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GRINDERS ~ a new release by C. S. Boyack

9 Mar

Happy Monday, everyone! I am excited to welcome back an exceptional guest, Author, C. S. Boyack.

He’s got a brand new release and is here to talk about it. So, without further ado, let’s welcome him!

Thanks for having me over today, Vashti. You’re always welcome to stop at my place the next time you’re touring a project around.

My newest book is called Grinders, and it’s a bit of science fiction known as cyberpunk. I’ll let the blurb go into the details about the story. My topic on this leg of the tour is research.

I write speculative fiction, and that includes fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. Many people think we have it easy, because we don’t have to do the deep research that other authors do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oh, we don’t have it so bad, I think the murder procedural type authors might have it a bit worse, but there is research involved.

One my things is to tie as much as I can to something realistic whenever possible. That way when I ask for a leap of faith from readers they’ll be more likely to take one with me.

Grinders is set in San Francisco of the future. The California coastline is already eroding, and some cities currently have plans of relocating homeowners along crumbling cliffs and such. With global warming already upon us, and a melting ice pack in Antarctica, what might San Francisco look like 100 years from now? Turns out there are some projections available online.

I modified my version of San Francisco to destroy some coastal areas, and even moved the shoreline to some different streets. I even made a slight reference to Telegraph Island in the story which is known as Telegraph Hill on today’s map.

Then I made a small leap of faith, and included some underwater apartments. These are refurbished towers, that are now just offshore. We must have made some advances in a hundred years.

One cool bit of research I included involved scientists who’ve learned to grow electrical circuitry inside plants. These are more carbon based than copper wires you might be used to. I decided there was an electric forest just outside the city. Using the process of photosynthesis and some of these carbon connections, the city generated power from the forest.

In the world of Grinders, the electric forest is old technology. It’s currently being torn down and developed, because something better came along.

There is, or was, a group in my home state of Idaho who developed a different kind of solar power collection units. These involve pebbled glass hexagons that snap together like some kind of toys. The original thought was to use them as roofing material. Then they came up with the idea of replacing asphalt with them. There are thousands of miles of roads in this country, and if deployed, it could produce one hell of a lot of electricity without defacing anything that hasn’t already been defaced.

The electronic forest has been replaced by something called The Grid, based upon these solar panels. It’s science fiction, so I get to ramp things up. Power flows both ways from this grid, and it can light up for first responders, that kind of thing. It’s also hooked to a central database and all the cars are electric. It drives the cars with more efficiency than we are capable of. Just tell The Grid where you’re going and enjoy the ride.

This is just a small taste of what the grid is capable of, and it’s almost a character in its own right within the story.

One last one for this post. The main characters in the story are cops. They are assigned to the worst duty in the department, and I make references to more high profile duty as they go about their tasks. This brings me to opiate yeast.

A few years ago, a group in New Zealand decided they could take over the legal opium trade by replacing all the poppies with yeast. This involved some gene editing, and in their minds would be safer and more secure in a lab environment they could control. No more of those nasty gangs converting the crops for the illegal opium trade.

I thought it was a horrible idea at the time, and used that in Grinders. Yeast is microscopic. It’s in our homes, environment, and the air we breathe. I just don’t see it staying confined to a lab, and it’s going to run wild at some point. I keep a thirty year old sourdough starter at home, so I know a little about this.

Again, it’s a leap of faith, but in the world of Grinders, the opiate yeast has become the dominant organism. Home brewers and bakers are a real problem, and those cops get the better equipment and headlines. It also gave me a chance to bring up San Francisco sourdough and the difficulty of finding opiate free yeast. Basic bread and beer now come from laboratory controlled producers. It’s a fun way of turning things on their heads as part of the setting for my story.

These are just a few of the things that make up the environment of Grinders. The story is fun, the characters are great, but I wanted to focus on the setting for today’s post. I hope I intrigued you enough to check out the book.

Thanks again for lending me your space today, Vashti. It means a lot to me.

It’s a pleasure to have you here, my friend. Your world building skills are amazing. Research is a huge part of fiction writing, especially in Sc-Fi and Fantasy. Many readers are not aware of the extensive research that goes into these books. Thank you for demonstrating that today.

***

Blurb:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

Blog My Novels  Twitter Goodreads Facebook Pinterest BookBub

“The Reckoning Squad” Cover Reveal

27 Jan

Hi, everyone! I’m excited to have Suzanne Burke as a guest on my blog today. I’m also ecstatic to be hosting the cover reveal for her new book, The Reckoning Squad. I’m a fan of Suzanne’s work, and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. Enjoy the post!

The Reckoning Squad

By

S. Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date:  Monday FEBRUARY 24th, 2020.
Mystery>Psychological Thriller & Suspense >

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Reckoning Squad”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Reckoning Squad” my latest Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad ” is due for release on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi

Presenting “The Reckoning Squad” A Psychological thriller.

BLURB:

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out.

The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

#

Here’s an extract from the Prologue.

Prologue.

New York: November 8th, 2003.

Chastity Adams checked the time, ran a brush through her long blonde curls and hurriedly grabbed her school books. She shoved them into her backpack and slipped on her gloves. One quick look from her bedroom window was enough to tell her just how windy it was outside. The last of the fall leaves still clung bravely to the branches all the while knowing it was futile. The others swirled in small angry spirals across her backyard. She grabbed her coat, pulled on a beanie, and loosely draped a scarf across her shoulders. Chastity was unaware of how pretty she looked with her long curls falling in a soft curtain around her. Her mind was too busy to cloud it with vanity.

She suddenly recalled a decision she’d made yesterday.

Chastity hurried down the hallway to her brother Nathan’s room and knocked on the door.

Nathan stood looking down at her from his 6ft 3ins, rubbing his eyes and leaning on the wall. “What’s up, squirt?”

Chastity ignored the nickname, she’d be thirteen in a couple of days then she’d ask her big brother to quit using it, “I was just wondering if you had some gloves and maybe a beanie or scarf you don’t ever wear.”

“Why would you need them?”

Chastity flushed a deep shade of pink, “There’s this boy at school, he kinda always looks cold. He’s still wearing the same stuff he was wearing back in June. It’s way too cold now for shorts and a tee-shirt. So, I figured maybe his folks just didn’t have enough money to buy him some warmer stuff, you know? I mean he could have one of mine, but he already gets picked on enough and adding bright girl colored stuff would just make it worse.”

“You off on another one of your missions to save the world, squirt?”

“I’m not! But it just doesn’t seem right that some folks have too much and some folks never have enough. That’s all.”

Her brother looked at her closely and nodded. “Okay. I guess I have some stuff I don’t really need.”

His sister flung her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever! You wouldn’t maybe have an old hoodie as well?”

Nathan knew he’d lose an argument with his kid sister. He had never been able to deny her anything. And the little minx knew it.

His eyes followed her as she left the room with her donated bootie. He tried to shrug off the thought that his friends may start looking at his kid sister a little differently, and soon.

Then he grinned and was comforted by the knowledge that the squirt was capable of laying them out flat on the ground, courtesy of the karate lessons she’d undertaken since the age of five. If she didn’t dissuade them they’d have to come through him. That wasn’t about to happen. This whole big brother thing had suddenly altered in a way he hadn’t anticipated happening quite so soon.

***

Travis Wilson shivered as he stepped outside and hurriedly locked the front door behind him. The baggy shorts and tee-shirt he was wearing gave him no armor to fight off the cold November wind. He steeled himself to brace it, picked up his violin case and hurried to catch the school bus.

He climbed on and made his way quickly down to the back corner and grabbed the window seat. He spoke to no one and kept his eyes averted, but he couldn’t shut his ears off from hearing the nasty comments from the other kids that sat nearest to him. “You going away to a beach somewhere, freak? Don’t much like your choice of swimwear.”

The guy had secured himself a good laugh with that one.

Then the other comments started. Kids seemed to grow braver when they formed a pack. Travis knew they weren’t allcruel, not normally, but the need they had to belongtrashed all over their distaste at what they were doing. Driven by the desire to be considered popular inspired them to be as cruel as they could be. Their words lacerated his already damaged soul and Travis felt his face darken with the shame of it. He didn’t respond either by word or action, knowing they’d soon become bored with their bullying of him and move their spiteful tongues on to some other kid they deemed to be weak and an easy target.

He looked out the window and sighed with relief when he spotted Chastity Adams and her best friends readying to climb onboard at the bus stop. Chastity was different from the rest of them. He always felt a little better about his day when she’d seek him out and give him a smile. He looked across at her then, just as she turned. He knew she had caught the wistful look on his face. She simply smiled across at him and turned back to her chattering best friends.

He caught the smile and burned it into his memory. He would remember it when the darkness descended again. It would help keep him warm.

***

Purchase The Reckoning Squad on Amazon.com

Again, my grateful thanks to the generous folks sharing my Cover reveal with you today.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

My Blog

Poetry Friday ~ Character & Wild

30 Aug

Hurricane Dorian-Poetry_Friday-The Writer Next Door Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-character-fantasy angels series-the fall of lilith

I’m sure some of you know by now that there’s a hurricane in the Atlantic headed for Florida. Well, Hurricane Dorian is headed northwest right now toward Florida’s northern east coast but there’s a pressure system that is predicted to push the hurricane southwest to make landfall anywhere from central Florida to the Keys and I’m somewhere in the middle.

We stocked up on water, batteries, and all the other stuff – better to be safe than sorry. I’m hoping the pressure system turns out to be weaker than the meteorologists are predicting and won’t have the strength to push Dorian over land but instead, it continues north on the Atlantic Ocean, missing the east coast of Florida.

Changing the subject, I’m excited about Colleen Chesebro’s prompt words this week, Character and Wild because I was reminded of Lilith, the main character in the first book of my Fantasy Angels Series, The Fall of Lilith.

**I would like to give a little more insight into her and answer a few readers questions.

 

I’ve been asked, why did I decide to make Lilith both main character and villain in The Fall of Lilith?

My original thought was to make Michael the protagonist and Lucifer the antagonist but then I thought of all the books in existence with the same exact concept and the more I thought about it the more the idea bored me. So I thought, why not make the villain the main character and why not make that character female? I was thrilled to write this story because it was original.

A few readers complained that Lilith never changed but remained evil throughout, never learning her lesson.

Firstly, Lilith did change throughout the story, because she began as a mischievous but not evil young girl. Her goal early on was to please God. As she grew into a teenager, she began to understand that her lofty goal of being first in God’s eyes was not going to be met and began to feel resentful of others who God favored instead.

She became more and more dissatisfied with her position in Floraison (Heaven’s lowest realm) and also began to feel stifled by the laws the angels had to live by in Floraison. Soon, she realized she had natural psychology and was able to influence the other angels. When she managed to influence the most powerful angel and God’s right hand, Lucifer into rebelling against God and starting a war, she became drunk with her own power.

Even after losing the war in heaven and being exiled to Earth she made excuses as to why her plans failed – it was Beelzebub’s fault – Lucifer failed to do his part . . . She became more rebellious, angrier and vengeance, after going through many bad experiences on Earth, became her ultimate goal.

The bottom line is that Lilith never repented and never learned her lesson because like Narcissists she could never admit that she was wrong or that anything was her fault. Everything she did, no matter how bad, was done for good reasons. Also, she was on her way to becoming a demon and demons don’t feel remorse or regret, they just become worse – more evil and perverse. 

In Son of the Serpent Lilith is the villain and a full-blown demon-witch. Does she get her comeuppance? You’ll have to read to find out. 😉

I’ve had one or two readers be angry with me because I made Lilith a woman and an evil character.

First of all, why not? Women can be just as evil as men. In my Psychology studies, I learned about serial killers and although most were men, there were several female serial killers responsible for doing things that would make you sick. Most importantly, Lilith is not a woman. She was an angel turned fallen angel, turned demon – a supernatural creature.

A couple of readers claimed that I didn’t tell the story like it was written in the Bible.

First of all, and I’ve said this before, several times already, The Fall of Lilith is not based on the Bible. There are elements of the Bible in the story as well as certain characters but this is a supernatural fantasy. There are also elements of the Jewish scriptures and stories and characters based on Mythology and Folklore. Very little is said about angels in the Bible and Lilith is not a biblical character. She’s a character from the Jewish scriptures. 

Who was Lilith?

There are so many stories told about Lilith, from being Adam’s first wife, in Jewish scriptures to being a figure of cosmic evil in Medieval Kabbalah.

The traditional depiction of Lilith from ancient Mesopotamia through medieval Kabbalah presents an antitype of desired human sexuality and family life. Lilith not only embodies people’s fears of how attraction to others can ruin their marriages, or of how risky childbearing and raising children are, but also represents a woman whom society cannot control—a woman who determines her own sexual partners, who is wild and unkempt, and who does not have the natural consequences of sexual activity, children. Continue reading . . . Lilith | Jewish Women’s Archive

 

I hope I’ve been able to satisfy some readers’ curiosity about my character Lilith from The Fall of Lilith. If you have any questions you may ask in the comment section below.

 

I wrote an Etheree about Lilith this week.

 

She

was proud

She was vain

She’s never wrong

Feral was her way

Never feeling regret

Her soul needed no guidance

one moment revered and the next

hated and feared. A breeze or cyclone.

Feelings changed about her as the winds shift.

Poetry_Friday-lilith-the fall of lilith-vashti quiroz vega-novel-supernatural-fallen angels-occult-poetry

Character and Wild 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.

The Fall of Lilith-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-Poetry_Friday-etheree-poem-novel-lilith

To my fellow Floridians let’s pray for the best but prepare for the worst. For those who celebrate Labor Day have fun and be safe. Happy Friday, everyone!

Quote

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, @VashtiQV

16 Aug

Hello, everyone! My books and I are featured at Author, Colleen Chesebro’s blog. I’d like to invite you to visit her blog and check it out. If you enjoy the interview, please share it on social media. I appreciate the support. Happy Friday!

 

Conversations With Colleen-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-author_interview-writer-indie-supernatural-occult-horror

 

via Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, @VashtiQV

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae

29 Jul

Hello, everyone! Welcome!

 

Today, I’m happy to feature on my blog the wonderful and extremely talented author, Rhani D’Chae. Rhani is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club and I recently read her book, Shadow of the Drill: Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge and really enjoyed it. I’m sharing my review of it as well as a little information about Rhani D’Chae.

rave reviews book club-rrbc-rhani d'chae-author-indie author-book_blogger

A little about Rhani:

Rhani D’Chae is a visually disabled writer who was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. Because of her failing eyesight, she no longer reads as much as she used to, but she does enjoy falling into the worlds created by other Indie authors as often as her vision will allow. Shadow of the Drill is her first published novel and is the first in a series that revolves around an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

She enjoys chatting with readers and fellow writers via Social Media sites and loves getting comments and other input from those who have read her work. She is on Facebook and Twitter. Also, if you have the time, please stop by her blog: rhanidchae.wordpress.com.

Ms. D’Chae is currently working on Winter of the Drill and hopes to have it completed soon.

Check out Rhani’s blog to see what she’s up to. She shares a bit about her upcoming novel Winter of the Drill here.

Rhani D'Chae-thriller-author-shadow of the drill-indie

Blurb:

A Gritty and Violent Thriller.

A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine.
For fifteen years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.

On the bloodstained streets of a northwestern city, the enforcer known as the Drill stalks his prey. Judge, Jury, and Executioner; he seeks out those who target the weak, condemning them to the kind of justice that has made him a legend.

Here’s my review (Goodreads & Amazon):

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae is a suspense/thriller aimed at an adult audience. This kind of thriller is different from what I’m used to reading, but I found it just as enjoyable.

The characters are well developed and I enjoyed the friendship between Decker and Rudy. Although it was difficult for me to relate to their lifestyle I could relate to their love for one another and their need for revenge. A couple of scenes dragged a bit, one character’s function in the story was not clear to me, and I caught a few typos, but these issues did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. For the most part, it is a well-written, thrilling, and entertaining book.

As a teen, Decker witnesses the brutal rape of a girl named Maria, the person he loves above all else. He tries to save her while risking his own life, but the three men assaulting her are out of his league and overpower him easily.

Although Maria survives, the violent attack leaves her in a comatose state and unable to function normally. Decker visits her regularly at the hospital, but he is guilt-ridden and seething and swears to take revenge on the men who did this to her.

This experience triggers a change in Decker. He builds his body, gains muscle mass, and learns to fight, ensuring that he will never be helpless again. He becomes the Drill, a fearsome and vicious enforcer who will stop at nothing to get vengeance on the men who ruined Maria’s life—and his. Will Decker get his revenge? Or will this maddening thirst for retaliation consume him and ruin his chances of a happy life with a good woman?

This gritty story is about love, friendship, and revenge. I recommend this book to fans of revenge thrillers, crime drama, and violent/dark fiction.

Rhani D'Chae-indie-author-thriller-Decker-shadow of the drill-book_blogger-RRBC

Visit Rhani D’Chae’s Amazon Author Page and check out all her books.

 

 

Thank you for stopping by today. Have a great week!

 

 

 

Poetry Friday ~ Mother’s Day!

10 May

Hi, everyone and welcome!

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

In the USA Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Although the custom of setting aside a day to honor mothers has ancient roots, our observance of Mother’s Day mainly came about through the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis.

After the death of her own mother in 1905, Jarvis wanted to recognize the sacrifices mothers made for their children. She organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in May 1908 at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day, and within a few years, the idea gained worldwide prominence.

Think about your mom as a person. What are some of her favorite things? What does she like to do? Show your mother you know her by choosing a thoughtful gift that she’s sure to like.

If you’re going to give your mom flowers make sure you give flowers that have meaning for her. You can also give her a plant if she has a green thumb.

Bring mom breakfast in bed! 30+ Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

 

Peach Ginger Bellini Recipe

Mother's Day_brunch-peach bellini_recipe-poetry-Poetry_Friday-vashti quiroz vega-the writer next door

Peach Ginger Bellini (Recipe by Tyler Florence)

Breakfast Tart With Pancetta and Green Onions Recipe

Poetry_Friday-Mother's Day-brunch-the writer next door-vashti quiroz vega-recipes

Breakfast Tart With Pancetta and Green Onions (Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Breakfast Lasagna Recipe

breakfast lasagna-mother's day-brunch-poetry_Friday-vashti quiroz vega-giada de laurentiis-recipe

Breakfast Lasagna (Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Marmalade Muffins Recipe

Poetry_Friday-Mother's Day-brunch_recipes-vashti quiroz vega-the writer next door-ree drummond

Marmalade Muffins (Recipe by Ree Drummond)

No one knows your mom better than you do, so do whatever you feel she would enjoy on this special day. 

Mother

savor your day

Croissants, quiche, cheese soufflé

Have a miracle for breakfast

Je t’aime

Poetry_Friday-Mother's Day-brunch-art-vashti quiroz vega-the writer next door

Mother and Child by Gustav Klimt

To all you wonderful mothers out there have an unforgettable Mother’s Day! This also goes to women that have helped raise children and to moms of fur-babies (which is like having a child that never grows up). 

Poetry Friday ~ A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

12 Apr

Hello and welcome, everyone!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me and I was not able to do as much writing as I wanted, so I plan to spend the day and weekend catching up. Please enjoy my story series, A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance, if you haven’t already done so and I will see you next week for another Poetry Friday. Happy Good Friday, Passover and Easter!


 

Doing the right thing

is hard when you do not know

what the right thing is

virtual_book_tour-son of the serpent-melanie delon-art-novel-fantasy-vashti quiroz vega

Illustration by Melanie Delon

 

Today I’m sharing Part 1 of a short story series called A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance. I hope you enjoy it.

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Who falls in love with a ghost?

 

I recall the first time I saw Abigail. She wasn’t attractive in my eyes. Her skin was as pale as an ivory mist. Her limp, blonde hair reflected merely a glint of sun. Her lips were thin and uninviting, but when she glanced my way with heavy-lidded sea green eyes, she captured my soul so completely I couldn’t look away. I should have looked away.

 

I had a task to do–so I watched. Abigail had a sweet way about her that lured me further into her world. Was it possible to take part in her world? I observed her. This girl did caring things for those around her and had a generous heart. Oddly, she never seemed to expect anything in return. Showing kindness to animals and nature was her way. She enjoyed singing, although she wasn’t very good at staying in tune. I spent hours, days, and then weeks watching her–trying to find something that would make my errand easier. I could not. What was it about this creature that held me captive?

 

Abigail was good, but also an odd and clumsy creature. I lost count of how many times I had to swiftly cover my mouth, fearing that my laughter would betray my presence. Once, she picked up a tarantula spider. It appeared to prance happily in place on her palm. She gazed at it wide-eyed and giggled with glee. Then she dropped it. The spider shattered when it hit the ground. She wailed for hours.

 

Another time she witnessed a small boy feeding bread to a swan. She ran to them and picked up a piece of bread lying by the boy’s feet. She attempted to feed the swan at the same time the boy did, but instead, she clumsily struck the swan’s beak, making it irate. She gasped as the angry bird took the boy’s arm in its beak and pounded his small limb with one of its massive wings. Abigail screamed for help and managed to pull the boy away, but not before the swan had broken his arm. The boy ran away to his parents, red-faced and howling, his arm dangling by his side. She dropped to the ground and created a puddle with her guilt and sorrow. She did not eat for days. That’s when I finally approached her.

 

“Why do you starve yourself?” I asked. She jumped and stared at me. “Do you wish to die?”

 

“No, I wish to live,” she responded, her eyes wide and pale lips trembling. “I hurt a small boy and deserve to suffer.”

 

“You did no such thing. The bird hurt the boy, but his arm is healing well. He plays happily as we speak, regardless of the cast he wears. You have no need to go on tormenting yourself.”

 

“How do you know this?” she asked, looking at me askance.

 

Thinking quickly I responded, “I was told about what had happened to the boy, and I just saw him minutes before I ran into you.”

 

She stared at me, brows crumbled and eyes squinted, and then she smiled faintly. “I’m glad to know this, thank you. My name is Abigail.”

 

“Then you must nourish yourself, Abigail.”

 

I looked around. A red fruit hanging from a nearby tree caught my eye. I picked it and handed it to her. She extended her hand slowly and took it. She bit into it, repeatedly holding the ripened, sweet fruit with both hands. She devoured it in no time. As she swallowed the last morsel, I wiped a bit of dribble off her chin. Her grateful smile turned her cheeks the color of an orchid rose.

 

I chuckled at how her face lit up. “My name is Azrael,” I told her. I’m not sure why. I reveal my name to few.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Azrael. Would you like to walk with me?”

 

 “Yes. This forest is quite beautiful. I have always enjoyed hiking here. The smells, the sounds–fascinate me!”

 

She took my hand as we began our stroll.

 

“This beautiful place can also be quite dangerous,” I said. “Doesn’t that scare you?”

 

“No,” she said, her face as innocent and pure as a daisy.

 

We continued walking. She stopped to smell wildflowers, drink water from a small waterfall that emptied into a noisy river, to point at birds she recognized and insects. I thought today would be the day, but torrents of crystalline water gushed, white fluffy clouds whipped across intense cerulean skies, daffodils vibrant as stars quivered and danced in the wind. It was much too lively a day for death to intrude.

 

“I must leave now.”

 

“So soon?” She sighed heavily and her body slumped.

 

“The sun will set soon. Perhaps you should go home before it becomes dark and you can’t find your way back.”

 

She nodded with a frown. “Goodbye. It was nice exploring the forest with you. Thank you for a lovely time,” she said as she departed.

 

I rushed in the opposite direction. When I was sure to be far enough away, I crumbled to the ground.

 

“Why? Why must I carry out this burden?” I cried to the heavens. “There is no malice in her. She is a lamb!” I rubbed a deep burning ache in my chest as large drops fell from my eyes. I touched my cheek and looked with amazement at my wet fingers. A voice in my head reassured me that my daunting task was for the best. I rose from the ground and with dragging feet left the forest. 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Vashti Quiroz Vega-author-Azrael-angel of death-story-Vashti Q-blog tour-virtual_book_tour-son of the serpent

Illustration by AStoKo

 

Be sure to read part 2 and the finale of A Time To Mourn And A Time To Dance

PART 2

PART 3 – FINALE

Author Life

23 Feb

Hello and welcome! This is just a short post to let everyone know that I will be on vacation for the next week. You won’t see me a lot on social media this week––hopefully not at all––but I doubt it. Anyway, I’m on vacay and will take advantage of this time to relax, read and do a lot of writing. In the meantime, you guys stay well and safe and have fun! I’ll be back in about 7 days. 

Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-vashti q-writer-author-award winning author-twitter

Happy Weekend!

A Short Update.

29 Nov

Hello, everyone. I wanted to give a quick update. My surgery went well. The surgeon did come across some bowel adhesions that he had to repair. I’m not sure how adhesions are formed. I guess the surgeon will explain when I see him in two weeks.

I have to be honest . . . I’ve never known pain like this before in my life. I got Percocet for the pain but it only seems to work when I’m reclining or lying perfectly still. Getting in and out of bed and standing/sitting is the worst. I was warned there would be pain but I had no idea it would be this bad. I guess the repairing of the bowel adhesions added to the the overall pain of having my uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and lymph nodes removed.

Despite the pain I’m happy that the surgery went well and that the surgeon was able to see and fix the problem with the bowel, since it prevents another surgery down the road. I know the pain will subside with each day, so I’ll hold on to that.

I have a low-grade fever which is normal under the circumstances. I’m a little foggy due to the strong medication I’m taking. I’m not used to taking narcotics. I was a little bit of a coward this morning. The thought of getting out of bed and feeling the pain was really scary but with my husband’s help I did get out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I’m so grateful for my husband.

I can’t tolerate sitting here too long so I’ll be in touch in a few days.

Thank you for all the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. You have all given me so much strength.

So this happened . . .

24 Nov

Hello, everyone! Welcome.

luis royo-vashti quiroz vega-author-confession-Vashti Q-uterine cancer-warrior-the writer next door

Illustration by Luis Royo

 

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and those of you that celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful day. I apologize for the lack of “Poetry Friday” yesterday and I have something to tell you.

I’ve been having some health issues––nothing huge––but something that needed medical attention. Well, I went to my doctor and got a bunch of tests done. On Wednesday 11/15/18 I received a call from my doctor’s office. The nurse seemed somewhat frantic on the phone and asked me if I could come to the office “right now” those were the words she used. I asked  if I could come in later on after my husband got home from work but she said it would be best if I called my husband and told him to get off work early so that we can come in to see the doctor as soon as possible. Of course by now I was fairly alarmed. I called my husband, explained the situation and he came home right away. I was ready when he arrived and we left immediately to my doctor’s office.

We arrived at the doctor’s office, signed in and explained to the front office girl that the nurse had told me on the phone to have her paged when I arrived. An hour later, I finally saw the doctor. He told me that the biopsies he took came back abnormal and that I had uterine cancer. I remained calm and listened to everything he had to say. He made an appointment with an Oncologist for me. I went to see the cancer specialist on Wednesday 11/21/18 and he told me I needed a total abdominal hysterectomy plus the removal of two lymph nodes in the pelvic area. He also wanted to do the surgery sooner rather than later and advised me not to wait more than a month to get it done. I decided to get it done as soon as his schedule allowed. I wanted the whole situation behind me as soon as possible. The Oncologist said he would contact the hospital and they would give me a call.

The hospital called me bright and early on Friday 11/23/18 and asked me to come in to get preregistered because my surgery will be on Tuesday 11/27/18 at 7:00 am. I spent most of the day at the hospital on Friday which is why I didn’t do a “Poetry Friday” post.

For some reason I felt compelled to write this down and let everyone know. However, this is not a “pity party” because I’m actually feeling quite calm and optimistic. I’m not in any great pain and I know that if I had to have some sort of cancer this is probably one of the best to have. I know this may seem strange to some of you, but having been in the medical field I understand exactly what I’m diagnosed with and I know that this is a very curable cancer. The oncologist also said that it was caught at a very early stage and with surgery the chances of it returning is like 1%. I think those are great odds, don’t you? He also said there’s a good chance I won’t even need chemotherapy after the surgery.

Everything has happened so quickly I haven’t had a chance to really wrap my head around it all, but like I wrote earlier, I’m feeling optimistic and calm. The surgery does scare me a little, I’m not going to lie, and I’m not looking forward to the side effects after surgery but things could have been much worse.

So if you notice in the next few weeks that I am not as active on social media or on my blog as I used to be you’ll know why. I plan to recuperate from surgery and get back on my feet quickly, in the meantime, life goes on.

 

Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.

~Jack Ma

 

Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-author-writer-book_dragon-book nerd-bibliophile-books

“BOOK DRAGON”