Author, Linda Lee Greene, Visits my Blog.

COMING IN ON FLIGHT 79 From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist “You know what the trouble is, don’t you?” the man in the aisle seat in my row said to me. My head on its stiff neck cranked in his direction, an enquiring eyebrow lifted in irritation. It had been my habit over the years to avoid airplane conversations. I used such occasions to let loose full-bore my intrinsic reserve. “It’s all that heavy baggage stuffed top to bottom in the hold,” the man went on to explain. “You’d think that people would learn by now that if they want an easier takeoff and a smoother flight, they’d pack lighter than before. Seventy-nine of these flights and nobody seems to have learned that lesson—nobody but me that is. This is the extent of my gear,” he said as he placed a small leather pouch no larger than his open hand on the empty seat between us. “Cheeky fellow,” I said to myself and then turned my face back to the window. All of a sudden, fuming, black clouds split open and barraged the airplane with a torrent of rain. The vessel rose and dropped, rose and dropped like a rollercoaster car. My knuckles white on the armrests, I nearly lost my breakfast. I stole a glance at my seat companion and was astonished at his utter composure. His hands folded softly in his lap and eyes closed, his chest expanded and contracted in gentle, easy breaths. It appeared that his experience of our journey was the opposite of mine. Moments that seemed an eternity passed by, and the plane leveled and found its balance for a while. I thought it expedient to discover the source of the man’s serenity. “What’s your destination?” I inquired. “As far as the plane will take me,” was his reply. “Further along than last year,” he added. “I never seem to get very far at all from my starting point,” I admitted. “There have been trips where I even went backwards.” “Same here,” he confessed. “What’s different this trip?” I asked. “I had a dream. I take messages in dreams to heart. In the dream, a voice told me flat out that I had to lighten my load if I expect to ever get where I’m supposed to go, and especially to get off the ground for my very last trip, which the voice told me is still far in the future. So, I started unloading my enormous suitcase.” “Unloading it of what?” “The voice told me to begin by dumping outworn regrets and then pointless guilt; childish resentments and envies and jealousies and grudges; unspoken apologies; unattended amends, and pernicious unforgiveness. Getting rid of those things alone would lighten the load a whole lot. But that wasn’t enough—not nearly enough. There is this thing called ‘yearning,’ that wistful longing for things that will never be. Do you know what I mean?”
Pastel and acrylic painting, “Coppers” by Linda Lee Greene
“Do I ever!” I answered. I pushed back into my seat, closed my eyes and thought about all my companion had said. Without a doubt, unforgiveness would continue to stick to me like glue. And must I accept that I will never live in that villa-of-my-dreams in Tuscany; that I will never know if so-and-so really loved me; that I will never be sure that my children will be okay without me? Hardest of all will be to give up agonizing over those unfinished things: the paintings I will leave undone; the poems, essays, blog posts, and books I won’t complete. If I rid myself of all those things, I guess my suitcase will be pretty empty—probably not entirely empty, because I’m quite sure nobody gets out completely clear and clean. But maybe I can get it down to a small pouch like my companion’s. If I keep chiseling away so that by the end of this spiritual journey known as ‘my life,’ maybe, just maybe I will be as weightless as a butterfly, and who knows how wonderful my final flight will be and where it will take me? “Happy 79!” my companion said to me. “How does he know I’m 79?” I asked myself. Just before I drifted off to sleep, I remembered that nobody boarded Flight 79 any other way. Outside the window, the storm raged again, and I was no longer afraid. Linda Readers were introduced to American Nicholas Plato in multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s A Chance at the Moon, which is available for purchase on Amazon. In Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey, Nicholas boards a plane for Sydney, Australia with bags that are stuffed full of anger and heartbreak and other life-defeating issues. Little does he know that he is arriving at the time and place to empty his baggage, and to risk himself to love. Here’s a peek at multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene’s latest book, Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. It is a blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance. The story unfolds as ex-pat American Nicholas Plato journeys into parts unknown, both within himself and his adopted home of Sydney, Australia. In the end, the odyssey reveals to him his true purpose for living. The novella is available in eBook and paperback.

Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter,’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction, and a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

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Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths. Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her. She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations. Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Garden of the Spirits of the Pots is available in eBook and/or paperback on Amazon.  

What’s This Life For?

Ribbons wrap around trees that line the streets of the subdivision I live. I didn’t know why until yesterday.  A 21-year-old woman who lived just blocks from me, away at college for her senior year, was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Just minutes before, the young woman had been out with friends on a Friday night. None of those friends could know that that night would be the last night they’d hear that woman’s laugh. See her smile. Hear her voice. Feel her hug.

The goodbye they shared that night was their last goodbye. But none of them knew that until they got the call.

The sudden call that confirms you will never see a person you love ever again.

The call that changes lives forever.

The call every parent prays never rings for them and then is shattered in disbelief when it does.

But all you can do is pray because one can’t control the erratic car, they didn’t see coming, racing toward them while crossing a street at night.

One can’t control which classroom, which grocery store, which concert, which movie theater, or which parade a gunman will choose to spray his bullets.

Our fate is not always in our hands. Even the most obsessed control freak has to concede to that. There is no guarantee to a long life no matter how healthy a lifestyle you live.

You can eat right. Exercise daily. Limit risky behavior. But if your day brings you to the exact spot where a car will run a red light, or a bullet will pass with no warning, what can you do? What chance do you have?

Nobody lives forever. Death is certain. We all know that. But everyone wants a timely death.  To die with a wrinkled face, silver hair, and a hundred years of memories lived, instead of just a couple decades.

How some people live long enough to see old age is a combination of good genes, self-care, and having the good fortune of never being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When lives, especially young lives, are taken in such tragic, unfair, and nonsensical ways, it is easy to wonder what this life is for. Is it worth it? To live and love when your life and your love can be ripped away from you any minute of any day?

Our personal life experiences may answer that question for us.

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.com

Are Experiences, Knowledge, and Wisdom Inherited? Author Linda Lee Greene Explores this Phenomenom.

MAGICAL HANDS from Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist Kay, my lovely physical therapist, received me most graciously on my first appointment, and then she led me to a private consultation room. One of those perpetually youthful, mature women, she also appeared as fragile as a feather, better suited to ballet than physical therapy. But appearances can be deceiving, as I was soon to find out. Following the question-and-answer session, she instructed me to lie down on her little couch, and then she went to work scrutinizing my body. It was then that I got the strong feeling that Kay is living her calling. Her immense strength and wisdom are in her hands. Her hands tell her things about her patients that go unrecognized by some medical professionals. For instance, mere moments into her exploration of my body, she said to me, “You are very strong, Linda. Did you grow up on a farm?” “No,” I replied. And then I thought to myself, “Does she feel my history, my ancestry in my body?” I recalled then Carl Jung’s theory of the collective consciousness, which suggests that our experiences/knowledge/wisdom are inherited. Scientific experiments have revealed this phenomenon to be possible, and that the information is stored in the form of nucleic acid codes within cells. There is speculation (some call it evidence) that certain sensitive types can tap into this pool of material, person to person. Maybe Kay is one of those sensitive types. Of course, while I technically did not grow up on a farm, I was born on my maternal grandparent’s farm, spent the first two years of my life there and was a frequent visitor during the rest of my childhood and into my adolescence and far beyond. While I have always been aware that I carry my farmer ancestors in my heart and mind, I didn’t understand until Kay’s inquiry the extent to which I also carry them in my body—how they are etched in me, blood, muscle, sinew, and bone. Further into the hands-on examination, Kay found and then probed certain hot spots on my body and proclaimed, “Ouch, that hurts!” Here I was trying to be all stoic and brave, and she voiced my pain. You have to appreciate a person like that. This set my mind awhirl about Kay’s story, as well. Maybe I’m reading too much into her, but I’m wondering if she is a bona fide medical intuitive, like Caroline Myss. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Kay sees into my soul and knows how unmindful I am of my body most of the time. I bet she sees so clearly the love affair I have with my brain with its sparks of spirit that set it on fire so often. My brain keeps me company. It comforts me. It talks to me like a best friend, whereas my body delights in jabbing me at every turn with aches and pains and has been relentless in that pursuit since I was sixteen. No wonder I turn away from it whenever possible and romance my brain. By way of Kay’s instructions in therapeutic exercises and meditation on the here and now, I have high hopes of easing into a healthier relationship with my body with its own brand of magical hands that are at the ready in the formidable gene pool of my ancestors. Every Thursday morning through hot June and July, I have and will continue to trudge along to my physical therapy session. It is hard work and afterwards, I have been tempted to reward myself with a stop at Dairy Queen for a hot fudge sundae. However, I have come up with a better, healthier treat in the form of a refreshingly simple, cold soup sitting elegantly on a shelf in my refrigerator. It has been referred to as a smoothie masquerading as a soup. I like to think of as a soup topped off with sweet toppings such as sugar-free whipped cream, sugar-free vanilla custard, low-fat vanilla yogurt and the like. I often swirl in a scoop of Slimfast’s Rich Chocolate Royale Powder©. Cold Strawberry and Yogurt Soup 1 lb. fresh strawberries or 3 packages (10 oz. size) thawed frozen strawberries in syrup 1 ¼ cups vanilla yogurt, divided 3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar or equivalent amount of stevia sweetener 2 tbsp. orange juice concentrate ⅛ tsp. almond or vanilla extract, or ½ tsp. lemon juice In a food processor, combine the strawberries, 1 cup yogurt, confectioners’ sugar or stevia, orange juice concentrate and extract, cover and process until blended. Garnish each serving with a dollop of remaining yogurt or other toppings. Multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, which is a blend of historical fiction and memoir of her ancestors, receives rave reviews:

5 stars Wonderfully Written!

“This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I loved the Americana. [It] reached out and touched my heart, mind and soul. [It] provided tremendous insight into what many American families endured during the first half of the 20th century. It captures you and draws you in. This is most certainly a five-star novel.” GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS is available in eBook and/or paperback.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths. Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her. She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations. Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

How Did We Get Here?

Maybe there has never been a time since the television was invented where stressful and turbulent, and sometimes just downright depressing, news stories weren’t reported.

The 60’s had its protests and riots over Vietnam and Civil Rights, as well as the assassinations of three of its country’s leaders– John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King.

The 70’s had Watergate, a gas crisis, and political protests over racial and gender equality, and some gay rights activism too.

The 80’s had the AIDS epidemic, the Rodney King beating, Iran-Contra, and Ronald Reagan’s assault on the “welfare queens” while he lowered taxes on the wealthy and big corporations (corporate welfare, but Republicans were always fine with welfare that went to the top, but not the bottom. Never the bottom.). The 80’s represents the decade of corporate greed and will always be synonymous with the movie “Wall Street.”

The 90’s had Columbine, a school shooting that, though we didn’t know it then, was only the beginning of what would be known as mass shootings. My twenty-one-year-old self, sitting in her college library, reading the local paper about the school massacre, had no inkling that such a macabre occurrence would someday be as tantamount to America as apple pie.

The 90’s also had Bill Clinton abusing his power for a blowjob, the stained blue dress, and grunge. Oh, how much I loved those flannel shirts. It was cool to dress like a lesbian in the 90’s. But what kind of lesbian would I be if I talked about the 90’s without mentioning Ellen’s monster “Yep, I’m gay” coming out in Time magazine, as well as how much just the existence of Melissa Etheridge singing songs about loving a woman during the decade I was coming to terms with my own homosexuality?  Those two women made this midwestern girl feel not so strange, after all. 

The 00’s had 9/11 and the war on terrorism that included two wars, the Great Recession, and the historic election of the United States’ first Black president, Barack Obama.

The 2010’s had the inception of the Tea Party, more mass shootings, including at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed, including 20 six and seven-year-olds. As gruesome as that is, Obama still wasn’t able to get Republicans to agree on even a most basic gun control bill. Simple background checks were a bridge too far for Republicans because this is ‘Merica, the Land of Freedom and Guns, Guns, Guns!

The 2010’s was also the decade that saw the election of a self-proclaimed “Real Estate Mogul” and one of the country’s most popular philanderer to the U.S Presidency.  The U.S will feel the burn of having such an inept, self-serving corrupt conman as president for a long time.  It will take decades to get the stench of that piece of shit off our country.

The 2020’s started off with a global pandemic that would go on to kill over a million people in the U.S alone, and over six million worldwide after two years, and counting. The 20’s also saw for the first time in U.S elections the denial of a peaceful transition of power. The former corrupt president lied about the results of a fair and legal election that he lost and tried to implement a plan to retain power. When that failed, only because there were some decent politicians who put Country over Party, the conman incited a coup to invade the U.S Capitol and literally try to kill the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

What a time to be alive. But the crazy doesn’t end there. Said former corrupt president is currently being investigated because he stole top secret classified documents regarding nuclear weapons and nuclear intel and stored them at his golf resort. He’s being investigated for violating the Espionage Act. The FUCKING Espionage Act! We had a traitor in the White House!

But the sickest part about all of this is there are people who call themselves Patriots and wave the American flag while defending said traitor. What a truly fucking time to be alive.

I admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of history class when I was in school. I didn’t understand why it was important for me to know about the Puritans and the Quakers, The Industrial Revolution, or anything that happened centuries before I was born, but I remember being extremely interested in learning about Richard Nixon and Watergate. It was closer to my time of birth and what I knew about Nixon was that he did a very bad thing and that intrigued me to know more. I thought what I learned about Watergate was bad. Future history classes are going to blow future generations’ minds when they learn how the previous criminal in chief tried to destroy our democracy.

Of course, the conman’s actions will only be shocking to future generations if we are able to stop them from repeating. If we elect more politicians like him, his crimes will become the norm. Obviously, we can’t let that happen.

Every generation had its turbulent times. But back in the sixties, and seventies, and eighties, TV was limited. We didn’t have 500 channels back then. But now we do. Between twenty-four hours news channels and endless Internet sites and You Tube channels, some credulous, while others spouting out crazy conspiracy theories, it can be detrimental to our mental health to block out the noise.

Take a break. Turn it off. Escape.

Walking in nature, sitting by the water, reading, quiet drives down remote roads, or cuddling with a pet are all great ways to ease your mind and break away from the stress of the headline news. There’s another thing that takes me out of my head for a little bit. I love looking back to the past. Maybe too much, but that’s beside the point. You Tube is a great way to find videos of a time you may wish you had lived or maybe wish you could live again.

As a kid, I loved the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers.” I wanted to be Eddie so bad. He had the voice. He had the face. He had the arms. And he had the girl. I fell in love with the songs in that movie and I remember searching every mall record store for the soundtrack. I was in high school when I finally found it.

One day, when I was in my “looking back” moods, I searched those songs on You Tube and found a video of John Cafferty (the voice of Eddie Wilson) and the Beaver Brown Band playing these songs during a 1980’s New Year’s Eve set. The video was such a relaxation for me that it is my go-to when I need a stress-releaser.

Here’s the video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Author Sharon Ledwith Visits my Blog.

From Sharon Ledwith I discovered this healthy recipe from an online diet and exercise program I purchased last year and loved it! It packs a different punch to your taste buds while providing a healthier choice to add to your personal menu. Who said a burrito needed to be unhealthy? This easy recipe provides anti-inflammatory properties from apple cider vinegar, immune boosting benefits from garlic, and healthy, inflammation-cooling fats from olive oil. Instead of heading to your local fast-food Mex-Tex joint, try making your own burrito at home. Chipotle Chicken Wrap 1 garlic clove 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar Juice from ½ lemon Pinch of salt and pepper ½ tsp. paprika 4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced 1 cup romaine lettuce or spinach, chopped 1 tbsp. shredded carrots ½ cup quinoa, cooked, optional Sliced avocado, optional Salsa ½ tomato, diced ¼ onion, diced 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro Squeeze of lemon juice Note: you can use your favorite brand of salsa if you choose Make your chipotle sauce first by blending blend together garlic, olive oil, chili powder, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper until smooth (ideally in a blender). Use this sauce to marinate your chicken in a zip lock bag for a minimum of 30 minutes. Mix together all of your salsa ingredients in a bowl. Cook the chicken in a sauté pan until thoroughly cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve on a bed of lettuce with chicken and salsa on top. Add cooked quinoa and or avacado if desired. While you’re waiting for your healthy wrap to digest why not put your feet up and relax on the couch with a good book? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series will transport you to another time and place, taking you away from whatever troubles you. Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series: The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures… Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time. Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past. Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries… Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected. The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series: The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3 MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series: Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE 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, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of 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

Summertime

It’s the last day of July. We’re well into the “dog days of summer.” The hot, sticky part of summer you either embrace with your suntanned face ready to take on the sunshine or you escape to your cool basement to ride out the heatwave.

I’m the latter. Give me seventy-degree days and air conditioning for anything hotter.

There are sun people. Then there is me.

Though I loved and now miss my summer softball leagues and my days spent at the community pool as a kid, I was always an indoor person, even as a kid who loved being outside for a certain amount of time. Then you could find me in my room listening to my favorite cassettes, which in the late 80’s probably included Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and White Lion, or in front of the TV watching MTV, waiting for the videos of my favorite bands to play.

I can’t think of the summer of ’88 without George Michael’s song, “Monkey”, popping in my head. That video was on auto play every hour on MTV, as well as the radio, which was fine with me because I loved the video and the song.

Though I love summer and all its baseball games and outdoor concerts and barbeques and fests and beaches, I have my limits. As long as it isn’t too crowded or too hot. Maybe that’s how most people feel, but I have friends who think anything less than ninety degrees can’t be considered “summer weather.”

They are insane.

They live to sweat underneath the sun’s rays.  I remember as a teenager when my sister would grab a lawn chair with a towel and lay out in the sun. She loved “laying out.” If you asked her on a summer day what she was gonna do, she’d say, “I’m gonna lay out.”

I found no appeal in it. To just lie underneath the sweltering sun as your skin burned. No thank you. I remember going on spring break trips with friends as a teenager and being amazed at how they could spend hours, every day of the vacation, just melting beneath the summer sun.

I needed to read a book or listen to my headphones to lay out there and once I was bored with that, I was done.

But that’s just me. You do you.

Enjoy your summer.

On a sidenote, thinking about the George Michael song brought to mind a couple other songs that will always make me remember the summer of ’88.

Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3.” Def Leppard’s “Love Bites.” Richard Marx’s “Hold onto the Nights.”

 

A great summer with amazing music.

Author Carol Browne Visits my Blog

Are Friends Electric? Farewell, Fridge-freezer! From Carol Browne Humans tend to become emotionally attached to inanimate objects. People love their cars, for example. I don’t have a car, but I do have a fridge-freezer. Or rather, I did. It died on me this week, announcing its demise by tripping out all the lights and the other household appliances and sending me into a panic that had me phoning my landlord for help. He sent round an electrician who restored equilibrium to the fuse box and read the fridge-freezer its last rites. I joked with the electrician: “How dare it break down after twenty-eight years of constant service!” He agreed that they don’t make white goods like that anymore. But when he’d gone, I felt a bit sad. I remembered the day I bought that fridge-freezer brand new. I had escaped from a bad marriage and found a place to rent and was filling it with what I needed to start my new life. Things were not destined to go smoothly, however, and there were to be many house moves and relationships ahead. Throughout all those house moves my longest-lasting relationship has been with my fridge-freezer! I sat at the kitchen table and reminisced. All the things I had been through over those twenty-eight years! And that fridge-freezer had stood without complaint in whatever kitchen it found itself in (and for a few years, in a draughty back porch). It moved between houses and bungalows, from the town to the countryside, bumping about in removal vans and trucks. Along the way it lost its pristine-white sheen and gathered fridge magnets like barnacles. Its edges became a little rusty, the shelves cracked and the little light no longer worked when the door was opened. But it steadfastly did its duty, a silent witness to the dramas around it and the passing of time. And sometimes when I woke in the night, its gurgling and purring sounds drifted from the kitchen to my room and reassured me, though I don’t know why. It was just a machine but somehow it had become a friend. I remembered as a child the time before we even had a fridge and how difficult it was for my mother to keep food fresh. The day the first fridge arrived was everyone’s birthday come at once! It had an icebox and that meant ice cream! Nowadays, we take such devices for granted. What a shock it is when they stop working for us. Yes, I had taken that fridge-freezer for granted. It never let me down until this week and I am lost without it until a replacement is delivered. We have been through a lot together and I know I will never see its like again. It will be a wrench to see it loaded onto yet another truck, because this time it won’t be going to another kitchen in another home. This time it will make its final journey when the city council hauls it away to put it out of its misery. Yes, it’s an inanimate object, insensate and soulless and just a hulk made of plastic and metal, but I know that when they take it away, I will be thinking, “Goodbye, old friend. Thanks for everything. It’s been a blast.”

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.

Those Really were the Days

It is strange when you can think back to only three years ago and struggle to remember with any ease of relation to how life was back then. “Back then.” It is astounding that I am attributing the words “back then” to a life lived only three years ago.

But I am.

Three years isn’t even a full presidential term. Three years doesn’t even get you through high school. Your driver’s license isn’t even expired in three years, yet still, three years feel like the distant past.

At least to me it does.

And I know everyone’s personal perspective on this differs. For most of us, life changed in 2020. We all quarantined from loved ones. Didn’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Social lives for most were non-existent.

And then 2021 rolls in and vaccinations and everyone is excited to get back to life. Sports are back. Concerts are back. Restaurants and bars are alive again. I, too, was looking forward to getting back to life.

In March of 2021, I went to a restaurant for just the second time in a year. I spent the day at a riverwalk with my nephew. I was walking amongst people again and was starting to feel normal.

Then symptoms of a muscle disease I have started to rear its ugly head and with it wiped away any semblance or hope of getting back to what I considered “normal” life.

I look at pictures from three years ago and I hardly recognize myself or that life lived just three years ago.

2019.

The last time I went to a concert. The last time I went to the movies. The last time I went to a coffee shop to relax with a cup of coffee and a book. The last time I went to the library, where I’d sit at my favorite desk to work on what I hoped to be a good story. I miss the smell of books. I miss the quietness of a library that forced me to stay focused on those words I wrote. A good portion of my book, “A Penny on the Tracks” was written at my local library.

I miss the change of scenery. I miss getting up and going wherever my mood takes me. I had many different writing destinations, and I miss them all.

My circumstances are different from most people. My health, or lack of, plays a huge part in why life isn’t normal for me. It isn’t just covid. But with covid cases rising again, along with hospital rates, even if I felt better and was able to do everything as I had done before, would I still look back at 2019 as a far-away time?

A life where facemasks weren’t needed to enter medical facilities or grocery stores or banks.

A life where you’d give an odd expression to a person walking past you wearing a facemask because the concept was so foreign to you.

A life where you could impulsively hug a person hello without asking first if they’re okay with hugs because the not-so-distant past had no personal boundaries.

A life where if a person sitting at the table over from you at Starbucks coughs and you hardly notice because it is just a cough. How harmful can a simple cough be?

Oh, those were the days. 2019, I really, really, really miss you.

I fondly remember the time I met a woman at Starbucks. Betsy. She was in her 60’s and had MS. She wanted my seat at the window. She liked sitting by the window. I gave it to her, and she peppered the top of my hand with kisses. At the time I considered that a sweet gesture. She made me smile. Not once did I think about germs and rush to squirt sanitizer on my hands.

Those really were the days.

Sharon Ledwith Visits my Blog to Share her Rules for Writers

THE 80 – 20 RULE FOR WRITERS from Sharon Ledwith Apply the 80-20 rule to everything you do. Especially when it comes to your writing. What’s the 80-20 rule? It’s a simple formula. The basic idea is that 20 percent of the things you do will account for 80 percent of the value of your work. For optimum performance in any job, it’s essential that you work on the top 20 percent of the activities that account for most of your results. This rule is also known as the Pareto Principal or Power Law. How does this law apply to Writers? Read on…
  • Time Sucks: You know what I’m talking about. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. TV. Email checking. Web surfing. These activities can be gigantic time sucks. Get a timer or set an amount of time for yourself for these simple pleasures. If you do this, you’ll free yourself up to dedicate time for your writing. Do it. Be ruthless.
  • Great Writing Sessions: Some writing sessions are more productive than others. Know when is the best time for you to write, and when is not. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Know yourself well with regards to this advice. You will generate roughly 80% of your writing in the best 20% of your writing sessions. When you have a great day of writing, take notice on the factors that make it productive, and try to repeat those factors in all of your writing sessions.
  • Not-so-great Writing Sessions: A small number of your writing sessions will be far more wasteful than the rest. What happened in these sessions? Distractions? Your special someone knocking on your office door? Pets demanding attention? Do the math and figure out the factors that prevented great writing sessions. What can you do to fix these sessions in the future?
  • Writing Quality: Pretty much 20% of your writing will be of a high quality. That’s the good stuff you should publish. The other 80% will be crap. Buck up. It happens to the best of us.
  • Know Your Audience: What’s selling for you? Your audience will vastly prefer some 20% of your writing. Know this. Embrace this, especially the enthusiastic reviews. Then create more stories like it. It should drive more success your way.
  • Creating Ideas: You’ll think up 80% of your best ideas in 20% of the time you dedicate to creative activities. Figure out what puts you in these highly creative states and try to recreate those conditions every time. Was it the music you were listening to? The tea or coffee you sipped? Perhaps it was incense you were burning. On the flipside, you’ll trash 80% of your time spent generating new ideas. Maybe that time would be better spent on editing, reading or other activities.
  • Productivity: Some days will be more productive than others. Period. Exploit those days by pushing yourself to write as many hours as you can. Make the most of it and you may complete more work in one day than in several average days.
  • Book Sales: A cold, hard fact: 80% of book sales will come from 20% of authors. This explains why the publishing industry tosses huge amounts of money at a small number of authors while it ignores great work from everyone else. Life’s not fair for those in that 80% range.
  • Success and Failure: Some 80% of your written work will likely fail to gain an audience. However, all it takes is one major success to turn that percentage around and claim your stake in the publishing world. Grow a thick skin and keep trying.
Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series: The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures… Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time. Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past. Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries… Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected. The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series: The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3 MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:   Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀ Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links: MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀       Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE  

June is Freedom

I’ve been spending a lot of time these days looking back. Looking back on better times, better days. I read my journals written pre-2020, before Covid, before my health took a nosedive in early 2021 and has continued into 2022, to try to remember what normal life was like. How I used to live. What waking up and doing and going wherever I wanted felt like.

It’s so strange that you can live a certain way for most of your life, and then a year of a lockdown caused by a pandemic, followed by a year of bad health, can make that life you used to live feel so foreign to you that it’s as if someone else had lived it. You have no visceral connection to the past experiences you read about in your journal or see in pictures because that person doesn’t feel like you anymore.

No longer seeing yourself in yourself is a peculiar, isolating feeling.

The summer months are approaching. Though my favorite season is fall, (who can pass up hot cider, cozy sweaters, comfy slippers, the smell of crisp leaves, and, of course, Halloween and all of its scary movies) June has always felt like freedom to me. I’m assuming that sentiment has carried over from when I was a child and June marked the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation. Freedom!

Sunshine, barbeques, baseball games, outdoor concerts, carnivals, and fests.

June starts tomorrow, but I’m not feeling as free as I once did. The sunshine of June that ushers in the summer months used to fill me up with excitement for potential summer adventures.

Maybe I’ll feel that excitement next June.

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com