Me? Writing Poems? No Way!

Although I dabbled with poetry in high school, I am not a poet. I might add those attempts were sweet little rhymes mostly about the latest boy I had a crush on. Lots of us gals did that in those days. Maybe they still do, I don’t know.

Last week, I wrote that I had rejoined the Vocal writing community. I submitted two short stories, one of them for a contest. No word on that yet, but my flash fiction piece Where is Gunnar was selected as a top story earlier this week! Woo hoo!

I have several of my earlier fiction pieces that I plan to dust off and publish there over the next few weeks and months. I also want to write some new ones, as I have tons of ideas.

But what’s this about poetry? Oh yeah. Vocal has a new contest called Ludicrous Limericks. After two friends, Harmony Kent and Staci Troilo, submitted several, I decided to give it a try. I came up with four.

Two are more on the humorous side and one is a nature poem. The fourth was inspired when I began brainstorming my third Legends of Madeira novel. It’s titled The Road.

Royalty-free photo by Nathaniel Luckhurst |

It’s easiest to see all the poems by visiting my Vocal Profile. They immediately follow the three pinned stories.

If you’d prefer, here are the individual links:

I’m not giving up prose, and I may never write another limerick or any other poem again, but these were fun to do. If you have time to read and share, I’d appreciate it.

Book Review ~ Life & Soul by @harmony_kent

I was delighted to have Harmony Kent as my guest earlier this month to talk about her latest collection of poems. If you miss that post, click here. Today, I’m sharing my review of this delightful collection of poems.


Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Life & Soul is a collection of poems divided into six sections—Lonely Soul, Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, Loving Soul, and culminating with The Life of a Soul.

The author’s feelings are laid bare, and although she has been through some traumatic events in life, she didn’t allow those things to keep her down.

As with most collections, I had favorites. Wild and Free serves as a reminder that we should not be quick to judge others or attempt to mold someone into what we believe they should be.

I’m not the prettiest flower in the field

But neither am I a weed

Take the time to watch me bloom

Don’t cut my stem and moan when I fade too soon

Far better that you leave me be

Dancing in the breeze, wild and free

True Friend gives the meaning of true friendship in thirty-one short words.


does not measure

nor count the give and take

of offering, asking, sharing

of life

ever loyal, honest, and true

I’ll always be around

to share the ups

and downs

A bit of the author’s humor shines through in This Ain’t Kansas. Part six, The Life of a Soul, is a journey into Kent’s life.

The poems are short and easy to read but speak volumes. Many readers can relate to one or more of them.

I don’t read a lot of poetry, but this book moved me. An easy five stars.

Life and Soul #New Release by @harmony_kent

Hey, everyone! Today, I’m excited to have as my guest friend, fellow author, and Story Empire contributor, Harmony Kent. She’s here to talk about her brand new book, which releases tomorrow.

Welcome, Harmony!

Hi, Joan. Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s always wonderful to visit with you. Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry …

From Friendly Soul:

Holding Hands

friends see

your highs and lows

share triumphs and failures

hold your hand when you want to die

of shame

help you see the light at the end

of your darkened tunnel

find the humour

in pain

This poem comes from a time when friendships were shifting, and a deep betrayal from my sister left me reeling. It brought me to contemplate what friendship is/should be.

Holding Hands is about the acceptance of both others and self, no matter how bad we think our mistakes are. If we have to pretend around others, it’s not true friendship. I hope you enjoyed this poem and would love to know what you think.


Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane

Universal Link:


Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award-winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Harmony’s Website

twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: Harmony Kent

BookBub: Harmony Kent

Story Empire (co-authored blog): Harmony Kent

Book Reviews: Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries by Sally Cronin, The Widows by Jess Montgomery #ShortStories #HistoricalFiction

Hey, everyone! I’m behind on posting reviews, so this week I’m including two books. The first is by Sally Cronin.


Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far-reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

My Review

I read a lot of thrillers and psychological fiction and every so often I need something light-hearted. Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries provided that. It’s a collection of poetry and short stories which show us that life is sometimes sweet but other times bitter.

Divided in sections of Technology, Connections, Winning Streak, and Falling in and Out of Love, this collection of poetry and short stories offers something for just about every reader.

While I enjoyed all of them, some of my favorites were The Nanny, The Wedding Day, The Scratch Card, and The Night Shift. Friday Night and Gaffer Tape had me cheering the heroines. The book is easily read in one or two sittings but reading a story or poem each night is a perfect way to end your day. I highly recommend this delightful book. Five stars.


Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel, the town’s widely respected sheriff, has been killed while transporting a prisoner in an apparent accident, she vows to seek the truth about his death.

Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter.

From miles away but worlds apart, Lily’s and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was perhaps not the man that either of them believed him to be.

My Review

Two Widows is a historical fiction novel set in Ohio during the mid-1920s. It’s written in alternating points of view—Lily, the widow of murdered sheriff Daniel Ross, and Marvena, his “close” friend. Marvena became a widow after the death of her common-law husband in a mine shaft owned by Daniel’s half-brother.

Lily and Marvena first meet after Daniel’s murder. When Lily is appointed sheriff, the two women join forces to find the person responsible for Daniel’s death and discover what happened to Marvena’s missing daughter.

The book has twists and turns. There are several suspects, including Daniel’s half-brother Luther, some ruthless Pinkerton guards hired by him, and some shady characters who had a hold on Daniel. I suspected several people, was right on one count, but I was surprised at the end. I like when an author keeps me guessing.

Both women are strong characters. The author did her research, as the character of Lily was based on Ohio’s first appointed female sheriff. Parts of the book are a little slow, and for this reason, I’m rating it four stars. If you like historical fiction with a touch of mystery and suspense, you’ll enjoy this one.

Why I Write ~ Harmony Kent

Exciting things are happening around cyberspace this week. The Story Empire authors, Staci Troilo, Mae Clair, C. S. Boyack, Harmony Kent, P. H. Soloman, and myself are having the Story Empire Roadshow. All of us are discounting one or two of our books and offering prizes to lucky winners. Each author is hosting another author all week. For links to all the posts, click here.

Today it is my privilege to host Harmony Kent. And now Harmony is going to take this show on the road.

Hello, everyone, Harmony Kent here. Welcome to my tour stop on the Story Empire Roadshow. First of all, I would like to give Joan a huge thank you for hosting me today. I thought I’d open the tour with why I write, and tomorrow, we’ll take a look at what I write. And, remember, throughout this week, I shall be offering Kindle deals on some of my books, so keep checking in for details of which books and when the discounts are happening. The most prolific commenter at the end of the tour will get to choose ONE copy of any TWO of my ebooks!


Why I write

What now?

The question pulled me up short.

When I lay in the hospital bed, when I endured the weeks of rehab that morphed into months, when it all changed, I couldn’t have conceived I would find myself asking that question. Surviving, and then recovering, took up all my time, my energy, and my focus. And still, after all that, I found myself at forty, stuck.

My old life dead.

A new life beckoning.

Days yawned ahead endlessly, empty. The injury changed everything, and in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Where to go from here? What now?






Pregnant with potential.

My life had strengthened me. Prepared me. Enabled me. I could do this. I could remake myself. Shape my life and mould it to how I wanted it. Finally, I could grab my dreams from the clouds, bring them down to Earth, and make them material and manifest. Forget reaching for the stars; I let them fall all around me in all their shining glory. After all, it is such stardust we are made of.

In the beginning, I sat down and wrote just for the sheer joy of it. I had no intention to publish. But then something else happened. An inner transformation blossomed after spending all those years in hibernation, just waiting for the right time. Even in those dark times in the deepest pits, when I felt buried alive, I’d been digging for gold.

I could have chosen differently. I could have given in. I could have died. Instead, I lived. I gave up, in the sense of offering up. Instead of wallowing in the mess, I found the jewel in the mud. Life is a choice. As old Red said in Shawshank Redemption: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

All the things I’d never been brave enough to do in my early twenties, I set about doing in my forties. It’s never too late until it’s too late. When you’re alive, you’re alive. And when you’re dead, you’re dead. I’ve learned that it’s best to go along with what you have and what you are: so, if you’re alive, then live. Wait until you die before you die. The worst thing I could’ve done was to become the undead, and only pretend to be alive.

Just going through the motions holds no interest for me, not anymore. If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing fully, completely, and whole-heartedly. It’s not a case of not ever being afraid. More pertinently, it’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Little did I realise, the day I sat down and typed the first word of my first novel, that I was saving my life. Not just saving it, but building it from the ground up. Such a joy to just make it up as I went along. Until then, I’d never realised such a thing was possible—that any one of us can change the way things are at any time. Just because it has a long history, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

That’s not to say that the years before that were empty, or pointless. No, they were the years I spent digging away the dead earth. The years I spent laying the foundations. The years I spent killing my inadequate self to find my true self.

If I have one regret, it is letting people put me into a box for so many years. Who would have thought that losing my leg, and becoming ‘un-whole’ would lead to me becoming the most whole I’ve ever been? Yes, physical limitations exist. Financial limitations exist. Even with these, anything is possible.

I have broken out of the box, and no way will I go back. Not until I die. And then I intend to burn … brightly. Our greatest power is our imagination. With it, we have control of our whole world. We can enter any dimension and manipulate any environment. Anything is possible. We can use it to entrap ourselves, or we can use it to find freedom. It all comes down to what stories we choose to fill our heads with.

What now?

I have a beautiful home.

I have enough money to get by.

Friends surround me.

I have a job I love.

Disabled (in body if not in mind).

Pregnant with potential.

The last two on my list will never change. The rest of it is simply the scenery. And, whatever happens from here, I can’t see myself never writing again. It saved my sanity. It shaped who I am today. It continues to give me sustenance and vital force.

Why do I write? Because I can (and we all can, you can, even if no one but you ever sees it). Because it’s who I am. Because it gives me a life I couldn’t have otherwise.

If writing isn’t your thing, there is something in the world that is. I pray that you find it and find joy from it. Each of my books shows a little of the jewel I pulled out of the mud, hidden within the enjoyable fiction. It’s not something I did intentionally, but then how could it be different? My creativity, my stories, are my jewel, and so the diamond is bound to shine through them.

If I can make a difference to only one other person through my writing, then I have achieved all that I want to. For many souls, a good book is the only respite from days yawning without end.

Writing gave me a reason. Writing gave me a passion. Writing won’t bring my leg back, but it gives me wings. And it invites my readers to fly with me. I don’t know of much that gets better than that.

The above piece opens my latest book, Moments (available on pre-order on Amazon), and is entitled The Jewel in the Mud. Pre-order HERE (US) and HERE (UK). This is a collection of short stories and poetry that touches upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement. Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.

I’d love to hear what inspires you in your life. Thanks so much for stopping by!

My website/blog:

My twitter handle: @harmony_kent

My Facebook Page:

My Amazon Page: and

Harmony, I enjoyed hosting you today. Your post is an inspiration to anyone who feels like giving up.  Readers, be sure to leave Harmony a comment and be entered in her drawing. Also, check out the other authors on the roadshow by clicking the links below:

Craig   |   Mae   |   Staci   |   Joan   | P. H.