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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

southern winter - (haiku)

cold sunny weather

mists small tropical island

north wind's frosty breath

 I usually experience chilly weather this time of year in my hometown, unlike most parts of the island, but it's still nice going outdoors.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Writing in Progress Blop Hop

Jillian Pearl asked me to join her in the Writing in Progress Blog Hop (WIP). My hesitation was brief, remembering the fun I had in another one I participated in earlier this year. Thank you Jillian. You can check out her blog at 

Here are the questions I must answer

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my children's book which originated during the awesome A to Z April Challenge this year. These consist of twenty-six theme-based stories, each representing a letter of the alphabet. They are about a few well-known fairy tale characters who are living in a more modern day setting. It is taking me longer to complete this because of the extra segment I'm including, as well as the illustrations and editing. 

This section has a few recipes of the foods mentioned in the stories, and will be quick and easy to prepare. Creating these recipes take a bit of time because it's important to know which concoction works best, but I'm having a good time. Some of the desserts taste yummy, but then, I have a sweet tooth.

The sketches was another concern of mine, but saw samples of the illustrator’s artwork, so am confident that the results will be great. Each stage taken to prepare this book is unfamiliar territory to me, but find it an exciting challenge. Some of my other projects are moving at a slower pace, but I want to take my time to develop and edit them.

How does your work differ from other genres?

My work isn't unique from other genres as mentioned in my previous WIP article. However, there are times when parts of the stories come from events or things that people experience, and personalities of people I know often find their way into the characters I create. 

Why do I write what I do?

My interest for books developed from an early age, and reading most genres has made me flexible to write content in any category, although I prefer creating mystery/suspense. I get a buzz from participating in writing prompts and contests that tests my ability to submit content based on their requirements and deadlines. Writing poetry is another passion of mine. It helps me to unwind and 
think clearly, so I am able to create or edit articles with a fresh approach.

How does my writing process work?

There was a time when I had an organized schedule and met my writing deadlines, but things changed over the past months when the workload increased. The time recently spent away from my blog to catch up with my assignments paid off. I am not worried about meeting my obligations now, although there are still a few tasks that need completion.

I create plots in my head anywhere I am - cooking, going for walks, events, and can't wait to get them on paper. I’ll sit at my desk and work for hours, while listening to music. It is easier for me to edit while I think and write, instead of waiting for the content to be completed. 2015 will be a very productive year. There will be more content on my blog and other writing sites, as I'm trying to write most articles early and have them organised for posting at their appointed time.There are a few other projects I can't wait to start, and have the drafts in place.

My writing aids are simple:

Coffee greets me in the mornings at 6:30am. Another cup or two, especially in the evening will keep me energized.

Chocolate chip cookies (4) is necessary and accompanies my first cup of coffee. I will not need to eat again until 10:30am.

Dictionaries are important to me, and prefer to use my hardcover companions, rather than the online ones, although that can be quicker. Pens and notebooks are on my list too.

Allow me to introduce you to the bloggers I invited to join WIP.

Werner Stejskal is the author of the children’s series “Oliver and Jumpy” for small to primary school aged children. The Oliver stories started out with You Tube clips, and are now available as picture books.

Werner’s involvement in “Oliver and Jumpy” is only the latest project in a very interesting life. He was born in Vienna, Austria very soon after the Second World War. Being a single child for 11 years before a younger brother arrived, influenced his character greatly. He was alone most of the time, and became an avid reader.

                                    His Social Media Links:






Gail M. Baugniet is the author of the Pepper Bibeau Mystery series. She worked in the insurance industry, and with law enforcement as a police officer and dispatcher. After living through many snowy winters in northern states, she now calls Honolulu, Hawaii  her home.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc and current president of the Sisters in Crime/Hawaii chapter in Honolulu. Her novels are available in trade book and eBook format at

Links to her Social Media sites:

The questions they are to answer:

What am you working on?

How does your work differ from other genres?

Why do I write what I do?

How does my writing process work?

Please visit these bloggers and find out more about them and the exciting books and projects they are involved with. You’re more than welcome to participate in the blog hop. Just send me a link to your post and I’ll be happy to hop over to your blog.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Green Thumb

Maggie tended the roses in her garden. There was so much work to be done, and the weeds were getting out of hand. As she looked at the flowers, her thoughts ran on the new boarder and she smiled.

Ben Mathews was a sweet old man who had recently taken up residence at her home. He had no close relatives and didn't socialize at all, preferring to be by himself and often took long walks. Ben was just the type of boarder she liked.

The money made from renting the room helped take care of her needs, and upkeep of the house which had been in the family for generations. Later, when Maggie was preparing dinner, Ben came through the back door with leaves stuck to his clothes.

“Ben, where have you been? You look a mess!" she exclaimed.

"I went for a walk and saw an enclosed area by the white picket fence at the back of the woods. Thought it would be nice to go in and take a look, but the bushes are overgrown and it was getting dark, so I decided to come home."

"Didn't I tell you not to go there?" Maggie asked, showing concern. "That place has old family graves and is very rocky. You could hurt yourself."

"Yes, you did warn me. I'll try to be more careful," said Ben, putting his hand on her shoulder. She smiled, taking a cake out of the oven.

Maggie woke early the next morning as she had to drive into town. Before leaving, she handed Ben a basket containing some sandwiches, cake and a thermos of coffee. There was not enough time to cook the large breakfast he usually ate. The man had a healthy appetite.

She spent a couple hours in town going to the post office and bank, then got some shopping done before heading home. After putting away the groceries and changing into overalls and sneakers, Maggie grabbed her gardening tools and went outside. It was a sunny day for gardening.

She went through the open white picket gate and walked in the tall wild grass, doing her best to avoid the prickly shrubs in her way. Ben was sitting against an old apple tree which no longer bore fruit. The basket lay opened beside him, its contents gone. Perfect timing, she thought.

"Ben," Maggie called out, but he didn't respond. She touched his shoulder and he fell sideways. Maggie checked for a pulse beat, but didn't get any and turned away.  Below the apple tree was a tall wall covered with vines and wild shrubs. This spot was not too overgrown with grass and bushes like the other areas, and the soil was recently tilled. Maggie walked there and sighed deeply, before digging with her shovel. This was the part she hated, but knew it had to be done. Ben’s curious nature had sped up her plans.

Maggie only took in elderly boarders like Ben, so she could live off their pension. She went to the post office every month and collected pension for her boarders, past and current. They trusted Maggie, believing she was being helpful when she offered to deposit their money into their bank accounts. She did make the transactions, but forged their signatures on the personal cheques she took from them. It was so easy and no-one suspected.

It was in this spot that she buried all the boarders she poisoned. Their graves were in rows near the wall. On top of each grave was a different type of rose plant that Maggie had planted, believing it was the only way to clear her conscience for the crimes she committed. After burying Ben, she walked slowly back to the house, thinking of a rose to plant on his grave. Maggie looked up at the sky and hoped the rain would come and water her beautiful rose gardens.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Writers' Review

I've been spending more time on my assignments which includes writing book reviews, and less time on creating content for my blog. I know I need to balance my time and am trying to rectify that. This is a general post on the quality writing I come into contact with, and is based on my observations as a book reviewer. It's for this reason I decided it was time to express my thoughts on this topic and point out a few mistakes which are frequently made. 

Proofreading: To give credit, most of the published and unpublished literature I've read so far are written by authors who not only compose good reading material, but also spend time ensuring their work is properly proofread before promoting it to the public. This process enables favourable review ratings for them, and hopefully, an increase in sales.

On the other hand, there are writers, especially new ones, who appear to have penned and published their books rather hurriedly, without giving much thought to this critical area which needs special attention. Fortunately, I don't publish poor reviews, preferring to contact the authors by email or other means with summaries highlighting my reasons for the low rating, and possibly, suggestions to adjust the flaws. 

Spelling: It's understandable if writers overlook a misspelled word, but there are times when novels are infected with so many. Oftentimes, the same words are repeated throughout, and they're basic ones too. Please, don't ignore the red highlighted or underlined words made by the spelling and grammar checker. It's an indication that the words are incorrect. A dictionary is also an essential writing aid that will give you the proper spelling and definition.

Punctuation Marks: The correct form of punctuation is important to a story and specific sentences won't have the desired effect without them. This is a vital necessity that is needed, especially when characters are conversing. I have noticed that it's occasionally omitted from dialogues, or added to the beginning or ending of paragraphs which don't require it.

Format: Some authors write with a confident, relaxed ease, making their sentences blend with a good selection of words which flow smoothly. This gives readers better comprehension and visuals from the stories. Others have displayed rigid or poorly developed sentence structures which have the opposite effect. I've also read material containing unnecessary sentences, or the writing is too detailed, making the stories lag. Proper editing could have even reduced the quantity of pages, and the content would have been more interesting.

There are other key issues I intend to address, and will soon post other articles in The Writers' Review series. Have you encountered similar problems when reading?

 a writer's fate  (senryu)

writing a story
must be very creative
reviewers hold fate

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Monday, 29 September 2014

Writing Relaxation


It's nice to be back doing something I love. I took a break from blogging in August and got some well deserved rest mingled with fun, spent time trying to organize a better working schedule again, and caught up on a few of my writing assignments and chores which were neglected for so long.

Each time I decided to write and submit an article for my blog, something always came up, or I procrastinated and told myself "later." When people constantly delay doing certain tasks, it will become more difficult to accomplish them. I didn't want to give myself another excuse why I couldn't resume blogging. So here I am!

I wrote a different article for my post, intending to return last week, but my plans changed. Regrettably, one of my favourite uncles passed away and was buried on Saturday. His death, as well as Tina Downey @ Life is Good, also made me aware that our time is so precious. It should be spent wisely, doing things we like while enjoying the company of those we hold dear.

I missed the blogosphere and decided that it was indeed time to return to a place which has brought me happiness and great friendships.

I am refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to write again!

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Sunflower Sunshine - Tina Downey

This is a day I will always remember. It is the day many bloggers, including myself, pay tribute to Tina Downey @ Life is Good. She was truly a remarkable woman. I am happy that I had the opportunity to know her, even though it was for a brief period. Tina made an impression on me with her bubbly, positive personality when we first met during the A to Z April Challenge this year. 

Tina, you were such a delight
Like a sunflower ever so bright
You'll be our light in the night sky
Encouraging us to aim very high

You will always be missed, but never forgotten

I was unable to get sunflowers in my hometown, but these lovely images are from

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Not Amused (Monotetra)

I want to write and post today
But cannot find a word to say
All the stories have gone away
My mood is grey, my mood is grey

Where will I find the thoughts to write
A wordless screen gives me a fright
Writers' block haunt me day and night
Is this my plight, is this my plight

These jottings will not work for me
My muse it seems have set me free
She skipped on me for sun and sea
So doomed I be, so doomed I be

A Monotetra has 4 lines in monorhyme. Each line is in tetrameter (4 metrical feet) for a total of 8 syllables. The last line contains 2 metrical feet which is repeated. There can be 1 stanza or many.

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

My Love Calls (Nonet)

My beloved was lost at sea one day
Sailing when the angry storm blew
I hear his voice call my name
His love for me still true
He came back for me
To sail the sea
Come with me
I miss 

A Nonet has 9 lines with a 9 syllable count in the first line. It decreases in syllable count per line. Rhyming is optional.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Book Review: The Adventures of Buckfart, Seabiscuit, Pedro and the Gang

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers Favorite
This review will not be posted on Amazon

Boys will always get into entertaining mischief in The Adventures of Buckfart, Seabiscuit, Pedro and the Gang by Royal T. Honeycutt. These boys have one of the best summers, despite the repercussions of war. Seabiscuit and his brother stay with their loving grandparents on their farm. Both generations learn valuable lessons from each other because of the drama or prank the boys always find themselves in. Seabiscuit, the mature gang leader follows the others to sneak a smoke in the outhouse, steal apples from a neighbour's tree, or drink a bit of moonshine. His grandfather sometimes break the law, but quick thinking Seabiscuit often has his back, especially when the game warden is chasing gramps.

The book is filled with nostalgic memories of 1942 when war ruined many family lives, but the farming communities supported each other through the happy and sad times. Reading this story made me realise today's young generation missed out on a lot of fun. How many kids know how to climb a tree, go berry picking, catch frogs or build their own clubhouse? Seabiscuit and his friends didn't have Internet or cellphones. But they were busy enjoying the simple pleasures of nature, and could make their disgusting chores look fun. Royal T. Honeycutt captured the spirit of an era in this well written book. The Adventures of Buckfart, Seabiscuit, Pedro and the Gang is amusingly filled with antics of the boys and their families, while sprinkled with sadness.


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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Book Review: Death Dues

Another day - another murder; another wedding - another expense. All this just leads to more workloads and headaches that Detective Joe Rafferty doesn't need in his already stressful life. When John "Jaws" Harrison, a loan shark's bullying bill collector is found dead in the alley of a run down neighbourhood, the Detective and his partner, Sergeant Llewellyn, discover that solving this crime will not be as easy as they had assumed. Most of the neighbours owed Jaws money and had good motives for wanting him to get his Death Dues. But no-one is anxious to talk to the police.

Rafferty's fiancee, Abra, is determined to have the wedding of the century, and doesn't care how much it will cost. Poor Rafferty does his best to remind her that he's the one paying the bills on his meagre salary, but that doesn't go well with Abra. He decides to cut costs using the contacts he knows, but things always seem to backfire.

I thought Rafferty and Llewellyn made a good team, as Rafferty is street smart, raw around the edges, and knows how to get useful information from people to help his cases. Llewellyn, on the other hand, is the tactful, intellectual type who prefers to think things through, and will make ample use of the Internet. They make the perfect "good cop, bad cop" team.

Geraldine Evans penned a wonderful entertaining story. She paid attention to details which was seen in the description of places and scenarios being played out. I also thought the author had a sense of humour, and it showed in the colourful personalities of the characters. The ending was not what I was expecting, and that added to my confirmation that Geraldine Evans can write. Death Dues was worth the read.


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tranquil Moments (Poetry)

Alone and happy
Without a care

Forgetting pain and frustration
I play with my conscience
Nothing to fear

Deep inner thoughts
My mind refreshed
Intellect renewed

Silence is bliss

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Morning Sickness

Rick felt nauseous and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. His headache was not going away either and propped his head against the pillow, thinking about the night before. He had started having a good time at the party. It was lively, the food wasn't bad and the drinks flowed like a river. In fact, the atmosphere was just right.

Rick had been sitting at the bar savouring the flavour of his second or third whisky, when Jenny walked into the room. She saw him and smiled as she made her way through the crowd. He gave her a quick peck on the cheek.

"Hi Jenny, can I get you a drink?"

"A glass of red wine would be fine." Rick gave Jenny the wine and they strolled the garden before sitting in the gazebo behind the hibiscus hedge.

"It's a fun party. I wish Brad could have made it," he commented, listening to the music playing and occasional laughter from the guests.

"Me too, but he had another meeting. It seems we never spend time together anymore," Jenny said, sighing deeply. Rick looked closely at her face and saw tears forming. He put his arms around her and Jenny burst into tears, resting her head against his shoulder.

"Jenny, what's wrong? Did I say something to make you upset?"

"No, it's not you. Brad and I are having problems. I feel it's time we started a family, but every time I discuss it with Brad, he says he's not ready. Now he spends more time at the office than with me. I'm so unhappy!"

"Don't cry Jenny. Everything will be alright. I'm sure once Brad gets some of his hectic workload sorted out, he'll spend time with you. You know he's working hard to get the Briggs contract."

Rick consoled Jenny before giving her a quick kiss on the mouth. Jenny held onto him, responding to the kiss. His hold tightened and he began to caress Jenny, moving his hands over her body. The next thing Rick knew they were having sex. He apologised to Jenny when they were finished, but she had given a blushing look, mumbling something before running off.

Rick looked everywhere for Jenny before realising she had left. Feeling crappy at his behaviour, he made himself comfortable at the bar and drank more whisky, hoping it would soothe his conscience. Rick groaned, punching the pillow as he remembered his actions last night.

"What the dickens have I done?  How could I have been so dumb? Okay, I wanted it badly, often thought about what it would be like to kiss Jenny, but to actually go through with it. Damn!"

The doorbell rang and the noise jarred his headache even more. It took all his strength to open the door and was surprised to see Brad. Feeling guilt wash over his body, he let Brad into the apartment.

"You look like hell," Brad commented, taking in his dishevelled appearance.

"Yeah, I've been there too!" Rick exclaimed, sitting down on the couch. Brad joined him.

"Something has been bothering me and I had to come to you."

Rick thought his heart was going to give out, fearing Brad's reason for coming by.

"I love Jenny and want to spend my life with her. We both want a family, but I haven't told her that the doctor said I can't have kids due to my illness years ago. It's embarrassing for me so I work more, avoiding her. Rick, I want you to sleep with my wife and get her pregnant. Please, do it for me!"

This wasn't what Rick expected to hear from Brad at all. He stared at his reflection sitting beside him. Brad was his twin brother and Rick would do anything for him, but this sudden request rendered him speechless. Rick felt the nausea suddenly rise in his mouth and ran to the bathroom, kneeling over the toilet.

"How am I going to deal with this?" was his last thought before passing out on the floor.

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Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Inner Child (Nonet)

There is a child within all of us
Always yearning to be carefree
To play around in the grass
And splash in rain puddles
Why do we restrain
This hidden soul
Who wants to

A Nonet has 9 lines with a 9 syllable count in the first line. It decreases in count per line. Rhyming is optional.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Love Is...

Love is finding pure perfection 

In the persons we share our souls with

Ignoring their faults which are visible

No-one is perfect so we must accept

Them for who they are and always

See their inner beauty remembering

They will also be observing ours

Poetic justice taken. No punctuation.
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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My Writing Journey

I was recently tagged by the lovely Vidya Sury in her post "On Writing" @ This is my first writing progress blog hop and I'm very pleased to be a part of it. Thank you Vidya Sury for making this happen!

My Writing Journey

I began writing poetry and prose when I was about 7 years old. Some of these were published in my church and school magazines. My mother encouraged me to write after reading a booklet of poetry I had made from construction paper (Otherwise known as cartridge paper.) Keeping journals was the norm in my early teenage years, but lost interest for a brief time. That could be blamed on the moody adolescence changes I was experiencing.

My love for books didn't fade though, as I seemed to read more than interacting with other kids. I knew from that early time in my life that I wanted to become a writer, and am now a freelance writer and contributor on a few writing sites.

The blog tag rules states we must answer the questions given and tag three other bloggers. Vidya gave me four questions and here are my responses to them:

What am I working on/writing?

One of the services I offer in my freelance business is writing professional book reviews for companies I am associated with. Most reviews are not posted on my blog, but are published on sites such as Goodreads and Facebook and a few others by these companies. May and June are very busy reviewing months. It often puts me behind in my own writing, and prevents me from reading other bloggers' posts regularly.

There are two novels I started writing sometime ago, but put them on hold to spend more time establishing my business. That was a wise decision on my part, although it didn't seem that way at the time. Things are moving in the right direction for me, and I recently revised my schedule which allow me extra time for my personal writing. I wonder how long this will last.

One of my favourite work in progress is called Dreams. It's about a teenage girl whose happy world is shattered when her father dies, and her jealous mother makes drastic changes in their lives. My muse feels inspired to complete this particular book and I agree. The chapter I was working on had me stumped and frustrated. An absence from this story was good, as I am now refreshed with new ideas that will be included in the development of the plot.

How does my work/writing differs from others in its genre?

Writing mystery/suspense is my favourite genre, but am able to write in most categories. I'm not really sure my writing differs or is unique from other writers, and didn't give it much thought anyway. Creating mysteries is fun, and thinking of the weapon of choice is one of the things I like most. Killing characters isn't as easy as it looks. Most of my protagonists are women, and the victims are men. That was unintentional in my writing. I noticed the pattern and decided to balance the scale. Both sexes should get the chance to be villains and heroes. Equal opportunity for all imaginary characters.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I like blending words like a good cocktail. I write to release the ideas and imagery that float around in my head. Writing allows me to accurately express my thoughts and feelings in a more creative way than just talking about it. Writing content that will captivate a reader can be challenging, but I enjoy what I do and love a challenge. Hope this answers the question.

How does my writing process work?

I write whenever I'm in the mood or inspired, which is most of the time. My brain works overtime thinking of plots, even when I'm in the middle of another project. That can be distracting, but I pay close attention when it happens. Anything can trigger an idea, so I try to keep a pen and notebook handy.

Coffee is one of the aids that helps my writing advance to the next level. This can be mostly seen in the early mornings and evenings when I do most of my writing. It keeps me focused and energised.  I can't think of anything else to write, so let me introduce you to 3 persons I admire very much, and decided to include them in this blog tag. They will also get the chance to answer the questions as well, so here we go!

Natasha Duncan-Drake - Natasha is a British author with Wittegen Press and has been publishing genre fiction since 2011. Her work includes everything from horror to young adult fantasy, and she has never met a genre she didn't like. A prolific producer of short stories and novels alike, Natasha currently has over twenty-five novels in her back catalogue with further releases always imminent.

Natasha has been writing since she was a young girl ever since she read The Hobbit at primary school. She is a big fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror in all their forms, and is a big advocate of fan fiction as a great tool for writers to polish their skills in a welcome and supporting community. Before establishing Wittegen with her sister, Sophie Duncan, Natasha was a database and systems consultant. She combines these skills with her writing to create and manage her career in the bold new eBook market.

Blog: Tasha's
Twitter: @ beren_writes

My name is Meglena Ivanova - I live in NYC with my husband, bearded dragon,/lizard and abnormally strange cat. When I'm not writing, reading or blogging, I enjoy gaining insights into the psychologies of of other cultures and times. I'm also into dancing, movies and Apple products. Occasionally, I like to write short (usually about mystical, mythological creatures and old but sacred objects that are described in ancient legends) fiction stories.

At my Blog, you will find interviews with remarkable authors about their life, books and writing experience! Also a few articles about self publishing, guest posts and book recommendations/reviews. At my website you will find information about my fantasy novels, short stories and the creative ground it grew out of: gems and mythology. Why gems and mythology? I suspect because both hold inherent mystery and intrigue for me. And perhaps because I'm a big fan of mythology and legends about innocent times and objects.

Connect with Meglena Ivanova:


Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside to play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn't crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for on line technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on a wide variety of blogs and websites and as a ghostwriter. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Neil.

Here are the four questions for my three bloggers:

What am I working on/writing?
How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?
Why do I write what I do?
How does my writing progress work?

Well, this completes my blog tag. I hope you'll  find these bloggers and their posts as interesting and wonderful as I have found them to be.

I apologise for its lateness, but had unexpected difficulties that prevented me from blogging for a few days.

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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Urn My Love


Melanie decided to get some spring cleaning done before Dan got home from work. She worked most of the morning moving furniture, vacuuming the rugs, and dusted most of the rooms. As she dusted the bookcase in the living room, an urn that was on the top shelf fell off.

"Why did this have to happen now?" she grumbled.

The contents of the urn had spilled all over the floor, but the container was not damaged. Melanie quickly cleaned up the mess and placed most of the ashes back into the urn. She returned it to its original position and looked around the room.

There were a lot of useless objects taking up space. If she could get rid of most of them today, then maybe the house would feel more like hers, once she did some redecorating. This thought cheered her spirits.

Melanie worked hard sorting through pieces to keep, and throwing away others she considered junk. The garbage bin was full and Melanie dragged it outside to the curb. She returned to the house and made herself a cup of coffee, finally relaxing.

As Melanie looked out the front window, she saw the garbage collectors. One of them was examining her trash and picked up something from a box she had dumped.

"Hey, look at this beauty! Why would someone throw it away?" he asked excitedly, looking at his reflection on the object.

"Some folks don't appreciate fine things," his partner remarked.

"I bet I could get a good price at Joe's Antiques," the new owner said. Melanie smiled when she heard the conversation. She looked at a framed picture of herself and Dan on their wedding day and started to laugh.

"Well, Mother Harper, you didn't want your precious son to marry me. You said I wasn't good enough for him. All you ever did was complain about my cooking and cleaning."

Melanie and Dan moved in with his mother when they married two years ago. Mother Harper died from an illness three months ago. She had requested cremation and her remains were to stay in the house. Melanie was convinced she only did this to spite her daughter-in-law, as Mother Harper was a tyrant who tried her best to come between her and Dan.

"This place won't be the same without your presence. In fact, it's going to be a pleasure to finally live a happier life without a constant reminder of you."

All she had to do was tell Dan his mother's urn was in the basement because she was redecorating. That excuse should work. For now.

"Pity you're not around to see how I finally keep house!"

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Monday, 2 June 2014

life insurance (senryu)

Wad of Money

worked hard for money
to leave grieving family
what a shopping spree

I would prefer to have my loved one alive. How about you?
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Monday, 19 May 2014

The Calabash International Literary Festival 2014

Jamaican Beach

I'm unable to participate in the upcoming Calabash International Literary Festival, which is held at Jakes, Calabash Bay, Treasure Beach. Jakes is located in the parish of St. Elizabeth, on the south coast of Jamaica. It is situated on a spectacular beachfront property with white sand. The property is owned by the Henzell family, who are actively involved in producing Jamaican films and literary productions.

The property also includes the popular Jakes Hotel and Jakes Restaurant located further on the compound. Earlier this year, friends and I spent a day at Jakes Restaurant, eating seafood and swimming. It's not always easy to swim at this location, due to the rougher currents, sea weeds and rocks that are sometimes embedded in parts of the sand.

The south coast is not as developed as the north coast, where tourists tend to gravitate, and the sea is much calmer. That's what makes the south coast more appealing to me. I get to swim in more natural surroundings, where turtle nests and other wildlife can be found among the rocks and bushes.

The 3 day festival is open to anyone who wishes to participate and share their writing, and simply have a good time, enjoying the variety of talent that this festival is known to produce. Salman Rusdie will be one of the authors who will be coming to Jamaica to perform in this cultural show.

I would have posted this sooner, but the festival dates were published late April, and just got the time to write about it, as the AtoZ April Challenge was in full swing. That's why I'm not prepared to enter this festival either, but may attend as a spectator. Next year I will certainly be on schedule and make the announcement much earlier.

I have seen a lot of talent on various blogs, and on Google Plus. The link below will share more information on this popular Jamaican festival. It would be terrific to have you join me on stage in this exciting event next year, or in one of the workshops that they host.

Stephen Marley


Images of the Jamaican photos courtesy of

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Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Review: Contrails

Sam Claymore is an airline pilot who loves his job, despite his hectic flight schedule and irritating passengers he sometimes get. When the airline downsizes leaving Sam unemployed, his childhood friend Nate offers him a job. Nate is a drug dealer in need of a pilot to transport his merchandise. Sam reluctantly accepts the job, but the money is good, so is the cocaine after he samples it.

Sam quickly gains the trust of Javier, the Mexican drug boss he and Nate works for. One information Sam omits from Javier is that his father is a retired Drug Enforcement Agent. Who would believe him if he said he only took this job for the money?

The more Sam earns for taking flight risks, the more he realises how dangerously cutthroat his boss and the drug underworld really is. He decides to quit and makes his final major drug run with Javier to Columbia to meet one of the world's most feared kingpin. But things have a way of backfiring in Sam's life, and this trip happens to be one of them. He is surrounded by cold hearted killers who adorns trees with bodies as casually as a person decorating a Christmas tree.

One of the things I noticed when reading Contrails was how fast paced the story was from the beginning. The early chapters were mainly based on Sam, his family background, and typical airline characters and activities. The plot changed after Sam was furloughed and that's when things become more interesting.

Sam's character was somewhat dull in the beginning. He had lead a normal lifestyle, and flying had taken up most of his time. I thought he was easy to succumb to peer pressure, but there were times he showed strength when faced with challenges. It's hard not to like Sam, who is really soft hearted by nature. He only wanted to lead an honest life, without having the law on his back.

The authors, Robert Anderson and Steve Clark gave an excellent detailed account of what transpires in the cockpit, the airline crews busy schedule and how it can affect their personal lives. I was also introduced to another side of the drug underworld, making me more aware of the important role aviation plays in drug trafficking. The book is injected with humour and is not the hard core violent story I was expecting to read. It should be interesting to see what transpires in Contrails Book 2.


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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Quintet of Radiance Award


Unbelievable!! There I was, responding to comments on my blog and re-read Vishal Bheeroo's comment stating that he nominated me for an award on May 9th, 2014. Convinced I had misinterpreted his reply, I hopped over to Vishal Bheeroo's blog @ to scan his post again.

My muse reminded me that I had left a congratulatory comment on his post. I read the post again and was surprised to see that he had in fact, nominated me for the Quintet of Radiance Award! It appears I had overlooked my name ( #2) on the list of nominees in my happiness to congratulate Bheeroo. Who can blame me as I wasn't expecting it to be on the list either. This is my second award since May 1st 2014, so I'm feeling overwhelmed right now, but humbled with gratitude. What have I done to deserve them?That is the question that puzzles me.

Vishal Bheeroo is a blogger whom I admire very much with his bright upbeat personality, and interesting blog posts. I believe that the AtoZ April Challenge made me more aware of how talented bloggers like Vishal really are. I saw more of their work on a daily basis, thus making me appreciate what they wrote, as their personalities shone even more from the words.

The award was given to Vishal Bheeroo by Ananya Kiran @ Thank you too Anya for making this happen.

The Rules for the Quintet of Radiance Award:

1.   Display the badge in a post.

2.   Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back - Vishal.

3.   Using the alphabet, describe yourself in a word or phase.

4.   Nominate a few bloggers.

The AtoZ About Me:

Doting Mom
Enjoys solitude
Fun loving
Hates uninvited visitors
Like coffee and sweets
Make a mean rum cake
Not a quitter, but a twitter
Tale teller, not tattle teller
Unyielding to peer pressure
Voracious reader
Willing to try new things
Xmas lover
You want a romance story, don't check me! I get writers block with this genre.
Zippy person

This part is difficult with so many wonderful bloggers. I've been poking my brain deciding which bloggers to select. The decision is even harder than the first nomination I received.

My Nominees are as follows: 

Teagan Tearney     

Morgen Bailey                

Debi Oneille

Chris Graham            

Christine Campbell

These bloggers that I have chosen have been significant influences in my life. Their writing advice have helped me to improve my writing skills, and other areas pertaining to writing. Thank you!

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Book Review: The Devil's Dream

The Devil's Dream

Matthew Brand had it all...a wife and son he loved, a successful career as a Genetic Engineer, and fame for being known as the most brilliant man on Earth. When his son, Hilman, is killed by cops, Matthew's world is shattered and he grieves the only way he knows will heal his sorrow. He takes revenge on everyone who played a vital role in the case. Matthew wants his son back, and the way to get his wish is by taking the lives of his son's killers, using their bodies to bring Hilman back to life. 

After being caught and cryogenically imprisoned at "The Wall," a place where scientists can study his remarkable brain, Matthew escapes, hellbent on finishing The Devil's Dream he started. He is hunted by F.B.I. Agent Allison Moore, a woman who is willing to sacrifice everyone she loves to catch this mad genius.

This feat proves rather difficult as Matthew Brand is no ordinary fugitive, but a complex one with the highest level of intelligence mankind has ever known. How do you capture a man who is not one, but two steps ahead of you? 

Reading this book reminded me of Frankenstein with a strong presence of Stephen King. The Devil's Dream is a wonderful blend of science fiction and horror, and it takes talent to combine them in a plot that will capture the interest of a reader. How many writers are capable of doing that? David Beers pulled it off magnificently. 

One of the things I liked was the way this author drew out each character's personality and emotions as they took centre stage. I was able to understand the "hows and whys" of their actions and opinions, and even sympathised with them occasionally. The ending took a surprising turn and sealed my admiration for David Beers.


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Monday, 12 May 2014

A Pesty Problem

Smelly Sock

"Were you a fly on the wall? What did you overhear?" asked Crawlos Cockroach, as he made himself comfortable on an old smelly sock that was tossed in the dumpster.

Fanny Fly

"It's just awful," Fanny Fly replied. "I was flying around looking for a delectable place to land, when I noticed the back door to Chick "N" Chips was opened, so I flew in and saw the cooks frying some mouthwatering food. You know they make the best potato wedges in the neighbourhood, don't you?"

"Yep, I like the seasoned ones best," Robbie Rat said, while nibbling on a half eaten pizza he found in the garbage." Anyway, what's all the buzzing you were making about?"

"Well, there I was, a fly on the wall, (literally) when two men walked through the door, and I recognised one of them. He's Pete, the exterminator."

"I know Pete, and he's an annoying character," Crawlos Cockroach commented, shaking his head.

"He sure is. I heard him tell the other man that the neighbourhood is overrun with pests, and he and his colleagues are going to swat us out tomorrow by doing more in depth spray jobs and setting extra traps and baits."

"What!" exclaimed Crawlos Cockroach. "Why can't these humans let us live in peace? We're not troubling anyone. All we want is food to eat and shelter, just like them?"

"That's right, and some of the food they cook doesn't even taste great. We're doing them a favour by eating that crap they toss in the garbage," Robbie Rat complained, licking his greasy paws.

"What are we going to do?" Fanny Fly asked. "The last time they sprayed the area where the Fish Bowl Restaurant is, I lost my aunt Mildred and a couple dozen cousins when they dined there."

"I lost one of my brothers when he was caught in a trap at someone's home," lamented Robbie Rat. "It's becoming more difficult to survive around here, with critters like Pete putting us down every chance they get."

The Solution

"We really have a serious problem, but I think I have a solution."

"Let's hear it, Cockroach," said Robbie Rat.

"We have to spread this terrible news via the grapevine as soon as possible to the other rodents and insects. Tell them to stay off the streets tomorrow and hang out in another location for a few days. We don't know how long Pete will take, or how effective his stuff will be this time. Sometimes it works, other times it's harmless as a baby."

"Good idea. I know a few probably won't listen to the warning, and will most likely die. However, there is safety in numbers, so let's make sure everyone sticks together as much as possible," suggested Robbie Rat. "I think I'll take my family to spend a few days in the country with my cousin, Mickey, on his farm. The fresh air will be a welcome change."

Robbie Rat

"Don't these humans know they can't kill us off with their pesticides and traps? We will always be here, long after they're gone. Every time they crush one of us, another rodent or insect will be there to take its place," Crawlos Cockroach commented, jumping off the sock.

"Now that's the truth," Fanny Fly agreed. "I love fly fishing so I'll  buzz all my family and friends, and we'll head on down to Fishermen Wharf for a few days too. The catch is always great, especially when it comes fresh from off the boats."

The Revenge

The Gathering

"I was thinking that when things return to normal around here, we should get our revenge for what Pete and his friends put us through," suggested Crawlos Cockroach, rubbing his antennas together.

"Got a plan?" asked Robbie Rat, excited at the thought of revenge.

"You bet I do! As soon as we inspect the place when we return, why not invite everyone we know to spend a few days with us. That will surely drive them crazy, wondering what to do about the sudden invasion of rodents and insects."

"It certainly will, especially after their recent attack on us. I love the plan!" Fanny Fly exclaimed, laughing.

"Good, now I'm going to gather my brood and do a bit of rock climbing. There are some nice ones with plenty of space to crawl under. It's a lot of fun and the perfect place to hang out for awhile," Crawlos Cockroach said, as he crawled out of the dumpster.

"I passed a picnic in the park on the way here, so maybe I'll stop there on the way to Fishermen Wharf and grab a bite of those delicious looking cupcakes they have. Who knows, it could be the last thing we'll eat, if we don't survive," Fannie Fly commented with a buzz, as she flew away.

Delicious Cupcakes

Images courtesy of
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Thursday, 8 May 2014

communication (haiku)


the sounds of the wild
nature's way to keep in touch
a howl call away

Image courtesy of
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Monday, 5 May 2014

Reflection Post: AtoZ April Challenge 2014

April 30, 2014

I'm sitting with my feet up writing this. It's been an awesome but tiring day. I wrote and posted my final story for letter Z this morning. Did I really survive the AtoZ April Challenge 2014? You bet I did!

AtoZ Survivors Cocktail

When I entered the challenge, it was done with a bad habit of mine - on a whim.  Being a newbie, I was clueless not knowing what to expect, or the quality content to write that would interest readers. I just signed up and decided to go with the flow. Glad I did with no regrets!

As April drew nearer, I still found myself wondering what to write, and thought of two ideas that could work, then changed my mind 2-3 days before the challenge commenced. I hadn't written my theme reveal either.

Inspiration hit one morning. I had already written a story which was to be posted on another site, but decided to use it for the B post in the challenge, with minor changes. I became excited and immediately wrote my A post, followed by my theme reveal which was published shortly after.

I'm now relieved that I had a theme to work with, instead of writing random articles as was originally planned. It worked to my benefit, and intend to work with themes for this challenge in the future. April 1st quickly came and I posted my A story, and wrote the C story the next day. The Principal asked me to catalogue books in the new school library. I couldn't refuse as the kids needed the books, and a crazy, exhausting pattern developed.

I wrote most of the stories on the day each letter was due. Although I can work well under pressure, I strained my brain to create and post the stories, as they were mostly done at school. How did I manage to type them on my laptop, while simultaneously entering book data into their computer without screaming? I'm not going to pressure myself next year repeating this method or ordeal.

All my stories will be pre-written in a more relaxed manner. I've learnt from my mistakes. It's not easy writing 26 stories consecutively - on the due day, support other bloggers, look after my son who was sick a few days, as well as other daily duties that have to be performed. Even if I slip and write a couple on the said day, it will be different to this hassle. I'm sure other bloggers can share similar experiences they went through to keep abreast of their writing schedule.

It was indeed a challenge, but I survived to tell my tale. Although this awesome event is over, I am slowly, but surely going through the blog list on the #AtoZ site. Time did not permit me to support many more bloggers. There are so many fascinating blogs, and their content is entertaining as well as helpful.

There were also blogs that I wanted to comment on, but felt forced to register to do so, or they had no comment boxes, so I left. A few hadn't posted anything in months, and some posts were too behind for me to make comments. Others were inaccessible due to poor links. I wanted to follow a couple, but they didn't even have the Google, Facebook apps.

Being a participant had its advantages:

I have gained more followers on Google and made wonderful friends with many of them.

It gave me the opportunity to promote my blog.

I learnt techniques to improve my writing from some sites visited, and from my own challenge experience.

 Social media has its advantages, as I also gained a couple followers on Twitter.

I now take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me by commenting and sharing my posts. It means a lot to me. I also want to give a round of applause to the dedicated group of team leaders and their assistants for working so hard to make AtoZ April Challenge the success it was.

It couldn't have been easy doing this, while writing for your own blogs. Your daily AtoZ community posts offered vital information and encouragement for the participants to trek on and complete the awesome adventure we signed up for. Reading these posts gave me the boost that was needed to continue to the end. Thank you!

Fireworks of Thanks!!!

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