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WELCOME TO DAY 6 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@HEALTHMN1 @RRBC_ORG #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


Unleashing the Advocacy Warrior

By

Harriet Hodgson

My husband and I live in a retirement community that has a continuum of care. He is paraplegic and I have been his caregiver since 2013. Several months ago, my husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. A bone scan showed the cancer had spread to many parts of his body. As my husband became weaker, I realized I needed help to care for him. 

Now my husband is in a rehabilitation unit. Unfortunately, COVID-19 prevents me from seeing him. I live on the 18th floor of the high-rise and my husband lives on the third floor. We are near each other, yet so far away. Being apart from each other made us feel stressed, frustrated, and down. 

Then I received a notice in my mailbox. A new program was starting. Family members could make appointments to see their loved ones. Only two family members could visit at once and they had to follow strict rules. My daughter called the contact number and was given an appointment date and time. We were super excited. 

Before my daughter arrived, I talked with my husband’s physical therapist. It was difficult to understand him because of his mask. He had difficulty understanding me because of my mask. I felt like we were going to do charades at any minute. Still, meeting the therapist gave me a chance to ask questions. Every question yielded the same answer: “That’s not in my pay grade.” What the heck did that mean?

A nurse came into the room and greeted my husband with, “Hi Handsome!” She seemed proud of her greeting. In fact, she turned to my husband and asked, “Every time I walk into your room, I say that, don’t I?” My husband answered “yes” in a flat, discouraged voice. The nurse didn’t pick up on his voice inflection and seemed validated by my husband’s reply. 

My daughter and I stayed for two and a half hours and my husband coughed most of the time. As we left the rehab floor, we met the director of nursing. Of course, we grabbed the opportunity to talk with her. We made sure there were six feet between us. The director was patient, attentive, sympathetic, took notes, and said she would give the matter her attention. 

Did I have the power to change anything? This question rattled around in my mind for hours. That evening, I sat down at the computer and wrote a heartfelt email to the director of nursing and carbon copied the director of the retirement community. This is the letter. I modified the wording to maintain confidentiality. 

Dear ______________,

Thank you for meeting with me and my daughter this afternoon. I am aware that my husband may have declined physically and mentally. I am also aware that he doesn’t feel well, hasn’t slept well since he was admitted to the rehab unit, and feels isolated and depressed.

My husband has been coughing for three weeks. He feels so badly I don’t know how he could endure physical therapy, let alone benefit from it. He feels so badly he would just as soon die. Before we make a final decision on Supportive Living, I would like him to get some sleep and for his cough to subside.

I have gotten confusing information from nurses. Yes, my husband has pneumonia. No, he doesn’t have pneumonia. Communication is my business and the communication from staff on the unit has been poor.

The physicians who founded the clinic believed the needs of the patient come first. After I talked with the physical therapist I was confused and sad. I asked him several questions and his answer was always the same: “That’s not in my pay grade.” This is not the answer I expected from a clinic employee or physical therapist. I was also upset by the attitude a couple of nurses exhibited. They treated my husband like a foolish old man in a wheelchair. Like every patient, my husband deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

I share these thoughts with you out of concern and love. My husband and I have been married for 63 years. We went together for four years before we married. This is a difficult time of life. At a time when we are most vulnerable, life demands the most from us. I am my husband’s wife and advocate and will not fail him as his life draws to a close.

The next day I received a call from the director of nursing. Since I had been tested for COVID-19 twice and the tests were negative, administration did not think I was a health risk and could visit my husband daily. I was astonished.  “I’m going to cry,” I admitted to the nurse. 

My story is not unique. There is an advocacy warrior inside you—a person ready to stand for love, quality care, and human dignity. But we must assume this role thoughtfully. Note important dates, such as hospitalization, on the calendar. File important documents in a safe place. Keep a log if you think it is necessary. Follow the chain of command. Speak in a calm voice and be civil. Remember, there is a difference between being persistent and being pushy.

You and I do not know our strength until we are tested. We are stronger than we realize. Most importantly, our loved ones need us. As my husband asked, “What happens to people who don’t have an advocate?” The famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss, explained advocacy better than I. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

Advocacy takes many forms—better healthcare, better transportation, better education, better architecture, better laws, a welcoming community, and more. One person can make a difference. Maybe the time has come to unleash the advocacy warrior in you.

*********

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:

Harriet Hodgson’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 5 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@HMKINDT @RRBC_ORG#RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


The Insect Incident

By

Heather Kindt

            “Good morning, class.” Josie smiled, but her heart beat out of her chest. “Today, we’re going to learn about insects.” 

            Twenty first graders erupted into a volcano of chatter, sitting crisscross on the floor in front of her. 

            Mrs. Randall, the principal, sat primly in the rear of the classroom, scribbling something down on a piece of paper. Had Josie done something wrong or was her boss acknowledging her use of a learning target?

            While she normally allowed her students to express their excitement, this was Josie’s first formal observation, and she wanted to make a good impression. 

            She held her hands above the students. “Shhh… I know you all want to see the insects, but we need to learn a couple of things about them first.” 

            Josie had spent five hours of her Saturday setting up the butterfly enclosures, carefully attaching the chrysalis pods to the top of the netting. Her teammate, Ms. Barker, had been teaching for twenty-five years. She warned Josie about Mrs. Randall’s ability to put first-year teachers through boot camp. Many had left the profession in tears.

            Taking in a deep breath, Josie uncovered the poster she created on the floor of her apartment the week before. It detailed the life cycle of a butterfly—a perfect circle on the poster board. She had bought a new package of markers to create the masterpiece. 

            The students resumed their chatter when they realized they’d be learning about butterflies. Josie glanced at the clock and back at Mrs. Randall. Her pen moved quickly across the paper on the clipboard.

            “Right.” Josie smiled at her students. “I need your attention up here. A butterfly is a magnificent creature. It goes from an egg, to a caterpillar, to a chrysalis…”

            “Miss Jackson! Miss Jackson! What’s a cri—so—lis?” Hunter waved his hand in the air, sitting up on his knees. He was prone to asking questions without being called on.

            “Great question, Hunter.” She paused, looking back at the principal. “Please remember to wait until you’re called on next time. A chrysalis is the place in the butterfly’s life cycle where the magic happens.”

            There were a bunch of oohs and aahs from the students.

            Josie crouched down to their level and used a quiet voice, as if she were telling them the mysteries of the universe. “Within the chrysalis, the caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly.”

            “How?” Hunter piped in again.

            “It’s God, dummy.” Elizabeth glared at Hunter. “My mommy told me that’s how babies are born, too.”

            Josie stood back up. She expected to see a horrified look on Mrs. Randall’s face, but instead there was a smirk. The old devil wanted to see how the newbie was going to talk herself out of this situation.

            Straightening her back, hands on her hips, Josie drew in another deep breath. “It’s a miracle of nature, Hunter. And so are babies, Elizabeth.” To divert any further questions, she hurried over to the counter to the enclosures. “We are going to care for our butterflies until they are ready to be free.” Josie lifted one of the habitats and carried it to the front of the class. She removed the covering. Two butterflies, that hadn’t been there on Saturday, clung to the apple slices she’d placed on the bottom.

            Josie pointed out the chrysalis attached to the top of the enclosure. “A butterfly is still growing and changing inside.”

            “One of the chrysalises died!” Rachel pointed to a chrysalis on the floor of the cage.

            Josie bit into her lip. What was she supposed to do? Ms. Barker had said they needed to be attached to the top to form correctly. “Don’t worry. I’ll fix it.”

            Inside one of her cabinets, Josie found a hot glue gun. She plugged it in to let it heat while the students observed the butterflies. If she fixed the chrysalis, she was sure to get high scores on her observations. But what if she took the students outside to set one of the live insects free? That was sure to put an exclamation point on a perfect lesson.

            She tapped her fingernail on the counter, waiting for the gun to heat. The children crowded around the butterflies, pushing and shoving, trying to get a better look. Josie unplugged the gun and crossed the room to crouch beside the enclosure. 

            “Move back, I’ve got a hot glue gun.” She stuck her hands through the netting, careful not to release the two butterflies. Applying a dot of glue to the top of the cage, she reached down and pinched the chrysalis between her fingers then held the tip of it in the glue. 

            Twenty pairs of eyes watched in awe and it was quiet at last.

            In the hushed atmosphere of her first-grade classroom, Josie dared to speak. “Do you think we should release one of the butterflies?” 

            “Yes!” the students called out in union. 

            Josie glanced back at Mrs. Randall feeling elated with her performance, expecting to see joy on the principal’s face. Instead, the woman hid all emotion, her lips set in a straight line. Josie would show her. This was going to be her magnum opus—her masterpiece.

            Skipping and jumping, the students herded out the side door to the playground. It was a beautiful fall day and Ms. Barker’s class was out for recess. The more the merrier, thought Josie. She was elated to show, not only the principal, but her teammate what she was capable of—providing the students with learning, joy, and excitement.

            Seeing Josie carrying the enclosure, many of the first graders stopped what they were doing to witness the culminating moment of her lesson.

            “This butterfly will continue its life, by finding a mate, laying eggs, and starting the circle again.” She had to speak loudly over one of the lunch bells. 

            Mrs. Randall sat at one of the picnic tables; her pen never seemed to stop. 

            “What shall we call her, class?” 

            Many hands shot up.

            “Betsy—Rosie—Bumblebee—Dora—Emily—Kate.” The list went on and on. 

            “I think we should name our butterfly, Ann.” Josie put on a huge smile and looked directly at Mrs. Randall. “After our principal.”

            The children cheered. What a perfect ending.

            Josie reached into the enclosure, coaxing one of the butterflies to the opening. It flitted to the outside of the netting then took flight above us. Tears threatened to fill Josie’s eyes with the beauty of the apex of her lesson.

            But just when she was ready to take a bow, a bird swooped down from above and swallowed the butterfly whole. The wretched creature flew off with her A+ lesson in its mouth.

            Students were reduced to tears around her. Ann was dead.

            Knowing the perfect lesson was reduced to a pile of bird poop, Josie managed to calm the students down. She gave Mrs. Randall a half-smile and said, “Tomorrow, we’ll learn about insect adaptations.”

*********

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:

Heather Kindt’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 4 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@LINNEATANNER @RRBC_ORG#RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


The King’s Champion

by

Linnea Tanner

At dawn tomorrow, I compete with every reputed warrior in our kingdom to become the King’s Champion. Defeating my opponents is almost an impossible feat for any man, much less a woman. Even so, I will triumph and win my father’s respect.

As the king’s eldest daughter, I vow to protect him and everyone in his kingdom. I stand ready to defend my father in mortal combat against any challenger vying for his crown. A true champion emblazons courage, loyalty, and sacred love for her king and family. But first, I must tell you my tale that seeded my desire to combat every warrior in the kingdom and stand by my father as his champion.

 When I was barely five winters old, my mother and I gathered with villagers to greet my father, astride his coal-black stallion. Returning from war, he was like a god towering over his worshippers as he rode through their midst. They welcomed him with chants and cheers. Snowflakes danced around him, also celebrating his return.

Shivering, I covered my mouth with both hands, suddenly ashamed about my appearance. Boys had earlier taunted me, “You have a donkey’s jaw and bray like one, too.”

 My nursemaid, a woman with ample bosoms spilling out of her low-cut dress, shooed the boys away and told me, “Don’t listen to them. You have an overbite, that is all. They’re jealous of you. You can beat anyone of those whelps.”

Her words didn’t make me feel better, though, as I studied the reflection of my face on a polished metal mirror. My upper jaw hung over my bottom lip. My upper front teeth protruded outward, making it hard for me to eat and speak clearly. Hence, I remained quiet most of the time.

When my father approached us on his horse, I drew out of my muse and swallowed hard with anticipation of speaking to him.

“What do I say to him?” I muttered to my mother.

“Only speak when he tells you to do so,” my mother instructed.

Fiddling with my plaid cloak, I recalled waving good-bye to my father in a season of blooming wildflowers before he left for war. My mother told me then, “He sails across the narrow sea to fight for a foreign army. By winter, he’ll return home.” 

During the summer and fall seasons, I never gave my mother’s words consideration about my father’s return. He was out of sight and ceased to exist in my mind.

My little sister’s soft touch on my hand grabbed my attention. She looked at me with pathetic-looking eyes. The day before, she had fallen into the hearth and caught on fire. The queen’s guard—my only true adult friend—pulled her out of the flames.

After my father dismounted onto the soggy ground, he no longer appeared a giant. He didn’t look like other men in the village with a clean-shaven face and cropped wheat-golden hair. He also didn’t resemble me one bit. My hair was dark like my mother, and my acorn-brown eyes were the same color as the warrior who saved my sister.

Father embraced my mother, then pulled away and stared at her bulging belly. “Gods above, how did you get so big?”

Mother’s burning scowl made my father whither like a green sprout under a hot sun. At that moment, I didn’t like my father for his cruel comment. He must have seen the displeasure on my face because he apologized, “Forgive me, my love. Battle hardens a man’s words.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, my mother turned to me and said, “Vala, greet your father.”

I felt like a fish gulping for air as my father bent over and squeezed my chin with his fingers. “Hmm, you look as strong as an ox,” he said amiably, but the disappointment on his face shouted, You’re as ugly as a donkey!

Conflicting emotions grappled with me. I only wanted Mother in my life, not Father. I  burst into tears—a sign of weakness.

Father gave my mother a contorted, baffled look. “What did I do to make her cry?”

Mother’s eyebrows arched in a warning for me to stop my bawling. I bit my lower lip and fought back sobs.

He shifted his ice-cold blue eyes to my little sister. “What happened to Morgana? She looks like she was in a dogfight and got the worse of it.”

My sister’s wails spurred mine. Neither of us could stop crying despite my mother’s glower. The nursemaid’s hefty bosoms smacked against my face as she grabbed my hand and reached for my sister’s arm. She dragged us both away from the people’s peals of laughter to the silence of the Great Hall. Halting near the central hearth, where my sister had fallen, she thumped my forehead with her fingertips. “Shame on you. Why did you make such a fuss in front of the king? I learned you better than that!”

I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” but snapped my mouth shut when I saw her eyebrows rise like a storm. She would answer my protest with a swat on my rear end.

The nursemaid marched us through the high-vaulted, feasting hall into the adjoining living quarters where she corralled us like cattle in our bedchamber. “You get nothing to eat,” she bellowed and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

My sister covered her face with both hands and wept. Sitting on our straw-mattress bed we shared, I cuddled her like a baby in my arms to calm her.

“Shh … shush. No cry.”

She nestled her head against my shoulder and whimpered, “Vala, my Vala,” like a mantra until we both fell asleep in each other’s arms.

*****

Later, the bang of a closing door awoke me. I wiped the drowsiness from my eyes and found Mother sitting on our bed.

“Why did you cry when your father greeted you?” she asked.

“He … he’s so mean!”

Mother frowned. “He never said an unkind word to you.”

“He thinks I’m ugly!” I declared.

“That is how you see yourself,” she said, stroking the top of my head. “Your father only sees goodness in your heart.”

I looked down at my chest in bewilderment. “Father sees my heart? Can he also see the babies in your tummy?”

Mother sighed. “No. He knows”—she touched her belly—“they are in here. That is why he has returned. To make sure I’m safe. It’s hard bringing two babies into the world.”

“When will they come?” I asked, recalling how bloody a calf looks after being squirted out of its mother’s rear end.

“Too soon, I fear.”

I could see the angst in my mother’s eyes as her gaze drifted to the closed door.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“You must always obey and love your father,” her voice cracked. “I may not always be with you.”

My stomach dropped into what felt like a tidal wave. “Where are you going?”

“I want to stay here with you, my dear. But we don’t always get our wish.” She sighed as if trying to lift the worries of the world off her chest. “Your father is outside. He wants to give you something.”

“A gift,” I squealed with excitement.

Mother turned her gaze to the door and called out, “My king, you can come in now.”

When my father poked his head through, his face burst into a big grin. “Good aft, my precious daughters. Look what I’ve brought you from my travels.” He bound into the room like a frolicking fox and held out two carved, alabaster horse heads in the palm of his hand. He offered each one of them to my sister and me. 

I took the horse head and fingered the attached leather strap. “An amulet?”

“Yes. Let me tie it around your neck,” my father suggested with a smile. “The horse is our family’s sigil—an animal guide that protects you.”

After he placed the amulet around my neck, I beamed with pride and clasped the carved horse head against my heart.

My father’s leathery face softened. “Vala, you must promise to watch over your little sister and the babies in Mummy’s belly once they are born. Can you do that for me? Will you protect them with your life and be the King’s Champion?”

A sense of pride swelled inside me with the honor he had bestowed upon me. “I am the King’s Champion.”

“Truly, you are,” he said, embracing me.

“I promise to protect my sisters,” I vowed, hoping the babies were girls.

And from that moment on, I aspired to be my father’s champion, embracing the strength to protect the weak and the oppressed.  

**********

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:

Linnea Tanner’s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 3 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@FREDSDIARY1981 @RRBC_ORG#RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


Daylight Robbery by Robert Fear

Robert Fear

Stefan removed his glasses for a moment to clean them. He glanced across at his younger brother to make sure he had seen the agreed signal. Stefan’s heart raced as he smoothed his hair and then replaced his spectacles. With an air of confidence that belied his trembling body, he straightened the jacket of his pinstriped suit and walked over to the bank teller. At the vacant window, he pulled out the documents from his briefcase and laid them on the counter.

Anton recognised the pre-arranged sign and prepared for action. With a slight smirk to himself, he looked over at Stefan as he strode across the banking hall. Anton took the mobile phone out of his pocket and activated the app the two brothers had developed. He swiped his finger over the screen and the lights in the room flickered. The security guard turned to check what was wrong while others stared upwards. Within seconds they forgot the distraction and returned to what they were doing. Anton knew the app had worked and made his way to the front entrance.

At the counter, Stefan produced a small, silenced pistol from beneath the documents. While holding a finger to his lips, he pushed the gun through the gap in the screen so only the cashier could see it. Tired eyes widened with fear as the nozzle rested inches from the terrified employee. He read the note in front of him and as instructed passed bundles of banknotes across the counter. Stefan was aware the teller had activated the alarm, but knew it was not working. He stuffed the notes into his briefcase and sprayed a brief blast of gas at the unbelieving man, who slumped forward. With a casual turn, Stefan headed for the entrance.

Outside the bank, Anton monitored the security guard as he continued to greet customers at the front door. With a glance through the window, Anton saw the disturbance behind the counter as staff attended to their collapsed colleague. His older brother joined him, and they strolled over to two e-scooters chained to the railings. They unlocked them and sped off down an alley.

A minute later they skidded to a halt by the car they had acquired earlier. After opening the boot and stashing the e-scooters, they slipped into the front seats. Anton ripped off his latex face mask and let out a gasp of relief. He watched as his sibling took off his glasses and did the same. They roared with laughter as Stefan drove them away.

Two police cars raced by in the opposite direction, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The brothers exchanged an anxious look.

Stefan snapped, ‘You switched off your mobile, didn’t you?’

Anton flashed him a reassuring smile. ‘Don’t worry. I uninstalled the app and turned off the phone. There’s no way they can track us, even if they scanned my number in the bank.’

Traffic was slow as parents collected children from school. It took twenty minutes to clear the suburbs, but then Stefan picked up speed before arriving at a secluded parking spot on the outskirts of town. After transferring the briefcase with the cash to the boot of their sports car, they dumped the masks, gun, and gas spray into a deep well at the edge of the woods. It was only then that they removed their gloves and threw them in too.

As they roared away, the heavens opened. Torrential rain thrashed against the metal of the bodywork, and the speed of the wipers increased to clear the streaming water from the windscreen. There were loud screeches from the underside of the car as they drove through large puddles.

Amidst the gloom ahead, Anton spotted two figures in uniform at the side of the road with a device pointed in their direction.

‘Slow down bro,’ he screamed, ‘there’s a couple of cops over there. We don’t want to get caught speeding.’

Stefan eased his foot on the brake pedal. They passed the police officers, who peered at them with an accusing glare. One of them was shouting into his phone.

As the brothers started to relax, another man sprang out from the bushes and threw something across the road in front of them.

‘Watch out Stef, it’s a stinger.’

Stefan mounted the pavement to avoid the strap with its lethal metal spikes. It was too late. The tyres shredded and within seconds the car ground to a shuddering halt.

A swarm of uniformed officers, with guns raised, raced towards them.

‘How the hell did they know where to find us?’ croaked Anton.

Stefan buried his head in his hands. ‘No idea bro, you did turn your phone off, didn’t you?’

A sudden wave of realisation swept over Anton’s face. ‘What if the cashier sneaked a tracker into the cash?’

‘Sod it, we should have checked that. I thought we’d covered everything.’

Their shoulders fell and both brothers let out a shriek of exasperation as guns appeared at the side windows of the car.

******

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:

Robert Fear‘s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 2 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!@JANSIKES3@RRBC_ORG#RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWR


WALK TO YOUR OWN BEAT

JAN SIKES

2020 has been a year. 

And that is a gross understatement. No one could have predicted the diverse levels of craziness we’d experience as the year unfolded. 

Not only are we dealing with a worldwide pandemic that has us wearing masks and hiding in our homes, but here in the United States, we’ve witnessed hatred and divisiveness to a degree I could never have imagined. While we watched and perhaps joined people taking to the streets to protest injustices, we also saw organized groups invade our beautiful cities and set them ablaze. Everyone is in a hypersensitive mode. History is being erased with the dismantling and destruction of national monuments, while sports teams are changing their names because someone is offended.  

The culmination of it all has left us reeling. 

I do not watch the news, and that is a personal choice. I can name lots of reasons why I stopped, but the main one is, I do not believe even half of what they report. The media uses its power to incite and ignite more hatred and division amongst us.

Folks take to social media to try and coerce others to bend to their ideals and beliefs. And they do it in the most aggressive ways imaginable. It seems no one wants to allow their fellow man to have his or her own opinions. People are not willing to tolerate differences. Families are split by these differences, leaving children confused. We are allowing those in power to turn us into a society focused on isolation and fear.

So, what can we do? 

I heard a song the other day that says it better than I ever could. The music artist is Brent Cobb, and he gave me permission to quote some of his lyrics. 

He sings about how people want to tell each other how to live and how to die. You don’t get too low, don’t get too high, which is precisely what the pharmaceutical companies exhort.

The best thing you can do is don’t listen too close. Walk on to your own beat. Keep ‘em on their toes.

What does that even mean? To me, it means staying true to your authentic self. Don’t be a part of the herd that follows blindly. Make decisions for your life based on your truth, not someone else’s. Go where your heart tells you to go. I genuinely believe your heart will never lead you wrong. 

Then, rather than to try and convince others to follow your truth, tuck it deep inside where you can nurture it and make it grow. You will never persuade another person to change their way of thinking because of the words you speak, but you can lead by example. And you can keep them on their toes. Keep them guessing about you. In other words, don’t be so utterly transparent. 

Maybe this says it better. Keep ‘em on their toes, your business outta sight. Make ‘em look left, if you’re gonna hang a right. If the pot’s hot, don’t let ‘em see your hand. Make ‘em gotta know what they wouldn’t understand. The best thing you can do when the ignorance shows, is walk on to your own beat, keep ‘em on their toes.

I love that! We live in an electronic age where privacy is a thing of the past. The only way to have real privacy is to be completely disconnected, including no cellphone.

I have had many experiences that prove to me we are always under observation. It’s easy to understand how an ad will randomly pop up after browsing for an Amazon item. But I have had things pop up about something relating to a simple conversation with a friend. Big Brother is listening. No, I’m not paranoid. Just honest and see reality. 

I do not know where we are headed as a society. The rose-colored glasses part of me wants to believe this hatred, division, hypersensitivity, and deadly pandemic we are experiencing will all come to an end, and we will go back to living our lives peacefully. But reality tells me we will never go back to the way we were before all of this chaos hit. 

We are forever changed by it all.

So, the big question remains, “Where do we go from here?”

I can only answer that question from my point of view, from my truth. I will continue to be kind. I will continue to share and celebrate others’ accomplishments. And I will continue to love my family and do my best to impart any hard-earned wisdom to my grandchildren.

I can’t visualize what this world will be like ten years from now. I can’t even picture it a year from now. So, I must live for today in the best and most honest way I know. 

I will walk on to my own beat―do my best to keep ‘em on their toes, and my business out of sight. That does not mean I can stop caring or go numb. In fact, just the opposite. I will celebrate every positive moment life brings, and I hope you will join me. Together we are stronger. Together we can make a difference. 

Together, we can keep ‘em on their toes! 

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:

Jan Sike‘s RWISA Author Profile

WELCOME TO DAY 1 OF THEWATCH “RWISA” WRITE SHOWCASE TOUR!#RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


Dear self,

Oh, the journey we have had…

Its ups and downs and sideway twists,

The moments of exhilaration,

The quickened pulse and caught breath,

The scenes that left lingering loops of trauma,

The journey we have had.

And the journey we are on…

Getting to know you

With no boundaries or judgment,

With love and kindness,

Living one new moment at a time,

The journey we are on.

Ah, the journey before us…

Awareness and acceptance all around,

Gratitude grounding us,

Pausing to make peace with whatever may come,

Living to learn from experience,

Trusting where I am is

Where I need to be,

Embracing curiosity and a zest for life,

Sharing loving- kindness with each path crossing mine,

The journey before us.

The journey we have had built our resiliency.

The journey we are on builds our strength.

The journey before us will make us whole.

I wish you well, my friend.

Yvette M Calleiro

For the 2020 Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour, I decided to write this poem. This year has been difficult for many of us, but it’s especially challenging for those with anxiety and other mental disorders. As a person who lives with an anxiety disorder, I have spent many years finding ways to manage my anxiety. I have found that a combination of neurofeedback, therapy sessions, meditation, and mindfulness have worked well for me.

Neurofeedback is a therapeutic intervention where a computer program helps retrain the brain to stay within a normal parameter for response to stimuli. Imagine two horizontal bars with a space between them. A “normal” brain would show brainwaves that stay within the high and low bar with few outliers. A brain with certain conditions would show brainwaves that jump higher or lower than the horizontal bars. Neurofeedback retrains the brain to stay within those bars.

In my case, my neurofeedback takes place while I watch a movie at my psychologist’s office. The staff connects electrodes to various spots on my head. Those electrodes connect to a computer that monitors my brain waves. That computer is connected to a program that links to whatever movie I am watching. As I watch the movie, it registers my brain waves. So long as my brain waves stay within the normal parameter, I can see and hear the movie. When my waves jump outside the normal parameter, the volume will lower and/or the screen with get smaller or fade out. Once my brain waves return with the normal limits, the picture and volume return. In this manner, my brain learns it is rewarded when it stays within the normal limits.

It sounds like crazy sci-fi stuff, and I’ll admit I didn’t really believe it would work. It took me getting to the point where my health was suffering to get me to finally try it. At first, I went every week for a few months. It wasn’t a miracle overnight fix, but one day I realized I was sleeping better and not freaking out as much. My energy was returning to me. My sessions were reduced to every other week, and now, I go once a month just for a tune-up. I am not a fan of man-made medicines, so this has been a wonderful alternative to taking pills to reduce my anxiety.

Another thing that has helped me has been therapy sessions. I meet with a psychologist once or twice a month either in person (pre-COVID) or via teleconference. I am a strong believer that every person should meet with a therapist at some point in his/her life. Some days, we just review my days and see what comes up. Other days, I bring something I want to speak about to the “table.” She helps me restructure how I perceive information and process it. It has helped me to understand and accept events in my past and to have more compassion for experiences I have now.

I started meditating as a way to silence my mind. I have a very loud inner voice. For many years, that inner voice was absolutely toxic. I had all the love in the world for everyone around me, but my inner voice made it clear there was no love left for me. It took me a long time to realize that this inner voice was not me, and I could silence her toxicity. Meditation helped me to do that.

It also showed me how to embrace a loving-kindness mentality toward myself. Those who know me casually will find this information a bit shocking because I always present myself as calm and kind and relaxed, but a cover doesn’t always reveal the inner layers within the book. It took me years to be kind to myself, and it is a journey I am still experiencing.

My meditation journey led me to mindfulness. I think of meditation and mindfulness as sisters in the same family. They are similar but distinct. Meditation is a practice where one uses a technique to train himself to become more aware or improve his attention. Mindfulness is the quality of awareness that one attains simply by purposefully paying attention without judgement. This is a great article to better understand them: https://positivepsychology.com/differences-between-mindfulness-meditation/.

Meditation helped me to silence the toxicity of my inner voice. Mindfulness helped me to become more aware of the patterns in my thoughts, see them, accept them, and let them pass through without permanence or judgment. I treasure the layer of peace it has brought me.

When I think back to the person I was six years ago, I can share loving-kindness with her and embrace the trials and tribulations she/I went through. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have suffered for so many years without seeking help. I now focus on today’s journey, knowing time is fluid and the only moment that exists is this one. I practice focusing on the here and now. It isn’t always easy, but this journey is about practice and awareness. We, as humans, will never reach perfection, and I find a certain beauty in that. We are, and always will be, a living work of heart. 😊

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tourtoday!  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:

Yvette Calleiro’s RWISA Author Profile

Twitter: @YvetteMCalleiro

Nigeria In Turmoil!


Watch Out For The Spoilers!

 I hear that some people are tribalizing the revolution taking place in Nigeria. This is the same divide and rule tactics used in keeping the people down so that while two dogs are fighting, the third one steals the bone. It worked before … not this time. Nigerian youths … be wise! This is your chance! Don’t let them steal it from you! Be on high ALERT! Continue to keep the protest, peaceful.

Watch out, hunt down and destroy those hoodlums who use the cover of your peaceful protest to commit crimes of burning public services, and destroying and looting of private properties. Keep your protest focused on the ideals on which it started, which is to bring about change and to end corruption in Nigeria. Do not allow spoilers to infiltrate your rank and files because they are now seriously at work trying to do so. Yoruba Ronu, indeed!!!

Nigeria In Turmoil!


Part 1

I was horrified this morning to see the Bus Terminal at Oyinbo in Lagos razed to the ground by fire, and all the Buses with it. That is not good at all. The revolution that is taking place in Nigeria should be aware of one thing. They should never go against public services. Because that will be like going against ourselves. Rather, they should go against all the ill-gotten goods and wealth of our corrupt rulers wherever they are. Please, compatriots, never again go against our public services. Our so-called elected officers do not ride buses, we do. So, please, don’t give them any cause to laugh at us.

Welcome to Day 1 of the “THROUGH THE NETHERGATE” Blog Tour!@RobertaEaton17 @4WillsPub #RRBC.


IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME ROBERTA EATON CHEADLE ON MY BLOG TODAY

HERE ARE HER GIVEAWAYS FOR THOSE WHO WILL VISIT HER TOUR AND LEAVE COMMENTS:

GIVEAWAY:  (3 winners) (1) e-book copy of “NIGHTMARELAND”, (1) e-book copy of “THROUGH THE NETHERGATE”, and (1) $25 Amazon gift card.

“NAME OF TOUR” Day # 1

Through the Nethergate

BLOG POST:

Who was Rex Bacon?

In Through the Nethergate, Rex Baxon is one of the evil ghosts who haunts the Bungay Inn. 

He was the eighteen-year-old son of a local clergyman at Mettingham in Suffolk and is reputed to have got into trouble for stealing money from the church collections box. The money he stole is believed to have been hidden in the inn. 

In 1682, after discovering his wife in bed with another man at the Bungay Inn, he hung himself from a beam at the top of the landing. His angry ghost is still reputed to haunt the staircase and, over the years, guests have complained about the unexplained opening and closing of windows on the landing, furniture being moved, and hearing mysterious voices. 

An extract from Through the Nethergate

“Rex Bacon emerged from the shadows under the stairs. His head ached and his arms and legs felt swollen, the muscles cramping unpleasantly.

I can’t remember feeling this tired and sore since I died

He lifted his hands and studied their backs. Huge purple patches covered the skin, which had been smoothly grey a few hours ago.

The blood has pooled under the skin just like it did when I died. Why is this happening to me?

His lips curled into an unpleasant grin as he replayed Margaret’s distress at his ghostly appearance over in his mind. 

It’s so much more fun when a human can see me. It’s been decades since that foolish manageress saw my ghostly outline hanging at the top of the stairs. 

Scowling, he remembered how she had become cheeky and familiar, teasing him and calling him Charlie Boy”. He had shown her who was boss when he pushed her down the stairs. Sadly, she hadn’t been hurt.

That had been a long time ago and he was looking forward to having some fun with Margaret. Opening and shutting windows and moving furniture around could not keep him entertained indefinitely.

The abrasions around his neck and on his hands caused by the long-ago hang rope and his failed attempts to release himself from its unyielding grip, burned and throbbed.

Why I am experiencing this pain again now? I have been dead for over three hundred years. Why am I being punished? It isn’t fair.

A fresh surge of rage and bitterness rose in his throat, constricting his chest.”

BOOK BLURB:

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Robbie Cheadle

AUTHOR BIO:

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle-grade book in the Silly Willy series, and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s books are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth; and
Two short stories in Spellbound, an anthology of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website

https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

TSL Publications: 

Lulu.com:

https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/roberta-eaton-cheadle/through-the-nethergate/ebook/product-1qkz92jq.html


To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

AUTHOR SUSANNE LEIST IS OUR RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S “SPOTLIGHT” Author!


It is my pleasure to welcome Susanne Leist on my blog today.

BLOG POST:

MY ADVICE FOR NEW AUTHORS

The best advice to a new author is to have everything in place before your book is published. Blogs and online accounts must be opened and ready for business. The book’s publication shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but an anticipated event. I learned the painful way from experience. 

Outskirts Press, a self-publishing company, sent an email stating my book was published on Amazon and Barnes & Noble with no prior warning. I hurried to check my Amazon page. The Dead Game sat on a blank page with no book or author description, the same for B & N. I raced against the clock to write a summary and author bio. It was months before I was able to sit back and take a breath. After that earth-shattering day in September, I decided never to leave myself unprepared.

My learning process evolves daily; there’s no rest for the weary author. My earliest posts appeared on Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Since then, I’ve added sites to my repertoire, including Pinterest, Instagram, and author groups. The author sites I’ve found most useful are Rave Reviews Book Club, All Author, and Authors Den. I opened blogs on Tumblr, BlogSpot, and WordPress blogs. In the beginning, I wrote poetry for my blogs and tweets as a way to market my books. Over time, poetry has evolved from a mere tool to one of my favorite passions.

A website is another essential marketing tool for authors. It should serve as the central hub for an author’s books. Mine hasn’t achieved its goal yet since I chose WIX, which is hard to use. It’s crucial to pick a user-friendly website. Newsletters are also essential to an author’s survival as a way to keep in touch with readers. 

The most useful advice I can offer an author is to do your research and be prepared. You must keep writing and never doubt yourself.

AUTHOR BIO:

@SusanneLeist
#RRBC#RRBCSA

I have always loved to read. Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum, and other authors filled my young imagination with intrigue and mystery. When I wasn’t reading late into the night, the TV shows such as Murder She Wrote and Columbo, entertained me with murder and suspense tales.

Over the years, my taste in TV expanded to include such shows as Supernatural and The Originals. I searched for paranormal, murder mysteries, but found few at the library or bookstore. So, I wrote one.

The Dead Game, Book One of The Dead Game series, brings fantasy and surrealism to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice the motley mix.

The story continues in Book Two, Prey for The Dead, as The Dead vampires use an exclusive club in Disney World to infiltrate the rich and famous. As The Dead grow in power, not even the bright sunshine of Florida can weaken them. Linda and her friends join forces with human vampires–known as hybrids–to defeat the evil threatening to control Oasis. A masquerade ball and a romp through the tunnels beneath the town lead to a showdown in southern Florida’s swamps.

The Dead At Heart is Shana’s love story. Will her love for William strengthen, or will Sam lead her on a different path? At Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, Shana and her fearless friends fight for Oasis and their lives.

A career in writing has been a giant leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. If someone tells you it’s too late in life to try something different, they are wrong. It is never too late to follow your heart.

BOOK ON TOUR:

THE DEAD AT HEART 

William’s bite bonded Shana to him, but he didn’t ask her to mate with him for life. She isn’t ready for a lifetime commitment. Now, William excludes her from his vampire meetings. Shana understands he’s an original vampire with immense powers. For them to be a couple, he has to treat as an equal partner. If William doesn’t respect her, then what are their chances of finding happiness?

Shana speaks to Linda, her best friend, of her fears.

“Paradise is an illusion.” Shana’s face grows heated as her frustration mounts. “Oasis is a haven for vampires. I’m tired of their battles. The Watchers get rid of an evil group of vamps, and another group arrives and attacks. It’s a vicious cycle. Vampires are trouble.”

“We will have a happy ending.” Linda lifts her head. “Don’t lose faith. The Watchers will protect us, and Gregg has an elite force of original vampires.” She touches Shana’s arm. “William loves you; he won’t let something happen to you.”

“The vampires keep secrets from us.” Shana swallows the lump in her throat. “I don’t want to live with vamps anymore, and I need time to decide on my relationship with William. One minute, I’m suffocating, and then the next, I’m lost without him.”

As a new enemy descends on Oasis, Florida, Shana turns to Sheriff Sam, who broke her heart. Can she trust the human-vampire?

This begins Shana’s journey to fight vampires and werewolves with Sam at her side.

An explosion at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec doesn’t stop Shana and her friends from saving their town, and maybe even the world.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Twitter handle:  @SusanneLeist

Facebook URL:  https://www.facebook.com/susanne.leist.98

Website address:  https://www.susanneleist.com/

Thank you for supporting RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author!  If you’d like to follow along with each stop of this tour, please check out our “SPOTLIGHT” Author forum on the RRBC site.