#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry #Challenge No. 305 #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poem #cinquain #butterflycinquain

Here is Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge #305. This week we were asked to pick three or more words from a list and create a poem. This random poetry word idea is from Jane Dougherty.

I decided to do a butterfly cinquain 2/4/6/8/2/8/6/4/2 using the list’s three words in bold letters.

HEALING STONE

rainy
dreary sunset
quartz on the window ledge
seizes my imagination
with love
reflective of a world’s desires
a gift from the fairies
brightens the day
magic

#NewRelease! “Menagerie” by@JoanHallWrites #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #whattoread #shortstories

I’m thrilled to welcome fellow Story Empire author and friend here today, Joan Hall, to talk about her latest release, “Menagerie.” Here is my review: LINK

Lone Wolf

Thank you for sharing your space with me today, Denise. It’s a pleasure to be here to tell you and your readers about my newest release, Menagerie. It’s a mixed-genre compilation of thirteen short stories. I feature a different story in each tour stop and tell what inspired me to write it. You’re an animal and nature lover like me, so today’s story is Lone Wolf.

Many of your readers will remember the late Suzanne Burke. She used to feature a weekly flash fiction photo prompt and invite readers to compose a short piece of fiction. I participated several times. One week, she shared a photo of a wolf.

Immediately, my mind went to a replica of a painting that hung on a bedroom wall in my Aunt Jessie’s house. Lone Wolf was by Polish artist Alfred Kowalski. In the painting, a wolf stood on a snow-covered hill overlooking a small village.

My creative juices began to flow. What if a lonely cowboy befriends a solitary wolf? Can a wild animal and a human develop a connection? The original flash fiction piece was around 750 words. I took the original story, expanded it to just over 3,000 words, and added a few characters.

Music also inspires my writing. John Denver fans might recognize elements of his song from the Farewell Andromeda album, “I think I’d Rather Be a Cowboy” in this story. John was also a lover of nature and an advocate of nature conservation. It’s my hope that Lone Wolf shows people and wildlife can co-exist.

Excerpt:

Jake tossed another log onto the campfire then lay back on his bedroll with his hands clasped behind his head to gaze at the countless stars. Arcturus sparkled like a diamond within the constellation Boötes, its brightness surpassed only by Venus in the western sky. The Big Dipper hovered near the horizon.

How could anyone look upon this beauty and not feel peace and contentment? The thought of living in a large city with the constant noise of traffic, honking horns, and sirens left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Places where man-made light and pollution all but obliterated a view of the stars and where smog filled the daytime skies. Jake wanted no part of that kind of life.

Soon, the warmth of the fire lulled him to sleep. Jake wasn’t sure how long he dozed when a wolf’s howl awakened him. He listened earnestly. Most wolves in this area didn’t venture too close to civilization, but he was a good five miles from the ranch’s headquarters. The canines traveled in packs, but this one was alone. Likely a young male on the move to find new territory.

The cry faded into the distance. Assured he had nothing to fear, Jake crawled into his sleeping bag. Before long, he was sound asleep.

Blurb:

King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.

Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.

These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/jh-menagerie

About the Author

Social Media Links

Website | Blog | BookBub | Goodreads

January Book Reviews Part 2! @Ivyloganauthor @NoFacilities @pokercubster #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #bookreviews #whattoread

 

Fifteen First Times: Beginnings: A Collection of Indelible Firsts

By D.G. Kaye

“Fifteen First Times” is a group of personal stories told in a humorous yet perceptive manner. It felt like I was sitting with Ms. Kaye having a cup of tea while she shared some of her life stories. I found it easy to relate to a first kiss, first heartbreak, or first-time driving. It got me reflecting on many of my firsts and how I navigated life after. The author’s strength, fashion sense, and humor shined through the words, painting a picture of her moments. This is a book of youthful reflections and what we can learn from all our firsts. There was also a loving dedication to her departed husband that touched my soul. This is a beautiful collection of coming-of-age stories I can easily recommend.

When Evil Chooses You: Book Three in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series

By Dan Antion

“The Evil Chooses You” is a fun sequel where Zach quickly discovers the FBI isn’t through with him and his exceptional skills. Zach wants to enjoy his retirement, but someone from his not-too-recent past has other ideas. His ability to go into his dreams and travel is too hard for some to resist using. Agent Dyer has a personal vendetta against a Senator, a Mob boss, and a local cop. He will stop at nothing to take them down, using Zach and murder to get what he wants. I enjoy the relationship between Zach, his daughter, his brother, and his best friend, Billy. They are good support for him when he needs it. He must learn whom to trust outside this circle and, in an interesting twist, find a new ally. I kept thinking about the show and movies Mission Impossible as their plan unfolded. An entertaining and unique series that offered an ending I found satisfying.

 

Origins: The Legend of Ava

By Ivy Logan

Having read and enjoyed the first two books of the Breach Chronicles, I was excited to see there was a prequel to the first story. Ava is a Heichi Sorceress who can see the future and sometimes end up there. She helplessly watches a girl racing deep into the forest. Her attempts to help or change things have repercussions she has to deal with. Ava is a character full of compassion that isn’t always appreciated. I loved she followed her heart even in the worst of situations. This quick read can be a stand-alone, but it is a great addition to a series I can easily recommend.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

Embrace your inner child, and read a good book! D. L. Finn

January Book Reviews Part 1! @harmony_kent @LGauffreau #writingcommunity #bookreviews #whattoread #readersoftwitter

The Bubble Reputation

By Alex Craigie

“The Bubble Reputation” is a chilling read showing the dark side of social media and news. Emmie has it all. She is a successful children’s author, on a show, happily married, and close to her parents. After she wins an award, things change after a fabricated story is posted about her to increase profits. She tries to let it pass, but the anger and outrage directed at her take on a life of its own. Her reputation is ruined, and there isn’t a shortage of people, including a family member, trying to make money off it. She was a character with whom I felt her pain as her life spun out of control. She quickly found out who had her back and who wanted to see her downfall. I loved the relationship between her and her husband and her parents. This story was a dire warning of what can happen when an editor and journalist decides they can say whatever they want about another human, regardless of the consequences. The sad part was how a portion of her young reader’s parents quickly believed whatever they read about Emmie, and from there, it spiraled out of control. A quick read that I couldn’t put and can easily recommend.

Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

By Elizabeth Gauffreau

A beautiful collection of family history that Ms. Gauffreau paired personal photographs with a tanka poem to bring history to life. “Grief Songs” is a tribute to the author’s parents and brother and their life together. It reads like a memoir that vividly transports the reader to the past through images and words. It is a quick and moving read that shares moments in time. This is a compelling reminder that even though we lose our loved ones, our journey with them is never forgotten. I can easily recommend this book to those who enjoy poetry and memoirs.

 

Sorrowful Soul: Book 3 in the Soul Poetry Series

By Harmony Kent

I have read and enjoyed the first two books in this series. I was looking forward to reading this collection, yet I worried it would be a heavy read. Instead of heavy, it was powerful. The free verse poetry told a story with vivid images and emotions that explored loss. Arranged by the seven stages of grief, the words painted a picture of the expected feelings during the process. All of us face a loss at some point in our lives, leaving us to deal with it in our own way. This book lets us know it’s okay to be in denial, sad, or angry at a situation out of our control. In the end, hope peeked through, offering a new road to take once we journey through our grief and hopelessness. For those who can’t see that light, Ms. Kent offered some valuable information for those who might need someone to talk to. This is a must-read for those who love emotional poetry that provides understanding and healing.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

Embrace your inner child, and read a good book! D. L. Finn

New Release! “The Last Drive” by John W. Howell @HowellWave #newbook #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #mustread

I’m so happy to have fellow Story Empire writer and friend, John W. Howell here today to share his latest release. I loved Eternal Road and was eager to read The Last Drive. It was a fantastic second book! Here is my review: LINK

I am so pleased to be with you today, Denise. I want to thank you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. Your philosophy about paying attention to your inner child is one that curiously enough came in handy while I was writing this book. All too often we pull up short wondering if our readers will accept what we have written. In the case of The Last Drive there are scenes of man’s inhumanity to man that made me pause. I finally looked at the situation much like a child would approach such a subject. I asked myself three questions.1. Is the history a real event? 2. Should the event be remembered? 3.Will writing about the event serve a purpose. The answer to all three was yes and so the book was born.

Here is the blurb and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.

The Blurb

In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.

An Excerpt.

James walks toward his chair. On the way, he picks up his book and, over his shoulder, says, “Was I drugged? Is there something in this tea?”

Sam laughs and follows him to the chair. “No.”

“Speaking of tea, would you like some?”

Sam shakes her head. “No, thank you. I came to ask a favor. Not for a social visit.”

“Any favor you want would be my pleasure to deliver.” James stops talking and looks, shamefaced, at the book in his hand. “Sorry, that cheesy line is in this thing. What do you need from me?”

Sam’s forehead furrows. “We have a soul, and a guide, somewhere on the Eternal Road, and they’ve gone missing.”

James’s eyes widen. “The way we did?’

“Perhaps. The Archangel asked for us to try and find the pair.”

James rubs his chin. “Who are they?”

“Eddie Rickenbacker and Ryan Sanders.”

The Eddie Rickenbacker?”

“Yes, the same.”

“Who’s Ryan Sanders?”

“He was a captain in the US Air Force. He saved a bunch of civilians in Afghanistan by staying with his crippled airplane till it hit the ground and exploded.”

“So, he’s a hero.”

“I think so.”

“Good enough. Where do I sign?”

A Link to the Trailer

You Tube https://youtu.be/HEUninXiibI

Buy Links

The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon. Here are the universal links. The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.

Kindle https://mybook.to/FYmkKr

Paper https://mybook.to/BCsWV

Author Bio

John is an award-winning author who after an extensive business career began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written Six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author links

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/john-w-howell

Eternal Road Buy links

Kindle Universal link mybook.to/EternalRoad

Paper universal link mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

Books read in 2022! #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #readinglist #booksread

I finished the year with 109 reads. On this list are one repeat and a couple of missed books that I couldn’t find on Goodreads. I forgot to go back and add them later and also forgot which books it was 🙂 So I just left it as is.

I am trying for 75 books this year and hoping for 100. Happy reading everyone 🙂

BOOKS THAT CHANGED ME—2022 WINTER EDITION! @Sandra_Cox @JanSikes3 @LBroday #whattoread #MUSTREADS #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #mustread

The landscape has been illuminated with snow that clung to the trees for several days in an icy chill. The days have grown shorter, but that only means more time to read.

I’ve read a lot of books this year, over 100 again, which I will share in January. However, reading that many good books make it hard to narrow my list of favorites each season.  The books I post here have entertained me and found their way into my heart. It’s why I call my favorites “Books that Changed Me.” Because when you read a great story, it doesn’t go away once you close the book. It stays around, lingering in your thoughts and heart.

I offer three beautiful books and a heartwarming Christmas story you don’t want to miss. You might remember them from my reviews.

In no particular order, here they are:

 

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration

By Colleen M. Chesebro

BLURB

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.

From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.

Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

Saddled Heart (The White Rune Series Book 3)

By Jan Sikes

BLURB

Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life, between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?
He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?
Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.
The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

Geller’s Find

By Sandra Cox

BLURB

It’s summer break and Dr. Luke Geller, history prof and part-time archeologist is in Nevada looking for potsherds. What he discovers is an antique rifle and a portal in time.
Touching an ancient piece of Chiastolite crystal, the earth rumbles, the skies darken and the ground opens. He’s hurled straight to the core of the earth then shot back up and spewed out.
When he stumbles to his feet, he finds himself where he began. Same, yet different. There are no winding roads. No parking lots. No cars. No town with bright lights in the distance. Only Lily Winter Tremaine, an angry young woman pointing a gun at him, demanding he hand over her rifle.
All thoughts of primitive pottery disappear as Luke finds himself fighting alongside three young women trying to hold onto their ranch against a dangerous scoundrel who intends to have the ranch by whatever means possible. Then there’s the little fact that Luke’s mightily attracted to the young woman he’s working for. A woman old enough to be his great-great granny. And Miss Lily Winter Tremaine does not figure into any of tenured professor Luke Geller’s lesson plans.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

 

A Heartwarming Christmas Read

Hope‘s Angel

By Linda Broday

BLURB

Christmas? It’s nothing to celebrate and brings memories of everything he seeks to forget.

When a horrendous accident leaves Jericho Cane disfigured, he retreats to the dark refuge of his childhood home. People label him a monster, a phantom. Only while the town sleeps can he find courage to venture out and seek solace in midnight rides.

But who is making mysterious repairs to broken items, leaving food on doorsteps and wooden angels on children’s graves?

Newly arrived, Irish doctor Kathleen O’Shea, has no fear of Jericho Cane. Armed with determination, she offers hope where he can live again. Still, can he thrive walking in daylight amongst the ones who call him a monster? If she fails, the darkness will consume him for good.

A holiday read that will touch your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time of acceptance, kindness, and for healing wounds.

US AMAZON LINK

UK AMAZON LINK

I know this is a day early but Happy Winter Solstice! I also want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Holidays, and Happy New Year. D. L. Finn

December Book Reviews Part 3! @sgc58 @maryjdressel @Marjorie_Mallon #whattoread #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #bookreviews

Variety is the Spice of Life

By Sally Cronin

“Variety is the Spice of Life” is a wonderful collection of poetry and short stories. The poetry is presented in the first half of the book. It was moving and thoughtful, as each word was carefully crafted. The short stories in the second half were my favorite part. Each story had its gift to offer us, but I wiped away a tear or two with “Mrs. Lloyd’s Robin.” “The Healer” left me with chills wondering what-if. What connected the stories and poetry to me was their humanity—or heart of them. A must-read collection for those who love poetry and stories that make you feel.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration

By Colleen M. Chesebro

I read and loved “Fairies, Myths, & Magic Book 1” and was eager to read the second book. This dips into a darker side of fairies and magic but also offers the coming light. Told through beautiful poetry and short stories with the addition of the history of the feminine lore of different cultures. I could learn as I was entertained. Although I love my forest, I have a healthy appreciation of it and the magic it holds. This collection brought to life our past and present, leaving the promise of the future or its consequences. A perfect read for a cold fall or winter night that inspired me to bring a few new traditions into our house.

Do What You Love: Fragility of Your Flame Poems Photography & Flash Fiction

By M.J. Mallon

“Do What You Love” is a beautiful collection of words and photos that invite the reader into Ms. Mallon’s life. It is connected uniquely through the three sisters of fate: past, present, and future, and their insights. Whether it’s a trip abroad or down memory lane, it found a way to tug at my heart or engage me in her experiences. It is a wonderful way to share reality and engage others with flowing words and mythical beings. A quick but satisfying read that I can easily recommend to any poetry, prose, or memoir fan.

Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh: Holiday Romance Novella

By Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

Terra and her young daughter, Kylee, are on their way to spend Christmas with Terra’s sick mother. Bad luck strikes when their car breaks down. They end up stranded in a small town with no hotel rooms available, and the vehicle won’t be fixed until after the holiday. Terra’s sister can’t leave their mom to rescue them, so they set out to get a bite to eat. The caring server invites them to stay at her brother Jude’s house with them. Jude’s daughter and Kylee bonded quickly while Terra kept looking for other options to stay, and Jude wasn’t pleased with his new guests. Everyone around Jude and Terra is rooting for a Christmas miracle, but Terra is determined to move on, and Jude clings to the past. This short and sweet holiday read will uplift your spirits, and I can easily recommend it.

I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!

UPDATES: I have one more post tomorrow, Books That Changed Me—Winter edition. Don’t miss my final good read picks of the year! Then I’ll be off until January 9th.

I will pop in once for a post over on Story Empire on the 26th.

Also, if you are subscribed to my newsletter, check your email and see what book is featured this month along with some updates.

I wish everyone a Merry Chirstmas and a Happy New Year!

Embrace your inner child, and read a good book! D. L. Finn

A poetic stop by and say hi! @vocal_creators #vocalchallenges #poetry #haiku #poetrycommunity

Hi!

It’s been a long while since I posted anything over on Vocal. I couldn’t pass up a blue haiku challenge, though.  I’d love it if you’d stop by and share it if you can or give it a like if you enjoy it 🙂

I will be posting more there in the coming new year. There is a short story and a personal story that I did when I first started.

LINK

 

Staci Troilo’s Second Annual Virtual Cookie Exchange! #SugarCookies #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #writingcommunity #authorsbaking

Hi! Today I’m excited to participate in Staci Troilo’s Second Annual Virtual Cookie Exchange!

I decided to make a sugar cookie that is paleo, gluten-free, and dairy free. Our family has many different dietary needs, including celiac and dairy allergies. I do a variation of the AIP Paleo diet to keep my autoimmune in remission, so I don’t eat sugar, dairy, nightshades, or gluten. I make everything from scratch and avoid all prepackaged foods.

My notes and changes follow the recipe. I added pictures to show what I used and did.

Here is the recipe I found online at Erin Lives Whole. Thank you, Erin 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Here are my ingredients:

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 tbsp water
  • a few drops of food coloring

Here’s what I used:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Add almond flour, coconut flour baking soda, salt (all dry ingredients) to a medium bowl
  • Mix together egg, honey, coconut oil, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine
  • Mix until a ball forms
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 30 minutes to prevent sticking when rolling.

My dough before I put in the fridge:

  • Roll dough about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes. Watch cookies closely – they burn quickly!
  • If decorating, allow cookies to cool completely

Icing (for decorating)

  • Add powdered sugar, water, and food coloring together. Mix to combine
  • Put in ziplock bag and cut corner to allow for easy decorating.

Here are my cookie all ready for Santa!

MY NOTES:
  • I made a couple of changes to the recipe. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup to replace the almond extract that turned out to be empty.
  • I don’t think I chilled the dough long enough because I had a hard time with my cookie cutters even with flour. So, I used a glass to shape ornaments.
  • I used my convection setting on my oven since I am at 3700 feet.
  • When it came time to put the icing on the cookies, I set three aside for me without any added sugar icing.
  • I’m not skilled at decorating. I do think they look like ornaments though.
  • My husband insists they are the best cookies I’ve made, but I think he might be a little biased. Although, I thought they were very tasty too.
Thank you, Staci! This was a lot of fun.