They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Title: THEY CALLED HIM MARVIN
Author: Roger Stark
Publisher: Silver Star Publishing
Pages: 333
Genre: Historical Romance / WWII / Family Saga

18-year-old Pvt Dean Sherman goes to church with a friend in Salt Lake City. He meets 16-year-old Connie that will become his wife. After Pearl Harbor Dean applies for pilot training and is accepted. Dean joins Connie’s Mormon Church and they secretly become engaged.

By the time Dean has commissioned a pilot, Connie is 18 and they marry and are together for a year and a half before he ships out as an Airplane Commander of a B-29.  Connie is pregnant with their son, Marvin.

A Japanese family is introduced, the Kyoshis. She is an important member of the Community Council he is a builder of water guns used in fighting fires and is the neighborhood fire captain.  A son Reo will go off to war and train as a fighter pilot. 12-year-old Son Riku has a reappearing role in the story concerning the B-29’s bombing of Japan. They also have 6-year-old twin sisters that are sent to Hiroshima early in the story for their safety. 

The crew of 44-69966 arrives in India after a month of flying. Letters start arriving for Connie. Discussion of the B-29s development of strategic purposes is explained.

In Japan Reo Kyoshi goes off to war and the Firebombing of Tokyo occurs. 15 Square miles burned down to the sidewalks. 100,000 casualties and a million people homeless. The Kyoshi survive the conflagration but lose their home.

Marvin is born. Dean returns to duty and his plane is transferred to the Marianna Islands in the Pacific. Some 67 love letters are exchanged between Dean and Connie.

Dean’s plane is shot down over Nagoya Japan, the crew is captured and sent to Tokai Army Headquarters. Connie keeps writing letters that cannot be delivered. She has no idea he is in a Japanese prison.

Prison conditions are horrible, beatings and interrogations constant. Connie receives the war department telegram listing Dean as MIA.

A sham trial is conducted the crew is found guilty and their sentence is carried out the next day.

Almost 50 years later, Dean comes to Connie in a dream/vision and confirms his love for her and that they will yet have a life together.

Book Information

Release Date: September 1, 2021

Publisher:  Silver Star Publishing

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-0578855288; 333 pages; $17.43; E-Book, $2.99

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3BnQYnD

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3JsqVi1  

IndieBound: https://bit.ly/3BnQYnD

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3Lv4sD3

Book Excerpt:

18 January 1941, The Story Begins

Stanley Carter started all this. 

He was just a kid, a student at South High in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

A Mormon boy, as many in the region are, and member of South’s ROTC program. In fact, the student commander of the Army ROTC at South. His duties occasionally took him to the Fort Douglas Army Base a couple of miles east of the city. 

Entry to the Base included the obligatory stop at the guard house, a box of a place parting the road at the Fort entrance. Bookended by road barriers normally open and standing at attention during the daylight hours, on foot visitors such as the bus riding Stanley Carter were invited to enter the building and make themselves known.

On this particular Saturday afternoon he presented his credentials to one Private Dean Harold Sherman, Military Policeman.

  Stan handed Dean his papers, with the greeting, “Hello Private 

Sherman how are you doing today.” 

The Army blouse complete with stark white name tags and chevrons of rank prominently displayed make such identifications easy.

Dean studied Stan’s papers and without looking up, asked, “So Stanley, are you heir to the Carter’s Little Liver Pills fortune?’

The question humored Stan, “That would be nice, but no such luck. I am just a high school kid with definitely not rich parents.”

“How about you Private Sherman?”

“Me? I am just a Montana ranch hand that came here for Basic Training and am now OJT with the Military Police.”

“Your new to these parts then?”

“Been here a couple of months.”

“Do you know anyone in Salt Lake?”

“Other than military buddies, not a soul.”

“Well you know me now.”

“Yeah, I guess I do know one person from Salt Lake now.”

Stan wandered off to fulfill his post duties but he couldn’t stop thinking about the affable Military Policeman. After completing his errands, Stan went looking for Dean and was glad to find him still on duty, shuffling papers in the guard house.

“So Dean, I have been thinking.” Stan said.

‘“You probably shouldn’t do too much of that.” kidded Dean.

 “Your right, it gets me in trouble all the time. Dean, I want to help you with your problem of not knowing any one in Salt Lake.”

“What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Tomorrow I am going to my girlfriends house, come with me, she would love to meet you and then you will know two people here.”

His Sunday, non-duty day, social calendar incredibly bare, Dean answered, “I could be talked into that.” 

“We are going to meet up at church and then go to her house.”

So there was that thing Mormon’s are known to do, veil an invitation to attend church so that it seems entirely harmless. 

By the end of church the following day, Dean would actually know three people from Salt Lake City. This because Stan’s girlfriend, Carol Woffinden, happened to be the best friend of Constance Avilla Baldwin, who also just happened to attend the same Waterloo Ward of the Mormon Church, who also didn’t have a boy friend, and who was also more than happy to make a visitor feel welcome.

Dean innocently walked into all of this. 

Mormons have a special interest in non Mormons, or Gentiles as they call them. You see, a Mormon is never far from, or without, his missionary zeal. If you’re not a Mormon and your going to hang out with a Mormon for very long, you’re going to get zealed.  For Dean Harold Sherman, it was to be a life altering dose of zealing.

About the Author

I am, by my admission, a reluctant writer. But some stories demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories are lost.

Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with my friend Marvin, I learned the tragic story his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan just months before the end of the war.

 The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled me to ask if I could write the story. The result was They Called Him Marvin.

My life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. I pray that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

My career as an addiction counselor (CDP) lead me to write “The Waterfall Concept; A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery,” and co-author “Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain.”

My next project is already underway, a memoir of growing in SW Washington called “Life on a Sorta Farm.” My wife of 49 years, Susan, and I still live in that area.

We raised seven children and have eleven grandchildren. We love to travel and see the sites and cultures of the world. I still get on my bicycle whenever I can.

You can visit Roger’s website at https://theycalledhimmarvin.com/ or connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Awakening the Avatar Within by Darren Starwynn

Title: AWAKENING THE AVATAR WITHIN: A Roadmap for Uncovering Your Superpowers, Upgrading Your Body and Uplifting Humanity
Author: Darren Starwynn
Publisher: Desert Heart Press
Pages: 348
Genre: Spiritual Awakening/Meditation/Energy Healing/Personal Development

Awakening the Avatar Within offers a practical roadmap for deeply healing yourself and living an awakened, actualized life as an Avatar. An Avatar is Divine consciousness expressing itself as a human being, and this book will help awaken your awareness of this vital part of yourself.

You will learn many transformational practices for raising your level of consciousness and upgrading the health and functioning of your body. Many of these practices are based on the cutting-edge science of epigenetics. From this place you are able to become a vital part of the movement to heal and uplift the human race.

The information and energy transmissions of this book can empower you to:

  • Identify and express your superpowers
  • Become a powerful catalyst of healing for yourself and others on the Quantum level
  • Increase your inner peace and clarity of mind through awareness of the Fifth Dimension and the Quantum Field
  • Identify your “job description” as a Lightworker
  • Create a fulfilling daily practice of meditation and self-development
  • Activate your Light Body (Merkaba)
  • Augment your self-love and come to peace with your shadow self
  • Be a planetary healer, and join with other Avatars in uplifting the human race

Dr. Darren Starwynn has had a long career as acupuncturist, inventor, writer, healer and teacher, integrating therapeutic systems from around the world. He has written four groundbreaking books, led hundreds of workshops and seminars, invented several vibrational devices used worldwide and helped develop advanced mind-body healing systems.

PRAISE

Awakening the Avatar Within is a phenomenal guidebook on how to live on the leading edge of consciousness and awaken your latent superpowers. It is indispensable reading for those wishing to claim their power to live an extraordinary life of deep love and fulfillment of their highest purpose.”  —Christy Whitman, author of The Desire Factor and the New York Times bestseller The Art of Having It All

Awakening the Avatar Within guides you through the essential actions and practices you can do to fulfill the higher potential that you always knew was possible but may have had a hard time actualizing. Avatars are human beings going through a process of re-wiring the energy circuitry of their bodies so they can embody higher light more of the time. This is required reading for anyone ready for awakening to their true self and learning to practice energy healing at a high level of expression.”    —David T. Kyle, Ph.D., bestselling author of Energy Teachings of The Three

“Awakening the Avatar Within aligns with the energies emerging during this important time on our planet, calling us to step into our magnificence and embody our Truth as the Soulful Self, or the Avatar we are.”  From the Foreword by Dr. Sue Morter, author of The Energy Codes

“Awakening the Avatar Within is one of those books you will want to keep around for years. It can help you gain insights for self-transformation. This book is a treasure of workable insight and approaches.”  –Richard Gordon, Author/Founder of Quantum-Touch

“Darren Starwynn’s book, Awakening the Avatar Within, is both inspirational and practical. It is a treasure map of how to heal, grow and embody the Divine Self. Anyone with the willingness to follow this motivational guide and apply the simple and grounded processes can accelerate their awakening journey. This book is a spiritual gift, for it shows us how to be a part of the Second Coming of Christ, which is a group event. I highly recommend it for all who want to live their True Nature and manifest a creative and transformative purpose.”  -Karen La Puma author of the A Toolkit for Awakening book series

Awakening the Avatar Within is a sophisticated yet accessible guidebook for healing and spiritual awakening that brilliantly incorporates wisdom from many streams, including Darren Starwynn’s own direct connection with Source. Fresh, inspired, and heart-based, it’s filled with mind-expanding concepts, moving stories, compelling testimonies, and powerful exercises that will totally uplift your entire being, from body, to mind, to spirit. It’s also an illuminating resource for healing practitioners who want to go deeper with their clients. Thank you, Darren, for using your superpowers to bring this gift forth. It should become required reading for anyone incarnated on planet Earth.”  Marguerite Rigoglioso, Ph.D.  Author, The Mystery Tradition of Miraculous Conception:  Mary and the Lineage of Virgin Births

“These days, there seems to be an endless stream of books and Internet sites about healing and consciousness, Darren’s book Invoke the Avatar Within stands out like a bright beacon of light. Darren has done something new and different, very necessary in these destructive times on our planet Earth. He has provided a practical roadmap for evolving both our minds and physical bodies to a higher level of consciousness and vitality through the principles of epigenetics and spiritual alchemy. He has convincingly shown a way that people can become Avatars, and how awakened Avatars can join forces to literally change this world. Today, in the compromised political and public domains, it is truly difficult to name any heroes, Darren’s work is indeed champion.”  -Jon Whale. PhD., author of The Catalyst of Power, scientist and inventor

“In his latest book, Awakening the Avatar Within, Darren Starwynn manages to describe the current problems, and the solutions for all of humanity in clear and easy prose, and makes it easy to follow his guidance in how to recognize and develop the Avatar you already are. In addition, you can feel an energy transmission that emanates from the very pages of the book. This book is chock-full of intriguing information along with easy-to-follow guided practices, all designed to awaken your remembrance of who you really are.”  -Vidya Frazier, Author of The Ascension Lightworker Guide & Awakening to the Fifth Dimension

 “In Invoke the Avatar Within You, Darren Starwynn, O.M.D., offers a practical and pertinent guide to how to be a “practicing evolutionary”, and help heal our own lives, along with humanity’s traumas. As the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical become more porous, Darren helps awakening souls guide others through this evolutionary passage – so that heaven becomes a practice instead of a destination.”  — Steve Bhaerman, aka Swami Beyondananda, Comedian, Uncommontator and co-author of Spontaneous Evolution with Bruce Lipton 

Awakening the Avatar Within guides the reader through practical steps of a deep inner awakening of their highest self, helping tap into pure consciousness, your own healing transmission and the ability to transcend old habits and patterns that have kept us stuck as mind/limiting self.”  —Shannon Kassoff, Yoga Teacher, Master Reiki Teacher

Book Information

Release Date: September 15, 2021

Publisher:  Desert Heart Press

Soft Cover: ISBN: 0578251426; 348 pages; $19.99; E-Book, $7.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/33TzYcu  

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/awakening-the-avatar-within-darren-starwynn/1140269384?ean=9780578251424

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/awakening-the-avatar-within-darren-starwynn/book/9780578251424.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Awakening-Avatar-Within-Darren-Starwynn/9780578251424m

Book Excerpt:

Introduction

There is now a rapidly growing movement of people who recognize that the awakening of human consciousness is the ultimate solution to our personal and planetary problems. They recognize the truth that there is one common denominator to all the environmental, social, political, economic and health crises facing the human race now. That common denominator is the part of the human mind denying our true, divine self – the universal consciousness of Love and oneness.

This book is a roadmap to an extraordinary transformative process few people even believe is possible. Each of its chapters contains consciousness-awakening messages combined with transmissions of higher light energy. Receiving these transmissions and working with the guided practices offered will support you in realizing your true identity as an Avatar. The word Avatar is derived from the Sanskrit word avatara, which means “descent,” meaning the Divine coming down into material expression.

You probably know some people who radiate spiritual light in powerful and charismatic ways. Many are drawn to follow them, and they tend to be spiritual teachers, ministers or other kinds of leaders. You may wonder “I’m not one of those, how could I be an Avatar?” The truth is, there are many different ways Avatars show up and not all are in public view. I can assure you that you have your own “job description” for how you beautifully express divinity. Chapter 17 – Your Job Description as a Lightworker will help you identify it.[1]

Living as an Avatar becomes real as you go through the physiological process of upgrading your body to be able to hold a higher frequency of energy and consciousness. From that place, you will discover you have real superpowers you can develop and share to help heal, bless and uplift others. And, have a lot of fun in the process!

These extraordinary transformations are possible because we are living through a wave of rapid planetary ascension of consciousness affecting all life. This is part of vast cycles of consciousness that have been documented in the ancient Vedas from India, traditional Mayan cosmology and other sources. The doors to awakened consciousness are now wide open, much more so than ever before in recent human history. In fact, our greatest impediment to taking advantage of this extraordinary opportunity is simply believing we can’t.

We are already moving through this ascension into greater light, and nothing can stop it. What is variable is how much suffering there needs to be during this transition time. This is where modern Avatars shine. We have powerful abilities to heal ourselves and reduce the suffering of others. We do this by helping accelerate the grounding of higher light in our bodies, our psyches, our societies, our arts, our institutions and our sciences.

There are so many good people working toward the healing and upliftment of humanity in all those areas. Yet without the major shift of consciousness Avatars help bring, our collective experience is likely to look like one step forward, one step backward. That’s not enough for humanity to make it through this time without increasing destruction.

Each of us is caught up in this ascension of consciousness, and our experience of it can range from blissful to deeply disturbing. A great analogy is riding a surfboard on large ocean waves. When surfers have good balance and skill, the experience of riding big waves is exhilarating and joyful.

If they lose their balance and “wipe out,” they can quickly find themselves crushed under a wall of water and gasping for breath.

In a similar way, when we trustingly allow the rapidly elevating energies of consciousness ascension to carry us, it is a high, joyful experience – the greatest ride of your life. Yet when we fearfully deny and resist this profound shift in consciousness, it can and often does feel scary and overwhelming.

The information, perspectives and practical methods presented in this book come from my own lifetime journey of learning, research, self-healing, helping heal others, meditation, facing my shadow self, teaching and direct spiritual experience. Rather than place a bio about me at the beginning of the book, I have woven my personal story throughout various chapters within it.

Healing Ourselves

If you’re like many people on the path of self-healing, you may have consulted with a succession of healers, therapists, doctors, holistic practitioners, clergy, gurus or self-help books, and yet still have times when you feel a deep sense of trauma or disconnect within your being. And yet there is a mighty divine current flowing through you 24-7 that can free you from all bondage and give you the power to help free the rest of the human race. This is the missing link that can bring you what you have really been looking for through all that searching.

You can access more of this divine current through the process of becoming Christed. Christing refers to a process through which your mind, body, nervous system and genetics are literally rewired to operate at higher frequencies of love, intelligence and creative power.

These are attributes of what is often called God or Divine source, and as an Avatar, your job is learning to practically express them in your everyday life. In this case, the term Christing has a similar meaning to the words “maturing,” “evolving,” or other terms that describe a process of fulfilling one’s greater potential. The oft-prophesied second coming of Christ is not about one superstar person making a grand appearance. The second coming is happening as huge numbers of people become Christed, and through the immense field of love and power that generates, we are able to effectively rebuild our world.

Section Two of this book is titled Quantum Healing and gives you practical guidance in developing your Avatar healing abilities. As will be explained in Chapter 13, you are in holographic inter-connection with all life. This means there is no real separation between you, everyone else and the entire Universe. Therefore you can be a catalyst of healing for people thousands of miles away. Due to the holographic principle, there is essentially no difference between healing yourself and helping heal the planet – it all happens together. It’s just a matter of your intention and focus.[2]

The phrase, I AM Avatar, is a supremely powerful affirmation and mantra of your highest truth. When you say I AM Avatar, you identify yourself as an expression of the pure love, power and wisdom of the Universe. You accept responsibility for being a vital part of the solution at this critical time. To some people, saying I AM Avatar or I AM the Christ may sound like a radical, conceited or even insane thing to say. Yet claiming I AM Avatar is the pre-eminent key to the fulfillment of your personal purpose, healing and self-realization.

The following passage from the beloved Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, expresses the purpose of an Avatar well. The word Dharma in this quote means fulfilling your true purpose and living in tune with the laws of nature.

“Whenever dharma declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to reestablish dharma.”[3]

According to this phrase, we are certainly living in a time where Avatars are needed – lots of us.

I’m calling upon you to trust your own inner knowing and not settle for anything less than this highest and clearest truth that a vital part of you already knows. If you have ever felt that there was a bigger picture for fulfilling your life potential, or a more expansive way you could contribute to the welfare of the human race, now is the time to step up. It is my sincere wish that the message, practices and vibrational transmission of this book act as a touchstone to help awaken you to a greater truth of who you really are. The tools you will gain here can empower you to free yourself from your own inner struggles and contradictions, and recognize the divine energy transmission that is already flowing through you. The ultimate solution is right here to all the things that may have made you feel discouraged, frustrated or afraid.

Dogma–Free Understanding of Avatar, Christ, Buddha and Lightworker

The word Christ has a similar meaning as Avatar. It is derived from the Greek word Kristos which means the anointed one, referring to a human being who is expressing divine Presence. Christ is an innate quality of the true, higher self of human beings. Therefore, I use both terms Avatar and Christ interchangeably throughout this book. The term Christ is not used here in a religious, Christian context. The term Buddha, which means “awakened one” in the Pali language, also has a similar meaning. All of these terms describe the experience of being an awakened Avatar in human form, independent of any religious affiliations or beliefs.

A more contemporary word to describe those stepping up to heal and serve through higher consciousness is Lightworker. There are already many millions of people acting as Lightworkers on our planet now, and that is one of the main reasons that so many natural and human-caused disasters have been averted or lessened from how severe they could have been. If you are a Lightworker or moving into being one, Chapter 17 will help you identify the characteristic ways you offer your love and service.

Two of the most famous Avatars, Jesus the Christ and Gautama the Buddha, were not always awake. They had to go through a process of becoming aware of the illusions they lived in, taking back their power and awakening themselves to their true nature. They were able to break free of the profound amnesia most of us fall into when we grow up in human bodies. Yet they are no more Avatar than you are. It’s just that they accomplished their awakening to a greater degree, and so can act as our helpful big brothers. This same opportunity is in front of you now.

How Can Avatars Help Uplift the World?

Avatars are creators, and intuitively grasp a profound truth: what we see as “the world” is not any certain way. It is really what we believe it to be and make it to be. Realizing this truth is a major step in awakening our consciousness and knowing who we really are. Less awakened people generally see the world helplessly, in a fear-based way. Avatars learn to hold the vision of the world they choose to live in, manifesting their vision by focusing their love, consciousness and actions upon it. This means that each person living as an Avatar becomes a beacon of light helping illuminate the path for others.

This form of focus has unlimited potency, especially as large numbers of us develop our superpowers and focus together. See Chapter 4 to learn more about your superpowers.

I have witnessed many remarkable examples of the power of Avatars when we focus our light together. As a striking example, in fall of 2019 some of the worst wildfires in recorded history were raging throughout eastern Australia. Prior to the start of these wildfires Australia had been gripped by record heat and more than two years of continuous drought. By November of that year a state of catastrophic fire danger was declared in Sydney and other parts of New South Wales. By January, 2020 over 46 million acres were burning in various Australian states and territories, destroying thousands of homes and wiping out entire species of animals and plants.

In mid-January, 2020 I received a series of emails calling on me to participate in two scheduled times of global meditation to benefit Australia. Participants were requested to take a few minutes two days in a row to visualize heavy rains falling all over the fire-stricken parts of the country. It was suggested in the email that we visualize people standing out in the rain celebrating and giving thanks. I participated in these group meditations, feeling the power of people all over the world focusing their prayers.

Rain started falling within two days after these global meditations. The first rainfall in late January started putting out the fires. Then, between February 6th and 10th 154 inches of rain fell throughout the fire-stricken areas of Australia, putting out most of the fires. It was the heaviest rainfall recorded in Australia in 30 years.[4]

I have heard about or witnessed many experiences like that. Another one happened at the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill back in April of 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. Considered to be one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history, over 210 million gallons of petroleum was discharged into the Gulf with severe toxic effects on human and marine life. Scientists and engineers tried many methods to cap the deep underwater well without success over a five-month period.

On the weekend of September 18 – 19 of 2010 I was participating in a spiritual healing retreat in Tucson, Arizona led by Dr. Zhi Gang Sha, a teacher of advanced spiritual healing methods. At one point on Saturday the 18th one of the retreat participants suggested that I ask Dr. Sha if our group could somehow help mitigate the Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster. I did go up to him during a break and explained the situation. Dr. Sha had not heard about it since he apparently didn’t listen to the news. But he acknowledged the situation and agreed to “see what he and our group energy could do.” The next day, Sunday the 19th, I was checking the news and learned that a team of engineers had finally succeeded at capping and containing the oil spill.

Was this just an interesting co-incidence? Or could it have been a manifestation of the power of focused intention? I am open to the latter explanation because I have personally experienced or heard about many such extraordinary healings and reprieves from negative or disastrous situations throughout my life. Awakening Avatars can participate in a level of causality hard to explain through most of our sciences, yet can clearly be experienced. The science of Quantum physics has been catching up to being able to explain the power of consciousness to create reality, and you will find several explanations of quantum phenomena throughout this book.

Why Trauma Matters and Why Healing Trauma is an Essential Part of the Solution

Trauma is a big deal for the human race now. While about 8 – 12 million people in the United States are medically diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, almost all of the rest of us deal with what I call “low-grade PTSD.” It has become our new normal to feel stressed out in various ways due to economic pressures, isolation, family breakdowns, exposure to toxins and living in highly polarized societies.

Ironically, all of this easily recognizable stress is exacerbated by the mass ascension of consciousness we are part of. As our consciousness expands, we are becoming more empathic, literally feeling more of the pain of the world. Many of our own conveniently buried psychic burdens and unresolved past trauma are also coming up to the surface of our minds much more quickly than we can often process. These are reasons why so much of the traditional psychotherapies and holistic healing arts only ease part of people’s distress these days.

As mentioned above, Lightworkers are Avatars who specialize in helping others heal by awakening to their true nature. This is the highest and most effective form of healing. It truly frees people from their past mental and emotional programming and allows them to step up to being part of the solution themselves. Section Two of this book is full of valuable guidance for healers and specific healing methods.

Opening to your Avatar Energy Transmission

As you go through the process of becoming Christed, you become familiar with the specific ways divine consciousness expresses through you. I call this your unique energy transmission. This is a stream of pure vibrational energy emanating from your highest spiritual source that flows through you and blesses others in profound ways. This is the essence of you. It is also what makes you most effective at whatever you are called to do in your life.

Why do I say that your energy transmission is unique? Think of the human race as a huge symphony orchestra. Each musician in the orchestra has her own part to play that differs from most of the other player’s parts, although some players share the same part and play in sections. When each player in the symphony plays her part clearly and accurately an amazing, beautiful composite musical sound is created. This is the way it is with us. Our energy transmission is the part we are given to play in the grand symphony of the human race. Our highest key to success, effectiveness and fulfillment in every aspect of our life is identifying our unique energy transmission and cultivating our body’s ability to hold and emanate it.

The specific abilities your transmission gives you can be called your superpowers. These are the ways you express genius in your life. Yes, that’s right, genius. Genius refers to people who have opened up to allow their transmission to freely express though them. There is great, unlimited power in this. We have seen how a handful of people in touch with their genius have transformed the human race through science, technology, the expressive arts, furthering of human rights, spiritual awakening and much more. You are now called to be one of them. Why? Because you can!  And, also because the world surely needs that special ability you are perfectly suited to offer.

The reason this book, and others like it are needed is that most of us who are Avatars in human form are on the latter part of a long journey in which we have been exploring the human experience. During this “long strange trip” we have experienced all manner of high and low vibratory experiences, from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair. We have repeatedly acted out the roles of both perpetrator and victim. Many of these experiences have created lasting energy imprints upon the ultra-sensitive inner membranes of our subconscious minds. By now, that has created quite a bewildering burden that can cloud our hearts and obscure our sight. I often use the Sanskrit word samskara, or the English terms “energetic gunk,” conditioning or “residoo-doo” to refer to this complex psychic burden that is at the root of most chronic pain, disease, anxiety and depression.

One factor that has made this burden even heavier is the tendency for some self-serving individuals and organizations to take advantage of others by programming their minds with messages and images designed to manipulate them into giving their divine power away. These individuals have been all too happy to take this power for their own personal gain. You will learn how to put a stop to that in this book.

Human beings are energy transceivers. This means that that we are constantly sharing energy vibrations with others – sending and receiving. This includes those close to us and those a world apart. The current Earth condition in which close to 8 billion people are sharing vibrations that are frequently stressed and fear-based has created a kaleidoscopic mass hallucination in which we have largely lost touch with who we really are. No wonder things often seem so bizarre.

The great news is that there are simple, effective methods for clearing your inner space so you can not only remember that you are an Avatar, but also embody that pure, high vibration of love in your everyday, physical experience. This makes you a powerful part of the solution whether you are engaging as an activist or living a quiet, contemplative life – or anything in between.

Healing Humanity

As I write these words our human family is living through a new set of experiences that very few of us ever expected. Fallout from the COVID-19 virus epidemic put the brakes on much of human activity through much of 2020 and 2021, and at the time of this writing is still adversely affecting much of the world economy. As is usually the case, those who are richer and more privileged are coping relatively well and even thriving, while the poor face increasingly devastating consequences.

There are almost endless beliefs and theories about what this epidemic is, where it came from, why it is happening and what the solution could be to get the human race back on track. People hunger to know – when will things go back to normal so we can get on with our lives?  

My firm belief is that things will never go back to what we considered normal, and that’s a great blessing. We have been living on Planet Earth in ways that have become increasingly unsustainable, and as a result are facing a myriad of escalating consequences. To put it simply, we just can’t keep living the way we’ve been living. The issues surrounding COVID, and pressing social issues filling the news headlines daily have pushed an even more crucial truth to the background of most people’s awareness – and that is the environmental reckoning we are facing now. Ninety-seven percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities, and the majority emphatically state that this poses critical threats to human wellbeing and even survival.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a well-known sci-fi movie that was released in two versions in 1951 and 2008.  The story is about an alien with God-like powers who comes to Earth to tell the human race that our self-destructive ways are not only endangering ourselves but other worlds as well, and that we must change our ways or be stopped. In case you have not seen the movie I recommend it and will not spoil it by disclosing more.

Although our current situation is not the same as the plot of that movie the underlying truth – the urgent need for rapid, fundamental change – is accurate.

It would make sense for scientists, governments, churches and all concerned people to come together to mobilize our best resources to resolve the pressing crises facing humanity.  Yet there is deep division among people, not only about what the best approach is but even what the most fundamental facts are about our situation. This extreme polarization has hamstringed the kind of massive, unified action and mobilization that is so needed now.

This book offers a radical perspective on some of the most effective solutions to these challenges of our individual and global situation. I will demonstrate that it is through our consciousness that we have collectively created our current situation, and it is through the unlimited power of awakened consciousness that we can save the human race and our Earth from destruction, while simultaneously ascending into a way of living we may have only dreamed of as conscious, joyful sovereigns.

About the Author

Dr. Darren Starwynn has been aware of the Quantum Field of consciousness since childhood, traveling to India to study with a spiritual master during his teenage years. Since then Darren has had a long career as acupuncturist, medical device developer, writer, healer and teacher, integrating therapeutic systems from around the world. He has written four groundbreaking books, led hundreds of workshops and seminars and invented several vibrational devices used worldwide. Darren’s workshops and retreats weave laughter and playfulness with profound personal healing and transformation.

Thousands of people have been directly or indirectly touched by Darren’s offerings, and he has inspired many colleagues to expand the scope of their work to include energy medicine and consciousness-based healing systems. His work integrates vibrational energy medicine with multi-dimensional quantum healing to help people rapidly release old trauma, pain and limitations to their self-expression.

Darren serves as a Reverend through the Lightworker Ministry, empowering healers and Lightworkers to live as Avatars and participate in the currently unfolding planetary ascension of consciousness. He is a graduate of the Tri-State Institute of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and received a doctorate in Chinese Medicine in 1995 through the National Academy of Advanced Asian Medicine. He has been ordained as a Knight through the Sacred Medical Order of the Knights of Hope, a branch of the historical Knights Hospitaler from Europe.

Darren also loves playing and composing music, hiking, writing and dancing.

His latest book is Awakening the Avatar Within.

Visit his website at www.drstarwynn.com.

You can connect with him at Twitter or Facebook.


[1]  See Chapter 17 for distinction between the terms Avatar and Lightworker 

[2]  Chapter 13 provides details of the remarkable practice of engaging in planetary healing

[3]  Attributed to the ancient Avatar Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita

[4]  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51439175

Categories: Non-Fiction | Leave a comment

Frazier, the Very Special Cat, by Faye Rapoport DesPres 



Frazier, the Very Special Cat is a sweet, heart-warming story for young children! It teaches love for animals, counting, the senses, and encourages discussion and problem-solving.

Frazier is a stray blond tabby not doing very well on his own, but things get worse when he gets hurt. Fortunately, the author is able to trap him and bring him to the vet. Now, all he needs is a permanent happy home…but who will want to take a chance on a one-eyed cat? Not to despair, for a fully happy ending awaits this sweet kitty!

Frazier, the Very Special Cat is Book 3 in the Stray Cat Stories series, and it is the perfect tale to read at bedtime or discuss with an adult in a home or school environment. The rhythm and repetition make it a fun read-aloud picture book. A charming addition to any child’s cat bookshelf!

The book is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover. Find out more and get your copy on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the memoir-in-essays Message From a Blue Jay (Buddhapuss Ink, 2014) and the Stray Cat Stories Children’s Books Series (Writer’s Coffee Bar Press). She earned her MFA at the Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and has published creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals. A life-long advocate for animals, wildlife, and the environment, Faye donates a portion of the proceeds from her children’s books to non-profit animal rescue organizations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their rescued cats.

Connect with Faye on the Web:

Websitewww.fayerapoportdespres.com 

Twitter: @FayeRapoDesPres

Instagram: FayeInBoston

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100058817963789 

Follow the author on Amazon and receive updates of her new books in this series. 

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Release: ‘Death Rules the Night,’ by Rosemary and Larry Mild


Genre: 
Mystery


Website: http://www.magicile.com


Publisher: Magic Island Literary Works

Find out more HERE.

About the Book:
 

In Death Rules the Night, the fourth Dan and Rivka Sherman mystery, Rosemary and Larry Mild deliver a smart, suspenseful tale that will keep readers spellbound.

About Death Rules the Night: Reluctant sleuths Dan and Rivka yearn for a tranquil life as owners of The Olde Victorian Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland. When copies of a tell-all book on the prominent Atkins family go missing from the bookstore, from all the local libraries, and even from the author’s bookshelves, Dan wants to know why. But the price of “why” brings threats, stalking, break-ins—and a brutal murder. He and Rivka fear for their lives.

The Atkins family secrets are weaving a sinister web. Tom Dwyer, a retired truck driver, is ready to confess to a crime that he and Frank Mulhaney, another driver, committed twenty years ago. Frank plots revenge on Tom. Bookstore clerk Ivy hears ugly gossip aimed at derailing her wedding. Will the family secrets finally see the light of day? And will the killer ever be caught?

Death Rules the Night is a tightly woven, cleverly plotted tale with an irresistible cast of characters—including Lord Byron, the wily bookstore cat who springs his own surprise.


About the Authors:

ROSEMARY AND LARRY MILD, cheerful partners in crime, coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction.  Rosemary and Larry have published award-winning novels, short stories, and essays. They co-authored the popular Paco and Molly Mystery Series; Hawaii adventure/thrillers Cry Ohana and Honolulu Heat; and three volumes of short stories, many of which appear in anthologies. After forty-plus years in Maryland, the Milds currently make their home in Honolulu, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. 

ROSEMARY, a graduate of Smith College and former assistant editor of Harper’s, also delves into her own nonfiction life. She published two memoirs: Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother and the acclaimed Miriam’s World—and Mine, for the beloved daughter they lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On her lighter side, Rosemary also writes award-winning humorous essays, such as failing the test to get on Jeopardy; and working for a giant free-spending corporation on a sudden budget: “No new pencil unless you turn in the old stub.”  

LARRY, who was only called Lawrence when he’d done something wrong, graduated from American University in Information Systems Management. In 2019 he published his autobiography, No Place To Be But Here: My Life and Times, which traces his thirty-eight-year professional engineering career from its beginning as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy, to a field engineer riding Navy ships, to a digital systems/instrument designer for major Government contractors in the signal analysis field, to where he rose to the most senior level of principal engineer when he retired in 1993.

Making use of his past creativity and problem-solving abilities, Larry naturally drifted into the realm of mystery writing, where he also claims to be more devious than his partner in crime and best love, Rosemary. So he conjures up their plots and writes the first drafts, leaving Rosemary to breathe life into their characters and sizzle into their scenes. A perfect marriage of their talents.

THE MILDS are active members of Sisters in Crime where Larry is a Mister in Crime; Mystery Writers of America; and Hawaii Fiction Writers. In 2013 they waved goodbye to Severna Park, Maryland and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish quality time with their daughters and grandchildren. When Honolulu hosted Left Coast Crime in 2017, Rosemary and Larry were the program co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc.”

Over a dozen worldwide trips to Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and more have wormed their way into their amazing stories. In their limited spare time, they are active members of the Honolulu Jewish Film Festival committee, where Larry is the statistician and recordkeeper for their film ratings.  

Connect with the authors on the web:

https://www.magicile.com

https://www.facebook.com/rosemary.mild.1

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosemary-mild-930

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘The Art of Betrayal,’ by Connie Berry

AUTHOR: Connie Berry

WEBSITE: https://www.connieberry.com

PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane

FIND OUT MORE: 

1. Amazon: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery: Berry, Connie: 9781643855943: Amazon.com: Books

2. Barnes&Noble: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

3. Booksamillion: The Art of Betrayal : A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry (booksamillion.com)

4. Indiebound: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery | IndieBound.org


ABOUT THE BOOK: 

American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, tending her friend Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop while he recovers from hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a reclusive widow consigns an ancient Chinese jar—until the Chinese jar is stolen and a body turns up in the middle of the May Fair. With no insurance covering the loss, Tweedy may be ruined. As DI Tom Mallory searches for the victim’s missing daughter, Kate notices puzzling connections with a well-known local legend. Kate’s most puzzling case yet pits her against the spring floods, a creepy mansion in the Suffolk countryside, the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history, and a clever killer with an old secret. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. 


FOLLOW CONNIE BERRY: 

Website: www.connieberry.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/thekatehamiltonmysteryseries

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@conniecberry

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/conniecampbellberry

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/@conniecampbellberry



CHAPTER ONE:

Long Barston, Suffolk, England

The fourth of May was one of those glorious spring days in England that almost convince you nothing evil could ever happen again. Mild, green-scented air wafted through the open door of Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop. A curious bumblebee meandered inside, had a quick look-around, and buzzed out again in search of the window boxes along Long Barston’s main street.

I was perched on a stool behind the counter, polishing silver, when I heard a soft cough. 

She stood framed in the doorway, clutching a large striped tote bag as if it held her firstborn—a ridiculous image because the woman had to be in her late sixties. Her thick, iron-gray hair was pulled into a coil at her neck, and she wore a pair of those light-sensing eyeglasses that never quite make it to clear. She was obviously ill at ease, which in itself wasn’t unusual. Antiques shops often attract timid souls hoping to raise a little cash by selling grandma’s pearls or grandpa’s collection of vintage cameras. They come expecting to be cheated.

“Hello.” I pulled off my latex gloves and came around the counter, feeling like a kindergarten teacher on the first day of school. “Welcome to The Cabinet of Curiosities.” 

The woman stepped into the shop. I couldn’t see her eyes behind the darkened lenses, but she seemed more wary than timid, which set off alarm bells. Twice in my life I’d been offered stolen property—in both cases, the items brought in by dodgy looking men in their twenties. This woman looked respectable, even old-fashioned. She wore a well-cut linen skirt, a crisp white blouse, and flat orthopedic sandals. An expensive but well-worn Gucci handbag hung from one bone-thin arm. “I was expecting the owner, Ivor Tweedy.” 

“I’m afraid Mr. Tweedy is recovering from surgery. I’m filling in while he recuperates.”

“You’re American.” Her lips thinned in disapproval.

“I am.” Obviously.

Once, this woman had been quite beautiful. I could see it in her bone structure, the line of her mouth, the way she held her head and shoulders. 

She studied me for a moment. Her eyes shifted to the small-paned front window. “Do you have somewhere more private?”

“Of course.” I grabbed the binder Ivor used to record sales and commissions. “Just let me lock up.” I closed the shop door, shot the bolt, and flipped the Open sign in the window to Closed. “My name is Kate Hamilton. And yours?” When she didn’t answer, I tried another tack. “Have you brought something for appraisal?”

“Not for appraisal, no.” Now that she’d been out of the sun for a few minutes, her glasses had partially lightened, allowing me a glimpse of pale, hooded eyes. “I have something I wish to sell.”

I led her through a maze of display cases to an alcove furnished with an early Regency pedestal table and two folding campaign chairs that, according to Ivor, had traveled with Wellington into the Battle of Waterloo. 

Once we were seated, the woman settled the carry-all on her lap and peeled down the fabric, exposing a large, roundish object swathed in bubble wrap. 

“Be careful. It’s heavy.” She handed the bundle to me.

“Well, let’s take a look.” I placed the object on the table and used the edge of my thumbnail to peel back a strip of clear tape. That’s when I felt it—the tingling in my fingertips, the flush of heat in my cheeks, the pounding of my heart against my ribcage. I’ve experienced these symptoms from childhood in the presence of an object of great age and beauty. 

Some would call it a gift. I’ve always thought of it as an affliction. My father, who taught me about antiques, had half-jokingly called me a divvy—an antique whisperer—born with the ability to spot the single treasure hidden among the trash that frequently passes for antiques. He wasn’t right, of course. My eyes can be fooled by a masterful fake as easily as the next person. 

It’s the internal symptoms that never fail. 

The client watched me, her bony fingers clasping and unclasping in her lap. 

I peeled back a layer of bubble wrap and took a sudden breath. 

Even before the wrapping was fully removed, I knew what was inside. The technical term is húnpíng, a distinctive type of stoneware jar found in the Han-dynasty tombs of early Imperial China. 

The final layer of wrapping slid away. Each húnpíng is unique—some fairly simple, others wonderfully complex. This example was nothing short of dazzling.

The bulbous jar had the earthy gray-green glaze known as celadon, typical of the period. The lower two-thirds of the vessel featured a procession of mold-pressed figures—leaping chimera; riders astride coiling, dragon-like creatures; peak-helmeted warriors wielding long pikes, ready to strike. The fullest part of the jar culminated in a wide mouth supporting a fantastical, multi-storied architectural complex with triple-tiered, tiled roofs and curved corner eaves surrounded by gates and pillars, each entryway guarded by a pair of oversized guards. I tilted the jar to peer at the bottom. Unglazed, unmarked—typical of the Han period. 

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

“Some kind of urn?” 

“It’s an ancient Chinese funerary jar from the Han dynasty. In English we call it a soul jar or spirit jar.”

“Han?”

“They ruled much of China for four centuries, roughly 200 B.C. to 200 A.D.”

“Is it valuable?”

“If authentic, very.” 

“Oh, it’s authentic. How much is it worth?”

“My guess would be thirty or forty thousand pounds, but to be sure I’d have to consult someone who specializes in early Chinese ceramics. I’m not an expert.” 

She blinked and shoved her glasses higher on her nose. “How long would that take? To consult, I mean.”

“Two or three days, perhaps a week.” I clicked open my pen. “First I’ll need your name and the history of the piece, as far as you know it.”

Her shoulders stiffened, as if I’d asked to see her bank balance. “My name is Evelyn Villiers. My husband bought the urn forty years ago in Hong Kong. He traveled a great deal for business and often purchased pieces for his art collection. If necessary, I can tell you the name of the shop and exactly what he paid for it. He kept meticulous records.”

“That would help,” I said, tossing my earlier caution to the wind. This woman actually had documentation. “It’s a wonderful piece. May I ask why you’re selling?”

“Not for the money, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Mrs. Villiers snapped open the clasp on her handbag and pulled out a white handkerchief. “My husband died eighteen years ago. We had one child, a daughter. When I’m gone, she’ll inherit a large trust fund from her father. I can’t stop that, but I refuse to let her inherit his art collection as well. I’ve decided to sell now, while I’m able.” She met my eyes, as if daring me to criticize. 

Criticism was the last thing on my mind—pots calling kettles black and all that. My own daughter, Christine, and my son, Eric, had recently (and unexpectedly) inherited twenty thousand pounds each from their Scottish aunt, a sum I’d persuaded them to invest in a money-market account in Ohio. Eric’s share would help pay for his doctoral degree in nuclear physics. Christine had intended to spend hers, meaning it would have been gone in months, with no more to show for it than a handful of receipts—and very possibly a lady’s Rolex. Christine’s latest boyfriend, the son of an Italian manufacturing executive, had a Rolex. Doesn’t everyone?

Mrs. Villiers cleared her throat, and I put my parenting issues aside. Whatever had caused a rift between this woman and her only child had been a tragedy, and I wasn’t about to take advantage. 

“We’d love to help you sell the jar, Mrs. Villiers, but you might want to consider Sotheby’s or one of the other large auction houses in London. Buyers from all over the world receive their catalogs. Wealthy Chinese collectors are paying top prices for objects like this. I’m sure you’d realize more from them than you could from us.”

“No public auctions. No catalogs.” Mrs. Villiers pinched her lips together. “I insist on doing this privately, without publicity. That’s why I came to you…well, to Mr. Tweedy. Just write a check. Whatever you think is fair.”

I felt my cheeks turn pink. Ivor’s checking account currently held just about enough to cover expenses for the month of May. “I’m afraid we’re not in a position to purchase the piece outright. If you’re sure you want us to handle the jar, I suggest consignment. We find a buyer. You get the proceeds, minus a reasonable commission. Why don’t I show you our standard contract? If you’re satisfied, we’d be happy to handle the sale.” I turned to the back of the binder, snapped open the rings, and pulled out a printed legal document. As I organized the papers, I tried to make conversation. “Will you be going to the May Fair on the green this evening?”

She mumbled something that sounded like wagon bell.

I looked up. “Sorry? I didn’t catch that.”

“I said if you can guarantee my privacy, I have more to sell. A lot more.”

That was not what she’d said, but I let it go, swept away by the glorious possibilities. What Mrs. Villiers was proposing was nothing short of a miracle—a source of high-quality antiques without any financial investment on Ivor’s part. This woman wasn’t offering an odd piece now and again but an entire collection, and if the húnpíng was any indication of the quality, a collection that would place The Cabinet of Curiosities among the highest tier of England’s private dealers. I couldn’t wait to tell Ivor. “What sorts of things did your husband collect?”

“Like the urn—you know, pottery, porcelain, paintings. Old stuff. Special figurines as well—nearly fifty pieces. I can’t remember the name, but they’re marked on the bottom with crossed swords.”

“You mean Meissen.” My heart kicked up a notch.

She brightened. “That’s right. Meissen.” 

 The famous Meissen factory near Dresden was the first European manufacturer to crack the closely held Chinese secret formula for true hard-paste porcelain. Europeans called it “white gold” in the eighteenth century, beloved for its translucency, resilience, and pure white hue. The Chinese had been producing porcelain since the seventh or eighth century, exporting it all over the world. Then came Meissen with its crossed-swords mark, creating stunning pieces that surpassed even the Chinese in beauty. I couldn’t wait to get my eyes on them.

“And jewelry,” Mrs. Villiers said. “Wallace loved fine jewelry.” 

She obviously hadn’t shared that interest. Except for a small heart-shaped locket around her neck, she wore no jewelry of any kind. 

“We have a tiered commission structure,” I said. “The higher the sale price, the lower the percentage.” In the description column I wrote Chinese Húnpíng Jar, Han dynasty, approx. 16″ high and 11″ wide. Value to be determined. “Now, if it’s all right, I’ll take a few photographs. That way you can take the jar home until I’ve arranged for an expert to examine it.”

“No. I want you to keep it.” 

“All right—if you’re sure.” I turned the consignment form toward her and handed her my pen. “Read through the contract carefully. The payment terms are in the final paragraph. Print your name, address, and telephone number there, and sign at the bottom.” 

While Mrs. Villiers examined the contract, I used my cell phone to snap several images. I couldn’t believe our good fortune. I felt like pinching myself. Finally, laying the jar carefully on its side, I took a shot of the unglazed bottom. 

Mrs. Villiers turned over the final page. Placing her index finger at the top, she drew it down slowly, stopping briefly at the final paragraph. At the bottom, she printed out her information and added her signature.

Mrs. Evelyn Villiers

Hapthorn Lodge, Hollow Lane,

Little Gosling, Suffolk. 

She’d included a phone number. Her signature was a squiggly line. 

Standing, Mrs. Villiers smoothed her skirt and gathered her handbag and the now-empty carry-all. “Thank you for your assistance.”

“My pleasure.” I held out my hand, and she took it. “I’ll put a copy of the contract in the mail. And I’ll telephone you when I’ve arranged for the appraisal.”

“No mail,” she said firmly. “And I never answer the telephone. Text me at this number, and I’ll contact you.” Picking up the pen I’d provided, she scribbled a different number at the bottom of the contract. 

“Of course. I’ll be in touch soon.” Something floated in the air—a vague uneasiness. Why didn’t Mrs. Villiers answer her phone? To avoid telemarketers?

I stood at the front window and watched her cross the High Street and turn left toward the river. She scurried past the shops—shoulders hunched, head bent—until she disappeared down a side street. Had she driven herself, or was someone waiting for her?

That was the least of my questions about Mrs. Evelyn Villiers.

I checked my watch. If I left immediately, I could be at The Willows by eleven thirty.

Time to break the good news to Ivor.



Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

‘Complicit,’ by Amy Rivers

Genre: psychological thriller/suspense 

Author: Amy Rivers

Websitewww.amyrivers.com                    

Publisher: Compathy Press

Purchase link:  www.compathypress.com

ABOUT THE BOOK 

A tangled web of deception and duplicity where predators are shielded by respectability and no one is safe

Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. Retreating to her hometown where it’s safe, she accepts a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the students. It’s not the career she envisioned for herself.

Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis and Kate at the helm of another traumatic event. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate’s position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds. 

When the girl’s body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadows. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear-no one can be trusted.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about.

Connect with Amy on the Web:

Website: www.amyrivers.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amyrivers.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingRivers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amy.rivers38/


Chapter One

April 1996

Kate pushed past her scowling sister, ready to get out of the house and away from the drama of the night before. She loved her family dearly, but Tilly’s propensity to get into screaming matches with their parents had Kate counting down the days until she left for college. 

“I’m coming!” she yelled as she raced out of her house, letting the screen door slam behind her. She’d heard the familiar half-dead horn honking from her room and knew there was more where that came from. Kate pretended to be annoyed but Roman’s enthusiasm was infectious, even from a distance. 

“Princesa!” 

“Sorry, Dad!” Kate shouted, but she kept her pace, yanking open the passenger-side door of Roman’s beat-up old car and throwing her bag into the back seat as she slid in beside him.

“Impatient much?” she complained, buckling her seatbelt. A trickle of sweat was already sliding down her neck. In one deft move she gathered up her curly brown hair, forming a messy ponytail and pulling the scrunchie from her wrist to secure the hasty hairdo. 

“What?” she asked, noticing Roman staring at her. “By the way, the honking? What the hell! My dad was pissed.” 

Roman smiled. “Nah, he’s used to me. Besides, it’s already hot and I want to get there before we miss out on the shade.” He eased the car away from the curb. Kate hoped her dad wasn’t watching them as they turned off her street. It would be pretty obvious that they weren’t heading for school. 

“What are we listening to?” Kate asked, cranking up the radio, the only part of Roman’s car that was shiny and new. R.E.M. blared through the speakers. Kate started singing at the top of her lungs, and before long Roman joined her. They kept the windows rolled up to let the air conditioner do its job. It also muffled the racket they were making. As much as Kate loved ditching with Roman she hadn’t been caught yet, and with a month left before graduation, she was hoping to keep it that way. 

The song faded out in the middle of a verse. “God, this guy is terrible,” Kate groaned, turning down the volume to drone out the boring banter from their least-favorite local D.J. 

“Yeah he is,” Roman agreed. “Would have been nice if he’d left town after high school, eh?” As the words left his mouth, a shadow settled over his features. Kate looked away, hoping they could avoid yet another argument about Kate’s post-graduation plans. 

Kate had stopped talking openly about her plans after their first big fight. Roman hadn’t entirely settled on a direction for his life, but Kate had her mind set on attending an out-of-state college and leaving her dusty hometown far behind her. She knew she’d miss her best friend, but that didn’t give him the right to keep her from pursuing her dreams. 

Luckily, Roman didn’t seem bent on picking a fight. He began to hum, and Kate felt the tension leave her shoulders. 

When they reached the spot where the road crossed the creek, they could already see other cars driving up the creek bed. 

“They never learn, do they?” Roman said as he drove past, heading for a spot further up the road where they could park on the shoulder and hike down. 

“Idiots,” Kate muttered, remembering the last time they’d driven up the creek bed, barely escaping the truant officers who knew the creek was a favorite ditching spot. All they had to do was camp out at the entrance and it was like shooting fish in a barrel. 

Roman parked near an outcropping of creosote bushes that nearly hid his car from view.

They both got out, slid on their backpacks, and walked toward the cliff overlooking the creek. Kate felt the red dirt shift underneath her feet as she neared the edge. “Must still be a little wet from the rain last week,” she called back as Roman joined her. 

“Want me to go first?” he asked playfully. 

“Yeah, right,” Kate said, smiling. She started down the steep bank, lead foot sideways to compensate for the sliding that happened as she moved down. 

They hiked upstream to a place where the water pooled and the mesquite trees provided some shade. Sometimes the place was packed, but today only a few kids were hanging around. 

Kate and Roman found a spot where some big rocks formed a natural seat at the water’s edge. They took off their shoes and stuck their feet into the cool water, using their backpacks as chair backs. 

Fluffy white clouds dotted the bright blue New Mexico sky. For a while they sat in silence, soaking up the sunshine. 

“Tell me you’re not going to miss this,” Roman said quietly. Kate closed her eyes and tried to maintain a neutral tone. 

“I will miss it,” she said. “But there’s so much I want to do, Roman. And I can’t get the education I want here.” 

“I know,” he said miserably. Kate wished she could make him understand. She was excited about her upcoming move, but also scared. And it would have been nice to have Roman as her ally rather than having to survive his moodiness. 

“It’s not like I’ll never be back,” Kate said. “Thanksgiving is just a few months away, and you know I’ll be home for luminarias and your mom’s posole at Christmas.” She tried to infuse her words with positivity. 

Roman didn’t respond, so Kate opened her eyes again and resumed her study of the clouds. She was so relaxed that she started to feel drowsy. 

“Hey,” Roman said, shaking her shoulder. “Wake up, Kate. You’re going to burn.” 

Kate sat up, stretching back muscles that had started to cramp against the hard rock surface. “Sorry, I must have dozed.” 

Roman laughed. “Slept is more like it. You’ve been out for, like, an hour. I didn’t want to wake you, but your face is getting pink.”

“I didn’t sleep well last night.” Kate reached up to rub her eye and winced at her tender skin. She wasn’t prone to sunburns, but it was getting to that part of the day when the sun was most intense. Looking around, Kate noticed the other kids had all gone.

“Where is everybody?” she asked, a hint of panic creeping into her voice. She scanned the surrounding area for lurking truant officers—or worse, the police. 

“Must have been your snoring,” Roman teased, skipping a stone across the water. 

“I don’t snore!” 

“How would you know? You weren’t the one who had to listen to you.” 

Kate scooped up a handful of water and threw it at Roman. He shouted “Hey!” but his eyes were bright with mischief. It was a look Kate had grown to love over the years. A look that usually landed them both in trouble. Roman seemed to think most rules didn’t apply to him until he got caught. He was the perfect balance for Kate’s uptight nature. 

Roman started jogging up the creek. 

“Wait up!” Kate called, struggling to pull her socks and shoes on while Roman widened the gap between them. She left her backpack behind and sprinted in his direction. When she finally caught up, she was sweating again. “Dammit, Roman,” she panted, wishing she’d grabbed a drink of water before chasing him. 

“Aw, come on. Don’t be mad,” he said, bumping her arm. A playful jab between friends. Something he’d done a hundred times. 

Except this time it didn’t feel the same. There’d been a lot more awkward moments lately. Kate couldn’t put her finger on what was different, but his touch made her shiver. His skin was warm and soft against hers. Roman looked as uneasy as Kate felt. He dropped his arm to his side and leaned away. 

Kate’s body felt heavy, keeping her frozen in place. She looked at Roman, wondering why she’d never noticed the green flecks in his hazel eyes. Or maybe she had, but they’d never seemed quite as lovely. Her heart began to race. 

“Kate,” Roman said, his voice raspy, barely a whisper. 

Something akin to terror squeezed Kate’s heart as she saw the determination in Roman’s eyes. Suddenly, she knew exactly what he was going to say, and a part of her wanted him to. He reached out and entwined his fingers with hers. Needing time to think, Kate turned. “Let’s walk,” she managed to get out.

She began upstream again but kept her hand in Roman’s, her mind a storm of feelings and thoughts. She didn’t dare look back at him for fear her heart would melt her resolve. Despite the fluttering occurring in her at this moment, in less than two months she’d be leaving town. And she didn’t want anything keeping her torn between her past and her future. It would be hard enough just to leave her best friend.

She’d almost found the courage to tell him when they rounded a bend and stopped dead in their tracks, their hands breaking apart. 

There was a car.

It was much further up the creek than anyone dared drive, and Kate could see that the interior had been burned out. The license plate was missing and the windows had all been smashed in. But the thing that caught her attention, the thing that had Kate trembling where she stood, was the sight of a charred hand hanging through the open driver’s side door.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Picture Book Review: Five Funny Tummy Men, by Jean Reed

The Dark Phantom Review

Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?

In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:

Mr. Boss, the one in charge

Mr. Swallow, catcher of food

Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well

Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body

Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body

FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is…

View original post 11 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Somebody Else’s Troubles,’ by J.A. English

Somebody Else’s Troubles by J.A. English 

Published by Zimbell House

An inventive, intriguing, and extraordinarily thought-provoking tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles centers on a titillating question: who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking to the corner store and simply disappearing?

About Somebody Else’s Troubles:  Ohio businessman Travers Landeman has plenty of troubles. Between a marriage that is loveless at best, a hateful, greedy, self-consumed wife, and a family business changing in unexpected and unwelcome ways, Travers copes in the best way he knows how: by making a conscious effort not to think.  But when his teenage nephew, Matthew Calkins, reaches out to him for help, Travers turns away. When his inaction causes unspeakable guilt, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean Island of Mabuhay, an act that sets into motion a most unusual series of events—events that will bond together a most unusual cadre of people.

Years pass and it appears that Travers, now settled in to a new life with a new family and a new name, has gotten away with it.  Or has he?

The Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company hires Albert Sydney McNab to bring Travers back to Ohio. But McNab, a bumbling, sore-footed, ne’er-do-well with a litany of failed careers—waiter, bus driver, door-to-door salesman—is surprisingly somehow hot on Travers’ trail.

Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archaeologists to Mabuhay. Dealt a fistful of trouble when he acquired Chicago’s oldest bookstore, The Yellow Harp, Joe Rogers has a penchant for vodka, an abject ineptitude for following orders, and an abundance of useless knowledge. But at a dig site in Mabuhay, Rogers discovers an ancient treasure—a jeweled mask. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, step off the sidelines and get back in the game?

Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the UN’s newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles—protestors who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as “cultural genocide.”

Do love, peace, and redemption even exist on Mabuhay?  Or are somebody else’s troubles just that?

A brilliantly-rendered tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles takes readers on an unforgettable journey spanning from the streets of Chicago’s gritty Austin neighborhood to the remote island paradise of Mabuhay.  Resplendent with richly-drawn characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, Somebody Else’s Troubles is peppered with wit and subtle humor. Novelist J.A. English delivers a clever, captivating, smart, seamless story replete with fascinating historical detail and literary allusion.   A beautifully written literary novel about escape and inertia, action and inaction, faith and doubt, and finding home—and hope—in the unlikeliest of places, Somebody Else’s Troubles is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

About the author:

A proud native of Paterson, New Jersey, J.A. English came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for a half century in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, where he still maintains a residence, but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic. English is a widely-published writer whose works have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller.  Visit J.A. English online at:  https://sites.google.com/view/somebodyelsestroubles/home

Find out more on Amazon

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Excerpt from ‘Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation,’ by Marilea C. Rabasa

Author HeadshotMarilea C. Rabasa is a retired high school teacher who moved west from Virginia eleven years ago. Before that, she traveled around the world with her former husband in the Foreign Service. She has been published in a variety of publications. Writing as Maggie C. Romero, Rabasa won the International Book Award, was named a finalist in both the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and the USA Best Book Awards, and earned an honorable mention in The Great Southwest Book Festival, for her 2014 release, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  She lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a number of years and now resides in Camano Island, Washington. Visit her online at:  www.recoveryofthespirit.com

Stepping Stones - Cover Art-1

About the Book

Addiction is a stealth predator. Unrecognized, it will grow and flourish. Unchecked, it destroys.

Marilea grew up in post-WWII Massachusetts in a family that lived comfortably and offered her every advantage. But there were closely guarded family secrets. Alcoholism reached back through several generations, and it was not openly discussed. Shame and stigma perpetuated the silence. Marilea became part of this ongoing tragedy.

Her story opens with the death of her mother. Though not an alcoholic, it is her inability to cope with the dysfunction in her life that sets her daughter up for a multitude of problems.

We follow Marilea from an unhappy childhood, to her life overseas in the diplomatic service, to now, living on an island in Puget Sound. What happens in the intervening years is a compelling tale of travel, motherhood, addiction, and heartbreaking loss. The constant thread throughout this story is the many faces and forms of addiction, stalking her like an obsessed lover, and with similar rewards. What, if anything, will free her of the masks she has worn all her life?

Read Marilea’s inspiring recovery story and learn how she wrestles with the demons that have plagued her.

Find out more HERE.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

EXCERPT

The Woods

            Whether it was thirty degrees with two feet of snow on the ground or ninety degrees and humid, I learned to fashion a life for myself outdoors, usually in the woods.

Areas hollowed out by the wind became the rooms in my make-believe home fashioned on tree stumps and big granite boulders. Draping an old, tattered sheet over a low horizontal branch, I cut squares in it to make windows. Bits and pieces in the garage that had been left for the dump found new purpose in my imaginary home. Rusty tin cans, smashed under my feet, became ashtrays. An oversized bottle was turned into a lamp. A couple of old crates were repurposed as chairs. A broken old radio left near the brook added a nice touch to the kitchen table, itself a small scrap of plywood. Playing out my fantasies was a favorite pastime.

            Inside the house, there was no escape. My family had moved into a converted schoolhouse in Massachusetts when I was six months old. There were four bedrooms upstairs, and since I was just a baby, my parents gave me the littlest one, the size of a large walk-in closet. As I grew, I felt terrible resentment toward my sister, Lucy, not only because she had been awarded the room with a window facing the lake and was a graceful dancing student but also because she was so much closer than I to our father. Still, I tried tagging along with her, though I felt she didn’t want me around.

One day I snuck into her room while Daddy was working in the basement and Mom was napping across the hall. I could do anything! I started by smashing one of her ballerina statues on the floor.

I looked at all her ballet costumes and pretty pink tutus. My sister was such a star, but I wanted attention too. I gazed at the perfumes and talcum powder on her dressing table. Just for a little while, I can be a princess too.

She had a growing collection of Joyce shoes, all carefully lined up in her closet. I just wanted to wear them in her room for a few minutes. I hoped that by putting on her shoes her magic would rub off on me. Maybe my parents would love me as much as they loved her.

I shuffled around, but the shoes were swimming on me as I struggled to keep them on my feet. So I gave up and put them back in her closet. Lucy would be home soon, and my princess time was running out. As I heard her approaching the stairs, I returned to my place in the corners of the house. Lucy went right into her closet.

I hadn’t been careful to put the shoes back where they’d been neatly placed.

Why had I been so careless?

Exploding out of her room, Lucy confronted not me but our mother, who was awake by then, about my latest theft. Tears streaming down her face, she implored:

          “Mother, Mary has been in my closet. She took my favorite shoes again. And she
smashed my favorite ballerina on the floor. You always let her get away with this. Please do something this time!”

          “Lucy, you’re the older of the two of you. You do something.”

          What could my sister do? There was no justice to be found in our house.

Hiding in my little room with the door closed, I listened to my mother and sister. Eventually I left and went outside to my home in the woods. There I performed a mock trial:

Using one of my father’s hammers, I banged my pretend gavel on a large granite boulder.

“You know why you were bad, Mary,” bellowed the judge. “You went into Lucy’s room

without permission. You wore her shoes. And you broke her statue. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I just wanted to feel special. I thought if I put on her shoes, I’d feel special

like she is. And I’m sorry I broke the ballet statue, but I’m so angry. Daddy loves her more than me!”

“That’s not an excuse, Mary. There is no excuse for what you did.”

“But I just wanted to get her attention!” I cried, breaking out in sobs.

The judge thundered back at me, unmoved, “You are guilty of jealousy and theft.” Guilty, guilty, guilty . . .

Unable to convince the judge of my innocence, I went back inside the house, ran to my room, and slammed the door.

But I wasn’t punished.

Guilty, guilty, guilty . . . those words buried themselves in a pocket next to my heart. And there they remained, like a ship’s anchor, weighing me down for the rest of my life.

Mother busied herself making dinner, and my sister remained in her room. Invisible walls, unaddressed resentments, perpetual isolation.

I learned from a very early age a terrible lesson: I could get away with things. If I were sneaky enough, or had enough enablers around me, my behaviors might yield no consequences. With no one slapping my wrist, the naughtiness continued. And my frustration and anger continued to chip away at my self-confidence and cloak itself in chronic depression.

I wasn’t always a brat, though. Mother wrote in a diary entry dated 2/26/56:

“L and M quarreled, and I smacked them both. L stayed in her room and sulked. After a while M went into the kitchen, got out a plate of cookies, and poured a glass of milk. She carried up the cookies and on the way said to me, ‘I’m going to take these cookies up to Lucy and make her feel better.’”

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Rising Place, by David Armstrong

 

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: David Armstrong

Website: therisingplace.com 

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
About the Book:
 
The Rising Place is based on an interesting premise: What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to a reclusive old maid who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an enthralling story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, southern town over seventy years ago?
When a young lawyer moves down south to Hamilton, Mississippi to begin his practice, one of his first assignments is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a 75-year-old spinster, shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is intrigued by her and can’t understand why this charming lady lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life.
After Emily dies, the lawyer goes to Emily’s hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he discovers a sewing box full of old letters, hidden in the back of one of her nightstand drawers. He takes the letters back to his office and reads them, and he soon learns why Emily Hodge died alone, though definitely not forgotten by those whose lives she touched.
About the Author:
 
David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an attorney, former mayor, and former candidate for the U.S. Congress. Currently, he serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. David received both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, before going on to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi.

The Rising Place Place, David’s second novel, was made into a feature film by Flatland Pictures before it was published by The Wild Rose Press. His third novel, The Third Gift, will be released by The Wild Rose Press this summer. He has also written four screenplays.

David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon, and lives in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus with a snarky old cat named Butch.
Find out more: therisingplace.com 
 
Read an excerpt! 
 
When Emily Hodge died, I assumed I would be one of the few people at her funeral. She had lived such a solitary life. She didn’t really seem like a loner, but that was before I learned about the murders and Miss Emily’s past.
She had no family that I was ever aware of. Once, though, when I went to see her in the retirement center before she moved to the hospital, she said something about a “Mr. Wilder” who had visited her years earlier when she used to live in her little yellow house. But I wasn’t sure who this Wilder fellow was or where he was from, and I doubted he was still alive. That was a long time ago, like Miss Emily had said.
And that yellow frame house of hers on Monmouth Avenue has gone through several tenants since Miss Emily moved out and went to the Methodist Retirement Center. Most of the asbestos shingles on the front bottom of the house were covered now with kudzu vine and badly cracked, and Miss Emily would have hated they were so noticeable, so I never told her. I realized several years ago that there were some things it was best Miss Emily never know about.
I never understood why Miss Emily didn’t marry and have her own children. She certainly was attractive enough, in her younger days. She showed me an old picture of herself one Sunday afternoon at the General Hospital when I went by her room to visit. She was a “striking woman,” as she herself commented. But it was more than just a striking woman I saw in that faded, seventy-year-old photograph. She was beautiful. Standing on the running board of an old Ford in a long, pink dress with a cream-colored, flapper hat on her head, she reminded me of someone from that old Bonnie and Clyde movie. It was hard to believe the pretty young woman in that photo was her. I probably stared at it too long, and it seemed to make her uneasy that I thought she was so beautiful.
“You were a lovely girl,” I awkwardly told her. When I handed the picture back to Miss Emily, she replaced it in a brown sewing box and slid it into the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. After she closed the drawer, I somehow knew Miss Emily would never show anyone that photograph of herself, again.
On the day of her funeral, it started raining about eight o’clock that morning. It was to be only a short, graveside service—just like she wanted—with no open casket, and she specifically requested that no flowers be sent. It was the only request of hers I didn’t honor. I couldn’t bear the thought of that precious lady, who had lived and died all alone, being buried without flowers. It just wasn’t right, so I ordered the finest arrangement of yellow roses I could find. I thought the color was appropriate, considering how much she loved her yellow house on Monmouth Avenue, and she always liked roses. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that sometimes people want things but just don’t know how to ask for them. I do believe Miss Emily would have liked those yellow roses.
It was a simple, Methodist prayer service that lasted only twenty minutes. No one cried during the service. I don’t think Miss Emily would have wanted that. It’s hard to cry for someone you don’t really know. But the old black people there seemed to know her as they passed by her casket after the last prayer. And when Reverend Elton read the quote from Saint Theresa (Miss Emily’s favorite saint), “Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you. Everything passes except God. God alone is sufficient,” all the black people shouted a loud, “Amen!”
But the most intriguing thing of all was that gray-haired stranger who kept staring at the small headstone next to Miss Emily’s grave that read, “Baby Boy, 1942,” and who then stayed after everyone else had left. As we were leaving, I noticed from my car that the old man was crying. He picked a single yellow rose from the arrangement on top of Miss Emily’s bronze casket and then gently placed it on the small grave, in front of the headstone. When my wife and I drove away, I looked back before we left the cemetery. The gentleman was limping away in the rain with his cane.
Before she died, Miss Emily had already disposed of most of her possessions, but there were two beautiful paintings and an antique rose vase still in her hospital room that she had left to a friend. She had given away all her clothes to a couple of nurses who promised they would take them to the Salvation Army for her, but I doubted that would ever happen. I remember commenting to Miss Emily years ago, when I was still a young lawyer, that a friend had once promised to retain our firm and then sought legal services elsewhere. Emily said, “Don’t put too much stock in other people, David—they’ll just disappoint you.”
As I was about to turn off the light and leave her empty room, I remembered the sewing box of letters in the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. I also remembered that wonderful old photograph of her leaning against a car on the beach, which she had shown me several years ago. I didn’t know why at the time, but I wanted that picture. I would keep it as a remembrance of this dear lady I had come to love.
I didn’t open the letter box until after I had returned to my office. I don’t know if Miss Emily would have liked my reading her letters, but I think I finally understand her now and why she died alone, though definitely not forgotten. I know I’ll never forget her. How could I?

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: