An Excerpt from my WIP

Taylor Fitch and Carolyn Flowers are roommates who become best friends, despite the stark differences in their personalities and approach to life, love, and relationships.

Taylor sleeps with women whom she doesn’t care to remember their names, while Carolyn is dating a man she intends to marry.

While both women attend college, Carolyn studies hard to maintain the GPA she needs to keep her scholarship, and Taylor doesn’t study at all and is barely passing her classes.

But none of that makes a difference in their friendship. They each give what the other needs.  Carolyn is nurturing when Taylor is sick, and Taylor is protective when Carolyn is hurt.

Here is an excerpt from my current WIP titled Yet, Here We Are.

It was Tuesday night. Carolyn was finishing a class assignment due the next day. Jeff sat beside her on the couch, studying the pages of a thick textbook, while scribbling notes on a pad of paper.

Rock music blasted from Taylor’s bedroom. Jeff had already complained twice to Carolyn about the noise, and maybe she should have agreed to go to the campus library when he had suggested it, but Carolyn wanted to study from the comfort of her own couch.

She watched Jeff cast another irritated look toward Taylor’s room, and the muscles of his jaw clenched in spasm-like motions. He popped the cap off his pen with his teeth and chewed the plastic like a piece of gum, showing off the strength of his jaw.

“That’s it.” Jeff shot up from the couch, his book and notepad falling to his feet. “I can’t take this anymore. You said to give it time and things would calm down. It’s been months and she has not calmed down!” Jeff screamed over the loud music. “I need to study. You need to study.” He grabbed his backpack off the floor and stuffed his books into it. “We should have gone somewhere else.”

 “She was supposed to be at her girlfriend’s tonight, but they got into a fight,” Carolyn said.

 “Big fucking surprise there,” Jeff scoffed. “And Taylor doesn’t have a girlfriend. Fuck buddy, maybe, but not a girlfriend.”

“It’s none of our business.” Carolyn lowered her voice.

“Why the hell are you whispering?” Jeff opened his arms to the room. “She can’t hear us with that crap blasting! Someone needs to tell her Guns-N-Roses died in 1994.” He shoved his notebook deeper into the bag and zipped it shut. “I don’t know how you can stand a bunch of lesbians hanging around here all the time.”

“She’s my friend,” Carolyn said.

“She’s someone you split rent with.” 

“And now she’s my friend.”

“Well, that’s disappointing.” Jeff slung the backpack over his shoulder.

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“Forget it.” He turned away. “It’s late. I’m not getting into this right now.”

“No.” Carolyn stopped him. “We need to get into this right now because I don’t like the way you look down on her. What bothers you the most about Taylor? That she’s a lesbian or that she’s promiscuous?”

“She’s a bad influence,” he responded.

“Because she’s a lesbian or because she’s promiscuous?”

Jeff straightened his posture, and his six-foot-three frame towered over Carolyn’s five-foot-seven slender stature. “She doesn’t take anything seriously. She doesn’t have her shit together and I have no patience for incompetence.”

“You’re right. If only she were as put together and mature as the idiots you hang out with. Tell me, who’s winning the ‘I can fuck more bitches than you because my dick is bigger than yours’ battle of the over-stretched egos, Matt or Billy?”

“What are you talking about?” Jeff smirked.

“Don’t do that. Don’t act like you don’t know how they are. Matt videotapes himself having sex with women without them even knowing,” Carolyn said.

“He doesn’t do that.”

“Bullshit he doesn’t. He told me when he was drunk. So you have a lot of fucking nerve judging Taylor with those assholes as friends!”

Jeff took a step back and stared at her. “Before Taylor moved in you didn’t talk like that.”

“Before Taylor moved in, I used to take a lot of shit.”

“I liked you better before,” he remarked.

“Of course, you did.”   

Thank you for reading my excerpt from a story that has been over twenty years in the making. I hope to finish it soon and set these characters free.

Writing pen and paper


Sharon Ledwith’s Tips for Promoting Your Novel.

4 Successful Ways to Promote Your Novel From Sharon Ledwith

It’s not all about book reviews when promoting your novel these days. Yes, book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author’s book promotion to-do list. However, your book deserves more widespread, long-term, and on-going exposure than it can garner through reviews alone. And every writer knows that getting your novel to be talked about month after month is no easy feat. So, what can authors do to get their books into the hands of their readers?

You need to generate the ongoing chatter your book deserves by seeing the publicity and promotion value in your fiction. There’s no question that promoting fiction is harder than promoting nonfiction—but because of that, it’s also more rewarding. Here are four ways to help you promote and manifest sales:

Find the nonfiction gems in your novel to use in creating newsworthy material for relevant media outlets. For example, in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I set the novel in Medieval Nottingham around the time Robin Hood was suspected to have lived. I found interesting tidbits that could be used for an opportunity to be featured on travel blogs. If you’re writing your novel now, make sure you work in some nonfiction gems you can capitalize on later.

Use your content to identify promotion allies. In Lost and Found, Book One of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I wrote about the local animal shelter in the fictional town of Fairy Falls, and the tough task of continual fundraising to keep the shelter from closing. I contacted shelters and rescues in my area with the hopes of working with them and bringing awareness to the ongoing struggle of lost and abandoned pets. Don’t just send them a note that says, “I’ve written a book your members will love.” Meet with them or send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them.

Animal Rescue Promo

Engage first. Focus on one or two social media networking sites. My two preferences are Facebook and Twitter, but there’s a whole slew out there to choose from these days. Make sure you master the most effective and appropriate ways to use social media to promote your book before spreading yourself too thin on several sites. Sometimes less is more.

Make the connection. Help readers connect with you by blogging (you do have a blog, right?) about your writing process and experiences. Get excerpts up on your website (you definitely should invest in your own cyber real estate) and read portions from your books via podcasts or YouTube videos so potential readers can get a feel for your writing and decide if the story is worth their investment. Give readers enough online (website, blog, YouTube videos, podcasts, free downloads) to convince them they’d like your book enough to hit the buy button.

Authors—how do you keep readers buzzing about your books? Can you add anything else to this list? Readers—what makes you want to invest your time and money in a certain book or author? Would love to read your input and comments.

Cheers, and thank you for spending time with me by reading my post!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat. Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS. BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE  /div>

Revising Old Stories

I’m about thirty pages away from finishing a revision of a novel I wrote when I was twenty-four years old, almost twenty-three years ago. It was my first completed novel. A lesbian romance. I was proud of it. Proud that I had finally accomplished something I had wanted to do since I was a young girl–write a book.

I sent a query letter and a synopsis of the story to a lesbian publisher, and they responded with a request of the manuscript and a phone call explaining the process.

I was stoked.

Three weeks later, I received a rejection letter.

Stokeness gone.

I remember the deflating feeling of holding that letter in my hand. Such a short letter that shattered my dreams. Though I didn’t stop writing and spent the rest of my 20’s writing and coming up with ideas for stories, it would be fourteen years before I’d submit a manuscript to another publisher.

The delay wasn’t because I was distraught at having been rejected. Rejections are a part of the writing process. Most writers will come to know that all too well.

Life simply had gotten in the way of my writing. But once life had settled a bit and I was able to embrace my passion for writing once again, I pulled out my old stories and worked on the revisions that were badly needed.

Some of those older stories have now been published. A Penny on the Tracks and Annabel and the Boy in the Window are two of them. The one I’m working on now, the one that was my first completed novel, tentatively titled Yet, Here we Are, will hopefully be published sometime later this year.

When I pulled that story from the old bin and settled into rereading it, I was not surprised at all that it had been rejected. If I wanted to make the story publishable, I’d need to revise–a lot.

Aside from the rookie writer mistakes of telling over showing, lack of character development, bland dialogue, and lackluster descriptions of settings, I had labeled this book as a romance, and then preceded to kill off the other woman, the love interest, in a horrid plan crash.

That was it. That was how my idea of a romance story should end. I was twenty-four. Maybe a bit jaded about love already, but I’ve since revamped the story and hopefully made it more palatable for the lovers of romance.

No one dies. Oh wait, shoot, someone does die, but it’s not the love interest. So that’s okay, right?

We’ll see once the story is out there.

Time will tell if another rejection letter awaits me.

Until then, keep on writing.


Photo courtesy of

An Excerpt of my New Novel, Annabel and the Boy in the Window

Annabel and the Boy in the Window is a story set in the mid 1950’s about living against societal norms and expectations. Annabel is a teenage girl who has little interest in marriage or having children. She desires an education and a career, but her alcoholic father stands in her way. Annabel sneaks out of her bedroom window at night and walks the streets of her quiet suburban town, while dreaming of a different life. She peers through peoples’ windows, eager for a glimpse of what a normal and happy family life looks like.

On one of her nightly walks, she sees Danny through his window and is immediately captivated by him. His soothing smile and gentle demeanor give her the feeling of safety and security that living in her own home fails to provide. Danny, the popular high school quarterback, is two years older than Annabel. He and Annabel run in very different social circles, so when Danny approaches her in the school hall one day, no one is more surprised than Annabel that a simple conversation about schoolwork would lead to football games, dances, and affairs of the heart Annabel never experienced before but only read about in books.

Annabel has dreams of her own, but when her abusive father becomes a threat to wreck those dreams, all seems lost until a secret from his past comes out and changes everything.

Here is an excerpt. Thanks for reading!

JOAN SLICED TWO thick pieces of roast beef and placed them onto George’s plate. “Cooked just the way you like it, tender with a little pink inside.” She smiled as brightly as the woman in the commercial holding the chocolate cake.

“Mashed potatoes,” George snarled.

Annabel quickly handed him the bowl of potatoes, and he scooped two big helpings onto his plate. He leaned back and just before reaching for his fork, he slowly pulled each of his fingers back one at a time.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

The sound echoed in the quiet room. It was a nerve-wrecking sound that forced Annabel to close her eyes and hold her breath until it was over. It reminded her of when she was little, and how her father would slowly crack each knuckle right before he’d grab her and force her across his lap for a horrifying round of spankings.

Though she remembered her mother begging him not to punish her in this cruel way, Annabel had needed her mother to do more to make him stop because the spankings hurt. But all Joan did was clasp her hands over her face and close her eyes as Annabel cried hot tears. Annabel didn’t remember the things she’d done to deserve such brutal discipline, but it didn’t take much to set off her father’s ire.

George’s behavior at dinner was always unpredictable. Sometimes he was talkative, mostly berating his customers or the people who worked for him, and other times, like that night, he didn’t want to talk at all. Work had been especially stressful that day, and he was already on his third glass of Scotch.

“More salad, George?” Joan held out a large bowl to him. He shook his head and took a long, deep gulp of his drink.

In her peripheral vision, Annabel noticed her mother tapping the table and snapping her fingers in an attempt to get Annabel’s attention, but Annabel kept her focus on her plate. She knew what her mother wanted, but there was no way she was going to bring up the dance at that moment. She avoided interacting with her father when he was drinking, which was most of the time, so their conversations were limited.

Being that George was mildly drunk and not blind, he also noticed Joan’s strange behavior. “What the hell are you doing?” His wild eyes pored over Joan.

Joan sucked in a breath. “I . . . I . . . was just . . .” “Well. What is it?” George barked.

Annabel snatched up the fork and knife and dug into her food, keeping her focus on cutting her meat.

“It’s nothing, really, George,” Joan answered in an extra cheerful tone. “Just a little dance at the school Annabel wants to attend. It sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun. All of her friends will be there.”

Annabel caught her breath. Being extra cheerful wasn’t going to have any effect on her father’s dour mood that night. She was sure of that.

George glared at Annabel for a few seconds. “And when were you going to tell me about this social event?”

Annabel dragged her fork across her plate. “After dinner I suppose.” “In the middle of the news?”

Annabel laid down her fork. “Maybe tomorrow I was gonna tell you.” “Gonna isn’t a word.”

“Going to tell you,” Annabel quickly corrected.

George placed an elbow on the table and leaned his body forward. “I don’t like these boys today with their long hair and all that grease. I see them walk past the bank. They strut around like they own the town. They got mouths on them, too.”

“George, Annabel knows better than to go out with a boy like that. In fact, today the high school quarterback talked to Annabel. The quarterback, George. You played quarterback in high school, didn’t you?”

George waved an impatient hand at Joan and concentrated his attention on Annabel. “This boy. What’d he want?”

“Just . . . just some help with school work,” Annabel stammered.

George creased his forehead. “School work? Why would a boy ask a girl for help with school work?”

“Annabel gets good grades, George,” Joan said.

“No boy, and I mean no boy, wants a girl who’s smarter than him.” George pointed a thick finger at Annabel and without taking his eyes off her, added, “You best remember that.”

Annabel wanted to yell back to her father that Danny didn’t mind a smart girl because he wasn’t like the other boys, and he was certainly nothing like him, but she wouldn’t say that to her father. She wouldn’t dare say that to her father. As with everything he had ever said to berate her, Annabel kept her mouth shut and absorbed his harsh words.

Joan placed a hand on Annabel’s arm. “We can’t ignore the fact that Annabel does really well in school, George. She’ll get a good job someday. Many women work.”

George dropped his fork, and it crashed on the plate. “The war is over. The boys are back. A woman’s place is in the home.”

Annabel was so disgusted with her mother, she didn’t have the stomach to even look at her. The only thing Joan was supposed to bring up was the dance, one silly dance—not Danny and certainly not Annabel’s grades.

George finished off his scotch. “She’ll get married and have children and it won’t matter what grades she got in school.” He shot up from the table. “Her job, like yours, is right here.” He glared at Joan, his eyes madder than before.

“Okay, George. Okay. I’m sorry. Now sit back down and let’s finish this nice dinner.” Joan reached out to calm him, but he shoved her hand away.

“You don’t appreciate a thing I do for you. Neither of you do. You want a job? Go then. Get the hell out of here. See how easy it is out there.”

Peering down at the floor, Annabel pushed herself away from the table. She sat frozen in her seat even though she wanted to run far away. She stole a glance at Joan, who, under any circumstances acted like everything was okay. No matter how many drunken outbursts George had, Joan always found a way to excuse them.

George reloaded his glass with ice from a small ice-bucket on the table and filled his drink with more Scotch. He took his plate into the living room and slumped into his favorite chair in front of the television.

Once he was out of the room, Annabel let out a breath she felt like she had been holding for a week.

Joan began clearing the table. “Your father had a hard day at work. He’s under a lot of stress.”

“Why do you always do that?” “Do what?”

“Make excuses for him?” “I don’t always make . . .”

“And why did you have to tell him about Danny and my grades? What made you think he’d have any interest in my grades?”

“Because he’s your father.” “So?”

“Fathers care about those things.” “Not mine,” Annabel stated flatly.

“Deep down he does. He can be a good father.” “I know you think so.”

“Come with me.” Joan took Annabel by the arm and dragged her to the kitchen. She went to the refrigerator and pulled out a big chocolate cake, just like the one from the commercial. “Here.” She held out the cake. “I made chocolate cake. Sit down. We can eat it together.”

Joan set the cake on the table and took two small plates from the cupboards.

She cut two pieces and slid them onto the plates.

Annabel stared dumbfoundedly at the dessert. “Cake? You’re offering me cake?”

“Please have some cake with me. Let’s have one good thing about tonight.”

Annabel ignored the desperation in her mother’s eyes and the pleading tone in her voice. It was the most pathetic thing she’d seen and heard. She pushed away the dish meant for her. “Tonight wasn’t good, and chocolate cake can’t make it better.”


When the Classroom was my Safe Place.

I graduated from high school in 1994. I spent twelve years in classrooms without the words “school shootings” meaning much to me, because I had nothing to attach those words to–those now very prevalent words.

The classroom was one of my safe places. Places, like my home, where I walked into with the assumption that nothing bad could happen to me.

The only time that assumption was challenged was in 1988, when a woman named Laurie Dann, walked into a second-grade classroom, told the class she was going to teach them about guns, and then shot and killed one child, while shooting and injuring at least eight others.

The face of the woman plastered all over the news is one I’ll always remember–dark hair, dark eyes, a turtleneck– because of the horrendous acts that face is attached to. There was otherwise nothing worth remembering about her face, nothing distinctive evil that you would expect to see in someone who could shoot and kill innocent children. To my then twelve-year-old eyes, she looked so…. normal. Like any other mom.

Even after hearing that story of a woman going into a school (a school not very far from mine) and shooting children, killing one of them, I don’t remember getting ready for school the next day being afraid. Worried. Concerned that someone may come into my school and shoot me. That particular school shooting was an anomaly. Shootings didn’t occur regularly enough for me to think it could happen at my school.

I was twelve years old in 1988. In the seventh grade. I was old enough to understand that a child had died, and more children had been shot. I was old enough to grasp that a mother and father had lost their child. Classmates had lost a friend.

As devastating as all of that was, I still felt safe going to school the next day, despite that that school shooting happened less than an hour from my own school, because I believed something like that could never happen again. Not at my school. Not at anyone’s school.

Children today don’t think like that. Children today watch news of the latest school shooting and think, “My school could be next.”

School shooter drills prepare them for the occasion they may be right.

My school prepared us for fires and tornados.


Photo downloaded from public records.

A Story About a Girl Called Annabel

In 1998, I was a college student taking a Creative Writing course so that one day I could fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. In that class, I wrote a short story called “The Attic”. It was about a teenage girl from the 1950’s whose parents die in a car crash, and the girl is sent to live with her aunt and uncle.  The uncle sexually abuses her. Most of the abuse happens in the attic. The girl doesn’t tell her aunt, and the abuse continues until the uncle dies. 

The girl endures her aunt’s mourning for the man she loved, while never knowing the monstrous behavior he was capable of. The abuse by his hands that sent her niece to bed shaking at the thought of being awakened by the creak of the opening of her bedroom door, is finally over.

He is dead. The abuse is over. At least Annabel believes it is and that he is gone for good until noises from the attic awaken her at night. Through more events we realize that his ghost lingers in the attic, to further torment the young girl because she hadn’t been through enough shit already.  

This was the short story called “The Attic”. The writing was shoddy. The plot was unbearable and extremely heavy-handed. The characters were underdeveloped, with dialogue that was completely unbelievable. No one is as oblivious as I made the aunt out to be, but it is a story my younger self wrote as she was beginning her journey to becoming a writer. It was far from perfect, but what of anything without experience and knowledge and practice is perfect?

The story of Annabel now is very different. The book that was inspired by that horrible short story hardly resembles the story at all. So why do I even write this? Why even bring up this plot that has nothing to do with the book? Maybe because I am certain Annabel and the Boy in the Window could never have been written without that short story. 

That day in 2013, when going through a bin of decades-old writing, I came across a folder with “The Attic” inside it. I read it and could remember writing it fifteen years earlier. I briefly wondered why the heck I had kept it that long. Why hadn’t I dumped it in the trash where bad writing belongs?

I don’t know what made me tuck the story away in an old bin, but I’m glad I did because that story was the catalyst for my recent published novel.

I would make many changes and countless revisions to the story. I would bring pages of those revisions to a writing workshop course I enrolled at a local community college and be so encouraged by the suggestions of my peers. They kept me going. Kept me believing I could be a writer. Over nine years later, I still have those pages with the markings of a class full of inspiring writers.

I worked on my new “Annabel” story. For a long time, I didn’t have a name for it. It was just “Annabel.” But I often got lost in the plot. On many occasions I had no idea where the story was headed or what the story was that I even wanted to tell. I set it aside many times to write and publish other stories like, Her Name, Loving Again, and A Penny on the Tracks. Until, finally, I said “Enough. Finish the story no matter how long it takes.”

And I did. I finished the story that would become Annabel and the Boy in the Window. 

Annabel and the Boy in the Window is a story set in the mid 1950’s about living against societal norms and expectations. Annabel is a teenage girl who has little interest in marriage or having children. She desires an education and a career, but her alcoholic father stands in her way. Annabel sneaks out of her bedroom window at night and walks the streets of her quiet suburban town, while dreaming of a different life. She peers through peoples’ windows, eager for a glimpse of what a normal and happy family life looks like.

On one of her nightly walks, she sees Danny through his window and is immediately captivated by him. His soothing smile and gentle demeanor give her the feeling of safety and security that living in her own home fails to provide. Danny, the popular high school quarterback, is two years older than Annabel. He and Annabel run in very different social circles, so when Danny approaches her in the school hall one day, no one is more surprised than Annabel that a simple conversation about schoolwork would lead to football games, dances, and affairs of the heart Annabel never experienced before but only read about in books.

Annabel has dreams of her own, but when her abusive father becomes a threat to wreck those dreams, all seems lost until a secret from his past comes out and changes everything.

And that’s the premise of my story about a girl called Annabel. She had many stories through the years, but we finally settled on the right one. 

If you’ve made it this far in the post and you’re a writer. Never give up on your writing. Keep writing. Also, never throw work away no matter how bad you think it is. It may come back to inspire your next published book.

Happy New Year

I didn’t mean to let so much time pass between blogs, but life happened, as it tends to do.

Last month, a sudden illness landed me in the hospital for four days. I recuperated just in time to spend Christmas festivities with family, only to be hit with a nasty cold bug a few days later.

The New Year was counted down from my couch, surrounded by a mug of hot lemon water, Gatorade, cough drops, a bowl of vegetable soup, and a box of tissue—the necessities for every cold/flu bug.

Past New Year blogs I’ve written usually included planned resolutions and the promise/hope for a better year. I had an optimistic outlook for the future year, which always began with a book about spirituality and being Zen and practicing meditation.

I have no resolutions this year. F. Scott Fitzgerald will begin 2023. I have no interest in being spiritual right now. Maybe things will change later. I hope so. No one knows what the year will bring.

The one thing I know for certain is I have a book coming out, Annabel and the Boy in the Window. I’ll write more about it when I know the exact release date. The date has changed many times. That’s life again getting in the way of how things are supposed to go.

Here’s to 2023. May things go as you plan/hope/desire. But if life gets in the way, may it be a good life.

Happy New Year.


Free photo courtesy of

You Knew he was a Snake

The votes from Tuesday’s election are still being counted in some races, but Republicans have seen enough to know their party is in deep trouble. For months, conservative and mainstream media have touted a Republican takeover of Congress. Some predicted thirty to forty seats flipping in the House and three to four seats in the Senate.

A red wave, they said.

A tsunami large enough to engulf an entire coast, like an apocalyptic scene from a movie, they prophesized.

But reality opened its door and smacked the Republicans right in the face. They didn’t get the cinematic tsunami that drowns large cities and washes away tall buildings.

They instead got a tiny splash in the kiddie pool. A mere ripple in the current made by a small kick in the water.

Republicans watched the movie Rocky believing they were the Italian Stallion, the heavily muscled champion of the world, with the sculpted biceps and rock-hard glutes.

But on election night Republicans looked in the mirror and saw Donald Trump, because Republicans are the party of Donald Trump. No matter how much they try to distance themselves from him, Trump is the man they bowed down to six years ago. He won’t let them stand straight again without setting the entire party on fire.

Keep bowing, Republican Party. Donald Trump is a ruthless, bitter, petty, and vindicative person.

Donald Trump cares only for himself. He sacrifices nothing for anyone. Loyalty is one-sided. You scratch his back, and he will shoot you in yours if it benefits him.

In 2016, before the presidential election, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed….and we will deserve it.”

The Republicans got destroyed on Tuesday. And they deserved it.

They embraced a man who started his campaign by stating all Mexicans are rapists. Mocked a disabled reporter at his rallies. Instructed the people at his rallies to punch protesters in their face, stating he’d pay their legal fees. (Of course, he wouldn’t. Trump doesn’t pay for his own legal fees.)  Was accused of sexual harassment by twenty-five women. Accused of rape by one. Caught on camera claiming he could grab women by their pussy because he’s a star and they let him do it. Paid 25 million dollars to students he scammed at Trump University. His “charity” was shut down because he misused (stole) money, resulting in a two million dollar fine. Sued by contractors for money owed for work on his now bankrupted casino hotels. The smaller contractors who couldn’t afford lawsuits and couldn’t absorb being stiffed by Trump, lost their businesses.

Trump openly expressed his love for Vladimir Putin, someone who has never been a U.S ally. He spewed white nationalist rhetoric. Attempted to withhold congressionally passed military aid to a foreign country, unless they did him the favor of announcing an investigation into his political opponent. Claimed, without evidence, a fair election he lost was stolen. Attempted to extort a U.S. Secretary of State into finding him over 11,000 votes. Incited an insurrection at the U.S Capitol in an attempt to keep power.

Americans voted against Trumpism. They voted against hate. They rejected Republican ideologies. America instead voted for candidates who stand for healthcare for all. Clean renewable energy. Women’s healthcare rights. Gay rights. Trans rights. Livable wages. Lower Medicare costs. Social Security. Affordable education. Higher taxes on big corporations and wealthy individuals. Gun control, because why do civilians need weapons designed for war? Guns capable of spraying hundreds of rounds of bullets in seconds, made to produce mass casualty in little time.

Democrats have retained the Senate. We’ll know next month if they’ll gain a seat. The House is up for grabs. Republicans certainly didn’t imagine this scenario. But here they are, and they need to own this.

At his hateful rallies, Trump often referenced The Snake to vilify immigrants. A poem written by Oscar Brown Jr. about a woman who nurtures a sick snake back to health, only to have the snake bite her in her bed.

“Oh, shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin. “You knew damn well I was a snake before you let me in.”

Trump is yours, Republican Party. You let him in. He showed you who he was, yet you let that snake in anyway.

No givebacks.


Photo courtesy of

Author Carol Browne Writes about a Shapeshifter Called Harper.

A Shapeshifter Called Harper

from Carol Browne

You’re expecting to read about a shapeshifter called Harper now, I know, but it’s why this character is called Harper that is the reason for me writing this blog. The name was originally Tyler.

Tyler was the MC in a sci-fi novella entitled The Star Attraction, which I wrote in 2016. In May 2019, I was offered a contract for the book by my publisher. Said publisher closed down a few months later and that was that. Following this, I found myself dealing with a multitude of life problems, not to mention my other books and the demise of my third publisher. Hence, it was only in July 2022 that I found time to submit this book elsewhere (no verdict as yet!). Meanwhile, I am writing a sequel.

This week I saw a promo post on Facebook for a new release and, lo and behold, the male protagonist is a shapeshifter called Tyler. What are the odds? I might have been the first person to use this name in this way, but the other author got published so Tyler is damned and has morphed into Harper (which seems apt).

In this same week, a fellow author was distraught when she found that her latest manuscript, which she was about to send to her agent, has the same theme as another recently published book. I won’t reveal the theme, but it is such a novel, specific and original concept that it beggars belief that someone else came up with the very same idea. I hope she and her agent can find a way around this dilemma.

Last year I had an idea for a crime thriller, and I believed that the crime and the reason behind it was so outlandish and original that the chance of anyone else coming up with the idea was remote. More fool me. Yet another of those promo posts on Facebook was to show me the error of my ways as a concept I had deemed so unusual and unique was there for all to see in someone else’s stylish new book trailer. Meanwhile, as I toyed with the idea of an epic fantasy involving women with magic powers, I found that my story had already been given its marching orders by The Wheel of Time.

When there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s a challenge trying to create original concepts, and even more difficult to avoid accusations of plagiarism even though you had no idea that your ideas duplicated someone else’s. In the same way, it’s not possible to be aware of every book that has been, is being, or will be published. The fact that there’s no copyright on titles is a small crumb of comfort!

So, what is going on? Is it the Collective Unconscious that causes so many people to have the same ideas at the same time? How often does this happen to other authors and what do they do about it? Would any author reading this blog have changed Tyler to Harper or kept the original name? I’d love to know.

For now, my shapeshifter is called Harper. I lay claim to this in writing in the hope that there aren’t any other shapeshifters called Harper out there already! If there are and anyone has any objection to mine, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower. Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow. Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand. She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug. But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words. She hopes to live happily ever after.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Fantasy author Carol Browne is a published author who is currently seeking an agent.

Going Out to Eat

Going out to eat was a rarity when I was young.  Most of our dinners were homecooked by my mother. She made delicious meals, so it wasn’t a disaster to eat at home but going out to eat was special. An exciting break from mundane evenings.

I could sense a night out was coming, when, as suppertime approached, and nothing was in the oven, either we were ordering take-out (which was another welcomed rarity), or we were going out to eat.

I preferred going out to eat. I’d alert my siblings. “We’re going out to eat tonight! We’re going out to eat.” I can’t remember if they shared my same excitement, but I’m sure they did because eating out was a treat.

Though I hated getting dressed up, I loved going out to dinner, so I wore whatever my mother pulled from my closet, without much fuss. We dressed up. No jeans. It was nice pants, sweaters, blouses, dresses, or skirts attire. As much as I loved my jeans, especially the ones with holes, I knew better than to even think I’d be allowed to wear jeans when going to a restaurant.

But I don’t remember even wanting to wear everyday clothes. That’s what made going out to dinner special. You wore the clothes you didn’t normally wear. You did your hair better. You wore your nice shoes because you were going out

My favorite places to eat were steakhouses. The ambiance was very distinct to steakhouses. Almost mysterious. They were darker than other restaurants, lit by candles in red-glass candleholders on every table.  The tables were dense and sturdy, made of dark wood. The air was thick with the aroma of seasoned meat and homemade biscuits.

The biscuits were thick and buttery, and Mom always had to warn us not to fill up on them the moment the server placed the basket on the table, but we couldn’t resist. Our little hands dug right in.

My favorite dish was the basket of breaded fried shrimp and French fries. Every good steakhouse had them on the menu. I remember the fries looking enormous to my younger self, who was used to thin fast food fries. But everything was big at steakhouses, especially the baked potatoes they served, cut down the middle and fluffy on the inside, wrapped in foil, with sides of butter and sour cream.

This is how I remember the dining-out experience as a child. It was fancy. Special. You dressed up for it.

I don’t have the statistics, but I’m certain the stats will show families go out to dinner more often now than they did in the early 80’s, when I was a kid. Casual dining has been on the rise for decades, the proof is in the abundance of chain restaurants that have flooded this country’s landscape.

Sure, I’d have wanted to go to restaurants more as a kid if asked, but I’m glad it wasn’t a regular, casual thing. There would have been nothing special about it. I’m able to write this blog forty years later because the excitement I felt going out to eat as a child is still palpable.  You don’t get that from casual experiences.



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