Jonah – Part 8

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, a horrendous and sudden storm had totally destroyed his hut. He’d grabbed Tidus and his meager belongings and fled. After Tidus chanted and held his Amethyst Gemstone to his forehead, the storm had stopped as suddenly as it had started. Now Jonah’s returned to make the shocking discovery of a new bigger and better hut and a new burlap bag. Let’s join them and see what’s next.

Jonah stood rooted in the same spot for a long minute. He turned to find Tidus close behind him.

“What? How?” He pointed to the hut.

Tidus shrugged. “Maybe something in the bag will answer your question.”

Forcing his feet to propel him forward, Jonah reached the burlap bag and pulled the tie. He dumped the contents on the hard ground.

Another book and a note fell out. He dropped to his knees. With shaking hands, he unfolded the note and read it out loud. “Because you thought of someone other than yourself for the first time in your life.”

Tidus knelt beside him. “You mean you’ve never thought about anybody other yourself your entire life?”

“I suppose so,” Jonah muttered.

“But, you made sure I was safe and it seemed to come naturally to you.”

Jonah reached for the new book. “Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford.” He held the book out to Tidus. “Ever heard of this one?”

dark side of the light chasers

Tidus nodded. “It’s a workbook of sorts. There are exercises after every chapter.”

“Exercises for what?” Jonah thumbed through the pages.

“It’s sort of a guided way to work on yourself, to face your shadow self and do shadow work.  My favorite quote from the book is, ‘Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.’

Jonah stood. “Shadow work?  Answers inside me? That makes no sense.”

“It will when you read the book. Looks like you have to do some self-discovery work if you ever want to leave this island.”

“I’ll read the book and learn the right words to say. Then I can talk my way out of here.”

Tidus drew a symbol in the dirt. “It doesn’t work that way, Jonah. They’re not interested in your words. Your actions are what they want to see.”

Jonah squinted. “You’re a weird kid, Tidus. How do you know so much about all this? Did they send you? And what is that you are drawing in the sand? You aren’t doing some sort of magic spell, are you?”

Tidus dropped his stick and stood. “No. I swear it. This is what we call sacred geometry. It is the symbol of the flower of life.”flower-of-life-beach

He continued, “What I told you is the truth. My father disappeared. My mother died and I’m all alone on the other side of the island. I would take you there if I could. Then you’d see I speak the truth.”

“Okay, kid. I believe you. It’s just that you seem to know a lot about all this self-work stuff. More than a kid your age should know.”

“It’s simple. My mother taught me from all these books. She was also teaching me how to grow and use my magic when she died. I have lots of books back at my home. If you want, I could bring you some. Maybe I could help you.”

Jonah shrugged. “Suit yourself. Bigger men that you have tried.” He slapped Tidus on the back. “Let’s look inside my new digs.”

With his dagger drawn, Jonah flung the rickety wooden door open to reveal a more spacious and weather-proof hut. As far as he could tell from the dim light, the inside was empty. He could almost stand up inside.

He sheathed the dagger and tossed the new book into one corner, then emptied the contents of the bag he carried over his shoulder. He quickly dug a small hole and re-buried the Jerky. With some of the vegetables Tidus had brought, he could make them a nice soup to eat. He leaned back against the wall and blew out a breath.

His head spun with thoughts. He was being forced to look at himself. The thought frightened him more than anything or anyone he’d ever faced. This was not going to be easy or pleasant.


Jonah – Part 7

Last week, we left Jonah and Tidus in the midst of a horrific and sudden rain storm that erupted when Jonah questioned Tidus about his father. Let’s join them and see how they fared the storm.


Jonah snatched up his meager possessions as the deluge beat down unrelenting, on the crudely made hut.

Water ran in streams, washing everything in its path down toward the murky waters. He had no time to waste. He dug the jerky out of the ground and tossed it along with the books and his other belongings into the burlap bag.

“Can you make it stop?” He yelled at Tidus.

Tidus sat dazed, his eyes rolled back in his head. He chanted words Jonah could not understand. The fragile walls of the hut began to collapse around them.

Jonah reached for Tidus, slung the burlap bag over his shoulder and ran. The rain blinded him. He stumbled over tree roots and briars.

Where to go?

Jonah pulled Tidus along. His need to protect the kid was strong. Tidus remained lost in some sort of trance.

Finally, Tidus pulled back. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a large Amethyst Crystal.


He raised it to his forehead and chanted in a rumbling voice unlike any Jonah had ever heard. “Bay of old and sun so bright. Clear the mist of clouds at night. I, son of Drake, beseech you. Dispel the darkness, bring the light.”

Almost as quickly as it started, the pounding rain stopped. Black clouds parted, and bright sunshine reflected off remaining droplets on branches and leaves.


“What in the hell just happened?” Jonah exclaimed.

Tidus placed the gemstone back in his pocket and shrugged.

Jonah turned in a full circle. “That’s all you’ve got? A shrug? My hut is destroyed. What am I going to do now?”

“Sorry,” said Tidus. “Perhaps you shouldn’t mention my dad again.”

Jonah mumbled. “You can bet on that one.” He stomped off in the direction they’d come. When he cleared the trees, he gasped.

His hut was intact. Only it was larger and sturdier than the original. And, it even had a door.



Jonah’s head swam. How could that be? He’d watched it collapse around him. Surely he was having a wild dream.

Nothing made sense.

And, a newly delivered burlap bag sat nearby.

Jonah – Part 6

When we left Jonah last week one of the fanged beasts that inhabit this tangled and briar ridden island threatened to end his life. In a moment of carelessness, he’d left his dagger laying inside the hut. Let’s see how he gets out of this one.

Jonah managed to sidestep the lumbering beast, but it quickly turned and charged again. He cast an eye toward the hut, calculating. Could he make a dash for it? The blade of his dagger glinted in the sunlight as if taunting him.

A piercing whistle cut through the air.

The beast stopped in his tracks, tucked his tail and slinked off into the tangled brush growling.

Jonah whirled in the direction of the whistle and blew out a long breath. Tidus stood a good ten yards away.

“Hey,” Jonah yelled. He scrambled toward the boy. “Please don’t run. I need to talk to you.”

Tidus held a crudely woven basket in his hands and approached Jonah.  “Here.” He shoved the basket at Jonah. “I thought you could use these.”


Jonah lifted the lid and glanced inside to find an array of vegetables and fruit. All his original questions fled. “Where did you get these?” His mouth watered at the sight.


“I grow them.” Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “Where I live looks nothing like this.” He gestured at the tangled terrain.

Jonah pulled a Mangosteen from the basket and bit into it, ignoring the juice that trickled down his chin. “I want to go with you, Tidus.” He said between bites.

“I thought I was taking you, but they wouldn’t let me.”

They reached Jonah’s hut and ducked inside.

“Who are they? And thank you for this gift.” He set the basket on the ground and grabbed another piece of fruit.

“You are welcome. I don’t exactly know who “they” are. My father was teaching me when he disappeared and never returned. Then my mother died and that left me.”

Jonah let out a soft whistled. “Sorry kid. And, sorry I was such a bully the other day. I wanted to get off this godforsaken island more than anything. I was only thinking of myself.”

“Why are you here? Did your mom die too?”

Jonah leaned back. How he wished that were the reason. “I’m here because I was given a choice. I could either go to prison or come here. I chose here. At least I’m not locked in a box, although now I wonder if wouldn’t have been easier.”

“You must have done something really bad.” Tidus reached for Jonah’s book, The Four Agreements. “My mom used to read me bedtime stories out of this book.”

“Bedtime stories?” Jonah shoved a hand through his hair. He couldn’t bring himself to tell this boy about all his bad deeds. “Tell me more about your mom.”

Tidus’ eyes glowed an iridescent green. “She was beautiful and kind. She had long silky violet hair and her hands could do such amazing magic. Both my mom and dad were teaching me, but now, I’m alone and only half-taught.” His voice trailed off. “I wish my dad would come back.”

Jonah’s mind scrambled for logic but found none. This kid was obviously born to a witch and warlock. He recalled stories he’d heard about these people being banished from the mainland hundreds of years ago. Even though Tidus appeared to be a young boy of twelve, in truth he could be over one hundred.

He prodded. “Tell me about your dad.”

The clear blue skies disappeared in an instant. Thunder boomed, and angry dark clouds swirled, turning day into night. Lightning crackled in the brush nearby and a deluge of hard driving rain pounded the hut.

stormy sky

Tidus cowered. “I don’t think I can.”

Jonah Part 5

When we last left Jonah, he’d been driven into the water by a multitude of hissing green snakes. His body was covered with wounds from the stinging nettles and thorns and he’d lost Tidus. He’d simply disappeared into a crevice in the earth and the snakes had blocked Jonah from following.

Jonah spent the next two days nursing his wounds and scouring the area where he’d seen Tidus disappear. It appeared the earth had simply swallowed him up and left no traces.

He kept a wary eye out for the snakes that had blocked his path. Had he imagined the entire event? He’d heard stories about men going mad. Maybe he was now one of those men.

After another day of searching. to no avail, he hid from the brutal mid-day sun inside his makeshift hut. He hoped that Tidus would make another appearance. He wouldn’t let him slip away this time.

His gaze landed on the discarded books in the corner. He reached for “The Four Agreements” and opened it. What the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do with his time.

The opening page read, “To the Circle of Fire; those who have gone before, those who are present and those who have yet to come.”


Jonah puzzled over the reference to the Circle of Fire. He remembered a time back on the mainland when he’d hidden in the woods and observed a group of scantily clad women dancing around a fire, uttering chants and incantations. He grinned at the memory. All he’d thought about at the time was undressing the one with the golden hair.

Chapter 1: “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake…”

A dream? Well, I don’t like this dream so I’m going to change it, Jonah thought.

He read farther. Before he knew it, the sun sank and the sky turned a bright red and orange. How had he lost hours in this book? And, what was the big deal about reading it? Most of it was common sense about keeping your word and not taking anything personally. These were things living on the streets had taught him.

But, one thing the book didn’t cover was fear. It was fear that had kept him alive. He’d earned a reputation over the past few years. Everyone within his path learned to respect and fear the “Wrath of Jonah.”

He closed the book, stepped outside his hut and stretched his muscles, enjoying the rippling strength beneath his skin.

Tomorrow he would search more closely for the caves Tidus referred to. Tomorrow he would find them. Another world existed on this island of terrors and somehow Jonah knew it was nothing like the world he was trapped in.

The low growl of a fanged beast drew his attention. He reached for his dagger only to realize he’d carelessly left it inside the hut.


The beast lunged forward.

Magic – A Holiday Story #1




Frank Pyburn tossed another log into the fireplace, poured two fingers bourbon into his coffee and settled into his easy chair. With joints that ached, he ran a gnarled hand through a shock of white hair. The newest Zane Grey novel lay on the table next to his chair. He kicked off his worn boots, switched on the lamp and reached for it.

That man sure knew how to write a good western.

Frank grunted a little as he settled in and reached for the coffee. The burn felt good and warmed him on the inside.

“Ah,” he said to no one.

After he found his reading glassed under a two-day pile of newspapers, he opened the book.

Halfway through the first chapter, the sound of hooves clomping across his front porch brought him to his feet.

“Damn bears again,” he muttered. “But, since when did bears grow hooves?”

He slipped on his boots and grabbed the Winchester propped beside the door.

“Who’s out there?” He yelled.

A loud whinny cut through the cold Montana air, followed by a snort and a hoof pawing on the wood.

Frank cursed and eased the front door open two inches. He peered out with one eyeball. A saddled brown pony with no rider stamped his foot and nickered.

“Who’s out there?” Frank yelled again.

The horse tossed his head and let out a long whinny.

Frank swung the door open wide and stepped out into the porchlight, gun cocked and aimed.

The horse backed off the porch and continued to toss his head and nicker.

When Frank saw no one, he walked toward the horse and grabbed the trailing reins. “Good boy.” He patted the horse’s thick neck.

“Where’s your rider?”

The horse pulled against the reins and reared.

“Whoa, boy. Whoa.” Frank kept a tight grip on the leather.

The horse jerked against Frank’s hold and whinnied.

“You’re trying to tell me something, aren’t you, boy?” Frank peered into the cold blackness of the night. His gut told him someone was in trouble. “All right. I’ll go with you, you stubborn horse, but I’ve got to get my coat and gloves.”

He pulled on the reins and the horse followed him. “Damned if this don’t beat all. The coldest night of the year and you’re gonna drag me away from my warm fire. You better have a good reason.”

If someone was in trouble, this weather would freeze a person to death in no time.

He tied the horse to the porch rail and stepped back into the warmth of the small ranch house. He shot a longing glance at the fire, his book and the rest of his coffee while he slammed his hat on his head, slipped into his heaviest coat and gloves.

The minute he swung up into the saddle, the horse spun around and took off.

To Be Continued…




Foolish Old Woman

What if



“Come sit with me.” He patted the leather bench beside him.

In silence, I sat while others at the table shifted to make room. Why did I feel so nervous? It wasn’t like I didn’t know these people. Although I have to admit, I didn’t know them well.

I tried hard to remember names that went with the faces.

But, in all honesty, it wasn’t the people who made me nervous. It was him.

Twenty years my junior, tall, slender and handsome with brown eyes that sparkled, I saw no reason for him to have any interest in me.

Oh, I was a looker in my day. I had a slender figure, pert breasts, and round ass, but time has taken its toll. At sixty-five, gravity has sagged my breasts and my once flat stomach has a slight pooch.

He casually draped an arm around my shoulders.

I tried to engage in conversation, but the tingles his touch left on my shoulders distracted me to the point of madness.

When his arm slipped behind me and around my waist, I panicked. He’d feel my flab. I wriggled and sucked in my stomach.

“Let’s go out on the veranda,” he suggested.

Clumsy and flushed, I managed a reply. “Okay.”

I slid off the seat then waited for him. I followed with my heart pounding in my ears. I scolded myself. You’re carrying on like a schoolgirl with her first crush. For God’s sake get a grip.

We strolled out into the cool night air. The moon and stars hung carefree in the black velvet sky and a slight breeze blew the hair back from my face.

Silence wrapped around us like a velvet cloak.

I faced him. “What are you doing?”

“I like you.” He touched my cheek. “You’re not like the others.” He pulled me into the circle of his arms and kissed me.

It wasn’t a tongue-tangling kiss, but a warm and sincere kiss.

“I don’t even know what that means.” I took a step back and drew in a deep breath.

After a long eight years of solitude, I found it hard to believe this handsome forty-something man found me attractive.

“It means that you’re honest. You’re not trying to get anything from me.”

I grinned. “Don’t be too sure about that.”

He pulled me against him and kissed me again.

“Come with me to my place,” I said as I pulled away.

“No.” He caressed my shoulders. “I’ve done that way too many times. I want it to be different with you.”

I spun and walked to the edge of the veranda.

He followed, slipped his arms around me from behind and nibbled on my neck. “You turn me on,” he whispered in my ear as he tightened his hold on me.

I turned around for another kiss only this time, he slipped in his tongue.

My eyes flew open and I lay still barely breathing soaking up the glorious feeling of being wanted, of being desirable.

Then ever so slowly, a hot scalding tear escaped and dripped onto my pillow. Then another and another followed…

“Foolish old woman,” I muttered to myself.

Sweet Dreams

John, Kris, and Me – Guest Post by, Andrew Joyce…

Because I LOVE music and all stories relating to music, I had to reblog this post written by Andrew Joyce. This is a true story that he’s included in his latest book, “Bedtime Stories for Grownups,” a compilation of short stories. Take a peek at his by-chance meeting with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson!

Source: John, Kris, and Me – Guest Post by, Andrew Joyce…

bedtime stories

To order this extraordinary book, visit Amazon

Click here for more books from Andrew Joyce

Watch #RWISA Write – Author, Joni Parker


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, Joni Parker!


 By Joni Parker

Good afternoon, this is Mike Evans at iFantasy talk radio in Tucson, Arizona where we love to talk about science fiction and fantasy. Thanks for joining me today. We have a very special guest lined up for you, an iFantasy talk radio exclusive. World-famous journalist, Olivia Richards, is expected to join us via satellite telephone. As you may know, Olivia and her husband, John, were reported missing at sea several years ago, but she’s made contact and will be here in a few minutes. But first, we must hear from our sponsors at Cactus Thumb Nurseries. (run commercial)

Mike: Welcome back. We’ve just made contact with world-famous journalist, Olivia Richards. Hello, Olivia, this is Mike Evans. Can you hear me? (static) Olivia, are you there? (static)

Olivia: Yes, I can hear you, but just barely, please speak up.

Mike: I will. Thank you for joining me on iFantasy talk radio. I’m Mike Evans in Tucson, Arizona. Let me begin by asking, how are you and where are you?

Olivia: My husband and I are fine, but for the last few years, we’ve been stranded on this island called Seaward Isle. In 2011, we rented a sailboat in southern France and were sailing to Italy when we were caught in a ferocious storm. It came out of nowhere. We hid in the cabin below deck for hours until our boat crashed on the shores of this island. We survived the crash just fine, but we haven’t been able to find a way off. We’ve met hundreds of people here just like us. That’s how I met Takura. He’s a friend of yours, I understand. He talked me into coming on this program because he was concerned people wouldn’t understand his English.

Mike: Yes, I’ve met him and I thought his English was fine. He went to Harvard for his doctorate.

Olivia: Yes, I know, but he feels very self-conscious.

Mike: How is he?

Olivia: He’s doing well. As you know, he’s a geologist and has gathered a group of Japanese scientists to figure out our situation. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough computers or the right equipment to do the job, but at least, he’s discovered that we’re not on Earth and he’s discussed this problem with the Elves.

Mike: Say what? You’re not on Earth? Did you say something about Elves? Are you kidding? Say, have you met Legolas by any chance? (Laughs)

Olivia: No, but yes, I’m serious. They’re real Elves. This island belongs to them and even they can’t figure out how we got here.

Mike: So where are you, if you’re not on Earth?

Olivia: We believe that this island is at the end of a wormhole somewhere in space. We don’t know how or where, but here we are. Takura believes the opening is located about six hundred kilometers above the Earth’s surface somewhere near the moon. We ask all astronomers to use their equipment to locate the opening and ask NASA for a rescue mission. That seems to be our only hope.

Mike: Attention all astronomers and scientists at NASA! Olivia needs your help. Contact this station immediately if you can provide any assistance. (chuckles) How are you able to talk to us?

Olivia: My friend, Ebony Shorter, had a satellite telephone when she crashed on the island. She was in a yacht race that went around the world, but she was caught in a storm and ended up here. Takura and his friends repaired an old generator to make electricity to recharge the phone. He’s also set up a computer network with bits and pieces he’s found.

Mike: What do you use for fuel?

Olivia: The scientists use alcohol made of old potato skins and grain.

Mike: You mean moonshine. Right. Anything else we can help you with today, Olivia?

Olivia: No, just please get the word out. We’d really like to get home and see our families. Thank you so much for your help. (static) Our connection is fading…(static)…only a few (static)…Please help…(static)

Mike: Apparently, we’ve just lost our connection to Olivia. Once again, let me reiterate her desperate situation. She’s located on an island called Seaward Isle, somewhere at the end of a wormhole and needs the help of astronomers and NASA scientists to locate this opening and rescue them. Hey, maybe we can bring the Shuttle program back to life. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you for joining me on iFantasy talk radio and join me tomorrow for another adventure into science fiction and fantasy. And don’t forget to send your comments and ideas to our Facebook page. Many thanks to our sponsor, Cactus Thumb Nurseries.


*          *          *

            Mike leaned back in his chair and listened to the program again. Then he pulled out his cell phone. This had to be a joke. But he shook his head when he recalled that his old buddy, Takura, could never tell a joke. He was so serious. They’d met in college nearly twenty years ago when they were freshmen at the University of Arizona with majors in geology. Tak, as he wanted to be called, was a foreign student from Japan and understood more English than he spoke. He also loved the geological formations in the local area, but knew nothing about hiking in the desert. Mike was an experienced hiker and took him under his wing.

They’d remained good friends, but lost contact when Tak transferred to Harvard to finish his doctorate in geology and later returned to join the faculty at the university. Mike speed-dialed the geology department and it rang and rang. Finally, a young woman answered the phone.

“Geology Department, University of Arizona. Bear down, Wildcats!”

“I’d like to speak to Professor Takura, please.”

“I’m sorry, there’s no one here by that name.”

“What? Where is he?” Mike furrowed his brow.

“I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know.”

“Is Professor Lopez there?”

“Hold on.”

“Professor Lopez. Who’s calling?”

“Julio, this is Mike Evans.”

“Mike! What’s up, man?”

“Hey, I was trying to get in touch with Tak, but I understand he’s not there anymore. Where’d he go?”

“Don’t know, man. A few years ago, he went on a sabbatical and never came back. His parents told us the ship he was on disappeared in a bad storm.”

“You mean it sank.”

“No, man. It vanished. No debris, no oil slick, no survivors. Nothing.”

“Weird. I got an email from him at the radio station last week asking for an interview so I agreed. He sent Olivia Richards to speak to me.  She’s a famous journalist who went missing a few years ago. She was on a ship in a storm, too. Anyway, she told me that they were stranded on an island called Seaward Isle, somewhere in space at the end of a wormhole with Elves. I didn’t believe her.”

“Elves? Was she high?” Lopez paused. “You don’t think it’s real, do you?”

“I don’t know, man. They were both lost at sea.” Mike sighed, leaning back. “Thanks, man or should I say Professor?” He laughed and disconnected the call. After a few moments, he scrolled through his list of contacts and called one of them.

The receptionist said, “You have reached the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. How may I direct your call?”

“Doctor Rachel Goodwin, geology division.”

“Hold on while I connect you.”

“Doctor Goodwin speaking.”

“Hey, Rachel. It’s me, Mike Evans from Tucson.”

“Seriously? After all these years?”

“Hey, I come in peace. I apologize for whatever I did.”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not exactly. Hey, have you been in contact with Tak from college? The Japanese guy?”

“You mean the nice guy who asked me for a date and you told him he was nuts?”

“Um, yeah, him. I think he’s in trouble and needs help. Julio told me that he was on a ship that disappeared in a storm, a few years ago, but he just emailed me for an interview on my radio program. He sent a friend, Olivia Richards, the famous journalist. She was lost at sea, too.”

“So you don’t have a regular job yet?”

“Not fair. I want you to listen to it, okay? Just listen and tell me what you think.”

“Okay.” She sighed.

Mike played the program. “Well, what do you think?”


“Rachel? Are you there?”

“Yes. Is this a joke?”

“That’s what I thought, too, but Tak couldn’t tell a joke if his life depended on it.”

She paused. “You’re right. Send me a link to your program.”

“Thanks, Rachel.” Mike sighed deeply when Rachel hung up. She hadn’t changed much and still resented that prank, but he’d always found her attractive. Maybe he should try again, someday. Mike shivered when the air conditioning kicked on; he’d been sweating heavily. He emailed her the link and leaned back. What if it’s real? Nah! Can’t be, can it?

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:

Joni Parker’s #RWISA Author Page

Watch #RWISA Write – Author, Stephanie Collins


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, Stephanie Collins!

Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

“I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

“You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”


“Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.


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:

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Watch #RWISA Write – Author Joan Curtis

     Joan Curtis


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, Joan Curtis!


A Gift of Silence

By Joan C. Curtis

The man stood outside the store window, shifting from foot to foot. I’d have probably gone right by him, but as I passed, he looked me straight in the face, sending a chill up my back. Mystified, I found a place in the shadows and watched.

He wore a black golf shirt with a Nike swoosh. His black slacks were neatly pressed, but scuffs covered the toes of his dark shoes. As he paced in front of the store, as if waiting for something or someone, his left foot dragged. Maybe that was where the scuffs came from. A girl passed by him without so much as a glance. She wore flip-flops and short shorts. He turned away from her. Why look me in the face and ignore this young girl with long flowing blond hair?

After an interminable twelve minutes, he entered the store. I crept to the side window to get a closer view. A saleslady approached with a big hopeful smile. He jerked away as if he might flee, but she persisted. Probably learned that in Sales 101.

Peering inside, I could make out the blurry image of the saleslady as she crouched down to retrieve a box. While she bent, the man grabbed an item off the counter. He pocketed it so fast if I’d blinked, I’d have missed it. Gasping in surprise, I nearly collapsed into the window. So neat. So fast.

While I recovered from the shock of having witnessed a theft, the man exited the store. He hurried in the direction of downtown. Hands tucked in his pockets and his head lowered, he wove along the sidewalk, avoiding moms with kids, students with backpacks, and cyclists. I followed. What did he plan to do with his ill-gotten gains?

My friend, Rose, would give me a lecture. Why didn’t you go inside the store and raise the alarm? What were you thinking, watching, witnessing, and doing nothing? No wonder we pay so much money for our trinkets. Thieves get away with it, and it’s all because of people like you. But, I never intended to tell Rose about this. Not if I could help it.

Instead, I hastened to follow the man, avoiding other shoppers and site-seers. My sole purpose was to find out what this strange person was up to. My watch read two-fifteen. I had missed the coffee date with my cousin. She’d forgive me. I’d have to make up an excuse about traffic or something equally lame, but I couldn’t think about her now. I had to see where this man led me. My curious nature would never let me rest otherwise.

Moments later he entered the parking deck. He was going to his car. Darn! Once he got in a car, I’d lose him for sure. My Honda was parked here as well, but on the top level. With my luck, his was probably on the first level. It was impossible to imagine we’d be parked close enough for me to follow him.

He entered the elevator. The light flashed up to level 4. I raced up the stairs like a madwoman. Huffing and puffing, I reached the fourth level just as the elevator doors opened. I caught a glimpse of his black form walking to a red Kia. I made a quick turn and hightailed it up to the fifth floor to retrieve my car. Then I plowed down toward the exit, round and round, hoping, praying. Eureka! The red Kia was just in front of me, waiting to pay. The Universe was on my side.

Mr. Thief drove with caution, obeying all the traffic rules, making it easy for me to keep him in sight. Nonetheless, I stayed one car back, not wanting to risk him seeing me. Maybe he’d remember me from the street! A shiver ran through me. What would he do, this thief? Stop his car, jump out, and murder me? Absurd.

The light changed. We moved down the road. A strange thought filled my head. Had the Universe wanted me to witness this thievery? Everything seemed to be falling into place. “Don’t be stupid.” Rose would say and would add I was being melodramatic.

We turned into the parking lot for the Hermitage Nursing Home. This made no sense. Why not a pawn shop? Didn’t thieves go to shady establishments on busy street corners with flashing neon signs to hock their merchandise? Not to a nursing home. Maybe he worked here? Maybe he was some sort of klepto and couldn’t help himself? Maybe he had no intention of hocking the stolen article? He pulled into a parking place a few steps from the entrance. I chose one farther away. From my rearview mirror, I spied him getting out of the car and entering the building.

Once he disappeared, I made my way inside and approached the information desk where a girl of about twenty had her head buried in a People magazine. When she finally looked my way, her eyes filled with wonder, as if I’d dropped from the sky, “Can I help you?” she said.

“The man who just came in. He dropped a five-dollar bill in the parking lot. I ran after him, but I missed him. Do you know where he might be?”

“Oh, that’s Jerome. He’s visiting his mom. Comes every day at least once. Want me to give it to him?”

I hesitated. She blinked. “Well… I guess it won’t hurt for you to go down to room 212. It’s the last room on the right, down that corridor.” She pointed the direction.

I moseyed away as if I had all the time in the world. Once out of her view, I picked up my pace. Conversation came from room 212. Mr. Thief was talking very loudly. Apparently his mom had hearing issues.

At the door, I peered inside where Mr. Thief perched on the edge of the bed near an attractive woman with cottony white hair.

“You shouldn’t have, Jerome. I know how much this place is costing you,” the woman said.

“But, Mom, it’s your birthday. I wanted to give you a little something.”

“Just having you here is enough. But, I do like bracelets. You know how I like bracelets. Remember when your dad gave me a diamond bracelet—of course, I didn’t know it wasn’t diamonds then. It wasn’t till later. Remember? After he died and left nothing but bills and debts, I tried to sell the bracelet and found out it was worthless. I flushed it down the commode.”

“I remember, Mom. You told me that story. I wanted you to have a real diamond bracelet before… well, you know.”

She hugged him. “This is the best gift ever.”

I backed away from the room, my heart racing.

Back in my car I didn’t wait for Mr. Thief, a.k.a. Mr. Nice Son, to come out of the building.  I started the engine and drove home.


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.

Joan Curtis’ #RWISA Author Page