Chapter Three Wrinkle

This is week three in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle. 

I’ve decided to hook these challenges together to make a chapter story. Might as well make something out of it if I can. Besides it helps with inspiration, having a starting place.

Chapter one can be found here and chapter two here.  Reading them first will help today’s installment make more sense but isn’t totally necessary.

I’m enjoying this new adventure, writing fiction, it may even prove to be addictive. If it wasn’t for The Confusing Middle and his challenges I may never have made the first attempt. Thanks!

Here is this weeks installment.

Chapter 3

Wrinkle

 

Carly stood in the doorway of her new room and looked around with a profound sense of relief. She was safe and exhausted. Someone had the foresight to provide the necessities she’d had to leave behind in the mad life saving flight for her life. She was unprepared for the depth of gratitude rising up at the sight of a toothbrush and tooth paste.

They were successful. The promised signal came through and she was able to leave the office as if on an errand. A request for her participation in the company dilemma was never made so it wasn’t as though she was leaving in the middle of a task. It could even be a while before any eyebrows were raised over her absence.

John’s tech support group was awesome. They identified an above ground connection with the next building over. The hallway emptied into a large and crowded food court area where they were able to access an elevator to an underground parking garage. A motorcade of SUVs was waiting for them and after loading, with practiced stealth, they slipped out into traffic.

The SWAT team and local police officers, mobilized as backup, were unable to discover any snipers or other threatening individuals. They had no way to know if the enemy was not yet present or the backup teams were noticed and scared them off.

First things first though. Carly had not eaten since breakfast, many hours ago, and someone had promised food would be arriving shortly. Back in the living room Carly found she was not alone.

Everyone was starved after such a nerve-racking day. Thankfully, John let them eat their fill before announcing debrief.

Carly watched the team interact together. They appeared to be professional and well trained. They seemed to like and respect each other. A cohesive group was a comfort in the face of dangerous situations.

She hasn’t had a chance to get to know anyone but John and even that contact has been slight in recent years. She knew this would change in the days ahead as they took turns protecting her. She was also sure there would be many weeks, maybe even months, before she could be settled into a new secure life. Unless they could figure out who was after her. Sooner rather than later, hopefully.

The first order on John’s debrief agenda was to announce this stay would be short. They would move out first thing in the morning so please be ready.

The touch-downs would be brief in the days ahead. Without the knowledge of who or how, they would need to keep moving to avoid detection. Various modes of transportation would be used and, at times, unconventional places of refuge. Don’t be surprised at anything.

The support team back in the office was working feverishly to figure out who was behind this threat. A separate group was planning an escape route and another was building a new identity.

Once the office involvement was covered everyone wanted to talk about the excitement of the day’s events. Action was not an everyday experience and needed to be relived. A few times. They all added their bit to the conversation.

After a thorough rehashing – they were no further ahead than they were when they started. The day started, and finished, with two pictures and an unsigned threat.

Carly was surprised she slept as well as she did. It was a little rough having to wear the same clothes another day but somehow gratefulness to be alive changed her perspective. Clean could wait awhile.

The team was ready and waiting to move out. It was early, they could travel several hours before stopping for a meal. At least they had hot coffee and doughnuts left from last night to tide them over until then.

They were about to leave when John felt the text notification on his pocket cell phone.

“Hold up a minute guys.”

Well, this adds a new wrinkle to the situation.

John asked for a volunteer. Someone would need to go out and bring back breakfast for the crew. There would be no leaving until they re-evaluated and maybe changed the escape plan.

It was too early to share details of the new information with the team. He needed time first to figure out what it all meant.

***************

Hope you had fun.

Chapter two Signal

This is week two in the Sunday Scribblings  prompt hosted by Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle.

I figured it would be great if this whole exercise were to serve a dual purpose. With that in mind I turned this second story prompt into Chapter Two, to continue the story from last weeks prompt.  Chapter One can be found here

 

Chapter 2

Signal

This crisis was not on their radar for today. John’s team pays close attention to the usual online chatter. That’s what US Marshalls do. There have been no whispers of threat. Nothing catching their attention in this high-profile case.

The surprise panicked phone call coming in from Carly this morning has John rushing to mobilize his support team. A new safe location is needed, asap. Heavy security measures for the journey will be needed as well. Grabbing his partner, and four others, he leads them to the situation room. They need to devise a foolproof rescue plan to extract her from the downtown office tower.

The complication in this situation is lack of knowledge. Without the who or why, they are going in blind. Judging by the photos received this morning someone is watching the house and the office. Any movement will be noticed. Unless they can come up with a way to sneak her out.

Maybe tech support can find a discrete exit from the building. Easy access to a waiting vehicle is critical. If it is possible for the SUV to enter the building for loading, even better.

Their team is too small to do this alone. The backup of local law enforcement will be necessary to pull this off. It could be a trap. They would be outnumbered and outgunned if they were to rush in unprotected. The SWAT team, if they are available, would be ideal to neutralize possible threats. John’s call to the Police Chief has his office on board. The chief knows the area and thinks his guys can strategically place themselves out of sight, ready to swoop in as needed. SWAT and plainclothes will find ways to blend in too. It will be a comfort knowing they are on the lookout for rooftop snipers.

The next hurdle will be extraction without alerting the whole office. He dreads the way added attention could jeopardize everything.

Carly say’s she will wait safely in her office and slip out to meet them. If they can signal when it’s time.

The wait is necessary. She knows it takes time to arrange for her safety. She’s can’t help but be worried though. What if the reason for her position in this office interferes? The company she’s working for has its own crisis to deal with. What if they figure out a strategy for their problem and have a task for her? Before she can make her escape. This could get messy. Besides that, how will her sudden disappearance be explained. Won’t that raise its own set of alarms?

It’s a good thing she didn’t personalized her office in the months she’s been here. No need for regret over things left behind. Her apartment is a different story. The lease will need termination. They will send a team to collect her things. At least that’s what she imagines will happen.

This morning’s delivery of pictures will need to come along. For possible evidence if nothing else. The sender will have been careful to avoid fingerprints or any other identification markers but the pictures themselves may offer some clues.

The mystery is how did they find her. John and his team were beyond careful in the creation of her new identity. There is no way discovery could have happened by chance. Just the very thought of that brings chills up and down her spine.

There is more than one possible person behind this, that’s the bad news. Each one is as dangerous as the next. If John and his team manage to get her out of here alive, it will surely be a chore to keep her that way.

What makes her significant enough for this to be happening? That’s the question. All morning she’s been wracking her brain looking for answers. They obviously think she is a threat to them somehow. She must know or have seen something. Or they assume she has.

The pictures are tucked safely in her pocket. She’s ready. Now she just needs to pray John gives the signal before her team lead comes in with an office task.

Beginning … answering a challenge

Can I even do this?

A fellow blogger has issued a writing challenge . Check it out maybe you would like to join too. Anyway, he wanted to know who was in with the idea. Several weeks ago I produced my first small attempt at fiction writing (also part of a writing prompt suggestion). It turned out better than I expected and now I’m feeling somewhat encouraged to try again. The problem is, I have no stories rattling around in my head. How do I even come up with an idea never mind a whole story? To answer him, I said I might try.

My hope flew right out the window at the sight of his one word prompt. It seemed pretty impossible and I was ready to take a pass on this one. The thing is … as the days went by I figured I needed to at least put a little effort into it before giving up completely.

After rejecting a few ideas on where to go with a story there was one that seemed feasible. I had the germ of an idea, that’s all, no real details. With only this small bit to go on, I learned something about myself as I worked through this exercise. It’s giving me hope to think, maybe I’m not a lost cause after all.

It turns out I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I fly by the seat of my pants. I started writing with what I did have, and amazingly, I ended up with a little story. Albeit, one without a neat and tidy conclusion. It could be chapter one someday. Probably not, but it could be.

So here is my second small story, this one in answer to Peckapalooza: The Confusing Middle’s challenge. Beginning

Beginning

Carly opened her eyes to sunlight peaking through the slats of the window blinds. A promising start to the day. Nice weather always improves her outlook on life. The thought of a good cup of coffee and a bagel at her favorite breakfast stop doesn’t hurt either.

She couldn’t help but smile as she went about getting ready for the day. This job was working out well, much better than expected. It’s not easy taking on a new career with no prior training or experience. Who knew she could actually do it.

The prospect of a sunny day was disappearing quickly as she stepped off the elevator. Something was up. The tension in the office was palpable and she had no idea why. The first thought to cross her mind was to wonder if it had anything to do with her. She hadn’t been there very long and her entry into the company did not follow the usual advancement track. Some toes were stepped on to make it all possible. There had to be at least one, maybe two, holding a grudge for being passed over by a newbie.

It wasn’t like she had little education or experience. She did in fact hold several degrees and enjoyed success in a field unrelated to this one. It wasn’t the same but it did qualify her, in a backward kind of way, to be successful here. There had been much thought put into this placement and all expectations were that she would excel. If this morning’s stress couldn’t be related to her performance, what else was going on?

As she powered up her computer an email flashed on the screen. Her team was ordered to the board room in ten minutes. They were about to find out what was going on and it couldn’t be anything good. Not with the harsh tone of the summons.

It didn’t lessen the team’s sense of apprehension any to see the large management representation seated at the head of the table. At least her mind was eased on one aspect. This couldn’t be about her.

Opening remarks verified that thought. This was much bigger. Someone’s job could be on the line, maybe even more than one someone. Management was out for blood. The company stands to lose millions unless they can come up with a fast solution for a project that has gone terribly wrong. The client is screaming law suit and they intend to deliver unless this is made right and made-right now.

The meeting was short. It doesn’t take much time to deliver this heavy ultimatum. Finding an acceptable solution will not be accomplished as quickly.

Carly is not part of the lead on this project, so there’s not much she can do until someone gives her instructions. Heading back to the office while the rest brainstorm, her mind is on clearing her desk. She can do her best if she’s ready to run the minute they call.

The sight of newly delivered mail is distracting. There’s an envelope leaning against her keyboard where it can’t be missed. A big padded envelope with no return address. Who would be sending her something like this? Warning bells began sounding in her head. The room started spinning as she glanced at the contents.

Pictures. Pictures of her leaving the house. Pictures of her entering this office building. The nightmare is beginning all over again. How had they found her? With trembling hands she placed a call to her contact in the Marshall’s office, the company dilemma completely forgotten.

**************

I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I did writing it.

Today is a slow day for the usual offerings of Free and Bargain book suggestions. Tomorrow could be better but if it’s not I have a good list of read-and-enjoyed to share with you.

As always,

Happy Reading!

My first attempt at fiction.

I think I’m changing my mind.

I read fiction almost exclusively and still — I have a strong conviction there is not one  single story inside me.

It seems I could be wrong. Maybe it would even happen again. It’s only a micro story.

It all starts when I feel inspired to suggest a story prompt to a few friends. One friend is quick to offer several attempts but he isn’t quite catching the vision I have in mind. I want a few paragraphs (at least) showing heart stopping emotion. It could be fear, but it could easily be another emotion. The prompt is …. rounding the corner his/her heart stopped.

Now, I’m feeling the need to put my vision on paper somehow, as an example.

I’ve had a few months to let this idea percolate and since I’ve promised our writers group something for critique this week…

Maybe pressure is not a bad thing.

I’m pretty happy with just coming up with a fiction story never mind whether it’s any good or not. Actually, I think it’s not too bad for a newbie. They say you begin to sound like those you hang out with. They also say if you want to write, read. I seem to have the reading part well in hand. It has helped abundantly.

So… here’s my little story.

GRAMMA!

Kicking at the occasional pebble or clump of grass as he left school behind, Benny was in no hurry to get home. It was Friday. He had the whole weekend ahead of him. Freedom. No worries about homework or stern teachers. School was okay but there were lots of other things he liked better. Time with his friends, and baseball – that was fun. His team has a game tomorrow and some batting practice tonight would be good if he wants to be ready to do his part. They need to win if they expect to stay in the tournament.

He wasn’t paying much attention to life around him as he concentrated on his weekend baseball plans. The fire truck rushing by several streets over barely even registered. It wasn’t until he rounded the corner and recognized the house on fire that his heart stopped. GRAMMA!

It was his grandmother’s house. He broke into a run. He had to get to her. She would have trouble getting out of the house by herself, he had to help her.

He was almost there when a strong arm wrapped around his waist and hauled him off his feet. NOOOO. He kept screaming as he twisted and kicked, desperate to get loose. The next thing he knew he was behind a fire truck with tears streaming down his face. Gramma!

He hadn’t noticed all the fire trucks, ambulance, police cars, or people running everywhere. His ears didn’t pick up on the big burly fireman trying to talk to him. They kept moving toward an ambulance where he could see someone with an oxygen mask sitting on the stretcher. Gramma!

He was so scared the very sight of her couldn’t stop his tears. Did this mean she was okay? He had to know. The minute his feet touched the ground he raced past everyone and was beside her before anyone could object. She looked like she was ok. She was sitting up and hugged him tight but the man looking after her said they were taking her to the hospital to be checked out. The smoke, there’d been too much smoke before the fireman was able to carry her out.

This brought a new worry. Gramma was going to the hospital and they said he couldn’t go with her. What was going to happen to him? The house was burnt but he couldn’t stay there alone anyway. Soon he decided someone else must have thought about this too. Mrs. Carter, Grandma’s next-door neighbor, came over to say he could stay with her tonight. They’d have to see but they might even be able to pop up to the hospital for a quick visit before bed.  Supper would be macaroni and cheese with wieners. Oh… his favorite, how did she know?

As he slowly drifted off to sleep a new worry crept into his thoughts. If the house is too damaged to live in what will happen? Where would Grandma stay and how would her house get fixed? Could it be fixed?

The next morning after a yummy breakfast Benny and Mrs. Carter headed to the hospital, Grandma was coming home today. He could hardly wait to see her and make sure she was alright.

Just outside her door he spied them. MOM! DAD! How did they make it home so quickly from their week away? Someone must have called them.

Whew. Now he could relax. Mom and Dad were here and they would know what to do. Should he tell them how scared he was?

****************

Writing this was fun, I hope inspiration hits me again one day. Today is a slow day for books and slow makes it a good day to post this. My goal with this story was to make you feel something. Did it work?

Happy Reading!

 

Beauty in Hiding

Reviews. Everyone one wants them. Writers, editors, publishers, and book sellers, to name a few. I totally get why they ask and why reviews are so important to them. Unfortunately, I view the requests with frustration. I have no confidence in my ability to deliver what they are looking for.

I am selective in my reading choices, There is a strict criteria, laid out in my head, for the books that make it into this blog. It encompasses things like writing ability, originality, character development, editing. I like tight writing, puns and dry humor, lack of frustrating characters, and stories free of agendas. And, topping the list – emotional experience.

The story has to take me along for the ride. All of the stories I like do this. to a certain degree. I have to take variables into account and relax my position, though. Not every book deserves an A+ but can still be worth the read, and the mention.

Having said all this, it would seem I should be able to offer an opinion. The criteria helps me decide whether it’s worth reading to the end and then it helps me decide if I want, or should, add it to the recommended list. Using a mental checklist doesn’t really give me  enough solid thoughts to write a review.

At the end of a great book I’m left with feelings rather than concrete thoughts. I savor the feelings and bask in them for a while but I’ve never tried to put them into words. I think it would be like turning steam into ice. I’m not sure I could. And I’m not convinced I want to.

My daughter says having to critique a book would take the joy out of reading. I can relate to that thought.

For now, anyway, I hope the decision process involved in listing my favorite picks will count for something with the folks looking for reviews

Does anyone else share this guilty feeling? … for reading books knowing it won’t end with a review? I feel like this is a struggle unique to me. It would be nice to be proven wrong.

 

Beauty in Hiding Beauty in Flight series – Beauty in Hiding book 2 – Robin Patchen ….. Harper has an undeserved prison record which limits her options and she’s desperate with a sudden need to go into hiding. It appears Red, her Alzheimer patient, is being poisoned and she suspects his grandson is behind it.  Money and security are major hurdles in this flight. Red is wealthy but she has no way to safely access any of his money, not with his grandson in charge of finances. The first priority is finding a place to hide, she will have to figure everything else out after that.

Finding a believable reason for their presence in a new community is challenging with Red’s memory issues. Jack, her new landlord, isn’t buying her story. He can tell they are running scared from something but she is not sharing. Reluctantly, he decides to find ways to help them until he can figure out if that something is a threat to his little town.

the mystery at Underwood house  An Angela Marchmont Mystery – The Mystery at Underwood House book 2 – Clara Benson

March's luck Larry Macklin Mysteries – March’s Luck book 5 – A.E. Howe

Love's Redemption Walden Beach Series – Love’s Redemption book 3 – Andrea Boyd

The Mockingbird Drive An Alex Vane Media Thriller – The Mockingbird Drive book 3 – A.C. Fuller

 

Hearthland volume 1  The Hearth Land Volume One – Chautona Havig

 

Crazy Love  Crazy Love – Francis Chan


 

I’m hoping some of you will chime in on my review dilemma. Does anyone else ever feel reluctant about reviews or do you love giving them? 

 

 

 

A Heart Set Free on Flight 259

Before we get started I need to mention…. a new page has been created with the sole purpose of keeping track of authors showing up in these blog posts. I hope some of you will find the new list helpful and inspiring. Personally, it is useful already. I’m gaining a much clearer overall picture of who and what I’m reading. It’s mindboggling to see how many little-known authors are showing up on the list. I find that pretty exciting. The world of writing has changed so much in the last decade or two. It’s now possible for an impossible number of books to be published. The overall quality of writing is consistently higher too, I’m finding. Amazing, and encouraging.

We all go through different seasons of reading in our lifetime, at least I hope we all do. My current season is discovering new things. New and different story ideas as well as  authors. I’m happy to see publishers embracing the idea of allowing authors to write outside the box of the last best seller (theirs or someone else’s.) I’m glad, because that kind of thinking  helps with a supply that will feed my hunger.

 

a heart set free   A Heart Set Free – Janet S, Grunst …… Heather Douglas is desperate for a new start after the death of her father, and the betrayal of both her intended and her brother. Left with no resources, fleeing an unjust scandal, she books passage to America as a seven-year indentured servant.

Matthew Stewart is in town to visit his children and stock up on supplies. It is a new and unwelcome idea when his friend Maggie suggests he should look over the indentured servants on the new ship just in. His children could go home with him if he had someone there to look after them.

He has no intention of following through with this suggestion but one of the women draws his attention. She seems different than the rest. Maybe…..

Heather watches him watch her and wonders what he could be discussing with a well dressed gentleman. When Matthew steps up to bid on her she is expecting he has arranged for a servant. He accepts possession of her but doesn’t share he’s made arrangements for a hurried wedding before they leave town. What happened to her right of freedom?

The children have just been told and they are as shocked as Heather. They aren’t ready for any of this either.

Flight 259 The Hope Series – Flight 259 book 1 – Staci Stallings …. Three years and Jenna is still reeling from the loss of her father, husband, and daughter. Claustrophobic living with her mother, she decides on a drastic change. Missing her flight by seconds, she can’t turn back or she will lose the courage to try again. A ticket on the next available flight anywhere, as long as it’s East, is what she has to do.

Single parent, Scott and Lane, his two-year-old, are headed home after a visit with Grandma and Grandpa. Lane is not happy about leaving them. Struggling to cope with an uncooperative child, Scott is not winning any friends among the other passengers. Life begins to look so much better when a  new crop of passengers board for the second leg of the trip. A new seat mate makes him feel like an angel has been sent to help them survive. Jenna seems to have the right touch when it comes to unhappy little boys.

Everything seems to be going so much better and they will soon be home. A welcome relief…… until they encounter an unexpected, horrific storm. There’s a terrifying explosive cracking sound and the plane begins to go down.

Midnight is my time  Midnight is My Time – Mike Dellosso …. Andy Mayer is struggling to survive. Just like everyone else after The Event, the one that saw many people mysteriously disappear. War has broken out between animals and the remaining humans. The animals seem to be winning.

Missy, sees with all of her senses, just not with her blind eyes. She sees Andy sleeping in a drainage pipe. She would leave him there but she can tell he has a story and somehow it is supposed to connect with her story, so she wakes him.

They both have a story, a past, and special gifts they haven’t learned how to use. There is an old man who keeps showing up, and somehow, he seems to be helping them get to where they need to be. The old man is not the only one though. Opposition appears in unexpected places, taking them unaware. Someone wants to stop them but why is still a mystery.

The Bargain   The Bargain – Aaron D Gansky ….. Connor Reedly is devastated, his beloved wife is dying of cancer, and he doesn’t want to miss a minute of the time she has left. They’ve made the long trip to visit Nadine’s sister because  there is an urgency about her dying wish. He thinks they would be better staying home but he can’t deny her anything.

They arrived just hours ago and Aida has someone she wants Conner to visit now?

Mason is looking for an award winning journalist to write ten articles. The dying town of Hailey needs to be saved from destruction by a tornado. If he writes articles proving there are ten good citizens the town will be spared and Nadine will live. He has ten days to write ten articles and he will be paid twenty five thousand dollars for each one.

Of course, Conner thinks this guy is a crazy and wants nothing to do with him. He is tempted though. Between rising medical debt and pressure from the two women in his life, he is at least  considering it. An emergency trip to the hospital makes him consider a little faster.

The interviews he must conduct for these articles are not turning out as expected. Some of these people seem to have more bad than good in their lives. It’s a challenge to write an article proving there is anything good in this town, he has to look pretty hard to see it.

The whole thing is overwhelming and time consuming. The aspect he resents most is having to leave his dying wife. It all feels like a complete waste of time but whenever he gets discouraged and tries to stop Nadine gets sicker. Her best days are when he is writing.

He can’t quit and nothing about this is easy, in fact it’s downright life threatening. Not only by tornados. Someone is trying to kill him, and the people helping him.


There are some rather different books this time, each one going in unexpected but welcomed directions.

 

Mysteries, and writing

The other day someone asked me if this blog is about writing. It is…… indirectly.

I am a novice at writing so have little to offer that would be useful in perfecting a writer’s craft. I have thoughts and opinions but nothing I would share.

On the other hand, I have much experience as a reader. I’ve learned to recognize good writing and not-so-good writing. I am passionate about the value of an active and robust reading life in an aspiring writer.

Deeply disappointing experiences with books that could have been great and weren’t has ignited this passion to be an influencer.

To be great you have to hang out with the greats.

Discussion of mechanics will only take you so far. Watching a master at work will take you places an instruction book could never hope to go.


Attempting to inspire, here are a few more examples of good writing.

If you get caught up in a story and lose sight of the writing……it was a good book.

hunt for justice   Hunt for Justice Willa Carson Novels – Due Justice book 1, Twisted Justice book 2 – Diane Capri ….

Due Justice …  Judge Willa Carson and her sister have a long history of a rocky relationship and Carly has been ignoring Willa’s attempts to connect with her for over a year. The sight of her sister showing up at her door is a bit of a shock, to say the least. This visit wouldn’t be happening without good reason and Willa is immediately wary of being drawn in, again. If she asks the reason for the visit, and it turns out to be criminal in nature, she would have to choose between loyalty to her sister and the letter of the law requiring her to report to law enforcement. It could mean her job.

Carly is a successful lawyer herself and knows how to make things go her way. Despite her best efforts to avoid involvement, Willa finds herself signed up as legal counsel for a sister accused of murder. Can she manage to walk this tightrope? Helping her sister  while keeping her job? Or will she crash and burn?

Twisted Justice …. Judge Willa Carson’s beloved husband has been arrested for murder. He has been leading the fight to defeat General Randall Andrews’ nomination to the Supreme Court. Andrews has been found dead and the police are convinced the evidence points to George Carson.

Willa doesn’t believe George did it but she feels helpless because he won’t discuss it with her. He says he has an alibi but can’t, or won’t – she’s not sure which – tell her where he was. He is refusing to hire a lawyer or to discuss his defense with anyone.

Willa decides; under normal circumstances George trusts her judgement so hopefully he will this time. One of Willa’s old classmates has become a high powered defence lawyer, it looked like a good fit but things don’t go as smoothly as hoped. George still refuses to cooperate and clues are hard to come by. Things are not what they seem and the truth – when it comes out – is a shock.

dangerous mistakes  Leah Nash Mysteries – Dangerous Mistakes book 2 – Susan Hunter ….. Reporter Leah Nash is back at her small-town newspaper after a disgraceful exit from her big city job. She plans to do whatever it takes to survive this job and work on her true-crime book as a way to get back to the city. This won’t be easy since her new boss seems to have it in for her for some reason.

Escaping the notice of her boss becomes difficult when the daughter of the local surgeon is convinced her father did not commit suicide but was murdered. The authorities  believe this murder theory is a figment of an overactive imagination so in desperation  she turns to Leah for help. Soon everyone in town, everyone that matters anyway, is upset with Leah for poking her nose in where it doesn’t belong.

Even she begins to question the sanity of the murder theory but then odd things begin to happen and it’s clear, this is a dangerous position to be in, chasing a determined killer. Well, so is she … determined ….. to find the truth.


 

If your passion for reading is at a low ebb, I hope you will be inspired to make a change. 

Here’s to finding books that will carry you away to magical places.

Happy hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcasts, vlogs, and blogs

Podcasts and live videos have been capturing my attention lately and I am hooked. There is something about live interaction that makes the dissemination of information so much more attractive – at least to me anyway.

Podcasts

Carey Nieuwhof is one of the podcasters I’ve been following lately.    http://careynieuwhof.com/mypodcast/

Carey’s specialty is leadership training and everything he does revolves around that.  He has the gift of finding interesting guests and insightful questions for his podcasts. Every one I’ve listened to so far has been worthwhile and inspiring; even more interesting  than the titles suggested to this non-leader type  person. I examine the subject title and wonder how it could relate to me. It’s a surprise to find there is always something to catch my interest and keep me listening. Most of the interviewees have recently written a book and that’s always part of the conversation as well.

Today’s podcast was to be about organizing your calendar in a way that would make it possible to accomplish a daunting list of tasks without spending mega hours in the office. This guest is a busy man with an overwhelming mountain of responsibility  but somehow he manages to streamline his day and get it all done.  They discussed his methods for a while and then switched to the topic of his new book. It’s called The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery, by guest Ian Morgan Cron. It’s based on an old psychological system with nine personality types. That’s a higher number than some of today’s more popular systems use, which makes it different before we even get started. They touched briefly on each of them in the hour long podcast. Carey had read the book and applied the test to himself so the informed discussion was enlightening.

The first order of business at the end of the podcast was to purchase my own  copy from Amazon. I’m always interested to see what I can learn about myself with any of these tools. I haven’t started reading the book yet but I’m sure I’ll be talking about it when I do.

Video Podcasts (Vlogs)

Anglican Unscripted is a video podcast/vlog I’ve been following for a year or so. They do a journalism show in live video. The subject is always news as it relates to the Anglican church and happens once or twice a week. I’m not Anglican, (although I am ecumenical –  does anyone even use that word anymore?) but I find their discussions interesting. It appeals to me because I like to have a feel for what is going on in the world.

There are three main participants in the show; Kevin Kallsun and George Conger in the US, (Connecticut and Florida) and Gavin Ashenden in the UK. The link to check them out is AnglicanTV Ministries – YouTube.

Gavin used to be chaplain to the Queen but parted ways with the Anglican Church over doctrinal issues. He is highly educated and has a wise way of expressing himself. George is an Episcopal priest and while he agrees with Gavin, most of the time, he has his own slant on things. I enjoy watching them discuss the issues of the day. Once in a while, we even hear interviews from Australia, Israel, Africa, or several other places.

This week Anglican Unscripted/Anglican TV shared six videos that captured my interest enough  to watch all of them three times. The speakers were polished, knowledgeable, and inspiring; workshop leaders at an Anglican’s For Life Conference in Washington DC. The conference was in conjunction with a Right to Life march happening there that weekend.

The speakers did touch on the subject of abortion, but only one spoke to it in depth. The others spoke on topics like terminal illness and its affect on both the patient and the family; the needs  that stem from this hurting community and how they can be met. Up to ninety percent of a persons support systems fall away after cancer diagnosis, mostly because as a society we don’t know how to deal with the issue and tend to run away from it. The challenge from each speaker was to step up and learn what we can do to be there for these people in our lives. They talked about post abortion devastation and the grief process that is being endured hopelessly, in silence, and about bringing hope to the elderly – their life isn’t over, it still has meaning and purpose, if they look for it.

On the surface the subjects sound depressing but each speaker dealt with their segment in a way that brought hope for a better future.

I found the speakers compelling and know I will be contemplating their thoughts for some time to come. If you would like to hear more, the videos are on YouTube on the Anglican TV channel. It would be well worth your time if you have a heart for hurting people.

The speakers I liked the best were Georgette Forney, Rick Berge, David Bereit, Aveda King (related to Martin Luther King Jr.), Ryan T Anderson, and Cathie Young.

Blogs

Last but not least, I have been following Dr. Perry’s blog at  makeitultrapsychology.wordpress.com.  I recommend his site if you are looking for safe and helpful input in your life. Check out his bio for a clearer idea of what his site is all about.

This time it was an excellent and helpful post about empathy; but what really caught my attention was a comment on the post. A reader mentioned a book she found helpful, by Alan Alda, one of my favorite actors in the old Mash TV series.

Alan is an intelligent, educated, and well-read man interested in all things science. He hosted a science show for over a decade and has followed some of his own ideas with an obsession. Communication is dear to his heart and he’s put much effort into testing and understanding his ideas for improvement. Empathy forms a large part of his strategy for good communication and he has a light-hearted way of sharing serious information so that it sticks. He’s written a book called If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?  I’m half way through it and I have to tell you; he has a lot to say. This book is the literary equivalent of a well packed suitcase that must be sat on to be closed successfully.

Empathy is connection with another person. You learn how to notice what they are thinking and feeling. This takes communication, and relationships, to a whole new level. Empathy improves not only verbal exchanges but written ones as well. We can become better writers if we practice empathy. And practice is exactly what’s needed. the more we do it the better we become and our work will improve to show it.

If I understood you

There is so much more that could be said about each and every one of these examples but I wanted only to give you a taste, hoping you would explore these sites for yourself, and be enticed to follow them too.

Happy hunting.

 

 

 

Share Your Blog 2019

This post is inspired by the brainchild of a popular blogger, Paul, at  https://captain’sspeech.wordpress.com  Check out his post, Share Your Blog 2019, I could never express this idea the way he can.

I would share his post here for you but he received way too many comments in response to his challenge/request. If you do visit his site, you may end up joining his thousands of followers, which would be a good thing.

Basically, his idea is this – as a blogging community we need a shot in the arm. He claims most of us have been moving along sluggishly, if at all,  in 2018. He’s right, we’ve all seen it. Interest seemed to drop off dramatically and it’s been getting harder to find something interesting to read on a regular basis.

Paul’s idea also appeals to every blogger’s need for better stats; more views and more followers. Today’s challenge is something proactive to increase our numbers.

Apparently there was a time when WordPress promoted community by encouraging the idea Paul is suggesting, and it worked. Now, we need to take the initiative to promote community this way.

Paul invited his followers, and anyone else who happened to stumble upon his blog, to introduce themselves and promote their blogs in the comment section of his.

I’ve gone back several times to see what the response has been like. It has been amazing. Many of us have never commented on his site before but many did this time. You could see that the introductions were getting lots of attention too, and conversations were  sparked when like minded bloggers discovered each other.

Paul always encourages comments and interacts with people when they do, which is entertaining in itself.

Comments have never taken off on my site, probably because of my tendency to hide where it’s safe. Also, I’m an introvert and struggle with stilted small talk. Honest reactions though, I can handle. I’m looking to change it up a bit in 2019 and encourage  conversations. If I manage to inspire you in someway, hopefully there would be a little bit of conversation to be had with some honest feeling in it.

So, here’s today’s challenge: introduce yourself in the comment section. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. What is it about and how/why did you get started?

I don’t know if Paul’s stats improved any in this exercise but I know mine did (Welcome! to the new followers) by speaking up on his site. I know yours will too, if you comment here.

So don’t be shy, speak up, you never know who you will get to meet and, your stats will get a shot in the arm. What have you got to lose?

I would value the opportunity to learn more about my followers, so I’m personally  looking forward to seeing your comments on here too.

Go for it!

Janette  (I’m coming out of hiding in 2019)

P.S. I’m grateful for those of you following me on this blog, you keep me posting.

Happy New Year

January 1st is a good day to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. May 2019 be kind to you, kinder than you expect it to be. And, may your travels bring you many great books in 2019.

Finding books to read is a challenge for me this week, all because the unthinkable happened on Christmas eve. My Kindle died with a broken screen.

It seems I crammed my constant companion into my purse one too many times. Imagine the shock and dismay to pull it out and see a frozen fragmented screen.   Just when I wanted to catch a few stolen reading moments too. It felt like the end of the world. Panic set in.

Of course, at that moment I didn’t know the problem was the screen. I thought maybe a reboot would resolve the issue. A half dozen attempts later and I had to admit defeat. Not ready to lose hope, I wondered if travelling in our cold winter weather was the cause, maybe a warm up would wake things up. With high expectations for a positive outcome,  I looked for the warmest spot I could find in a cool bedroom – under the covers with me. It was a sad moment, facing the truth of the death of my friend.

Did I ever mention I’m addicted?

The next question was how to replace it in a timely fashion. I wanted to walk into a store and walk out with a new one ready to read. I decided the best option was my most favored office supply store and I hurried over there at the first possible moment. I was crushed to find they didn’t carry Kindles. They used to.

You would think I would scurry home to figure out what to do next. Nope. I figured while I was there I should check out some other things I have been thinking about lately. After about a half hour of cruising up and down one section, thoughtfully reading all the labels, considering what they meant in relation to my needs – a clerk (who turned out to be the store manager) stopped to ask if I needed help. He didn’t know what he was getting into when he asked that question.

To make a long story short, he answered my many questions, listened to my many needs and this old lady walked out of the store having purchased a powerful gaming computer. I chuckle out loud every time I think of it. I love my new computer.

The need for greater power comes because I have started another blog, with a totally different slant, and some of my plans for it will require a capacity I don’t currently have in the computers I’ve been using.  I know I will tell you more about it once it’s ready to go public, in case you are interested.

In spite of no Kindle, I left the store a happy camper.

At home I took the plunge and ordered a new Kindle online. It will show up in about a week. In the meantime, I do have the Kindle app on several devices so it’s not like I can’t read if I want to. Telling you about the latest books I’ve read has been the challenge. The app on the computer sorts differently and I’m lost. In the fruitless search I’ve also discovered I can read many books again, because I don’t remember reading them the first time. Good to know, when I am out of recent books appealing to me.

I am feeling pretty excited about the surprises 2019 could hold. I’m excited about new ventures already unfolding in my life. I have two major passions (more than that if I’m honest but only two to blog about – although I will admit that could change) one here about books and the new one. The new one is stretching me into unexpected first time areas.

There seems to be a general sense of positive expectancy about the future. I feel it but I’m also hearing other people talk about it. Talk that is encouraging us to take risks….. to be all that we can be. To live up to our potential. To dream, ignoring the naysayers.

The purchase of the new Kindle and the expensive new computer is evidence of my commitment to becoming more than I’ve ever been before.

I hope that many of you will hear the challenge too, to become more than you’ve ever been. I think the world needs us, more than ever, to stand up and do this.

That’s my challenge for 2019…. Dream big and go for it!


I will save books for the next post but will  still challenge you to keep reading! I am reading too.

All the best for 2019

Happy reading!