Yesterday late afternoon, I took a walk on a mile-long path near my home. I'm one of the few who use this path, but yesterday I had company.
Hello blog friends. It's Tanka Tuesday and author Colleen Chesebro presents us with another prompt. All participants are to write a tanka prose. Colleen describes this form as having a title, a preface, and then the poem. Here goes:
Yesterday late afternoon, I took a walk on a mile-long path near my home. I'm one of the few who use this path, but yesterday I had company.
I hope you have a wonderful week!
Dear blog friends, today is Thanksgiving in the United States. It's a time when families and friends gather to feast and celebrate the wonders of life. This year is a little different for most, because some of us are alone and can't be with those we love. I'm sure you are very familiar with that experience.
One way we stretch to reach others is through the internet, our cell phones, and through the books we read. Today, I'm particularly grateful for the latter. We've probably never met, but through kind words, a quick email, sometimes a tweet, we connect. We meet. Stranger to stranger, but often heart to heart.
This Tanka poem is for you. It's a response to Colleen Chesebro's prompt theme -- festive.
Thank you for being you!
Hello blog friends, I've wonderful news to share. Author and friend Jan Sikes has just released a Christmas novella. It's a touching story, one that earned a 5-Star review from me. I've invited Jan to tell us about her book, so let's see what she has to say . . .
Thank you SO much, Gwen, for offering to help launch this new story even in the midst of a busy holiday season. I truly appreciate it!
It’s no secret that a coal miner's life was hard, especially back in the 1960s. Safety requirements had yet to be enforced, and often, when a mine collapsed, men lost their lives, leaving families with no means of support.
My character in Mountain Laurel Christmas lost his father to the Kentucky coal mines when he was a young child. Here's a glimpse.
Shifting away from the intrusive interviewer, I stare past him at a memory as vivid as if it were yesterday.
Mama sank into the nearest threadbare chair and crumpled into a heap of sobs.
The man laid a clumsy hand on her shoulder. “Mrs. Anderson, I’m sure sorry. We tried everything to get Robert out, but when that section of the mine gave away. Well, we just couldn’t get in. It was awful bad.” The miner sighed and shoved a hand covered with coal dust in his pocket. “I’ll have the missus come around and check on you if that’s okay.”
While I could hear the fateful words falling out of the foreman’s mouth, they weren’t registering in my twelve-year-old brain.
Wide-eyed, I watched, a growing lump closing off my throat like a vise.
Mama didn’t answer that day. The kind of grief a person only feels when their entire world is snatched away wracked her body. Her frail shoulders heaved with heart-wrenching sobs. Guttural cries sprang from deep inside. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and stood on end.
Grief broke the children’s mother and rendered her useless to the family. When I write a heart-wrenching scene like this one, I experience my character’s grief, loss, anger, and helplessness. Many times I have to pause and take a minute to compose myself. As a writer, it is my goal to make the reader feel these same emotions.
I'd love to hear from you. How do you react to scenes like this one? What is your approach to writing scenes of heartbreak?
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Hello blog friends! I hope your day is bright and sunny. It's beautiful in my part of the world. This morning I awoke with an unbelieveable sunrise -- and a message from Sally Cronin that she featured one of my posts on her site today. How incredible is that!
If you'd like to take a look, here's the link. The title is Another Reason To Read and Write, and the focus is the impact of these on the brain.
Have a fantastic day!. 🌞
Hello, blog friends, I've another poem to share.
This week author Colleen Chesebro invites writers to respond to a photo prompt of a beautiful butterfly resting on a flower.
My poem is a simple Tanka that straddles the natural and human world. I hope you like it. If you've a poem in mind, just click on Colleen's name. You'll be led to her website where there's much helpful information.
Have a wonderful rest of the week!
BUTTERFLY LOVE 💜
It's my pleasure to host author Yvette M Calleiro on Day 6 of her blog tour. Yvette is an impressive writer, and she has a new release, HYPE. All early comments attest that this is a great read.
Yvette explained that HYPE is a #YAFiction book, but all readers young-at-heart will love it. AND she's offering a giveaway of 3 e-book copies. With a comment, you've a chance to win her latest release. Interested? Let's learn more about the book.
Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.
When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.
Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.
Choosing which character from Hype to interview was challenging. Each of them has a strong
background story, so it was a struggle to choose just one. Since the story is told from Cici’s point of view, I thought I’d pick a character close to her. Later, I may share insights to other characters on my blog. So, let’s interview Ryan, Cici’s boyfriend.
Hello, Ryan. Can you tell us a bit about who you are?
I am Ryan Rodriguez. I’m a Cuban American who lives in South Florida. I’m a senior and the quarterback of my high school football team.
Who are your closest friends?
My best friend is Sam. He and I have been friends for years, and we always get each other. He is my favorite go-to on the field as well; he plays wide receiver. Cici is my girlfriend. She makes me whole, and I can’t imagine life without her. So, I spend most of my time with Cici, Sam, and Dee, Sam’s girlfriend and Cici’s best friend.
Tell me about your family.
My parents are wonderful. My father came over from Cuba when he was just 18 years old. Life was all about survival for him, so he found a job in construction. Now, he owns his own construction company. My mother came to the United States when she was 20 years old. She struggled with learning English at first but quickly assimilated with the help of her family. She works with my father in managing the company’s schedule. Neither of them went to college, so it’s their highest hope that I go and fulfill my dreams. I have a younger brother who is my world. His name is Michael, and he has Down syndrome. He just started middle school and loves his classes. He makes me laugh all the time.
What do you look for in a friend?
I guess I want what everyone wants – someone to hang with who accepts me for me. I like to surround myself with people who share my interests and values.
What do you look for in a significant other?
Cici. (He chuckles.) That’s what I look for. She’s full of life, confident, funny, affectionate, and smart. Sure, she can be dramatic at times, but that makes her human. Perfection is overrated.
What are your hobbies and passions?
Football is my passion. I love to play and hope to play for college. My favorite hobby is raising money for organizations that assist people with disabilities. My experience with my brother has shown me how to see the capabilities instead of the disabilities, and I want to help others shift their perspective as well. Plus, there is never enough money to help those who struggle. If I can be just a small part of that change, I’ll be happy.
What inspires you or influences you and your actions?
That’s easy. Kindness. When my parents came to this country, they survived on the kindness of others. They have instilled in me the importance of always showing kindness and compassion to everyone. You never know what someone else is going through, and it costs zero dollars to be kind. So, making others smile makes me happy.
What do you desire most in life?
I want to make my parents proud of me because what I do reflects upon them and the way they’ve raised me. I want to go to college, play football, and get a degree, maybe in business or sports medicine. I haven’t decided yet.
What do you fear most?
I don’t really have many fears. I worry about my actions hurting others. I never want to be the cause of someone else’s pain.
What is your greatest regret?
I made the mistake of giving false hope to someone and hurting her very deeply. I wish I could turn back the clock and do things differently, but life doesn’t work that way. So, I have to live with that and try to make amends somehow.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment to date?
It would have to be raising over $3000 for a local charity with the help of the football and cheerleading teams. Getting crowned Homecoming King was also pretty cool.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Right here unless I get picked up by the NFL. My hope is to have my degree in hand, a career started, and to have Cici, the most beautiful girl in the world, by my side.
Thanks for chatting with us today. Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers today?
Yes. Please try not to judge Cici (or any of us, really). Being a teenager is hard. We all make mistakes. I know I learned from mine. Thanks for taking time to get to know me.
To follow along with the rest of the HYPE promotion, you can visit Yvette M Calleiro's tour page. Thanks for supporting Yvette and her work, and please check out the links below.
The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 1)
The One Enlightened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 2)
The One Betrayed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 3)
The One Revealed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 4)
The One Awakened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 5)
The One Chosen – A Diasodz Short Story
Breathless – A Short Story
Amazon Author Page
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In the United States, we remember our veterans today, those men and women who risked everything for our freedom. Most of us know them as family, as neighbors, as colleagues in the workplace. We've probably only rarely spoken with them about their service, because few veterans will share their experience. How can they, if there is no common ground?
Before I retired, I worked at a college in southern California. Because of its proximity to the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, many returning Marines enrolled in the college. I supervised the Veteran's Center and got to know them well. That experience remains a highlight of my lengthy higher education career. The manifest courage of these young men and women, both in the field and on campus, was extraordinary. Many returned with visible injuries, but all suffered the invisible PTSD.
Thank you to all who have served, to all who dared to dream of freedom. God Bless You All.
Below is my tribute poem, a response to a prompt by Colleen Chesebro. She asked that poets write a butterfly cinquain (2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2) and include a color, one perhaps, that readers could taste.
I close with this brief and powerful Sound of Silence. Please join me in honoring our vets.
Hello blog friends! I have a special guest today. Friend and colleague, author Staci Troilo is visiting and sharing her new release, No Such Luck. I read the novella in one evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. Well-written and attention-absorbing, it warmed my heart and left me thinking about years long past. If you're looking for a short read, I highly recommend it. Now let's see what Staci has to say...
Thanks for inviting me here today, Gwen. Hi, everyone. I appreciate you spending a few minutes with me while I tell you about my new release, No Such Luck. It’s a quick and clean romance perfect for the Christmas season.
Piper Seidel could always rely on Jack Rhodes. He’d been her best friend as long as she could remember and knew more about her than anyone. Which was kind of the problem. He knew everything. And he saw everything. She couldn’t keep a secret from him if she tried. Which she did. Pointlessly. In this brief excerpt, we see how well Jack can read her, and how easily he can break down her walls.
Piper sat at their usual booth by the window. She sent her dad a quick text, then looked outside. “Man, the snow just keeps on coming. We were getting flurries in Arkansas when I left, but it seldom snows there. And almost never heavy like this.”
“Don’t you miss it here?”
“Around the holidays, sure.”
“Are you ever moving back?”
She toyed with the oregano shaker beside the napkin dispenser. When Mr. Amato brought a pitcher and two glasses of soda to the table, she took a sip. “I don’t think he brought us diet.”
“You don’t need to watch your calories.”
Piper was grateful the table hid most of her curves. She wasn’t the scrawny teenager he remembered, having filled out in oh-so-many places. But he was looking at her like he had X-ray vision.
She gazed out the window. “The snow is beautiful at night.”
Piper turned toward him again. He was staring at her face.
“What?” She touched her cheeks, her lips.
He shook his head. “You remember back in third grade—”
Mr. Amato brought their pizza and two plates. “Buon appetito!”
“Oh, man. This smells so good.” She beamed up at him.
He gestured to the pie. “Mangia!”
They dug into their pizza. It was so good, Piper almost didn’t mind scalding the roof of her mouth on the cheese. Almost.
“Perfection, Mr. Amato.”
“Ah!” He waved off the compliment, then returned to the kitchen.
She took another bite and moaned as she chewed. “You just can’t get pizza like this where I live.”
“See. That’s just another reason for you to move home.”
“Come on, Pea. I know you aren’t happy. Happy people don’t break into tears in the middle of a grocery store. Talk to me.”
She wanted to. Needed to. “It’s hard to put into words.”
“Just start at the beginning.”
When I wrote this story, I was fondly remembering (and desperately missing) my hometown. Everyone needs a pizza chef like Mr. Amato. And every girl needs a friend like Jack.
I hope you enjoyed that quick sneak peek. No Such Luck, the first installment of the Keystone Couples series, is available now on Amazon.
Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.
Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.
The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.
Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.
Hello blog friends!
It's #Tanka Tuesday and since it is the first Tuesday of the month, author Colleen Chesebro invites us to choose our own syllabic form.
In the United States, we approach an election. This means politics is in full swing. Many of us (and that includes me) avoid the news and strive for peace of mind. My dual tanka is about that struggle. Somehow we need to find middle ground -- if we are to survive and thrive.
Blessings to all! 💗
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Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ―Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning