Help me celebrate the launch of my latest book today over on Craig Boyack’s blog! …
Help me celebrate the launch of my latest book today over on Craig Boyack’s blog! …
A fun post on Personality Types and researching your characters over on Story Empire by author Mae Clair! 🙂
Source: Personality Types for Characters
Today, I am posting a review for author C.S. Boyack’s latest book THE HAT.
Lizzie St Laurent has a lot on her … erm … head! When she picked up the old box behind her uncle’s back, she got a lot more than she bargained for. The hat is reminiscent of J.K. Rowling’s talking hat, and as soon as Lizzie dons it, she finds herself transported elsewhere with a pop. What is this hat? Where did it come from? What does it want?
A wonderful thread of humour runs throughout this engaging and entertaining story. In particular, I love the odd graphic that appears here and there, which emphasises the narrative beautifully. In addition to the humour, you will find action and drama and suspense with several twists and turns.
All in all, this is a fun and feel-good quick read at just over a hundred pages. I recommend it highly.
Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.
She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.
Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.
Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.
Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.
I hope you enjoyed reading about The Hat.
If you’d like to pick up a copy, on sale at just 0.99!, then here are the Amazon links:
(Please note, these are not affiliate links, and I in no way profit from this review or blog post.)
A lovely post today from Staci Troilo over on Story Empire about how Martin Luther King can aid us in our writing …
A great read on Story Empire’s Friday Book Share today; it looks so good that I’ve picked up my copy! 🙂
Ciao, SEers. I have the privilege of being the first of us to write a Friday Book Share post. When we talked about revamping our Friday content, I was concerned about this particular topic, because…
A great post on character arcs from Joan Hall over on Story Empire today …
A lot of work goes into writing a well-developed novel. Planning, plotting, outlining (even pansters need a general story idea). An author must create interesting characters and settings, write sce…
Today, I have launched my newest book, Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings). It is available for pre-order on Amazon now, and will be released in Kindle and Paperback on January 19th.
I am so excited about this one!
If any of you followed my Monday Musings, then you’ll find a lot that’s familiar in this little gem. Here’s more about the book:
‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’
Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?
This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.
Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.
Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.
The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.
Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.
What qualifies me to write a book such as this? Am I anything special? Have I learnt anything that you cannot?
In short, I am a Zen failure. I spent thirteen years in a Zen Buddhist Temple—ten of those ordained. And then I left.
End of story?
Before, during, and after, a few things happened to me along the way. And for sure, those thirteen years proved most fruitful.
I entered the monastery as a young (27 year old) woman lacking in confidence, painfully shy, massively inadequate, and terrified of everything … including my own shadow. Put simply, normal life just felt like too much, and most of the time, I found myself overwhelmed.
I think that those years of discipline I undertook voluntarily were, in some ways, the hardest of my life. But oh so worth it.
I emerged at just short of forty like the proverbial butterfly, utterly transformed. To use a clutter of well-worn cliches, I faced my demons. I popped the balloon. I dragged my skeletons from the closet.
After finding myself disabled and back out in the world, alone, at forty years old, I began life again, from scratch. Built it up from nothing. Honestly, it felt way scarier coming back out than it did going in. But by then, I’d learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, after all, I had to do something with my life. Like find a place to live. Once I got the basics taken care of, it came time to set a course and go for it, always allowing for the vagaries of the wind, of course.
These days, I live a life of contentment and fulfilment. I am happy, confident, and successful. And such success I do not measure in material things or possessions, or even in any typical worldly way of measuring achievement. Rather, I have set my internal compass, and it is from there that I live my life.
Of course, I remain human and fallible, and I stumble sometimes. As do we all. That’s perfectly okay. It’s normal. We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, one of my Musings talks about just that: Week Nineteen—It’s Okay to Have a Meltdown. Just so long as you don’t pack your bags and move into your dark place, that’s all right. The trick is to pick yourself up when you fall down and get going again. Don’t stay there.
So, what are you likely to get out of this book? Well, that depends largely upon you. The best results will come from an open attitude and a willingness to learn, listen, and question.
It is my sincerest hope that this book inspires you to dive deeper, search further, and discover your own jewels in the mud of everyday existence.
The paperback version will be coming out at the same time as the Kindle version for those of you who prefer print books 🙂
Check out my post on Showing Versus Telling in your writing over on Story Empire … some fun comments! 🙂
Source: Show Me Yours … | Story Empire
Okay, so yesterday, I made my biggest blogging/website mistake yet. I changed where WordPress thought it lived and couldn’t get back in to change that setting. eek! Then Blake Imeson came to the rescue with this awesome post … 🙂
Today, I’ve written a bit of flash fiction based on a photo prompt supplied by author Joan Hall over on Story Empire. The link to the post is: https://storyempire.com/2018/01/05/friday-fiction-prompt/
And here is the picture…
Now for my little tale …
In the soft early evening glow, the sun glinted dully from the train tracks. Emma shuddered from more than just the chill in the air, wishing that her flaming red hair offered actual heat rather than limiting itself to wild and vivid colour.
Over and over, her terrified teenaged brain chanted Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll break your mamma’s back. Eventually, after about three miles, the words developed a regular cadence that took on lullaby qualities and helped to soothe her frayed nerves.
If she concentrated hard enough, she could almost—almost but not quite—forget the hooded stranger who walked behind her, gun in hand and aimed at her back. She swore her spine tingled in the exact spot the bullet would rip into if he fired.
On her left, a rotting wooden post held a signal sign in the shape of a V. Despite her mortal fear and fatigue, Emma snorted when her brain supplied V for Victory. If only.
What could have possessed her to take part in this stupid but deadly game? At the time, ten miles hadn’t seemed that long, not really. The devil lay in the detail, though. Once you stepped onto that narrow iron rail …
Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll break your mamma’s back …
Of course, it wasn’t cracks she had to worry about but tracks. Or, more to the point, the innocuous-looking wooden sleepers which lay between the cruel cold metal rails.
The very moment she lost her balance, she would lose her life. The deal dictated that she walk ten miles without pause or rest or setting foot on anything but that narrow never ending rail track. As thick across as her sneakered foot, it had seemed plenty wide enough. Easy money.
Then you mount the metal. Take that first step. Feel your body stiffen in sudden unwelcome fear. And all at once, your job becomes that much harder.
Fear is not your friend. And you cannot force relaxation … what an oxymoron.
The thing was, the food stamps were never enough. The thing was, no one in her family had earned enough credits for medical care. The thing was, she hadn’t had a choice. Well, certainly, you always have a choice, just that sometimes it won’t ever come out clean no matter what you try.
So, here she was, playing some stupid game, alone except for the TV Cam drone and the erstwhile gunman.
Only seven more miles to go.
Soon, it would grow dark.
They had prohibited any aids, including flashlights.
What would she do when she could no longer see where to put her feet? How far could she reasonably expect to get? The faint light from the drone camera wouldn’t offer any help.
A distant horn yanked Emma from her thoughts. She stumbled. Righted herself.
Beneath her aching feet, the track vibrated.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of flash fiction and would love to know what you think!
Please do check out the other contributions by popping on over to the Story Empire blog.
Here’s the link again: https://storyempire.com/2018/01/05/friday-fiction-prompt/
This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.
Here is the blurb:
When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?
Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.
His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.
If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstances of Childhood will keep you riveted.
Here is an excerpt.
I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.
When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?
I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.
For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.
“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
John’s other books.
Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
Awesome new anthology coming soon from AIW Press … Quantum Wanderlust! I am thrilled to be one of the authors included! ….
What if you had all the time in the world?
Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.
Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.
The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.
Thank you for joining me today. It’s the kick-off for the “Spotlight” tour!
Cheers to you all!
Today, I’d love to share a little about my life’s journey and how writing came to be the light that guided me home.
A Writer’s Story by Natalie Ducey
Life can change in an instant. Chances are, if you’re 20 years or older, you know this truth. Life, in its majestic wonder, can sometimes be unkind with its paths of uncertainty and forced goodbyes. In the blink of an eye, all that was once familiar, secure, and steady is now out of reach. No misdeeds necessary. No signature required. The current just suddenly shifts, setting us adrift in uncharted waters with no map or plan of rescue.
August 30th marked 25 years since the car accident that forever changed my life. I sustained a spinal cord injury returning home after a fun weekend away with friends. I was 18 years old and just four days shy of starting University. Life changed in an instant. Thankfully, the driver and other two passengers were okay. I fractured two vertebrae in my neck (C5 & C6) and lost all movement and sensation from my neck down. Instead of University, I spent the next nine months in the hospital and rehabilitation centre. It was tough, and looking back on that time is rather surreal. I fought every day to regain movement and independence I once took for granted. Moving my toe was indeed cause for celebration. It was hope – my heart’s currency. The doctors were cautious and said I probably wouldn’t walk again. I know they meant well, after all, few people did recover, but I did walk away from that rehabilitation centre. The injury did not leave me without challenges, though. I never regained full mobility. I require a crutch to walk and always will, but it was a victory considering the odds against it.
The sudden loss of my mom in 1997 nearly broke me. She was only 50 when she died, and I miss her every day. Lives changed in an instant.
I’ve had the privilege of working in the counselling field for approximately 15 years. I’ve seen lives changed in an instant, and over time I absorbed the loss too. But I’ve also witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit.
Loss, in any form, is painful (family, friends, health, mobility, love…). We know the agony of it because we live and love deeply. Simply put…if it doesn’t hurt, it probably didn’t matter. I cried many tears for the losses in my life. It was never a burden, but a true testament to the joy and love that existed. I wouldn’t change the course because of the outcome. It was worth it.
Today, I write this with a smile and a grateful heart because my journey has been a remarkable one, an incredible voyage of self-discovery. I tell you this because maybe you can relate and perhaps you will consider yours in the same light. Here you are … and hopefully you are smiling too. We survived the swift current, rocky shores, and relentless winds. Some wounds are cloaked by time, other scars claim a place on our skin. Despite it all, we are here, my friends. We are still here.
I’ve come to understand that life is a continuous journey of becoming. If we anchor ourselves to yesterday, we are bound to miss the beauty that lies before us. And there is so much beauty. Remarkable things transpire from this awareness and acceptance. But to begin we must let go. Let go of the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of the unknown. Fear claims too many dreams; and weary hearts make easy prey.
It’s in this light that I penned my first poem. I let go.
Without knowing it, my journey as a writer actually began 25 years ago when the current shifted … it wasn’t until 22 years later, however, that I discovered its magnificent power. Writing my first poem ignited the light that guided me home.
Writing is my saving grace. Through poetry and verse, I aspire to write stories that are universal in truth, and, hopefully, resonate in a way that is cathartic and soothing. I hope we can travel back with welcomed reflection, find solace and wisdom in the present, and feel inspired for the journey that lies before us.
In 2015, I stepped miles outside of my comfort zone and published my first book of poetry, The Heart’s Journey Home. Again, I let go. The Heart’s Journey Home is a collection of poems celebrating the fragility and resiliency of our hearts.
In July 2017, I published my second collection of poems, The Heart’s Lullaby. The Heart’s Lullaby is a candid portrayal of love in all its splendor and pain. I honoured my soul’s quest to delve deeper and explore/translate the intricate beauty that lies within our hearts. Again, I let go.
My journey has taught me that there really are no certainties in life. Every step is one of faith. A compilation of the trials we’ve overcome and the desire to carry on, and, in some cases, begin again. So, let’s embrace the journey, love deeply, and hold no burden of regret when night settles in.
Be bold, be brave, and just breathe … let’s release our fears into the custody of the wind.
And … let go.
In celebration of my “Spotlight” tour, I’m delighted to say my second and recently published poetry collection The Heart’s Lullaby is currently available for .99 cents!
With a BA in Psychology, Natalie has worked in the Counselling field for 15 years. Through her work and personal journey, she has witnessed the remarkable power of the human spirit. Now, as an author and poet, she is passionate about stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul. Through words, she aspires to offer solace and hope, love and understanding. Natalie is the Co-owner and Writer of Peace by Piece Puzzles. She is the Owner/Writer/Designer of Whispers of the Heart (printable art/poetry/verse). She was born and raised in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada, with her two brothers and twin sister. She now resides in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a Soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, and their little dog, Bella. She loves kayaking and the freedom and serenity of being one with water. She is an avid reader, passionate writer, and seeker of tranquility along life’s mystifying journey.
You can connect with Natalie on:
Website/Blog – www.natalieducey.com
Facebook – Whispers of the Heart
Twitter – @NatalieDucey
Pinterest – Natalie Ducey
Author Page – Natalie Ducey
Google +1 – Natalie Ducey
GoodReads Author Page – Natalie Ducey
LinkedIn – Natalie Ducey
My guest today is author Marcha Fox, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
I inhaled sharply when I recognized the introductory riff wafting from my favorite 80s station as Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues. Even though I had the original 45 RPM record, the album on cassette tape, and more recently, the CD, I kept them safely locked away so I wouldn’t binge on it. Nonetheless, when KPLV, 93.1 FM in Vegas, got around to playing it every few weeks or so, I’d indulge in a break, a delicious reminder of why I was here.
Consumed by ethereal and intimately familiar soundwaves, I got up, closed the blinds, and even though it was unlikely the song’s strains would penetrate my office’s cinder block walls, plugged in my headset so I could crank it up—I mean really up. I melted back into my chair, eyes closed, with what was probably an idiotic smile on my face, savoring each note as the song segued into its lively, 142 BPM tempo. The next three minutes and forty-one seconds, I’d be in heaven.
Even though this song came out eight years after she left, the first time I heard it, back when I was still in college in ’86, I knew two things: One, it would always be “our song”; and Two, I had to find her.
My heart leapt with visions of galaxies beyond, of what might be out there, where she might be. I plunged headlong through space and time, besieged by memories burned into my heart as permanently and painfully as branding was to a newborn calf. Did she remember? Feel the same thing I did? Sense the enchantment of fate-entangled lives?
I memorize pretty easily, which comes in handy, especially with things like the Periodic Table or Maxwell’s equations. And of course, favorite songs. These particular lyrics struck me, hard and personal, from day one, certain it’d been written exclusively for me.
As my eyes teared up, logic intervened and yanked me back to planet Earth.
Grow up, Benson! What are you, a total schmaltz or what?
We were kids, for heaven sakes. A teenage crush. I should’ve gotten over it, but never did. No wonder. Girls like her are rare. One of a kind. She’d already experienced things I never would. Things that were part of my wildest dreams.
The admonition failed, pushed aside by that part of me that felt alive again, jammin’ like a total jerk, mouthing the words as I sang along in my head. It’s not like I’m a teenager anymore, though at the moment I felt like one. No, memories of the heart never die—can’t die, ever—even if you try to kill them.
I’d give anything to talk to her. Which of course I have, numerous times over the years, if only in my head. Okay, aloud more often than I care to admit. I could swear it even felt as if she answered a time or two. I suppose that’s how it is with your first love. Or your first kiss, even if it was only a peck on the cheek. It penetrates your soul and stays there forever.
That mid-summer day in ’78 hauling hay was as vivid as yesterday in my mind’s eye. The cloudless sky, sun hot on my neck, the aroma of first-crop alfalfa sweetening the mountain air. I scratched my shoulder, a reflex memory of itchy, stray leaves sticking through my T-shirt. My chest ached as I remembered tear tracks streaking her dust-covered face at something I’d said. Then, days later, that withering look when we lied about her ship.
The one we still have. What’s left of it quietly abandoned beneath a tarp in Building 15, here at Area 51.
How she knew we weren’t telling the truth, I’ll never know. Pretty funny it’s still sitting there. And I’m sure she’d think so, too. I can just hear her saying, “Stupid snurks, I knew they’d never figure it out.” Though actually they did, just didn’t find technology worth pursuing. Even contractors didn’t want it.
I had to admit it was pretty crazy, but she was my motivation to get where I was today: just short of a decade of college linked with serendipity that put me in the right place at the right time, hoping someday I’d find her. My life had changed a lot since then. How much had hers changed? Did she make it home? Was she still alive? With the effects of relativistic travel, which I understood only too well, she could still be a teenager, while I was easing into the infamous dirty thirties.
Not good. If I ever did find her, she’d probably think I was some lecherous old fart. Either that, or, with my luck, she’d be married with a bunch of kids. I winced with the thought.
My sentimental reverie vanished when my office door slammed open and Hector Buckhorn rolled in. Literally. Hec’s been stuck in a wheelchair ever since he crashed his hang glider into a New Mexico mountainside during spring break his last semester of college. He ridge soared a lot, particularly around Dulce, over restricted areas where he wasn’t supposed to be. Got caught a couple times, but being Native American, never got in trouble, even though it wasn’t his home reservation. He’s amazingly good at playing dumb, in spite of—or possibly because of—his 150ish IQ. He never talked about his accident, said he couldn’t remember. Makes sense, actually, given he suffered a massive concussion. The only time I ever saw him pissed him off was when he woke up in the hospital and discovered they’d shaved off his hair, since grown back beyond shoulder length.
I dropped the headset around my neck and faked a frown. “Don’t you ever knock, butthead?”
“Hey, man, wazzup?” he said, giving me a funny look. “You okay?”
I laughed. “Of course. Just thinking. Remembering. You know.”
“Ahhh. They played that song again, didn’t they?”
“Can’t hide anything from you, can I, Chief?”
“Nope. I figured you were up to somethin’ with your blinds closed.”
He wheeled over to the grey metal, government-issue table on the other side of the room and helped himself to a handful of peanut M&Ms. Once I’d realized during my PhD days at Cal Tech that, in a pinch, they made a pretty decent meal, I’d kept that old, wide-mouth canning jar full. He dumped them in his mouth, perusing me with knowing, dark eyes.
“You were sure enjoyin’ that song of yours,” he said, not even trying to stifle his crooked grin as he munched away.
“Yeah,” I replied, uncomfortable with the conversation’s direction.
“We’ve known each other a long time, Allen,” he said. “Don’t you think it’s time you told me about her?”
“Not much to tell.”
He let fly with a popular expletive related to bovine excrement. “C’mon! What’s her name?” he persisted.
I blew out my cheeks and sighed, knowing resistance was futile. “Creena,” I answered, surprising myself when, again, I got a little choked up. I avoided his eyes by likewise heading for the M&Ms.
“So find her,” he said.
“It’s not that simple,” I replied, pouring myself a handful. “I don’t know where she is.” A statement that was truer than he could possibly imagine.
“I have some resources who could help,” he offered with a conspiratorial wink.
I shook my head, then stalled by popping a few colorful orbs in my mouth.
“Why not? If she’s anywhere on this planet, these guys’ll find her.”
I swallowed hard and paused; met his gaze. “She’s not.”
He scowled, making him look a lot like those old pictures of Cochise. “Say again?”
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
He shrugged. “I assumed she’s dead. She must’ve been quite a girl.”
“She was. Is. She’s not dead. At least as far as I know.”
His jaw dropped, shocked expression broadcasting the fact he’d caught the implications. “You’re not kidding, are you?”
“Abductee?” he whispered.
“Nope,” I answered, raiding the candy jar again. “Immigrant.”
His eyes widened as he spewed an expletive that elevated excrement to sanctified status. “Don’t tell me she’s an EBE!”
I nearly spewed partially chewed M&Ms across the room. Extraterrestrial biological entity, indeed! Yet by definition, actually, she was.
I chuckled at his expression and shook my head. “No. Quite human. At least as far as I know.”
“Are you?” he added, chocolate-colored irises rimmed with white. His reaction surprised me—UFOs, even aliens, were no big deal in his culture, just business as usual with the Star People.
“C’mon, Chief! You’ve known me since tenth grade, running high school track!”
He leaned back, searching my face with more solemnity than I’d seen since I told him how Dad died. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, bro,” he said finally, shaking his head.
“You have no idea,” I said, throat constricting as scratchy lyrics from the headset, audible only to me, issued another reminder of why I was here.
Copyright © 2017 by Marcha Fox
[NOTE:–This is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Dark Circles, a slightly dark, hard sci-fi love story. No release date has been set.]
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Marcha Fox RWISA Author Page
My guest today is author Jeff Haws, and you can find his RWISA author page HERE.
DIM LIGHT BREAKS
by Jeff Haws
Jolting upright, I squeeze the Jack Daniels bottle between my thighs just before it tips over to the floor. I look down and see the black label staring at me; the little bit of whiskey that’s left is tilting toward the lip, ready to fill my shoes if my legs can’t hold onto it. I briefly wonder if this is why they give these bottles flat sides, for better drunken, convulsive thigh catches. It’s saved me on more than one occasion from having shoes full of whiskey. Well, that and my ability to leave the bottle mostly empty.
I grab the top of the bottle and pull it back up, then try to raise my head; the room rotates quickly, lights blur and walls smudge while my head bounces on a neck that refuses to carry the weight. Enough of these nights will teach you the chair is always your better bet than the bed. I’d have already puked into my own lap if I’d been in bed, but keeping your feet on the floor helps ground you against the worst of the drunken spinning head. When I know I’m spending the night with Jack, I’ll always stay downstairs in the recliner with my feet firmly planted on the linoleum.
My head bobs left and settles on my shoulder; in front of me, the window reveals a purple sky with a sliver of dim light peeking over the ground, between the neighbors’ houses across the street. What does that make it? 6:30, maybe? I can’t remember if I ever fell asleep. I’m not confident I’ll ever fall asleep again.
The people across the street, though—I’m sure they’re asleep. Spencer and Mary are in bed right now, dead to the world. Her head’s probably resting on his fucking shoulder. He snores a little bit, but she’s used to it by now. Probably even comforts her, just being reminded he’s there. I fucking hate those people. I really do. Their whole lives are based around creating these perfect little characters so the rest of us feel even shittier about our own lives. But you can’t even get mad at them, or you look like the jackass who’s jealous and screwed up in the head. Not the people who pretend they’re something they’re not. No, it’s the guy who minds his own business and is genuine about who he is who’s the fucked-up one. That’s the way the world works.
I spin the bottle around in my hand, looking at the liquid slosh around in waves. Bubbles cling desperately to the glass walls but can’t hold on, splashing back down into the molasses-colored pool below. I raise the bottle and tilt it toward me; the whiskey burns just a bit as it hits the back of my throat, the sting helping to delay the inevitable throbbing head that’ll come next. I lift the bottle and splash the last few drops into my mouth, shaking it to make sure there’s nothing left, then drape my arm over the side of the chair and let the bottle fall to the floor with a heavy clink.
I have no idea what day it is. Am I supposed to be at work in a couple of hours? When every day’s the same, it’s hard to say. Time is just change, in the end. If the sun didn’t come up and go down, the Earth didn’t rotate, the world never changed, there’d be no way to measure it. Essentially, there’d be no such thing as time. People’s lives can get like that too. When the days start blending together, how do you measure time? And, even more so, what’s the point?
That sun that’s gradually getting closer to showing itself isn’t going to bring anything good with it. The dark is better. You can hide when everybody else is sleeping. You don’t have to look at how your neighbors’ lives reflect your own inadequacies. You don’t have to face yourself. The dark lets you be alone, lets you wallow and embrace whatever misery is there to be embraced. The morning just exposes it all to those smiling faces with white teeth all lined up in a row.
I know they don’t approve of me. I see them at church and they say hi, but you can see it’s forced. There’s no small talk. No more invitations to their lake house. Just hollow greetings if they can’t avoid me. When Adrian would show up with fresh cuts and bruises on her arms, I know they suspected something. I think she purposefully tried to make them just a little visible. A small cry for help, maybe. She’s been gone awhile, though.
Now, God wouldn’t approve of what I’ve become. This withering mass that passes the hours of insomnia with liquor straight from the bottle. He can smell the whiskey on my breath just like the neighbors can. I don’t even know why I go to church anymore, when I can remember it’s Sunday. He can see my heart’s not there, that I wish I could have a handle of some devil’s water with me when I’m kneeling in front of a pew. It’s not that I don’t have faith that there’s someone in control; it’s that whoever that someone is has delivered me into this reality, this life. Whatever this is. Becoming an atheist almost seems redundant. When your belief is this tainted, is it even worth the bother of leaving behind?
I figure I’ve been strapped to this chair long enough, so maybe I’ll wander upstairs. I have blackout curtains in the bedroom; I can shut the world out up there. Pretend I’m somewhere else, somewhere better. Somewhere new. There’s no way I’m stepping foot outside today.
Standing up, I get a feel for just how much I really drank; my legs nearly buckle, and I fall back toward the chair. My hand catches on the chair’s arm and stabilizes me while I try to forget about the merry-go-round in my head. Ten seconds pass, then twenty. Finally, I lift my hand off the chair arm and pause to see if I can stand up. My legs wobble but hold; slowly, I bring my hand further up from the chair and straighten from my hunch. My arms are spread to my sides like I’m on a balance beam, trying to keep my center of gravity above my feet. I take one careful step forward, then another, deliberate, slow, momentum building as I reach the banister for the stairs and grab ahold hard.
Each step is becoming a little easier, now getting help from my left hand, pulling my body up the stairs one foot at a time, finally reaching the hall. I’ll need an aspirin or four before I lie down. If I’m lucky, I’ll sleep. If not, I’ll stare at the ceiling in the dark for awhile.
I open the door to the room and step through; the bed is just a few steps in front of me. I walk quietly to it and stop, bending carefully over the mattress. I pull back the quilt a little bit and bend further, kissing her forehead gently. She’s only six, and she deserves me to be better than this. It’s kind of amazing we’ve made it this far; she believes her mom is someplace better, and I do nothing to dissuade her from that. Hell, I hope she’s right. But if so, I can’t join her there now. There’s more for me to do. If there is a god, this is the one lifeline he’s thrown me, and I’m clutching to it with everything I have. She’ll get me to the other side of this. She’ll be the light breaking through the dark. It’s dim now, but it’ll shine brighter if I can rise with it.
I pull the quilt back up under her chin and fold it back across her shoulder. Then I back out the way I came and shut the door behind me, careful not to let the latch click. My bedroom’s down the hall, and more darkness still awaits.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Jeff Haws RWISA Author Page
My guest today is author D L Finn, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
Flowing out before me – while approaching –
In the sweeping motion of a grand gesture
Presenting its soulful sweetness.
Behind me is a small desert I’ve crossed – shoeless
While carefully stepping over the littered offerings.
Salt saturates my senses
As the gentle-wind styles my hair,
With the latest sea breeze fashion.
My eyes are opened to new possibilities
With a window into its wonders,
With every wave that greets my feet,
The sun soaks into my skin
Cradling me in its warmth and completing the moment.
I stand in awe before the substantial sea
Observing its vast expansion of life-
That I’m humbly a part of.
I soar above it all
In a human-made machine
Taking me places
Only my soul has dared to venture.
Up into the heavens,
Higher than the loftiest of birds,
I soar above my life
Going from one place to another.
The clouds which usually blanket me
Are perched like a safety net below,
Holding me above the sea.
Lives seem so small
As our group is thrust forward
Some watch movies-
While others drink.
It’s a long trip with strangers
All going to the same destination
But right now, we are…
Above it all in our metal bird—soaring!
Through the trees
The sky is orange, red, and grey
Covering the fleeing blue stratosphere
As the night suppresses the day.
The birds fill the trees
Singing their goodnights
As I pull on a sweater
In a shiver from the receding light.
The setting sun is a time of reflection
Of the night and of the day
A balance of both places
In the sunset’s doorway.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: D L Finn RWISA Author Page
Hello everyone. Today marks the seventeenth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.
My guest today is author Rhani D’Chae, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
The characters in the following story are from my novel, Shadow of the Drill. After a moderately grueling assignment, they take a day off to enjoy a Sunday barbecue.
A Break in the Battle
Charlene squealed, leaning to the side to avoid an airborne hot dog. She need not have worried, for the meaty missile bounced neatly against the chest of JT, who was seated next to her.
“Damn it, Rudy!” JT grabbed a napkin from the table and scrubbed at his shirt. “That wasn’t funny!”
“Really?” Rudy flashed an innocent grin over the top of barbecue grill. “I thought it was hilarious.” He flipped a pair of hamburgers, then added a dash of seasoning to each.
“You got hot dog grease on my shirt,” JT said crossly. “Next time, warn me so I can duck.”
“Don’t run your mouth, and there won’t be a next time.” Rudy raised his right arm, pointing at the cast that encased it from wrist to elbow. “Even with this, I can hit what I’m aiming at.”
JT shot a glare in Rudy’s general direction. “Can you believe him?”
“You shouldn’t have said he was getting old, and you definitely shouldn’t have said he was losing his touch.” Charlene refilled her glass from the pitcher of lemonade on the table. Lemonade, and just the right amount of tequila.
“Who’s getting old?” Decker stepped from the dining room onto the deck, leaning on a cane with one hand and holding a bowl of potato salad in the other. “You best not be talking about me!”
“Don’t worry, Peter Pan, we weren’t.” Charlene pulled the chair to her left away from the table so that Decker could sit. “JT said it about Rudy.”
“Well, that was stupid.” Decker set the bowl onto the table, then dropped into the chair, leaning the cane against the table before reaching for the pitcher.
JT pointed to the stain on his shirt. “You’re not kidding! Good arm, bad arm, it don’t matter. He’s dead on.”
He shifted in his chair, muttering a soft curse when his broken ribs objected.
Decker smiled sympathetically, knowing from firsthand experience how he felt. “Give it a couple of weeks,” he advised. “You’ll feel better before you know it.”
“I know,” JT replied. “But in the meantime, it really hurts!”
“Your face looks better.” Decker reached across the table, tilting JT’s head to the right. “At least, the swelling’s gone down. You’ll have the color for a while, yet.”
Charlene leaned back, tuning out the conversation while she thought back over the last six days.
It had started as just another job, but it had quickly become so much more. Hired to find and retrieve a stolen Shelby Daytona Coupe, Decker and his team had landed in the middle of an auto theft ring that stretched from Bellevue to Portland. Finding the missing car had been difficult – retrieving it had been damn near impossible.
The car had been located in Vancouver and liberated in the dark of night with considerable damage to all concerned. By the time the Shelby was safely in a truck headed north, Decker had calculated how much of a wear and tear fee he was going to charge his employer before the car was offloaded at its destination.
Bruised and broken, Decker’s team had limped back to Tacoma and gone their separate ways. After checking on the Shelby, Decker had contacted the owner and arranged a time to meet.
Charlene had greeted him at the door when he arrived home, the sight of his battered body bringing tears to her eyes. He had assured her that he was not seriously hurt, so there was no discussion of seeking medical help. He knew his body – and its injuries – better than any doctor, so she did not question his analysis of the situation.
Injured and exhausted, he had needed rest. A great deal of rest. But, after only a day and a half, he was limping restlessly from room to room, and she knew that something needed to be done.
The barbecue had been her idea, and he had willingly agreed. Though they often entertained, they had never invited more than two or three people over at once. The fact that it was JT’s first social visit to the house contributed to the uniqueness of the event, as did the presence of Decker’s old friend and occasional teammate, Hunter Grae.
The side gate rattled, and Charlene jumped up to open it before Davis dropped his armload of Tupperware containers. The investigator gave her a warm smile, thanking her for her assistance.
Charlene looked over his shoulder. “Where’s Bert?”
“She’ll be along soon,” Davis told her. “She had to run her mother to the grocery store, so she’s a little behind schedule. But don’t worry, she’s not far behind me.”
He handed over three of the containers. “Pasta salad, deviled eggs, and some sort of asparagus thing.” He shrugged apologetically. “Personally, I don’t think asparagus has any business being at a barbecue, but you know how Bert is.”
Charlene laughed, then sobered when she noticed the manila envelope beneath the remaining two containers. “That better not be what I think it is.”
“It’s everything I could find for the Palmer job. I promised I’d bring it by today.” He waved at Decker and JT, then slid the envelope from beneath the Tupperware to show he’d brought it.
Charlene put her hand on his wrist, stopping him. “Not today, please. He’ll open it up, they’ll spend the rest of the day plotting and planning, and that’ll be it for the day off. You know it as well as I do. They just can’t help themselves.”
Davis thought for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right,” he agreed. “Okay, I’ll toss this back in the car and give it to him tomorrow. I can’t stall any longer than that, but at least it won’t ruin today.”
“Thank you,” Charlene said gratefully, then headed for the kitchen to unpack the Tupperware while Davis returned to his car.
When she passed Rudy, he handed her a plate loaded with hotdogs and hamburger patties.
“Here’s a first round. Is everything on the food table?”
Charlene glanced over the long fold-up table that Decker had set on the grass. It held assorted buns and condiments, as well as paper plates and plastic silverware.
“Just about. Hunter’s in the kitchen slicing cheese, and I have to put Bert’s stuff on plates, but it won’t take long. So yes, it’s pretty much ready. “
“That’s a good thing.” Rudy pressed his fingers against the pieces of tape that held a long strip of gauze to the side of his face, checking that they were still secure. “So we’re just waiting on the cheese.”
As if on cue, Hunter appeared on the deck, carrying a serving tray that had been loaded down with small plates of pickles, slices of cheese, and crisp lettuce leaves. He called out a greeting to Davis and Roberta, who were coming through the gate together, then headed for the picnic table to unload the tray.
He was clad in shorts and a tank top, and Charlene could clearly see the stitches where the blade of a knife had cut into his calf, and the colorful section of bruising that a heavy object of some sort had left along his collarbone.
She joined him at the picnic table, calling to the others as she set the plate down. She was able to get her hamburger onto a plate, along with potato salad and baked beans, before the table was surrounded by hungry people.
Glad that she had escaped the swarm, Charlene returned to her place at the oversized table on the deck. Taking her seat, she enjoyed a moment of silence, knowing that a moment was all she would probably get.
A light breeze brought the scent of roses, and Charlene closed her eyes, inhaling with pleasure. So far, the day had been wonderful, and she knew that the evening would be just as fine.
Opening her eyes, she looked around at the people who mattered in her life. It couldn’t be more perfect, she thought with a contented smile. Fun, food, and the very best of friends combined to make a day that she would long remember. Especially since, for a few short hours, it was a fairly safe bet that no one was going to die.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Rhani D’Chae RWISA Author Page
Hello everyone. Today marks the sixteenth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.
My guest today is author Nonnie Jules, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
From one of her upcoming releases, Nonnie Jules presents …
I am an unlikely character to tell these stories, but, I do know that each day that we are blessed to open our eyes, we never know what surprises, good or bad, that day will bring. No matter how much and how well we plan, the universe always steps in to show us just how much, we are not as in control of things as we thought we were.
These are real stories of moms, wives, spouses…those significant others who are left behind; those innocent, and maybe even not-so-innocents, who are left to pick up all the pieces that are shattered when their husbands walk out the door and don’t return in the time frame in which they are expected to.
No, he didn’t run off with another woman…he was apprehended somewhere between here and there by a law enforcement officer, and, for whatever reason, he’s now being held behind bars…property of the city until the state steps in to claim ownership. And, although these men are the ones incarcerated, it is the entire family that serves the time.
These are not sob stories to drum up sympathy for the accused. But, this book will serve as a doorway into an open dialogue, so that we are all aware of just how much children suffer when their dads are taken away.
These stories are but small ways to shine light on the effects of imprisoning low-level offenders for long periods of time, ripping them from their children’s lives, and the negative imprints left behind. This is a plea for reform of a justice system that will quickly parole a drug dealer, murderer, rapist or child molester, who will more than likely repeat-offend, yet hangs on to low-level offenders who may have made a one-time mistake or even worse, was forced to take a plea for a crime which he is innocent of, simply because he was too poor and couldn’t afford top-of-the-line defense. We do know that this happens, don’t we?
Lastly, this is so that we don’t forget those that are forced to soldier up and walk into battle each and every day, standing on the front lines of a war that they have been shielded from for far too long. These soldiers fight daily just to keep a roof over the heads, food in the mouths, and hope in the spirits of the children who are also being penalized in this war.
These are the stories of PRISON WIVES.
CHAPTER ONE – SAMMIE
Sammie was so excited about their upcoming road trip. Not for the travel element, but, because their son Jeremy, was about to lead his team to another high school championship for a third straight year. Jeremy was a senior and also big man on campus, as Rozdale High’s, 6’3, All-American Quarterback. The one drawback to Sammie’s excitement, was they had to travel cross country to play. Sammie hated to travel, she also hated to fly, so road trips were always the name of the game for her family. This year, she was especially apprehensive about their road trip and yet, she had no idea why.
The drive would take them 21 hours and 32 min to reach their destination of Clearwater, FL. from Lubbock, TX. And, since Jeremy had to be there on Friday, this would mean a full day and a half of travel prior to. Sammie, mother of three daughters and one son, knew that her husband Josh had a suspended driver’s license, yet, he would have to share the drive time with her anyway. This was not an option as none of their children were of legal driving age, and Jeremy, the oldest, would not get his license until he turned 18 in the following year.
On that hot July morning as they backed out of their driveway, Sammie sat in the passenger seat and prayed. “Dear Lord, guide my family safely from this place to the next and back again. Return us all safely to our home…together. Amen.” Sammie wasn’t what you’d call a deeply religious woman, but she embraced her spiritual side and she strongly believed in the power of prayer.
The family drove along Interstate 20, then passing through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, they finally entered into the state of Florida. There were many stops along the way, but it was the last one that they would never forget. With almost seven hours left in their journey, they heard the sounds of a police siren behind them. When Sammie looked over her shoulder from the backseat, which she’d retired to hours before to stretch her legs, her heart sank so low, she could almost hear it hit the floor of the rental van.
Pulling over into the gas station they were headed to for their next potty-break, Sammie’s mind raced wildly. Not only did Josh have a suspended license, but he also had an outstanding warrant back home for a false probation violation, which they were aware of.
“I know I wasn’t speeding, officer,” Josh offered as the policeman approached his door.
“Yes, you were, sir,” the officer responded, surprisingly with a smile. A lie, I thought. “License and registration, please.”
Knowing all too well that it was going to take a miracle to keep him from being arrested right there, Josh, ever-protective of his children and family, asked the officer if they could get out of the van to use the restrooms. If the worse happened, he didn’t want his children to see him in handcuffs or in the back of a police car. The officer said “Sure,” again, with the same smile on his face.
With his entire family inside, Josh tried to convince the officer to please let him get his family to safety and then he would return home to deal with the issue. His wife had no idea how to make the rest of the long journey without him, he shared. But, still being kind, the officer said that he just couldn’t do that. He had to take him in.
Sammie’s phone rang from inside the gas station. “He is arresting me,” came Josh’s shaky voice through the phone. Her heart sank again. “You are going to have to make the rest of this trip without me. Sam, you can do it.” His voice quickly changed and now held a firmness to it. He knew he had to appear strong or she would quickly become unraveled.
Tears filled Sammie’s eyes. She’d been married to this man for 15 years and for 15 years he’d taken care of her, done everything for her…made her life so easy. Now, he was telling her she had to continue on this long journey without him. OK, but when they arrived, what then? Josh had shielded her from the real world for so long, she wasn’t sure if she could take a breath without him. But, she had to…for their kids. If she had been alone, she might have given up right then and there.
Sammie stood in the parking lot and watched the officer drive away with her husband in the back seat of the car, while she had asked the kids to stay inside and away from the windows.
When she realized that she wasn’t dreaming, she wiped her tear-stained face with the tissue in her hand. Composed and in brave face, she walked back inside to collect her children, as they were now both her reason and her strength to get them through this long, arduous journey – a weekend without their father and then back to Texas, safe and sound.
Sammie had no idea how hard it would be once they headed back home five days later with the questions and comments from the kids about their father. “We can’t leave here without him,” said 8-year-old Vanessa. “How is he going to get home?” asked 12-year-old Maggie. “Why can’t we just stay here until this is straightened out? It can’t take that long,” added 16-year-old Zandra, the sassy one of the bunch. Sammie was thankful at that moment
Not knowing the severity of the situation, Sammie drove along, oblivious to all those words that could cut deep into her heart. How would she find the words to tell these kids, who had never gone more than 7 hours without seeing the dad they worshipped, that she didn’t know when he’d be coming home again?
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Nonnie Jules RWISA Author Page
and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
Will it ever be enough?
Will I ever be complete?
These questions haunt me;
They scream out defeit.
A mind vacant of answers;
A soul lost in time;
A heart full of sadness;
And eyes that just won’t shine.
A whisper full of sorrow;
A smile full of regret;
A life less than ordinary;
One I wish to forget.
* * *
Life is too precious to not make the most of every day.
Strive to make more.
Make every moment count.
Tell others you love them.
Pray every day.
Have a thankful heart.
* * *
Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.
Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.
Marlena now wears many hats, including: writer, author, blogger, freelancer, reader, reviewer, researcher, paranormal enthusiast, traveler, and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. Writing, though, has and always will be her main passion in life.
Marlena has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, titled THE POWER OF LOVE. This debut book is expected to be out in 2017. In addition to her debut, she has a romance novel, a cookbook and a horror screenplay on her to do list.
Follow Marlena online:
Twitter – @_MarlenaSmith_
Facebook – @AuthorMarlenaSmith
Instagram – @MarlenaLafaye930
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Marlena Smith RWISA Author Page
and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
By Jan Sikes
Henry Jacobsen ran gnarled fingers through 84 years of living and swatted at a fly that buzzed around his head. The sun warmed his old bones and he turned to face his longtime friend. “You know, Aaron, what the world needs now, is for people to show a little more respect to each other. Back in my day, if I acted or talked disrespectful, I got my hide tanned.”
The wooden boards underneath Aaron’s rocker creaked in syncopated rhythm with his movement. “Yep, Henry. Times are different nowadays.”
Henry timed his chair rhythm with Aaron’s. “Before I came to stay here, I had a house over on Boulder Street. There was a family a few doors down that was always borrowing things from me, but somehow they never remembered to return any of them.”
Aaron nodded. “I’ve had it happen to me many times.”
“I pulled into the driveway one day just in time to see the oldest kid unscrewing my water hose. By the time I parked the car and got out, he had it slung over his shoulder.” Henry’s frown deepened. “It’s frustrating when you can’t move like you used to.”
He gazed across the green manicured lawn of the Post Oaks Retirement Center as if viewing some long-ago forgotten scene.
“Well?” Aaron prodded. “What did you do?”
“I hollered at him and asked what in the world he thought he was doing. And you know what he had the nerve to say to me?” Henry screwed up his face.
“He said that he was taking my water hose so he could wash his motorcycle.”
“Don’t that beat all? Aaron clicked his tongue. “Didn’t even bother to ask you.”
“I saw red. I lit into him like nobody’s business,” he growled. “The nerve. Take a man’s things like they meant nothing.”
Aaron shifted to take the weight off his bad hip. “There was a day when I would’ve jumped a guy for pulling a stunt like that. But those times are over for me. At this point, I’m doin’ good just to make it from the bed to the bathroom without embarrassing myself.”
“Yeah, me too. But, I tell you, I didn’t take it lying down. I told him what a rotten, no good, worthless human being he was and that he’d better put the water hose down or I’d call the cops and turn him in for stealing.”
“What did he do then?”
“He laughed in my face…told me I was too old to use the damn water hose anyway and he needed it.”
“Why, the nerve!”
“I marched myself inside and called the cops. When they came, I gave them a list of everything they had so-called borrowed and said I wanted it all back.”
“Did you get it?”
“Yeah. In pieces. The weed eater was battered and wouldn’t start. My shovel was broken in half. The water hose was split in two pieces. All of it was in shambles. Just no respect. That’s what the world has come to.”
Silence spun a web between the two old-timers who’d seen more than a lifetime of battles.
“I remember when I was in the Army. Nobody ever pilfered in someone else’s belongings. I did two tours overseas, fighting for this country and now I have to wonder what for.” Henry’s voice trembled. “The way folks carry on is a shame. Just no regard for one another.”
Aaron halted the rocker and leaned forward. “You’re right, Henry. The mess things are in is downright disgraceful. Take for instance the presidential election. Now, I can’t say I agree with the candidate who won, but for people to go out and tear stuff up, turn on friends and family who voted for him, and get consumed with hatred is ridiculous. No one is willing to bend.”
“Never saw anything like it,” Henry agreed. “I remember when John F. Kennedy won the election in 1960. People spoke out against him because he was catholic. But, they weren’t filled with the kind of hatred they are today. It pains me to think about what kind of society our grandkids are growing up in. For old geezers like ourselves, it don’t really matter all that much. We’re on our way out.”
“Dinosaurs. Men like us with backbone and decency are disappearing just like those prehistoric creatures did. I’d sure like to see something that would give me hope for the future. Hope for our country.” Aaron’s rheumy eyes glistened.
Henry pushed up from the rocker and stretched. It troubled him more than he could say that his grandchildren were growing up in these unstable times. A tired old man needs salve for his weary soul.
Just as he was about to shuffle inside, he saw his grandson, Micah, bounding across the lawn.
Micah waved. “Hi, Grandpa.”
Henry waved back.
Breathless, Micah reached the two men. “Hey, Gramps, look at this beautiful spring day. How about I bust you out of here and we go fishing?”
Henry chuckled. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a long time.” He turned to Aaron and winked. “There’s our hope. This young man knows how to respect his elders.”
With that, he joined his grandson. It didn’t escape his notice that Micah slowed his steps to match his grandfather’s or that he held the door while they went inside.
Respect. That’s what Micah demonstrated.
And, it’s precisely the healing the world now needs.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Jan Sikes RWISA Author Page
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by Wendy Scott
Luke’s body whirled through the portal in a kaleidoscope of starlight and rainbows. Burnt ozone stung his nostrils, and his stomach roiled as if live dragonflies flitted inside. He clutched his grandfather’s palm tighter, the only connection anchoring them together while they spun into the void, guided by the compass in his grandfather’s other hand.
“We’re here.” His grandfather’s words whistled with wheeziness.
He released Luke and turned away, pocketing the compass, but his old man’s movements weren’t quick enough to hide the tremors or his shortness of breath.
A mountain breeze, tinged with smoke ruffled the tussock grasses underfoot. In the valley below, Luke pinpointed a chimney on a cluster of shacks beside fenced paddocks. Had the old man’s sense of direction faded and cast them adrift?
“Follow me.” His grandfather rolled his shoulders back, lifted his head high, and led the descent.
Mindful of their journey’s mission doubt dragged at Luke’s feet. At only twelve, would he be found worthy? He didn’t want to think about his grandfather’s declining health if their bid was rejected.
Metallic scent tainted the air as they skirted past the dwellings; a one-room cottage, barn, and a smithy. Orange coals smoldered on the forge, hammers, and tongs lined up in military precision, but the pockmarked leather apron hung empty from a hook on the open door.
Without pause, his grandfather guided Luke out the back to the horse corrals. A bear of a man with arms like anvils leaned against the fence. Leather pants and knee-high boots sheathed his legs, but his chest was bare except for a star patterned tattoo, staining his chest muscles indigo and cobalt. At their approach his head swiveled, snaring the pair with a deep ocean gaze. Dryness etched Luke’s throat.
“Navigator, so many years have passed, I feared you would not return.”
Luke’s grandfather bowed his head. “Farrier, events have been unkind, but I keep my promises. My grandson had agreed to assume the responsibility in the place of his father who died when he was a babe.”
The men spoke as if Luke were a phantom, but he remained silent, remembering his grandfather’s instructions only to speak when asked a direct question by the otherworld farrier.
Grass scented warmth huffed through Luke’s hair. A midnight coated horse towered above his head. A white star marked the stallion’s forehead.
Luke clambered up the railings, but he still had to stretch to trail his fingertips along the horse’s snout. His breath caught when he gazed into the depths of the creature’s starlight eyes.
Firm fingers clasped Luke’s shoulder, and the farrier bowed towards the steed. “Kasper approves of you. Come inside.”
The temperature in the smithy scorched the hairs inside Luke’s nose, and sweat trickled beneath his tunic, but the farrier worked the bellows until the coals combusted into flames. Next, he sprinkled a handful of sand into the hearth, and the fire danced into violet and malachite hues.
“You understand, old friend, without the enchantment your life span will be reduced to mortal years?”
My grandfather nodded.”These old bones grow weary, and the pathways are becoming muddled. My time is past. Luke is young, but he is pure of heart. “
The farrier studied his friend for a moment before he reached out with his palm. “Navigator, of your own free will do you relinquish your powers to your grandson?”
The old man answered by dropping his compass into the farrier’s outstretched hand. “I do.”
The farrier’s otherworld stare scrutinized the boy, and although the being didn’t touch him, a prickling sensation rippled up Luke’s spine. After several heartbeats, the farrier inclined his head. “Your soul is free of darkness, but perhaps you are too young yet for any temptations to have challenged your values.”
“He’s a good lad. I vouch for him and will guide his path.” His grandfather squeezed Luke’s shoulder.
Calloused fingers gripped Luke’s chin. “Are you sure you want this? It’s not too late to back out and live a normal life. Be warned, once you accept you are bound for life. Each time you enter here seeking my help a non-negotiable toll must be paid.”
Before crossing over doubts had plagued Luke’s thoughts, but after tasting magic, he couldn’t settle for a dull life on the farm when his world had been opened to the lure of other realms.
Luke moistened his lips. “Navigator blood runs in my veins. I’m young, but I’m ready.”
The farrier released him. “Do I have your solemn vow you will only guide your passengers by the way of the light?”
Heart thundering, Luke focused on the compass. “I swear I’ll follow the true pathways.”
Light glinted off the chain as the farrier dangled the compass into the sparking coals. “Hold out your hand.”
Luke flinched, expecting his skin to sizzle when it touched the metal, but the compass was cool. He didn’t feel any different. Had the transfer worked?
The farrier clasped forearms with the older man. “You owe me one last favour, but I will redeem what’s due at another time.”
“As always it will be an honour to serve.” Luke’s grandfather stepped away.
“Navigator, peer into the fire.”
Several moments passed before Luke responded to his new title. Within the flames, he spied a young woman’s face, whose striking features seared into his memory.
“One day she will seek your skills, and when she does you must bring her to me.” The farrier crossed his arms.
Questions burned in Luke’s mind, but he’d been schooled on the protocols, so he suppressed his curiosity, and lowered his eyes. “As you command.”
The farrier ushered them into the yard and bid them farewell. “Keep your promises, follow the light and your direction will always be true.”
Outside Luke paused, blinking. A glittering path lit the way up to the portal.
Unshed tears gathered in his grandfather’s eyes. “The navigator’s sight is now hidden from me.”
Grasping the compass in one hand, Luke held out his other hand. “Come grandfather, I will guide you home.”
(Navigator is a prelude and companion scene to Fire Hooves – yet to be released by Wendy Scott).
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Wendy Scott RWISA Author Page
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Love at First Sight
By Gwendolyn M Plano
“It doesn’t seem real. It just doesn’t seem real.” Mom muttered as she ran her hand over the curves of dad’s headstone. Sighing deeply, she stared blankly into the horizon.
After a few minutes, she turned and faced me. “I tell myself that it must be real.” She seemed to want my approval. “The stone says we were married 70 years. It must have happened; I must have been married. But, but…why can’t I remember?” She searched my face for answers.
Stooped from the burden of years now elusive and sometimes vacant, mom held my arm while she walked to either side of the monument.
“I saw him in a dream. Did I tell you that?”
“No, mom, I don’t think you did.”
“He was young, like when we first met.”
“Really? Could you tell me about how you met?”
“How?” Mom’s eyes darted to and fro as she struggled to answer. Then, as though the curtains lifted, she responded.
“Yes…yes, I can tell you how we met.”
“Let’s sit here, mom.” I led her to a cement bench under a tall oak tree near dad’s grave. “Now tell me how the two of you met.”
Mom took a deep breath and began. “It was during the war. I remember it now. It was 1944. There were posters in our high school which asked us to sign up to work at the Consolidated Aircraft factory in San Diego. They needed help building B-24 bombers. We called the bombers the Liberators. My sister and I and several of our girlfriends decided we wanted to help our country. Most of the boys in our class were enlisting in the army or navy. We wanted to do our part too.”
“Like Rosie the Riveter?”
“Oh, yes! We all wanted to be Rosie. Your grandparents didn’t much like the idea, but they knew the families of the other girls, and since we’d be living together and would watch out for one another, they finally agreed. After all, it was the patriotic thing to do.”
I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of mom being Rosie and asked where she lived.
“We lived with Aunt Lena on India Street in San Diego. She put in bunk beds for us. At night, we’d wash out our clothes and tie the pieces to the bedsprings so that they could dry overnight.”
“When we arrived at Consolidated, they gave each of us a uniform – blue pants and jacket. And, we had classes for a week or two. Most of us were assigned the job of riveting. It’s hard to believe, but there were about 20,000 women working at the factory. The assembly line was a mile long, and believe it or not, we built about nine bombers a day. Isn’t that amazing?”
“That is amazing, mom.” Pride glowed from mom’s face, and I couldn’t help but feel proud of her as well.
“I was assigned to the wings. I hate heights, but I’d climb on top of those wings and pretend I was sitting on the hood of a car. I didn’t get afraid that way. One day, when I was sitting up there, holding a riveting gun, your dad came by.”
“Hey,” he said. “What’s your name?” I thought I might be in trouble, but he smiled, so I smiled back.
“Well, Lauretta, you’re doing a great job. If you need anything, let me know. My name’s Jim, and I’m the foreman for this area.”
I put my arm around mom’s shoulder. “My goodness, mom, you were on the wing of a bomber when you met dad?”
“Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But, yes, that’s the first time we talked. I didn’t pay much attention to him, but my sister would whisper to me, “There he is again. I think he likes you. He keeps looking this way.”
Mom lowered her eyes and giggled. “Of course, I didn’t believe her.”
After pausing a bit, she continued. “Your dad started walking home with us in the evening. He lived further up the hill from us, so it wasn’t out of his way. Mind you, I was wearing the company uniform and had my hair in a bandana, so I was hardly a beauty.”
“Anyway, one day he asked if I’d like to come up to his place. And, I was stupid and said okay. That’s when I learned about the facts of life. You know, sex.”
“You didn’t know before then, mom?”
“No, but he taught me that night.” Mom giggled and put her hand on her face. “He wanted to get married right then. But, I told him no, he had to talk to my parents. We needed to do it right. Besides, I hardly knew him. There were a lot of shot-gun marriages those days. We all thought the end of the world was coming, and well, young lovers didn’t hold back.”
“So, you and dad became lovers?”
“You know the answer to that, don’t you? When I didn’t have my cycle, I knew I was pregnant. Your dad was elated and didn’t hesitate to talk to your grandparents. Of course, I was ashamed. But, I want you to understand something. You might have been the reason we married, but you were not the reason we stayed together for 70 years.”
“Did you love him, mom?” The question came out before I could filter it.
“I did, I just didn’t know I did. Your dad would tell anyone who would listen, ‘When I saw Lauretta on the wing of a B-24 bomber, I knew that she was the one for me.’ He’d say it all the time, ‘She’s the one for me!’” Mom giggled as she thought about this story. “Your dad always said it was love at first sight. But it wasn’t that way for me.”
“What do you mean by that, mom?”
“Well, love is a strange word, isn’t it? Your dad seemed to know from the first time he saw me that he wanted to marry me. I didn’t feel that way. I think my focus was romance or dreams. And, your dad wasn’t the wooing type.”
“I believe I fell in love with him after you were born. He thought you were the most beautiful baby in the whole world. In fact, I think he was happiest when he was holding you. He’d sing to you and rock you to sleep every night.”
She dropped her head, and tears rolled down her cheeks. My tears fell as well.
“He was a good man, a faithful man. Did I tell you his promise?”
I shook my head, and said, “no.”
“You know that he grew up hungry, right? During the Dust Bowl, his family barely survived. In fact, two of his sisters died. Well, your dad promised me that his children would never go hungry. He would make sure of it. And, he did. He worked two jobs most of our marriage, and you kids were never hungry.” She paused and looked into my eyes.
“Your dad kept his promises.”
Mom grew silent. Her face turned from animated to expressionless, and I did not know what to think. She whispered something that I had to ask her to repeat. She sighed and looked at me again.
“It just doesn’t seem real.”
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Gwen Plano RWISA Author Page
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By Beem Weeks
“What’s that word say?”
“That’s an easy one, Daddy. Just sound it out.”
Levi Bacchus can’t read. 36 years old, and he’d never learned the meaning of a single sentence.
“I just ain’t cut out for this, Jamie Lynn.”
The girl’s countenance dropped in disagreement—just like her mother, that one.
“So, you’re a quitter now?” she bellowed, sounding too much like the woman who’d walked out of their lives two years earlier.
Levi took offense. “Mind your manners, Missy. I ain’t never been called no quitter.”
“Reading is something everybody should be able to do, is all I’m saying.”
“It’s easy for you,” Levi argued. “You’re just a kid, still in school. You have teachers telling you what to do and how to do it. I’m just too old for learning.”
The girl narrowed her gaze, jabbed a finger into the open book. “From the beginning,” she demanded.
His heaving huff meant he’d do it again—if only for her sake.
Words formed in his head before finding place on his tongue. Some came through in broken bits and pieces, while others arrived fully formed and ready for sound.
Jamie’s excitement in the matter is why he kept trying. Well, that and the fact he’d long desired the ability to pick up the morning paper and offer complaint or praise for the direction of the nation. All those people in the break room at the plant held their own opinions on everything from the president to the latest championship season enjoyed by the local high school football team.
“That’s good, Daddy,” Jamie said, patting her father on the arm. “That’s really good. You’ll be reading books before too long.”
A smile worked at the edges of his lips, refusing to go unnoticed.
“I’d like that, Sweet Pea.” That’s all he’d say of the matter. If it came to that, well then, he’d have accomplished something worth appreciating.
Levi harbored bigger notions than merely reading books. When a man can read, he can do or be anything he wants to be. His own father often said a man who can’t read is forever in bondage. How can a man truly be free if he cannot read the document spelling out the very rights bestowed upon him by simple virtue of birth? No sir; being illiterate no longer appealed to him.
Of his immediate family—father, mother, two older brothers—only Levi failed to attend college. Oh, he graduated from high school. Being a star quarterback will afford that sort of luxury. But when those coaches from the universities came calling, low test scores couldn’t open doors that promised more than a life spent in auto factories.
He’d seen a show on TV about a man who’d been sent to prison for five years for armed robbery. While there, this man learned to read, took a course on the law, and became a legal secretary upon his release. Eight years later, he’d earned a law degree and opened his very own practice.
Levi didn’t see himself arguing cases in a court of law—defending criminals most likely to be guilty just didn’t appeal to his sense of right and wrong. What he did see, however, is the need for a good and honest person to run the city he’d forever called home.
“Think I could be mayor?” he asked his daughter.
Jamie Lynn always grinned over such talk. “Everybody has to have a dream, Daddy.”
It’s what she always says.
Everything begins with a dream.
She gets that part of her from her mother.
“Once I can read without stopping to ask questions,” he mused, “maybe I’ll throw my hat into the ring, huh?”
“There’s nothing wrong with asking questions,” she answered, weaving wisdom between her words.
* * *
She’d been a girl scout, his daughter—daisies and brownies before that. It’s the other girls who bullied her out of the joy that sort of thing once offered. Straight A’s have a way of making others feel inferior, even threatened.
But Jamie Lynn isn’t the type to pine or fret. She chose to tutor—and not just her father, either. Kids come to the house needing to know this and that among mathematics or English or science. Her dream? To be a teacher one day.
And she’ll accomplish that much and more.
Her mother had that very same sense about her as well. She knew what she wanted in life, and cleared the path upon which she traveled.
High school sweethearts they’d been, Jamie Lynn’s mother and father. She’d been the pretty cheerleader, he’d been the All-American boy with a cannon for an arm. She went to college, he didn’t.
But she returned to him, joyfully accepting his proposal for a life together. Her degree carried her back to the high school from which they’d both graduated. This time, rather than student, she became teacher—American History.
Levi went to work building Cadillacs in the local plant. It paid well, offered medical benefits and paid vacation time. Life settled into routines.
Then came their little bundle. This didn’t sit well with the newly-minted history teacher. No sir. It’s as if Levi had intentionally sabotaged his own wife’s career in some fiendish plot to keep her home.
Words of love became “stupid” and “ignorant” and “illiterate ass.” She walked out one evening and never came back to the home they’d built together.
A former student, he’d heard—five years her junior. They’d ran off together, supposedly making a new home somewhere out west.
Levi didn’t challenge it. He received the house and the kid in exchange for his signature on those papers he couldn’t even read.
Jamie Lynn, she’s the light that shined in his darkness, showed him there’s still so much more living to be done. And learning to read, well, that just added to the adventure.
* * *
The night came when he read an entire chapter from one of Jamie Lynn’s old middle school books—straight through, unpunctuated by all those starts and stops and nervous questions. By the end of the month, Levi had managed the entire story—all 207 pages.
“We have to celebrate, Daddy,” she insisted.
It’d been the silly draw of embarrassment that twisted his head left and right, his voice saying, “No need to make a fuss, Sweet Pea.”
But fuss is only the beginning. “Dinner and a movie,” she ordered. “Then we’ll stop off at the mall and pick out a few books that you might like.”
There were stories he recalled from his boyhood; books other kids clutched under their arms and took for granted. Stories that stirred so much excitement in those young lives.
They’d belong to him now.
“You’re finally blooming, Daddy—just like a flower.”
And so was his daughter.
A teacher in the making.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Beem Weeks RWISA Author Page
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By Laurie Finkelstein
The bulk, padding, and steel plates weigh me down. The protection of a bulletproof vest is necessary. No matter the weather, I wear the cloak. The weight is a burden, but I trek on because wrapped is the only way to navigate my journey. The jacket protects my heart from being blown to crimson shards of death.
A direct hit is avoided for days and nights, lulling me into calm and complacency. “All will work out fine,” I tell myself. The truth tells a story I want to change. All my will and might does not make an impact to stop the bombardment.
Experience and time separates me from tragedy. At any moment, the bullets strike. Inside or out. My house cannot provide security, nor can a million people surrounding me. With nowhere to hide, I am a target. Shelter and safety are nonexistent.
Discharges are held back while luck and grace harbor me. The slugs will come, however, in a piercing barrage without warning, and will pummel me.
Knocked to the ground, I am immobilized and rendered helpless. My breathing is halted. My movements are stopped, and I understand what assaulted me.
The shockwave subsides, and in small increments, I am able to take in air. Incapacitated, I continue to lie until I am rescued by the rational thinking buried under an avalanche of pain, doubt, and fear. My thoughts check my vitals to make sure I am in the here and now. “Stay in the moment,” I tell myself. “I can manage this. I will persevere.”
“Rise,” I command. The mass of the garb constricts my movement, but I stand, analyze what must be done, and begin to act. The warrior in me comes out. Battles will be fought. My impervious attire gets me through another crisis, and its weight comforts me. Without the guise, I am unable to prevail against the onslaughts, which pop out of the dark corners of another day.
Yes, my vest is cumbersome, but without my swathe I will not withstand the painful projectiles. Clips are filled, ready to punch and knock me down, disabling me should I forget for a moment to cloak myself within my protective armor.
My bullets are not made of lead, surrounded by a dense metal. The projectiles do not come from terrorists intent on decimating me. The ammo does not come from a police state or a dictator’s command. A barrel is not involved.
My bullets are made of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Composed of irrational thoughts, insipid ideations, and ignorant rationalizations, they are crushing invisible forces. The capacity to shatter my resolve and render me dysfunctional invades me.
My unsociable enemy is treatable, but never disappears. My therapists validate my experiences of being trapped, resentful, guilty, shameful, ill-equipped, grief-stricken, lost, uncertain, and disabled. My growth in therapy helps me accept the challenge with compassion and empathy in my heart.
Throughout my lifetime three stages will haunt me.
Stage one is the onslaught of rounds. The crisis mode. The shock and pain.
Stage two is being slammed down, breath taken away. Sabotaged. Terms and feelings of the emergency are acknowledged.
Stage three is advocacy for myself. Stand. Breathe. Make decisions. Tools in hand to counteract the depression and anxiety and OCD. Utilize appropriate response and care.
Encouraged by others, I enroll in Toastmasters. Time for me to improve my public speaking and thinking on my feet. Professional and compelling ways of expressing my views is a talent I want to possess. Persuasive interactions are in reach. My computer with Google as my guide, I find the Toastmasters website. The rules and guidelines answer many of my questions. Ready to take on the challenge, I enter my credit card information and become a member. A direct thrust knocks me down.
At first, I don’t understand what attacks me. My heartbeat begins speeding up. My gasps for air speed up. My head spins with dizziness. The mighty effects of terror hammer me to the ground. Despair sinks me deeper into the attack.
Stage one. The thought of standing before people enunciating in a clear voice avoiding “ums” and “ahs” strikes with negative force. In a semi-frozen state of fear and regret, I struggle to make sense of my attacker. Groups of Toastmasters are warm, safe environments to learn public speaking and leadership skills. “Warm and safe,” I remind myself. Still my heart beats faster and my breath diminishes by the second. A ghost of recognition appears before me. Panic is familiar.
Stage two. My history tells me to take an extra Klonopin. Scared to death is not an option. Upon reaching my medicine cabinet with weak, wobble-producing legs, I discover my pill case empty. In my next move, I check the bottle. Empty. My heart beats faster and my limbs go numb. Sweat trickles down my forehead. My last attempt before I collapse in a heap of despair, I call my pharmacist. My trembling voice separated from my body explains my attack and lack of pills. “How fast can you fill the prescription?” my quivering voice speaks out. “Is ten minutes okay?” the pharmacy technician asks.
Stage three. My inner voice tells me to be brave. Think of a serene place. My happy place. Take deep soothing breaths. My toolbox is ransacked for more options until I come to grips with the present. The dispensary is too far to hike, so I must drive to pick up my pills. Cranked engine. Foot on pedal. Brake released. My self-talk takes me on a wild ride to the drug store. My trembling legs walk me to the back of the aisles. The friendly face of the tech reassures me. The credit card transaction is signed with a jellylike hand, completing the purchase.
Back in my car, I down the remedy with tepid water from an old bottle sitting in my trash. My panting is steadier, my heart pounding a little less. Within thirty minutes, I am relaxed, able to pursue my day. Ready to reassess my decision to become a Toastmaster. The choice is sound and important.
My bulletproof vest is worn as a badge of honor and survival. Without my garb, I would be a prisoner in my house, hiding in bed. Sick to my stomach. Useless.
The stigma of mental illness must be broken. My vest is worn with pride. I am a survivor. I am the voice of one in every five Americans experiencing the assailant. I am not alone.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Laurie Finkelstein RWISA Author Page
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A FISHY DAY
By Karen Ingalls
It was one of those wonderful August days when the sun was high and warm in the sky. The big cumulus clouds slowly drifted by, creating designs that filled Jim’s imagination, who at nine years could see all kinds of amazing sights. He had been playing with his model airplane in his aunt and uncle’s yard, where he spent the summers on their ranch in San Diego, California. Staying with Uncle Leon and Aunt Helen was always a special time of adventure, fun and farm work.
“Jim, do you want to go to the pasture with me? We’ll check the water trough for the cattle,” Uncle Leon asked, at the same time he took his handkerchief and wiped some perspiration from his tan brow.
“Oh, yes,” Jim responded with great excitement. He ran to the front porch and put his treasured airplane on the table next to where Aunt Helen sat in her rocking chair.
Uncle Leon walked over to the Allis-Chalmers tractor and stretched his long, thin legs up and over onto the metal seat. “All right, Jim, you can come on up now.” Jim awkwardly managed to climb up and grab hold of his uncle’s hand, who swung him onto his lap. With the turn of the key the tractor began to vibrate and the engine roared. Shifting the gears into forward, Leon yelled, “Here we go!”
The pasture was a favorite place for Jim with its rolling hills, oak trees, and green grass. It was always a peaceful place where a boy could run until he was out of breath, and then fall onto the grass and let the wind gently blow over his panting body. Many were the times that Jim would spend his days, just climbing in the oak trees pretending he was hiding from some enemy, or shooting squirrels with his imaginary rifle.
He and his uncle drove through the pasture until they came to a large trough sitting by a water pump on the top of a knoll. The cattle were grazing some distance away, but their occasional moos could be heard.
Uncle Leon helped Jim off the tractor and then sauntered up to the trough. “Not much water left so we best get this filled up.”
Jim was leaning over the trough where the top of it just reached his chest. “What can I do? I want to help.”
“Well, now, how about you pump the water in once I get it primed,” replied Uncle Leon with his usual smiling face. He was happy that Jim wanted to help, but he also knew that pumping water would be a big job for such a young lad. Once he had the water flowing with each downward motion of the pump handle, he instructed, “Okay, young feller, it is your turn now.”
Jim eagerly grabbed the handle and standing on his tiptoes, pushed it down, smiling happily when the water gushed into the trough. He repeated the pumping for as long as he could, but all too quickly his arms and shoulders began to ache. Jim did not want to admit that he was getting tired, but his uncle knew and said, “How about if I do it for a while?”
Once the water neared the top, Jim leaned over cupping some water into his hands. “This is the best tasting water I’ve ever had,” Jim thought to himself. He slurped several handfuls into his dry mouth.
Looking over at his nephew, Leon asked with a twinkle in his eye, “Did you see that fish drop into the water from this here pump?”
“Why, that fish that came right out of the pump into the trough. I thought sure you would have seen him while you were drinking the water.”
“No, sir. I didn’t see any fish.” Jim wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve and earnestly looked in the water.
“Well, he must still be in there.” Uncle Leon leaned over the trough looking for the mysterious fish. “Now isn’t that something. I can’t see him anywhere.” He peeked a look at his nephew, who now had eyes as big as saucers. “I wonder if you accidentally swallowed that poor little fish while you were drinking all that water.”
Jim stepped back from the trough and began to rub his stomach. “I don’t think so, sir.” The minutes passed and Uncle Leon continued to wonder out loud what happened to the fish. Jim began to imagine that the fish was swimming in his stomach. “I don’t feel so good,” Jim said as he stretched down on the cool grass.
Seeing that his nephew was fearful and feeling sick, Uncle Leon laid down next to him and pointed up towards the clouds. “Jim, look at that cloud up there. See the little one next to the big puffy cloud?”
He waited until Jim nodded his head and said, “I think so.”
“It kind of looks like a fish, doesn’t it? I wonder if that is the fish that was in the trough.”
Jim looked at his uncle, then up at the clouds, and then back at his uncle who was smiling from ear to ear. Uncle Leon laughed and began to tickle Jim’s stomach. “Or, is that fish still here? Where is that fish?”
Jim laughed and joked right back while he patted his uncle’s stomach. “No, I think that fish is right here!”
Soon they both stopped laughing and just looked at one another. “I hope I don’t tease you too much,” Uncle Leon said.
“Oh no, Sir.” Jim looked at his uncle and went on to say, “I like to tease my younger brothers. Mother is always telling me not to do it too much. She doesn’t want them to cry.”
“Well, I would never want to make you cry.” Uncle Leon put his big hand on Jim’s head. “Do you know why?” Jim slowly shook his head back and forth not wanting his uncle to remove his hand. “I love you too much to ever make you cry for any reason.”
With tears in his eyes, Jim whispered, “I love you, too.”
They spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun, the warm breeze, and just being next to one another in the grass, watching the clouds drift by. It was a special day that Jim always remembered with a smile.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Karen Ingalls RWISA Author Page
and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.
By Yvette M Calleiro
The written word and I
Are cherished friends,
Embracing each other’s thoughts and emotions
Like kindred spirits,
Dancing on clouds.
Bosom buddies who gossip and giggle
And gasp at all the same moments.
She and I are equals,
More than that, really.
We are two parts of a whole,
Complementing and complimenting the other,
The spoken word and I
Skirt around each other’s social circles.
We stumble around awkward pauses,
Unable to pull the perfect word or phrase
From our filing cabinet of knowledge.
Ease and grace flee without a moment’s notice.
She is more skilled than I.
She whispers her intricately woven ideas into my mind,
But her delicate strength is no match for
The hills of anxiety and the mountains of insecurity
That obstruct her path to freedom.
Before her words can reach my tongue,
They unravel into shreds of confusion,
If only the written word and the spoken word
They would live in perfect harmony.
It is not meant to be,
Neither willing to leave her domain,
Each content to dance alone,
I am stuck in the middle,
Pulled in both directions,
Reveling in the comfort of the written word,
Needing the spoken word to survive.
But still I dream
Of the day when my words will intermingle
And a new love affair can be born.
Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA“ WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Yvette M Calleiro RWISA Author Page
Hello everyone. It gives me great pleasure to host author Robert Fear today on his RRBC Spotlight tour! Take it away, Robert … 🙂
Travel Stories and Highlights
While working on the second edition of Fred’s Diary 1981, I started a blog in February 2015 to assist me with the editing process. Exactly 35 years later, to the day, I published an edited version of each day’s entry. This ran for 158 days from February through to July and coincidentally the days of the week were the same as when I originally wrote the diary.
To encourage people to visit the blog fd81.net I started a Travel Story competition, with prizes, for entries of between 500-1000 words and ran this in parallel with the daily diary extracts. There was a very encouraging response and in all there were thirty entries from a range of well-known authors to first time writers.
I then decided to publish all the entries in a new book called Travel Stories and Highlights. After getting permission from all the contributors I started compiling the book and it was published late in 2015.
Last year I re-ran the two competitions. Again, there were a lot of fantastic entries and a 2017 Edition of Travel Stories and Highlights was published in December 2016 with the best 50 travel stories and 50 highlights from both sets of competitions.
To give you a flavour of the book, here are five of the Travel Highlights (50-100 words):
The First Tapa Is All It Takes!
by Bob Manning
Hesitating at the door; Stopped in my tracks by the bedlam within.
I peered through the smog.
The congested bar stretched into inconspicuousness.
Sinister and sublime.
Pinpointing a space amongst the revelers, I cut through the sultry atmosphere, kickin-up the debris of discarded delights.
I clung to the glutinous counter.
The barman’s raised eyebrows questioned me.
“Caña” I smiled.
With brutal efficiency he slopped a small beer in front of me, whilst summoning “the first”.
Indeed it was.
An old crone delivered a small plate of orange gunge. Temptingly dangerous.
“Foreigner” she spat.
The air thickened.
by Shirley Ledlie
As I snorkelled alone in the warm Gulf of Aquaba, I was transported to a different world. It was easy to lose track of time and I soon found myself at the drop-off ridge.
I’ll watch this shoal of fish for a few minutes and then I’ll head back. With a blink of an eye they vanished!
What’s frightened them? My blood ran cold, I felt alone.
Effortlessly gliding up behind me, the reef shark returned my stare. He stopped in front of me.
This is it.
Then, with a flick of his tail, he was gone, shooting off into the abyss.
France in the Mist
by Beth Haslam
Exploring a lane flanked by late sunflowers, all blanketed in thick rolling mist. Noises deadened, flower heads sodden, quiet, still, so still.
Ahead, an ancient hamlet enveloped in the grey, nestled between woods and open flatland.
Fragmented baying of hounds boom in the eerie distance.
I start in shock.
A terrified wild boar, prehistoric-like form, tusks, pelt, stink, breaks cover and claims sanctuary in the woods below.
The hounds, close now, indefinable in colour and shape, men with guns, whips and curses. The mist conceals all and they are gone.
France, still medieval, frozen in a preternatural moment in time.
by Frank Kusy
At 8.46am on January 26th 2001, I was shaken out of my bed in India by what I assumed to be a super-loud banging at my door.
I was so incensed, I stormed to the door, grabbed the person standing outside, and blindly shook him. ‘It’s taken me hours to get to sleep!’ I shouted. ‘Bog off and leave me alone!’
Two hours later, I found the hotel manager, Mr Singh, cowering behind his desk in terror.
‘What are you doing down there?’ I asked him, and he said, ‘Big earthquake this morning. Whole hotel is shaking. No more attack, please!’
Off the Rails
by Tony James Slater
I sprinted down the platform, ignoring all sounds of pursuit.
The train was like something from 1970’s Britain, only daubed with indecipherable Chinese characters. The air was hot and spicy.
I swung into my carriage with one thought: Must Reach My Wife.
She was already aboard; if it left without me we’d be completely adrift, separated by a thousand miles of deepest China.
“Thank God!” she said, “I was so worried!”
“Yeah,” I panted, “but we have a problem…”
Her eyes widened as she saw the policemen forcing their way down the carriage towards me. All were carrying machine guns.
Travel Stories and Highlights: 2017 Edition – getBook.at/TravelStories
This year I am running both competitions for the third time. The 2017 Travel Story Competition finishes on July 31st. The 2017 Travel Highlights Competition will run from mid-September until mid-November 2017. For more details check out this blog page: fd81.net/competition
Born in Leicester, UK in 1955, Robert’s family moved to Surrey when he was 11. He was educated at Reigate Grammar School. After this he worked at a bank in London for several years before getting the travel bug. Fred, a nickname he got at school, stuck throughout his travels and has remained with him to this day. His travels took him to Ibiza for the summer of 1977, hitch-hiking around Europe in 1978 and the USA and Canada in 1979. During this time he also settled and worked in Germany. Fred’s Diary 1981 was written during the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia.
These days Robert is happily settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex where he lives with his wife and three cats. He works as a software consultant and has been able to combine work with some travel during the past fifteen years, having visited countries as far apart as Australia, Singapore, Ghana and Suriname.
Facebook – @fredsdiary1981
Twitter Handle – @fredsdiary1981
Website – http://www.fd81.net/
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Fred’s Diary 1981 getBook.at/FredsDiary1981
Travel Stories and Highlights getBook.at/TravelStories
Exclusive Pedigree getBook.at/ExclusivePedigree
Robert’s other tour stops can be found HERE. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Welcome to Day 4 of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour. I would like to thank the RRBC and my host for such a great opportunity.
Today we’re talking about an important aspect of German history: the witch trials of the early seventeenth century. This post is a heavier but one I feel is important because this theme is central in my second novel The Soldier’s Return, scheduled to be released in September 2017. This happened years before the famed Salem witch trials. We’ll look specifically at the city of Bamberg in Germany where women and men were being persecuted in the thousands.
Throughout the dark ages, Christianity had difficulties setting down roots among the Germanic tribes. Stories are told of saints who came to the German people and destroyed sacred trees and mystical places to show the people that their gods had no power. Even after Christianity took hold and the Catholic Church was established in the Germanic territories of the Holy Roman Empire, evidence shows that the Germanic people held onto their beliefs in goddesses, magic, herbal remedies, and pagan practices.
Persecution of heathens and witches was regular but not widespread in Germany in the medieval period. But as the Catholic Church grew swollen and corrupt, pagans were seen as a threat. Pope Innocent IV declared in his papal bull Ad extirpanda, dated 1252, that the use of magic, herb collecting, and questionable gatherings in so-called mystical or heathen sites was forbidden and to be enforced by torture. The famed Hammer of the Witches, the Malleus Maleficarum, the handbook by Heinrich Kramer on what witchcraft was and how to deal with it, was first published in 1486 and remained popular for two hundred years.
In the early 16th century, a new opposition to Rome appeared in the Empire among the Germanic territories: the Protestant movements. The most famous of these movements was the Reformation led by the teachings of Martin Luther. The Catholic Church was quickly losing the Germanic regions to this new teaching. By the middle of the 16th century, many major German cities had officially converted to Protestantism. As the 16th century came to a close, severe weather, failing crops, rising prices, disease, and an overall doomsday atmosphere fueled the Catholic Church’s renewed efforts to win back the territories.
Someone or something was responsible for the woes of the world and whoever or whatever was going to pay. People had deep fears regarding Satan and witches and these fears could be used to re-seize power. Doctrine and rumors spread quickly because of widespread use of the printing press. Illustrations were popular and even illiterate people could be influenced. Scapegoats were found at first among those people who could least defend themselves: women, children, the poor, the uneducated. Even Martin Luther and the Protestants condemned witches and supported their torture and execution.
In the center of this mania was Franconia, Germany and the witch burning stronghold of Europe, the bishopric Bamberg. During the time of the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648), more witch trials and executions took place in this area than in any other area in Europe. Thanks to the efforts of historians (see: Sources, at the end of this article), much of the available information has been catalogued and can be reviewed in their publications.
A few thousand documents survived that dark period from 1616 to 1631 even though they had come close to being lost. At some point between 1830 and 1840, the Old Court in Bamberg had a clear out and sold lots of old papers to a housewares shop. The shop had a stand on the market and wrapped their wares in these old papers. Luckily, a historian named Johann Adam Messerschmitt noticed his order of nails was wrapped in official witch trial documents. He bought all the papers and secured them in the Bamberg archive.
What is left today are the documented fates of 884 accused men, women and children. Among the papers, historians have found protocols of the inquisitions. The questions used by the inquisitors were often so comical that the accused would laugh. The demand for reports of the instances of dancing and dining with the devil, what was eaten and drunk at these parties, and who was among the other participants was at first not taken seriously. The documented torture protocols, invoices for jail stays, and invoices to the families of the executed for the wood used in the witch fire are disturbing at the very least.
The first accused were those most easily arrested but soon branched out to include other victims as well. This included well-to-do citizens whose complete possessions and properties were confiscated by the church. Other high-profile citizens opposed the trials as did the whole of the Bamberg city council. One by one these families were arrested, tortured and executed, city chancellors and their families eliminated. This included the five-time mayor Johannes Junius, whose case is one of the most well-documented. The secret letter he wrote to his daughter explaining his innocence exists today.
The witch persecution ended dramatically in 1632. Swedish troops invaded and occupied Bamberg, ended the persecution, and the last of the detained were let go. A few trials took place after this period but the executions were stopped. In August 2015, almost 400 years later, after a massive initiative by the citizens’ group Bürgerverein-Mitte, the Mahnmal, a memorial to warn of past wrongs, was erected to remember the innocent men, women, and children who were accused, tortured and executed.
We remember because ‘their suffering compels us to stand against all types of marginalization, abuses of power, degradation and every sort of fanaticism.’
Ralf Kloos: Witchburner Online Museum: https://www.hexenbrenner-museum.com/index.php/en/;
Birke Grieshammer: Hexen-Franken http://www.hexen-franken.de;
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THE MASTER AND THE MAID
She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life.
In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancé Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?
Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman’s life in Germany in the 1600’s, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.
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Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing, she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.
Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
Twitter – @lauralibricz
Facebook – @LauraLibriczAuthoress
Website – http://www.lauralibricz.com
Hearing no Words
Children have a knack for hearing what we don’t say. They rely little on our actual utterances. In the same way, people might hear our words, but for sure, they will feel our attitude. So, while it’s important to watch what we say, it is also important to keep an eye on how we say it. Our attitude can change the whole meaning of even one simple word completely, let alone a whole monologue.
Even more so when writing rather than speaking, it is easy for others to misinterpret our intent, and so we have to take even more care when writing an email, sending a text message, or posting a comment online. And still, even without our presence, some of our attitude will seep through. What becomes a bigger problem, though, is that people will be left guessing at our intention much more than when we are in their presence.
If we feel a need to accuse someone of something or point something out, then we have to proceed with utmost caution. And before we write a thing, or say a thing, we have to ask a few questions of ourselves. Why are we doing it? Is it good to say something? Do we have all our facts straight? Will it do any good? If, upon asking these, we still feel it good to go ahead, then we need to approach it in the right frame of mind.
Remember, we are in competition with no one. I for one have no wish to be better than anyone; I simply wish to be better than I managed to be yesterday. Where are you coming from? What’s your attitude saying about you?
From the other side, what do you do when you feel accused of something of which you are innocent (or believe you are innocent)? We don’t need to learn how to react but rather how to respond. And we are all doing our best all the time. If we truly knew better, we would do better.
An age-old truth tells us that muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
As discussed in past Monday Musings, silence is often the best answer. With our thoughts (attitude) we make our world. If we want happiness and accord to follow us rather than anger and discord, then we need to keep our attitude (mind) clear and let the silt settle to the bottom.
In the wise words of Zen:
‘Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your unguarded thoughts.’
If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/
Thief in the Night
This may seem obvious, but many kinds of stealing exist that we might not even think about, not just the common ones such as money or property, but also time, peace of mind, hope, trust, etc.
While ordinary riches can get stolen, real riches cannot. Within you live infinitely precious riches that nobody can take from you. Only you. How many times do we steal from ourselves by selling ourselves short?
Instead, believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you can do it. You can do anything. You only have to believe. Live it. Breathe it. Make it as though it already is. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t steal from yourself.
Don’t believe all the dark things you might tell yourself at night, in the wee small hours, when you can’t sleep. If you do, you’re apt to become a thief in the night, who steals sleep as well as peace of mind. In the words of Ben Williams, ‘There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.‘
And, remember, just because somebody else says it, you don’t have to believe it. We might think that another can steal our peace of mind too, but really, only we have that power. We make the choice to respond to another person or stay grounded within our hearts and minds.
To embark upon a spiritual path, or a path of self-improvement, doesn’t mean that you won’t face tough times. If anything, you’re more likely to have times of darkness as you become more self-aware, and also more sensitive to the words and actions of those around you. Such times of darkness and difficulty, we can use as tools to help us grow and evolve.
As ever, it all comes down to the stories we make up. What we choose to tell ourselves. One unexpected and random act of kindness can become the most powerful agent of change. While it’s good to offer that to others, don’t forget the person reading this. The buck doesn’t just stop with you, it starts with you, too.
Always, you stand one decision, one thought away from a different life. Even the smallest of events can have profound effects. And, most of the time, we walk into the unknown. We cannot foresee what will happen if we do or say x, y, or z. Which makes trust all important, as well as patient perseverance and our outlook.
In the wise words of Zen:
‘One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.’
If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/
Join me and 5 authors over on Story Empire, where we explore the world of fiction