Welcome to author D L Finn!

Hello everyone. Today marks the eighteenth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)

DL FinnMy guest today is author D L Finn, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

EXPANSION

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.

 

 

SOARING

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 sleep-

Some read-

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!

 

 

DOORWAY

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

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Posted in blog tour, guest post, RWISA Tagged with: , , , , ,

Welcome to author Rhani D’Chae!

Hello everyone. Today marks the seventeenth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
RhaniMy 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

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Welcome to author Nonnie Jules!

Hello everyone. Today marks the sixteenth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
My guest today is author Nonnie Jules, and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

Nonnie Image

 

 

From one of her upcoming releases, Nonnie Jules presents … 

PRISON WIVES

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

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Posted in guest post, RWISA Tagged with: , , , ,

Welcome to Author Marlena Smith!

Hello everyone. Today marks the fifteen day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
My guest today is author Marlena Smith, 

Marlenaand 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.

Cherish memories.

Strive to make more.

Make every moment count.

Tell others you love them.

Forgive quickly.

Laugh often.

Pray every day.

Have a thankful heart.

*  *  *

Author Bio:

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

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Posted in blog tour, guest post, RWISA Tagged with: , , , ,

Welcome to Author Jan Sikes!

Hello everyone. Today marks the seventh day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
janMy guest today is author Jan Sikes, 

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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.

“Nope.”

“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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Welcome to Author Wendy Scott!

Hello everyone. Today marks the sixth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
Wendy ScottMy guest today is author Wendy Scott, 

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

Navigator

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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Welcome to Author Gwen Plano!

Hello everyone. Today marks the fifth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
Gwen PlanoMy guest today is author Gwen Plano, 

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

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.

“It’s Lauretta.”

“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.”

Taylor

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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Posted in guest post, RWISA Tagged with: , , , , ,

Welcome to Author Beem Weeks!

Hello everyone. Today marks the fourth day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
Beem WeeksMy guest today is author Beem Weeks, 

and you can find his RWISA author page HERE.

 

Wordless

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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Welcome to Author Laurie Finkelstein!

Hello everyone. Today marks the third day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
laurie-finkelsteinMy guest today is author Laurie Finkelstein, 

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

Bulletproof Vest

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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Posted in guest post, RWISA Tagged with: , , , , ,

Welcome to Author Karen Ingalls!

Karen IngallsHello everyone. Today marks the second day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)
My guest today is author Karen Ingalls, 

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

 

 

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?”

“What fish?”

“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

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Welcome to Author Yvette M Calleiro!

Hello everyone. Today marks the first day of the month long blog tour set up by RWISA for RWISA authors.RWISA TOUR (1)

Yvette CalleiroMy guest today is author Yvette M Calleiro,

and you can find her RWISA author page HERE.

 

 

Words

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,

Perfect beings.

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,

Left unspoken.

If only the written word and the spoken word

Could meet…

They would live in perfect harmony.

But alas…

It is not meant to be,

Neither willing to leave her domain,

Each content to dance alone,

And I…

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

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Welcome to RRBC Spotlight Author: Robert Fear!

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.

It was such a success that I subsequently ran another competition for Travel Highlights of between 50-100 words. Again this went very well and in all there were twenty-five entries.Exclusive Pedigree v3

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.

Snorkelling Alone
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.

Quake Mistake
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

Author Bio:

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.  Robert Fear - Author Pic

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/

*  *  *

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! :)

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#RRBC Spotlight Author: Laura Libricz!

Hello and welcome to Harmony’s place today! It gives me great pleasure to host author Laura Libricz on her Rave Reviews Bookclub Spotlight tour! Take it away, Laura :)

Author Pic

 

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.’

*

Further reading:

Ralf Kloos: Witchburner Online Museum: https://www.hexenbrenner-museum.com/index.php/en/;

Birke Grieshammer: Hexen-Franken http://www.hexen-franken.de;

The Memorial: http://www.br.de/nachrichten/oberfranken/inhalt/hexenmahnmal-bamberg-installiert-100.html

* * *

THE MASTER AND THE MAID

Book Coverhttps://www.amazon.com/Master-Maid-Heavens-Pond-Trilogy/dp/0996817786/

BLURB:

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.

* * *

AUTHOR BIO:

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

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Monday Musings Forty-eight: Hearing No Words

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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.

Let your compassion shape your words, not your hurts or misperceptions.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

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/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-seven: The Thief in the Night

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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.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

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/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-six: An Eye For An Eye

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An Eye For An Eye

 

In the current climate of world troubles and terror attacks, it seems apt to say a few words on revenge and attempting to control others. Violence is never the answer. As the Buddha stated in the Dhammapada:

 

Hatred does not cease by hatred,

by love alone does hatred cease.’

 

Other wise teachings tell us that it is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Only then will we ever find peace. Only here, within this body, right now, can the seed of world peace find a home and begin to grow.

We’ve all heard the common Christian saying taken from the Bible that would seem to tell us to ‘take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. Unfortunately, like another oft misquoted verse (the sun shines on the righteous), this has gotten taken out of context and twisted into something it was never meant to be. The full verse changes the meaning entirely:

Matthew (5:38-42) New Testament, ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.’

So, rather than an instruction for revenge, it offers sage advice to turn the other cheek. When we take a closer look, we find the same with the ‘righteous’ quote too (the sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous alike). As with Monday Musings Twenty-three, forgiveness isn’t what we think and benefits the forgiver far more than the perpetrator.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

No true religion advocates terrorism and has as its basis spirituality, which demands of us compassion for all living things. Terrorism has no religion. Historian Howard Zinn tells us, ‘It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people.’ Remember, hate begets hate. Do you want to live in a world of hate?

Sometimes the best response is no response; i.e. be still and know thyself. Be still and do no harm. Be still. Empty. Let go. Don’t add fuel to the fire of anger. Pour the waters of compassion. Early on in our Monday Musings, we talked about how we make our world, and then we live in it. Mind made are all things. It always comes down to our perception—how we see a thing.

We mould the clay into a vessel, and then we get busy filling the emptiness inside. It saddens me deeply that we miss that we have the choice of what we put into that pristine emptiness. That emptiness holds whatever we want.

Our every action and thought impact us, whether we realise it or not. They effect us far more than they can ever affect another.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Stories to make your mind go into overdrive

Hi everyone!

Having launched my latest book, Moments, on Friday 14th, I wanted to share with you all my very first review. I’m always nervous each time I release a book, and this fantastic first review soon set my mind at ease.

Huge thanks to With Love for Books for taking the time to read and review!

***

Book review
By Anniek
Kindle Cover Moments
Isabelle is a fourteen-year-old girl. She’s on the run from her abusive stepfather. She hasn’t told her mother about what happens when she’s at work. Isabelle sees no way out anymore and badly wants to kill this mean man. When she hides beneath a willow Isabelle finds help in the most unexpected place. What will she do with the knowledge that she’s gained?
Isabelle is just one of the characters you’ll meet in Moments. Harmony Kent’s stories are dark, but always hold a glimmer of hope and light. She addresses topics that most people have dealt with in their lives, for example negative thoughts, grief and illness, but also second chances, choices and love.

One of the poems that I felt deeply in my soul is about dementia. My grandmother is suffering from this terrible disease and this poem brought me on the verge of crying.

In My Shoes

Footprints in the dust
the traffic of life
rubbing them away

Wandering
back in time
no longer present

A stranger wearing my shoes

each step erases
a little more memory

Harmony Kent has written beautiful stories and poems that made my mind go into overdrive. She encouraged me to think beyond the literal content of her stories and made me contemplate the deeper meaning of her poems. In a Letter to my Future Self she writes: ‘Those that matter are the ones that love you come what may’. If you could have written a letter to you future self what is the one thing that you would’ve written down for sure? I loved the questions I couldn’t help but constantly ask myself while I was reading Moments. Normally I’m not into short stories very much, but I loved reading Harmony Kent’s collection. When I’m sending a postcard to someone I always like to personalize the card by using a fitting quote. I’m sure that I’ll consult Moments on many occasions for the poems and the messages they contain.

Advice

If you like thought-provoking short stories and poems with a deeper meaning I highly recommend Moments.

***
The link to the original post is HERE.
You can buy and preview MOMENTS by going to my book page HERE.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing my writing and publishing journey with me! :)
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#RRBC Book and Blog Block Party!

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Welcome to the 2017 RRBC SPRINGTIME BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY!

Welcome to Harmony’s place, Cornwall, UK

 

Prizes I have on offer today:

1st place = ONE copy each of the reader’s choice of TWO of my ebooks. PLUS a $5 Amazon GC.

books banner inc moments without anthologies

2nd place = One copy of the  reader’s choice of ONE of my ebooks.

3rd place = (United Kingdom Only—sorry) A bit of SWAG: Bookmarks and a notepad.

 

Author Swag Pic

Number of winners on this stop: Three!

All you have to do is leave a comment! Good luck :)

1gift-boxes

And the winners are …

1st place is Joan Hall!

2nd place is Flossie Benton Rogers!

3rd place is Michelle Abbott!

Congrats, everyone!

Today, I am launching my latest book, MOMENTS

A Collection of Short Stories and Poems

Well, folks, I thought it was about time that I brought together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. My latest book comes out today, and the order links are listed at the end of the post :)

About the Book:

Come.

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.Kindle Cover Moments

These tales touch upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement.

And then, after all that, you’ll find the poems.

From the lonely echoes of an empty house to the soaring heights of unexpected love and joy and learning to live as free as clouds and water.

For each of us, a moment encompasses a lifetime and, yet, passes in but the blink of an eye. In but a moment, everything can change. And in this very moment, life beckons in all its potentiality.

When the shadows fall, what will you do?

Excerpt One:

(From The Locked Door)

Blog 03-The Locked Door

Only in its absence did Celeste simultaneously notice and miss the comfort the sound had offered. Shrouded (smothered) in the cold, swirling mist, the world felt muted. As though she may well be the last person on the planet. And now, inexplicably, her shoes no longer clip-clopped an accompanying beat to her hurried steps.

Chilled, and not so much from the weather, Celeste paused mid-step, one foot held a couple of inches above the frigid ground. Her breath frosted the air but immediately became lost in the world of white. When she sucked in the next one, it caught in her throat. Celeste listened.

Halloween had to be the worst night to have gotten caught outside at midnight. And this unseasonably icy fog felt surreal and threatening. What’s more, the further she walked, the thicker and colder it grew.

When had she stopped hearing her footsteps? And why did the air feel so solid all of a sudden? Her next step confirmed her fears; each lift of the leg felt like wading through treacle. Perhaps, she ought to go home. How hard could it be to break in?

 

Excerpt Two:

(From the poem Hello)

Blog 02-Hello

HELLO?

 

Sitting at a crowded table

Good food, good friends, good wine

And still a silent tear escapes

The corner of my eye

 

Surreptitious wipe

Hoping nobody sees

Their sympathy will only

Bring me to my knees

 

And who could truly understand

This empty chair in which I sit

Or the ache masked by my laughter

Is there anyone there?

Buy Moments now!

Amazon US and Amazon UK

For all books available from me, check out my author pages at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Trailer videos: Harmony’s trailers.

Twitter: @harmony_kent https://twitter.com/harmony_kent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

RWISA Author Page: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harmony-kent/

You can find all the other tour stops on the month long RRBC Springtime Book and Block Blog Party HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Welcome #Author Traci Sanders & Living-Write-Life

Hi, everyone, & welcome to Harmony’s place today.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome author Traci Sanders, who is celebrating the launch of her latest series: WRITE IT WRITE!

Volume I – Before You Publish – Tips on grammar, writing, and editing
Volume II – Beyond The Book – Tips on publishing, marketing, and networking to build your brand
Volume III – Living The Write Life – Tips on making the most of your writing skills

MY 3 BOOKS

TIP 359: 8 ways to save money

(that can be put toward publishing costs)

This tip, and many others on how to survive authorhood can be found in Living The Write Life: Tips on making the most of your writing skills, now available in digital and paperback format.
1.       FOOD: Cook at home as often as possible. Plan a menu that includes every meal for the week and stick to your grocery list. Allow yourself to eat restaurant food only once per week—better yet, once per month. I have found that food cooked at home tastes fresher and is much healthier for your body because YOU control the sodium, sugar, and fat. Have a meal-prep day. Cut your vegetables and prepare sides ahead of time—perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday (for the entire week). Go ahead and set the meat out for that morning and let it be marinating for dinner that night. Then all you have to do is throw it on the grill or in the oven and cook when you are ready. Don’t plan your meal for that week based on Buy-One-Get-One-Free specials at your local grocery store. Instead, plan it with whatever meals you’d like. Then, go purchase the Buy-One-Get-One-Free items to use in stocking your freezer or pantry—basically … overstock. You’d be surprised how quickly your stockpile grows. After a couple of months of doing this. You will realize that your grocery bill will shrink because you will have an ample supply of some items each week. And NEVER shop when you are hungry!
2.       PLAN AND BUDGET FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS: You know these things are going to come up every year–birthdays, anniversaries, and the big one … Christmas! Try to either set aside a “discretionary fund” for these expenses and add a little to it each month, or buy these items when you see them on sale and save them for the upcoming occasions. For instance, shopping for Christmas decorations, cards, and presents, immediately after Christmas can save you a significant amount of money. The same goes with Halloween costumes. The stores need to get rid of the merchandise quickly to avoid returns and restocking.
3.       UTILITIES: In winter, wash and dry clothes during the day to help warm the house. It will keep your thermostat at a steady temperature, which prevents the unit from having to work as hard. During summer, try to only do laundry after the sun goes down, and try to limit it to one to two loads per night. Ask your utility company to come do an “energy conservation” check in your home. They will check for any area that allows leaks of energy—such as windows, doors, etc., which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run on your utilities.ltwl kindle f16 17
4.       INDULGENCES: Love that special gourmet coffee from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.? Now it is sold in retail stores like Kroger and Publix. If you are a huge coffee drinker and simply must have that “treat” every morning to function, make it at home—add whatever flavored creamer or whipped cream you like.
5.       FUEL: Fill your car up on gas as often as possible, rather than putting in ten to twenty dollars’ worth here and there. Kroger has a great incentive plan where you earn fuel points for spending a certain amount of money in their store. It’s best to wait until the end of the month to fill up your tank because you get the biggest discount. Instead of ten cents per gallon savings, it can be a significant as sixty or seventy cents’ savings per gallon!
6.       SHOPPING: Shopping online for clothing, shoes, etc., can save you a significant amount of time—and fuel. Instead of standing in line at retailers, not to mention the stop-and-go effect on your fuel usage, and wear-and-tear on your car, you can buy many things with the touch of a button these days. And many companies give you added discounts and free shipping! I highly recommend (ebates.com) https://www.ebates.com/r/TRACIS511?eeid=28187
7.       They reimburse you between 2 percent and 7 percent on every purchase you make, for companies they are affiliated with.
8.       CLOTHES: Sell some things you no longer wear or need on e-Bay or Amazon. My rule is, if you haven’t used it or worn it in two seasons, you probably aren’t going to. Give someone else a chance to benefit from it.
9.       PAY YOURSELF: Every time you don’t dine out at a restaurant, forego that gourmet coffee in a store, resist the new shoes you saw in the mall, or didn’t buy that gorgeous bracelet from HSN; reward yourself by putting the money you would have spent on that item in a jar, or better yet, in an interest-earning account.
 
BONUS: Saving money is not a big thing—it’s a lot of little things that add up. It’s choices we make every moment of the day. To eat out or not, to use the stove or the grill, remembering to leave the water running just a little during the winter to keep the pipes from freezing up or not, to allow our kids to play several sports or simply focus on one at a time.
 
These spending habits boil down to—individual needs, personal preferences, and will power. When we choose NOT to go over budget, we are not depriving ourselves of things—we are empowering ourselves with financial security and peace of mind.
About the author:
 DSC_0055
Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. 
An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.
Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.
Twittter handle: @tmsanders2014
 
Traci is giving away two prizes during this tour:

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.

I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.

Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com.

GOOD LUCK!

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Monday Musings Forty-five: Square Peg

Monday Musings Banner

Square Peg

 

For each of us, there comes a time in life when we need to let go of the unnecessary drama. For each of us, there comes a moment when we see how we’ve bent ourselves into a shape that fits the people around us rather than ourselves. For each of us, there comes a point when we see that this has to stop. That we need to unbend. That we need to stop trying to fit the square peg into the round hole.

This will not prove easy, and at times, will feel impossible. However, we must persevere. Some people will only love you if you fit into their box. Don’t feel afraid to disappoint; it’s not healthy to let those sorts of people have that amount of influence over your life.

It is only when we begin to unbend and find our own shape that we discover who we are meant to be. As with Monday Musings Twenty-nine, we need to find our life purpose. Only then will we find contentment and peace.

All it takes is that first moment of seeing, and then making the decision to take the first step toward change. In the words of the Buddha, One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

The greatest prison that we can live in is the fear of what people think. As with Monday Musings Thirty-nine, we don’t need to play the blame game. The only folks that truly matter will encourage you to be yourself and rejoice when you blossom.

The Dalai Lama once asked, ‘What is love?’ And then went on to say, ‘Love is the absence of judgement.’ If we find ourselves surrounded by people who judge us and pull us down, then perhaps the time has come to dig deep for the courage to instigate change.

When you come to a point where you have no need to impress anybody, then your freedom and contentment and peace will commence. In this instance, a good question to ask is, ‘Is it worth it?’ It’s never easy to take a good honest look at our lives, but in the end, it makes for the easier path and the greatest happiness.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Joan Hall

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Joan Hall :)

Take it away, Joan …

 

Hi everyone! Joan here for this last day of the Story Empire Road Show. Can you believe the week has already passed? I want to thank Harmony for hosting me today.

People often attribute the phrase “kill your darlings” to author Stephen King. He was actually quoting another author, William Faulkner. During the editing process, there are times when writers need to eliminate unnecessary scenes—even entire chapters. Often, we are quite fond of these scenes and don’t want to let go. Hence the phrase, “kill your darlings.”

The following scene is one that I deleted after the first draft of Unseen Motives. By removing this scene from the final draft, I was able to eliminate one point of view character without taking anything from the story.

***

Angelica Rossi watched the driver load the bags into the trunk of the taxi from her second story window. After her conversation with Jorge the evening before, she had remained in her room. She didn’t intend to come out until he left.

It came as no surprise when he asked her to leave. She’d seen it coming. Jorge had been restless the past few months and she sensed he had grown weary of their relationship.

She was also tired of him. Yes, she lived in a fancy house, wore the finest clothes, and could lounge on the beach all day if she desired. But in many ways, she had felt like a prisoner. They never went out to dinner. Jorge had forbidden her to have any contact with her family and friends. Their only visitor was his “so called” business partner.

The fact she had convinced him to take a cruise came as a surprise. She hoped it was a sign he would begin to socialize more often. However, once they boarded the ship, he spent the entire time in their cabin. He feigneUnseen Motives Thumbnaild illness, but she knew better. It was almost as if he were hiding from someone.

After they returned from the cruise, she contacted her brother Antonio and told him she suspected Jorge was living a secret life. Antonio had connections. He would learn the truth.

Angel waited until Jorge climbed into the back seat of the limo. Business trip, nothing. He was up to something.

She walked outside to the swimming pool, slipped her cell phone from her pocket and pressed the speed dial button for Antonio. “He just left for the airport.”

“Okay, we’re on it. I’ll call you later.”

Angel slipped off her swimsuit cover and walked to the deep end of the pool. It would be an hour or more before he called back. She dove in and swam a few laps before climbing into the adjacent hot tub. The warm water relaxed and soothed her. She would miss this life of leisure, but she had to get away.

Two hours later, her phone rang. “We tracked him at the airport. He boarded a non-stop flight for Atlanta, Georgia with a connecting flight to Dallas, Texas.”

“You’re sure he got on the plane?”

“Positive. The plane departed twenty minutes ago. We’re tracking the flight.”

“Thanks.” She ended the call and went to her room.

After a quick shower, Angel walked downstairs to find the housekeeper, Lucia.

“Lucia, I feel like having something special for dinner tonight. Would you be so kind as to go to the market and pick up a few things?”

“Yes, Miss Angel.”

She handed the list to Lucia and waited until she was gone before entering Jorge’s study. Lucia wouldn’t talk, but Angel didn’t want to place her in a difficult position. Jorge had ways of getting what he wanted and intimidation was one of his tactics.

Not that it mattered if Jorge learned of her snooping. She would be far away when he returned. She sat down at the desk and smiled as she booted up the computer. Jorge would be surprised to know she could easily crack most computer passwords. It didn’t take her long to figure out his.

She wanted to find something that might give her a clue as to his background. His bookmarked sights revealed nothing. But when she looked at his browsing history she found an interesting pattern.

Why would he be so interested in a small Texas town? Antonio said Jorge had a connecting flight to Dallas.

She clicked on several links and came to an online edition of the Driscoll Lake Reporter. He had viewed several recently published articles. Why was he so interested about a twenty-year-old murder case?

After reading the article and viewing photos of the newspaper staff, she knew why he had remained in their room during the cruise.

Her phone rang, and she jumped at the sound. Relieved to see it was her brother calling she answered. “Antonio, I’m glad you called. I’ve found something interesting on Jorge’s computer.”

“You’re searching his computer? He could have some type of alert system.”

“It doesn’t matter. He’ll be away for several days. I’ll be gone before he returns.”

“You can’t wait. Your life may be in danger.”

“I thought by this time he would be half way to America.”

“He is, but you’re not going to like what we’ve found out about him. I’m sending a car for you. They will be there in twenty minutes.”

“I won’t have time to get all my things together.”

“Never mind them. Throw some things in a suitcase and be ready.”

***

Hard to believe this wraps it up for the Story Empire Road Show. I’ve enjoyed all the tour stops and getting to know you. Unseen Motives is on sale this week for .99. Click here for the purchase link.

Remember, I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one winner.

To be entered in the random drawing, please leave a comment below.

 

joan author box updated

Connect with Joan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome PH Solomon

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author PH Solomon :)

Take it away, PH …

Hello to everyone and thanks to Harmony for hosting me today. I’m P. H. Solomon and I’m a fantasy author, living in greater Birmingham, AL. It’s great to be a part of Story Empire and be on the Roadshow this week. I hope you’ll enjoy all the stops and authors this week and look at our books. To see our schedule and information about our prizes, please click to our Roadshow page and see where we are making appearances each day. This week I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the most active commenter.

 

AAATW Book Cover II 300dpi (1)

 

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.

 

The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues as Athson and his companions have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren but they are still pursued. In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed while in Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes to entrap them all. With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he falter as An Arrow Against the Wind?

 

That’s the blurb for An Arrow Against the Wind in which the quest for The Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions. It’s a book that carries the characters into challenges both personal and external, requiring even more perseverance than in The Bow of Destiny. In this short sample, we find Athson is confronted once again by the wizard Corgren who wants the Bow of Hart for his master Magdronu:

 

Athson’s chest heaved and he gasped, “Father.”

Ath shifted at his words. “Is that you, Athson. Run! Don’t let him-.”

Corgren slapped Ath. “Silence!”

Athson hefted his sword. “Do that again and I’ll kill you.”

The wizard displayed a cruel grin. “One step, ranger, and he’ll die.” He motioned with his hand and the hobgoblin held a dagger at Ath’s throat.

Athson’s breath returned but his stomach boiled and his mind seethed. “I’ll kill you both with arrows.” His low growl carried across the bowl-shaped depression in the rock.

“Your good but not that good.” The wizard drew a wolf’s-head dagger. “We’ll kill him either way.”

Athson tightened and loosened his grip on his weapons. He could do it. Maybe. Where was Gweld when he needed him? “What do you want? You brought me here to talk.”

Corgren’s laugh rolled with mockery. “You see, wretch? He’s smarter than you. Maybe he’ll get right what you and you traitorous ancestors didn’t.” He motioned to Athson with his free hand. “You know what I want. Get it and he lives.”

Traitors? This was news. Athson’s vision narrowed with his frown. “What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.” He leaned toward Athson’s father. “Maybe he’s not so smart.”

Ath opened his mouth but the hobgoblin yanked his head back and pressed the blade closer. The blind man shut his mouth.

Athson stared. His father was a shell of the man in his memory. Scarred eye-sockets. His face smudged with dirty and covered with a patchy beard. His body gaunt, drained of vitality. Athson ground his teeth. “I should kill you regardless, wizard, right now. The world would be rid of a monster like you!” He cared nothing for elvish views on revenge in that moment. But he needed something more. “What do you mean ‘traitors’?”

“My master and I can give and take away. Want a taste of what you can have?” Corgren cupped has hand over one of Ath’s eyesockets and uttered a spell. Green mage-fire flared beneath the wizard’s fingers. Ath sat up stiff with a cry and his face trembled.

Athson took a step. “Stop it, or I’ll-”

The troll pressed the knife-point at Ath’s throat. Blood dripped from his neck.

 

I hope you like that but I’ll leave the rest for you to read when it’s released as more happens to twist Athson’s emotions into knots that keep him moving toward the Bow of Hart. An Arrow Against the Wind is due out at the end of April and is now available for pre-orders. Just click the previous link to see all the retailer links.

Thanks for reading this post today and be sure to check out our schedule. While you’re here, feel free to have a look at my current book, The Bow of Destiny and the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind. You can click on my bio banner below to pay me a visit at my website and learn more about me and the rest of The Bow of Hart Saga. Please follow me all week as I share more about my writing each day.

Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | Google +  Wattpad | Amazon Author

Here are some free novellas that relate to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords and on Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Mae Clair

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Mae Clair :)

Take it away, Mae …

Setting as Character

I’m happy to be visiting with Harmony during the Story Empire Roadshow blog tour. There are posts at all SE author blogs today, with tour prizes scattered throughout, so be sure to check the full slate of events HERE. And don’t forget to follow along, as prizes are up for grabs when the tour is complete. I’ll be giving a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card away. The more you follow and comment, the more your chances to win. And there might even be a prize in the mix today too J

 

Today, I thought I’d chat about setting.

Recently, a book reviewer chose Eclipse Lake to illustrate the importance of setting in her post “21 Ingredients of a Great Novel.” I was flattered, but also impressed she keyed in on an element that resonated strongly with me during the development of the story.

I like small town settings and have used them throughout my books. In the case of Eclipse Lake, the setting is loosely based on an area I’m well acquainted with. It’s an odd combination—a resort lake tucked between mountains that attracts recreational enthusiasts, and is home to year-round and summer residents. Properties range from high end mansions to rural homesteads and hunting/fishing cabins. The first time I visited I was struck by the idyllic nature of pastures dotted with cows and sheep, the charm of old antique shops, and the ruggedness of gravel roads cut into the mountains.

countryside landscape; rural farm and farmland field

countryside landscape; rural farm and farmland field

 

Firehouse “eat-alls” are common. By the same token, you can head down to the marina and enjoy lunch on the deck, or take a dinner cruise at night. The location that inspired Eclipse Lake is a combination of affluence and quaintness. That’s exactly the mix I wanted for a story in which old memories cross boundaries. Take a look:

BLURB:
Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

~ooOOoo~

EXCERPT:
“You get unpacked?” Dane asked.

“Yeah.” Jesse jerked a thumb over his shoulder, indicating the loft on the upper level of the cabin. “I took the bed upstairs.”Eclipse Lake Final

Dane nodded. He closed his empty suitcase and shoved it into the closet. The cabin was clean, not overly large, but roomy. A kitchen, living area, two bedrooms and bath were situated on the main level with a loft wedged beneath the roof peak. When he was a kid, the cabins had attracted hunters and fisherman. While that was still true, the appeal had grown, extending to recreational tourists, nature lovers, and a few oddball travelers like the New Age Cultists entrenched around the bend.

I don’t care if they worship toads, the man in the moon or Starbucks, as long as they pay and don’t trash the place,” the chatty woman who’d given him a key to the cabin had explained. “Sign here and Cabin Twenty is all yours.”

“So, this is where you grew up?” Jesse pulled him from his thoughts. He plopped onto the bed looking comfortable in faded denim shorts and a baggy green t-shirt.

“More or less.”

Except for the year he’d spent in Wells City Juvie, followed by six months in an adult prison. How did he tell his kid that? Jesse excelled in everything he did: honor roll, student council. He was even a regional archery champion. Nothing like learning your millionaire dad had been a royal screw-up.

“So when are you going to see your brother?” Jesse prodded.

“Soon.”

“Uh-huh.” A pause said he wasn’t buying it. “Why’d you leave in the first place?”

Because I was a thief who slept with my brother’s girlfriend. A screwed up kid with nowhere to go but down.

~ooOOoo~

Intrigued?
Eclipse Lake is a full-length novel of mystery, sweet romance and family drama.
Presently on sale!

Purchase a copy from Amazon • .99 Cents until April 7

Thanks for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to see what the other SE authors have going on during the Story Empire Roadshow. Leave a comment to be eligible for my grand prize drawing for a $10.00 Amazon gift card (the more you follow my tour and comment, the more your chances to win).

For today’s tour stop, I’ll also draw one randomly selected name for an ebook win. Winner’s choice of Solstice Island, Food for Poe, Myth and Magic or A Thousand Yesteryears.

mae author boxnew bio

Connect with Mae Clair

Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads |Google+ | Pinterest

Newsletter | Story Empire

 

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Staci Troilo

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Staci Troilo :)

Take it away, Staci …

Thanks for hosting me today, Harmony. Hi, Harmony’s followers!

I’m just going to jump right in. Today’s my birthday. First and foremost, I want to lament that my birthday buddy—Mr. Robert Downey Jr.—has once again not contacted me to offer to celebrate our special day(s) together, nor has he said he read and loved any of my work and wants to produce and star in the film adaptation thereof. Of course, I haven’t made this year’s wish yet when blowing out the candles, so I suppose there’s still time. (Fingers crossed.) Still, if history is any indication, I’ll be disappointed again.

I bring up the concept of birthdays because in Mind Control, book two of the Medici Protectorate series, we see a birthday celebration for Jo Notaro, heroine of that particular book. Like me, she prefers not to celebrate her big day because she hates to have all that attention trained on her (but she gets a party anyway), and like me, her favorite cake is almond cake.

I first fell in love with almond cake when I got married. Our wedding cake was an almond cake with what we were told was Lady Baltimore filling. I’ve since researched both Lord Baltimore and Lady Baltimore fillings, and what we got was neither.

wedding cake

But, wow, was it good.

It was an almond-flavored white cake with chopped raspberries and almonds mixed into a subtle (not super-sweet) buttercream between the layers. White chocolate frosting topped the cake. It’s not Lord or Lady Baltimore cake; call it a Royal Pittsburgh cake if you want to call it something. It replaced my prior birthday cake as my favorite cake and will likely always be at the top of my list.

In Mind Control, Jo gets her favorite meal—chili and a Primanti Bros. sandwich—for dinner and an almond cake with raspberry custard filling, whipped cream frosting, and toasted almond slivers on the sides for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Jo and I are both pretty low-key and down-to-earth—neither of us is going to ask for pheasant under glass for dinner—but I’d prefer homemade pasta (preferably my grandmother’s, but any homemade pasta will do, particularly with spare rib sauce, a tossed salad, and garlic bread) for my favorite meal. Although, any of you who have been to Primanti Bros. will understand how that could be someone’s favorite meal, as their sandwiches are fabulous. (You can read about Pittsburgh’s famous Primant Bros. in Mind Control, or visit their website for more information.)

I’ve gone on and on about food for a while now, so I should probably get to the point.

Food is a defining characteristic for Italians/Italian-Americans. As both the heroes and heroines in my Medici Protectorate series are of Italian descent, it only seemed fitting that my novels use food to define the culture and deepen a reader’s understanding of the characters.

Several meals are mentioned in the novels, and we even learn some preparation methods. There have been many requests for recipes, and my publisher is in talks with me regarding a Medici Protectorate cookbook. I don’t know if that will happen, but I do know I have oodles of recipes I could put into it.

The important part to note, however, is that food brings these characters together. They share casual meals as family. They have romantic dinners for two made with slightly more flair. They have huge celebrations with a ridiculous amount of food, because that’s what Italians do when they mark an occasion. Some of their meals are healthy, others are decadent, but all are delicious and abundant.

Because Italians show their love for one another through food.

And that’s one of the ways characters in my Medici Protectorate series show their love for each other. Through the preparation of food and the sharing of meals.dual ad

Yes, I know other cultures use food in similar manners, and yes, I know there are other ways to show love. But I wanted to mention this particular method in relation to this particular series because I believe food helps define these characters.

And aren’t writers always looking for a way to make characters more relatable?

Bleeding Heart (book one of the Medici Protectorate series) and Mind Control (book two) are on sale this week as part of the Story Empire Bookmobile Tour. If you’re interested, check them out while they’re discounted. Book three, Body Armor, will be out soon, so if you enjoy the first two, you won’t have to wait long for the third. I can promise yummy food in each one, and a lot of love between the characters, too.

Well, still no word from RDJ. I guess I’m on my own again this year. It’s Lent, and I’ve given up indulgences until Easter, so I won’t be having any cake today, nor will I get to blow out candles and make a birthday wish until Lent is over. Maybe I’ll get a belated wish from Mr. Downey. (A girl can dream, right?)

In the meantime, if you aren’t abstaining for Lent, perhaps you’d like to have some cake for me. If you’re a baker, here’s a family recipe for almond cake. The best part? It’s made with a cake mix, so it’s super easy. Fill and/or top as you’re so inclined. But might I recommend whipped cream, raspberries, and almond slivers?

Almond Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Extract (extracts are strong; if you aren’t sure about how much almond flavor you like, use less the first time)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place first four ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix on low until just combined.
  3. Add extracts and mix at medium speed until well blended. (Don’t over mix.)
  4. Grease and flour a 9X13 or two 9-inch round pans and pour in batter. (If using two pans, distribute batter evenly between the two.)
  5. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Start checking two minutes early so the cake doesn’t over bake. May require a few extra minute to fully cook. Baking times depend on your particular oven.)
  6. Cool on wire rack. Flip out of pan(s) to finish cooling after 5 minutes.
  7. Fill, glaze, and/or frost as desired.

 

Thanks, Harmony. Sharing a little bit of my culture here today on my second stop on the Story Empire Roadshow was really fun!

And to your readers, I want to reward you for reading this far. One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here). Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate refrigerator magnet. Good luck!

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Medici Protectorate Series Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

 

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.
Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

 

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?
Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

 

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

 

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Craig Boyack

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Craig Boyack :)

Take it away, Craig …

Welcome to day one of the Story Empire Roadshow. We decided to take some of our fiction on the road to expose it to new readers. What better device to illustrate this concept than an old fashioned bookmobile.

Thanks to Harmony for hosting my first stop, and I’ve got something fun for you today:

I’m pricing my best selling title, Panama, at 99¢ today and tomorrow.

 image1

Panama is the story of two ex-cavalrymen who get asked by President Roosevelt to look into some strange happenings at the construction site of the Panama Canal.

This is a paranormal tale, and because the construction zone was made up of international laborers, I decided any magic there would have an international flavor too. There is a bit of witchcraft, some hoodoo, and even a few shamanistic references.

image2 Aside from the demon rampaging through the jungle, Ethan and Coop have to deal with Carlist rebels who want to reclaim all the Spanish colonies in the New World.

Add in the appropriate steam powered equipment, the backdrop of a brutal jungle, and one horse with a bad attitude, and I think it makes for a pretty good story. This is also a buddy story, and the characters really come into their own in this one. I even peppered in a few appropriate celebrity cameos to keep it fun.

 I hope you’ll take a chance on Panama. The sale ends in two days, and after that it’s back to $2.99. Don’t worry though, I have other promotions going on this week so follow the tour.

 To keep you interested in the tour, at the end of the week I’m going to tally up the comments and award some prizes. I have two gigantic coffee mugs to give away, and they are well worth winning. They feature my personal assistant, and spokesmodel, Lisa Burton alongside a bust of me. Here’s a photo for reference.

I’d appreciate your sharing this across social media, and maybe some of you will find your next reading adventure.

 Story Empire is a co-op of authors, and we’re all working the bookmobile this week. I’m hosting Staci Troilo today, and Harmony is appearing at Joan Hall’s place. You can see the entire schedule at this link. (Our tour page.)

craig-author-box

 

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Monday Musings Forty-four: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice

 

Two kinds of pride exist. One has positive connotations while the other takes on a more negative aspect.

The first pride both comes from and reinforces selflessness. Based on a person’s achievements and qualities, it reflects simple pleasure in a job well done, or our achievements, etc. This feeling comes from deep within and uplifts us. This first kind of pride helps us to feel confident.

The second type of pride comes from our ego, which lends itself to arrogance and selfishness and inflates our opinion of ourselves. This kind of pride brings a false sense of superiority. In the end, though, it just makes us feel insecure and jealous. Which, of course, leads to trouble because we feel a need to prove ourselves and impress those around us. Our ego believes that we have far more importance than we do and, therefore, will not allow us to admit when we get things wrong or that we have made a mistake.

In short, we become unable to ‘own it’. (See Monday Musings 17.) Worse still, even when we know them to be flawed, we justify our actions and thoughts.

This second kind of pride encourages prejudice and judgement. In contradiction, however, the first type of pride encourages sharing and helping others to become the best that they can. That pride enjoys seeing others succeed.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

True pride can take an honest look at both ourselves and others and see achievements for what they are. It doesn’t need to judge or compare or put people down. It sees that we all have equality, and that such equality encompasses inherent differences.

We don’t need to compare porridge with concrete. All we need to know is that you don’t eat concrete. Both have inherent qualities and uses, and rather than judging one against the other, we live in such a way that we make best use of both.

With the right kind of pride, we find that making a mistake doesn’t worry or embarrass us. With no difficulty, we can admit to it and own it. Each day brings something new for us to learn. Each and every one of us learns from birth to death, unless we allow our egos to become so over-inflated that we believe we know it all already and that we’ve become immune to making mistakes.

This provides an interesting paradox: That the most seemingly arrogant or prideful people are, in fact, often the most inadequate. They have fragile egos. Whereas the strongest egos appear unassuming and modest while getting on with their lives in a quiet manner. Those sorts of people always seem to be there when others need them.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Pride makes us artificial. Humility makes us real.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-three: Dark Intent

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Dark Intent

 

‘A Truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent.’

William Blake (Auguries of Innocence)

While researching for a magazine article I wrote recently, I came across the above poem by William Blake. For the piece, I wanted the opening lines … about the world in a grain of sand. However, these lines near the end of the work also grabbed my attention. They reminded me that it isn’t always best to ‘say it like it is’.

Intention is all important. Whether in deed or speech.

While I don’t advocate outright lying, I would advise circumspection in the truth you choose to tell. As with Monday Musings Forty-one on Gatekeepers, we need to exercise prudence in all that we say. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

The third of those questions is, perhaps, the most pertinent. Is it necessary?

If your intention is to hurt someone, then telling a brutal truth will do far more damage than a lie, no matter how inventive that lie. The truth resonates deep within us. Don’t get me wrong, though; a lie does enough damage too.

I have come across many people who love to say, ‘Just telling it like it is.’ And they feel brash and harsh to be around. Moreover, much of what they profess as truth telling just comes down to spouting their own opinions that grow from their (mis)perceptions.

I spend as little time as possible around people like that. They drag everyone down and are the only perfect person in the room. Whether they realise it or not, their intention is a selfish one. And that kind of attitude usually indicates deeply buried inadequacy, hidden and festering.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

That last line bears re-reading. It shows us how important it is not to judge anyone. All of us have things we need to work on/with. All of us need help, not rejection. In the above case, the more rejection, then the further buried the inadequacy, and the louder the ‘telling it like it is’.

Study your intentions. Examine the motivation behind the words that bubble up behind your tongue. Ask again, is it necessary? If it’s not good to say, then remain silent. That proves far better than lying. And, remember, telling the truth gives you a far easier life; you don’t have to remember anything like you do when you make up a lie.

I have come across numerous quotes to the effect that making someone cry by telling the truth is better than making them happy with a lie; what none of them offer is the option of simply saying nothing.

One lie is all it takes for someone to lose faith in you. So, always remain upfront, and if you can’t do that, then don’t say anything.

This all comes down to integrity. To utter the truth with good intentions can only happen when we can be truthful with ourselves. If you can’t be honest within yourself, then you can never be honest with another. Always, you will only have your version of the truth, rather than the truth itself.

The saddest thing with all of this is that the more you lie, then the more you believe your own deceits. They become your reality and your truth. Eventually, your whole life becomes a lie. From such a place, you have no chance of seeing it like it is, never mind telling it like it is.

When seen through clear vision and said with good intentions, then truth or honest silence is the way to go. The truth may hurt for a while, but a lie hurts forever. And, when we get right down to it, truth uttered with bad intent proves no better than the worst of lies. This is because you are not speaking truth, as such, and certainly not living the truth. All of it comes through negative filters, and the person listening to your words will only hear the malice. No truth can come through because you’ve twisted it into something else.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘The most dangerous liars are those who think they are telling the truth.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-two: The Curve that Sets Everything Straight

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The Curve that Sets Everything Straight

 

It’s so important to smile. What we do with our face has a direct effect on what our bodies do with us. The chemicals and emotions with which they fill us. A smile keeps all of that cocktail on the positive end of the scale. And that upward curve of the lips spreads joy rather than pain.

Briefly, toward the end of Monday Musings Twenty-six, we talked about the importance of having a deep belly laugh at least once a day, and how even the tiniest of smiles contains a universe full of magic. Truly, it holds transformative powers.

Not only does our expression reflect our mood, but our mood can change depending on what we do with our face. If we frown enough, then we’ll end up feeling grumpy. The same goes for smiling. If we curve our lips upward for long enough, then we’ll begin to feel better. And, for certain, those around us will feel happier for receiving a smile rather than a scowl.

Our facial expression reflects in our voice too. When we frown, we tend to sound stern. And when we smile, we sound happier and lighter. So, even on the telephone, where our face remains hidden, it’s important to smile when we speak—or, at least, refrain from frowning.

From a vanity perspective, a smile helps us grow older without deep frown lines. Rather, any skin creases we develop, grow upward and smoother instead and help us maintain a more youthful appearance. The reverse, of course, is that deep frown lines age us immeasurably. I know which I choose.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

To smile throughout the day, and thus avoiding anger and grumpiness in response to events, helps to lower our blood pressure and has all sorts of other health benefits. As stated in Monday Musings Twenty-six, a smile has the power to transform even the blackest of moods and make the world a brighter place. Just that little upward lift of facial muscles can change the whole energy of a room and the mood of those around us.

Think about a time when you’ve walked into a room and immediately wanted to walk back out because the atmosphere has felt so dark and tense. Think about the people that you enjoy being around … what kind of disposition do they have for the majority of the time?

Note that I qualify that last question with ‘the majority of the time’. I do this because not a one of us can remain bright and happy one-hundred percent of the day. We’re all human, and we all wobble now and then. The important thing is that we can reset to a happy medium rather than a grumpy one.

Each one of us has a baseline to which we return time and again. Lottery winners have described an initial feeling of euphoria and walking around on cloud nine. However, after enough time has passed, they each return to their normal baseline of functioning. The same happens when we experience deep despair or trauma. Eventually, we will return to our baseline.

The more we smile, the more our baseline becomes happy and positive rather than gloomy and negative. Like anything in life, it takes time and patient perseverance, but is so worth the effort.

A smile can hide so many other feelings like hurt, fear, and sadness, but it also shows strength. Each time you smile at someone, you give them an invaluable gift. Be someone else’s sunshine. Be the reason that they smile today. And in return, you will receive the sunshine back into yourself.

Always, a reason to smile exists, just that sometimes, you have to hunt for it.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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How to Catch a Cowboy

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Hello, everyone! Today I bring you author Sandra Madden and her Western Historical Novel How to Catch a Cowboy. Sandra will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLURB:

Matilda Rose Applebee isn’t looking for love when she captures Cooper T. Davis at gunpoint. Her younger sister is in the family way and claims Cooper is responsible. Matilda aims to haul the snake-belly back to her sister’s waiting arms. But Cooper insists Matty’s sister is mistaken as they begin a long and dangerous journey.

 

ExcerpMediaKit_BookCover_HowToCatchACowboyCropt:

“You’re the best dancer of all,” she said, gazing up into his eyes, a beguiling smile on her lips.

Moist, pink lips, full and sweet. Lips he yearned to kiss. “Matilda Rose, be careful or you’ll bewitch me,” Cooper warned.

She laughed, a light lilting laugh, as if he’d said something terribly amusing.

As they danced slowly, silently, the tantalizing movements of her body pressed to his, propelled Coop’s heart into an irregular rhythm. The smoky simmer of desire curled through his core, shot to his fingertips. Like some demented soul, he continued to torture himself with a woman he could not have.

When the music ended, his lips grazed the top of her head, stealing a taste of her sweet, silky hair.

Matilda Rose stepped back, her lips parted in a dazzling smile, her eyes sparkling as they met his. She had no idea how he felt, how much he wanted her.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

This mostly truthful biography is longer than most of my books. But the older you become, it seems the more there is to say. Whether it’s important or not. Whether anyone is listening.

I was born in New York City but raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small isthmus that juts into the Atlantic Ocean five miles north of Boston. During the long cold winters – read REALLY COLD! – I read and I wrote. My favorite authors were Bronte and Austin before they became required reading. I wrote stories to amuse myself which led to writing the 6th grade school play. When I discovered drama classes in the ninth grade, I gave up writing for a few years. And, yes, I was the perky cheerleader who played Emily in Our Town. Not a dry eye in the house!MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HowToCatchACowboy

Following high school graduation my family moved to the warmer climate of South Florida – just when I was getting acclimated to the constant cold.

At the University of Miami, I majored in Radio/TV/Film. (As the program was called in those days – and one of the first departments of its kind in the nation.) I minored in drama. For three of my four years in college I acted in thirty- minute radio dramas almost on a weekly basis. Inevitably these live broadcasts of Theater X were love stories in which I played the heroine. Usually, the tragic heroine. I credit this experience as having set me on a course of no return. Romance and fantasy became my fate.

But first I experienced a short-lived career as a broadcast journalist. I was too far ahead of my time to fight the slings and arrows of the newsmens’ contempt, so I switched. I became a broadcast copy/promotional writer and worked in the Miami and Los Angeles markets. But my most rewarding work was as a writer/producer/host for a Miami PBS station. (Due to the public broadcasting budget each person is This mostly truthful biography is longer than most of my books. But the older you become, it seems the more there is to say. Whether it’s important or not. Whether anyone is listening.

 

I was born in New York City but raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small isthmus that juts into the Atlantic Ocean five miles north of Boston. During the long cold winters – read REALLY COLD! – I read and I wrote. My favorite authors were Bronte and Austin before they became required reading. I wrote stories to amuse myself which led to writing the 6th grade school play. When I discovered drama classes in the ninth grade, I gave up writing for a few years. And, yes, I was the perky cheerleader who played Emily in Our Town. Not a dry eye in the house!

Following high school graduation my family moved to the warmer climate of South Florida – just when I was getting acclimated to the constant cold.

At the University of Miami, I majored in Radio/TV/Film. (As the program was called in those days – and one of the first departments of its kind in the nation.) I minored in drama. For three of my four years in college I acted in thirty- minute radio dramas almost on a weekly basis. Inevitably these live broadcasts of Theater X were love stories in which I played the heroine. Usually, the tragic heroine. I credit this experience as having set me on a course of no return. Romance and fantasy became my fate.

But first I experienced a short-lived career as a broadcast journalist. I was too far ahead of my time to fight the slings and arrows of the newsmens’ contempt, so I switched. I became a broadcast copy/promotional writer and worked in the Miami and Los Angeles markets. But my most rewarding work was as a writer/producer/host for a Miami PBS station. (Due to the public broadcasting budget each person is expected to fill a variety of roles for one salary. One small salary.) I focused on How-To series, public affairs – of the political kind – and women’s issues. During this time I met many inspiring women who shared their stories with me, women whose remarkable achievements, great spirits and strength influenced my work as I started to write. First, I became a published poet. It didn’t take much time for me to write short verses.

As with most writers, I wrote my first historical novels in the evenings after my day job. A second wind is required to do this and it magically appears with the passion for writing.

Passion for the writing and persistence in submitting are the keys to becoming a published author. The secrets of the sisterhood gleaned from lessons learned along the way.

Not long after being published I discovered that a writer’s life is not all about the voices in your head demanding release to a page – frequently at an inopportune time. And it’s not all about three figure contracts, champagne tours and as much chocolate as you can consume. Oh. No. A writer’s life includes thundering deadlines, dry spells, assorted blocks, carpel tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulders. Occasionally, the green-eyed monster rears her head and wraps grown women in knots. But most of all, writing romance is a wonderful love story in itself. There is nothing else a romance writer would rather be doing. She is totally in love with romance and with the ability to share her stories with gracious readers. Thank you, dear reader.

 

http://sandramadden.com/

http://sandramadden.com/contact.html#newsletter

http://sandramadden.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sandrammadden

https://twitter.com/sandrammadden

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989664.Sandra_Madden

https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Madden/e/B001KI6OHY/

https://www.amazon.com/How-Catch-Cowboy-Sandra-Madden/dp/1540541134

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Monday Musings Forty-one: Gatekeepers

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Gatekeepers

 

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ How true or not this proves, comes down to the listener. It might surprise you to hear that it has nothing at all to do with the speaker. Hurtful words can only ever truly harm the person who utters them. Everything else, as with so many of our Monday Musings topics, comes down to choice.

Our emotional and psychological responses come down to our particular conditioning and how free or bound we remain by such conditioning. And it isn’t just the words we say with our tongues that have an impact. You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. So, take care to speak kindly to yourself.

Words, in and of themselves, have no substance and prove empty. It is actions that show us who someone is, not their words. Words just prove who someone wants to be. A promise of help gives nothing if not followed up with action. And still, we need to take care of our thoughts and speech.

Whether of the mind or tongue, what we say should have three gatekeepers:

Is it true?Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Wise speech can empower. If we have the strength of character to stand up and say, ‘This is wrong,’ then this helps others to do the same. In this context, silence turns out to be more dangerous than words. Recently, I discovered an interesting fact. Apparently, in law, silence implies agreement and condoning. However, within Buddhism (and most spiritual disciplines), the opposite proves true. Silence implies disagreement and disapproval. This makes it essential to understand the situation in which we find ourselves. We have to ensure that our actions and words match with one another and fit the context.

When talking, we should speak in such a way that others love to listen to us. And when listening, we should pay attention in such a way that others love to speak to us. The only way to pay proper attention is to empty our minds as much as possible. A full mind cannot take in any more information and will miss things.

The more silent we become, and the less we speak—whether by mouth or mind—the more our eyes see, and our ears hear.

As with last week’s Monday Musing, The Blame Game, we need to stop and ask ourselves, ‘Is it good to do?’ I might also suggest that another useful question is, ‘Why?’ What motivation lies behind our words?

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘Do not speak unless you can improve upon silence.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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