Happy New Year!

 

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Here we are, seven days into the new year. Have you broke any resolutions yet? Did you make any? I made my annual ‘I’m giving up sugar’ declaration. For five days I suffered from  an unexplainable headache, while out to dinner with the family, my husband suggested I have a soda. Well, you know where this is going, my headache completely disappeared. So I still plan to give up sugar, but I think I’ll have to go out it a bit slower.  If you have any good ideas for how to do this, leave them in the comments.

Of course most of my resolutions have to do with writing more and writing better. One of my goals is to have book three of the Village Green series done by spring.

Do you have any writing goals for 2018? I’d love to hear about them. Maybe you have some advice I could use.

Until next time…

The Prophecy of Mary Anne

The Prophecy of Mary Anne, the prequel to The Village Green, is now available for purchase.

Read the first review …

Reading this has left me with a desire to read the first book. The world is changing and with those changes, new laws and regulations have been enacted, but some of these appear to just be created on a whim. Twin sisters, Mary Anne and Susan live on a farm with their folks and thanks to Mary Anne’s unique gift, they know that things are only going to become more difficult. Strong story line with characters that jump right out of the pages and quickly pull you into the story.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1941031477

The Obituary-A Short Story

John Mason had the odd habit of reading the obituaries every morning while eating his breakfast.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be so odd if you were in your seventies,” his girlfriend complained, “but for a man in the prime of his life…it’s just weird.”

She was right. John was forty-two and very fit, obsessively so. He ran marathons, followed a strict diet and rode his bike to work. He had only one defect and that was his heart. When he was a teenager he was diagnosed with a heart condition that threatened to take his life, but John was intent on living as long as possible. And with all the scientific advances, he believed he could very well beat Death all together.

“Who are you looking for?” asked his girlfriend Lisa.

“I’m not looking for any one person,” he answered. “I’m looking at their ages.” John gave a satisfied sigh and flipped the page.

Lisa looked exasperated. “That is so morbid. Why can’t you just enjoy your life and quit obsessing over death.”

“This is how I enjoy life. Death tried to take me once and I’m not going to let it happen again.”

“You say that as though death were a person, bent on killing you. It will happen to all of us sooner or later.”

She could see he was not paying attention to her as he had gone back to scanning the names of the dead and sipping his mineral water. Lisa kissed the top of his head, grabbed her bag and left his apartment. She had heard his story before and knew she wasn’t going to change him; it was just one of John’s little idiosyncrasies and she would have to learn to put up with it.

***

            The next morning was like every other. John sat in his exquisitely clean kitchen, at his glass-top table, eating his whole grain toast and fruit.  He opened the local newspaper, ignoring sports and world events and went straight to the obituaries.

Ashley Blake, he read, died at age thirty-two. “Ha! I beat her,” he said out loud. He went on reading name after name while nibbling at his breakfast and feeling more and more pride each time he came across someone younger than himself. After a time of gloating over the dead, his began to feel a little guilty over his somewhat callous attitude and decided he would read only one more today. Scanning the long list of recently departed he came across something that made him nearly choke on his perfectly toasted bread.

It read: John Mason, age forty-two, died October 19, 2016. The notice went on to tell of his activities in life and list the loved ones he had left behind.

John took a drink of water and swallowed the toast sitting in his throat, then reread the obituary thinking it must be another John Mason. But no, it was most definitely him.  His heart skipped a beat. Clutching his chest as he always did when this happened he said out loud, “Calm down. Remember your breathing.”

Breathe in… one, two, three. Breathe out…one, two, three. His heart began to beat regularly again. Now who would play such a prank? Someone with a sick sense of humor. Brad! Brad Lewis from the office, he was always pulling practical jokes. It had to be him. I’ll just call him and clear this whole thing up.

John went to his room to retrieve his cell phone. He flipped the light switch by the door. Nothing. He flipped it again. Still nothing. In his frustration, he cursed. These light bulbs are supposed to last for years. He tried the lights in the bathroom and hallway, none of them worked. Did he forget to pay his bill? No, he nether forgot anything; it must be an outage. It wasn’t important right now. Right now, the most important thing was to speak to Brad.

John grabbed his phone and scrolled through his contact list stopping on Brad’s information. We’ll just end this now, he thought as he tapped in the number. Nothing happened. No service? What was going on? John’s defective heart began to beat out of rhythm again. He sat on the edge of his ergonomic mattress and tried to control his breathing. Alright, I just need to get out of here. I’ll go see Lisa.

He dressed slowly always aware of the beating of his heart. Deciding that biking would be too stressful he opted to walk. John pushed his way through the crowds unaware of the people he was irritating. If he could just see a familiar face it would make everything better. Taking the elevator rather than the stairs he reached the third floor and turned right, his pace quickening as he came closer to her door.  He rang the doorbell. No answer. He rang it again. Still no answer.  In his frustration, he banged on her door. On the opposite side of the hall a woman opened her door a crack and peeked out. She cleared her throat. John turned around, embarrassed by his actions he attempted to make an excuse, but she quickly cut him off by telling him that Lisa had gone away for the weekend. That’s right, he had completely forgotten. She was visiting her family this weekend.

I’ve got to see Brad. He must be behind this. John walked briskly, but not too briskly, still being careful of his weak heart, back to his apartment to get Brad’s home address. John was feeling calmer now, having convinced himself this was all just a joke. He pulled the keys from his pocket and inserted one in the deadbolt. The key wouldn’t turn. He checked again, it was the right key, maybe in his agitated state he had gone to the wrong door. Looking up at the number painted there he saw a for rent notice taped to the door.

John’s heart began beating out of rhythm. He clutched at his chest and tried to control his breathing. One, two…His mind kept returning to the obituary. Breathe in…His heart gave a final thump and John fell to the floor.

***

Through choking sobs Lisa spoke, “How could this happen? He was so careful about his health.” Brad put a comforting arm around her shoulder and gazed down at the body lying in the satin lined casket. “I just don’t know,” he whispered.

At the foot of John’s casket, unseen by the mourners, stood a dark cloaked figure, its bony fingers tapping on the lid. A grin spread across the fleshless face as he hissed out the words, “I win.”

 

The Prequel

book fairy

After a year and a half of struggling to finish my second book, it’s finally finished! And not only finished but I have a signed contract with my publisher Clean Reads.

The Prophecy of Mary Anne is a prequel to The Village Green. I don’t have the release date yet, but as soon as I do you’ll be the first to know.

Thanks for reading,

M.A.

Book Banning

banned books

 

I came across an article in my Facebook feed today and had to write about it.

Banning books is something that has always been associated with Nazis and Communists. The picture of armed soldiers and brain-washed citizens standing round a pyre of burning books is something straight from a dystopian novel. Or is it?

In Portland, OR the Public Schools board voted to eliminate the use of any textbooks or other materials that are “found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.” 

Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not, this is incredibly wrong. To keep information out of the hands of children (or anyone for that matter) simply because it does not fit one’s world view is pure Nazism.

A school should be a place where children are taught to think critically for themselves. Not a place where they are force-fed the ideology of a school board or teacher. Where are we headed or to where have we already come if the opportunity to think and argue and discover truth is taken from us?

A dystopian society is not just some fantasy world in the YA section at Barnes and Noble. It is a reality waiting to happen and all it needs is for people to stop thinking.

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
George Orwell, 1984

Five Biggest Distractions From My Writing

Writing is a solitary and exhausting endeavor. It takes so much concentration that I find myself easily distracted. What are my five greatest distractions?

  1. My Children. I love them dearly, but they do demand most of my attention. Especially my seven month old, Lucy. So how do I deal with such distractions? I write when they have gone to bed.
  2. Reading. As do most writers, I love to read and it can be a tremendous distraction. I only allow myself time to read after I have written a certain amount.
  3. My Blogs. There is a need for us unknown authors to do whatever we can promote ourselves. Unfortunately this self-promotion takes the time that I should be using toward writing my next book. I try to write a blog post no more than every two weeks. 
  4. Other Interests. I have always loved the arts and I have an insatiable desire to learn new forms of art; from watercolours to tapestry weaving. The best I can do is to push it out of my mind and create a new drawing every month or so.
  5. Everything Else. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, teaching, laundry… I have yet to determine how to conquer these distractions. Unless I find that I am heir to a great fortune I will just have to learn to work around them. 

What keeps you from writing?

Sacajawea

A Merry Band of Travelers

Ever wonder what became of Sacajawea after her famous trek with Lewis and Clark? She is resting in peace in the Sacajawea Cemetery on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Sacajawea Cemetery Sign

On our way home from the Grand Teton National Park we went in search of Sacajawea’s final resting place. Upon entering the reservation we stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. They seemed clear enough; pass Chief Washakie’s monument, follow the road to the left and turn on Cemetery road. Simple right? Well, you can see where this is going. We couldn’t find the road and it was getting dark. We had to find the cemetery and quick, so back to the same gas station asking again for directions. Thankfully a woman from the reservation offered to lead us right to Sacajawea’s Cemetery.

Sacajawea Cemetery

It wasn’t exactly what I expected. Aside from being located off a gravel road in…

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