Instant Gram or Instagram–Let’s Learn by Cher’ley

 

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Q: What do you call having your grandma on speed dial? A: Instagram.

Image result for Branding Free to use imagesBranding, Advertising, and Marketing are what I think I’d like to use Instagram for.

I am going to start promoting my books, and I’ve started writing again. I’ve been on a very long break.

Where to start? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram are the most popular.

I’m familiar with Facebook as a tool for Branding, Advertising, and Marketing, but not so much with the others, especially Instagram. I’ve noticed that people have millions of followers on Instagram and I’d like to be part of that.

Image result for Instagram Free to use images

 

Why?

Follow this link to see:

10 Things you need to do when Getting Started with Instagram

I have done these things individually, now I need to do them for book promotion.

 

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.

Stamp Out Murder”.

 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren

The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back

Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

 Image may contain: 2 peopleAnd please join me on my Facebook Fan page, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

My Halloween trip across the land…

Mike StatonThis post is written by Mike Staton.

# ##

No, my engine in Saturn Ion, circa 2003, didn’t exploded like the photo in the story.

Instead, it sputtered and made my Saturn not drivable – twice.

In my story I posted earlier this month, I gave you a partial account my drive from Las Vegas to Beverly, Ohio – because I hadn’t concluded it.

ExplosionIn Wytheville, Virginia, it coughed, gagged and sputtered a second time. Miraculously, I managed to nurse the 15-year-old jalopy back to the hotel parking lot. The old car managed 1,004 miles before it decided it needed another mechanic to fix its health.

Luckily, on that unlucky day, Sunday, Oct. 21, my sister Jody and her husband Larry were traveling up I-77 from Charlotte and were able to stop and pick me up. So I did make it up to Beverly, minus my car.

So on Monday I called a towing service that does repair work and had them tow it to the repair shop. They finished the job on Thursday at a cost of $581. Jody drove me down to Wytheville to pick up my miscreant car, and I gingerly drove it up to Beverly, a 237-mile trip.

Mike is homeMy brain’s still good for some basic calculating… the 5-day trip ended up taking 13 days. I spent about $1,900 on hotel rooms, $1,000 on my car’s engine, and about $115 on gas. Yes, an expensive trip, but I’m the one who decided to drive a 15-year-old 2,400 miles. Got to live with one’s decisions.

But thankfully I’m at my sister’s house, which will be my abode until spring when I will begin searching for a place to live, probably in Wilmington, NC. However, if Wilmington turns out to be too expensive for me on my retirement income, I can always look at other options, including Ohio – Marietta or Beverly.

# # #

I’m an author with four published novels that include a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The fourth novel is a historical romance set during the Civil War. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased on the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Happiest Place on Earth, Childhood Memories, and Disney Tips by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Walt Disney World is said to be the Happiest Place on Earth. Some of the displays bought childhood memories to my mind and that made me happy. 

Related image   Related image  Image result for Free to use Image for Disney ears

I have a few Disney tips for adults that I’ll list here. 

  1. Go during offseason
  2. Go when school is in session 
  3. Buy your tickets (looks like a gift card) ahead of time over the phone or online if you can. (You don’t need the Magic Band-it’s the same as the ticket.) 
  4. Get your FastPass, you just sign up for 3 things you want to do each day. Get the Fastpasses for events that have the longest lines.
  5. You don’t have to be there at rope drop (the beginning of the day)
  6. Plan at least a day for each park or plan which one you really want to see
  7. Buy your gear from off-property shops
  8. It’s okay to wear Micky or Minnie Mouse Earsmickey mouse ears hat png #51
  9. Wear fun t-shirts and Disney Clothes that you bought off-property
  10. Signs direct you into each of the 4 Parks
  11. Take photos of your parking spot, make a mental note of the surroundings, the lots are big. 
  12. Your bags will be searched, so have them open and ready 
  13. Snacks and drinks can be brought in, but they are heavy
  14. Bring  backpacks 
  15. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (I took 3 pairs to the motel) 
  16. The Park photos are very expensive, take your own as much as possible, offer to take photos for others and  usually, they will return the favor 
  17. There is a lot of walking, so don’t take too much that’s going to bog you down–take breaks often
  18. Rent your wheelchair, scooters or strollers off-property if possible
  19. Take pain medication with you, even if it’s aspirin, you will probably need it.
  20. If you have little children, they will be happier if you go to fewer places and give them more breaks, and leave earlier than you plan. Better to have happy children than to see everything. Know ahead of time who they really want to see and go there first. 
  21. Know ahead of time what you want to see the most and go there first. 

There’s so much more I can tell you about the Happiest Place on Earth, but I’ll save some Disney Tips for my personal blog, but feel free to follow me on my social media (links at the bottom of this blog) and ask me any questions you’d like. 

The childhood memories I mostly had involved climbing trees. I loved the solitude of being up in the top of a tree, reciting the poem “Every Time I Clim a Tree” or Aeroplane.

Mike Staton left a comment on my last blog about leaving a comment on one of my books, so I instantly went there to read it. It was wonderful, and this got me interested in reading some of the reviews on my other books and on my novel “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” a man named Alan left a review about this story taking him back to his childhood memories and how good that made him feel and how the book reminded him that people wouldn’t be around forever, so we should enjoy them while they are. My youngest grandson is always saying “Let’s make some memories Grandma. ” 

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk  

 

Avatar

I loved my trip to Disney World. My husband and I added to our memories. Avatar’s Flight of Passage on a Banshee was our favorite experience. We stood in line over 3 1/2 hours for a ride that lasted five minutes, but we instantly wanted to ride it again and the next time we go back we will put that as our first destination. 

Walt Disney was brilliant and he said, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” 

***What is your “Happiest Place on Earth”? Do you own a pair of Micky Mouse Ears?***

 

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.

Stamp Out Murder”.

 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren

The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back

Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

 Image may contain: 2 peopleAnd please join me on my Facebook Fan page, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Ankou and Samhain #folklore

We’re moving ever closer to the night where we’ll have to light incredible bonfires to keep the ghoulies and ghosties away. Or, we can follow tradition and not light any fire and go to bed early to avoid the scary creatures altogether…

Samhain – the Celtic precursor to the modern Halloween – is full of fun folklore connotations. You can learn more about this festival over on newgrange.com.

The Festival of Samhain marks the end of the year (Celtic calendar) and the beginning of the new year.

Why is this important?

Well, if you believe the stories about the Ankou

Ankou is the personification of Death in Breton mythology, making an appearance in the folklore of Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. He is the fae version of the Grim Reaper, he’s also known as the grave watcher, and often appears as a skeleton in a black robe, carrying a scythe. In Ireland he has a black coach pulled by four black horses which he uses to collect the souls of the recently dead.

As for the scary part pertaining to Samhain: according to Breton folklore collector Anatole le Braz (1859-1926):

“The last dead of the year, in each parish, becomes the Ankou of his parish for all of the following year. When there has been, in a year, more deaths than usual, one says about the Ankou: On my faith, this one is a nasty Ankou.”

In a short story by Wyndham Lewis, The Death of the Ankou (1927), a tourist in Brittany perceives a beggar to be the embodiment of the Ankou. (Another fun read, there.)

Of course, the Ankou is slightly different in my own writing. He can appear like a scary skeleton in a black robe, scythe and all. But he can also look quite civilized with an actual face and wearing a black suit (of any era).

I’ll be doing a proper post about Ankou and deathfae on my blog on Sunday if you’d like to know more.

In the meantime, why not take advantage of the discount running on “Once…” during October?

 

I hope you learned something new, got a good fright and perhaps even something new to read.

 

Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.

Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers.

Connect with Ronel:

Amazon : Twitter : Pinterest : Google+ : Goodreads : Ronel the Mythmaker : Instagram : Newsletter

The Tower of London No. 3 on my Bucket List

 

book cover Tales from the Tower of LondonIf money and time were not an issue, and if you were asked which of the many famous buildings anywhere in the world you would like to visit, would you reply Angor Watt, Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Wall of China, the White House, Parliament, or maybe, the Tower of London?

Before reading The Tower of London by Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, my answer may have been anywhere but the Tower of London.  My knowledge before reading Diehl and Donnelly’s book was negligible, that is close to nothing, less than nothing if you must know – nada (Texan speak for zero) –all I knew, it was somewhere in England — enough said.

After reading The Tower of London (Tower), visiting the “White Tower”  went to number 3 on my personal bucket list.

While this post could expand for several thousand words, for the sake of expediency (and to make this more enjoyable ), the list below explains some of the more interesting insights surrounding the building and its famous historical residents. (There are many, many more).

800px-Tower_of_London_viewed_from_the_River_Thames tower photo

* Of all the many  world  sites with universal recognition, only the Tower is a castle (World Heritage sites).

*The Tower is the most painted, drawn, and photographed building in the world (Diehl & Donnelly).

*Other than the White House, the Tower is the only building which has been used as a permanent residence (among World Heritage sites).      Photo courtesy of LIVE SCIENCE  https://www.livescience.com/42821-tower-of-london.html Credit: Marek Stefunko | Shutterstock

*The Tower of London is a 900-year-old castle in central London and in addition to holding the crown jewels, it has been the “royal mint, a zoo, an administration office, an armory, and barracks, and used as a royal residence until the 17th century.” (LIVE SCIENCE).

*William the Conqueror began the building of the Tower in 1078.  The White Tower and a few sections of “the old Roman city wall,” are all that remain of the original building site. (Diehl & Donnelly).

* Tower historian Geoffrey Parnell writes in his book “The Tower of London Past & Present” (Sutton Publishing, 1998) that the tower was expanded for about 250 years after William the Conqueror’s time. Today, the complex’s series of buildings and fortifications sprawls over 12 acres.  (LIVE SCIENCE).

Lady Jane Grey* Famous prisoners included Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for about a week in the 6th century before she was deposed by Mary I.  Also imprisoned were two princes, Edward and Richard, ages 12 and 9, sons of Edward IV (died 1483). They appear never to have left the tower alive and some thought they were killed by Richard III, their uncle who took the throne for himself. (Diehl & Donnelly) (LIVE SCIENCE).

Photo of Lady Jane Grey and Katherine Howard: Wiki Commons: George Whiting Flagg: Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution. 1835.

*Two of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, were imprisoned and executed. Henry VIII, who turned England into a Protestant country, and King’s counselor Thomas More. (LIVE SCIENCE) (Diehl & Donnelly).

*Another notable prisoner, Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 attempted to blow up the House of catherine howardLords and the king by detonating 38 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars below. He was imprisoned in the tower, tortured, and executed. (Diehl & Donnelly)       Photo of Anne Boleyn:  WikiCommons: By Wenceslaus Hollar Artwork from University of Toronto Public DomainAnne Boleyn photo

Today, the Tower maintains the Crown Jewels and what is left of a limited collection of “Royal Regalia…destroyed in the 17th century…pre-civil war.” (LIVE SCIENCE).

crown jewels

 

 

“There are over 23,500 jewels there today. The Crown Jewels were moved to the Martin Tower after the Jewel House was demolished.

The total value of the jewels is estimated to exceed £20 billion.” (https://www.visitbritainshop.com/world/articles/top-10-facts-about-the-tower-of-london/)

crown Imperial

This version of the Imperial State Crown was worn by George V and is now housed in the Tower of London.

Credit: Public domain. https://www.livescience.com/42821-tower-of-london.html

The “Line of Kings,” Armor Collection

“The tower also contains an impressive collection of armor, called the “Line of Kings,” a show at the tower that first started more than 300 years ago, it features such items as a life-size wooden horse carved about 1690 and a set of armor, gilded with gold, created for Charles I around 1612.” (LIVE SCIENCE).   Photo  By Jonathan Cardy – Own work, Commons attribution by owner.Line of Kings

“The tower also contains an impressive collection of armor, called the “Line of Kings,” a show at the tower that first started more than 300 years ago, it features such items as a life-size wooden horse carved about 1690 and a set of armor, gilded with gold, created for Charles I around 1612.” (LIVE SCIENCE).   Photo  By Jonathan Cardy – Own work, Commons attribution.

Bonfire Night – Guy Fawkes

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November: gunpowder, treason and plot.”

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes and 12 conspirators attempted to kill King James King of England by loading 36 barrels of gunpowder into the Houses of Parliament prior to its opening in opposition to the continued persecution of Catholics by the Protestants.  In a last-minute check, Fawkes was detained and the plot discovered.  Fawkes was imprisoned in the Tower and tortured, after breaking, he was executed.

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes 1570-1606 interrogated by James I 1566-1625 and his council in the King’s bedchamber, from Illustrations of English and Scottish History Volume I (1884). http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/(after)-Ralston,-William/Guy-Fawkes-1570-1606-Interrogated-By-James-I-1566-1625-And-His-Council-In-The-King’s-Bedchamber,-From-Illustrations-Of-English-And-Scottish-History-Volume-I.html  Wiki Commons. Country of Origin, Scotland.

The Ravens of the Tower of London

Ravens 1

The Ravens of the Tower of London are a group of  six captive ravens residing in the Tower.  Tradition asserts “their presence protect the Crown and the tower; a super- stition holds that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”.

Some historians, including the Tower’s official historian believe the “tower’s raven mythology is likely to be a Victorian flight of fantasy.”  Jubilee and Munin

(Wikipedia) (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia; “Jubilee and Munin, two of the Tower’s ravens.”)

World Heritage Site

The Tower is a World Heritage Site hosting over 2 million visitors a year.

“The main threat to the site today is not rebels, foreign armies or falling bombs (bomb damage happened during World War II) but rather the exhaust of cars. It’s a problem that threatens to turn the White Tower into a yellow color, something which none of the previous threats could ever do. (LIVE SCIENCE).”

HAUNTED TOWER

Along with being over 900 years old, the Tower has resident ghosts.  The notable ghosts include “Henry VI, Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry the VIII, and nursemaid of Prince Edward, Dame Sybil, and a grizzly bear” that resided in the Tower long ago.

 

There is much, much more to learn about the Tower, its history, its residents, and its other-worldly guests!  If you are able, be sure to consider it as a place to visit, or merely research, you won’t be disappointed!  There are thousands of real and possible stories to be had at the Tower, you only have to look!

last pic tower with water

Public Domain. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tower-of-London-0026

References:

Diehl, Daniel and Donnelly, Mark P. Tales of the Tower of London. Sutton Publishing Limited. (2004).

Top 10 facts about the Tower of London.  https://www.visitbritainshop.com/world/articles/top-10-facts-about-the-tower-of-london/

Tower of London. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_London Wikipedia.

Tower of London: Facts & History. https://www.livescience.com/42821-tower-of-london.html

 

A former paralegal, Renee Kimball has a master’s degree in criminal justice. Among her interests are reading and writing. She is an active Animal Advocate, fosters and rescues both dogs and cats from shelters, and works with various organizations to find them forever homes.

The WV Book Festival – An October Tradition

The West Virginia Book Festival is this week, and I’m excited to attend! My wife and I have been going to the event for several years now, and it’s become a cornerstone of our yearly routine.

2010_Bookfest_Logo

The Book Festival brings readers and writers together in Charleston, WV on the last weekend of October. I’ve had the privilege of attending presentations by incredible authors such as Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Woodson, Patrick Rothfuss, and R. L. Stine, just to name a few. Writers in every genre and several local presses fill the marketplace with both compelling reading material and delightful conversation. As both a writer and someone who loves to meet and talk with people, I always leave the festival with renewed creative energy, inspiration, and a few new friends.

Another highlight of the Book Festival is the huge used book sale. People line up early, eager to fill rolling suitcases and wagons with affordable books. A collector’s corner features rare and hard-to-find titles, as well.

This will be the second year I’m participating as a marketplace vendor. Last year I was proud to debut my first novel, Separate Ways, at the event. Not only did the weekend coincidentally line up with an important date in the novel, but I credit the WV Book Festival with helping motivate me to finish the book.

WVBF setup 2017
Setting up at the 2017 WV Book Festival. This year, I’ll once again be sharing a booth space with the lovely and talented M. Lynne Squires.

In 2016, while browsing the marketplace and celebrating the successes of my writer friends, I decided it was high time I finish a novel. It had been six years since I’d taken a leap of faith into creativity courtesy of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I had yet to complete a manuscript. I had a couple first drafts and a few decent starts, but I knew if I was ever going to publish a book, I needed to buckle down, set a deadline, and work hard.

The Book Festival became my deadline. I decided that by the following year’s event, I’d have a book published and a vendor table in the marketplace. The next step was to choose the project.

I’d had an on-again, off-again relationship with Separate Ways since I finished the first draft in 2010. By 2016, I still wasn’t convinced I knew how to make the story work. I loved the concept and the characters, but the plot wouldn’t come together. I had another story in my head that was a bit different, featuring a diverse ensemble cast and timely socio-political turbidity. I’d written about 20,000 words and figured I could finish the first draft during NaNoWriMo. Then I’d get a little feedback and start the revision process. I had a year. I was confident.

Fellow West Virginian Stephen Coonts gave a presentation at the Book Festival that year, and my wife and I attended. During the Q&A period that followed, someone asked him about his writing process. Mr. Coonts said that he always needed to have the climax in his head when he started writing a new story, and then the rest would fall into place. He had to know what he was writing toward, he explained, or the book wouldn’t come together.

That stuck with me, and on the drive back to Morgantown after the festival, I told my wife I’d been thinking a lot about what Stephen Coonts said about writing toward an ending. She knew immediately where the conversation was going. The climax of Separate Ways was probably the clearest part of the whole story at that point. It’s one of the few plot points that didn’t change much from the first draft to the finished book. The WV Book Festival helped push me down the path that led to me completing my first novel.

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, hearing the insights of a great lineup of writers, and picking up lots of new reading material. If you’re in the Charleston, WV area October 26 or 27, stop by and say hello!

* * *

ProfilePic_smallJoshua S. Robinson holds a Master’s degree from West Virginia University and works full-time as a systems engineer. He also writes fiction and published his first novel, Separate Ways, in 2017. He is a native West Virginian and still lives there with his wife, Anna.

For more information, visit joshuasrobinson.com.

The Wild Hunt and Samhain #folklore

It’s that time of year where everything is eerie and the ghoulies and ghosties come out to play.

Okay, not in my side of the world where things are warming up and the sun sticks around longer than the night. But in the northern hemisphere… Ah, now there things are getting dark and dire as the time for the veil between worlds gets thinner and thinner as Samhain approaches.

Samhain? you might ask. It’s the precursor for what is now called Halloween.

If you want to check out the Celtic roots of Halloween, read this awesome article over on newgrange.com.

Now that we know that during Samhain that which divides our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest, we also know that spirits and whatnot can pass through to ours.

Like what?

The Wild Hunt, for instance.

Belief in the Wild Hunt was once widespread across most of Europe. Common belief held that it was led by a supernatural master (Odin in Norse lore, King Herla in Britain, Gwyn ap Nudd in Wales, etc.) with a special prey in mind (Odin sought the Fairy Wood Wives, Gwyn ap Nudd herded the souls of the dead to the Underworld). The Hunt generally comprised spectral huntsmen on horseback accompanied by a pack of fairy hounds (usually white with red ears). It could fly through the air, pound over the earth, or hover just above the ground during its hunt.

The Wild Hunt is called many different things and described in many different ways depending on time and place.

On the Isle of Man, a band of 13 hunters rode out on frosty, moonlit nights on the Manx Fairy Hunt, as described in Thomas Keightley’s The Fairy Mythology (1828).

“…he heard the cry of huntsmen, the thunder of horses’ hooves, and the trumpeting of horns. He wondered why the hunt was out at night in such frost. It crossed his path several times and under the light of the moon, he saw the riders as clear as day. There were 13 huntsmen on horseback, dressed in green…”

In the Highlands of Scotland, the formidable fairy Sluagh, is often described as the souls of the unforgiven dead. They would take to the air in a great flock, hunting mortal souls to join their number. They also enjoy shooting cats, dogs, sheep, and cattle with elfshot (poisoned darts). An account in Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica (1900) describes a sighting of them in the Outer Hebrides:

“…on hearing the call, the dogs ran outside, and when the men had gathered their wits, they followed. In the bright blue night sky, they beheld a multitude of spirits with hounds on leashes and hawks perched on hands. The air was filled with music, like tinkling bells, mingled with the shouts of the sluagh calling to their hounds…”

Of course, the Wild Hunt was often associated with demons and witches as Christianity spread over the globe. Not that they were particularly sweet and cuddly to start out with…

Just like everything else, they’ve been relegated to the realm of fancy. But as recently as the 1940s, the Wild Hunt was heard passing by on Halloween near Taunton, Somerset.

In my own writing, the Hunt is slightly different. There are steeds (the spectral horses mentioned in folklore, though mine can take any shape it pleases) and the Pack (which can be the huntsmen or the hounds – they can take either shape at will). They can also manipulate the emotions of mortals and fae alike.

You can check out a short story featuring them in the Clarion Call Anthology FairyTale Riot! that will be released at the end of the month. I had loads of fun writing my short story.

I hope you learned something new, got a great scare and possibly a great read for the darker months ahead. I’ll be doing a proper post about FairyTale Riot! over on my blog on Sunday (with a review) if you’d like to check it out.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.

Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers.

Connect with Ronel:

Amazon : Twitter : Pinterest : Google+ : Goodreads : Ronel the Mythmaker : Instagram : Newsletter

FLASH FICTION: SILENT CALL, BY STEVIE TURNER

SILENT CALL, BY STEVIE TURNER

 Afterwards he wasn’t sure whether the seagulls screeching for breakfast or the stiff breeze had brought him to his senses.  Either way, when consciousness prevailed, Gareth found himself in a rather terrifying predicament.  He could not look down because the gag in his mouth was tied to a cold pole behind his head, but he soon became aware that his ankles were secured rather too tightly to what felt like railings behind him, leaving just his hands free.

The early morning mist rolling in was leaving an unusually cold calling card across his lower quarters.  Gareth felt down under his shirt, and found to his horror that the ends of the shirt just about covered his embarrassment.  He swallowed in fright; he still had the bow tie around his neck, but where were his pants and trousers and the rest of the tux that he’d spent an arm and a leg on?

The Esplanade was deserted. Daylight was just breaking, and somewhere in the vicinity a church bell dolefully chimed four o’clock; even the dog walkers were not out yet.  Gareth shivered and reached up into his shirt pocket.   At least he still had his mobile phone.

Debbie would chuck his engagement ring back at him if she ever found out.  His dad was too ill, and no way was his mum seeing him without any pants on.  There was only one thing for it…

His fingers were cold and stiff as he dialled 999.  A female voice answered almost immediately.

“Which service?”

The gag made speech impossible.  Gareth tapped 5 and then another 5.

“Okay, this is re-routing to the police, who hopefully can trace your call.”

He could see the coppers trying not to laugh as the squad car drew alongside.  Gareth closed his eyes to block them out.

“Had a good evening, Sir?” 

At last the gag was loose and he had to look at his rescuer.  If he’d had even one shoe, he’d have tried to crawl into it.  He croaked back an answer.

“No, not really.”

He glanced down as the tie wraps were cut away, and then stepped free of the iron railings.  If he’d had the time of his life at his stag party, the memories were now lost in a haze of alcohol.  His so-called-friends had spiked his beer, he was sure of it. 

He was handed a blanket and sank down gratefully into the squad car. Now all he had to do was to find a pair of trousers and get home before Debbie logged into Facebook. 

THE END

Dancing, a Poem

The girl across the street was learning ballet.

I wanted to, though I couldn’t see.

At the age of eleven,

with a private teacher young and energetic,

I learned to plie, sashay.

 

With a cassette tape she made

that contained music and her instructions,

I jumped, kicked, skipped across our Arizona kitchen floor.

 

We moved to Wyoming a year later.

With a different teacher, old and crabby,

I tried a class with other girls,

couldn’t tell what they were doing,

dropped out, moved on.

***

The above poem was recently published in The Pangolin Review. Click this link to hear me read it.

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I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and am currently working on another novel. My work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Before that, I was a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. I also taught braille, facilitated a support group for the visually impaired, and served on the advisory board for a state trust fund that allows people with low vision or blindness to purchase adaptive equipment. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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An adventure becomes a misadventure

Mike StatonThis post is written by Mike Staton.

Some might call my journey to Ohio the trip from hell.

My windshield wipers went haywire in Arizona and cost me $307 to repair. On Thursday, the car threw a sparkplug and shook like it was in its death throes. It’s Sunday and I’ve been staying in a Comfort Inn in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the last several days while the 15-year-old car gets repaired. I won’t get the car until Tuesday – and that’s if a simpler repair works. If not, I won’t get the car until this weekend.

2003 saturn ionA trip from hell. Naw. It’s a risk I took driving a car I bought new in 2003. Before I left Henderson, I could have bought a newer car, one only two or so years old. But I liked not being responsible for a monthly car payment. I expect the repair bill will equal about a year’s worth of car payments. Lol.

Since I am chained to my motel room, the lobby with the endless supply of coffee, and a next-door Denny’s restaurant, I’ve been doing quite a bit of Facebook journaling about my trip – and watching baseball and football on the TV.

wind farmI’m moving back East. Initially, I’ll be staying at my sister’s place in Beverly, Ohio, for several months. I haven’t seen her and her husband since 2015. Then, as it begins to warm up, I’ll start apartment hunting in Wilmington, North Carolina. Nothing fancy… a one-bedroom place will do.

I took out Mutual Funds to pay for furniture for the apartment as well as a tooth implant and crown. Unexpectedly, I’ll also be using it for car repairs. Oh well….

texas cattle ranchI haven’t done any sightseeing – except through the windshield. I’ve been impressed with the miles and miles of turbine windmill farms in Texas and Oklahoma. The Comfort Inn’s front-desk person told me that a trip on backroads around Oklahoma City will reveal even more wind farms. I’m left shaking my head when I think of my former home – Nevada. It’s perfect land for wind farms… Mojave Desert terrain complete with lots of winds.

When in Texas, I saw wind farms to the left and a giant cattle farm to my right (the farm smell was noticeable). The steers were grazing in pens. Maybe the next time I eat a steak, I’ll be eating one of those steers.

Get off I-40, and you can sometimes travel portion of what used to be Route 66, especially along stretches connected by towns and small cities. It seems each town as a Route 66 museum complete with a vintage 1950s car on display. Route 66 has become mythic. The highway makes people think back to a more innocent time of cross-country travel with mom-and-pop hotels and restaurants.

rt 66 museumHopefully, when I do my next blog entry in late October, I will be in Ohio, and I can tell you how rest of the trip went.

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I’m an author with four published novels that include a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The fourth novel is a historical romance set during the Civil War. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased on the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.