The Blog: Jennifer’s Journal

Friday Fiction: The Test

I wish I could say I wrote this lovely piece, but I found it shared on Karen Lang’s blog, Healing Your Life.

Stepping into the unknown, takes courage and strength to move out of our comfort zone. But sometimes we can be left believing it was not worth it;  Be patient. In time, you will discover, you receive exactly what you need.

The Test

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.

In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Holly Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7.00 p.m. at the Grand Central Station in New York.

“You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7.00 p.m. he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.

Mr Blanchard describes the scene: “A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim in a green suit. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured.

Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Holly Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly inspired me.

And there she stood. Her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.

This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever by grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?” The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!”

~ Paulo Coelho

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Happy Canada Day!

Above Photo from Trios of Fun

Wishing all of my family, friends
and fellow Canadians

a fun and happy Canada Day today.

❤ Enjoy and celebrate! ❤

pexels.com
pexels.com

Comments are closed.

Sunday Snap(s): Neighbours

The old adage “good fences make good neighbours” is a wise one, and it is usually true.

And yet, some neighbours don’t have any.
The fences we had once upon a time are long gone,
with only rolling lawns between us now.

And more pleasant neighbours you would never find. W and M are the coolest folks.
(That’s our house in the background, and W’s new bird-house in the foreground.)

Grandma M’s pot will soon be overflowing!

…and those bloomers will be blooming.

Good one, W and M. Let’s just hope Maisie and Vivian don’t drive away your new feathered tenants – or worse!

All of this neighbourly talk brings this timely quote to mind:

Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all neighbors in a global community.
– Jimmy Carter

Blogger Bouquet #53

wordpress blogger bouquet

I was pleased this month to discover Milly Schmidt and her blog, The Cat’s Write.

A writer and a cat person – could I have picked a better blogger to follow?

From her About page:

“I’m a writer, blogger and crazy cat lady living in the New England, Australia. Some bloggers mistakenly think I’m from the New England in the US, but I really don’t mind, any way to bond is fine by me!

I’m currently working on my first crime novel, When She Goes, a psychological thriller set in rural NSW. When not writing or blogging, I work in the human resources sector and I have a Bachelor of Criminology from the University of New England. I am also a member of the New England Writers’ Centre and the Australian Crime Writers Association.”

I’m sharing a post where Milly tells about an exceptionally mean rejection letter she received for an article she submitted to one of her favourite online writing magazines. That same article that was criticized, 9 reasons why you should self-publish, went on to become one of the most popular she has ever written.

The Subjective Nature of the Creative World

Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspired weekend, everyone.

Sunday Snap: Forever in my Heart

My dad in his younger days. Always missed and forever in my heart.

 “That’s my father.”  … Seemingly an innocent and offhand remark made by the youngest of his three children, those three little words meant much more to our dad. I know it made him feel proud and happy to be that father, that figure of authority and loving protector of his family.
It was a responsibility he took seriously, a role that only he could execute with his unique brand of friendship, understanding and humour…” 

~ excerpt from That’s My Father, 03/21/13

I’m thinking of relatives and friends who lost their fathers very recently.
My heart goes out to them today.

   Wishing all the wonderful dads
a Happy Father’s Day
❤ ❤ ❤

Blog Hop: Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray

FYI: Sunday Snap will be back as usual next week.

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author and tech teacher Jacqui Murray from over at WordDreams. She has a brand new release out now in an unusual and fascinating genre.

Book Info:

Title: Born in a Treacherous Time
Series: Book 1 in the Man vs. Nature series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza 
Available at: Kindle

Jennifer: Good morning, Jacqui. Born in a Treacherous Time sounds intriguing! Can you tell me a bit about it?

Jacqui: Thank you for having me, Jennifer. Here’s a short summary:

Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.

If you like Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. It will bring that world – East Africa 1.8 million years ago – to life in a way never seen before.

Jennifer: I can’t wait to read it. I’ve never read prehistoric fiction before, but it has been of interest to me ever since I saw the movie Quest For Fire. What prompted you to write the book, and your switch to this niche genre?

Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is a spin-off of my previous book, To Hunt a Sub.
More specifically, it is a spin-off of Lucy, the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist of that series.

Jennifer: Lucy was such an interesting part of that story. But why did you write a book in such a tiny niche?

Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is written in the sub-genre of historic fiction called prehistoric fiction, a time before recorded history. There aren’t a lot of readers in this genre but they are devoted!
Because the only records are rocks, world building has proven difficult but Lucy (the heroine) really didn’t give me a choice. She nagged me to tell her story from my first page twenty years ago to my final draft. Now maybe Lucy will leave me alone!

Jennifer: You have a couple of noteworthy reviews you’d like to share with our readers, including a Kirkus review. Here they are:

Kirkus review: “Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.
A well-executed tale of early man.”  (Click here for the entire review)

 An early reader’s review: Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published. I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis

Jennifer: Those are wonderful reviews. I love that this book has a strong and unique female lead. Thank you so much for this, Jacqui!

To learn more about my guest today, check out the following:

Author Bio: Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature seriesShe is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social media links:
http://twitter.com/worddreams
http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray
https://worddreams.wordpress.com
https://jacquimurray.net

Throwback Thursday: She Writes

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Here’s a throwback to July 2013, when I was in the thick of creating the first draft for Calmer Girls. At the time I was also blogging twice a week, but hey, when your muse is whispering in your ear to pen a poem and she won’t shut up, you pen a poem. There’s no getting out of it.

She Writes

She wakes tangled in themes
through a cobweb of dreams
with gossamer remnants
that linger and tease,
pushes back dusty curtains
and on a page blank and white
she writes.

 She deletes the clichéd
yesterday she okayed
and contemplates words
like ephemeral and moonglade
they taste like confections
with her tangerine sections
and jolts of black coffee
she writes.

She’s reminded of chores
she keeps trying to ignore
with the scatter of crumbs
that litter the floor,
shrugs her shoulders and thinks
it will be there tomorrow
she writes.

The bills wait, unpaid
And the bed’s still not made
There’s this blog post to write
and it can’t be delayed
her novel must wait
it’s a musing or rhyme that
she writes.

She reaches again
for the manuscript when
her mind can’t break free
from the plot line within
and it makes him uptight
there’s no dinner tonight
but he digests her flaws.
After all, it’s because
she writes.

***

photo by pexels

First published here.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Sunday Snap(s): La Gatta

Check out pretty little Pippa. She was the resident cat at La Sorgente*, the bed and breakfast we called home during our visit to Baveno and Stresa in northern Italy.

Fun feline fact: the Italian name for “cat” depends on its gender. A female cat is “la gatta” while a male is “il gatto.”

La Gatta in Stresa

“In the little cat’s eye that sees my soul and stares into my heart,
there is nowhere to hide. I see my reflection.” – jenniferkellandperry.com

“Happy is the home with at least one cat.” – Italian proverb

*La Sorgente Bed and Breakfast is near the Alps and on the shore of the beautiful Lake Maggiore. I highly recommend the area as an Italian destination. 

Book Review – Encounters: Relationships in Conflict

I’ve been reading various collections of short stories lately, the latest of which was written by Fred H. Rohn.
Encounters: Relationships in Conflict is a unique, insightful and entertaining read.

The preface alone is a treat, where Rohn explains how he came to create this collection from accumulated notes and short stories over the years, and how each of them exhibit relationships and the “conflict between people resulting from differing perceptions, often between men and women and between different generations.”

In his preface, he also sets forth the belief that creativity does not have to end as you age, and that many seniors like himself are productive in a variety of artistic and creative endeavors. After all, they’ve lived through some pretty tough experiences which, I surmise, affords them a better grasp and understanding of the human condition. Reading this book only further convinces me of that!

As I began each short story selection, I found myself immediately engaged by the author’s sublime writing style and smooth but compelling narrative and voice. Each piece has its own charm, but I do have my favourites. The Piano Recital, Reunion Deals, Jennifer (!), Doc Brunner (that one brought a tear) and Harry particularly resonated with me, while others, such as The Old Man, made me chuckle.

This book offers clever insight to young readers and familiar life experiences for older readers. I highly recommend this lovely collection.

Review has been published on Amazon.ca and Goodreads.

Readers: do you enjoy short story collections?
Do you have any recommendations for a short fiction fan?

Sunday Snap: The Real Thing?

Coca Cola
Snapped inside a bar on our visit to Verbania, Italy

Did you know?
When Coca-Cola was first introduced in 1886, it contained cocaine as well as caffeine.

It was invented by Confederate Colonel John Pemberton, who was wounded in the U.S Civil War and became addicted to morphine. As a chemist, he began a quest to find a substitute for the drug. Coca-Cola was the result and was originally patented as a medicine.

It was promoted not only as delicious and refreshing, but as an “intellectual beverage,” a “brain tonic” and a cure-all for “sick headache, neuralgia, hysteria, and melancholy.”

– source: Wikipedia

Things go better with Coke?

It’s the Real Thing?

Hmm … not anymore!