For the writers who need to hear this right now. Don’t let self-doubt take over. Keep writing. You are a writer. So write.
For the writers who need to hear this right now. Don’t let self-doubt take over. Keep writing. You are a writer. So write.
I came out as a lesbian twenty-one years ago. I was nineteen years old. I told the people closest to me, one at a time. It was a positive experience, for the most part. There were lots of questions, of course. I was surprised at how surprised some of my loved ones were. I was a tomboy growing up, playing sports, wearing dirty clothes with holes in them. I hated dresses as a child. Still did as a nineteen year old, when I declared myself a lesbian.
So why some of my loved ones were surprised by my revelation, is astounding. Denial is fierce.
Last night, something happened that made me feel nineteen all over again. No, I didn’t try to buy beer with someone else’s ID who looked kinda, sorta, like me.
I came out to a loved one.
It started out as a typical Friday night. I was on my recliner, watching the Sox game. My sister’s kids were over. My seven-year old nephew was laid out on the couch next to me, my niece in college was working on her studies at the kitchen table behind me, and my other niece, twelve-years old, slid onto the recliner with me.
“Do you like girls?” she asked.
It was a casual question. There was no tone. Just a straight-forward, no-nonsense question. I was caught off-guard. This niece, as do all of nieces and nephews, has known for years that I write lesbian novels, and that I have a gay friend with whom I go to gay bars. But they’ve never asked if I was a lesbian.
I knew the question would come up soon. They’ve asked me other questions bordering the, “Do you like girls”, “Are you a lesbian, Auntie?” question.
“Auntie, why do you write lesbian stories?”
“Lesbians need to read, too, right?”
“Auntie, so you go to gay bars and watch boys kiss?”
“Yes, I do. And that’s okay.”
“Auntie, aren’t you afraid someone’s going to think you’re gay?”
“No, because being gay is okay.”
Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t just come out and tell my curious nieces and nephews that I was gay. They were young – nine, ten, eleven years old. I didn’t think they were ready to know. Or maybe I wasn’t ready for them to know. Whatever the case, I didn’t volunteer the information, but I swore I would answer honestly if they ever directly asked if I was gay.
“Do you like girls?” my niece asked.
I tossed my head back. “Why would you ask me that? No, I don’t like girls.”
“It’s okay if you do. I respect gay people,” my niece responded.
I went back to watching the game, not believing that I had just lied to my niece. I did exactly what I told myself I wouldn’t do. I was not expecting that question at that moment. I was unprepared. In that moment, I wasn’t ready to tell her the truth.
When she got off the chair with me, I replayed in my mind what had just happened, and I knew I couldn’t keep things as they were.
Later, we were practicing our dance routine to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” and I pulled her into another room.
“I’m sorry for lying to you,” I said.
“When?” she asked.
“When I told you I didn’t like girls.”
“You like girls?” she asked.
She smiled and jumped in my arms. She squeezed her arms tight around my neck. “I’m so proud of you! I love you so much.”
It was a beautiful moment. My twelve-year old niece is proud of me. I have to laugh at that. When we left the room, and joined the others, we went right back to where we left off. She didn’t treat me any differently. Being gay is really no big deal to her.
Later that night, we were watching the movie Signs, and she jumped onto the recliner to snuggle with me at the scary parts, like she always does.
Author Carol Browne is on my blog talking about my favorite kind of books to write – the novella.
by Carol Browne
As authors go, I consider myself to be fairly ignorant when it comes to the mechanics of my craft. I’m like someone who drives but hasn’t a clue how the engine works and can’t tell one make of car from another. I find myself perplexed at times by the multitude of genres and their crossovers. Similarly, the many structures and formats one is supposed to adhere to are tiresome. Perhaps I don’t like rules and regulations, or it could be I’m too lazy to learn them.
Recently, when I finished my latest work, a novella called Reality Check, I decided to address my ignorance of basic literary structures by finding out exactly what constitutes a novella.
The novella (Italian,‘new’) started to develop as a literary genre during the Renaissance (notably in 1348 with the The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio), and in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries the genre acquired various rules and structural requirements.
With a word count of between 17,500 and 40,000, the novella tends to be more complex than a short story but has far fewer conflicts than a novel. Frequently a novella is designed to be read at a single sitting.
Chapter divisions, subplots, different points of view, and changes in genre are not features commonly found in the novella. It turns its back on the wider world to focus instead on personal development. It’s like taking a short story then embellishing it with descriptive passages, expanding on the characterisation, and exploring the conflicts in greater depth.
You’d be surprised to know how many great literary works are novellas—Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, to name but a few.
I’m surprised to find that Reality Check meets the requirements, albeit by accident! Out of interest I also note that German writers see the novella as a narrative of any length that focuses on one suspenseful situation or conflict, with a decisive turning point that leads to a reasonable but surprising conclusion. Reality Check has ticked all the boxes there too. All I need now is a publisher!
Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol 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.
Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.
Today is June 1. The mark of half a year gone by. The time I usually reflect on the past six months in relation to the ambitious goals and optimistic attitude I had coming into the New Year.
I am sure I have the list of New Year intentions I resolved to accomplish written down somewhere, but have forgotten where I put it. (The list is probably in some convenient place I specifically chose so I wouldn’t forget where it is.)
Offhand, I remember the list being something like this:
Reading – Every new year begins with my resolution to read 52 books – one book per week – for an entire year. I have yet to accomplish this feat. Last year I read 34 books. The halfway point of this year finds me at a measly 9 books. Although I am currently reading two books and plan to finish them this week, I am still way off target. Whenever I fail to reach the coveted 52 books, I settle for at least doing better than the previous year. To beat even last year’s number means I gotta kick it up – big time.
My struggle isn’t for lack of books. My kindle is filled with a plethora of authors I love, as well as authors I am just discovering, and my library card is always in my wallet for constant access. I have no valid reason for falling so behind. I love to read. I’m a writer. I have no choice but to love to read. If I didn’t, I’d have no business being a writer.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m reading because I tell myself I should be writing. But a writer learns while he/she reads, and will better at his/her craft the more they read, so I will no longer call it reading, rather research.
The next time I spend a gorgeous afternoon under the sun engrossed in a great story, I will tell myself that what I am doing is the writer’s equivalent of a scientist conducting experiments in a lab wearing goggles and a lab coat. Research!
Blogging – I set a goal to write two blogs a week. This isn’t an overly ambitious goal. I did not set myself up to fail because this is an easily attainable feat. Yet, if you keep up with my blog even just a little bit, you know that not only am I not writing two blogs a week, but sometimes I don’t even write one.
This failure isn’t for lack of having anything to say. There is plenty happening out there I have an opinion about. Hello, this is election year. There have been an abundance of headlines that caused me to seriously rethink the level of humanity and compassion in our country’s leaders. And this is sad.
But I hesitate to write here sometimes because I question why anyone would care what I think. Am I wasting my time with this blog? I do this blogging thing because I was told authors needed it as one of their platforms. I know for certain my blog has been responsible for one book sale – one. But I don’t blog for the sales. I do it for that one person who may enjoy reading the words I write.
I easily forget at times that anyone, in any country with internet, has access to everything I write. A few of my friends read my blog and occasionally they’ll comment on something I’ve written, and I’ll stop whatever I’m doing, and think, “Oh yeah. I wrote that and you can read everything I write.”
Sometimes it’s a little awkward when I’m scrambling to remember if I revealed anything too personal. I will put some of my self-consciousness aside and just write about whatever I want – no matter how opinionated I may get.
Yoga and Meditation – I started doing yoga consistently about two years ago. I still practice, but I’m not where I thought I would be by this time. My dedication to the spiritual journey I set on a few years back has been interrupted. I used to practice yoga everyday, meditate nightly, and read spiritual passages.
I allowed myself to get distracted. It became too difficult to keep my mind at the steady pace and concentration meditation requires. The external noise around me got too loud, and I began to listen too intently. I let myself get upset about things I know aren’t important. I tried to control too much, forgetting the impermanence of life.
I can feel in my body and soul, in my self, where I lost the calming benefit, and clarity, daily yoga and meditation had once given me. I will get back to yoga with more consistency. I will slow my mind and remind myself that at this moment, all is well. I will read and retain passages that enhance my spiritual journey.
Writing – I am happy I have at least kept up with my writing. I have just completed an 80,000 word novel, the longest story I’ve ever written called A Penny on the Tracks. This feat alone makes falling behind on most everything else somewhat bearable.
A writer writes.
Never forget that, writers.
Join Dominique Eastwick as she celebrates her new Wiccan Haus release with a Rafflecopter Giveaway!
The babies are coming… the Wiccan Haus will never be the same.
Things are not as calm at the Wiccan Haus as they usually are. The impending birth of Dana and Rekkus’ cubs has everyone on edge. The last thing anyone wants or expects is a series of uninvited guests.
Ashlynn Stone hasn’t spoken to her sister Dana since she left for the Wiccan Haus over a year earlier. But when a fluke accident on the fashion runway forces her to seek the healing of the Wiccan Haus, she has no choice but to pack her bags and take the ferry to the island with her family in tow.
Shadedor has been sent to the Wiccan Haus to assess the situation. But he soon finds more than he expected. His soul mate in need of healing. Can he negotiate the issues of the Wiccan Haus and overcome the walls Ashlynn has built to protect herself.
As the Haus prepares for the biggest event since it opened, can the siblings find harmony and manage to do what they do best, heal those in need? Or is it too much for them to take?
Welcome back to the Wiccan Haus.
He walked. This morning, he had been right next to her, and there had been constant contact. Now they would appear to anyone passing to be complete strangers. “You want to tell me what is going on?”
“We are attempting to remove all stress from your life in hopes of easing the headaches.”
“No, with you. If you would prefer to be elsewhere, I can go back to my room and lie down.”
He stopped. “There is nowhere I would rather be.”
“Then why are you acting like I have the plague? Was it the kiss earlier?”
“I overstepped my boundaries this morning. I should not have done so.”
“Do you regret it?”
“I am assisting the staff here in your healing. It is inappropriate for me to come on to you.”
“Are you on staff here?”
“That settles it.” She smiled. Closing the distance between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I do not know what is going on, but I do know my pain and fears ease when you are near. I don’t claim to understand how you discern all you do, but I am starting to see things here aren’t always black and white, and sometimes I have to have faith and trust.”
After a brief second of him standing as still as a statue and her wondering if she read too much into this morning’s embrace, he relaxed. His arms snaked around her, pulling her against his hard body. His mouth came down on hers begging her to open for him, demanding she submit to his kiss. She might have started this dance, but he would damned well be leading it.
RAFFLECOPTER through May 26th
Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.
I’m close to finishing my latest novel, A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about friendship, family, love and loss. The story centers around two eleven-year old girls who discover a place hidden in a remote area not far from where they live. They call this place their “Hideout”. Believing the secret spot is known only to them, and the high school boy they meet there named Derek, the girls spend the summer of ’86 sneaking off to their hidden hang out and experience a reality of life that would haunt them forever.
Melancholy at times, A Penny on the Tracks tests the resilience of friendships during the threat of betrayal, explores the tumultuous relations of a dysfunctional family shattered to pieces, and shows the desperate limits life can impose on a person struggling for a reason to live.
But through all the heartache portrayed in this story, the book ends with the hopeful sentiment that even in death, a loved one never completely leaves us.
Below is an excerpt of A Penny on the Tracks:
I wasn’t sure who else knew about our Hideout. Aside from Abbey and me, Derek was the only other person I’d ever seen there. But anyone with an interest in exploring deep into the field, behind the big Nabisco building that sat across the street from the park, would have no trouble finding the spot near the railroad tracks we loved so much.
About a hundred yards beyond the brush lay the tracks and an area covered in gravel, which Abbey and I had declared our spot. It was the place we’d first met Derek, sitting on his rock, smoking his cigarette and, seemingly, deep in thought. But when he looked up and nodded his head nonchalantly at us, and asked, “How’s it going?” I knew he was gonna be cool.
There was a wooded area just east of the tracks, thick with trees and a small creek. Abbey avoided going there as much as she could, but when she did venture into the woods, she never delved as deeply as I did. She preferred staying out in the open field.
Abbey and I didn’t consciously go searching for a place just for us. We were hanging out at the park across from the Nabisco building, and heard the faint sound of a train’s whistle.
We’d been goofing around in the tennis courts, competing against each other over who could hit the ball the farthest over the fence. I had always won, even though I’d let Abbey have the better of the old, worn rackets—the one with the tighter strings.
She still could barely hit the ball over the fence.
But every time I smacked the ball, it shot off my racket, like a rocket, over the fence. And I’d give my best Tom Hanks impression from the Bachelor Party, imitating his “tennis homeruns” by tossing my racket in the air and cupping my hands around my mouth, producing sounds of exhilarating crowd noises.
Abbey’s lack of ability to hit the ball very far was always the racket’s fault.
“These rackets are old and broken,” she’d say. “Hardly anyone would be able to hit with these rackets.”
“I can,” I’d shoot back with a tight smirk.
She’d tell me to be quiet, and I’d tell her that losers have to fetch the balls.
But Abbey was right. The rackets were in horrible shape. I had found them shoved behind a dusty cabinet one day in my garage. They must have come with the house because my mother didn’t remember buying them.
I’d often wondered how far I could lift a ball through the air if I’d had a real tennis racket, one with all the strings attached. But tennis rackets weren’t in our budget, and I wouldn’t ask my mom for one because I knew it made her feel bad whenever she couldn’t give me something I wanted.
Even though Abbeys parents could afford new rackets, we both knew her mother would never approve of such a purchase. Her mother didn’t believe girls should play any sports. It was too rough and un-ladylike. At first, I thought she was worried Abbey would get hurt because of her slight stature, but when her complaints about girls playing sports were even extended toward me, with my huskier build, I knew safety wasn’t the reason.
I had skinned my knee pretty badly once playing basketball in my driveway with a couple neighborhood boys, and Abbey’s mom gave me an earful when she saw the cut.
“This is why girls shouldn’t play sports,” she’d said.
“Ah, it’s fine. It doesn’t hurt me any more than it would hurt a boy,” I’d said.
She’d given me a stern glare. “But look at your knee. What boy is going to want to take out a girl with cuts all over her legs? You two better stop playing so rough. Boys don’t like that.”
As much as we hated our rackets, I was sure Abbey knew, like I did, that they were the best we were going to get.
But from the moment we heard the train, and ventured far beyond the Nabisco building and discovered our train, we no longer cared about old, worn tennis rackets.
We had found our Hideout.
Thanks for reading!
Please check out my other books, Her Name and Loving Again, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Time Travel 101
by Sharon Ledwith
Legends. We love them. We can’t get enough of them. In fact we NEED them. Legends connect humanity in ways we can’t fathom. A legend, by definition is a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis, although not verifiable. In book one of my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Amanda Sault, her four classmates, and two tag-along adults are whisked through an arch they find buried in an overgrown garden, and transported to the mythical continent of Atlantis. They’ve been summoned to become Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force known only as Belial. Oh, BTW—they’re not just any Timekeepers—they’re the Last Timekeepers. No pressure, right? Well, maybe a smidgen.
The Timekeepers first mission involves going back to 1214 England, actually Nottingham to be precise. There, Amanda and her time traveling cohorts meet an adolescent Robin Hood, although he is known as Robyn Hodekin to the people of Nottingham. So here’s the rub—in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, what’s myth and what’s made-up? That’s when it’s up to the reader to seek the truth and dispel the lies.
Here’s a little help:
Robin Hood—if he did exist—was known by many names. Robyn Hode, Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robert Fitz Ooth, and Robert fitz Odo to name a few. The first written references to our hero are brief. The earliest comes in the poem Piers Plowman, written in 1377 by the London cleric William Langland. One of his characters, an idle priest, says in passing, “I know the rhymes of Robin Hood,” but that is all. The oldest surviving substantial account of Robin Hood in his wider setting was printed in 1510, and is called A Geste of Robin Hood, the word Geste probably meaning a tale of heroic exploits. BTW—“Robin Hood in Sherwood stood” was one verse found preserved in a scrap of manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral, and was dated around 1410.
Mortimer’s Hole—The Mortimer and his hole in my story is fictional. The real Mortimer’s Hole is a 98 metre long man-made tunnel that takes you from the foot of castle rock up to the Upper Bailey in the castle grounds. It is named after Roger Mortimer. On the night of 19th October 1330 one of the most dramatic events in the history of the castle took place when the supporters of 15 year old King Edward III entered the castle through a secret passage —now named Mortimer’s Hole. They captured Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who had usurped the young King and were ruling England in his place. Mortimer was taken to London where he was executed. Mortimer’s Hole was probably used as a food chute in medieval times.
Nottingham caves—Totally factual! Beneath the houses, shops and offices of Nottingham lie hundreds of caves. Few people in Nottingham are aware of this labyrinth, which exists underneath the city streets, and fewer still have visited them. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain. People have worked and lived in them for over 1,000 years. None of these caves were formed naturally. They were all cut into the sandstone by the city’s inhabitants for use as houses, cellars and place of work. Each cave in unique and created for a specific purpose, some have elaborate carvings, pillars and staircases. Take a virtual tour if you dare: http://nottinghamcavessurvey.org.uk/
Knights Templar— The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman, Hughes de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. Knights of the Order wore white mantles, assigned to the Templars in 1129 at the Council of Troyes and surcoats quartered by a red cross, a symbol of martyrdom, probably added at the start of the Second Crusade in 1147, and were heavily armored knights from the aristocracy with war horses. Knights had to wear their white mantles as all times, even when eating and drinking.
The Rockyard Inn—The name is fictional. Much of the history of the Inn is very poorly recorded. An archaeological dig in 1974 proved conclusively that the location of the original Brewhouse could only be that of the caves of Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, the Inn that exists there presently. This established that the Castle Brewhouse existed prior to 1189AD but the first dated reference is to be found is in the records of the City Council for the year 1618. The parochial rights to the area now known as the Brewhouse Yard did not in fact belong to the Castle but passed backwards and forward over time between the Priory of Lenton, The Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Here’s an excerpt from The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:
Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.
She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.
Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.
This was just the beginning.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic 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.
Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
Erotica author Lizzie T. Leaf is here to tease at least two of your senses. So tempt away, Lizzie, the kitchen is all yours!
I love to make this easy treat for a cozy Saturday night when I want to snuggle with my wonderful husband and share some personal time.
|Photo by Mister GC|
1 cup (2 sticks) (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 300oF (150C) and place rack in center of oven.
With an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg and beat until combined.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together.
Refrigerate the dough until firm.
Roll out the dough or press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet front-to-back half-way through baking.
3 – 5.5 ounce bags (15.5 ounces total) soft caramels or make your own http://www.instructables.com/id/Caramel-Recipe/
2 tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. butter
dash salt (opt)
Place your caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until melted, 3-4minutes.
If you’re using homemade caramels, you can reduce the amount of milk and microwave time. If you’re using hard caramels, increase the milk.
Pour caramel over the baked cookie.
Once the caramel has set, cut into whatever size pieces you desire. For best results, chill them in the freezer to firm up before dipping.
12 ounces (240 grams) milk chocolate, cut into fairly uniform pieces
1 tsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening or butter
Place chocolate in a small saucepan set on medium heat. Be sure to stir the chocolate as you carefully melt it. Adjust temp so your chocolate does not burn.
Add shortening or butter to help make the chocolate thinner for dipping as needed.
Dip the bars in the tempered chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to set.
Do not attempt to move your Twix bars before they’re set or they’re liable to come apart.
Once they’ve set, you’re ready to share and enjoy! For best results, store in the fridge.
Here’s a brief intro to my vampire story that is guaranteed to warm your chilly spring nights.
Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she’s dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never held a job find one?
And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.
Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper—and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.
Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?
To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.
Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.
Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.
See all of Lizzie’s book on Amazon.
I’d like to share an excerpt from my two published books, Her Name and Loving Again. Both are available now on amazon.com.
Madison Andrews has spent her entire life ~unsuccessfully~ searching for love. She begins having vivid dreams of the same woman every night, and soon, Madison believes this woman is the love she has been searching for. Madison’s dreams become more intense and she realizes the dreams she’s having recreate moments taken from actual events from her life ~~ and this woman is there for all of it. Madison searches for her, but how can she find a woman she knows everything about… and yet nothing? She doesn’t even know her name.
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.”
Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.
The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women. Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?
“What’d he say?” Dana handed Emily another glass of wine.
“Nothing. He hung up on me.”
Dana sat beside her on the couch. “I’m sorry.”
“Maybe I don’t have the right to question him about it, but if he slept with other women, that’s worse than what I did, isn’t it?”
“You married a man because that’s what you thought you were supposed to do. Emily, you did nothing wrong.”
“I’m the one who left. This shouldn’t hurt as much as it does.”
Dana pushed a strand of Emily’s hair behind her ear. “You still love him,” she said flatly.
Emily looked at her. “It’s not like that. I’m not jealous. I’m angry. If he had real affairs with other women, then why am I the one bearing all the guilt?”
“You shouldn’t be.”
“But I am, and it hurts me that my husband cheated.”
“Of course it does. He betrayed you.”
“But didn’t I betray him, too?”
“You did not betray him. You didn’t know what you were. It’s not the same.”
Emily averted her eyes. It was difficult to look at Dana at that moment because she still hadn’t told her the truth about her past.
“I’m sorry I ruined tonight,” she said. “We’re supposed to be getting to know each other. You invite me to your house, make me dinner, and instead of talking about you, I’m going on and on about me and my soon-to-be ex-husband.”
Dana leaned closer to her. “I want you to talk about yourself and whatever’s happening in your life,” she said. “I love that you feel comfortable enough to share this with me.”
Emily studied the woman she was beginning to fall for. “You’re very sweet.”
“There’s just one thing that I ask of you.”
“I need you to be sure this is what you want. I’m not talking about me specifically. I mean women.”
Emily straightened in her seat and looked Dana in the eyes. “I’m so sure of what I want that
I destroyed my marriage to get it, and my mother no longer talks to me because of it. Isn’t that enough?”
Dana cupped Emily’s face in her hands. “Yes.” She closed her eyes and drew Emily in for a soft and sweet first kiss.
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I’m so pleased to have author, Annette Mori, on my blog today. She is the talented writer of the books, Out of this World, Love Forever, Live Forever, Asset Management, and Locked Inside.
Here’s an excerpt from Locked Inside, a story about overcoming great obstacles and freeing oneself from emotional prisons. But the heart of the story is about love.
Awareness came slowly to me, as the blanket of fog, smothering intelligence, rolled back. I imagined an intricate spider web in my head, tangled with fine silk strands. Wonder Woman was slicing through them like an adventurer hacking through a jungle.
I was still confused about where I was when I heard giggling. At first, I thought my sisters were invading my sacred space.
“Shhh, come in here and tell me every little detail,” a girl’s voice said.
“I don’t think we should be in here, Tammie. We’re supposed to be doing our volunteer hours, not screwing around in a resident’s room,” a different voice huffed.
I opened my eyes and a fuzzy picture began to emerge. Two strange teenage girls were huddled in the corner of a foreign room with sterile white walls. I wasn’t in my bedroom at home and I began to panic.
It’s probably hard for people to truly appreciate the terror that I experienced at this particular moment in my life. I had no idea where I was, who these strangers were, or what had happened to me. I would later discover that I’d lost six years of my life while hovering in a semi-comatose state. They never did figure out the origin of the illness or why I went into a coma and by the time I showed any awareness, six years had passed and my family had accepted the original prognosis that I would never recover.
The tall, skinny one with red hair shrugged. “Don’t be such a tight ass, Carly.” She pointed in my direction and giggled. “She’ll never tell.”
“That’s just mean.”
“What? She’s a vegetable, but right now she’s kinda creeping me out. Look, her eyes are open and it’s almost like she’s listening to every word we say,” the redhead blurted out.
The other one looked at me and frowned. “I think we’re upsetting her. She’s breathing really heavy now and I think she can hear us. Something is wrong. She looks terrified.”
I was trying to move my head, my arms, my legs, anything, but none of my body parts would cooperate with me. I felt my breathing quicken and I desperately wanted to communicate with them. I wanted to know where I was and why I couldn’t talk or move.
“She does look kind of agitated, Carly. Maybe we should get your mom.”
They left the room and I tried to move my head. I managed to move it a couple of inches as I took in my surroundings. I was able to shift my eyes from side to side as I noticed a TV mounted high on the wall in the center of the room and a single bed with a simple nightstand on my right. It looked like a typical hospital room, but I wasn’t positive. In my mind, I was still ten years old and my parents were nowhere to be found. I wanted my mom. I wanted reassurance that everything would be okay.
I heard the click clickclick of heels on the linoleum floor and watched as an attractive dark- haired woman entered the room. She had a stethoscope draped around her neck and one of the teenagers followed her into the room. They had similar features and I wondered if she was the mom the redhead referred to earlier.
“I’m sorry, Mom, Tammie dragged me in here. I didn’t mean to upset the patient but she looked like she was trying to say something. Her breathing got kinda fast like she was having a panic attack or something,” the young woman confessed.
Well, that answered that mystery for me. The beautiful girl must have been the one the redhead, Tammie, called Carly. As each minute passed, I was becoming more aware of my surroundings and I was working to remember little details like the names of the young girls.
“Carly, it’s not like you to get sucked into Tammie’s harebrained ideas. I taught you better than that. Belinda is a very special case, but I don’t think she actually heard you or that you upset her in any way. She’s been completely unresponsive for nearly six years. Unfortunately, her illness caused severe brain damage.” “I know she reacted to something,” Carly insisted. “Okay, let me check her out.”
The woman grabbed her stethoscope and I felt her hands push aside my clothing as she placed the silver end on my chest. Her hands were gentle, but the stethoscope was cold and I must have had some small reaction—although it didn’t feel like any part of my body would obey.
“I’m sorry, Belinda, did you feel that?” she asked.
Carly stepped up to the bedside and I could feel her touch my hand.
I looked down at my curled up hand, which resembled some kind of deformed claw.
“My mom’s a doctor. She won’t hurt you,” Carly soothed.
Since I wasn’t able to move any part of my body but my eyes and my head in incremental movements, I concentrated all my energy on letting them know there was someone locked inside this useless body. I wasn’t a vegetable.
“Hmmm, in all the years I’ve looked in on Belinda, she’s never reacted like this. She does respond to certain stimuli. We’ve always been able to feed her as long as someone touches her lips first. This is new, though. Her heart rate does appear to be elevated and there is definite movement in her eyes. Perhaps she is reacting to your voice.”
Yes. It was a start. I had to find a way to communicate and let them know I was aware and present. My instinct for survival and Carly’s soothing presence was enough to tamp down the initial terror I felt. Everything was still too new for me to truly experience the first stage in the grief process. That would come later and didn’t last long. I’d always been a practical child. It didn’t serve a useful purpose to deny my limitations, so I didn’t remain in denial for very long.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief don’t just occur when someone experiences the death of a loved one—a significant loss in one’s life can certainly trigger that grief process, as well. I’d lost my childhood and during the next several years, I spent various amounts of time in almost every stage—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
“Can I read to her or something, instead of the other duties the volunteers do? Please, Mom. You just said that maybe she reacts to my voice. I want to help,” Carly begged.
“We’ll see. I need to make sure that would be okay with everyone, but it may be beneficial to Belinda. I don’t want Tammie in this room though—she doesn’t have the same altruistic motives that you have.”
“Aw, Tammie’s okay, she just wanted to get the scoop on my date last night. She was way more excited about it than I was and I still don’t see what’s the big flippin’ deal. I’m not even sure I want to go out with him again.”
“Why not? Isn’t he the heartthrob of your school or something—captain of the football team and good looking by teenager standards? He seemed like a nice boy. Anyone who can put up with your father’s twenty questions can’t be all bad.”
“He is nice, but I just don’t get that excited feeling that I’m supposed to when I’m around him. It feels more like I went out with my brother. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Tammie says the same thing—that I’m the luckiest girl in school since he picked me.”
“You have plenty of time to find the right one. I thought your dad was the biggest dork the first time I went out with him. I only went on a second date because I felt sorry for him and then he kind of grew on me.”
As mother and daughter had their little heart to heart conversation, I felt like an inanimate object. Something in the background that no one noticed unless someone pointed it out as if they were giving a tour of their house. I wanted Carly to stay and talk to me or read to me, but she left with her mother and I remained alone in an empty room void of any stimulation. I closed my eyes and tried to conjure up a mental picture of my family. I wondered where they were. The woman said I’d been unresponsive for six years. I wondered what had happened in those years. Was it only six years? Or was that merely the amount of time she’d worked here? Even if it was only six years, I was now sixteen years old. I’d already missed more than a third of my life. I had to find a way to break free of this prison because that’s what it felt like—a prison.
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