Monday, December 31, 2018

Priscilla Brown inhabits several houses

Mayor Anna's town and her farm are struggling.
 Is this sexy television entrepreneur financial salvation or major trouble?

Find details of this and my other contemporary romances on

and visit Priscilla Brown at your favourite e-book store

Inhabits all those houses in my head, that is. In my real life, I have just one house, a small house in a small town in New South Wales: the design and appearance of this dwelling, nor any that I have ever lived in, do not appear in any of my novels. Where do I get the ideas for my characters' homes?

In my stories, the only house that owes its presence partly to an existing building is Anna's farmhouse in Sealing The Deal. Some years ago I used to visit this homestead, and my writer's mind stored its appearance, its timber construction and wraparound veranda for possible inclusion in fiction one day.

Other than this, I am not writing about houses I've met. I glean impressions from various sources, including observations while visiting other areas, travelling, magazines, and some of these fragments gel into composite yet incomplete images for my characters to call home.  Such snippets are merely a small part of the final pictures in my head. Imagination personalises the dwelling, ascertaining the size, appearance and location, adding details. Occasionally the character may have a suitable finished place to live when I begin a story's first draft, but usually this evolves as the plot develops. My aim is to create the home, outside and inside, appropriate to the personality and lifestyle of its inhabitant; it should also promote an atmosphere in which the storyline can flourish.

Each of my stories has a notebook, and among pages of scribble I sketch a rough floor plan of the plot's most important house, not attempting to design it anywhere near to scale. I do this to anchor some ideas for the story, perhaps since I don't devise a plot plan, rather let the narrative carry on. In most cases, the original layout needs adjusting to accommodate not only proceeding scenes but the workability of the whole floor. The sketch for Cassandra's cottage in Silver Linings had the bathroom squeezed into a corner with no place for a door, and much too small for the spa crucial for a significant scene; as a result, the kitchen got moved and reduced. (No significant scenes there and not much cooking either.)

When furniture and other objects are necessarily mentioned, their placement and style may or may not be detailed depending on how important these are to a scene; readers may arrange them how they wish. Furniture can suggest a facet of the occupant's taste and lifestyle: colourful or drab, tidy or untidy, overcrowded or short of seats.

The view from the windows may be critical to the storyline as in the ocean panorama from the Caribbean island cottage belonging to Cameron in Where The Heart Is; Cristina must leave the man and the view, but is finding it hard to say goodbye. In Silver Linings, windows are useful to indicate the weather, if it's suitable to go beachcombing on the blustery Southern Ocean beach (or if spending the day in the spa is preferable).

Physical  surroundings are important contributors to a home's overall ambience, and to the 'feel' of a story. Is the dwelling rural or urban, isolated or on a busy street, and how does this particular location affect the character both emotionally and practically? Is there a garden? If so, is it looked after? Anna's caring nature tends to her roses in Sealing the Deal; Cristina's mature Australian garden of flowers and fruit trees contrasts with Cameron's tangle of tropical vegetation.

While the settings of my novels are clear and complete in my head. I try not to over-describe, to allow readers to use their imaginations, thus perhaps feeling they themselves are inhabiting the story.

May 2019 be kind to you. Best wishes, Priscilla

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ringo Starr and the Truth About an Octopus Garden by Karla Stover

The idea for the song came about when Starr was on a boat belonging to comedian Peter Sellers in Sardinia in 1968. He ordered fish and chips for lunch, but instead of fish he got squid (it was the first time he'd eaten squid, and he said, "It was OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken.")[2] The boat's captain then told Starr about how octopuses travel along the sea bed picking up stones and shiny objects with which to build gardens.[3] Starr's songwriting was further inspired by his desire to escape mounting hostility among the Beatles; he would later admit that he had "just wanted to be under the sea, too." Uncredited assistance in developing the song's chord changes was provided by Harrison, who can be seen helping Starr work the song out on piano, with Lennon later joining in with drums, in the Let It Be documentary.[

Cat Wrangling For Christmas

Mozart’s Wife Intimate Mozart
aka Mozart's Wife

I'm writing about our primary Christmas present, Tony from Long Island, because this little devil is just about a full time project at the moment. Tony is the new kitty kid in our household, bringing our total to three. His evolving relationships with our older felines is about all that's doing around at our house this past few weeks.

Here's little Tony when he first came, sitting on my knee.

Tony arrived in early December. The agreement between my husband and me was that if I took him from friends who already had one too many cats, he would represent our major "house" gift. He came

When Tony arrived--a long day's round trip for his tender-hearted rescuers from Bayshore--he was still small. However, like the monster in 20 Million Miles to Earth, he's grown by leaps and bounds.

Tony has been assisted in this astonishing growth spurt by lots of Purina Kitten Chow(c) and the testicular rocket-fuel contained in two cute gray and white fuzzy balls placed tidily beneath his ringed smoke-gray tail. The presence of these feline superchargers adds another element of uncertainty to our cat integration story. Our elder cats (both 9 years, one with muscular-skeletal issues and the other with PTSD) can scent that this young tom is in super-hero mode, all strength, activity and wacky, climbing the walls cat-a-tude.

Tony at Doctor Mimnaugh's office for his first check-up

His energy level is a bit much for his humans, too, as we are not getting any younger ourselves. He and Willy-Yum had fun playing for a couple of days, but then, I have come to believe, Willy-Yum over-exerted himself and hurt his already weak and injured back. This left him limping and hissing and most definitely not wanting to be jumped upon. This abrupt rejection, in turn, hurt the kitten's feelings.

With those afore-mentioned super-chargers attached, Tony decided to chase and wrestle with the one who had first been fun to romp with and who now, inexplicably, was refusing. That rough play led to Willy-Yum hiding under the bed and not eating. And that led to his kitty parents, who'd only seen the play part of the new relationship, pushing the panic button and taking Willy to the vet for a blood panel.  After we got the bill, I knew that the "Christmas present" agreement was a realistic one, at least as far as keeping our budget under some semblance of control went.

Willy after an impressive leap onto the dryer

We have learned that Willy was not as strong (or maybe even as young) as we'd thought, and that he did indeed have some lurking physical problems we had not known about before. When you take an elder cat from a Kill Shelter as we had done with him, you're most likely getting a pig in a poke. While Willy is a great lap cat, he'd also been frisky and playful. We'd never expected that the addition of a kitten would be so physically hard on him.

Fortunately, I'd been smart enough to get  new laser for red dot games and a new feather toy, so that I can give Tony some of the exercise he desperately longs for. Years ago, in another age, we might have let this rambunctious boy outside, but this has begun to feel owner irresponsibility. First off, this sweet and absolutely NOT streetwise boy could instantly get himself killed or lost--as in "curiosity killed the ... ".  Besides, who knows what feats of ill-advised daring those testicles might urge him to undertake in the exciting out of doors?

So, until we get those fractious appendages are removed--we are counting down the days to the surgery date--I'm doing a lot of cat wrangling. This means supplying litter boxes all over the house, as well as beds and dishes of food and water in various rooms, and these must be washed and refreshed daily. Sometimes Willy-Yum and I are in my bed room for some private time; sometimes Tony is in his bedroom for a time out; sometimes Kimi has to be carried out of the cellar, is her default PTSD retreat. Afterward, she must be placed gently on the couch, combed and brushed a little and protected until Tony's interest goes elsewhere.

Kimi, our anxious girl

We are making use of the elusive antics of the red dot and the tease toys, too. In short, Kitty Mom and Dad are kept pretty busy, while, at the same time, trying not to be "helicopter parents," and allow the cats to work out things for themselves. It's much like adopting a kid in many ways, this delicate business of integrating another sensitive being into our home.  We're doing our best to be responsible, thoughtful caretakers of all of our animal companions.

While this may all sound a bit over the top, as the little old woman next door used to say about her pets, "They are a whole lotta company." and so they are! And if I'd wanted a "new toy" to entertain me, I've certainly got one in Tony. We've never had a cat who watched T.V. before--I mean ALL television--not just birds and small mammals--Tony watches everything, from cop shows to football games. We have to keep the squirt gun handy in order to prevent him hurling himself into the screen.

He's going to be a great cat, our little Tony the Tiger! We think he's pretty great Christmas present, despite all the work involved. 

~~Juliet Waldron

All my books, from historical fantasy to real, old-fashioned historical novels:

Friday, December 28, 2018

New Year’s Resolutions, Tweets, and Confessions for 2019 By Connie Vines

Personally, I don't make many New Year's resolutions because I always end up being one of the 80 percent of people who abandon them by February. It's hard to change habits. and these Twitter tweets prove I’m not the only one.

And, if your New Year's resolution is to simply keep your head above the water in 2019, you're in good company.  I’ve shared a medley of Tweets I found on Twitter Moments.

1. Abby Russell: My New Year’s Resolution this year is to finally throw away those three empty Domino’s Pizza boxes sitting in the bottom of my fridge. This was my resolution last year, too, but 2019 feels like a year for change.

2. Monika:  My new year's resolution is to pretend i have the willpower to magically fix all my problems   **Monika I’m adopting this resolution as my own!”*

3. Introverted Life:  New Year’s Resolution: avoid getting talked to by a stranger while waiting in a line of any kind.

If you I’d to lower the bar for your New Year’s Resolutions, these sure-fire successes:

4 Pet more dogs.

5 Drink more coffee.

However, I must confession that I, too, am a repeat offender when it comes to multiple attempts at New Year Resolutions.

To maintain the illusion of control, I purchase numerous calendars/journals (because my IPhone calendar isn’t always accurate).  To date I have in my possession: a purse size Academic Calendar for my purse, a small calendar for my car, and an elaborate calendar/journal from my husband, “She Lives Life in Her Own Little Fairy Tale” which he purchased at B&N (which I carry with me everywhere).  He also gave me a wall calendar for my office (Yes, he is an enabler), a back-up wall calendar—just in case (of what, I’m not certain).

Obviously, I have a bit of a stationary fixation too.  I have stationary, notebooks and binders, pens and pencils that match.  No, I do not have every color available (I do have self-control, after all). Pink, Purple, and light blue (Cinderella Blue). Since I reside in SoCal, my office has many Disneyland items (photos of which I’ve share on Instagram, FB, and my website). 

2019 is the year I’m evoking Tweet #2 (wink).  Since I’m on Winter Break (and if you’ve studied Numerology, I’m entering a # 7 year—Creative Expression) I’ve begun to sort and organize my house—currently I’m my office.

I’ve also managed to ‘confine’ myself at the gym for 45 minutes 3 – 4 evenings a week.  I’ve substituted green tea for 1/3 of my day coffee consumption. And, I no longer eat “Green Bean Casserole” at family gathering/ church/ school potlucks—nor do I make excuses. Oh, I also ordered a daily food tracking (purse size logs) because I can’t always use my iPhone to log into my Fitness Pal app.

Purchase Connie's eBoosk/ Books
Do you have any confessions about failed Resolutions? 

Any pending New Year’s Resolutions you’d like to share?

Warm Wishes and Happily-Ever-After in 2019,


Thursday, December 27, 2018

The magic power of deadlines – by Vijaya Schartz

Find Vijaya's medieval fantasy series and other BWL books HERE

Deadlines can make you do what you thought was impossible. The first time I was given a deadline by a publisher, I panicked. It had taken me eighteen months to write my last book, and I only had six months for this one.  But I didn't want to miss this publishing opportunity, so I signed the contract. Then I realized what a great motivator that deadline provided.

Whether it’s a high stakes countdown in an action novel, or a self-imposed goal, or an imperative work time limit, for some reason, our subconscious treats deadlines like a do or die situation. Unlike new year resolutions, which tend to fade by February, deadlines can motivate us all year long.

If my critique partner didn’t come to my living room every week, I might not have my chapter ready, or the floor might not get cleaned as often. The prospect of taking pictures at holiday parties certainly motivated me to lose the three extra pounds I gained in early fall.

This month, I wrote “the end” on the second book in the Azura Chronicles series, making my January 1st deadline, and it’s a good feeling. Last year, without a specific deadline, it took me much longer to write the first book. I discovered that deadlines not only keep me on schedule, but they sharpen my focus on my story and characters. They force me to stay the course. Next to my wall calendar are reminders of my deadlines for next year. Three book releases. And because I have strict publisher deadlines, these books will be released on schedule.

So, instead of New Year resolutions, I suggest you give yourself deadlines. Keep the goals realistic and take control of your life. Using deadlines as a motivator, you will reach your goals, and get a great sense of accomplishment.

As for me, back to my newly finished novel. It’s polishing time, and this is my favorite part of the work. I wish you all a wonderful year in 2019.

ANGEL FIERCE, Book 2 of the Azura Chronicles is coming out in February. In the meantime, you can read ANGEL MINE, Book 1 in the Azura Chronicles series.

What in the frozen hells of Laxxar prompted Fianna to pursue her quarry to this forbidden blue planet? Well, she needs the credits... badly. But as if crashing in the jungle wasn't bad enough, none of her high-tech weapons work. She'll have to go native, after the most wanted felon in five galaxies. It's not just her job. It's personal.

Acielon has never seen an outworlder like this fascinating female, strangely beautiful, and fierce, like the feline predator loping at her side. He always dreamed of exploring the universe, despite the legends... and the interdiction. Is it truly a hellish place of violence, lies and suffering? If it spawned this intriguing creature, it must also be a place of wonders, adventure and excitement.

Fianna's instincts tell her someone is watching. Sheba, her telepathic feline partner, doesn't seem worried... yet, something on Azura isn't quite right.

"... fast-paced space adventure/romance with lots of twists, turns, and enough action to satisfy sci-fi enthusiasts... storytelling is imaginative and action scenes vivid... pleasing happily ever after that sets up a sequel." Ind'Tale Magazine.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick
amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  -  FB

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The birth of a book in a writer’s head—Tricia McGill

This and all my other books can be purchased from numerous online retailers

For the past few weeks I might have been getting on with life here in the present, but my mind has been dwelling way back in the past, as research takes over my life once again. For some time people have been asking me when I am going to write a third book in my Settlers series. The early pioneering days in Australia seem to capture the imagination of almost as many folk as the early days of settlement in America. I guess most of my fellow writers are just like me, and can only work out what book to work on next by the voices in our heads urging us to get cracking and get their story down.

For me I have always needed to know who the main characters are going to be, which means finding out from those pesky voices who wants to be the leads. For the hero I had a few choices this time. There was always Carlo O’Shea, brother of Remy (Book 2) and Bella (Book 1), who arrived in the settlement of Sydney Town in the 1820s, or their younger brother Bob, who came out as a free settler later on. Bella and Tiger ended up with eight children so any one of them could be the main character. At one stage I thought of sending Remy or Carlos back to Spain to trace their father’s heritage, but no, my mind refused to leave Australia and decided to force me to remain here and entrench myself back into its past. I guess, in the end, the best and only choice of hero had to be Tim, Bella and Tiger’s eldest son. I was there at his birth so know him well. After all, I created him, know exactly where and when he was conceived and know his parents inside out.

Problem number one fixed, now the female lead must tell me who and what she wants to be. That has been trickier. The story will begin in 1840 when Tim is 21. Unlike his ex-convict father, mother, and uncles, Tim was born free. The Australian continent has changed considerably in the past 15-20 years. Explorers have ventured further inland, forging new roads to traverse, finding new rivers that need bridges built across them. This means a new set of research for me the writer. New South Wales has a different Governor, rules have changed. Port Philip that will become Melbourne is a fledgling city. Travellers are setting off across the country in search of new pastures for their sheep and new lands to claim as their own.

Tim was a small child when his father, Tiger, decided to embark on the tremendous trek across the Blue Mountains with Bella and Tim to set up a sheep property on green pastures around Bathurst so it is inevitable that Tim will have inherited itchy feet—but which direction will he take, and why? And the woman who travels with him will be feisty and a tomboy, I know that much by now. No wilting, tittering, blushing damsel in distress for Tim, she must be his match. Only one small drawback by this time—she simply will not let me know her name—yet. It will probably come to me around five am as many of my other ideas do. Mistress Muse seems to work the best around that hour when I am half-awake. Oh, and there’s just one other small thing missing—a suitable title.

I look forward to my next journey of discovery.

Visit my web page to read excerpts from all my books

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Eggnog Blog

It is December 25th. Yes, a day of traditions. Turkey. Presents. Mistletoe. Family squabbles. And one of the great traditions...listing the greatest Christmas movies.
In the past this was challenging because people seemed to disagree as to what constitutes a Christmas movie much less which is the best. No need to have concern about that. My list, by chance, is the official movie list. Certified by Really And Nice Decisions All Like Luckily.
  1. Shall we start with the obvious classic. You know, the movie that has all of the seasons main themes. I barely need to write it. Of course, we are talking about Elf. Bathroom scenes. Mini toilets. Ginormous toilets. Woman serenaded by a giant elf while showering. And, of course, downing liquor in the mail room.
  2. When we think of Christmas we think of parties. The story of our next movie literal wouldn’t take place if it were not for the party. Enter John MacClane to surprise his estranged wife at her party. Awe, sweet. So, what happens next? No, it’s not Uncle Jim making a scene after too much spiked eggnog. We get our Christmas wish. A fun adventure revolving around automatic weapons and explosives.
  3. Christmas is the time of miracles. What could be a bigger miracle than the third movie in a series having as much entertainment as the first two. Yes, thank you Clark Griswald. You alway come through. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation gives us the charm and serenity of the season. A house with so many lights one asked “Is your house on fire?” A squirrel and a vicious attack a neighbour knocking on your door. And a near death experience going out to get a tree.

Ah, good times.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Some Memories Of Christmas by Victoria Chatham


So here we are at the end of 2018 already and looking forward to another Christmas and New Year's celebration.  

Christmas always reminds me of family gatherings, During the war years, this gathering always took place at my grandmother's house. My cousins and I looked forward to decorating the live tree. The windows were covered with a blackout curtain and the tree stood in front of it.  We were allowed to clip the holders for real candles onto the branches. We never knew which dad or uncle might be home on leave, but if none of them was, then my grandmother lit the candles. Health and Safety today would have a bird about those candles! Decorations around the house were always branches of fir, mistletoe, and holly. I don't remember who started it, but it became
something of a tradition to outline the edges and veins of the holly leaves with silver paint and this kept us kids occupied while my gran, my mum, and aunts prepared food.

For a number of years, I lived in a 300-year old Cotswold house. When I first saw the house I thought the living room, with its exposed oak beams and open fireplace, would be the ideal place for a family Christmas, and it was. One year my boys took charge of acquiring the tree. I never asked where it came from, I don't think I really wanted to know, but it was so tall they had to take about 3-feet off the top so we had a tree and a bit. Another Christmas my daughter bought her eldest brother a beanbag and packed it in a big appliance box. Give cats and kids a box and they will have endless fun with it. I laughed myself silly as my son converted the box into a bus and his sister and one of the dogs squished in behind him. As they were young adults at this point there may have been some alcohol involved. 

A few years ago I was pet and house-sitting at a lovely country home in England. That year was wild and wet and with so much flooding washing out roads and leaving debris everywhere, I decided to not risk the trip to visit my family but stayed put. I've never minded being alone but appreciated the phone calls with my children even more on that particular Christmas Day. To keep the flavor of the season I had my table decoration and a Christmas dinner from Sainsbury's grocery store and finished the day curled up on the sofa with the two dogs I was sitting and watching TV.

For me, Christmas is not so much about giving gifts as spending time with family and friends and none more so than when I can spend that time with my nearest and dearest. My DDH (dearly departed husband) and I did not buy each other big gifts but instead donated what we would have spent to charities of our choice and simply spent the day alone together. One year we binge-watched all the Star Wars movies. Another year we had a turkey and trimmings picnic on the living room floor, never to be repeated as it proved too much of a temptation for our two dogs. 

Christmases come and Christmases go, and I'm fortunate to celebrate the season with friends who have become as close as family. I'm also now happy to enjoy a gentler side of the season. I don't worry anymore about the commercialism of it all as that's something I have no control over. It's up to each individual how they choose to celebrate, or not, after all. What I like is having come to a place in my life where I am happy to celebrate the joy and peace of the season.

I would like to wish everyone at Books We Love and all our followers a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Santa’s Wizardly Christmas

In Time For Christmas, I thought I'd post my newest Short Story

Santa’s Wizardly Christmas

I came from salt water and will return there one day, dreaming of past lives as the oceans move in their mysterious ways. Other lives, other worlds away.
Thomas woke up shaking his head. The same nightmare, of a place he no longer was and never will be. Ever, ever again.
Thomas Andrews, no longer the Grand Magix of Magixes of Cramadran, got out of his warm bed. Alone in his house on this cold Earth. He washed his face staring at his tears splattering in the faucet.
A shrill scream and several growls rent the air just outside his home.
In his mind, he saw the young lad from two doors down, Dayne, in trouble. The neighbor’s Dobermans, they’ve gotten loose. He shuddered at the thought of venturing outside.
I once commanded a kingdom with legions of trained soldiers at my fingers? How did I become a scared old man? It was so hard to be outside.  But, the child is in danger, I have the power to save him.
He breathed deep, shoved his fears aside and grabbed his five-foot cane he’d carved for defense. I shouldn’t be doing this. Flinging his front door open, Thomas tore down the street as fast as his elderly legs could propel him.
The two black dogs were about to attack the child, barking viciously. Blood streamed from under the lads torn pant leg.
One lunged towards Thomas as he twirled his shaft mesmerizingly with a cheerleader’s agility. Thomas yelled a war cry and struck the canine three times before it knew what hit it. The dog fell to the ground. Thomas hammered the end of his shaft in the middle of the beast’s skull. A crack resounded. The other, wanting to defend its mate, ran towards the elder. Thomas let out a roar that would have graced most lions of Africa with humility.
The animal sensing its master beat a hasty retreat. Thomas slumped to one knee gasping for air. Man, I gotta remember I’m nearly two hundred years old, not a young nobleman anymore.
“The dog he bit me! But that was amazing! How did you do that?”
 “Army training from the days of my upbringing. It takes a lot out of me though. I haven’t much energy these days,” Thomas gasped.
“Army Training? I’ve seen those kind of moves on TV. You’re some kind of Kung Fu dude or, or a wizard.”
“You are most astute and observant, young Dayne of the Smiths.”
“How do you know my name?”
“There is much I know about you, being a wizard as you say. I can fix your leg, but not here in public view.”
Dayne agreed. He knew the old man lived alone on their street and kept to himself. A harmless recluse, his dad called him.
 The old man smiled reading his mind.
 “Now let me see your leg.” Thomas said as Dayne sat on his carpet.
Sparks flew as he clapped his hands together three times. Dayne watched as he held them to either side of his leg. Sparkles transferred between his palms. Instantly the pain stopped. Blood ceased flowing, skin began to heal over. “You must never tell anyone I used Reiki on you.”
“That isn’t Reiki. I saw it on a movie once. The Karate Kid.”
“Okay, call it magic. I am or was a wizard once. But you must never tell anyone. It has happened to me before. There are many that fear the unknown. If you did I would have to leave this town.”
Dayne nodded in agreement.
“Now, the magic. Watch.”
Dayne stared in disbelief as the ripped threads of his pant leg wove themselves back into each other.
“Wow! How?”
“A little of what I once was. But I am weak. I will need much sleep to recuperate.” The man staggered to his couch and closed his eyes.
Dayne opened the front door, “Thank you, mister.” Wow! I’ve a wizard living next door to me. Just like the Potters. Cool. So freaking cool.
As he walked home he saw the fat balding man from across the street yelling into a cellphone to the police about his dead dog.
Dayne walked up and lied, “I saw it happen. Your dog ran across the street, got hit by a car.”

Dayne returned the next day to visit the old man.
                “So if you’re really a wizard what can you do?”
 “Well, wizardly things of course.”
“Are you kidding me? So do you, like, transform lead into gold, make ugly frogs into princes or blast holes through time and space?”
“I wish. Look, forget I said anything.” Familiar lines of sadness crossed his face. “That’s what got me here, being cocky and boastful. I once was powerful beyond belief. I lived in a large castle on the seashore. My sworn enemy was Hanus the merciless, a Grand Magix Inquisitor of Cramadran.”
“The what? Sounds like a character from one of the old Saturday morning TV shows.”
Thomas held up a finger. “You’re interrupting me. If I still had the power I’ll zip your lips shut and turn you into an aardvark. Could spend the rest of your life licking up ants.”
Dayne sat quietly.
 “I knew Hanus was trying some sort of spell to best me. Only I didn’t think he’d place one in my washroom. When I sat down on my toilet seat it triggered a dimensional spell and next thing I knew I was here.”
                “Caught with your pants down.” Dayne smiled.
                “Literally. Magic is very weak on this planet, I’ve no way of generating the kind of energy I need to open a dimensional portal.”
                “You are kidding me, aren’t you?”
                He looked sadly down. “I wish. I’ve been here for nearly two hundred years and will live at least another hundred more. With the billions of dimensional time shifts, there’s no way of returning home, and even if I did, everyone I knew would be gone.”
                “Well, that really sucks,” Dayne smiled.
The old pendulum clock chimed five times. “I’ve gotta go. Would you like to come over tomorrow? Have dinner, meet my parents? We’re going to have a Harry Potter movie night.”
“A movie of a pot of hairs?  Even I know on this world that doesn’t grow in clay. Potted or not.”
“No, it’s about a world where magicians exist along with humans.”
Thomas scratched his grey hair. “I have no one or nothing in this world. I believe you are indeed sincere. I shall go with you young Dayne of the Smiths.”
“Okay, no wonder you haven’t many friends. It’s Dayne Smith. We shorten everything here. I can help you fit in better.”
“A young escort into the workings of your planet. Agreed.”

The next night, Dayne walked him home after the movies.
 “My mom is so controlling. She always tells me what to do.”
“Your mother loves you and is protective, it is what mothers do.”
“I can look after myself.”
“You think so. I was also a cocky youth. Now look at me.  Only a housebound old man afraid to go outside.”
They stopped at his front door and Thomas bowed waving his hand. “I thank you, my noble knight of protection.”
“You are a most weird man, Thomas of Cramadonut.”
“No, of Cramadran. Oh, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll never be there again. Just call me Thomas.”
“You know with that grey hair you’d make a good Santa Claus. My dad works in the mall and says they are looking for someone.”
“A saint of good will that helps others?” He thought a moment. “I have been here far too long alone. I agree, I shall do your bidding.”
“Goody. I’ll let Dad know.”
“I have begun to like your company, young Dayne of the... Smith, Dayne Smith.” He laughed deeply for the first time in many years.

Dayne watched Thomas, decked in the jolly man’s outfit, sitting on the plush red chair in the mall. Oh man, I’ve my own Harry P. living next to me. Only he’s so lonely.
                Dayne had come over most afternoons to listen to the tales of his former home-world. Of the men he battled and slayed. Of the woman he loved and would never hold again, elegant Elouise with long tresses of crimson curly hair.
A line of kids had waited to tell him their wishes. Thomas stared at the older woman in her mid-forties. Her red hair hung loose over her shoulders. In obvious pain she leaned on her cane. Her daughter Heather sat crying on his lap, her only wish was to have her ailing mother, Anne, healthy.
He stared at her mom, their eyes locked. Her pupils widened, as did his. “Bring her to me. I shall try to grant you your wish, young lady. Tell the others my time today is done. I will talk to Anne alone.”
The two went behind the ice castle decorations. ”You cannot help me,” Anne said.  “I haven’t told my daughter, but I am dying of cancer.”
“I know, I see its claws digging through you.” Her eyes, her smile, so reminded him of Elouise.
The two children played just outside.
Thomas breathed deep. “For this is to work you must believe in what I am about to do. Trust me, if you wish to live a longer life with your daughter.”
Anne looked hard into his eyes. “There is a greater saint than Santa inside you. I don’t know why, but I trust you, deeply.”
“Good. Now, set aside the cane.”
Thomas clapped his hands together three times. A blue glow issued from between his palms.
“Just trust. I call it a deep form of Reiki. This will hurt briefly. The demon will not take lightly to being pulled from its host.” He thrust his hands on either side of her body. “Gotcha.” Anne cried in pain.
Thomas pulled a hideous serpentine beast with hungry jaws from her. It twisted in his grasp, spitting. Thomas sneered at the vile demon. “Destroyer of life, I commit thee to hell.”
A crack resonated as he grabbed it by the throat and twisted. The creature exploded into blue mist.
“MOM! Mom, you okay?” Heather and Dayne ran to them. Anne flexed her body and stood up straight. “It’s gone, I mean I’m …. Good. I’m so very good.”
She hugged her daughter.
Anne put her arm around Thomas and held him up as he trembled, fighting to stay conscious. “Help me with him.”
“Mom, how is this possible? You can’t even lift me?”
“I don’t know darling, but we must get Mr. Claus home. He needs to rest after working a miracle.”
They pulled Thomas, struggling to stay conscious, to her car. Sparks danced in her eyes as she held his hand while driving. His hand warm, the connection of knowing of what could be.
After driving for a while she ventured, “Are you single? I don’t even know your name.”
“Thomas. And yes.”
Anne lay Thomas down on his couch. “You two go outside and play. I think I will stay and look after my hero.” She stroked his forehead. The touch ringing familiarity inside, tissues longing to be together, and dreams of a Christmas future.
On the floor of the shopping mall a cane lay. Unneeded.  Victim to the magic of Christmas past.
“Thank you.” Anne leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead, “this is for Christmas present.”


Frank Talaber

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Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues).
PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

My novels on Amazon are at:

Twitter: @FrankTalaber

Friday, December 21, 2018

Why Do Writer's Write by Eden Monroe

 Visit Eden Monroe's Author Page for details and buy links on her books

It all begins with the germ of an idea that comes to life under the author’s pen. Creating a story, plumbing the depths of our imagination, drawing on the complex intricacies of real life to mould plausible circumstances into sentences that become paragraphs and pages and eventually a book. The gift of story telling in motion – and for most of us the realization of a dream to see it between two shiny covers of smartly crafted artwork. We have written a book.

To the uninitiated writing a book is a literary lark, a few weeks spent putting thoughts to paper and then as routinely depicted on stage and screen the money starts to roll in. Doesn’t a six-figure royalty cheque come inside the front cover of every book? Many think so. Writers, even the most humble beginners among us, are enormously wealthy once we create a book. So (a) minimal effort and (b) huge rewards – the mindset I encounter on a regular basis. No, success for authors is not automatic. It doesn’t just happen.

Perception is often wholly disproportionate to reality in that regard. While talent is obviously a prerequisite to success, so is hard work – both in producing the finished product – and employing savvy marketing skills to sell what we’ve written, and the exciting potential is certainly there to accomplish that. After all, a publisher has very generously brought us into their fold – taken a chance on us and that opportunity must be rewarded in kind – bearing in mind the financial risk they take. A publisher is the vehicle that drives our books, brings them to the masses, and we, the writers are truly grateful that someone saw enough potential in what we’ve written to take us on. That is the extraordinary golden moment – that huge step from the hatbox to the bookshelf as the journey continues.

At the end of the day though, once the offering has been laid before inquiring eyes and all possible efforts exhausted to send the book on its way, it is the reader who has the final say. The trilogy of writer, publisher and reader is complete. No one part is greater than the total sum. Readers can’t read without writers and writers can’t possibly succeed without readers – and publishers consummate the experience for both.

A reader who enjoys our books is a traveler who has chosen to share this journey with us, and without a doubt makes any and all of our sacrifices worthwhile.

Why do writers write? Because we must, to satisfy the figurative call of the sea within us. Bad or good, it is our destiny, the drive that sees us fill another page, and another, and another….

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