Tuesday, June 28, 2022

My Newest Short Story: Escaping the Woods #shortstory #adventure #childrensbook #moving #Mississippi #lostinthewoods #youngadult #newtown #newfriends #militarybrats #readingcommunity #RRBC #RWISA

Hello, beautiful readers! Today, I'd like to share with you my newest release, Escaping the Woods - A Short Story.


I wrote this story as part of the RRBC 90-Day Alpha/Omega Short Story Writing Contest. The first short story I wrote for this contest was a twisted fairy tale called Breathless. The second story was a prequel of sorts to my Diasodz series called The One Chosen.

This year, I veered away from my favorite genre of fantasy and went a bit old school. For those of you who don't know, I grew up as an Army brat. I was born in Germany while my dad was stationed there and grew up in Germany, Georgia, Missouri, Korea, Mississippi, Virginia, and Panama before finally settling down in Miami, Florida. I moved a LOT. And those are just the places I lived! I have visited and vacationed in many more states and countries. 

Moving became more difficult as I grew older because I made great friends and didn't want to leave them. Back in those days, there was no internet, and long distance calls cost more than they were worth so we wrote letters to one another, but it wasn't the same. It isn't easy moving to a new place. Military brats know and understand that, so we would embrace the newest kids on the block because we knew what being that kid felt like. 

My hardest move was our last move. My dad retired when I was fourteen years old, so we moved to Miami where all my parents' relatives lived. It was pure civilian life, and all the kids my age had grown up together, had formed their bonds/cliques already, and weren't very welcoming to new kids.

When thinking of a story to write, I remembered my three years in Mississippi. I have fond memories of those times. I was in elementary school and was very active in various sports and activities. I also had an active imagination.

We had a creek behind our house with a pipe that connected us to the other side, which had a field of crops. My friend's grandmother lived behind those crops, so we would sneak over to her house for cookies and lemonade.

In front of our house across the street were the woods, where my sister, friends, and I would play cops and robbers or hide-and-seek. We were always outdoors, at least until the street lights came on. Then, we'd high-tail it home.

Escaping the Woods is loosely based on a memory where two of my friends, my sister, and I got lost in the woods and couldn't find our way out. This was just shortly before the Adam Walsh case made national news. I remember counting my blessings about how our story ended after hearing what sadly happened to him.

So, here is my newest release, Escaping the Woods: A Short Story! Hope you enjoy it!


When ten-year old Isabella's family moves to Mississippi in 1982, she is not thrilled about leaving her home in Miami. Her parents introduce her to their new friend's daughter, Janine, and insist Isabella play with her. Reluctantly, she follows Janine to a nearby park. When Janine suggests they explore the woods, Isabella gives in despite her fears. One wrong turn leaves them deep in the forest with no way of knowing how to get out. As the sun begins to set, Isabella and Janine search for help, but will their search lead to their rescue, or will they find themselves in even more danger?

You can pre-order your copy here on Amazon.
 


Monday, June 27, 2022

My Summer Vacation 2022 #Arizona #HooverDam #BoulderCity #Nevada #ZionNationalPark #Utah #SummerVacation #RedRocksPark #SaguaroNationalPark #GrandCanyon #MeteorCrater #HorseshoeBend #AntelopeCanyon

 Hello, beautiful readers! I've been a bit MIA for a couple of weeks. My son and I took a two-week road trip in Arizona. I had hoped to connect with my online friends at night, but our days were filled with great activities which left me exhausted at night. Lol! Slowly, I'm reconnecting with my online community. For today, I thought I'd share a bit of our adventures in case you ever decide to visit Arizona.

For those of you who do not know, I'm an Army brat. My dad was in the Army for 25 years. My first 14 years of life were spent living all over the world and traveling to explore other places. Traveling is in my blood, and I love exploring new places. So, when I gave birth to my son, I decided I wanted him to see all fifty states in our country before he graduated from college. The USA is SO beautiful. Every state has its own history and plenty of interesting places to visit. Each state is also a bit different in their accents, foods, culture, and levels of diversity. So far, he has seen 48 of the 50 states. Arizona was number 48.


We started our trip in Tuscon, where we visited Saguaro National Park and rode the Mount Lemmon Highway. The weather was in the 100s with dry heat, which is very different from the humidity I'm used to in Miami. The heat didn't bother me, but the elevation had me breathing a little heavier than I'm used to when hiking. I loved the variety of cacti in this park.


 

 

Our next stop was Sedona. We did some star-gazing at night. During the day, we climbed Bells Rock (almost to the top; it got a little too treacherous toward the top so we stopped when we couldn't find good grips to keep climbing up), Church of the Holy Cross, and Cathedral Rock (all the way to the top!). 

In between those hikes, we stopped at the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park. It was incredibly peaceful. The park was sectioned off with multiple areas to meditate. The picture above is a meditative wheel that you walk while saying a prayer or wishing others well. 

At the top of Cathedral Rock, we found this inspiring, painted stone and took a picture of it. Unfortunately, right before we made it to the bottom, I slipped on a loose rock and badly sprained my ankle. At urgent care, I got fitted with an ankle brace, which gave me enough support to allow me to enjoy the rest of our trip (thank goodness!).

 

From there, we went to Boulder City, NV. We completed a 12-mile kayak tour that started at the base of the Hoover Dam and took us to several hot springs. The constant 53 degree water in the river and the hot springs (up to 120 degrees) felt amazing on my ankle. The sites along the way were just breathtaking!



We had a bit of fun riding electric bikes along an old railway. You have to pedal to charge the electric motors on the bike, and my son did almost all of the pedaling because of my ankle, but we both had fun. Then, we took a tour of the power plant inside the Hoover Dam.

 

While staying in Flagstaff, we visited the Meteor Crater, where a 150 foot wide meteor weighing several hundred thousand tons crashed into the desert at about 26,000 mph over 50,000 years ago. Then, we visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I had been before, but my son never had. We walked the perimeter and just enjoyed its vast beauty.


 

Next, we headed to Page, where we visited Horseshoe Bend and both the upper and lower Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is on Navajo land, and they still require everyone to wear masks, even when outdoors. Interestingly, the upper Antelope Canyon does not allow you to take the masks off for pictures (you can be fined $1500 if you do), but the lower Antelope Canyon allows you to remove the masks for pictures. Both allow you to remove it to drink water, but that is it! Still, the views were spectacular, and I loved the energy within the canyon.

 

We had hoped to visit a few places that require permits, but I was never able to secure them, so we took a day and drove to Zion National Park in Utah. In the park, there is a place called The Narrows where you can hike across rocks and wade in water to walk between large rocky mountains as it slowly gets more narrow. It's more than a 9-mile hike. We didn't go that far because of my ankle, but we did get to do several miles and enjoy the beauty of the park.

I took SO many incredible pictures, but I just shared a few to give you an idea of how beautiful the states are. Slowly but surely, I'll be revisiting my favorite blogs and author websites. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Oh, one more thing! I've got a short story being released this Thursday! I'll create a post about it, but until then, click here to check it out! :-)



Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Amazing Review of The One Chosen: A #Diasodz Short Story #fantasy #paranormal #shortstory #novella #novellette #paranormalromance #readingcommunity #bookreview #fivestars

Hello, beautiful readers! Recently, a fellow author and poet, Selma Martin, read The One Chosen: A Diasodz Short Story.  I met Selma through Colleen Chesebro's #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenges and fell in love with the beautiful way she strings words together. It was a wonderful surprise to see that she had picked up The One Chosen and then shared her review with her followers, so I'm hoping you'll take a moment to visit her site, read her review, and then check out her incredible poetry and other books. Have a wonderful day, everyone! :-)


https://selmamartin.com/young-adults-and-adult-readers-will-love-this-book/

Saturday, June 4, 2022

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge #ShareYourDay @ColleenChesebro #poem #BadgersHexastich #travel #poetrycommunity


Hello, beautiful readers! This week, Colleen Chesebro's #TankaTuesday weekly poetry challenge has asked us to share our day. It's been a busy week, so today, Saturday, is the first moment I've been able to pause long enough to write anything.

I'm confined to the house as Tropical Storm Alex dumps his inches of water outside, flooding my backyard and neighborhood. No need to be concerned, really. It's just another rainy day to us, and my neighborhood always has areas that flood when it rains. My backyard also floods regularly because of the shoddy construction done when the company my ex-husband hired created our back patio. One day, I'll have enough money to redo the backyard, but that day is not today. Lol!

So, to brighten my mood on this gloomy day, I am sitting in my home office, watching the rain slowly come down and cleanse the earth, and I'm reviewing my plans for my summer trip with my son. :-) We leave in six days, and the closer we get, the more my nervous excitement builds. Everything is booked - plane, car, hotels, and activities! And still, I wonder - did I miss something?

We are going to Arizona for two weeks. Each summer, I've taken my son on a road trip through the beautiful states in America. Our goal is to see all fifty states before he graduates from high school in two years. We have three states left (Vermont, Arizona, and Hawaii). Usually, my parents join us, but my mother cannot travel because of a surgery she recently had, so it's just my son and me. We have many exciting things planned, from kayaking by the Hoover Dam to hiking through Antelope Canyon to stargazing in Sedona to seeing the Grand Canyon. It's going to be an amazing trip! 

So, for this week's poem, I focused on trip planning (or rather, rechecking the plans that have already been made...lol!). I chose to write a Badger's Hexastich because I don't think I've ever written one before. It has six lines with a syllabic pattern of 2-4-6-6-4-2 and doesn't rhyme.


(courtesy of @StockSnap on Pixabay)


 A Heart's Journey

travel
experience
worlds different from yours
feed the soul adventures
vast excitement
awaits


Do you like to travel? What are some favorite places you've visited?


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge #ThemePrompt @ColleenChesebro #Shadorma #useful #poem #poems #poetrycommunity @TappingSolution #emotionalfrequencytapping


Hello, beautiful readers! It's #TankaTuesday time! This week, Colleen Chesebro invited Kerfe to choose a theme. So, our theme for this week is "useful." 

During COVID, my anxiety reached a peak, so I researched more ways I could get a handle on it. I was already seeing a therapist virtually and meditating, and they were helping, but I am always seeking new knowledge. 

I came across The Tapping Solution. They were having a free conference to educate people on the benefits of emotional frequency tapping, and I immediately signed up. Every tap seemed to resonate with my core, and I was hooked. I downloaded the app and now tap almost every day. At first, it was to alleviate my anxiety, but I found taps on releasing self-doubt, on grieving, on falling asleep faster, and on an array of instant boosts that were positive in nature. Now, I find myself calmer, more positive, and more at peace every day. (Disclaimer: I am not getting paid to promote this organization. I'm sharing because I find it valuable.)

So, I decided to write my poem about this. I chose a Shadorma, which has six lines with the syllabication pattern of 3-5-3-3-7-5. You can learn more about it here.


Tapping


breathe and tap

release your worries

tell your mind

you are fine

you think it's a waste of time

it's useful to me


Have you ever tried emotional frequency tapping? I'd love to hear from you.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge #PhotoPrompt #EkphrasticPoem #DoubleNonnet @ColleenChesebro #poetry #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poems #death #mourning


Hello, beautiful readers! This week's #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge provides us with a photo prompt to write an ekphrastic poem. The talented David, from the Skeptic's Kaddish, chose the photo for this week. 


This is a photo of his father who has since passed on. The goal isn't to describe the picture but to use the photo as inspiration. As I looked at this beautiful picture, I saw a man who was living in the moment and appreciating the beauty around him, and I saw the love of a son who cherishes this memory of his dad. 

Recently, I've read several posts from authors who are grieving the loss of a loved one. And with the recent shootings here in America, I empathize with those who have lost a part of their hearts with these meaningless deaths. So, I let my heart follow its path from grieving to healing.

I chose to use a double nonet. A nonet has nine lines following the syllabic pattern of 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. A double nonet would then add another stanza in reverse syllabic order. You can read more about this and other forms here. I chose this form because it looks like an hour glass, which reminds me of just how little time one feels they were given before their loved one leaves them. 


Love's Loss


a loved one's death starts with emptiness

heavy hearts, waterfalls of tears

memories cannot be hugged

a song or a picture

reminds us of loss

but we're still here

without them

we must

live

climb

above

loneliness

breathe in fresh air

release all the pain

take one step at a time

find beauty in life again

capture their spirit through love's lens

their essence will surround you always

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

It's #poetry time! @bakeandwrite #poems #poetrycommunity #poetrylovers #writingcommunity #HYPE

Hello, beautiful readers! Treasuring Poetry 2022 by Robbie Cheadle is sharing its space with me today. Please take a moment to visit and leave a comment. Here is the link. Thanks!


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge #SpecificForm #ButterflyCinquain @ColleenChesebro #poetry #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poems #diversity #travel #explore #spices


Hello, beautiful readers! Colleen's #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge focused on writing a specific form of poetry this week. Colleen asked Sally Cronin to choose a form, and she chose the Butterfly Cinquain.

Last week, I wrote a Butterfly Cinquain for the #TastetheRainbow challenge. For those of you who missed it, this form is a nine-line poem with a syllabic pattern of 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2. Colleen explains to us that it is technically not a cinquain but rather borrows the Crapsey Cinquain form and then reverses it. Since its form looks like a butterfly's wings, it was given the name Butterfly Cinquain.

This week, I've struggled a bit with how single-minded, closed-minded, selfish, and high-and-mighty some people in our world are and how they don't care how their words and actions affect others. It's made my soul feel heavy, and I've spent many a moment meditating on it.

As an Army brat, I was privileged to live in different countries on various continents because of my father's assignments. I experienced vastly unique cultures and loved them all. I met people from all walks of life, and each setting taught me something new and helped me grow as a person. Even within the USA, each state is unique and beautiful with its different food, music, accents, and landscapes.

Because of my experiences, I've made it my mission to take my son on road trips to every state in our country so that he, too, can understand and appreciate the beauty, wonder, and richness of each place. I want him to realize that people have different viewpoints and experiences which shape them into the people they are. I want him to understand and accept that there is no "one way" that fits all people.

So, when I started contemplating this week's poem, I started off with indignation, but I took a few cleansing breaths and chose to focus on spreading a message of diversity and wonder. Once I changed my mindset, two poems came to me. So, I hope you enjoy them both.

(courtesy of @MimmiDieLesemaus on Pixabay)

Cultural Expressions

spices
tasty rainbow
some sweet, some savory
each region tantalizes tongues
cuisine
as eccentric as the country
soulful, vibrant, sundry
delicious blends
flourish


(courtesy of @JoshuaWoroniecki on Pixabay)

Wanderlust

wander
to the unknown
see life through new lenses
it's time to add spice to your life
travel
learn from cultures around the world
embrace diversity
open your mind
explore

 
I'd love to hear about some of your travels and what you've learned from them. Share in the comments below. :-)


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Join me at Valentina Expressions today! @ValentinaDesign #spring #books #beauty

 


Hello, beautiful readers! Today, I'm being featured as part of Valentina Cirasola's Spring, Beauty, and Books series! While you're there, check out her beautiful site. I'd love it if you could leave a comment and show her (and me) some support. Thanks! :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge #TastetheRainbow #ButterflyCinquain @ColleenChesebro #poetry #writingcommunity #poetrycommunity #poems


G'morning, beautiful readers! For this week's #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge, Colleen Chesebro has asked us to choose a color to emulate in our poem. She encouraged us to think of the symbolism and psychology behind the colors' meanings. One of her links contained this:


I felt a smile form as images of my childhood decorated my mind, and I knew I had to write about this color. As I scrolled through the various poetry forms on Colleen's poetry cheat sheet, the Butterfly Cinquain called to me. I mean, what better way to relish one's youth than with butterflies! For those who are not familiar with this form, it consists of nine lines using a syllabic pattern of 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2. So, here is what I wrote:

(courtesy of @Shlomaster on Pixabay)

hopscotch
merry-go-round
fly a kite in the wind
squeeze juice from a salted orange
and smile
remember the joy from your youth
release stress and relish
the simple things
today


What childhood memories make you smile? How can you incorporate that happiness into your life today?