Wednesday, May 31, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #SpiritAnimal #Syllabic #poem #poetrycommunity #snake #snakespiritanimal @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro encouraged us to take a quiz to determine our spirit animal and then write a poem about that animal. You can find the quiz here

I was quite curious to see what animal would be my spirit animal. When it revealed a snake, I was a bit perplexed, mainly because I've always seen the snake as a villain. Luckily, the description that followed had nothing to do with my misconceived notion. Here is what it said:

The snake animal meaning is powerfully connected to life force and primal energy. In many cultures, it is revered as a powerful totem representing the source of life. When the snake spirit animal appears in your life, it likely means that healing opportunities, change, important transitions, and increased energy are manifesting.

That fits me so perfectly for where I am in my life right now. I'm always working on becoming healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. As an empath, I am sensitive to the energies around me and am continually learning how to manage my reaction to them. My son is about to get his driver's license, which means car shopping for me as I hand my older car to him. So, I would definitely agree that the snake is my spirit animal right now. 😊

I decided to write a classic nonet. This poetry form has nine lines with a syllable count of 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. 

(courtesy of Pixel-Mixer on Pixabay)

she slithers and wraps around a tree

quietly soaks in sun's essence

helps balance ecosystem

as she consumes rodents

quiet and cautious

given bad rap




What is your spirit animal? Share it with me below. 😊

Would you like to join us in writing a poem this week? Click here.

May Book Reviews #bookreview #books #readingcommunity @dlfinnauthor @ptlperrin @JRWard1

Hello, beautiful readers! This month finally gave me some time to read, and I read some great books! If you like what you read, click on the book cover or the title to get your own copy!

The Savior (The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 17) (Adult Novel)

by JR Ward

I have been reading this series for years now, and every book is amazing! By now (book 17), these vampires are like family. If you haven't read the series, these vampires do not harm humans or even need blood from humans. Every book focuses on a different male (or female) and his/her journey to find his/her soulmate. In between the love story, there is so much that happens between the brothers (vampire) and their enemy. 

This particular story focuses on the BD Brother Murhder. In a previous book, he was tortured and went a bit insane and was cast out of the brotherhood. This book is his story, and it was amazing! I hated how he was tortured before, and I'm thrilled the author redeemed him in this book. 

By now, you all know I won't give away spoilers because it's not my style. I will say that even after 17 books, each story feels new. It doesn't feel like a recycled version of a previous book. Every character has his/her own personality, and I love that old characters are included in each book. This book was especially sentimental because it makes a connection with Darius, a vampire who died in book 1 (at the beginning of the book, so it's not really a!). 

And yes, this book made me tear up several times. I get emotional invested in the books I read, especially when they are a long series like this one. There were just so many sentimental moments. I loved it. I also loved the little (and big) hints the author gives for what is still to come. I'm a bit behind in reading the series (I believe there are 21 books now, plus a spinoff), and I can't wait to read them all! (Caution: This book contains many sex scenes, so it truly is written for adults.)

by DL Finn

This is another author of whom I'm a big fan. Every story I read from her is great, and this was no exception. This book is a collection of short stories that she's written over the years, and I enjoyed every single one of them. She has a gift of creating such rich characters in just a few pages. Her scenes draw you in immediately, and you can't help but connect with what the characters are going through.

Many of the stories have a paranormal flare, which you know I LOVE! The author has a series on evildwels, spirits that invade people and encourage them to do evil things. It's a great series, and I was happy to see that she included a story about them in this book. She had several other stories where people were haunted by evil but found their way to the light, which I always love.

She also includes heartfelt stories of redemption or closure. A few of the stories focused on dystopia and a possible apocalypse here and there (lol!). And then there were the stories with crazy twists in them that were right up my alley. I honestly loved all the stories. Some are as short as 99 words while others were multiple pages, including a novella at the end. All of them were worth reading, and I highly recommend this book to everyone!

by PTL Perrin

I was so excited to get back into this series, and it did not disappoint! Sky, Pax, Storm, and Jewel are needed in South America to stop three more artifacts before they lose their energy and cause the world to fall apart. As if that isn't enough pressure, they find out that Jewel has been claimed by a vile Dracan, and he will stop at nothing to have her. Making things worse, someone in their midst is betraying them at every turn.

The author's incredible gift of setting descriptions along with her unique characters kept me engaged in this story from beginning to end. I love all the new races she brings into the story as well as the way she weaves in multiple cultures. Each chapter follows a different character, but the author makes it clear who is telling the story. Normally, I'm not a fan of that, but with this story, I loved seeing the plot from different points of view. Plus, it deepens my connection with each of the four main characters, their unique talents, and their struggles.

I'm already looking forward to reading book 4. If you enjoy paranormal stories mixed with cultural references and suspense, you will love this book!

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #SpecificForm #poem #poetrycommunity #fantasy #acrostic #acrosticpoem @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has asked us to create an acrostic poem with a bit of twist. Each line must have 8, 9, or 10 syllables. I chose the following pattern: 9-9-10-9-9-10-9.

An acrostic poem takes a word and spells it out vertically, so each line starts with a letter from that word. She gave us several words to choose from, and I decided to choose FANTASY since I love that genre so much. 

(courtesy of @hoekstrarogier on Pixabay)


Frolic with your imagination

Aspire to invent a whole new world

Nurture your inner child; believe again

Travel to dimensions with magic

Abandon logical restrictions

Serenade your mind with unwritten songs

Yearn to visit in between the veil

Do you lose yourself in fantasy? Do you read fantasy? I'd love to hear from you.

Would you like to try to write an acrostic poem? Join our fun here.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Days 6 and 7 of the 2023 #RWISA “RISE-UP” #BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA @pdoggbiker @EmptySeatsNovel @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week, the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA) is having a RWISA "Rise-Up" Tour to celebrate moms. 

John Podlaski shared a heartfelt story about his mom here.

Wanda A. Fischer shared another piece entitled "Love Makes the World Go Round" here.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour. If you've missed any of the posts, please click here to enjoy them.

Can you relate to any of these stories? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Friday, May 19, 2023



Hello, beautiful readers! This week, the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA) is having a RWISA "Rise-Up" Tour to celebrate moms. 

Today is MY day to share a memory of my mom. I hope you will join me here to read my piece. :-)

There are three more days to go. I hope you will join us as we share memories of our moms. If you want to follow the whole tour, click here.

Do you have any memories where you learned a lifelong lesson? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Days 3 and 4 of the 2023 #RWISA “RISE-UP” #BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA @KarensStories @maurabeth2014 @YvetteMCalleiro


Hello, beautiful readers! This week, the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA) is having a RWISA "Rise-Up" Tour to celebrate moms. 

Yesterday, Karen Black shared an incredible moment with her mom entitled "A Lesson in Magic."

Today, Maura Beth shares her piece called "Mom, I'll Never Forget."

There are four more days to go, and I will feature my own piece tomorrow. I hope you will join us as we share memories of our moms. If you want to follow the whole tour, click here.

Can you relate to either of these stories? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - #Synonyms #poem #poetrycommunity #teacherlife #teacher #AmericanCinquain #Cinquain @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has asked us to use synonyms for the words work and play. She further challenged us to create three stanzas: one for the concept of work, one focusing on play, and one that blends the two together.

I chose to write about teaching since that is my passion (outside of writing, of course). I have been a teacher for 26 years. I spent twenty years at a high school before transferring to a middle school. I truly love what I do, despite the fact that teachers are underpaid and underappreciated by most of society. I am blessed to be at an incredible school with an administration who truly values and supports our faculty and staff, but many are not as fortunate.

Teaching is a demanding job, and educators often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, especially when they are expected to jump through hoops and perform miracles with very little support. Still, we consider our profession a work of heart and continue to do what we do because we believe in making a difference in the lives of others. And we do!

I decided to write three American cinquains. An American cinquain consists of five lines with a 2-4-6-8-2 syllabic pattern. 

(courtesy of @sasint on Pixabay)

A Teacher's Life

heart and soul invested
held to higher standards than most

echoes off walls
students release their stress
fun challenges expand knowledge

gem of
builds children's confidence
influences generations

Do you remember a special teacher from your childhood that made a difference in your life? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Would you like to join this week's challenge? Click here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Days 1 and 2 of the 2023 #RWISA “RISE-UP” #BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_ORG @RRBC_RWISA @TWEETS4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA @PTLPerrin @EmptySeatsNovel @YvetteMCalleiro

Hello, beautiful readers! This week, the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA) is having a RWISA "Rise-Up" Tour to celebrate moms. 

Yesterday, PTL Perrin shared an incredible moment with her mom entitled "When Mom Delivered a Sermon." Click here to enjoy it.

Today, Wanda A. Fischer shares a memory with her mom called "Definitely a Mad World." Click here to read her special memory.

There are six more days to go, and I will feature my own piece on one of those days. I hope you will join us as we share memories of our moms. If you want to follow the whole tour, click here.

Can you relate to either of these stories? I'd love to hear from you. :-)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Welcome to Day 3 of Shirley Harris-Slaughter's "MOTHER'S DAY AND OTHER FAVORITE THINGS" Blog Tour! @sharrislaughter @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC #4WillsPub

Hello, beautiful readers! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Shirley Harris-Slaughter, the author of Joyce Winifred Harris-Burkes: How I Remember My Mama. Today is Day 3 of her "Mother's Day and Other Favorite Things" blog tour. Please join me in welcoming Shirley to our space as she shares an interview she had right after she published Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community in 2007.

(2) $5 Amazon Gift Cards
(5) Tickets into RRBC's WC&BE Raffle for (7) $100 Amazon Gift Card Gift Baskets 

Shirley is giving away some great prizes. All you need to do to have a chance to win is leave a comment below. :-)


Q. Tell us about yourself and what made you decide to write this book?

A. My name is Shirley Slaughter. I am married to Langston and reside in Oak Park, Michigan.

The idea kept mulling around in my head that we needed to tell our story for the sake of history, or it would be lost forever. Plus, there are not many Black Catholics left here in Michigan because of a policy of exclusion. I kept waiting for someone else to write it. Turns out, it was me waiting for me. I sometimes talk about this phenomenon when I am on speaking engagements.

Q: What did you mean by policy of exclusion?

A: What I meant was that our church was never assigned a permanent priest –they were all just administrators (not pastors) which makes a huge difference when you are trying to grow a church with so many odds stacked against it. It’s not a recipe for permanently growing a small ethnic church. And so over time with so many priests coming in and out, it took a toll on the community and people began to feel detached. I felt it as I watched people leaving. It was never meant to last and doing the research was how I discovered this little-known fact. It was just heartbreaking. I was trying to honor the pioneers and the book took a different turn after I started discovering a lot of discrepancies. I was so heartbroken over the things I uncovered but dusted myself off and kept going. I couldn’t dress it up just because it was unpleasant. The history still needed to be documented, not swept under a rug. I say in the introduction “don’t shoot the messenger.”

Q: Your book is a narrative history about your experience growing up in a Catholic Church in the West Eight Mile Community. You did a wonderful job with the details. Why was it important for you to share this story?

A:  First of all, the West Eight Mile Community was comprised of Royal Oak Twp. to the North and Detroit to the South bounded by West Eight Mile Road. I had this nagging urge to tell our story to correct its omission from the pages of history. I started a second career working at Our Lady of Good Counsel on the east side and that’s where the urge took root.

 Q: How long did it take you to write it?

A: I started in 2002 and the book was published in 2007. It was Re-published May 2014 through my affiliation with Rave Reviews Book Club.

Q: Was your family always Catholic or did you change religion to become members of Our Lady of Victory?

A: My family was baptized into the faith in 1955. My mother did not belong to a particular religion before then. She grew up in a sanctified church and felt that there had to be something better. The book explains how she found the faith which is quite a fascinating story in and of itself.

 Q: One unique aspect about Our Lady of Victory was the Federal Credit Union that was in the basement of the church. In light of the financial crisis today, how do you think this organization would do today if it were still active?

A: It probably would do quite well. The Federal Credit Union was a historical gem that I did not appreciate during my growing-up years. I was too young. The people back then were very innovative. I was impressed when I came to the realization of what these pioneers had done just to survive and find credit since the banks were not lending back then. Some pioneers resorted to building their own homes when they could not get financing. They pitched tents on their property. I realized that there was so much history that needed to be documented or it would be lost forever. I don’t know where this urge came from since I didn’t like history in school. Nothing piqued my interest until we needed to save a neglected train station that had lots of history. I galvanized the community, got some publicity, and got an A on my Research paper which was presented to the university I attended.

 Q:  Your book was published by iUniverse. Why did you decide to forfeit traditional publishing for a print-on-demand publisher?

A:  I took some advice from my nephew and did a pre-order promotion before the book even had a publisher. I was trying to really self-publish. That didn’t work out because I had not found an editor and that held up the printing. I started to panic because I had all these people’s money and no book. A friend of mine recommended iUniverse because of the editing problems and that is how I abandoned self-publishing and went with them, which was a form of self-publishing anyway. I was trying to get the book out to my customers who waited a whole year and were exceptionally patient. Traditional publishing would have also required that I send out query letters and manuscripts or find an agent. I was not up to doing that. I was drained after the interviews, the research and trying to get the book to print. I don’t think I would use them today, but it was all I had short of getting an agent and trying for the big publishing houses.

 Q: What do you hope readers will learn from reading your book?

A: Most people do not know enough about black catholic history and blacks especially don’t know enough about themselves. To move forward you have to know where you have been. At the very least it explains why the Black Catholic Church is losing ground in the Detroit area. I certainly have gotten enlightened once I learned the background because it explains why there are no Black priest today to keep our church doors open. Most of the people I meet are former Catholics. That is alarming. I wrote about 4 Black churches closing to show a pattern of similar experiences to demonstrate that we were not the only church closing but not knowing this gave us a feeling of isolation.

 Q: Are you writing another book?

A: I want to write about how I overcame a health crisis because had I not accomplished that, this book would never have been written. I started writing just as my health began to improve.

This interview was done right after I published “Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community back in 2007. It was part of the PR arm of iUniverse. I have added several more books and changed publishers since then. “Joyce Winifred Harris-Burkes: HOW I REMEMBER MY MAMA is the current release.” 


It happened between 1945 and 1946 at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Detroit in the Chancellor's office. Msgr. John C. Ryan called an emergency meeting with the cardinal...

And so the stage was set for the years of turmoil that followed and the subsequent demise of this once vibrant church. Here comes the author who gives the reader an intimate look at her catholic community, the township she grew up in, and its historical significance to World War II, Henry Ford's auto plant, migration from the south, and the housing crisis that was unfolding. She talks about having fond memories as well as sadness and pain. While preparing a farewell speech for the departing pastor, she wondered at the age of twelve what was going to happen to her and the parish family she came to love. What a burden for a young child to bear? The reader is introduced to the pioneers who helped shape and establish this community that shaped her. But the book takes a different turn as the research uncovers forgotten secrets...

Today this little church has closed its physical doors forever!! Stay tuned as this story continues to unfold.


Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an 

African-American Catholic Community

This book evolved out of years of frustration at the total disregard and lack of respect for the contributions of Black Catholics in the city of Detroit. The author says, "We are not mentioned in the pages of history along with the other Catholic churches that sprung up during the World War II era, and that needed to be corrected.” The author did fulfill one dream since publication … that this church can now be found on the web even though it has merged with another church. It is now called Presentation-Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.


Shirley Harris-Slaughter is the author of Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community which was written to address a need to preserve Catholic history in her local community. She mentored four freshman girls at the local middle school. She is active in her church and Rave Reviews Book Club a virtual book club community where she has added another biography and fiction to her repertoire. She is married to Langston and is a Michigan Native.

And now, Slaughter has written a memoir about her mother, Joyce Winifred Harris-Burkes: How I Remember My Mama. It talks about memories regarding her life, and her works. The theme is about how the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Slaughter is an activist just like her mother. 


Twitter:  @sharrislaughter

Facebook:  Shirley Slaughter

Amazon Author Central Page


Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Remember Our Lady of Victory


Joyce Winifred Harris-Burkes: HOW I REMEMBER MY MAMA

Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community

Ronald L. Powell: Missing in Action

Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!!

Newspaper Chronicles

A CITIZEN’S GROUP IN ACTION: Saving a Train Station

To follow along with the rest of this tour, please visit the author's tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you'd like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HEREThanks for supporting this author and her work!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

#TankaTuesday Weekly #Poetry Challenge - Photo Prompt #poem #poetrycommunity #The4-11 #death #grief #memories @ColleenChesebro @YvetteMCalleiro @gmplano


Hello, beautiful readers! Today, Colleen Chesebro's #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge invites us to create a poem with the photo featured below as our inspiration. This photo was taken by Terri Webster Schrandt from

Yesterday, my mother informed me that her uncle was released from the hospital into the care of his wife. He has cancer that appears to have spread. He fell recently and hurt his head, which further complicated things. The doctors wanted him to go to rehab, but he just wanted to go home. After already going through chemo, he's decided his fight is over. He has lived an incredible life filled with crazy adventures and lots of laughter with his doting wife by his side. This last chapter won't be an easy one, but it will not diminish the beautiful memories he has already created in those who love him. So, when I saw this picture, it made me think of the ones left behind.

I chose a rather new poetry form created by the incredible author and poet, Gwen Plano. She called it The 4-11. It has eleven lines with four syllables in each. The first and last line are the same.

I love you still

your sun has set

your ashes lie

next to our lake

where you planted

purple flowers

seasonal blooms

remind me that

you will live on

in memories

I love you still

What does this picture make you think about? I'd love to hear from you!

Would you like to write a poem for this picture? Join us here.