Tag Archives: authors

Watch RWISA Write: Marlena Smith

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Marlena Smith!

 

Will it ever be enough?

Will I ever be complete?

These questions haunt me;

They scream out defeat.

A mind vacant of answers;

A soul lost in time;

A heart full of sadness;

And eyes that just won’t shine.

A whisper full of sorrow;

A smile full of regret;

A life less than ordinary;

One I wish to forget.

*  *  *

Life is too precious to not make the most of every day.

Cherish memories.

Strive to make more.

Make every moment count.

Tell others you love them.

Forgive quickly.

Laugh often.

Pray every day.

Have a thankful heart.

*  *  *

 

Author Bio:

 

Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

 

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

 

Marlena now wears many hats, including:  writer, author, blogger, freelancer, reader, reviewer, researcher, paranormal enthusiast, traveler, and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. Writing, though, has and always will be her main passion in life.

 

Marlena has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, titled THE POWER OF LOVE. This debut book is expected to be out in 2017. In addition to her debut, she has a romance novel, a cookbook and a horror screenplay on her to do list.

 

 

Follow Marlena online:

 

Twitter – @_MarlenaSmith_

Facebook – @AuthorMarlenaSmith

Instagram – @MarlenaLafaye930

Marlena Smith, RWISA Author Page

Watch RWISA Write: Lynn Hobbs

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Lynn Hobbs!

Not Interested

by Lynn Hobbs

“Cordell.”

A booming voice called his name above the chatter of the crowded café. Cordell perched sideways on a swivel stool.

“What’s up?” An older man approached, narrow reading glasses sliding on his nose. His bald head glistened.

“Mr. Moore.” Cordell stood, and they slapped each other on the arm. The older man towered over Cordell’s lanky frame.

“Look at you.” Mr. Moore stepped back, cocked his head to the side, and scanned the younger man. “What’s with the beard?”

“It’s growing.” Cordell gave a half- smile, and motioned toward the stools.  “Lunch is on me. Glad you could make it. This hot weather isn’t healthy, is it?”

Mr. Moore chuckled. “No, but summer heat is part of Texas.”

Both ordered the lunch special with iced tea. He glanced at the young man.

“Heard some talk…heard you divorced Twyla.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Pretentious female, and all about herself. Guess you know that now.”

“I know it well…and I should have trusted your judgment… not my hormones.”

“Cordell, sometimes no one can tell anyone anything. They have to experience it firsthand for themselves.”

“Oh, it was an experience. I did everything for her.” He frowned at his older friend. “It was never enough, though.”

Mr. Moore grimaced.

Conversation ceased while the waitress set their food on the counter.

“Anything else I can get you?” She yanked two straws from her pocket placing them near their iced tea glasses.

“We’re fine, thank you.” Mr. Moore focused on his friend as she left.

Gazing at the heavy laden plates, Cordell appeared lost in thought, and slowly cut into his chicken fried steak.

“I’m here for you, man.” Mr. Moore spoke in an easygoing manner. “You may have graduated high school three years ago, but I will always be your mentor.” Blending gravy into his mashed potatoes, he waved his fork at Cordell. “Tell me about Twyla.”

Cordell’s shoulders slumped. He glanced at the other customers, and one couple looked in his direction.

“Twyla.” He paused, lowered his voice, and made eye contact with his mentor. “Twyla would not cook. I’d buy something after work, and bring it home. I heard one lie after another. She’d say she didn’t feel good.  I didn’t know she stayed up all night, and slept all day. She wouldn’t wash dishes or clothes, wouldn’t pick up after herself…she always had an excuse. After I washed or cleaned, she’d get out of bed and act sleepy saying she felt a little better. Then on weekends, she’d go out with her friends feeling great.”

“Cordell, there is an old saying for your marriage.”

“What?”

“That’s too much buck for a little sugar.”

“I did try hard to please her…and for what? She never did anything for me.”

The older man gently bit his lip. Leaning forward, he looked straight at Cordell. “Ever consider it was your will to have Twyla, and not God’s will?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Had it been God’s will for you to have Twyla, she would have been a blessing, not a lesson.”

“Wow. What a powerful statement, Mr. Moore.”

“Same principal applies to your money, and your budget. Is it something you want, or something you need? What happens if you over spend on something you want? Something you need in an emergency might not be affordable.  You could be broke by then, or your credit rating could hold you back.”

The young man nodded.

“Hear me out, Cordell. I pray for God’s will and guidance in my life. It is as important to me as is the choice between a good life, and an evil one.”

“I appreciate you, Mr. Moore, and I intend to pray like you do.”

“Wonderful. Thank the Lord. I’m happy Twyla is gone.”

“No more women for me. I’m done.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”

“Nope, not interested.”

“See our waitress taking drinks to the corner table? I think she’s close to your age. Don’t you think so?”

“I guess.”

“Her face glows when she talks to customers. Seems genuine, and friendly.”

“She doesn’t know anything about them. Give her time, she’ll be manipulating.”

Mr. Moore flashed Cordell a wide grin. “Easy on assuming, now. They aren’t all like that.”

“Maybe, but I’m still not interested.”

“Here she comes, behave.”

“Sir, may I get you anything else? Would you care for dessert?”

“No, thank you, we are done. I’ll take both tickets.”

She scribbled on the order pad, and handed Cordell two slips of paper. “Hope you enjoyed the meal.”

“It was delicious.” Mr. Moore beamed.

She smiled, hurrying to the other end of the counter.

“So… what did you think about the waitress while she was here?” He pivoted to face Cordell.

“I wondered if I’d ever find a bag of rotten potatoes gooey on her kitchen floor…”

“Shame on you.”

“I found that on mine and Twyla’s kitchen floor, scooted against the wall.”

“Not everyone is nasty. Most are clean.”

Finishing their meal, each rose, and veered toward the cashier. Cordell paid while his mentor stuffed a five dollar bill into the tip jar. They meandered through the crowded café, and Cordell opened the exit door. The outside heat engulfed them.

“Mr. Moore, thanks for meeting me here today.”

“My pleasure.”

“Let’s do this again, same time, same place next week.”

“Cordell, I’ll look forward to it.”

They strolled in opposite directions to their vehicles when the waitress came barging out of the café. She raced toward Cordell.

“Sir, you left your phone on the counter.”

Recognizing his phone she waved high in the air, he stopped.

“Why, thank you.” For the first time, he gave her his full attention noticing her warm, caring eyes. “Thank you, indeed.”

He felt her skin flush as she slipped the phone into his hand. Whirling about, she hastened back inside.

He opened and closed his mouth realizing he didn’t know her name, and knew he’d return.

Sprinting to his car, he drove off with a glance at the café while the waitress lingered on his mind.

 

The End

Lynn Hobbs, RWISA Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch RWISA Write: Ron Yates

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Ron Yates!

THE LEGEND OF TOKYO ROSE

By Ronald E. Yates

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

During a 27-year career with the Chicago Tribune, much of it as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Latin America, I encountered my share of remarkable and unforgettable stories.

Some came out of the horrendous suffering I witnessed while covering the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. Others were generated by the bloody revolutions in Guatemala and El Salvador. Still others sprang from the wrenching political upheavals I reported on in places like The Philippines, Brazil, China and South Korea.

But there is one story in my journalistic career that I treasure above all the others. That is the story of a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri. You probably don’t recognize the name and if you don’t, that is perfectly understandable.

You and millions of other Americans know her by another name: “Tokyo Rose.”

That’s right, “Tokyo Rose.” The so-called “Siren of the Pacific” who sat before a microphone in Tokyo and told GIs on a 25-minute show called “The Zero Hour” that their homes, their girl-friends and even apple pie weren’t worth fighting for. Tokyo Rose, the legendary “seductress of the short wave,” whose broadcasts between 1943 and 1945 for Radio Tokyo were meant to demoralize the American fighting man and undermine his will to fight.

Remember all those World War II era movies with GIs gathered around short wave radios listening to a sultry “Tokyo Rose” intone such phrases as: “Come on boys, give up. You haven’t got a chance against the Imperial Japanese Army. Why throw your lives away?”

There’s just one problem. There was no “Tokyo Rose.” Nor were there ever any treasonous broadcasts like the ones described above. At least not by Iva Toguri.

Following is her remarkable and poignant story and my involvement in it.


 

It was the summer of 1941 and for a young California woman named Iva Toguri it was a time filled with promise and endless possibilities.

 

The previous June Iva had graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, she had a shiny Chrysler, and she was planning on attending graduate school in the fall so she could begin a career as a medical researcher or perhaps even a doctor.

 

The daughter of hardworking Japanese immigrants, Iva had been brought up to be a confident, optimistic American. And why not? After all, she was born in Los Angeles on the 4th of July–and you can’t get more American than that.

 

But in the summer of 1941 the world was not a place that could easily match the hopes and expectations of a 25-year-old UCLA graduate.

 

In Europe, a war was raging and the forces of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich occupied or controlled most of the continent. In Asia, Imperial Japan, under the leadership of a clique of hardcore militarists, was in control of China, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and a segment of the South Seas ceded to it after World War I.

 

Conflict and discord were the prevailing truths of the day, and as Iva Toguri stood on the brink of her future an ominous cloud of world war hung in the warm summer air.

 

Thus it was not without some trepidation that Toguri’s ailing mother asked Iva to represent the American side of the Toguri family at the bedside of a dying aunt in Tokyo. It was a bit risky, but someone had to go; and on July 5, 1941, one day after her 25th birthday, Iva was on a slow boat to Japan. She spoke no Japanese, had never been to Japan and had never met her aunt.

 

It would be a fateful journey, one that would alter Iva Toguri’s life forever and eventually introduce to the world one of its most enduring and erroneous myths: The Legend of “Tokyo Rose.”

 

Less than five months after arriving in Japan and not long after her sick aunt had recovered, Japanese warplanes swooped down on a place called Pearl Harbor. For Iva Toguri and millions of others, the future went from bright to black in a matter of moments. And the lights would not come back on until August 1945, when Japan surrendered.

 

But for Iva Toguri, the war did not end in 1945 as it did for so many others. Four years later Iva Toguri would stand in a San Francisco courtroom, one of only a few American women ever convicted of treason. In the minds of millions of Americans Iva Toguri was the one and only “Tokyo Rose,” the name American GIs in the Pacific had given to several women radio announcers who played scratchy Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman records during propaganda radio shows broadcast in English from Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia.

 

Iva’s conviction on just one of eight counts of treason came despite the testimony of G.I.s who called the Radio Tokyo “Zero Hour” broadcasts she made morale boosters and despite evidence which showed she was just one of 13 English-speaking women announcers broadcasting from Tokyo at the time. Another 14 women had broadcast from cities throughout Asia and the Pacific that were occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army.  Interestingly, not one of them called herself “Tokyo Rose.”  (The only radio alias Iva Toguri ever used during her 15-minute segment of popular music was the name “Orphan Ann” because, as she often said during her broadcasts, she was an announcer who had been orphaned in Tokyo by the war.)

 

Not even the absence of a written record or an electronic recording of the single “treasonous” broadcast she was supposed to have made stopped her conviction. That broadcast came after a crushing U.S. Naval victory in Leyte Gulf of the Philippines in which she allegedly said:

 

“Orphans of the Pacific, you really are orphans now. How will you get home now that all your ships are sunk?”

 

Most Americans listening to that would have seen through the facetious tone of those words, no matter who said them, and understood that it was a broadcast meant more for members of the defeated Imperial Japanese Navy than for the victorious U.S. Navy. Even more important, however, was the fact that Iva never said those words.

 

Nevertheless, in 1949 in a San Francisco Federal courtroom as she, her family and her corps of defense attorneys led by the late Wayne Mortimer Collins looked on, Iva was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She served six years and two months of her sentence in the Alderson Federal Reformatory in West Virginia which would much later house Martha Stewart. But more importantly her conviction sentenced Iva Toguri to a life of disgrace and deep inner pain that only those falsely accused and convicted can ever understand.

 

Some vindication came in a series of exclusive stories I reported and wrote in 1976 while serving as the Chicago Tribune’s Tokyo Bureau Chief and Chief Asia Correspondent.

 

Two key prosecution witnesses, after 27 years of silence, wanted to ease their consciences. They admitted to me that they were forced by U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials to lie, tell half-truths and withhold vital information at the trial. It was on the basis of their coerced and false testimony that the jury had found Iva guilty. (Article 3 of the Constitution states that treason shall consist only in levying war against the United States or in giving aid and comfort to its enemies and that conviction may be had only on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or on confession in open court).

 

The two witnesses, Kenkichi Oki and George Mitsushio—both California-born Japanese-Americans—were Iva’s superiors on Radio Tokyo’s “Zero Hour” radio program. Oki was the show’s production manager and Mitsushio was program director. Oki and Mitsushio testified they had heard Iva make the so-called “Orphans of the Pacific” broadcast about Leyte Gulf in October 1944 when in fact she never did.

 

The “Zero Hour” was produced under coercion by Allied prisoners of war, and while the Imperial Japanese government saw it as a way to broadcast propaganda to American GIs fighting in the Pacific, the POWs and Iva saw it as a way to sabotage the Japanese war effort.

 

That’s the way the occupation forces of Gen. Douglas MacArthur saw it too when on April 17, 1946, following 11 months of Iva’s incarceration in Tokyo’s Sugamo prison along with such Class A Japanese war criminals as former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, the U.S. Army Legal Section issued the following report:

 

“There is no evidence that Iva Toguri ever broadcast greetings to units by name and location, or predicted military movements or attacks, indicating access to secret military information and plans.”

 

Then, in October 1946 a U.S. Justice Department investigation of Iva concluded:

 

“Iva Toguri’s activities, particularly in view of the innocuous nature of her broadcasts, are not sufficient to warrant prosecution for treason.”

 

It was obvious that the U.S. authorities in Tokyo were willing to let bygones be bygones. And they were willing to accept the reasons for Iva Toguri’s voluntary participation in the Zero Hour show: that like most of the 10,000 Japanese-Americans stranded in Tokyo during the war, she had taken the job to sustain herself while she was basically a hostage in a hostile environment.

 

Furthermore, she had been assured by the American and Australian POWs who wrote the scripts she read, that she was doing nothing unpatriotic–and indeed that what they were doing might even help the allied war effort.

 

That was especially important to Iva, because unlike all the other Japanese-Americans who participated in the Zero Hour broadcasts, she had steadfastly refused to give up her American citizenship, despite being threatened and pushed to do so by Imperial Japan’s dreaded “kempeitai” secret police. In fact, her pro-American sentiments often got her into arguments with Japanese members of the Zero Hour staff. On several occasions she risked arrest and even death to smuggle food and medical supplies to Allied POW’s in Tokyo.

 

In 1948, Iva petitioned to return to the United States and Chicago, where her family had resettled following the war.

 

When word leaked out that the notorious “Tokyo Rose” was trying to reenter the United States, much of the U.S. press took exception. Radio columnist Walter Winchell unleashed a series of broadcasts attacking then U.S. Atty. Gen. Tom Clark for “laxness” in dealing with “Tokyo Rose.” Pressure steadily built on the Truman administration to “make an example” of somebody. That “somebody” was to be Iva Toguri.

 

It made no difference that Iva Toguri bore no resemblance in appearance or deed to the fictitious and seductive Oriental woman American G.I.s fantasized about while sitting in their jungle foxholes. Nor did the fact that U.S. Occupation forces already had investigated Iva and cleared her of any activity that could be construed as treasonous.

 

It was an election year and the administration of President Harry S Truman could not afford to be seen as being soft on alleged wartime spies and turncoats. Atty. Gen. Clark dispatched investigators to Tokyo to look into the Tokyo Rose case. They found that Iva Toguri was the only person associated with the “Zero Hour” show who was still an American citizen and hence, still subject to U.S. law. So Clark began to build a case against Iva and told justice department attorney Tom de Wolfe to “prosecute it vigorously.”

 

In 1945 Iva had married Filipe J. d’Aquino, who was born in Yokohama of a Portuguese father and a Japanese mother. In 1948 the couple’s child, who Iva desperately wanted to be born in the United States, died at birth. The two remained together until her conviction and then, following decades of forced separation, they divorced in 1980. After Iva’s release from prison, she could not get a U.S. passport to travel and d’Aquino, while in San Francisco for the trial, had been told by the FBI never to return to the United States, “or else.”

 

The case against Iva Toguri was flimsy at best. Something had to be done to strengthen it. So FBI agents in Tokyo rounded up all of those involved in the “Zero Hour” broadcasts and applied the kind of pressure that most any Japanese-American at the time could understand.

 

“We had no choice,” Oki told me in 1976 after I had convinced him and Mitsushio to meet me in Tokyo. “The FBI and U.S. Occupation police told us we would have to testify against Iva or else they said Uncle Sam might arrange a trial for us too—or worse.  We were flown to San Francisco from Tokyo and along with other government witnesses, we were told what to say and what not to say two hours every morning for a month before the trial started.

 

“Even though I was a government witness against her, I can say today that Iva Toguri was innocent: she never did anything treasonable…she never said the words that got her convicted,” Oki said. “It was all a lie. Iva never had a chance. And all I can say now is that I am truly sorry for my part in her conviction. I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive us.”

 

My stories containing details of Oki and Mitsushio’s confession of perjury, as well as interviews with her former husband Phil d’Aquino and others who had worked with Iva on the Zero Hour, appeared in March 1976 and were carried around the world.

 

On January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford, in his last official act in office, granted Iva Toguri a full and unconditional pardon. While the historic pardon was an attempt to correct the injustice done to Iva Toguri, the individual, it also served to raise awareness of the unfair treatment Japanese-Americans received at the time from the federal and some state governments.

 

The fact Iva Toguri became the first person in American history to be pardoned following a treason conviction, speaks volumes about her own indomitable spirit and the determination of those who supported her crusade for justice, say leaders in the Japanese-American community.

 

Others say the pardon also says something about the deeply-ingrained sense of fair play that permeates American society and which manifests itself, albeit sometimes belatedly, in the media, the courts and, in Toguri’s case, the White House.

 

July 4, 2006 marked Iva Toguri’s 90th birthday and for almost 65 of those 90 years she had to live with the myth that she was “Tokyo Rose.”

 

Some vindication came in January 2006 in a quiet, private ceremony held in a restaurant on Chicago’s north side when Iva received the Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award from the World War II Veterans Committee. (Herlihy was a radio broadcaster who was known as the “Voice of WW II” for his narration of Universal Newsreels). It was a twist of irony not lost on those in attendance.

 

I was privileged to be one of those invited to the ceremony, along with members of Iva’s family and a handful of close friends like former CBS news anchor Bill Kurtis, who has known Iva since the late 1960s, and Hollywood producer Barbara Trembley, who is working to produce a major feature film about Iva and her struggles.

 

Iva pushed back tears as she accepted the award.

 

“This is such a great honor,” she said. “For so many years I wanted to be positive about this whole thing. I wanted to honor my father and my family. They believed in me through all the things that happened to me. I thank the World War II Veterans Committee for making this the most memorable day of my life.”

 

In 1991 Iva and I met in the same restaurant. She had invited me to dinner to thank me for the series of stories I had written that resulted in the Presidential pardon. Incredibly, even though Iva and I were linked by the stories I had written we had never met face to face.

 

“You know, if it hadn’t been for your stories I never would have received my pardon,” Iva told me. “I would still be a criminal. You started the ball rolling. And now, after all this time, I just want to say thank you. It’s long overdue.”

 

I hadn’t come to dinner in search of any recognition or thanks. I just wanted to meet the woman whose story had fascinated me years before and sent me on a search for the truth. I wanted finally to separate the woman from the myth; to detach Iva Toguri the person from “Tokyo Rose” the World War II caricature. I wanted to meet the woman that fertile G.I. imaginations had turned into some torrid kimono-clad Mata Hari.

 

The woman sitting across from me was certainly no Mata Hari. Here was a woman with kind eyes, a gracious smile and an admirable ability to put things into perspective.

 

“I’ve put all that behind me now,” Iva said, speaking of her ordeals in wartime Tokyo, in San Francisco’s federal court, and in prison.

 

“I’m only sorry that my father never lived to see me pardoned. He died in 1972. But he believed in me until the end.

 

“‘I’m proud of you Iva,’ he used to tell me. You were like a tiger…you never changed your stripes…you stayed American through and through.’”

 

“Am I bitter? No, what good does it do to be bitter?” Iva said. Then she thought for a moment. There were exceptions to that blanket forgiveness.

 

“In your stories Oki and Mitsushio asked for my forgiveness. But how could I ever forgive them for what they did to me?”

 

Both Oki and Mitsushio are dead now, as is Iva, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 90.

 

During one of our many meetings, Iva told me that her biggest wish was to have her story told accurately someday in a film or play. There have been a few books written—most of them unauthorized—about Iva’s ordeal, but they have done little to set the record straight.

 

“People tend to remember a story when it is dramatized and told in a theatrical way,” she said. “As for a book, I would like to tell my story in my own words.”

Iva may finally get her wish. A play about the Legend of Tokyo Rose is currently in the works and I plan to write a book using Iva’s first person narrative based on hundreds of hours of recorded interviews and my personal notes.

 

Finally, after years of disappointment and heartbreak, Iva’s story will be told the way she wanted it told—truthfully and conscientiously.

 

But most important, the Legend of Tokyo Rose will finally be put to rest along with other historical myths and deceptions such as Big Foot, the Piltdown man, and the Loch Ness Monster.

 

My only regret is that Iva will not be here to experience her vindication.

 

Ron Yates, RWISA Author Page

Watch RWISA Write: Michelle Abbott

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Michelle Abbott!

The 136

 

I can do this. I can make it. Wet hair plastered to my head, gasping, I propel myself toward my target. The 136 bus. My heel catches on a crack in the pavement. My ankle twists sideways, sending a sharp pain up my leg. Wincing, I hobble towards the stop, just as the bus closes its doors and pulls away.

“Ahhh,” I scream in frustration.

“Here, use my umbrella.”

His voice startles me. I was so focused on catching the bus, I never noticed him until now. I must have had a serious case of tunnel vision, because he stands out a mile with his cornflower blue, spiky hair. He holds a large, black umbrella out to me.

Leaning against the post of the bus stop, to take the pressure off my throbbing ankle, I shake my head.

“Thank you, but you keep it.  I’m already wet, and it would be a shame to ruin your hair.”

He shrugs.  “It’s only hair. My umbrella is big enough for two.”

I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Is he hitting on me? What’s wrong with the man? He looks twenty-five if he’s a day. I’m twice his age. Old enough to be his mother.

Mother.

I pick tendrils of damp hair from my forehead.

“I know what you must be thinking, but I’m just trying to do a good turn. You have nothing to fear from me, I promise.” He shelters us both with his umbrella. “You look like you’re having a bad day.”

As I listen to the rain split splat, I lean down to rub my sore ankle.

“Please let me help you.” He slips his arm through mine. “We can sit on that bench. We’ll be able to see the bus coming from there.”

With his assistance, I limp across to the empty, wooden bench that faces the road. “I just missed my bus; the next one won’t be along for an hour.” I sit down, past caring whether I get a wet spot on my skirt. “Are you waiting for a bus?”

He looks so calm, and serene.

“Yes, the 136.”

“Oh no. You didn’t miss it because of me, did you?” I frown.

“I wasn’t running for it.” He gives me a kind smile. “I have all the time in the world.”

A car drives through a puddle, splashing dirty water onto the pavement.

“I’ve got no one to rush home to either.” Maybe it’s his kind smile, maybe I just need to off load. “My husband moved out last week, left me for a woman your age.”

I hope he feels every bit his fifty-four years every second he’s with her.

“I’m sorry.”

What has it come to when I’m sitting in a downpour, telling my sob story to a stranger with blue hair? “She’s all form and no substance. If his head was turned that easily, he’s no loss.” I hold out my hand. If I’m telling the poor man my life story, the least I should do is introduce myself. “My name’s Carol.” I look into his ice blue eyes, surprised by the wisdom I see there.

“Do you have children together, Carol?”

Babies.

I stare at my feet. My heel is scuffed, and my stockings are damp. “Two daughters, they’re both grown-up.”

“Nothing beats a mother’s love for her children.” He reaches into the pocket of his long black coat, and pulls out a pack of mints. “Would you like one?”

We sit in silence, sucking on mints. The sky turns orange as the sun sets. I pull my jacket around me to keep out the chill. Behind us, a shop owner pulls down the metal security shutters of his store.

I’m curious to know more about this man, who claims he has all the time in the world. “It will be late when you get home. Do you have someone, or do you live alone?”

The street lamps come on. I watch the reflection of the light in the puddles.

“I have a loving family.”

Family.

In this moment, I feel so alone. Tears mingle with the raindrops on my cheeks. “I’m pregnant.”

The events of last week replay in my mind. Me, feeling sick every morning. Me, looking at the blue line on the pregnancy test. Me, buying a second test that gave me the same result.

“How does something like this happen to a woman my age? I’m going through the menopause; I haven’t had a period in a year. How can I be pregnant? How? Why? Why did this happen when my husband has left me?”

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” He rests his hand on my shoulder.

“That was my mother’s favourite saying.” I wipe my cheeks. “She passed away five years ago.”

He hands me a tissue. “I’m certain she’s watching over you, and that you make her proud.”

“Pregnant at fifty-one.” I blow into the tissue. “I’m sure she’s delighted.” I let out a hollow laugh.

“How old were you when you had your daughters?”

“I was twenty-two when I had Patricia. Diane came along when I was twenty-five.”

“You learn as you go with your first, don’t you?”

For the first time I smile. “Yes, I was clueless. None of the classes prepare you for being a mother. You hold the life of your child in your hands. It’s so much responsibility.” I turn to face him. “Do you have children?”

He shakes his head. “I’m sure you know more about parenting now, than you did then.”

“Yes I do.”

“It’s hard when you’re young isn’t it? You’re trying to make your way up the career ladder. Struggling to save for a home.”

I nod.

“Those things get easier as you get older, don’t they?”

“Yes they do.” I’m on a good wage. I own a spacious home in a good area.

“You have more time, more understanding, and more patience.”

I nod.

“And you’re wiser. You know what really matters.”

I let out a laugh. “You make being old sound wonderful.” He really does.

He raises an eyebrow. “Isn’t it?”

I recall my childhood, how I hated having to do as I was told. How I would get upset at the smallest things. I remember my angst filled teenage years, being unhappy with my appearance. The heartbreak when the boys I thought I loved dumped me. I have a vivid memory of how stressful early parenthood was.

I study him. “You’re wise for someone so young.”

“Am I?”

The rain has stopped. He collapses his umbrella.

“Nothing is ever as bad as it seems, Carol. A child is a gift. A new start. Someone to love.”

Someone to love. A new start.

I sit up straighter. He’s right. I can do this. I have a nice home, money, and a heart full of love.

“Oh look, here’s your bus.”

Already? Have we been talking for an hour? I glance at my watch. Only twenty minutes have passed. The brakes of the bus screech as it pulls up.

As I root in my purse for my fare, I hear him say, “I’m glad I could help.”

“Let’s sit together.” I glance behind me. “I want to thank…” The words die in my throat. No one is there. I look left and right, but the street is empty. Goosebumps spread across my skin.

“Are you getting on love?” the driver calls.

 

Michelle Abbott, RWISA Author Page

Author Robert Fear Finds The #RRBC Spotlight!

It is always an honor to host talented authors here on The Indie Spot. Today’s guest is no exception. Please give a warm welcome to RRBC’s June Spotlight Author, Robert Fear.

Mi blog es tu blog, Robert…

Robert Fear - Author Pic

I was born in Leicester, England in 1955. My family moved south to a village in Surrey called South Nutfield when I was eleven years old. We moved into Dawn Cottage and this was where I spent my formative teenage years. During this time I attended Reigate Grammar School, which was a five mile journey by train and bus. It was here that I picked up the nickname of Fred.

 
In 1974, after gaining three A Levels (English Literature, British Government & Politics and History), I started work at a private bank in the city. I had every intention of working for a year and then going to university. In the end I worked there for three years.

 
During the summer of 1976 I went on a two week holiday with three mates to the Spanish island of Ibiza. We had a fantastic time and vowed to go back for the summer the following year. Come the next April I returned there on my own, although my mates joined me later in the summer. I ended up working in a bar called Grannies and loved the whole vibe, met plenty of young ladies and had a great time, but didn’t sleep a lot!

 
I returned to England for the winter and worked twelve hour night shifts at a plastics factory to get more money together for the next summer. In the spring of 1977 I set off again, this time to hitch-hike around Europe. For four months I made my way through Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece and several islands. Then I travelled to Italy, France, Spain and back to Ibiza for the last two months of the summer.

 
It was during this return visit that Fred met Rita and this time when I left Ibiza it was to head for Frankfurt in Germany. I moved in with Rita, who lived with her parents in a house in Ruppertshain, a small village in the Taunus hills. I got work on a building site and then in a Coca Cola factory.

 
By the spring of 1979 there was enough money in the coffers to fund a trip to the States and Canada. I started in New York where I spent a week before travelling on a three month Greyhound bus pass up the east coast. Then I travelled across Canada, and down the west coast where I stayed in Los Angeles for two weeks. After that I headed across the States to Florida and back up the east coast to end my journey in New York. An incredible round trip.

 
Back in Germany I got a job as a messenger at the First National Bank of Chicago. Within six months I was promoted to the accounts department as I picked up the language and proved my worth. The travel bug didn’t go away though. I stayed there for fifteen months before heading off again, this time to Asia.

 
This period is covered by my travel memoir Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia. It was the only time in my life I recorded almost everything I did, sometimes in excruciating detail. The trip lasted six months and I travelled through Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Nepal.

 
Returning to Frankfurt in the late summer of 1981 was a shock to the system, a real case of reverse culture shock. Things got back to normality when I returned to the bank and worked there for another five years, becoming group leader of the accounts department. By the time I left my German was fluent.

 
During this period I lived in Sachsenhausen, the bar and restaurant area of Frankfurt near the Main River, often staying out late and enjoying life. Holiday allowance was generous in Germany and I could take a month of travelling each year. I enjoyed trips to the Canary Islands, Scandinavia and Turkey.

 
After returning from Turkey in November 1985 my life changed. I got together with the love of my life and in July 1986 I moved to Eastbourne (on the south coast of England) to be with her.

Robert and Lynn                                                              Robert and Lynn

Lynn and I are still together over thirty years later and have lived in the same house since 1988 (the mortgage will soon be paid off!). We got married in Kenya in 1994 and are cat lovers, having had a succession of rescues.

Robert and Jet                                                               Robert and Jet

 
The travel bug has never gone away. We have had great holidays in Portugal, Crete, Germany, Australia and the Seychelles. More recently we spent a week in New York in 2015 and a week cruising around Norway in 2016.

 
I had to start from scratch with my career in England, but found my niche in accountancy and computer software. This provided the opportunity over the last fifteen years to travel with work. I have been all over Europe, as well as Singapore, Australia (for a week!), Ghana (at a Guinness brewery) and Suriname (in the middle of the rain forest).

 

Exclusive Pedigree v3

Social Media Links!

Facebook – fredsdiary1981

Twitter Handle – @fredsdiary1981

Website – http://www.fd81.net/

Words of Wisdom From Author Kim Cox

Greetings, readers! Today I am welcoming author Kim Cox to The Indie Spot. Kim is sharing some of her experiences as a writer—in her own words! Take it away, Kim…

My Writing Style

writing

Writing Techniques

I don’t think I have any writing techniques. I don’t do any of the things good writers should or are supposed to do. I don’t write every day, don’t set a certain time to write. If there is a certain time, it’s late at night. I seem to be more creative at night, and I’m not a morning person anyway. That may come from working third shift for a while when I was younger.

I don’t have a space where I write. I used to but my home office went away when we made it into a bedroom for my mother-in-law. I think we’d planned to put a smaller desk in my library but my husband is a bit of a pack rat. That room is full of boxes stored with who knows what. Plus, I needed more shelves that my hubby never got a chance to build. Maybe one day I’ll get that space back. But I don’t let it stop me; I write from my recliner in front of the television.

I find that sometimes it takes me a while to get started but once I get started and the muse starts to flow, I also have a hard time stopping. Work gets in the way since I have to get up early. It’s hard for a night person to work days. I’m hoping to retire next year and that won’t be a problem.

Research Techniques

I don’t write the type of books where I need to do a lot of research. Basically, I mainly research places or areas. I do have one book in process that’s set during World War II. I researched that era a long time ago where I published articles for a writer’s resource site. The idea for the site was to have articles on all types of different things from guns and petticoats. My articles were on the World War I and World War II eras. You can find these articles on my website at kimcoxauthor.com.

Anyway, when I’m writing, I mark it on the manuscript where I need to research. I try not to stop when I’m writing the first draft or I’ll lose my flow. Either before or after the second edit, I’ll do the research.

I normally make my towns fictitious but based on actual towns. See the blog article on locations.

To Outline or Not to Outline

No, I don’t normally outline. I did with BEFORE WE WED. I did a brief chapter by chapter outline and it’s the only book I’ve ever done that with—about three-quarters of the way done, I had my first bout with writer’s block. I knew where I was and where I wanted to end but not what to do between. It was getting long and needed to end but there was so much more that would go between where I was and THE END.

It was the first and probably the last time I outline. I normally start writing and around chapter three, I stop and do a short synopsis. I tend to lose interest if I know too much about where I’m going.

Listen to Music or Not When Writing

No. I do have noise going in the background. Sometimes it’s music from the CMT station but usually it’s a television show that I rewind once I’m done writing. I’m a very focused person, so the television doesn’t bother me when I’m writing.

Find Pictures of Your Characters

Yes. But not right away. Usually about the tenth time of having to go back and look for hair or eye color that I decide to find pictures. I have a Character Info file for both of my series. You can also find a Series Casting Board for both on my Pinterest group at https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr. Also see my blog article on Hollywood Character casting.

Prefer Writing Single Novels or a Series

I like writing both but only recently started creating series. I have found it easier to jump on the next book when I’m writing a series. I have two series started. One is a romantic suspense series and the other is a paranormal mystery series. The romantic suspense will have at least three books (has 2 now) and the paranormal mystery will have about eight (has 4 now). I also have a few standalone novels started, and I hope to release one the end of this year and one or two more next year, along with book 3 of the romantic suspense series.

ABOUT THE BOOK

BEFORE WE WED cover

Just as Sarah Martin and Jon Clayton say their vows, the police crash the wedding to arrest the groom. Jon is terrified and Sarah is heartbroken. Thankfully, their friends support them emotionally and help find Jon an excellent attorney.

When evidence of John’s guilt is found, he swears he’s innocent. But how can he prove it? As if an arrest and pending trial aren’t bad enough, his ex-wife refuses to let him near their seven-year-old son, and has their shared custody agreement rescinded as part of his bail agreement. But when Jon Jon is injured, Jon breaks the agreement and his bail is revoked.

Sarah sees strange men in Jon’s business one night. One follows her home and attacks her. When Jon finds out, he pushes her way to protect her, but it doesn’t deter her loyalty to him or the attacker’s determination to killer her. Will the enemy get to her?

Is Jon truly innocent, and does he have no idea how the damaging evidence found its way into his business? Are there more sinister people involved? Will Sarah find the evidence she needs to clear him, or will she find out he’s fooled them all? If someone else is framing Jon, who is it and what are their motives?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An author of Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, and Romance, Kim Cox lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chainsaw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers, (Scooter and Harley) and an adopted Yorkie/Maltese mix (Candi). She’s also a mother and grandmother.

Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles. Her published works consist of Romantic Suspense Novels, a Paranormal Mystery series, and short stories.

Besides writing, cover design, and publishing, Kim presently works a full-time position outside the home as MIS Specialist for a Workforce Development company.

She is a graduate of Writer’s Digest’s Writing to Sell Fiction and NRI’s Fiction Writing, and has associate degrees in the fields of Office Systems Technology and Web Technologies.

Go to Kim’s Readers List and visit her at the following sites:
Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com
Blogs: Kim’s Musings, Kim’s Author Support Page
Social Media locations:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimcoxauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/+KimCoxAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimcox
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwrtr

* * *

Kim is hosting a giveaway, where FIVE lucky winners will receive one of the following prizes: (1) ebook copy of “ALL THIS TIME” and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or (4) ebook copy of ALL THIS TIME.

“To enter Kim’s giveaway, simply leave a comment anywhere along the tour!”

“The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

Paying It Forward For #RRBC Member / Author D. L. Finn

Today, I am taking part in Rave Reviews Book Club’s “Pay It Forward” day. What this means is, I am promoting a member of the book club here on The Indie Spot.


Now, here’s one of those interesting coincidences: The author I am promoting today is D. L. Finn, whose book, No Fairy Tale, is the book I just happen to be currently reading.

D. L. is an independent California girl, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1990, she and her husband packed up their kids, dogs, and cats, and relocated to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA.

To say D. L. is a reader is a major understatement. She immerses herself in all sorts of books, crossing genre lines that include romance, horror, and fantasy. With vivid imagination, D. L. has long treasured creating her own reality on paper. So, when the family’s move placed her among towering oaks, high cedars, and fragrant pines, her creativity blossomed into a solid skill for telling stories that others are thrilled to read.

Her creations include three indie children’s books and an autobiography with poetry (which is the book I’m currently reading).

In 2016, No Fairy Tale was awarded the New Apple Annual Book Awards Official Selection in the Memoir Category! In 2017, the book became a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (NGIBA) in the poetry category.

Though D. L. has endured difficult situations in her life, which has included addiction and abuse, she has risen above the turmoil to become one of the better writers in the indie author movement. Her words have a way of pulling the reader into the stories unfolding on the pages. Her poetry is simply beautiful.

It has been my pleasure and honor to introduce this author to the readers of this blog. It is my sincere hope that those who take the time to read this piece will become better acquainted with D. L. Finn and her work.

Let’s now take a closer look at this writer’s work.

The Books:

No Fairy Tale: The reality of a girl who wasn’t a princess and her poetry

You are invited into D.L. Finn’s life, written through a princess’s viewpoint. While it’s usually assumed in fairy tales that the princess is beloved by all, this is one princess who doesn’t feel loved. She dreams of a moment when her father will walk through the castle door, sweep her up in his arms and proclaim how much he misses her. That never happens. Instead, she is introduced to a new step family. Just like in the fairy tales, this is where the story takes a dark twist; where addiction, abuse and adolescence thrive together in retched misery. From her lowest point as a hopeless fourteen-year-old girl who gives up all hope– comes a spark of faith. This is where she begins her quest for a happy ending.

Although the princess ends her very real fairy tale, D.L. Finn steps in and shares her thoughts, poetry and photographs. This entire narrative is the author’s reality from childhood through adulthood. She maintains the privacy of those involved while hanging on to her truth.

An Unusual Island

When Janine’s parents win a vacation to a private island, it’s the same week as her and her twin brother’s 16th birthday. Cool! She can’t wait to lounge on the beach and let the staff pamper her! Much to her disappointment, though, they leave the island to go sightseeing on a boat. Unlike the rest of her family, bouncing around the ocean isn’t her idea of fun. Even when her brother gets their dad to stop the boat to investigate the neon sea creature that he is sure is following them–nothing. Losing her new red hat is the highlight of her trip until an unexpected storm hits, and they shipwreck on an uncharted island. After tending to some wounds from the crash, they search the island in hopes of finding human civilization. Although they don’t find what they are looking for, it appears they aren’t alone. When they return to their campsite—a fully cooked dinner is waiting for them! Why? And a better question is why did they eat it? It was as if they stepped into a fairytale– or nightmare. Who is on the island with them and what do they want?

Elizabeth’s War

It’s April of 1917, and World War I has reached Elizabeth’s family on their wheat farm in North Dakota. Although the battles are being fought overseas, the war has affected her in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Elizabeth is thrust into a new role after her brother and father leave the farm to do their part in the war. And she’s only eleven years old!
Having almost died as a toddler, Elizabeth has been babied most of her life. Now she must learn to help out around the farm; cooking, cleaning, and tending to the garden and livestock. No longer can she run from her responsibilities, as she did when her horse Rosie was giving birth. There were complications during the delivery, and Elizabeth panicked and froze. The foal didn’t make it.
Elizabeth faces her biggest challenge yet as a huge Christmas Eve snowstorm rages outside, cutting her family off from any help; and her mother is about to have a baby! Her brother and sister are laid up with chicken pox. Does Elizabeth face her fears or run from them? Can she help her family, who need her more now than ever? Or will she retreat like she did when Rosie needed her?

Things on a Tree

What a way to spend Christmas Eve! Thirteen-year-old Aimee is sick and missing her dad, who died in a car accident last year. While the rest of her family are outside playing in the snow, she is alone by their Christmas tree. Aimee sighs as the tears begin to fall. She wishes she still believed in Santa Claus. Then she could ask him to change the last year. Yeah, right, she thought. She turns away from the tree, and falls asleep. Later that night, Aimee awakens to a strange noise. Clink! Clink! Clink! Her fever must be higher than she thought, because she can’t believe what she is seeing running down her purple blanket! But everything happening to her is very real, including the fact someone wants her dead. Aimee is thrust into a world of magic, wonder and greed. Her journey takes her from her snowy rooftop, to the streets of New York and the North Pole with the promise to return her father to her family. Who could she trust when things aren’t always what they seem?

 

Social Media:

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Book Trailers:

No Fairy Tale

 

Elizabeth’s War