Category Archives: Writing

February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt – The Land of Sweet

This post is written for  February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt hosted by D. Wallace Peach.


Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

The Land of Sweet

“It was a fierce battle our Mouse King and the mice soldiers had, Mickie.”

“Yes, he stabbed the Nutcracker and almost killed him.”

“But Clara threw the slipper at the King to distract him, and the Nutcracker took the chance to kill him.”

“I know, Milenko, he was our King, but he treated us in Mouseland horribly. We had no power for a civil war. Now Justice is served.”

“It horrified me when the Nutcracker thrust his sword through the King’s chest. The other soldiers killed all the mice soldiers. I was afraid that they would kill us too. My heart almost jumped out of my mouth, so I ran as fast as I could and dashed into your house.”

“I know, Milenko, you grabbed me around with your legs and legs.”

“Thank you for putting your legs around me, Mickie. Did you feel my thumping heart?”

“I sure did.”

“My brothers and I flew in with our legs running in the air.”

“You then just plopped on the floor wheezing with your tongues sticking out.”

“Did you hear the Nutcracker Suite playing, Mickie?”

“I did, and the gunshots were violent. The force blew my house into the air. I covered my eyes and didn’t know what happened, but I felt we were floating in the air.”

“Where are we now?”

“I don’t know. It’s snowing, Milenko.”

“Hi, little ones. You’re in the Land of Sweet.”

“Wohhh, you’re enormous. Who are you? What are you doing here?

“I’m Ellia. I accompanied two Chinese dancers here for a performance. Who are you?”

“I’m Mickie and they are Milenko and his brothers. We live in Mouseland and our King just got killed by the Nutcracker.”

“You’re kidding! The Nutcracker Prince is here with Clara in the Land of Sweet. The Sugar Plum Fairy, the Queen, is having a festival for them with dances and sweet treats. I was on my way to watch the Chinese dance and caught you titter tottering on the tree. Come with me to watch the dances.”

“Thank you, we want to watch but we better go back to Mouseland and find out who succeeded our King.”

“Humm, I can carry you home on my way back to China. But for now, let’s watch the dances. Hurry up and run to the top of my head and scatter around, but you must be still and stay quiet. I will peek through the window. People may think you are snowflakes.”

“It’s sweet of you to take us home. These will be the first dances we’ve ever seen.”

“Hang on, we’re getting close. I can hear the music. The Russian girls are dancing. The Chinese dance is next. There are several more dances before the end of the celebration. Don’t worry, I’ll get you back to Mouseland.”

D. Wallace Peach – February’s Speculative Fiction Prompt



RDP Tuesday: My Garden – A Poem

This post is written in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt Community. The prompt for Tuesday February 19, 2019 is Garden.

“Tell us what garden means to you or what garden you dream of. Put it in a poem, a photograph, a story.” – drkottaway

Here are some flowers in my garden and a poem to tell what garden means to me.


My Garden

My garden is a sanctuary, a place to retreat

A daily dose of therapy I get for my soul and spirit

I eagerly touch the soil with bare hands when

The gardening gloves are right at my reach

As I trim the plants and pull the weeds

Dense fog lifted out of my sight

Clouds and the clutter of the mind

Parted and cleared out of the way.

My garden is where I go in the morning

Before starting any routine of the day



20 FREE Marketing Tips for New Authors

Please read Brigid’s excellent marketing tips for new authors.

Watching the Daisies

climbing mountain“20 FREE Marketing Tips for New Authors” was originally posted in November 2017. However, I have updated it and added new links.

Next week, I will be sharing a new post on Paid Marketing Sites for Authors.

The day your first book is published is incredibly exciting. However, you now have to market and sell it…

This post is based on my own steep learning curve. The majority of these tips are FREE.

Begin with an E-Book

Consider having e-book format only for a few months. This will allow you to gatherreviews which you can include on the inside cover of your print copies.

It is also well worth investing in a good book cover. It will pay dividends.

I launched “Watching the Daisies” on 14th November 2016 with Amazon Kindle, and enrolled in KDP Select for six months – to create free deals and Kindle countdowns.


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Colleen’s 2019 Weekly Poetry Challenge – Slow & Work

Here is this week’s Colleen’s 2019 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 121, “Slow & Work,” #SynonymsOnly

January 12 to 20, 2019, a group of family members from West Coast of the U.S.A. traveled to Hong Kong to celebrate my nephew’s wedding, a joyous begging of a new journey. It was a marathon ceremony of playing Chinese traditional games when the groom picked up the bride in the morning. The games were set by the bridesmaids and responded by the groom and best men. Only when all the games were responded, the door was open for the groom to pick up the bride. Then a modern church wedding and garden cake ceremony were held in the afternoon, and a nine-course Chinese banquet was served in the evening when the bride and mother-in-law (my sister) changed their gowns four times.


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Book Review – “Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” by Miriam Hurdle

An excellent review of my book by Dorinda Duclos. Please head over to visit her blog of books and poetry.

Night Owl Poetry - Dorinda Duclos

What Amazon Says:

Human being has the will power to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

Hurdle in her poetry collection includes themes of personal experiences in nature, difficult relationship, cancer treatment, marriage, parenthood, remembrance, reflection and inspiration. She reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She loves music, photography and watercolor painting and includes photos and paintings to complement the poems.

My Review:

“Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” is a most enjoyable book of poetry.  Told in the first person, Miriam Hurdle takes you along on her many journeys, in the ups and downs, of life.  I particularly enjoyed the photos, placed before many of…

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#Poetryreadathon – Songs of Heartstrings

Robbie Cheadle did a fabulous review of my book. Please head over to read about it and visit her beautiful blog of multiple genre books and cooking recipes.

Robbie's inspiration

Poetry readathon

Miriam Hurdle

What Amazon says

Human being has the will power to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratitude toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

My review

Songs of Heartstrings is a collection of poems and essays featuring the vast array of life experiences by the author. Miriam Hurdle has encountered both the best and the worst of life through the death of her husband’s close friend, her own treatment…

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Come and be interviewed for my new 2019 Author Interview Series

Author Don Massenzio

2019It’s a new year and time for a new series of author interviews.

One of the features of my blog that I have enjoyed the most is my author interview series.

Over the past few years, I have posted over 200 interviews. We have learned about many authors, both traditionally and independently published. We have learned what makes them tick and what techniques have worked for them in creating and promoting their work.

whats your storyFor 2019, I’m looking to post weekly author interviews based on responses to 10 questions. To change it up a bit this year, I’m giving authors 20 questions from which they can choose 10. This will make each interview somewhat unique. These 20 questions are brand new to my blog interviews. This means, if I’ve already interviewed you, you are welcome to participate as we will learn even more about you.

If you participate in my interview…

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