Some food for your thoughts – a little something for the weekend

I came across this poem a few days ago and have been thinking about ever since. So, I’m going to share it here with you guys and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
And Kim, I know you said this poem is akin to horror (and you’re spot on, I can totally relate), but I can’t deny that a chuckle escaped at the ending – it’s so true!

Rejection, A Horror Story
by Kimberly Smyth
I was working at my desk late one night
Across my email came a dreadful sight
“Rejected Again!” The nasty thing said,
Actually, “We regret to inform you” instead
I hung my head in utter shame,
Outside the wind howled in the driving rain.
Lightning struck and thunder shook,
How will I ever write a book?
I thought as I pondered the cause
Number ten rejection I believe this was,
A blow to my ego, simply because
I’ve been trying so hard, has my talent fled?
Have I never had it at all
My conscious said.
This was just an essay, I’ve penned many of those
It shouldn’t have failed, not exactly prose.
If I can’t pass this easy test
No way I’ll ever become the best
At writing a book or a novel so well
All these rejections have put me through Hell.
Again and again, how much can one take?
This last one I got really took the cake.
An emotional story about my mother,
Rejected, just like all of the others.
Outside the storm continued to rage,
As I sat there in my four-walled cage.
The room where the “magic” is supposed to happen
Nothing like that, just another rejection….
Click here to read the rest:
I recommend reading till the end, my friends, it’s totally worth your time.


Legacy of Souls – The Shattered Sea #2 by D. Wallace Peach

Legacy of Souls book cover

A few weeks ago I posted a review for Soul Swallowers, the first installment on the Shattered Sea duology by author D. Wallace Peach. (Check it out here:

So, I didn’t get to a deserted island, but I did kick the kids out to their grandparents on a weekend… hehe.

So Legacy of Souls, the second and final installment in the Shattered Sea duology – WOW. I was at the edge of my seat for the entire read, pausing only when I absolutely had to. There’s so much intrigue, action, twisted conspiracies, loss, love… I had no nails left by the time I was reading the last paragraph. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll try to be careful – don’t blame me if I let something slip.

First, let me explain a point I found intriguing and fascinating: You know from the start who the villains are – yes, plural – you know their motives – power, greed – but you’re still surprised by the way they go about achieving their goals. For one, I knew Benjemur was a power hungry character, I knew he was unscrupulous. But every time a twist was revealed, I was honestly surprised at how he went about it… his greed had no boundaries!

This is a storytelling method I’ve seen writers use before – you’re introduced to the villains from the beginning, you know their goals, their motives, but you have no idea what they’ll do next. And D. Wallace Peach put it in an expert manner that is intricately flawless.

The intrigue, the conspiracy and greed are so potent, it makes the heart race. And the loss and heartache, oh, I’m not ashamed to say my tears fell more than once during the course of the story.

There’s more action in this second installment than in the first one, and the stakes here are higher too. After grieving for the death of his young wife for over ten years, Raze is finally letting himself heal. He’s found a new love, made amends with his father, and… is about to lose everything he built and cares about.

It’s a quest against time, against greed, power and corruption, and although there are some losses I was sad to read about, the story wraps up nicely, all the ends tide up. By the time I was reading the last words, I had 0 questions in total.

“A tangled mess of intrigue and death that might never fully unravel. So many lives had been stolen, too many to list. And truly for nothing when kindness and integrity had always been a choice.”

When I read this part, I felt it resonate. So much loss could have been avoided if only there was kindness, so many lives could have been spared…. But isn’t that the problem with our world?

Again, the writing style is intriguing, captivating, and suits the story perfectly. And the soul swallowing theory and how this part is handled at the end, it was brilliant!

Kudos to D. Wallace Peach for this intricately woven tale, I can’t recommend it enough.

About D. Wallace Peach:

  1. Wallace Peach began writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with my husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Check out her page:



Add this book to your goodreads list:

Or, get a copy!

Alarm clocks are… alarming

Ever read a book where the protagonist wakes up with a start when the alarm goes off? Or ever read when the alarm doesn’t go off and because it didn’t, all hell breaks loose?

In a story, alarm clocks signals a start of something, the change in a scene, or just a reference that time has moved on.

In fiction writing, I’ve used alarm clocks and the incessant beeps once or twice.

But I’m here to talk about reality.

I’ve often wondered about the benefits of alarm clocks and why people use it.

To be truthful, I’ve never used an alarm in my life. (Not really never, but almost doesn’t really count, right?).

It may be a hereditary thing, or just the way I was brought up. My parents never – or almost – never used alarms in their lives before. And no, they didn’t always miss their appointments; we (the kids) were never late to school.

I wake up every day (on week days) between 5:10 and 5:30 am without the assistance of a watch. I may wake a few minutes before that, or a few minutes late, but that twenty minute window is when I wake up 90% of the time – weekends are different, of course.

I don’t mean we have something extra; it’s just the way people are. You know when you’re used to waking up at a specific time every day? Suppose you turn off that alarm, even if you wake up late, you won’t miss that timeframe by much. You’ll moan and groan and try to cover your head and go back to sleep, but no matter how much you wish for it, sleep will never come.

In the beginning of this year, my oldest, 11 years old, decided that he wanted to start waking up on his own. Because he still doesn’t have control of his “inner alarm”, he decided he needed to turn on his physical, very loud alarm.

And every morning, at 5:00 his alarm would go off. I’d wake up with a start, disoriented, break out a cold sweat,  and stumble blindly (pun intended), heart pounding in the froze of a pre-attack and search his room for the ringing device among the piles of clothes, candy wrappers and weird gadgets. And my son would go on, peacefully sleeping, unaware of the end of the world.

Now he’s twelve, and he thinks he’s old enough to wake up on his own. This time around, he came up with a plan. He read about this clock that jumps off the nightstand and runs away when the alarms rings, banging into furniture and bouncing in opposite directions. To turn it off, you have to catch the thing first.

Hmmm, I don’t think so.

Have you ever heard about “Clocky” before? Out of curiosity, I did a search on it and found it sells on Amazon – and comes with free shipping. I wouldn’t get one even if I was paid to take it!

How do you feel about alarm clocks? Do you depend on them or is your inner alarm reliable?


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 1) – By James J. Cudney IV

There’s a saying about experiencing something for the first time – You never forget it.

And yes, your blog, first following, first follower, first like, first comment, do count too.

There’s an author I met when I first started blogging, and I’ve been following his writing journey ever since. Some of you already know him from ‘this is my truth now (link below if this one doesn’t click).

James J. Cudney is inexhaustible, a prolific writer, a fun guy, and a supportive friend.

I was getting the last details of my debut novel ready when he released his first book, Watching Glass Shatter in October last year. Around spring this year, he released his second novel, Father Figure. And today I’m here to announce his new release, the first book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, launching on October 15th…. See what I mean about inexhaustible?

Academic Curveball is a cozy mystery written in the first person narrative. Crime, college, sport, love, humor… it’s all there. It’s witty, it’s fun, and the set of characters are charming and relatable.

Want to know more?

Check out his post and a brief excerpt here:

book cover

Blurb: When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled.


Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.


In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss.


Sounds like a fantastic read, doesn’t it?

Add it to your Goodreads:


Did you know – Settings matter to creativity

How Do You Write?


Can your surroundings affect the quality of your writing?

If you asked me this a while back, my answer would have been, not for me.

A lot of writers prefer to write in the quiet, where there’s no sound or no one to break their focus. Imagine a swing in the backyard under the moon, a quiet bedroom in  an empty house, the bleached sands of a vacant beach, nothing but the soothing sound of lapping waves and seagulls. Imagine yourself there, your notebook on hand – or laptop. Your muse is content, creative and inspired.

Now imagine a busy cafe, a house full of guests and family members, a bench in the park full of screeching kids… and yourself sitting among them, a notebook on hand (or laptop). Can your muse work in the same capacity in both scenarios?

Does the quiet make you contemplative and solemn? Does the noise irritate you?

, Some writers would rather write while alone, but they still need quiet music, the strings of a classic playing in the background. Some prefer the thump of rock music, or the haunting lyrics of a love song – yet they still require complete solitude.

My muse is a contradictory creature. I enjoy writing at night – late enough that everything is quiet save for the sound of my laptop, but I’ve never seen a difference between my night  time creativity and the day time ones.

In fact, back until a month ago, I thought I had no problem with a full house and running kids, the sound of loud tv or thumping music. I never considered that my writing may be affected by the noise. In a way, I guess I was right – I did publish The first book in the Roxanne Fosch trilogy, along with a short story. And I did draft the second book in the trilogy as well.

I’ve read that some writers need the noise and the smells of a busy venue, the traffic of strangers as stimulants for better creativity. Up until last month, I had thought I was one of these people too. But now that the kids are all in school and, for the first time in six years,  I have my mornings all to myself… I wonder, had I always needed the quiet for better productivity, or was I only in need of a change? My creativity is running at full speed, my productivity… let’s just say I accomplish a lot in the span of two quiet hours, much more than I’m able to do when there are kids around and my focus keeps shifting to household matters.

And you may be thinking, who cares, as long as the words are flowing…. And you’re right. But it’s good to know what makes your muse sing, don’t you think?

How do you write?

Do you need complete silence, music, or do you rather write surrounded by people you don’t know?

When in doubt, post a review

What do you do when you have all these ideas for posts, but can’t settle for one?

That’s what happened to me this week. So in lue of a big post with all these varying topics, I’ll talk about these few books I recently read (For a review of Soul Swallower, check my previous post here )


Here goes:


The Hating Game by Sally Thorne


Now, this was a lighthearted and hilarious read that came just at the time I needed it. It was quick, it was fun, and the writing was captivating from the start. I was so engrossed, I was turning on the last page before I realized it was over. Now, this isn’t my usual type of read, but after this one, I’m on the market for more romantic comedies. Any suggestions, please let me know.


Uprooted By Naomi Novik


This too was a great read. I saw the title a while back and read the word ‘dragon’ on the post and promptly skipped both the review and the synopsis, so not to spoil my read. And when I found the book available, I quickly picked it up. And oh, what a read.

There were some annoying parts, but I rate my books by the overall feeling I got and not by critiquing scene by scene, so this was definitely a five star read for me. I also like my fantasies in a series – a duology, a trilogy and so on – but although this was a stand alone, it was long enough that I wasn’t left wanting for more, except for maybe a couple more paragraphs at the end.


Don’t rush me; and Don’t cheat me (Nora Jacobs #1 and #2) By Jacki May


Well, I’m not sure where to start here…. Let’s try from the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this story: this was so the kind of story I enjoy reading. I mean, bad ass female with strange powers she can’t fathom? Big check. But… this story left me with a big case of the wtf. For one, the protagonist just wasn’t consistent throughout the story. Now, why did I keep reading till the end much less pick up the second book? Because it was alright and I needed to know what the author was going to make from this story. Because, despite all the inconsistencies, this story had so much potential, and if only there was a touch of reality and a little less self-pity, I’d have overlooked the contradictory parts. Like, the protagonist has been attacked and abused for most of her life and keeps mentioning – all too often – how lonely and afraid of the world she is, and then the next line – not scene – she tells herself get a grip and don her badass character and throws herself into danger. Huh?

Still, all in all, I gave it a three star and maybe, just maybe, I’ll pick up the third book and see what happens next.


Tower of Dawn by Sarah Maas


O, this one I read in july, but I’ve never gotten around to the review. First, before you go on with this one, let me explain first that I’m a big fan of Throne of Glass. This is more than up my alley, this is the kind of story I aspire to write one day. But, and this one is a big ass hairy but, I didn’t like Caol. I didn’t like caol and his attitude and judgmental character from book 1.

So back in 2016 when Sarah maas left us with that horrible cliff hanger in Empire of Storms, I was so jonesing for more, that I couldn’t decide on a book for an entire week. But I finally got my reading under control and managed to forget all about it until august 2017 – a month prior to Tower of Dawn’s release. And that’s when I learned that the entire book was about Caol. I was so upset, I was determined not t pick this one up, no matter what. But everyone said I’d need it if I wanted to understand Kingdom of Ash, so I finally read it. It was a good read, like all of Sarah’s books, though I admit I skimmed over most of Caol’s scenes. It just couldn’t be helped. The guy won’t go down my throat, not even with butter and oil.


The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett


Ok, I’m going to sound like a horrible person here, but I keep reading so many nice reviews about the discworld series, I was curious. Since I own the first eight books since forever, I picked this one up and decided to give a try. But, Nicole, I’m honestly sorry to say my eyes glazed and my mind wondered off three times before I put it aside. I’m still determined to know what the fuss is all about, so I’ll be picking this one up again – just not in the near future.


So, I guess that’s enough for today.



2018 best read – Soul Swallowers Review

Soul Swallowers – The Shattered Sea #1


I’ll start by saying that I was captivated by the get go, by the powerful opening of the book – which I’m going to share at the end of this post.

It all started with a tragedy: The imposing will of a lord upon his eldest son and the innocent belief that love conquers all (See excerpt below).

This is a story that follows multiple characters, all evolving around Raze, a young lord turned farmer, and his journey from boyhood to manhood.

At first, it feels like the secondary characters have nothing in common with each other, but the author weaves an intricate tale of conspiracy, slavery, politics, love, and honor, all impeccably interwoven– and it comes back to disrupt the quiet life Raze has dreamed for himself.

Now, the politics here has nothing to do with the affairs of our current world, but something more historical, like when lords arranged marriages for the sole purpose of gaining alliances, avoiding wars and so on.

I’d like to say I was surprised with the outstanding storytelling, but I’ve come to expect this from the author. You know when you think, hey, this is an author who knows how to use her words to intrigue and captivate? This is the kind of author D. Wallace Peach is.

I read this book about ten days ago. I started on Thursday night and was turning the last page early on Friday evening, and I can’t wait to pick up the second and final book, Legacy of Souls – and yeah, I already have it in my queue.

Like hinted above, the book starts with a promise of a love story, but instead of a happy couple, we get tragedy.  The story follows Raze, his choices and actions, all based on that first touch of love and its traumatic outcome.

I enjoyed reading the journey of the secondary characters as well, and especially felt bad for Azalus, Raze’s younger brother, the kid who was left behind. I was glad to read more about him as the story progressed, though sometimes I wanted to bash Raze for treating his younger brother with indifference.

Every character we follow in this story has something special, a trait that touches the reader in a way or another, something that is relatable, and yes, there was a villain that I was actually rooting for.

Johzar, for one, is a character (villain?) who showed some redeeming qualities, and I was hoping by the end of the book that he’d turn into some sort of hero. He just…. Sounded like a reasonable man, *hmmm coughs* I mean slaver, with some good morals. And then there’s Benjmur, who is a manipulator and a schemer, and ambitious lord. The means to which he reaches his end are questionable, though they are cleverly arranged, and in a way that makes you wonder if he’s the most dangerous character in the story.

Then there’s Bel and Nallea, I really liked them. There were scenes in their journey where my heart beat faster, or my eyes prickled with tears, or a sigh escaped my lips, and I look forward to reading more about their journey.

There were characters I was really sad to see go, and although I won’t mention who and give some spoilers, I’ll say that I hope to hear more about them in the future.

Sajem, now, this is one villain I’m sure all readers would agree should meet a fitting end, but alas, I can’t talk about it here.

These are only some of the characters we meet, and they are not the only things that shine out from the pages. The plot, the writing, the fantasy elements, the world building, everything is done exceptionally well.

The writing is another thing that grabbed me from the first page, it’s rich, it’s vivid, and it’s tailored down to this historic, post apocalyptic world with an ease that feels natural. I rarely share quotes from a book I read, mainly because I’m too engrossed to pause to highlight, but here’s one I read more than once: “Beauty gleams with a brilliance beyond itself, and we call that light love. At its heart dwells the sublime source of affection for all of creation, for nowhere are love and beauty matters of fate or happenstance.”

The world building is flawless. The author gives enough information, enough detail to portray the image she wants us to see. Her words don’t just tell a story, they leap out and form the images in your head.

The fantasy side of the story is simple and logical, the kind the reader doesn’t need to puzzle or work to wrap the mind around. It’s a people who believe on soul stones – little pendants they wear around their necks to catch their soul once the body dies. A person can swallow the soul of a predecessor, a friend, or a total stranger, and gain in turn their skills and personalities.

All in all, I have absolutely nothing to complain about, except that I need a trip to a deserted island so that I can pick up the second and final book and see what happens next.

About the author:

D. Wallace Peach
  1. Wallace Peach began writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with my husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Check out her page:

book cover

Book Excerpt:



Tegir Empire, Year 12

Raze steeled his resolve, tension linked across his chest and shoulder blades like a skin of mail. His father, Lord Rydan Anvrell of Kestrel, loathed defiance, his mind shuttered to any attempt at reason, ears deaf to his own son. A crimson fire snapped in the hearth, the room overly warm, air thick despite a blustery rain tapping insistent fingers on the windowpanes. On the mantel, a stuffed falcon cast its glass eyes over the black ravenwood table, pewter plates and crystal goblets set for the arrival of dignitaries from Avanoe. Arrangements were in place, the terms agreed upon. “You will accept a betrothal to Nallea,” Lord Rydan commanded. “It is already decided, Raze. This is not a lad’s game.” The insinuation that he acted the child fired Raze’s blood, and he chafed at the restraints placed upon his life. “She’s nine!” “In six years, she will grow into a young woman old enough to wed. I will not argue this with you.” “I don’t know her. I have no idea who she will be. And what of her choices? She isn’t old enough to understand what’s being asked of her!” “That is of no consequence. You are my heir and will bear the title of Lord of Kestrel. With that, you inherit responsibilities, a future in the Vales. We are a conquered land. Do you believe our puny provinces will remain under independent rule? Do you think our rivals will dawdle contentedly within their walls?”

Raze curled his fingers, caging his temper. Debating an unknowable future only squandered his breath. His father paced, hands gripped behind his back, fury honing the sharp angles of his face and frosting his hazel eyes. Raze shared his straight brows, the lean sculpt of his bones, and hair the deep brown of polished wood, but little else. At sixteen years, he topped his father’s height, a result of his mother’s Ezarine ancestry. From her, he’d inherited the invaders’ milk-pale skin and curved amethyst eyes. He missed the comfort of her gentle interventions when facing his father’s ire. “What about love?” he asked. Rydan’s eyes tightened into slits. “Love will follow.” “Did you love my mother? Did she love you?” Barbs riddled the question, and he would use them to wrench out his father’s heart. “Was your marriage forced upon you against your will?” The lord waved away his argument, though his face softened. “Nae, it was not.” “Did you wed her for love?” Even if it made all the difference of snow on a summer’s day, Raze would compel an answer. His father would acknowledge the unfairness of his demand. Rydan retreated to the window overlooking the rose garden, its glory withered, embrowned and brittle during winter’s bitter cold. The pruned shrubs dripped in the squalling rain, love’s blooms reduced to thorny canes with sharp tips. A corner of his father’s heart had remained faithful to his mother, tenderly caring for her roses, his affection for the delicate petals a stoic confession of love and longing. Four years ago, she’d drowned in the Shattered Sea, and though they’d all, more or less, moved on with their lives, she’d carried a portion of their hearts with her when she died, and the wounds had yet to heal. Raze touched the pendant resting on his chest, the soulstone empty and patient for his death. His mother’s soul tumbled somewhere at the bottom of the sea, and at times like these, he wished his father had recovered it and swallowed her essence. Perhaps they wouldn’t feel so at odds. “Ai, we wed for love. There is your answer.” Rydan pivoted from the garden, the muscles in his jaw tight. “But those days lie in the past. The Tegir Empire is in its infancy and consumed by political realignment. They

disregard us, Raze. We enter times of critical choosing, moments of vulnerability that require vigilance. Our lives are not solely our own, son; they ripple over porous borders into the lives of others. You will submit to this path and honor your obligations.” “And if I refuse?” Rydan stared at him. If he searched for a crack in Raze’s conviction, he wouldn’t find one. “Destiny seldom hands you exactly what you desire and rarely in the form you long for. You must embrace the art of compromise.” Raze met his father’s eyes. “And if I refuse?” “You will deeply regret your decision.” “Then I must endure that regret, my lord Father, for I am already wed.”

His father was not a man subject to tempests of rage, but wrath had flared in Lord Rydan’s neck and face. Beneath the fury, layers of disappointment and embarrassment smoldered, and though the censure burned and blistered like a field of nettles, Raze shoved it aside. The anger, he could tolerate; he’d grown accustomed to it. His cloak drawn tightly against the slanted rain, he mounted Copperkin. The old mare was surefooted on the slick cobbles and untroubled by the wind blowing up from the Shattered Sea. The streets of Kestrel curved downward like gray snakes from the stone hall at the Keep’s height. Twelve bridges spanned the mossy gorges where waterfalls veiled the air with clouds of mist. During the summer, the city gleamed, vibrant. Not as exotic or breathtaking as Avanoe with its domes and spires but treed and flowered with swaths of emerald lawns. His mother had loved her verdant home. Winter possessed its own stark enchantment, brushed by the sea in hues of silver and slate, the sun swallowed by masses of churning clouds. Raze rode gingerly, the reins on his excitement taut. He would do as his father asked but on an altered path than the one dictated by politics and power. He would remain faithful to his obligations and accept both the blessings and risks of his choices. Despite his father’s threat, he had made a commitment and refused to regret it. Copperkin’s hooves clopped across Mariners’ Bridge connecting the Keep to the Cliffside harbor. Sailors and passengers scaled the elaborate scaffolding that clung to the sheer bluffs. Cliffmen operated booms and winches, hoisting cargo from the waves, their efforts harried but muted by the chilly dampness as they toiled in the fading day. Raze steered Copperkin away from the precipice. Narrow shiplap homes and shops glowed from within, lanterns flickering in the twilight and reflecting on the wet world as if it were coated in glass. Mirelle’s family lived above her parents’ bakery. The wood building leaned precariously against its neighbor, and even in the rain, the surrounding air bore the heady fragrance of fresh bread. Raze tied Copperkin beneath an awning and climbed a rickety flight of steps. The door flew open at his knock as though Mirelle’s hand already rested on the latch. They stared at each other in bashful silence, his wife smiling, lips pressed together as if holding a secret. Since he’d first glimpsed her in the market, she’d overwhelmed him. He’d kissed her and lost his grip on the boundaries framing his life, heart swept sideways and head muddled. He still floundered, uncertain what to do or say when faced with her beauty. Her hair shone, straight and fine as corn-silk, and her sky-blue eyes sparkled. Clutching his jerkin, she drew him inside, a sweet laugh escaping her lips. “Raze! I wasn’t expectin’ you.” “I told my father.” Mirelle’s parents and younger sisters looked up from their supper table. Sevat, a portly man with a sparse pate of blond hair, waved Raze to a bench. “Join us.” Raze slid in opposite Mirelle’s towheaded sisters. Her mother, a woman as round as the baker, bustled to the hearth to serve him. He accepted a bowl of fish stew accompanied by a wedge of warm seeded bread. Mirelle sat beside him, eyes pooled with worry, hands clasped in her lap. Sevat’s brows puckered over his nose. “He wasn’t pleased, I’ll wager.” “Nae,” Raze admitted. “You two break the barriers of class at your peril.” Sevat scraped pudgy

fingers through his thin hair. “Lord Anvrell is well respected. He’s a fair man, but he knows his place, as do we.” Raze had argued his points to dullness and wouldn’t do so again. Ai, the structures of power formed tiers, each level fortified by customs and expectations. But the world evolved. The Ezari reigned, and he lived in conquered lands where the rules changed. “My father will temper with time.” He faced Mirelle and grasped her hand. “When he meets you, he’ll understand.” “I’ll make a worthy wife, Raze.” Mirelle set her shoulders. “I’ll do nothin’ to disgrace you.” “You couldn’t if you tried.” He smiled, his confidence returning. Any trepidation regarding his choices faded in her presence. “I’ve come to accompany you home.” Mirelle slapped a jittery hand over her mouth, and nervous laughter wriggled between her fingers. “Now?” “Now.”


Mirelle had never ridden a horse, and she eyed the tall animal with suspicion. Raze reached down for her hand. “She’s a sweet disposition, Mirelle, and a sure foot. You won’t fall.” His wife placed her foot in the stirrup with some giggling awkwardness. He hoisted her up before him in the saddle, her long skirt tangling and prompting a display of graceless fumbling. “Hardly ladylike,” she said. “You’re not dressed for riding, love. Otherwise, you are elegant.” He grasped the reins in one hand, his other arm encircling her waist. Over the hood sheltering her flaxen hair, he had a view of the lane ahead, slick and glistening with rain. He clucked at Copperkin. The mare flicked her ears and began the return trip through the empty Cliffside markets. They rode the winding streets in silence until Mirelle twisted to catch his eye. “Are you sure I should be goin’ up with you? Perhaps we should wait. Give the lord time for your words to settle, until the… troubles are over.” “If you refer to my pending betrothal, it is unquestionably over.” He pulled her close. “Ai, that,” she whispered, facing forward. “A bit of time for his anger to soften.” “For all his bluster, he loves me, Mirelle. He loved my mother and will love you too. As the Lord of Kestrel, he bears the burden of leadership and values control, but he renders decisions without debate. If I bend to every expectation he holds of me, I would lead a dead life and be complicit in its demise.”

“Sometimes I barely understand your pretty words.” She leaned into him. “But I trust you.” “You have nothing to fear from my father.” The dusky street curved up along a stone balustrade with a sweeping view of the sea. Green swells rolled in from the west. Tufted by wind and laced with foam, they thundered against the cliff walls. Gulls with blacktipped wings hovered in the thermals soaring up the bluffs. They were ordinary sights in Kestrel, and yet the city appeared altered as if the rain had washed away a film of dust and uncovered a concealed beauty. He guided Copperkin onto the narrow lane climbing directly to the hall. Mirelle emitted a small gasp and clutched the soulstone at her neck. “Did you see her?” “See who?” He swiveled in the saddle, eyes scanning the lane for more than a wisp of rolling fog. “A ghost.” Mirelle shivered. “We should heed her and turn back.” He chuckled at the common word for a lost soul, one unbound at the time of death. Everyone he knew wore a soulstone. Even the desperately poor received them if they inquired at the Temple of Souls. To die without the pendant left a soul adrift forever, one’s aptitudes, skills, and essence of personality lost to future generations. Ghost tales made entertaining conversations at Cliffside taverns, but few believed them. “Unbound souls don’t take form, and if they did, I doubt they’d haunt Kestrel’s streets.” “They’re real, Raze. They watch over us.” “What do they look like?” “Smoke or wanderin’ fog.” He raised his eyebrows behind her head. “Those are fanciful tales, Mirelle.” “I see the young lord doesn’t know everything.” He smiled and squeezed her. “Then I look forward to learning whatever you have to teach me.” Copperkin ambled around the corner. Raze pulled on the reins, touched his belt, and whispered a curse. In his haste to leave the hall, he’d neglected to strap on a weapon. Four men on foot spread out across the lane in front of them.

…. …. …


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The muse with the blues

A Cycle’s Tribute


So my muse is back and she’s got the blues. Instead of working on Heir of Doom, this poem is what she had in mind:


There was a time when darkness ruled

And light was a precious jewel

A time when nightmares feasted

And dreams dimmed and flickered

A time when pain was constant

And relief a distant element

A time when regret bit

And contentment slithered and hid

A time when sadness was primary

And joy just a faint memory

A time when tears flowed like rivers

And smiles wore dark filters

A time when you didn’t exist

And life was just meaningless.

Invert and now that you’re present

Life has turned radiant

It’s a time where smiles are effortless

And tears are full of happiness

A time where joy is everywhere

And sadness lost the affair

A time where contentment is mine

And regret was left behind

A time when relief was permanent

And sadness no longer my sentiment

A time when dreams conquered

And nightmare no longer a bother

A time when light shone warm and bright

And darkness no longer ruled my life

It’s a cycle where time is power

And light and dark play with the hour

Invert, revert, the cycle continues

I’ll laugh and cry, grow and dwindle.

My life will go on, a cycle’s tribute.


Dreams, reality or fiction?

When dreams are published on pages, can you say that it’s been, somehow, realized?

Have you ever had a dream that you thought would make a great movie/book?

Dreams are illusive images our subconscious conjures and shows us while the body is in stasis. Most people know this, and most remember their dreams as unrealistic thoughts.

When I read a book I really like, I research the author, the reason she wrote the story, where he/she came from, what they like, what they don’t, how many kids/pets they have,  and anything else I can find about them. Basically, I turn into a stalker.

It never struck me as strange that some of those writers based their entire story on a dream they had (I.e., Twilight). After all, most of what I read is fantasy and fantasy is where you let the imagination fly.

But now that I’ve started to write, I wonder how this dream-turn-into-fiction works.

So I had a dream the other night. I remember, during that dream, telling myself this would make a great story. I remember waking in the middle of the night and thinking about that dream as a vague memory, something that happened so long ago, I could only recall glimpses. But in the morning, all I could remember was the part where I thought the dream would make a great story, nothing else. This actually happens with more frequency than I’d like.
A while back, I remember telling myself I should write down this dream – while I was still dreaming – so that I’d remember in the morning. The moment that thought crossed my mind, I was awake, and the dream was sailing away faster than I could grasp it.

In fact, ever since I started writing, all the dreams I do remember are nothing but rubbish, no non-sense stuff that would make the ‘mad tea party’ sound sane.

I do have my day dreams, and from those, I’ve gathered quite a lot of interesting thoughts, but the nightly ones… it makes me wonder if I’m the anomaly or if these other writers have a way of recording their dreams.

Do you remember all your dreams? Do you think they’re worth writing down?

So then I took an IQ test…. I flunk!

*Are IQ scores supposed to lower as you age?

*What happened to growing old and wiser?

Back during my senior year in high school, I took an IQ test. Now, I was never a nerd. I was – and still am –, observant. I take notice of things… and I’ve always been an avid reader. Back then, fiction was not the only thing I read. No, I liked to read literature books, biology, philosophy, geography…. There was a time I even read part of an economics book, and when younger, I enjoyed reading this Atlas book we had, full of the world’s topography and geography stuff. And again, I wasn’t a nerd, I just liked to understand how things worked. I also paid attention to people. And no not that creepy kind that watches someone wherever they go. I just, notice things, small and big, and I commit them to memory.

So, back to the IQ test, I can’t say how long it took me to finish, but I remember it was a really long test. When I got a 133 score, even I was impressed.

For one, I was not first in my class. I didn’t even count as one of the smartest kids – I was more on the troublemaker side.

But, like my friend Nicole likes to say, I digress, my school years are long behind, and I’m here to talk about the latest IQ test I took, about two years ago. It was just as long as I remembered, and … I admit thinking I was going to get a really high score, I was older, wiser, I had travelled a lot, experienced things… however, this time I got a score of 98. True, I couldn’t answer all the visual questions like trigonometry, figures of some sort that my screen reader didn’t read, or the puzzle questions, but, this score comes back every now and then to haunt me. Had I lost all these brain cells while I grew?

Could the questions I didn’t answer make all the difference?

And then a few days ago while my mind taunted me, I had this genius moment: Why not take an IQ test for blind people?  I know this idea should have been the obvious one, so maybe my IQ did slip with time, but…

Well, IQ tests for blind people aren’t available online. At least, none that I could find.

So, embarrassingly enough, I’m stuck with an IQ with a score of 98.

Have you tried taking an IQ test only to realize a few years later that the newest score not only don’t match with the oldest, but are horribly lower?

Do you think your IQ score is on par with your intelligence?