Welcome to Day 6 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @healthmn1 @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

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Unleashing the Advocacy Warrior by Harriet Hodgson

My husband and I live in a retirement community that has a continuum of care. He is paraplegic and I have been his caregiver since 2013. Several months ago, my husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. A bone scan showed the cancer had spread to many parts of his body. As my husband became weaker, I realized I needed help to care for him.

Now my husband is in a rehabilitation unit. Unfortunately, COVID-19 prevents me from seeing him. I live on the 18th floor of the high-rise and my husband lives on the third floor. We are near each other, yet so far away. Being apart from each other made us feel stressed, frustrated, and down.

Then I received a notice in my mailbox. A new program was starting. Family members could make appointments to see their loved ones. Only two family members could visit at once and they had to follow strict rules. My daughter called the contact number and was given an appointment date and time. We were super excited.

Before my daughter arrived, I talked with my husband’s physical therapist. It was difficult to understand him because of his mask. He had difficulty understanding me because of my mask. I felt like we were going to do charades at any minute. Still, meeting the therapist gave me a chance to ask questions. Every question yielded the same answer: “That’s not in my pay grade.” What the heck did that mean?

A nurse came into the room and greeted my husband with, “Hi Handsome!” She seemed proud of her greeting. In fact, she turned to my husband and asked, “Every time I walk into your room, I say that, don’t I?” My husband answered “yes” in a flat, discouraged voice. The nurse didn’t pick up on his voice inflection and seemed validated by my husband’s reply.

My daughter and I stayed for two and a half hours and my husband coughed most of the time. As we left the rehab floor, we met the director of nursing. Of course, we grabbed the opportunity to talk with her. We made sure there were six feet between us. The director was patient, attentive, sympathetic, took notes, and said she would give the matter her attention.

Did I have the power to change anything? This question rattled around in my mind for hours. That evening, I sat down at the computer and wrote a heartfelt email to the director of nursing and carbon copied the director of the retirement community. This is the letter. I modified the wording to maintain confidentiality.

Dear ______________,

Thank you for meeting with me and my daughter this afternoon. I am aware that my husband may have declined physically and mentally. I am also aware that he doesn’t feel well, hasn’t slept well since he was admitted to the rehab unit, and feels isolated and depressed.

My husband has been coughing for three weeks. He feels so badly I don’t know how he could endure physical therapy, let alone benefit from it. He feels so badly he would just as soon die. Before we make a final decision on Supportive Living, I would like him to get some sleep and for his cough to subside.

I have gotten confusing information from nurses. Yes, my husband has pneumonia. No, he doesn’t have pneumonia. Communication is my business and the communication from staff on the unit has been poor.

The physicians who founded the clinic believed the needs of the patient come first. After I talked with the physical therapist I was confused and sad. I asked him several questions and his answer was always the same: “That’s not in my pay grade.” This is not the answer I expected from a clinic employee or physical therapist. I was also upset by the attitude a couple of nurses exhibited. They treated my husband like a foolish old man in a wheelchair. Like every patient, my husband deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

I share these thoughts with you out of concern and love. My husband and I have been married for 63 years. We went together for four years before we married. This is a difficult time of life. At a time when we are most vulnerable, life demands the most from us. I am my husband’s wife and advocate and will not fail him as his life draws to a close.

The next day I received a call from the director of nursing. Since I had been tested for COVID-19 twice and the tests were negative, administration did not think I was a health risk and could visit my husband daily. I was astonished.  “I’m going to cry,” I admitted to the nurse.

My story is not unique. There is an advocacy warrior inside you—a person ready to stand for love, quality care, and human dignity. But we must assume this role thoughtfully. Note important dates, such as hospitalization, on the calendar. File important documents in a safe place. Keep a log if you think it is necessary. Follow the chain of command. Speak in a calm voice and be civil. Remember, there is a difference between being persistent and being pushy.

You and I do not know our strength until we are tested. We are stronger than we realize. Most importantly, our loved ones need us. As my husband asked, “What happens to people who don’t have an advocate?” The famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss, explained advocacy better than I. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Advocacy takes many forms—better healthcare, better transportation, better education, better architecture, better laws, a welcoming community, and more. One person can make a difference. Maybe the time has come to unleash the advocacy warrior in you.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Harriet Hodgson’s RWISA Author Profile

Getting to know you – what makes me happy?

Jessica Bakkers had the great idea of writing some post about herself to share with her blogily. Bloggers share a lot about their thoughts, ideas and passions through their blog posts, but they often don’t post much about their lives outside of blogging.

Jessica chose to write What’s Your Rage. You can read her great post here: https://jessicabakkers.com/2020/11/13/getting-to-know-you-whats-your-rage/

I decided that as its Friday night after a taxing and long work week, I will write about what makes me happy.

My garden also makes me happy. I have been enjoying it a great deal since we have been working form home for the past 8 months. I try to go for a 5 000 step walk around the garden at least once a day and I often take pictures of the flowers in my garden. We also have a peach tree, two plum trees, strawberry plants and a fig tree. I have blackberry bush which is just coming into fruit.

My family makes me happy. I live with my husband and two sons, Gregory (17) and Michael (14). My parents live on the same property in a cottage and join us for dinner which we always eat together, as a family.

My sons have always made me happy. I never had baby blues or depression post either of their births, I was immensely happy when the doctor laid the little bundles in my arms. Terence and I have travelled a rough road with our boys as both of them have suffered chronic health problems.

They have had 32 operations between them. Despite the anxiety of all these spells in the hospital, I always adored my boys.

Terence and I have been taking turns the past three weeks with helping Michael prepare for his year end examinations. Terence does maths and mapwork and I do everything else. I also help test Greg on some of his work. I will tell you what I test him on just as soon as I’ve Googled what it is [wink].

My red roses

Other activities that make me happy are baking, fondant art, writing and blogging. I have a wonderful new gingerbread Christmas project on the go and am making and freezing all the pieces to assemble during the week before Christmas. I’m not going to tell you anything more, you will have to wait for the surprise closer to the day. I just love Christmas. November and December are my favourite months of the year.

Another hobby of mine is reading, I just love to read. I read for 1 hour every night and, as I am a fast reader, I average about four books a month and at least one audio book.

Thinking about all the things that make me happy that I have written about here makes me realise what a lucky person I am. I have time and the ability to spend time over weekends doing the things I love doing. I also get to spend time with my favourite people every day. My sisters and their children visit regularly, as do my aunt and my husband’s family. What more could I really want from life?

What makes you happy? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday doors – Sherlock Holmes’ house, London

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). 

Picture of the door into 221B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’ house

221B Baker Street is the London address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom, postal addresses with a number followed by a letter may indicate a separate address within a larger, often residential building. In the late 19th century, Baker Street was a high-class residential district, and Holmes’ apartment would probably have been part of a Georgian terrace.

Terence and I visited 221A Baker Street during a quick work visit to London in 2018. These are pictures of a few doors inside the house.

A picture of me outside the door to Dr Watson’s room
View of the shops opposite from the house with more security than I expected
Door to a coffin
Door to a jail cell
Trap door in the ceiling

I hope you enjoyed today selection of doors. You can join in this challenge here: https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2020/11/12/thursday-doors-november-12-2020/

Welcome to Day 4 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @LinneaTanner @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

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The King’s Champion by Linnea Tanner

At dawn tomorrow, I compete with every reputed warrior in our kingdom to become the King’s Champion. Defeating my opponents is almost an impossible feat for any man, much less a woman. Even so, I will triumph and win my father’s respect.

As the king’s eldest daughter, I vow to protect him and everyone in his kingdom. I stand ready to defend my father in mortal combat against any challenger vying for his crown. A true champion emblazons courage, loyalty, and sacred love for her king and family. But first, I must tell you my tale that seeded my desire to combat every warrior in the kingdom and stand by my father as his champion.

 When I was barely five winters old, my mother and I gathered with villagers to greet my father, astride his coal-black stallion. Returning from war, he was like a god towering over his worshippers as he rode through their midst. They welcomed him with chants and cheers. Snowflakes danced around him, also celebrating his return.

Shivering, I covered my mouth with both hands, suddenly ashamed about my appearance. Boys had earlier taunted me, “You have a donkey’s jaw and bray like one, too.”

 My nursemaid, a woman with ample bosoms spilling out of her low-cut dress, shooed the boys away and told me, “Don’t listen to them. You have an overbite, that is all. They’re jealous of you. You can beat anyone of those whelps.”

Her words didn’t make me feel better, though, as I studied the reflection of my face on a polished metal mirror. My upper jaw hung over my bottom lip. My upper front teeth protruded outward, making it hard for me to eat and speak clearly. Hence, I remained quiet most of the time.

When my father approached us on his horse, I drew out of my muse and swallowed hard with anticipation of speaking to him.

“What do I say to him?” I muttered to my mother.

“Only speak when he tells you to do so,” my mother instructed.

Fiddling with my plaid cloak, I recalled waving good-bye to my father in a season of blooming wildflowers before he left for war. My mother told me then, “He sails across the narrow sea to fight for a foreign army. By winter, he’ll return home.”

During the summer and fall seasons, I never gave my mother’s words consideration about my father’s return. He was out of sight and ceased to exist in my mind.

My little sister’s soft touch on my hand grabbed my attention. She looked at me with pathetic-looking eyes. The day before, she had fallen into the hearth and caught on fire. The queen’s guard—my only true adult friend—pulled her out of the flames.

After my father dismounted onto the soggy ground, he no longer appeared a giant. He didn’t look like other men in the village with a clean-shaven face and cropped wheat-golden hair. He also didn’t resemble me one bit. My hair was dark like my mother, and my acorn-brown eyes were the same color as the warrior who saved my sister.

Father embraced my mother, then pulled away and stared at her bulging belly. “Gods above, how did you get so big?”

Mother’s burning scowl made my father whither like a green sprout under a hot sun. At that moment, I didn’t like my father for his cruel comment. He must have seen the displeasure on my face because he apologized, “Forgive me, my love. Battle hardens a man’s words.”

Wiping a tear from her eye, my mother turned to me and said, “Vala, greet your father.”

I felt like a fish gulping for air as my father bent over and squeezed my chin with his fingers. “Hmm, you look as strong as an ox,” he said amiably, but the disappointment on his face shouted, You’re as ugly as a donkey!

Conflicting emotions grappled with me. I only wanted Mother in my life, not Father. I  burst into tears—a sign of weakness.

Father gave my mother a contorted, baffled look. “What did I do to make her cry?”

Mother’s eyebrows arched in a warning for me to stop my bawling. I bit my lower lip and fought back sobs.

He shifted his ice-cold blue eyes to my little sister. “What happened to Morgana? She looks like she was in a dogfight and got the worse of it.”

My sister’s wails spurred mine. Neither of us could stop crying despite my mother’s glower. The nursemaid’s hefty bosoms smacked against my face as she grabbed my hand and reached for my sister’s arm. She dragged us both away from the people’s peals of laughter to the silence of the Great Hall. Halting near the central hearth, where my sister had fallen, she thumped my forehead with her fingertips. “Shame on you. Why did you make such a fuss in front of the king? I learned you better than that!”

I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” but snapped my mouth shut when I saw her eyebrows rise like a storm. She would answer my protest with a swat on my rear end.

The nursemaid marched us through the high-vaulted, feasting hall into the adjoining living quarters where she corralled us like cattle in our bedchamber. “You get nothing to eat,” she bellowed and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

My sister covered her face with both hands and wept. Sitting on our straw-mattress bed we shared, I cuddled her like a baby in my arms to calm her.

“Shh … shush. No cry.”

She nestled her head against my shoulder and whimpered, “Vala, my Vala,” like a mantra until we both fell asleep in each other’s arms.

*****

Later, the bang of a closing door awoke me. I wiped the drowsiness from my eyes and found Mother sitting on our bed.

“Why did you cry when your father greeted you?” she asked.

“He … he’s so mean!”

Mother frowned. “He never said an unkind word to you.”

“He thinks I’m ugly!” I declared.

“That is how you see yourself,” she said, stroking the top of my head. “Your father only sees goodness in your heart.”

I looked down at my chest in bewilderment. “Father sees my heart? Can he also see the babies in your tummy?”

Mother sighed. “No. He knows”—she touched her belly—“they are in here. That is why he has returned. To make sure I’m safe. It’s hard bringing two babies into the world.”

“When will they come?” I asked, recalling how bloody a calf looks after being squirted out of its mother’s rear end.

“Too soon, I fear.”

I could see the angst in my mother’s eyes as her gaze drifted to the closed door.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

“You must always obey and love your father,” her voice cracked. “I may not always be with you.”

My stomach dropped into what felt like a tidal wave. “Where are you going?”

“I want to stay here with you, my dear. But we don’t always get our wish.” She sighed as if trying to lift the worries of the world off her chest. “Your father is outside. He wants to give you something.”

“A gift,” I squealed with excitement.

Mother turned her gaze to the door and called out, “My king, you can come in now.”

When my father poked his head through, his face burst into a big grin. “Good aft, my precious daughters. Look what I’ve brought you from my travels.” He bound into the room like a frolicking fox and held out two carved, alabaster horse heads in the palm of his hand. He offered each one of them to my sister and me.

I took the horse head and fingered the attached leather strap. “An amulet?”

“Yes. Let me tie it around your neck,” my father suggested with a smile. “The horse is our family’s sigil—an animal guide that protects you.”

After he placed the amulet around my neck, I beamed with pride and clasped the carved horse head against my heart.

My father’s leathery face softened. “Vala, you must promise to watch over your little sister and the babies in Mummy’s belly once they are born. Can you do that for me? Will you protect them with your life and be the King’s Champion?”

A sense of pride swelled inside me with the honor he had bestowed upon me. “I am the King’s Champion.”

“Truly, you are,” he said, embracing me.

“I promise to protect my sisters,” I vowed, hoping the babies were girls.

And from that moment on, I aspired to be my father’s champion, embracing the strength to protect the weak and the oppressed. 

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Linnea Tanner’s RWISA Author Profile

Welcome to Day 2 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @JanSikes3@RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

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Walk to your own beat by Jan Sikes

2020 has been a year.

And that is a gross understatement. No one could have predicted the diverse levels of craziness we’d experience as the year unfolded.

Not only are we dealing with a worldwide pandemic that has us wearing masks and hiding in our homes, but here in the United States, we’ve witnessed hatred and divisiveness to a degree I could never have imagined. While we watched and perhaps joined people taking to the streets to protest injustices, we also saw organized groups invade our beautiful cities and set them ablaze. Everyone is in a hypersensitive mode. History is being erased with the dismantling and destruction of national monuments, while sports teams are changing their names because someone is offended. 

The culmination of it all has left us reeling.

I do not watch the news, and that is a personal choice. I can name lots of reasons why I stopped, but the main one is, I do not believe even half of what they report. The media uses its power to incite and ignite more hatred and division amongst us.

Folks take to social media to try and coerce others to bend to their ideals and beliefs. And they do it in the most aggressive ways imaginable. It seems no one wants to allow their fellow man to have his or her own opinions. People are not willing to tolerate differences. Families are split by these differences, leaving children confused. We are allowing those in power to turn us into a society focused on isolation and fear.

So, what can we do?

I heard a song the other day that says it better than I ever could. The music artist is Brent Cobb, and he gave me permission to quote some of his lyrics.

He sings about how people want to tell each other how to live and how to die. You don’t get too low, don’t get too high, which is precisely what the pharmaceutical companies exhort.

The best thing you can do is don’t listen too close. Walk on to your own beat. Keep ‘em on their toes.

What does that even mean? To me, it means staying true to your authentic self. Don’t be a part of the herd that follows blindly. Make decisions for your life based on your truth, not someone else’s. Go where your heart tells you to go. I genuinely believe your heart will never lead you wrong.

Then, rather than to try and convince others to follow your truth, tuck it deep inside where you can nurture it and make it grow. You will never persuade another person to change their way of thinking because of the words you speak, but you can lead by example. And you can keep them on their toes. Keep them guessing about you. In other words, don’t be so utterly transparent.

Maybe this says it better. Keep ‘em on their toes, your business outta sight. Make ‘em look left, if you’re gonna hang a right. If the pot’s hot, don’t let ‘em see your hand. Make ‘em gotta know what they wouldn’t understand. The best thing you can do when the ignorance shows, is walk on to your own beat, keep ‘em on their toes.

I love that! We live in an electronic age where privacy is a thing of the past. The only way to have real privacy is to be completely disconnected, including no cellphone.

I have had many experiences that prove to me we are always under observation. It’s easy to understand how an ad will randomly pop up after browsing for an Amazon item. But I have had things pop up about something relating to a simple conversation with a friend. Big Brother is listening. No, I’m not paranoid. Just honest and see reality.

I do not know where we are headed as a society. The rose-colored glasses part of me wants to believe this hatred, division, hypersensitivity, and deadly pandemic we are experiencing will all come to an end, and we will go back to living our lives peacefully. But reality tells me we will never go back to the way we were before all of this chaos hit.

We are forever changed by it all.

So, the big question remains, “Where do we go from here?”

I can only answer that question from my point of view, from my truth. I will continue to be kind. I will continue to share and celebrate others’ accomplishments. And I will continue to love my family and do my best to impart any hard-earned wisdom to my grandchildren.

I can’t visualize what this world will be like ten years from now. I can’t even picture it a year from now. So, I must live for today in the best and most honest way I know.

I will walk on to my own beat―do my best to keep ‘em on their toes, and my business out of sight. That does not mean I can stop caring or go numb. In fact, just the opposite. I will celebrate every positive moment life brings, and I hope you will join me. Together we are stronger. Together we can make a difference.

Together, we can keep ‘em on their toes!

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Jan Sike‘s RWISA Author Profile

Fiction in A Flash Challenge Week #24

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I awoke feeling languid and tired and rushed around to get ready to leave so that I could arrive for my appointment in good time. I hate being late.

Dr Staples called me into his office as soon as I arrived. It was a most unusual appointment as he didn’t examine me at all. He used his large and expensive looking desktop computer to connect to the microchip in my brain.

“I will know immediately if there is anything unusual taking place in your body,” he explained. “The microchip maps the condition of every cell on an on-going basis. If you are suffering any kind of illness, I will be able to adjust the setting of the microchip to cure the problem.”

I felt a bit overwhelmed so I merely nodded my head and waited for him to speak again.

Ten minutes later, he looked at me with his piercing eyes and smiled. “There is nothing wrong with you, Jen. You are pregnant. Isn’t that exciting news?”

I drew in my breath sharply. Pregnant! I’m not ready to be pregnant. Not ready to have a baby.

Dr Staples continued to smile delightedly. “You are fortunate, Jen. John and you will be having a baby that is genetically modified to ensure he or she is a strong biological specimen with no physical disabilities, no predisposition to any genetic diseases or illnesses and an exceptionally high intelligence. The baby will also have the benefit of an exceptionally long life, the same as John and you, but his or her aging genes have already been edited to slow down the aging process, while John and your genes have had to be edited to slow down the process and reverse some of the effects of aging that have already taken place in your bodies.”

“Wow,” was all I could manage to say initially. “That is incredible, Dr Staples. I can’t believe I am pregnant and to be told that our baby will be genetically enhanced like you have described is amazing.”

A wave of excitement surged through me and I felt ever so much better, full of life and cheerfulness.

Dr Staples notices the change, I think my cheeks went all rosy, and he smiled again.

“You will see a gynaecologist and obstetrician here at this hospital and you will also deliver your baby here. You are one of the privileged and all your needs will be attended to by the World Government team of medical practitioners. I will ask my receptionist, Mrs Carter, to make you an appointment with Dr Chambers, your new gynaecologist, for next month. In the meantime, I see you have been feeling nauseous and I have programmed some slight adjustments so that you will feel better. You will also see me once a month, for the next six months, and two weekly thereafter, so that I can monitor your progress and the cells belonging to your baby.”

It was a relief to have everything organised for me like this, especially since I was still adjusting to the idea of motherhood. Fortunately, this hospital was close to Canary Wharf and my office.

Before I left, Dr Staples told me not to discuss the genetic enhancements that were being made for my child with anyone other than John.

“The World Government does not want public protests erupting about the new social system of genetic haves and have-nots. These genetic enhancements will only be provided to exceptional couples who are being hand selected for the programme. You are giving your child the best possible start in life and that is what you must focus on. Mrs Carter will ask you to sign an undertaking in this regard before you leave. John will also be required to sign it.”

“Okay, Dr Staples, that is fine, I won’t discuss that aspect of my pregnancy with anyone else. Thank you for your time and all your advice.”

I signed the undertaking and set off for the office in a sort of dream-state. I can’t wait to speak to John later that evening and tell him the news.

This was written for Suzanne Burke’s weekly writing challenge. You can join in here: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-new-image-prompt-week-24-join-in-the-fun-iartg-flashfiction-writingcommunity-writingprompts/

#Thursdaydoors – Holyrood Palace

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). 

Holyrood Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland and is located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace but I took a few of the outside and of Holyrood Abbey which is alongside the palace.

Okay, I admit the door is tiny but its still there.
In the courtyard
Holyrood Abbey
Terence and Michael in the ruin of Holyrood Abbey
The ruins from the gardens – no doors but quite a pretty picture

I included this last door picture because it amused me so much. It was quite funny to see the names of these two infamous murderers relegated to a lap dancing club. If you don’t know the story of Burke and Hare, you can read it here: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/Burke-Hare-infamous-murderers-graverobbers/

We visited the Edinburgh Dungeon which was incredibly creepy but that is a story for another day.

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2020/11/05/thursday-doors-november-5-2020/

Open Book Blog Hop – Humour

‘Is humour an important element is your stories? Do you ever laugh at something you’ve written?’

I am a very serious person. I have always been like that. My mother says I was a serious and self controlled baby. I rarely cried or gave her any trouble. I was what people call an “easy” baby. My mother says it was almost as if I knew how difficult things were for her following my biological father’s death and I made her life as easy as possible. Who knows, maybe babies can sense such things.

I was also an easy toddler. I went to nursery school because my mother had to work full time and mother says I never complained or even spoke about school. This characteristic of quiet tolerance has followed me throughout my life. In retrospect, it has not been a good thing for me. I should have realised you have to enter the fray in a corporate and fight to succeed. I was rather delusional and believed that among professional people, hard work and a bright mind would be given recognition as a natural progression. I didn’t know that quiet and tolerant people are used and abused and that if you don’t demand, or even threaten, you don’t get anything. That realisation only came to me much later in my working life. By the time my colleagues realised how much they needed my skills, I had lost interest and found a whole new writing life to consume a lot of my intellectual energy and abilities.

I often don’t enjoy, or find humour in, movies, books and other media that most people find funny. There are certain types of humour I enjoy, mainly dark humour and some British humour. Slapstick never does it for me and I don’t watch the movies my husband enjoys. My taste in books runs to the serious too. I read a lot of classics, my current favourites being Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and The Red Badge of Courage, as well as my all time favourite book, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. No humour there.

This line of thought takes me to my own writing. It is generally not humorous. I write fantasy for children which is not funny but rather mystical [I hope] and imaginative. Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town has some humour as I modelled it along the lines of My Naughty Little Sister and it is about the antics of a naughty and irrepressible little boy and his serious older brother. This book has been my only attempt at any sort of humorous writing. I realised after I published it that most people don’t understand my subtle and tongue-in-cheek humour.

My poetry is also serious and is always inspired by an event or situation which has upset me. I tend to write a lot of poetry about the poverty and corruption in Africa and the lack of personability or caring in the corporate world.

My adult writing is supernatural history or horror and is never funny. I enjoy reading about history and I like to share interesting historical situations with other people in the form of an entertaining [but dark] story. My writing always has the purpose of highlighting a specific theme within the historical event. For example, my new novel, A Ghost and His Gold, is aimed at unveiling some of the psychology of the Second Anglo Boer War and examining how the circumstances of this war set the stage for the next phase of South African history. I don’t believe this is obvious to a reader, they would need to almost look for it. People who know the history well will recognise these themes.

So this, in a nutshell, is my experience of humour in life and writing. I shall end this post with a quote from Matilda by Roald Dahl:

“There aren’t many funny bits in Mr Tolkien either,’ Matilda said.
‘Do you think that all children’s books ought to have funny bits in them?’ Miss Honey asked.
‘I do,’ Matilda said. ‘Children are not so serious as grown-ups and love to laugh.”

I have dark [and serious] stories included in the following two anthologies:

If you click on the link below, you’ll see what other blog-hoppers think about humour. Of course you can even add your own comment to this blog if you prefer.

Rules:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
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  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/859752d20f38436c9eafb00a4e0a4926

Book launch – Evil Lives After: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 3 by Charles F. French

Professor Charles F. French has recently launched book three in his The Investigative Paranormal Society series. This third book is a bit different from the other two as it brings in some real historical elements relating to the rise of fascism and World War II. I really loved it! There is nothing more frightening than real life.

What Amazon says

In Evil Lives After, The Investigative Paranormal Society confronts an enemy that is both human and supernatural, one that the world faced down in World War Two and is confronted by as a growing menace today, that of Fascism. Jeremy leads the battle against the ghost of an American Nazi who lived during W.W.II and his grandson, who are both attempting to change the course of history and establish an American Reich. Freedom rests on their actions.

My review

Evil Lives After is the third book in The Investigative Paranormal Society (“IPS”) series. Jeremy takes the lead in this thrilling paranormal adventure against the most appalling personification of evil the society has encountered to date. The book is written using two timelines and the IPS must enter into battle in both the present and the past, as well as the realm inhabited by ghosts and other spiritual creatures, in order to overcome this new threat to both Bethberg and the world.

John Kemmler is a fascist living in Bethberg in 1937. He is a firm follower of Hitler and Mussolini and has established his own Nazi party called The Bethberg Believers. He plans to grow his party with the eventual aim of overthrowing the existing American government and leading the USA into the war on the side of the Axis powers. Over time, John Kemmler becomes more and more obsessed with his beliefs and he starts writing a Mein Kampf styled journal which he infuses with his growing evil thoughts and ideas and into which he inserts a piece of his soul so that he can continue to influence others through his journal after his death.

Jacob is John Kemmler’s grandson, the child of left-wing parents who believe strongly in equality for all. He obtains the guidance and help he is seeking in support of his own strong fascist beliefs when his grandfather’s journal comes into his possession. Aided by his close friends, Jacob sets out to fulfil his grandfather’s dream.

Having read and enjoyed the first two books in the series, it was great to see the quiet Jeremy coming into this own in this book. Having been compelled by recent events in his own country and the greater world, Jeremy has undertaken to learn more about his Jewish faith and to give stronger and more open support to the causes he believes in. Although this book is the third in a series, it is not necessary to have read the first two books in order to enjoy this one. It is helpful from a character development perspective, however, if you read the books in order.

The major theme in this book of intolerance towards people of different ethnic, sexual and religious beliefs and backgrounds are on-going and current and I enjoyed the author’s view on selected historical events from WWII and his linking of these to modern events. I am a believer that knowing and understanding the circumstances that led to historical calamities can help in identifying similar red flags in our current world and the implementation of preventative steps.

This book has a satisfying and exciting ending and the author successfully tied all the threads of the story together. I would recommend this book to lovers of paranormal books with a solid and interesting storyline. Readers of historical fiction will also appreciate this book.

Purchase Evil Lives After

About Charles F. French

Charles F. French

I am a writer, novelist, and a professor of English Literature. I live in Pennsylvania. I am a devoted lover of nature, including hiking and fishing. I love reading, movies, cooking, and eating. I enjoy comic books and superheros as well as horror novels and movies.

Find Charles F. French

Blog: https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/French_C1955

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Charles-F-French/e/B01M5BZZ6B

#Bookreview – Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Jacquie Biggar

What Amazon says

Take two stubborn fools, mix a touch of fate, stir in some desire, and you have the recipe for a Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Sophia Shaughnessy left her beloved home in order to prove once and for all she was more than a pretty face to her family and ex-boyfriend, Tony. But, it backfired. When her grandmother needed her most, she wasn’t there.

Tony Morrison had been in love with the youngest Shaughnessy for almost as long as he’d been employed at her family’s ranch. Trouble was, he had secrets. Things he couldn’t tell anyone, especially the beautiful Sophia. So, he’d let her go.

But now she’d returned, bringing the winds of change to the Texas ranch, and Tony wasn’t sure he could protect her from the fallout.

My review

This is a delightful romance between a young woman, Sophia, the daughter of a ranching family, and the ranch foreman, Tony. Sophia is ten years younger than Tony and has been in love with him since she was sixteen years old. Five years earlier she’d left the ranch and Tony, to strike out on her own and build a career in New York City. Deep at heart, Sophia is still a country girl so when Tony calls her, soon after the death of her grandmother, and asks her to come hope and help her brothers with some decisions about the ranch, she goes.

She soon realises that her passion for Tony is still there, stronger than ever, but her pride and the reasons she left in the first place are still standing in the way of their happiness. During her absence, life on the ranch has changed and Sophia discovers her brothers at loggerheads over the best way forward with the ranch which is floundering financially. Each of the siblings, including Sophia, have their own ideas about what’s best for the family and the ranch and none of them are prepared to listen to the others. This causes friction between the siblings.

Tony can see the problem but can he put aside his turbulent feelings for Sophia and make his opinion and thoughts heard? Will this help or hinder any potential chance he has to rekindle the romance with Sophia?

Jacquie Biggar is a master romance writer who makes you feel all the heightened emotions and angst of her characters. I really liked Sophia who just wanted to feel valued by her family and have her ideas heard and considered and who also felt rejected by Tony due to misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions.

This is a delightful romance and readers of this genre will love this well written book.

Purchase Crazy Little Thing Called Love