Her Name

My lesbian novella, Her Name, is a sweet romance about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Here are a couple excerpts that I hope you enjoy!

She held me like she knew me as I cried in her arms. We lay on the bed, on top of the covers, as streaks of sunlight peeked through the curtains. She leaned against the headboard and cradled me in her arms, rocking gently. She had a tender, motherly touch, and the harder I cried, the closer she held me.

“Let it out, baby,” she whispered. “Let it out. I’m here.”

I wept freely until, slowly, my cries faded to whimpers, and soon, all I heard was the steady sound of my own heavy breathing. She pressed her lips against my forehead, kissed me, and told me she loved me.

I wrapped my arms tightly around her. “I love you, too.”

I opened my eyes to darkness as I reached my hand to the other side of the bed. It was empty. I quickly sat up and wiped the tears from my eyes, not believing I had dreamed of the same woman and had again woken up looking for her.

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Now, I laid down my fork and leaned into my seat. I knew she didn’t want to talk about this anymore, but I did. “This all sounds crazy to you, and maybe in the beginning it was something to joke about, but now, I’m not sure. These pictures were taken directly out of my life, and this woman was in every one of them. You can’t tell me I just dreamed it from memory, because my memory isn’t that good! The photos were identical all the way from the clothes we wore, to the smile on our faces. Hell, even the background was the same! She was the only thing that was different. How could that be?”

I stared at her, waiting for a response as she took it all in.

“Like I said on the phone, I just don’t know what you want me to say. I’m not sure what you’re asking me. Is it weird? Yeah, totally, but I’m no dream expert, and neither are you. Like I said before, maybe it’s your subconscious taking over. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation, and it probably has some fancy scientific name.”

“She’s my wife,” I said flatly. “I saw a picture of us from our wedding, and we looked like we belonged together. We know each other. I mean, really know each other. I wish you could see us together, because you’ve never seen me this way with anyone before.”

“And what way is that?”

“In love,” I answered.

“In love,” Shelly repeated and then pushed herself away from the table. “Well, Maddy, me seeing you with her is something that will never happen. Do you wanna know why that will never happen?”

“I know why you think that will never happen, but that’s where you’re wrong.” I stared at her and said, “I’m just gonna come out and say it. I think she’s real.”

Shelly took a deep breath and pored over her food. “Maddy, Maddy, Maddy. What are you saying? This is crazy! I’m back to thinking these dreams are about your mom, because this is way beyond not getting laid. You lost a woman you loved, you miss her, and now you’re trying to replace all those things you miss about her with this other woman.”

Shaking my head, I said, “If this was just about me missing my mom, then why wouldn’t I just dream of my mom? There’d be no reason for this woman to be in my dreams if it were just about my mom.”

I watched a look of frustration cross Shelly’s face as she ran a hand through her hair. “You said you were at your dad’s today. How’s he doing?”

“Wow, that was a very obvious subject change,” I pointed out.

“I’m sorry, Maddy, but I’m having a real hard time digesting this food and your dreams at the same time. I need a fucking break.”

“Fine, but don’t use my dad as an excuse to change the subject.”

She touched my arm. “I’m serious. How’s he doing?”

I looked at her. “He’s desperately lost without her, and I don’t know how to make him better. Of course, I knew it would be hard for him to move on, but I thought eventually he would.”

“Maddy, it’s only been eight months. Give the man some time.”

“But he’s only getting worse. She was the love of his life, and he can’t live without her. Until I started having these dreams, I’ve never experienced that kind of love before and what it felt like to have someone to come home to, or someone to comfort you while you cry in their arms and take care of you when you lose your mom to cancer. The love he misses is the love I have with this woman.”

Shelly kicked the chair out from underneath her and came toward me. “What are you saying?” she yelled. “That you love this woman the same way your father loved your mom? Madison, that is ridiculous. It is not the same!”

I shoved myself away from the table and stormed across the room. “Maybe not here, in real life, but in my dreams it is! We were married! I saw the picture of us. We had a life together. We’d known each other a long time. I can feel it. Hell, my brother graduated from the academy eleven years ago, and she was in the pictures! Eleven years ago!” I stopped and took a deep breath. “If you could see these pictures, you’d understand. It isn’t just about the mere fact that she was in them, but it’s about how close she looked with my family. She was a part of my life.”

Shelly cocked her head and gave me a challenging look. “So you’ve known each other for a long time, you and this woman in your dreams. The two of you shared some great life together, yet you don’t even know her name. Madison, real people have names.”

If you like what you’ve read so far, you can purchase my book for only $2.99 on Amazon at the link below.

Thank you!

http://goo.gl/IKQWJ7

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Love Won Today

Keep in our hearts today all those who have passed never knowing their love was equal. Never again will a gay person worry they will be denied at the bedside of their dying partner. Never again will a gay person lose their home because they have no inheritance rights. We are now protected. Gay marriage is now simply marriage.

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I don’t own the copyright to these images. If it breaks any copyright laws, I will take them down.

And Then She Lived Happily Ever After

I heard a story of a woman who loved a man and believed that man loved her, too.

She believed his love was the kind of love that would never falter, was without any condition, and he would love her always.

Forever.

No matter what.

She believed he would protect her, without regard for his own safety, because he couldn’t bear to realize a life without her.

She believed he wanted to be with her always, and if she ever went away, he would long for her, and wait for as long as she took to walk through the door.

And he would be there.

Waiting.

She believed he wanted to make her happy, and her happiness was his happiness, because he loved her that much. And when she cried, he’d soak up her tears. And when she needed to talk, he’d listen patiently. And when she desired nothing but his body close to hers, he’d lay still beside her and never try to move away.

She believed he loved her this way because she’d read all the books -every Cinderella-like fairy-tale- when she was a little girl, and that’s what she wanted.

Her Prince Charming.

And she believed she had found him, until he proved she hadn’t.

She cried most nights, and every time she was alone, because she knew her life didn’t match the stories she had read.

Then one day she stopped crying, and she let the man who didn’t love her go.

Despite the heartbreak and disappointment, she was determined not to lower her expectations. She still  wanted the fairy-tale ending she remembered so well.

She prayed that the next time she fell in love, her recipient would be deserving of her devotion.

She got lonely while she waited for her Prince Charming to come. She went to a shelter and brought home a shaggy dog that wagged his tail every time he looked at her.

She loved him right away and believed he loved her, too.

This time, she was never proven wrong…….

And she lived happily ever after.

me phil smiling phil cuddle

 

“Helen” — A Woman I didn’t know, but I Wrote A Blog About You.

An eighty-five year-old woman has died. Maybe those words don’t scream tragedy because she was eighty-five. The assumption may be that she had lived a long life, and age finally got the better of her. But this old woman didn’t die in a lonely nursing home. Nor did she lay sickly in a hospital bed until family decided it was time to end her suffering.

No.

This eighty-five year-old woman died while trying to beat a train. Killed, as she scurried across train tracks…with a train fast approaching. Surveillance video captured the incident, and I can’t fathom watching what occurs on that tape. I’d wish for supernatural powers that could teleport me to that moment so I could whisk the old woman away, seconds before her imminent death.

But I can’t. Nobody can.

I think about her life, her eighty-five years, and all the historical events she lived through. The paper identified her real name, but I’ll call her “Helen”.

Helen would have been born in 1930, the year after the stock-market crash that devastated the country and sent it into a deep recession, occurred. With little or no protection from the federal government, the 1930’s became known for the Great Depression. *Over fifteen million Americans (one-quarter of workers) were unemployed. *Nine thousand uninsured banks closed, and took over 2.5 billion dollars in deposits with them.

For many, standing in breadlines was the only way they would eat.

Helen survived the Great Depression.

In the 1940’s, Europe was invaded by Nazi Germany. A war was started, and over *60 million people were killed worldwide.

Helen survived World War II.

In the next decade, she witnessed the fear of communism spread across the country. She lived through Sputnik. The Korean War. The beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Segregation. Martin Luther King. She saw Elvis Presley shake his hips.

She lived through the riots and the turmoil of the Sixties.  A President, a Civil Rights leader, and a Senator assassinated in the same decade. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Vietnam. Woodstock. She saw the first man walk on the moon.

She lived a long life, but it could have been longer. I didn’t know “Helen”, but when I read the part of the newspaper about her death, I was stopped. I thought, “What was it that an eighty-five year old woman was in such a hurry to get to that she tried to beat a train?” At 85!

At that moment, I tried to picture her life, and how she could ever have imagined it would end this way. There’s no way she could have. I have no idea what, if any, hardships Helen struggled to overcome in her life, but dying that way, at that age, feels like a long way to come to go down like that.

I pray that she has found peace.

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*credit to History.com for the stats.

photo courtesy by freedigitalphotos.net

Do You Play Favourites?

My Favourite Book

by Carol Browne

I keep few books in my house. I prefer to pass them on to my friends. However, there is one special book I will never part with and that is my 1945 hardback edition of Precious Bane by Mary Webb.

The book features an introduction by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, written at 10 Downing Street in 1928, in which he says of the author, “Her sensibility is so acute and her power over words so sure and swift that one who reads some passage in Whitehall has almost the physical sense of being in Shropshire cornfields.”

First published in 1924, Precious Bane tells the story of flawed heroine, Prudence Sarn, whose ‘hare-shotten lip’ means that as far as her neighbours are concerned she is cursed with ‘the devil’s mark’. It is only weaver Kester Woodseaves who can see beyond this disfigurement to the true beauty of Prue’s soul.

Prue’s goodness and gentle nature are in sharp contrast to her brother Gideon’s ruthless striving for worldly success, and descriptions of the landscape that sustains them are woven into the dramas of their lives to create a rich tapestry. Thanks to the author’s skill with words, it is safe to say that Nature is not merely a background to the story but also seems to be a character in it too. The narrative is, says Prue, “the story of us all at Sarn, of Mother and Gideon and me, and Jancis (that was so beautiful) and Wizard Beguildy, and the two or three other folk that lived in those parts…”

How to describe the style of the book? It depicts a rural England around the time of Waterloo (1815), a place of meres, country lore, dragonflies, looms and spinning-wheels. There is a fair scattering of dialect words (fascinating rather than baffling!) and curious customs such as ‘sin-eating’ and ‘telling the bees’. It is reminiscent of Larkrise to Candleford, had it been penned by a committee of authors that included Thomas Hardy, Dickens and Emily Bronte. It is a book to relax with and savour. The pace was slower in 1924 and they liked their paragraphs LONG! But the story is well paced, the heroine immensely likeable, and there’s plenty of dramatic conflict and jeopardy to keep you hooked throughout.

I have read this book many times and, having just opened it and looked at the first line of Chapter One – “It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first”, – I know I am going to read it again very soon! (If you want to try this book, please don’t spoil it for yourself and look at the last page. The ending is perfect!)

Mary Webb née Meredith was born in the village of Leighton on 25th March, 1881. She and her husband worked as market gardeners for a time and had their own stall on Shrewsbury market. She wrote five novels and a volume of essays on nature. Mary died on 8th October, 1927 and was buried in Shrewsbury.

Authors die but they are never forgotten. They live on in the work they leave behind. As Mary Webb said herself in her Foreward to Precious Bane:

“We are to-morrow’s past. Even now we slip away like those pictures painted on the moving dials of antique clocks – a ship, a cottage, sun and moon, a nosegay. The dial turns, the ship rides up and sinks again, the yellow painted sun has set, and we, that were the new thing, gather magic as we go. The whirr of the spinning-wheels has ceased in our parlours, and we hear no more the treadle of the loom, the swift, silken noise of the flung shuttle, the intermittent thud of the batten. But imagination hears them, and theirs is the melody of romance.”

~Carol

Carole Browne writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover. Stay connected with Carol on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolBrowne?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

I Don’t Feel Like Fishing Anymore…

Recently I perused a couple online dating sites (since I’ve already written in a previous blog about my experience in jumping on a plane at nineteen years old to meet a woman I met online, I won’t pretend that I haven’t been on a dating site before) and I came upon a profile that I first thought had to be fake, only because it read like it was written by a man in 1955.

But I am afraid it’s real…very real.

A 42 year-old woman, (three years older than me) is looking for a woman and this is what she writes:

(I will paraphrase because I’m not sure if I can legally quote her profile word for word.)

– I’m a good woman who treats my lovers good. In return, I only want my lovers to treat me good too. You take care of me, feed me, clean our house, and we can go places together. I need a good old-fashioned woman. I’m a hard-working and deep-loving woman and I need to be taken care of like a man. I want to be respected, obeyed, and generally have things done my way…and you will be happy and loved and respected back. I’m looking for my little woman to move in with me. Unless you are stable and want to pay bills and support my children, I will do it, and you’ll come to be my lil ol’ woman. –

I’m not sure how I resisted the temptation to hit the reply button because she sounds amazing, but I did, and I may need to thank my daily yoga and meditation practice in giving me such self-restraint and willpower. Maybe one day I will regret keeping this fish in the sea for some other lucky “lil ol’ woman” to catch.

Only time will tell if the loss is mine, but I’m pretty certain I won’t lose any sleep over it…Here’s to being single for a little while longer…and that’s quite all right.

Life Gets Better…Thanks Sandy.

Two years ago this month I started volunteering at an animal shelter. The first dog I bonded with was a Collie mix named Sandy. Sandy was an owner-surrender. I don’t remember the exact circumstances of the surrender, but Sandy was very depressed. Her sadness showed in the way she moved – slow and heavy. Her body weighted, not from the extra pounds she carried, but from the confusion I suspect she felt when the shelter became her new home.

I’ve been told that for a dog to go from a home to a shelter is as much of a shock as a free-living human-being waking up suddenly in a prison cell. Although the animals at my shelter are loved and well-taken care of, it doesn’t compare to a home once an animal’s lived in one. The confinement of a kennel, even one attached to a dog run, is jail to an animal accustomed to having free-range of a home.

Animal shelters, no matter how well-tended to, are loud. Dogs who are nervous bark. Dogs who are scared bark. Dogs who are anxious bark. And dogs who are just tired of being somewhere (we’ve had animals who’ve waited a year or longer for homes) bark. So when a dog like Sandy comes to the shelter, and is greeted with chaos she is not used, depression often sets in. Adjustments need to be made and these are abrupt for animals who knew a better life.

My fellow volunteers at the shelters love the animals they care for, and talk sweetly to them, but we are strangers to the dogs. And the ones who had an owner, and faithfully loved that owner and lived in a stable home (for at least a little while), being in a place with so many different hands touching you, no matter how gentle, can fill a dog with stress it never knew before.

Sandy wouldn’t eat, and as weeks went by her weight gradually dropped, but she still moved slowly and wasn’t enthusiastic about anything. There were special notes on her cage and on the dog’s track sheets that Sandy was only to be taken out in the grassy yard, and not the cement and pebbled ones, because all Sandy wanted to do was lay down. I’d lay with her in the grass, pet her, and take her head in my arms, and promise her that things would get better. She’d look at me with sadness in her eyes so deep and profound that I’d challenge anyone who dare say animals don’t have a soul.

I felt close to Sandy and bonded quickly with her because she resembled on the outside exactly the way I was feeling on the inside. I had been laid-off from my job a few months before and battling an illness that was threatening to flare-up again, and I was scared and lost in such profound hopelessness that I desperately searched for any sign that promised better days ahead.

“You’re gonna be okay,” I’d promise while kneeling in front of her and holding her head in my hands. “We both are.”

I kissed her a lot, comforted and reassured her, the way I needed someone to reassure me.

Soon, Sandy was adopted. Her life was going to get better and I was so happy for her. She gave me hope that my life would get better, too.

Last summer I took my dog to a fundraising event for animal shelters. There were all kinds of doggie-themed tents there and as I made my way toward one of them, I stopped near a spectacle of people surrounding a closed-off area. I found a spot and watched as dogs performed tricks and ran through obstacle courses with their trainers, or owners, by their side. The happy dogs circled cones, ran through large cylinder-like tubes, slid down little slides, jumped over rope, and maneuvered across small teeter-totters.

One of the dogs looked a lot like Sandy, but i knew the dog now running excitedly through an obstacle course couldn’t be the same sad dog who ignored the toys scattered in the shelter yards and only wanted to lay down, or the over-weight, depressed dog who moved so slowly I often had to take half-steps when walking beside her. It couldn’t be that dog, and I was ready to walk away believing it wasn’t her, when a man holding a mic said, “Let’s give a big hand to Sandy!”

It was Sandy! My Sandy. And I was stunned. I couldn’t even move. The transformation was incredible. She was a completely different dog.

I couldn’t get to her. The crowd was too big. But I wanted to reach her and pet her again and look into the eyes I was sure showed no more signs of sadness.

I wanted to tell her that I was happy her life was better, and let her know that mine was too.

Sadness doesn’t have to last forever. Life can, and will, get better.