Alone – #writephoto

The child stood on the threshold of morn, his gaze to the dawning sky. “I am off to find heaven,” he said and beckoned Friend Wind to wander with him.

Grandfather Sun stretched his ancient fingers across the Earth. “I will light your path, my child.”

Grandmother Moon yawned and dipped her toe into the sea’s blue rim. “Safe journey, my little one. I will greet you at the close of day.”

The child launched his wooden boat. Friend Wind blew taut the sails and laced the waves with seafoam. The whales crooned love songs and mercurial fish glittered like schools of silver coins.

On the distant shore, the child paused where flowers dripped from trees in pink tresses. He traversed bamboo forests while Friend Wind slithered through the narrow leaves with the sound of rain. He climbed the terraced paddies carving the hills like dragon scales, and stood at the precipice where endless rainbows arced from waterfalls and painted the hills in vibrant hues.

And heaven eluded him.

Come the heat of midday, his goal carried him south to the land of pomegranates and tea leaves, and he rode camels beneath the palms. Friend Wind shared a whiff of fragrant spices and blew patterns in the shifting seas of red sand. The child gathered orange daisies in the desert, watched clouds mirrored in salt mines, and cooled his feet in fairy-pools. He hiked pastel hills and serrated shorelines looming over turquoise waters, sandstone pillars, and limestone islands jutting from the sea like fat thumbs.

And heaven eluded him.

In the afternoon, the child knelt at ancient temples, rode swans by the ruins of frosted castles, and climbed in ice caves. He capered with winter foxes in crystal fields of snow that turned into fields of tulips and lavender. He scaled giant redwoods and napped among the buffalo while Friend Wind whispered lonesome music through hollow reeds. In the twilight, he looked down into the canyons carved by water and Friend Wind laughed for he had carved those canyons too.

As the day’s end drew near, the child climbed a stone mountain that rose wondrously high, and his hopes soared. At the top of the bald dome, he looked for heaven and beheld nothing but Grandfather Sun in the mellowing sky. “I have searched the day through, Grandfather, and heaven has eluded me.”

“I have lighted your path,” Grandfather Sun said. “Now is your time to sit alone and reflect on all you’ve seen.”

The child nodded, too well-mannered to complain further. Friend Wind ruffled his hair and drifted down the mountain. Grandfather Sun winked a wise eye, and as he shuffled below the horizon, he dusted the world with gold.

“Little one, did you find heaven?” Grandmother Moon whispered over the child’s shoulder.

“Yes, Grandmother.” The Earth child smiled. “It was beneath my feet all along.”

***

The descriptions in this piece were gathered from looking at photos of the Most Beautiful Places in the World – Link Here. And Here.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for her Thursday #Writephoto Prompt.

Sunday Blog Share: Tears’ Task

A beautiful poem that seems sadly appropriate for the time.

Tear’s Task

by Julia Pennerzook

I cry more than I used to,
……..about those hungry and destitute,
……..driven into torturous perils,
……..risking all for scant hope of survival

children alone, afraid of
war, neglect, poverty, loss of home,
still unable to frame the words,
yet choked by invisible strangleholds.

I weep more than ever for people hated
……..simply for the color of their skin,
……..the conviction of their heart,
……..the level of their competencies

for all caught, vice-grip-like,
in social disparity, mere pawns –
chess pieces – subject to
unbridled narcissism and greed.

I shed more tears than I used to
…….about dogs – cooped up – caged alone,
…….worse still, used for cruel sport,
…….or confined by metal chain

about marine life perishing in polluted seas…

 

(Continue Reading: Tear’s Task)

Book of the Month… Catling’s Bane

Click on cover for Global Amazon Link

There are few online surprises quite as delightful as popping onto WP in the morning and finding an unexpected review of your book.

Or better yet, that your creation has earned a little limelight. I was grinning on Monday morning when I discovered Catling’s Bane was selected as Book of the Month on Kevin Cooper’s – KC Books and Music.

He wrote a lovely review earlier in July:

 

 

 

Already a great fan of D. Wallace Peach’s work it came as no surprise to find myself fully engrossed in each chapter as I read through this first installment of The Rose Shield. Any story that starts with hanging day is bound to bait the reader to some extent, but with her usual storytelling skills, Peach completely hooks and reels you in. The story is complex, the characters are strong, and the creatures are fantastic. The powers wielded for good and evil are unique. There seems to be no limitations to D. Wallace Peach’s ability to write gripping fantasy. I cannot even imagine what the next great installment will bring.

Thanks, Kevin!

A couple other bloggers have added to the smiles:

D. Wallace Peach creates an utterly original, lush and cohesive world inhabited by well-developed and multi-dimensional characters we instantly care about (even the minor ones), all the more so as the plot unfolds. And what a plot it is — no copycat fiction or cliche devices here. The concept of “influence” as an accepted part of life is not only entertaining but thought provoking; and the author’s attention to detail on how influence works grabs hold and will thrill true high fantasy readers who value intelligent rationale for magic. All I can say is … prepare to lose some sleep over this one. And the final chapter leads to a cliffhanger that will leave readers desperate for Book II.

I am a lifelong reader of fantasy, and out of what I’d guess to be nearly 1,000 books read to date, this book series is in my top five. Catling’s Bane is easily on par with the likes of Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle series), Karen Miller (the “Mage” series) and Glenda Larke (Stormlord series). I’m confident that many readers will, like me, add this one to their top shelf.

Kevin reviewed Erik’s book: The Best Advice So Far (also a book of the month feature).

***

In D. Wallace Peach’s Catling’s Bane, the first installment in the Rose Shield trilogy, the young Catlin lives in a world of poverty, repression, and inhumanity. When still a toddler, her mother sells her for whatever she can get, which is where Catling’s life looks up. Her new family is loving, caring, humane, with a family pig business that requires working children to run. They sell their piglets at a weekly market which coincides with hanging days–when the overflow residents of the prison are hanged to make room for others. To make this acceptable to the population, the ruling class uses ‘influencers’ to throw a web of happiness and contentment out over everyone in the crowd. People–even family members–gleefully watch their friends and neighbors killed. But Catling has the power to break that web, penetrate it, and allow others to see the horror of murder lurking below the pleasant emotions. When stakeholders on both sides of this system find out she has this ability, her life changes forever.

What an excellent start to this trilogy. The characters are strong. The passion obvious. The plot addicting. Peach’s ability to weave words into glorious pictures of events and places is perfectly matched to the fantasy world she has created. The details of this environment are exquisite and believable:

“Riverfolk moored up at the docks with skiffs bearing buckets of silver eels and glass bottles dense with luminescence. Ferries plied their way up from Ava-Grea delivering merchants and travelers from distant tiers. Pulled by waterdragons, the vessels bucked the swift current. The creatures’ green-scaled heads reared through the surface, tapered snouts sprayed clouds of mist, and fins stroked the water like wings. The voyage complete, tall rivermasters with white hair flowing like waterfalls beckoned the creatures in. They slipped off tethering ropes, and the waterdragons dove.”

Highly recommended to anyone who loves fantasy adventure and big dreams.

Kevin reviewed Jacqui’s book: Twenty-four Days just this week.

***

If you’re intrigued…

Catling’s Bane will be free this weekend.  ❤

Watchers #writephoto

I

There are moments

when the eye is beguiled

and the old brain fails

to glean meaning in signals

relayed through rods and cones,

the biological light-catchers

coloring our worlds.

I hunt for the familiar

among patterns and textures

splattered with nature’s brush

in chaotic precision.

My eyes seek fingerholds in crevices,

a path between stones

and perception of depth

before I venture a tentative step.

Yet, there are those moments

I am not meant to see

or pry open the secrets

and chart my journey

in illusory safety.

I soften my gaze

submit to the wonder

without etching borders

skip into creation

and be.

 

II

Nature’s tapestry

Paths hidden in greens and grays

Bewitch my old eyes

 

***

Thank you to Sue Vincent for the wonderful prompt that fooled with my eyes and brain.
Join her every Thursday for a new photo prompt.
Happy Writing!

5-Star Reads: No More Mulberries and Atonement, Tennessee

My writing break has freed up some precious time for reading, and I have two more reviews to share. These books are quite different. I hope you give one or both a try. 😀

Click on Cover for Global  Amazon Link

No More Mulberries

by Mary Smith

My Review: Where do I even start with all the things I loved about this book? The story is about Miriam, a Scottish midwife who first fell deeply in love with an Afghan and then with his country. It’s a story about love and loss, fear and courage, and the strength of family and the human spirit.

In many ways, this story could be told anywhere in the world as individuals, couples, and families aren’t that different from each other no matter where we find them. Miriam’s story and her emotional struggles are deeply relatable. Her search for self, her struggle to balance her various roles, to fill expectations and have her expectations filled, and her commitment to her family and community could be anyone’s story.

But Miriam’s tale doesn’t take place anywhere in the world. It unfolds in 1995 Afghanistan. The book portrays a multi-dimensional country with remote villages that haven’t changed in hundreds of years to more modern communities with a forward-leaning vision of the future. And though it’s clear in the story that love is love, family is family, and people are people, the narrative reveals the stark differences in the lives of those people marked by isolation and all it entails, and those who have high hopes for education, healthcare, and their country. Miriam’s story is deftly intertwined with the story of a country and its people, and I loved it all.

Smith’s years in Afghanistan give the read it’s undeniable authenticity, and her skill as a storyteller shines. She doles out the backstory details in small doses. They’re little gems that slowly illuminate the present story and build understanding while increasing tension and a desire for resolution. Settings are well described, the pace is steady, and characterization is flawless. I stayed up late and lost some sleep over this one.

One beautiful book that I highly recommend.

Click on Cover for Global Amazon Link

Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneviene

My Review: Esmeralda is a new arrival in the town of Atonement. She’s purchased an old estate that comes with its own cemetery and some interesting trespassers – a marvelous gang of gal-pals, an irresistible florist/handyman, and a mysterious, handsome neighbor. The magic starts off almost immediately while “Ralda” waits for the moving van and starts settling into her new life.

The tale is full of whimsy as ancient magic threads through the home and cemetery. Ralda is curious but not particularly fearful, and I enjoyed her level-headed, low key approach to the strange noises and events happening around her. The story is told mainly from her point of view. The exception is Lilith, her cat, who witnesses some of the magic but isn’t able to fill her owner in on the details.

For me, the best part of the book was the characters. If you enjoy strong female characters and genuine friendships, you won’t be disappointed. Ralda has a wry sense of humor and authentic voice. Geneviene does a great job with her internal dialog and with character interactions as a whole. The gal-pals are a delight, well-rounded individuals with a nice balance of wit and sensitivity.

Alongside the unfolding mysteries that inhabit the property, a second plotline centers on a darker “real”-life theme, which wraps up cleanly in the end. The main plot around the home’s magic and Ralda’s role in the mystery leaves a few loose ends and questions that might lend themselves toward a sequel. The minor danglers did not impact my delight in the overall story.

A light and magical read for all ages.

I’ll be taking a short break (offline) to head north and visit family.
Have a great week. ❤

Sunday Blog Share: Danny Extorts Andrew…

Since I began blogging, I’ve been an avid fan of Danny the Dog, who lived on a houseboat with Andrew, his human. Danny was a writer, adventurer, and source of witty entertainment for years. On Tuesday the 18th, Danny passed on after a much-loved life. My condolences to his friend, Andrew. I know Danny will be sorely missed. This was his last post. Read and smile.

Danny Extorts Andrew

Danny the Dog

Good morning, everybody. It is I, your favorite dog, Danny the Dog. At least I’m your favorite dog that pens a monthly epistle here on Chris’ blog.

I write about my life, my loves, and my losses—although I do not lose very often. Today, I’m here to tell you about one of my wins. And of course, it’s a win against my arch-nemesis, Andrew, my human.

For those of you who follow my exploits on a monthly basis, you know of my love of turkey slices. How every morning when Andrew and I come in from our walk, he’ll give me a few slices. And you’ll also know that we live on a boat. I only mention that because it has a bearing on my story.

So here’s the set-up. Boats have cockpits—it’s the place you steer from. There are also seats and/or benches where people (or dogs) can sit around and enjoy being out on the water. Me, I don’t get it. I love air-conditioning and all it entails…

Continue Reading: Danny Extorts Andrew…

 

❤ A small note: The link above is not to Andrew’s site. If you wish to visit, read his stories, and take in his photos, Andrew’s blog is Here.

My rug-cleaning fiasco

pixabay image

Once again, I jump in feet first and use my brain second. Mistakes and failures are great teachers, and I seem to repeatedly rely on them to make life interesting.

This one involves not writing, but rugs.

It started with Tornado Boy (age barely-4) who stayed at our house last weekend. After indulging in bowls of ice cream with Grampy, he suffered a sugar-crash, decided to go to bed, and then perked up with an ill-fated second wind – the kind that’s usually headed toward disaster. Tornado Boy left his clothes in the bedroom along with his brain and decided to enjoy the balmy outdoors in his birthday suit.

Grampy and I were on the lawn, and Tornado Boy was on the elevated deck being wild and silly. Amidst his antics, he picks up the garden hose and starts blasting the lawn and garden with water, waving it around like a lunatic and trying to spray us. We’re laughing at how cute he is until he aims the hose at the open window into our living room.

Grampy and I yell to stop, but Tonado Boy is in Crazy-Over-Tired-Land, and the water is spraying a jet stream into the house. From where we’re standing, there’s no access to the deck and, completely delirious, Tornado Boy is having the time of his life. With no end to the torrent in sight, I sprint around the house, take the steps three at a time, run the length of the deck, and grab the hose. Tornado Boy looks at me with a bewildered expression and explains that he was “washing the house.”

Grampy disappears for a walk with the dogs while Tornado Boy and I face the mess.

The living room is soaked: couches, chairs, rug, computers, tables, mail… the floor is a puddle. I drag the rug outside onto the deck, move the furniture around, and use every towel in the house to dry things off. We all take a deep breath and go to bed.

The next day, after Tornado Boy goes home, I decide that I might as well wash the rugs since they’re long overdue for a cleaning.

(This is where Grammy has her turn at making a mess.)

I drag the upstairs rug out to the deck too. I go down to the barn and get the rug-cleaning machine, bring it up to the house, and fill it with water and dish liquid because I don’t have any rug cleaner and I’m out of laundry soap. I tap the ON button and nothing happens. The Hoover is dead (unsurprising since it was in the barn during the last flood).

But that doesn’t stop the determined. I squirt dish liquid on the larger of the two carpets and get out the hubby’s power-washer. If it can blast moss off the deck, it can blast dirt out of the rug, right? So I spray the carpet and start scrubbing it with my bare feet. I water some more, add more soap, and lather it up. Works great!

Then, I try to spray the soap off.

Well, spraying soap off a flat, saturated rug doesn’t work, even with a power-washer. It creates bubbles, lots of bubbles, massive impenetrable mountains of bubbles. I need to drape the rug over the deck railings so I can hose off the soap, but full of water, it weighs about 400 pounds. It’s not budging until it dries – soap and bubbles intact.

Having learned from my mistakes, I march off to tackle the smaller carpet. I drape it over the rails first, skip the dish liquid, and just power-wash it. Easy peasy. It will dry in place.  A couple hours of blogging later, I find the large carpet dry enough to drag and heave over the tops of the deck chairs for a hose-down. I check the clock, and the rugs have 5 hours to dry before Grampy gets home from work.

By the time the Subaru climbs the mountain, all evidence of the crime is cleaned up. He’ll never know. And my carpets look clean!

Now, I guess you can see which side of the family Tornado Boy takes after. 😀