Liberty

Jeff tripped on a rock, stubbing his toe, and almost dropping Liberty.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” he promised the Bold. “I’m sorry but it’s time for you to go. The fog’s rolled in and that will help you escape Crusher. Please don’t cry, don’t be afraid. Liberty will take you far away. She’s a great ship. My Grandpa and I made her.”

The lump in Jeff’s throat felt bigger than a jawbreaker candy. He should know because he almost swallowed one, once. It was one of the scariest things in his life, almost as scary as Crusher.

Jeff reached the edge of Pine Grove Bay, and gently slipped the driftwood ship into the still water. He took the yellow nylon rope and watched as a gentle breeze pushed against the cloth sails, carrying the good people towards the bigger waters of Gull Lake. He smiled and waved, hoping that it would calm them down, as they begged him not to let go of the rope.

Wherever they ended up, it would be better than here. Better than the everyday meanness from Crusher. That monster loved to torment the Bold. He hated their art, said it was just as ugly as they were, just before he would wreck it. He took their money so they couldn’t buy food and threatened a beating should they tell anyone. Jeff had to make sure that he’d never let the beast see Liberty.

Jeff knew what the word ‘bold’ meant, but he was too afraid to stand up against Crusher, who was a lot bigger than him. He’d felt ashamed and after a while, he’d gone to the King and Queen to plead for help for the Bold.

But the King said that The Crusher was really just a coward and that it was up to Jeff to fight him off. The Queen said that sometimes there are just monsters, and they build something called character.

Jeff didn’t see it that way. He let the rope go and plugged his ears against the cries of the Bold. His eyes blurred with tears as he watched them go. One of the Bold jumped overboard, he was splashing in the water . . . no, drowning!

Jeff ran into the cold water, not worried about getting his clothes soaked. He scooped up the little man who immediately yelled, “What about Princess Carlan? She’ll help! She believes in us!”

“Um, I don’t know—”

“Yes! Princess Carlan! Take us back, Jeff! We don’t want to go!” The Bolds on the ship yelled.

Jeff was frightened but he thought that this might be the right thing to do, so he grabbed the rope and brought Liberty back to shore. Everyone cheered!

Jeff went back to the palace. The Queen wasn’t happy to see him soaking wet. She told him that he’d be late for school and that Miss Carlan would not want such a mess in her classroom.

Jeff quickly changed and set Liberty back on his dresser. He grabbed his backpack while his stomach twisted into knots.

He hurried down the sidewalk, his legs feeling evermore like cooked spaghetti with each step. But Princess Carlan was so nice. She’d always said he was smart, a good artist, and that his stories took her places, whatever that meant. She would help, he had to believe that.

The open doors to Gull Lake Elementary were bigger than a Blue Whale’s mouth, but at least there was no sign of Crusher.

Jeff closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was time to be brave; it was time to ask his teacher help.

Scribbling & Scrabble

I sometimes feel as though writing is like a jumbled pile of Scrabble tiles. I mean, the CONCEPT, is bouncing ’round inside the noggin’. Oh yes, I’ve fingered the five w’s; trapped them in my spotlight as they climbed out of the second-floor window at three am.  BUT, actually putting them into words is a nitpicky process of sifting through those tiles, plucking the ripe ones and discarding the rest. Now, repeat that dozens of times.

Please don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy the challenge and there’s no plans to pack up my carpet bag and move on to selling cleaning products.

However, I’d be guilty of hoodwinking, or at least attempted deception, if I denied that there are times when scooping up those tiles and tossing them into the trash would be considered a viable option for getting a Klondike Bar. 😊

Now put away those Kleenex’s (not an endorsement of any kind, if you prefer Puffs, or some other brand, that’s okay, I guess). This isn’t a woe is me tale. Okay, maybe take just one final blow into that velvety soft tissue and be done with it. This gets better, because the truth is, no matter how much you enjoy something, these moments come.

The best part is when they go away, far, far, yep, keep on walkin’ self-doubt, oops, mind the cliff! That quiet confidence sets in. Those stubborn tiles are eventually wrestled into place, yes, they are nice and snug in their new role as tellers of a tale! Characters birth from them, like images born from the one’s and zero’s of binary code. They rely on us to truck on and finish their story.

If you’re staring at this screen, yes you, right at this moment, and feel like swatting that ‘Delete’ button to send your work to the void of, ‘forever gone.’ DON’T! Sorry, got a wee bit dramatic there.

Ahem. I plead with you to reconsider. The journey is a reward in and of itself. Give yourself TIME. Be gentle and patient with yourself, and others.

Have a blessed day!

(Oh, and maybe eat dark chocolate instead of that ice cream bar . . . much better for you)

Review of Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike

I’ve been absent on the blogosphere lately, my apologies to everyone who’s posts I’ve yet to read. I promise that I will
catch up. Between starting a new job, an online course, writing, and well, everything else, time is a precious commodity.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing, Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

How does a fifty-year-old woman start a new life?

Meet Linda Lockwood: fifty, fat, frumpy and bullied by her horrible husband Ron and the vile students and principal at the school where she teaches English. But her life is about to undergo a total transformation.

Linda suffers a breakdown after a traumatic classroom incident, and that brings out the worst in Ron and devious principal, Wayne Forsythe. Then she is rocked to discover her husband has a shocking secret.

With her own determination and the help of friends and family, she starts to turn her life around. She begins to succeed, but there are still some more surprises in store Linda.

My View:

This is a classic, “rags to riches,” tale that does a wonderful job of creating sympathy for our down and out protagonist.

Though her circumstances have never been ideal, the bullies in Linda’s life push her to the edge with a series of offenses ranging from indifference to downright abusive. Battered and bruised (figuratively), Linda’s self esteem slides to a new low. The future is bleak.

Fortunately, she’s blessed with a strong cast of supportive family and
friends. They lift her up, infusing her with the courage to rise before the
bell rings. Linda begins to take calculated risks and discovers a new life that
she’d never dreamed was possible. When the past raises an ugly head, she
quickly banishes it with her newfound confidence.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who relishes stories about overcoming
massive obstacles to win a second chance.

Meet Toni: 

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing page-turning fiction for adults, hilarious books for children, and non-fiction. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of LINDA’S MIDLIFE CRISIS, DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.

The Brody Cody Series is for children aged 6-9: BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE and BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Connect with her and grab your copy:

Amazon Website Instagram

Life’s simple pleasures

Happy Sunday to all! Right now, I’m looking out my window and admiring the beauty that’s lit by another sunny (but cool) morning. It’s just another example of life’s small pleasures that we may often take for granted.

Despite recent world events, there’s still plenty of good out there. Yes, there are those larger ticket items; family and friends, health, fun vacations, good food, and personal freedoms. But what about the little things? Here’s a list of the small things, in no particular order, that I’m personally grateful for. Things which may seem insignificant on their own but add up to a big morale boost. They’re everywhere, if you pay attention.

  1. The swish of the wind as it passes through the needles of an evergreen tree(s)
  2. The courteous driver who stops to let you turn.
  3. The smell of clean laundry- even better if you can dry it on a clothesline outside.
  4. The call of the Loon from the lake at sunset.
  5. The crackle and warmth of a campfire.
  6. Fixing that obnoxious squeaking door.
  7. The feel of a cool breeze kissing away the sweat after a hard day’s work.
  8. A smile.
  9. A belly-laugh.
  10. The first sip of fresh coffee.
  11. Good and full days that make you forget time exists.
  12. The scar(s) that are fodder for excellent stories.
  13. Sunrises/sunsets.
  14. The funny antics and quirks of pets.
  15. Rainbows.
  16. Rainstorms when you’re safely tucked in bed.
  17. Conquering procrastination and just “gettin’ it done.”
  18. Arriving safely at a destination.
  19. Impromptu adventures that provide a lifetime of great memories.
  20. The completion of every chapter that draws a WIP (work in progress) towards, “The End.”

Do any of these connect with you? Please feel free to add more in the comments.