Monday, June 27, 2016
“She lives next to me in 3-C,” a young woman said. “She must be in her eighties. And yeah, I guess I haven’t seen her lately. But excuse me, I gotta run. I’ve got an appointment with my hairdresser.”
Though this situation is fictional, involving characters from my “Castle in the Sun” romance series, it is all too real and it is all around us.
One day the brothers knocked at their elderly neighbor’s door. When she didn’t answer, they exchanged worried looks.
“Maybe she fell and she’s unconscious on the floor,” Army hero Jack said.
“Or worse,” Carlos the Casanova cringed.
They knocked again and were relieved to hear a feeble, “just a minute.”
The door cracked open and a suspicious eye peeked out. “What is it?”
Jack began. “Ma’am, I’m Jack Martin from 2-F and my brother, Carlos here, lives in 5-A. We haven’t seen you in a while and we’re wondering if everything is okay.”
“I’m fine,” an annoyed voice snapped.
About two weeks later she called Jack, asking if he would take out her trash and change some burned-out light bulbs. She apologized for the mess and smell in her apartment.
Several days later, she called Carlos. “Can you drive me to an ATM I have my groceries and prescriptions delivered, but I ran out of cash and no one will take a check, even though I’ve never had one bounce. I misplaced my credit card.”
Agnes Smith continued to call the brothers on occasion. They got to know her better and she was not fine at all. She had crippling arthritis, problems with her heart and her husband had passed away five years earlier. It surprised the brothers to learn how many, living within an easy drive, knew she had needs—but never offered help. This included younger relatives.
One Sunday, Jack and Carlos mentioned Agnes’ situation to their priest. The following week, he spoke anonymously of her in his homily.
“She could be our mother, grandmother, aunt, a neighbor, or any one of us. Let’s remember to love our neighbor as ourselves.” (See Matthew 22:39)
Flora invites you to visit her blog: florareigada.blogspot.com
“Love’s Sweetest Revenge,” the first book in Flora’s “Castle in the Sun” romantic/suspense series, takes Liz down a wooded path to danger and life-changing adventure. The book is available from Helping Hands Press. Visit: https://www.amazon.com/Loves-Sweetest-Revenge-Flora-Reigada/dp/1622085884
Flora’s devotional, “Where Your Heart Meets God’s,” explores the many ways God whispers our name. Visit: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Your-Heart-Meets-Gods/dp/1622085868
Right now the first story in the series is a Kindle Unlimited title.
Here is the link to "Volume One - Ripples" : https://www.amazon.com/Sweetwater-River-Peggy-Blann-Phifer-ebook/dp/B00WJ9HPIK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1467035558&sr=8-13&keywords=peggy+blann+phifer
Rozene and Mike Carson have legally adopted four foster care teenage daughters, giving them a forever family they’d never known before. But after only a year with the Carson’s, one by one, Veronica, Shira, Melanie, and Misty reach adulthood, venturing out to start new lives of their own, leaving the house along the banks of the Sweetwater River in Sweetland.
Rozene is proud of the adults they are becoming, but also heartbroken as she and Mike face an empty nest. She soon will see just how deep the girls' roots are to their riverside home. In the Sweetwater River series, these six lives continue to connect in some unexpected ways.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
1. Tell us why we should read your book in twitter detail. (140 characters or less)
The Priest & The Peaches---sad, funny, kids taking care of kids--family and love.
2. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing. When you write YOUR words down and look at them later it is your creation that you have to be ruthless with it. We have a tendency to sort of fall in love with our own work. I don't. When I re-read something I have done I know what has to go and it is like, OH NUTS!-now I have to do it over. So I call myself something like "dumb" or "idiot" and get busy re-doing.
3. How do you balance serious moments with funny ones in your books?
Never thought about this. I think I try to insert humor into the most serious situations. For example, when Teddy throws a punch at the "Trumpet Man" and punches Scratch by mistake busting his nose and blood is all over the place. That was a serious situation but it was funny.
4. What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
People butting into conversations others might be having simply because they have a need to say something that is not an emergency and have no respect for the folks talking together. Also, people on cell phones in restaurants when they are with folks. You can talk later. There was time we had no cell-phones or pagers or answering machines. We all survived. Leave the phone in the car.
Thanksgiving Day thru January 1 - I love the whole Christmas season.
6. Least favorite?
January 2. Back to reality.
7. If we had an author talent show, what would your talent be?
I would ask if I could sit in the audience. I'd be the loudest clapper.
Larry is a Catholic/Christian blogger and posts commentary weekly. His work has appeared in such publications as Zenit from Rome, Aleteia, New Evangelists, Top Catholic Blogs, Big Pulpit, Catholic365.com and others.
His first children's picture book, "Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes" was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, "The Priest and the Peaches" was released. This is based on true story about five orphaned kids staying together as a family in the NYC of the 1960s.
Larry belongs to the Catholic Writer’s Guild, The Catholic Writer’s Society, The Knights of Columbus, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He has been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for over twenty years bringing communion to the homebound and hospitalized.
He lives in Pinellas Park, Florida and his kids and six grandchildren all live within three miles of each other. His first wife died of cancer in 2003. He remarried four years later and is now the primary caregiver for his wife, Martha, who has Non-Hodgins Lymphoma since 2011 and came down with Alzheimer's Disease in 2012.
The writer says, "God has me where he needs me and I try my best to make Him proud."
Visit Larry’s blog: http://www.slipperywillie.blogspot.com
The Amazon Kindle link for "The Priest and The Peaches" is: https://www.amazon.com/Priest-Peaches-Larry-Peterson-ebook/dp/B01FKC7X2K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1466878103&sr=8-1
Now a Kindle Unlimited Title: @SueBadeau Camping Suspense "Roots and Wings at "Loonstone Lake" - Volume 1 - Call of The Loons
The first story in Sue's series is now a Kindle Unlimited deal!
Below you will find the Amazon link, synopsis and author bio.ENJOY!
Amazon Kindle link: https://www.amazon.com/Roots-Wings-Loonstone-Lake-Loons-ebook/dp/B00LFWP1NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466877440&sr=8-1&keywords=sue+badeau+roots+and+wings
Louanne and Frank Hubert are two school teachers and almost empty-nesters getting ready to enjoy summer when an unexpected call from their past rocks their world. Will re-opening a long-neglected campground provide opportunities to realize new dreams? Or will mysteries from the campground’s past scuttle their plans before they can begin? A budding romance for the Hubert’s daughter provides help and hope for moving forward.
Love children (mom to 22, grand mom to 35, great grandmom to 7!) chocolate, camping, road-trips, writing, reading mysteries and more, standing up and speaking up for those without a voice. I have worked in children's services, policy and advocacy for 35 years. Married to my best friend, I divide my time between my home and kids in Philadelphia and traveling to speak and teach on the topics I am passionate about - healing and hope for children who have experienced trauma, foster care, adoption, permanent families for all kids, and more. My faith is my rock.
How does this happen? Well, many kids spend all summer playing video games and watching TV shows with all the intellectual challenge of a dead rock. Many of the things we learn fall in the “Use it or Lose it” category.
Some schools try to combat this by requiring summer reading lists, which 95% of the kids ignore anyway. Who wants to read some dull, dry academically acclaimed “classic” when there are levels of the latest first-person-shooter to conquer?
The trick is going to be coming up with fun stuff to do that engages the brain.
1. Lumosity. Go to www.lumosity.com. Create an account for your kid (and for you while you’re at it). There is a paid version of this program with more bells and whistles, but the unpaid version lets the kid play three games per day. The computer picks the games based on how the kid scored on a quick assessment and an assignment of goals. These games get progressively challenging, and if the kid gets stuck, they back off a bit. Lumosity works on different skills like memory, attention, spatial reasoning, and pattern recognition. So, the kid gets some game-playing but with a purpose. The game will give you some basic feedback about how you did relative to others the same age.
a. Using only 4 pieces of paper and four 1” pieces of tape, build a free-standing structure that will hold as many books as you can 6” off the table.
b. Using a 1’ square piece of aluminum foil, make a boat that will float and hold the largest number of pennies.
c. Using 4 lifesaver candies, 2 straws, 2 pieces of paper, and tape, make a sail car.
d. Design a Rube Goldberg (https://www.rubegoldberg.com/) device with at least 4 steps that ends with turning a light on (sending things flying through the air is not allowed).
3. Weird Science. Science can be fun when it’s more involved than memorizing weird-sounding words and outlining a chapter. Here are some science projects to keep brains busy.
a. Evaporation part 1. Collect different-sized and -shaped containers. Put 1/4 cup water in each one. Set them all up together in one location and make a prediction about which will evaporate first. Observe them over the next days and keep up with which ones go dry the fastest.
b. Evaporation part 2. Get several containers that are all the same size and shape. Put 1/4 cup of water in each one. Place them in different locations and predict which will evaporate first. Observe them over the next several days and keep up with which ones go dry the fastest.
c. Collections. Choose a thing to collect (rocks, leaves, flowers, etc) and see how many you can collect and identify. If they’re flowers or leaves, press them to dry them out. Then make a display complete with labels for what you’ve collected.
d. Friction vs. Gravity. Get a pink eraser, you know, the block sort. Get something you can use for an incline like a box lid or a board or something. Get a pile of books that are all the same approximate size. Put one book under the incline. Put the eraser at the top of the incline and measure how much time it takes for the eraser to get to the bottom. Then repeat with 2 books, 3 books, 4 … until you run out of books or can no longer get an accurate time reading. You can repeat this experiment after covering the incline with different things like a blanket or plastic or paper or … whatever. You can also repeat this with different objects.
Stay tuned. Next month, I’ll have 10 more ways to keep kids busy for summer.
Cindy Koepp is originally from Michigan. She moved to Texas as a child and later received a degree in Wildlife Sciences and teaching certification in Elementary Education from rival universities. Her recently concluded adventures in education involved pursuing a master's degree in Adult Learning with a specialization in Training and Performance Improvement. Cindy has four published science fiction and fantasy novels, a serial published online, short stories in four anthologies, and a few self-published teacher resource books. When she isn't reading or writing, Cindy spends time whistling with a crazy African Grey. Cindy is currently an editor with PDMI Publishing and Barking Rain Press as well as an optician at monster-sized retail store.
Where to find Cindy:
How did the antagonist develop in Larry Peterson's YA Historical novel "The Priest and The Peaches" ?
1. Who is your favorite character?
Beatrice Amon, the antagonist.
2. Why is he/she your favorite?
As the story unfolded Beatrice morphed into someone that even surprised me. Hopefully the reader will be as surprised as I was.
3. How did you come to create him/her?
Once I happened to pass by a woman as I was walking and she was dressed in a black dress that hung to mid-calf, wore thick soled, ugly black shoes and sported a wide rimmed black hat that sat on her head at an angle. She was walking like someone who was on a mission, fast and purposeful, and had a mean look on her face. Her eyes never waivered from looking straight ahead. Our encounter lasted for about two seconds but I never forgot her and the bleakness that surrounded her.
4. Where was he/she given life in the creative process?
In my quest to find a suitable antagonist I toyed with several ideas: a mean nun and/or an overbearing relative, (that almost happened with Aunt Vera) to name a few. I settled on the mean, intrusive neighbor. It just seemed to fit into where I was going.
5. What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?
What I like about Beatrice is who she really is and why. What I do not like is how she masked herself by shrouding herself in meanness to escape her reality.
Larry's novel is a Kindle Unlimited title and is available in ebook and paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Priest-Peaches-Larry-Peterson-ebook/dp/B01FKC7X2K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1466874876&sr=8-1
For the purpose of this blog, I’m assuming it was your spouse who went before you into the arms of the Lord, but the same things apply for any loved-one loss.
It would be nice if there were grief legality professionals―it looks to me like this would be a great profession. But please, if you are thinking this would be a fine way to get rich, think again. Quite possibly, the widow or widower will be suddenly dropping from two incomes to one.
The first piece of advice I would give is get at least ten copies of the death certificate. It’s possible you will need more. If you live in a small town where everybody knows everybody you might not need a lot; but if you are in a city you might need twice that many. So far, I’ve actually only needed two: One for the bank, and one for the mortgage.
I know it hurts to remove your spouse’s name from things, but some are necessary.
I had to remove my husband’s name from our bank account and get new checks. If you do also, be sure to let the bank know that checks could still be coming in with the spouse’s name on them. Some banks are such that you won’t be able to cash checks made out to your husband or put them in your account.
If you had a handicap placard for him/her, you only have a limited time to turn them in and not be fined. That varies by state, and I think it will probably say how long on the placard―if not, call your driver’s license bureau and ask.
Go see your lawyer―if you don’t have one, now would be a good time to get one. Sometimes there are free services for those who can’t afford them, or if you are adept with a computer you might try it online yourself. If you go to a lawyer, get the attorney to put a trust in place for you. That way your children won’t have the problems you are having. If your spouse had a financial advisor/agency, contact them too. You will probably need one of those certificates to become the next trustee. Or maybe your spouse made another relative or friend the successor trustee―in which case you should go together.
Insurances: Car, Life, health―they all need to be notified. If your spouse was old enough, you also need to notify Medicare. Social Security too. The surviving spouse gets a one-time death allotment, and you might be getting his/her Social Security monthly allotment.
Try not to make huge financial decisions until your head is working efficiently again―selling your house and moving, for instance. This time can be really overwhelming, and a panicky move could take you places you will really regret being. Same thing about new relationships. Yes, you’re lonely, and sympathetic hugs can turn into something more. Guard your heart during this vulnerable time.
These are just a few of the highlights, but everybody’s situation is different. You might have a suggestion or two (or a question or other response) to add in the comments section below. I hope you will.
Above all: Abide in prayer. God will get you through this. Trust Him. Accept help from your friends and ask for their prayers. Accept that you cannot change the past―especially the things you wish you had done or hadn’t done. Give the guilt and anxiety that weighs on you to God. You don’t have to carry that heavy, self-imposed loads. Remember, Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30, NKJV)
Anne Baxter Campbell is a Christian writer with a couple of best-sellers to her credit. As a recent widow, she’s attempting to share bits of wisdom gained from her experiences as well as trying to give hope to other grieving folks. Contact her (or find out more about her) by going to her blog (https://www.pewperspective.blogspot.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AnneBaxterCampbellAuthor/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/Anne_Baxter_C), or Amazon page (http://amzn.to/24hjNcD ).
R U looking for an AMAZING Historical Thriller for the July 4th Holiday weekend? Try Joseph Max Lewis "John Hancock"!
The Declaration of Independence series asks all of us that one soul searching question. If you were rich, if signing meant defying the world’s superpower, if failure meant your family would be left destitute and you would be hung by the neck with your hands tied behind your back until you strangled to death, would you have signed The Declaration of Independence? Would you have risked your privileged life so that others might live in freedom?
That was the question facing John Hancock and in the face of overwhelming odds he answered, “Yes.”
“We must all hang together,” Hancock said, before almost choking on his disastrous choice of words. Men’s faces clouded. They realized they stood on the brink, but could still step back. As had so often been the case, it was Benjamin Franklin who saved him, who saved us all.
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together,” Franklin replied in an equally loud voice. He took a moment to push his spectacles up his nose. “. . . or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”
The hall burst into surprised laughter. Men now smiled, grimly perhaps, but they lined up and took their turn, signing the most important document in the history of the world. Only Franklin, Hancock thought to himself.
Join Hancock, Franklin, Jefferson and the other Founders on one of the most momentous days in human history, July 4, 1776.
The Amazon Kindle link for the story is : https://www.amazon.com/Remington-Colts-Revolutionary-War-Independence-ebook/dp/B00KND49O2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1466873532&sr=8-5&keywords=joseph+max+lewis+declaration+of+independence+series
1. Who is the plot based around?
The plot revolves around the five Peach children, Teddy, 18, Joanie, 17, and their three younger brothers, Dancer, 14, Beeker, 10 and Joey, age 6. Their father suddenly passes away and, since their mom had died a few years earlier, they are now on their own. Teddy is in charge and they have to join together to begin their fight to stay together as a family as "grown-up world" attacks them head on.
2. What is the main idea of the plot?
The book takes the reader on a journey where the importance of faith, love and belief in God can prove to be an invaluable ally in trumping the challenging and pressure filled world of creditors, past due bills, an empty refrigerator, having no money, and many other things adults have to deal with. These kids are raw rookies who have been unexpectedly thrust into the "big leagues."
3. When does the plot take place?
The time frame for the story is the mid 1960s.
4. Where does the plot take place?
The story takes place in a south Bronx, blue-collar neighborhood.
It was simply a progression of a real life situation. From the sudden shock of being orphaned, followed by having to plan a funeral for their father, to discovering the rent and utilities are behind, not having any money available and so on. It was simply a natural progression into a quagmire that many adults have trouble dealing with, no less kids. They are quietly guided (as adults often are) by the steady and calming hand of the parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan.
6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
My brothers and sister and I did lose our folks when we were quite young. I had never planned to write anything based on that but when our brother, Bobby, died a few years back we were all sitting around after his funeral reminiscing about the "old days" and we wound up having a grand time sifting through and recalling memories. That is the point in time I thought I might base a book on those days. I guess I just ran with it because the book is fiction.
"The Priest and The Peaches" is a Kindle Unlimited Title and is available in ebook and paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Priest-Peaches-Larry-Peterson-ebook/dp/B01FKC7X2K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1466870109&sr=8-1
Henry Ford once said: “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
Are you seeing a pattern here? Do you see how it ties into my header image? So, where am I going with this?
God gave me that word at the beginning of the year. I didn’t ask for it…I didn’t even go looking for one. I was sitting at my desk, staring out the window, watching it snow. I should have been writing, but the words simply weren’t coming. And that word just popped into my head. Maybe God meant it as both admonishment and encouragement, I don’t know. But there it was.
But something told me perseverance wasn’t enough. Then I picked up a phrase from someone on an e-mail loop I follow:
Persevering means you have to be intentional about it…to take deliberate, purposeful steps forward to accomplish that goal.
This week I celebrated my birthday. The next day was my oldest son’s birthday. It wasn’t the additional year to my age that shook me. It was realizing how old Doug was. Oh, my!
I don’t know how many more years God has allotted to me, but obviously He isn’t done with me. He’s given me a gift–a talent–to write His stories. I may never be an award-winning, best-selling author, but that’s okay.As long as I’m doing His work, I’m good.
♦ Blog/Website: http://www.whispersinpurple.blogspot.com
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Please HELP William David Spencer choose a cover for his YA Inspirational story "Wrestling Two Worlds"!
Below you will find the story synopsis and a little on Dr. Spencer.
Please leave a comment on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the HHP blog sidebar to share your thoughts and feelings on the cover choices.
Thank you for your help and support!
A provincial North American high school
student is uprooted by his parents'
humanitarian work and taken to the
Dominican Republic. How he creates ties
between his old school and his new one
through the medium of high school
wrestling provides the backdrop for an
often humorous and always heart-warming
coming of age tale of how one teenager
changes from a provincial to a global
William David Spencer is the author of over
300 stories, poems, articles, chapters in books, editorials, reviews, and author or editor of 14 books, including two books called by critics definitive in their fields,
Mysterium and Mystery and Chanting Down
Babylon. Mysterium and Mystery was nominated
for an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of
America and his novel, Name in the Papers, won
The Southern California Motion Picture Council
Golden Halo Award for Outstanding Contribution
to Literature. So far, he has garnered 21
writing or editing awards or citations from a
variety of organizations as diverse as the
Popular Culture Association, the Evangelical
Press Association, the Veterans of Foreign
Wars, and WABC Radio. He was a co-captain of
his high school wrestling team and is the
father of an eleven trophy winning USA
Wrestling champion and husband of a native of
the Dominican Republic.
Visit William David Spencer's blog: http://aandwspencer.blogspot.com/
Who would like to WIN an incredible Espionage Thriller Suspense novel that is being made into a MOVIE?
From today,6/23,until Helping Hands Press next Thursday Night Party on July 14th all you need to do to win this INCREDIBLE novel is make a comment on this blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar.
One lucky will have the paperback sent to them,5 others will win the ebook!
To take a look at the novel just go to the Amazon Page or click on the cover here on the HHP blog sidebar. Here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Diaries-Pontius-Pilate-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00C6OY7JS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466614710&sr=8-1&keywords=joseph+max+lewis+the+diaries+of+pontius+pilate
The Diaries of Pontius Pilate opens when a member of an archeological team is murdered along the shores of the Dead Sea. We learn that the murderer and victim are both spies, observing the expedition and grappling with the fact that the team has just discovered some controversial artifacts.
In fact, Archeologist Kevin Elliot and his Deputy, Jill Gates have unearthed twenty copper scrolls etched with the results of Pontius Pilate’s year long criminal investigation into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They manage to open one scroll far enough to take a series of digital photographs of the writings and email them to a Professor of Ancient Latin for translation. Unaware of the scrolls content, Kevin and Jill are unprepared when they’re caught between an ancient conspiracy of global power that’s determined to destroy the scrolls along with everyone connected to them, and a small, fledgling volunteer group, the only force on earth that stands between Kevin, Jill and certain death.
“Pontius Pilate’s diaries . . . would rock the world if discovered today . . . Lewis’s characters are muscular, violent, dedicated . . . and faithful . . . Good and evil remain at war . . . while an archaeologist possessing Pilate’s scrolls is hunted down - Denny Bonavita, Editor and Publisher, Courier-Express / Tri – County Sunday (McLean Publishing Co. - Pennsylvania).
“Joe Lewis and The Diaries of Pontius Pilate tantalize . . . as did “Raiders of The Lost Ark”. . . The archaeologists who discovered the Diaries travel through a gauntlet . . . to bring those records to the public. Don’t wait: . . . follow them in their quest!” – Major Anthony F. Milavic, U.S.M.C. (Retired) and founder of MILINET.
Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies.
After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Drop by his Website:josephmaxlewis.com
The "Once Upon.." story line revolves around various Holiday's in a Families life.
The Amazon Kindle link for the story,the story synopsis, and the first Chapter for you sample are all below.ENJOY!
Amazon Kindle link: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-3-Parade-Freedom-ebook/dp/B00L4B69BS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466608835&sr=8-1&keywords=anne+baxter+campbell+once+upon...Volume+3-+A+Parade+of+Freedom
Jillian isn't too crazy about having to go to summer school, but she’d missed too much school while she’d been in the hospital, catatonic. Still, summer school might not be too bad. Aiden was there too. Besides, they had a cool new teacher for the history class, newly out of college, Miss Reece. The teacher has this neat idea for the history class to put a float in the Fourth of July parade. They meet on Saturdays to build it, and Jillian’s dad and Aiden’s mom help too. This might be the best Independence Day ever.
But then Jillian’s grandma goes to the hospital, a worry for Jillian. Her dad drives too fast—what if he gets in a wreck like her mom did? He says Jillian should take driver’s ed—but she doesn’t want to cause any accidents. Plus there’s always that deep-down panicky feeling that she might get sick again. One teenage girl shouldn’t have to carry so much on her small shoulders.
A Parade of Freedom (with an apology to the residents of Phoenix, AZ—I know there is actually no Fourth of July parade downtown.)
Jillian stared out the front window. Part of her wanted to begin the four-block walk to the Deer Valley High School, but she dreaded this, her first day back there after her mother’s death. Crying in public…how could she keep from it? It seemed as though she’d spent the last month in tears. At least it was summer school. Not as many people. She snorted. Only a few hundred instead of a few thousand.
Dad said they had to do it, though—going back to their normal lives. It would be his first day back at work too. He’d shed a lot of waterworks himself. Too much sympathy, too little? Which would it be where he worked? Which would it be at school? Would any of her friends even be there?
She grabbed her backpack, reset the house alarm, and locked the front door behind her. She’d walked to the end of the sidewalk when she wondered if Dad had locked the other two doors. She turned back to the house, feeling that old anxiety again. What if someone had already entered while she’d been getting ready for school? The garage door wasn’t so important—she would have heard that heavy metal sliding upward. The back door, though….
She held her breath as she opened the tall wooden gate into the back yard, checking for any disturbance of the bit she could see. She dropped to her hands and knees and peered around a bush. Nothing. She stood and walked to the back sliding glass door into the kitchen. Comforted by the snick of the very slight movement in the door, she took a deep breath and smiled. It was locked.
Once again, she began her three-block trek to Deer Valley High School, hiking a little faster because of her little delay. Almost jogging. Legs unused to this activity protested. She should join the track team next year, not because she thought she’d win any trophies, but because it would force her to exercise. Only one block, and she was already panting like a marathon dude. Her muscles had gone lax after three weeks of no exercise at all. Well, other than when the therapist had moved her arms and legs to keep the muscles at least flexible.
She walked into the assembly hall where the rest of the students lined up waiting for their assigned rooms. No surprise, Ginny and Amber were in one of the lines. They had been in her room at the hospital when she awoke from that deep sleep, but they’d left soon afterward. Dad said they had been there to help, but Jillian wasn’t too sure. Amber maybe, but Ginny? Jillian had known Ginny a long time, and she wasn’t into helping all that much.
Still—maybe if Jillian invited them to the next youth group thing….
She picked up her envelope and walked to the first class, history. She grinned. There sat Aiden, at the very back of the room, looking sullen. She strolled over to where he sat. “Hi.”
“Didn’t do so well in history this year?”
“So what else is new? I hate history.”
“I didn’t do too red hot either.”
He barked a short laugh. “At least you had an excuse. I’m just a dummy when it comes to dates and events.”
“I don’t believe you’re any kind of dummy. You just haven’t had history click in your head yet, or you haven’t found your reason for knowing history.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“For me, it’s that it sorta “clicked” with me. History is set, done. Immovable. Doctors use history to find out what causes and heals disease and injury. Judges and lawyers use it to decide cases.”
Aiden nodded. “Yeah, I guess.”
“How many classes do you have to take? I have to do all of them.” She slumped down into the seat next to him.
“Just geography and this one.”
Below you will find the beginning the first story. If you and kind enough to take the time to read it please leave a comment for Patti and tell her what you think of it.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link to the very first story in the "Grave Obsessions" series "Chiseled Heart". It is a Kindle Unlimited title so please give it try: https://www.amazon.com/Grave-Obsessions-1-Chiseled-Heart-ebook/dp/B00K39BRS2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466600688&sr=8-2&keywords=Patti+J.+Smith+Grave+Obsessions
The foundation and blush brought the waxen face to life. He tenderly clothed her as if dressing a newborn. Caressing her hair, he whispered, “You are so beautiful. I wish you could have stayed longer.”
Her dead weight was no challenge for someone with his physical strength. A body was nothing. While others used mechanical means clearing out land, he preferred to do it manually … a way to purge the demons.
Tears and sweat streamed down his dirt encrusted face only to be stopped by a heavy beard. His gloved hands gently smoothed rocky soil around the shrine. “I am so sorry, my precious.” Josiah Tillman cried. “I know you tried. It just wasn’t meant to be.” He reached for the flowers. “You deserve these.”
Fredricks had taken her on an emotional roller coaster, which forced her to finally reevaluate her life. She had lived in a cocoon for many years, allowing only a select few to get close. The loss of her partner not only created more isolation, but also wounded her faith. Spending time at a Catholic retreat in Connecticut proved fruitless in pulling herself together; Fredricks had followed her, wreaking havoc on the serene setting.
With the help of her priest, Father Jim, who agreed to be her spiritual advisor, she was able to let go of the past and focus on the future. She allowed herself to forge a close friendship with Twyla and her daughter, Emerson, and began to enjoy outings with them. She attended Mass regularly and instead of leaving the service right after communion, stayed and visited with Father Jim as well as fellow parishioners. The changes were just the ticket to piece together her shattered soul and give her something she hadn’t had in years …. Hope.
Dallas padded towards the kitchen, savoring the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Cup in hand, she inventoried her closet. Nothing casual today, darn it. Hate wearing court clothes. After settling on a navy skirt, jacket and pale pink blouse, she showered then got herself ready. She poured coffee in a travel mug and scrutinized her image in the full-length mirror before heading out the door.
Surprisingly, the defense rested at 4:00 calling only a few witnesses. Closing statements were scheduled for the following morning.
“Ladies and gentlemen this case is based entirely on circumstantial evidence and I have the utmost confidence you will do what is right and just. The police singled out my client the minute they saw him on that security video because he didn’t belong in that neighborhood and he’s been in trouble before. Yes, he was at the convenience store at the same time as Janice Crawford, but so were many others and I can’t refute the fact my client is far from a model citizen but is that proof he’s a killer? No.”
Michelle Corrigan paced back and forth in front of the jury box, making eye contact with each juror arguing against the State’s evidence. Returning to the defense table, she stood behind her client and placed her hands on his shoulders. “To be honest with you, ladies and gentlemen, I’m surprised this case even came to trial. You are intelligent and logical people and I know you see through the prosecution’s smoke and mirrors. Raymond Salerno is innocent and should be acquitted.”
Dallas and Twyla stood in the back of the courtroom as the jury returned. Dallas whispered, “Worley, I don’t have a good feeling about this.”
The court clerk cleared her throat. “We the jury in the above-entitled action, find the defendant not guilty.”
Gasps erupted from the gallery. Angry expletives exploded from the victim’s father as he escorted his stunned family through the double doors. Dallas and Twyla stared at each other in shock. Dallas turned and watched as Raymond Salerno hugged his attorney. “Chalk one up for the bad guys.”
Murray Pura's "The Declaration of Independence - Volume 1 - Thomas Jefferson" is that and much more!
Take the journey back in time to July 4th and the creation of this incredible document.
The Amazon Kindle link for the story is:https://www.amazon.com/Remington-Colts-Revolutionary-War-Independence-ebook/dp/B00IK49G4E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466599711&sr=8-2&keywords=murray+pura+declaration+of+independence+series
“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Thomas Jefferson turned over in his sleep.
That document – they tore what I wrote apart. I must talk to Ben Franklin and John Adams. They have to persuade the Continental Congress to restore my original wording before the delegates sign it.
And so the saga begins.
The “Declaration of Independence” series brings to life the crafting and signing of the World famous document as told through the eyes of Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Francis Lewis.
Best- Selling author Murray Pura also includes recipes for Corn Bread and Colonial Braised Rabbit with “Volume 1 – Thomas Jefferson”.
Fast Fact- There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
There is a simple message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.
What do YOU THINK of the beginning of Flora Reigada's soon to be released novel "Love and Obsession"
The Amazon link to the first novel in the series "Love's Sweetest Revenge",available in ebook and paperback, is:https://www.amazon.com/Loves-Sweetest-Revenge-Flora-Reigada-ebook/dp/B01BLKMLRC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466599090&sr=8-1&keywords=flora+reigada
Escaping its clutches, Liz discovered an old locket and mysterious love letter hidden in the wall.
Solving their mystery, put her and Rosa on the trail of star-crossed lovers that led to Florida, a castle and the strong arms of the lovers' sons, Carlos and Jack.
Several months had since passed and though it was only six-o'clock, winter's curtain of night had drawn over the glittering hills.
Rosa and Jack were in the kitchen with Rosa's daughter, Laura, preparing a Latin-American holiday feast of pernil (roasted pork) with yellow rice and beans. Their distant voices and clatter of pots and pans carried the tantalizing aromas of meat and spices.
Liz and Carlos kissed, then resumed gazing at each other—she drinking-in his Latin good looks and he, her golden-brown eyes, and hair that flowed to her shoulders like a chocolate fountain.
It never failed to amaze Carlos that although in her thirties like himself, Liz had grown sons and a granddaughter.
She'd tell him, Rosa and I were kids with kids. But we supported each other and we grew up fast.
Carlos kissed her locks. "Sweet."
The couple's reverie was interrupted by Laura's two tots bursting from the kitchen with Rosa's pair of dachshunds playfully yipping close behind.
They would simmer down, only to start up again, louder than before.
After awhile, Jack emerged to playfully scoop up the children and hoist one atop each of his broad shoulders. The children laughed with delight as he trotted them around the house, leaving their mother to cook in peace.
Liz smiled as they passed her way—barely able to tear her gaze from Carlos and her ring, sparkling in the Christmas lights. Love glowed in Carlos' dreamy green eyes. They wandered over Liz's form-fitting red sweater.
"Not only are you beautiful, you're a gifted artist," he whispered, referring to her latest creation—a landscape painting she'd shown him earlier that day.
Illustrating their journey to one another, it depicted the old stone wall where Carlos had proposed. The wall faded away to a castle (the Castillo de San Marcos) in Carlos' hometown of St. Augustine, Florida, where clues in the locket had taken Liz and Rosa. Their lives would never be the same.
Carlos motioned to the exercise watch on his wrist. "Thank you for the Christmas gifts. I really did need those shirts and the watch is just what I wanted."
"Thank you," Liz said, admiring her ring.
She stroked his thick black whiskers. "I like the beard and moustache you're growing. They're rugged and masculine—like you."
He smiled, brushing his whiskers against her face. Liz laughed, kissing his eager lips.
She had already sent her twin sons, Tony and Stevie, photos of the engagement ring. She included pictures and videos of herself with Carlos and of the others as well. One video captured Rosa and Jack, chasing each other in a playful snowball fight, then wrestling, laughing and rolling in the snow.
Celebrating Christmas in Daytona Beach, Florida with their father, Liz's sons and their wives watched in amusement. They gathered to extend Christmas greetings and congratulate Liz and Carlos on their engagement.
"Best wishes! That's some big rock! We love you and hope to see you soon."
Tony added a postscript. "Steph and I are looking forward to closing the deal on Carlos and Jack's family home and making it a bed and breakfast, here in sunny Florida."
But Steve and his wife, Gloria, had made their way into some of the frames and Steve's expression gave Liz a chill. Although he was smiling, it more resembled a scowl. An icy glare came through in his eyes.
Why would he be scowling on Christmas? Could there be trouble in paradise between him and Gloria?
Liz recognized the suppressed anger. She'd seen it before and it was usually directed her way. The last time was a couple of months prior, when she showed up at their son Stevie's wedding on Carlos' arm. She had picked up on the subliminal vibrations that Steve did not like seeing her happy, especially with someone as accomplished as Carlos. He had worked as a translator and cultural liaison with the executive branch of the United States government.
Now Steve seemed to be sending another message. She could almost read his thoughts.
Your wetback thinks he's so important. You'd better not be sleeping with him.
The hatred Liz felt for Gloria when Steve left, had long since dissolved into pity.
That poor woman. Steve's an idiot. I'm glad to be rid of him.
Yet, Liz could not shake a sense of trepidation. It hung over her like a cloud when Rosa called everyone into the dining room for the meal, which began with salad, followed by the main course and warm bread. Carlos offered Liz a crispy piece of meat.
"This is the cuerito (skin) my favorite part. You can taste the spices in which the meat was marinated in overnight. My father used garlic, oregano, cilantro, salt, pepper and lemon."
Liz took a bite, chewing it slowly, letting the perfect blend of crunch and spice, caress her taste buds.
Drinks flowed. They included apple cider and coquito, an eggnog-like drink made from rum, coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. For dessert, apple pie was topped with vanilla ice cream and served with café con leche. (Coffee with milk—a popular Spanish drink with equal amounts of hot milk and strong coffee.)
Even in the festive glow of the holiday, Liz could not get Steve's cold, hateful stare out of her head. It seemed to bore into her.
"What's the matter?" Carlos asked.
She told him how much Steve's demeanor disturbed her and why.
"Maybe he had gas," Carlos joked, trying to soothe her on this otherwise joyous day.
Liz shook her head. "I know Steve and he's up to no good."
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
“No,” I told him. “I make it up, but it has to be true or nobody would stick with the story.” He shook his head. “How do you make up true stuff? That doesn’t make sense.”
“It does,” I insisted. “If you make a character too perfect, no one can buy in. If you create a character who is purely evil, it’s hard for a reader to accept. Life is messy and complicated, so tidy solutions to big problems don’t fly.”
I will admit that I was pleased that someone asked me about the craft of writing because I so often feel like pinching myself when I realize I have the privilege of sharing my words with others. But as I thought further about our conversation, I realized that there’s another layer to this business of truth in fiction: In the course of writing my novel about Alzheimer’s Disease, Remembering for Ruth, I discovered a truth that I didn’t know I knew. It came to me as I wrote this exchange between the two brothers, Paul and Matthew, who are recognizing their mother’s mental decline and trying to bridge years of estrangement:
“I do know,” Paul retorted. “Of course I want her to be happy. I also want her, and us, to be safe. What if she set the house on fire? What if she wandered off in the middle of the night and was hit by a car? What if . . . what if she forgets who we are?” He studied a collection of canning jars adorning a shelf.
Even as I wrote it two years ago, that last sentence hit me right between the eyes.
A loved one in our family suffers from this miserable disease, and it hurts to see her struggle to place us. It’s painful to watch for—and never see—the light of recognition in her eyes. But as long as we remember who she is, we can focus on treating her with love and protecting her dignity.
Amazon author: http://www.amazon.com/Sheila-Seiler-Lagrand/e/B00H9PH5SY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
My website: http://sheilalagrand.com/
Sheila Seiler Lagrand's "Remember for Ruth" series deals with Alzheimer's Disease and touches the HEART!
Here on the HHP blog we have tried to spotlight the Fiction and Non-Fiction written by the HHP Author Community.
Sheila Seiler Lagrand's series "Remembering for Ruth" is a Sweet Romance that revolves around a Family as they try to cope with Ruth's disease.
The series is filled with heart, triumph, trials and tribulation.
The first story in the series "Paul Loves Snickerdoodles" is a Kindle Unlimited title. Give it try, enter Ruth's World and be drawn in to the rich characters.
Below you will find the Amazon Kindle link to the first story,the story synopsis,a brief bio on the author, and the first Chapter of the story to sample.ENJOY!
Kindle Unlimited link: https://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Ruth-Paul-Loves-Snickerdoodles-ebook/dp/B00IK1TIHM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1466626362&sr=8-5&keywords=sheila+seiler+lagrand
God gets the glory, but will Matthew get the girl?
Margot Goodharte and her mother-in-law, Ruth, plan to spend a rainy January morning baking snickerdoodles. A household accident leaves Margot unconscious on the pantry floor, while Ruth, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, mentally returns to her girlhood during World War II. Neighbor Sue comes to the rescue when she drops in for a visit and notices something amiss.
Sheila Seiler Lagrand, Ph.D. is a lifelong Californian currently living in the rural foothills of Orange County with her husband, Rich, and two dogs. An anthropologist by training, she is fascinated by people’s relationships to one another and to God. Her latest releases include Kathi Macias’ Twelve Days of Christmas, Volume 8: Yankee Doodle Christmas and the collaborative novelette, The San Francisco Wedding Planner, Volume 1: The Initial Consultation. Her work has appeared recently in two volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul and in Wounded Women of the Bible. You can find her blog, Godspotting with Sheila, at http://sheilalagrand.com.
“Cookies seem like a super idea, Ruth. What kind shall we make?”
“How about snickerdoodles? Those are Henry’s favorites.”
Margot blinked. “Paul loves snickerdoodles,” she said gently. Sometimes Ruth could remember that her husband had died, and sometimes she could not. Correcting her mother-in-law left Margot frustrated and Ruth flustered, so she had adopted the habit of substituting her own husband’s name whenever Ruth brought up Henry as if he were still alive.
Ruth sighed and looked out through the rain rivulets racing down the wavy glass in the old kitchen window. “It sure is gloomy out there this morning.”
“We need this rain, though,” Margot said. “And it does make good cookie-baking weather. I’ll preheat the oven. Can you pull out the cookie sheets?”
Ruth opened a cabinet and peered inside. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “Goodness. What am I after?”
“Thanks, Dear. I need a keeper.” Ruth chuckled and turned back to the cabinet, but not before Margot saw the terror in her gentle brown eyes.
“Well now. Let’s cream the butter and sugar, shall we?” She lowered the beaters into the mixing bowl and turned on the power. The butter swirled in the bowl. Margot reached for the sugar canister. “Oh dear. We’re nearly out of sugar! No, wait. I think I have another bag of sugar in the pantry. Just a minute, hmm?” Margot didn’t dare send her mother-in-law into the pantry after the sugar; Ruth was having a bad day, clearly, if she confused a frying pan with a cookie sheet. She turned off the stand mixer and tugged open the door to the pantry. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to get another bag of sugar.” Ruth nodded.
Margot reached up and tugged on the chain that hung from the old light fixture in the pantry. Spotting the familiar pink-and-white bag on a high shelf, she unfolded the stepladder that she kept in the pantry. The old house’s ten-foot ceilings are grand, but they sure make for some tough reaches in here, she mused. I should have set the ladder up just a bit farther to the right. Willing herself to reach the bag, she stretched as far as she could reach, then let out a gasp as she slipped off the rung. She was falling in slow motion, as if in a dream. It ended abruptly when she cracked her head on a sturdy shelf. She lay still and awkwardly splayed on the pantry’s elaborate tile floor, a pool of blood forming beneath her head.
Ruth started as she heard a crash coming from elsewhere in the house. That Henry, she thought. He’s always tinkering with something. She sat at the kitchen counter, pulling her knit cap down low over her ears. Now then, what was she waiting for? Oh, that’s right. Sugar. Her sister Merry had interrupted their cookie-baking—their brother Stephen and Merry’s beau loved snickerdoodles—to run next door to borrow sugar. Ruthie was petrified of the fierce-looking woman who had moved in next door, but her big sister Merry feared no one. She had taken her ration coupon booklet with her, Ruthie remembered. She hoped the neighbor would provide the sugar so they could continue their baking.
Ruth hummed a quiet tune as she waited. Finally, she dozed in her chair.
A firm knock at the kitchen door jolted Ruth from sleep. She stood, stretched, and walked to the kitchen door, which grumbled on its hinges as she pulled it open. “Why, Sue! What a nice surprise! Won’t you come in?” Ruth inhaled the crisp January air, saw sunlight picking its way through the remnants of clouds in the brittle blue sky. She sighed.
“Thanks, Miss Ruth.” Sue glanced around the kitchen. She noted the mixing bowl of butter, saw the flour and cream of tartar on the counter. “Where’s Margot?”
“Margot?” Ruth furrowed her brow. “Oh, she went to get something. We were going to . . . Going to . . . Anyway, she needed something. I’ve been waiting.”
“How long has she been gone?” Margot never left her mother-in-law home alone. Something was not right here.
Ruth pursed her lips and looked at the tin tiles making up the ceiling. “Sugar!” she finally cried out. “Merry went to get sugar!”
Sue had heard Ruth mix up names before. Ignoring the substitution, she repeated, “Ruth, what time did she leave?”
“It was raining,” Ruth said.
Sue swallowed back the fear she felt rising in her throat. The rain had stopped two hours earlier. Then she saw Margot’s keys hanging on their hook near the kitchen door.
“Ruth, are you sure she left the house? Margot?” Sue called out her friend’s name. “Margot?” She called out again, louder. She thought she heard a faint moan.
We made Christmas trees out of pine cones collected while camping at Lake Tahoe, paper-bag luminarias, “God’s eyes” with yarn and popsicle sticks, Easter Eggs with personality and many other items, some useful, some decorative and some just fun to make with no real purpose other than self-expression. Drawing, coloring and painting were staples, not only for a rainy day but for anytime the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored,” surfaced in our house.
The result of these many hours spent on creative coloring and crafting is that to this day my adult children are artistic, creative and have an eye for beauty which they, in turn, have passed on to their own children. Nothing delights me more than receiving a hand-colored card from one of the grand, or great-grandchildren on Mother’s Day, my birthday or “just because.”
In the last few weeks, I have shared (in two previous blog posts) the process and purpose behind my newly released book, “Building Bridges of Hope: A Coloring Book for Adults Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma.” I have shared how this book represented the culmination of a decades-long dream and how I see it as a valuable tool and resource of parents and caregiving adults.
Our family members so enjoyed collaborating on this project that they are already cooking up ideas for future coloring books. Who knows, this may be the first in a series. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, I hope that while you enjoy coloring these whimsical and purposeful images, you will also think about ways you can use art and creative self-expression to bring your own family closer together.
Visit Sue's Website: http://www.suebadeau.com/
Follow Sue on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SueBadeau?lang=en