A teen writer publishes against all odds

Clicking “Publish” is such an exciting feeling, as I’m sure you are tired of hearing me say ;) But read this and perhaps you can be excited about Kendra clicking that magic button :)

Myths of the Mirror

For her high school senior project, Kendra Stefan wanted to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book, and I agreed to mentor her through the project. As writers out there know, a book is a lot of work. For Kendra, the challenge was over the top. She was suffering from heart failure.

We got an early start, working on the book between her other studies, her numerous doctor’s appointments, and rising fatigue. As we got her story down, her condition declined and her position on the waiting list for a donor moved up.

When the story was essentially done, but the illustrations just started, Kendra got the call. In July, she received her new heart.

Kendra’s work on the book continued while she recovered in the hospital – between rehab sessions, medication adjustments, and the hard and painful work of building up her strength.

When she was released for visits…

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To the Other Place


This is now the 24th chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”.  See the table of contents here.

“Hey… Grubb… let’s take… a bit… of a breather.  …OK?”

Without waiting for The Grubb to respond, Ed stopped and leaned against a large rock.  He tried to remember the last time he was as out of breath.

Nothing came to mind.

“Sure thing, Mr. Ed.  We can stop for a minute if you need to.  It ain’t far.  Just over this rise here and down the other side.”  The Grubb sounded as fresh as if he were sitting on a sofa.

Ed looked up where The Grubb was pointing.  They were near the top, but was almost a cliff to get there.  The odd thing was that there were clear paths around the protrusion they were scaling.

“Hey Grubb, why do we have to go over this rock again?  Why can’t we just go around?  It looks far easier and will come out in the same place.”

The Grubb let out a large visible sigh, as if dealing with a small child.  “I told you before, Mr. Ed.  The place we are going to isn’t a place like you think.  It’s a place in a different place.  It’s beneath.  And we have to go this way to get there.”

“Going up to go beneath?  I’m still…” Continue reading

Beneath #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

This is now the 23rd chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”.  See the table of contents here.

“You seem awfully distracted this evening.”

Ed jolted himself back to the present and smiled.

“You have a good day with The Grubb, then?” Liza asked.

“Yes.  We went up into the mountains this afternoon.  It was lovely.”

Ed’s mind drifted back to the mountains, to the little lake with its pure, clear waters reflecting the high peaks.  He had sat beneath a tree just enjoying the peace and quiet while The Grubb studied a leaf.  Ed decided that this would forever be the place he would go in his mind when he needed to relax, his happy place.

Thinking of The Grubb, Ed remembered a question he had for Liza.

“Are there caves around here?”

“What?  Caves?”

“Yes.  A cavern system.  If not, perhaps mines or tunnels or something?” Continue reading

With Time and Quiet….


Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Apple was founded in a garage.”

She frowned.  Bits of metal and paper mâché were scattered haphazardly around.  There were piles of junk thrown hither and yon.  The only technology, his laptop, was open to a romantic poetry blog.

“You are no Steve Jobs, let me tell you!”  She shook her head.  “I’m leaving.”

He shrugged and continued to putter.

Three years later she was shaking her head at his image again.  This time it wasn’t in person, it was on the cover of a magazine. Gavin had just been awarded Time’s “Person of the Year” for his ground-breaking invention.


Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Douglas M. MacIlroy.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.


This can be read as a continuation of Rochelle’s story….

He Knows When You are Sleeping by Trent P. McDonald | Advent 2018 Day 11

I wrote another story for Solveig’s Advent Calendar! Check it out!

Solveig Werner

He Knows When You are Sleeping

By Trent P. McDondald

You awake up there?

Of course!How could I sleep tonight?

What time is it?

11:52.Eight minutes until midnight.

So Santa will be here in eight minutes.

What?You think Santa enters every house at exactly midnight?Ha!

Why not?

There are hundreds of houses in this town alone.And thousands in our state.Millions in our time zone.And he enters all of them at the exact same second?How does he do that?Go down millions of chimneys at once?Split himself into millions of Santas?

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Why? #haibun #nonet

Blackhole Mind


Billions of galaxies filled with billions of stars.  Although they say there are limits, for all practical purposes, it is infinite.  And then, from an unremarkable, insignificant dust speck in this seemingly infinite Universe we look up at it all in wonder.  We want to reach out and sample the vastness, wrap our imagination around it, but then on the other side, it is scary, it tests our ego, afflicts the very nature of our being.

A bit of animated matter
Making the effort to survive
What is the meaning of it?
A strange anomaly
Denies entropy
Grows more complex
Beyond that
It thinks
I am
I must be
Make the attempt
To understand all
Actively seeks out
Weathers the many trials
More than unchanging matter
A will and a spirit to thrive
To find a place in the Universe


Written for Colleen’s Poetry challenge.  Each week she gives us two keywords, only we must use synonyms only, not the words themselves.  The words this week are “Try” and “Life“.   This week I chose a Haibun composed of a Nonet, well technically a Double Nonet.  Note – Colleen is taking a much deserved break for the rest of the year :)

** Continue reading

The Weekly Smile 12/10/2018 #weeklysmile


There was a lot to smile about this week :)  Sometimes, of course, we have to look for those little silver linings :)  For instance, the weather.  It was a frigid week, this week.  But it was dry!  This autumn was the wettest autumn ever, so having a dry week was great!  I played with the dogs outside a lot and ran on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (yesterday)!

One thing that was a huge smile for me was publishing my book of short stories, Embers.  Check out the launch post.  Here is a photo of the book at my house:


And there was setting up the Christmas tree.  I really enjoyed it.  I just started to listen to holiday music on Friday and set up the tree on Saturday.  It makes it feel like Christmas.

I talked to friends and family.  Always good :)

I had quite a few smiles this week, from little day to day things ( a kitten is in my lap right now as I type!), to big things (publishing a book!), but if I need to chose one for the Weekly Smile, I will choose the tree.  Yes, the book was more exciting, but I’ve done many posts on that already…  And the tree was fun :)  Doing it finally put me into that Holiday Mood, the Christmas Spirit, or whatever you want to call it :)

What made you smile?

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The Weekly Smile Recap Week of 12/3/2018 – 12/9/2018


A lot of good smiles as usual :)  Here is a list of smiles that I collected:

Trent’s World
Nut House Central
Serendipity (Marilyn Armstrong)
Lady Lee Manila
Colline’s Blog
Piglet in Portugal
Forgiving Connects
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Besides these, Gary Wilson shared a smile in the comments section of the original post.

Not as big as last week, but still a great bunch of smiles!  If I missed your smile, please let me know and I will add it.


Book in Hand (or at Home, at least ;) )


embers-on-brickI received a copy of Embers yesterday.  Of course the first thing I had to do, after a quick leaf through to ensure my formatting changes worked, was take a photo.

Later I took out a copy of all of my books and did a new coffee share photo.  Here it is:


I will start using it on occasion for New Hampshire.  I’ll have to get a photo of them on th Cape with a coffee mug for my Cape Cod coffee shares ;)

Anyway, just making an excuse to put the photos on line.  And, of course, to plug the book one more time ;)


Meeting at that corner of time where day and night become one, where dreams and reality mix, let’s stir the coals of that fire called ‘imagination’ to discover an eclectic mix of short stories.  Each story is a bit of frozen flame, an ember, that can flare up in your mind.

These embers form a collection of “tales that cover a wide range of genres, moods, and characters, from heartbreaking and heartwarming trials of love and family to thought-provoking journeys into the future. Most importantly, the stories are peopled with richly-drawn characters gifted with unique voices, emotional depth, and the power to capture the imagination. They’re stories that will stick.” – Author D. Wallace Peach

So whether you only have time to warm yourself with a very short work of flash, or you want to get cozy and lost in a novella, there is a story, an ember, in here for you.




If We Were Having Coffee on the 8th of December, 2018

Coffee in NH with Moog

Hello and Welcome!  Come on in out of the cold!  Shut the door quickly!  Brrrr.  It’s cold out there.  OK, smarty, I know, I keep the house pretty cool, what with over 45 inefficient windows and such I can’t afford to heat the entire world.  But I will get you a large mug of steaming hot, ultra-strong French Roast (yeah, I’m back to that for now) or a cuppa tea of hot cocoa.  You’ll need it!  It has been cold here all week, just peaking above freezing for a few hours a day before plunging down again.  Today it will not reach freezing.  This is January weather.  At least there was no snow.  And where are are we that we are freezing so?  Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as coming from New Hampshire.

What did I do besides freeze?  I worked.  I walked and played with the dogs.  For some reason they just wanted to play and not walk this week.  I went running a few times.  I bundle up with many layers.  I got a hair cut. Continue reading