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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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Teacher Appreciation Week – Teachers Matter!

6 May

National Teacher Day-Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

 

This week is Teacher’s Appreciation Week. There are several teachers in my family, so I wanted to dedicate a post to them and all the fabulous teachers out there. Unfortunately not all teachers are good, but the ones that are good—the ones that were meant to be teachers—can improve the lives of the children they instruct.

 

Growing up, I had more good teachers than bad—thank God. As a kid I was at times hyper, easily distracted and sensitive. If learning the material being taught came easily for me, I would get bored and then the talking and drawing would start. If I didn’t understand the material, I would bombard the teacher with questions. Once in a while, I had a smart mouth. I’m ashamed to say that I actually became frustrated once with a teacher and told her that I was a smart kid, so if I didn’t understand the material, it was because she wasn’t teaching it right. Yikes! Mostly I was a good student, but I definitely had my moments of being a clown and a smartass, and I know I tested the patience of many good teachers.

 

So in light of all of this, I would like to thank all the good teachers out there (you know who you are) for your dedication, your patience and tolerance, for taking the time to listen and to care. You are rock stars!

 

Personally, I want to thank Mrs. Florinda, for teaching me to love music. Mr. Jacobs, for teaching me to stand up for myself and for what I believe in. Mr. Suliveras, for putting up with my silly crush and for being so patient when I knocked on your classroom door to snap surprise pictures of you when you opened the door (paparazzi style). You turned learning into an adventure. Miss Frank, thank you for teaching me that being quirky (and sometimes a little weird) is okay, for noticing and wanting to make the most of my huge imagination, for teaching me the love of art (and nicknaming me Cookie). Mrs. Brannon, the fascinating accounts of your journeys have made me passionate for travel. So much of my Bucket List is composed of places I’d love to visit and have an adventure in someday. Mr. Ballough, thank you for making me love biology and chemistry with your cool way of teaching. You are part of the reason I went into the medical field. Thank you, Mr. Cicio, for teaching me to be a team player (and the butterfly stroke); also that competition is healthy. And last, but not least, Miss Alario, thanks to you I love to read. Thank you so much for being the first to notice my talent for storytelling and for encouraging me to write. Without the influence, patience, enthusiasm, love and instruction from these incredible human beings, I would not be the person I am today and I am extremely grateful to all of them.

 

Mrs. Notice, we didn’t always get along. Our personalities clashed, but I know you were a good person and you were trying your best. I’m sorry for giving you such a hard time.

 

I would like to mention some of the wonderful teachers in my life now:

Cleopatra Trevilcock

Mirtha Quiroz

Sadie Vega Velasquez

Melissa Perez

Bridget Lynn Betchel

 

Thank you for choosing to do one of the most difficult jobs in the world (in my opinion). You have a huge responsibility because you help mold the minds of our children, which are our future. Phew! That’s a huge job! You are great at it, going out of your way for your classes, jumping through hoops and bending over backwards to ensure your kids have fun as they learn, and even dishing out your own money to be sure your classes have all they need. Thank you for all you do.

 Teachers-Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

A teacher is a compass that activates

the magnets of curiosity, knowledge,

and wisdom in the pupils.”

~Ever Garrison

 

Every child deserves a champion – an

adult who will never give up on them,

who understands the power of connection and insists

that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

~Rita Pierson

 

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Was there a teacher in your life that influenced you in a powerful way? Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

 

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Easter

19 Apr

Jesus Christ-devil-Vashti Quiroz-Vega-blogging

 

 

Easter

Easter, the Christian Holiday that celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection is held the first Sunday after the Blood Moon this year (which was actually on Palm Sunday). I find this fascinating for some reason. Easter is celebrated after a 40 day period called Lent in which observers practice fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During Lent Christians are supposed to emulate the actions of Jesus Christ and reflect on his life, death and resurrection.

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So where do the cute little chicks and bunnies come in? Why do kids hunt for eggs? Like in almost every Christian religious holiday there’s a commercial aspect that stems from pagan religions– in this case, the celebration of Spring. You can read about this association here.

 

 

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Here are some touching quotes about Easter:  (WARNING: Some of these will make you cry)

 

 

 

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Easter is very important to me, it’s a second chance.” ~ Reba McEntire

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Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart!” ~ Susan Coolidge

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If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer

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I wish everyone a happy, safe and fun weekend! Happy Easter!

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Fantasy Angels Series

17 Apr

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“The world created for this story is truly amazing, epic in scope and rich in detail.”

Hello everyone! As some of you know I’m working really hard on the final edits of my second novel. It’s consuming a great deal of my time and I’m finding it difficult to keep up with everything else I need to do. Soon I will be able to share a few excerpts from the first installment of my Fantasy Angels Series so that you guys can give me some feedback on it. I would love to read your reviews. In the meantime, I will continue to make my book the best it can be. Today I will leave you with a few writing quotes and some fan art by illustrator George Miltiadis. Thank you for all the support and I will be back with more short stories and articles as soon as I’m done with the editing.  Love you guys! ❤

“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these fascinating characters and their world.”

 ♦

Her ruthless ambition for power and recognition led millions of angels astray

“Powerful and believable characters that live and breathe.”

 

 

I wasn’t sure what I’d done to deserve such a wonderful gift, and I wasn’t sure if it was insolent, but I thanked God for fallen angels.”
Jamie McGuire, Providence

 

 

 

I don’t know where people got the idea that characters in books are supposed to be likable. Books are not in the business of creating merely likeable characters with whom you can have some simple identification with. Books are in the business of creating great stories that make you’re brain go ahhbdgbdmerhbergurhbudgerbudbaaarr.”
John Green

 

 

 

“You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.”
John Rogers

 

 

 

“The only characters I ever don’t like are ones that leave no impression on me. And I don’t write characters that leave no impression on me.”
Lauren DeStefano

 

 The Fall of Lilith

(Epic Fantasy with elements of Horror about angels)

The characters in this story are angels depicted in a very unique way. It is a story of many twists, surprises and a bit of controversy.

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The Fall of Lilith-Elizabeth Stock-Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 “The Fall of Lilith is an amazing story! It’s a fascinating reimagining of mythical events. I especially loved the vivid descriptions. The magnitude and beauty of heaven and earth is conveyed so well –– and the horror of the fallen angels suffering. The characters are also nuanced and fascinating.” ~Elizabeth Stock (Editor)

 What genre do you enjoy reading? Do you like reading dark fantasy novels? Have you ever read a dark fantasy novel?

 

 

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Book Reading / Signing

7 Apr

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The 3 little actors that performed The Basement skit from the 'Weapons' Chapter.

The 3 little actors rehearsing for a play based on the ‘Weapons’ Chapter from The Basement.

 

My first Book Reading/Signing event took place on Friday at GMAA, a private school in Westchester, Florida.  I was very nervous (I always am before any event), but excited at the same time.  I was going to be reading to kids between the ages of eleven and sixteen. Tough crowd – or so I thought.  

 

The night before the reading, my little seventeen-year-old Pomeranian gave me a bad night.  He kept getting up and walking from one end of the bed to the other, over and over again, while making a noise I call a cough, but it’s more like loudly coughing, wheezing and clearing his throat at the same time.  I got up and took him to the kitchen to see if he wanted some water.  He drank, and I brought him back to bed.  He was quiet for a minute, and then began walking and coughing again. I got up for a second time and took him outside to see if he wanted to do something.  Nothing.  Well, this went on until one thirty in the morning, when he finally settled down and fell asleep.  This has happened before and I’ve told his vet about it on several occasions, but she explains there’s nothing that can be done about it.  He takes a bunch of pills for several things already (poor thing). He’s just very old.  After a sleepless night, he had some sort of episode in the morning that had me in tears. I almost cancelled the reading, but fortunately he seemed to get better.  

 

Rascal

Rascal

Right before leaving my house, I misplaced my keys and spent at least ten minutes looking for them. I always put my keys in the same place so that I always know where to find them, but of course this morning was not going as planned. When I finally found my keys, I stormed out the door (without breakfast) and ran into a terrible traffic jam.  It seemed like there were terrible forces conspiring against me. Everything that could go wrong was happening on this important day.

 Book Reading-signing-event-vashtiquirozvega

My fortunes changed once I finally arrived at the school. My sister Cleo greeted me very warmly. You see, Cleo is a music teacher at this prestigious school. Her children (Natasha, Vanessa and Joshua), were ages 17, 23 and 12 when they read my book and loved the story. Cleo read it and enjoyed it, as well. She introduced it to the school’s librarian, who didn’t have time to read it, so her assistant read it instead and also loved it. My sister asked for several copies of the book to give to the English and literature teachers at the school, and I gladly gave them to her. Well, this led to the book being incorporated into the school’s library and curriculum and to the Book Reading/Signing event.

Book Reading-Signing-Event-The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Everyone at the school was friendly and kind, which made me feel at ease. I wanted my Book Reading/ Signing event to be different. I wanted the kids to be entertained, but I also wanted to instill in them a desire to read. I had adapted one of the chapters from my book into a skit for the kids to perform. My sister took the play to the 5th grade teacher, Miss Betchel. She chose three kids to play my characters: Robbie, Natasha and Cleo. I was very excited.

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha

 

All the kids were taken to a small auditorium where they sat and waited for the Show Book Reading/Signing event to begin. They said a prayer and sang a hymn. I was introduced. I spoke a few words and then my book trailer was shown on a large screen. The kids clapped excitedly when the trailer was over.  

 

After I read a short chapter from the book, the kids performed the play. Janine Llaurado, Ester Peiro and Kalvin Martinez did a great job portraying the characters.  After that I spoke a few words about what inspired me to write The Basement, and gave aspiring writers in the group (which were many) a few tips on writing.  Afterwards, I took pictures of the actors in my play, teachers, librarian, my sister… I was having a great time and had forgotten all about the bad night and morning.

 

The Basement-book-signing-reading-Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Janine Llaurado as Natasha

I set up a table with my books in the library, and just when I thought the fun was over, hordes of kids came into the library in waves with their teachers.  They were so excited about the book.  They asked me a million questions, not just about The Basement, but also about my experience as a writer and the writing process!  Many of the kids told me about how much they loved to read. I think nothing warmed my heart more than that. These kids were excited about reading! I wanted to do flips and dance on the library tables (inappropriate, I know).

 The Basement-book signing-reading-preteens

I had an awesome time interacting with the children. Telling them what The Basement is about, what inspired me to write it and what they needed to do to prepare if they wanted to become writers: read, read, read and write, write, write.  Oh, yeah… I sold some books, too.

 

The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega-book-reading-signing-author 

 

We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.

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A Time to Mourn and a Time To Dance – Finale

31 Mar

a time to mourn and a time to dance

Hello, everyone! I hope you enjoy the 3rd and final installment of A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance. Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series before you read the finale. Your comments are helpful and very appreciated. Thank you!

 

 

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

 

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

“What is the matter?” I asked her.

 

 

“I feel weary, that’s all,” she said, but I knew it was more than that.

 

 

“Are we going for a walk today?”

 

 

“No, I don’t feel up to it.”

 

 

“Have you lost your will to live?” I asked.

 

 

She looked at me sideways and then scowled. “I do not want to walk. I do want to live!”

 

 

Sparks of life flew out of her eyes. I grinned watching her face twitch as she tried to remain serious but she burst out laughing instead. I sat by her side. She leaned her body toward me and rested her head on my chest. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.

 

 

I was overcome with emotions new to me. How did I get here? Why has this strange girl grown so fond of me? What does she see when she looks at me? Does she not see the darkness in my eyes? Does my long, sable, tangled hair not look suspect? I am large in stature and powerfully built––does this not seem menacing?

 

 

It would be so simple to place my hand over her small nose and mouth while she slept until she could draw breath no more, or break her neck with a quick flick of my wrist. She would never know death had come for her. But she slept the sleep of an infant over my beating heart. Surely death could wait for another moment, one that would be less filled with upright virtue and pure faith. She believed in me, and she saw goodness in me that no one had ever seen. Most people knew me instinctually and tried to flee from me in fright. She welcomed me into her heart. Yes, death could wait.

 

 

She awoke and as she opened her eyes, the day seemed brighter.

 

 

“How long have I been asleep?” she asked.

 

 

“Not very long. Did you sleep well?”

 

 

“I never slept more soundly.”

 

 

“Now that you’ve had your rest, would you like to go for a walk?”

 

 

She extended her hand toward me, and I reacted. She caressed my face. I closed my eyes to isolate the gentle stroking. No one had ever shown me such kindness. When I opened my eyes I saw the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, and she was touching my face in a way that made my heart beat faster.

 

 

“I must leave now. I promised my mother I would not stay out late today.”

 

 

She stood up slowly, and I watched her walk away. She looked over her shoulder once and smiled a lighthearted smile full of hope. That’s when I decided to disable the communication with above. I knew I could not complete this task. Not now––perhaps not ever.

 

 

I returned to the forest several times after that, but she never showed. After a few days, I decided I could not wait any longer. I missed her. So I went to knock on her door. A burly man opened the door, and I got the expected wary look.

 

 

“Yes, who are you looking for, son?” he asked while looking at me sideways.

 

 

“I’m looking for Abigail.”

 

 

The man’s face turned solemn. “What do you want with her?”

 

 

“She is a friend. I haven’t seen her in a while. I worry for her.”

 

 

“There is reason for worry. She is very sick. The cancer we thought––hoped she had defeated at the age of eighteen has come back with a vengeance. Her life is only about pain and anguish now.” His voice was hoarse, and wells formed in his eyes. “She was always such a sweet, happy young woman. She does not deserve to suffer so.” Shaking his head, he turned to go back inside the house.

 

 

“Wait! Please, tell me where she is?”

 

 

“Oh, you don’t want to see her like this. It is an awful sight.”

 

 

“I do want to see her,” I said. “I need to see her. Please tell me where to find her.” My heart stuttered, and a falling, spinning down feeling overtook me.

 

 

“She’s at the abbey with the nuns,” he croaked, turning his back on me as he entered the house and shut the door.

 

 

The abbey was not far. I was there in no time. I watched her briefly from a distance. She squirmed and groaned on the bed. I locked the door and approached her––my countenance tumbling into darkness. I waited too long. It is because of me she suffers so. I could have spared her this agony. When I reached her bedside, she glanced at me and smiled despite the anguish she endured but it was the kind of smile meant to soothe someone else’s spirit and it looked incongruous on her face.

 

 

“I knew you’d come,” she said between soft groans. I noticed the effort she made, trying to remain still and quiet, but at times a moan escaped her lips. I passed my hand over her head and caressed her ashen, emaciated face. She held my hand with both of hers.

 

 

“Abigail, do you want to live?” I asked, my voice quavering.

 

 

She shook her head slowly and whispered, “No.” Streams meandered down her face.

 

 

For the first time, I expanded my large, black wings and allowed her to see. “Don’t be frightened,” I said.

 

 

“You never frightened me. I knew all along you were an angel,” she said, wincing and whimpering.

 

 

“I am the angel of death.”

 

 

She gazed lovingly at me. “Give me peace.”

 

 

I reached for her and held her in my arms. I leaned my head forward, and she caressed my face. I kissed her on the lips. The sweetest kiss I’ve ever known. And she breathed her last breath.

 

The End

a-time-to-mourn-and-a-time-to-dance-vashti quiroz-vega

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

Do you believe that everyone has a designated time to die?  Do you believe in destiny? 

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A Time to Mourn and a Time To Dance – Part 2

27 Mar

 

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

 

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance.  Be sure to read Part 1 if you haven’t already done so. Enjoy!

 

 

A Time to Mourn and a Time To Dance

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

The next day I visited the small forest outside Abigail’s home again. The forest was alive with her presence. She moved rhythmically to the sounds of the birds chirping, ducks quacking, water flowing, frogs croaking, and the whistling of leaves caressed by the wind. I hid behind a large tree and watched her sway, twirl, and pirouette. She moved gracefully–until she stumbled, plopped to the ground in a seated position, laughing wholeheartedly.

 

“Are you alright?” I asked.

 

She whisked her head toward me, grinning hello, jumped to her feet and hurried to me. “I knew you would come!” she gushed.

 

Her enthusiasm filled me with joy. “I couldn’t stay away.”

 

She giggled at my words. “Come, I want to show you something,” she said, grabbing my hand. She pulled me along a different path from the one we had walked the day before.

 

“Where are you taking me?”

 

“You’ll see…”

 

We arrived at an open area. “All right, stop right here,” she said. I gathered my brow as she paced forward and stopped in front of something, then waved me over. “Come, but be careful,” she warned. I took apprehensive steps toward her and after a few steps, I saw it. The hole.

 

“What is this?” I asked.

 

“This is a natural sinkhole,” she said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Isn’t it magnificent? It’s almost perfectly round. It’s beautiful, surrounded by vegetation and––”

 

“Enough!” I yelled, making her jump and recoil. I didn’t see beauty in this hole, hidden away in the middle of the forest. I only saw peril and fatality. “Many have lost their lives here in the depths of despair,” I told her, pointing at the hole. She stared at me, her green eyes wide and questioning. “Who do you think I am?” I asked in a thunderous voice. She trembled and her mouth hung open. “You don’t even know me, but yet you venture to bring me here? To this evil place?”

 

“Evil?” she asked.

 

“Yes, evil!” I said, watching her gasp and flinch.

 

She shook her head, covering her opened mouth with both hands. “I didn’t know,” she whispered through her fingers.

 

I sensed the pain and horror of the victims whose bones lay broken, discarded and forgotten at the bottom of the hole. A veil of blackness enshrouded me. I couldn’t see past her death. I stomped toward her. I grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off the ground. The thick odor of corpses long dead exposed my psyche to influences that led me to do what I was created to do––kill.

 

I released her neck. She coughed and wheezed, collapsing to one knee. I picked her up by the shoulders and dangled her over the hole. Her eyes opened wide. She glanced down into the pit and screamed!

 

“Please don’t hurt me!” she shrieked. “I don’t want to die!” She gazed at me with imploring eyes.

 

Her words touched my heart once more. She wanted to live. I swung her over my shoulder and hurried from that awful location. I placed her down on lush green grass near the edge of the forest. I looked at her through different eyes. Her hair was a sunburst on a blooming honey locust; her skin, opal cream; her verdant eyes, glistened like jewels. I wiped the moisture from them, and her luscious cherry wine lips quivered. Had my vision been so impaired that I had thought this creature less than perfect?

 

“You are a good man,” she said hoarsely, no doubt from damage inflicted to her throat by my tight grip. She tried to smile, but couldn’t quite make the expression.

 

“Go home now. Do not return to that hole. It is a foul place,” I said, helping her to her feet.

 

She stepped away, then hesitated and turned toward me. The look of gratitude on her face surprised me. She ran to me and kissed me on the cheek.

 

“Thank you,” she said and walked away. Abigail’s kiss on my cheek lingered and set me ablaze. I stood there like a statue, fearful that any sudden movement would end the moment too soon.

 

We continued to meet every day at the small forest near her house. We took long walks. Abigail danced, talked, sang and was excited by every small creature she ran across––from a butterfly to a snake. I enjoyed our walks. I relished her company. No creature has ever been so exquisite. I never wanted to leave her side. I had forgotten, if only for a brief moment, who––or what––I was.  I was the opposite of her.

 

One day I returned to our usual meeting place and found her sitting still on a rock. It was not like her to be so subdued.

 

“Hello,” I said.

 

She lifted her eyes and gazed at me. “I thought I would not see you today.”

 

“Really? Why?” I asked. She shrugged. Her body was slumped and her face slackened. She seemed strange, unfamiliar.

 

 

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

 

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A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

24 Mar
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Illustration by Melanie Delon

 

Hello everyone! 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 laid eyes on Abigail. She wasn’t attractive in my eyes. Her skin was pallid like an ivory mist. Her limp, pale hair reflected merely a glint of sun. Her lips were thin and ill-defined, but when she looked my way with her heavy-lidded green eyes, she captured me. I couldn’t look away. I should have looked away.

 

I had a task to do–so I watched. She had a sweet way about her that lured me into her world. Was it possible to take part in her world? I observed her. She did caring things for those around her and had a generous heart. Oddly, she never seemed to expect anything in return. She was kind to animals and nature. She enjoyed singing, although she wasn’t very good at staying in tune. I spent hours, days, and then weeks observing 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 the small arm 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 looked 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. She smiled and her cheeks turned the color of an orchid rose.

 

I laughed. “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?” she asked with a large grin on her face. I nodded. “Oh, good! This forest is quite beautiful. I enjoy hiking here. The smells, the sounds–fascinate me!” I smiled and we began our stroll.

 

“This beautiful place can also be quite dangerous. 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. It was much too lively a day for death to intrude.

 

“I must leave now.”

 

“So soon, Azrael?” 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 very 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 end the life of such a creature?” I cried to the heavens. “There is no malice in her. She is a lamb!” I felt a deep burning ache in my chest. 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 task had good purpose. I rose from the ground and 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

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Are We Eating Beakless, Featherless Mutant Chickens?

16 Mar

killer-zombie-chicken-from-outer-space

There’s a rumor circulating the web about Kentucky Fried Chicken, or rather, KFC. There have been numerous articles about KFC stating that they do not serve ‘real’ chicken and that’s why they were forced by the government to change their name to one that doesn’t mention chicken. Now, first of all, I have as many doubts as the next guy about the government, but this is a little much. Do you really think the government is going to allow an establishment, no matter how much of an American tradition it may be, to feed us mutant chickens? Nah! Even I’m not that cynical. Nevertheless, the rumors are still out there. Here are some examples of what’s being passed around:

 

 

– KFC has been a part of our American traditions for many years. Many people, day in and day out, eat at KFC religiously. Do they really know what they are eating? During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts.

 

– First of all, has anybody noticed that just recently, the company has changed their name? Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought the real reason was because of the “FRIED” food issue. It’s not. The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use genetically manipulated organisms. These so called “chickens” are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet. Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them. This is great for KFC because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs. There is no more plucking of the feathers or the removal of the beaks and feet. The government has told them to change all of their menus so they do not say chicken anywhere. If you look closely you will notice this. Listen to their commercials, I guarantee you will not see or hear the word chicken. I find this matter to be very disturbing. I hope people will start to realize this and let other people know. Please forward this message to as many people as you can. Together we make KFC start using real chicken again.
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/kfc.asp#rip33Lj2TJFT8tul.99

 

 

This is an example of some of the disturbing images associated with the claims that KFC is genetically engineering mutant chickens to save a buck.

kfcchicken

I don’t believe that there are sub-chickens in some laboratory with multiple wings and thighs. However, I have no doubt that real chickens are given ‘special’ feed and pumped-up with hormones to make them larger and meatier. Whatever you believe, there’s no reason to fret. You enjoy Kentucky style fried chicken? Make it yourself! It isn’t difficult or time consuming and it may even be cost effective. Anyway, you won’t have to worry about an urban legend keeping you up at night.

 

 

Here are some scrumptious recipes:

KFC Extra Crispy Chicken (Copycat) recipe from Food.com

KFC-extra-crispy

 

 

Baked KFC Chicken recipe from Just A Pinch Recipes (Baked is healthy, right?)

Baked-kfc-chicken

 

 

KFC Copycat Fried Chicken: Better Than the Colonel’s (that’s quite a claim) recipe from Shine Food

kfc_copycat_fried_chicken

 

 

KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken Todd Wilbur claims to have the ‘Top Secret’ recipe and he replaced certain ingredients to make it healthier (there’s fish sauce involved…hmm). Check out his low-fat/low-calorie recipe at

Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes

todd-wilbur

Who’s This Todd Wilbur Guy, Anyway? – click on image and find out.

 

 

Homemade KFC Fried Chicken – This Aussie (Greg) has gotten 672,435 clicks on his video recipe! I think that’s worth a look.

So what do you believe is really going on with the industry’s chicken? I really want to know!

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Writing Process Blog Hop

9 Mar

Hello everyone! I was invited to participate in a tagging Blog Hop by the lovely and engaging Amanda Stanley. Her blog, Amanda Stanley: Fulfilling The Dream Of Becoming A Writer, is a compilation of stories, interesting articles and guest posts, author spotlights and interviews. Like me, she loves photography and sometimes shares her photographs with her readers. I recommend you check out Amanda’s blog, for you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

There are a few simple rules:

1/ I must answer the four questions below.

2/ I must link back to the person who invited me to this Blog Hop.

3/ I must name four writers who will continue this Blog Hop and notify them.

 

 

 

Questions:

 

1) What are you working on?

I’m working on several projects at the moment. I’m editing the first installment of my Fantasy Angels Series, Lilith. I’m writing the second installment, Dracul. I’m working on sketches for a children’s picture book.

 

 

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I believe writers develop their own unique style over time. I enjoy weaving in a bit of romance and/or humor to lighten my horror or dark fantasy stories. I love adding suspense and thriller elements to everything I write.

 

 

3) Why do you write what you write?

I grew up reading novels by Stephen King. I love to read horror (but not all types), suspense, thriller and fantasy. So basically, I write what I love to read.

 

 

4) How does your writing process work?

I’m a pantster when it comes to short stories. I get an idea in my head, and I run with it until it arrives at whatever end. When it comes to novels, I’m somewhere in between. I don’t believe you can write a 120,000-140,000 word novel by the seat of your pants. A well-written novel–one that’s exciting and thrilling with a great plot and well-developed characters–takes time, plotting, organization and good editing. I like to ponder my idea for a while. I always have my iPhone handy in case an idea for the story pops into my head while I’m driving, in the bathroom or at work. I’ve been known to rush off in the middle of things to record something that occurred to me, inspired by something I just saw or heard (my friends and family are used to it, and they forgive me). I do some light mapping and write a loose outline to organize my thoughts, but the process still flows organically and many times, the story goes off the map. I enjoy sketching my characters, animals and worlds I’ve created.

 

 

Look for the Blog Hop to continue next week at these sites: ( I know I was only suppose to pick four writers, but these six came to mind immediately and I couldn’t choose between them.)

 

Writing My Novel–No Working Title Yet

Teagan Kearney has a wonderful blog. She shares writing advice and also writes about her writing journey. I’ve often been inspired and enlightened by her uplifting posts. She ends each post with an update of her writing process and a haiku (I so look forward to these–they’re really good).

Teagan Kearney

Jumping From Cliffs:  One Man’s Adventures In Writerland

What can I say about Jon Simmonds, other than he’s brilliant? His blog posts are fun to read and also quite informative and helpful especially to aspiring writers.

Jon Simmonds

 

 

 

 

From A Clogged Mind

Robert Price is a talented writer and poet. He writes fascinating short stories and passionate poems.

Robert Price

 

 

 

Life, Love and Other Catastrophes

Yolanda Marin is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have had the privilege to befriend online. She is an amazing poet. The poems and articles on her blog are very beautiful and about as real as you can get.

 

 

 

KCross Writing

I love Katie Cross! She is dulcet, quirky and talented. I enjoy reading her blog posts because they’re always fun.

Katie Cross - Author Interview - Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

 

 

 

Cicampbellblog

Christine Campbell is a delightful person and talented author. It is truly a joy to visit her inspiring blog.

Christine Campbell

Christine’s new release Flying Free is available in paperback and as an eBook.