I'm a retired RN enjoying my retirement to the fullest. I liked adventure and travel and making friends. I have 6 dogs and 1 cat. They are like having a house full of three years olds. Now for the rest of the story. My Granddaughter and her husband now live with us and they have 4 dogs and 4 cats along with a giant Flemish Rabbit. My Granddaughter has now added beautiful, Olivia to our household. My fourth Great Grandchild. They are a large part of my life and I can't imagine them not being around.
I spend most of my time sitting in front of my computer working on my latest book or talking about Essential Oils.
On the personal side, I'm married to a wonderful man who spoils me and I love it. I am very much a country girl. I love living on our 5 acres on Pole Cat Creek watching the deer and other animals occasionally stick their heads out of the trees. It's a fun life.
The imaginary country in which Princess Adele lived in was called Valdoria. I came up with that name watching “Dancing with The Stars.” There is a professional dancer (very cute) who just happens to have the name of Val. He and his partner were dancing when Valdoria popped into my head. So that is where I came up with the name.
As you see from the title I’m writing five interesting things about my book, “Princess Adele’s Dragon.” What creates interest for one may not for the next one, but I will do the best I can.
1. My book is a Young Adult Fantasy eBook based in Medieval times when Dragons, Knights, Witches and Christianity and war were prevalent. I enjoyed doing the research about this time period. I created a blog earlier on the History of Dragons. You know those big scaly things that legends are made of. The big, green dragon in my book has been given the name, Draiocht (DREE-oct). This name means Magic, enchantment, from lore and arts of the Druids of pre-Christian Ireland and Celtic society. This character will surprise you.
2. The second fact is I have two protagonists and two antagonists. Princess Adele and Prince Anthony are the protagonists and Lord Ashmore, and Mickael are the Protagonist. I didn’t plan the story that way, but my muse decided it needed to play out with the four interacting in their particular roles.
3. Christianity has a small role in my story. During the medieval period the church began the change from the Druid way to one of Christianity. I got the name of one of the primary countries mentioned in my book.. It must have been a very intense and interesting time.
4. I’ve always heard you write what you like to read, and I guess it was true for me. The book was fun to write, and I like to read fantasy. do anything with your imagination. This book has everything from mild violence to love. To read it, follow the link. http://amzn.to/25lUOYM It is free for the reader who is a member of Amazon Direct.
5. It’s easy reading, even with Draiocht having his secrets.
I mentioned I had written a blog earlier about the history of dragons. If you would like to check that out it is at this link. http://bit.ly/1V1F0HM
As I close, I want to thank you readers who stopped by to visit. You are what makes this blog fun for me. Have a blessed day.
It’s now the new year and this is the first blog I’ve written. Shame on me, but I am full of very good excuses. Happy New Year, my friends. I have just the cliche also, “Better Late than Never,” The nice thing is my well wishes comes straight from the heart.
Now on to the main point of this blog. You were asked if you enjoyed the revision of the books that you wrote or are writing. I can’t say I enjoy it much. I would never make a good editor in my mind. When I’m writing I depend heavily on my writing group at FanStory.com. I can read over a page and I do not see any of the mistakes they find for me. My mind put it down on the paper and it doesn’t let me see everything it should.
There is a article in this months The Writer magazine on Revision. The author, Bernard Malamud believes “Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing”. He also pointed out specific steps to take to help you get through the revision process. Here are his tips, but if you get the chance do read the entire article. It gives you lots of information.
Wait until the first draft is complete before you edit. If you try to edit as you go it could cause problems with your imagination, momentum or maybe your creativity. This is controversial as other writers feel you aren’t writing if you don’t edit as you go. I split it I guess. I revise my chapters as I finish them. It seems to me there are always changes that can be made at anytime. You have to be careful not to get in a long long editing cycle. For some it is hard to be satisfied with their work.
Revise all at once or element by element. That is a decision the writer must make. The way I revise I tend to do element by element. I have to admit that sometimes it can feel as if the job is to big to handle. At those times I get me a cup of tea and sit back from the computer. I have to admit I talk to myself in my head, (Isn’t it called thinking?) about anything other than my book. I might even get up and play with my dogs for a few minutes. Anything to get my mind away from the book.
Revise the whole novel, or section by section. I know this sounds a lot like #2 but in this one he is considering sections as chapter by chapter or dividing the novel into sections. If you edit by this method you have a big opportunity to make a mistake in my view. What if you change an outcome in Chapter 2 that affects the character throughout the book. If the changes aren’t make in every section then confusion can rule.
Fine-tuning versus revising. “Revision is generally distinguished from fine tuning with revision dealing with fiction elements such as character, plot and structure, and even style, and fine tuning dealing with rather minor mechanical issues.
Each of us have our little rules to follow that sometimes can cause problems. When I went to school over 50 years ago we were taught very specific rules on how to write, sentence structure, correct word placement, and on and on. That can lead to rounds and rounds of revision. This is where you need that writing group or a brutally honest friend who can read your work and tell you what you need to do to make it better.
I think Bernard wrapped it up very nicely. “Put simply you write with your heart, and you edit with your head.” Happy editing. Shirley
Hello, can you believe Christmas is upon us once again? I can finally say I finished everything gift wise yesterday, including the wrapping. My family’s new members came out with the most presents. Who doesn’t want to buy for three precious baby children, Olivia and Elizabeth and James? James didn’t do badly, and he’s only been around a couple of years. He has the process down of getting gifts pretty well.
My fervent hope for my family is that they all remember the “reason for the season.” I feel it is up to each family to teach their beliefs around Christmas. The Christmas Season has no choice but to turn commercial because it is pushed upon us by the stores and the potential money to be made. Another reason the reason is forgotten is because of non-believers of the Christian Faith. It’s Holiday and party time, and gift-giving does not have the same meaning. Christmas gifts are supposed to represent the gifts of the Magi. Their gifts represented the best of the three Kings countries. Given out of respect for the baby that God said was his son.
This is a Bible passage taken from a 60 Daybook of Prayer that I thought I would share with you.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. I John 4:9 (NIV)
Today as we get ready to celebrate Christmas Eve, think of God’s amazing gift to the world. Bask in his Holy Light and remember that among all the presents and joys, mistletoe with toys and food abound. Now is the time to center your heart on the rebirth of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Dear God, my thoughts are on the humble birth of Your Son, Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen
For a total subject change, let me tell you about my new book Thomas Gomel learns about Bullying. It went to the printer over a month ago. I was hoping to have it on the market by now, but the publisher is slower than molasses on a cold day. I have to admit I am a little impatient and frustrated even though it does me no good. I’m sure the publishing date will be marked in 2019, but I won’t get to see it until 2020. It would be nice if the Author copies would be in today’s mail. That would be a nice Christmas present. Oh, well, all in good time.
I want to wish each of you that celebrate to have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and New Year. Blessings to all. Shirley
I wrote and published Dobyns Chronicles a few years ago but it is always nice to receive good reviews. I thought today I would share one of those reviews for me. Nothing like feeling good about work you did when it is expressed by someone else in comparison to those reviews that always seem to break your heart a little bit.
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving and now Christmas season is upon us. All of you who celebrate the birth of our Savior, have a blessed Christmas.
The Finest Generation – A review of the novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’
“It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams” – Don DeLillo
Author Shirley McLain’s latest novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’ is a historical fiction loosely based on the life and times of her grandfather Charles Kenly Dobyns. Charles or Charley to those close to him was the eldest son of Kennerly, an American cowboy and Eliza, a Cherokee Indian and was raised in a farm in Red River in Bonham near Northeast Texas. The book chronicles his life story from the late 1800s when he was a young boy in a Texan farm to the mid-1950s when he became a great grandfather in McAlester, Oklahoma. The book paints a moving real-life story about a young man’s resolve dealing with the various tragedies life threw at him while also caring for his two siblings, younger brother David and sister Viola. This novel presents a fascinating look at vintage Americana and will fill your mind with nostalgia about a simpler life led in much simpler times.
Right off the bat, the first thing that you are going to notice and that too barely a couple of pages into the book is the wonderful use of the English language. It has become almost a rarity in mainstream literature to come across such beautiful phrases and prose that make you stop and read a line twice just for the sheer literary pleasure it gives you. The next best thing about this book is the pitch-perfect way in which the author has been able to portray the laid back and lazy times with the back-breaking, difficult and adventure-filled day in an old western town. It is so descriptive that the character’s spirituality, the numerous odd jobs done around the house, cattle drive and horse breaking somehow become second nature to you by the time you are done with the book. And for people of this century where everything is available to them at the touch of a button, this book will be a throwback to our older and harsher times when day to day living meant a constant battle with the various elements of nature.
Blending the fiction seamlessly with the many historical and factual events of the late 18th century and early 19th century, Shirley has made good use of various events like the yellow fever epidemic, the great depression and the absurd tax laws to good effect and has used them strategically at various points in the novel to underline the emotions of her characters in that setting beautifully. The changes happening over time and the various developments too have been captured nicely; case in point is Charley staying at a hotel for the very first time. Shirley also seems to have a knack in getting children’s behavior and their conversations right, the change in tone and content when the conversation moves from a child to an adult is always bang on target.
The entire book will tug at your heartstrings and make you think about your own family, it will also make you reminisce about your childhood as you read about the childhood of the Dobyn kids. And even though your childhood may have been vastly different from theirs, you will still feel a connection to the various commonalities that affect us humans across time and different nationalities. The epilogue and the photographs at the end really get to you and even though a life that you have been witness to from a young age has come to an end, you are in a strange way left with so many memories of this man. And this is because of the way the author has captured these scenes and emotions, by taking you right into the lives and homes of these people instead of merely narrating a story.
Great authors have often talked about the secrets that make a book appeal to audiences everywhere. They stress upon having a standout first chapter to make the readers commit to the book, a good first page that will blow them away and a great first line that will stay etched in their memory forever. If they are right then Shirley’s book has scored a definite ace on all three fronts and has emerged a clear winner.
Hello, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving or day if you don’t celebrate the holiday. Now we are officially working on the Christmas season. It will be here before we know it.
Below is an article was written by Alicia Prince. It’s always a timely article to help improve our writing. I hope you find within it, the information you can use.
No matter how hard you try, it can sometimes be a battle to finish a piece of writing. Whether you’re writing a paper, article, novel or email, it can be a struggle to express your ideas quickly and clearly. Just like anything else, however, a little practice goes a long way towards fast, quality writing. With seven simple techniques, you can greatly minimize the time you waste not writing, and increase the speed you do write. Plus, the more you do them, the easier these great writing habits get.
You Could Write Your Introduction Last
“My advice is to finish the book, then scrap the first chapter altogether and write it again without looking at the original.” — Dr. Kim Wilkins
One way to write quicker is to write your introduction or first paragraph after writing everything else. If you have the majority of your writing planned out, it’s often faster to jump right in with what you’re planning on saying. This way, you won’t need to agonize over your content fitting the tone of the introduction. And writing the introduction last means you know what you need to summarize, as it’s already on the page. Finally, writing your introduction last lets you avoid staring at a blank page, wondering where to begin. Once you have things down, it can be much easier to put together an intro, saving you time.
You Could Be Flexible On Wording
Another way to waste time when you’re trying to write is to agonize over every word. Like staring at a blank page, searching endless thesaurus definitions will knock you off track and interrupt your flow. Especially on the first draft, don’t worry if your wording isn’t right. Go through your document after finishing your draft, looking specifically for words you could improve. Better yet, highlight or change the text color of words you know you want to come back to. This way, you can keep your train of thought moving without your work suffering.
You Could Do All Your Research First
Nothing is a bigger distraction than needing to do research in your writing. Research can be time-consuming, plus it will likely make you forget the point you are trying to make. Do as much research as you can before you write. This lets you focus all your energy on writing, without interrupting your thoughts.
You Could Outlaw Distractions
“It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen
Especially when you’re writing on a computer or device, it’s easy to get distracted. To save time, treat every trip away from your writing document as dangerous. The best way to avoid getting distracted is to leave your document little. Try keeping all your research and sources in the top portion of a document, then do your writing in the bottom portion of the document. Keep it organized with a slash or image between the two halves. This way, you won’t risk getting caught in surfing the web or answering emails every time you need to check your information.
You Could Relax On Your First Draft
“The first draft of everything is sh**.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Similar to rewording sentences as you write, nitpicking too much the first time around will slow you down. Most experts agree that your first draft will always need work. This means that no matter how long you take to make everything perfect, you will still need revisions. It’s much faster to keep your momentum going than it is to get back on track several times a paragraph. Save yourself time as you write by powering through your first draft, then doing all your revisions at once.
You Could Set A Writing Timer
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ― Jack London
Another way to increase how fast you write is to set a time, then force yourself to keep writing until it goes off. Not only will this force you away from distractions, if you’re struggling to come up with material, but free flow writing can also help you come up with ideas. Setting a timer and writing free form is also useful as a warm-up exercise to get you in the zone.
You Could Easily Outthink Cliches
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov
When your struggling to find writing that grabs a reader, a quick way to burst through cliches is to be specific. Overgeneralizing descriptions can be too vague to garnish attention. For example, rather than having a character exclaim they’re freezing, have them say that the threads of their mittens are freezing to their fingers. By taking vague descriptions or phrases and being highly specific, you can quickly revise your writing, while improving your writing’s impact.
Good Afternoon, everyone. I thought today I would share a little bit of history research concerning one of my books, Dobyns Chronicles. The time period was around the time of the Indian resettlement in the United States. If you like history, take a look at my book. http://amzn.to/1yL4hKC
I’m going to put my second ad in for myself. I have a book that will be published in a couple of weeks, (I hope). It is called Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying. If you would like to read it before it becomes public let me know and I will send you a PDF copy. Also as a writer who always needs reviews, please consider leaving one on Amazon.
FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES
The term “Five Civilized Tribes” came into use during the mid-nineteenth century to refer to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. Although these Indian tribes had various cultural, political, and economic connections before removal in the 1820s and 1830s, the phrase was most widely used in Indian Territory and Oklahoma.
Americans, and sometimes American Indians, called the five Southeastern nations “civilized” because they seemed to be assimilating to Anglo-American norms. The term indicated the adoption of horticulture and other European cultural patterns and institutions, including widespread Christianity, written constitutions, centralized governments, and intermarriage with white Americans, market participation, literacy, animal husbandry, patrilineal descent, and even slaveholding. None of these attributes characterized all of the nations of all of the citizens that they encompassed. The term was also used to distinguish these five nations from other so-called “wild” Indians who continued to rely on hunting for survival.
Elements of “civilization” within Southeastern Indian society predated removal. The Cherokee, for example, established a written language in 1821, a national supreme court in 1822, and a written constitution in 1827. The other four nations had similar if less noted, developments.
In the first four decades of the nineteenth century, the United States cajoled, bribed, arrested, and ultimately removed approximately seventy thousand American Indians out of their ancestral lands in the American South. Although Pres. Andrew Jackson is often deemed the architect of this program, the removal of the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole began years before the 1830 Indian Removal Act and Jackson’s subsequent use of the military to relocate the Indians.
In 1802 the state of Georgia agreed to cede its westernmost lands to the federal government, and in return, the government vowed to extinguish the Indian title to lands within Georgia as soon as possible. In the following years, the United States made only a few serious efforts to live up to that promise. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase Pres. Thomas Jefferson pressured the Cherokee and other Indian nations to exchange their eastern domains voluntarily for regions in the newly acquired western territory. Only a few tribes accepted the offer. After the War of 1812, the United States obtained thousands of acres of Creek lands in Georgia and Alabama, but the acquisition did not accompany a larger plan for Creek removal.
Finally, in the 1820s Georgians began to demand that the United States extinguish the Indian title to lands within their state. Pres. James Monroe determined that arranging the exchange of acreage in the East for areas in the West was the best means to accomplish this goal. While the federal government tried to create inducements to convince the Southeastern Indians to leave their homes, the discovery of gold in Georgia led to more aggressive demands for immediate removal.
The election of Andrew Jackson to the presidency in 1828 encouraged Georgia and its land-hungry settlers. Jackson made his position clear in his first message to Congress. He told the Cherokees that they had no constitutional means to resist and that it was in their best interest voluntarily to move west. Staying would lead to their destruction. As Congress debated the issues, several Cherokees negotiated a removal agreement with the United States. Major Ridge, a Cherokee planter and soldier,
his son John Ridge, and his nephew Elias Boudinot conducted these negotiations with the United States despite the expressed wishes of the majority of their nation. Most Cherokees, including Principal Chief John Ross, protested and tried to stop Ridge and his so-called Treaty Party.
On May 28, 1830, while Ridge and his supporters negotiated terms of removal with the United States, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. This law provided the president with $500,000 to establish districts west of the Mississippi River, to trade eastern tribal lands for those districts, to compensate the Indians for the cost of their removal and the improvements on their homesteads, and to pay one years’ worth subsistence to those who went west. Armed with this authority, President Jackson authorized agents to negotiate and enforce treaties.
Chief John Ross hired former attorney general William Wirt to represent the Cherokee in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and then in Worcester v. Georgia (1832). In each case, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the sovereignty of the Cherokee tribe. The latter determined that Georgia could not make laws for the Cherokee people. The Supreme Court’s rulings, however, could not prevent forced removal. Georgia and the United States ignored the ruling and refused to recognize Cherokee sovereignty.
One of my grandmothers was Cherokee Indian and owned land in Georgia with a business of her own ferrying customers across the river. When the government came in they had a lottery for the Indian land and it was taken from her. They did pay her a small sum of money to make it legal.
President Jackson embraced Ridge and the Cherokee minority, and together they signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. Ridge ceded all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi in return for territory in present northeastern Oklahoma, five million dollars, transportation west, and one year of subsistence. Amid a chorus of protests by Cherokees and their American supporters, the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty. Nearly two thousand Cherokees moved west in accordance with the agreement, but most of the nation remained. They still hoped that their constitutional victories and the illegalities of the treaty might be recognized. In 1838 the United States sent armed soldiers to enforce the law. The federal troops confined the Cherokees in disease-ridden camps for several months before forcing them to proceed west. Death and hardship were common, and nearly one in four Cherokees died.
The other Southeastern Indian nations experienced similar stories of upheaval and dislocation. Although each resisted, the Choctaw (1831-32), the Chickasaw (1837-38), the Creek, and the Seminole too found their ways westward on Trails of Tears. Divisions within the Creek Nation led to the execution of William McIntosh, one of its prominent chiefs, for signing the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs. Ironically, McIntosh was killed in accordance with a law that he had created only years earlier. Despite their continued opposition, most of the Creek Indians trekked west in 1836. Hundreds of Seminoles moved to Indian Territory in 1832, but many more refused to leave the swamps of Florida. Instead, they fought the Second Seminole War (1835-42), and some moved further into the Everglades.
The Trail of Tears was the forced march of the Indians to the Indian Territory in what was to be Oklahoma. Each tribe was given land to settle on. It encompassed the entire area of what is now Oklahoma, except for the strip of land across the northwest section which was to be opened to settlement by the white man. The state received it’s nickname “Sooners” because some people crossed early and claimed their stake of land.
Eventually, the white man resided in the entire area. The Indians and whites lived together without any visible problems. The Indians were swindled out of their land by whites through the allotment plan. A lot of it was done by white men marrying Indian women who had allotments that were the husbands after the marriage. As with every other time the Indian came out the loser in any deal.
I’m not going to write about the mechanism by which we ingest food. I want to spend a little bit of time writing about the earth opening up and swallowing us mere mortals. I feel so bad for the family that lost their son and brother down a sinkhole in Florida.
Sinkholes are one of the biggest fears my home town of McAlester Oklahoma has due to all of the mining that went on during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The majority of the area has mineshafts running underneath. If one has occurred, I am not aware of it at this point in time.
I remember as a child seeing pictures of a house in Alaska in which the ground opened up and the entire house went down into a very big hole. You could at least see the roof. That was due to an earthquake. I think it was late 1950,s when it happened. Growing up in California I was not surprised when the side of the road fell off due to the ground giving way because of so much rain. With an earthquake, you have ground liquefication. The dirt turns to soup and flows over anything in its way.
The Bible even tells us in Numbers 16:32 KJV: “And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] unto Korah and all [their] goods.” From that verse, it sounds like the earth was opening up and swallowing people and things back then.
Science tells us that sinkholes are very common when the foundation underneath the dirt is limestone and it washes away over time. That’s a very nonscientific interpretation of an action that can take thousands of years. Some sinkholes are caused by nature, but many more are caused by man’s activity.
The decline of water levels – drought, groundwater pumping (wells, quarries, mines)
Disturbance of the soil – digging through soil layers, soil removal, drilling
Point-source of water – leaking water/sewer pipes, injection of water
ConcentraSlowly Swallowingtion of water flow – stormwater drains, swales, etc.
Water impoundments – basins, ponds, dams
Heavy loads on the surface – structures, equipment
Vibration – traffic, blasting
So as with most of our other problems we are contributing to them in a major way. Is there anything we can do to help ourselves? The obvious would be not to build houses over limestone and stop doing everything I’ve listed above. Somehow I just don’t see that happening. I think most of us will stay oblivious to what is going on underground. I know I don’t think about the ground dropping out from underneath me, do you?
Hello, I thought today I would post a ghost story for Halloween. It is a true story, but I did take some fictional liberties with it. This story was told to me by a friend and Michael in the story was his uncle. Strange things happen in this world and this is only one of them. I hope you enjoy the story and please leave me some feedback.
I do have a book just for Halloween on Amazon called “Shirley’s Book of Horror.” I am giving away ten copies. If you will let me know you would like an ebook of short stories.
Shirley’s Book of Horror – Kindle edition by Shirley McLain. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. https://amzn.to/2Ba3jO8
The Never-Ending Heart
The sobs coming from the people standing around the grave were heart-wrenching. Especially those coming from Andrea’s husband, Michael. Even the dreary gray clouds with the light drizzle intensified the mourning that the Barton family and friends were going through.
Andrea Barton was a vivacious woman who loved her life. The entire family cherished her. There didn’t seem to be a bad trait or habit of any kind. She’d told her family often how perfect her life was and how God had blessed her.
Michael met Andrea in the sixth grade, right after he’d been moved from Michigan to Eufaula because his parents wanted to return to Oklahoma. They became fast friends and were together from that time forward. They knew in their hearts that one day they’d be married.
They worked and saved their money while they were dating so they could buy the farmland out on Route 4. It was located halfway in-between their parents, so it was the perfect location for the young couple.
As a surprise for the couple, both families got together and bought the land and gave it to Michael and Andrea as a wedding present. The money they’d saved could now build a house on their property. Life remained perfect for the couple. They made their dream farmhouse with a wraparound porch and lots of windows.
Love radiated from this couple. If you were around them, you didn’t have a choice but to smile and feel their happiness. On October 31, 1987, they became one legally. In their minds, they already belonged to each other. They didn’t go on a honeymoon so they could buy furniture for their new farmhouse. Their wedding night was the first time they had spent the night together under the same roof and, it was their roof.
Every night, when Michael got in from work, Andrea had a hot bath run, and dinner was cooking on the stove. Michael never liked a shower; he liked soaking in the warm water to help his aching muscles after his hard day at work. They pampered each other in every way possible. This ideal life continued for 30 years. Michael and Andrea had raised two children, who were now gone from home.
Michael left for work after kissing Andrea and saying the words he spoke every morning. “I love you, woman. I always have, and I always will.”
“Not as much as I love you,” Andrea called back. The happiness and love she felt for Michael never left her.
Andrea decided she’d clean off the shelves in the cellar, where she kept all of her canned food and supplies. They were full of junk and disorganized.
The cellar steps were steep without a handrail, and it had no electricity. She’d been after Michael for years to fix everything, but it never happened, so she used two coal oil lamps for light.
She hated going into the cellar because of not having light, and there had always been a problem with scorpions. She shivered just thinking about them. It took all of her determination to go down into the cellar, but she did. She lit both lamps and looked at the shelves dreading what she needed to do.
There wasn’t enough light on the far shelf to see. Andrea picked up a lantern and held it high so she could see the back of the shelf. She felt something land on her arm. When she looked it was a large scorpion which had apparently fallen from the ceiling. She screamed and jumped, dropping the lamp. It broke splashing the coal oil up onto Andrea’s pants. Flames went up her legs. She screamed and made a run for the steps but didn’t get far before she was consumed by the flames. The coroner’s report stated death was caused by fire, which destroyed the body due to the synthetic clothing being worn.
Michael was devastated at the death of his wife and experienced severe depression. All he could think about was Andrea and how much he missed her. His children were genuinely concerned. They even hired a housekeeper to come in daily to clean the house and talk to their dad.
After five years of deep mourning, Michael decided he liked having the housekeeper around. She was kind and talked to him even when he didn’t want her to. The best thing was Darlene was single. He may not have his mind off of Andrea, but he did listen to things going on around him. He decided he would marry Darlene and keep her around for the company.
Within three months Michael and Darlene were married, and she moved into the farmhouse with Michael. Things remained quiet for several days, but then it changed. Every night for a week, Darlene would wake Michael from a sound sleep to tell him someone was crying or walking in the house. Michael could hear nothing, but he’d get out of bed and look. It finally got to the point he told Darlene to go back to sleep because nothing was there.
This continued for almost a month. Darlene was becoming more agitated and unhappy as time went on. Michael decided he would try to cheer his wife up and took her out for a wonderful dinner and a show. Darlene relaxed and felt comfortable for a little while.
When they arrived back home, they immediately knew something was not right. There was a smell of food cooking, and they could hear water running. “I’ll find the water,” Michael said as he took off down the hall to find the running water. It was in the bathroom. The stopper was in the tub, and hot water was running into it. Thankfully it was not running over.
“Ok, I’ll check out the kitchen.” Darlene was standing in the kitchen, screaming at the top of her lungs. When Michael got there he grabbed his hysterical wife to hold her. He immediately noticed the pots cooking on the stove. He continued to hold onto Darlene as he moved them to the stove so he could turn it off.
Nothing prepared Michael for all the emotions he was feeling. Everything about Andrea was brought back to his mind. Darlene calmed down enough to talk and told Michael she was leaving this house and not returning. “I love you, but I’m not staying here another night. There was a woman in this kitchen when I came in. She looked at me and told me you were hers. Then she disappeared. I’m not living with the Ghost of your dead wife.”
“What are you talking about, Darlene? Ghosts aren’t real. There has to be another explanation.”
“Look, I know what I saw, and you won’t change my mind about leaving. I’ll be out of here within thirty minutes. You can come with me or stay, but I’m gone.”
“What did the woman look like?” Michael asked Darlene as she was throwing clothes into a suitcase.
“She was about five foot three inches tall, weighed about 120 and had fiery red hair. She looked like she was in her twenties.”
In a subdued voice, Michael asked, “What was she wearing?”
“You know, I couldn’t tell because of the flames that were covering her body but not burning her. It was your wife! I’ve seen the pictures you have of her.”
Michael sank onto the bed, and his mind couldn’t wrap itself around what he was told. Darlene grabbed her suitcase and left the house. True to her word, she never came back.
From that night on, Michael always had a hot bath and supper cooked for him. He never saw it happen, but it was there for him daily.
About a week before Michael died, he told his daughter he’d seen her mother out by the cellar. “I called to her, but she only smiled and waved to me before she disappeared. I know it has been her taking care of me all the time. It won’t be long before I’ll be with her. I just know it.”
Michael lay on the bed. He had recognized none of his family for the past two days. His eyes were closed, and the loud death rattle sound could be heard into the kitchen. The family gathered around the bed with several shedding tears as they waited for Michael to draw his last breath.
Michael opened his eyes, sat up in bed, and talked to someone at the foot of the bed. The family tried to get him to lie back, but he refused. A rose-colored mist covered the foot of the bed as Michael laid back and let out a show agonal breath.
The family couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Then a female voice spoke, “We are together again, my love,” as the light faded.
This is a story I wrote some time ago and decided to post it. Abuse can’t be talked about enough. Just maybe it might even be of help to someone who needs it. Have a wonderful day.
By: Shirley McLain
Carolyn was a woman like many women who seemed to attract the kind of guy who wasn’t good for her. She felt her issues came about because of being abandoned by her mother at an early age and raised by a father who didn’t care about her. He was an alcoholic who went through all the stages of drinking, from sickly sweet to violent. She learned how to hide and protect herself at a very early age.
Over her adult years, she had multiple relationships and marriages. She said she had a “redneck” addiction. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of a redneck is a white person who lives in a small town or in the country especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive.
Her last husband was a rough, tough oilfield worker who was gentle, kind and couldn’t do enough for her in the early days of their marriage. His true colors began to surface within six months of their marriage. He’d start drinking and become angry at the littlest thing. She would try to stay out of his way, but he’d hunt her down, make her sit and talk to him. This talk consisted of listening to him tell her everything he thought was wrong with her. The more he talked, the angrier he became. There were several occasions she’d have bones broken on her face from being hit with his fists. If she had to go to the hospital, it was always because she had an accident and had fallen.
There were also multiple occasions when Carolyn would be asleep in their bed. Her husband would come in from the oilfield drunk in the middle of the night, grab her by her hair and drag her out of bed. It would be because of some imaginary thing he believed she had done. He would rant and rave calling her every vile name he could think of and then proceed to beat her.
This abuse continued for eleven years before she decided she’d had enough. She knew if she hadn’t left, he’d killed her.
When asked why she stayed in the relationship so long, she said, “because I loved him and still do.”
Here are five ways to escape an abusive relationship that was originally posted by World of Psychology.
Acknowledge the existence of abuse.
Victims tend to minimize abuse. Abuse does not have to be physical. It is frequently emotional and/or psychological. You don’t have to wait for broken bones or a black eye before you consider it abuse. Yelling, name-calling, intimidation, and threats are all forms of abuse. If you are forced to have sex without your consent, it is abuse and is sexual assault. Ask yourself: “Are you often walking on eggshells?” Keep in mind that most abusers are charming and apologetic after the abuse; there is a honeymoon period. Then predictably the tension builds followed by an explosion. Many women and men stay trapped in this cycle hoping that this time the abuse will stop.
Reach out for help.
Check out YourTango for relationship advice
Fortunately, there are many organizations (local and national) that specifically have the resources to help you. You are not alone! Your friends and family members are not necessarily the best people to help you. They mean well, but they could still be minimizing the abuse or you could jeopardize their safety by obtaining their help.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224. They will refer you to the organization in your area. Many have emergency shelters that provide many resources. If you have children, they will be able to shelter them as well. They understand and will not judge you in your predicament. They provide individual and group therapy. They will help you with legal matters such as obtaining temporary restraining orders.
Use a safe computer.
The National Domestic Violence website warns users to use a safe computer not accessible to the abuser as computer usage can be monitored quite easily. The website has many resources. Yes, you need to take precautions so you can be safe before you leave this relationship.
The time to be most vigilant is when the abuser realizes that you are planning to leave him or her. Have a safety plan in place. The above-mentioned website has a section to help you make these plans.
Make every effort to address the underlying issues that led you to be in a dysfunctional relationship.
Did you have a childhood that led you to doubt your self-worth? Although men and women (heterosexual and homosexual) of many different cultural, racial, ethnic, educational, economic groups become victimized in abusive relationships, the common denominators are lack of self-esteem and self-love.
When we stay in these relationships, we become increasingly depressed; our self-esteem plummets further. The downward spiral must be interrupted by obtaining help. If you are depressed, you probably feel tired and indecisive. Your thoughts are negative, which furthers the depressive mood. It is easy to feel trapped and hopeless, but dig deep and look for that flicker of hope. It is there!
Get to the bottom of things.
Are you addicted to love or the feeling of being in love? Do you equate love with pain? Those of us who felt alone, alienated and unloved growing up tend to seek out relationships early in life. However, if our parents were in an unhealthy relationship, an abusive dynamic will feel familiar and comforting.
It is vital to acknowledge, explore and heal what led you to this pattern. Otherwise, you are doomed to repeat it. Take a break from relationships for a while. Taking the time to heal is so important. If you have children, they need time to recuperate from the trauma of witnessing abuse. It is normal for you to feel angry and sad, as well as regret that you left the abuser.
Don’t wait until you don’t feel anything to leave. As dysfunctional as it was, you cared about him or her. Surround yourself with support; find a therapist who can assist you in rebuilding your self-esteem, and start rebuilding your life.
Short and Flashy may be the new in thing with writing and I’m so glad to hear it because I love writing short stories and flash fiction. I found that out about myself when I was writing my first book, The Tower. When I needed to have a brain change because I couldn’t find the words I needed to say for the book, I would write a piece of flash fiction or a short story so I could think about something else besides the book I was writing. It helped reset my brain. It made it easier for me to come up with what I needed for my book.
Over the fast few years, people have read more of my short stories and flash fiction. I am assuming it is due to lack of perceived time to read.
Do you know what flash fiction is? In case you don’t, I will try to explain. Flash Fiction is a complete story (has all the components of a story) in a limited number of words. They can be challenging to complete.
Think about how our reading world has changed since the computer came along. The time was we had no choice but to go to the book store or the library to get our reading material. Now we have small portable screens that let us have a book zipped to us over the airwaves. We can get anything we want to read from Amazon including short stories which we might read while we’re sitting under the hairdryer or waiting in a doctor’s office.
According to Anne R. Allen, one of the authors of How to be a Writer in the E-age: A self-Help Guide, short stories make money and hold their value. Kindle Singles often sell for the same as a novel-length book. Ellery Queen and Woman’s World still pay top dollar for genre stories.
Short stories are great for practice. Learning to write short stores can keep your writing from getting sloppy. Having short stories in your portfolio might give you another book to publish or an opportunity to publish in a magazine.
I put the majority of my short stories in an eBook called Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. The book was published on Amazon. Publishing my work of short stories was something I didn’t want to pass up. You may also have an opportunity to see what you can do.
Below you will find one of my short stories called Angie’s Secret. Please comment with a critique and let me know the good and the bad.
“Heavens no, this is my secret. I told you because you’re my best friend, and I know I can trust you.” Angie sat at the table with her cup of tea. She was pale around the eyes and mouth. “I am doing this on my own. I’m thirty-four years old, and I know this is the right thing for me.”
“It may be right for you, but girl you look like crap. Do you want another cup of tea?”
Mattie went to the stove and brought the teapot back to the table. She asked Angie if she’s eating enough.
Mockingly Angie replied, “Yes, mother, I am. I can take care of myself. Stop worrying about me.”
“How do you think you’re going to pull this off when he barely lets you out of his sight?”
Angie thought of the days ahead as she sipped her tea. Her excitement showed.
Mattie looked at her, seeing the smile, said, “Ok, girlfriend, spill the beans. I want to know what’s making you smile.”
“I have to go home.”
“Angie, remember, no matter what, I’m your friend.” Mattie grabbed Angie, hugged her tightly.
“I’ll be in touch, and don’t worry,” Angie said as they broke apart. She walked back to her house. Her bedroom light was on. Crap, he must know I’m not in my room. I’ll walk through the front door as the grown woman I am.
After she entered the house, she almost made it to the stairs before she heard her father’s harsh voice.
“Angie, is that you?”
“Yes, father, it’s me.”
“Come here immediately,” her father, bellowed.
Angie walked into the library, ready for battle. Her father kicked back in the recliner, with a drink in his hand, asked, “Where have you been?”
“I went to Arlene’s for tea. I left your dinner on the table.”
“It was cold. You are one lousy cook.”
“Yes, father. I’m going upstairs to my room, goodnight, father.”
The clock advanced slowly, but 2 a.m. arrived. She pulled her suitcase from beneath her bed, took one last look at her room and left. Her father appeared to be asleep when she opened the front door. As she stepped out into the night air, she took her first deep breath of freedom.