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

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 11#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to Day 11 of the WATCH RWISA WRITE SHOWCASE Blog Tour!

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you Author, Beem Weeks!

Dying for a Kiss

It’s like one of those stories you’d read about in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. I mean, whoever heard of anybody dying from a kiss? Seriously! But that’s what happened to me—well, except for the dying part. Two weeks in the hospital—that’s the souvenir I brought back from my spring break.

Okay, let me back up to the beginning.

My parents’ hushed words pierce the wall that separates their bedroom from mine. This particular conversation doesn’t warrant status as an argument, though. And believe me, I know what their arguments sound like—lots of yelling, and maybe an ashtray or a bowling trophy gets thrown by Mom. I guess I’d classify this one as just another log of disappointment tossed on the bonfire that engulfs our family—our collective lives.

Dad is a dreamer. The problem is, dreamers make promises they’ll eventually have to break. He’s also the sort of man who’ll spend his last five dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets instead of household necessities, like food, or gas—or our long-planned excursion to Disney World during spring break.

Dad’s the one who sets it in stone over breakfast in our kitchen—Dad, because Mom refuses to play the bad parent anymore.

“Sorry, kids,” he tells me and my sister, Amanda. “We just can’t afford Disney at this time.”

Amanda, being nearly two years older than me, carries a heavier burden of disappointment than I do. She’s had more time to gather her own collection of tales regarding broken promises, cancelled plans, and the jettisoned idea of ever being a normal, well-adjusted family.

“I figured as much,” Amanda mumbles, dismissing herself from the table.

Dad tries to be sincere in his attempt to save spring break. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t go somewhere that’s almost as fun and exciting.”

When Dad speaks of somewhere, it’s usually a state-park campground in some far-flung forest up north.

Amanda hollers from the living room, “Just so you know, Daddy, I hate camping.”

I don’t hate camping—though it doesn’t exactly make my top-ten list of fun things to do.

*      *      *

A little backstory.

My parents met at a Beatles concert back in 1964. Mom claims love at first sight.

Dad, well, he’s been known to dispute her recollections on the subject. He’s fond of saying, “She had the hots for John Lennon, is all. I’m just the booby prize.”

Hippies, they were—and still are, even though it’s 1979 now. They only just recently (as in one year ago) got married—despite the fact that Amanda is almost fourteen and I’m already twelve. And though they’d both been college students when they met, neither has ever collected the degree they once intended to earn.

Mom works at the IGA as a cashier—minimum wage, with practically zero opportunity to advance into a higher tax bracket.

Dad? He’s dabbled in various occupations—sales, electronic repairs (TV’s mostly, maybe a few stereos), welding, landscaping, auto repair. Nothing ever really sticks for him, though. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) refers to my father as professionally unemployable. Granddad still blames him for making a mess of Mom’s life. They don’t speak, Dad and Grandpa.

Dad’s a good guy, though. He means well. He’s just not one for responsibilities.

So, anyway, the folded map of Michigan comes out, spread across the kitchen table. Mom eyes the places circled in red—those previous vacation spots. We’ve been all over the state: Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Traverse City during the cherry festival, Holland for Tulip Time. We even spent a few days on Mackinac Island three summers ago—though we didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel.

“It’s Andrew’s turn to choose,” Mom says, dropping the big decision in my hands.

Hiawatha National Forest had been my first choice the last time my turn came up. But Dad broke his foot, which cancelled our vacation that spring.

“The Upper Peninsula, it is,” Dad says.

Amanda despises me in this moment. “I told you I hate camping.”

*      *      *

Radio songs fill the van once we hit US 27 going north. The Bee Gees squawk about a tragedy twice before we’re even on the road for forty minutes.

“I hate that song,” Amanda complains.

Dad says, “Well, I like it.”

Mom tries to lighten the mood. “I spy with my little eye—”

“Please don’t!” Amanda begs. Without warning, she socks my shoulder, yells, “Slug bug red!”

“Ouch!” And just like that, it’s on. We’ll both of us be battered and bruised by the time we spy the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

“Slug bug green!” Thwack!

“Slug bug blue!” Thwack!

“Slug bug—oh, never mind. That’s not a VW.” Thwack!

“Hey! No fair!”

Blondie sings about her heart of glass and Amanda momentarily abandons our game—just long enough to sing the few lines she actually knows.

Many hours later, I’m the one who spots the top of the Mighty Mack! “I see the bridge,” I say, hoping it’ll irritate Amanda.

But in truth, she doesn’t mind losing this game. It’s not a thing to her anymore. She’ll leave us the day she turns eighteen—or even sooner, if she has her way. Grandpa promised to pay for her college, knowing my parents will never be able to afford it.

Evening spikes the sky with an orange-pink sunset by the time we find a campground inside Hiawatha. Dozens of tents and RV’s occupy the prime camping spots.

“Andrew and I will set up the tent,” Dad says, parking our van on the last vacant lot within sight. “You girls can get dinner ready.”

Kids—loud and rowdy, as Grandpa would say—run from lot to lot, chasing after somebody’s collie, darting across the road without so much as a glance in either direction.

“Too stupid to last long in this world,” Amanda says.

Mom gives her the eye. “They’re just kids, for crying out loud, Mandy.”  

*      *      *

“Andy and Mandy,” the girl teases, laughing at our introductions. “That’s cute. Are you two twins or something?”

“Or something,” Amanda says.

Her name is Nora, this girl with short brown hair. Already fourteen—unlike Amanda, who still has another month. The tents across the street are her family’s—it’s their collie running wild.

“Five kids,” Nora says, answering my mother. “I’m the oldest. Three younger brothers and a baby sister.”

“Sounds kind of crowded, that many people in just two small tents,” I observe.

She looks right at me when I speak—like I’m really truly here, standing in front of her.

“You don’t know the half of it,” says Nora. “I asked if I could just stay home, sit out this vacation. That’s not happening anytime soon.”

*      *      *

Blue jean shorts and a red bikini top—that’s what Nora wears the following morning. And a pocket full of salt water taffy—which she gladly shares.

Mom’s not impressed. “Leaves little to the imagination,” she says, regarding Nora’s top.

“But you and Daddy used to skinny dip,” Amanda reminds her. “So how is that better?”

Mom’s hard gaze issues silent threats. Her words aren’t quite as harsh. “Aren’t you kids going boating?”

It’s not really a boat, this thing we rent; it’s more like a canoe—but only plastic. I sit in the rear, my paddle steering us toward the middle of the lake. Amanda has the other paddle, though she’s not really doing anything with it.

Nora sits in the middle—facing me!

I think Amanda is intimidated, not being the oldest for a change.

Nora talks—a lot. But I don’t mind. She tells us all about life back home in Detroit—well, the suburbs, really, a place called Royal Oak. She used to have a boyfriend, but he cheated on her. Her parents separated last year, intending to divorce, but her mom ended up pregnant.

“Amazing how an unborn baby can save a marriage,” Amanda says.

It’s after we bring the canoe in that Nora says, “Wanna go for a walk?”

Only, she’s not talking to Amanda. Amanda is already halfway back to our tent.

We end up in a picnic area near the lake, just me and Nora. She tells me more about herself, her family, what she intends for her future.

“You’re cute,” she says, sitting right beside me on a park bench.

My cheeks get hot, probably bright pink.

And she’s two years older than me, I think, as her lips press against mine.

My first kiss—well, first real kiss.

On her tongue I taste salt water taffy and excitement and all things possible.

What I don’t taste is the meningitis in her saliva.

Amanda intrudes, tells me lunch is being served at our tent.

*      *      *

It strikes without warning, leaving me confused, nauseated. Words tumble from my mouth, though I have no idea what I’m saying.

Mom’s hand finds my forehead. “He’s burning up,” she says. “We need to get this boy to a hospital.”

Only, I don’t hear it that way. What I hear is, “We need to get this boy a pretzel.”

“But I don’t like pretzels,” I mumble.

*      *      *

Two weeks later, I’m back home. It’s a blur, but my parents say I nearly died.

From a kiss!

Is that a Ripley’s story or what?

And what a kiss—totally worth dying for!

Well, almost dying.

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:

BEEM WEEKS’ Author Page

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 9#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to Day 9 of the WATCH “RWISA” Write Showcase Blog Tour!

Today, I welcome Author, Mary A. Adler to my humble abode!

BLACK NOTES BEAT

Mary A. Adler

I have studied and observed crows for years, and the more I’ve learned about them, the more I admire their complex family and flock relationships. They are intelligent, create and use tools, and they teach their skills to other crows. As Rev. Henry Ward Beecher said, “If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”

Over the years, I have told my family and friends more than they ever wanted to know about crows. One person said, after hearing the stories I told about them, that she stopped trying to run crows down with her car. (There is so much wrong with that statement, that I don’t know where to begin.)

During the non-nesting period of the year, crows gather at night to roost together, sometimes in flocks of thousands. They are stealthy and take a roundabout way to the roosting place. They have good reason to be wary. For decades, humans have killed them, even dynamiting their roosting places at night.

Like many natural creatures, they are good and bad, depending on your viewpoint, and not everyone appreciates their beauty. But I love to watch them streaming across the sky–one small group after another–as they return from foraging to join the flock. When they are together, those who have found a safe source of food will tell the others where it is. They share, but only within their own flock.

One evening, after watching them move across the sky, I wrote this:

Black Notes Beat

Black notes beat

Unfurling dusk

                Across the bruising sky.

Quarter notes, half notes

Rise and fall.

Whole notes

        Rest on treetops.

An arpeggio of eighth notes

        Silently swirls,

Scribing a nocturne

in the fading light.

Softly they spill

        to the nighttime roost:

Rustling,

        murmuring,

                settling,

                        hushed.

Now the still moment,

the last note fading,

No bows, no curtsies,

No fear of reviews.

They need no applause to perform their works.

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:

Mary A. Adler’s Author Page

Please take a minute to check out Mary’s newest book, Shadowed by Death!


Blurb:

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision. 

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger. 

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.  

Attachments area

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 6#RRBC #RWISA

Today is Day 6 of the WATCH #RWISA WRITE Showcase Blog Tour.

And, it is my pleasure today to bring you a piece of writing from Author, Linda Mims!

Solace

by Linda Mims

Eighteen precocious kindergartners stared as Carly walked into the colorfully decorated classroom. Carly hoped her smile was more reassuring than she felt. Was this a mistake? She spotted two six-year-olds who’d been in her charge on the first field trip she’d chaperoned. They gave her a friendly wave, and a true smile parted Carly’s pursed lips and lightened her heart.

Ms. Jones, the principal, asked all of the children to file around and shake hands with Carly, but some of them hugged her around the waist and Carly bent to embrace them. The huggers stared up at her and quickly turned away unsure how to behave.

After Carly shook hands and hugged them, she asked their new teacher’s permission to lead them to the circle in the back of the room. She’d read that schools were frowning on seating students on the floor, but their former teacher, Miss Mason, had valued the practice.

Miss Mason sat smack dab in the middle of “her kids” and shared her own childhood or read to them from her favorite stories.

So, hovering above the painted line, Carly squatted until she dropped. Sitting crossed-legged wasn’t as comfortable or as easy for Carly as the children made it appear. She smiled as they sank to the floor on legs like rubber bands.

The children sat on the painted circle touching their neighbors with legs, arms, or elbows. There was no jostling or whining from anyone about invasion of space. They needed to connect in this strange time, so it was okay for someone to sit too close.

Two little ones, seated across from Carly, couldn’t stop sniffling, so she held out her arms, and they came over. She pulled them down on either side of her and nuzzled them there. She wanted to join in. Be as free and uninhibited as they, but she held her feelings in check.

The children bowed their heads, but a few raised their eyes to cast envious glances at the two burrowed beneath Carly’s arms. She smiled around the room, looking for the ones Miss Mason had told her about. Johnnie, who was the biggest discipline challenge. Grown-ish Jenny of the fresh mouth and Einstein mind.

Carly recognized little unkempt Anna who caused Miss Mason enough anxiety to refer her family to DCFS. Diana Mason loved these children, and they loved her. The students spent more time with Carly’s daughter than with their own parents.

“Listen and I’ll tell you about the day little Ms. Mason broke the rules and made cookies for herself and her little sister,” Carly said.  “When her father and I were away from home, she wasn’t supposed to fool with the stove, but you guys know how feisty Ms. Mason can be.”

“She was a mischievous little girl,” Carly said with exaggerated feeling.

One of the little ones giggled and hurriedly stifled it when the others swiveled their heads to stare at her, disapprovingly.

“Children,” Carly said. “Ms. Mason would want you guys to smile as you remember her. She’d want you to remember the stories I’m about to tell you and think of her with love.”

***

Joe Mason waited outside the old brick building where, four years ago, his daughter and some of her colleagues had started their own small school. His wife was inside visiting his daughter’s kindergarten class, but Joe remained in the car.

He hadn’t agreed with Carly that this was a good idea. His family had spent a crushing two days grieving Diana’s sudden death and just when—maybe—the weight was easing, his wife sprung up.

“Oh God, Joe! Her kids.”

“I’m sure someone has told them,” he assured her, but Carly wouldn’t be comforted.

“They’re five and six years old, Joe. They don’t understand death. Can you imagine the confusion and anguish for those children? I have to go,” Carly said.

“They need to hear from me and know that it will be all right.”

She had made up her mind and Joe didn’t try to talk her out of it. Perhaps she needed this, too. He, on the other hand, couldn’t bring himself to think about Diana without feeling guilty. There was no peace for him as he shouldered the weight of his daughter’s death.

The night Diana died alone in her room, Joe had convinced himself that he’d heard her knocking for help. He’d been dreaming and in the dream, Diana had knocked on the front door. He was upstairs, and he wondered why Carly didn’t go to the door and let their daughter in.

She knocked in random succession maybe three times, but when Joe woke, he heard nothing. He lay there for a long while listening and wondering if someone had been knocking on the door for real.

It was 1:45 a.m. and outside, the sounds of jazz music told him his neighbor Jimmy was in his parked van, again.

Jimmy did that after a spat with his wife, Vanessa. That’s what the knocking had been. A radio commercial. Satisfied, Joe turned over and went back to sleep. It never occurred to him to wake Carly or to go check on Diana. If he had, his daughter could have gotten help, and she’d still be alive.

Joe couldn’t tell anyone. Carly and Diana were more than mother and daughter. They were best friends. Carly would never forgive him for, if nothing else, letting her remain asleep. God! The pain of losing Diana, compounded by his guilt, was eating Joe alive.

Inside, Carly carried her own guilt. Diana had been working herself to the bone raising money to keep the school afloat. More than just exist, Diana and her colleagues wanted the school to make a huge impact on the lives of their students and their families.

Diana wasn’t sleeping. She was losing weight, and more than a few times, Carly argued with her about taking care of herself.

“If you don’t take care of your own health, you won’t be any damned good to your students!”

“Mom, relax! What am I going to do? Die?”

“Your heart, Diana. Please remember your heart.”

“I do, mom. I think about my heart all the time. School is the only thing that prevents me from thinking about my heart. Can you give me a break? And don’t go to Dad with your suspicions.”

So, Carly gave her a break and she didn’t tell Joe that she suspected Carly was sicker than she was letting on.

***

“You smell like her,” said a little one who’d scooted over and was hugging Carly from behind.

“Let me smell,” said another, peeling his classmate’s arms from around Carly and nudging the child over to squeeze in.

“I wanna smell,” cried a young girl who had stopped twirling her hair around her finger and now stood.

Soon they clustered around Carly, talking and gesturing. Their little voices serious as they shared stories of the times Ms. Mason had been kind, or funny, or very, very stern. Their beautiful faces weren’t so sad now and they made Carly laugh. An hour passed and the pall over the room lifted.

Outside, the breeze blew leaves from the young trees Diana had planted across the grounds. Joe trained his eye on a leaf that floated across his windshield on the gentle breeze. Instead of drifting along, the green leaf frolicked and rolled on the air in front of him.

He’d never paid attention to leaves, and he wondered that this one seemed determined to hang right there, tumbling and playing in front of him. While Joe watched, the leaf floated down and lay on the hood as though spent. Then, to Joe’s amusement, it blew flat against his window and stuck there for a few moments.

The leaf stood on its stem and Joe bent to see it flutter across the car and brush Carly’s face just as she opened the passenger door. Carly started, then laughed and touched her face. Smiling, without even knowing why, they watched the little leaf fly off over the building and out of sight.

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:

LINDA MIMS’ RWISA AUTHOR PAGE

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 5 #RRBC #RWISA

It’s already Day 5 of the Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour!

Today I’m thrilled to bring to you, Gwen Plano!

THE ROSARY by Gwen M. Plano

Young or old, we are all children at heart. This truth became apparent to me last December when I had neurosurgery.

Prior to the operation, a clerk handed me a stack of documents to sign—billing forms for the hospital and the doctors and several medical release forms that included a list of potential risks. My apprehension grew as I fingered through the papers and provided my signature. It was then that I wished that my mom could be with me. Like any child, I thought she could make it all better. But sadly, she had passed away nine months prior.

My mom was a person of prayer, and when I was young, she’d gather her seven children, tell us to get on our knees, and then proceed to pray. We’d follow her lead—usually protesting—and pray for family members, friends, and the unknown masses. Often, she led us in saying the rosary. Prayer was my mom’s response to any challenge or difficulty, and we had plenty of both on our farm.

Mom’s most common expression was, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” While some of us might curse or yell in frustration, Mom would say this phrase instead.  So, when one of my brothers sent a golf ball through the picture window, Mom called out “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” before scolding him. When we siblings squabbled with one another, Mom would mutter, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” before sending us to our bedrooms. Without exception, we grew up knowing that when Mom said “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” we were in trouble.

I can’t remember a time when Mom wasn’t praying. Whether washing the dishes, hanging the wash on the clothesline, working in the garden, or driving us to a sporting event or a 4-H meeting, Mom quietly prayed. I asked her about this once, and her response left an indelible impression.

“Life is short,” she began, “and we must use every moment to the fullest. People need our prayers, and some don’t have a family to pray for them like we do.”

 I didn’t understand her comment about using every moment to the fullest until I grew older. But her explanation helped me grasp why she rarely watched television and why she rushed from one room to another throughout the day.   

When Mom passed at ninety-two years of age, she left a legacy of beliefs and practices that had found a place in the heart of each of her children. We may have complained about kneeling on the hard floor, but even as little tykes, prayer became part of our lives because of our mother.

At her passing, we were bereft. Mom was our strength, our compass. She was the one we called about concerns, both large and small; she was the one we talked with about our hopes and dreams. Her passing left a huge emptiness that still echoes in our memories. When we sorted through her belongings, not so surprisingly, we discovered she had a dozen or so rosaries. I received two of them.

When I checked into Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, I took my mom’s wooden rosary with me. I felt her near when I held it, and this sensation gave me comfort.  I held the beads tightly and imagined Mom with me.

After the surgery, I was rolled into a room on the Pain Floor where all neurosurgery patients were housed. Next to me was an adjustable overbed table, and when I awakened, I realized that my mom’s rosary rested on it.  

My nurse, Lucy, regularly came in to check on me, and each time she walked through the door, she sang a refrain which included the words, our lady of the rosary. I was surprised by this, because Cedars Sinai is a Jewish hospital. After Lucy left, an aide visited, and she explained that her sister was a nun, and my rosary reminded her of this sister. Later, the night nurse came in and told me about immigrating to the US and how she loved the rosary.

During my hospital stay, one staff person after another visited me and shared family stories and photos—all evoked by the rosary that rested on the overbed table. As I was preparing to leave, Lucy came in to say her goodbyes. She pulled a photo from her pocket.

“This is my mom,” she proudly stated. “I thought you’d like to see her.”

The image was of a petite woman, hunched over by time, smiling broadly at the camera. She stood next to her much-larger daughter, Lucy. I was stunned; she looked like my mom.

As the hospital staff came to say goodbye and wish me well, I suddenly realized that Mom had been with me the whole while. I had been loved and cared for by many at the hospital, but it was Mom who drew them near with her rosary.

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:

GWEN PLANO’S RWISA Author Page

The “Son of the Serpent” Book Release Tour @VashtiQV

Son of the Serpent by Vashti QSon of the Serpent: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HS4C3B7

Hello, everyone! Today I thought I would mention some of the places in my Fantasy Angels Series, along with some of the supporting characters and other beings introduced in Son of the Serpent.

“Son of the Serpent features a conflict of phenomenal proportions, characters that are richly developed and compelling, and a skillfully designed plot that keeps the reader turning the pages. I loved every bit of the narrative, especially the author’s unique phraseology and clarity of expression.” ––Readers’ Favorite

FLORAISON by Jeff Brown

Dracúl is the main character in Son of the Serpent and Lilith is the villain in the book. Interspersed chapters in Dracúl’s voice and chronicles in Lilith’s voice divide the book.

There are three realms of Heaven:

Heaven Most High – Where God resides.

Metá Heaven – Where God’s presence could be reached in His throne room. Only by His expressed permission could one cross the portal to this level of heaven. It is in the throne room God passed laws and judgments.

Floraison – The lowest realm of Heaven. A paradise where angels are born.

Different dimensions separate these realms and only God traveled between them as He pleased.

*Hell, also known as Netherworld, Sheol or Underworld is also divided into complex levels and realms.

Sila:

She is one of Lilith’s three close allies. She is an intelligent and cunning jinn with the ability to shift into human and animal forms, with the exception of wolves. Wolves are her foes. Her father was a fallen angel who fought in Lilith’s army during the war in Heaven. Her mother was a fallen angel who, upon arriving on Earth, was transformed into ifrit jinn.

Gremory:

He was a fallen angel who fought by Lilith’s side in the battle in Heaven. He was a four-winged cherub before he was cast out of Floraison. When he landed on Earth he changed into a vile creature—half demon, half wolf. He can transform into human form. Although he is male he prefers to take the form of fetching young women.

Asmodeus:

He is another one of Lilith’s allies. He was a fallen angel who had also fought in the war in Heaven in Lilith’s legion. He, like Gremory, was a loyal four-winged angel. Asmodeus was beautiful, powerful, and capable of flying and running at high speeds in Floraison. Upon crashing to Earth, he transmuted into a creature so hideous to look upon that doing so made tendrils of terror curl in your stomach and bile rise to your mouth.

Artemisia:

She was a beautiful and powerful woman. She was the granddaughter of one of Lilith’s many demon servants. Her grandfather was a reckless fool who slaughtered his entire family. She managed to kill him and escape the slaughter. She lived on the streets when Lilith took her in as an apprentice. Artemisia was eleven years old and already lethal. After being beaten and raped many times, she learned how to defend herself. Lilith recruited her because she saw much potential in her. Artemisia became the Persian king’s highest-ranking advisor and Grand Admiral and leader of the Persian Fleet. She was the most powerful person in Persia barring the king, and she lived like a queen.

Kailash Seers:

These were powerful beings born with the gift of sight. These creatures could invoke visions with incantations and contact. Their power of sight was much stronger than that of Lilith’s. Seers are cave dwellers with a taste for human flesh. The Kailash Seers are the oldest and most powerful of the species. With one touch they would be able to see more than your future. These creatures are known to be treacherous. They are never alone. There are usually three or more together in a cave. They also have the ability to drain one of their powers.

Princess Aini:

She is a stunning young woman daughter to the King of Persia. She is intelligent, charming, and innocent to the evils of the world. Before meeting Dracúl she spent a lot of time with her nose in books and daydreaming of adventures and romance. The princess was promised to a prince from a neighboring kingdom but she fell in love with Dracúl.

Orc Demons:

These creatures are the lowest form of demons, animalistic and dim. They had the distinct odor of flatulence mingled with sulfur and the stench of decomposed bodies. These demons took pleasure inflicting fear and pain onto others. It made them stronger. They had no sexual preference––man, woman, child, animal. It was all the same to them. They had no conscience, no morals. They are not known for leaving their victims alive.

Aurora:

She is a woman of otherworldly beauty. Her smile could tickle your heart, and make you want to dance with glee at the sight of it. Her hair is a resplendent silvery-white and waist long. Her skin is smooth and flawless like the finest alabaster. She is quite tall for a woman, and her eyes are said to be of many colors, like the sky near sunset. Staring into her eyes could put you in a dream state. Her father is a Watcher, an angel sent to live amongst the creatures on Earth to observe them. She received many of his gifts, and he taught her much. She was a well-known and powerful oracle.

The Dark World:

A world located in a different dimension from the world of man. He who visits there will be filled with true awareness and gain the ability to understand with perfect clarity the suffering he had inflicted on his victims. One by one his victims would appear before him, and he would understand and feel the anguish and pain he had caused them and their loved ones.

The World of Light:

This is another world located in a different dimension and it was white and bright. The landscape was dreamlike, unnatural and eerie. The sky was white with a hint of pink, and only the subtle hint of color differentiated it from the landscape. There was no contrast between the ground, landscape, and sky. Everything was bright and blinding––and clear. There were no shadows to blur your ugliness. The astonishing hideousness of a depraved soul would be displayed with great clarity. In this world, you saw yourself exactly as you are inside and out.

Vashti Q photo

 

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

Purchase Link & Social Media:

Twitter (VashtiQV):  http://twitter.com/VashtiQV

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vashti-quiroz-vega

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vashti-Q-Author-Page-396515670465852/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1540242966&sr=8-1

Son of the Serpent: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HS4C3B7

Thanks for supporting Author, Vashti Q. Vega on the release of her latest read, “SON OF THE SERPENT.”  To follow along with her tour, please visit the CURRENT EVENTS page of the 4WillsPub site.   To book your own virtual 4WillsPub blog tour, please visit us HERE

The #RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop

Greeting:  Welcome to the first ever “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!   These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Although there were maybe 3-4 winners who were previously on this list but are no longer with the club, now all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page,, your name will be entered into a drawing for an amazing gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!

Book:   “IN THE SHADOW OF LIES”

Shadow of Lies

Blurb:  

Richmond, California. World War II.  Marine Lieutenant Oliver Wright comes home from the war in the Pacific injured and afraid his career as a homicide detective is over.  But when an Italian Prisoner of War is murdered the night the Port Chicago Mutiny verdicts are announced, and black soldiers are suspected of the crime, the Army asks Oliver to find out the truth. 

He and his canine partner Harley join forces with an Italian POW captain and with a black MP embittered by a segregated military. During their investigation, these unlikely allies expose layers of deceit and violence that stretch back to World War I and uncover a common thread that connects the murder to earlier crimes. 

In the Shadow of Lies reveals the darkness and turmoil of the Bay Area during World War II, while celebrating the spirit of the everyday people who made up the home front. Its intriguing characters will resonate with the reader long after its deftly intertwined mysteries are solved.

Author:  

Mary RRBC 2

This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing

 

Special Anniversary Days!

Luke_Darlina_Wedding

August has always been a BIG month for me. Well, at least it has been since 1985.

Rick Sikes, aka Luke Stone, left Leavenworth prison on August 15, 1985, and arrived on a Greyhound bus in Brownwood, Texas on August 17th. So, of course, it was a big day for Luke and Darlina after being separated by walls and bars for fifteen years. Even now, when I think about it, my heart races. Here is an excerpt from Home At Last.

During the ride back to Coleman, Luke never let go of Darlina’s
hand. He savored the countryside that he’d known as home
for all but the last miserable fifteen years of his life. Prickly pear
cactus grew wild in the pastures and along the roadway
amongst the cedar and mesquite trees. A lot had changed in
his absence, and yet so much remained the same.

The moment they stepped through the door of the small
apartment Darlina had rented for them, Luke drew her into the
circle of his arms and kissed her, savoring the uninhibited way
she responded.
He ached for her in ways that only a man who’d been
deprived for years could ache. The need and raw hunger overtook
everything else.
In minutes, the two lovers lay on the living room floor with
remnants of clothing scattered about. It didn’t matter that they
hadn’t made it to the bed. Nothing mattered except the moment.
Luke’s insatiable appetite grew more with each release. They
devoured each other lost in a span of time and space where the
entire Universe stopped spinning just for them.
Finally, out of breath and spent, Luke sat up with his back
against the sofa and gathered Darlina close beside him. “You
have no idea how many nights I dreamed of this and how those
dreams kept me going when there didn’t seem to be any other
reason.”
She snuggled into the crook of his arm. “I’ve died and gone
to heaven. I looked for some way to replace you after you left,
but I never found it.”

Then just 8 short days later, Luke and Darlina stood at the altar and repeated marriage vows.

Excerpt:

Luke placed his arm through the crook of Darlina’s and
together they walked toward their future.
The pastor of the Northside Community Baptist Church
waited to officially pronounce them man and wife.

The ceremony passed in a blur. All Darlina could focus on
was that she would finally and forevermore be Mrs. Luke Stone.
Her voice wavered and her hands shook as she read the
poem she’d written for the ceremony. “Today I stand here next
to you, to pledge my love faithful and true. At your side, I’ll
always be, from now throughout eternity. And so, in sight of
God and man, I promise as I take your hand, to love you deep
and strong and true and with you be, though storms may brew.
Never may our love grow cold even though we’ll both grow
old. So, today, they’ll say I belong to you, although that fact we
already knew.”

Luke chose to speak from the heart. “I’ve loved you for
always and promise to love, protect and adore you for always
and forever. You have my pledge to be faithful and true, and
you can rest assured I’ll never ever lie to you. You and these
two girls are my family now and I intend to make sure you
never regret this union. You are my everything. You’re all I
need.”
***

And so today, I choose to honor that anniversary from thirty-two years ago. Did Luke and Darlina have any idea what lay ahead? Of course not. But, it wouldn’t have changed anything if they had.

I hope you found the excerpts of interest and that you’ll pick up the book and help me celebrate this anniversary, and many more!

HOME AT LAST ON AMAZON

Thank you for your support!

WEBSITE        TWITTER        FACEBOOK

Http-www.jansikes.com

Watch RWISA Write – Author Wendy J. Scott #RWISA #RRBC

RWISA

As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am thrilled to promote outstanding authors who are also members of the exclusive RAVE Writers International Society of Authors through a blog tour that will run the entire month of August.

Today I introduce to you, Wendy J. Scott!

Navigator by Wendy Scott

Luke’s body whirled through the portal in a kaleidoscope of starlight and rainbows. Burnt ozone stung his nostrils, and his stomach roiled as if live dragonflies flitted inside. He clutched his grandfather’s palm tighter, the only connection anchoring them together while they spun into the void, guided by the compass in his grandfather’s other hand.

“We’re here.” His grandfather’s words whistled with wheeziness.

He released Luke and turned away, pocketing the compass, but his old man’s movements weren’t quick enough to hide the tremors or his shortness of breath.

A mountain breeze, tinged with smoke ruffled the tussock grasses underfoot. In the valley below, Luke pinpointed a chimney on a cluster of shacks beside fenced paddocks. Had the old man’s sense of direction faded and cast them adrift?

“Follow me.” His grandfather rolled his shoulders back, lifted his head high, and led the descent.

Mindful of their journey’s mission doubt dragged at Luke’s feet. At only twelve, would he be found worthy? He didn’t want to think about his grandfather’s declining health if their bid was rejected.

Metallic scent tainted the air as they skirted past the dwellings; a one-room cottage, barn, and a smithy. Orange coals smoldered on the forge, hammers, and tongs lined up in military precision, but the pockmarked leather apron hung empty from a hook on the open door.

Without pause, his grandfather guided Luke out the back to the horse corrals. A bear of a man with arms like anvils leaned against the fence. Leather pants and knee-high boots sheathed his legs, but his chest was bare except for a star patterned tattoo, staining his chest muscles indigo and cobalt. At their approach his head swiveled, snaring the pair with a deep ocean gaze. Dryness etched Luke’s throat.

“Navigator, so many years have passed, I feared you would not return.”

Luke’s grandfather bowed his head. “Farrier, events have been unkind, but I keep my promises. My grandson had agreed to assume the responsibility in the place of his father who died when he was a babe.”

The men spoke as if Luke were a phantom, but he remained silent, remembering his grandfather’s instructions only to speak when asked a direct question by the otherworld farrier.

Grass scented warmth huffed through Luke’s hair. A midnight coated horse towered above his head. A white star marked the stallion’s forehead.

Luke clambered up the railings, but he still had to stretch to trail his fingertips along the horse’s snout. His breath caught when he gazed into the depths of the creature’s starlight eyes.

Firm fingers clasped Luke’s shoulder, and the farrier bowed towards the steed.  “Kasper approves of you. Come inside.”

The temperature in the smithy scorched the hairs inside Luke’s nose, and sweat trickled beneath his tunic, but the farrier worked the bellows until the coals combusted into flames. Next, he sprinkled a handful of sand into the hearth, and the fire danced into violet and malachite hues.

“You understand, old friend, without the enchantment your life span will be reduced to mortal years?”

My grandfather nodded.”These old bones grow weary, and the pathways are becoming muddled. My time is past. Luke is young, but he is pure of heart. ”

The farrier studied his friend for a moment before he reached out with his palm. “Navigator, of your own free will do you relinquish your powers to your grandson?”

The old man answered by dropping his compass into the farrier’s outstretched hand. “I do.”

The farrier’s otherworld stare scrutinized the boy, and although the being didn’t touch him, a prickling sensation rippled up Luke’s spine. After several heartbeats, the farrier inclined his head. “Your soul is free of darkness, but perhaps you are too young yet for any temptations to have challenged your values.”

“He’s a good lad. I vouch for him and will guide his path.” His grandfather squeezed Luke’s shoulder.

Calloused fingers gripped Luke’s chin. “Are you sure you want this? It’s not too late to back out and live a normal life. Be warned, once you accept you are bound for life. Each time you enter here seeking my help a non-negotiable toll must be paid.”

Before crossing over doubts had plagued Luke’s thoughts, but after tasting magic, he couldn’t settle for a dull life on the farm when his world had been opened to the lure of other realms.

Luke moistened his lips. “Navigator blood runs in my veins. I’m young, but I’m ready.”

The farrier released him. “Do I have your solemn vow you will only guide your passengers by the way of the light?”

Heart thundering, Luke focused on the compass. “I swear I’ll follow the true pathways.”

Light glinted off the chain as the farrier dangled the compass into the sparking coals. “Hold out your hand.”

Luke flinched, expecting his skin to sizzle when it touched the metal, but the compass was cool. He didn’t feel any different. Had the transfer worked?

The farrier clasped forearms with the older man. “You owe me one last favour, but I will redeem what’s due at another time.”

“As always it will be an honour to serve.” Luke’s grandfather stepped away.

“Navigator, peer into the fire.”

Several moments passed before Luke responded to his new title. Within the flames, he spied a young woman’s face, whose striking features seared into his memory.

“One day she will seek your skills, and when she does you must bring her to me.” The farrier crossed his arms.

Questions burned in Luke’s mind, but he’d been schooled on the protocols, so he suppressed his curiosity, and lowered his eyes. “As you command.”

The farrier ushered them into the yard and bid them farewell. “Keep your promises, follow the light and your direction will always be true.”

Outside Luke paused, blinking. A glittering path lit the way up to the portal.

Unshed tears gathered in his grandfather’s eyes. “The navigator’s sight is now hidden from me.”

Grasping the compass in one hand, Luke held out his other hand. “Come grandfather, I will guide you home.”

***

(Navigator is a prelude and companion scene to Fire Hooves – yet to be released by Wendy Scott).

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, to 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:

RWISA Author Page – Wendy J. Scott

SONY DSC

 

#RRBC Meet Author Nicholas Rossis!

Here at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB,  we like to celebrate our fellow authors with a Pay-It-Forward day. That simply means that we set aside all of our self-promotions for one day and support someone else.

I couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to a multi-talented, multi-award-winning. dream-protecting author, Nicholas Rossis!

Nicholas has written everything from children’s books to fantasy sci-fi, to speculative fiction, to a writer’s resource guide.

The book I want to focus on today is Emotional Beats – How to Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings.

emotional-beats

I chose this book because it is such an incredibly valuable resource for me. It resides next to my computer and I often stop and refer to it when I’m trying to emphasize a particular scene or phrase.

In this book, Nicholas Rossis gives writers lots of options to choose from no matter the genre you write in. There is something for everyone.

For instance, are you writing a scene where a person is exhibiting fear and nervousness? On Pages 28-46, he gives examples such as physical symptoms, hair, face, eyes, etc.

Emotional Beats impressed me so much that I created a Writing Workshop around it. And, I added it to my TOP TEN book list from 2016.

For other titles by Nicholas Rossis visit his Author Central Page on Amazon or his WEBSITE.

He always has great information including marketing and writing tips on his Blog

AND, Nicholas Rossis is a super supportive member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

Follow Nicholas on Twitter     Facebook     Pinterest     LinkedIn

rossis