Follow by Email

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Photo Blog of The Fifth Commandment

Peter's Denial, Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890 Danish),
 National History Museum, Frederiksborg Castle

Thought I'd share a few photos about my newest short work titled The Fifth Commandment.

Wikipedia-(New Panama City)

Much of my story is a recollection of old Panama in Central America, which touched my heart as a family friendly, peaceful but humble town across from new Panama City which is full of skyscrapers, restaurants and fast cars.

This breathtaking altar has quite a story
 of it's own involving a Welsh pirate.

 Huge bridges, highways and giant expanses of water separate the old from the new and it almost seems like there’s a time warp of a hundred years between the two areas. 

My pictures are from the old section as described by my character, Christina. 

I loved the serenity in the French Plaza
If you like faith-based stories then click here now.

Even my own dishes inspired me....
but most of the story came to me in my dreams.

Have you ever denied someone you loved?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Will My Character believe Christina's Story?

    My nervous character, Father Joe, suddenly feels insecure around two well-known and honorable men of the cloth affiliated with the Basilica in Chicago. They arrived on his invitation to deal with a young girl named Christina who could potentially cause trouble. All of it is giving him nightmares! Here's an excerpt taking place as Father Joe picks them up at the station:
From Chapter 10 of The Fifth Commandment
On sale September 24th thru the 30th

 “Hey, how was the trip?” Father Joe started the car. It was a beige Volvo with 259,000 miles on the odometer. 
     “Fine, except we were a bit rushed due to traffic.” Trying to keep their anxious excitement to a minimum, they continued with small talk about the weather and the train amenities. “How about you?  Anything new since last night?”
   He chocked the vision of Jesus on the side of the church to shadows playing with his mind—but later that evening he had a powerful dream. “Not really, but I’m feeling strange about this whole thing. Our little parish can’t handle the publicity. Imagine what would happen if this leaked out?” He turned on the blinkers and turned into the church parking lot. “Don’t you remember what happened in Medugorje?  Thousands flocked to the tiny village….”
     “Yeah, we remember, Joe” Father George interrupted. “I’ve been there.”
     Father Andrew laughed, “Heck people even pay big money on EBAY for granola clusters shaped like Moses holding stone tablets.”
     “I guess I’m just worried about my generous parishioners. I don’t want anyone taking advantage of their kindness,” Father Joe said as he led the way into his office. “Besides, I had a horrible dream last night.”
“You saw St. Peter?” Andrew quipped.
Father George laughed. “No,” Father Joe explained. “It was us in purgatory. Sadly, I think Christina was there too.”
“Oooh, tell us more,” they smiled and followed each other inside.
“I will, but hold on for a second. There’s a lot going on.”
     “Well, to be perfectly honest with you Joe, I’m kind of excited.” Father Andrew said, searching the room for a plug for his tape-recorder. “Don’t worry, this won’t be another Fatima for goodness sake, have some faith. This is probably the most exciting thing to happen in Normal, Illinois. It could be the economic boost this area needs right now.”
     The office lights were off. Father Joe went to the window first, opening the blinds. It was ten minutes after four. Then he stood up, walked back towards the door and turned on the overhead lights before sitting down at his desk.
“Now, tell us about your dream, Joe.” Father Andrew always loved tales of intrigue.
     “Wasn’t she supposed to be here at four?” Father George asked, as he took his place on the foldout chair.

     “Don’t worry, any teenager wanting as much attention as she does will be here.” He shuffled more bulletins and decided to tell them about his dream while waiting. “Drink anyone?” Father Joe needed one, but waited for them to gently decline. He enjoyed their company, but thought they were a wee bit pedantic. The scholars he knew weren’t as serious as these two and all his friends in school drank wine and scotch like giant beluga whales being released from captivity. They were bigger actors than Christina--all a bunch of phonies. Didn’t they see this hoax for what it really was? He took it to be a young girl’s desperate cry for attention. Why did they need to drag this out for almost a week now? Didn’t they have better things to do than hang out in his parish?

Will Father Joe come to believe Christina's unusual story?
Want to hear about his dream?
Then click here to order your copy of The Fifth Commandment today!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Rescued Pooch Poem

If I Were a Dog
Eve Gaal

If I were a dog
I’d forget about yesterday
and forgive you today.
I’d remind you to cuddle,
implore you to play.
I’d wait all day until you came home
 ‘til you read the mail and put down your phone.
I’d hold you in the highest esteem--
you and me...
other family members--
the greatest of teams.

If I were a dog,
I’d sleep while you’re away,
anticipating your arrival,
ears perked against rivals,
Fiona's in charge
half awake,
I’d probably bark a lot,
worried you were caught-
held in a cage,
next to stinky mongrels filled with rage.
I’d imagine the smell
Of wet matted hair
strangers that tried to care
for unfortunate beasts carrying disease.
In my nightmares,
I’d remember fleas
landing on my fur--
the unforgettable stench of urine everywhere.

If I were a dog,
Pinky's eyes....
I’d lick your face.
Not to taste,
but only to kiss
the person who understood my heart.
The one who saw into my eyes,
had me leaping off the charts.
I’d have to wag my tail to convince you—
throwing myself at your feet for a belly rub--
my love is unconditional and true.
I’m sure you’d beg to agree--

our lives are better rescued me.

Fiona with a rare smile
Pinky wagging

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lapdog Required--Black Coffee Optional

I thought I'd put a small note here for those who prefer print books. 
Some of you might remember that Penniless Hearts used to have a delightful
blue cover  with a picture of the beach but my publisher has decided to change
even this rather somber one to something that echoes the humor inside.
 Can't wait to see it!

Both novels and most of my poems are available in print format from Amazon or directly through me. I'd say Amazon might be a better deal because they have free shipping when you buy a certain amount of stuff. This week I purchased two regular priced copies of an anthology that contain a couple poems and one of my stories.Even though the book came out almost a year ago, I have to say it's one of my favorite anthologies. Anyway, instead of free shipping, they sent me a tea infuser shaped like a dog as a kind of bonus. Might make a great gift for one of my tea-drinking, cat loving friends.
My poem Homeless Hearts made third place in the PnP Author Anthology titled,
Our Treasured Stories & Poems
I rarely enter contests and even third place is an honor.
Here's the back of the anthology.

I noticed this book doesn't have any reviews yet.
Don't you want to leave the first one?
Congratulations to all the winners!

What's your favorite way to read? Do you prefer a Kindle with a kitten in your lap or a print book with a dog? Vice versa? Coffee? Tea?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Fabric of Love

Psalm 13913: You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.

I’m winding prayers onto spools.
Every night
and morning—
In between-- 
for those who need it.
A sort of Oompa Loompa
feeding into the atmosphere with
material made of my soul.
I’m not alone.
This colorful tapestry of prayer
can unravel like crocheted pieces
that need to be reworked.
Quite a global mega project.
When hearts are bursting with pain,
We clasp hands to each other embracing those we love--
Kiss them on the cheek--
glad they’re alive.
We are knit together.
Collective tears drop into floods--
 or get lost in rubble--
quakes in Italy--
homes burning in California.
There are children running from bombs in 2016!
Babies are dying.
It’s time to untangle the anger.
And some people
add to the drama
because they are mad
or just plain bad.
Children dodging bombs in Syria?
Shootings here--there and everywhere?
A 7 year old tried to sell his teddy bear for food—last week in Ohio.
Here--in the U.S. A.
We’re up to our ears in knots!
Can we weave our prayers together?
A tighter--powerful hold—
create a peaceful pattern--

double and triple stitched from the spools of our prayers?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Five Important Messages From Beyond

I haven’t actually met any aliens but let’s say we communicated through some intergalactic messaging system. My first thoughts would believe it’s a divine type of correspondence, such as angels sending humankind messages. Sadly, many would doubt my celestial notions and tell me I’d be jumping to conclusions, because modern science does keep reminding us that there’s life on other planets. Besides, who am I to interpret or translate for the Almighty?
Photo from Wikepedia
Either way, whoever is sending me messages is obviously interested in restoring humanity to our world. Lately, I’m receiving more than usual-- of these peaceful and wonderful trans-communications--so I thought I’d share them with you here:  

Don’t stress-(“Let it Be”--Aliens seem to love old Beatles’ songs—I heard it playing during the transmission) My interpretation of this includes road rage, cussing and giving idiots the finger.

Accept it and move on. There are other planets and if it’s too much, at least you have New Zealand. (Canada will work well in a pinch—at least after the election.)

Assist each other as best as you can. Love one another like brothers and sisters—(when possible.)
(This is what made me think heavenly message because it steered clear of romantic love but are aliens romantic?)

Realize that differences make humans interesting and entertaining. While sheep are cute and it’s a great Biblical analogy—humans shouldn’t act like sheep or zombies. (I’m paraphrasing—there was some static).

Use all your talents to create smiles and spread them around. (I love this one!)

I look forward to our daily exploration of the universe and all the possibilities within and around our domain upon Earth. I also hope that during difficult times in your life and even in the lives of those you love, you’ll find the strength to pursue, to achieve success and to conquer all obstacles blocking or zooming in front of you, during any part your journey.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mixing it Up

I will read anything. Hand me a newspaper, send me to the library or charge up my Kindle because my taste in books is rather diverse—with one large caveat--, I shy away from vampire stuff, werewolves, most horror and all erotica. But that still leaves me contemporary fiction, sci-fi, steampunk, romance, thrillers, mystery and more—even coloring books for adults. Plus, there are also magazines, non-fiction, literature and memoirs. It may or may not be true but in my heart, I believe that by mixing things up, readers are giving independent writers a better chance. If I owned a bookstore, I’d place bestsellers right next to Indie books on the shelves. Here’s a short collection of some recent reviews.

The great thing about fantasy books is that you have to suspend your idea of reality to grasp the author’s intentions. In this case, Sahara Foley designed an entire parallel universe filled with original creatures and two wayward teenagers in a Dodge Dart. Since I typically enjoy stories that take characters on a journey, I was mesmerized from the beginning and glad I picked this book from all the thousands of books available to read on my Kindle. My favorite sentence came near the end but I don’t think that by sharing it I’d spoil anything: “If the human race is going to survive, we have to stop fighting each other over stupid ideas that don’t mean anything and start working together.” Foley writes her dystopian Eden as a place for some sort of hope and renewal and though Jan and Don enjoy running around without their clothes on like modern versions of Adam and Eve, there’s still the problem of Dad, Mike, Mom and a bunch of Skittou. Not to mention the cops. If you like stories about make believe places filled with imaginary characters, you’ll like this adventure about running away from home.

The Double Whammy is a fishing lure used to catch bass but you don’t need to know anything about fishing or bass to enjoy this Hiaasen thriller. Filled with enough twists and turns to give you whiplash while you speed through pages filled with tons of action and humorous descriptions, this is one of those books you’ll try and read in one sitting. The characters almost sound like people we read about in the news and though the writer’s a bit harsh on women—I have to say I enjoyed the salty misogynistic descriptions peppered and embellished with the awful language commonly used by raunchy men in hot, sweaty and swamp like conditions. While the main character is a private investigator by the name of Decker, I was more interested in the wild man Skink and the evil Reverend Weeb. What a riot. Lots of bad men and naughty women but Queenie is my favorite. Find out what happens at the biggest Bass Blasters Classic but hold on to your outboard engine for one amazing ride through Lunker Lakes.

The Third Servant is a very enjoyable book that pulled me along Ezra’s personal journey from the very beginning. I kept comparing Billington’s writing to Paul Coelho or Og Mandino even Jean M. Auel. But as the story unfolded and the journey progressed, I found superior writing with exactly the type of ‘style’ I enjoy. It’s the story of a poor orphaned servant who seeks justice along his quest for truth. He befriends fisherman, nomads, kings, philosophers and soldiers on his journey. He learns to use a sword, bows and arrows and even learns to negotiate. A caravan master tells him that he has many gifts but that his faith and his brain are his greater gifts. Many times before battle, his faith is confused with confidence while his brains are continually sponging up the local customs and languages of his travels. A journey he feels is the will of God and resistance to it would only be futile, thus he seeks his own destiny. But the battles and losses are wreaking havoc on Ezra’s soul. Romans are a threat unlike anything that he has ever seen before. The rules of battle are changing. He needs an infantry of archers and spear throwers. Being incompetent is not an option—either is losing—will luck be on his side? And in his time of greatest need, will he be ready to put down his sword and surrender? Great book. I recommend it highly.

I used to laugh at the idea of Adult coloring books. After all, there are plenty of things more important to create and perhaps better ways of wasting time. Sometimes however, there comes a time in everyone’s life when we need to relax and create a spa-like, sort of Zen atmosphere. Sounds impossible? Not really, because once you start working on Today is Going to Be a Great Day, all of a sudden the worry dissipates and all you can think about is sharpening your colored pencils. No plot to figure out, no emotional characters to make you sit on the edge of your seat but hours and hours of tranquil fun. As you choose your colors, it will put your mind at ease, clearing out any cobwebs or negativity, so you can meditate while creating art.

I loved this book because it reminded me of all the writing struggles I personally have had throughout the years, some of which consist of bitter truths, underpaid delusions, lofty dreams and inspired visions shared by those who traveled similar roads. In other words, I could relate to the overthinking and the landmines created by others. But Becoming Moon deserves to be a bestseller and is immensely polished and well-crafted prose about a sort of conversion.
After glancing at some of the other reviews about this book, I firmly believe that if you haven’t experienced the agony of writing or thrown your heart into some sort of art, then you might not be able to relate in even an infinitesimal way. Professor Schmidt puts it this way: “We artists are nothing; it is the art. We are only conduits. When the artist becomes the art, the art itself dies.” And those looking for gore and gut wrenching violence might want to steer clear because something evil happens in Becoming Moon that’s worse than a death by hanging for a writer and that’s plagiarism. I applaud Mr. Hart for tackling this delicate, painful subject with inebriated imagery and heartfelt melancholy.
Earlier, there’s a conversation in a bar, “We know nothing.” And that’s when you begin to realize that the main character’s soul is drowning analogous to an actual drowning from the beginning of the book. Then the revival pushes him further down the rabbit hole. Trust? Confidence? Huge issues—and women? Kate, Emily and Chloe have their own agendas that make the writer drink with an updated Hemingway style. Lots of creativity here such as a main character no one calls by name but since it’s in first person, you don’t mind. Until he’s completely lost and you want him to have a name. You want him to believe in God and trust in those words he’s humming. Most likely, you’ll hope as I did, that those bees buzzing outside the cabin window are a sign of hope leading to his newfound faith.

Have you read any great books lately? Do you write reviews?