Thursday, November 30, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #dodoitsu #Winter #holidaycheer @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week is part two of Shosetsu, or Light Snow, for the #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge. For this week, Colleen Chesebro has encouraged us to write a series of three dodoitsu. This form has four lines with a7-7-7-5 syllabic pattern. To make the challenge more interesting, she's asked us to use the following kigo phrases in each stanza:

Stanza 1 - "early winter dusk"
Stanza 2 - "chilly north winds blow"
Stanza 3 - "warmth around the hearth"

We are having a cold front in South Florida right now. It's dropped into the 60s, and that is way too cold for me. Luckily, we will be back in the 80s by this weekend. You Northerners can have your cold back, thank you very much. 😝

So, here is my poem. Although each required stanza has exactly five syllables, I've chosen to incorporate them in the seven-syllable lines. 

(courtesy of @Monikas_Wunderwelt on Pixabay)

humans manipulate time
causing early winter dusks
draining energy from days
nature's mom cares not

winter comes for almost all
chilly north winds blow about
humans seek shelter inside
critters hibernate

warmth around the hearth comforts
holiday cheer uplifts hearts
family and friends gather
bountiful blessings

I don't have a hearth because - South Florida, people! - but there are a few nights every year when I wish I had one. Are you a fan of cold weather, or do you fantasize about visiting the tropics during this time? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to write a poem with us? Join us here.

November Book Review #bookreview #books #readingcommunity #stroke #recovery @Maureen_2me @YvetteMCalleiro #RRBC

Hello, beautiful readers! I hope you all had a wonderful November. I enjoyed my week off of work for Thanksgiving break. I went on a small cruise with my sister and our sons. I created a checklist of things I wanted to get done, and I managed to check everything off the list, so I'm happy!

I even managed to finish reading a book! I also started writing again, and it feels so good. I'm hoping to make a habit of it, so I can hopefully finally publish Drake's story in 2024. Fingers crossed! Here is my review for my November read.

Before, Afdre, and After (My stroke... oh what fun)

by Maureen Twomey

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 316 pages


When Maureen Twomey was only thirty-three years old, she experienced a massive stroke—one that took away her ability to read, write, walk, and even speak (AAAAAAAHHH!!). Well, she wasn’t about to go down without a fight. In Before, Afdre, and After, Twomey offers a sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes comical, and ultimately inspiring account of what it is to lose everything when you’re supposed to be in the prime of your life—and what it takes to get it back, piece by tiny piece.

My Review:

I can't even begin to imagine having a stroke at 33 years old, much less keeping such an incredible outlook on life. Maureen Twomey takes us on a journey through her life before, during, and after her stroke. And through it all, though she lost many skills and had to relearn them, she never lost her positive energy. I truly believe that is one of the things that helped her survive and thrive even when doctors didn't think she would.

It angered me when she described how laidback the paramedics were when they picked her up. Then again, I'm sure we have learned a lot in the past twenty-three years since her stroke. Still, it was frustrating to read how much time was wasted. Through it all, Maureen was surrounded by friends and family, which is a tribute to what a wonderful person she was before the stroke. And through her words, you can sense that she is just as wonderful today.

This is an inspiring read of a young woman's journey to come back from a rare stroke with humor and determination, and I highly recommend it for anyone going through tough times and for anyone who wants to be inspired.

Have you read any great books lately? I'd love to hear from you! :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #tanka #Winter #Thanksgiving #Shosetsu #gratitude @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week's #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge focuses on the seasons of Shosetsu, or Light Snow. Being in South Florida, we definitely are not getting light snow, but the weather is beautiful this week.

It is also the season of Thanksgiving in America, a time where family and friends gather to focus on their blessings. This past weekend, my sister and I took our boys on a three-day cruise to the Bahamas that we had won while playing BINGO. It was my nephew's first cruise experience, and he loved it. We visited a cave that leads to six (plus) miles of underwater tunnels, went kayaking through the mangroves, spent some time on their beaches, and visited the Garden of the Groves where we had a fantastic lunch. 

So, this week, I've decided to focus on gratitude. I've written a tanka poem. For those new to poetry, a tanka poem consists of five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern. The middle line tends to work as a pivot so that the first three lines create one image and the last three lines create a different image. Tankas are usually untitled.

grateful for blessings
abundance of merriment
friends, family, love
greatest riches in the world
bank of treasures overflows

If you'd like to join our poetry community and write a poem of your own, click here.

What are you most grateful for during this season? I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #tanka #Winter #farmwedding #Ritto @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week's #TankaTuesday 24 Seasons Challenge focuses on Ritto, the beginning of winter. In most parts of the northern hemisphere, the weather is becoming cooler, the sweaters are coming out of storage, and people are preparing for the winter holidays. Of course, here in South Florida, we are just excited that the humidity isn't as high.πŸ˜„

This weekend, I was elated to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine who waited until she found the right kind of love to tie the knot. She had a beautiful ceremony on a farm in northern Florida with her closest family and friends. So, I decided to dedicate this week's poem to her. Here are some of the pictures from her wedding.

This week's kigo words have to do with the beginning of winter. I chose crisper air to represent the season. I wrote a tanka poem, which consists of five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern. The third line is the pivot, creating two separate images - one in the first three lines and one in the last three lines. 

(courtesy of @OlcayErtem on Pixabay)

just a small drive north
a quaint outdoor farm wedding
crisper air prevails
the bride and groom's heartfelt bond
warms the hearts of everyone

Do you want to write your own poem for this season? Join us here

What is the weather looking like where you live? Are you starting to see the beginnings of winter? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Sunday, November 5, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #haiku #Autumn #jackolanterns #Soukou @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! I don't know about you, but I really do not enjoy the time change. I prefer having more hours of light during the day, especially living in the Sunshine State. We actually voted several years ago to stop this nonsense, but our national government can't seem to approve the people's request.

Anyhow, this week's #TankaTuesday's 24 Seasons Challenge focuses on the First Frost. To learn more about this season, click here

I chose to write a haiku, which is a three-line poem with a 3-5-3 syllabic pattern. I've bolded and italicized the words that I believe fit the season. 

(courtesy of @Skitterphoto on Pixabay)

clear blue skies
crispness in the air
autumn comes

As a bonus, I wanted to write one for Halloween. This time I wrote a haiku with a 5-7-5 pattern. I know it's a few days late, but such is my life right now. 

(courtesy of @svetjekolem on Pixabay)

trick or treat tonight
jack o'lantern's eyes flicker
with desire to fright

What represents Autumn for you? Share your thoughts below. I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Saturday, November 4, 2023

2023 Nonnie Jules' RWISA "Supreme Book of the Year" Award

Hello, beautiful readers! In 2021, my short story, The One Chosen, was the grand prize winner of the Nonnie Jules' RWISA "Supreme Book of the Year" Award. This year, Breathless: A Short Story has taken second place! 

I am so happy to see this story winning this award. If you haven't read it yet, please pick up a copy of it. I think you will be quite surprised by it. πŸ˜‰

Book Blurb:

What if the fairy tale kiss that always awakens the damsel in distress takes a sinister turn? What if prince charming’s kiss no longer produces a happily ever after?

Silena’s infatuation with William hits a speed bump when he rejects her. After all, she is just a maid, and he is a young, rich aristocrat in the 1920s. Why would he have any desire to waste his time with the help?

Congratulations to John Podlaski and his short story 2-27-70, the grand prize winner, and PTL Perrin's Reflections of a Misfit, which took third place. Both of these are phenomenal reads as well, so pick up your copies. :-)

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October Book Review #bookreview #books #readingcommunity #shortstory #horses #rodeos #family #love #romance @KarensStories @joygerken @maurabeth2014 @YvetteMCalleiro #RRBC

Hello, beautiful readers! October has felt like the longest month ever! πŸ˜‚ How I managed to read one book and two short stories is beyond me, but I did! Enjoy my reviews!

by Karen Black

Genre: Romance

Pages: 279


Personalities clash and relationships explode when Maggie is forced to choose between the man she’d hoped to marry and her dream of a career as a thoroughbred jockey. She learns the truth can be brutal, as she discovers that some horsemen will do anything in pursuit of success, including using her as the means to an end. Still, there are others who want nothing but her affection. Once again, Maggie must decide.

My Review:

I don't normally read cowboy books, but I do enjoy stories by this author, so I figured I'd take a chance. Maggie Austin is a female jockey who upends her life to travel to California and race thoroughbreds. She breaks up with a man who treats her like his property and moves closer to a childhood friend who has always been in love with her. While both men vie for her heart, she is focused on creating a place for herself as a jockey.

This is a sweet story with great characters. The author does a wonderful job of creating unique characters who are full of personality. Her descriptions at the stables and during the races were spectacular, and I felt that I was there watching the race. And I loved how Maggie found her happiness.

There was a bit of head hopping. I believe the author was going for third-person omniscient. I think I've gotten used to clean separations of POVs, so it threw me off a bit. And there were a few small errors but nothing that pulled me out of the story. If you enjoy cowboy(girl) stories and romance, I think you'll enjoy this story.

by Maura Beth Brennan

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 24


Fiona had everything ready—directions to her former lover's house, a letter to her adult son explaining everything, a gun in her purse. She'd find him, Kevin, the man whose rejection still haunted her even after years of marriage to another man, and then she'd do what she'd been fantasizing about for months. What did she have to live for anyway? Her husband was dead, her son barely spoke to her. She'd go out with flair, give Kevin a memory he'd never forget. But then she reached Kevin's house and knocked on the door. Kevin didn't answer the door. But the person who did changed everything.

My Review:

I love everything this author writes, so I immediately picked up this story. The story follows Fiona, a woman whose husband passed away and whose son is estranged. She yearns for a man who left her when she was younger. The author takes us on a journey through the trials and tribulations of Fiona's life and the emotional and mental torment she put upon herself for past decisions.

Fiona has reached the end of her rope and had created a plan to end things once and for all, but an unexpected person opened a door, giving her an opportunity to see life in a whole new light. Through this journey, Fiona evaluates past decisions and finds a way to come to terms with the life she's lived.

I was completely loving this story until the last words. Lol! The author grabs you from the beginning and makes you feel the struggle Fiona is going through in such a gripping way. And then, she just seems to stop. I'm sure she was going for the cliff hanger, and it definitely is one, which I'd be okay with if there was an announcement of a larger novel or novella coming, but I didn't see any such notification. Still, it is a great read (as long as you can accept the unknown ending). 

by Joy M Lilley

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 27


This story written by the protagonists niece is an insight to a lady with little education or hope of achievements and success in her life. However she bucked the trend and achieved much in life. Her family loved her dearly and cared about her right up to the last. She achieved more in becoming a constant winner of bowls tournaments a game she dearly loved. She also won the hearts and minds of many celebrities in the forties, when she worked at the famous Pinewood film studios in Britain. Many gave her their signed black and white photographs. Auntie Peggy was an engaging character to most and an adversary to a few. As you turn the pages you will be laughing and crying at some events of this intrepid lady’s life.

My Reviews:

This story shares the author's wonderful memories of her dear aunt Peggy. She also includes pictures of her aunt throughout the years. Her aunt lived an interesting life meeting famous actors. She had an incredible personality that attracted people to her. Unfortunately, she became an alcoholic, which affected her health and lifestyle. Until her dying day, the author spent time with her aunt and loved her unconditionally.

This was an endearing insight into the relationship that the author had with her aunt. She shared beautiful pictures and a few great memories. I would have loved for her to share more of her memories and more details of those moments. This reads more like non-fiction than a short story, but it was enjoyable. 

Have you read any great books lately? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Friday, October 13, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #tanka #colddew #shubun @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro brings us a new season, Shubun, or Cold Dew in the northern hemisphere. This season runs from October 8th through October 22nd. 

The seasonal, or kigo, words focus on Fall images. Here in South Florida, we don't really experience much of that, so I chose to use pumpkin spice as my kigo word since our radio hosts won't shut up about it. πŸ˜‚ Personally, I'm not a pumpkin spice kind of girl, but I know several people who crave it when this season comes around. 

I chose to write another tanka poem. I enjoy writing this form, especially because the pivot line allows for two different images or thoughts. Tanka poems have five lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern. 

(courtesy of @TheoCrazzolara on Pixabay)

Halloween dΓ©cor
pumpkin spice is all the rage
Fall season is here
my neighborhood just pretends
no changing leaves this far south

Are you a fan of pumpkin spice? If so, what's your favorite drink? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to join us in writing seasonal poetry? Click here.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

September Book Review #bookreview #books #readingcommunity #shortstory #Disneyland #childhooddream #family #teacups @WandaFischer @YvetteMCalleiro #RRBC

Hello, beautiful readers! September was not cooperative with me in the reading department, but I did manage to read a wonderful short story by a great author, Wanda Adams Fischer.


by Wanda Adams Fischer

Genre: Short Story

Pages: 16 pages


Many years ago, young Mary Ann became enchanted with the teacup ride at Disneyland in California, thanks to a classmate who showed her photos of the ride. She'd always wanted to swirl and twirl in one of those gaily-decorated cups, but, alas, never had the chance. Take a journey with her in this short story as she remembers that magical obsession from many years ago and attempts to bring her elderly self into the three-dimensional world that had only been a square Kodak photo.

My Review: 

This was such a sweet story. Mary Ann shared with us her obsession with the teacup ride at Disneyland. As a child, a new kid in class showed her a picture of the ride, and she never stopped dreaming about them. When she grew up, she had an opportunity to ride them but let it slip away because she wasn't assertive enough. When the opportunity came again, she knew she needed to make it happen.

This story is beautifully told. I was easily able to connect with Mary Ann's struggles and her determination to make her childhood dream come true. All the characters were realistic and interacted with one another in the way you would expect for that time period. And the ending was so warm-hearted! I would definitely recommend this short story. :-)

Have you read any great books lately? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #seasonalKigo #Kigo #seasons #tanka @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! It's been a while since I posted. I've missed my online community, so I'm happy to rejoin for a bit with this week's poetry challenge. This year, Colleen Chesebro is leading us on a journey to explore kigo words, so the poetry challenge is now called the 24 Seasons Syllabic Poetry Challenge and is housed on a beautiful new site, #TankaTuesday.

Last Tuesday, Colleen shared that we are currently in the Autumn Equinox (September 22 - October 7). So, the challenge was to use kigo (seasonal) words that represent the time of year where I live. Well, living in South Florida doesn't really bring much change for the Autumn season. Summer continues along with occasional rainstorms. So, I decided to use a phrase from the generic kigo list for this season since it fit my circumstances at the moment.

My kigo phrase is darkening days because the days tend to lose light earlier, though that is not why I chose that phrase. On September 13th, my son suffered from a concussion while playing football. We aren't sure exactly when it occurred, but he left the game after being tackled and having someone fall directly on his head. They were playing on turf, which made the impact even worse. He left the game nauseous and dizzy and became sensitive to light and sound before the game had ended. The athletic trainer diagnosed him with a concussion that night, and we have been on a rough journey since then.

It's been almost three weeks, and there has been some improvement. He has good days and bad days. He still has a headache every day, but it comes and goes. He is still sensitive to light and sound, but he says it's gotten better. The hardest part is that he's having difficulty with his short term memory. Sometimes, he doesn't remember what he ate the night before; other times, he can't remember what he learned a few hours earlier. 

As a mom, I'm struggling with watching my child, my heart and soul, struggle. The doctors assure me that the symptoms will subside. They just can't tell me how long they will last. My son is a scholar athlete in his senior year and is taking eight college level classes with straight As, so I'm now in the process of getting him accommodations to provide him extra time and help with notes when he can't concentrate so his grades don't suffer. Luckily, he is at a school where the teachers are completely supportive, and I'm so grateful for them.

To be clear, I know the dangers of sport. My son has been playing sports since he was three years old. He played baseball, soccer, flag football, and tackle football, and has run track as well. Some years, he was playing multiple sports at the same time. And never in all those years has he ever had a serious injury, for which I am grateful. It saddens me that this has happened at all but especially in his senior year. And now, all I want is for him to be whole again.

So, my poem is more about my circumstance than the season, but I'm still using the kigo. I chose to write a tanka poem, which consists of five lines with a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The third line is the pivot line, and the meaning should apply to the first two lines as well as the last two lines. 

(courtesy of @Skitterphoto on Pixabay)

rough, darkening days
threaten to steal all my joy
hope and gratitude
strengthen my inner resolve
eager for sunrise again

I'm hoping to be around more often, but I can't make any promises right now. I continue to support my fellow authors and poets by sharing their blogs, though I don't have much time to interact. Please visit those authors/poets because they are incredible writers and amazing human beings.

If you pray, please pray for my son's healing. If you believe in the energies of the world, please send healing energy to my son. Keep his well-being in your positive thoughts, please. I truly believe he is on the road to recovery because I see more of his personality coming back. I'm just hoping the journey quickens so I have my son whole again.

Today is the last day of this poetry challenge, but if you have been inspired and want to write a poem, please click here. Thank you for visiting and reading my long post. :-)