I can’t even remember how I found [the oddly named] Smashwords, but I am glad we connected. Mark Coker’s publishing platform really simplified my life.
And then Draft2Digital with Books2Read came along with their pretty little layouts and boom I had a new crush. And a new distributor.
But I never left Smashwords.
By the way, it is true Smashwords and Draft2Digital are merging and I think that’s a good thing.
I’m not sure if Smashword’s support of the annual Read an eBook will continue in the years to come, but it is going on right now through March 12th. I, of course, am participating. Several of my books are available free or at a drastically reduced price. Just scroll through and check it out.
I believe The Perpetual Series was the first, or one of the first books I published with Smashwords; that was in 2013. Can you believe that?
I recall making the cover from a photograph I had taken of a flower blooming in the yard. Sadly, that flower never returned.
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, 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. They had never heard of an indie distributor called Smashwords (yikes, imagine how scary that might have sounded)
I’m sure they didn’t have the www to answer all of you questions or a beastly giant named Amazon— yet somehow they managed.
Can you imagine having to grow your own food and prepare it without the help of of a search engine like google?
When did they have time? Where did they get their Stove Top stuffing and who canned the yams and plucked the turkeys? How did those crazy pilgrims do it?
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.
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.
Three women, three very different backgrounds and the roads that all lead to one place, somewhere Between the Rage and Grace.
Inside a small hospital, in a rural Texas town there is a peculiar camaraderie evolving. Clara O’Bromley (fresh out of college) is assigned to ICU, which is no small feat. She has her supervisor, Linda Latrull to thank for that, and for placing her under the direction of a foul-mouthed debutante named Maggie Turner. Maggie is happy to take the young nurse under her wing until she learns that Clara can read more than EKG’s. Clara herself is unaware of this ability until she sees into the past; a past Maggie and Linda both have gone to great lengths to hide.
“Clara Bell!” Mr. O’Bromley roared as his daughter strolled into the hostelry, “Give your dear old dad a hug.” He grabbed Clara before she could get her lab coat off.
“Hey Daddy.” She said, pecking him on the cheek, “Where’s Mama?”
“I should’ve known it weren’t me you come to see.” He frowned and then winked, “Your ma is out back. Have a seat and I’ll holler at her.”
Clara helped herself to a coffee and warm raisin danish before taking a seat in the corner booth. She had barely settled in and creamed her coffee when Mrs. O’Bromley came shuffling across the dining room. Clara stood to hug her mother and after a quick embrace Mrs. O’Bromley said, “Sit back down. I know you got something on your mind when you pick this seat.”
“Oh really? Clara sneered in jest.
“You know it’s the truth so don’t play coy with me child, she said sliding in to the opposing seat, “You just missed Jimbo.”
“Aww. Did he eat a good breakfast?”
“You know he did, there ain’t a thing wrong with that man’s appetite. But I believe he worries a bit too much about you.” Mrs. O’Bromley said with a raised brow.
“I’ve been having some crazy dreams Mama or nightmares really. And lately visions pop in my head; sometimes it’s like looking on at a thing and other times it feels like I’m the one doing the thing.”
“Well I’ve heard you talk about clairvoyants most of my life and I was just wondering… do you think I’m one?”
“I don’t know. A better question is what do you think?”
“I’m at a loss — that’s why I came to you.” Clara said picking the raisins from her pastry.
“Let’s see…. have you ever known the future before it came to pass?”
“No, I don’t think I’ve seen the future… maybe the past.”
“Can you read my mind? Right now, can you read my mind?”
Clara strained for a few seconds and said, “You’re thinking you need to put a roast on for the lunch crowd?”
“That was a guess Clara! You know my routine. Try again.”
They both sat quietly for over a minute, maybe two until the frustrated Clara said,
“Nothing. I don’t see anything. So what now?”
“I’m not an expert Clara; I don’t know how the mind works. I do know there are folks that can and I’m not talking about some circus clown that’s good at reading peoples body language or personality.”
“Like you saying I’d marry Jim?”
“Yep. But anything I see comes random and I don’t call myself a clairvoyant. Tell me more about these visions and dreams and when it was they happened.”
Clara spent the next hour telling her mother about the nightmare with the dying patient and Maggie. The vision she had of Maggie’s brutal beating and the trance like state where she told Maggie it was her husband who beat her as well as a few other things that had been happening.
“You have some sort of gift, but I don’t know what it is or what to call it.” Mrs. O’Bromley said tapping her finger to her chin.
“I wouldn’t call it a gift Mama. What good does it do me or anyone else to see things after the fact? Or things that I can’t do anything to change? Maybe it’s a curse.”
“Don’t you doubt God and all his nature!” Her mother scolded, “Ain’t up to us to decide what we get and when — just figure out how to use it. Didn’t you say that patient told you to tell somebody something? Something about Omaha?”
“Olam-ha-ba.” Clara laughed, “I tried to look it up to see what it meant but it’s not in the dictionary. You think she wanted me to tell them to go to Omaha?”
“Better not say that, they’re liable to believe you and make the trip for nothing.”
Clara and Mrs. O’Bromley laughed heartily.
“Yeah.” Clara spit between gasps of humor “I can see me calling her daughter and saying, ‘your mom came to me after she died and said she wants you to go to Omaha’.”
“Ask her if I can go too.” Mrs. O’Bromley snorted, “I’ve never been to Nebraska.”
The women were in hysterics when they saw Mr. O’Bromley standing stone faced at the head of the table.
“What’s the matter Daddy?” Clara asked trying to appear more solemn. Mrs. O’Bromley was cooing a loud ahhh and wiping her eyes with the tail of her apron.
“You girls having fun are you?”
They both nodded and started to giggle again.
“And at the expense of a dead woman’s dying wish, no doubt. Shame on the both of ya!”
The stout gray-haired Irishman stood over the women shaking his head in slow motion, from side to side with each turn implying another shame on you.
“I’m sorry Dad.” Clara did feel slightly ashamed and soberly replied, “I hadn’t considered it like that. Honestly. I apologize.”
“It was inconsiderate but `taint me ya ought to be apologizing to, you best deliver that poor soul’s message to her family at first chance.” Turning to look at his wife Mr. O’Bromley sighed with disappointment, “And you Mary O’Bromley… knowing the gifts of spirit ye yourself possess and all but mocking with your jokes of Omaha and bustin’ at the seams.”
Clara almost lost her composure again but his stern tone kept it in check as he glanced at her then back to continue the rebuke of her mother, “Did you ever tell little Clara why you named her such?”
Clara looked puzzled turning to Mrs. O’Bromley, who was indicating no with a vigorous shake of her head.
“Weren’t any need to tell her before. I thought it were just a vain vision.”
“What do you mean?” Clara inquired looking back and forth at the two fixed in a staring contest of sorts.
“Your mother,” Mr. O’Bromley said, “seen herself having a pale eyed girl even when the doctor told her she weren’t able to bear children. She had a faulty womb ya know. Not only that but she also proclaimed the babe would have the gift of seeing. That’s what started her on the way of always talking about clairvoyants. She believed it so much she named you Clara three years `fore you were ever born.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that Mama?”
“Never had the opportunity or reason ‘fore now. I told you I have no idea what to call it or how to use it. Sometimes it’s best to keep ones mouth shut!” she said staring straight at her husband.
“What do you think about it Daddy?” Clara asked, looking to her father for direction.
“I think you should welcome it Clara Bell.” He said, softly smiling down on his daughter, “Take it for what it is- no more, no less.” He paused making Clara believe the next words would be filled with insight and she waited assiduously for him to continue, “And if you don’t know what to do with it…” he drew the pause further until his audience was captivated and announced, “Take it to Omaha.”
Laughter erupted as the old man slapped his knee with delight.
“Drinks on the house.” He chuckled, knowing there wasn’t a patron on the premises.
Between the Rage & Grace can be purchased at your favorite e-book retailer HERE.