HAVE YOU BEEN STRADDLING THE FENCE? Time to get off! #RRBC #RRBC_Community

Happy New Year!  It’s 2020 and I’m so glad that I’m able to be here sharing with you!

Due to my busy, busy, busy schedule with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, I have found that my own writing time and the time that I connect with you, my followers, has been greatly compromised in the past years.  One of my resolutions for 2020 is to get back on track with my writing and blogging and to stay there!

I’ll have more to share with you later but, do keep up, because this year, you’re going to be watching Nonnie write a lot!

Today, I’m here to share awesome news…so please take a look below:

I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location > RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com

-If you are an author looking for amazing support, #RRBC is the place for you!
-If you are looking to grow as a writer, #RRBC is the place for you!
-If you are looking for a community where your peers push for your success just as hard as they push for their own, #RRBC is the place for you!

When visiting, we ask that you #follow our site so that you’re kept up-to-date with all the awesome news that we’ll be sharing in 2020.

If you like what you see after looking around the site, then please, JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

Friends, I know some of you have been straddling the fence about joining RRBC, but, in this new decade, this new year, make the decision to get off the fence and jump right into the most awesome community of writers there ever was.  I promise you, you’ll be so glad you did!

See you around!

WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME …#RRBC #RWISA

Santa Christmas Greeting Poster

We are now only two days away from that holiday that causes little kids to walk much straighter lines of behavior and it brings out the kindness and generosity (that’s sometimes hidden deeply) in so many.  Yes, Christmas is right around the corner!

Christmas has always been my #1 holiday of the year and although my birthday has always been a very important day for me, Christmas, by far, makes me the happiest!  I mean, I prayed for a baby to be born on Christmas day and I got my wish! #BestChristmasPresentEver!

Christmas is the time of year when I notice that people are calmer…many have the appearance of being less stressed and hurried.  Do any of you get that feeling, too?  I’m not sure if it’s because the kids are out of school for an extended period of time, parents are on longer vacations, or, if it’s just the cold, icy weather that brings noticeable changes to the surface.  Whatever it is, I love and appreciate every second of it!

People holding doors open for others, paying it forward by purchasing a meal for the person standing behind you, smiles on faces that would normally house unnecessary scowls, allowing others to skip ahead in long lines, allowing cars to merge in front of you during busy afternoon traffic…this is the behavior that makes me happiest about the season.  Let’s face it, we’re living in a time where this isn’t the norm anywhere.  I mean, merging into traffic has sadly and way too often, proven deadly for some.

This is the time of year when family members who are usually at odds with one another, put their differences aside and come together to celebrate the season of joy and love.  In my perfect world, this occurrence wouldn’t happen only once a year – it would be an everyday norm.  But, for those of you in feuding families, my hope is that if it happens only once or twice during the year, you cherish those times, hold them close to your heart and keep pressing for better days.  Things could change.

These are the moments of the season that make me so happy to see November roll in and it gets better and better the closer we get to Christmas day.  It’s not about the presents under the tree or the food that will appear on the table – it’s all about the love, the kindness and the generosity that we pull from ourselves to ensure that the world, albeit a short time every year, is a better place for all.

Now that you know what Christmas means to me, what does it mean to you?  I’d love for you to share with us.

Merry Christmas, friends!

 

Welcome to “THE MEREST LOSS” Blog Tour @ StevenNeil12 #RRBC

Hello, friends!

Today I am hosting a member of my favorite place, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

Steven Neil is the author of THE MEREST LOSS

The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

and he’s dropped by today to discuss the topic of RESEARCHING AND WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION.

Steven, the floor is all yours!

In many ways, writing historical fiction is no different to writing any other fiction. The author still has to think about the five key elements of novel writing i.e.

  1. Point of view
  2. Plot
  3. Setting
  4. Character

In addition to these consideration however, there are particular issues which need to be borne in mind if the historical fiction novel is to come across as a credible representation of the period being described.

In writing 19th century historical fiction, as well as specific research in reference books, I always read widely the dominant fiction of the time e.g. Trollope, Dickens, Hardy, Thackeray, to assimilate the sound and feel of the age. I have also developed a number of questions I pose to myself whilst I am researching and planning my novel and I share some of them with you here.

Point of view

What point of view best suits the story you are telling? This seems a rather obvious question but there is a reason why Trollope and Hardy used the omniscient narrator: they wanted to be in complete control of the characters and to manage the reader by knowing everything, by contrast with their characters, who don’t. In this way there is almost a conspiracy between writer and reader at the expense of the characters.

Of course, Trollope and Hardy were living in the 19th century and could sustain an all knowing perspective with reasonable ease. What the contemporary writer has to ask, if they are to write credibly in a 19th century setting, is whether they have done the research necessary to replicate an omniscient narrator. It took me a long time researching to satisfy myself on that point.

Plot

Is this turn of events plausible and credible for the time?

What assumptions are being made about the law, the state of politics, the monarchy, the church, the class system?

Do the events fit with what is happening in the historical timeline and background to events e.g. war, peace, political turmoil, the economy, religion.

Readers will suspend disbelief up to a point (albeit different points for different readers), it is, after all, fiction but if it doesn’t ‘ring true’ you may lose your reader.

Setting

Did that park, that building, that street, that room actually exist at that time?

Would it have looked like that?

Would the flora and fauna have looked like that?

Would the clothing have been worn in that way?

Would the lighting, heating, glazing, transport means have looked like that?

There is a famous story told by Ian McEwan, who was assiduous in his medical research for the novel Saturday, who was berated by a reader because he had a driver easing his particular Mercedes 500 SEL into first gear, when, according to the complainant, this particular version only came in automatic, so the correct phrase would have been to put it into drive. Some people!

Character

Is it likely that someone would behave like that at that time?

What cultural norms and standards of behaviour existed and are the characters conforming to them?

Does the way someone is behaving fit with what you have already described about their education, social class, sex, prejudices, opinions?

Is there continuity of character; is the character suddenly and inexplicably behaving in a way that the reader will struggle to accept?

Characters can be complex and may sometimes behave unusually, but I am told that one of the most common phrases amongst book club members is along the lines of ‘I didn’t think he/she would have done that and that spoiled the story for me.’ Beware!

Dialogue

Is this how people really spoke at that time?

Would they have used those words?

Are modern idioms creeping into your draft?

Is the way someone is speaking consistent with a character from the 19th century and from chapter to chapter?

As a rule, speakers in the 19th century did not preface their statements with ‘Do you know what’ and other ubiquitous, meaningless phrases but they are so wired in to modern expression that it can sometimes be hard to keep them out.

This is far from an exhaustive set of questions but asking these sorts of questions early in the research period and at the planning stage will save work later on when you are editing. It is very easy to become ‘snow blind’ during the editing phase and I find it much harder to catch glaring errors at a late stage than it is to filter them out at an early stage.

© Steven Neil

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THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the UK, US, France, Canada and Australia.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.com/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.fr/Merest-Loss-English-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.ca/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.com.au/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

Follow Steven Neil on https://twitter.com/stevenneil12 for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.

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Guests, thank you so much for taking the time to support Steven and his tour.  We invite you to share your comments with him below!

If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! We’d love to have you!

If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

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DISCLAIMER:  WATCH NONNIE WRITE! IS NOT RESPONSIBLE, NOR CAN BE CREDITED FOR THE WRITING IN THE “GUEST” BLOG PIECES FEATURED ON THIS SITE. AUTHOR BIOS AND BOOK BLURBS ARE POSTED JUST AS THEY ARE SUBMITTED BY THE AUTHOR, OR JUST AS THEY ARE TAKEN FROM AMAZON OR THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE.

Welcome to the “BOUND’ED BY CHAINS” Blog Tour! @FRStepnowski @4WillsPub #RRBC

Hello, friends and welcome back for another episode of WATCH NONNIE WRITE!  Today, though, Nonnie’s writing is not what’s going to entertain you.  Author, Forrest Stepnowski has dropped by to share an excerpt from his latest book…

 BOUND:  The Lost Romanticism and Eroticism of Gay Men.

Cravings

I lie in solitude

Contemplating my want for love, to be touched

I always thought romance was a lost art form

I want someone to tell me they love me

I have learned that life is not promised

I have loved

I have lost

I have been hurt and deceived beyond my core

Am I pieces of a fragmented heart?

Am I a jigsaw puzzle that has many missing pieces?

I sit here now listening to music that is trapping my soul

Reminding me I am not a useless weed

I am more than a flower

I am a garden filled with vibrant colors

Greens, reds, violets, and yellows

I am worth love

I value kindness

I live for a peaceful world

My cravings you ask?

I desire the precious moments with my soulmate

I craved being held and reassured that I am safe in his arms

Emotionally, I want to make this fairytale thought a nonfiction adaptative screenplay

My cravings are romantic

My cravings are also sensual

I want to know what it is like to be touched and have that caress imprinted deep in my humanity

I want to wake up every morning knowing I am not shattered into pieces of a mirror

Nor the abstract image of a Picasso painting that doesn’t know who I am

I crave for human existence

Filled with compassion, passion, and romance

I crave human contact

Filled with warmth and security

I crave saying I do down an aisle with the love of my life

With a promise for a confident tomorrow

I crave honesty in his words and genuine care for others

With the contentment that my trust is sealed forever

I crave

BOUND Cover art (1)

Here’s the blurb…

Allow yourself to give in to your deepest fantasies, desires, and sensual dreams, BOUND is a collection of poetic works exploring the world of eroticism, romanticism, and fantasies of gay men of all ages. Walk through the mind inspired by fantasies, the hopes for romance, the desire to be swept off ones’ feet, and the longing to be touched through this anthology filled with lost romance and passionate memories. Escape into a world that allows you to be one with your desires, feel the heightened sensations and passion through random rendezvous and engagements.

About the author:

Forrest headshot 2

Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, a writer, a social worker, and a performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important is to share his work with others who have dealt with similar pathways of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing in the hopes they find they are not alone, as well as help them realize they are not deviants, nor are they against “human nature.” They are part of a collective of misfit toys on an island where being different is beautiful. We all have a voice, and the world should hear it. Forrest is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://www.forresttakesajourney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forrestrobertstepnowski

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frstepnowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forreststepnowski

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To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s 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 HERE.  
Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

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Friends, thank you again for dropping by in support of my guest today.  Please don’t leave without sharing a comment!

Welcome, #RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR for September @JohnJFioravanti! #RWISA

Hello, all!  I’m here today to welcome back Author, John J. Fioravanti, RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR for the month of September.

John was one of the first members of RRBC to hold this illustrious seat and today begins the first day of his SA tour.  I am so honored to host him and introduce his latest piece of work, “REFLECTIONS:  Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations.”

Reflections by John F

Take it away, John!

I’m grateful to Nonnie for opening up my tour today and also for arranging this special month in my honor!  I am a LifeTime Member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and although I took a sabbatical from the club a couple of years ago, I have returned and reprised my role as MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR.  I’ve dropped by Nonnie’s blog to share a bit about my book, REFLECTIONS.  

Why did I write a book like this?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I enjoy thinking deeply about the meaning of life and how to live it well. I recall listening to professors in philosophy classes as a university student and feeling baffled. I was being challenged to look beyond the obvious superficialities in life to dive deeper and discover meaningful ideas I had not considered before. I found the experience stimulating. It was also humbling because I realized that I didn’t possess all the answers.

I recall that my favorite religious studies professor often reminded us to stop obsessing about the answers to life’s questions and apply ourselves diligently to understand the questions. The first time I heard that I looked at him as if he had three heads! Eventually, it dawned on me that we can’t possibly know where to look for answers if we don’t possess a thorough understanding of the problem. Of course, at that time, I suffered under the delusion that life’s questions had definitive answers that represented the ultimate truth. Good grief! I had become intellectually arrogant.

My studies in history led me to discover many great thinkers who were produced by different cultures and belief systems. Next, I had to learn to overcome my own Christian, North American prejudices and really listen to the words of these men and women of wisdom. The struggle to understand forced me to explore the depths of my own spiritual being.

Today, I enjoy reading inspirational quotes because they evoke within me the same challenges I wrestled with during my university years. As I re-read a quote, I think about Father Henry Hall admonishing us to understand the question – or in this case, the words of the quote.

Once I think I have a handle on the meaning of a quote, I’m faced with the inevitable question, “So what?” Good question. How are these words meaningful? Can they help me as I navigate through life? As I struggle with this test, I begin the reflecting stage of the process. Often, I don’t know where this deep interior dive into the depths of my soul will lead but I hope I’ll emerge with conclusions that are helpful.

Essentially, these reflections are for me. Yet, when I started using them as blog posts, I discovered that they provoked others to reflect and share their ideas. I was pleasantly surprised to be drawn into some interesting discussions online. That got me thinking again.

I published REFLECTIONS – Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations to share my spiritual journeys with the selected quotes in the hope that the collection would help readers to think about how these words of wise men and women down through time can help to improve their own lives.

Since publication, a few readers shared with me that they keep a copy of this book handy so they can read one reflection each day and think deeply about it. That made all of the effort worthwhile!

***

Author Bio:

John F.

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life! Book Two is Treachery & Triumph.

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-six years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

Connect with John via…

Twitter:  @JohnJFioravanti

What an interesting post!  Thank you, John, for enlightening us as to the WHY behind this magnificent book!  I say that because it is truly amazing.  When John first published this book, he gifted not only me with a personal, autographed copy, but he also sent copies to both my daughters and also to my husband.  We have all read and immensely enjoyed the inspiration found in this gem of a book.  Pick up your own copy today and I assure you, you’ll feel the same.

To my visitors:  Thank you so much for dropping by today to support John and his work.  Please drop by the “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR forum at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB to find out more about John’s time in the spotlight.

If you’d like to be featured in one of the many wonderful hot-seats held by RRBC members, we invite you to JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

See you next time when you drop by to WATCH NONNIE WRITE!

Welcome to Day 11 of the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour w/@BeemWeeks! #RRBC #RWISAWRW

Watch Write Showcase Tour

It’s Day 11 here at WATCH NONNIE WRITE and we aren’t slowing down yet!  Today, I give you RWISA Author, Beem Weeks!

Beem Weeks

“DYING FOR A KISS” 

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

Okay, let me back up to the beginning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

A little backstory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

“I hate that song,” Amanda complains.

Dad says, “Well, I like it.”

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

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

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

“Slug bug green!” Thwack!

“Slug bug blue!” Thwack!

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

“Hey! No fair!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

“Or something,” Amanda says.

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

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

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

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

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

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

Nora sits in the middle—facing me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My cheeks get hot, probably bright pink.

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

My first kiss—well, first real kiss.

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

From a kiss!

Is that a Ripley’s story or what?

And what a kiss—totally worth dying for!

Well, almost dying.

***

If you enjoyed this piece and would like to read more of my writing, please check out our recently published WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1 on Amazon!

WATCH RWISA WRITE Anthology Vol 1

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Beem’s Author Profile Page

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EDITING DISCLAIMER:  I do not alter the writing of any guest who is being profiled on my blog.  Whether good or bad, I cannot and will not take credit or critique for the condition of the written material profiled here; it is the sole responsibility of the author.  I post material exactly as it is submitted to me. 

Welcome to Day 10 of the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour w/@Rijanjks! #RRBC #RWISAWRW

Watch Write Showcase Tour

Let’s keep the momentum going here at WATCH NONNIE WRITE!  Today is still Day 10 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour and we are welcoming RWISA Author, Jan Sikes!  The floor is all yours, Jan!

Jan Sikes w books

“SHE DANCES WITH A MEMORY” 

Gertrude McNabb placed a gnarled hand on her arthritic back as she bent over to take a chocolate cake from the oven. She inhaled the sweet aroma and put it on a rack to cool.

A black-and-white photograph of a dark-haired man with twinkling eyes sat nearby on the cabinet. “This is for you, Hiram. I didn’t forget it was your birthday. It’s your favorite. I’ll always remember how your face would light up when I baked this special recipe for you.”

Gertrude picked up the framed snapshot, held it against her heart, and shuffled into the living room.

“We might as well make use of the time while I wait for your cake to cool. Then I’ll frost it with your favorite French vanilla icing. The kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids are all going to be here in a couple of hours, and it will be nothing but pure chaos,” she said.

The mahogany stereo cabinet from the 1960s occupied the same spot in the living room that it had since the day Hiram McNabb brought it home as a Christmas surprise. They’d spent many happy days and nights listening to record albums.  Hiram never tried to hide the fact that he adored Rosemary Clooney. But, not Gertrude. For her, it was ol’ Blue Eyes himself that got her blood going.

Oh, the wonderful and countless hours they’d waltzed away across the living room floor to the beautiful music that wafted out of those state-of-the-art stereo speakers.

She adjusted her glasses and thumbed through a stack of record albums. It seemed to take forever nowadays to do even the simplest task. She pulled out a favorite and held it up in front of the photo she’d perched on the coffee table. “Since it’s your birthday, my dear, and such a special occasion, how about Nat King Cole?”

Her fingers, once nimble and efficient, struggled to remove the round disc from its package.

“Remember how this one caught my eye in the record store, but we didn’t buy it?” She chuckled. “And then you brought it home the very next day.” She blew out a sigh.

Once she had the disk secured on the turntable, she took the pins from her silver hair, and it tumbled down her back.

She clicked on the stereo and waited until the tiny red light turned green, then gently placed the needle onto the black groove.

Then with a great flourish, she picked up the photo and held her arms out for her imaginary dance partner.

Even though she hardly moved from the spot where she stood, with her eyes closed, she was transported back in time, back to days of youth when it had been impossible to imagine ever growing old.

“It was fascination, I know, seeing you alone with the moonlight above,” Nat King Cole sang.

A smile graced her lips.

She whispered, “Hiram Edward McNabb, you swept me off my feet the first time I saw you. You were so handsome in your Army uniform. I’ll never forget that night at the county fair. My older brother and sister took me, and since they wanted to stick around for the dance, I got to stay with them.”

She paused and steadied herself.

“You asked me to dance and didn’t let me sit down one time the whole night.” She giggled. “From then on, I knew we were meant to be together. I’d always hated my name, and you agreed that Gertrude sounded like an old lady, so you called me by my middle name. I was your Rose.”

Memories swirled around in her mind. Sweet remembrances of laughter, of falling in love and of daring to live the fullest life imaginable flew by the way scenes from a movie might do.

No, they hadn’t been wealthy, but Hiram made a decent living for them, and they always had what they needed. However, it was his steadfast love for her, for life, and the music they embraced that kept her excited and happy for over sixty years.

As impossible as it seemed, he’d now been gone over two years. Never a day passed that she didn’t carry on a conversation with him. It started with a good morning greeting and ended with a good night declaration of love.

Sometimes, she could swear that he answered her.

The needle reached the end of the record. She set the photo back down and focused her attention on choosing another album.

“Rosie.”

She turned around. “Hiram?”

No one was there. Then she heard it again. Was she going daft?

“Well, I’ve certainly let my imagination get the best of me. I guess that’s what happens to old ladies when they’re alone too long.”

As she reached for her favorite Frank Sinatra album, a hand brushed against hers.

Now she was sure she was losing what little bit of sensibility she had left.

When she was a child, her relatives shared stories about spirit visits from beyond the veil. To her, it was nothing more than hogwash and products of overactive imaginations. After all, what did old folks know?

As hard as it was to admit, she might have been wrong about that, and a little hasty to judge. Perhaps Hiram had shown up to celebrate his birthday.

Whatever it was, she would enjoy it and soak up every moment, even if it wasn’t real. She could make it true in her mind.

With Frank Sinatra crooning a love song, she reached again for the photo but instead, chose to leave it sitting and simply held out her wrinkled and trembling arms.

Her feet moved, and she twirled just like she’d done thousands of times before. She threw back her head and laughed. She was twenty again, as Hiram swept her across the big wooden dance floor inside the SPJST Hall.

Song after song played, and still, they danced, they laughed, and they kissed.

Then the record reached an end and she was met with deafening silence. She opened her eyes, surprised to find that she stood in the same spot where she’d been. She truly had been waltzing and twirling with Hiram.

“I’m tired now, my love.” She moved toward her easy chair. “I just need to rest awhile.”

Perhaps one day before long, she’d be waltzing again with her sweetheart for the remainder of eternity. But for now, she had the memories, and she’d continue to dance with them until that day came.

She reached for the photo and pressed it to her heart.

Her eyes drifted shut, and she smiled.

***

If you enjoyed this piece and would like to read more of my writing, please check out our recently published WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1 on Amazon!

WATCH RWISA WRITE Anthology Vol 1

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Jan’s Author Profile Page

***

EDITING DISCLAIMER:  I do not alter the writing of any guest who is being profiled on my blog.  Whether good or bad, I cannot and will not take credit or critique for the condition of the written material profiled here; it is the sole responsibility of the author.  I post material exactly as it is submitted to me. 

Welcome to Day 9 of the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour w/@MAAdlerWrites! #RRBC #RWISAWRW

Watch Write Showcase Tour

Although I’m posting late at WATCH NONNIE WRITES, it is still Day 9 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour and I’d like to welcome today, my colleague, RWISA Author, Mary Adler!

Mary Adler

“BLACK NOTES BEAT” 

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

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

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

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

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

Black Notes Beat

Black notes beat

Unfurling dusk

Across the bruising sky.

Quarter notes, half notes

Rise and fall.

Whole notes

Rest on treetops.

An arpeggio of eighth notes

Silently swirls,

Scribing a nocturne

in the fading light.

Softly they spill

to the nighttime roost:

Rustling,

murmuring,

settling,

hushed.

Now the still moment,

the last note fading,

No bows, no curtsies,

No fear of reviews.

They need no applause to perform their works.

***

If you enjoyed this piece and would like to read more of my writing, please check out our recently published WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1 on Amazon!

WATCH RWISA WRITE Anthology Vol 1

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Mary’s Author Profile Page

***

EDITING DISCLAIMER:  I do not alter the writing of any guest who is being profiled on my blog.  Whether good or bad, I cannot and will not take credit or critique for the condition of the written material profiled here; it is the sole responsibility of the author.  I post material exactly as it is submitted to me. 

Welcome to Day 8 of the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour w/@WendyJayneScott! #RRBC #RWISAWRW

Watch Write Showcase Tour

It’s Day 8 of the showcase and I’m welcoming with great honor, Wendy J. Scott to share her writing with you.

Wendy Scott

“THE AWAKENING”

(An excerpt from ‘Prophecy and Pirates’ my unpublished first fantasy novel).

Evarna gazed at the tinker’s sleeping form and resisted the urge to trail her fingertips through Rick’s locks. For both their sakes she had to leave now before he awoke. They lived in contrasting worlds; he roamed the forest with a free spirit, but as an aristocrat’s bastard, she battled the protocols and restrictions of the Baron’s Court. As satisfying as this romantic interlude had been, she must be on her way.

The chill of the morning air vanquished the warmth she’d experienced in his arms as she eased out of the feather quilt. She untangled her discarded clothes from his and slipped into them. Last night they’d been shed as the lovers had fumbled toward the bed in a lip-locked embrace.

The wagon’s interior was a treasure trove, and she wished she had more time to explore. The shelves jammed with instruments, jostled scrolls, and jars filled with curious items drew her gaze. On the window ledge two doll-sized chairs nestled a miniature table. Evarna’s hand hovered close to a silver harp, itching to touch the strings, but she lowered her hand before her fingers betrayed her. What nonsense. A tone-deaf goose possessed more musical ability than she did. Rick wouldn’t appreciate being woken by the sound of mutilated chords.

His abode hinted at depths of character she wanted to delve deeper into. For a moment she lingered at the door and glanced back at his tousled hair. The urge to dive back under the covers and cuddle up against his muscular length was almost more than she could control. Instead, she averted her gaze and whispered, “Farewell, Tinkerman.”

Sighing, she stepped outside. Tail thumping erupted from between the wheels, pinpointing where Stitch had spent the night. Usually, her dog made a fuss about always bedding down next to her. She felt a blush bloom on her cheeks. Last evening she hadn’t given her furry friend a moment’s thought after the tinker’s first kiss.

A moist tongue licked her hand, and the dog leaned against her legs as she stroked his fur. She kept her voice low. “Hey, boy. Time to go home.”

Stitch stalked over to the fire pit and stared into the suspended pot. Evarna chuckled and fed him the remains of yesterday’s stew.

“Not feeding you. Now, that’s something you would not easily forgive.”

***

The sound of horse hooves drifted off into the distance. Rick’s eyelids snapped upwards, and he bounded out of bed. He hummed as he gathered up his clothing and tossed them on the mussed up bed, ignoring the tapping sounds emanating from the small window above the door.

Naked, he jerked the door open, streaked across the camp, and plunged into the lake. The surface churned into a maelstrom of white water as he re-emerged onto the shore. Huffing, he sprinted back into the wagon, his breaths trailing him like mist.

Two small, winged creatures swooped and followed him through the ajar door. Their tiny wings shimmered like rainbows as they swirled around his head before landing on his pillow. Twin pixie expressions peered up at him, their violet eyes gleaming with mischief. Golden hair framed identical faces and the easiest way to tell them apart was by the colour of their gowns. Yasmin favoured pastel pink, while her sister, Jasmin, wore lavender to compliment her eyes.

“Hrumph! You shut us out.” Yasmin pinched her nose. “We had to snuggle up to a smelly dog to keep warm. Now you’ve got yourself a lady friend, you think you can ignore us as if we’re not good enough company anymore.”

“I don’t understand what you see in her.” Jasmin crossed her arms and glared up at him. “She doesn’t even have wings!”

Elbowing her sibling out of the way, Yasmin flicked her hair so wildly it swept over and covered her face. From beneath the cloud of hair came a muffled voice, “I thought you’d prefer blondes.”

Rick grinned down at the pair of outraged pixies, drawn up to their full height of six inches. “And pray be, how was a poor fellow supposed to choose between two such lovely ladies as yourselves?”

The sisters clasped hands. “He’s got a point there; we could never let a mere gyp come between us.”

“The tinker is lucky that we give him the time of day. Fancy him thinking he’d be acceptable to either of us.”

Rick shook his head, showering the pixies with droplets of the water. They both squealed and scurried backward.

“Stop mucking around and put some clothes on for goddess-sake.” Jasmin wrung the water from her gown.

After a token pass with a towel Rick grabbed his pants and began dressing. “Evarna is the one I’ve been searching for. The prophecy foretold her arrival.”

“How can you be sure she’s the one?” Jasmin waggled her finger.

He placed a hand on his chest. “Her magic awakened my heart. So we must gather all the fairy folk we can and march for Carnavalla.”

Yasmin plucked a dog hair from her dress and brandished it like a sword. “And how do you expect we’ll find the lost city of the Gypnees? Legend says it disappeared hundreds of years ago.”

“Carnavalla was hidden from mortals on purpose, it’s only sleeping and I’ve several gyp tricks I haven’t shared with you.”

Rick frowned. “Unfortunately, Evarna’s in for a few magical surprises. I’m going to have some explaining to do when we next meet. I hope my future wife is the forgiving type.”

Yasmin arched her brow. “But does she love you?”

“Of course she does, she just doesn’t know it yet.”

***

If you enjoyed this piece and would like to read more of my writing, please check out our recently published WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1 on Amazon!

WATCH RWISA WRITE Anthology Vol 1

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Wendy’s Author Profile Page

Welcome to Day 7 of the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour w/@nonniejules! #RRBC #RWISAWRW

Watch Write Showcase Tour

That’s right…today I am hosting myself and introducing you to one of my newest pieces of poetry!  Oh, how I just love beautiful poetry that makes you “feel” an array of emotions!   I hope you are touched in some way by what I’m about to share.

***

“SILENT TEARS”

I cry these silent tears for her

For her loss, for her pain, for her heart

Breaking when she looks into their eyes

Her children –

she feels their loss, their pain, their hearts breaking.

The memories –

the hardest

Yet, there’s no getting away from the reminders of what used to be.

There once was a HE

HE sat, parented, loved, even laughed

Yes, towards all ends there is laughter some say

But his chair is empty now

Just as their hearts

Hollow as the tree he chose.

He left it all there

His back against a world filled with painful memories of a childhood unprotected.

His pain…

Bottled up in the bottles of poison he consumed

Reckless abandon he gave to it

But quit…

he could not

would not

was it his choice not?

In the end, the call of the poison was stronger

and he had to answer

he was forced to answer

given no choice but to answer…

was the way he felt.

His choice gave her no choice

Single parenting

A thing for some

but…

It wasn’t her thing

That is

until

he left her

no choice.

She’ll be fine

Kids are resilient

They’ll be fine

Time heals all wounds

All clichés but true.

Still…

I cry my silent tears for her

For the husband she once knew.

(For those of you new to my poetry, I’d like for you to be aware that the placement or lack thereof, of punctuation in places you “feel” there should be, is fully intentional).

***

If you enjoyed this poem and would like to read more of my poetry, please check out our recently published WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Anthology, Vol 1 on Amazon!

WATCH RWISA WRITE Anthology Vol 1

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Nonnie’s Author Profile Page