Romantically Real Anniversary Speech

z14I am a romantic at heart. I love fairy tales and happy endings (I write romance). 37 years ago I met this guy, and my life has never been the same since. He was much like me. We laughed, we fell in love, we got married, had kids. And then together, we found out that fairy tales only tell half the story. They tell nothing about what happens after the door closes behind the last wedding guest. They don’t tell about the financial struggles, the compromises, the battles of the wills. My husband and I had to learn all that on our own. We learned that romance in a marriage doesn’t only mean diamante bracelets beneath your pillow, fancy restaurant dinners, and huge bouquets of flowers. Romance in a marriage means picking each other up, wiping each other’s tears, being the rock when the other turns into quicksand. It turns out our lives are not fairy tales. They are better. The tests and trials made us strong. Real.

Thank you for quieting my fears, for being my biggest cheerleader, and of course, for standing your ground when you knew I was wrong.

Happy Anniversary! I love you, now and always!

 

The Ring

Forty-five minutes had passed and not a single call. Nights like this made Julian mad because, like everyone else, he relied on every penny. He wasn’t always a cab driver. He had come from a village with gravel roads, two-way streets and one working traffic light. A few job applications later, he was holding the keys to a company van with Coroner stickers on it. For eleven years, he had carried dead bodies.

A dog’s bark interrupted Julian’s thoughts. He opened the window and shivered. It seemed colder than expected for an early fall, and a layer of thin frost had already covered the ground.

The dispatcher’s voice boomed through the CB radio breaking the silence and startling Julian. “I need someone at 2117 David Drive.”

Julian reached for the microphone. “201. I am close.”

“10/4,” the dispatcher’s voice scratched through the line.

Julian turned onto the poorly illuminated one-way street when the dispatcher’s voice rumbled again. “201, David Drive canceled.”

“Really?”

“Sorry about that,” the dispatcher apologized.

Julian shook his head and made a turn for the main road.

A woman emerged from the cemetery and flagged the approaching cab. She seemed young – dark hair, immaculately dressed. Quite attractive from what Julian could tell. The whitest skin he had ever seen.

Probably one of those supermodels—doesn’t want to be seen in public.

“River Road, please,” she said settling into the passenger’s seat.

A foul smell entered the cab and Julian grimaced. “What number?” he asked throwing the car into gear.

She seemed puzzled. “What?”

“The number… on River Road?”

“Oh… um… I’ll show you,” she said then turned toward the window. Clearly she wasn’t interested in talking.

Julian opened his window to get rid of the familiar stench. Though he had been in close contact with dead bodies, he could never grow accustomed to the smell.

“I hope my window doesn’t bother you. Probably some dead animal that has drowned in the canal.”

The young woman nodded but remained silent.
***

“You can drop me over there,” she said pointing to an empty parking lot.

Julian cocked an eyebrow, knowing that the factory had closed a while ago. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she replied, searching for something in her purse. “I think I lost my wallet.” She pulled a ring off her finger. “Here, take my ring, and I’ll pay you tomorrow,” she said, holding out her ring.

“I-I can’t take your ring.”

She searched her purse again and pulling out a piece of paper and a pen, she scribbled something. “Here is my address,” she said placing the ring on it and exiting the car before Julian could protest.

Is she ill? Julian wondered. What is she doing here in the middle of the night?                                                                                     ***

In the morning, he pulled in front of a house, proceeded down the narrow walkway and knocked on the door. A young man still in his pajamas, answered.

“Hi, may I help you?” he asked.

“Um…” Julian realized that he didn’t know the woman’s name. “I am looking for a young lady—”

“Sorry, you have the wrong address.”

“Is this 2117 David Drive?” A jolt of anger struck Julian when he realized that this was the same address that had canceled his order the night before.

“Yup, but I live alone.”

“The woman… Um… I am a cab driver—” Julian stuttered.

“Look, man, I’m tired.” The young man turned to go back inside.

“No. Wait. I gave a ride to a woman, but she couldn’t pay so she insisted that I take her ring and return it today.” Julian revealed the ring.

The young man looked at the ring in Julian’s palm and took a quick step back. His face became white and the next time he spoke his voice seemed obstructed.

“W-where did you get that?”

“I told you—”

“That’s impossible,” he interrupted. “That’s my wife’s!”

“Look. I didn’t mean to—”

The man paced back and forth. “Jody died a year ago.”

“Say what?” Julian could swear his hearing played tricks on him.

“Jody died in that stupid factory.”

“Man, stop playing with me. I just want my money.” The words crawling upward from the depth of his throat sounded more like a growl.

“I am not… playing! I swear.”

Instantly, Julian felt sick. A buzzing sound vibrated in his ears. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. The world shook and then went deathly still as he crumpled forward.

A Review for Touching The Wire

The atrocities of WWII are never something I look forward to reading, though I know the history of Europe inside out.
This book was recommended by a friend and now I know why.
Touching The Wire is a true psychological drama, mystery, and romance, all in one. It is without a doubt one of the best fictional books in this genre – well researched, stimulating and engaging.
The characters are all but jumping off the pages, complete with flaws and capabilities we expect we find real people.

The dialogue feels real, with some occasional translation, but this doesn’t distract the reader.
The plot is well researched, some scenes are graphic, but it is done extremely well.
It starts in a death camp in 1940’s Poland and the story jumps back and forth between an old man’s post war memories and his devastating firsthand experiences within the Jewish concentration camps of World War Two.
The author sets up part two of the book by using the old man’s flashbacks while crafting several woodcarvings in preparation for his post-death recovery.
Part two of the book is set in present-day England when the old man’s adult granddaughter stumbles across one of his carvings, and she becomes determined to find the rest and to understand their combined meaning but in the process she uncovers shocking secrets about the gentle, loving, man whom she knew as her grandfather.

All and all, very well written book using Jewish Holocaust as its setting.

WBS 2015 3rd place Winner

t
Are you looking for that perfect gift? How about a paranormal romance – 3rd place at WBS? “Strong plot, solid and riveting…” ~Alistair Cross – Judge~.
http://www.amazon.com/She-Never-Got-Say-Goodbye-ebook/dp/B00IK671JO/
 
When Olivia traded her promising career for a more domestic lifestyle as a wife and mother, she expected many things but never to see ghosts, much less be one. Then again, she never expected to be murdered or to have to point the finger at her husband for the crime. Suspenseful, romantic and awash in the afterlife thrill.

Indie Authors: Step by step guide on how to place your book on pre-order months before the release

2abc

 

 

As an Indie author, I’m constantly looking to find new ways to market my books. One thing that had bugged me for a long time is that we, Indies, are at a disadvantage when it comes to new releases. We do all we can to let our readers know that we wrote another book, which will be released soon, but we don’t have contact with all of our readers, right? In fact, Amazon is discouraging us to have ANY contact with our readers or else they would take down all reviews placed by people who “know” the author. I think that’s ridiculous, but who am I to judge?

The best way to alert readers about your upcoming release is to place it on pre-order—an option that’s not extended to Indies.

Well, that’s not true. I recently came across something that few Indie authors know—how to place your new book on pre-order months before the release.

Here is how:

  • First, you need to know that AA program works well if you’ve NOT published your book yet through CreateSpace.
  • Second, you must have your ISBN for your book. Now, here, I was a little confused because many people told me that I had to buy my own ISBN. Not true. CreateSpace (CS) provides a free ISBN. So first you go to your CS account and create your book. Conduct all the steps to approve your book. That’s where you stop because now you have your free ISBN. DO NOT approve your files.
  • Once you have your ISBN, you have to set up an Amazon Advantage (AA) account. https://advantage.amazon.com This will qualify you as a vendor. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated; if I could do it, you can too. Just follow the simple steps that will guide you from A to Z. I used my name, email, and address in all required fields. When they ask you for your banking information, if you live outside the USA, simply mark the payments made to Don’t worry about the ridiculous $15 charge they mention because you’ll only use AA for marketing purposes before release.
  • Now you have your account so go ahead and sign in.

https://advantage.amazon.com/gp/vendor/sign-in

  • At the top of the page, click on the ‘Items’ tab and a pull-down-menu will appear.
  • Click on ‘Add an Item’.
  • You’ll be asked to enter your product (book, music-pop, music classical, DVD, VHS). Pick Book Option.
  • Enter your ISBN, then continue with the steps as prompted.
  • After you have completed all the steps, you’ll want to upload the image of your book. Note that your pre-order must be live on Amazon before you can add images to it. Go to “Items>Upload images” on the AA menu and upload your book’s cover. The image must meet stringent specifications, but most importantly, the file must be named accordingly (Main). Amazon will then verify your image and in 1–2 days, your pre-order page will be updated.
  • 1-3 days before the release date you should approve your book (in your CS Control Panel after being satisfied with your proof copy) so that it gets published.
  • This is the last in the series of steps. Request (through your Amazon Advantage Control Panel by opening a support ticket) that AA stops fulfilling your orders. Tell them that CreateSpace.

 

Good luck with your book and happy selling.

Check out my new book – Resilience – that is up for pre-order.

She Never Got To Say Goodbye – Free Chapter

2aa

Olivia covered her eyes with both hands to block the brightness around her but unsuccessful she winced and closed her eyes quickly. She tried again, this time she opened her eyes gradually allowing them to adjust to the light. It worked. She looked around taking in her surroundings. An entirely white room. Top to bottom. There appeared to be no doors or windows.
Where was she? A hospital?
No.
How did she get here? she wondered, trying to shake the foggy feeling in her head. Confused, she looked around again grabbing at frail fibers of specifics from her mind about her prior whereabouts.
Nothing. A blank, invisible veil wrapped around her brain making her feel strange.

Then she discovered the source of the brightness. A glare. It shimmered from above. Soothing. Magnificent. She had never seen anything like it so her mind found nothing to compare it with. For a moment she thought she saw human forms floating in the light. Translucent but definitely there. The light, it seemed, radiated from them. They spoke softly, mere whispers, like a mother. Were they beckoning her to join them? Then without warning they faded away and took the light with them.
Olivia blinked repeatedly to adjust to the new light… or lack of light. The house, her house, felt quite dark and still, and something seemed different about her senses. At first she couldn’t pinpoint it. Then…
My vision; what’s wrong with my vision?
She could see above as well as below all at the same time. Her vision seemed to be at three hundred and sixty degrees.
This is disturbing.
Was she dreaming? That was it. It was just a dream. She should wake up now. She could not tell if it was day or night. Closing her eyes, she willed

herself to wake up. She opened her eyes. Nope. Still the same hazy state. Was this real? It couldn’t be.

Brayden.

The name popped into her mind and an unexplained fear churned deep inside her. Almost instantaneously, she found herself standing beside Brayden’s crib. He slept peacefully.

She blew a sigh of relief.

Thank God.

She reached to tuck Brayden in, but her hands went straight through. Startled, she took a quick step back. It didn’t feel like a step; it felt more as if she floated through the air. She looked down. Her feet dangled above the ground. She did float through the air.

“What is happening to me?” she asked the stillness around her. Her words sounded hollow. What was going on? This had to be a dream, but why couldn’t she wake up? Maybe the dream wasn’t over yet. That had to be it. Okay. Okay, she would play along a little while longer.

No. It didn’t make any sense. She glided down in the rocking chair beside Brayden’s crib and tried to still her thoughts long enough to make some sense of the situation. She shivered, suddenly feeling chilled.

Pipes clanked somewhere below followed by footsteps and doggy toenails clicking on the hardwood floor. More clanking morphed into muffled voices from downstairs. Instantly, Olivia found herself looking at a multitude of people, most of them dressed in police uniforms. They went in and out of the house as if that was the most natural thing to do. Flash bulbs made lightning strikes in the setting sun. Two people—a woman and a man—both dressed in plain clothes, talked to some uniformed officers while pointing, measuring, and comparing notes.

Olivia’s parents sat on the sofa in the living room. Her mother cried uncontrollably and her father had his arm around her, comforting her while he fought back his own tears.

Outside, uniformed officers swarmed in all directions. A coroner’s van parked in front of the house stood out from the rest of the police vehicles. Olivia spotted Brandon. He sat on the curb with his legs swinging, facing traffic. Holding his face in his hands, his body shook as he sobbed. Dark red splotches covered his white shirt. The same dark red substance coated his hands and face.

Why was everyone crying?

Another lightning strike drew Olivia’s attention toward the garage. She drifted in that direction and froze. A lifeless body, which looked a lot like her, lay down in a pool of blood. Detective Libby kneeled down beside the body and looked at something, in particular, then shook her head.

“It looks like she’s been dead for hours,” she said.

Olivia looked at the body in disbelief. It was her body. She was dead?
How?

Sheer terror shook her. Even more confused, she hovered trying to compute the events leading to this moment. Still in a haze, flashbacks began to rush through her mind. She remembered her fight with Brandon… her plan to leave him in the morning. Then the scratch on her arm… Instinctively she looked at her arm. Yep, it was still there. She had walked into the garage… the intense burning sensation in the back of her head. She remembered thinking of Brayden. Begging for help… and a voice instructing her to relax. The stream of blood running down on the cement floor as her life slowly drained from her body. She remembered fading away, knowing she would never see her son again. She never got to say goodbye. Just before she had taken her final breath, her heart sunk for Brayden, for herself. She wouldn’t be there to teach him things, guide him, and see him graduating or getting married. Then everything had gone black. She was actually dead. The finding shook her as shock replaced the confusion. A sense of betrayal began to stir somewhere deep inside her soul as a burning rage hissed through like a deadly poison.

“I am dead. He’s killed me. The son-of-a-bitch has finally killed me. Damn you!” she roared.
Suddenly, she stopped her rumble. This wasn’t right. If she was dead, why was she still here? Wasn’t she supposed to move on? To heaven or something?

“Am I a ghost?” The question hung in the air like a dark shadow. She examined herself trying to find something that would prove or disprove her theory. She was still dressed in the same clothes from the night before… as was the body lying on the ground of her garage. She wasn’t glowing or translucent; she had no halo above her head. She looked normal. Well… if she did not take into account that her voice sounded hollow; or that she glided instead of walking; or that she went through doors and walls as if she were taking a walk in the park.

“Dammit! I am a ghost; nothing more than a spirit without a body.” That bit of knowledge was the first thing that somehow seemed to make sense. She swirled a few times, assessing the situation then she stopped. “He has to pay for what he’s done,” she decided calmly. Then instantly, her calm morphed into anger and resentment again. “I will make him pay!” she shrieked as she flew into a rage. Spinning around the room and around the house she knocked things down in her path.

“Close that door. The draft is messing up the evidence,” detective Libby yelled at no one in particular.
Olivia’s flight continued out the door until she reached Brandon and clutching on to her anger she beat the air with her hands into a frenzy trying to hit Brandon.

“You, son-of-a-bitch! Damn you! Damn you!” she screeched endlessly until she couldn’t anymore.
Exhausted and frustrated, she slouched beside him on the pavement. “Why? How could you do this to me? I loved you. Why couldn’t you just divorce me?” She wanted to cry, but tears didn’t come. Only an excruciating, soul-gripping pain.

Shoulders slumped, she glided back in the house. Her parents came into view again. Her mother sat on the floor still crying violently. It didn’t sound like she paused long enough to breathe. Her father had kneeled down beside her, one arm wrapped around her and the other caressing her hair in an apparent attempt to calm her.

Olivia felt her parents’ pain and wanted to somehow make it go away. Unwillingly, she perceived inside her mother’s soul and felt everything her mother felt. Torment. That was what Dana felt. A pain more agonizing than anything Olivia had ever experienced, came in waves and seared through her like a branding iron. Her mind conceding to the torment, unable to bring a thought to completion. Her only desire was to curl into a tiny, invisible ball while the pain burned and radiated.

Debbie came in the room holding Brayden in one arm and caressing the back of his head with the other, his tiny legs wrapped around her waist. Olivia approached and gently touched her son’s face. Brayden smiled as if knowing his mother was there.

“Why does Debbie’s advice make so much more sense after I screwed up?” Olivia wondered, remembering countless times when Debbie told her she deserved better.
Olivia floated back outside. This was an entirely new experience for her, one to which she knew she must become accustomed. No one seemed able to see or hear her. Instantly, she knew. She had to tell the world that her husband had killed her. That was her reason for being here. She had heard that before. Not that she believed in ghosts at that time. Now she wished she had.

“Help! Please, someone, help me!”

For a split second, she stood somewhere on a highway, waving for help. A bus driver seemed to spot her. He would stop. But… no. He just swerved around her and disappeared from her view. Then she was back at her house in her bedroom where it was quiet. Olivia stilled her thoughts. Though the events seemed crystal clear, she had to focus on finding a way to make her presence known. She had never believed in ghosts, but she had always loved movies about the paranormal. In the movies, the spirit could communicate. But that was Hollywood. This was real life… or death.

“Gah! Just kill me now,” she sneered in frustration. “Oh, wait. Somebody did. Never mind, false call,” she growled looking toward the heavens.

There were a lot of things she needed to work on in her new existence, besides making her presence known. Things like traveling. She could no longer tell time, but she knew she moved too much, too fast because she became easily disoriented.
Thinking of something allowed her to go to the source of the question. It quickly became one of Olivia’s favorite pastimes, much like dessert was a favorite at mealtime. Apparently, she just needed to learn how best to utilize her ghostly senses but a dark pressure-like sensation fogged her attempts. Something she could not describe, almost similar to how there are no words to describe colors to a blind man. Perhaps pain? Perhaps regrets for a life unlived?