In the midst of chaos…
Where words are fear-filled
And actions nourish anger
There is a dismal judgment
And hopelessness is the new normal.
I sink into my chair in dark-despair
Until I hear a sound and wearily lookup
A pair of brown eyes hold my gaze.
Unworthy, a soothing spark surges through me
Confused, I’m gifted possibilities
Accepting, I’m filled with deep peace.
It’s here I find the absent affection…
Offered to me generously.
I reach out and revel in it.
Her tail wags knowingly
Reminding my inner child
There is another direction to take
I willingly choose it
And we walk the path together
My dog and I supported by nature
And… unconditional love.
Watch for a special edition blog this week, along with any challenges I’m doing!
Embrace your inner child with unconditional love! D.L. Finn
Note: I don’t visit anyone’s sites with their challenge posts until I get mine done:)
The Day the Ground Moved
It jolted me from a deep sleep. Belongings were tossed around like feathers in a windstorm. My wedding picture crashed into the back of my head, but I had no time to worry about the bump as my bed moved toward the dresser that was lodged on its side. My black cat, Sissy, dug her claws into my leg, and I could hear the dog howl from his bed.
“It’s okay, Max!”
It was unlikely he heard me over the growl of the shifting landscape and shattering glass. I pulled myself to the side of the bed as Sissy edged up to my chest.
“It’s the earthquake they said would come, Sissy.”
Hanging on to the cat, I slipped on the leather mules my wife of 35 years had given me last Christmas. I lost Nancy three months later to breast cancer right before everything changed. I pushed down my pain, grabbed our wedding picture, and attempted to run. I found the floor was like a carnival funhouse. I could barely keep upright. My stomach flipped as a powerful wave surged through the house. I grabbed the closet door frame.
“Hang on, Sissy.” She buried her head in my neck. “I should get the go bag in case…”
Tightly gripping the wood structure with one hand, I snatched the bag from the closet, tucked the picture in it, and slung it over my shoulder. Sissy’s claws deepened, cutting into my skin, but I barely felt it as I navigated the dark hall to the creaking steps. The rising sun was peeking through the broken front window, and the neighbor’s car alarm was blaring.
I clung to the shaking railing and made my way down the wooden stairs. Halfway the wall cracked open with a loud pop.
“Crap.” I quickened my pace. “Max! Here, boy!”
The sweet German Shepherd slowly walked to me with his tail between his legs. I grabbed his collar.
“It’s safer outside.” I tried the front door. It wouldn’t open until I used all my weight against it. We burst onto the porch and raced out into the morning dawn. I stood on my front lawn as the brick fireplace crumbled to the ground with a dusty thump on the side of the house.
“Is this ever going to stop?”
As if on cue, the grumble gave way to silence.
A weak cry for help came from across the street. The houses’ two levels were now one.
“I’m coming, Bert!”
The young couple who had just moved in last month stood pale and bloodied by their car.
“Bert and Kathy need help,” I yelled to them and set Sissy down, who immediately hid under my car.
“There’s nothing we can do. We need to get to a safety zone.” The husband replied. They got into their car and left.
I shook my head in disbelief; I knew there was no place to go. In the distance, I saw smoke and rubble as far as my old eyes could see. I rushed over the uneven street. Just then, I heard a screech and saw the young couple’s car fall. It was half in and half out of a large hole. The husband pulled the wife out, and they raced around the corner. Gone.
“Adam, can you hear me?”
“Yes, Bert, I’m coming.”
Thankfully, he was in a pocket by the front door, and I could lift the debris with a crowbar. Bert’s wife, who had been Nancy’s best friend, was crushed under a beam. She didn’t make it. We buried Kathy under her favorite maple tree. I understood his pain.
Bert took over that young couple’s house, and all that was left of our once beautiful area was two old men trying to survive each day. We lived in a world where no help would arrive. Our leader challenged the new directive, and as a cruel example, they detonated our earthquake fault. Later we found a renegade radio channel and learned part of our state was in the ocean.
It was a war no one had wanted. Luckily, Bert and I had a healthy supply of food, water, and weapons. When the time came, I would defend our old ways against the new directive. I knew Nancy would be proud of my stand, but I couldn’t wait to be with her again—when that time came.
After running into packs of dogs and dodging cars on the road my husband decided to create a path to walk on at home. This is how The Magical Trail came into being. I’m about to take a walk. So, grab a bottle of water, a mask, and join me:)
I was inspired by pictures of painted rocks. For my birthday, I got a paint set to decorate rocks. Here are some of my grandchildren’s artwork that is scattered throughout the trail.
2. Pictures of the trail. You can spot our dog Sara who is always in the lead.
3. This is what happens when lightning strikes in the forest. It is from a long time ago not recently:
The rest of the pictures are our decorations and one of me. I’m masked up not for the virus but because it was smoky from a local fire, and some not so local. We’re safe right now but so many in California (and other states) aren’t thanks to some highly unusual monstrous lightning storms – with more on the way.
4. The wooden signs are made by my husband. It’s his latest hobby. The guitar is usually black but it’s covered in ash from the fires.
5. When the mosquitos aren’t in full attack here’s the bench where I write poetry:
6. The archway was used in two weddings and now is the beginning of the trail. Bigfoot has very special dietary needs…
7. The leprechauns have several food allergies so we make sure no one feeds them!
8. Our tiny haunted house lights up at night when no one is around…
9. The forest dwarf watches over the deep pit below him. The pictures I took don’t show its depth. We have no idea where it came from. Maybe an old mining tunnel?
10. Here’s our forest key. That pile of rocks below is a water fountain my husband created. It’s not running right now and I’m working on some rocks to surround it:)
Thanks for taking a walk on The Magical Trail. It’s a special place where there’s always something new to see or magic to seek.
Embrace your inner child by taking a walk in nature. D. L. Finn
On this majestic mountain peak, we stand against evil. The blood flows below us like a raging river. The air is heavy with fear as we breathe in its hopelessness. Soon, the stars will be seized from us in a swirling cloud of hate. They are writing humanity’s loveless obituary. We must fight.
They came from the stars
Conquest, war, famine, and death
Below is my piece for Suzanne Burke’s ‘Flash in a Fiction Challenge’ Week #13 Image Prompt. I had a heck of a time choosing the poem to post here. I ended up with several peoms, but narrowed it down to two. One was full of images and a connection to the soul, but the other one reminded me of a favorite poem, “A Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost. Here’s the one that narrowly won out.
I searched day and night
For this promised treasure.
Given no map or guidance
Only a family quest to fulfill.
Each morning started the same…
Through the pines, cedars, and dogwoods
I followed my path.
My eyes scanned the hushed forest.
And when the filtered sunbeams departed…
So did I.
I repeated this ritual daily, never changing my course
Until that one day…
A shimmer sparkled between two large sugar pines.
Encouraged, I veered off into the unknown.
I soon found this careless choice difficult…
Leaving me conflicted…
And scraped and bruised from this uncharted territory.
But the small light beckoned me forward…
Until the sunbeams dissipated…
I turned to go home.
That’s when I saw it… shiny, bright, and golden.
I knew it was the promised family treasure
Quickly I swooped up the old key, studying it.
It was exactly as described down to the three holes,
But it offered no answers, only more questions.
I carefully tucked it away in my pocket.
All I had to do was… find the lock.
Here’s where my next journey began.
I’ll continue until I find what I seek…
The lock that my treasured key opens…
And what exists beyond.
Embrace your inner child by trying something new. D. L. Finn
Although my birthday was a few weeks ago, I wanted to share a poem and some pictures from that day. My husband and I stayed local. We rode up Highway 20 right outside of Nevada City and made one stop by a favorite waterfall.
We ride through the sierras
Open to the world.
Leaning with each turn…
Braking for obstacles…
Flying through the straightaways…
While the sun illuminates our way.
We cruise over our paved path
With a loud rumble announcing us.
It’s here I find my stillness…
Deep within, on the back of a Harley
Flying through the forest’s freedom
The day of my birth is celebrated.
In the last picture, I found a face in the debris. Can you find it?
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book or finding your peace in nature. D. L. Finn
I’m thrilled to have fellow author, Harmony Kent here today to talk about her upcoming release, “Interludes 2!” I’ve picked up my copy:)
Thanks so much for having me over at your place today, Denise.
Hi everyone. It’s great to be visiting with you all.
While I’m here, I’d like to talk about my latest book, Interludes 2. This is a book of short erotic romance fiction. As with the original Interludes (which you can find HERE), the book contains 10 short stories, with the first tale totalling 1,000 words, the second one totalling 2,000, and so on up to 10,000 words in the final story.
For each story, I used prompt cards from a great creative tool called Storymatic. Here’s what the set gave me to work with:
tattletale, b) beekeeper … c) architect … conflict = stranger comes to town
A and B relate to the main character. C relates to the secondary character. And the final prompt gives us the conflict.
From the above set of prompts, I came up with THE INCOMER—contemporary romance in 7000 words.
A divorced beekeeper has spent her whole life in or around her local village. Then a city-slicker architect comes to town. When two worlds collide, a big bang is sure to follow. Can you have a frenemy with benefits?
Excerpt from The Incomer:
Pleased with the honey harvest’s progress, Emma closed the lid on the last beehive and glanced around the sprawling fields that surrounded her. Buttercups and daisies fluttered and danced in the soft, cooling breeze. A besuited figure, incongruous in oversized green wellies, strode through the long grass. Her expression soured. Adam b***dy Jones, architect extraordinaire—or so he would have her believe. The man might well have inherited his family’s land, but that didn’t give him the right to build his planned monstrosity this close to her hives and home. She stood, arms and legs akimbo, to watch him approach.
He did not look pleased. Good. Maybe he’d change his mind about having Emma for a neighbour. Still a few feet away, he waggled his finger and accused her, ‘You good for nothing tattletale.’
Emma hid a grin. Tattletale sounded so old-fashioned, even if apt right then. Not deigning to respond, she continued to stand and stare at him.
Infuriated further, he closed the gap between them and pointed his finger in her face. ‘You—’
She bit the offending digit. Didn’t mean to. It just happened. That stopped him in his tracks. Blood and sweat made an unpleasant tang on her tongue, so she let the finger go. Then she spat, turned around, and grabbed the water bottle she’d left with her jacket by the nearest hive. After she’d rinsed and spat again, she took a good swallow, and only then did she give her attention back to Mr Adam Jones …
I had so much fun writing this one, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this little teaser. I’d love to hear what you think via the comments at the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping by.
Interludes 2 Blurb
From author, Harmony Kent, another best-selling collection of short erotic fiction that will tickle more than your taste buds and wet [sic] more than your appetite.
With a range of genres and styles, this book has enough steam for everyone.
WIGGING OUT—contemporary romance in 1000 words. Two strangers. A crowded platform. A collision. And a wig on the floor.
STORM CHASER—ménage à trois in 2000 words. A sabotaged tire. A raging storm. Passion mounts.
MOON-STRUCK—shifter romance in 3000 words. Trapped on a ship orbiting the moon, a horny astronaut falls for a hunky author who has a secret.
THE CLUB—contemporary romance in 4000 words. An invitation and a host, who is so much more than he seems, bring excitement, enticement, and a choice to make.
NUDIST CAMP—contemporary romance in 5000 words. An older woman. A younger man. A gossip discovers their secret tryst. What will happen when it all gets laid bare?
INITIATION—contemporary romance in 6000 words. A pretty daydreamer arrives for her first day at university. A brutal initiation, and a man with an unusual issue, leave her reeling. Strange, the places you find true love.
THE INCOMER—contemporary romance in 7000 words. A divorced beekeeper has spent her whole life in or around her local village. Then a city-slicker architect comes to town. When two worlds collide, a big bang is sure to follow. Can you have a frenemy with benefits?
DOWN AND DIRTY—contemporary romance in 8000 words. On the run from a sadistic ex-husband, Ellie flees to a remote mountain town and takes a job in the mines. Wary of men, she resolves to keep herself aloof, but mother nature has a way of having the last word and will, quite literally, make the earth move if she has to.
REUNION—contemporary romance in 9000 words. A school reunion looms. Not wanting to arrive sad and single, Molly talks her long-time friend Paul into going with her. While the music plays, the sparks fly.
SOUL MATES—supernatural romance in 10,000 words. A bereaved woman seeks solace in remote woodland. All too soon, she discovers that she’s not as alone as she’d expected. And her heart isn’t the only one that needs to mend.
READER ADVISORY: This book contains explicit sex scenes and language hot enough to melt your book. For mature readers only.
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her adorable husband, ever-present sense of humour, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
I gently shifted my weight in the chair, trying to pry my bare legs off the brown vinyl. Several deep breaths did nothing to relieve the tension in my shoulders. I pulled my sweater tightly around me with the realization it wasn’t wise to be dressed for a hot summer day while sitting in a cold hospital room. There had been no change in the last few hours. The constant beeps continued, and the oxygen flowed in and out with a gentle whoosh.
I shook my head at the tragic irony of a man needing me after how he treated me growing up. My father had an undiagnosed mental condition. He hid it well, so only those who lived with him knew his explosive violence under the shrewd mask of a family man. No one saw the marks; they were never on my face. He was careful even when he had lost control. The war and his parents had hurt him so deeply that when it bubbled to the surface – it hurt us. He never seemed aware of his faults, so there was never an opportunity for him to seek any help. My family spent every waking moment, trying not to upset him in the hopes all would be well. It wasn’t.
I sighed loudly and took the protein bar out of my purse. Though I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want to pass out and end up in a hospital bed, too. I washed the crunchy honey oats down with a bottle of water. The nurse entered the room right after I finished. I pretended to be asleep. There was nothing new she could share with me.
Finally, she was gone, and I sat up staring at the lump of a once proud and cruel man. We were the only two left from my family. Alcohol and drugs took everyone down, except me. I knew when to quit. The man lying in bed had upped his intake of drinking until it was all he did. Today I watched them remove twenty-one bottles of liquid from his abdomen, relieving his labored breathing. He had no idea it was happening.
A flash of light caught my attention, and I quietly got up to investigate. It was coming from the nurse’s station where someone had placed a small golden clock that looked like a holiday ornament. It was the same as…a chill shot through me.
It looked exactly like the clock from my dream last night where I was boxing up my father’s belongings. My only thought had been he wasn’t dead. Then, in one box, was this device. It had a clock face on all four sides as it gently spun in a circle playing my father’s favorite Hank Williams Jr. song.
“Can’t be,” I whispered, hoping I’d seen it the day before.
A loud conversation cleared that up.
“Did you see what that patient in 202 left us today, Sissy?”
“I’ve never seen a clock like that before. How sweet of him.”
I gulped when I saw the time was the same as my dream. Unsure what to do, I stood there frozen until a sudden warmness wrapped me in its wisdom. I quietly closed the door and stood over my father.
“I forgive you, father, even after all you did to us. You weren’t happy here on earth, and I hope you’ll find some happiness where you are going. Please know I’m doing this in love, and I believe it’s what I’m meant to do. Rest in Peace.”
I picked up the extra pillow and held it tightly over his face. He never struggled, but at the last moment, his bloodshot eyes opened. I saw approval in them, as the machines went silent. His eyes closed. I put the pillow back and pushed the nurse’s button right as they threw the door open. Mercifully, they couldn’t revive him.
Later, when I left his room, I hurried past the clock still set at the same time, 11:53. After a long wait for the elevator, the clock began playing my father’s favorite song. I held back a smile when I saw the hands had moved to noon, which only justified my actions.
No one knew what I did that day. I was okay with that because he was free, and so was I.