Welcome #RRBC’S February “SPOTLIGHT” Author, @Kirazian @TheMusicWeMade @RRBC_Org @Tweets4RWISA @RRBC_RWISA #RWISA

Hello, friends!  I’d like to introduce you to a fellow writer-friend, RWISA Author, Lisa Kirazian, who is the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S first “SPOTLIGHT” Author of 2021!  I’m honored to have Lisa take over my blog today to introduce you to her new book, CADENZA!

Lisa, the floor is all yours…

It’s an honor to visit Nonnie’s blog today and to be RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author for February!

My book, Cadenza, the third and final installment of “The Music We Made” novel series, has been released and is available on Amazon.com.  The series follows three generations of the Driscoll family of musicians in London and the U.S., from the 1940’s to the present day.

The novels in the series — Bravura, Appassionato, and Cadenza — are fictional but inspired by my experience as a violinist playing in orchestras when I was younger. As a trained playwright and screenwriter, I’m also developing the series for television.

In Bravura, first in the series, luminous violinist Kate Driscoll, and her temperamental pianist brother, Neil, try to escape a troubled family upbringing in Somerset when they are accepted to the Royal School of Music in London in 1959. There, they meet their lifelong friends and loves. When the young prodigies near graduation, the youth movement, British rock explosion and Vietnam get under way, changing all their lives, and they give everything they have to reach the world stage in the decades that follow.

Appassionato, book two of the series, continues the passionate story of the next generation of the Driscoll family of musicians as Jenny Driscoll, now an emerging composer and conductor, navigates the victories and tragedies of her personal and professional life in London in the 1990’s, with her famous family, and a few childhood friends, alongside her.

In Cadenza, the final book of “The Music We Made” series, Brian Martin, the famous tenor son of Jenny Driscoll, leaves his present-day superstardom, his family and his fiancé, to go to America to find out more about his maternal grandmother, the only other opera singer in his family: the late Maggie Crawford. His journey takes him to Marshall, Minnesota, and Maggie’s hometown high school, where he meets the music teacher, Laura Jones, who helps him with his family history in more ways than he could have imagined.

What do the unusual titles mean? They are all musical directions, in Italian. Bravura means great skill and energy in doing something (such as performing on a stage); or a musical passage requiring exceptional agility and technical skill. This pertains to the book’s protagonist, the brilliant violinist Kate Driscoll. Bravura also implies bravery and courage, which applies to the entire ensemble of main characters in the book.

Appassionato is another direction in music, to be deeply emotional and impassioned when playing a piece. It relates to Jenny Driscoll, a musician, composer and conductor representing the second generation of the Driscoll family of performers, who navigates great victory and tragedy in her life with all the passion and faith her heart can hold.

Finally, Cadenza means a virtuoso solo passage inserted into a movement in a concerto or other work, typically near the end. So, it seemed appropriate for the last book in the series to represent that ending flourish – not so much because it represents a particular character but more because all of them come together in powerful ways as the story comes to a close.

If you have read any of the books, I appreciate it! And if not, I invite you to take the journey. Thank you! Onward!

FEATURED TITLE:

“CADENZA”

Book Trailer

BLURB…

In Cadenza, the final book of “The Music We Made” series, the young tenor Brian Martin finds himself on the cusp of superstardom and marriage, until he is compelled to leave behind his distinguished musical family, and his fiancé, in London, to visit the U.S. to see where his famous late grandmother, Maggie Crawford, the only other opera singer in the family, grew up. His journey takes him to Marshall, Minnesota, and Maggie’s hometown high school, where he meets the music teacher, Laura Jones, who helps him with his family history in more ways than he could have imagined.

AUTHOR BIO…

Lisa Kirazian writes fiction, plays, screenplays, and also directs for stage and screen. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune and many other publications. She is in demand as a speaker and has been a guest on KPBS Public Radio and at various conferences. Lisa has also edited and written introductions for a variety of Audie-award winning audiobooks. Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University.

Several of her screenplays have placed in major competitions and festivals. Twelve of her stage plays have been produced across the U.S. and have won numerous awards, including a few publications. She also directed and wrote the adapted screenplay of the short film, “Reflection Day.”

Her novels include BRAVURA, APPASSIONATO, and now CADENZA, the three books of “The Music We Made” series, following three generations in the Driscoll family of musicians and inspired by her experience as a violinist. The series is also being developed for television.

Lisa lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters and is involved in the Armenian community locally, nationally and abroad.

SOCIAL MEDIA…

Twitter: @kirazian & @TheMusicWeMade

Facebook: @TheMusicWeMade

Blog: https://lisakirazian.wordpress.com/

Instagram: @lisakirazian

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Thank you so much for dropping by today to show your support of RRBC’s February “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Lisa Kirazian! To follow along with the rest of her tour, please visit the “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR forum on the RRBC site.  And please, take your support two steps further by leaving her a comment below and also picking up a copy of either of her books!

Until next time…

Welcome to the “BLOOD/CRIMSON” Blog Tour! @OverbeckRandy @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC

Hello, dear friends!  Welcome to day 2 of the “BLOOD/CRIMSON” Blog tour!  Please, sit back and enjoy this post by my guest, Author, Randy Overbeck, and after reading, take the time to learn more about him below.  

My guest will be giving away (by random draw)…

(1) e-book copy of either of his books listed below

(1) $10 Amazon gift card. 

For your chance to win, please merely leave him a comment below.

Take it away, Randy!

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN GHOSTS?

During my author talks and book signings for my new ghost story/mystery, BLOOD ON THE CHEASAPEAKEat least, before the pandemic—this is the most common question I’d receive from participants, sometimes offered with an inflection that conveyed the speakers’ incredulity. It was almost as if the person were saying, “Only children and idiots believe in ghosts.”

            The short answer to that question is yes, but I prefer Shakespeare’s eloquence, “There is more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.” (That’s from Hamlet, by the way.) For those not fluent in Shakespearian English, he is simply saying there are just a great many things we simply can’t explain…and ghosts are one of these.

            My skeptics are surprised to learn that the belief in ghosts is quite widespread among Americans. According to two studies conducted in the last few years (Harris Poll, 2003 and Huntington Post, 2017) approximately half of Americans report that they believe in ghosts (48%). And an amazing one in five confirm they’ve experienced an actual encounter with a spirit from the other side.

            In fact, if you are born into a faith community anywhere across the globe, your belief system includes a belief in ghosts and spirits of the dead. For example, Catholics preach that ghosts are “evil spirits that lead you to sin.” Judaism includes the belief in several ghosts including the “dybbuk,” a ghost of a dead person who can possess another for malevolent reasons. Muslims believe in mischievous ghosts called “jinns”—which are better known in the Western world as genies.  Buddhists subscribe to the belief in “hungry ghosts” who exist on another plane, and should be treated with compassion rather than feared. The religions of all Native American tribes include the belief in ghosts such as the evil “Skinwalkers”  of Navaho mythology. Of course, this is a partial list, but you get the idea.

            These skeptics are even more surprised to learn that a number of famous scientists, inventors, statesmen and celebrities openly profess their belief in ghosts.  Marie Curie, the only woman to win two Nobel prizes for her work with radioactive elements—and was the subject of the recent Netflix film, Radioactive—also believed in ghosts and attended seances. Thomas Edison, who holds more pattens than any other American, confided to a reporter he was working on a “spirit phone” so he could talk to the dead. Dale Earnhardt, Jr, (known in racing circles as simply Junior) has won more NASCAR races than I could name, but almost died more than fifteen years ago. In 2004, he wrecked in the LeMans Race in Sonoma, CA and was trapped inside a burning car. He says a ghost pulled him from the wreck and saved his life. Also, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were very candid about their belief in ghosts. These are merely a few examples.

Overall, I’d say I was in pretty good company.

So as I imagined, drafted, and created the novels in my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, I was intrigued enough about the possibilities of the spirit world to wrap each  cold case murder mystery inside an eerie ghost story. Of course, readers don’t need to believe in ghosts to enjoy these narratives as there is so much more to savor. In each novel, they  encounter a perplexing whodunit, a captivating romance, spectacular scenery and a compelling social issue—all this in addition to an eerie ghost story. The first entry in the series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, was published last year by the Wild Rose Press and earned rave reviews and even picked up two national awards. 

The second installment in the series, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, was released this summer and it quickly garnered two ★★★★★ reviews and a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan. CRIMSON follows our hero, Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive—to the incredible resort town at the tip of New Jersey. There, he is stalked by the Haunted Bride, who is desperate for him to seek justice for her, and many more victimized girls. 

 

AUTHOR BIO…

Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher and school leader. For more than three decades, his educational experiences have included responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent and he’s lived the roles of many of the characters in his stories. An accomplished writer, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers as well as in fiction, with his third published novel. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter: @OverbeckRandy

Facebook:  Author Randy Overbeck

Website:  Author, Randy Overbeck

***

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the authors’ tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HEREThanks for supporting this author and his work!

Things Are Just So Heavy Right Now… We Need This @RRBC_Org #RRBC

Because 2020 has exited stage left, I won’t bring it into this discussion, but I must say, that after the siege on our democracy last Wednesday (January 6), it’s been a struggle for me to remain in my “peaceful” place that I promised to whole-heartedly give to 2021.  

A dear friend of mine who knows that I love to laugh, sent me this little funny that she found floating around Facebook.  And even though Christmas has gone, it still left me with tears in my eyes – because it was just that hilarious!

We all need this laugh…

Those of you who are placing Christmas lights/decorations in your yards, would you please avoid anything that has Red or Blue flashing lights together? Every time I come around the corner, I think it’s the police and I have a panic attack. I have to brake hard, put on my seat belt, cut my girlfriend off in mid-sentence and throw my phone on the floor, turn my radio down, stuff the vodka bottle deep in my kid’s lunchbox, and kick the gun under the seat.  All while trying to drive.

That’s just too much drama, even for Christmas. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.🎄

The last time they caught me, it wasn’t pretty.

You’re welcome!

INDIE PUBLISHED AND DARNED PROUD OF IT! #RRBC @RRBC_Org @Tweets4RWISA @RRBC_RWISA

Are you Indie or are you traditionally published? Either way, this is a must read!

Enjoy!

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

It looks like we made it out of 2020 alive – all in one piece – none of our teeth are missing – and we still have all our hair (albeit whiter than it was in 2019). I will bet my bottom dollar that we all welcomed 2021 with open arms.

RRBC has landed in its 8th year of formation and we are so PROUD to say that! Talk about staying power! Well, clearly it lives here!

As we usher in a new year, we’d like to take this opportunity to first welcome Indie Authors from around the globe to join us. There is no other community quite like ours, and our loyal and dedicated membership will attest to that.

Today marks the first of many posts that we will be sharing for you throughout the year, to learn from, and take the information and implement into your writing…

View original post 1,321 more words

Welcome to Day 1 of “THE ENIGMA THREAT” Blog Tour! @enigmaseries @1rburkey @RRBC_Org @4WillsPub

THE ENIGMA THREAT Release Blog Tour!

Giveaways: 

(1) $25 Amazon gift card

(10) e-book copies of the “shorts” in the Enigma series

Hello, friends!  It is my pleasure to kick off the 10-day blog tour of the release of “THE ENIGMA THREAT”, co-authored by my fellow friends from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Authors, Breakfield and Burkey!  Charles and Rox, take it away!

***

The Enigma Series is an ever-expanding Techno-Thriller book series. Breakfield and Burkey discuss the timely and relevant threats in our digitally connected world.

Authors Breakfield and Burkey share with readers how you came together to produce so many stories. And perhaps touch on why are you also creating some short stories?

The beginning of our writing together is a fun subject. We ended up working together at a couple of organizations focused and leading-edge technology.  We were part of work teams focused on consulting and advising Fortune 500 companies. The work we did for customers required research with the customers and a detailed analysis of our findings in written reports and presentations. We hit on the idea of publishing these white papers after sanitizing the customer information. Technical white papers were in high demand with the evolving technology of the times.

We were extremely successful in both efforts until our findings worried one specific customer. The consulting we did on-site exposed so many technical and procedural issues documented in our draft findings, we were called in to explain. The Vice President listened to all our points and found no flaws. He refused to let us finalize and distribute the report for fear his peers would force him to find a new career. Our company was paid; however, the final document of findings remained confidential.

We tell you this as it highlights the types of attitudes and characters who crossed our professional careers. These characters, great and small, are often pulled from to develop the stories and situations we write about.

Burkey, while finishing her master’s degree, was asked to work with a publishing company to review and write non-fiction works. She had contracts for the efforts and asked if Breakfield could contribute. We produced two of these non-fiction technical process and technology innovation books. Unfortunately, technical books with the focus requested by Auerbach were dated not long after release. And it was less than a quarter of the speed it is today.

Breakfield likes to tell people that he gathered up his marbles and stomped home, vowing never to write a long book again. Burkey was kind enough to let Breakfield sulk a while. She wrote several chapters of the first book, The Enigma Factor, before broaching the subject of fiction. Burkey suggested they might have fun taking a fictional approach to use their technical expertise and needle some of the crazy people who have crossed each of their paths from a characterization perspective.

It took some serious coaxing, but Breakfield finally got off the ledge and came back in the window.  The final agreement that swayed Breakfield to co-author fiction is you can kill people and not get arrested.

As far as our “formula” for the series, we want to clarify. Cyber threats, rampant today, are unique digital monsters coming at us in a variety of ways. For our work, we watch and study the many attack vectors used today in business and social media. We tend to take a topic or focus for a story on how prevalent it is across society. We explore the cyber heroes in battle with the cyber thugs, using baseline characters. Sometimes we invent new characters, both good and bad, who offer different perspectives on defense and attack. Sun Tzu’s advice of friends close and enemies closer is a theme of our R-Group heroes.

We believe that, for us, Techno Thrillers are a great canvass to explore people, greed, power, relationships, control, and even humor on a foundation of technology. Therefore, each book in the series stands on its own but is richer for character growth over time if you read them all.

What we have learned is you simply cannot pack in everything a reader would like into a single novel. We had a story thread in one of our books, The Enigma Source, where one of our beta readers groused that she wanted more on some of the backstory of a character’s situation. Burkey hit on the idea that while we couldn’t just alter the existing book for this single thread, but we might build backstories as stand-alone stories or shorts.

We competed on and off in several short story contests with shorts and won. In 2020 with a little additional encouragement from RRBC leader Nonnie Jules, we decided publishing eBook shorts was a viable avenue to expand readership outside our baseline genre. We have enjoyed testing these areas, and refining eBooks are easier than full print books with audible.

We’ve seen good traction in different genre markets, and the stories themselves are very satisfying modest reads of 5,000-7,000 words that do pick up new readers for the series. It has helped to create comprehensive mythology for the series that people are enjoying.

The Enigma Threat is releasing soon. Please tell my readers about this and what you two have going.

The Enigma Threat is going live on January 8, 2021. We are proud of this new story for several reasons. All the formats of eBook, audible, and paperback are completed and ready for release. We also created a Kickstarter campaign to gain additional funds to start on a screenplay.

Toward that end, we invite readers to look at our program and support, as well as share with friends. There are many exclusive extras for our campaign’s backers, including a chance to be immortalized in the series for new characters in subsequent books.

We have the next six stories in rough outline today. This series has a future as technology changes are fast and furious in today’s world.

“THE ENIGMA THREAT”

Blurb:

In the new digital world, there is no tolerance for privately owned supercomputers. Globally, computers are hunted and destroyed for the greater good, by the new cyber police CESPOOL. The information this group receives is manipulated by subversive hidden machine learning devices, the MAG running on the dark net.

Judith and Xiamara are freebooters who steal machine time for their PaaS, porn as a service business. The machine they chose for delivery is the last untapped supercomputer not in the hands of a sovereign. Their activity is spotted by the MAG, but the renegade R-Group steps in to alter the outcome. Leroy teams up with Zara to help these opportunists escape prosecution. They are drafted as reluctant participants in the fight.

Jacob and Quip are trapped in the Chihuahuan Desert trying to reconstruct the base of ICABOD’s logic core. The stress of their isolation is taking a toll. Their wives and children are safe in Brazil for the time being, but Interpol is prowling for answers.

The R-Group has assembled a way to communicate with orphaned satellites. While the next R-Group plans the ultimate honey pot to trap their nemesis who is driving their corrupted agenda. The odds are against R-Group’s success, but they have creative surprises on their side.

The stakes have never been higher. The R-Group young and old must rise to defeat the MAG.

The Enigma Threat teaser:  Gracie and Jeff

About The Authors:

Breakfield is a 25+ year technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He’s also a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.

Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world focusing on optimized customer experiences. She writes white papers and documentation, but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction.

Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today.

You may connect with the authors via social media…

Twitter:  @enigmaseries & @1rburkey

Facebook:  The Enigma Series

Please CLICK for their many other social media contacts!

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I hope you have enjoyed the first stop along this tour and I encourage you to follow along with the rest of the tour by visiting THE ENIGMA THREAT Tour homepage!   There you will also learn so much more about this dynamic writing team!  Please be sure to leave a comment below or along any stop along this 10-day tour for your chance to win one of the awesome prizes listed above!

Until next time, keep supporting and promoting others!!!  It’s the fastest way to get to your own success-filled destination!

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This! #CoolestPresidentEver @BarackObama

So, I’m watching the late night news and before I can turn off my television, Jimmy Kimmel rolls in.  By the way, I really like Jimmy Kimmel but I don’t just sit down to watch him, because I’m too busy for those kinds of life-luxuries. 

Jimmy’s guest (I think it was a replay) was none other than the coolest President ever… PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!

In this clip, Jimmy asks President Obama if he would surprise one of his super-fans. 

This is what happened next…

Let me reiterate…

COOLEST

PRESIDENT

EVER!

President Obama, we surely miss you!  But more than anything else, we miss your DECENCY that left the White House with you in 2017.

I Thank GOD Joe Biden is returning to bring it back!

WELCOME TO DAY 4 OF THE WATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW @RRBC_ORG @LinneaTanner

Welcome to the 2020 WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

Featured Author for Thursday, 11/12/20…

RWISA Author, Linnea Tanner!

“KING’S CHAMPION”

At dawn tomorrow, I compete with every reputed warrior in our kingdom to become the King’s Champion. Defeating my opponents is almost an impossible feat for any man, much less a woman. Even so, I will triumph and win my father’s respect.

As the king’s eldest daughter, I vow to protect him and everyone in his kingdom. I stand ready to defend my father in mortal combat against any challenger vying for his crown. A true champion emblazons courage, loyalty, and sacred love for her king and family. But first, I must tell you my tale that seeded my desire to combat every warrior in the kingdom and stand by my father as his champion.

 When I was barely five winters old, my mother and I gathered with villagers to greet my father, astride his coal-black stallion. Returning from war, he was like a god towering over his worshippers as he rode through their midst. They welcomed him with chants and cheers. Snowflakes danced around him, also celebrating his return.

Shivering, I covered my mouth with both hands, suddenly ashamed about my appearance. Boys had earlier taunted me, “You have a donkey’s jaw and bray like one, too.”

 My nursemaid, a woman with ample bosoms spilling out of her low-cut dress, shooed the boys away and told me, “Don’t listen to them. You have an overbite, that is all. They’re jealous of you. You can beat anyone of those whelps.”

Her words didn’t make me feel better, though, as I studied the reflection of my face on a polished metal mirror. My upper jaw hung over my bottom lip. My upper front teeth protruded outward, making it hard for me to eat and speak clearly. Hence, I remained quiet most of the time.

When my father approached us on his horse, I drew out of my muse and swallowed hard with anticipation of speaking to him.

“What do I say to him?” I muttered to my mother.

“Only speak when he tells you to do so,” my mother instructed.

Fiddling with my plaid cloak, I recalled waving good-bye to my father in a season of blooming wildflowers before he left for war. My mother told me then, “He sails across the narrow sea to fight for a foreign army. By winter, he’ll return home.”

During the summer and fall seasons, I never gave my mother’s words consideration about my father’s return. He was out of sight and ceased to exist in my mind.

My little sister’s soft touch on my hand grabbed my attention. She looked at me with pathetic-looking eyes. The day before, she had fallen into the hearth and caught on fire. The queen’s guard—my only true adult friend—pulled her out of the flames.

After my father dismounted onto the soggy ground, he no longer appeared a giant. He didn’t look like other men in the village with a clean-shaven face and cropped wheat-golden hair. He also didn’t resemble me one bit. My hair was dark like my mother, and my acorn-brown eyes were the same color as the warrior who saved my sister.

Father embraced my mother, then pulled away and stared at her bulging belly. “Gods above, how did you get so big?”

Mother’s burning scowl made my father whither like a green sprout under a hot sun. At that moment, I didn’t like my father for his cruel comment. He must have seen the displeasure on my face because he apologized, “Forgive me, my love. Battle hardens a man’s words.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, my mother turned to me and said, “Vala, greet your father.”

I felt like a fish gulping for air as my father bent over and squeezed my chin with his fingers. “Hmm, you look as strong as an ox,” he said amiably, but the disappointment on his face shouted, You’re as ugly as a donkey!

Conflicting emotions grappled with me. I only wanted Mother in my life, not Father. I  burst into tears—a sign of weakness.

Father gave my mother a contorted, baffled look. “What did I do to make her cry?”

Mother’s eyebrows arched in a warning for me to stop my bawling. I bit my lower lip and fought back sobs.

He shifted his ice-cold blue eyes to my little sister. “What happened to Morgana? She looks like she was in a dogfight and got the worse of it.”

My sister’s wails spurred mine. Neither of us could stop crying despite my mother’s glower. The nursemaid’s hefty bosoms smacked against my face as she grabbed my hand and reached for my sister’s arm. She dragged us both away from the people’s peals of laughter to the silence of the Great Hall. Halting near the central hearth, where my sister had fallen, she thumped my forehead with her fingertips. “Shame on you. Why did you make such a fuss in front of the king? I learned you better than that!”

I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” but snapped my mouth shut when I saw her eyebrows rise like a storm. She would answer my protest with a swat on my rear end.

The nursemaid marched us through the high-vaulted, feasting hall into the adjoining living quarters where she corralled us like cattle in our bedchamber. “You get nothing to eat,” she bellowed and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

My sister covered her face with both hands and wept. Sitting on our straw-mattress bed we shared, I cuddled her like a baby in my arms to calm her.

“Shh … shush. No cry.”

She nestled her head against my shoulder and whimpered, “Vala, my Vala,” like a mantra until we both fell asleep in each other’s arms.

*****

Later, the bang of a closing door awoke me. I wiped the drowsiness from my eyes and found Mother sitting on our bed.

“Why did you cry when your father greeted you?” she asked.

“He … he’s so mean!”

Mother frowned. “He never said an unkind word to you.”

“He thinks I’m ugly!” I declared.

“That is how you see yourself,” she said, stroking the top of my head. “Your father only sees goodness in your heart.”

I looked down at my chest in bewilderment. “Father sees my heart? Can he also see the babies in your tummy?”

Mother sighed. “No. He knows”—she touched her belly—“they are in here. That is why he has returned. To make sure I’m safe. It’s hard bringing two babies into the world.”

“When will they come?” I asked, recalling how bloody a calf looks after being squirted out of its mother’s rear end.

“Too soon, I fear.”

I could see the angst in my mother’s eyes as her gaze drifted to the closed door.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“You must always obey and love your father,” her voice cracked. “I may not always be with you.”

My stomach dropped into what felt like a tidal wave. “Where are you going?”

“I want to stay here with you, my dear. But we don’t always get our wish.” She sighed as if trying to lift the worries of the world off her chest. “Your father is outside. He wants to give you something.”

“A gift,” I squealed with excitement.

Mother turned her gaze to the door and called out, “My king, you can come in now.”

When my father poked his head through, his face burst into a big grin. “Good aft, my precious daughters. Look what I’ve brought you from my travels.” He bound into the room like a frolicking fox and held out two carved, alabaster horse heads in the palm of his hand. He offered each one of them to my sister and me.

I took the horse head and fingered the attached leather strap. “An amulet?”

“Yes. Let me tie it around your neck,” my father suggested with a smile. “The horse is our family’s sigil—an animal guide that protects you.”

After he placed the amulet around my neck, I beamed with pride and clasped the carved horse head against my heart.

My father’s leathery face softened. “Vala, you must promise to watch over your little sister and the babies in Mummy’s belly once they are born. Can you do that for me? Will you protect them with your life and be the King’s Champion?”

A sense of pride swelled inside me with the honor he had bestowed upon me. “I am the King’s Champion.”

“Truly, you are,” he said, embracing me.

“I promise to protect my sisters,” I vowed, hoping the babies were girls.

And from that moment on, I aspired to be my father’s champion, embracing the strength to protect the weak and the oppressed. 

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile 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 catalog.  Thanks again for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Linnea Tanner’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 2 OF THE WATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW @RRBC_ORG @JanSikes3

Welcome to the 2020 WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

Featured Author for Tuesday, 11/10/20…

RWISA Author, Jan Sikes!

“WALK TO YOUR OWN BEAT” 

2020 has been a year.

And that is a gross understatement. No one could have predicted the diverse levels of craziness we’d experience as the year unfolded.

Not only are we dealing with a worldwide pandemic that has us wearing masks and hiding in our homes, but here in the United States, we’ve witnessed hatred and divisiveness to a degree I could never have imagined. While we watched and perhaps joined people taking to the streets to protest injustices, we also saw organized groups invade our beautiful cities and set them ablaze. Everyone is in a hypersensitive mode. History is being erased with the dismantling and destruction of national monuments, while sports teams are changing their names because someone is offended. 

The culmination of it all has left us reeling.

I do not watch the news, and that is a personal choice. I can name lots of reasons why I stopped, but the main one is, I do not believe even half of what they report. The media uses its power to incite and ignite more hatred and division amongst us.

Folks take to social media to try and coerce others to bend to their ideals and beliefs. And they do it in the most aggressive ways imaginable. It seems no one wants to allow their fellow man to have his or her own opinions. People are not willing to tolerate differences. Families are split by these differences, leaving children confused. We are allowing those in power to turn us into a society focused on isolation and fear.

So, what can we do?

I heard a song the other day that says it better than I ever could. The music artist is Brent Cobb, and he gave me permission to quote some of his lyrics.

He sings about how people want to tell each other how to live and how to die. You don’t get too low, don’t get too high, which is precisely what the pharmaceutical companies exhort.

The best thing you can do is don’t listen too close. Walk on to your own beat. Keep ‘em on their toes.

What does that even mean? To me, it means staying true to your authentic self. Don’t be a part of the herd that follows blindly. Make decisions for your life based on your truth, not someone else’s. Go where your heart tells you to go. I genuinely believe your heart will never lead you wrong.

Then, rather than to try and convince others to follow your truth, tuck it deep inside where you can nurture it and make it grow. You will never persuade another person to change their way of thinking because of the words you speak, but you can lead by example. And you can keep them on their toes. Keep them guessing about you. In other words, don’t be so utterly transparent.

Maybe this says it better. Keep ‘em on their toes, your business outta sight. Make ‘em look left, if you’re gonna hang a right. If the pot’s hot, don’t let ‘em see your hand. Make ‘em gotta know what they wouldn’t understand. The best thing you can do when the ignorance shows, is walk on to your own beat, keep ‘em on their toes.

I love that! We live in an electronic age where privacy is a thing of the past. The only way to have real privacy is to be completely disconnected, including no cellphone.

I have had many experiences that prove to me we are always under observation. It’s easy to understand how an ad will randomly pop up after browsing for an Amazon item. But I have had things pop up about something relating to a simple conversation with a friend. Big Brother is listening. No, I’m not paranoid. Just honest and see reality.

I do not know where we are headed as a society. The rose-colored glasses part of me wants to believe this hatred, division, hypersensitivity, and deadly pandemic we are experiencing will all come to an end, and we will go back to living our lives peacefully. But reality tells me we will never go back to the way we were before all of this chaos hit.

We are forever changed by it all.

So, the big question remains, “Where do we go from here?”

I can only answer that question from my point of view, from my truth. I will continue to be kind. I will continue to share and celebrate others’ accomplishments. And I will continue to love my family and do my best to impart any hard-earned wisdom to my grandchildren.

I can’t visualize what this world will be like ten years from now. I can’t even picture it a year from now. So, I must live for today in the best and most honest way I know.

I will walk on to my own beat―do my best to keep ‘em on their toes, and my business out of sight. That does not mean I can stop caring or go numb. In fact, just the opposite. I will celebrate every positive moment life brings, and I hope you will join me. Together we are stronger. Together we can make a difference.

Together, we can keep ‘em on their toes!

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile 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 catalog.  Thanks again for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Jan Sike’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 3 OF THE WATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW @RRBC_ORG @fredsdiary1981

Welcome to the 2020 WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

Featured Author for Wednesday, 11/11/20…

RWISA Author, Robert Fear!

“DAYLIGHT ROBBERY”

Stefan removed his glasses for a moment to clean them. He glanced across at his younger brother to make sure he had seen the agreed signal. Stefan’s heart raced as he smoothed his hair and then replaced his spectacles. With an air of confidence that belied his trembling body, he straightened the jacket of his pinstriped suit and walked over to the bank teller. At the vacant window, he pulled out the documents from his briefcase and laid them on the counter.

Anton recognised the pre-arranged sign and prepared for action. With a slight smirk to himself, he looked over at Stefan as he strode across the banking hall. Anton took the mobile phone out of his pocket and activated the app the two brothers had developed. He swiped his finger over the screen and the lights in the room flickered. The security guard turned to check what was wrong while others stared upwards. Within seconds they forgot the distraction and returned to what they were doing. Anton knew the app had worked and made his way to the front entrance.

At the counter, Stefan produced a small, silenced pistol from beneath the documents. While holding a finger to his lips, he pushed the gun through the gap in the screen so only the cashier could see it. Tired eyes widened with fear as the nozzle rested inches from the terrified employee. He read the note in front of him and as instructed passed bundles of banknotes across the counter. Stefan was aware the teller had activated the alarm, but knew it was not working. He stuffed the notes into his briefcase and sprayed a brief blast of gas at the unbelieving man, who slumped forward. With a casual turn, Stefan headed for the entrance.

Outside the bank, Anton monitored the security guard as he continued to greet customers at the front door. With a glance through the window, Anton saw the disturbance behind the counter as staff attended to their collapsed colleague. His older brother joined him, and they strolled over to two e-scooters chained to the railings. They unlocked them and sped off down an alley.

A minute later they skidded to a halt by the car they had acquired earlier. After opening the boot and stashing the e-scooters, they slipped into the front seats. Anton ripped off his latex face mask and let out a gasp of relief. He watched as his sibling took off his glasses and did the same. They roared with laughter as Stefan drove them away.

Two police cars raced by in the opposite direction, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The brothers exchanged an anxious look.

Stefan snapped, ‘You switched off your mobile, didn’t you?’

Anton flashed him a reassuring smile. ‘Don’t worry. I uninstalled the app and turned off the phone. There’s no way they can track us, even if they scanned my number in the bank.’

Traffic was slow as parents collected children from school. It took twenty minutes to clear the suburbs, but then Stefan picked up speed before arriving at a secluded parking spot on the outskirts of town. After transferring the briefcase with the cash to the boot of their sports car, they dumped the masks, gun, and gas spray into a deep well at the edge of the woods. It was only then that they removed their gloves and threw them in too.

As they roared away, the heavens opened. Torrential rain thrashed against the metal of the bodywork, and the speed of the wipers increased to clear the streaming water from the windscreen. There were loud screeches from the underside of the car as they drove through large puddles.

Amidst the gloom ahead, Anton spotted two figures in uniform at the side of the road with a device pointed in their direction.

‘Slow down bro,’ he screamed, ‘there’s a couple of cops over there. We don’t want to get caught speeding.’

Stefan eased his foot on the brake pedal. They passed the police officers, who peered at them with an accusing glare. One of them was shouting into his phone.

As the brothers started to relax, another man sprang out from the bushes and threw something across the road in front of them.

‘Watch out Stef, it’s a stinger.’

Stefan mounted the pavement to avoid the strap with its lethal metal spikes. It was too late. The tyres shredded and within seconds the car ground to a shuddering halt.

A swarm of uniformed officers, with guns raised, raced towards them.

‘How the hell did they know where to find us?’ croaked Anton.

Stefan buried his head in his hands. ‘No idea bro, you did turn your phone off, didn’t you?’

A sudden wave of realisation swept over Anton’s face. ‘What if the cashier sneaked a tracker into the cash?’

‘Sod it, we should have checked that. I thought we’d covered everything.’

Their shoulders fell and both brothers let out a shriek of exasperation as guns appeared at the side windows of the car.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile 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 catalog.  Thanks again for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Robert Fear’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 1 OF THE WATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR! #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW @RRBC_ORG @yvettemcalleiro

Hello, friends!  You all know that the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RWISA {RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS} are always, always, always pushing their members in the highest fashion – and today is no different.

Today is the start of the 2020 WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour where the members of the elite RWISA are profiled on several blogs.  I will be hosting all 11 along this showcase tour (including myself) and I hope that you will join me in promoting their writing.

Welcome to the 2020 WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

Featured Author for Monday, 11/9/20…

RWISA Author, Yvette M. Calleiro!

“THE JOURNEY”

Dear self,

Oh, the journey we have had…

Its ups and downs and sideway twists,

The moments of exhilaration,

The quickened pulse and caught breath,

The scenes that left lingering loops of trauma,

The journey we have had.

And the journey we are on…

Getting to know you

With no boundaries or judgment,

With love and kindness,

Living one new moment at a time,

The journey we are on.

Ah, the journey before us…

Awareness and acceptance all around,

Gratitude grounding us,

Pausing to make peace with whatever may come,

Living to learn from experience,

Trusting where I am is

Where I need to be,

Embracing curiosity and a zest for life,

Sharing loving- kindness with each path crossing mine,

The journey before us.

The journey we have had built our resiliency.

The journey we are on builds our strength.

The journey before us will make us whole.

I wish you well, my friend.

~ Yvette M Calleiro

For the 2020 Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour, I decided to write this poem. This year has been difficult for many of us, but it’s especially challenging for those with anxiety and other mental disorders. As a person who lives with an anxiety disorder, I have spent many years finding ways to manage my anxiety. I have found that a combination of neurofeedback, therapy sessions, meditation, and mindfulness have worked well for me.

Neurofeedback is a therapeutic intervention where a computer program helps retrain the brain to stay within a normal parameter for response to stimuli. Imagine two horizontal bars with a space between them. A “normal” brain would show brainwaves that stay within the high and low bar with few outliers. A brain with certain conditions would show brainwaves that jump higher or lower than the horizontal bars. Neurofeedback retrains the brain to stay within those bars.

In my case, my neurofeedback takes place while I watch a movie at my psychologist’s office. The staff connects electrodes to various spots on my head. Those electrodes connect to a computer that monitors my brain waves. That computer is connected to a program that links to whatever movie I am watching. As I watch the movie, it registers my brain waves. So long as my brain waves stay within the normal parameter, I can see and hear the movie. When my waves jump outside the normal parameter, the volume will lower and/or the screen with get smaller or fade out. Once my brain waves return with the normal limits, the picture and volume return. In this manner, my brain learns it is rewarded when it stays within the normal limits.

It sounds like crazy sci-fi stuff, and I’ll admit I didn’t really believe it would work. It took me getting to the point where my health was suffering to get me to finally try it. At first, I went every week for a few months. It wasn’t a miracle overnight fix, but one day I realized I was sleeping better and not freaking out as much. My energy was returning to me. My sessions were reduced to every other week, and now, I go once a month just for a tune-up. I am not a fan of man-made medicines, so this has been a wonderful alternative to taking pills to reduce my anxiety.

Another thing that has helped me has been therapy sessions. I meet with a psychologist once or twice a month either in person (pre-COVID) or via teleconference. I am a strong believer that every person should meet with a therapist at some point in his/her life. Some days, we just review my days and see what comes up. Other days, I bring something I want to speak about to the “table.” She helps me restructure how I perceive information and process it. It has helped me to understand and accept events in my past and to have more compassion for experiences I have now.

I started meditating as a way to silence my mind. I have a very loud inner voice. For many years, that inner voice was absolutely toxic. I had all the love in the world for everyone around me, but my inner voice made it clear there was no love left for me. It took me a long time to realize that this inner voice was not me, and I could silence her toxicity. Meditation helped me to do that.

It also showed me how to embrace a loving-kindness mentality toward myself. Those who know me casually will find this information a bit shocking because I always present myself as calm and kind and relaxed, but a cover doesn’t always reveal the inner layers within the book. It took me years to be kind to myself, and it is a journey I am still experiencing.

My meditation journey led me to mindfulness. I think of meditation and mindfulness as sisters in the same family. They are similar but distinct. Meditation is a practice where one uses a technique to train himself to become more aware or improve his attention. Mindfulness is the quality of awareness that one attains simply by purposefully paying attention without judgement. This is a great article to better understand them: https://positivepsychology.com/differences-between-mindfulness-meditation/.

Meditation helped me to silence the toxicity of my inner voice. Mindfulness helped me to become more aware of the patterns in my thoughts, see them, accept them, and let them pass through without permanence or judgment. I treasure the layer of peace it has brought me.

When I think back to the person I was six years ago, I can share loving-kindness with her and embrace the trials and tribulations she/I went through. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have suffered for so many years without seeking help. I now focus on today’s journey, knowing time is fluid and the only moment that exists is this one. I practice focusing on the here and now. It isn’t always easy, but this journey is about practice and awareness. We, as humans, will never reach perfection, and I find a certain beauty in that. We are, and always will be, a living work of heart. 😊

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile 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 catalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Yvette Calleiro’s RWISA Author Profile