Respect for Women—Where Reality & Fiction Collide – a Guest Post by EM Bosso

Let’s talk about respect for women and why 33% of college men (which wouldn’t be a large leap to include all men) would commit rape if they wouldn’t get caught. Yes, that’s a real number and I could site the study if someone really wants to see it. The real question shouldn’t be why they would commit rape. The real question should be why is there such a massive disregard and lack of respect for females as fellow humans, equal in all ways?

The disrespect for women in our society is subtle, in most cases, but it affects the views of young men at a deep and subconscious level. It’s in the words we use, the daily interactions we have, and the issues we don’t address. They aren’t meant to be hateful, or abusive, but they are insidious in our views of the female population. As an example, when a boy, or a man, is considered weak by other males we call them a pussy, or tell them to “quit being a girl”. If a male cries, he’s told to quit crying like a woman. You have examples of your own, I don’t need to go on. The subtle message to all males is, “women are weak, and men need to be strong.” In that environment, how can a boy grow into a man and respect females as equals? Society, our friends, and frequently our parents have told us that clearly, we are the dominant gender. We are not all equal.

Children see their parents, and watch their interactions, in order to learn the dynamics of a relationship. The words we may use with our kids do not override what they witness. A father that doesn’t appreciate the efforts of his spouse, is dismissive of his wife’s contribution to the family (be it a career, or child-rearing), or dominates the relationship, instead of sharing the successes and struggles of marriage fully, is telling his children, sons and daughters, that the main female influence in their lives is not as important as the main male role-model.

Guess who sees the disregard, subtle insults, verbal abuse, and emotional damage? Our children. They are learning from our actions and interactions far more than our words. They see, and hear, their father subtly mocking their mother. The see, and hear, their mothers struggling to keep a family together, both physically and emotionally.

These aren’t evil people or bad parents. They aren’t violent, or abusive, in the standard sense. In fact, if you asked the spouse, you would be told that everything is fine, their partner is a good, kind, and loving person. I’m sure they probably are, yet the nature of our society accepts putting woman in the subservient role at every level of civilization: from the workforce to marriage and relationships. Until that changes, and it needs to change in the home during the formative years of a child’s life, women will continue to be disrespected, dehumanized, and otherwise be treated as “less” than men.

Imagine how different the world would be if children were witness to parents that sat down and discussed life, dreams, plans, successes, and failures in an open and honest manner. Imagine, if young boys saw their fathers looking to their wives for emotional support and offering the same in her time of need, in a healthy and loving way. What would life be like if every child was raised to see their parents as equal partners in life progressing towards common goals? How different would the world be if we simply respected each other’s words and opinions, thoughts and desires, dreams and goals, as equal and worthy as our own?

If that was the world we lived in, I would imagine FBoM would never have needed to be written.

BIO:  EM Bosso writes novels, blog posts, and articles about the interactions between males and females, both healthy and supremely unhealthy relationships. His series SMAFU (Situation Married All Fucked Up) deals with marriage, divorce, and reconciliations. His FBoM series (Foundation for the Betterment of Mankind) deals with the darker topics of Rape, Abuse, Gaslighting, and the dangers of a vengeance.  If you are interested in learning more about EM BOSSO, please visit his website To learn more about his books you can visit his Amazon page or Kobo.


Tips for New Parents with Disabilities – Guest Post by Ashley Taylor

Photo courtesy of UnSplash

Becoming a parent for the first time is often filled with feelings of excitement and stress as it is a new and life-changing experience to embark on. If you are living with disabilities, these emotions may be even more amplified as you navigate caring for another person’s needs as well as your own. Here are some tips on finding your footing amidst your disability and preparing for a life of parenthood.

Make room for baby

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your home so that everything is in working order when the baby arrives. Before setting up the nursery, think about the location of it and how close you want it to be to your own bedroom considering you’ll probably be making a few late night treks to it. You’ll need to make sure you have the basics such as a crib, dresser, rocker and changing table. Go ahead and stock up on things you’ll need for diaper changes and clothes of various sizes now. If you’re going to use formula, do some research and pick out the best brand as well as easy to use, no-mess bottles. A baby monitor will also come in handy in that it will help you feel at peace and keep tabs on your little one whenever you’re not in the same room.

Give your house a good cleaning so it is ready for you to come home from the hospital, or hire a cleaning service to help out so you can focus on your new responsibilities as a parent. Whip up some dinners now and stick them in the freezer for later, as you won’t have time to cook during the first few weeks. In case a sitter, family member, or friend will be helping out, make sure you compile a note with important emergency contact numbers and stick it on the fridge in plain sight. Chances are your child will be crawling in no time, so it won’t hurt to go ahead and baby proof the home now. Think about sharp corners, wires and outlets as you go through the house.

Get support

There are a vast amount of resources out there for new parents that offer workshops where you can practice the necessary skills of caring for a newborn. The Guardian recommends “meeting an anesthetist before the birth to discuss your options, bearing in mind your disability and any other medications; using a sling that makes it possible to pick up a newborn with one hand; and practicing any new maneuvers you may need, or using any new baby equipment, with a weighted doll.” You should also find support groups and enroll in classes with your baby to help jump-start the bonding process.

Don’t forget about yourself

In the midst of all the planning and chaos, make time for yourself. Don’t let the baby overrun your home or your emotions. Instead, keep your room a sanctuary where you can escape free of clutter and responsibility. In order to be fully present and available for your child, you need to start practicing self-care methods now. Try meditation, yoga, a hot bubble bath with candles, or even indulging in your favorite pastime.

Communicate with your doctor often about your needs and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. This is a consuming time and you’ll need all hands on deck. Lastly, remember to enjoy the process and be sure to take lots of photos as it will go by fast.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. To learn more about Ashley and her organization, visit the site.

Indie Spotlight on Romance (Thriller) Author Renee Charles

Amidst an epidemic ravaging the world, all Megan Fletcher’s hopes for the future lie in getting to Las Vegas where newscasts reported scientists were gathering to search for a cure for the modern plague. After rescuing her from a rooftop surrounded by Zombies, Sam Woods appoints himself her escort. While he knows she is determined to get to Vegas no matter the cost, he doesn’t know her secret. And with his hatred of all things Zombie, she doesn’t dare tell him the truth. The more he kisses her, the harder it is for Megan to hide her growing feelings…and the bite-shaped scar. But Vegas is not the haven it was promised to be, and when Megan’s immunity to the disease is discovered, she realizes her future and her heart belong to Sam, if he will trust her.

An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives?

Do you believe in Monsters?

If I told you monsters were real would you believe me? What if I said there is proof all around us? Everyday proof and we step over it like a pile of laundry in our room, which screams for our attention, yet barely registers on our radar.

Think about this for a minute. How can multiple unconnected cultures come up with similar creatures, down to the height and smells, throughout history. Easy, because they are real. Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘Bear walking on hind legs’ AND ‘Bear with no hair’. It’s okay, I’ll wait. <<Cue elevator music.>>

You’re back. So, now do you see why the legend of BIGFOOT won’t ever die? Yeah, marry those two images together and voila, the stuff nightmares are made of.

Legends are born of truth. So are monsters.

Another good example is the Dragon. Thirteenth century men needed a word for what they found fossilized in the rocks around them. We call them dinosaurs now, but could you imagine what it would have been like to happen upon a skeleton taller than your thatched roof?  First off, you’d give it a name. Then you would give it a story as magical as the finding itself.

Another great example, the vampire. Sun sensitivity is a very real thing. I have a redheaded friend who gets bruises like she’s been punched rather than the traditional sunburn. I, myself a devote vegetarian since birth simply because I hated the texture of anything meaty, woke up one morning when I was 23 and cooked (barely cooked, really more I just took the chill off) a big hunk of red meat for breakfast. Turns out, not only was I preggers, but anemic as well. The body craves what it needs, and sometimes that is some good old fashioned protein soaked in blood. Harsh, I know, but it gets my point across.

These stories come from somewhere. Explanations for what cannot be explained, often from the minds of those who imagine the worst and revel in it. We authors do exactly that.

Romance authors are the worst, known for taking two perfectly innocent people and throwing the worst possible set of circumstances at them. Why? Because the harder the trials and tribulations, the better the HEA is afterward. Now add some good old fashioned monsters in the mix, and you have the perfect love story in this author’s humble opinion. That’s what I do in my books, I love strange beginnings with passionate endings. My full length novel, Only Love Survives chronicles two people as they carve out a life in a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested world.

Renee Charles believes all love is legendary. Having been the only female in a house full of giants (husband and two boys) for the past 20 years. she tends to lean toward the strange and unusual, but inevitably the softer side shines through. Her own romance began in an insane asylum. Luckily, both she and her husband only worked there. But it makes sense her romance novels have strange beginnings, which lead to passionate endings. Romance with a twist. In the face of zombies, werewolves, and dragons she always seems to find a happily ever after to leave you with a sigh at the end.

If you’d  like to know more about Renee please visit her website , follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Indie Spotlight Picture Book Writer MJ Belko – I Don’t Read Mysteries

Today’s indie author is MJ Belko. In her article she discusses the irony of not being a mystery reader and yet having written a mystery picture book for kids. Take it away, MJ.

I Don’t Read Mysteries

I don’t read mysteries.  I know, a pox upon me.  I don’t mind watching them, but I never felt compelled to read one.  I’m more of a nonfiction reader.  As a writer, picture books are my wheelhouse.  So, how did I end up writing Winthrop Risk, Detective—The Mystery of the Missing Hamster, an early reader with a nine-year-old detective who sounds like he just stepped out of a Raymond Chandler novel?

I certainly don’t have any disdain for the mystery genre.  I’m a rabid fan of Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern version of Sherlock Holmes.  I loved Derek Jacobi as Cadfael on PBS.  But write one?  Not on your life.  Plot twists and red herrings just aren’t my thing.

Picture books have always been my first love and I’ve written several, though I haven’t found a publisher for them.  I can only say that I stumbled upon my little detective.  He emerged out of an unfocused daydream, his character fully formed in my mind.

Winthrop Risk is a boy of about nine.  He’s smaller than his classmates and is considered by them to be something of a dork and an oddity.  Winthrop, however, has no doubts as to his skills.  He’s a first-rate gumshoe, and he knows it.  The school bully has it in for him and could easily beat the snot out of him, but Winthrop never runs from him.  He stands his ground.  Without fuss.  Without yelling.  Without threatening to tell the teacher.  Winthrop isn’t a boy on a journey of self-discovery (*gag*)—he knows damn well who he is.  I like that about him.

My inspiration came from a Steve Martin movie from years ago, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s brilliant.  Steve Martin plays a hard-boiled detective in the Philip Marlowe mold.  The movie was filmed in black and white, with scenes from old detective films spliced in to create a story.  It’s all there—the wisecracking detective, the beautiful dame, and the usual suspects; but I still didn’t have the framework for writing a mystery.

I began to watch more mysteries on TV.  I gorged on episodes of Murder, She Wrote and some of the more current “cozy” mysteries.  There’s a definite pattern to these stories.  An ordinary citizen, usually female, has a fascination with mysteries and routinely finds herself knee deep in corpses.  Because Winthrop was to be the hard-boiled detective type, I picked up a couple of Raymond Chandler novels and dove in.  Chandler had a fascinating way with the English language.  Before I had the plot fully worked out, I had a great deal of Winthrop’s witty repertoire written.  I formed the story around that.  The thing I found to be most interesting about the TV mystery shows and books is that the mystery itself is never really that baffling.  In fact, I’ve played games of Clue that were tougher to solve.  So what’s the selling point?  It’s the main character and the backdrop of the story.  The sleuth in these stories is always a keen observer, usually with no police training or experience.  In fact, of the mystery shows I’ve watched, the main characters include a Crusader-era friar, a baker, a librarian, a writer, a general contractor, a bookstore owner, and an antiques dealer.  Somehow, they end up stumbling over dead bodies at every turn.  The backdrop is usually some cozy little town straight off a postcard.

Naturally, I had to tone down the plot for my young audience, so there will be no dead bodies in the Winthrop Risk series.  Winthrop’s first adventure has him trying to find out what happened to the class pet, a hamster.  He’s hired by a classmate out of sheer desperation.  Over the four chapters of the book, Winthrop proves himself to be more than capable of solving the mystery, earning the grudging respect of his peers.  He’s funny, smart, confident, and has a definite way with words.  I think Philip Marlowe would like him.

With a bit of research and observation, I think I accomplished what I set out to do.  I have an interesting and relatable main character with witty dialogue, a missing pet, a class bully, and a “like” interest (that’s as heated as it gets for a nine-year-old).   The trick with the sequel is to let the characters grow just a little bit, without outgrowing the elementary school backdrop.  The sequel will involve slightly more risky circumstances—a gang of thieves stealing from Winthrop’s school.  We’ll learn more about Winthrop’s home life and why he never talks about his dad.  We’ll learn about the school ghost and what’s really going on at the local railroad yard.

Writing Winthrop Risk was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, but I love how it turned out.  Don’t be afraid to take some risks of your own with your writing.  That path you’ve wandered down a few times could lead to something terrific.

Write on.

MJ Belko (O’Leary) was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963 to an Irish family of cops, firemen, and the occasional priest. She is a US Army veteran of the Cold War era and spent about seven years as a lieutenant on her city’s Community Emergency Response Team. After working for an arson investigator, a private investigator, homeschooling two sons, and spending years as a medical transcriptionist editing medical reports, she finally decided to pursue her dream of being a writer. She released her first children’s book, “Winthrop Risk, Detective”, on Amazon in 2016. MJ currently resides in Michigan with her husband of more than 30 years.

If you’d like to learn more about MJ, you can visit her website.

Indie Spotlight – Tara L. Ames – How much heat do you like in your romance?

Today, please welcome romance writer, Tara L. Ames. Her new book The Risk Taker looks like a real steamy page turner and you can find the link to it at the bottom of this post. Tara is talking about the different types of and the level of ‘heat’ in romances, today. Take it away, Tara…

Romance is a billion-dollar industry and still leads the market in sales compared to all other genres. Readers want to escape for a while and be swept away to that wonderful world of fiction, whether it’s a sweet love story or an erotic adventure. That’s the beauty of books, there is something out there for everyone. And that includes varying degrees of heat in a romance novel.

Heat Scale 1-5

0-2 Clean Romance

If writing a sweet, clean romance, the hero and heroine may not kiss until the very end of the book, when all their troubles have been resolved and they discover they can’t live without one another. The TV series and movies aired on the Hallmark Channel is a perfect example of this genre. My favorite series is When Calls the Heart.

3+ Steamy Romance

While some readers prefer their hero and heroine to only hold hands or kiss each other lightly on the lips, other want the heat turned up a few notches between their two main characters—such as with mine in The Risk Taker, Book 1 in the Alpha Aviators Series. Top Gun Navy Aviator LT Commander Michael Merrick wanted Commercial Artists Samantha Jackson to be a distraction, not the main attraction, morning, noon and night. I can assure you they are doing a lot more than just light hand holding and spooning—but not to the point where it involves other couples or whips and chains or colorful dialogue, which leads me the next two degrees-whew!! These will really sizzle you.

4 -5 Erotica vs Erotic Romance

Erotica romance actually has a plot, three dimensional characters, who have problems to overcome or resolve. Their love scenes, however, may involve colorful dialogue, sex toys, more than one partner: Vampire/Werewolf/Shifter (V/W/S), M/M/F, F/F/M—the initials go on, but you get the jest of it. Many books include BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) scenes. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is a perfect example of this genre.

Erotic Romance has two or more characters and the whole story may be nothing but getting it on. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail here.

Most importantly, as a writer, if you state you write sweet and clean or erotica romance then your book better be at that expected heat level, or you’ll really upset your readers. Thank you for having me. Feel free to check out my website at The Risk Taker, the first release in the Alpha Aviators Series, is on sale at the following retail sites: iTunes  Amazon  KOBO  Nook  Google Play Newsletter 

Have anything you’re dying to know about romances? Feel free to ask Tara your questions in the comments.










The Love and Hate of Writing a New Series – Guest Post by C. Hope Clark

Murder on Edisto

C. Hope Clark is guest-posting today and sharing some great advice about writing a book series. I certainly have an interest in the topic myself and I hope it will give you some insights into your own projects. And by the way, it’s Hope’s birthday today.  Happy birthday, Hope and take it away. WC

Starting a novel is a frustrating venture for an author. All that empty white space awaiting genius. So much room for brilliance . . . and failure. Writing down the bones of a new story, especially under the shadow of a deadline, is pressure. Creating a virgin series, however, can reap an anxiety attack.

After years of dreaming about a home for my Carolina Slade Mystery Series, and finding that home with Bell Bridge Books, I envisioned myself writing about Slade for the rest of my life. I would become the Sue Grafton of South Carolina, carrying a character through twenty years of crime solving and family feuds, with a slight smack of romance for good measure. I’d be old and gray and still leading Slade into danger, and making her scramble her way out.

Then my publisher asked for a different series.

In a knee-jerk balk, I argued the request. She calmly explained that I needed diversity. She saw more talent in me that wouldn’t come to pass unless I had to stretch my writing muscle in a different direction. The flattery in the message gave me pause. Then after much tossing and turning, I caved. Besides, when a publisher says write this way, you don’t turn diva and refuse. So, I asked with guarded concession, what are you looking for?

Southern in a locale of your choosing, she said. Make the protagonist real law enforcement, not an amateur sleuth. And of course throw in a heaping dose of family drama.

I won’t lie: the assignment scared me crazy. What would my Slade fans think? Would I lose readers, not that I had a Sue Grafton-level fan club? As hard as I’d worked for the past decade developing Slade, I felt I was abandoning her. Seriously, it hurt. I think I even cried.

Opening my notebook, I started with location, since I believe setting is as important as the protagonist. In my tales, anyway. To me, sense of place is like a fingerprint for a story, especially a mystery. And since this place had to carry an entire series, it had to be seductive.

Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Obscure, haunting, remote, with a sense of escape. I knew Edisto, having visited it since I was a teen. No motels or franchises. Laid back without the neon. For me, that decision served as the catalyst for the rest of the series structure.

So now I have two series under my belt, and a box full of lessons learned about series.

1) Plant your flag. My ideas center around setting. Yours might be a particular type of crime, a unique profession, or an especially eclectic character, but find that aspect that allows you to plant your flag, because from this choice will arise all else. The very nature of my setting told me to weave it into the other characters, choices they made, clues, crimes, reactions, obstacles, and of course, the climax and solution. It’s a unifying thread that brands the series, to establish a consistency through all the books.

2) Let your titles identify. My newest release is Murder on Edisto. The series is The Edisto Island Mysteries. If your anchor is character, then your series title might be named after your protagonist, like the Walt Longmire series written by Craig Johnson of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. With Star Wars, you know you’re getting an environment, a specially built world around which all the players, arcs, and stories revolve, much like Game of Thrones. The Dark Tower series from Stephen King. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The item, place or character is the key.

3) Avoid backstory. One of the biggest temptations is to regurgitate scenes and history from previous books. In a series, each book usually needs to stand alone as well as hold the thread. Sure, the earlier books impact the current one in a reader’s hands, but backstory must be handled with a deft hand, sprinkled with a light touch. The reader does not need to know all those details, just hints, because the attention is on the now, not the before, in case a reader starts with book two or three.

4) Keep facts straight. There’s a reason you see guidebooks and “bibles” for famous series. Facts pile up and become hard to manage. Ages, car makes, streets, eye color, names, rank, employment and familial status all become fuzzy over time because the author edits and rewrites so many times. Most of these facts change between the first draft and the final edit. Spreadsheets help. I also keep a dry erase board on the wall.

5) Write several synopses for several books. You do not know if you have a series until you write a synopsis for several of the books. I once thought of a marvelous idea for a mystery and came home eager to flesh it out. The initial story held great potential with some curious players and a unique crime, but I could not find the common thread for a second or third book. Disappointing, but I would not have known without thinking ahead. I outlined three Edisto Island mysteries before writing the first chapter of Murder on Edisto.

There are many intricate rules of thumb for writing a series. Readers adore series, that’s for sure, and they stay hungry for those recurring characters and themed stories they can become intimate with as time goes on. It’s lovely to have such a structure in place each time you start writing a new story, but it’s also a challenge to remain consistent while still creating a fresh story that doesn’t fall into an easily recognized template. Love and hate. But the rewards are immensely satisfying, for both the author and the reader.

C. Hope ClarkMurder on Edisto is C. Hope Clark’s latest release, and represents the first in the Edisto Island Mysteries. Also known for her award-winning Carolina Slade series, Hope finds additional time to edit FundsforWriters, chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers. Her newsletters reach over 40 thousand readers.


For those of you who do not know Alex, please do check out his newsletter and website. It is very much worth the time. WC

The sea above – how do you see it? As a fantasy fulfilled or the beginning of a dangerous voyage? For people suffering some Someday Syndrome, it’s the latter – a place without a map, without a compass and without hope.

The Someday Syndrome blog guides people across the Someday Sea, freeing you from traveling in circles without destination. Through the various resources available on the blog, you can finally be free from procrastination and fear, from an unaware/unexamined life, and especially from unhappiness.

How? By looking down on the details of your life from the 50,000ft view and charting a clear course through the confusion.

The site offers a DIY email-based workshop and almost daily posts that include interviews, sample mentoring, rants, and an update on the Someday Journey of the blog author, Alex Fayle. And in January, Alex is introducing two new features: a weekly guest post looking at the Someday Journeys of other bloggers as well as a newsletter, offering tips and stories outside the typical blog format.

You can pre-subscribe to the newsletter from the site’s homepage at As well, you can see a complete list of articles and sign up to receive blog posts either through RSS or email at

Defining Love – by the Urban Panther

The Urbane Lion and I are about to celebrate our One Year Together anniversary. And we are still madly, deeply in love.

But what is love, exactly? According to the dictionary, love is:

love (luv) Pronunciation Key
A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair.

Let’s break this down, based on my three long term relationships:

A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person

At nineteen, I was experiencing gratitude more than affection. Gratitude that finally some male wanted to actually date me, rather than simply hang out with me. At twenty-seven, it was more of a White Knight in Shining Armour infatuation. The hope that he would rescue me from a miserable life.

At forty-four? Sincere affection. I have very real feelings of tenderness for the Urbane Lion. I hurt when he hurts. I am happy when he is happy. My heart melts just looking at him.

Arising from kinship

In my first relationship, I was too young to have a kinship with myself, let alone another person. I had no clue who I was. In my second relationship, the kinship we shared was both desperately wanting out of our respective marriages. Not a good solid base for creating a relationship with each other.

By forty-four, I knew exactly who I was. When the Urbane Lion came along, I immediately felt a sense of kinship. I knew we shared common values and goals.

Recognition of attractive qualities

My first partner came from a very different family background and upbringing than me. I confused ‘different’ with ‘attractive’. When my second partner came along, I saw someone who appeared to be in control. I felt completely out of control so was attracted to his opposite state of being.

The Urbane Lion’s qualities are not foreign to me, nor are they the opposite of mine. Instead they enhance and complement mine, making them truly attractive to me.

A sense of underlying oneness

I got married way too young. I didn’t allow myself a chance to become one with myself, so I assumed my husband’s identity. In my second relationship, once the common goal of leaving our marriages was achieved, I realized that I fundamentally didn’t like who my partner was at his core.

The Urbane Lion and I, after our respective former relationships broke down, took the time to become strong, independent, confident individuals. We met after we no longer needed anybody in our live. We share a powerful oneness that can only occur when two people are strong in their own rights.

A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person

I thought I was experiencing intense desire towards my first two partners, but it was actually insecurity and fear. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, and I had nothing to compare my feelings too.

Now I know the desire I feel for the Lion is real. It is so intense sometimes, I burst into tears from the sheer exquisite joy of it. After a year, we still ache when we are apart for more than a couple of hours at a time. And physically, all I have to do is look at him, to get all warm and tingly.

With whom one is disposed to make a pair

A pair, and someday even married. Something neither one of us ever dreamed we would want to be again. But what we have deserves to be celebrated, to be shouted from the rooftops:

We’ve figured love out! It is complete trust in your partner to caress not only your body with tenderness, but your very soul. It’s taken a lifetime of relationship trials and tribulations, but THIS is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

THIS is the real definition of love.

Urban Panther

If a Giant… by Teeni

If a giant reached out to touch a freshly mown field of grass, would it feel the same to him as velvet would feel to a normal sized person?

Yes, it’s an odd little pondering, I admit. But in recent years, thoughts like this have begun rolling around in my mind more often. Like marbles in a wooden labyrinth, they roll tentatively from one end of my brain to the other, desperately avoiding the holes that will send them into oblivion, where they will be forever misplaced in my faulty memory banks. Some of these ideas survive, fortunately, because I try to write them down before they escape me. They want to be more than just ideas, I think. They want to grow and if I let them, I think they will become much more.

I don’t know if there are more of these wonderings in my head now or if I am just more aware of them. So many things have changed for me in such a short time. I have no idea where to lay the blame. Could it be one of the many medical diagnoses or the treatments I’ve endured? Or is it just normal wisdom coming with old age?

I’ll probably never know how or why things happened the way they did. But I do know that my brain doesn’t work the way it used to. I don’t have the attention span I used to have and my memory stinks. But other things have changed as well. I feel more creative. I’m much more reflective. I can laugh at myself more. I learn in smaller pieces but I make it interesting and try to apply things. I enjoy it. I have ideas. I entertain them and let them linger in my mind, no matter how silly they may be. Ideas and creativity are extremely important. So I don’t stifle mine anymore or shoot them down. They may not all go somewhere but that’s okay.

Everything begins with an idea. And I’m beginning to think that it is healthy to just soak in your creative ideas at times. It is important to free your mind from stresses and periodically just let it wander … and wonder, learning odd things here and there as it goes. I think it helps keep your mind young, fresh, and alive. And you shouldn’t have to schedule a weekend away to do it. Take a few minutes at a time. Learn to relax, breathe deeply. Allow your mind to switch into a lower, slower and calmer gear. Ideas great and small will begin to form without much coaxing, if you will only allow them to. Open up and let them form. They may take you someplace big in life. Or they may just remain interesting, entertaining little ideas.

The question at the beginning of the post occurred to me when my husband and I were driving in the car, most likely on our way home from a food shopping trip – a very mundane task, I know. But I look at things a lot differently now. In the passenger seat beside my handsome man, I looked over and saw a field of freshly mown grass with a little hill in the middle of it. It looked like a giant palm could have fit there like a long-lost puzzle piece. I tried to picture how it would feel if I were fifty times my current size. I visualized stretching out my enormous arm and placing my gargantuan hand right in the middle of that sweet smelling field. Individual blades of grass would be miniscule compared to my oversized hand. Would I even feel them at all? Would they register in my consciousness? I think they would. I think they would feel like a carpet of cool, soft velvet. I might even pass my hand back and forth a little bit to “pet” the grass, “fluffing” up any blades that had been bent over and immersing myself in its sensation, the reaction it evoked from me.

Maybe this one wasn’t my million-dollar idea. But I let the idea grow. And it did. It turned into this post.

Always wonder.

Always learn.

Always love.

Always laugh.

Always live.

Thanks for letting me get a little creative and expressive over here, Annie. Hugs to you and to anyone reading – thanks for your time!


Evyl's Tasteless Poetry: The Guest Post Edition

Sarah’s Blue Ribbon

Sarah looked at her mantle with a sense of pride
But her one misgiving, she couldn’t hide.
Statues aplenty of bronze and silver bold
But alas not a one with the shade of gold.

Every year she entered baked goods in the County Fair
Her cooking had style, taste, and savoir faire.
But something was missing and the win that she sought
Could never somehow seem to be bought.

But this year she smiled with a devilish grin
I have just the ingredient to garnish the win.
So she mixed up a dish, hoping it would be the one
With a lot of love and a good dash of fun.

Sarah gazed at the judges so serious and dour
Hoping that her dish wouldn’t cause their faces to sour.
But next she saw something she hadn’t seen in a while
All of the judges faces beamed with a smile.

The Blue Ribbon was her’s that had eluded her so
The secret ingredient had won don’t you know.
So if you want to get the judges to smile here’s the fix
Just a pinch of the ganja in Grandma’s brownie recipe mix.

Hope y’all like it and take care,