Photos with Captions, to Make You Smile and Think

Well, the end of another week is here, and things up here are beginning to open up and resemble something closer to normal. I’m going to try and avoid the stores or restaurants, for this weekend, at least, because I know they’ll be busy. As for this blog, I was planning on posting something more along the lines of a short story, but I’m pushing to finish my WIP, so I’ve decided on something a bit less involved.

I wish all of you a great weekend!

Please Welcome author Stephanie Matthews @s_m_matthews

Happy Friday! I hope the week was good to each of you, if not, well, just try to kick it to the curb and focus on the weekend. 🙂

Today I have the privilege of hosting supernatural-thriller writer, Stephanie Matthews. I’ve read her debut novel, The Gift, and I can tell you it’s a page turner. The sequel, The Eve’s End, is an Amazon Best-Seller!

So, I’ll stop gabbing and turn the floor over to Stephanie.

When I first began writing, I was about eight years old and wrote about unicorns in my backyard. Then I grew up into a young teenager and, fascinated by Middle-Earth, I played around with fan fiction. Once I hit university, I discovered Classical history and I wrote about Classical history (yes, even for fun!).

But when I sat down to write the book which would become my first published novel, “The Gift”, it was not about mythology, fantasy, or history. It was a supernatural thriller—with a dash of horror, about how a young woman was set up by her otherwise wonderful grandmother to forcefully face her (lack of) religious beliefs in a terrifying fight for her mind, body, and soul. How did that genre-jump happen?

One of the rules of writing is to write what you know. That’s why we read other authors and read research material. . . so that we can learn, know, then write. And, just as valuable to reading the product of other people’s knowledge is the value of our own personal experiences. What are the struggles that you have gone through, or are currently going through? What questions do you want answers to? These are the things that mean something personal to you, so, write about it! Try to discover those answers in your writing and your story will spark to life. You’re now writing more than just a good story; you’re writing with a purpose of personal discovery and this will translate to your reader. Before I had started to write “The Gift”, I had recently moved out of a Christian bubble and into “the real world” and was struggling with the world I thought I knew versus the world I was seeing. I had originally started writing “The Gift” simply as a counter-Hallmark Christmas story, a story of substance with all the Christmas magic but none of the Christmas cheese. Even though my personal struggle was very different from my main character’s, I found a commonality between our stories, and very quickly my story swelled into a supernatural thriller-horror, a genre I otherwise have nothing to do with.

The story I wanted to tell and the experiences I was writing through didn’t end with “The Gift” though. I’d left my main character on a cliff hanger, her future remained ominous, and I too had come to a turning point in discovering how I fit into the world around me; we both needed resolution. So, I returned to the world I’d created and began writing what would become a #1 Amazon Best Seller, “The Eve’s End”, a story of a gritty victory for some, of loss for others, and ultimately, about everyone searching for their place in this world.

So, what does a story that began as a moody Christmas alternative and doubled as a platform to discover personal peace look like? Well, let me tell you about parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling in the snow. Let me tell you about scary ghost stories and the tales of the glories of Christmases not so long ago. . .

Fae Peeters arrives by train on her Christmas break to a small Belgian village at the urging of her grandmother. Armed with her grandmother’s strangely written letter detailing the pre-arranged itinerary leading up to Christmas morning, Fae arrives at the picturesque European village and soon finds herself battling a rapid onset of dark thoughts and dreams clouding her mind. Many of the locals aren’t shy about showing how uncomfortable they are with her presence, so Fae readily accepts the
help of a stranger to guide her through the unnerving experiences and reception she’s been getting; though, even he may not be what he seems to be. As Christmas Eve arrives events are put in motion which cannot be stopped, and Fae finds out too late that the locals expect her to die on Christmas Eve, a victim to the darkness which comes once a year in a ghoulish display of powers. It will take extraordinary
forces to help Fae survive, but, she has to decide for herself if she actually wants to.

Speed ahead twenty-eight years and the experiences which Fae went through in that little Belgian village years ago have affected her ever since, relentlessly haunting her. Pressed into returning to the village, Fae complies, but only under the premise that she will have the chance to address the haunting force which has ruined her life. But with more innocent lives being swept into this Christmas Eve drama, Fae realizes that her reason for being back in the village is about than just her, for darkness affects us all.

Meet Stephanie Matthews

Stephanie M. Matthews is an Amazon #1 Best Seller thriller author known for her vivid style of writing. Living in Ontario, Stephanie fills her time being a Jill of All Trades (and master of none) playing hockey, mountain biking, and obstacle racing. She continues to learn and write about classical history, drawing on inspiration from the past, to fuel the stories of the present.

Connect with her and purchase her books:

Website Twitter Instagram Facebook

Photos with Captions, to make you Smile and Think

Happy Sunday! It’s overcast here, but spirits are good, in light of the recent tighter COVID restrictions. This past week, we had snow, and I felt like getting my blowtorch from the garage to melt it. Fortunately, it was just a cruel joke by Mother Nature and it disappeared the next day. Today, I’m posting a few of my photos with captions, that I made. Enjoy!

Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?

Tear Down this “Sanctuary”

Yesterday I was out for a walk in the brisk December air, when I spotted this photo-op. It’s my neighbors horse, and it was staring at me in a way that conjured an idea for this poem.

Please don’t get me wrong, the horse is well-loved and cared for, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the animal was making some type of plea to be released into the wild, and then reacting with hostility when I wouldn’t acquiesce.

The following poem is based on the Elegy style, which often broaches the subjects of loss or reflection. I thought it might work in this case. Please let me know what you think.

Tear off this constraint, Man, cast it to the flames, cut down these iron trees, my spirit they doth taint.
Smug biped, my legs are more than tenfold your strength, four thunderbolts from Zeus, speed to dry out muskegs.
Rip down this “sanctuary,” Man, I’m noble, field and forest beckon my heart,  I’m born for the prairie.
Evil beast, your eyes tell all, no morals to lose a wink, pity filled, hands idle, weak with fear and lies.

I just wanted to add one more thing, not poem related. Blogger Mohamad Al Karbi has created a blog directory, free to all bloggers. I have already signed up. Please click here to learn more and how you can join: New Blog Directory

A Christmas Poem

Well, another year, and what a year it’s been, is about to be swept away by the winds of time, wherever bygone years are blown to. This is my last post before Christmas, I will continue to read the fine works of others, though.

I came up with this little poem this morning, and I hope it makes you smile. I would like to thank all of you for supporting my blog throughout the years and wish all of you Happy Holidays!I hope you find peace and joy; celebrating, or not, in whatever form you choose, and the best you can in this age of restrictions.

‘Twas 4 am, John slid quietly out of bed.    

Glory be! Christmas Day, at last! He’d prepped all year!

 Timed Christmas lights cued on, as down the stairs he treads.

Tree trimmed to precise cone; sore hands; well worth the cheer.              

All seemed right, but then he saw it, and slapped his head.

The wrapped sweater hung like a slug, sloshed on cheap beer.

If she’d used a box; but Claire’s doll now wore a cap to dread.

John frowned; he’d fix Kate’s mistake; but an earful  she’d hear.

Two steps, a squeak from the floor; tools were in the shed.

 The room spun around; all imperfections were  clear.

The mantle garland was unequal at the ends.

 He went outside, closed his eyes, and willed the mess to disappear.

A horrible squeak! A rusty bike, rode by that boy named Ted.

Ted waved; John smiled, “Wait right there. I’ve got some oil for that gear.”