from back home. I felt that gave a balanced perspective. This was a page-turning read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Five-Stars.

Wake-Robin Ridge

by Marcia Meara

“Wake-Robin Ridge” is centered on a house in the Blue Ridge mountains. The story was told through two different timelines almost fifty years apart. The storyline set in the 60s pulled me right in as it focused on an abused wife, Ruthie. Her emotions felt very real in the situation she found herself in. She was the strongest character for me and her husband, a true villain. Sarah was in the second timeline in the 2010s, who moved to the Blue Ridge mountains to write a book. She immediately met her neighbor, Mac. They sparked a friendship, and she learned about him slowly. That storyline was more thoughtful. I loved the setting and could easily imagine creating a book at Sarah’s cabin, then taking a break and walking to the creek. This was an entertaining read with some paranormal mixed in that I appreciated.  I will be reading more of this series. Four-Stars

Brother Love – a Crossroad

by Teagan Geneviene

I read “Brother Love” over several weeks on Ms. Geneviene’s blog and enjoyed it. I was happy to see it released and read it as a book. I appreciated it just as much the second time around. My favorite character was the magpie, Jinx, and his insights. Although Birdie, the town outcast, is a second close, because of what others perceived her mother to have done and where she lives near. The humor and setting drew me into the story that was set in the south in the 50s. I could see myself at the town revival as people went forward to get healed. I loved the magic woven into a story that otherwise felt very real. I recommend this novella for all fantasy readers who appreciate a unique tale as I do. Five-Stars

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!

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book and embracing each soul you meet! D. L. Finn


A Local Vacation



Staying close to home on vacation turned was nice. We went on a Harley ride, visited an empty state park, and explored nearby places. Here are some highlights from local spots in, or very near, Nevada City, CA.

There were a couple of road trips. We ended up at a trail that was closed, so we headed across the street to the waterfalls and explored. The next picture is an overlook of the Sierras off of Highway 20. Then there is the South Yuba River, and an old Wells Fargo building past Bridgeport in the South Yuba River State Park.


The Harley ride to Downieville, CA is a favorite. The road flows along the South Yuba River. The last picture is in Downieville in front of a place we stayed for one of our anniversaries years ago.

Here is our day at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. We were the only ones there and enjoyed exploring. North Bloomfield is the name of the tiny town within the park. I used to enjoy field trips there with my kids and working in the “Drug Store.” We couldn’t go inside this time, but the grounds are so lovely we didn’t mind, and we found this great little bridge to cross.

As we exited the town, we stopped at an old Catholic Church. Next to that was an old white schoolhouse. I felt uncomfortable near the schoolhouse, so I avoided it and pictures. Later I found out there’s a story about the schoolhouse and is believed to be haunted. It is said the schoolmaster killed and hung a student from the rafters above the classroom.

We left there quickly and continued to explore the beauty that surrounded us. I hope you enjoyed seeing some beauty we enjoyed on our vacation.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book, and enjoying nature. D. L. Finn


“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #5. #FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Below is my interpretation of week #5 Fiction in a Flash on Suzuanne Burke’s Blog. 


This picture took me to a dark place. I ended up writing three poems about it, but I’m only sharing one of them.


The golden couple enters hushed admiration.

Their beauty captures the imagination.

Women ache to stand in “her” shoes.

I don’t.

I’ve heard his tone…

I’ve seen the bruises…

I’ve heard her cry.

But now, she grins and laughs

While clinging to his ego.

They are so in love people declare

But they don’t see the invisible strings

They are knotted in oppression.

Her eyes reflect only fear…

Her mouth set in a dark smile…

Her motions are jagged as he tugs her strings.

He is a puppeteer of hatred

Controlling each action…

Each word…

Each breath.

My heart feels her pain,

Yet, she won’t leave him.

I offer her safety,

She clings to sadistic devotion.

No one sees what makeup covers

No one hears his degrading words

No one feels his anger like she does.

It is a delicate illusion held together by string

Someday, I know that string will break

And I will either comfort her… or grieve by her grave.

As I turn away, I glimpse a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

It goes unnoticed by her pathetic puppeteer.

I smile as I leave in hope,

Knowing the invisible strings are finally fraying.

Embrace your inner child. D. L. Finn


Poetry to head into summer with…


Four of my cats remain indoor muses

Only one now ventures outside.

He is a tiger cat, who was once a feral

But he is gentle and loves my company.

Our dog travels in both realms.

Both animals had shunned each other…

Until something changed–a miracle.

One day their wariness of each other…

It was forgotten.

The feral cat and dog greeted each other…


Fear floated away and they soon became friends

There is no more flinching when they touch.

As they head into their twelfth year

My muses have gained a new best friend…

They now rush to greet each other in joy.

They both sit by me…

Keeping me company in the peace

Encouraging me in creation

Keeping each other safe.

My wise muses brave the trails with me

It’s our peaceful world together

The three of us walk into the forest’s soul

Given a bond only found in love.

A love that I hope can reflect into the world.


The horizon offers me the world.

It rolls out into forever

Like a tree-covered carpet

Into the mountains.

It is a glance into possibilities

Of abundance offered to all

The horizon gives my soul the hope…

Of what life can offer… if we only believe.


1. My Monthly Newsletter went out this week. Check your email if you are subscribed:)

2. Yesterday I posted “Books That Changed Me” — Summer Edition.

3. Stop by for tomorrow’s special edition blog with guest author, Mark Bierman!

4. Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing Dads. That wish includes our fur babies Dads!

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. And remember when the cat and dog lost their fear, they became friends. D. L. Finn


“Books That Changed Me”– 2020 Summer Edition! @ColleenChesebro @dehauthor @jhawker69 @boom_lyn


The longest day of the year has arrived along with thoughts of swimming in our lakes and rivers. It’s the perfect time of the year to lounge under the stars gazing at the possibilities while being serenaded by the crickets. Yes, summer is here, and when I’m not swimming or watching for a comet to streak across the sky, I will be reading and posting my reviews.

Today there will be a different look for my “Books That Changed Me” Summer Edition. I’ve changed the format and won’t be re-sharing my reviews for the books anymore. I want to focus more on the stories or poems that moved me enough to “change” me.

In no particular order the books and their blurbs:

Neon Houses