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Comes This Time To Float Blog Tour! Stephen Geez

17 Mar

Hi, everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to introduce Stephen Geez, a talented and prolific author. He has a new book out so I’ve invited him to share an excerpt and some information about it on my blog today. So please give a warm welcome to my fabulous guest author, Stephen Geez!

Salutations!

I am elated to find you here at Vashti’s blog on my extended blog tour. I am humbled by the kindness of my wondrous host for sharing some blog space today. I hope to interest you bookish types in trying my first book in way too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez.You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

Stephen Geez-author-RRBC-blog tour-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

The Promo Video

Today’s Sample: “Holler Song”

Retta danced the willy-nilly, grabbed at slick branches, then lost both feet and whomped back-end down on the ice. Hit ’em mean like that and 70-year-old bones act scared, then angry, then out for revenge—and they’ll complain bitterly for weeks. It’s not how hard the ground is, makes ’em mad; it’s how brittle the bones has got.

Now a sheet of frozen slick, this low patch in the double-rut drive-back had been needing some ’dozer work a long time running, one of many get-to’s set for when next year’s lump-sum money could hire some younger help. Hardly anyone drove it but Randall, easing the pickup ’tween overgrown mirror-snaggers when he brung groceries and what-not to Lurlene and her girl. Deputy Wallace used to ramble back here regular-like to pretend friendly and keep an eye for signs local cookers mighta set up, but when he found Hollis’s makeshift lab a ways down Cutter Road, his brother Cletus shot him dead. State Police come in and tore ’ern up from there to right up Middleton Holler just beyond. Now a new deputy’s done took over, but ain’t yet been out here lying about smells to claim “probable cause” when he trespasses on Lurlene and Retta’s private property. This very minute would be a good time, him to show for a howdy-ma’am, seein’ as how there’s an old lady needs picking up off her arse.

Retta rolled over on her side and wound up mashing the holdin’ end of that pocketed fish-knife into her thigh, then managed despite bad arthritis to pull herself up and set about shuffling forward, keeping to the treeline for more grab-branching. She came to sight of cousin Lurlene’s place, built by their granddaddy when he carried his unimpressed young bride here for a lifetime of second thoughts in the hills of East Tennessee. Lately the place looked embarrassed at being let to run down, but now the dim gray fog and last night’s snow gave it a fairy-tale gingerbread-house look, all sugar-frosted and gleaming with drips of icing drooping its eaves. Wisps of smoke fed by a stingy stack of splits curled from the chimney and bent north to tickle more sleet from dark clouds of a mind to paint these hollers another coat of quick-freeze.

Lurlene stepped out and stood on the wide, covered porch. Ten years younger than cousin Retta, she looked real old of a sudden. Bundled in wool coat, crochet hat and scarf, jeans and hide boots, she’d already got a mind to head out. “Found her, didn’t they?” she asked as Retta stopped at the slicked-over bottom step. Eyes red and swole, Lurlene had been crying, imagining the worst and expecting nothing better.

The Whole Story

I’ve posted the whole story on my blog today. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/comes+this+time+to+float?_requestid=1776240

Other Places I Lurk

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

https://StephenGeez.com

https://StephenGeez.Wordpress.com

Poetry Friday ~ Sodom And Gomorrah

3 May

Hello, everyone! Welcome to The Writer Next Door blog.

 

I’d like to share a beautiful poem written by Poet, Gary Bryson. This poem goes so well with one of the chapters in my book, Son of the Serpent, I decided to share a short excerpt taken from this chapter. I hope you enjoy the poem and the excerpt. 

 

Sodom And Gomorrah

by Gary Bryson

 

Surely there’s a righteous man,
Surely there’s a few.
Lord surely some would keep their Faith,
And trust alone in You.

As Sodom and her sisters,
Lie prosperous on the plain,
So surely there are ten or more,
Who still call on your name.

Preserve them Lord, preserve them,
Before it is too late.
I know there must be eight or more,
Who trust your Holy state.

Deliver Lord, deliver,
From judgment’s righteous call.
If there be only six or more,
Would you deliver all?

I feel Your anger kindled Lord,
And evil cannot win.
If I can find you four or more,
Will You forget this sin?

So be it Lord, So be it,
Justice demands your wrath.
You never change or compromise,
They freely chose their path.

Surely there’s a righteous man,
Lord, maybe there are two.
Is there only one who keeps his faith,
Alone I trust in You.

 

 

sodom and gomorrah-son of the serpent-vashti quiroz vega-gerezon-DeviantArt-fantasy angels series-blog tour-new book

Illustration by Jonas Åkerlund (gerezon) DeviantArt

 

 In this chapter Dracúl’s search for Lilith brought him to Sodom, a damned city. This city along with the city of Gomorrah had been targeted for destruction by God. Messenger Angels came to warn the only righteous man in Sodom, Lot, to leave the city at once lest he and his family be destroyed along with the Lilituens and demons that reside there.

Dracúl had met Lot’s daughter, Plitith outside the city gates where she broke Sodom law by feeding the poor, sick and starving people who had been banished to the desert outside the city to die. He gave her all the food and water in his possession to help and afterward she invited him to her home where he heard God’s messengers warn her family to leave the city of Sodom at once or die. Dracúl decided to help Plitith and her family escape before it was too late.

 

 

Excerpt from Son of the Serpent:

 

I put my arm around Plitith, and we hurried out of the city. The moment we traversed the gates, they closed behind us, with the deafening groan and clank of bolts sliding into place, as if God Himself had bolted them shut.

      Lot led us in the direction the angels had told him to go. At first we ran and then walked as fast as we could. Lot held a shroud over his wife and younger daughter’s heads, trying to shield them from whatever was happening behind us. The look of discontent on Lot’s wife’s face concerned me. I was compelled to remind them of the angels’ warning again.

      “Let’s not forget what God’s messengers told us,” I said, watching Lot’s wife. “Do not look back toward Sodom, no matter what you hear.” I pressed Plitith closer to me, and we continued our escape.

      Before we got much farther, a thunderous growl made the ground beneath our feet tremble. Plitith gasped and Lot held his wife and youngest daughter closer as they screamed.

      “Keep moving!” I rushed, pushing Plitith along as Lot and the others lagged behind. “You must move faster!” I was no longer a child who jumped at the smallest noises, but the sounds we heard would bring the bravest man to his knees.

      Lot hurried and ran beside us, pushing his young daughter along ahead of him as we hastened toward the mountains. I kept an eye on Lot’s wife. She peered over her shoulder several times, and then she pulled away from Lot, stopped in her tracks, and looked back at the city of Sodom.

      “No, no, no!” Lot cried as he reached for her, but his daughter did not let him go to her. He fell to the ground and sobbed while she tried to lift him.

      “Help your sister and father. Do not look back or allow them to turn,” I whispered to Plitith.

She held on to me and shook her head. “Do not fear. I will not look.”

      I toddled backward until I was beside his wife. She looked frozen––pale and motionless, her eyes fixed on the city of Sodom. I moved back further to stand before her, my back to the city. I waved my hand in front of her eyes, but they did not blink.

      Then I heard a soft crackling and hissing coming from below. I crouched next to her legs and looked. Her body, beginning with her feet, altered before my eyes, transforming into tiny, colorless crystals. A briny scent wafted into my nostrils and burned. She had turned into a statue of salt. I scrambled to my feet and reached out to touch her neck with one shaking finger. I gasped as she crumbled before me.

      “Dracúl, help us!” Plitith and her sister were trying to get their father off the ground, where he lay facedown sobbing. I ran to them and helped get him to his feet.

      The sun burned orange and sank, and the moon threw its shadow to the earth. “We must hurry.” I took the youngest and put her ahead of us. Lot walked with faltering steps, swaying and tottering as he wailed, so Plitith and I put our arms around him and dragged him along.

      “What of my mother?” Her voice was soft and brittle. Lot and her sister turned their sights to me, also waiting for an answer.

      “She perished the instant her eyes gazed upon Sodom. Her body changed into a sort of crystalline mixture––salt. She was converted into a statue of salt. She crumbled to the ground before me and was carried away by the wind.” Shocked faces stared back at me, and then they wept in silence.

son of the serpent-excerpt-vashti quiroz vega-author-novel-sodom and gomorrah-dragon-fire-Lot's wife-fantasy-story-blog tour-book_tour-fantasy angels series

Thanks for stopping by and have a happy day!

Poetry Friday

14 Dec

Hello, everyone! Welcome.

Today I’m sharing a Haiku and Tanka followed by a short excerpt from my new book, Son of the Serpent

The poems are written in the ocean’s point of view at the time of the Great Flood. I hope you enjoy it.

He fills me with rain

I venture to cleanse the Earth

Of His tainted souls

A form in the clouds

The ward who had restrained me

loosed my giant waves

All I wished for was to breathe

But my breath moves mountains

 

Son of the Serpent is a High Fantasy|Paranormal novel sprinkled with Horror and Romance. It is aimed at an 18+ audience. The book is written in 1st person POV. There are chapters written in Dracul’s voice interspersed by chronicles written in Lilith’s (the villain) voice. Today I’m going to share an excerpt from one of the Chronicles of Lilith.

Son of the Serpent-Vashti Quiroz Vega-fantasy angels series-lilith-gadreel-dracul-blog tour-virtual_book_tour-angels and demons

Excerpt: Chronicles of Lilith

 

As I prepared to leave Shuruppak, rumors about a man named Noah, who claimed to be God’s prophet, came to my attention. According to my human servants, this man said God speaks to him and has told him there shall be a catastrophic event. Every living thing on this planet shall perish, except those beings selected by God Himself.

The servants laughed and took pleasure in ridiculing this man. They called him insane. I, however, have learned throughout the years that there is always some truth to the ramblings of the insane. I would like to see this man, Noah, and listen to his preaching, thus my departure would have to wait.

In the middle of the night I awoke to booming thunder, the likes of which I had not heard since the days I wandered in the wilderness with Gadreel when we first arrived on this planet. I leaped out of my bed and ran to a nearby window. The sky was ominous, with large bitumen-black clouds gathering to form gigantic ones. My superior vision allowed me to see things in the darkness that no other being could. A flash of lightning lit the world white for a moment. Rain began to fall, first tapping on the window and then becoming a rapid succession of beats.

I threw on a garment and ran outside to get a better look. There were still people outdoors, servants slow to finish their tasks for the day and others who came out to see what was happening. They ran for cover as storm clouds spat their loads of water. Sharp droplets of icy-cold water needled my shoulders and back. I shivered under the prickly feeling. The rain came in torrents now. Puddles formed, and the puddles became streams. They grew into rivers. I ran to a nearby tree to take shelter under it.

I hid from the people running and screaming in fear and shifted to my serpent form. The torrent became more intense, and the night grew darker with the bruise of thick, angry clouds. A wall of rain moved over the tree I stood under, and the drops drummed against the canopy. So much water fell from the skies that the sound blurred into one long, whirring tumult.

Many of the people of Shuruppak left their flooded homes and wandered the streets like lost souls. They had never seen a storm of this magnitude. Some had only been familiar with the morning dew. I had seen enough. I spread my wings and took to the sky. Flying had never been more difficult. The rain pelted my wings, while bolts of lightning threaten to spear me as they sliced the air to my left and right.

The earth shook and sent shockwaves rippling through the ground like water, destroying houses in an instant. Fires exploded everywhere, and the smell of smoke twisting through the air between raindrops was acrid on the hot breeze. Regular clatters rang out as structures crumbled apart and fell to the ground. I needed to escape, find shelter, but where could I hide from such devastation? The skies were becoming more and more dangerous. I flew toward the coast, but my wings grew too heavy and sodden to keep me airborne. I fell to the beach.

I looked toward the coastline, wincing and moaning, feeling the pain of my fall. I had been to this beach before, but it looked strangely unfamiliar now, abnormally vast. I thought maybe the darkness of the night was playing tricks on my vision, but then I realized why the beach looked so strange. The surf had drawn back hundreds of miles; the abandoned sand twinkled in the moonlight despite the rain.

I gasped at a black line on the horizon and watched as a colossal wave swept toward me at hundreds of miles per hour—rushing, roaring, angry froth foaming from between its lips. I stared, eyes fixed, as the wave surged in. I knew it was impossible to escape it. Heat had never left my body as fast as it did in this brief moment of realization. The torrent came after me, granting me a few seconds to enjoy breathing the ocean air before it wrapped me in frigid foamy fingers and dragged me to the ocean floor.

I struggled as sand and briny water filled my lungs, causing them to expand and burn. As the wave moved, it pulled me along with it, like it wanted me to witness the devastation it would cause. My death would not be simple or fast, for the powers granted to me by the fruit from the Tree of Life would sustain me. Powers I once cherished now seemed a curse.

As the wave pushed me along, I crashed into debris in the water. Every stab, rip, and fracture my body suffered brought me immense pain. Men, women, and children drowned, their dead bodies floating around me, yet I remained alive.

The giant wave hit Shuruppak. It was nothing like the waves which lap the shore every minute of every day. This was a gigantic wall of water, cold and powerful. It came over land with the power of a volcanic blast. It moved over the city with more ease than a wave over the sand, reducing houses and structures to rubble and killing every living thing.

My broken body filled with water, sand, and debris until the weight of it fixed me to the ocean floor. People, livestock, uprooted trees, and all manner of structures floated past me. The rain continued to pour.

The sky was now hinting at sunrise. Nothing escaped my eyes and ears, but I was immobile. Every inch of my body throbbed with pain, and the cold of the water chilled my bones. As I lay motionless, I watched a large wooden vessel approach. It was the greatest ship I had ever seen. It glided over the water’s surface, throwing its shadow to the sea floor as it sailed past me, turning day to night. I overheard people singing and the roar, moo, bleat, and bray of animals coming from the vessel. Not everyone had perished. Some shall go on, while I remain imprisoned in this watery grave. The weight of the water pressed down on me, crushing me, as the rain increased its depth.

The feeling of drowning never left me. The feeling of panic, unable to take breath, to inflate my lungs. The slow filling of my larynx––gagging, coughing, briny water forcing its way through my nostrils and into my lungs like acid. I would drown and die, and after a moment of peace, the process began again.

A familiar recollection filled the void in my head, spinning memories of Beelzebub lying at the bottom of the Euphrates River bound in chains, disfigured by suffering and hate. Is that also to be my fate? Shall I become a grotesque monster wallowing in fear, self-loathing, and pain?A sharp, loud wail pierced my psyche, and I realized it was I who did the screaming.

Fantasy Angels Series-son of the serpent-the fall of lilith-Vashti Quiroz Vega-fantasy-novel-fallen angels-demons-jinn-lilith-gadreel-dracul

Try and Life are this week’s prompt words chosen by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer.

*The catch is that we can only use the synonyms to these words in our poems.

Colleen hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge every Tuesday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree or Cinquain poem. She is an author and poet, and also does book reviews and so much more on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

Have a wonderful day!

Blog Tour: “Timeless Echoes” by Balroop Singh

15 Jul

Hello, everyone! I’m excited to welcome today’s special guest: Balroop Singh and her new poetry book, “Timeless Echoes“.

I read another of Balroop Singh’s poetry books, “Emerging From Shadows” and loved it. So I look forward to reading this one as well.

 

 

Introducing poet and author, Balroop Singh:

Balroop Singh-poet-author-poetry-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-blog_tour-book_blogger

Poet, Balroop Singh

 

Author Bio:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

 

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success EludesEmotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

 

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

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Book Blurb:

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

 

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

 

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Book Information:

Title: Timeless echoes

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: Kindle

 

 

The Editor’s Review:

 

Half of what we say are lies although they might be considered true, but truth with one’s self is an accepted bundle of lies except for those rare moments of self-realization. These lines right at the start of Timeless Echoes, ‘Each moment is precious, we try to cage it within our heart, where it perches in perfect rampart, embalmed by memories,’ reveal how this book is a healer, promising to lay bare the ills of the soul as it soothes, cleanses, and nurtures; instilling in us a will to learn and live without fear, and a will to not hurt others: ‘Why can’t our hearts feel the hurt we hurl at others?’

 

Balroop’s new book is a steadfast repudiation of those ills that we painfully hide under the covers of our flesh to present the polished exterior as truth. This magnetic collection of poems highlights our precious human lives with all their varied emotions and imposing relations: the lives often blinded by the strictures of the self-made duplicity, an excessively common phenomenon. ‘Listen to your heart, my friend. It knows you well,’ she writes.

 

I treasure these ‘forgetting fragile facets of love, facade of fading memories, echoes of dwindling love, is all I have now, yet love echoes refuse to subside’ believing that love echoes are soul-launched signals, ready to hug our pretenses to forge a divine assimilation because the struggle has always been with the self that we excommunicate to build up a wall, which obscures the travails plaguing the core. And finding a path to the core is the cure since there’s no villainy in the soul.

 

As Balroop proclaims ‘love is such a strange emotion, it gives less, it claims more…the facade of love is so delusive,’ I concur how our infirmities require urgent banishment, more pressing now than ever. And once I’ve made peace with the self, ‘the dark corridors are like meadows, they glow with my presence.’ Yes, without an iota of my own falsehoods plaguing me.

Mahesh Nair

Excerpt:

 

Moments That Echo

 

  Each moment is precious

We try to cage it within our heart

Where it perches in perfect rampart

    Embalmed by memories!

Moments of love croon around us

Offering eternal passion that blinds

Drowning in the deluge of delusion

Validating ephemeral enchantment!

Moments of joy glisten on the sand of time

Fleeting away faster than dappling light

Peeping through the corridors of life

   At the mercy of others’ delight!

Woeful moments smile through strife

  Each one stretching far and wide

    Into every nerve and sinew

Sneering at our impertinent divide!

Each moment an experience in itself

We grow in its glow to wend and win

Divesting the ignorance of our thoughts

         Solace echoing within!

Connect with Balroop on Social Media:

Blog:

Twitter:    

Facebook:

Google+:

Pinterest:

Goodreads:

Amazon:

I hope you enjoyed today’s guest and her beautiful poetry. Have a wonderful week!

Haiku Friday – Breeze & Blow

24 Mar

Welcome to The Writer Next Door blog! Happy Haiku Friday!

 

Breeze and Blow are this week’s prompt words chosen by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.

Ron hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge every Monday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your haiku poem. He is an author and poet and also does author interviews and much more on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Read Ron’s Haiku Prompt Challenge Guidelines for more information.

  • I decided to share an excerpt from my WIP, The Fall of Lilith. The Fall of Lilith is a young adult/adult Fantasy with dark elements about angels. I hope you enjoy.

The Fall of Lilith, The Writer Next Door, Vashti Q, Poetry, Haiku_Friday, excerpt, novel

Illustration by Luis Royo

 When Lilith arrived at the tree, she marveled at its brilliance. She coiled her tail around its base, slid to a branch, and plucked one of its blushing fruit. She stared at it, but hesitated to put it in her mouth, recalling what happened when she bit into the fruit from the other tree.

The fruit was like none she had ever seen, draped in shiny reddish-gold. It was cold and smooth in her hand. She placed her mouth over it and sank her bloodstained teeth into its crisp, delicious flesh. The fruit squirted its sweet, succulent juice into her mouth. Its scent swathed her like a dip in a pool of warm water, conjuring images of Heaven’s light and bathing in the River of Life. The aroma was bright, cheerful, and more fragrant than any flower in Heaven’s Triumph Gardens.

Upon finishing the magnificent fruit, she began to undergo a transformation. She grew stronger, full of energy and vitality. The eyes on her wings gained the power of sight, having been of no use in the past. Now she saw in every direction at once, except directly behind her. The feathers in her wings became lustrous and able to withstand extreme temperatures. The inner frame of her wings became stronger, capable of enduring powerful impacts. Her tail grew longer and robust. The colors of her lower half were alluring and intense. She knew she was becoming godlike.

Blinding flashes of lightning sliced through the sky. Thunder, which followed closely, shook the ground. As the wind grew stronger, the numerous trees in the Garden began to disintegrate one by one. The dust left behind by the crumbling trees blew to and fro in the increasing wind. Flowers and greeneries no longer crooned melodies. The vegetation wailed and screeched as it ceased to exist.

Lilith scanned her surroundings. The colors of the Garden were gone, and only dreariness remained as it all turned to sand. She released the Tree of Life and leapt to the ground before it, too, dissolved. She lifted her eyes to the sky, now an ominous dark gray. A jagged bolt of lightning struck nearby; she screamed. Overhead thunder continued to rumble, boom, and clash. She jumped as her hands flew to cover her ears. She slithered ahead, leaning into the wind. Dirt and debris whizzed by her, whipping her face and body. She pressed her eyelids together against the sting of the violent wind. A heavy, humid smell spread through the air. The Garden of Eden was in turmoil. If she did not exit soon, she would suffer the wrath of God.

She flapped her wings. Thick, turbulent winds attacked her from every direction, making it difficult for her to take flight. Beating her powerful wings faster she lifted herself off the ground. She moved through the dense, forceful atmosphere, and finally escaped. Had she not eaten from the Tree of Life and gained supernatural powers, she would have perished. Once more, she headed to the cover of the forest. She settled on the tallest tree where she could overlook the destruction of paradise.

The wind grew stronger

Garden trees turned to grey dust

Eden’s colors blown

Flowers no longer sang, but

wailed as they ceased to exist

Writers Quote Wednesday – Mystery

20 Apr

Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

~Albert Einstein

What is Mystery?

Any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation.

I’ve decided to put myself out there and post a section of my work-in-progress, Dracúl. This is my first draft. Dracúl follows The Fall of Lilith and is the second installment of my Fantasy Angels Series. I thought this section had a lot of mystery, so it went well with this week’s theme.

Vashti Q-Dracúl-The Fall of Lilith-Fantasy-novel-fantasy-angels-series

Chapter 1- THE AWAKENING

 

I awoke to darkness and the smell of musty earth and mold. I gasped, feeling disoriented to the time and place. The air was humid and stinging cold. Trembling I shifted on the moist ground my eyes flitted in every direction searching for a source of luminosity. Filaments of moonlight scarcely passed the towering trees that surrounded me.

I raised my shadowy vision to the skies but did not gaze upon a single star. Instead, I saw a mass of dark, branches looming above me. The cold breeze blew and made the trees rustle like living things. Bare branches seemed to come at me like clutching clawed hands. An eerie howling and whistling made by the wind moving around them gave me a jolt.

My pulse began to thump loudly in my ears drowning all sounds except that of my fitful panting.

“Where am I?” My voice sounded small, brittle and unfamiliar. I was but a child. A boy.

Unsure what to do, I lifted my upper body off the wet earth and squinted into the dimness of the forest.

My mind was clouded. “Who am I? Why am I alone in this darkness?” I squeezed my eyes shut and then sprung them open again. My vision began to clear, but my mind was still a fog.

I passed my hands over my face and head. I inhaled sharply as my hands ran across two pointy projections extending from my skull. Shaking, I passed my hands over the rest of my body and noticed the skin below my waist was different from the skin on my torso, arms and face. My lower body was covered in dry, smooth scales cold to the touch.

Images of a tall creature with long extremities filled my mind. Where are my lower limbs? As my vision adjusted to my surroundings I saw that I had no legs. Instead, I had a scaly tail––like a serpent. There was a heaviness tugging on my backbone. I shook to remove the hindrance, but instead a huge pair of black, spiky wings distended from my back. My body tensed. “What sort of creature am I?”

Once more I closed my eyes. When I reopened them I saw colors––grayish green moss covered rocks and russet trees, a sea of gold and copper covered the ground as crisp leaves float down from trees and curl into the moist earth. I gazed at my arms and hands. My skin was red––as red as blood and my hands were clawed.

“Was I abandoned here?”

I wished to escape, but my reptilian lower body would not move. A gust blew chilling the air and blowing the trees. I feared getting ensnared by the trees’ clutches if I took flight. Hostile screeches from unknown creatures pierced the air. I whisked my head to and fro searching for the origins of the sounds futilely. Terror seemed to thwart logic and rational thinking.

Colleen Chesebro is a writer, poet, and book reviewer. She hosts an inspiring event every Wednesday on her blog, Silver Threading, called Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. Anyone can participate by choosing a quote by a favorite writer and combining it with a poem, story or excerpt and posting it on your blog.

777 Writer’s Challenge – The Fall of Lilith

1 Aug

Hello. I have been invited to participate in the 777 Writer’s Challenge by the lovely and talented Eloise De Sousa from Thoughts by Mello-Elo. Eloise is an author who dabbles in different genres of books ranging from poetry, children’s literature to adult crime romance. Her blog covers a variety of topics that include her experiences and opinions on different subjects, and from time to time, details on books she is working on.

Eloise De Sousa

Author Eloise De Sousa

What is the 777 Writer’s Challenge?

The author/writer must go to the 7th page of a work-in-progress, go to line 7 on that page and share the following 7 sentences. The writer must also invite 7 other writers to take the same challenge.

It seems simple enough but for a writer, sharing a random piece of work, still in progress, is daunting. However, I accept the challenge and I thank Eloise for thinking of me. ❤

My book, (not yet published) The Fall of Lilith is divided into BOOK I – Heaven and BOOK II – Earth, so I will do the challenge for both parts of the book.

BOOK I – Heaven

The Fall of Lilith- Cover-Image

Illustration for The Fall of Lilith by Jeff Brown

This was war and she had never seen anything like it––none of the angels have. Lilith’s body trembled and waves of nausea plagued her as the realization that she, like the angels torn to shreds, was not immortal and could end in the same way. A sudden rush of blood to her head made it throb. She panted as her eyes darted in every direction. These strange sensations tormented her as she stepped over the splayed bodies of warrior angels whose once celestial glow had been extinguished by enemy blades.

She had done this. She had caused all this to come to pass.

 

 

BOOK II – Earth

The Fall of Lilith-Fantasy Angels Series-books

‘Fan Art’ for The Fall of Lilith by Denise Spencer

Lilith stared wide-eyed at her surroundings. Where beams of light shone through the trees, strange shadows danced. The jungle evoked memories of the terrors she had endured in the East and South Forests in Heaven. With each new noise, her heart leapt to her throat. Branches creaking, leaves rustling, birds squawking, hostile screeches from unknown animals, the beat of paws against the ground—these sounds created a symphony of fear.

“I must remain calm,” Lilith told herself in a low voice. “After all, this is Earth. I watched most of the event Creation, and I did not witness God create anything as menacing on this planet as in the forests in Heaven.”

Still, she knew much had happened besides creation during Creation.

The Chosen 7

Olga – Just Olga

Marje – Kyrosmagica

Colleen – Silver Threading

Sarah – Lemon Shark

Mel – Melissa Barker-Simpson

Alana – The Author Who Supports

Serins – Serins Sphere

 

 

 

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Happy Mothers’ Day!

11 May

Mother's Day

Being a mother is an attitude, not biological relation.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein

 

 

Hello and welcome! I want to wish all the wonderful moms out there a happy mothers’ day! I hope you all have a fantastic day pampered by your loved ones (you deserve it). ❤

 

 

*For a very special treat click here to visit Life, love and Other Catastrophes to read a gorgeous poem written by my friend and talented poet Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin. You are guaranteed to love it. ❤

 

 

(A short excerpt from my novel The Basement)

 

 

Robbie’s mom smiled and warmly hugged him. She was about to tell him to wash up for dinner when she realized something was wrong.
Robbie’s eyes betrayed recent tears.
“What happened Robbie?” she asked. She saw the answer to her question almost immediately.
Robbie’s knees were scraped and bloody.
Robbie’s mom quickly cleaned and patched up his wounded knees. All the while she sang to him and gazed at him with her serene blue eyes glittering with love. She reminded Robbie of a cherub.
She healed his wounded heart with her melody. Her song was comforting and her words heavenly. It did not matter to Robbie she was not a good singer.
~The Basement

 

 

 

Mom and Me

Best friends mom and me

Picking flowers and climbing trees.

A shoulder to cry on secrets to share

Warm hearts and hands that really care.

~Unknown Author

First Mothers’ Day

New mom.

New fun.

So blessed.

This one.

Long nights.

Short days.

Go back?

No way.

~Unknown Author

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Dyane Forde’s Christmas Challenge

20 Dec

Author Dyane Forde

Author Dyane Forde

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to introduce today my friend and a very talented author: Dyane Forde

 

Dyane recently released her fabulous book The Purple Morrow. The Purple Morrow is a (light) Fantasy aimed at an adult audience. At the end of this post you will see the book cover, read a blurb from the book and there will also be information on how you can get your own copy.

 

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was always amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results on others. People enjoyed what she created! This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys trying genres and forms of writing which are different from what she’s used to; every story or book represents new joys and challenges. Dyane views writing as an amazing and intimate communication tool, meaning that it becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with others on a level deeper than intellect.

 

Knowing what a creative writer Dyane is and wanting to give you a taste of her brilliance I decided to give her a Christmas challenge for this post. I asked her to write a short holiday story using Santa Claus, Christmas tree, magic, and clairvoyant child as prompts (I know. I wasn’t easy on her), but I knew she was up for the challenge and she did not disappoint. So without further ado here is Dyane Forde’s Christmas story.

 

Oh! There’s a WARNING attached to this story: If you are overly sensitive, offend easily or are a hardcore Santa Claus fan who cannot stand the thought of viewing him in a negative light, DO NOT read this story.

 

 

Just Desserts

by Dyane Forde

Ö

He’s here.

The clattering on the rooftop followed by the clomping of heavy boots confirms it. After a flurry of grunting and neighing and the stamping of cloven hooves, the commotion on the roof falls silent. I must give the man credit. Sweet-faced and dolled up in red, white and black, the apple-cheeked hypocrite has trained them well. The team of massive, horned beasts cower at his every whim.

I narrow my eyes. He claimed he’d chosen me on a whim all those years ago. But it was righteous rage which had drawn me to him this holiday eve. That, and the voiceless cry of a child awakened in the dead of night by the shattering terror of a nightmare.

Huddling wide-eyed in the shadows cast by the multicoloured lights, that same boy, Ryan, watches me from across the room. Pine scents the air, and white-powdered garlands twist around banisters and snake along the edges of the door frames. In the far corner hulks the tree, gorgeously decked from the bottom up with all manner of holiday cheer, right to the garish star on top. It’s Christmas Eve and the fact fills me with more dread than joy.

Feeling for the child, I glide across the floor. Streaks of ice linger on the wood slats behind me. “Are you ready?”

The boy nods, dark hair flipping over a dark-brown eye. Even now, I’m amazed me he can see me. Very few can and, even then, doing so requires the help of a special ‘gift’. Ryan can’t speak, but he can see.

The clattering on the roof starts up again. The boy reaches for me but I back away. Ice crusts my slippered feet, spreading into glistening circles on the floor. “No, you can’t.” When he cocks his head to the side, I reach for the window and press my fingers against the glass. Frost blossoms from the tips, spreading outward in an etched, white coat. Ryan’s eyes widen with excitement and glee, but the trickle of ash suddenly dusting down from the chimney snares his attention, erasing the smile from his face.

“You remember the plan?” I ask him. “Don’t accept anything from him. Nothing at all, you understand?”

Ryan nods before dashing off to his spot.

Everything is ready. The plate of cookies and the tall glass of milk by the fireplace, the fire itself nothing but softly glowing embers in the grate. Christmas music plays softly over the radio. And snowflakes, fat as cotton balls, flutter past the windows outside.

He lands on the grate in a burst of soot and ash, cursing the closeness of the shaft. Squatting, he eases his rotund body out of the chimney and into the room. Oblivious to my child-sized spectre standing nearby, he brushes the soot off his coat and then stops to stretch the knots from his back.

He must smell the candy, for his beady black eyes flick towards the little table. Spying the milk and cookies, old St. Nick smacks his lips, readjusts his floppy red hat and hurries over only to slip and fall on the carefully concealed ice patches on the floor.

“Hello, Nick,” I coo, cutting off the string of curses spewing from his mouth. “Such bad language from someone who claims to adore children. One would think it’s bad for your image.” I kneel beside him, letting my hand hover over his rotund belly. Then heeding temptation’s call, I lay a finger on his coat.

“You!” He spits the word at me. Looking down, he grimaces and shrinks from my touch where a melting ice patch darkens the red velvet. “I thought I’d taken care of you ages ago!”

“Oh, no. One’s mistakes just don’t ‘disappear’.  They hang around, waiting for the chance to come back and bite you in the ass!”

“You’re not a mistake! You’re a menace!”

“If that’s what I am, then you made it so! I never asked for it!”

“Oh, but you did, you little devil. The moment you accepted my gift, you were mine.” He points with a finger. “Just like Ryan over by the tree. Children never refuse my presents.” Shifting, he pulls a beautifully wrapped package from behind his back. “Come here, son. Old St. Nick has something for you.”

Ryan looks at me and then at the gift. I shake my head vigorously.

Seeing he had the boy’s attention, Nick sits up and jiggles the box so it rattles. “Come now, boy. Don’t you want something from dear old Santa Claus? Aren’t you curious about what’s inside?”

We’d gone over the plan a few times but I should have known the lure of a gift from the man in red would be too much. Eyes fixed on the shiny wrapping paper, Ryan steps into the glow of the flickering lights and, arms outstretched like a sleepwalker, advances.

“You never could stop them from coming to me,” Nick says. “Children are all the same: easy as hell to trick.”

“How many have you swapped? How many parents have found gifts under the tree in place of their children?”

“Everyone likes my gifts.”

“No gift can replace a child!”

Nick laughs, a great booming trill. “How many? Lots! And like you, the stupid sprites run amok, filling the world with blankets of snow, bathing it in white!”

Ryan’s now only a few feet away. Nick yanks the box out of reach, replacing it with the open mouth of his great, big sack. Grabbing Ryan by the arm, he starts jamming him inside.

Ryan’s thoughts call to me. “Ja—!“

“Frost!” Nick screams. He drops the boy and the sack to grab his midsection. “How dare you!”

He charges, coming on like a red and black battering ram but I easily dodge his attack. Dancing around him like an imp, I poke him with a finger, laughing at the white patches forming on his coat, then poking some more, egged on by his irritated grunts. Finally, breathing hard, Nick quits lumbering around.

“You think saving one boy will make a damned bit of difference? I’ve been swapping for generations! If not this one, then the next–!”

“Not if I can help it, fat man!”

Nick gasps and goes pale. He looks at his chest, sees the flowers of blood forming on the white fur trim and pooling on the floor. I withdraw the ice knives, the red-coated icicles extending from my fingers gleaming in the fire and flickering lights. From the wounds, frost crackles across Nick’s body, freezing him solid.

I punch his face. He shatters. Santa-sicles slide across the hardwood floor.

At a slight touch from me, Ryan snaps out of the trance. Seeing the Santa pieces strewn about his feet, he smiles.

“You’re safe now, kid. How about you go on off to bed?” Waving a hand over him, I add, “And while you’re at it, forget about everything you’ve seen tonight.”

Ryan blinks. He stares as though seeing me for the first time until his eyelids droop and fatigue pulls at his face. Yawning, he heads for the stairs.

I walk over to the cookies, kicking aside the red, white and black chunks in the way. In three long gulps, I down the glass of milk.

And grinning, I bite into the thick layer of sugar frosting, savouring the sweet, sweet taste of revenge.

Evil Santa

Dyane Forde’s book:

Purple_Morrow_Cover-Final

BLURB: (A short description of the book)

 

The Rovers had been sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead, they awoke its savior.

Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.

A new commander, bent on completing the mission left unfinished by his predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artifact and a secret purpose.

While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, a harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.
dyane forde_writer
You can purchase Dyane Forde’s book, The Purple Morrow on amazon.com You can also buy it HERE and HERE.
Also check out Dyane Forde’s fascinating Blog: Dropped Pebbles

Gift a book for Christmas!

Gift a book for Christmas!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoyed Dyane’s holiday story. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Happy Holidays!

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Descent Into The Basement

15 May

The Basement- Twitter- Card

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I’m Vashti (for those of you that don’t know me). Today I will share a chapter from my first novel The Basement suspense/thriller (MG/YA). I would love to read your opinions. What do you think happened to Natasha, as she heroically tries to save her friend Robbie?

Natasha ventured out of her home in the middle of the night to rescue her friend Robbie from the basement.

Natasha’s Descent

Natasha ran out of her building and down the street toward Robbie’s basement to aid her friend. It was dark and creepy outside. The streetlights were dim and cast weird shadows on the pavement. The block seemed isolated—as if the end of the world had come and she was the only survivor. Had she entered another dimension, a parallel world where she was the only person alive? She had a great imagination, but, under the circumstances, she did not feel it was helping.


When she reached the entrance to the basement, it seemed like the entrance to a great cave. She was afraid to enter, but determined not to waste any more time, so she stepped into the unknown. It was dark, and the light from the street did not illuminate past the first couple of steps.


Then a realization struck her. “I didn’t bring a flashlight! How could I have been so stupid? How will I get to the bottom without falling on my face and breaking my neck?”


Unlike Robbie’s mom before her, Natasha saw the big, yellow flashlight sitting in its dark little corner. She gasped and opened her eyes wide. “That’s Robbie’s flashlight!”
She grabbed the flashlight, searched for the switch, and flipped it. No radiance shone from its reflector. She turned it in her hand and heard a rattling sound. She tried to open the battery housing, but it was stuck. She unscrewed the top of the flashlight, figuring she could get straight to the battery compartment this way. She lost her grip on the flashlight; she fumbled, and it flew out of her hand. She squeaked and leaped toward it, managing to grab the flashlight, but not before a couple of the batteries rolled down the cement steps.

“Oh no.”  She pressed her rosy, full lips together tightly. “Now what am I going to do?”
Natasha pondered the descent into the basement. She decided the only way she would be able to do it would be to sit on the top step, and, in a seated position, slide off one step and then onto the one below it, feeling her way down with her hands, feet, and legs. In this fashion she went down, one scratchy concrete step at a time.
She knew her method would ruin her pajamas, but she figured it was a small price to pay. She never imagined she would be so scared. She was not normally afraid of the dark; then again, she never had reason to fear what was in it before.
At first she was able to see shadowy figures scuttling about. Ick! Bugs! She narrowed her eyes and wrinkled the bridge of her nose. After a while, she could not see a thing. She thought her eyes would eventually adjust and she would be able to see a little but that did not happen. She realized she was going to be blind down there and would have to fine-tune her other senses to get through it.
She proceeded to scoot down the steps on her bottom. A sluggish, heavy, ugly stench began to intrude upon her awareness as it filled her nasal cavities. She grimaced with revulsion. She pinched her nose and continued to move down, using only one hand to balance herself, since the other was trying to prevent the unpleasant odors from bombarding her nostrils, and she lurched. She slid to the next cement step hard, and in order to prevent hurting herself, she brought her other hand down on the step for support. When she slammed her hand hastily beside her there was a pop and a crunch, and then a squishy sensation on her palm.
“Eeeeww!” She imagined the gooey crack of a cockroach’s backbone under the weight of her hand. “Ick!” Immediately she began to rub her palm on the sidewall nearest her. She retched and vomited a little in her mouth.
As she moved farther down, she began to hear peeping and chirping sounds. She stopped. Her heart thumped in her chest. She listened carefully, her big almond-shaped eyes scanning to the left and to the right. She thought she heard a chorus of trills, peeps, and whistling echoing out of the basement. Birds? Mutant rats! Creatures that are part rat and part bird? What is making those sounds? Her muddled mind gave way to her efflorescent imagination. Her jaw dropped. I’m sure they can’t fly. Otherwise they would have flown out of this stinky basement by now. Poor Robbie, I must hurry! Panting, she continued to descend the steps one by one, until her feet could no longer find the edge of the next step, which meant she had reached the bottom and was in the basement.
Natasha got up off the last basement step, and, at the same time, she heard something cry out. Her hand flew to cover her mouth. She felt a swift breeze pass in front of her face driven by something heavy. She recoiled and heard a thump, something large hit the ground. What was that? The odd chirping and tweeting sounds became huffs and a low-pitch vibrating noise resembling a hum and trill combined. It was a soft, mysterious sound but spine-chilling just the same.
Then the sounds became—terrible noises, ferocious noises—all around her. She was terrorized, no longer thinking clearly. She was nauseated and numb throughout her body, wanting nothing else but to escape.

Terrified by what she heard, and felt and unable to see, Natasha panicked.

She became ashen. Her eyes darted in every direction, her pulse raced, and she gasped openmouthed. She turned and bolted, but not up the steps to safety. Panic disoriented her and she did not know where she was going, plus, she could not see.
Natasha jostled through what seemed like large, warm bodies, which brushed her legs and bumped into her. She made noisy, hoarse breathing sounds as she moved. Her fingers were spread so wide by tension they hurt. She opened her mouth to scream but could not produce a sound. As she scrambled to find her way, she slipped on one of the batteries she had dropped earlier, and something massive and horrible crashed into her face, smashing her delicate bones. There was a loud explosion in her head, and then there was no more panic, no more fear––there was nothing.

Click to purchase The Basement in paperback or eBook (Nook)

Click to purchase
The Basement in paperback or eBook (Nook)

amazon.com-The Basement-Robbies Rite of Passage

Click to purchase
The Basement in paperback or eBook (Kindle)