Personal & Blog Update, and THANK YOU!

Just wanted to let you guys know that I’m doing better each day. I am stiff and sore ALL OVER–like every muscle in my body–but so far, I’m free of the warning signs for various complications that I was given at the ER. And after checking with all my doctors, the spell that brought me down appears to have been caused by a combination of low blood sugar and postural hypo-tension.  I’d gone too long without eating (never a good idea for a diabetic) and that other thingie is just a long way of saying standing up too fast after bending over. (I’ve had that problem all my life, and as my husband can tell you, I fall down a LOT.)

Tuesday, I’d gotten so busy organizing boxes of folders and files that I forgot to stop for lunch. I was bending over and standing up repeatedly, packing and unpacking various things, and did it one time too often. (For those who aren’t familiar with what happens, think of it as the blood rushing to your head when you bend over, and draining  out again really fast when you stand up again, leaving you dizzy.) I’ve only just developed the diabetes issue, but I’ve had the other for most of my adult life, and have the banged up knees to prove it. (Usually I fall forward and catch myself, instead of being poleaxed and landing flat on my back.)

My new plan is to have my iPhone alert me when it’s time to eat, and to sit DOWN when doing things like unpacking boxes. I’m being very, very careful, and I’m not tackling anything strenuous or tiring yet, not even blogging, other than this update. With that in mind, there will be no #FirstLineFriday this week, but assuming all continues improving, things will be back to normal on Monday.

And I do want to thank every single one of you for your kind comments and well wishes. I’m doing a blanket thank you because I don’t yet have the energy to reply individually to all your wonderful responses, but believe me, I read them all! You are such nice folks!! Thank you!

See you next week. 🙂 ❤

#NewRelease – Creative Solutions by Harmony Kent

This morning, I’m very excited to be sharing the news of Harmony Kent’s latest release: Creative Solutions.

I just got my copy today, and I already know I’m going to enjoy reading this one, and learning some new tricks, along the way! Without further ado, I’ll turn the digital floor over to Harmony now.


Hello everyone. Harmony here. I’m excited to share my latest non-fiction book with you all today. Huge thanks to Marcia for hosting me today.

Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer does what it says on the tin (or cover, lol), and offers tools to fire your imagination. With chapters on things such as using chess and tarot to develop stories, plots, and characters—as well as adopting the principles of nursing triage, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, horoscopes, and more—this little guide is full of fun tips and tricks to get your muse working overtime.

This excellent writer’s companion is available to purchase from October 9th in both ebook and paperback.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

I got the idea for using the ancient game of chess for storytelling while playing the game with my husband one day.

Truly, I’m no expert. I’m still learning and lose frequently, lol. All you need is a rudimentary understanding of the pieces, which I list below for you:

  • Pawns
  • Knights
  • Castles
  • Bishops
  • Queen
  • King

You have eight Pawn pieces, two Knights,  Two Castles, Two Bishops, one King, and one Queen. Of all the various pieces, the Queen has the most flexibility and manoeuvrability. In a nutshell, that’s all you need to know to begin making up a story from the different players.

You can write a character for each and every piece if you want, or keep to the main players. I like to include the lowly Pawns because they can show the smaller picture within the bigger picture. And, who knows, perhaps the little unknown soldier will end up saving the day.

… Here, you can see two Queens facing off with each other while the King and his courtiers stand by and watch. Meanwhile, the Castle threatens the King. This scenario fired my writer’s imagination. Needless to say, having gotten so distracted making up stories, I lost this particular game!

Even though I lost this round, my King stood bravely to the end with one last pawn by his side. The battle was bloody and bitter … utter carnage. All the big guys, generals, bishops, etc., bragged and boasted, thinking they would win the day, but it just goes to show. The battlefield isn’t necessarily where you’ll find all the action.

To use chess as a story prompt, arrange the pieces randomly on the board and ask yourself some questions about what you see.  First up, assign identities to your pieces. Using my layout as an example, you might ask:

  • What are the two Queens saying to one another?
  • How did the Light Queen get all the way into the Dark Court?
  • Is the Light Queen a hostage or a negotiator?
  • What manipulations and subterfuges might the other pieces be up to? The Bishops? The Knights? Etc.
  • Choose one of your Pawns. What’s his or her story? Could that player end up as the new leader?
  • What subplot could a Pawn offer to the main plot of the power players?
  • What started this conflict?
  • What might resolve it?

You don’t have to stick with these classic court interpretations of your pieces. You can set them in the future in settled space if you so wish, or on an alien planet. It’s your game and your imagination, and you can do whatever you want when creating storylines.

Buy Creative Solutions HERE

Author Harmony Kent

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors. 

You can reach Harmony on Social Media here:

Story Empire (co-authored)
Amazon Author Page 
Twitter: @harmony_kent
LinkedIn: Harmony
Goodreads: Author Page




It’s Always Something

Just a quick post to let you guys know that I took a bad fall a few hours ago, and the back of my head took the full blow on our ceramic tile floors. I just got home from the ER where they did a CT scan to rule out fractured skull and/or brain bleeds. The good news is, it came back clear. I’m home now, with orders to take it easy for a couple of days (like I have the energy/strength to do anything else right now). No driving, or exertion of any kind.

Sorry I can’t answer all your great posts, but I guess I need to rest. Will see how I feel in the morning. Thanks for your understanding and patience. I WILL be back as soon as possible, I promise.

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – The Curse of Time by M. J. Mallon

This afternoon, please help me welcome Marje Mallon who is sharing a lovely review of her book, The Curse of Time. Hope you’ll enjoy reading this as much as I did, and will pass it along on all your favorite social media haunts. Thanks!


Kevin Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical
30 August 2019
EditionVerified Purchase

This is a wonderful YA fantasy read. It’s very different from others I’ve read and I say this in the most positive manner. One way or is unique is through the use of original short poetry at the beginning of each chapter providing a clue to the chapter content. It is very well done. I do love originality.

The whole work has a magical feel about it which draws the reader in with a yearning to learn more about all of the characters and their plight.

My favourite characters are, Esme… The girl trapped in the mirror, and Shadow, the black cat. These two characters alone were enough to keep me rooted.

Meanwhile, on the serious side of things, there are so many issues going on in this work in addition to that of dealing with a dysfunctional family. One’s familiarity will be tested and emotions may arise.

That aside, when you add magic, a black cat, and a guitar and music into the mix… What is there not to love about this work?



A unique, imaginative mystery full of crystal magic-wielding, and dark elements.

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl Esme who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting Amelina to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger. With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness. A magical YA/paranormal fantasy with dark elements set in Cambridge, England.

Buy The Curse of Time Here:
Amazon UK 
Amazon USA 

Author M. J. Mallon

I am a debut author who blogs at:

My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy/Paranormal YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. 

It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. 

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Authors Website  | Collaborative Blog  | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time


#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Amanda in Holland by Darlene Foster

This morning, I’d like to share Darlene Foster’s latest review of Amanda in Holland. These books sound so good, I’ve started sending them to my daughter to read to her my grandson. I know you’ll enjoy this one, too, and will share it all over the place. Thanks!


5.0 out of 5 stars  A tour of Holland
September 25, 2019
Verified Purchase
D. W. Peach

This book was quite a bit of fun. Foster combines a middle-grade fiction plot with a colourful tour of Holland, including its famous sites, snippets of history, and its wonderful flowers and food. I had the great fortune of visiting my grandparents in Holland when I was Amanda’s age, and her experiences in the book mirror my memories in great detail. It was a blast to traipse along beside Amanda and enjoy the country once again.

The main plot focuses on the recovery of a lost puppy, but secondary plots weave through the story, and all come together nicely at the end. There’s a bit of mystery and some danger to keep the tension up. There are also some very moving scenes when Amanda visits Anne Frank’s home and a war memorial dedicated to the Canadians who helped liberate Holland during WWII. A lovely book for young readers and absolutely perfect for readers who plan to travel the world.



Alongside her best friend Leah, Amanda is in Holland to see the all the sights: tulips, canals, Anne Frank House, windmills, and even a wooden shoe factory. She is also keen to find out what happened to her great uncle, who never returned from World War II. What she doesn’t expect is to find and fall in love with an abandoned puppy named Joey. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow intrepid traveler Amanda around Holland as she encounters danger and intrigue while trying to solve another mystery in a foreign country

Buy Amanda in Holland HERE

Author Darlene Foster

Brought up in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing stories, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. It’s no surprise that after a number of interesting jobs, she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When she isn’t travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true if they´re willing to step out of their comfort zone. 

Find Darlene on Social Media here:

Amazon Author Page 

Website  |  Goodreads | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

I’m Baaa-aaaack! Sort of!

Yep! My week long absence from blogging has come to an end, and the good news is, nothing earth-shatteringly dreadful  happened to me (nor to you guys) because I took a break from social media (mostly) for seven days! AND I achieved my goal of finishing Chapters 31 and 32 in my WIP, The Light.  The bad news is, that wasn’t quite enough to finish the book! I realized that I’d have to jam too much into those two chapters to get to the end of the story, so decided there will also be a Chapter 33, and if needed, a Chapter 34. It takes what it takes, as we all know. 

Overall, though, I’m very happy to have accomplished what I did, and I think my beta readers enjoyed what I produced, so all is well. I also learned a valuable lesson. It’s OKAY to step back from the sometimes addictive whirl of online activity when you need to, whether it’s to work on an overdue project, to take care of personal business, or just to give your mind a break. Things will go on without your constant oversight or presence, and with any luck, you’ll be welcomed back by smiling friends offering virtual hugs and chats. 

And I looked up from my writing long enough to realize it’s autumn again! My favorite season! Crisp, cool days, filled with leaves swapping their summer outfits for glorious reds, and golds! Happy sigh! No, wait. That must have been my screensaver! 😯 Here in Florida, it’s still in the mid-to-high 80s every day and mostly miserable outside, but it started raining Sunday night. And yesterday. And this morning. Yep. We’ve officially gone from drought to monsoons, so true summer has ended. We can expect some days in the 70s to get here any time now. Better drag out my winter clothes. Oh, wait again. I don’t have any. Well, at least I’ll be able to turn off the a/c soon. Or not. 😀

And with that, I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. 😉

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Week In Review

No, I’m not back to my normal blogging routine, folks, but I had to share this great weekly round up from Joan Hall. Check it out! So many great links you’ll want to visit and pass along to others. Enjoy! And thanks, Joan, for ending the week with another super photo and fantastic list of goodies! 🙂 ❤

Joan Hall

Hey, everyone. It’s Friday and I’m glad to be wrapping up the week with you.

A few years ago, I was in one of those, “I want to write but the words won’t come,” stages. Getting away from the house often helps, so I decided to take a Saturday morning drive and ended up at one of the numerous nearby country cemeteries.

Naturally, I snapped a few photos. Nothing particularly spooky about this one. Even with the unmarked graves that lie beneath piles of rocks. Or the old, rusting fence that surrounds another one. It was a bright, clear morning when everything in the world seemed cheerful.

But a few adjustments to the color and the shading makes the atmosphere completely different.

Same photo. Different mood. You can almost imagine being in the cemetery at night by the light of the moon. Sort of creepy, isn’t it?

And now, to…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Winter Soups, Chocolate, New books, reviews and funnies

Another of my favorite weekly round-up posts, this time by Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord blog. What a busy week Sally had! Hope you’ll stop by and check it out, because I can pretty much guarantee there’s something for everyone here, from laughs to recipes to you-name-it. Be sure to pass it along, too, thanks. And as always, my thanks to Sally for making it easy for me to find all the goodies she posted over the last week. It sure helps me keep up with what’s going on! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts the you might have missed during the week on Smorgasbord blog Magazine.

You might have noticed that the round up has a new header. Apart from looking to give the post a bit of a freshen up, I also wanted to emphasise the theme that I have developed over the last seven years, of a magazine style blog with a wide range of subjects. You will see from this round up that there are a number of regular contributors and guest writers.

Currently on a fortnightly or monthly basis I am lucky enough to have William Price King (music column), Carol Taylor (Food and Cookery Column), D.G. Kaye (Travel Column), Annette Rochelle Aben(Numerology) and Silvia Todesco (Italian Cookery) and I write the (Health Column). Jessica Norrie wrote a wonderful (Literary Column) last year which I am currently repeating.

Do you have…

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Week In Review

Here’s Joan Hall’s weekly recap from last Friday. A couple days late, I know, sorry. But believe me, you’ll still want to take a look at all the great links Joan’s sharing. Thanks for passing them along to others, and thanks to Joan for posting them in such a convenient way. It’s very helpful for those of us who are always running behind these days! 🙂 Enjoy, folks!

Joan Hall

Hey, everyone. Wow! September is moving right along. Can you believe the autumn equinox is in three days?

I pulled this picture from my September 2008 archives. I was out for an evening walk when I snapped this photo. It’s another taken with my little Sanyo 8 megapixel camera. Not a bad shot, huh?

I how the setting sun kisses the swirling clouds. The one in the center almost looks like a funnel cloud, but there were no storms in the area. So far no stories inspired by this pic but I have considered writing a story in which there is a tornado.

I don’t have as many links this week. If you read yesterday’s post, you know I spent much of the week redesigning my website and fell behind in visiting blogs. But here we go:

On this blog or posts about my books:

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Book Review Tuesday: That Darkest Place by @MarciaMeara #bookishtuesday

It’s a great day, indeed, when you wake up to Mae Clair sharing a 5-star review of one of your books! I hope you’ll read what she has to say about my 3rd Riverbend book, That Darkest Place. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I didn’t get any marketing done on this one, and a review like this really does my heart good. I hope you’ll share it far and wide, thanks. And my heartfelt thanks to Mae, too! This made my day, my week, and probably the rest of my month, as well! 😀

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Welcome to Book Review Tuesday. Today, I’m thrilled to share another five star read. I’d like to clarify that I never publicly review a book unless I’m able to provide a minimum of three stars—which I consider an average read. That’s why you mostly see four and five star reviews on my blog with the occasional three star. Today’s book definitely earns five sparkly stars.

Book cover for Taht Darkest Place by Marcia Meara shows image of man with head bowed in his hand, shattered glass superimposed in backgroundThat Darkest Place
by Marcia Meara

The third book of the Riverbend series focuses primarily on Painter brothers, Jackson and Forrest, though youngest brother Hunter, is still a strong presence in his unique and quiet way. I fell in love with his character in book two.

At the end of Finding Hunter, Jackson was behaving horribly—lashing out at those around him, physically and verbally abusive. He ended up in a car accident believed to be the result of drunk driving. In That Darkest Place

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