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Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown Connecticut

Today my heart truly bleeds. I live in Michigan. Geographically, I am far from the tragedy that is unfolding at this moment in Newtown Connecticut where a gunman has attacked an elementary school, but spiritually speaking...I am there. The news hasn't been fully reported yet, so I won't attempt to give any details or statistics. I just can't understand what makes a human being act so violently against other human beings, not to mention how disturbing it is when that 'animal' murders a classroom of innocent children. What causes a person to have no respect for life... be it the life of others or their own?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quest for the Glow

Quest for the Glow

It's taken a lot longer that I wanted, but Quest for the Glow is finally published in ebook form on Amazon.  The paperback version will follow, as soon as the chapter artwork is finished.  If you haven't read Willow Crossing yet, it is FREE until midnight tonight (December 1st).  If you're ready to pick up your e-copy of Quest for the Glow... you can get it here... 

Book three is well under way.  If you've enjoyed your visits to E.Magi.Nation, then you will want to watch for the release of Nameless Nickels, where several characters from each of the first two books come together for one final journey... a journey with a purpose!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Brian's House

I have to post this story, because it's very near and dear to my heart!  This is the story of Brian's House.
Brian's House is (or was until September 4,2012) a Hospice home for the terminally ill.  The place was founded by Jo Ann and Ken Straub at the dying wish of their son Brian.  Brian's wish was that the terminally ill would have a place of comfort to go when the time of death was near.  In 1996, Ken and Jo Ann Straub, along with the help of volunteers, opened and successfully ran Brian's House.  My parents personally knew the couple that opened this wonderful place. 

In 2009, my father spent his last days at Brian's House.  Brian's House provided a hospitable atmosphere, where a person could die in comfort and peace, while keeping their dignity.  Brian's House was also a supportive place where family members could remain by their loved ones side until the last moment and even beyond.  Every room at Brian's House was decorated in a different, homelike theme.  There was no 'hospital feel' to it at all.  Anyone who knows the story behind this place is sure to share in the grief in its closing.  Brian's house is/was a peaceful, loving 'home' run by a compassionate staff. 

I'll never forget my Dad's last meal at Brian's House. Although the backyard grill had already been packed away for the winter, when my father requested steak... the chef at Brian's House went above and beyond as he pulled the grill out of storage and fired it up. Dad got his steak the night before he went to Heaven!

Now there is talk that because of an outpouring of community support, Brian's House may reopen!   
If you follow this link... house (and type Brians House into the 'browse petitions' spot) you can sign the petition and help keep a wonderful service going!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Artist

Work is slowly continuing on the second book.  Things were delayed a little because my original artist didn't have time to dedicate to my illustrations. (completely understandable)  I'm a bit sad about it, because I was very pleased with the work she did on 'Willow Crossing', but at the same time I'm excited to be working with a new artist.  I have my fingers crossed that 'Quest for the Glow' will have a cover soon and can be released for the kindle.  Once that is completed, we will be working on chapter illustrations for the paperback.  In the meantime, the third book 'Nameless Nickels' is well under way. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just a quick update...

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, but I am happy to report that book three 'Nameless Nickels' is well under way.  I'm plugging away at 12,000 words, and I still have a lot of story to write, but the story is coming together. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rambles from a Soft Heart!

When we fish dead critters such as moles, chipmunks, frogs etc. out of the pool, I feel bad for them.  The little creatures might just have been looking for a quick way to quench their thirst or cool off on a hot day. 
When a bird flies into the window that I just finished cleaning, I feel bad for it and hold my breath in hopes that it will recover from the shock and fly away.  They usually do, but sadly there have been a couple that didn't make it. When an animal such as a deer, raccoon, dog, squirrel, rabbit, cat, skunk, groundhog... (the list is endless) runs out in front of our vehicle... I cringe... for several reasons.  #1.. Of course I don't want anyone in the vehicle to be hurt if we end up in an accident.  #2.  Of course I don't want to do any damage to the vehicle.  #3.  I hate to see any animal injured or killed by a car.  God put the animals here first... then man came along and invented the car.  I just find it unfair to them when they get killed by our 'progress'.
I'm proud to say I'm married to a man who has even more love and compassion for animals than I do.  He's been known to successfully hand hold and feed a hummingbird after it crashed into our window and give CPR (just compressions) to a chipmunk after he fished it out of the swimming pool.  When he planned to catch and release a raccoon that was getting into our bird feeders, he caught a skunk instead.  Did he kill the skunk?  No, he carefully (and rather humorously) set it free..  right back into our backyard.  He didn't get sprayed and we haven't seen (or smelled) the skunk since.

Are you wondering where I am going with this post?

I cringe at the pain, suffering and death of innocent little creatures... little creatures that rank much, much lower in the chain of life than humans.   As a person who is saddened by the misfortune of lower life forms, I find it unfathomable to think that something as heartless and cruel as child abuse (among the intelligent human race) would even exist, yet we hear about it time after time after time. 

We're no longer shocked when we hear horrific news stories about child abuse and neglect.  How did we become so desensitized?  What's going on in our world?  Are parents and caregivers that stressed?  What causes people to have such sick and sometimes perverted minds?  And most importantly, what can we do to stop/prevent it!?   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thaw vs. Unthaw

Question: It's time to take the turkey out of the freezer and prepare it for the holiday meal.  Will you 'thaw' or 'unthaw' the bird? 

First of all, let it be said that I've always thought the correct term is 'thaw'.. and that 'unthaw' is totally incorrect.  After hearing the word 'unthaw' used over and over again, I decided to start polling people at home and at work.  I happily discovered most people agreed 'thaw' is the correct word, even if they were guilty of using 'unthaw' themselves.  There were a few, however, that argued 'unthaw' meant the same thing as 'thaw'.  This debate took me to Google.  

Here is what the online Oxford dictionary has to say:

Definition of unthaw:


  • 1North American melt or thaw: [with object]: the warm weather helped unthaw the rail lines
  • 2 (as adjective unthawed) still frozen: you can cook prawns from frozen by plunging them, unthawed, into boiling water.
Logically, the verb unthaw should mean ‘freeze’, but in North America it means exactly the same as thaw (as in the warm weather helped unthaw the rail lines); because of the risk of confusion it is not part of standard usage. Unthawed as an adjective always means ‘still frozen’, but it is best avoided because many contexts may be ambiguous, such as use frozen (unthawed) blueberries.

I also use RhymeZone, an online tool, for looking up the meanings of words, synonyms, etc. 

This is what RhymeZone has to say:

Definitions of unthaw:

verb:   become or cause to become soft or liquid

As you can imagine, I only became more frustrated after finding these two examples to be contradicting to my understanding of the word.... so I pulled out the old hardcover dictionary.  In my old dictionary, the word 'unthaw' did not exist.  Furthermore, after checking packages in my freezer, I was only able to find the word 'thaw', not 'unthaw' on the package directions.  This makes me think that the word 'unthaw' is one of those words that has been socially accepted into our lazy language.   

This is what Miriam Websters online version (because I'm lazy and it's easier to copy/paste rather than type it all out) has to say about the prefix un:

Definition of UN-

: not : in-, non- —in adjectives formed from adjectives <unambitious> <unskilled> or participles <undressed>, in nouns formed from nouns <unavailability>, and rarely in verbs formed from verbs <unbe> —sometimes in words that have a meaning that merely negates that of the base word and are thereby distinguished from words that prefix in- or a variant of it (as im-) to the same base word and have a meaning positively opposite to that of the base word <unartistic> <unmoral>
: opposite of : contrary to —in adjectives formed from adjectives <unconstitutional> <ungraceful> <unmannered> or participles <unbelieving> and in nouns formed from nouns <unrest>
Still confused?  Try putting the prefix UN in front of any word and use it in a sentence and decide which works best...
#1. (fold)  If you 'fold' the laundry-and 'unfold' the laundry... is it the same thing?
#2. (tie)  If you 'tie' your shoes-and 'untie' your shoes... is it the same?
#3. (cooked)  If your meal is 'cooked'... is it the same as 'uncooked'?
and my favorite...
#4.  (faithful)  If you promise to be 'faithful' to your spouse, will they understand if you tell them you've been 'unfaithful'? 
My conclusion: If you take a turkey from the freezer, you are 'thawing' it.  What are your thoughts?


Monday, August 13, 2012

Pressing forward!

If there's one thing I've learned from being an's patience.  'Quest for the Glow'...the second book in my Willow Crossing series, is waiting patiently for it's cover to be designed.  I've found the best way to pass the time while I wait is to keep writing.  Consequently, the first two chapters of the third book, 'Nameless Nickels' is well underway, to the tune of 5335 words.  When I wrote Willow Crossing, I never intended to write a second book, so it took even me by surprise when I decided to write the third.  The main characters in 'Quest for the Glow' are completely different from the characters in Willow Crossing, with the exception of an appearance by Mr. E.  In 'Nameless Nickels' several of the main characters from each of the first two stories will come together.  I hope you'll read along and see where their adventures take them!    

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sneak Peek! Chapter One of 'Quest for the Glow' (Willow Crossing 2)

Chapter One: Not Your Ordinary Rocks
“Bang!” went the front door as Garrett arrived home from school.
“Whoa there Mister,” said his mom, appearing from the kitchen.  “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing!  Just leave me alone!” he screeched, as his heavy feet stomped up the stairs.
“Sure doesn’t sound like nothing,” said his mom, who was right on his heels as he stormed into his bedroom.  “Ow,” she cried, as she stopped the door with her hand to keep it from slamming into her face.  “You’re going to need a summer job if you start breaking all the doors in this place!”
Garrett shot his mother a glare, “Well, at least I won’t need money to buy cat food!”
“Why?  Where is Checkers?” she asked, looking around for the cat that faithfully followed him home from the school bus every day.
“He’s dead!” cried Garrett.
“Dead?  Oh, honey.  What happened?” she asked with a softening tone, as she sat on the edge of his bed and patted her hand on the mattress.
“It was those stupid kids at school I told you about,” he said, as he accepted the invitation and sat down beside her.
“The bullies?” she asked.
“Yeah.  I have a few other names for them, but those are the ones,” he answered.
“What did they do to Checkers?” she asked.
“Well, for starters, they were making fun of me on the bus.  They were saying mean things about Checkers, because she was always waiting to walk me home.  They said I probably couldn’t find my way up the driveway without the cat to lead me.  Just stupid stuff like that,” said Garrett.
“Kids can be so cruel,” said his mother.
“Then when we got off the bus,” he continued, “they teased her and she ran under the bus.”
“Oh no.  Did the bus run over her?” she asked.
“No, she ran out the other side, but when the bus pulled away she got hit by a car,” he explained.
 “Oh, no.  Sweetheart, that’s awful,” she gasped. 
“It was horrible Mom.  Checkers didn’t even stand a chance,” cried Garrett.
“That does it,” said his mom as she bounced back to her feet.  “Come Monday morning, I’m having a talk with the principal about those boys.”
“No Mom, please don’t do that,” begged Garrett, starting to calm down a bit.  “It will only make things worse.”
“How can things be worse than this?” she asked, throwing her arms into the air.
“I don’t know,” answered Garrett, “but I’m sure it could be and I don’t want to find out how.”
“Well, it’s against my better judgment to keep quiet about this any longer, but we can talk about it later.  Are you going to be okay?” she asked, knowing this behavior was very uncharacteristic of her son.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” said Garrett, wiping away a tear.
“I know you loved that cat,” said his mother, as she gave the boy a hug, “and so did I.”
“I know you did,” said Garrett.  “It just won’t be the same without her around.”
“No, it won’t be, and I know it’s hard to believe right now, but time will help heal the pain.  Now, if you’re sure you’ll be okay, I need to go start dinner,” she said.
“Yeah, thanks Mom, but I’ll be fine,” said Garrett.
“Ok, I’ll be in the kitchen if you want to talk,” she said, as she pulled the door closed behind her.
“What was that?” his mother asked from the hallway.
“It was just the stupid doorknob.  It fell off again,” Garrett answered, as it rolled across the floor. 
“Can you put it back on?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’ve done it a million times,” he said, as he tossed the knob onto his bed.  “I’ll do it in a minute.”
“Okay, see you at dinner then,” she answered, as she headed downstairs.
Today might have been the worst day yet in Garrett Demmings first year of high school.  Maybe things would get better, like his parents suggested, but it sure didn’t seem like it at the moment.  Although his average height and build was fine for a boy his age, Garrett longed to be taller like the other boys at school; most of them having already had the growth spurt his parents keep telling him to expect.  When his peers weren’t relentlessly teasing him about his height, they poked fun about the short hairstyle he chose to wear.  While most boys were sporting a medium length, messy hairstyle, Garrett decided to keep his hair short and tailored like a crew-cut in the back, but slightly longer and textured on top.  After a bit of pondering, he’s decided maybe they’re just jealous of his dark brown eyes.  On more than one occasion, Garrett has overheard the girls talking about his deep, dark chocolate eyes.  He even heard one girl say his eyes were dreamy.  This memory made Garrett smile before he returned his thoughts to the task at hand.      
“Well, I might as well get this over with,” Garrett mumbled aloud, as he stuck the doorknob back into the hole in the door. 
The doorknob locked in place just long enough to pull the door open and then came off in his hand again.
“Oh great,” he mumbled.  “I’ll ask Dad to fix this later,” he said, as he dropped the glass knob into his pocket and headed downstairs.
“Where are you going?” asked his mother, as she watched him grab his ball cap from the hook by the back door.
“I’m going to go bury Checkers.  Is it okay if I bury her out by her favorite tree?” he asked, as he pulled his cap down tight over his head.
“Sure honey.  Checkers would like that.  Do me a favor and bring the mail in when you come back please,” she said, trying to sound normal.
“Okay,” he said, as he pulled the door closed behind him.
Garrett grabbed an old towel and a shovel from the garage, and then walked out to the road to retrieve the body of his faithful cat.  After carefully wrapping Checkers in the towel, he headed to the big oak tree near the field behind his house.  
“This looks like as good a spot as any,” he said, as he placed his bundle on the ground and began to dig. 
In no time at all, he had dug a hole large enough to hold the body of the four year old cat.  Tenderly, he placed her in the hole and proceeded to cover her with the loose earth.  When he had finished, he forcefully stuck the shovel into the ground next to the hole with a quick stab.  A single tear trickled down his cheek as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
“What’s that?” Garrett said with a start, as he reached into his pocket.
An object had suddenly grown hot inside his pocket.  When he pulled his hand out, it held the glass knob from his bedroom door.  Not only was it warm to the touch, but it was glowing.
“What the devil?” Garrett spoke aloud.
As Garrett examined the glowing chunk of glass, a single tear rolled off his cheek and landed on the knob.  The flash of bright light, that resulted when the teardrop made contact, caused a moment of blindness and when Garrett’s vision returned to normal he was no longer in his backyard.
The knob, which had lost its glow, still sat in Garrett’s palm as he surveyed his surroundings.  Feeling as if he had just awakened from a strange dream, he found himself standing on the bank of a small river near a dense forest.  There was nothing familiar in sight, but the place felt non-threatening.  Garrett, feeling somewhat tranquilized, dropped the knob back into his pocket and began to walk.  Mesmerized by the sound of the flowing water, he walked along the riverbank and soon had no idea how far he had come.  Continuing on his way, he found himself lost in a daydream about a fishing trip he once went on with his grandfather.  Having caught more fish than they could carry home, they had released most back into the stream, saving only enough for their dinner.  The sound of a pebble plunking in the water brought his attention back to the trail in front of him.  A few yards ahead, stood a teenager with dark brown, shoulder length hair.  At first glance, he wasn’t sure if it was a boy or a girl dressed in ragged jeans and a camouflage t-shirt standing on the riverbank.
“Hey,” said Garrett, as he lifted his ball cap and then pulled it down tight again, displaying a nervous habit he didn’t even realize he had unless someone made mention of it.
“Yeah?” answered the boy, as he paused from his pebble throwing.
“What are you doing?” Garrett asked.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” the boy answered.
“Throwing stones I guess,” said Garrett, lifting and replacing his cap again.
“Aren’t you a genius,” sneered the boy.
“Well, there’s no need to be rude,” said Garrett.  “Do you know where we are?”
“Nope,” said the boy.  “I’ve got no idea.”
“Really?” said Garrett.  “Me either.  What’s your name?” he asked, as he stepped up beside the boy.
“Brick,” he answered, as he launched another stone into the water.
“Brick?” asked Garrett.
“Yeah, Brick,” he repeated.
“What kind of a name is Brick?” Garrett asked.
“It’s a nickname,” said Brick. “You got a problem with that?”
“No, I guess not,” said Garrett.  “Do you have a real name?”
“My parents call me Simon, but my friends call me Brick,” he answered.
“Well, my name is Garrett.  Should I call you Simon, or is it ok if I call you Brick?” asked Garrett, adjusting his hat without lifting it.
“Your call,” answered Brick.
“Alright then,” said Garrett, looking around.  “I’ve just been following this river, hoping it leads somewhere.  Want to walk with me?”
“I suppose I don’t have anything better to do,” shrugged Brick.
Together they walked, searching along the path.  Although they had no idea what they were hoping to find, they looked anyway.  Occasionally, they paused to pick up a stone and hurl it into the river.  Once, when they stopped to investigate a strange sound, they witnessed a snake swallowing a frog.  The poor thing wailed an awful sound that Garrett found repulsive.  Brick on the other hand, thought it was amusing. 
Garrett wasn’t sure he liked Brick, but at least he was no longer alone in a strange place.
“How did you end up here?” Garrett asked.
“I don’t really know,” said Brick.  “I got busted by the cops last night for being out past town curfew.  When my parents wouldn’t let me come out of my room until they decided on my punishment, I got mad.”
“What did you do?” asked Garrett.
“I have this big wooden dragon on my dresser,” he explained.  “It had a glass orb in its mouth.”
“Had?” asked Garrett.
“Yeah, I got mad and started throwing things,” said Brick.
“Oh, that doesn’t usually turn out good,” said Garrett.
“Yeah, well I knocked the dragon off the dresser and this fell out of its mouth,” said Brick, as he pulled the glass rock from his pocket. 
“Let me see that,” said Garrett, as he pulled the glass doorknob from his own pocket.
“Other than the flash of bright light, that’s all I remember before I ended up here,” said Brick, as he handed over the rock.
“These rocks are shaped a little different, but the bases are the same and they look like they are made from the same kind of glass,” said Garrett.
“Weird,” said Brick.  “What do you make of it?”
“I have no idea,” said Garrett.  “Tell me more about this dragon.”
“Well, there’s not much to tell,” said Brick.  “My mom was out planting in the garden one day and she found this cool rock.  She gave it to me because she knows I like cool things like that.”
“How did it end up in the dragon’s mouth?” asked Garrett.
“Well,” he continued, “my dad likes to carve things out of wood.  He carved this really cool dragon out of a big chunk of wood.  I think it was mahogany.  I helped him design the dragon and we made it with his mouth open.  Then we put the rock in his mouth and found a couple of really cool marbles for its eyes.  Dad tried wiring it so the rock would light up, like a fire-breathing dragon.”
“It didn’t work?” asked Garrett.
“The eyes lit up, but the rock didn’t,” said Brick.  “It was still pretty cool though.”
“Sounds cool,” said Garrett.  “How long have you been here?”
“I got here late last night.  Midnight maybe,” said Brick, kicking a rock from the path as they walked on.
“You spent the night here?” asked Garrett.
“Yeah, most of it,” said Brick.
“Where do you go when you are out so late?” Garrett questioned.
“Your parents have you spying on me?” questioned Brick, his eyes squinting with suspicion.
“No,” said Garrett.  “I was just curious.”
“Well, I usually just meet up with friends at the skate park, or sometimes we just wander the streets looking for things to do,” said Brick.
“What kind of things?” asked Garrett.
“Anything,” said Brick.  “Sometimes we try to hit squirrels with slingshots, or there was this one time on the fourth of July when we lit firecrackers in random mailboxes, but most of the time we just walk around and hang out.”
“Why don’t you go before curfew?” Garrett asked.
“What fun is that?” asked Brick.
“I don’t know.  I just thought it might keep you out of trouble,” answered Garrett, giving his hat a lift and then pulling it down tight again.
“Now you are really beginning to sound like my parents,” said Brick.
“I wonder how we’re supposed to get back home,” Garrett wondered aloud.
“I don’t know, but I’m in no hurry to go home,” said Brick.  “Things are quieter here, and there are no parents to give me stupid rules.”
 “I don’t mind rules so much,” said Garrett, “and I’m getting a little hungry.  I could go for one of my mom’s home cooked meals about now.”
“Yeah, I can’t argue with that,” said Brick.  “I haven’t eaten anything today.”
“Maybe we should look around for something to eat,” suggested Garrett.
“I doubt we’ll find a random bucket of fried chicken just hanging from a tree branch,” said Brick.
“I don’t expect to find chicken,” said Garrett, “but we might find something growing we can eat, like berries or fruit.”
“I wouldn’t know what is safe to eat,” said Brick, “but I guess it won’t hurt to have a look around.”
“I haven’t seen anything along the river, so we should probably go into the woods a bit and look for food,” decided Garrett.
“Ok, lead the way,” said Brick.
Twice they found a bush with berries, but being unsure if they were safe to eat, they decided to pass them up.  They spotted a few mushrooms growing beneath a fallen tree, but they agreed for certain that mushrooms were the one thing they needed to be cautious with, as some varieties were poisonous.  After about thirty minutes of foraging around in the forest, the pair decided there was little chance of finding anything edible, so they headed towards the river again.  As they approached the edge of the forest, they heard a strange noise.
“Did you hear that?” asked Brick.
“Yeah, it sounded like thunder,” said Garrett.
“Yeah, but it can’t be thunder,” said Brick, looking up at the clear sky.
“There it is again,” said Garrett, picking up his pace.  “Look,” Garrett pointed, when they had reached the clearing.  “There’s a wooden bridge over the river, and there’s someone sitting at the top of it.”
“What’s he doing?” asked Brick, as they watched him roll an object down it. 
“It looks like he might be rolling rocks down the bridge,” said Garrett.
That’s when they heard the noise again.
“I think we found our thunder,” laughed Garrett. 
What the boys saw next really fascinated them.  At the foot of the bridge waited a small gray and orange monkey.  When the rock reached the bottom of the bridge, the monkey pounced forward and scooped it up.  Then he wound his arm back and launched it back to the large boy, who caught it and rolled it back.  They were clearly engaged in a game of catch.  This went on for several minutes while the boys watched, and then without warning the monkey turned and hurled the rock in their direction. 
“Hey!” the boy on the bridge yelled, as the monkey darted off into the woods.
“Hey!” yelled Brick, as he dodged the rock that nearly hit him square in the head.
“Chief!  Come back!” yelled the teen on the bridge, but the monkey had already disappeared beyond the tree line.
“Well, what do ya know,” said Brick, as he stooped down and picked up the rock.  “This is no ordinary rock.”
“What do you mean,” asked Garrett, stepping up to take a closer look.
“Does this look familiar?” asked Brick, tossing the solid glass rock to Garrett for his inspection.
“Dang, another one?” said Garrett, “What’s going on around here?”
“Are you okay?” asked the teenage boy, as he hurried down from the bridge.
“Yeah, but that stupid monkey tried to kill me,” snapped Brick.
“I don’t think he meant to hurt you,” the teen speculated.  “I think he just got nervous when he saw you.”  
Despite his slouching posture, which gave him the look of a teddy bear slumped over on a sofa, the heavyset adolescent towered over Brick and Garrett as he approached them. 
“I hope your monkey comes back,” said Garrett, looking up at him.
“He will.  He always does.  And just for the record, he’s not stupid,” said the teen, as his bright blue eyes shot a disapproving glare in Brick’s direction. 
“My name is Garrett, and this is Brick,” said Garrett.  “He didn’t mean to call your monkey stupid.”
“That’s ok, he’s not really my monkey, but he’s helped me out a lot since I’ve been here,” said the teen, with a softening tone.
“What’s your name?” asked Garrett, “And how long have you been here?”
“Oh, sorry… I’m Ben,” said the teen.  “I’m not sure how long I’ve been here, but it’s been at least three or four days.”
“Wow,” said Garrett.  “You must be starving.”
“Doesn’t look like he’s starving to me,” mumbled Brick under his breath.
“Nah, I’m okay,” said Ben. “That’s what Chief helps me with most.  He’s always finding food for us.”
“Ah, then I hope he comes back too, because we haven’t had any luck finding food,” said Brick, with a sudden change of heart.
“Say Ben.  How did you get here?” asked Garrett.
“Beats me,” said Ben, as he brushed his hand through the short waves of his sandy brown hair.  “I was digging through a box in the garage, trying to find my old rollerblades for my little brother.  I grabbed my old toy train by the smokestack and it broke off in my hand.  Next thing I knew I was here,” he said with a wave of his hand.
“So, this is a smokestack from your train?” asked Garrett, tossing the glass rock back to Ben.
“Yeah, it was a pretty cool train,” he said.  “Uh, when I was a kid that is.”
“Do you remember anything else?  Was there a bright light or anything?” asked Brick.
“Yeah, how’d you know?” asked Ben.
“Just a good guess,” said Brick.
“Not really,” said Garrett, shaking his head at Brick.  “We both had the same experience,” explained Garrett, as he pulled the glass knob from his pocket. 
“You’ve been here a while,” said Brick.  “Have you found anything cool?”
“Not really, except for Chief,” said Ben.  “I haven’t wandered very far.  Once I met Chief, I just started hanging out with him.”
“Speaking of Chief,” said Garrett, “I think he’s coming back now.”
The small monkey was hobbling out of the woods.  With one of his arms, he clutched something to his chest.  He stopped when he got within throwing range, and launched something in their direction.
“I think he’s declaring war,” said Brick, stooping down to take cover behind Ben.
“He doesn’t want war.  I told you he was smart,” said Ben, as he caught a bright red apple in mid-air.
“He brought food?” questioned Brick, as he stepped out from behind his cover.
“Looks like it,” said Garrett, as he caught the second apple.
“Hey, where’s mine?” demanded Brick, who barely had time to finish his request before he caught the third apple, which was thrown with more force than really necessary.
“That monkey hates me!” cried Brick.
“Maybe,” said Ben, “but he doesn’t want to see you go hungry.”
Chief, who was still holding one apple, took a big bite as he crept up next to Ben.
“Well, thanks Chief,” said Brick, “but maybe next time you could bring a bologna sandwich to go with it?”
“THBPBPTHPT!” said Chief, spraying apple bits all over Brick’s feet. 
“That’s disgusting!” cried Brick.
“That’s what you get,” laughed Garrett, “for being so ungrateful.”
“Chief! That’s no way to treat our new friends,” said Ben, stifling a laugh himself.  “You better apologize right now!”
Chief hung his head and rested it against Brick’s leg in an attempt to ask forgiveness. 
“That’s better,” said Ben, turning away as Chief wiped his slobbery face on the pant leg of Brick’s jeans.
In attempt to restrain his laughter, Garrett looked away as Brick shook his fist at Chief.
“Have you seen anyone besides us since you’ve been here?” Garrett asked Ben.
“Nope, just you two,” he answered.
“Have you been to the other side of the river?” asked Garrett.
“No, I’ve only been to the top of the bridge,” said Ben.
“You guys want to go check it out?” Garrett asked.
“Sure, why not,” said Ben.
“Yeah, it doesn’t look like there’s much over here,” said Brick.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Read this today and thought it was worth sharing!

The Legend of the Starfish  
A man was walking along the beach when he spotted a young boy near the water. At the boy's feet, and all along the beach, were starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die in the sand. The boy was walking slowly along the shore, reaching down and tossing each beached starfish back into the ocean, one-by-one. The man, thinking he could teach the boy a lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, "I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many starfish there are along this beach? Do you think that what you're doing is really going to make a difference?" The boy looked up at the man, then down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up that starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said to the man, "I made a difference to that one." 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours yesterday with some old friends and their 16 year old daughter, Ashley, who is an aspiring new author.  I was honored when she asked me to review and edit a manuscript she has written.   Ashley is a very talented writer and I expect her career to blossom as she grows and learns as an author.  She writes with feeling and it shows in her work.  Her characters have depth and true to life personalities.  Be on the look out for Ashley Cabala as she is working towards getting published with her first Novel... "The Skull and the Typewriter".

Sunday, July 29, 2012

777 Writer's Challenge! Pass it on!

The 777 Writer's Challenge is when authors showcase seven sentences from either page 7 or 77 of their current 'work in progress'.   I am currently working on 'Willow Crossing 2-Quest for the Glow' which is the sequel to Willow Crossing and it is nearing the final editing stages.  With some coverwork and a few illustrations, I should be ready to publish soon.  I was nominated for the 777 challenge by S.L. Wallace, the talented author of the Reliance on Citizens triology.  Information about her triology can be found on her website at:

Here are the seven sentences I have chosen from page seventy seven of 'Willow Crossing 2-Quest for the Glow':

Chief, still holding the rock in his hand, touched it first to his own heart and then to Ben’s heart.  Then he pursed his pouty monkey lips and planted a kiss on the rock before he handed it to Ben.  Ben mimicked Chief’s actions, touching the rock first to his own heart and then to Chief's.  Lastly, he kissed the rock.  Instantly a light flashed and before their eyes, Max and Garrett watched as the two vanished. 
“Wow,” said Garrett.
“Yeah, wow,” said Max.  “Looks like Ben got his wish after all.”

That was fun!  And now I am passing the challenge to the following authors:

H.H. Laura
Ashley Cabala
Paul R. Hewlett
C. J. Cutayne
Bon Rose

Author interview with Rhodora M. Fitzgerald, by Inspiration Forum. I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Willow Crossing (ebook)

Willow Crossing is book one of a three part series.  It's a very imaginative read for upper elementary to middle grade students.  Four children embark on an adventure that takes them far away from their ordinary lives and the problems they deal with on a daily basis.  I set out to purposely write Willow Crossing without any obvious villians, because I believe our own inward challenges are sometimes the biggest obstacles we are forced to face.