Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Mental Ward - Iguana Gates (21)

       The whole reason Emery had taken this job at the asylum was because her family was facing hard times.  But times had not always been this hard for the Claytons.  Once upon a time, Emery's father had been an undergardner at the grand Carlysle Estates.
      Emery grew up in a modest little home on a backward street, not far from the Carlysle Estate.  Every morning, her father kissed them goodbye and left for work.  And every evening, he returned home with stories for his girls and money for his family.  On rare occasions, he took Emery with him to work.  Emery loved the gardens and the big house, but the thing that fascinated her every time she and her father went through the gates were the iguanas.
      They were huge, created out of wrought metal, entwining themselves in the gates.  Such exotic creatures did not exist in the city, and Emery thought they were mythical dragons.  But her father told her that they were patterned after iguanas that the master had seen on his travels.
      Emery was 10 years old -- and Alfred was just a baby -- the last time she saw the iguanas.  Shortly afterward, her father came home with no job.  The Claytons left their modest little home for a tiny apartment, and then they left the apartment for a drafty room on the poorest end of town.
     Things did not improve for the Clayton family.  Soon after Johnny was born, their father left to search for work.  He sent letters home at first, but it had now been over two years since they had heard from him.  Emery's mother worked until she got sick.  And now their only hope was Emery's new job at the asylum.
     Rumor had it that the illustrious Carlysle family had not faired well since that date either.  Their fortune was intact, but they lost something that money could not buy back.  Their daughter died around the same time as Emery's father lost his job.  And Lady Carlysle had worn black ever since.  Emery's mother told her children that they must forgive the Carlysle's for dismissing their father and harbor no ill will against them.

     All of this rushed through Emery's mind when Beth talked about the iguanas, and she stared at the girl in disbelief.
     "You couldn't have been there when I was," Emery murmured.  "I would have remembered you.  I played with all the other workers' children."  She cocked her head at the girl.  "You would have been about 4 years old when I was last there.  Maybe your family came there later.  What did your parents do for work?"
     "I sat in the Box and thought about it all the time." Beth leaned dreamily against the wall in the hallway and chewed her lip.  "There was a whole roomful of toys!"  Her face lit up.  "I liked that room."
     Emery nodded her head sympathetically.  She knew what it was like to see other people's pretty things and not be able to touch them.  "But you couldn't play with them," she prompted.
     Beth jerked her head up.  "Yes, I could.  They were MINE."
     "Yours?"  This didn't make sense.  "Then maybe you only visited there.  Because the Carlysle's only had one daughter and she's d..."  Emery's voice trailed off.
     Beth nodded and pointed to herself.  "Elizabeth Carlysle."  She cocked her head at Emery and lifted one corner of her mouth in a half-smile.  "And we had a cat named Precious."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Snippet: The Little Messenger

     Detlef stepped back from the tree and blinked, half-expecting her to disappear.  But she still stood there.  “Hello,” he called gently.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Mental Ward - Columns and Iguanas (20)

     Emery slowly rose to her feet and moved toward the door.  No superhuman strength reached out to stop her.  She bumped against the table, and her hands traced its sideways outline on the floor.  Just a few steps beyond that, she found the door.
     She pulled it open, letting light into the room.  Then she turned and surveyed the mess.
     Glass littered the floor, and it looked like a giant had been playing tiddlywinks with the furniture.  And Beth was on the floor by the wall.
     She lay there like a ragdoll that has been dropped.  Her bare legs peeked out from under her white gown, just like they had on the night Emery first saw her.  And she looked like Beth again.  Her face was calm except for her wide eyes, and she sucked on her thumb.
     Beth pulled her thumb from her mouth.  "Did you see Him?" Her voice was full of awe.
     "The Man that saved me."  She lifted her eyes to Emery's face.  "He ran IT off.  And He talked to me."
     Emery shook her head.  "I didn't see him, Beth."
     Beth puckered her forehead.  "Do you believe me?"
     "Yes.  I believe you."  Relief flooded through Emery, and she sagged against the doorway.  She felt exhausted and happy.  Not the kind of happy that jumps around.  More like the kind of happy a mama feels just after her baby is born when it has been a long hard road to birth him.  It's too deep to be frivolous.  "The One who saved you is Jesus, the Son of God.  He's the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  And no man comes to God except through Him."
     "I know."  Beth's tone was matter-of-fact.  She scooted her legs under her and stood up.  "I want to go home now."
     "Home?  Where is home?  Do you mean the Box?" Emery cocked her head at the girl.
     Beth shook her head.  "No.  MY home.  There are flowers and grass and trees.  The house has columns and the floors are shiny."
     Emery laughed.  "Are you sure you didn't dream that?  It sounds like a mansion."
     Beth chewed on a finger, ignoring Emery's suggestion, as she meandered into the hallway.  "When I left..." she frowned.  "...I looked back and there were iguanas on the gate."
     "There were..." Emery spun to face Beth.  "...Iguanas, did you say?"  Emery's hand flew to her mouth.  "I think I've seen that place."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Deep Emotion

As writers, we are known for having a knack with words.

But what happens when the emotion runs too deep for words?

     We've all had it happen.  Sometimes we make a face instead of speaking.  Sometimes we do nothing as the shock of an event (either beautiful or horrible) ripples through us.

     Every now and again, this phenomena occurs when we read something that was written by a master-writer.  And we lean back in our chairs with nothing clever to say, too overwhelmed to write a decent comment in return.

     We want to say something.  To express our appreciation in some way.  Maybe we decide that we simply can't, and we walk away without letting the author know that a person was touched by their writing.

     Or maybe we rack our brains for words -- all the while feeling like everything that was worth being said was already taken by the author -- and we come up with a comment like "That's nice." or "Sooo good."  And sometimes our comment looks so amateur in comparison to the piece above it that the comment seems almost abrasive or disrespectful.

     What's the solution?  Time.  Maybe.  Because, even with shocking events in our lives, when the shock wave passes, most of us turn to writing to release our emotions.  So, perhaps, if we postponed our need to comment, we could come up with a more expressive response.  But the commitment to go back to posts and put thought into it again and again is overwhelming when new posts are coming out every day.

     So, then, maybe we won't pursue a solution.  We'll keep sitting back in our chairs, feeling our lives changed forever, and make a comment like "Great story!"...

--Like I did today--

...And hope the author understands.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Mental Ward - Emery faces Goliath (19)

     Beastly paced around the exam room.  Her eyes were wide, and her breath came in quick gasps.  She blew a puff of air like a high-pitched moan when Emery appeared and shut the door behind her.
     "IT's got me.  Tell a story, Emery.  Quick, Emery.  Flowers and trees and columns..."  She threw her arms over her face and shook her head from side to side.
     Anger suddenly flushed Emery's face.  She hated whatever it was that torment Beth like this.  Hated it.  She held her head high.  "Not flowers this time...but Jesus."
     Beastly uncovered her face with a scream.  Her face burned red, distorted into a hideous shape.  "Not that One!"  The voice that came out from her lips was low and hoarse.
     "Yes.  That Name."  Emery took a step forward.  "He's the only One who can set you free.  Do you want to be free, Beth?"
      Beastly shook her head, her eyes dark with fury.  "Not that One!" The voice inside her spoke again.  She spun to her left, crashing against the wall.  She paused for a moment as a trickle of blood ran down her forehead and over her brow.  Then she whispered, "Help."
     Emery talked fast.  "The God who made heaven and earth sent His only Son to die for Beth because He loves her so much.  And because His Son Jesus..."
     Beastly crumpled to the floor and laughed eerily.
     ...died for you, you can be free.  He saved you.  He bought you back.  IT cannot have you anymore.  In the name of Jesus, IT has to leave."
      Beastly leaped to her feet and rushed at the one light in the room.  Emery had but one glimpse of the repulsive face and the wild, crazy eyes before the room plunged into darkness with the sound of shattering glass.
     Hands gripped Emery's shoulders -- small hands, but so strong that Emery couldn't believe they were Beths.  The grip was tight...pinching...and Emery cried out.  Suddenly the hands threw Emery to the ground.  Emery threw her hands out too late.  Her chest collided with the ground, knocking the wind out of her.  Something small and hard jabbed into her ribs.  Somebody was kicking her.  Emery tried to roll away but she could not escape the blows: ribs, stomach, head.
      Emery kept rolling and landed on her back.  For a split second, the feet that hammered against her disappeared.
     She barely had time to catch her breath before Beastly landed on Emery's stomach and chest.  Emery flung her arms up instinctively and caught hold of the slender wrists.
     She heard a snarl.
     Beastly was holding something. Emery's finger brushed against it as she wrestled the hands that were moving toward her throat.  It was
     The light bulb.
      Beastly was planning to kill her with the lightbulb.
     Emery gripped Beastly's wrists, trying to shove them away from her, but those hands were overpowering her own.
     "In the name of Jesus, IT must leave.  IT has no power over us.  IT cannot torment Beth anymore."
     A wildcat scream answered her.  And another.  Suddenly Beastly rolled away from Emery, wrenching her wrists free of Emery's hold.
     Something crashed -- the bed maybe.  Another crash -- maybe the table.  A shriek -- like from a dying rabbit.  The sound of scuffling and thrashing.
     Then silence.
     Emery strained her ears, but she could hear nothing but her own breathing.
     "Oh, Lord, my God," Emery whispered.  "Show me what to do!"

Friday, October 23, 2015

The First Submission Form

     My submission form for AAM is in the mail.  This means I am committing that, whether or not I submit the other two stories, I am definitely submitting AAM.  I got wonderful feedback from a beta yesterday that thrilled my soul.  So, we're going for it (as soon as I get an email from Rooglewood saying that they received my submission form and are ready to receive the manuscript).

     I read some snippets of Rachel Heffington's writing a couple days ago and was significantly humbled.  It made my writing look like stick figures -- (very good stick figures, of course) -- next to Mona Lisa.

     Some people make a "good living" drawing stick figures.  They manage to pour enough heart and soul into those figures, and the simple pen strokes become popular and meaningful to many people.  So my stick figure drawing may not be bad.  It may just be the way I write.  But at the same time, I think it could be better.  I think, if I read good writers and study my craft, that a little bit of that will rub off on me.

      That's one of the reasons I am excited about the possibility of winning Rooglewood's contest.  Can you imagine what it will be like to work with their editors?  If my story wins, it will be because they believe in my story like I do.  And we'll be on the same team to bring out the elements in the best way.

     And that's exciting.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Snippet: The One That Matters

The noise pounded around Detlef’s ears…and faded as he searched for her face.  Would she be cheering as well?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Howard's Boys

     "Look!  It's a girl!"
     I felt my cheeks flush as the cry spread across the barracks.  But I held my head high.  I wasn't about to let a bunch of boys deter me from seeing my Howard.
     The rush of soldiers, running toward me like roaches away from a light, nearly changed my mind.  I rubbed my palms nervously against my dress and looked around for a safe direction to flee.  But the first boy reached me and screeched to a stop, holding out his hand like a gentleman.
      "You're Howard's girl, aren't you?"
     He caught my eye as he spoke, but it was his words that paused my flight.  Howard's name has some sort of power over me, like a password into my heart.  It has always been that way, since I first had a crush on him in the third grade.  So, instead of running, I slipped my little white hand into the big one suspended in front of me.
     "Jameson Whartead, but you can call me Jamie."  He introduced himself, shaking my hand at the same frequency as you would shake a doorknocker.
     The rest of the boys reached us.  I held my head even higher, feeling like a fawn surrounded by wolves.  But my mind grasped at the name offered.
      "Jamie..." I pulled my hand free of his grasp.  Suddenly the face in front of me connected with a series of wild stories.  My imagination quickly settled that this was the man who pranked every single soldier in the barracks.  "I believe Howard mentioned you in his letters."
     "Sure he did!  Howard and I are best buds!"  His grin spread from ear to ear, and from the twinkle in his eyes, I knew I wasn't mistaken in his identification.  He turned from side to side, nodding at the other boys.  "In fact, we're probably all in Howard's letters."  He threw his arm over my shoulder and spun me to face the crowd.  "There's Robert and Walt, Cranky and JimBo, Liam and Kenneth,..."
      The names were familiar, and I felt myself relaxing.  The faces surrounding mine were friendly.  These were Howard's boys.  The ones I had heard about every week. They were young, these boys.  If it weren't for the war, most of them would still be on their mama's farm or settled down with a sweetheart just down the road from where they grew up.  My heart yearned for them, wishing I could bring some taste of home to them.
     "Howard will be back an-y min-ute," Jamie drew the words out, punctuating them with promise.  "Now you just sit down over here, and we'll keep you company until he gets back."
     Two boys offered me their arms, and I took both of them.  "Thank you, boys."  I smiled shyly around the group.  "Now tell me about yourselves."
     "Oh, you don't want to know about us."  One of the boys pulled his cap off and placed it sideways on his head.  "We ought to tell you what a swell chap Howard is."
     "I already know that.  But you can if you like."  I took my seat, and the lot of them swarmed into position around me, close enough to suffocate a girl.  But, somehow, I didn't mind anymore.  They were as dear to me as my own brothers.
     Because they were Howard's now.
     My Howard's boys.

The Mental Ward - Run (18)

     As Emery raced down the hall, a voice called out to her from the Box.  "You there!  Girl!"
     Emery slowed her steps.  "What is it?"
     "Pansy is not doing so well.  She's coughing up blood." The voice hissed.
     "Oh, no!" Emery stopped and ran to the door of the Box.  "What do you need?  I'll try to get it for you."
     "We need a doctor."  The voice was frustrated and impatient, laced with fear.
     Emery held her breath, thinking.
     "Are you still there?" The voice demanded.  "She's not going to make it through the next night if we don't get some help in here."
     "I'm here.  I hear you."  Emery rested her hand against the door and said a quick prayer.  "I'll get help."
     The scream of a cougar ricocheted through the building.  Emery threw her head up, her eyes wide.  IT was in power again, and Emery had never heard it so loud.
     "Oh, God, it's Beastly!" someone in the box cried out.  "We're going to die!"
     Then Emery heard Beth's voice, halfway between a scream and a sob.  "E-mery!"  The sound tore at Emery's heart, as if Beth was calling out for the last time to the one person who had ever cared about her.
     "Run, girl!  Run!" A voice from the Box urged.  "Get away if you can!"
     Emery turned and ran with all her might.  But she wasn't running away.  She ran straight toward IT.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Glass Bowl

Today was a fun day.

Today was the drawing for my 2-year anniversary celebration.

First of all, I went through my comments and followers to see who earned entries in the drawing.

Then I wrote the appropriate number of names on pieces of paper.

And I put them all in a glass bowl.

[I couldn't find the glass bowl I was thinking of, but this one worked perfectly.]

Then came the fun part.  The drawing.  I wish you could have been here.

     But you can imagine it.  And in your imaginations -- because you are gifted readers -- it will probably be even better than the real thing.

     Drum rolls.  Suspenseful music.  A crowd of eager spectators holding their breath.

And that one piece of paper that my hand closes on.

I unfold the paper and read...

Congratulations, Hanne-col!!!  I hope you enjoy this beautiful little box!!!  Please give me your email address in the comments below (I won't publish it), and I will email you to get your mailing address.  Or you could give me your mailing address in the comments below, since I'm not publishing it.  Yep, that would work, too.  :)
[P.S. Hanne-col, I'm not sure where you live or how often you check my blog.  For all I know, you found a time machine and are currently fighting in the French resistance. ;)  So if you live outside the U.S.A. or you take longer than a month to contact me with your address, I will figure some other prize for you instead of the box, okay?]

Thank again, to all of you.  I wish I could send beautiful gifts to everyone because the whole purpose of this was to thank each and every one of you.  Thank you so much for joining my party this week and celebrating 2 years of blogging with me.  Hurray!

I'll see you tomorrow with the next installment of The Mental Ward.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Mental Ward - Contact with Base (17)

      Emery craned her neck, searching for a safe landing place, as she dragged Beth down the hall.  The girl was still whimpering, her arm over her face.
      They passed Beastly's Box and turned left down an auxiliary hall.  "I have to get them some food and water," Emery murmured.
     A door hung open on their right.  Inside was a table, an exam bed, and a light.  Emery led Beth inside and sat the girl down on the bed.  "Wait here."
     "Tell a story about green grass and red flowers and tall, tall columns -- like home." Beth begged, shifting her shoulders from side to side.
     "Shhh.  I'll be right back."
     Emery fairly flew down the hallway.  From the supply closet, she found clean cups.  She took a handful to the bathroom and filled them with water.  They sloshed over her dress as she hurried back to the Box, but she didn't slow down.  She opened the tiny feed slot in the locked door.
     "I have water," she whispered.
     "Bless you!  Everybody is waking up now, and we are parched."  Hands reached out, taking the water from Emery.
      "Food is on its way."  Emery scrambled back up the hallway.  There was no sound coming from the exam room where Beth sat, but Emery was afraid to leave her for too long.
     Emery burst into the office, gathering several tins of food.  But at the door, she paused, looking back at the intercom on the wall.  Impulsively, she set the food down, ran to the wall, and pushed the button.  "Hello?"
       For a moment, nothing was heard.
       Then..."Hey!  We got her again!  Miss Clayton?"
     "We're okay," Emery said.  "There are a bunch of staff members hiding in the room that was once Beastly's.  I think everyone is conscious and stable."
     "Wonderful, sweetheart.  Now we need you to do something for us.  We need you to find the control box."
      "The control...?" Emery's words faded as she realized what they needed.
     "This asylum is locked down.  Every window, every door, every vent and pipe.  We can't get in unless we have that box or we use an explosive."
     Another voice interrupted.  "Amherst!  What you are asking that young lady to do is dangerous!  Don't you realize there is a lunatic on the loose in there?"  The voice spoke louder: "Miss Clayton?  Just stay hidden.  We'll find a way in."
      "With all due respect, we've tried that.  There's no way in.  Now unless you want to turn this asylum into a tomb for an untold number of people..."
     Emery twisted away from the intercom and scanned the room.  Where would somebody hide such a thing?
     In her mind, Emery suddenly heard Beth's voice: Want to see what I got? And her eyes dropped to the sheet under the desk.
     "I can find it."  The confidence in Emery's voice surprised her.  "I'll beep through to you again soon.  Don't call me.  I have to go now."
     "God be with you, Emery!" The voice that burst through at the last minute was familiar, even through the static.
      Emery's heart caught like a hiccup and her confidence melted. She spun back to the intercom.  "Mom!" she cried, throwing both hands against the intercom speaker as if she could touch her mother through it.
     But the intercom was silent.  The team on the other end was honoring her request to wait for her next call.  Tears spilled over Emery's cheeks.  Was her whole family out there, waiting for her?  Praying for her?
     This had been the longest day ever.  And Emery wanted nothing more than to throw herself into her mother's arms and cry.  She wanted to feel the rough hands brushing over her hair, soothing her.  She wanted to be a little girl again, with no job, no asylum, and no...
     Emery pushed away from the intercom.  She couldn't say she wanted no Beth.  Beth needed her...even more than Emery needed her mother.
     And her mother was praying for her.  Emery was sure of it.
     "I can do all things," Emery whispered, "through Christ who strengthens me."  She wiped her tears away with a little laugh.  "Mom won't even recognize me any more -- she always called me her timid one.  And look at me now."
     Emery scooped up the tins of food and hastened away to deliver them to the Box.  She was beginning to feel uneasy about Beth.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Snippet: Mysteries

     He chuckled.  “You still don’t get it, do you?”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beta-readers Needed

     The king of Hanadil throws a ball to find a suitor for his beloved daughter, Ilona.  But more things are at stake than anyone realized.  As long-held secrets come to light, the suitors will be tested beyond expectations.  And when the deepest secret of all threatens to plunge Ilona into eternal sleep, only one man can save her.

     I had one person read AAM and give me feedback, and she was amazing.  I would love to have another couple of readers.  Is anybody willing to volunteer?  It is close to 20k words, and I'd like to start my final round of edits by the first of November (if you think you can give me your feedback by then).


     In a galaxy far from our own, a planet trembles under the forces of good and evil.  Every member of its society is subject to the age-old pact with the lab known as SPINDLE, which periodically reaps the planet for test subjects or “sleeping beauties.”  Can Mikaya escape their clutches?  Or will she, too, be subject to one hundred years of tortured sleep?

     A couple people read SPINDLE for me, and I made some changes based on their feedback.  I'd like to have it read a couple more times to see if it is better now.  It's less than 13k words.  Any volunteers?


     If you are interested, leave me a comment below.  I won't be publishing the comments on this particular post, so you are welcome to use it to give me your contact info.  Thank you, guys!!!

The Mental Ward - Her Name (16)

     Tears welled in Emery's eyes and she blinked them away.  "Hi."  She forced a smile.  "Are you hungry?  Let's see if we can find some food."
     Beastly released her hand and trotted up the hallway.  "I know where some is."  She disappeared into the office.
      Emery followed.  She found Beastly rummaging in the bottom of a metal cabinet.  "There's probably only paper and office supplies in here, Beastly."
     Beastly's head emerged and she shook her hair out of her eyes.  "My name is not Beastly."  Then her face disappeared again.
     Emery puckered her eyebrows.  "Then...what IS your name?"
     "Elizabeth," came the muffled reply.  "Or sometimes just Beth."
     "Beth." Emery said it slowly, awed at the difference a name makes.  "Why do they call you Beastly then?"
     Beth scooted back from the cabinet, her arms full of tins and glass jars.  "Because of IT."  She shoved her shoulder in the cabinet door, slamming it closed.  "When IT takes over me, then people call me Beastly."
     A jar slipped in Beth's arms, and Emery rushed to help her.  They set the things on a desk, and then Emery peeped inside a tin.  It was full of peanuts.
      "Good work!"  Emery opened another one.  It had old, stale Christmas cookies.  "Are these all full of food?"
     Beth nodded, stuffing a Christmas cookie into her mouth.
     Emery lifted herself onto the edge of the desk and sat there with her legs crossed at the ankles.  She scooped a handful of peanuts and then asked, "Who is IT?"
     Beth licked her finger and used it to pick up cookie crumbs that had fallen on her white gown.  "IT does bad things and I can't stop IT.  IT is too strong.  Big men can't stop IT.  The asylum can't stop IT."  She cocked her head up at Emery.  "But you can.  Every time you tell a story.  You stop IT.  Why?"
     Emery didn't know what to say.  She had never heard of anything like this before.
     Or maybe she had.  In a Bible story about Jesus.
     "I suppose..."  Emery looked up into Beth's hungry face, and the words suddenly came quickly.  "It's not me.  It's the One in me that IT can't stand.  I'm a Christian, and IT can see that.  And IT hates it.  Because there is power in the name of Jesus that is stronger than IT."
     "You're like David."  The crumbs fell from Beth's finger and she set about picking them up again.  "And IT is Goliath."  She licked the cookie crumbs from her finger.  "And I'm Israel."  She looked up at Emery and a shudder ran through her body.  "IT hates you.  IT wants to kill you."
      The peanuts in Emery's mouth suddenly felt dry.  With difficulty, she swallowed them.  "And you, Beth?  What do you want?"
       Beth pressed her hands against her head and started rocking.  "I think you should tell a story, Emery."  She whimpered.  "You have to stop IT."
     Before Emery could answer, something beeped and crackled.  Then a voice squeaked through the intercom.  "Miss Clayton?"
     Beth yelped as if she had been struck.
     Emery leaped from the desk and grabbed Beth's hand, dragging her from the room.  "Come on -- I'll tell you a story in this other room where it will be quiet."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two-Year Celebration

     Guess what, guys!  I'm hosting a celebration today because two years ago, I started this blog. Woot-woot!  It has been so much fun, and my writing has improved tremendously since starting this.  So thank you to all of you who have interacted with me on the blog-o-sphere.

     To thank you, I am hosting a giveaway.  Rafflecoptor isn't working for me so we're doing this the old-fashioned way.  I'm going to write your name on a slip of paper, drop it in a bowl with everybody else's, stir it around, and draw one out.

     You can get your name in the bowl as many as three times, depending on how many of the following things you do:

Follow this blog.

Leave a comment below.  It doesn't have to say anything special.  Maybe you could say how long you have been reading my blog...or how you found my blog in the first place.

Share this post through your blog or through your other social media, AND leave a comment below saying so and leaving the link.

     The winner will be announced one week from today. So mark your calendar to check back on October 20th!

     Now...are you ready to see the prize?

     I saw this last week at my friend's craft booth, and I couldn't resist.  It was so pretty, and I loved the verse.
     The base is a little bigger than 2"x3" but not quite 3"x4" (I'm sorry I don't have more precise measuring tools with me!).  The lid says "We love Him, because He first loved us.  1 Jn 4:19"

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are outside of the United States of America, I WILL NOT MAIL YOU THE BOX.  So you can either come and get it yourself J or I will give you a different prize -- like a picture that I draw for you.  We'll talk about further details when/if you win. Fair enough?  

     I hope you like it!  And I look forward to next week so I can see who won this beautiful little box!!!  And thank you again, to all of you, for your encouragement and support!  I love you guys!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Heard You're Getting Married...

     So, every week, I spend an evening with a bunch of friends and we encourage one another in Christ.  Last week, I got there early and there were 3 or 4 people there.  One of the guys looked up when I came in and said, "So, I heard you're getting married."

     Well, this was news to me.  I wasn't really sure what to say so I popped out and said, "Really?  That's great!!!  Who am I marrying?"

      He shrugged.  "Your post said something about becoming a mid-wife."

     Ha ha.  Very funny.  I threw a pillow at him.

     Which he caught.  And then said, "But, no, really.  What's a midwife?"

     He really didn't know.


     ...Does anybody else not know what a midwife is?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Mental Ward - In or Out (15)

     Beastly picked up the knife again and waved it at the three frightened adults.  "Let's go," she said.  But Emery noticed it was said calmly, and there was none of that wildness in Beastly's face.
     The adults held their hands up like hostages and moved as directed.
     In the hall, the man hesitated and then held out his hand toward Beastly.  "Can I have my knife back?" His words were soft and coaxing, but his eyes were wary.  It made Emery think of someone approaching a snake or a rabid dog.
     "It's your knife?"  Emery was surprised.
     "I saw her come in the room, and I thought I could stop her with my knife." He shot a defensive look.  "If you had seen what she did last night to all of us, you would understand!"
     "But then..." one of the women spoke up.  "...She turned into a little screeching demon.  She was on poor Tom before he knew what hit him.  I thought for sure she was going to kill us all.  And then she started screaming for you."
     Beastly wiped her nose and waved at them to keep walking.  By all appearances, she wasn't hearing a word they were saying.  Her face was stolid and expressionless.
     When they reached the Box, Beastly undid the locks and motioned the adults inside.  They didn't argue.  In fact, they almost looked relieved.
     Emery eyed the unconscious bodies on the floor in the Box.  They were all breathing.  Pansy's color was returning -- she'd probably be awake soon.  "I'll try to bring you all some food and water."
     One of the women, as she stepped inside, reached back and grabbed Emery's arm.  "Come in with us!"  Her face was full of concern and tenderness.
     The man nodded.  "She's right, young lady.  You will be safer in here with us."
     Emery looked back at Beastly.  She was standing in the hall, watching them with a masked expression.
     The grip on her arm grew tighter, and the woman leaned in close to Emery's ear.  "She. Will. Kill. You."
     Emery closed her eyes and swallow hard.
     "I don't know what kind of game you think you are playing with her, but she will eventually kill you.  You can't trust an insane murderer.  She's done it before.  You are falling into a pit of fire, child,--get out!  She can't help what she does.  And I know you've seen it in her face.  It's going to happen.  But you will be safest in this Box with us.  Please come."
     Emery looked back at Beastly again.  Beastly was watching her.  No anger.  No fear.  No threats.  Just watching and waiting.  
     Have you ever seen a child left behind so many times that they don't even fight it any more?  They just watch you go?
     "I can't," Emery whispered.  "I can't leave her."  She turned back to the adults.  "I'll find you some water."  Then she shut the door.
     Her hands were trembling as she fastened the metal locks.  The bars were cool and hard under her fingers.  Like facts.  Unyielding.  Like the logic that told her she was signing her own death warrant with each step that distanced her from adults in the Box.
       Suddenly, Emery's fingers felt something very different from the cold iron door.
     A soft hand slipped into hers and grasped it.
     For a moment, Emery stared at the little fingers in her hand.  Then her eyes ran from the little fingers, up a skinny arm, and into the eyes of Beastly.
      Beastly wiped her nose with her free hand.  "Hi."

Friday, October 9, 2015

Flying Colors

So a few of you know that, in addition to writing, I have also been working at a birth centre and studying to be a midwife.

Guess what just happened last week!

I passed my big midwifery exam.

Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Now I just have to wait for my certificate to arrive in the mail and such.

And then I will be a

Certified Professional Midwife

via Pinterest

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Snippet: Convergence

     Her frozen eyes lit with a strange fire and her withered hands fluttered to her mouth.  “The mediator from the North Country is here again.  It cannot be coincidence,” she whispered.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Mental Ward - The Story of a Little Hero Part Two (14)

     "...But David was not dissuaded.  He continued to ask about the rewards for defeating Goliath, and soon his words reached the king."
     "David was summoned before the king of Israel. 'Let no man's heart fail because of the giant -- I will fight him,' David said."
     "But the king shook his head in disappointment when he saw David.  'No, lad,' he said. 'You cannot fight the giant -- you are just a boy.  He has been a man of war for many, many years.'"
      "David stood his ground.  'I kept my father's sheep.  And there came against the flock a lion and a bear, and they took a lamb.  I ran after him and hit him and rescued the lamb.  And when the beast attacked me, I grabbed his beard and killed him.  I have killed both the lion and the bear.  And this ungodly Philistine will be just like them because he has defied the armies of the living God.'  He took a step forward.  'The God that saved me from the lion and from the bear will save me out of the hand of the giant.'"
      "'Go, then,' said the king.  'And the Lord be with you.'  And the king gave him of his own armor."
      "But David wouldn't take it.  Armor is a good thing unless you don't know how to use it.  This was not something he was practiced in and become familiar with.  So he refused the king's armor, choosing instead to face the giant as he had faced the lion and the bear...with only shepherd's staff, his sling, and 5 smooth stones."
       "The giant came onto the field, ready to fight Israel's best warrior, and instead he saw a cute boy with a shepherd's staff.  'What am I? A dog?  Are you going to run me off with a stick?'  And the Philistine giant cursed David by his gods.  'Come here, boy, and I will feed you to the birds.  And we'll leave your little carcass in the fields for the beasts to chew on.'"
     "'You come to face me with a sword and spear and a shield,' said David.  'But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today, God will make you fall under my hand.  And it will be your carcass and the carcasses of your army which will feed the birds and let all the earth know that there is a God in Israel!'"
      "Goliath arose then and charged David.  And David RAN to meet him.  He put his hand in his bag and pulled out one of his smooth stones.  And he placed it in his sling and slung it toward the giant.  The stone hit the giant in the forehead, and the giant, who was on his way to kill David,...fell down dead.  And David ran to him, used the giant's sword, and cut off the giant's head.  When the armies of the Philistines saw that the giant was defeated, they fled in terror.  And the armies of Israel pursued and conquered their enemies."
     Emery drew a breath as her story ended.  The three adults had moved, during the story, and were huddled against one wall.
     Beastly clambered to her feet and gestured toward the adults.  "We should put them in the box now."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Infinity Dreams Award

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself.
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

STEP ONE:  Dear Tracey Dyck at, thank you for nominating me.

     I am the tallest girl in my family.
     My hair is probably the same color as Tracey's.
     I love red hair.  Long, rich, wavy, red hair.  Yes.
     Death doesn't scare me.
     Thunderstorms make me feel safe.  And happy.
     I've seen about 170 human babies be born, and I haven't even counted the little animal babies that I've seen.
     I think math is fun.
     I think school in general is fun.
     Im a vairy gud speler.
     I am an aunt.
     Windy days are good days.


1. Describe the most recent dream you can remember having.
      Okayyyy.  You asked for it....
      So I went to a church meeting in the evening and afterward, on my way to my car, I stumbled on a group plotting a rebellion against the government.  They suspected me of spying on them even though I was innocent.  They tried to detain me.  I slipped away from them and hastened to my car, only to find my sister nearly unconscious -- apparently she had been drugged.  A friend of mine appeared and helped me get her to my car.  He told me that the government surveillance had seen me going to the rebellion meeting, and they were now targeting me as one of the rebels.  So I was "wanted" by both sides.  Then he left and I started driving.
     I had seen enough movies to know that I couldn't go home.  It was the weirdest, most awful feeling ever.  This was not something I was prepared for.  And, even though in the movies, you shouldn't go anywhere you have ever been before, I felt the need for something familiar, something to drive toward.  I couldn't bring myself to just drive, afraid that I would subconsciously drive in circles.  I needed somewhere to go.
     I thought of a large, remote farm where I had once been (in a dream) to ride horses.  No one would find me there.  I could drive to it, spend the night in peace, restock anything I needed, and then move on the next day.
      The problem is that I hadn't been the one driving when I went to the farm before.  So I didn't know exactly where it was.  I started driving in the general direction, hoping I would intersect some road that sparked my memory.
      I drove through the night, and my sister slowly recovered as the drug cleared out of her system.  We found several bottles of water and gatorade and some snacks in my trunk, which took a load off my mind.  We could live for a few days on that.
      The sun came up and we were in a remote area.  Lots of fences and fields.  Not many houses.  I found a gas station.
      I hoped that, if my description was being passed around, that it hadn't made it to this remote gas station.  I filled up my tank and then went into the little convenience store.  
     I picked out a few things that I needed.  Then I saw a book, containing maps of the state.
     I needed a map.
     But this paperback book, while the maps themselves were in readable condition, had a very worn cover.  There were holes worn through the spine.  The edges were crumpled and stained.  And the price was $21.66.  Ridiculous.
     I talked to the cashier, a young dark-skinned man with a friendly, eager countenance.  But he couldn't change the price.  I talked to an older man who ran the store, but he said he couldn't change the price either.  No amount of haggling on my part would move him.
      There were other customers in the store by then, and they were watching me.  About the time that I realized I was drawing unnecessary attention to myself, one of the customer's spoke up.
     "I can settle this," he said.  He pulled his wallet out and bought the map for me.
      It froze me.  Why did he help me?  What did I owe him for this?  Another glance around the room showed some suspicious faces, and I could predict them running to their phones to report that they had seen the escaping enemy of the state.
     But I needed the map.  And I couldn't afford it at $21.66.
     I thanked the customer and took the map.  Then I headed for the door.  A plump middle-aged woman grabbed my arm as I went by her and pulled me down to her height.  "We know who you are," she whispered.  "And we're on your side, dear."
      I wasn't sure if she was dillusional or sane.  So I smiled gently at her.
      Then I left.
      I made it to the car and started driving.  The store experience had been scary.
     But my head felt clearer and calmer than it had before.  I decided it would not be wise to go to the farm after all.  I had a map.  I could pick a direction and find a place to hide.
      I gripped the steering wheel, and turned down the next road.  My sister turned the radio to a pleasant station.  We'd survive for as long as we could.
     And then I woke up.

2. "To infinity and beyond!" Who's your favorite Toy Story character?  Slinky or Buzz

3. If Iron Man and Captain America were pitted against each other (not that hard to imagine), who would you root for?  I haven't watched the movies.  I want to.  Just...haven't.  No one else in my family likes Marvel, so...
      However, (please don't be mad at me), I heard that Iron Man is egotistical and self-centered and that Captain America is self-sacrificing.  I don't know if that is true.  But I would theoretically root for the self-sacrificing one.

4. What are your top three favorite things about autumn?  Weather (cool, breezy, brisk), Smell (sweet, musty harvest scents and rotting leaves), and the joyful preparations for coming winter out of the bounty of fall.

5. When's your prime time: morning, midday, or late at night?  Depends on when I last slept.

6. You've been handed the leash of an emperor's pet tiger--quick, what do you do with it?
      Hold it.  Securely but softly so the tiger doesn't sense tension through the line.

7. Do you have any pre-writing 'rituals' or habits? (If you're not a writer, feel free to describe any other preparatory habits of yours, whether it's your morning routine, or what you do to get ready for studying, or anything else.)  Staring into space.  Biting a thumb or a finger.

8. Favorite song artist?  Too hard to pick.  I like Paul Wilber, Robin Mark, Tobymac, For King and Country, High Kings, Celtic Women, The Crossings (Christian Irish), Lamb (Messianic), Glad, Rescue, Gaither Vocal Band, and the list goes on.  Sorry.

9. Name a real-life hero of yours.  Members of my family.  Seriously.  They.  Are.  Awesome.

10. What's your goal(s) in blogging?  To improve my writing through interaction and feedback.  To network with other writers and encourage each other and critique each other.

11. Name a literary/film couple you shipped that ended up sinking.  ???????

I hereby nominate any 11 bloggers who choose to participate.  Here are your eleven questions:
1. What is your favorite winter activity?
2. Do you like healthy food?
3. Do you have any pets?
4. Have you ever milked a goat?
5. What was the last story you worked on (as in stories that you are writing)?
6. Do you keep a journal/diary?
7. Have you ever been to the mountains, the beach, the forest, or the prairie?
8. If you were ordered to deny that Jesus is the Son of God or accept death, which would you choose?
9. What is the most recent Bible verse you have read?
10. Have you ever read the entire book of Proverbs (not necessarily at once)?
11. What is a country that you would like to visit?

P.S. If you participate, I would love it if you leave a link to your answers in the comments below!