Life & Death (Tuesday’s Tell All)

The gruesome photograph that inspired the title [and the book cover] for Once Upon a Dead Gull.  That was roughly eight years ago and [amazingly] this cover hasn’t changed much.

A peculiar short story anthology, I admit, but it was written for the horror genre.
Even more peculiar is that none of these stories are about a dead gull.
The poor seagull’s parting gift to mankind…  to me, was simply to give life to a book title and cover I had been struggling with.

Fast forward eight [very short] years and one [bitter] historical freeze and…

No, I don’t have a new book release to announce but I do have a dead bird.

I couldn’t save the beautiful little bird but I did (in a poetic way) paint him back to life.

My skill level does not do him justice.

Real Life Inspires (Friday’s free for All)

Q: Is any of your fiction true? Do you write about real life?

A: Well yes and no. For example a visit to Rockford Illinois for my granddaughter’s graduation inspired the following scene which takes place somewhere in the historical Lake-Peterson House.

Our dog Leia was the inspiration for the physical description of Gus and that is her on the cover.

Chapter Twenty Five

Mary paced the empty hallway on the third floor of the ancient house. She counted fifteen steps from one lamp to the next and wondered if the people below could hear her. The dark corridor seemed to grow shorter with each lap along with her patience. She considered unlocking her mind so she could tap into the thoughts of those around her but intuition advised against it. Occasionally she paused to listen at the door; each time she found the words indecipherable and returned to pacing until a gentle creak caused her to stop.

“You may go in now.” A flat voice announced as the heavy door gave way. Sunbeams flooded the hallway and Mary squinted at the figure in front of her; at the starched white cap and unwieldy dress which were as outdated as the house.

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Merry Christmas World (Happy Holidays)

Ah, Christmas is not over and already I am basking in the afterglow.

I am so grateful (that warm, fuzzy, misty-eyed kind of grateful) for family and friends, the kindness of strangers, God’s mercy and the gift of Christ.

Our gathering was not as large as we would have liked; a few came down sick at the last minute, more than a few are heeding the “Rona law” and a couple or so are recovering (without complications) from Covid. Heck, half of us have had the dreaded Covid and (thankfully) recovered.

I do have a very dear cousin in hospital with a respiratory issue; he’s confident he will recover (from whatever it is) but if y’all have a few seconds, send up a good vibe or a prayer for David. We would appreciate it.

These are peculiar and trying times indeed, how about we all pray for one another. 🙏🏼

Ok – back to the basking…

I would like to share a little of my Christmas glow with all of you.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

And a card I made for you. 🤗

And alas I leave you with a poem.

One version of The Christmas Robe taken from Getting Me Back.

Dear December #TBT

Dear December

I found you –

a thin shawl upon nature’s shoulders

resting on the final page of my Gregorian calendar.

Celebrations in red,

Christmas and Kwanza

and the tail end of Hanukah.

Reminding me in stark black letters

of bombings and declarations of war.

Hitler and Mussolini and Japan…

*Dear December was first published in the short story A Hard Candy Christmas. The audiobook is narrated by Julie Gayden Nelson who does a beautiful recital.

And a Happy December Solstice to You (The Long Long Night)

Ah, the December Solstice.

Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere are (hopefully) enjoying summer while us folks in the Northern Hemisphere are entering winter and the longest night of the year.

Though it is the Northern influence that spawned The Long Long Night, I wish you all a happy December solstice and warm poetic evening.

so without further adieu I give to you …

The Long Long Night

He would sculpt and I would write to get us through this thing called life – what seemed to be an aimless plight

The long, long night

I used pen and he used clay to cope with all the pain filled days which lived within our slow decay of

The long, long night

But in between the words and mud we found the art of making love and pacified the angst and blood of

The long, long night

Forsaken pages ripped and torn, spattered earth across the floor, graphite tales of love and war and

The long, long night

Come into my bed sweet angry lover, your tender calloused hands beneath the cover.

Find the place where none has been, beneath the ink and turning pin, get us through yet once again

The long, long night

The Long Long Night was torn from the pages of Getting Me Back ( The Voices Within) available at your favorite eBook retailer.

A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Well here we are. Another Thursday, another November and another Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. Which means the earth has not quite spun off her axis; some of her inhabitants may have but we are here today so let’s make the most of it.

I have shared the following bit of prose in one form or another for … I don’t know… decades maybe?

Occasionally I vary the wording but the sentiment is always the same, so without further ado, here we go…

A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Once upon a time a long, a long time ago (before Black Friday) Thanksgiving was a celebration of harvest and a time to give thanks. Hence the name thanksgiving.

I don’t think the early pilgrims had a Super Walmart, a Sears or a Best Buy yet somehow they managed. Can you imagine having to grow your own food and prepare it without the help of google? When did they have time? Where did they get their Stove Top stuffing and who plucked the turkeys? How did those crazy pilgrims do it?

John Wayne

I didn’t really know any of those pilgrims but I did see a John Wayne movie once. John knew a pilgrim when he saw one. He seemed to know a lot of pilgrims but that was a long time ago too.

I propose we are all pilgrims, each one of us on a journey of sorts. Our own personal pilgrimage…

Aren’t we are all looking for something? Be it a quest for self-confirmation, truth, a cure, enrichment, comfort, a friend, a lover, a job, a meal or a place to lay our weary head at the end of another day.

I believe life is a journey, or at least it should be. It would be terrible to think we were just flailing through this experience; killing time on this giant floating gumball while waiting for the next Black Friday specials.

I believe we all have one destination though we travel different roads and I trust that we have choices.

Pilgrims (2)

Hopefully we will choose well. On the occasion we do take a wrong turn [and we will from time to time] I pray we have enough sense and humility to stop and seek direction… to reassess our route and to be considerate in our voyage.

So here’s wishing all of you pilgrims a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving from the Hill house and may we all, whatever road we’re on, take time to look ahead, pause and bow our head in thanks.

My personal prayer:

I pray our good seeds of hope, humility, toil and courage produce abundantly; that love and kindness grow wild like the weeds of early spring – fruitful and undeterred.  And may our harvest be rich with wisdom and discernment.

Thank you Father, The Creator of all things, for this day and all it holds. Thank you for the days past and Father forgive me for my wrong turns. Thank you for the day to come and guide me to make better choices. Thank you for all the pilgrims in my life – for those who’ve gone ahead and the ones that come behind and for those who read this prayer. And Thank You Father for the beacon that lights my way.

In Jesus name, Amen.

BTW Thanksgiving & John Wayne (A Pilgrim’s Prayer) is also in Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)