#TarotTuesday – The Star!

Welcome back to another TAROT TUESDAY card reading!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a message to someone in need.

So, the Angels gave me the nudge to begin a series and call it Tarot Tuesday where I pull a card and post the meaning every Tuesday, with the confidence there will be a message that someone needs to hear.

Today I pulled The Star card! Wow!! What an incredibly beautiful card with an uplifting message!

This card comes from the Major Arcana. Remember that the Major Arcana represents the life lessons, karmic influences and the big archetypal themes that are influencing your life and your soul’s journey to enlightenment.

Let me just say that when I pulled this card, the thing I had on my mind was financial stability, or the lack thereof. I was astounded by the answer to my dilemma!

The keywords to this card are: Hope, faith, purpose, renewal, and spirituality.

Nice, huh?

No matter what life throws your way, you know that you are always connected to the Divine and pure loving energy.

The Star brings renewed hope and faith, and a sense that you are truly blessed by the Universe. You are entering a peaceful, loving phase in your life, filled with calm energy, mental stability and more in depth understanding of both yourself and others around you. This is a time of significant personal growth and development as you are now ready to receive the many blessings of the Universe.

With the Star card, anything is possible and the magic is flowing around you. Your heart is full of hope, and your soul is being uplifted to the highest of highs as you realize that your dreams really can come true. Allow yourself to dream, to aspire, to elevate in any way possible so you can reach the stars. They are right here waiting for you.

You may also want to find or rediscover a sense of meaning, inspiration, or purpose in your life. Perhaps you are making some significant changes in your life, transforming yourself from the old you to the new you and, in doing so, you are bringing about a fresh perspective: “Out with the old and in with the new!” Strip back any limiting beliefs, facades, or deceptions, and live in your authentic nature. Be open to new ideas and growth, and listen to the still voice within.

A great message for all of us!

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

Have you ever wondered?

I have the strangest ponderings from time to time. My most recent was this: “Hmmm, I wonder if the majority of bloggers are male or female?”

Well, guess what? Google has the answer. I found this most interesting and I think you will as well.

According to a 2010 Sysomos report, it’s about half and half.

Over 100 million blogs posts were analyzed to come up with this data.

But, the demographic report goes on to break it down by age as well.

A direct quote from Sysomos: “Not surprisingly, the most active bloggers are younger people who have grown up during the blogging “revolution”, which started about seven years ago. (Since this report was dated 2010, that would have been 2003) Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic group account for 53.3% of the total blogging population. This group is followed by the generation just behind them – people 20-years-old or under are 20.2% of the blogging landscape. This group is closely followed by 36-to-50 year-olds (19.4%), while bloggers who are 51-years-old and older only account for 7.1%. “

Well now that we’ve established gender and age, the only thing left is Location. This may have been the most interesting part of this study.

Copied from Sysomos:

“It should not be much of a surprise that the most bloggers (29.2%) are located in the U.S. In fact, there are more than four times as many bloggers in the U.S. as there are in the second most populated country within the blogosphere – the U.K., which is home to 6.75% of bloggers.

Japan accounts for the third-most bloggers (4.9%), followed by Brazil (4.2%), Canada (3.9%), Germany (3.3%), Italy (3.2%), Spain (3.1%), France (2.9%) and Russia (2.3%).”

They go on to break it down by Province and State with California leading the way. Second to California was New York.

What do you think? Any surprises here?

July Book Reviews, Part One @rijanjks @Wendy_Walker @riley_sager

Mae Clair has posted her reviews of my three new short stories on her blog today!!

From the Pen of Mae Clair

It’s been hot. Extremely hot. We’ve had heat indexes topping 110. A few days ago the standard temperature was 99. My pool (at night) was 91.5. How warped is that?

As a result, I didn’t get to float on a raft and devour novels as much as I would have liked because the sun was blistering. I did, however, get to read several great tales before the sun turned toxic (see below). Click the Amazon link for the blurbs and  learn more about each title.

The first three are novellas, perfect for reading on coffee or lunch breaks. All selections are 5-star reads, so dig in!


Book cover for Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes shows homemade voodoo doll with button eyes, stuck with pinsVoodoo or Destiny, You Decide
by Jan Sikes

Claire and her friend, Jade (who is descended from a New Orleans voodoo queen) are having a girls night with several bottles of wine. Jade is there to cheer up her friend who was recently dumped…

View original post 1,036 more words

#TarotTuesday – King of Wands

Welcome back to another Tarot Tuesday card reading.

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a message to someone in need.

Today, I pulled the King of Wands. This is such a beautiful card. The intricate detail and symbols tell so much. Also, remember that the suit of Wands represents primal energy, spirituality, inspiration, determination, strength, intuition, creativity, ambition and expansion.

The King of Wands represents pure fire energy in its masculine form. Unlike the other Wands court cards, the King is not so interested in creation and creativity, or in dreaming up ideas and implementing them himself. Instead, he is more inclined to take an idea and then enlist others to help him actualize it. Thus, when the King of Wands appears in a Tarot reading, it is a sign you are stepping into the role of a visionary leader, ready to direct your people towards a common goal. You have a clear vision of where you want to go, and now you are manifesting that vision with the support of those around you. 

The King of Wands reminds you to lead your life with intent, vision and a long-term view. You have a grand idea of what is truly possible, and you will stop at nothing to see it through.

You achieve a lot because you are clear about your future direction and how you will get there – and do not waste your time on activities or relationships you believe will lead nowhere. You prefer to embark on a direct and robust course of action. You are inspired by long-term, sustainable success, wanting to have a lasting impact. You are here to leave a legacy.

The appearance of the King of Wands also suggests that an opportunity is presenting itself to you, and you now have the power to take on the challenge. You are the determining factor in this situation. If you want it to be successful, it will. And equally, if you do not fully commit to it, this seed will struggle to blossom and grow. You can create any outcome you wish, so be mindful about your intentions and vision.

Always remember these four little words! You hold the power!

Thank you for joining me! See you next Tuesday for another inspiring message from the Universe via the Tarot Cards!

As always, I use the Rider-Waite Radiance deck and BiddyTarot.com for interpretations.

What Is A BioRhythm?

Back in the early days of my metaphysical journey, I learned about something called a BioRhythm. And until recent events unfolded for me, I had forgotten about it.

First of all, what is a BioRhythm?

According to the theory of BioRhythms, a person’s life is influenced by rhythmic biological cycles that affect his or her ability in various domains, such as mental, physical and emotional activity. These cycles begin at birth and oscillate in a steady (sine wave) fashion throughout life, and by modeling them mathematically, it is suggested that a person’s level of ability in each of these domains can be predicted from day to day.

What got me thinking about this was a series of events. First of all, my brand new (one month old) phone crashed last Thursday. I took it to the T-Mobile store and they were unable to restore it, so they gave me loaner phone and said my warranty replacement would be there by Saturday or Monday at the latest.

Okay. I didn’t panic. I had a loaner phone to use and it sounded promising. Saturday came and went with no phone call. Monday came and by mid-day, still no phone call, so I called them. Guess what? They didn’t have a phone for me and couldn’t find any record of one being requested. Wow! I was blown away. I know Mercury is in Retrograde, but this is the strongest it has ever influenced me.

After several hours of back-and-forth, I finally received a call from a T-Mobile Expert. He fumbled for about an hour still coming up with no solution to my problem and then told me I would probably get better results if I contacted Google myself (I have a Google Pixel 3a XL phone.) Really? Well, okay. So, I did and the lady eventually gave me two options. One, I could follow a link she sent and print a mailing label, then send the phone and expect a replacement in 14 days or; two, I could take it to the nearest UBreakIFix store as they were authorized to do their warranty work.

The 14 day wait didn’t appeal to me, so I went to the store. Sure enough within a couple of hours the phone was restored and I had it in my hands.

Then on Monday afternoon, while I was working, I hit my arm on a rectangular door handle and it cut a deep gash in my arm. (I apologize in advance for the graphic photo)

Yesterday, I took a jarring fall that has left me sore and a little bruised.

SO, that got me to thinking about my BioRhythm cycle and that the physical aspect must be way down.

I found an easy on-line calculator and sure enough what I suspected was true.

Are BioRhythms real? I suppose it’s a matter of opinion, but anytime I have paid attention, mine has been extremely accurate.

Want to see where your BioRhythm cycle is? Here’s the link to the Calculator: https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1340246447

I’m curious as to your thoughts.

By the way, my physical cycle will bottom out around July 25th, then start back up. Whew! I’m ready!

#RRBC JULY SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR – KARL MORGAN

I am happy to showcase the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S July 2019 Spotlight Author, Karl Morgan!

Carl Prescott and the Demon Queen

Excerpt from Chapter 20

They stood on a beach where gentle waves rolled up toward their feet. Both wore shorts and pullover shirts. Sylvia led Carl off the beach toward a small house that sat behind a picket fence. They went up onto the porch and stopped. Sylvia stared at the door. “This was a bad idea. I don’t think I’m ready for this.”

“We don’t have to stay,” Carl replied. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

She turned, put her arms around him, and hugged him tightly. “Now, that’s the Carl that I know. Don’t ever change, okay?” He nodded. She released him and walked over to the rail at the edge of the porch. “This place reminds you of something, doesn’t it?”

He joined her at the railing and looked around the area. “This is a lot like my secret place.”

She nodded. “I figure when we were on the Rope Bridge, you must have seen this place in my memories.” She put her hand on his upper arm. “And that’s why your island is similar to mine.” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You put a piece of me into your place, just like I did.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You will. I’m okay now, and I really want you to come inside.” She walked over to the door, took a deep breath, pushed the door open, and stepped inside.

Carl walked inside and gasped. The main room was identical to his island home, even down to the placement of identical furniture and the doilies on the back of the couch. “This is amazing.” He put his arm around her shoulders. “We must have an amazing connection.”

She sighed, walked over to a closed door, and turned to face him. After a few deep breaths, she said, “My bedroom is behind this door. Whenever I’m feeling the most vulnerable, I come here to cry myself to sleep.” She turned and ran her hand over the door. “If you come inside, you’ll know everything. I’m terrified that you will be shocked, horrified, or hate me forever.”

“I don’t have to go in there. This is your choice.”

She turned back to him and wiped tears from her face. “Is it?” She turned to the door and pushed the door slightly ajar. “I think you deserve to know everything about me, Carl Sandberg Prescott.” She sighed, pushed open the door, and stepped inside.

Carl could hear her crying, so he followed her into the room. Sylvia was sitting on the bed with her hands over her face. Tears dripped down her arms and fell onto the coverlet. Carl looked around the room. There were dozens of portraits of men filling most of the open wall space. Carl’s picture hung near the bed. He walked over and sat next to her. “Are you okay? I really like that picture of me.”

She dropped her hands and chuckled. “Which one?”

He pointed. “This is the only one, Sylvia.”

She groaned, stood up, and faced him. “Carl, these are the pictures of every man I’ve ever loved. All of them are you! Don’t you get it?”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“In every one of these lives, I have lived like a normal person, yet we always ended up together. I didn’t even realize all had the same soul until you were about to step off the Rope Bridge. In that instant, I saw all of these men in you. When you left me behind, I thought I’d lost you forever.” She began to cry again.

Carl stood and held her. At first, she resisted, but eventually held him back. “I am so happy to have had so many lives with you, Sylvia. I had no idea.”

She moved back and wiped her eyes. “Neither did I until the Rope Bridge. Now, I look around at these pictures and don’t know what to think. You said before there is a chance we could be together in this life, right?”

He smiled. “Yes, that is true, but as you’ve said, I’m still a teenager, and like everyone will have different relationships before I’m ready for marriage or anything serious.”

“What do you want me to do, Carl?”

“First, I don’t want you to join with the others. It won’t work, and countless lives could be lost, including yours.”

She nodded. “I’ll think about it, okay?” He smiled. “Now, take my hand.”

Carl reappeared outside of Death’s bungalow, which was now surrounded by hundreds of thousands of supplicants headed to pledge allegiance to the demon queen. Carl walked up on the porch and sat on a rocking chair. “I can’t believe this is all about me.”

Death stepped out of the door and offered a mug of coffee. “Busy day, huh?”

Carl took the mug and sipped his drink. “This isn’t regular coffee, Mort.”

“I know what you witnessed, Carl. I thought a little fortified drink might help you cope with what you saw. Full disclosure, I have been to that place before.”

“Am I really the only man she’s ever loved?”

Death sat on the other rocking chair. “Yes, but that isn’t the point.”

Carl sighed and looked at his feet. “I am so confused right now and why isn’t that the point?”

“You are a mortal human, and she is an immortal demon. What Sylvia did is not unusual. Many immortals choose to live regular lives in order to experience the unimaginable power of life, love, and desire. The only thing they are incapable of knowing that it always ends too soon. That is what makes life so perfect. It is temporary, and every moment could be the last, which makes every experience, emotion, and feeling real and important.”

“I never thought of it that way, Mort.”

“Of course, you didn’t. As a human, life is a journey. It is impossible for you to imagine eternity, even though the spirit within you is eternal. Sylvia is different and more like me. In my job, I experience death constantly, not my own, but those of my children. Even I do not comprehend their emotional state and those they have left behind.” He sighed. “Oh, how I wish I could sometimes.”

Author Bio:
Karl Morgan has a lifelong fascination with stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres, whether it was the Tom Swift novels by Victor Appleton he read as a young boy, or television like Lost in Space and Star Trek, and especially films like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. All of those tales put the protagonist in terrible situations where the odds are against them and, yet, somehow they prevail. The reader/viewer is always left with a sense that something greater than ourselves is watching over us.
In his new Carl Prescott young adult fantasy series, the journey continues as our hero faces terrible danger and odds to help his friends and family. At the end, he will learn new things that will change his perspective on life.
Karl lives in the San Diego area with his best, four-legged friend, his toy poodle Chachis. 
​ 
Follow Karl online:
Twitter
Facebook
Website

Please follow along on Karl’s tour as he shares writing advice as well as excerpts from his new book!

Pay-It-Forward #RRBCPIF

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB has set aside today as the day when you stop all self-promotion and instead promote someone else! Today I choose to share some recent reviews with you to support these authors and hopefully entice you to buy their stories!

MEGAMAX by Rhani D’Chae

Wow!! This story grabbed me and I wanted it to continue. Thankfully, Rhani has assured me this will turn into a novel.

MY REVIEW:

Not only does the cover pack a punch, but so does the story! I was immediately drawn into the setting, the desperate times and desperate situations this story covers. To have to fight daily for survival is one thing in a prison such as Megamax is another. The ruthless Warden is trying to manipulate or kill Maxwell Drake by pitting him against the baddest of the bad in the arena for all to watch the blood flow. The story opens with Drake in battle, taking hard punches and giving hard ones back. He is the victor, but for what? Another opponent, another day is all that lies ahead unless he takes the Warden’s proposition. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire short story and found myself wanting more at the end. I do hope this author will consider turning this into a novel. Great story! It is full of high drama and heart-stopping action! It is well-written and error free, which is no easy feat for an indie author. Kudos to Rhani D’Chae!

Caste Metal by Fiza Pathan

MY REVIEW:

This story took me on such a tumultuous ride from start to finish. I loved the boy branded as an Untouchable, who had a passion for reading and paid the highest price imaginable. You see education of any kind was forbidden to the Untouchables because they were not worthy to look upon the holy Sanskrit writings. I cringed when the punishment started because it was not only punishment for the boy, but his family as well, in the most horrific ways imaginable. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say I held my breath until I reached the end of this graphic tale. I loved the ending and even though so many suffered and died, it wasn’t for nothing. I highly recommend this short read if you have the heart for it!

Vanished by Mark Bierman

MY REVIEW:

This is a very well written book that, even though it is fiction, gives a bird’s eye view into the horrors of human trafficking and child slavery. The story is set in Haiti and Dominican. Two American men, Tyler and John, take an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti. Each are looking for an escape from their fresh and raw grief. Tyler, having lost his wife, Joy, to cancer, and John, who was Joy’s father, need to find some closure to their loss. What better way than to help with a mission in an impoverished country? But, what they encounter is beyond anything they could have ever imagined. Their mission changes from one of helping bring Christianity to lost souls, to one of trying to save a small child from a life of abuse and horror. The characters throughout this book, help deliver the story in such a way that the reader is drawn into their lives, into their fight for survival, and into their hope for escape. This is not a book for the squeamish or faint of heart. It exposes the raw evil, greed and inhumane acts that do occur on a daily basis, even in today’s advanced societal state. My hat is off to this author for having the courage to tackle such a hard subject and for the way he wove the story in and around the different characters. If you like heart-stopping drama about real happenings, you will enjoy this book from indie author, Mark Bierman!

Thank you for helping me support these three authors today!

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 16#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome back to the last leg of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Blog Tour where we celebrate great writing from our RWISA Authors!

Today’s featured author is Bernard Foong!

Vignettes Parisian

By Bernard Foong

Vignettes Parisian is a collection of four short stories about the Author’s past and present experiences in the French City of Love and Romance, commonly known as Paris.

Christian Dior Couturier Du Reve

It is impossible not to have a close encounter with fashion when I am in Paris. Even if I had to wait in the freezing cold for an hour and a half to enter the Christian Dior Couturier Du Reve (Christian Dior Couturier of Dreams) exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts). My husband, Walter, and I were the lucky few who arrived early before the museum opened its doors. The late arrivals were banished to the back of the queue for a five hour wait before admission was granted.

This spectacular exhibition was worth the wait. Not only were the lives, times, and accomplishments of Christian Dior, one of the great French couturier and his successors well documented, the exquisite fashions and well-thought-out displays were equally impressive.

Since my first visit in 1966 to the French capital of romance, luxury, and fashion, my love for Paris has never waned. Before I left sunny Maui, I had designed and made a haute couture gold, silver, and black embossed velvet fleur-de-lis patterned coat to wear during my recent holiday in France. It was at this exhibition that I received compliments for my one-of-a-kind creation.   

A stranger approached me at the exhibition to buy the coat off my back because he loved what I wore. Perhaps I should be the next designer to take over the reins for this resplendent Maison – The House of Dior. After all, I am a knowledgeable and seasoned fashion designer who knows every aspect of the international fashion industry.

Shopping In Paris (Then & Now)

I am one of those blessed individuals with a pair of discerning eyes and can detect items I wish to purchase in cramped spaces on my crazy shopping sprees. It was in such a circumstance that Walter and I found ourselves in the middle of the crowded shopping Avenue, des Champs Elysées.

A sole of my shoe had divorced itself from the body of my long-lasting suedes and left me to hobble around Paris like a circus clown with flapping feet. I had to take immediate action to remedy this unanticipated situation before the remainder of my footwear disintegrated onto the wet and soggy ground, while my beloved, sniggered at my fashion malfunction.

I remembered an amusing incident that happened in 1969 at this boulevard. Back then, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fashion student. Accompanying Moi was Count Mario, an accomplished Vogue fashion photographer, Andy, my model-looking lover and Valet, and Sammy, a flamboyant young fashionista. The four of us were shopping at the avenue, that drizzly day.

To elongate his petite stature beneath his wide bell-bottom jeans, Sammy wore a pair of eight-inch-high platform shoes. He also donned a fitted denim jacket over a sassy body-hugging bodysuit. To complete his eccentric ensemble, his dyed cornflower yellow, emerald, and turquoise hair flowed behind him like an exotic mane as our quartet floated down the street.

Eyes turned in our direction as we trotted around Paris in style. Before I realized what had transpired, Sammy was flat on the pavement. Colorful socks bounced around him like raptured pom-poms. The lad had stuffed pairs of rolled-up socks inside his footwear so he could fit his tiny feet into the platforms. He had stumbled on the wet and slippery sidewalk.

Mario, wasted no time whipping out his camera to capture this unanticipated fashion faux pas, while Andy and I looked on in shock.

As if modeling for a Vogue fashion shoot, the quick-witted Sam posed this way and that on the wet thoroughfare while the photographer clicked away at the gaffe. A pedestrian circle had formed in the middle of Avenue des Champs Elysées to witness this “fashion happening.” Advertently, our friend had transformed an embarrassing situation into a photo-opt as the applauding crowd showered the boy with accolades. By the time Sammy got on his feet, he had saved his face with poise and grace.

The Magical Power of The Written Word

“Why are there beds located at different corners of the bookstore?” I asked Monsieur Mercier, an assistant at the Shakespeare & Company bookshop.

“The beds are available for writers to stay a night in Paris for free,” the man responded before he resumed, “ Are you a writer? Do you intend to stay the night?”

Surprised by the man’s inquiries, I evinced, “I am a writer. But no thank you to the lodging offer.”

“What genre of books do you write, Monsieur?” Mercier queried.

“I’m an autobiographer,” I replied. “Because of its controversial and provocative contents, my books are often classified under the Erotica genre.”

The bookseller questioned, “What are the titles of your books, and what is the author’s name?”

A HAREM BOY’S SAGA; A MEMOIR BY YOUNG. It’s a five-book series,” I declared.

“I believe we have your books in the store. Are the titles: INITIATION, UNBRIDLED, DEBAUCHERY, TURPITUDE, and METANOIA?” he promulgated.

I nodded, delighted by his information.

The Frenchman led me through a series of narrow pathways covered with volumes and pamphlets of the written word. When he finally extracted five volumes of my autobiography from a shelf, my heart nearly leaped out of my chest.

“I read the series. What a compelling teenage life you’ve led. I wish my school had a secret fraternity program like yours,” the teller quipped smilingly.

He recommenced, “Our store is a focal point of English literature in Paris. Anais Nin, Henry Miller, and Richard Wright are frequent visitors. We also host literary activities, like poetry readings, writers’ meetings, book readings, writing festivals, literature festivals, photography workshops, writing groups, and Sunday tea.

“Ms. Sylvia Whitman, the owner, might invite you for a book reading at our store.”

“That will be splendid. Unfortunately, my husband and I are in Paris for a short period. Maybe we can arrange a book reading and signing session when we are in Paris again,” I proposed.

Monsieur Mercier and I had exchanged contact information before I left the Shakespeare & Company bookshop. Hopefully, during my next visit to Paree, I will get to meet Madam Sylvia Whitman with a book reading and signing gig in place.

S.O.W. and R.E.A.P.

Over the years, I have been asked by many, “Why do you love Paris so much?” My reply is always the same – S.O.W.

Although the Parisian cityscape has changed over the years, these three alphabets continue to shadow my existence whenever I am in or out of Paris. S.O.W. is also a reason Walter and I chose France as our home away from home.

In the autumn of 1966, when the Simorgh (one of my Arab patriarch’s private jet) touched down in Charles de Gaulle airport, I had contracted the romance bug. Back then, the ebullient Moi, an inquisitive teenager with a quest for adventure, was whisked to the Paris Ritz Carlton in a luxurious Bentley by my host, Prince P. I had fallen head-over-heels in love and in awe with both the prince, Andy, my then chaperone and Valet, and Paris, the city of romance. That was before our entourage visited the haute couture fashion Houses of Chanel, Dior, Ungaro, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Patou, and the fancy eateries, such as Café de Flore, La Belle Époque, Maxim’s, and last but by no means least, Le Folies Bergers. Back then, these infamous Parisian establishments were places to go, to see and be seen. Nowadays, they are tourist attractions.

    Through the subsequent years, I had accompanied many princes, princesses, sheiks, sheikas, and their aristocratic Arabian entourages to the French capital. Most significantly, this city of love and romance had taught me the art of Seduction (S), Originality (O), and Wit (W). Some may say that wittiness is a congenital trait, but I purport it as a learned art of human relationships. Whatever definition one chooses to use, I had returned to this electrifying metropolis of S.O.W.; where I had sown many a wild oat. Now, with my beloved husband in tow, I’m here to R.E.A.P. its rewards.

“What the hell is R.E.A.P.?” you ask.

I will explain:

RRomance continues to exist in this alluring Capital of Love; even amid an influx of foreign refugees and political upheavals. Another series of stories, I will narrate another time.  

EElegance in this sordid city of high culture is a trait Walter and I find irresistibly seductive.

AAuthenticity is historicity in this Center of Romance. And I am not referring to the faux reproduction of the Las Vegas ‘Paris’ in Nevada, United States of America.

PParis equals Sophistication, Originality, Wit, Romance, Elegance, and Authenticity. But last and by no means least, this French capital is where Perfection reigns supreme.

PARIS – Mon Paree!

Bernard Foong (aka Young)

THE END

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Bernard Foong’s RWISA Author Page

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 15#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome back to the last leg of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Blog Tour where we celebrate great writing from our RWISA Authors!

Today, the spotlight shines on my ASPIRE TO INSPIRE co-host, Ron Yates!

Burning Out in Tokyo

By Ronald E. Yates

Clayton Brandt stood just behind the glass doors of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry building waiting for a let-up in the storm that pummeled the hot Tokyo pavement. Wisps of vapor rose into the air as the rain hit the warm ground.

He searched the eight-lane boulevard in front of the MITI building for an empty taxi. He knew it could be a long wait before an empty cab came down Sakurada-Dori. Thousands of bureaucrats glutted Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district, and whenever it rained, it seemed like all of them wanted a taxi.

“Son of a bitch!” he said, his words echoing through the lobby. Two middle-aged Japanese bureaucrats standing nearby looked over at the tall foreigner. They understood that English phrase.

Clayton grinned. “Ame-ga futte imasu,” he said.

The two men looked at one another and then back at Clayton as if to say: “Yes, we can see it is raining. But is that any excuse for such a rude public outburst?”

Clayton sighed, opened his umbrella, and stepped out into the downpour. He turned right and hurried through the governmental heartland of Japan, maneuvering his 6-foot, 3-inch frame through the crowded sidewalk glutted with black and gray umbrellas. Sometimes the edge of an umbrella held by a much shorter Japanese man or woman slashed at his throat or slapped against his face. Whenever it rained, and the umbrellas came out, Clayton always felt Gulliveresque—like a giant trapped in a forest of undulating toadstools.

He looked up at the leaden April sky. The rain had drenched Tokyo for the past four days, covering the ground with a pink and white patina of delicate sakura blossoms. A slow rumble of thunder curled between the squat granite structures of Kasumigaseki. Clayton looked at his watch. It was four-thirty and the evening traffic was already crawling. He had hoped to get his story written and filed by six o’clock, but the briefing about Japan’s angry reaction to Washington’s decision to bar the U.S. government’s purchase of Japanese supercomputers had taken longer than usual.

The sky rumbled again, and bolts of lightning streaked overhead. A taxi pulled up outside the Ministry of Health and Welfare and was disgorging three Japanese bureaucrats in dark blue suits. Clayton closed his umbrella and dashed for the cab splashing through rivulets of water as he ran. The three men had barely climbed out before Clayton bolted past them and into the rear seat. He gave the driver his destination, closed his eyes, and rested his head on the seat back as the taxi inched its way back into the gridlock.

Every so often, his eyes opened just long enough to take in the somber Tokyo landscape. The perpetually gray skies of Tokyo didn’t do his already sepulchral spirit any good. In fact, very little seemed to buoy his disposition these days. He couldn’t help it. He felt depressed and probably a bit too sorry for himself. A few hours before the MITI briefing, he had suffered through another of those telephone “chats” with Max, the foreign editor of Global News Service in London about expenses and the need to cut back on costs.

“O.K., O.K. Max,” Clayton had sighed bleakly into the phone. “I get the picture.”

The exchange ended with Max suggesting that Clayton not be such a “cowboy.” A “cowboy?” Why? Just because he was from Oxford, Kansas and not Oxford, England? It wasn’t easy working for a bunch of Brits when you sounded more like Garth Brooks than Sir Laurence Olivier. But he knew what Max meant.

Clayton was an iconoclast in a profession that increasingly rewarded conformity rather than individualism. Newspapers today all looked alike, loaded with the same predictable stories about the same predictable events. It was rubber-stamp journalism practiced by rubber-stamp editors who worked for rubber-stamp publishers who worked for boards of directors who wanted twenty percent operating profit margins above all else—quality journalism be damned.

 He went over the notes he had hurriedly scribbled during the MITI briefing, searching for the lead of his story. His pen scratched heavy lines under the words “ill-conceived” and “studying our response.” Then he stuffed the notebook back into his bag.

“It’s over,” Clayton thought to himself as he watched the snarl of cars and trucks crawl along Uchibori-Dori through Kokyo-Gaien, the large plaza that fronted the walled Imperial Palace. It was as if today he had been forced finally to confront the inevitable mortality of his professional career; or at least of his particular brand of journalism. He was writing the same boring stories over and over again. Where was the challenge? The sense of accomplishment?

Clayton exhaled and gazed out the taxi window at the striated, ashen facades of drenched buildings. They reminded him of the mascara-smudged faces of women weeping at a rainy graveside.   

He closed his eyes and nudged his mind away from the depressing Tokyo landscape. Soon it was obediently shuffling through old images of another, more beguiling Asia. It was an Asia of genial evenings spent beneath traveler palms; of graceful, colonial-era hotels in Singapore and Malaysia with their chalky plaster facades and their broad verandahs peppered with rattan settees and peacock chairs; of slowly turning teakwood paddle fans that moved the heavy night air with just enough authority to create a light breeze, but not enough to obliterate the sweet scent of evening jasmine. THAT was the Asia he missed; the Orient of the past.

Yes, it was ending. Clayton could feel it. It had been a good run . . . A good career. But now the journey was ending, like a train that had roared through the night and was now pulling into its last station. How many times had he almost gotten off only to be lured back on by the promise of what lay ahead at the next stop? How many times had he been disappointed by that decision? How many times had he been rewarded? At first, the rewards outweighed the disappointments, but in recent years, as he had grown older, the regrets seemed to have gained a definite edge.

For one thing, the passengers kept changing. And the conductors. And the engineers. But what did he expect? Wasn’t that the way the world worked? What was it that Tennyson had written: “The old order changeth, yielding place to new?”

Clayton shuddered. Was he the old order? Should he be yielding? Was he burned out?

Maybe he was becoming the old order, Clayton thought. But he wasn’t burned out just yet. And if there was any yielding to do, he wanted it on his own terms. The trouble was, the gulf of time between his past glories and the imminence of the callow, computer savvy handlers in the home office who controlled his destiny was becoming almost unbridgeable.

Most of his career predated cell phones and computers. For the computer literates at Global, his life’s work might as well be stored on some remote database. As it was, he existed only in yellowing newspaper clips, aging telexes, and letters of commendation that were kept in his personal file back in London. And nobody bothered to look at that stuff anymore.

It made no difference, Clayton thought. In the mutable, evanescent province that modern journalism had become, it was ancient history. Hell, HE was ancient history. He was like a piece of old journalistic parchment—readable, but, unlike a computer, much less utilitarian.

What Clayton needed was another journalistic rush . . . A story he could get hold of and play like a newly discovered Mozart piano concerto. He needed something . . . Not to satisfy the yuppies back at Global, but to give him a reason to get back on the train and to leave the station again.

The taxi slewed to a stop like a wooden bathhouse sandal skidding along a wet tile floor. Clayton looked up. They were in front of the Kawabata Building.

“Kawabata Biru, desu,” the driver announced.

Clayton fumbled in his pocket, handed the driver a one thousand yen note, and waited for his change. Then he bolted through the swirling Tokyo rain and put his shoulder against the massive glass and steel doors of the Kawabata Building. Unlike most of Tokyo’s modern structures, the Kawabata Building didn’t have sleek automatic glass doors that hissed serpent-like and opened automatically at the approach of a human being. It was a pre-war relic—an architectural throw-back with cracked marble floors and a fading art deco interior that had somehow survived the allied bombings.

The building’s deteriorating facade, which was the color of dead autumn leaves, seemed to glower at the world—like the rumpled brow of an angry old man. But the tumble-down building had an undeniable individuality in a country that too often prized sameness, and that was the reason Clayton liked it and had refused an offer to move into one of the new glass and steel “smart buildings” that soared over Tokyo’s Otemachi district.

He paused to talk for a moment with the old woman who operated the small grocery and newsstand tucked away in the corner of the lobby. From his many conversations with her, Clayton had learned that the old woman had operated her little concession since 1938 and knew the building’s history better than anybody.

She smiled as Clayton’s towering frame bent toward her in one of those peculiar half bows that Japanese make when they are in a hurry. Japanese could do it with a certain grace; but not Clayton. When this big foreigner bowed, he always looked like he was on the verge of crashing to the ground like a gingko tree struck by lightning. Nevertheless, she liked this gaijin. Ordinarily, she merely tolerated foreigners, but this one had a solitary charm. He was big, but not threatening; assertive, but not arrogant.

“So, Oba-san, Genki datta?” Clayton asked, combining the Japanese honorific for “grandmother” with the less formal interrogative for “how are you?”

“Genki-yo,” the old woman replied. Clayton picked up a package of Pocky chocolates and placed a one hundred yen coin in the old woman’s hand.

“Sayonara,” Clayton said as he turned and scuttled toward the bank of elevators.

“Sonna ni hatarakanai ho ga ii desu!” the old woman called after him.

Clayton smiled and nodded over his shoulder. The old woman was right. He was working too hard, and where was it getting him? Back on a train to oblivion?

“Oh, get over it,” Clayton thought as the elevator door closed. “You’ve got a story to write. Feel sorry for yourself AFTER you make your friggin’ deadline! Besides, what else do you know how to do, you old hack! Burning out is not an option.”

The End

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Ron Yates’ RWISA Author Page

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 14#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome back to the last leg of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Blog Tour where we celebrate great writing from our RWISA Authors!

Today, standing in the spotlight is Author, Karen Ingalls!

NATURE SPEAKS

Why did my life spiral into darkness in a second? One minute I am married to my soulmate, a mother to a beautiful daughter, and owner of a successful bookstore. My friends asked me, “How do you have the perfect life? It is so easy for you.” They were right. I had the perfect life.

My husband was an engineer, and I opened a bookstore naming it Mile High Books offering old and new books, coffee or tea. Leather chairs and couches provided comfort to the patrons. Classical music played in the background. I loved going to my store enjoying the smell of books, coffee, and leather. 

We had our first and only child, Lynn who also loved classical music and dreamed of being a ballet dancer.

One Saturday morning, my life changed forever. I had awakened with a migraine headache, which was intolerable. It was best if I stayed in a dark, quiet room until the medication relieved the blinding pain. 

My husband, Miles volunteered to run the bookstore that fateful day. “Lynn and I can manage the bookstore today. You stay home and take care of the headache.” He leaned over and kissed me. “I love you,” were the last words I would hear him say.

I curled up, closed my eyes, and waited for the pain to go away.

A pounding on the front door and the continuous ringing of the bell awakened me. “This had better be important,” I muttered while staggering down the stairs. Two police officers with grim looks were standing on the porch. I collapsed when the words, fire, death, husband, daughter floated around my confused mind. 

My once perfect life was unbearable with the memories of it everywhere. I sold everything, bought a second-hand Volkswagen Beetle, and drove west with just the clothes on my back and a photograph of Miles, Lynn and me. I didn’t know where I was going, but I didn’t care. 

The small cabin in the foothills of Costa Mesa, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean was my new residence. It was not a home. It was a place to sleep, eat and try to escape from my past. 

The land was arid with brush, oak trees, scattered thistle weeds, and clay soil. Every evening, I walked down a short path from the cabin to a flattened area where I sat under a large oak tree and watched the sun dip into the ocean. One day at dusk, I leaned against the tree, closed my eyes and dreamed that Miles’arms were around me while we watched Lynn ballet dance on a large stage. I could hear the music of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

When I awoke there were two limbs embracing me, and leaves and acorns were swirling around creating Tchaikovsky’s music. “Am I still dreaming?” The bark of the trunk and the limbs was rough and uncomfortable. I squirmed and pulled at the limbs. “What is happening? This is crazy.” I yelled for someone to help me, but the only words I heard were not human.

Ginny, you are a strong woman. Use your strength to get through this storm in your life. 

I pulled the limbs off, jumped up, and looked around expecting to see someone nearby. “Is anyone here?” I yelled again. Everything was quiet. A full moon radiated light around me. 

Staring at the tree, I brushed my clothes, scratched my head, and said, “That was quite a dream, but how did those limbs wrap around me?” I shook my head trying to clear the confusion. “It was a beautiful dream of Miles and Lynn. I miss them so much.” With the sleeve of my sweater I wiped the tears. “I’ve got to get hold of myself. I’m losing my mind.” 

The voice said. That was not a dream. I am here to help you

“Oh, my God, I am going crazy. Trees don’t talk.”

Ginny, you are not going crazy. All trees talk, but humans do not listen. Do you remember your friend, Meredith who told you she talks to trees?

I nodded. “How do you…?”

I saw a friendly face of a kind, elderly man etched in the trunk. Every flora and fauna communes with humans, but they are too busy or unbelieving to listen and learn from us. 

I fell to my knees, grabbed a handful of soil, and watched it slowly stream out of my clenched fist. “This was my life. Time was going by with no troubles.” I opened my fist and let the soil out in one burst. “Then everything changed. My life was never the same. It is now an empty hand.” I sobbed and my whole body shook. 

You are strong. Your faith is like my roots: stretching wide and going deep. 

The limbs stretched out, wrapped around my shoulders and leaned me against the trunk. Miles and Lynn are speaking to you through me.

Then I heard them say, We love you and will always be with you. Follow your heart.

The limbs were gentle and comforting. The rough bark was now smooth. My tears dried up, and I drifted into a deep and peaceful sleep.

The warm and bright rays of the morning sun radiated through the tree’s canopy bringing warmth to my body nestled against the oak tree. Standing up, I stretched and looked out at the blue waters of the Pacific marveling at its majesty and beauty. I smiled as the words follow your heart floated around. “Wow! That was quite a dream.” 

I walked a few steps on the path back towards the cabin. I stopped and looked back at the oak tree. “It might have all been a dream, but thank you.” 

A thistle plant with its purple flower in full bloom was further up the path. I stopped. “You are beautiful, but your spikes are sharp.” 

The spikes turned inward. Do not let fear hold you back. 

I couldn’t believe what was happening. “Now I hear a flower talking to me. I am going crazy.”

The thistle plant swayed back and forth though there was no breeze. It bent forward bringing its flower near my hands. Touch me and accept my gift of peace.

I placed my hand on the purple flower and a deep sense of serenity swept over me. For the first time since the deaths of my family I was at peace. I whispered “Thank you.”   

A short distance from the cabin porch, I saw the white silken top of a trapdoor spider’s home. I did not remember seeing it before and bent down to get a closer look. The trapdoor opened and a dark spider poked his head out. I stumbled as I tried to jump back.

The spider was small and ugly with fine hairs covering its dark brown body. He was frightening to look at, but his kind words put me at ease. You have walked by many doors, but you didn’t open them. 

“What is going on? I am hallucinating with all these voices in my head.”

You are not hallucinating. Your family is talking to you through the oak tree, the thistle and me. The spider moved back into his home and closed the trapdoor. 

For days I paced around the cabin, reliving each moment and the words about strength, peace, and opportunities. I prayed and cried. I read about mysticism and nature. 

One morning, I awoke and saw Miles and Lynn standing beside my bed. We will always be with you in your heart. Let nature continue to teach you.

The magnificent oak tree taught how to be strong of body, mind, and heart. Staying healthy and opening my arms to others became my ways of living.

I found beauty in my life and other people after removing my thorns of bitterness and self-pity. 

My cabin was a trap shutting out people until I opened its doors and made it a home and retreat center. I added rooms for guests to stay and classrooms for teaching.

I called my new endeavor Nature Speaks, helping people to commune with and learn from all aspects of nature. When people open their hearts and minds to nature there are opportunities for a richer life. 

THE END

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Karen Ingalls’ RIWSA Author Page