In honour of International Women’s Day,
I’m having an e-book Giveaway!
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Grab your FREE copy of #CalmerGirls
Book One of the Calmer Girls 2-Book Series:
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During a Saturday morning long-distance chat, they had an argument, heated and out of the blue.
Before Joanne could apologize and take back the words she’d barked into the receiver, her daughter had ended the call.
No goodbye. Just a click, then cold silence.
Emily was Joanne’s only child. She’d secured a position the year before at the Children’s Hospital in the capital city. Living nearly three hundred miles apart was taking its toll. They never used to fight, until their lives became more separate – more disconnected.
On days or nights when Joanne felt particularly alone, she’d pick up her phone and jab at the Find Friends app to see what Emily was up to. Most times she was at work, other times at the mall or the gym or at an address Joanne didn’t recognize. Probably visiting friends or out for the evening at a downtown restaurant.
On her loneliest days, it became an obsession; she’d tap on the app every hour. She knew Emily was a busy professional and couldn’t always answer her texts or calls, but tracking her whereabouts gave Joanne a ray of comfort and inclusion, even in this small way.
Emily’s was the only app location to whom she had access. The only one she needed. Two years ago when Emily came home on winter break from nursing school, Joanne had been worried about the icy roads on her daughter’s long drive back to the city.
Snatching up her mother’s phone, Emily had made a few taps, and voila: she’d added and activated the app so her mother could track her progress all the way home to her apartment building.
Joanne sighed and called Emily back. It went to voice mail. She sent a text. Not read, no response. She waited an hour and tried again – same result. Over a stupid disagreement!
When she picked up her phone another hour later and jabbed at the location app, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Her heart twisted in her chest.
Emily had turned her location off.
Joanne finally gave up trying to reach her at 7 pm. All she’d wanted to do was apologize for what she’d said and for being so needy.
While she stared into the fridge at the overdue leftovers, a twin beam of headlights illuminated the window and flickered across the kitchen wallpaper. Joanne waited until she heard the slam of a car door and the click of a key in the lock. She ran to the front door. It swept open and Emily, eyes red-rimmed, fell into her arms.
“I’m sorry, Mom.”
“I’m sorry too, honey. You came all this way! But why didn’t you call or text, or answer any of mine? And why did you turn off your location?”
“I took a week’s family leave to spend with you, and I wanted it to be a surprise. I’ve missed you so much, Mom.” She brushed her lips across Joanne’s cheek. “Now, what’s for supper?”
Thanks for reading!
Friday Fiction appears on the occasional Friday as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.
Dear WordPress bloggers, fellow writers, followers and friends,
December 31, 2018 marked my seven-year blogging anniversary.
Yikes! I’m into the eighth year! Who knew that when I published my first post, Follow the Yellow Brick Road on New Year’s Eve of 2011, my blog would still be active in 2019? I genuinely hope I’m not wearing out my welcome here and that you continue to let me into your in-boxes, your readers, and your lives for my brief visits once or twice a week. 🙂
I’m not one to get hung up on blog statistics, as I value quality of interaction over quantity any day, but I’d like to share a few highlights from my 70 posts of 2018.
I’ve set aside statistics on my About Me and Author Page to concentrate on regular posts.
The three most-liked posts of last year:
When your address is Sandy Beach Avenue and you live near one of the longest beaches in the province, posts like these are bound to show up regularly. These photos taken at Lumsden North Beach grabbed the most likes of 2018.
Winter Morning Haiku
Summery beaches didn’t get all the love.
A haiku poem with one of my best-loved winter photos,
taken from my back yard.
Book Review – Encounters: Relationships in Conflict by Fred Rohn
So happy to see the traffic this one generated.
I loved this book and I love my book friends.
Rest in peace, Mr. Rohn.
The three most-commented:
Kids with coffee filters.
How could one possibly resist a click?
(Again with coffee?)
No surprise – this beverage is a vital part of the day for many of us.
Even some of you who prefer tea were moved to give your two cents worth!
Blog Hop: Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray
Once again, I’m delighted to share news from my author colleagues.
I loved this book of the prehistoric fiction genre.
So much so, it got me reading the Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel.
I look forward to Murray’s next novel in her Man vs. Nature saga.
2018 was a special year all around, but it didn’t exceed previous records set by my blog.
January 18, 2016 still holds the favored position as the day that generated the most views thus far, when I introduced the ever-popular Newfoundland and Labrador page…
…and the individual post that has scored the most views to date under that Newfoundland banner is Berg Watching, originally shared on June 2, 2015.
Springtime in Iceberg Alley at its beautiful best.
Many thanks to everyone who visits my blog. However long I continue, I appreciate all the follows, likes, comments, and shares. Love to you all, and blog on!
P.S. to bloggers: Have a favourite post from your own blog I may have missed or you’d like to highlight? Don’t be shy – share a link with me in the comments below. 🙂
I’m pleased today to feature a special guest post on Friday Fiction.
My 12 year-old granddaughter Leah wrote the following flash fiction piece for school recently. When her mom showed it to me, I liked it so much, I asked Leah if she would allow me to publish it here on my blog.
Our family’s budding new writer readily agreed. Friends and followers, please take a moment to read it and tell me what you think!
Bart, the security guard, has always loved his job at the amusement park. He loves the greasy smell of deep-fried onions and the sweet smell of cotton candy drifting in the breeze as people happily skip by.
But there was just one thing that made Bart sad. He would always see people of all ages having so much fun with huge smiles on their faces as they jumped with excitement. Bart looked down at his chubby belly sticking out under his uniform with grease stains all over it from his recent lunch break. “I wish I could ride one of the roller coasters,” Bart thought to himself. All he wanted was to be able to ride a roller coaster and know what it was like to be happy and have fun.
Bart decided to make a plan. Maybe he could sneak onto a ride. No one would notice he was gone from his post because no one ever noticed he was there. Except for Trevor.
Trevor was Bart’s very strict boss. If Trevor ever found out about Bart’s plan, he would fire him for good and Bart definitely did not want that to happen. But he wanted to ride a roller coaster so bad, he was willing to take the chance.
Late one day, Bart was ready for action. It was 9:00 pm and the park closed at 10:00 pm. It was dark out so he wouldn’t be seen as easily. Bart slipped off his uniform so that he was left with a T-shirt and a pair of shorts on. He quickly put on his ball cap and ran off to the scariest ride in the park called “The Brain Wash”.
Bart got in line. While everyone was passing their tickets to the tall man standing at the entrance, Bart squeezed past the man without being seen. Bart had made it through!
He was finally on the ride. As the roller coaster was going up the steep hill with a ticking sound, he looked down at everyone below. They all looked like little ants. But there was one face that Bart could pick out. It was Trevor looking up at him with his arms folded across his chest. What if Bart got fired from his job?
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.
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!”
– Reunion –
He sees her
at the edge
of the crowded soiree
and knows her instantly.
It is a blow.
The first time
in thirteen years
Fate has brought them
years for her
were far from kind.
change can be from
Life’s random cruelties
and how no one
A nervous voyeur
he peeks into her eyes
at the brink
of unimaginable pain.
It frightens him
makes him wish
he hadn’t heard the rumors
the images evoked
and now the proof.
the same yet injured
from the inside of her trauma
haunted eyes far too mature
for her years
aspect stamped with the hurt
she tries to hide.
And he wonders
when she finds his broken smile
how it was ever possible
she swarmed his secret dreams.
She turns away.
It occurs to him
she read it in his heart
the Muse has passed.
*First published here.
Thanks for reading!
Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.
Clarence blinks and yawns, instantly awake at the sudden rattle of a latch. The door next to his own swings open, then closes, the metallic creak and slam echoing down the brightly lit hallway. His nap is over, thanks to the new arrival. Might as well face the day and deal with it!
While he does some quick stretches and washes his face, he steals sidelong glances at this latest stranger and wonders if he’s a loudmouth like so many of the others. Clarence’s head hurts from the constant din in this godforsaken purgatory. All the crying and complaining from the younger inmates last night had kept him awake, just as it did most nights since winter came and filled the place to near-capacity.
His stomach growls in protest. He wonders when breakfast will arrive, the high point of the morning. He knows he doesn’t belong in here, and he’s starting to forget exactly how long it has been since he’s known joy.
Is that food coming?
No, a woman, one he’s never seen before. She smiles in at him. The scent of her is delightful; it soothes him and makes him think of flowers.
His jailer is here now too. He’s opening the door! “Clarence here has been with us the longest. But he’s very quiet and well-behaved.”
“He’s beautiful,” the woman says, “and he reminds me of Leo, one I had as a child. He’s the one!” She reaches for him.
Nestled in a carrier on the passenger seat, Clarence purrs all the way to his new home.
Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.
Hey everyone! I’ve just started a new post category on my blog. Friday Fiction will be a place to share short pieces of my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes. These posts may not occur every week but whenever the mood arises.
Here is a short story I wrote years ago for a writing course assignment.
A Job Worth Doing
The young man sighed with satisfaction as he wiped the sweat from his brow in the sleeve of his dusty green coveralls. His gaze swept up the gleaming corridor floor for a final check. Whistling softly, he bent to pick up the mop and the pail of grey water at his feet. At eight p.m., it was time to clear out and head home.
“Hey buddy, you missed a spot,” a voice boomed and echoed from the other end of the long hallway. The young janitor looked up quickly to see two tall executive types in expensive suits, smiling at him from an office doorway. One of them pointed at the floor in front of him. “Don’t forget – a job worth doing is worth doing well,” he quipped, nudging his colleague in the ribs. Chuckling, they strolled down the hall and out the front entrance.
Gripping the mop handle with a white-knuckled fist, the young man swore under his breath. He didn’t have to take this. He didn’t have to lower himself to do this demeaning job if he didn’t want to. Hey, in a couple of years when he finally got his degree, he consoled himself, he could say goodbye to part-time jobs like this one. And then he could hold his head high for a reason.
He still wished, though, as he hung his coveralls on a nail in the supply room, that he could get something with better pay. He wished he could hang up those grimy coveralls forever and walk out of this office building and never look back. But part-time jobs for guys like him were not easy to come by, so what other option did he have? He shook his head in despair as he locked the front entrance and turned to walk the mile that would take him home.
He was glad tomorrow was Saturday. The frenetic hustle of the past weeks was getting to him; he felt dead on his feet. He’d been up at seven every morning, out walking to the university by eight, in class by nine, rushing to his janitor’s job when classes were over, then finally getting home by eight-thirty at night to study or finish up an assignment. But, he reasoned, he had to keep up those grades; high marks could mean a much-needed scholarship. After studying, he would grab a bite to eat and fall into bed. And then, come Monday morning, it would all start again.
One day it would be over. One day, as his father often told him, his hard work and diligent study would reward him. He would have it all. But hold on here a minute, that was the future. This was the here-and-now. Could he keep it up? Was he able to stick to this pace until his goals had reached fruition? Did he have it in him?
Maybe he should quit this job and find a better one. The few dollars he did earn, along with his student loan, were just keeping his head above water. Maybe he should march into that big shiny office complex on Monday and just tell them what they could do with their job. He would have time then to find a decent one.
Where would he look? Prospects were bleak. His buddies at school told him he was lucky when he nabbed the janitor’s job. He let out a self-deprecating laugh. Some lucky.
A sigh of fatigue escaped his lips as he shuffled up the driveway of his father’s house. Shoulders slumped, he walked down the steps to the side entrance of the basement apartment, pushed open the door and went inside.
His eyes, longing to close in sleep, blinked at the cheery brightness of the small apartment kitchen. His tired gaze fell at last on the woman sitting in the rocking chair, a baby in her arms. His face visibly softened as he looked into the woman’s eyes, as weary as his own, and he smiled back as her lips curved with pleasure at the sight of him.
“Hard day?” he asked, tossing his jacket over the back of a chair.
The woman shrugged. “This little guy finally went to sleep just now. Boy, is he a handful! But I’m not complaining,” she said quickly. “How about you – that job working out?”
“Piece of cake,” he replied, bending to kiss her and to smile at his sleeping baby son.
Thanks for reading!