Walk a Mile in These Shoes

Walk a Mile in These Shoes

Your days began bright, yellow, and haloed. Yes, the winters had begun to be hard. Too many gray days, the cold whipping through the threads of your coat, your dogs ageing. But you had your music, danced around to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, sang to Justin Timberlake. Even if age was catching up with you, you weren’t catching up with age. Continue reading

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Review of Christmas at Strand House

 

Christmas at Strand House

Linda Mitchelmore

HQ Digital

December 4, 2018


Blurb: A holiday to change their lives forever!

A festive feel-good holiday read, perfect for fans of Lilly Bartlett, Tilly Tennant and Eve Devon.

When Lissy inherits her late godmother’s seaside villa, Strand House, she decides to turn her life upside-down and move to the seaside. Continue reading

Strong

Before I present tonight’s contribution to the dVerse prompt, I just want to state that this poem is fiction. I know a lot of poets write from their own lives, but as a fiction writer who desires to be a poet, a lot of my poetry involving people is made up. I don’t think the emotions are or the experiences, but they aren’t mine. Thank you. 🙂

Also, I half read the instruction so I wrote the poem, went back and read the instructions again, because lately my brain is a sieve, and I probably could have done a better job with the prompt. 😦

Continue reading

Us #amwriting

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

Thank you as always to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers. If you’d like to join, please click here to read the instructions and add your contribution.

And, I hate to add this qualification, but I’m on vacation and while I will try to read everyone’s contribution, I apologize if it’s not in a timely manner.


 Us

You and me. Us.

Are there any stronger words? Two against all! You and me forever!

We huddled in that slight crevice, time and time again. You despised going home, especially on Fridays when your Dad’s paycheck bought liters of cheap gin and an ugly anger that marked bruises on your pretty face.

And me, my home was a sarcophagus, cold, where my parents stole to their own caves, not acknowledging me or each other.

You and me, us, holding hands, reprieve.

Us lasted a long time.

Until time threaded its skeletal fingers around your wrist stealing you away.

end 8/12/2017

Sascha Darlington

 

Review of Forgetting Yesterday, Book Tour for Remnants of Yesterday and Giveaway!

Beautiful couple on the beach

Forgetting Yesterday by Ava Wood

Self-Published

Release Date: October 28, 2016


Melissa (Missy) has just lost her mother in a car accident and because her alcoholic father is unable to cope, they move to her aunt’s home in Florida while her aunt is on assignment as a photographer. Melissa is resistant to the change because all of her friends, mainly Karley who has been a tremendous support as well as her best friend, are in Kansas and she has a place on the basketball team. And she’s really, really good. All of the upheaval feels like too much and she’s positive she won’t have any friends in Florida.

On her first day she literally bumps into a boy and his cute friend, Adam Miller, helps her pick up her things. Adam is a basketball player as well, but he is also in her photography class and it is here where they work together on an assignment and bond.

Meanwhile, Missy is trying to keep her father’s alcoholism a secret so that social services doesn’t become involved and she isn’t taken away from him.

This first installment of Ava Wood’s Broken the Sea trilogy is quite involving although I had to keep reminding myself that Missy is a teenage girl and that her self-obsession and judging of others is related to that. I enjoyed her relationship with Adam as he was a good guy and managed to help her through a lot as did his family. I found the fact that the Millers stood up for Missy so quickly to be really admirable.

Some of the drama with her father was not entirely believable, not the part where he would be violent because that is frequently an attribute of an alcoholic, but rather the part of mistaken identity which happened too frequently. One time perhaps would be believable, but several times were not.

What made Forgetting Yesterday work for me was that it wasn’t episodic, which the following two novels are. It was a story about a girl going through a rough time and finding friendship along the way with a kind, as well as very cute, boy who shared her interests.

I would have appreciated a bit more character development. Both the father and the aunt are rather one-dimensional characters. In this first entry for the trilogy Missy describes herself as once having a good relationship with her father. It would have been nice to see that reflected, but we only see a very broken man who either cries or is violent. Aunt Emily is pretty much a caricature and even then over-the top. In Books 2 and 3, Missy’s relationship with her father is only described as abusive without any indication that there had ever been any real closeness between them. I found that sad that the author pursued that route rather than examining the much more difficult and sensitive scenario of a good father and his good relationship with his daughter dissolving, which would have been far more effective, involving, and interesting.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review


rating: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly 4 out of 5 butterflies


Book 3 in the Broken by the Sea Trilogy

Remnants of Yesterday (Broken by the Sea #3)

by Ava Wood

Genre: YA Romance

Release Date: January 6th 2017

Summary:

“Saying goodbye is never easy.”

Missy Shaw has lived through her fair share of heartache and abuse, mostly at the hands of her own father. After finally taking a stand against her abusers, Missy is faced with a new dilemma when her father unexpectedly falls ill. Longing to take care of the man who’s never really been a father to her, she’s forced to make a difficult decision that could cause a cataclysmic collision with her past and her future.

Now that Adam Miller was a major fixture in Missy’s life, making those hard decisions shouldn’t be so difficult, but when Missy heads to Tampa for college and Adam returns to Kansas, she’s left feeling vulnerable and alone. Moving forward is harder than she imagined when the demons from her past continue to haunt her.

In this gripping finale to the Broken by the Sea trilogy, find out if Missy is finally able to find her happy ending, or if the demons of her past become the nightmares of her future.

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Excerpt from Remnants of Yesterday

But Adam filled that void, and a need I’d had, but never realized. Quickly he forced his way into my life, first as my friend, then suddenly becoming so much more. He and his family had shown me what a real family was supposed to be. My father’s illness was giving me my own sense of family for a short time, but I wasn’t sure I would ever really see my dad as my father again. He’d so easily thrown everything away to save himself from my mother’s grief. Dad was simply the name I’d learned to call him. The deeper I delved within myself, I realized that it probably couldn’t be much more than just a name.

During our conversation, Adam helped me to see that the time I had with my father now wasn’t about fixing some bond we once had. No, that bond had never really formed to begin with. It finally dawned on me that the anxiety I’d felt over my father’s illness hadn’t been about me leaving or feeling like I’d abandoned him, but had been from a deep–seeded fear that he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself. I’d done all I could to forgive him, and though I would never forget, my forgiveness had been granted that first day I came home to see him.

Now, our time together had to be about making my father’s final days on earth as peaceful and easy as possible, about helping him to forgive himself so that he could move on from this life free from any guilt or hatred he might have toward himself.

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Forgetting Yesterday (Broken by the Sea #1) on Goodreads

Return to Yesterday (Broken by the Sea #2) on Goodreads

About the Author

ava-woodAva Wood is an insomniac who writes to calm the voices. When the voices get too loud, stories are formed.

Ava was born and raised in Texas but got to Florida as quick as she could, enjoying the fresh sea air and summer storms. She believes there is nothing more beautiful than an evening summer light show.

She’s married to the love of her life whom she shares two beautiful daughters and four sweet fur babies. Their marriage is the perfect “North-meets-South” pairing.

When she’s not writing, Ava can be found chasing her children all over the county, snapping photos of any and everything, visiting one of her local theme parks, or just spending quality time with her family.

Author Links:

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$10 Amazon Giftcard

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One Way Or Another–Sunday Photo Fiction

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Sunday Photo Fiction⇐this is the linky if you want to participate.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here.


One Way or Another

Ever noticed how a twig blanketed in snow actually looks as if it has hairs sprouting from it? Stubbly man’s whiskers that would prick your skin if touched.

That’s what it looks like.

What the twig feels like when you grip it in the palm of your hand, snow melting instantly, is penetrating cold that would make you feel uncomfortable if your attention weren’t focused on the lumbering footsteps crunching in the snow.

A twig. Not effective at all.

Your bare hand searches in the snow for the river rocks you know abound the low bank. Your hand, numb with cold, seizes a large rounded one.

One way or another, he will never hit you again.

 

end 12/6/2016

S. Darlington

Don’t Make a Scene!

I know it’s odd for me, but this is a true story.Presentation1.jpg

 

The fact is that as women we have let things happen to us because we’ve been taught not to make a scene, not to trouble. Yesterday I read a social media post about how often women have been sexually abused and I thought, well, that’s never happened to me. Then I read one account: “a man touched me inappropriately when I was …in a public place.” Another: “A man propositioned me.”

And I thought: crap, as a teenager both of those things happened to me. I was raised extremely conservatively from age 11 on after my Dad died. In my teenage years, I never dressed provocatively or got drunk or high. I barely wore makeup.

The first incident happened when I was in high school. I was on the volleyball team and practicing my wicked serve in my front yard, dressed in shorts, not sexy shorts, sports shorts, when a teenager probably my age selling candybars so he could go on some funded trip asked me if I would change my clothes in front of him for money. Say, what? I said no, I had to leave for a volleyball game. Even now I think, girl, you should have jumped up and down and screamed bloody murder at some boy even suggesting you should strip for money.

The second incident happened when I was on the metro to school in DC. I was wearing my favorite pair of brown cords, nothing spectacular, nothing sexy. They obviously weren’t short and showing anything. They weren’t tight. They were comfortable because I liked to dress comfortably. But I was slim with curves and probably had a butt and I felt a hand on said butt as I was traveling up the metro escalator. I ignored it because what could/should I do? Today I would have yelled bloody murder and knocked the man with an unholy sized messenger bag stuffed with heavy crap. Then, I just hurried up the steps to sit on the train where the man actually had the gall to sit near me and ask me about myself. I was so timid, but even then I knew stories and made one up. I pulled out my Spanish newspaper, held it in front of me until I got off at the next extremely busy stop hoping that would stifle his unhealthy libido.

The third incident happened when I was twenty-one and out jogging. I was on my route back home when a man in a sedan asked me if I knew how he could get to downtown DC. I started to tell him and then I realized that he was stroking his penis as I told him. I just shook my head, stopped talking and jogged home, thinking: effing, disgusting men.

Until the article yesterday, I hadn’t given much thought to these situations, but now, I think what a repulsive combination of events for a young woman to go through and I doubt that mine are the worst. I have never been raped and therefore I thought, well, the other things aren’t so bad. But, really, they aren’t great, are they? If you are a man, what would you think about your daughter experiencing these situations? I think that unfortunately every woman has such a story, but it would be excellent if that were not true.

While I never thought myself to blame for any of these situations, because really I was a tomboy and dressed like a tomboy but even if I weren’t, how could I be to blame for a man who was so obviously taking advantage of a situation? The thing that I realize now is that I was also brought up to be passive and many other women are brought up this way. We try not to make scenes. We try not to be drama queens. But sometimes a situation necessitates it and we don’t allow ourselves to act out. We were raised with: what would the neighbors think? But this moved beyond to: what would the woman in the third row who I’ve never seen before and will never see again think? These days I would say: who cares? Not then.

Why did a boy think it was fine to ask me to strip for money or another man to touch my butt or another to masturbate in front of me? That’s not even to mention the man who commented on my wearing a Las Vegas t-shirt while jogging and said that Las Vegas was putting on a pretty good show. wink wink. Forget construction workers, in retrospect those dudes don’t even rank in the hall of whatever.

I know that my situations are by no means the worst out there. I’ve mostly lived a quiet life and that’s why I figured that nothing untoward had happened to me until I really started to think and consider. And, hell, I swept these things under a mental rug in order not to think about them. But did that happen because a society also thought those things weren’t so bad?

I’ve no answers. Just a lot more questions.

Color me: aware.

 

end 10/9/2016 (5)

S. Darlington

 

Review of Girl in Pieces

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Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: August 30, 2016


It’s been about twelve hours since I finished reading Girl in Pieces and scenes from the novel still play in my head like film strips. This debut novel by Kathleen Glasgow is masterfully constructed and presented. The chapters frequently just pieces as the title would indicate.

Charlie is seventeen years old and has been living on the streets since her mother kicked her out of the house, and then her best friend, Ellis, whose family she started living with, blamed Charlie for the drugs that actually belonged to her boyfriend. Charlie’s always cut herself, but after a particularly bad event, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital with other girls who self-harm. From there, Charlie goes to Tucson courtesy of Mikey, an old friend of hers who Charlie’s always had a crush on.

What makes Girl in Pieces so affecting is that nothing is glossed over. Charlie’s pain, her self-loathing, her distrust, all ride very close to the surface, the reader feels them intensely. If you’ve ever been affected deeply by addiction of any kind, whether your own or someone else’s, you will recognize the darkness for what it is. You will recognize a pervasive sense of lack of control, of pessimism, of fear, of the always palpable sensation that this “thing” is too big and will swallow everything. References are made to the “cereal eating you up” rather than you eating the cereal.

This is probably just the kind of book that I would have stayed away from because of its dark subject matter, but a few months ago I blithely started entering to win all kinds of ARCs, shall I say, heedlessly. The first error book was The Red Bandanna and you can read that review here; it’s a book about 9/11 and I have been zealousy staying away from those books. And, simply, any books in which you know pain in reading is going to be involved like Girl in Pieces, which I also received through an ARC contest. Let me state simply, I am fervently glad that I have read both of these books. Sometimes you have to revisit pains of all types in order to learn more about yourself and appreciate more fully and more exactly your life without pain or darkness.

Girl in Pieces isn’t an easy read. It’s not supposed to be. As I mentioned above, the chapters are sometimes short fragments, like pieces to a puzzle. They are observations. They are like the jagged lines etched on flesh. They are the sketches of the people you see. Sometimes the invisible people on the periphery of your existence.

I loved the characters in Girl in Pieces. I understood Charlie being enamored with Riley, the once significant music star. I understood that he was a mess, a charming mess, and that he had the capability to bring her down with him. With the exception of Wendy (and she’s not given enough book-time to warrant it), all of the characters are developed. These are like real people and even though they have their foibles, I liked reading about them, spending time with them.

And, despite its darkness, I was sorry to read the final page and leave this novel, although I felt hope at its finale.

I received an ARC from Random House in exchange for an honest review.

From AmazonGirl in Pieces


rating: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly (5 out of 5 butterflies)