Friday, June 27, 2014

The Slow Burn of Silence

An artist fills the viewers mind with broad brushstrokes and tiny smidges, colors vividly springing to life on the canvas in front of them. 

When does something begin and end? The ripples from a stone cast into a pond, do they start with the smoothness of the pebble that first attracts the eye, the impulse to feel it against the palm, to make it skip over water … do they end with the last tiny lap of a wave on the distant shore …

Loreth Anne White fills the viewers mind with images painted through the written word, each phrase dripping on the pages, oils and charcoal the tools of her craft. 

It’s not often that I refer to a mystery as poetical in its prose, each word not to tell the story, but rather to put the reader into the scene, walking along with each character.  Thomas H. Cook is the only other that comes to mind, a painter of pictures of the mind.

An Indian summer. He’d forgotten the taste of it. The feel of it. The sound of it. The way the breeze whispered in his ears with the voices of dead leaves, brittle grasses, crackling twigs, the soft swishing of drought-browned conifer tips. It was a dialogue that could only come after a killing frost. This valley was tinderbox dry, ripe for fire, whispering for it. Or for rain.

Jeb Cullen returns to Snowy Creek after serving almost 10 years in prison for a crime he never committed … or did he?  With flashbacks indicating something violent in his past, can he really be trusted? A review of the case gets him released by the courts, but not technically “not guilty”. He comes home, his guilt still evident in the eyes of the townspeople, in the doubting eyes of the woman he once loved.  The woman whose testimony helped put him away. Jeb wants to reclaim, needs to reclaim, the life that was taken from him … and the woman who has never left his heart.  But could he face down a town full of hatred and suspicion. 

But it was what he wanted, a stark spotlight which under everyone would be exposed and held accountable, under which he could stand up and show he had nothing to hide. Where he could look into the faces of the men who’d lied, into the eyes of those who believed in his guilt, and let people know he would not back down. It was the only tool he had. Darkness bred shadows, secrets, easy violence without consequence.

Rachel Salonen lost her innocence and her soul mate on one fateful night almost 10 years before, a night that she pushed back into the recesses of her mind as she went on with her life; a life that included a fiancĂ©, a life that was happy.  But then her sister and brother –in-law die in a house fire and she becomes the guardian of their little girl.  A child she barely knows, a child that ends up tying her to the one man she never dared see again.

I try to swallow against the tightness closing my throat. My skin is hot. Dark memories thread into my mind like ink tendrils into water, swirling, curling, clouding the present, blurring plans for the future with Trey. We’ve all worked so hard to bury the past, the whole town has. But sometimes all one can do is plaster over the cracks with the concrete of industry; because underneath the fissures remain, waiting for some little tremor to open them up into black maws hungry to swallow you up again. Like now.

The Slow Burn of Silence is a book full of suspense, tension, danger and romance.  From a writer with an exceptional grasp of the English language, this book can finally move Loreth Anne White in with the best romantic suspense writers today.  Go buy the book, you won’t regret it.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

 Every New Year's I post the notable deaths of the year. Usually I'd post pictures with them, but unfortunately I've discovered that I can't really do that ... copyright and such. So here's the list ... of course it doesn't include everyone and there may be some you don't recognize but you can view the full list here.

In alphabetical order:

Richard Arlen                                                                         Whitney Houston
Neil Armstrong                                                                       John Ingle
Maeve Binchy                                                                         Senator Daniel Inouye
Ernest Borgnine                                                                      Davy Jones
Robert Bork                                                                            Kathryn Joosten
Ray Bradbury                                                                         Rodney King
Helen Gurley Brown                                                                Thomas Kinkade
Dave Brubeck                                                                         Jack Klugman
Frank Cady                                                                             Jon Lord
Hector “Macho” Camacho                                                      Tony Martin
Dick Clark                                                                              George McGovern
Gary Collins                                                                            Dorothy McGuire
Don Cornelius                                                                         Rev. Sun Myrung Moon
Stephen R. Covey                                                                   LeRoy Neiman
Judith Crist                                                                              Jerry Nelson
Hal David                                                                               Ron Palillo
Richard Dawson                                                                     Deborah Raffin
Phyllis Diller                                                                            Sally Ride
Michael Clarke Duncan                                                          Ann Rutherford
Charles Durning                                                                      Steve Sabol
Chad Everett                                                                          Vidal Sassoon
Al Freeman Jr.                                                                        Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
Robin Gibb                                                                             Tony Scott
Art Ginsburg                                                                           Earl Scruggs
Don Grady                                                                             Maurice Sendak
Andy Griffith                                                                           Arlen Specter
Larry Hagman                                                                         Donna Summer
Marvin Hamlisch                                                                     Gore Vidal
Levon Helm                                                                            Bob Welch
Sherman Hemsley                                                                   Kitty Wells
Celeste Holm                                                                          Andy Williams

Friday, September 07, 2012

My Old Man

Aidan ....

Isn't he beautiful?  He wasn't always .. when I first saw him he was a scared short-haired little tuxedo kitten, so weak and pitiful; fleas were all over him and he walked/crawled with a limp.  And he was very, very quiet.  Unusual for a stray kitten in unknown territory surrounded by giant two-legged ones.  But there he was in my co-workers cat carrier on his way to the pound.  The pound.  So tiny and helpless.  She'd found him that morning in the trash dumpster at her apartment complex.  She already had a big bully cat and couldn't take in another animal; hence the pound.  I wasn't supposed to have any more cats, I was already owned by 2 .. but there he was ... looking at me through the bars of the case.  Calm, quiet and ... I don't know .. but the next thing I knew I had convinced her to not take him in just yet.  I wanted to run him by my vets office to find out what was wrong with his leg .. I wanted to give him a chance.  It was my half-day at work so soon we were on our way.  From the carrier, now strapped into the front seat of my car, he was still quiet ... laying in the back, sleeping.


The vet said that his little back leg wasn't broken, but that someone had either kicked or hit him so hard that it was permanently damaged.  And he was around 7 weeks old .. just a baby.  The doctor sprayed him with flea stuff and you could just see them hopping off of this poor baby; they were killing him.  Then Dr. Prewitt pointed something else out ... some of the kittens whiskers were very short, others curling.  Huh?  Wait .. let me rephrase that .. some of his whiskers were cut off and others had been burned.  Beyond kicking/hitting this helpless little baby, someone had burned off some of his whiskers!  The pound?  It was the vet's opinion that they wouldn't do much with an un-adoptable handicapped kitten and would probably put this baby to sleep.  I had a very easy decision to make.

Our beginning

So I took him home ... and I had my lap kitty.  Ever since the death of my Alexandria, I had wanted another lap kitty.  Neither my then present cats Siobhan or Cassidy were lap kitties; they were lay-next-to-you-a-bit kitties.  But this one curled up on my lap and slept and slept and .... yeah, you get the point.  After his bath of course.  And some food.  But he was still so very quiet, not even much of a purr.  The next morning, however, was something else entirely .. suddenly I had a somewhat active kitten.  He was awake, rested and feeling much better.  And you know what?  He gave a little raspy meow.  Then it hit me .. he had been in that trash dumpster long enough to scream himself hoarse. I didn't have a quiet kitten, I had one with laryngitis.  Lap kitty?  Oh hell no ... he was all kitten, scrambling up and down everything by the end of the day, bad leg not keeping him still one bit.  Jumping .. leaping .. e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e .... BonBon hated him, Cassidy tolerated his presence and life went on ....


That short-haired kitten?  Oh no, not now, not long after another month in my home.  It sprung.  Fluff everywhere and oh my is it soft, silky.  Turns out he's got a bit of Maine Coon in him.  Did you know that their fur tolerates the cold/wet weather of New England because moisture slides down it .. doesn't get wet easily, therefore it cuts down on their freezing.  See?  I can teach you stuff on this blog.  Anyway, I shudder now thinking about what would have happened to him had Carol not found him .. you see, he was about 1 hour from being picked up by the garbage truck.  But because she did and because I was willing to take him in, this 11 year old fur-baby is alive and healthy today.

Miss Mousie

Senior cats are interesting.  Aidan is the oldest cat I have ever had.  Watching the changes in him, the slowing down of his routine, has been a delight ... most of the time.  We've had some scares .. his inability to groom himself as well anymore has led to big hairball issues for one thing .. but we are both learning what old age is for cats every single day of our lives together.  I'm helping him and he's helping me.  But you can help another senior kitty .. her name is Miss Mousie and she is the foster cat of Harlequin Romance author Melissa McClone.  Miss Mousie really needs TECA (Total Ear Canal Ablation) surgery and costs are up there ... $5,000.  Melissa has put up a chip-in with funds going directly to West Columbia Gorge Humane Society for the operation costs.  Oh, and Miss Mousie has a FB page and a blog.  The blog is full of writers and their cats ... blog posts from the likes of Kay Hooper, Lorna Barrett and Sue-Ellen Welfonder.  Great stories, great posts.  If you are a published writer and you wish to help, contact Melissa and let her know.  And if you aren't and want to help anyway .. just sneak in posts on your own blogs and spread the word .... 

Don't hide away 

Donate .. help .... there's a senior kitty out there that needs you ..... 

Friday, August 31, 2012

For the Love of a Cat

His name was Devlin …

April 5, 2005 was like any other day, mom was still “mom” and Alzheimer’s was just beginning to show it’s ugly head.  And then it happened … one of the feral cats left a newborn kitten on the back porch.  So tiny … so very helpless … so very much mine.  Up every 4 hours for feedings, burping, voiding the ol’ bladder …. Everything a momma kitty would be doing.  And talking, cuddling .. I knew he couldn’t see or hear me but I kept babbling at him anyway.  Taking him to the vet for weekly weighing, the tech would lay him on the table away from me and he would lift his nose in the air and scramble around to get to me.  He smelled me.  I was momma and he was my only baby. 


Fast forward to around July of that year.  We’d hit a problem, he wasn’t growing and was experiencing bowel problems.  We fought, the vet and me, and we got through it.  Close call though because money was extremely tight and we were already bursting at the seams on the budget department.

March 2006 it began … seizures.  Out of the blue he started experiencing seizures.  Running through the house at full speed, stopping to bite his tail, sometimes every hour or so, other times every fifteen minutes; and the battle began again.  Money we didn’t have went out the door.  The seizures intensified, despite anti-seizure medication.  Specialist?  No money for that. 

April 11, 2006 was like any other day, mom was a little less “mom” and Alzheimer’s was creeping up on us.  And then it happened … another seizure, this time worse than the others.  Up to the vet …. gone.  I had to let him go.  You see, mom was getting hard to handle and there were no options like a Miss Mousie page for me.  We had no money for further treatment.  I had to let my baby go. 

August 31, 2012 and I’m still bawling my eyes out over my baby.  His name was Devlin … and I vowed the day he died that I would do whatever I could to help others not lose a baby because of money.  No animal should suffer from lack of care because they don’t have the funds available.  Melissa McClone has done this wonderful thing for a foster kitty named Miss Mousie. 

Please go here to read about Miss Mousie … and please, help if you can.  Spread the word if you can’t help financially.  No animal should suffer … always remember that.

For Devlin

You came to me so small
Tiny body perfect for the palm
Of my hand
No face you saw,
No voice you heard
My touch, my smell was
All you knew

Your cries I soothed
With a calming touch
A soft nuzzle
A gentle rock
I’d speak and croon
Though you could not hear
My lullabies for you

Whimpers to mews,
Crawls and scoots
To gangly legs
You grew through struggles
Not your own but natures grip
You fought the battle and won
The round, this time the victor

But death waits for no one
And the time
Came when the fight could
No longer be fought
And our time together
Had come to an end
Too soon

So I said goodbye
A soft nuzzle
A gentle touch
And I crooned lullabies
Full of words of love
You could no longer hear
Sweet baby, goodbye.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye .. 2011

You know I do this every year, or at least I used to, once upon a blogger.  So, on this New Year's Eve, I'll do it once more.  Goodbye to some of the notables we lost in 2011.  In no certain order:

Harry Morgan
Alan Sues (Laugh-In) 

Bil Keane (Family Circus)
Andy Rooney
Roger Williams

Steve Jobs
Cliff Robertson
Nick Ashford

Bubba Smith
Dan Peek

Amy Winehouse
Sherwood Schwartz

Betty Ford
Peter Falk
Carl Gardner

James Arness
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Jeff Conaway
Randy Savage
Jackie Cooper
Phoebe Snow

Geraldine Ferraro
Elizabeth Taylor
Jane Russell
Betty Garrett
Brian Jacques

Jack LaLanne
David Nelson
Margaret Whiting

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye Regis Philbin

Regis who?  My response for a while, since I only really noticed him on the odd days that mom was home from work.  It wasn’t until mom retired that I really started watching the show with her, and then still periodically (confession, I couldn’t stand Kathy Lee).  When I started taking care of mom it became a morning staple.  Besides, Kelly Ripa had joined by then and I found myself really enjoying the show.  So a morning routine was established.  Mom would get up, I’d make breakfast, we’d sit at the table until time for Regis and Kelly then move on into the den.  They became a part of our lives.  In fact, that’s how we found out about Sept. 11 … I had turned on the TV for the show and well, we know what. But anyway, back to Regis, because it really is all about Regis.  Mom had a bit of a crush on him, and as her dementia deepened he remained a steady part of our lives.  People’s names might disappear from her mind, but never Regis.

I’d get mom up in the morning, help her get dressed. 

She’d say “guess who came by last night?”

No, mom, who? 

“Regis and Joy” (his wife for those that don’t know). 

Oh they did? 

“Yes” a giggle and a secret smile. 

I’d say something like “why didn’t he mow the lawn while he was here?” 

Yes, Regis and Joy made many night time visits to my mom’s room … and she was ecstatic about it, until the sister-in-law stepped in.  Yeah, my sister-law Bev helped to take care of mom.  At some point mom started calling her “riffraff” and acted kinda cold towards her. 

“I don’t want that lady here” she’d say. 

Beverly? Why?” 

Mom would look at me and say “You know”. 

“No mom, I don’t”

“She’s trying to take away my boyfriend.”



Always Regis …

So you see, saying goodbye to Regis is almost like saying goodbye to mom again.  I’ll be right in front of the TV, and I’ll probably cry a little.  No, I’ll probably cry a lot … so long Regis Philbin, I wish you the best at whatever you go on to do.  And I know that a lady up in Heaven will be watching you too.