Monday, September 16, 2013

"My Friends & I" Compilation Album and Ebook is LIVE!

My first publication, a collaboration between myself and twelve other authors and thirteen musicians is now LIVE!


The ebook is available on AMAZON & SMASHWORDS. It is FREE on Smashwords right now and will be free on Amazon soon. Go check it out! :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Tribute

This is something I wrote a few years ago about 9/11 and wanted to share it today. The story was based on these two pictures.

Title: The Past, Present, and Future

She held the black and white photo in her hands, doing her best to keep her fingerprints off of it. It was one of her favorite memories of her time with Andrew. That’s all she had left, were memories and photos ... and their son.

In the photo, they weren’t even married yet. She and Andy took a vacation during their summer break between their junior and senior years of college. They were driving along the coast with some friends and had stopped at this small sandy beach that was surrounded by rocks. It was so much fun. They spent the whole day there, with Andy’s friend Raj taking pictures of everything.

Cecilia could kiss Raj now, if he were still alive. Without his pictures, she wouldn’t have this momento of her and Andy's life ... of their past.

Anthony came running through the front door, his ten year old body a bundle of energy. Without stopping his momentum, he dropped his bookbag on the floor near the living room and came charging towards Cecilia.

“Mooooooom! I’m home!” He plowed into his mother’s waiting arms, who had just moments before put the picture down on the table.

“Hey sweetie,” Cecilia said, brushing a lock of hair from her son’s forehead. He looked so much like his father. “Did you have a good day at school?”

Anthony nodded and sat down on a chair next to hers at the table. “It was okay. The teachers were talking a lot about the memorial today.”

“Yeah, well, it’s important,” Cecila said softly.

“I know. Dad’s going to be on it, right?”

“Yes, he will. He and Uncle Raj are going to be listed on it together, on the same section.”

Anthony picked up the picture that Cecilia had set down. He had seen the picture many times over the years and studied the man in the picture who he never met.

“I wish I could have met him, Uncle Raj I mean ... and of course, Dad too.”

“Me too, sweetheart, me too,” Cecilia replied sadly, rubbing her son’s back.

Years after the picture was taken, Andrew and Cecilia found themselves on the east coast, living in a small bungalow in Brooklyn, far from the California coast but by a different shore near the channel. Andrew had gotten his dream job with an investment company and had just been transferred to the main office in New York City. Cecilia found a job at a nearby school and was happily teaching young minds.

By some luck, Andrew’s old college friend Raj worked at the same investment firm. The two men hadn’t seen one another for several years and they enjoyed catching up on each other’s lives. Raj and his new bride, Smita, became a frequent visitor to their home, sharing stories over dinner.

They were settling into what they deemed their perfect life. Their house was modest but fit their needs. While Andrew had his dream job, the investment industry was still volitile so they didn’t take on more than what they could easily afford. They dreamed of filling two of the three bedrooms of their home with children, and possibly a shaggy dog or two.

Andrew and Cecilia were well on their way to that goal in 2001. She was pregnant with their first child and they were pet parents to a crabby but lovable orange tabby. The cat was crabby when she didn’t want to be petted and lovable when she wanted attention. It was a source of amusement for the couple to watch the moods of their mercurial cat. As Cecilia’s pregnancy progressed, her moods became even more volitle than the cat’s. Andrew didn’t find that as humorous. They also found out that Smita was expecting as well. Cecilia and Smita grew closer, sharing the bond of impending motherhood.

Like so many other days, that September morning was like any other. Never in a million years would Cecilia have thought that the last time she’d see her husband was when he left for work that morning, heading in early for an important conference call.

She and Smita sat in a daze in her living room as they watched the news coverage on the television. Even heading outside was enough to confirm what was on the television and the radio. The skyline she had come to know and love was a smoky haze, and missing a key fixture.

For days after, weeks later even, she kept looking out her window hoping that her husband would come driving or walking up their road … but he never appeared. He was gone, only the kicking of her baby reminding Cecilia that she will always have a part of him with her.

Smita and Cecilia stayed close, mutual loss further strengthening their bond. When the nights were too rough for either woman to be alone, they would crash at each other’s homes and be there for one another. A month later, they found a support group for 9/11 widows. They always knew they weren’t alone, but finding others to lean on helped them immensely.

A few months later, Anthony was born, healthy and hale and the spitting image of his father. Cecilia was still grieving the loss of her husband and clung to her son. Smita’s bright-eyed baby girl was born a few short weeks later, named Regina in honor of her father. Both women rejoiced that their children were born without complications despite the stress of the last several months.

Time passed, the pain of Andrew’s abrupt and sudden death receeding but never going away. Tony and Reggie, as Regina came to be known, grew, learning about their fathers through their mothers and friends. The four of them made a special trip every year to the cemetery in remembrance.

As the country healed, so did Cecilia, Smita, and their children. They moved on, went on with their lives.

Which lead to the present, ten years later. Cecilia promised Tony that she would take him and Reggie to see Harry Potter this weekend. There was a special screening of all the movies on Saturday that the kids had been looking forward to for some time. Cecilia hoped that the movies would help distract them from all the 9/11 coverage. She didn’t want her son to forget, but she also didn’t think her not quite ten year old son needed to be inundated with all different shows and specials that were being aired.

“We’re still going to the Hogwarts-a-thon, right, Mom?” Tony asked, pulling Cecilia from her thoughts.

“Yes, sir,” she replied with a smile. “Smita and Reggie are going to be here at 9:30 tomorrow morning to head to the theater. I picked up the tickets a few weeks ago and I even stopped by a costume store and got you your own pair of Harry Potter glasses!”

“Wow, really?”

“Really!” Cecilia said with a laugh, pulling the glasses out of a small bag on the table.

Tony eagerly grabbed the glasses and slipped them on his face, his smile from ear to ear. His excitement only faltered when he glanced at the picture of his parents on the table. Cecilia noticed his change of mood and pulled him close to her.

“Momma, I wish I was a real wizard,” Tony said softly as he gripped her shirt tightly.

“Why’s that, little man?”

“Cause I’d find a spell to bring Dad back ... and Uncle Raj and everyone else,” he whispered.

“Oh, Anthony.” Cecilia sighed and squeezed her son that much tighter. She long wished for such a thing could happen, but knew it wasn’t possible. The past couldn’t be changed. While in the present, they grieved, the future held much promise.

Monday, September 9, 2013

FIRST PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT: “My Friends And I” Song And Story Collaboration

I am very proud and honored to make this announcement on this fine Monday morning.

A few weeks ago, I was approached to participate in a song and story collaboration to help promote the release of a CD of indie musicians. I was thrilled at the chance to not only help promote fellow artists but to also put my name out there. I couldn't be happier that this collaboration is also my first ever published work (the ebook will be available soon).

Here are some more details about this awesome project. My contribution to the collaboration is at the very bottom. If you like my story, check out the others and buy the album! 

The Book:                             The Album:

What was created?
An ebook companion to the cd composed of stories inspired by the songs
Who wrote the stories?
Thirteen writers crazy enough to donate 1,000 words
M.L. Gammella; Ruth LongSarah AislingLillie McFerrinJenn MontyJeff Tsuruoka;Lisa ShambrookLizze KochSamantha GearyNick JohnsL.E. JamezJeff Hollar; Bradley Richter.
Who created the cover art for the book?
Micah Van Zandt – artist, musician, performer, and all-around-cool-dude – used the writer's pictures to design a cover that mimicked the cd cover
Why would someone participate in this project for free?
To be part of a unique and first-of-its-kind creative collaboration
To support indie efforts ~ even across creative disciplines
To reach a new audience for their websites and books
When will the book be ready?
We're in the formatting queue and as soon as we clear that hurdle we'll update our posts and share the link (hopefully before the end of the week).
How can you join in the fun?
Read the stories (click on the writer links above)
Purchase the cd Amazon/CD Baby )
Leave feedback for the musicians and or writers
Support indie creatives across all disciplines

I had the first track of the album, "Sunday Afternoon" by The Poorhouse Millionaires. The title of the song was so perfect, I used that for the title of my story. There is a lot of nostalgia in the song and I think you will be able to pick up on that in my story.

Sunday Afternoon

"We shouldn't wait ten years before doing this again," Frank commented, looking
across the grass at the lively activity by he and his friends' families. Life, family, and
the usual things kept the three lifelong friends from seeing one another with any

"No, that's for sure," Joe agreed. He raised his hand to shade his eyes, peering into
the distance at the group of kids. "Is that your boy out in front of the pack?"

"Sure is," Frank replied with pride. "He's the fastest tight end that Marion High School
has ever seen. The coach can't wait to put him in the varsity team next fall."

The third of their trio, John, grunted and adjusted his worn ballcap. "We could use
speed like that at Carver. Our team is in desperate need of help."

"That's too bad," Frank commented. "Your boy doesn't play?"

"Oh, he does, but he's not in high school yet. You and Sharon got an early start on

Frank chuckled. The impending arrival of Frank Jr was a surprise for the university
juniors and made the young couple shift their priorities real quick. Sure, having a kid
while still in college wasn't a part of the plan, but they rolled with it and they both
still graduated on time.

Nearby, Frank's wife kicked a cooler lid shut, her hands full of ice-cold beers for the
men and their wives. Rollicking music accompanied the sway of her hips, the bluesy
tempo keeping time with her steps. Frank reminded himself of how thankful he was
for the woman who walked toward them.

Sharon was just as gorgeous today as she was when he first saw her at the University
of Alabama, talking with a group of her friends in the Quad. Sharon's long brunette
hair was the first thing that caught his eye, shimmering in the warm southern sun.
Now there were a few grays in her hair, but they had names: Frank Jr, Rose, and

"Here you go, boys," Sharon said as she handed each man his beer, then served the

Everyone mumbled their thanks and the sounds of caps being twisted from bottles
quickly followed.

Sharon and the other women walked toward where the children were playing while
Frank, Joe, and John continued to talk in the shade of a large elm tree.

"John, do you remember that one night by the old water tower, behind the high
school?" Joe asked, his eyes twinkling.

"How could I forget? We nearly got expelled for that stunt!"

Frank laughed after taking a sip of his beer. "You're lucky my daddy was the sheriff,
otherwise you would've had more problems than just being expelled!"

"Boy, don't I know it! My pa sure tore me a new one that night. I don't think I could sit
right for days."The three life-long friends chuckled, lost in their memories of that night and others.

Frank, Joe, and John kept law enforcement on their toes as they grew up and got
rowdy. Frank's father kept them out of the worst trouble, to the never-ending
gratitude of Joe's and John's parents.

"How is your father doing nowadays, John?"

"Ah, he has good days and bad days. Mom tries to do her best, but it may be time to
bring someone in. She can't do it by herself and she won't let me or Jenny help."
"I'm sorry, man. If there's anything we can do ... "

John shrugged and sipped his beer. "Thanks for the offer, but you can't stop the
clock, man. Time ticks for all of us."

"You're getting philosophical in your old age," Joe commented with a smirk.

"I was the philosophy major, remember?"

The three men started laughing again.

"Your dad was so mad. I remember him raging around the neighborhood talking
about his boy taking philosophy, 'some tree-huggin' hippie crap.'"

"I only did it to piss him off. I never wanted to go to college in the first place."

"You seemed to do well with it," Frank commented.

"Surprisingly enough, I did. Helps me now, that's for sure."

A familiar tune began to play on the radio, one that brought out the best memories of
their teenaged years and brightened the mood.

Frank turned the music up looked around eagerly for his wife. Taking the final sip of
his beer, he caught her eye and waved her over. Sharon turned and said something
to Cindy and Trina, Joe's and John's wives respectively. The three women laughed as
they walked toward their husbands. The collective group of children were following
their mothers, more or less. There were a few stragglers, notably the oldest three
who looked like they were up to something. The look was very familiar to the three

"Think they are taking after us?" John asked.

"Lord I hope not," Frank replied with a snort.

As soon as Sharon was close enough, Frank swept her up in his arms and began
dancing with her. Joe and John followed suit with their wives, and even the kids got
into the music.

Surrounded by the love of his life, his friends, and all their children, he couldn't think
of any place he'd rather be. "Can't get much better than this," Frank hollered over
the music, his smile stretched from ear to ear. "My love, my kids, and my friends and
I on this Sunday afternoon!"

"Here, here!" John and Joe echoed. "On this Sunday afternoon!"


Thanks for reading! Support your local indie authors and musicians!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finish That Thought #9

In my first foray into Alissa Leonard's Finish That Thought flash contest, I decided to visit some old characters from my 2012 NaNo novel (that I still haven't finished yet... sigh). They've been chattering in the ol' noggin so maybe it's time to bring them back out to play.


Incomplete Discovery

If Alana had known David would be there again, she would’ve brought the books she found in the Wardville Archives. She wasn’t expecting to see him until that evening at her house once he was done at his worksite. As it was, she only had copies of the pages she thought were the most important. They would have to be enough for now.

Momma’s Kitchen where they normally hung out while they worked through the mystery of Alana’s family and what the Destroyers wanted from her. They had breakfast at their usual small table in the back that morning.  Alana was still at the same table, but had come and gone several times throughout the day in her trips back and forth from the Archives.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Alana asked, making room for him at the table, pushing aside her various papers and her half-eaten plate of food.

 “Dad kept shooing me away, telling me he could finish up just fine without my help,” David replied with a shrug and sat down next to her. “Plus, I think he is more worried about what is going on with the Destroyers’ attacks than he is letting on.”

“Oh, really? Why? He sounded so relaxed when we were at your parents’ house the other night.” Alana started rubbing her triskele pendant, a habit she found herself doing more and more.

“He’s just acting weird, not like himself. Tense. Asks about you constantly.”

Alana looked at David with concern etched across her face. “So what does that mean? Does he think we’re going to lose?”

“No, not exactly…”

“That’s not encouraging,” Alana said flatly, roughly grabbing the top piece of paper from the messy stack and pulling away from David.

“Just being honest. He’s got a different mindset about how to handle this, how to handle the Destroyers than we do. However, he hasn’t seen the things we have.”

“No, he certainly hasn’t,” she muttered, shivering as she remembered.

David rubbed her arm and changed the subject. “Did you find out anything new today?”

“Yes, you’re going to want to read this.” Alana replied, handing him the piece of paper.

His eyes jumped across the page as he read aloud:

“A-waiting, gath'ring o'er, an evil lurks
For years will pass and storms will brew, to all
to lead to confrontation's final test.
To death, Destroyers fight before the Fall”

David let the page drop to the table, his face stunned. “Is this what I think it is?”

Alana nodded. “I think so. It’s the prophecy that we’ve been looking for all this time, but it doesn’t seem complete! Only one stanza and the bottom of the page is ripped. There has to be more.”

“Where in the Archives was this?”

“It was stuffed in the appendix of one of the family ledgers. I have no idea what book it was a part of originally.”

“Then we’ll just have to keep looking. This is too important.”


495 words


Thank you for reading!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Monday Mixer - September 2nd

On this relaxing Labor Day, I took a stab at today's selection of words for Jeff Hollar's Monday Mixer. As soon as I saw the words, I knew what I wanted to do. The bolded words are the ones I picked.

Things:          1) slew              2) exemplar         3) decolletage
Verbs:           1) typify           2) debilitate           3) ensorcell
Adjectives:   1) prodigal        2) fractious           3) vainglorious


Abreast of the Situation

Durella stood in front of the mirror in her sitting room and adjusted her decolletage. The neckline of her gown was nearly scandalous with the amount of bosom showing but she wanted it that way. The fractious men she had to deal with would be well ensorcelled by the expanse of milky flesh and would be easier to coerce to her bidding.

Why, they'd practically be salivating, hoping, wishing for a glimpse of more. All it would take would be a sudden movement and she'd spill out of her gown, not that she'd allow that to happen. This wasn't the first time, nor would it be the last, where she'd have to use her assets to make things happen. Never in those times had she ever slipped, much to the various lords chagrin.

She was a master manipulator and well, men were such simple creatures, even noble ones.

148 words