WELCOME TO WENDY J. SCOTT’S NEW BOOK REVEAL: SLEIGHED, A CHRISTMAS TALE!


WENDY, I AM HONORED TO HAVE YOU ON MY BLOG TODAY. I WISH YOU A VERY FRUITFUL TOUR

Sleighed: A Christmas Tale #ShortStory by Award-Winning #Author WJ Scott #NewRelease #Free

FREE eBook on Amazon KDP 18-22 January 2021 –download now! 

Amazon Universal Link http://mybook.to/Sleighed

Sleighed: A Christmas Tale #ShortStory

by

Award-Winning #Author WJ Scott

Youtube link: https://youtu.be/QGx59ifI3Aw

Blurb:

Tinsel is the newest apprentice in Santa’s Workshop, but this young elf lands himself in strife on his first day!

He’s sent to care for the reindeer and instead ends up on a magical adventure.

Will the Toy-Inspector allow him back into the Workshop?

A fun Christmas story for younger readers and those young at heart.

Amazon Universal Link http://mybook.to/Sleighed

Post

In March 2019, my sister (who lives in Canada), visited me in New Zealand, and we embarked on a memory tour. We revisited places from our childhood, including Queenstown, where our grandmother used to live. 

Our great-grandfather had been an engineer on the iconic century-old coal fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, back in the day when it transported stock and supplies across Lake Wakatipu. We enjoyed a delightful sunny cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm.

During our travels, we set a challenge, to each write a 1500 word story. I chose to write a Children’s Christmas story, based on a writing prompt from my Aspiring Author Series, and that’s how, ‘Sleighed’, came to be created.  

Aspiring Author Series Link Aspiring Author Series (6 book series) Kindle Edition (amazon.com)

Author Bio:

Author Wendy Scott
Gold Medal Winner The Wishing Shelf Book Awards UK
Silver Medal Winner International Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
www.wendyjscott.com
www.hieroglyph.ws
Sign up for Wendy’s newsletter: http://www.wendyjscott.com/contact.html
New release information and special offers
Free books offer http://www.wendyjscott.com/
See More from Wendy Scott.

Wendy Scott has a New Zealand Certificate in Science (Chemistry), which allows her to dabble with fuming potions and strange substances, satisfying her inner witch.

Wendy writes short stories, fantasy, and children’s novels. Her books have won multiple awards.

One of the creeds she lives by is to always – Live a life less ordinary!

Full book list http://www.wendyjscott.com/

Amazon Universal Link http://mybook.to/Sleighed

Connect with Wendy:

Children’s Websites

http://www.authorchildrens.com

http://www.hieroglyph.ws

http://www.tails-wjscott.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenAuthorWJScott

Twitter:

@WendyJayneScott

Pinterest:

WELCOME TO DAY 3 OF “THE ENIGMA THREAT” RELEASE BLOG TOUR! @ENIGMASERIES @1RBURKEY @4WILLSPUB @4WP11 @RRBC_ORG #RRBC


(1) $25 Amazon Gift card & (10) e-book copies of the “shorts” in the Enigma Serie

4 Wills Tour Day 3

Breakfield and Burkey wanted to share the research requirements of the Enigma Series. 

Our day jobs require we stay abreast of current technology trends. This gives us the ideas or focus for a given book. We perform additional research for specific details we weave into a story, to verify the capabilities. Then we weave the storyline around real technology that is available, while allowing the right characters to use that knowledge. In our stories the Heroes and Villains are technologically savvy, so it often becomes like a chess game of who finds the next play or block first.

For example, in the latest story, The Enigma Threat, we spent a good deal of time research abandoned satellites still orbiting the earth. The general assumption is that once the satellites duty cycle was completed, it would simply route into the atmosphere where it would burn up during reentry. As it turns out, there are numerous satellites still orbiting the earth, but not used or in some cases actively responding to communications. We had a field day with this revelation in the story, which you won’t want to miss.

We want to share a few of the juicy tidbits into The Enigma Threat. Research for us comes from collaboration with many people, insights of plans for upcoming offerings, and volumes of white papers. However, we also take comments from beta readers and reviewers to improve our stories. One of our beta readers offered some insight we refused to ignore. They stated, “I hate reading author’s stories that use the same formula for each book in the series. I want fresh and different, but something that makes me think.” 

Toward that end, we’ve had reviewers who have done several of the books in the series. One such reviewer stated, “These authors don’t fall into a familiar pattern for a story plot. If you think this will be the same as last time, you will be disappointed.” We like to have some twists to make people think about the possibilities. We like quoting Arthur C. Clarke’s Don’t give me more, give me better. Breakfield and Burkey heartily subscribe to this mantra.  

Our research is always turning up something new. Once upon a time business determined the direction of technology. That shifted, as Burkey often suggests, when the demands of users in our digital world shifted to optimizing experience of the individual first. All the devices we have at our fingertips highlight that with a myriad of applications, some safe, some questionable. 

This helps provide for a fresh new attack vector always ahead of the good guys. In cyber security the hackers and crackers are always ahead of the good guys. Many times, hackers take this route of breaking something as part of a challenge, or to say they could. Sometimes they look for the profits. Today the profitability is unbelievably high.  Each new Darknet threat comes as an unexpected guest who will not leave until counter measures are built. In our world, the fiction is real. We like our characters to bring readers into our Enigma Universe.

Sadly, people often don’t believe they are vulnerable until an event. Most people say, “I usually don’t think about security but when I do it’s always too late”. The events can be modest or overwhelming such as a data center gutted by cyber malware, their daughter calls crying that she needs $4,000 in cash or she is going to jail, or all the medical records of a hospital will be published on-line unless $250,000 in Bitcoin is transferred in the next 24 hours. Cyber extortion is alive and unfortunately well in today’s age of instant communications. With it comes instant infections. These viral infections are not just of computer operations but also the poisoning of people’s thinking with false information.

This is the research we do daily to build technically accurate problems that our heroes of the R-Group must remedy.  The frightening reality is the Darknet attack vectors are aimed at the individuals as much as companies. Our characters and our scenarios are built on people who have crossed our paths in truly vulnerable situations. 

We hope the readers of your blog, take a few minutes to review our Kickstarter campaign. There are additional details on The Enigma Threat, the book trailer, and special backer only offers.  

BREAKFIELD AND BURKEY TOUR SHEET – THE ENIGMA THREAT

Video teaser – https://youtu.be/JQSQdAjCLPE

BLURB:

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

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

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

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

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

BIO:

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

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

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

Email:            Authors@EnigmaSeries.com

Website:       www.EnigmaBookSeries.com

Blog:              https://EnigmaBookSeries.com/the-enigma-chronicles/category/blog-statement/

Connect and follow on Social Media:  

LinkedIn:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesbreakfield  and

https://www.linkedin.com/in/roxanneburkey

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/EnigmaSeries  

and https://twitter.com/1RBurkey

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

YouTube:      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Vz4x5ctTnx3yUhZk1OJkw

Pinterest:     https://www.pinterest.com/enigmseries/

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

Bublish:        https://bublish.com/author/breakfieldandburkey

RRBC:            https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/about-breakfield-burkey-enigmaseries-rrbc-rrbc_community/

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

INTRODUCING #AUTHOR, TRISTAN JACKSON! #DREAMTHEIMPOSSIBLE #MOTIVATION #INSPIRATION


I am honored today to welcome on my blog this young and talented author, Tristan Jackson.

The books being featured today are… 

“DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Dream the Impossible is about Tristan Jackson quest to achieve her dreams of attending college. I was not born with a golden spoon in my mouth; it was made of white plastic. I was born in the ‘hood of Houston, Texas called the Fourth Ward. They would say, I was born into the drug life or the “hustling life. I knew God had a better plan for my life and I was determined to break the generational curses. My lifelong lesson has been to find my own identity in this sometimes crazy and very harsh world. It has been said that you are product of your environment. I am the struggle, and it is definitely real. There is also an old saying that the road to success is often paved by failure, as it is one of the most important steps. The obstacles I have faced in life have all been orchestrated by God. 

“HOW TO STAY CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS” 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(Jeremiah 29:11)Written to encourage you not to allow the most difficult situations to make you give up. God has great plans for your life in spite of what you’re facing. How to Stay Calm in the Midst of Chaos offers encouragement for daily life and provide inspiration and strength. God will never leave you nor abandon you. The Bible is filled with the promises of God. From Genesis to Revelation we read of normal people that received the promises of God. These promises are sealed by the highest authority, God’s word. Fervent prayers produce phenomenal results. 

“WAKE PRAY HUSTLE REPEAT” 

Chances are you’ve seen this phrase on social media or you perhaps have seen people wearing T-Shirts with the words Wake-Pray-Hustle-Repeat written on them. Wake-Pray-Hustle-Repeat is more than a catch phrase; it’s a radically different approach to life and living out your dreams. It’s only when we stop fearing failure that we can fully seize every opportunity in our lives. I am not an expert on fear, nor do I pretend to be an expert at all. However, my fears at times have gotten the best of me and caused me to lose out on opportunities. I was born into the hustling life. Determined to break the curses in my family, I wanted my hustle to be positive and to inspire people to achieve their dreams. Wake-Pray-Hustle-Repeat—I would watch my mom repeat this every day after giving up the hustling life; working low-wage jobs, struggling to keep the lights on and food on the table.  

Please pick up a copy of this author’s book and follow her on social media. 

Social media links

www.tjinspires.com

Facebook/Instagram/ Youtube: TJInspires 

Bio:

Tristan Jackson is a self-published inspirational author, who began writing in 2012. A first generational College Graduate and Business Owner. In August 2015, she decided to focus on her gift and released her debut work entitled “Dream the Impossible”. Tristan Jackson was raised by a single parent in a small low-income neighborhood in Houston, Texas. Ms. Jackson was determined to break the generational curses in her family. First generational Author, College Graduate, Educator, and Entrepreneur. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral studies at Texas Southern University. Tristan Jackson’s message is about Perseverance & Never Giving Up! Owner of TJInspires and Inspired_Scentz.

Since 2015, Tristan Jackson has written over 10 books and is the Co-Author of two books.

Her favorite quote is “Never give up.”  Tristan writes under the following genres:

Inspirational, Motivational, Children’s Books, College and Self-Help

CHRISTMAS BOOK SALE


Here’s to all book lovers! This season, while you sit on your warm and cozy sofa in front of a crackling fireplace, you can travel the world with these books crafted especially for your reading pleasure.

Check them out 

  1. Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women.

This book gives you a glimpse into some aspects of the lives of Igbo Women of Nigeria with focus on their battles and successes, but mostly on their resilience and determination to live. 

Here, the author captures the heart of the Igbo culture, their beliefs, and that part of their lives that remains a mystery. This is not a Zombie story. It is the story of Life and of Life after.

This coming-of-age story sees the protagonist going through life’s hurdles, alone in a foreign country. 

A selection of Short Stories featuring life’s different pits and falls.

The Life of a Toddler and all the pains of growing up. A great read for your kids aged 4 -8.

Life in the city can be very treacherous. Here is a story which says, “you may never know who your neighbors are”!

.    Not Again, Grandma – A Really Short Read

A children’s story about Grandma losing it!

.    The Agent of Death – A Micro Read

Death, we know is the final destination. Why does it seem in this story that death has targeted one family?

JOIN IN THE CELEBRATION OF #RRBCAUTHOR @SHARRISLAUGHTER, #RRBC’S NOVEMBER “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR! #AUTHOR OF #OURLADYOFVICTORY


Blurb:  

This is a second edition with updates on the state of this historic church. In the original publication files were lost then resurfaced with content altered along with missing photos during transition from one publisher to another. Such is the fate of an Independent Author.
This book evolved out of years of frustration at the total disregard and lack of respect for the contributions of Black Catholics in the city of Detroit. The author says, “We are not mentioned in the pages of history along with the other Catholic churches that sprung up during the World War II era, and that needed to be corrected.” The author did fulfill one dream since publication … that this church can now be found on the web even though it has merged with another church. It is now called Presentation-Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

Book trailer:  

https://youtu.be/aF3ZBZFn3AY

WELCOME TO DAY 11 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@NONNIEJULES @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


…IN THE WORLD OF WE

By

Nonnie Jules

…IN THE ORLD OF WE

We often hear that music is the universal language.  It is the avenue to bridge all divides – 

racial divides

gender divides

political divides.    

But, in the midst of all the division, 

each party holding court in their respective corners of the ring, 

ears lightly tickled by the sound of the simple “IMAGINE” by John Lennon, 

wafting through the musky air of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons –

a mist of standstill calms the noise

…and in mere moments, the eyes of “independent” onlookers are pleasantly greeted by the most beautiful and welcoming sight –

…bodies slowly rocking

…hands collectively raised

…waving side to side

…all in unison  

…chanting

 “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try…”

The 2020 US election has ended. The people have spoken. 

What’s left behind?  A world of anxiety and angst – wrapped in feelings of wondering when the bombs will drop, or when the other shoe will fall.  And although I’d like to point fingers here and maybe even call a few not-so-pretty names, my daughter sits beside me as I write this, an ear to measure the “nice” level in my words, the child guiding the parent.  Roles reversed, she gently reminds me that the original goal of this message is unification – therefore, I will stay the course of peace.

In this moment, acknowledging that my conscience of decency is bigger than any emotion that might be stirring the embers of fires that have burned deep inside me for the past few years – neutrality is my cohort, and we will not take sides. 

Instead, all that will be allowed to roll off my tongue is FACT…

one reign is ending  

and another about to begin.

Some exultant…

others despondent

Yet, now is not the time for either.

Yesterday is gone, 

today almost a memory, 

but what awaits us in tomorrow 

is what WE decide it will be.  

This is not the land of us and them – 

this is the world of WE.  

WE decide what, who and how WE want to be.  

Do you resemble love, or, are you wearing the likeness of hate?  

What adorns your heart, a choice only you can make … for you. 

So, I have made my choice – and it is firm and true!

I choose love. 

To love,

to be loved,

to speak love,

to exude love,

to live love. 

Because I know that what I send out into the world, will be exactly what the world returns to my doorstep.

It is for that reason that I shall…

remain steadfast in my vigilance –

cognizant of any negativity that might try to seep in or out of my pores –

Skillfully suppressing the desire to gloat in the face of the so-called “losing” side.  

I’ve too much pride…to stoop so low.

The 2020 US election has ended.  The people have spoken.

There were no losers. 

WE are a world of winners.

Remember, WE decide

what

who

and how

WE will be

in this…

beautiful

colorful

everchanging

world of WE

“Imagine there’s no country
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace…

It’s all easy if WE try.”

**********

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

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 10 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@JINLOBIFY @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


IROKO

By

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

In the past, nobody would have taken notice of Iroko, the biggest and tallest tree in the forest. But then, cities started to grow and to eat into the forests. Trees were cut to make way for the growing cities. But the Iroko tree resisted being cut down. Any time an axe cut the tree, the axe either broke or the cut bled, real blood., and cries, ear piercing cries, like human cries were heard coming from the tree.

            In the forest, next to Iroko, lived an old woman in a tiny mud hut. Bent by age, she diligently cared for the tree. She was known as the eyes and the mouth of the tree. She listened to the tree, when the leaves rustled and interpreted the language of the tree to outsiders. She was called Nne Oji. Oji is the Igbo name for Iroko, and Nne Oji means Iroko’s mother. Iroko was as tall as a skyscraper, about one hundred and seventy feet high, and the width was as wide as fifty men surrounding the tree with outstretched hands, fingertips touching. Iroko was huge, towering and intimidating!

            The stories surrounding Iroko were such that settlers decided to let it stand and the town grew all around and away from it. Things went on peacefully for a while, but soon it became clear that Iroko did not like the exposure it was getting from the people surrounding it. After all, this tree was the king of the forest, where both trees and animals revered it. Now,standing in the midst of humans, with no one paying it any heed, all of this would change very rapidly.

            People, especially those living close to where Iroko stood, started reporting strange happenings around Iroko in the dead of night. Those who were bold enough to come out and watch these happenings, reported seeing dancing and merrymaking around Iroko by people they believed were spirit people. These spirit people went in and out of Iroko as if they were walking in and out of their homes. They sang and danced in merriment from twelve midnight until two in the morning, after which they packed up and walked back into the tree. Those who observed these goings-on, did so from afar and in hiding. 

The story was told of a young boy who had the misfortune of being seen by these spirit people. He was taken and was never seen again. He had heard the stories of the happenings around Iroko, so that night he snuck out of his house and walked toward Iroko to take a closer look. Voices were heard warning him not to come closer, but he continued walking toward Iroko until he entered the sphere of the tree where everything turned grey. At that point, the boy lost control of himself and was pulled along until he disappeared in the mist and was seen no more.

The mother watched everything in hiding in paralyzed shock. The other people who watched in hiding were also mystified. They couldn’t believe their eyes, but they dared not allow themselves to be seen.

The next morning, the mother saw a huge striped cow tied to an orange tree in front of her house. The cow was chewing cud. The woman walked around the cow trying to understand how it came to be there. The town people also took notice and started gathering and questioning the presence of the cow. Out of nowhere, a young boy with only a loin cloth around his waist appeared and spoke to the onlookers.

“Mama, Iroko says you should take the cow in exchange for your son. Iroko says you should not kill the cow. You should sell it and use the money to take care of yourself.” With that, the boy turned and walked through the crowd and disappeared. 

Everyone there was seized with shock and they quickly dispersed. The woman cut the cow loose and started shooing it off from the front of her house, but the cow would not budge. 

The woman started to weep and pleaded with Iroko to return her son and take back the cow.

“Iroko give me back my son and take your cow!” she implored. “I don’t want your cow!”

The next day, the woman saw the cow at the back of her house, peacefully lying down near her hearth and chewing cud. She ran out toward Iroko.

“If you won’t give me back my son, Iroko, take me too!” she screamed at the top of her voice. Iroko’s leaves started to rustle. Suddenly, the old woman in the hut materialized and stood between the woman and Iroko.

“Go back, Mama!” the old woman said. “What you seek cannot be done. Your son is gone, dead and Iroko has paid you in exchange for him. Go back or you will meet the same fate!”

The woman refused to be stopped. She pushed the old woman down, walked over her and continued to approach Iroko. By this time, people had started to gather and were watching. The woman threw herself at Iroko and just like magic, the onlookers saw sparks of light, like fireworks, all around the woman. They heard her screaming and shouting like someone roasting on a stake. When everything died down and the sparks were no more, the people saw that the woman had metamorphosed. The woman had changed into an animal, something that looked like a dog, or a goat. No one could really tell. The people dispersed but this time they all had one thought in their minds – that Iroko must go.

            Iroko’s fame continued to grow even beyond the immediate town. The townspeople also became bolder. They consulted with diviner after diviner to find out how to get rid of Iroko. They tried everything, without any success … one attempt took the lives of twelve men. They tried to burn Iroko down, but the fire turned against them and burned them to death. One diviner suggested that the spirit of Iroko resided in the old woman who tended it, and that if the old woman was killed, Iroko would quietly and slowly die. 

            The townspeople burned the old woman’s hut down with the old woman in it. The next day, Iroko started taking souls. People started disappearing from their homes, both in broad daylight and at night while they slept. 

Finally, an Iroko priest from a distant land told the people how to destroy Iroko. 

“Humans should not fight Iroko,” he said. “They should appease Iroko. Iroko trees do not live amongst humans. Before you people started building your town, you should have appeased and pleaded with Iroko to leave your town. As you can see, Iroko was simply minding its own business, when you people decided to invade its privacy. Now you have to sacrifice to Iroko to appease it.” 

            The townspeople had to pay this priest to come to their town to perform all that was needed to appease Iroko. There is no need to list here all that Iroko demanded, which included the blood of virgins, before it was appeased. The morning after the ceremony by this priest was concluded, the people came out and watched as the inhabitants of Iroko exited one after the other and disappeared; the birds of various families, the giant ants, red and black, dark dangerous black snakes – all came out of Iroko hissing, grumbling, and then poof,like smoke disappeared. But the king of all the animals, a giant Eke python, refused to be dislodged. The people had to pump inflammatory liquid into Iroko and set the python on fire,to dislodge it. It came out rumbling, twisting, and floundering, until it, too, disappeared.

            Finally, Iroko was cut down. Mystery upon mystery, not one single hole existed in the cut tree. It was intact with rings showing how many hundreds of years it had stood there.

**********

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

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Joy Nwosu Lo Bamijoko‘s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 9 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@WENDYJAYNESCOTT @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


The Crystal Tavern

by

Wendy Scott

This piece is in remembrance of my Creative Writing student, Gill Pontin, who suddenly passed away in October 2020. Gill was an artistic dynamo whose enthusiasm, creativity and laughter will be dearly missed. She was a key participant when our group developed a new world, Creedland, and this story is set in Vape Town.

“Whoa, boy.” Blade Driscoll tugged on the reins and pulled his destrier to a halt. He surveyed the outskirts of Vape Town, unsurprised by the ramshackle buildings and pock-marked roads. The air reeked of burnt sugar and the back of Blade’s throat tingled. Between his thighs, Stormbolt shifted, wrinkling his equine nose and shaking his head from side to side. The horse’s plated armour clinked together destroying any attempt at stealth. Blade nudged his mount towards the main street, the sooner he finished his business in this cesspit the better for his sanity.

Pink-eyed townsfolk slunk away from the war horse’s hoof spikes. Pastel smoke billowed from a series of chimney stacks and led him to the front steps of the Crystal Tavern. Scantily clad fairies with tattered wings slouched against the verandah railings. Out of habit, Blade scanned their faces but didn’t recognise any familiar features. He didn’t waste his breath asking after his friend as their vacant stares and pink-tinted irises indicated their minds were lost in a kaleidoscopic haze.

Crystal Pink was manufactured from bog flowers and utterly irresistible to fairies. Its euphoric buzz leached away their magic, attacked the delicate blood vessels in their wings, rendering them flightless, before their bodies swelled to human size. The only way to gain their fix was to enslave themselves to Gurezil Flintsunder, owner of the Crystal Tavern, the unofficial mayor of Vape Town, and the largest whore-master this side of the Despicables. Lowlifes flocked from every dark corner of Creedland to sample the unique fairy delights.

Blade dismounted and left Stormbolt’s reins dangling, ready for a speedy exit. Anyone foolhardy enough to try to steal the stallion would learn how hard the war horse could bite.

Blade checked his weapon inventory. If blood flowed today, he didn’t intend any of it to be his.

Before the saloon doors swung shut behind him Blade tugged a bandanna over his mouth and nose. Steam laced with cotton candy sweetness curled through the dimness. Chunks of crystals simmered in heated ceramic bowls, producing bubbles and sickly fumes. Each table featured glass paraphernalia plugged with multiple hoses. Tendrils of pink smoke escaped from the pipe tips.

Pain pulsed in Blade’s forehead and his eyes watered. He sipped shallow breaths as he scanned the front parlour, counting four patrons slumped in the booths. Their hands grasped the tubes as if they were lifelines. Fools; it was death they courted.

A month ago, he’d rescued Maie Quickthistle from Gurezil’s clutches, sneaking her away while the tavern slumbered. When she’d surfaced from the drug’s grip she’d attacked him like a demented harpy, begging for her next fix. He responded by locking her inside a rented room, but she’d broken out the window and hightailed it back to the Crystal Tavern. After that failure, he decided to change his tactics.

A bartender slumped across the bar and ignored Blade as he slid into an empty booth and shuffled into the shadows. From here he had an unobstructed view of Gurezil’s office door and a ringside seat to the drama he knew was about to unfold. The next bog flower shipment was due within the hour, and he wanted to witness Gurezil Flintsunder’s reaction when he learned his entire crop had been destroyed. The poison had cost Blade his life’s savings but the wizard assured him that this would taint the bog for generations. With one application he’d wiped out the only source of Crystal Pink.

Half an hour later, boots thundered along the passageway and a man hammered his fists on the office door. “Boss, there’s a problem with the latest shipment.”

Gurezil flung the door open and stomped into the hallway. “If those imbeciles have stolen as much as one flower I’ll strip the flesh from their hides and feed it to the fairies.”

“There are no flowers.” The man held out a limp vine. “Something’s wrong with the whole patch.”

Gurezil snatched the vegetation out of the man’s hand, lifted it above his nose, and sniffed it. The blood vessels on his cheeks blazed beetroot. “Stinks of spoiled magic. There’s no time to waste, saddle up the horses and the wagons, we need to salvage what’s left.”

Blade stayed in the shadows until they disappeared outside. Whistling, he ascended the stairs two at a time before gently opening every door along the top corridor. A rush of stale air tainted with the drug’s signature sweetness filtered into the passage. Fairies dozed on bunks, oblivious to his presence as their minds languished in a hypnotic blur. He didn’t desire to be anywhere near Vape Town when their mass withdrawal kicked in. Dealing with one psychotic fairy was enough to test a man’s mettle.

He counted his blessing when he found Maie Quickthistle out cold, making it easier to transfer her onto Stormbolt’s saddle. As a precaution, he bound her hands together and checked her pockets for hidden daggers. Earlier, he’d prepared a campsite in the surrounding woods as he understood the next two days were going to be tough on the both of them.

If he’d known how sharp fairy teeth were he might have reconsidered this rescue plan. Bloody bite marks and grazes marred his forearm and face, and he was sure he was missing a piece of his ear. His ears throbbed from Maie’s constant shrieking, and he hoped she’d have no memory of all the things she’d offered him in exchange for a fix.

After a sleepless 48 hours, his eyes were redder than an addict’s and his thoughts foggy. Maie’s limbs contorted into a fetal knot and whimpers escaped her throat. She was quieter than earlier, but he kept his distance as she’d lured him into striking range before. He yawned and struggled to keep awake. Perhaps he’d snatch a moment’s rest.

Something fluttered against his cheek and Blade wrenched his eyes open. Tiny fairy wings whirred close to his face. He held still as Maie planted a kiss on the tip of his nose. “You saved me.”

Lightness flooded Blade’s soul. “Of course, that’s what friends do.”

***********

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

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WELCOME TO DAY 8 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@PTLPERRIN @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


SUNSET

By

P.T.L. Perrin

Eden backed her Boston Whaler, Eden’s End, away from the dock, swung her nose into the current and gave the outboard a little gas. Still in the no-wake zone, her granddaughter hung over the side near the stern and trailed her hand in the water.

“Leigh, a shark’s gonna bite that thing right off.”

“No, it won’t. See the dolphins alongside?” She pointed her dripping finger at a pair of breeching dolphins. “Everyone knows they protect folks from sharks.”

Eden shook her head, grinned, and watched the sleek bodies leap through gray water until the pod outdistanced them. She’d never heard of a shark this far up the intracoastal, but she enjoyed teasing Leigh, even if the girl didn’t like it much. Besides, she wouldn’t have to put up with it after tonight. Her heart dropped at the thought.

Right now, they needed to get into the channel where she could open the throttle and let her fly. They’d need a bit of speed to get through the chop at the inlet’s mouth.

“Where’d you stash the drinks, baby girl? I’m thirsty.”

“Coke or ginger ale?” Leigh reached into the cooler behind the captain’s bench and waited for Eden’s answer.

“We have any bottled water?”

“Yuck.” Leigh wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out. At thirteen, she didn’t care for plain water. She grabbed a coke for herself and tossed the water toward the captain’s bench, where her grandma easily caught it.

“Come up here with me.” Eden scooted over, but Leigh grabbed the canopy support bar and stood next to her to wave to passing vessels.

They entered the main channel and accelerated. “Look at them all!” Leigh held tight to the support with one hand and with the other, pointed out small boats like theirs, yachts and excursion ships heading out to sea. “I’ve never seen so many in the channel all at once. Is all this for the sunset?”

Eden didn’t answer. She glanced at her granddaughter and wished she could keep this moment forever. Evening light bathed Leigh’s face in a gentle glow, the pink in her cheeks showing through the Florida tan she wore summer and winter. Her luminous eyes, the same amber as the natural streaks in her sun-bleached hair, crinkled at the corners as she squinted at the water. She’d be a beauty in a couple years and Eden had looked forward to scaring the sin out of any boys with the wrong idea. Just another thing she’d never get to do.

The chop demanded her attention, so she drove while Leigh held on and whooped every time their bow hit another wave. The sea calmed when they reached the Gulf of Mexico, and they found a spot to drift about a hundred yards out, away from other vessels. The current turned the stern toward the northwest, where they had a perfect view of the horizon to the west and the inlet to the east.

Eden moved to the cushioned top of the cooler in the aft cockpit. Leigh joined her, pretended to push her off with her hip, and settled close. She sipped her coke while her grandma threw an arm around her in a hug. 

The ocean breeze played with Eden’s short hair and blew tendrils of Leigh’s long hair across her chest. Eden reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a hair tie.

“Turn around, baby girl. You don’t want hair in your eyes just as the sun sinks, do you?” Leigh leaned forward while her grandma caught her hair back in a tail. She reached for a blanket bunched on a corner seat. 

“Here, Grandma. The breeze is a little cool.” Leigh pulled it over their laps.

A bank of cumulous clouds towered to the east, each layer a living painting, shifting through pink, purple, orange, and salmon in majestic slow motion. A low swell slapped against the hull, a rhythmic percussion to the visual symphony.

Eden took several deep breaths, enjoying the tang of salt air with a hint of seaweed. The scent of grilling fish tickled her nose. Her mouth watered and her stomach rumbled. They’d eat with Leigh’s parents later, at one of the seafood places on the main dock. A special treat.

Leigh snuggled close to Eden, who pulled the lightweight blanket up to cover her girl’s shoulders. 

“Are all endings sad?”

Eden swallowed hard before she could answer. “Not all.”

“Like what? Name some happy endings.”

Eden dug past the lump in her heart to find one or two. “When the prince kisses the princess and they live happily ever after. When the hero escapes from the dungeon.”

Leigh slapped her arm. “I mean for real.” She turned her gaze toward the setting sun, now barely touching the horizon’s edge. “I can think of lots of sad endings. Like when we had to leave our friends in Minnesota. And when Scruffy ran away. And when…”

Eden interrupted. “Farmers are happy when a drought ends. And what about the end of an icy cold winter? You had those in Minnesota, remember.”

“Oh, yeah. But the end of snow wasn’t so happy.”

Eden grabbed her granddaughter’s hand and pointed toward the sun, now a half-circle sitting on a dark line.

“Every ending starts a new beginning.” Just saying it lifted her own spirits a tiny bit.

Leigh picked up on it. “School starts at the end of summer. I like school.”

“And cooler weather,” Eden reminded her.

“Morning comes when night ends. I’ll be fourteen when thirteen ends.”

“And we’ll meet in heaven when life ends.” Eden wanted to take back the words as soon as they left her mouth. She sucked air in thick gulps to keep from bursting into tears. She felt her granddaughter tremble.

Eden turned Leigh’s face toward her and kissed her forehead. She kissed each precious cheek and wiped her tears away with her thumbs. “You know I’ll always love you, don’t you? Everything I have is yours, and no matter what, we’ll see each other again.”

“Death is a sad ending, Grandma. I don’t care what the next beginning is. I don’t want you to go.” Leigh covered her face with her hands, bent over her grandma’s lap and sobbed, shudders racking her body and tearing the heart out of Eden. 

“Watch, Leigh. Sunset isn’t over yet.” 

Leigh sat up, wiped her eyes, and took a shuddering breath. Eden’s heart swelled with love and pride at her granddaughter’s courage as the ocean swallowed the last sliver of sun, leaving the eastern clouds a gray canvas. There should have been more drama.

Eden returned to the console and started the engine.

“Wait, Grandma. Can’t we wait for the stars to come out? I need more time.”

Eden turned the key off and wrapped her arms around Leigh’s slender body. They sank to the deck, neither trying to control the eruption of grief tearing at their cores.

When their sobs turned to hiccups and they let each other go, Eden lifted Leigh’s chin and pointed to the sky. “Look at that magnificence, baby girl. God’s story written in the stars. You’re there, and so am I.”

“What do you mean, Grandma?”

“Our last sunset is an ending, but tomorrow’s a new day for both of us. I’m going home very soon, and you have a long life ahead with happy endings and beautiful beginnings.

Leigh sighed and snuggled close. “And we’ll meet again. In heaven, right?”

“That’s right.” Eden returned to her bench and turned on the engine. “I’m hungry and your parents must be starving. How about you?”

Leigh nodded, stood, and held on to the support. “I love you, Grandma.”

*****

Leigh backed her whaler, Eden’s Dawn, from the dock and headed to the channel where she joined a smattering of fishing boats, her lights joining theirs on the way to the Gulf. Her daughter snored softly, asleep beside her on the bench. Leigh tapped her shoulder to wake her.

“Faith, we’re getting to the chop.”

The child stretched and yawned, jumped to the deck, held on to the support, and whooped at every wave they hit until they reached calm water.

“Now, Mommy?” Faith pointed at the pretty box on the console that held Grandma’s ashes.

“Soon.” Leigh headed out until land was a smudge to the east and cut the engine. “Now, Sweetie.”

Leigh and Faith held the box over the stern together. Leigh kissed it, and they dropped it into the ocean while the sun rose behind a cloud bank, its golden rays streaming out to paint the morning sky pink and orange.

Leigh hugged her daughter as the box sank beneath the waves. “Goodbye, Grandma. We love you.”

Faith reached up and held her mother’s face between her small hands. “Are you sad, Mommy?”

“A little. But every ending starts a new beginning.”

Leigh lifted Faith to the bench, kissed her, and turned Eden’s Dawn toward home. 

***********

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

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WELCOME TO DAY 7 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@MAURABETH2014 @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


CHRISTMAS WITH AUNT ALICE AND THE PINEAPPLE

By

Maura Beth Brennan

You could say the trajectory to that strange Christmas Eve began on the Saturday before, when Mother and Father took us to Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia. There were five of us, counting my two little brothers and me, and we were there on our yearly trek to see the renowned Wanamaker’s Christmas tree and hear Christmas music played by a live orchestra.  

After the concert, we wandered around the store, admiring the decorations. Mother was especially taken by the centerpiece on one of the tables in the furniture department. There, a pineapple, resplendent in a coating of golden spray paint, nestled on a platter filled with fresh pine boughs and sparkling ornaments.

“Oh, isn’t that lovely,” exclaimed Mother.

“I think it’s stupid,” said Father. Father was usually a cheerful person, full of jokes and funny stories, but that day he was grumpy, facing the prospect of having to eat lunch in Wanamaker’s Mezzanine Restaurant, where, as he put it, “They only have lady food.” 

Mother rolled her eyes at me like she did sometimes, now that I was thirteen, and apparently had been admitted into the Sisterhood of Aren’t Men Silly. I rolled my eyes back at her, straightened my shoulders, and stood straight and proud. 

Mother worked feverishly all that week to prepare for the holiday and finally, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we all decorated the tree. In those days in our house, the tree was brought into the house on Christmas Eve and not a day before. Father would spend hours groaning, shouting, and trying not to curse as he secured the tree to the walls. You read that correctly. Father was sure that the tree would escape its confines when left to its own devices, wreaking havoc, and so would place it in a corner and tether it to each wall with nails and the thickest string he could find. Only then could our tree, safely restrained, be adorned. 

The tradition was that we would listen to Christmas carols as we all performed our assigned decorating duties. Finally, Father would finish with gobs of silver tinsel and, with a flourish, turn on the lights. After the “oohs” and “aahs” died down, we would head to the dining room for Christmas Eve dinner.

That’s how things usually went. On this particular Christmas Eve, though, as we were filing into the dining room, a loud shriek emanated from the direction of the kitchen. 

“Oh, SSSSSHIP!” 

Mother shot Father a look. “Aunt Alice.” she said.

I should have mentioned that my Great Aunt Alice was visiting. She was extremely old and, on holidays, came to stay with us. We kids loved Aunt Alice. She was funny, though not always intentionally so, told us fabulous stories which she made up herself, and she loved to curse. This was a great learning experience as I saw it. However, my parents had recently had a discussion with Aunt Alice about this behavior. I listened in, rooting for Aunt Alice, and it went like this:

Father said, “There are children here, Aunt Alice. Think of the children.”

“But you curse, and you’re my favorite nephew,” Aunt Alice replied.

Father countered with, “Look, Aunt Alice, that’s different. I’m a man, and I was in the Navy during the War.”

Aunt Alice, voice rising, shot back, “Oh, come on. What a crock of—”

“Stop!” yelled Father.

“POOP,” Aunt Alice screamed. “I was going to say POOP.”

Mother chimed in, “That was better, Alice. Crude, but better.” Then she swooped in for the finish.  “Alice, Dear, you are so creative! Why, all those stories you tell, I’m sure you will have no trouble coming up with interesting things to say when you’re upset. If you want to keep coming here to be with us and the children, that is. It’s completely up to you.”

“Dag blig it,” said Aunt Alice.

So on that night, hearing that strange cry, Father rushed in the direction of the sound and we all followed. I, for one, hoped it meant a ship was visible from our kitchen window, though we lived nowhere near a body of water. That would have been a treat.

But there was Aunt Alice in the kitchen, crawling along one of the counters and opening and closing the cabinets, a fairly tricky situation. Father caught her just as she was tumbling from the counter, having been pushed off by the cabinet door she was trying to open.

“Aunt Alice, what are you doing?” Father shouted. “You could have broken your hip.” 

“Forget my bleeping hip,” Aunt Alice shouted back. “Where did you people hide my flipping glasses?”

Father pointed to the glasses dangling from the ribbon around her neck.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, it’s about frogging time.” 

Finally at the table, all proceeded well, although Mother seemed distracted. She cleared the dishes and started toward the table with our desert, at which point Aunt Alice laid her head on the table and moaned, “Oh, why won’t they let me have a beer?”

“You know why, Aunt Alice,” Father said. “You’re on that new heart medication and the doctor said you can’t drink.”

“But you’re drinking,” she said, pointing to Father’s glass of wine.

“Now, look Aunt Alice,” Father began, but Mother interrupted him.

“Don’t worry, dear, I’ll get you something,” she said, patting Aunt Alice on the shoulder,  and winking at Father. She signaled to me to follow her into the kitchen.

“She’s been so good, with the non-cursing,” Mother said. “I better come up with something. Do you think we could fool her with some grape juice?” 

I was honored to be included in this weighty decision and offered my solution. “Let’s add vinegar,” I said. That will make it taste like wine, I bet.”

“Hmmm,” said Mother. “Well, I don’t drink, because I think it tastes terrible, so I’m not sure . . .”

She filled a crystal goblet with grape juice and topped it off with a splash of white vinegar. She handed the glass to me. “How does it taste?” she asked.

I took a sip and immediately spit it out. “Yuck!” I said. “It tastes terrible.”

“Well then, that should do,” said Mother.

She took the glass to the dining room and handed it to Aunt Alice, who brightened up and took a sip.

“Ah,” she said. “Now that’s more like it.”

After we settled again, I noticed that Mother still seemed distracted, which I attributed to all the work she had been doing the past week. But suddenly, after desert, she threw her hands to her face and cried out, “Oh, no! I forgot to spray a pineapple!”

Father sat back, threw his napkin on the table, and burst into hearty guffaws. “Oh, Mary,” he said, “now that’s a good one. A pineapple! Heh, heh, heh, like that silly thing we saw last week?” He shook his head. “Mary, I have to say, every once and a while you come out with a good one.” He wiped his eyes and grinned in Mother’s direction, then stopped cold when he saw her face. “You were kidding, Mary, right? Kidding about that funny pineapple thing? Mary? Sweetheart?”

But Mother rushed from the room and we could hear the sounds of things being thrown around in our pantry closet—pots clanging, wrappers rustling, cans and boxes colliding. Before long, Mother emerged, a look of relief on her face, displaying the elusive fruit—one glorious pineapple. We all applauded, and Father sprang from his chair to escort her back into the room. But Mother glared at him. “I have things to do,” she said.

Father looked like he wanted to go after her, but Aunt Alice tugged on his sleeve. “Can I have more of this wine?” she asked. “It’s delicious.”

I washed and dried the dishes, and soon it was time for my brothers and me to go to bed. I heard Father call to Mother once, asking if he could help, but she shouted back, “You just leave me a-lone.” I imagine after that he kept what is known as a low profile.

On Christmas morning everyone jumped out of bed, eyes shining, faces bright with smiles, even Mother. 

And what a beautiful sight lay before us. The Christmas tree glimmered in the darkened living room, surrounded by gaily wrapped gifts. And visible through the archway was the dining room table, draped with a golden cloth and graced with an arrangement of fragrant pine boughs and glittering gold Christmas ornaments. Nestled in the greenery sat the singular, spectacular, gilded pineapple.

“Oh, Mary,” said Father. His face flushed and his eyes looked a little watery. “It looks beautiful.”

“Well, I’ll be a son of a—,” began Aunt Alice, but Mother grabbed her elbow.

“Don’t even think it,” she whispered. Then she smiled her lovely smile and said, “Let’s all just wish each other” and we all chimed in—

“Merry Christmas!”

**********

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

Maura Beth Brennan’s RWISA Author Profile