Tag Archives: The Writer Next Door

Poetry Friday ~ Healing

3 Sep

Hello, everyone! Welcome.

I’ve been struggling with medical issues for a while now. It’s been hard. I’m seeing several doctors, and I’m hopeful that my medical problems will be resolved in the near future. Meanwhile, I’m taking a hiatus from blogging and social media in order to focus on my health. You’ll probably see me pop in and out of social media, I don’t think I can stay away 100%, but it won’t be like before. I haven’t had the energy or focus to do the things I enjoy doing.

I need some time to heal and when I do I’ll be back in full force. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

I will soar, laugh, and smile . . .

I will go back to a time

Before you came

Knocking at my door.

—Ashley Hyde

Poetry Friday ~ Theme Prompt

30 Jul

Welcome to my blog, everyone!

It’s the fourth week of the month! Are you ready for a theme prompt? Donna Matthews from D J Ranch.org picked the theme:

EXPEDITION

***

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.

~Emily Dickinson

This week I chose to write a Shadorma (syllabic poem with a 3-5-3-3-7-5 sequence) about the transcendent powers of reading, inspired by one of Emily Dickinson’s poems.

I opened

a book and entered.

The words spread

out their wings,

and took me on a journey

far from where I’ve been.

********************

NOTE:

My short story Memoir of a Mad Woman is on sale for 99¢ through the weekend. You can get your copy here.

BLURB:

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds.
She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree… 
But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

Thank you for your visit! I hope you enjoyed the post.

Poetry Friday ~ Mermaid

23 Jul

Hello, my friends! Welcome.

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge

Colleen says: This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). Annette Rochelle Aben from last month’s challenge has provided the photo for this month’s challenge. Remember, it’s not so much about describing what’s in the photo. Look beyond the obvious to find new meaning.

Photo by Annette Rochelle Aben

MERMAID

Don’t mistake songs in the wind for wind songs

Don’t confuse figures out at sea, that

sit on distant rocks for sea lions

She dwells where worlds hide in the

deep, and emerges to

the wild call of the

running tide to

warn us, “let

the seas

be”

photo by Sandra Bittmann

If it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
Unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

Have a great weekend and never give up on shooting for the stars!

Poetry Friday ~ Poet’s Choice

9 Jul

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful start to your day!

Poet’s Choice! It’s the first of the month and that means we choose our own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. It’s up to us!

If you’d like to participate check out Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenge here.

Even the lone writer who has wandered this far into summer with her books, notepads, laptop case knocking her knees—even she wishes to enjoy the warmth of the sun caress her skin, feel the fresh seasonal showers wash away concerns, hear the songs in the breeze on sultry summer evenings.

“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.”
—Sylvia Plath

Thank you for stopping by!

Poetry Friday ~ Poet’s Choice

4 Jun

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog!

Happy JUNE! It’s the first of the month and you know what that means! Word Crafters can choose their own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. It’s up to us! Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenge!

Today, I will be sharing my review of Colleen Chesebro’s book, ‘Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration,’ and I will also be sharing a couple of her poems from the book.

The Magical Tree by Colleen Chesebro
In Spring—
the Lady wears a crown of
yellow blossoms
whose sweet scents tease and tantalize
on warmer days soon to be.

By Summer—
her Majesty dons her most
beautiful apparel
with leaves a bright verdant green
shiny with midsummer dreams.

In Autumn—
the Lady shows us her splendor
whose bright orange leaves herald
the darkness of another winter slumber.

In Winter—
her Majesty lays naked
barren leaves shed like tears
awaiting the hope of a new year.
Blooms heavy with dew—
stretch toward the rosy dawn,
spiritual bliss.
Fairy nymphs hover and flit,
spreading their magic for you.

My Review:

This book is a collection of entertaining poems and short stories along with interesting facts about fairies and magic. The author also shares her own beliefs and experiences, which makes this book delightfully unique.

Author and poet Colleen Chesebro includes a varied selection of poetry styles inspired by magic, fays, and the summer solstice. Some of the stories and poems will make you laugh while others will inspire you, enchant, and even haunt you.

Although I enjoyed all the stories and poems in this book, “The Leaving” and “Halloween Havoc” were two of my favorite stories, and “The Magical Tree,” was one of my much-loved poems.

I recommend this book to lovers of fairies, magic, nature, poetry, and engaging stories.

***

Colleen Chesebro has a new book out called Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry Check it out! Colleen is an expert when it comes to writing syllabic poetry, so if you’d like to learn more click on the link and get your copy. I got mine!

Thank you for visiting my blog. Have a fabulous day!

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt #Etheree

21 May

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog.

It’s the third week of the month! Time for an Ekphrastic #PhotoPrompt from Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge

This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). When you write poetry based on a painting or photograph, we work with symbolism and metaphors. This week, don’t just describe what you see in the image. Check out How to Write Ekphrastic Poetry and apply some of the techniques used in the article to your own poem.

Trent McDonald from last month’s challenge has provided the photo for this month’s challenge:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m sharing an Etheree poem today.

Gentle drops, like a myriad of thoughts

gather in streams, tumbling recklessly

down a vagrant course to begin

its journey toward its end,

crashing on moss-strewn rocks

Its song vibrating

deep in the earth

no one can

stop the

flow

Thank you for stopping by!

Poetry Friday ~ Gadreel

7 May

Hello everyone! Today, I have an interesting guest on my blog. Her name is Gadreel and she is the main character in my latest novel The Rise of Gadreel. She has written a poem for us but before we get to that I have a few questions I’d like to ask her.

Character Interview

Vashti:

Hello Gadreel! Welcome. I’m so happy you could join us today.

Gadreel:

Greetings. I am delighted to be here.

Vashti:

Let’s get right to it, okay? Tell us about your home, Floraison.

Gadreel: (She frowns. She gives me a wounded look and then lowers her eyes to the floor)

Floraison is no longer my home, for I was cast out along with Lilith, Lucifer and the rest of the rebel angels.

Vashti:

Oh––yes, I’m sorry. (I squirm on my seat) If it’s too difficult for you to talk about it, it’s––

Gadreel:

Apologies. It is for this reason I was invited, so I shall answer your question. Although, there are no words to fully describe Floraison, none that humans can understand. I shall do my best. Firstly, there are three realms of Heaven: Heaven Most High where God resides, Metá Heaven, and Floraison, the lowest realm of Heaven where God chose to place his angels. Different dimensions separate these realms and only God travels between them as He pleases.

There was no need for a sun, moon or stars to give Floraison light. God’s splendor lit the lowest realm, and the skies were beautiful beyond compare. There was no true darkness where the angels lived. In Floraison’s unit of time there was brillante, when the light was at its most intense and nightglow when at its dimmest.

There were many trees and meadows adorned with colorful flowers that emitted fragrances evoking happiness and vigor. Magnificent creatures abounded, large and small––perfect in every way and pleasing to the senses. Some of these creatures were prototypes for beings God created on different planets, and others were unique to Floraison.

The River of Life, a pure river with crystalline healing waters, flowed between realms and proceeded from God’s throne room.

(She stopped and gazed at me with doleful eyes that made my heart ache a little)

Vashti:

It’s okay, Gadreel. I think we get the picture––Floraison is a celestial paradise. You mentioned that there was no true darkness in heaven, so what was it like the first time you experienced night on Earth?

Gadreel: (She shivers and wraps her arms around herself)

When I fell from heaven I landed in a hot area of grasses and small dispersed trees. The sunlight was harsh and glaring and singed my angelic skin. There was no shade or area to escape from it. The heat enveloped me and the air was so dense I had to drag it into my lungs. I hated this new environment, but nothing prepared me for night.

It was like I disappeared. I could not see my hands in front of my face. It was like not existing, but yet living. I felt like God no longer saw me and that made my heart very heavy. I never felt farther from my home.

The grasslands came to life at night with unfamiliar noises. I heard a sharp, thrilling call overhead, the leaping and bounding of fleet-footed creatures avoiding predators on the ground, and all manner of growls, clicks, and hoots. An eerie, cold sensation crept into my bones. I curled into a tight ball and trembled in the darkness.

Vashti:

That sounds awful. I won’t be alone in the dark any time soon. (Awkward pause) Gadreel, did you ever see God?

Gadreel:

In Floraison there are golden double doors that opened to a portal that lead to Metá Heaven where God’s presence could be reached in His Throne Room. Only by His expressed permission could one cross this portal. I was never given permission to enter. Michael, who had entered the hall, said it was aglow with the most exquisite light ever seen. But in order to truly see God angels must elevate to Heaven Most High and that’s a difficult process.

Vashti:

You’re obviously remorseful for joining Lilith and rebelling against God and the holy angels, so why did you do it?

Gadreel: (She swallowed hard and looked down)

I never felt rebellious in my heart. I loved God and my heavenly home. Lilith was my best friend and she is a powerful influencer. She made me feel that I needed to be loyal to her––and I was also a bit afraid of her, of what she would do if I did not follow her. She also told me it was the only way for me to be with Samael and I believed this. I loved Samael and he joined Lilith and Lucifer in their rebellion. I wanted to go wherever he went, even if it meant that I would end up in hell.

Vashti:

So much has happened since the war in heaven and your fall from grace. How have you changed?

Gadreel:

I am much stronger and confident in my abilities now. I know I have done many wrongs for which I must make amends. I will seek God’s forgiveness, although I know I can never return to my home in heaven. I shall no longer ally myself with Lilith, Lucifer or Samael. I have new allies now even in the Animal Kingdom, for I have the ability to understand and communicate with them. However, I shall always miss Floraison.

Floraison by Jeff Brown

Homesickness pulls at my heart

Tossed down from Heaven

I lie broken on the earth

I know in my mind

It is not over for you see

Although the fall split my spine

I shall survive this

Long enough to make amends

I don’t belong here

but I am homesick

for a home I shall not see

Home needs a whole heart

My heart’s a thousand pieces

so homesick am I

Earth shall never be my home

I am wishing for heaven

Gadreel-fallen_angel-The Fall of Lilith-Haiku_Friday-Poetry-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-fantasy angels series

“There was no sun in Floraison to torture us. We had brillantes, a time of divine light, which was like the warmth of God’s smile. Here on earth, we have to endure days of glaring, fiery light, which stings our bodies and perturbs our minds. In Floraison, we had nightglows when light dimmed to a soft glow, which reminded us that God was still near. Here, we have night––the absence of light when we are left on our own. I miss our home.”

~Gadreel

Lilith, the main character from my novel, The Fall of Lilith was also interviewed by Lisa Burton (Robot Girl) of Lisa Burton Radio | Entertaining Stories. You can read that interview, here.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Poetry Friday – BookTour: The Rise of Gadreel -4

16 Apr

Hi, everyone! Welcome. Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Heroes & Villians

Heroes and villains seem harder to define
when somethings happen to blur the lines
The villain style of justice may appear better than no justice at all
When the system fails the victim and makes the victim feel so small
Where are the Heros when evil abounds?
Are they still around? 
Who fights for truth and justice throughout the land?
Who is brave enough to take a stand?
Remember heroes often are easily disguised as ordinary people and don't stand out in a crowd
Their anonymity allows them to work behind the scenes 
they effectively crush the evil villains dreams.
The Heros tirelessly fight for truth and justice and selflessly care for others in need.
They support and encourage those that the villains of this world have knocked down.
The villains can too easily be found courtesy of our television screen they often make a showing on the 6 or 10 o clock news they are promoting violence they don't care about anyone else's views.
As far as Heros go you may discover that a Heros heart is contained inside of You.
Hero or Villain?
The choice is yours
Today you could take a stand to right some societal wrong
Today you can be strong and be a Hero to a friend or loved one or a stranger in need. To them can  make a difference indeed.
Hero's Traits:
H elping
E ncouraging 
R espectful
O pportunity 
Perhaps these traits are within you
Be the Hero that you long to see! 

Poem by Ann M. Johnson


Every story needs its hero and its villain. They are both important to the plot. I enjoy a villain who believes he’s the hero in the story. I also enjoy a villain who is clever, proud, vengeful, deceitful, merciless, and who totally embraces his dark side.

These are a few of my favorite villains:

Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery. A nurse and serial killer, Annie, rescues her favorite novelist Paul Sheldon from certain death after a horrible automobile accident. She sweetly nurses him back to health, only to break his legs with a sledgehammer after she finds out his plan to end her favorite novel series. She loved him, but she had to save him from himself. 😉

Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Cersei was extremely clever and had many of the same characteristics of a hero but was completely misdirected. Everything she did was for “the good of the family,” especially, her kids, which she adored. Unfortunately, her eldest son and daughter were poisoned, and her youngest committed suicide.

Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Dr. Hannibal Lector was charming, classy, well read, and highly intelligent. He was also a terrifying, serial killing, cannibal psychiatrist. He knew what he was and embraced his evil ways completely.

In The Rise of Gadreel, the main villain is Satan, who escapes his earthly prison with the help of Lilituen witches by absorbing the body and essence of a young sorcerer, Abigor Chailín. Abigor volunteered to be Satan’s vessel, even though he knew he would perish. During the process of absorption Abigor’s knowledge, experience, and innate magical powers passed on to Satan, who would take over his identity. The following excerpt is in Abigor Chailín’s (Satan’s) voice.

Excerpt:

The day moved at the pace of a three-toed sloth, and when evening came at last, bodies willing and able to do my bidding crammed the great hall.

“The time has come,” I said. “Gadreel and her allies, dubbed the Fearless Five, shall enter the gates of London soon, and we must be ready.”

A Lilituen monk stepped forward, his head hung to avoid eye contact, and he wrung his hands as he spoke. “Many have spoken of a persuasive phantom who accompanies Gadreel, as well as a warrior priest who shifts into a fiend at will, a mighty sorceress, and a rock giant.” 

I watched him squirm for a while, and then stepped toward him. 

“Look at me!” I said. His eyes met mine. “Peasants tend to exaggerate, making issues appear grander than they are. But even if matters were as they claimed, who cares? Have we not formidable warriors and sorcerers in our midst? And most importantly, you have me, and there is not a creature on Earth who can defeat me. Do you disagree?”

            “No, Master,” he said. “The people of London, especially the peasants, suffer cold, sickness, and hunger. Their opinion of you, Master, if I may speak freely”—he paused and waited for my permission to go on—“has declined.”

            “And why should I care about the opinions of peasants?”

            “Because they may decide to join forces with the Fearless Five against us.” 

            “You stand in a room filled with mighty warriors, sorcerers, and demons, and you are worried about a handful of emaciated farmers? Oh ye of little faith.”

            “God is on their side,” the monk said.

            “You forget God is up there, and I am down here.” And with those words I placed my hands on the monk’s head, whispering a spell under my breath. 

Soon, my hands took on a green aura, and his face came to be the color of a pickled cherry. He convulsed, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, blisters distorting his skin as it darkened to the color of a ripe plum. Steam exploded from his ears, followed by dark blood which also oozed from his eyes and mouth. I lifted my hands and he crumbled, dead, to the ground.

            “Take away this filth,” I instructed my servants. They came forth and did my bidding in haste. “Anyone else have doubts? There’s no time for misgivings. Either you are with me or against me. Decide which it is, here and now.”

            The assembled remained quiet.

            “I shall take your silence to mean that you are with me and ready to do all that I ask of you. The whole of England is in peril, and so is the church. I’ll restore order, and the people shall keep the faith. First, drastic measures are required.”

Lilituens – A sect of witches and sorcerers which include demons and half-breeds with innate magical powers.

Fearless Five – A band of heroes that defend and protect human beings from evil forces. Gadreel, Dracúl, Thomas, Sabina, and Golem make up the Fearless Five.

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thank you for visiting!

Poetry Friday: The Rise of Gadreel (BookTour – 3)

9 Apr

Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

A hero

will die to protect

Marvelous

Courageous

Would help no matter the cost

They walk among us

Which type of heroes do you like best in stories?

I prefer heroes who have flaws. Someone who is genuinely good but who has made mistakes, who has faced challenges and doubts, and who is sometimes vulnerable . . . a person who perhaps starts off ordinary, and as the story unfolds, becomes more apparent. I enjoy reading about heroes who are intelligent, selfless, kind, and courageous. They feel the fear and do what needs to be done anyway. I find the classic hero, who is perfect in every way and completely fearless, kind of boring. Gadreel is the type of hero I enjoy reading about.

Excerpt:

Sabina dismounted her horse and treaded up to the gate. She placed a hand on the stone wall and lurched back. “A witch cast a binding spell on this town.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“A magical binding is a hex that restrains people, preventing them from doing something.” Sabina placed both palms against the gate and closed her eyes briefly. “An effective sorcerer did not want the people of this town to leave.”

“Why?” I asked.

“I’m not sure.”

I rode past the gate into Warwick, and the others followed me.

We climbed off our mounts. I kissed my horse on its neck and told him to lead the others to water. They galloped away, and we ambled on. Every surface, every blade of grass and twig, grew long ice crystals. In the distance a low clinging fog concealed the homes at the top of the road. 

We continued toward the east of town and ran across a monastery. Blackened and charred walls crumbled under the weight of ashes. The ruins were still smoking, even in this frigid weather. We maneuvered the creaking threshold and came across the charred remains of several monks. One of them lay curled knee-to-nose, while another gripped his pectoral cross with both hands. Glass littered the floor where the windows had broken, and oil lamps lay blackened and twisted on the ground amid the corpses.

“Almost nothing escaped the bloody fire,” Golem said.

Dracúl banged his fist against a wall, almost knocking it down, and stormed out of the monastery. I followed him, and the others trailed behind.

“There’s a castle on the hill,” I said. “Let’s go there. Perhaps there’s someone who can tell us what happened here.”

Dracúl stared ahead, blood tears pooling in his eyes, and we moved on. 

More rotting bodies lay strewn on the streets as we made our way to the castle. Most had missing parts. Many of the corpses’ middles had a strange bowl-shaped appearance. Upon closer inspection, we realized that their organs had been removed. Their chests and abdomens caved in because they were hollow. 

“Why?” Golem whispered. 

There should have been a foul stench in the air, but the cold, dry winds somehow inhibited the release of the disgusting stink coming off the dead bodies. 

We knocked on doors and searched inside the dwellings. We passed the charred remains of a house. Upon investigation, we learned that the only edifices burned down were those that stored food and sheltered livestock, but this particular house was a regular family home. Why was it burned? Only its skeleton stood under the vibrant wintry sun. Sabina rushed inside, and before long, a scream pierced the air. We hurried in to find Sabina motionless with her hands covering her mouth. I steeled myself, went to her, and gasped at the gruesome scene. 

I hope the excerpt intrigued you. The poetry form I used for my opening poem is a Shadorma. Thanks again for the visit.

Poetry Friday: The Rise of Gadreel – 2

2 Apr

Hello, everyone. Welcome. This is the 2nd post in my book tour. But, before I get on with it, I wanted to dedicate the following poem to the lovely and talented Sue Vincent who is no longer in the land of the living. She will be sorely missed.

She Made Words Talk

She walks in beauty

among the clouds with angels

reciting poems

She was a proper poet

Sue had a way with language

The main character in The Rise of Gadreel is a fallen angel. Gadreel was never evil, but she fell into the wrong crowd and did bad things, influenced by her close friend Lilith. After her fall from grace, she had plenty of time to ponder her many mistakes. Remorseful and ashamed, she no longer wanted to follow those evil creatures that got her exiled from her home in heaven. She escaped them and has looked for ways to make amends and find God’s forgiveness, ever since. She and Dracúl, son of fallen angels, found each other and became close friends. Together, and with the help of three unlikely allies; Thomas, Golem and Sabina set out to save mankind from an evil force that has awakened and threatened to end the world, as we know it.

Now that you’re a little more familiar with Gadreel, I’d like to introduce you to some of the other characters from The Rise of Gadreel.

Thomas:

Thomas was once the youngest of a group of Cathar monks living in a monastery. He was a cantor and tended to the gardens. When his brethren discovered certain scrolls not admitted into Catholicism, they began to document them. The church accused them of heresy, and one night, warrior monks attacked the monastery. All the monks, including Thomas, were forced out to the courtyard where they were burned alive. Since then, the monastery has been haunted by the spirits of the monks who were wrongly accused and suffered a terrible death. Thomas is a kind soul who still sings and tends the gardens, but many of the ghosts have grown restless and furious against God and the church. Their souls have been mutated into something evil and corrupted, and Thomas is trapped in the monastery with them.

Sabina:

Sabina’s mother was a white witch, a beautiful and caring woman. One day she became ill. White witches from all over the country came to their village to try to save her, to no avail. Sabina never knew her father and so became orphaned once her mother died. The people of the village loved Sabina’s mother and took care of her child. A year later, a woman named Helga arrived at the village claiming to be Sabina’s aunt from her father’s side. Since no one had ever met Sabina’s father, they assumed the woman spoke the truth. Helga took the child to her home in the woods, and even though Sabina was a child, she soon became aware that this woman was nothing like her mother. Instead, Helga was a bad witch who practiced black magic and meant to do her harm. Unbeknownst to Sabina, she had come from a long line of white witches and had potent magic within her. Her aunt forced her to practice day and night and develop her magic, all along planning to take it from her. When Sabina finally understood Helga’s plan, she began to study and practice both black and white magic, developing her strength and knowledge in secret.

A couple of years later, she escaped Helga’s house where she lived in fear and had been imprisoned. Shortly after her escape, she was adopted by a pair of Lilituens who inducted her to a mighty coven of witches. Despite growing up in fear and being surrounded by evil, Sabina’s mother’s influence remained strong in her, and she used her powers to do good for mankind.

Golem:

As a boy, Vikings raided Golem’s village. They murdered his father while he watched and hid. When another pirate grabbed his mother, he was compelled to rescue her. Golem ran to his mother, grabbed her hand, and tried to pull her away from the Viking who held her captive. He laughed as the boy struggled and hacked off his arm with his ax. Then he chopped his mother’s head clean off––Golem’s small, severed hand and arm still in her grip. Golem fell unconscious and was left for dead. An older couple, Abraham and Madrona, rescued him and nursed him back to health. They raised him as their own, and he grew into a strong, self-sufficient, one-armed man in their home. When the old couple died, Golem inherited a small stone figurine with supernatural powers, which he used for the good of mankind.

Dracúl, Thomas, Gadreel, Sabina, and Golem.

I hope you enjoyed meeting some of the characters from The Rise of Gadreel! Thank you for your visit and support.