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Sunday, October 19, 2008


by Sharon Oliver

ISBN# 1-60162-962-1
Publisher: Urban Christian Books/Kensington
Genre: Christian Fiction - Mystery/Humor
Copyright: 2008 Sharon Oliver
Published date: July 2008
Where it can be purchased: www.amazon.com; Barnes & Noble; Borders and other bookstores across the country

Website: www.sharonoliver.net
and www.myspace.com/sharonwrites

Keep Your Enemies Closer is a humorous yet thought provoking tale about folk in a fictional South Carolina town who must learn how to deal with life’s interruptions and deceptions without falling apart or killing one another. When a pastor skips town with money from the church and Charlotte Morley’s conniving twin cousins mysteriously vanish right along with him, her much anticipated summer vacation takes a sudden shift in course.


Charlotte came to Turtle Island to get some rest before starting her new job duties as a staff counselor at her new church home. Charlotte joined Greater Faith Center a year ago, after months of searching for a new church and after having left one that frowned upon female preachers. She didn’t appreciate being treated as some sort of she-devil just because she wore her hair in twists. Many staff members at her former church, Truth in Love Tabernacle, frowned upon her hairstyle. Members of the ministerial staff, particularly the men, looked at her hair as if it represented the devil’s horns and treated her as such. The fact that she was going through an ugly divorce at the time had also earned her looks of disapproval.

As soon as Charlotte found out that her now ex-husband, Anthony, was “fellowshipping” with one of the “sisters” from the church, she filed for a divorce. Throughout their entire four-year marriage, rumors and evidence of Anthony’s bed hopping had been surfacing. The entire church, including children, knew of his blatant affair with the young usher. And as if the pain and embarrassment caused by this illicit affair weren’t enough, one day the pastor pulled Charlotte, not Anthony, aside for a little talk. Pastor Brown emphatically told Charlotte that she should concentrate more on being a virtuous woman instead of bucking so hard for a place in the pulpit. He suggested she curtail the amount of time she spent at church, advising that she should spend more time ministering to her husband.

Point well taken and she agreed it was applicable and sound advice. However, while informing Pastor Brown that Anthony was never home for her to minister to in the first place, Charlotte also suggested that perhaps he should also have a little talk with her husband as well, right after he took his religious foot off of her neck. She politely pointed out that if Anthony would control his roving eye and strong urges to unzip his pants, the divorce would not be happening.
Furthermore, she wanted Pastor Brown to know that she was a virtuous woman and she was not bucking for a position on the pulpit. Although she longed for a chance to teach, she did not wish to take over his position as leader. She only came to church to learn, worship and serve. Anthony, on the other hand, attended church to lust, conquer and be served some human flesh. Charlotte also pointed out that she was insulted by Anthony’s decision to add salt to the wound by sleeping with a member of her church. Scandalizing scoundrel didn’t even try to go undercover with his mess.

Once Charlotte and Anthony officially separated, he and his girlfriend stopped attending Truth in Love Tabernacle. Two months after the divorce, Anthony phoned Charlotte to express his regrets. He told her that he had made a mistake and wanted her to give him another chance. Charlotte poured out her regrets also and calmly informed her cheating ex that she regretted marrying him in the first place and he could squash the idea of a second chance. The relationship between Charlotte and her pastor also deteriorated after their finger-pointing conversation and she left Truth in Love not long after that. Sadly, because of Pastor Brown’s dry and repetitive sermons, half of the parishioners also exited.

Charlotte looked in the rear-view mirror again to see if her cousins were nearby, but saw no sight of them or their rental car. It would be just like them not to go straight to the house in order to get out of helping with dinner. Despite stories that most twins are somewhat kindred spirits, everyone in the Morley family knew that Tina and Terry were not. In fact, the two had a nasty habit of competing against one another and now they were on the island acting as if they were soul sisters? Whenever the two siblings did act as if they were on one accord, history proved otherwise. The last known stunt that Tina and Terry pulled had the entire Morley family talking for months.

A few years ago, Tina somehow managed to convince Terry that they should celebrate their high school graduation by taking a trip to Hawaii, unbeknownst and at the expense of their well-to-do parents. One day their mother, Francine, received a bill on purchases made at a trendy boutique in Maui, a place she had not visited. Tina and Terry had nearly bought out the store with one of Francine’s cherished platinum credit cards. Francine was livid! She didn’t even know the two had gone to Hawaii. In fact, Francine was under the impression that the twins had celebrated their graduation in Virginia Beach that particular weekend. Tina would later claim that the whole idea of going to Hawaii and going on a shopping frenzy was Terry’s.

Charlotte grew more and more suspicious about the presence of Typhoon Tina and Tropical Storm Terry. She had briefly considered spending her summer vacation relaxing on the white sands of St. Croix. But for some reason, the pull to go to Turtle Island had been stronger. It was almost as if there was some sort of urgency that required her presence. Charlotte forced herself to stop thinking about her cousins and turned her focus back to her grandmother’s conversation with Sista.

“You know, Sista,” Mattie Mae began. “I was just thinkin’ the other day about how Esau and Betty done such a good job raisin’ Charlotte. Look at how she turned out. I’m so proud of her. She got rid of that husband the devil sent her and now she’s a minister. I sho’ do hope I get to hear her preach some day. Now as for Tina and Terry, I don’t know what to say about them two wit they little fast behinds. Ever since they’ve been here, they been stickin’ to each other like glue and always whisperin’ about somethin’. They hardly say anythin’ to me and Edmund or even Charlotte since they been here. And we raised Terry! And raisin’ Terry was like tryin’ to break in a mule, let me tell ya’. That gal is so stubborn and downright stiff! I just don’t know, Sista.” Mattie Mae sounded exasperated. “Me and Edmund done all we could, but it seems as though every time Terry is around Tina, she act like she ain’t got no sense.”
“Mattie Mae, I know they is yo’ grandchiren, but I used to always tell you them two is as crack as a sidewalk, ‘specially that Terry. Tina don’t half speak to nobody and Terry talk so proper, I don’t half know what she be tryin’ to say.”
“I know it, but Terry didn’t act so crack until she left from here,” Mattie Mae defended.
“Mattie Mae! Terry been crack ever since she first come here as a chile,” Sista corrected.
Charlotte struggled not to laugh out loud at Sista. She had always admired Sista for her bluntness. No matter who you were or what you thought about her opinions, she was going to let you have it, like it or not.
“It ain’t their fault, Sista,” Mattie Mae began to explain. “And it sho’ didn’t help that Charles and Francine was half-raisin’ them gals, lettin’ all kinds of folk in their house like that. Maybe if I had both of ‘em here wit me, things would’ve turned out different. I tell you one thing though, God sho’ got His hands on Charlotte. I can see that. And she can pray up a storm too.”
“I can remember when she was just a little bitty thing runnin’ around here,” Sista said, stretching her eyes as if she just remembered something. “Oh yeah, I forgot to ask you if you heard ‘bout Lucille’s chile bein’ on drugs? Just throwin’ her life away. These chiren sho’ know how to put a hole in a mother’s heart.”
“I did hear about that. It’s such a shame.”
“I don’t know why that gal got herself hooked on that stuff. I tell ya’ the truth. She ought to know better. You know they buryin’ Annie Nettles’ son tomorrow afternoon over at Macedonia. He wasn’t but twenty-two years old and they tell me he was on that stuff too! These young people droppin’ off like flies. They don’t realize they can leave here just as quick as us old folk can. Anyhow, I’ll talk to ya’ later on today.” Sista spotted her son, John Edward, arriving to pick her up and walked over to his car. “We gotta keep prayin’ for the chutch too,” Sista shouted back as she opened the passenger door. John Edward waved at Mattie Mae before driving off in his turbo-charged Mustang.

By this time, Edmund was seated inside the truck and had asked Charlotte what she thought of today’s sermon. Charlotte shifted to the middle of the seat to make room for Mattie Mae. She dreaded admitting to her grandfather that she slept through most of the service and was saved from doing so when Mattie Mae instructed Edmund to hurry up and drive, prompting a minor road trip spat. Edmund drove off of the gravel-covered parking lot muttering about Mattie Mae’s bossiness. After all, it was she who kept them waiting in the first place. Then like bats out of Hades, Charlotte could see Tina and Terry tailgating them in Tina’s rented BMW.

Edmund and Mattie Mae argued up until the time they arrived at the house. Edmund parked his truck on the side of the wood-frame house, running over a gardenia bush load with flowers. This careless act cost him a stern tongue lashing from Mattie Mae as she squirmed and wiggled out of the truck.

“Didn’t we just leave the church? Apparently, there wasn’t anything in the message about keeping peace,” Charlotte said to herself as she slid from out of her seat. Sensing Mattie Mae’s irritation had little to do with Edmund, Charlotte asked the Lord for insight, and in a still, small voice, she heard the words, “watch and pray.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keys of Destiny - Adin Kachisi

Keys of Destiny
by Adin Kachisi

Category: Fiction / Action & Adventure
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: Apr-2008
Price: $16.95
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-595-50760-3

Available from iUniverse, Inc
To order call 1-800-AUTHORS
www.iuniverse.com or www.amazon.com

Author’s info: www.adinkachisi.com
email- kachisia@yahoo.com ; Tel- 212-810-7889

Keys of Destiny

Who will survive…..THE CLEANSING?

Beginning in a post 9/11 New York , Kazra Moore travels to a 2012-apocalyptic era world searching for ancient keys to save humanity from total extinction. Confronted by brutal secret societies and bloodthirsty fallen angels, will he survive and find the Keys of Destiny or is humanity doomed?

A riveting breakthrough tale of the human struggle to survive beyond 2012 cataclysms and rise beyond the elite architects of control.

Keys of Destiny is a remarkable tale of esoteric enigma and fascinating conspiracy. The book is intricately woven with layers of masterful storytelling and ground-breaking research. From Mayan prophecies, global conspiracies, ancient tablets, inter-dimensional portals, secret societies, bloodthirsty nephilims, gnomes, indigo children, martial arts experts, aliens, shamans, ancient civilizations, time travelers, to earth changes, ascension and the future of humanity, all in one book.

Entire islands wiped out by hurricanes, cities devastated by earthquakes, riots across the globe … it’s the beginning of the end of Civilization as we know it. Straight from New York , Kazra Moore travels to Europe, Africa, and Asia searching for ancient keys to save humanity from apocalyptic extinction. Confronted by brutal secret societies and bloodthirsty fallen angels, will he survive and find the Keys of Destiny or is humanity doomed?

Chapter 8
Gnomes and Stargates—Zimbabwe


From the Nyangani Mountain, they drove north to the site of Ziwa ruins
passing through the Nyanga village. After arriving at the Ziwa site, they enjoyed a
good quick tour of the Ziwa ruins. Ziwa looked to be closely related to the Great
Zimbabwe monuments, consisting of old stone structures built of large blocks of
From the ruins, they left the car and walked to the Ziwa caves. As they drew
closer to the site, Simba suddenly stopped in his tracks. He seemed to have
instantly gone into a trance right in the middle of the road. He stood motionless
with his eyes closed like a priest in silent prayer.
“What’s up?” David asked as he and Kazra curiously looked at Simba who was
standing still like a statue.
“All right, just something I really didn’t expect,” Simba said as he opened his
bag to examine its contents.
“What?” David asked again.
“Good, I brought them,” Simba said, closing his bag as they walked on.
“You’ll see in a moment, looks like we have some company. Things may really
get ugly around here.”
“Any problem? Wish we brought some kind of weapons; remember what I
told you about the dangerous cult in Ireland. I am hoping and praying that you
don’t have their equivalent in this country.” Before Simba could explain himself,
they were at the caves. The site looked lush and green. The caves stood amidst a
thick concentration of trees, bushes, grass, and weeds. High up in the trees, birds
of many kinds could be seen and heard punctuating the natural beauty of the
scenery. The entrance to the cave was kind of narrow but wide enough for a man
of average weight. As they stepped in, Simba suddenly looked tense and worried.
“David,” Simba said, switching off the flashlight he had pulled out of the bag.
“You notice the oil lamps are on?”
“Visitors before us? I don’t like it at all, I bet they are neither tourists nor local
folk,” David replied.
Kazra quickly noticed the marks and drawings on the cave wall. The walls
were heavily adorned with rock art and many different petro glyphs.
“Wow, what are these strange, stylized drawings? I see animals, funky-looking,
long-legged people, and what looks like flying beings,” Kazra said, as he lagged
behind, examining the cave wall drawings.
Simba stopped walking, looked back at Kazra, and smiled. “You find them
interesting? Some of these drawings go back as far as 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
They’re San paintings depicting spiritual experiences. Some of the animals you
see there depict the eland, representing spirituality to the San people. The long-legged
people and flying beings represent shamanic flights and trances.”
They walked further into the inner caves through several passages.
“This is it,” said Simba as he led the way into the innermost cave.
“Amazing place,” Kazra said.
“Wow!” shouted Simba, “I suspected this.”
“Oh no!” shouted David, stepping back.
Meanwhile Kazra, who was behind them, moved forward to get a clear view of
what was transpiring.
“Oh no!” he shouted, stepping back. To his surprise, right before them stood a
strange-looking man whose grisly countenance mocked the concept of man as
God’s image. He was tall and heavy built. The first strange thing about him was
his outfit. He wore a black robe like a priest, and his head was covered by a red
veil. His eyes were most strange, cold and catlike, making him look devilish. The
strange man jumped back in surprise and stared at them disdainfully. He stood
still, wide-eyed and staring at them with a bewildered expression. As if finding
them humorous, he opened his beastly mouth and laughed out loud. As everyone
stood still studying the situation and contemplating their next move, the strange
man stepped further back. He then stretched his hands forward with palms
pointed toward his three foes. Opening his nasty-looking mouth again, he started
uttering some strange-sounding words and chanting some mantras in a weird language
clearly not Shona. For some reason, Simba, David, and Kazra stood motionlessly, staring at him as if waiting for something to happen. With each word that this dark underworld priest uttered, they found themselves feeling fatigued and somehow hypnotized. The effect of these underworld chants wastaking a toll on them. Overcome by a draining dizziness, they stumbled over and fell to the ground. Weary, slowly losing breath, they crawled on their bellies like vipers and struggled with their failing senses, trying to regain strength.
The evil-looking stranger giggled sharply before yelling some strange word as
loud as he could, as if to resurrect or summon sleeping demons from the abyss. A
group of gruesome-looking beings suddenly appeared and materialized in front of
him. They looked almost human, but they were only about three feet tall. Their
heads were big and their bodies excessively hairy. Their eyes were all blood red
and well-complemented by their large spear-pointed teeth that they paraded ferociously
and hungrily. Numbering seven, they paced about in front of him, hissing
and growling, viciously intimidating their three foes. By now, Kazra, Rick, and
Simba were trembling and gasping for air as they lay on the ground like reptiles.
At a command from their evil master, the little beings viciously advanced
toward the three victims. With a loud wild scream, one of the small tokoloshi goblin-
like creatures suddenly leaped into the air and jumped toward Simba. Struggling
to keep his eyes open, Simba looked in front only to see his impending
demise. Biting his teeth and gathering his last reserve of energy from the depths
of his gut, he stretched his hand forward and grabbed his bag as fast as he could.
As the tokoloshi landed in front of him, Simba pulled his hand out of the bag
pocket. With one fast swing, he flung his hand forward, cutting through the air as
he opened his palms and unleashed a white powder. This white powder immediately
caused some serious damage to the advancing tokoloshi, which stood in front
of Simba salivating with out-stretched claws. It suddenly jumped back and shook
vigorously as the white powder showered its face. This was just the beginning of
the real drama. It screamed sharply, sending a bone-chilling echo into the air
before exploding into flames.
The underworld priest stood frozen, eyes wide open as he saw his tokoloshi special
soldiers bursting into flames one after another. Other little tokoloshi creatures
scattered all over the cave, screaming and screeching in confusion, looking for a
way out. Even more dramatic, the priestly sorcerer ran back and forth in disorientation,
screaming obscenities.
Meanwhile, Simba and his two friends had regained their strength and were
on their feet immersed in the drama. Simba advanced forward. Dipping his hand
again into the bag’s packet, he scooped out a handful of the same deadly powder.
Again, he tossed the powder into the air, sending the remaining tokoloshi into a
series of explosions and colorful combustions. A gross, choking stench saturated
the air. After a few minutes of smoky fireworks, all that was left standing was the
priest. Having definitely lost his sanity, he walked about looking totally disoriented.
Then suddenly, screaming and running like a mad cow, he pushed Kazra
and David to the side as he sped through the cave’s exit.
“He’s escaping, he’s escaping!” Kazra shouted, turning and jumping forward
to pursue him before being stopped by Simba.
“Don’t worry about him, he is finished,” Simba said.
Kazra stood frozen looking confused. “You gonna let him just run away? The
very guy who almost turned us into sushi for his little savage goblins?”
“Trust me, he’s done with. He’s already lost his sanity, and only a holy shaman
can redeem him. The base of his dark power has been permanently extinguished.
Don’t worry about him.”
Meanwhile, David stood silently, hands in his pocket watching Simba and
Kazra in their dialogue. They were all silent for a moment reflecting on what had
just occurred until Kazra broke the silence in a low, tired voice.
“That was close,” he said as they stood against the cave walls catching a breath
and recovering from the ordeal.
“Dangerously close, I hate such close calls,” Simba said, frowning and shaking
his head.
“Simba, who was this loathsome underworlder and what did he want here?”
“He wanted the crystal key, of course. He’s the dark sorcerer they call Chaza.”
“I thought you said the location of the key was a big secret only known to you
and one other person. How did he know the crystal’s location?” Kazra asked,
wiping the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand.
“Chaza is a renegade shaman who used to belong to the Mutapa shamanic
order and mystery school, but he was expelled for violating one of the golden
“What golden rule?”
“The shamanic law of public good before personal interest and the law that
forbids using shamanic knowledge and rituals to harm rather than defend the
weak and the innocent.”
David nodded. “That ancient order is known for its strict rules; they don’t tolerate
any nonsense.”
“However, expelling him was really no solution, because he became morally
worse. He started involving himself with some Luciferian secret society as well as
going commercial with his shamanic activities. I have heard of his intimate
involvement with corrupt politicians who use occult powers to maintain political
hegemony and eliminate opposition.”
“He’s a nasty bastard. You still haven’t explained how he found the crystal
location,” Kazra said again.
“A renegade shaman is dangerous, like a fallen angel; he knows too much. He
knows many ways of digging up secrets. In this case, he made the grave mistake of
underestimating us, heavily relying on his little demonic soldiers and assuming
they were invisible. Anyhow what really happened is this, the Luciferian cult has
been looking for the key for many years.”
“Wait a minute,” Kazra interrupted, “maybe they are connected to the Leviathan
cult I told you about.”
“It’s possible, evil transcends space and geography. They’re basically the same
people often referred to as the Leviathans, Luciferians, Cult of Kingu, Order of
Samyaza, or even the Illuminati. It’s the same old crap, a bunch of power-hungry
elites in bed with bloodthirsty demons determined to keep humanity blind and
enslaved. Now that our transition to higher consciousness has begun, we can’t be
controlled through the machinations of politics, commercial illusion, and organized
religion. They’re now desperately trying to hold on, and if not, then just
lead us to full apocalypse and total destruction by any means necessary.”
“Not good at all,” David said as he walked about with a droopy face and both
hands in his pockets. After their ordeal, his mood had significantly plunged down
far more than his two companions. He felt guilty about risking his life for some
relic even though he had a beloved family to live for.
“So, somehow they zeroed in on the geographical location of the crystal key.
They probably wandered the whole country measuring energetic vibrations and
higher frequencies. For a while now, I have seen this Chaza guy snooping around
different sites obviously looking for something. Unfortunately, when you arrived,
he got to know it, and I suspect that he sent his invisible spirit spies to follow you
to my house. Needless to say, these invisible entities listened to our conversations
and decided to get the key ahead of us. Fortunately, we got here in time and
found him confused about how to retrieve the key from the sacred vault.”
“I guess no amount of juju could move the huge granite block above the
vault,” David said, laughing out loud, appearing cheerful at last. “The moron
should have brought a crane with him. I guess they don’t teach that in occult
“I made an error last night when you arrived. I didn’t do the sanctification ritual
to clear and protect the space from intrusion. This is a very serious time, and
any such sloppiness can prove very costly. I should have been more diligent; they
could have easily killed us all without thinking twice about it. Somehow the spirit
told me to carry the powder and that saved us,” Simba said, stepping forward and
sighing with his arms stretched up.
“What’s the powdered stuff you used? Anything in the league of uranium
powder and red mercury?” Kazra asked, moving away from the cave wall toward
the front of the cave.
“Oh, no,” Simba replied, laughing. “You won’t find me in the vicinity of
radioactive material. That powder was made from the sacred stone of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The powder has the power to neutralize or destroy evil entities.”
“Why Mount Kilimanjaro? Anything to do with its height?” Kazra asked.
“No, besides its height, what makes Mount Kilimanjaro important is that it is
a sacred mountain with very high spiritual vibrations.”
“I didn’t know that. I hope to visit it one of these days. The one I know of is
Mount Tanganyika in Tanzania; some believe the first humans were created
around that area,” David said.
“I’m not too surprised to hear that, the name Tanganyika speaks for itself. In
the Shona language, the word nyika means country or land, and tanga means
first. So Tanganyika literally means first land or country, some kind of Garden of
“That makes a lot of sense. I didn’t look at it that way before,” David said,
They all slowly walked toward the front of the cave with Simba in front.
Simba stopped right in front of a very large circular granite rock almost six feet in
diameter and four feet in depth.
“This is the altar of power,” he said, pointing at the granite boulder. He pulled
three joined little drums from his bag and placed them at the base of the huge
rock. Kazra stepped forward to take a closer look at the rock, and to his surprise,
the top of the rock was marked with several spiral engravings as well as other
unfamiliar markings and some kind of hieroglyphic writing. Simba also pulled
what looked like a flute from his bag.
Simba then took the drum and the flute, and walked around the rock. Stopping
in the confined space behind it, he stood facing the rock and resting his back
against the cave wall. He then placed the little drum on top of the big rock. He
also took a flute made of strange copper-looking material and started blowing it.
As he blew, it produced an eerie high-pitched sound; he simultaneously hit the
little triple drum. The drumbeat produced a strange sharp sound with long-lasting
echoes that filled the whole cave. The sounds caused a strange hair-raising tingling
sensation in their bodies. This went on for several minutes. Continuing to
blow the flute, Simba placed his right palm on the edge of the rock and gently
pushed it to the side with little effort.
Kazra and David both jumped back in disbelief as they witnessed this
unworldly phenomenon.
“No, no, that’s impossible. You didn’t just push that massive block of granite
with one hand like it was a piece of furniture? No, that’s impossible! Was that
magic? How did you do that? Kazra was cut off when Simba suddenly grabbed
Kazra’s hand and pulled it toward the large rock.
“Try it. Just push it,” Simba said, giggling.
Almost overwhelmed by hesitation and disbelief, Kazra slowly and reluctantly
pushed the rock, easily moving it sideways as if it had no weight.
“What! I can’t believe this, can’t believe it. What’s this? Some kind of antigravity
magic?” He continued, pushing the rock and feeling it to check if it was a
real or just an empty shell.
David laughed at Kazra’s reaction and undying skepticism. “Relax, Doctor
Kazra, it’s not magic, it’s an ancient science. It’s the use of anti-gravity musical
instruments to produce acoustic levitation. Sound waves are used to temporarily
alter vibrations, counter gravity, and neutralize the weight of the rock, causing it
to levitate or allowing us to move it easily. Ancient people used to apply this
sound art to move heavy blocks of stone weighing several tons. That triple-drum
produces specific sounds and vibrations not normally produced by your regular
drums. These little drums you see here are older than life; we simply don’t know
how old they are or where they came from, but all we know is that they were used
by the ancient ones.”
“Amazing!” Kazra yelled, almost jumping with excitement as he scrutinized
the sacred triple-drum. “Why, why don’t you to take it for testing, demonstrate
this antigravity trick before scientists or something?”
“No, no, no. No labs and no scientists. This is a sacred drum; it’s not up for
confiscation and experimentation by the American military or NASA scientists.
It’s a holy object and shall not be used for military or commercial purposes by
these materialists. Hell no, let it remain a mystery and continue serving its purpose
for its rightful custodians.” Simba protested.
“I definitely know where you’re coming from. They can’t be trusted with
objects of that value,” Kazra said.
Kazra and David looked into the rectangular vault to see its contents; they saw
several crystal rocks planted in the sand.
“What you see here are the precious crystals for which a lot of people would
kill,” Simba said, pulling out a hexagonal shaped crystal. “You see, it’s some
strange kind of clear quartz, with etched lines running down and pyramidal
shapes inside.”
Kazra stood gazing with his mouth wide open in awe. “Here is your key,”
Simba lifted the glittering hexagonal crystal key and put it in Kazra’s hands.
“Wow!” Kazra yelled, grabbing the crystal with both hands.
“Is it similar to the one you say you saw in Ireland?” Simba asked.
“Yes, very similar except for the color, this one looks like jasper,” he replied
lifting the crystal closer to his eyes for closer scrutiny.
Kazra laughed out loud, gazing at the crystal key. “I can’t believe I have the
second crystal in my hands. At last …”
David stepped closer to the big rock, looked into the vault, and saw four big
quartz crystals. They were milk clear, violet, golden, and purple. “These ones in
the vault, are they all from Kariba?” he asked.
“Only the big violet one is the seed crystal from Kariba. The other three are its
offspring,” Simba said.
“Offspring?” David asked, looking puzzled.
“It’s a family affair. Crystals are like us, they grow and multiply.”
David looked at Simba and smiled before turning his attention to Kazra, who
was still examining and admiring the crystal key.
“Here, take a look,” Kazra handed the crystal key to David, who immediately
opened his eyes and mouth wide.
“Incredibly beautiful, right?” Kazra said, smiling at David.
“Besides that obvious glaring fact, what’s extremely strange is the energy surge
I just felt running up my spine as I touched it,” David replied.
“Really?” Kazra asked.
“It’s true. It has a very high vibrational resonance. I can generally sense crystal
pulses, and this key is definitely beyond anything else I have ever felt. If crystals
generally whisper, then one can say this key shouts,” Simba said.
“Simba, you’re one unusual character, you speak the language of mountain,
rocks, and crystals. I wonder what else you talk to,” Kazra said, looking at Simba
and shaking his head.
“Yes, I also talk to people, and believe me, they’re the hardest creatures to
communicate with. They have eyes, but they can’t see, they have ears but they
can’t hear, they have mouths, and they use them for trivial chatter or simply
“Amen to that,” David said, before handing the crystal key back to Kazra.
“Here, you can use my bag,” Simba stretched out his hand to hand over his
“Thanks,” Kazra gently placed the crystal key into the bag.
After walking out of the caves, they sat down and relaxed on the green glass
under the sheltering blue sky and warm shimmering sun. Simba looked at the
two weary faces before him and wondered if Kazra and David were both emotionally
alright after the traumatic experience.
Kazra glanced at Simba then shook his head: “I don’t have to tell you I won’t
forget this experience for as long as I live. Those vicious little faeries nearly killed
us. For a moment I thought it was one of my bad dreams except that there was no
waking up.”
“Interesting, you call them faeries. People describe these little tokoloshi creatures
in many different ways, from evil creations, goblins, fairies, gremlins,
gnomes, sprites, elves, leprechauns, to extraterrestrial dwarfs. I prefer to use the
word goblin because that word brings out the grotesque nature of these particular
little creatures. However, all that having been said, one thing for sure is that all
these creatures are elementals.”
“Are elementals always evil like that?” Kazra asked.
“By no means. Elementals are like all other beings in creation; they can be
good or evil. Same situations we see amongst humans, spirits, angels, and even
extraterrestrials, assuming that you believe in their existence.”
“So fairy elementals seem to play a prominent role in many mythologies. I
used to just consider them as part of fictitious mythologies, but …”
“But not anymore,” David added.
“Oh, I haven’t forgotten I promised to tell you about the Kariba Gorge crystals,”
Simba said before sighing and stretching his tired legs on the grass.
“Bring it on, what else can shock me?” Kazra replied.
“The story will sure soothe our shaken selves,” David added.
“I assume you already know the geographical location of Kariba. The famous
Kariba is a great inland sea, nestled in mountains as well as a large reserve of
game. Nothing in my imagination can compare to the unique beauty of the
Kariba waters’ sunset. It’s the enchantment of a glittering red sun sliding into
dusky darkness as Earth turns beneath it into night. The old dead trees enhance
that panoramic symphony as they stand bent in the lake and the dark sloping
mountains embrace twilight darkness.”
“It sounds truly amazing,” Kazra said.
“In 1958 the powers that be, the colonial disciples of the man called Cecil
John Rhodes, took advantage of the great river and the narrow neck of a remarkable
gorge and built a large dam wall, creating Lake Kariba. Little did they know
what lay deep down in the gorge and on that site. The construction of the dam
destroyed part of one of the world’s most important sacred sites housing the
ancient Akashic seed crystals. The Kariba Gorge is an Earth energy vortex center
point and an inter-dimensional doorway called the Gates to the Underworld.”
“In other words, it’s like a stargate, right?”
“Yes, much like the Great Pyramid or the Tower of Babel supposedly built or
used by Nimrod in his inter-dimensional experiments and travels. The only difference
is that the Kariba Gorge is a natural portal.”
“Well, I never really thought of the Great Pyramid as a stargate to other
“That’s just a part of the story, some talk of it as an energy machine and an
instrument for changing high initiates into light beings. Remember David’s theories
on pyramids as ascension machines as well as some king of energy weapons.
That’s a whole topic on its own.”
“So many mysteries lost to history,” David said after a long silence.
“The seed crystals serve as a storage of human history. They’re well encoded
with data and have latent trigger switches to Earth balance and cosmic consciousness.
In fact, they’re closely related to your crystal keys. There’s a sacred crystal cave at Kariba called the Knot of Time. It holds unimaginable energies and secrets. It holds what they call the fountain of time, where past, present, and future are one. Elders and priests used to use this cave for vision and inter-dimensional experiences.”
“Who planted the crystals there to start with?” Kazra asked.
“They say it was done by the ancient Holy Ones called the Ancient Ones, the
first humans on the planet. The Tonga-Ila people who lived in the Kariba area
thousands of years ago were popularly known for their wisdom and high spiritual
sciences. Amongst other things, they used the crystals to activate the pineal gland;
to dispel negative energy fields, to recall ancient memories, to heal sickness, to
awaken spirit senses like telepathy and clairvoyance, to eliminate Earth pollution,
for prophecy, for inter-dimensional and extraterrestrial communications. Even
today, the holy priests of the Bakongo Crystal mountains in the Congo region
still maintain shrines in huge crystal caves that contain huge carvings of shiny
quartz. They still use them for the same purposes,” he paused for a moment to
catch his breath before he continued speaking.
“Have you ever tried using crystals, brother Kazra?”
“No, I have always viewed it as kind of New Agey and not to be taken too seriously,”
Kazra replied.
“No. Instead it’s Old Age, a very old source of energy used by ancient people.
For example, one can use a simple crystal like red jasper to help them focus and
achieve their goals, and you can use quartz for greater intuition; the list goes on.”
“I’ll sure try it,” Kazra said, nodding slowly.
“One of my future plans is to travel throughout the planet planting crystals
and activating sacred sites. This task will involve some serious cleansing of many
years of negative energy created by war, imperialism, slavery, murders, negative
rituals, and evil influences from other unearthly dimensions.”
“Maybe you should join up with Grandmother Neh on her Earth cleansing
“Of course, I can’t do this on my own. This kind of task has to be led by shamans
and earth-keepers.”
“Oh, this guy is fast asleep,” Kazra said looking and laughing at David, who
lay on his back, arms stretched out and baking in the sun.
“Wake up, wake up we got to go,” Simba shook David by the shoulder.
As they walked away some distance from the cave, they saw a crowd of villagers.
The villagers were standing around and looking at something. As they walked
toward the crowd, they met up with a boy going in the opposite direction and
asked him what was going on. The boy told them that the villagers were looking
at the body of a man who had been stung to death by a swarm of killer bees. Perplexed,
they rushed to the scene. They were very shocked by what they saw.
“Oh gosh, he doesn’t look good at all,” Kazra said, looking at the dead body
lying on the street side. The man’s face was swollen beyond recognition. His
whole body was a bloody mess, generously embossed with nasty-looking boils.
Chunks of flesh hung off his cheeks, exposing teeth once covered by skin and
flesh. Everyone wondered how bees could have torn up his flesh like dog bites. As
they wondered and pondered, one loud-voiced, middle-aged woman appropriately
responded as if she could read their minds.
“Eyewitnesses say the man was running like crazy, screaming, scratching, and
tearing off his flesh.”
“Strange, really strange,” an old man said.
“Poor guy,” another villager said.
“He must have really suffered,” another bystander said, puzzled by the tragedy.
“Kazra, do you recognize that black torn-up outfit?” Simba whispered to Kazra.
“No kidding, it can’t be him. The evil sorcerer?” Kazra replied, looking at the
victim more closely.
It was indeed the evil shaman. He had finally met his demise under the judgment
of a wrathful swarm of bees.
“Tragic end,” Simba said before they walked away.
Having had enough drama for one day, the three men went back to Simba’s
house, where they spent the evening relaxing, chatting, and eating. The next
afternoon, David and Simba drove back to Marondera.
Upon arrival in Marondera, David dropped Kazra at the bus station where he
boarded a bus to Harare.
Later that evening as David drove down the street on his way home, he found
his mind drowning into the realm of imagination. He could clearly visualize a
warm bubble bath followed by a soothing shoulder massage squeezing all his
stress away. Suddenly, his mental self-indulgence was cut short by a sharp earpiercing
phone ring.
“I am getting worried, it’s already 9.30 PM and Dan is not home yet,” his wife
Rita said in a nervous voice.
“Oh man, this boy drives me nuts. Where the hell is he? What time did he
leave?” David said.
“I left him home at about 4:30 PM when I went to the supermarket but when
I came back at about 5:30 PM he was gone.”
“Gone, gone where?”
“I don’t know. Mukai said he left around 5:00 PM with a bag but she doesn’t
know where he went.”
“This boy needs some serious wooping, how can he leave a ten-year-old girl
alone in the house. This is crazy. Did you check his friends?”
“I called his two friends but they don’t know where he is. I am worried David,
this is no time for a fourteen-year-old child to be out.”
As David drove on he felt overcome by a combination of anxiety, anger and
worry. This was not the first time his son Dan had brought him worries; Dan had
a tendency to systematically disobey his father’s rules. Dan was a very smart boy
but his parents and teachers often worried about his psychological health. Once
in a while he would bluntly criticize them and talk of his frequent communications
with invisible friends. However, one thing his parents were reluctant to
admit was that he had an ability to predict events before they happened.
When David arrived home, he called several relatives to check if they had seen
his son but none of them knew his whereabouts. At around 10:00 PM, just as
David and Rita agreed to call the police, the phone suddenly rang. David hastily
picked up the receiver. Much to his relief it was his son Dan on the other side of
the line.
“You got to be kidding me, what the hell are you doing in Harare, Dan?”
“I am just about to jump onto the bus, I will be home soon.”
As shocked as David and Rita were to hear that their fourteen-year-old son
had traveled to the city without their knowledge, they were happy to hear that he
was well and coming back home. Later, David picked up his son from the bus
station and drove back home.
“Wait for me in the living room, your mother and I need to talk to you,”
David said to Dan in a very stern voice as he headed for the restroom.
Dan rushed to the living room and immediately turned on the television.
“What?” Rita said, wondering if her son had gone crazy.
“There, there!” Dan shouted as he pointed at the television screen.
Walking into the room, David joined his wife in the realm of utter confusion
as they both stared at the television news report. It was news coverage on how a
mysterious fire had burnt down the Harare Medical Center.
Dan stood in front of the television laughing. Rita stood silently, still confused.
David looked at his son’s excitement and immediately suspected something
bad had happened.
“Switch it off, switch it off. Have you lost your mind?” Rita eventually said
having had enough of his son’s drama.
“Sit down Dan,” David commanded.
“I had to do it,” Dan said taking his seat, “I told you but you wouldn’t believe
me, I had to burn it down.”
“What are you talking about Dan?” Rita said, staring into Dan’s face.
“I have been telling you that they were going to start using the virus on people
but you didn’t believe me. Tah told me I had to destroy the virus supplies before
they started using them on people.”
“No, not that virus story again,” David sighed and shook his head.
Months earlier, Dan had warned his parents about a virus that was going to
wipe out more than half the population if no one acted.
From a very young age, Dan had exhibited the ability to remote view or
project his consciousness to far distances in time and space thereby allowing him
to predict events before they happened. About a month before his unauthorized
travel to Harare, he had visited Harare without his parents’ knowledge. However,
that visit had not been a physical visit, but an astral visit. That night, Dan had
been browsing through the pages of his new comic book when he suddenly found
himself in what he thought was the depths of hell. He rubbed his eyes because he
thought he had dozed off and was merely having a bad dream, but he was fully
conscious. Looking around him, he realized that he was in a small town standing
by the street side. It was a dreadful scene with nothing alive on the streets except
vultures, worms and maggots devouring the rotting bodies littered on the
ground. Looking further off down the street, Dan could see thousands of dead
human bodies, male and female, young and old all left to rot. Overcome by the
horror and a repulsive stench, he ran as fast as he could but everywhere he went
he was met with more dead bodies. Screaming for help, he suddenly found him
self back in his bedroom sweating and panting. As he stood up and walked
towards the door to go to the bathroom, a familiar voice suddenly bellowed
across the room. Turning back, he felt relieved to see Tah, who stood there by the
bed fully materialized. He was a brilliantly good-looking, thirty-year-old man.
His face was ocher brown, it shimmered and glowed with a gold and purple aura.
His eyes twinkled, sparkled, and glimmered with an inexplicably hypnotizing
“It wasn’t your imagination, it was all real,” Tah said.
Tah was a mysterious individual from beyond the physical realm who had initially
appeared to Dan at his twelfth birthday. He had subsequently reappeared to
Dan several other times. Tah had identified himself to Dan as his blood relative.
Although at that first appearance he didn’t expect Dan at his tender age to fully
understand him, he nevertheless explained that he had traveled interdimensionally
through wormholes from a distant future. According to his explanation, he
was in fact a time traveler from the year 2550, a tenth generation descendant of
“Not your imagination,” Tah repeated, “what you saw was the future, the
future of your country and many other countries as well.”
“You mean the dead people on the street?” Dan said walking closer to Tah.
“Yes. The mass deaths were a result of a population reduction program. As we
speak now they have already shipped several consignments of virus-laced polio,
small pox and malaria vaccines.”
“I don’t understand what you are talking about,” Dan said looking confused.
“Just listen, you will understand the details with time. Things are not always
the way they appear to be. An organization called WHO in partnership with the
Rockefeller Institute under the leadership of a man called Henri Kiccingar engineered
a virus for mass population reduction. This virus is called Aids Ultra, and
it’s designed to kill people.”
“Why do they want to kill people?” Dan asked.
“It’s difficult for me to clearly explain this to you. They are basically very bad
people. It is called genocide through biological warfare. Their goal is to kill as
many people as possible and then control their land and resources. They have no
respect for life; they call people in Third World countries useless eaters and want
to kill as many as they can,” Tah explained explicitly as he walked about the
“How about our government? Do they know this plan?” Dan asked.
Tah smiled, realizing that Dan was in fact following his explanation and
understanding it to a good extent.
“Unfortunately, some government officials in the health sector were bribed to
approve this program. They were convinced that the program was simply clinical
trials for birth control through malaria and polio vaccines. They will start in Zimbabwe
killing millions of people, then all across Africa, then Asia, South America,
the Middle East and Eastern Europe. But this Aids Ultra virus will mutate, spread
and kill faster than they anticipated causing a global holocaust.”
“This is scary.”
“I know, that’s why I am here to make sure that you stop it,” Tah said with a
very serious voice.
“I … I am only fourteen, how can I stop it.”
“It’s easy, if it can’t succeed here then it won’t kill people and spread around
the world. We have to make sure that the program fails and the first step is to
destroy the supplies they already shipped to Harare and are ready to start using.”
“So, are you going to tell my father or the police, maybe they can stop it.”
“No, no Dan. You are the only one I have, you are the only one who knows
and believes me. You have to do it. Once you succeed, then your father will
believe you and join you to fight these evil people. It’s very simple, I know you
can do it.”
Dan was silent for a minute and stared at the comic book on his bed.
“How?” he finally asked.
“All you need to do is burn the vaccines at the Medical Center storage room,”
Tah smiled in an effort to reduce the gravity and serious implications of his
“But you said they are in Harare, how can I go there alone when I don’t even
know the location of the Medical Center.”
“Trust me, don’t worry, I will give you all the information you need.”
From that day on, all Dan had to do was wait for the appointed time to commence
his mission.
Back in the living room, David and Rita sat listening carefully as Dan
explained how he had ended up leaving for Harare without their knowledge.
David was still angry and felt that this character called Tah was undermining his
authority over Dan, as well as endangering his son. Rita, on the other hand, felt
guilty; she remembered that Dan had previously tried to warm her on his vision
of impending mass deaths but she had dismissed it as a mere nightmare.
Dan continued explaining. “When I got there at about 8:30 PM, I waited for
the security guard to leave his post as Tah had foretold, then I entered the storage
room through a window. The room was large and very cold. I then took out the
paraffin bottle from the bag and sprinkled the paraffin on the boxes and large
containers of the vaccines. When I was done I jumped out through the window,
lit the matchstick and threw it in through the window. I ran off as fast as I could
leaving the room in flames.”
David and Rita looked at each other helplessly and shook their heads. David
realized that his anger towards his son would not resolve this issue; he needed to
investigate the whole story in detail and get to the bottom of things.
“Promise me one thing Dan,” David said looking at his son straight in the
eyes, “you will not do such a thing again, or try to save the world without telling
me. Burning private property is a very serious crime.”
“Yes dad,” Dan replied as he wondered about his father’s words and why his
anger had mysteriously dissipated.
“But David,” Rita said, “don’t you think you need to investigate this vaccine
virus story? Obviously there is something really strange going on here, Dan is just
too young to have imagined up such a conspiracy. After all, we all heard on the
news that the Medical Center was mysteriously burnt down.”
“I know, I need to talk to this Tah character before I can investigate this theory
about the killer virus.”
From that day on, the tables would turn; David had several encounters with
Tah the time traveler. At first he thought Tah was a ghost playing tricks on them
but after a few discussions with him about the present world and future world,
David became convinced that Tah was, in fact, a genuine time traveler. This
marked the beginning of David’s work to fight genocidal eugenicists and elite
Malthusian organizations globally.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sin - Crystal V. Rhodes


By Crystal V. Rhodes

ISBN# 978-1585713112

Publisher Genesis Press

Genre Romantic Suspense

Copyright 2000

Published date June 2008 (re-release)

Where it can be purchased Amazon.com and Genesis-Press.com

Website www.crystalrhodes.com

Blurb about the book:

My mother was a junkie.' These starling words are Reverend Nedra Davis' introduction to the handsome, mysterious stranger named Sinclair Reasoner, who goes by the name, Sin. It is a name that will prove to be prophetic as the lady minister falls for him. Yet, a dangerous secret lurks behind Sin's seductive smile. Unknown to Nedra who is renown for her anti-drug activism in the community Sinclair Reason
is involved in the drug trade.


“My mother was a junkie.”
The words were said so matter-of-fact that Nedra Davis wasn’t certain that she had heard them. Yet, her only acknowledgment that he had spoken was a slight shift in her seat. She registered no surprise. He registered no emotion. His eyes, still focused on her, were blank. His expression was unreadable.
He continued. “She was 25 years old when she died. I was ten.”
Simple math told her that he had been the product of a teenage pregnancy. She didn’t want to speculate, but she could guess the rest of the scenario--young, pregnant, desperate girl finds escape from the reality of her dilemma in drugs. She had witnessed it too many times, and it seemed that it was the innocent ones, the children, who suffered the most. Neglected, dejected, too often abandoned and left alone to make their own way, their futures were predictable--crime, drugs, imprisonment, and much too often, death.
There were times, however, that the outcome was different. Sometimes the lucky ones escaped the cycle of despair, using reservoirs of strength that never ceased to amaze.
Nedra studied the man sitting before her. He was one of the lucky ones.
Strikingly handsome, he was dressed, impeccably, in an expensive, double breasted, navy blue suit, his snow white shirt complemented the reddish hues in his chocolate brown skin. His hair was cut close to his head in a wavy black sculpture, sprinkled sparsely with gray. A thick, well trimmed mustache enhanced the sparkling smile he had bestowed on her when he approached her in the parking lot earlier. Coal black eyes, beneath long sooty lashes looked as if they could see straight into her soul. Sharp cheekbones emphasized a broad, flat nose. Embedded in his chin was a cleft, a deep slash of a cleft, which gave his features a rugged, masculine quality. He was about 6 feet 2 inches of masculine perfection, a man any woman couldn’t help but notice—even a female minister.
“Reverend Davis,” he continued, “This boy is the same age as I was when my mother died. His little brother is only five. Yet, this ten year old is responsible for his kid brother—feeding him, clothing him, and keeping a roof over his head, and it’s a job he takes very seriously.”
“You say you caught him trying to steal your car?” Nedra raised an eyebrow in obvious surprise at his calm reaction to such a transgression. “Why didn’t you call the police?”
“Actually, he was trying to steal the radio.” He chuckled, ignoring her question. “Cursed me out good when I caught him, but he’s a bright kid and as smart as hell!”
Nedra raised a brow again at his choice of words. He didn’t blink, recant, or apologize.
“He by-passed my alarm system with some gadget he made himself with a piece of wood, some wires, tape and batteries. I looked at the thing and couldn’t figure out how he did it. The kid is a mechanical genius.”
“You keep calling him ‘the kid’. Does the boy have a name?” His enthusiasm over this child had piqued her interest.
“His name is Colin Johnson. His little brother’s name is Trevor. Both of the boys are quite articulate.”
“They sound interesting.”
“They are, and they’re good kids trapped in a bad situation. That’s why I came here to your church, instead of calling the cops on Colin. I’ve heard that under you, this church has an excellent reputation in the community. You serve it well with a child care center, low cost housing, an on the job training program, a food pantry, clothes closet, drug rehab program and a homeless shelter. You name it, Mount Peter is doing it.”
“We try.”
“No, you do more than try. You get the job done. When I took that boy home to talk to his mother—” He sighed, running his hand over his face in frustration as he recalled the boy’s environment, “Nobody, nobody, should live like that. It was filthy! There were dirty clothes and dirty dishes everywhere. The smell was awful! The place hadn’t been cleaned since who knows when. There was no food in the refrigerator. The little one was there by himself—filthy, raggedy and hungry. Colin was trying to steal the radio so he could sell it for money to buy food. That’s what his little brother told me.”
“The poor little things.”
“The boys claimed that their mother was coming home soon. I knew they were
lying. I figured that she hadn’t been around for a while. I was in and out of there for four, maybe, five hours. I bought food and cleaning supplies, and made them clean up that rat trap. I didn’t see her while I was there. I took them to the Laundromat to wash the clothes, and I bought them a couple of outfits.”
“That was very nice of you.” The more he spoke, the more impressed she was
with this man. If she had passed him on the street she would have identified him as another aimless playboy, not the kind caring man sitting before her.
“Nice has nothing to do with it. As I said before, I was Colin at ten. He and his brother need help, and I want to see that they get it. I think that you can make that happen.”
Clasping her hands together on top of her desk, Nedra sighed. There was so much need for so many. It was hard to keep up.
“What can we do?”
Briefly, his dark eyes drifted away from her to the Brenda Joyce print hanging on the pale, yellow wall behind her. It was a print of a mother and child, a portrait striking in its beauty and grace. His eyes shifted back to Nedra, piercing her with their intensity as she sat watching him.
Who was this stranger? He had approached her as she unlocked the back door of the church, his deep, masculine voice calling her name. Startled, she turned and her heartbeat accelerated as she saw him standing there. He was so tall and so handsome. Her heartbeat had n’t slowed down yet.
“I’ve been going by the boys’ house for two weeks now,” he continued, “and I’ve only seen evidence once that their mother has been back in that apartment.”
“What evidence was that?”
“I’ve been leaving her notes everyday asking her to call me. She did, last night, sounding high as a kite. She gave all kinds of excuses for missing me at the apartment, and then said that she needed some money to pay the rent. But, I knew she was lying.”
“I’d already paid the rent for three months in advance. She just didn’t know it.”
“So she wanted the money for dope.”
“What else? When I refused to give it to her, she offered to—” He shifted uncomfortably, in his chair. “Well, let’s say she’ll do anything for a fix. I refused that offer, so she offered to sell the boys to me.”
Nedra’s heart lurched. “Oh my God!”
“That’s why I’m here. Those kids have to leave there.”
“You’re right. Where are they now?”
“At home. As soon as she hung up I went by to check on them, hoping that I could catch her, but I didn’t. Trevor is the only one that I can get any information from and he said she came home briefly, then left again. I stayed with them until early this morning, went home, changed and came straight here.” He sat back in his chair allowing her time to absorb the information that he had provided.
The sorrow Nedra felt was overwhelming. She’d read about people selling their children, but the reality of what had been said stunned her. “Why haven’t you called the police about this? It’s obvious that those boys need to be removed from that house, immediately.”
“I know, but I think it would be better if you called them. The boys are traumatized enough. I don’t want them to think I betrayed them too. I thought that maybe you might have some family in the church who could take them in. I heard about the foster-adopt program you have here. A lot of your church members adopt, is that right?”
“Yes, I’m proud to say that’s true.”
“Then isn’t there some way that you can make the process of removing them from their home easier, a way that they won’t have to go into the foster care system?
Nedra paused, her mind skirting the possibilities of how she could make that happen. “I can make a call to a friend of mine and see what can be done. She’s a social worker at Children’s Services.”
“Great.” He sighed his relief.
Nedra started dialing the telephone. “She’ll need to talk with you.”
“No problem.”
Nedra smiled at him, reassuringly, as she waited for someone to respond to the ring. Nervously, she averted her eyes from his, unable to hold his piercing gaze. She was
grateful when the call was answered on the other end.
“Child Welfare, Sharon Mays speaking.”
“Hello, Sharon. It’s Nedra.” Her tone was somber. “Unfortunately, I’ve got another one for you. A Mr...”
Nedra glanced up at the stranger sitting across from her realizing that they had been talking for nearly an hour and she still didn’t know his name. “A Mr...”
He gave her a crooked smile as he realized her dilemma. “Reasoner. Sinclair Reasoner.” The smile deepened, “But you can call me Sin.”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I have Seen Him in the Watchfires - Cathy Gohlke

I have Seen Him in the Watchfires

By Cathy Gohlke

ISBN# 0-8024-8774-2

Publisher Moody Publishers

Genre Fiction/General/Historical

Copyright 2008

Published date 9/1/08

Where it can be purchased bookstores/Amazon

Website http://www.cathygohlke.com/Cathy_Gohlke_/Home.html


Ma left us to go south and live with Grandfather Ashton a full year before the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. When President Lincoln called for 75,000 Union troops to squelch the rebellion, Pa telegraphed Ma that North Carolina wasn’t safe, that he was coming to get her, to bring her home to Maryland, to Laurelea. Ma shot back, “Ashland is my home. I’ll defend it with my last breath. I am proud of our men who will do the same on the battlefield. Do not come unless you come to enlist with them. I will not go with you.”
I wanted Ma to be proud of me, too—more than anything. And I was itching to fight, like every boy I knew, but not for the Confederacy.
I’d cast my lot with Pa and the Henrys, and with Mr. Heath, their employer, in running Laurelea as a station—a safe house, part of the Underground Railroad. I’d run escaped slaves north on the freedom train, beginning with Grandfather Ashton’s son, born of a slave woman—the boy he’d planned to sell. I’d buried my best friend, William Henry, who’d died protecting us all for the same cause.
I could not fight for states that bought and sold human beings. But with Ma and all her kin in the south, how could I carry a gun to her door?
Pa made me promise that whatever I decided, I’d stay at Laurelea to help Mr. Heath and the Henrys with the farm and the Underground Railroad, that I’d wait to enlist until I turned eighteen. “Then think long and hard,” he said, “before you agree to shoot one of your countrymen—or kin—between the eyes.”
It was a promise I sometimes regretted, but kept true, until the spring of 1864, until the day Emily’s letter came.

Late May, 1864
Chapter One

Our worst spring storm broke on the edge of midnight, a river thrown from the sky. By dawn the Laurel Run had overflowed its banks and was busy stripping the lower fields clean. I knew it even as I lay in my bed, listening to the downpour.
Maybe it was the wind and thunder, or maybe my mind so bent on worry for our new crop, but I never heard the parcel thrust inside the parlor door, never heard so much as a knock or footfall. When, at first light I found it, battered and beaten, bound by twine, I knew that the messenger had taken care to keep it dry. But the seal on Emily’s letter was broken, proof that somebody knew our business.
It wasn’t that violation that made the heat creep up my neck as I tore open the letter.
It was the first words Emily’d ever penned me: “Dearest Cousin Robert.” She’d written on Christmas Day—five long months before. Still, it was a miracle that it had come at all, the mail from the south being what it was.
“Yesterday,” she wrote, “I was visited by Lt. Col. Stuart Copeland, of the 11th North Carolina, lately a prisoner, exchanged from Fort Delaware, Pea Patch Island. Lt. Col. Copeland informed me that Papa—Col. Albert Mitchell—there, I’ve written his precious name—was chest wounded, and captured at the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 3rd July, along with his remaining men from the 26th North Carolina. He said that Papa, like so many prisoners at Fort Delaware, suffers gravely from smallpox.”
It was the first news she’d had of him in over a year, and she was desperate to know if he lived . . . “I beg you, by all the love of family we have ever known, to forget the estrangement of this maddening war and do all you can for Papa.”
I raked my fingers through my hair. It was a hard request. I’d turn the world over for Emily, if given the chance, but Cousin Albert was another matter. I figured him to be the reason, or a good part of the reason Ma never came home.
“Gladly would I go myself,” she wrote, “but the railroads are a shambles, and Uncle Marcus is not well. I do not know if he will see the spring.” I couldn’t imagine Ashland without Grandfather, or Ma without him—and why was all this left to Emily’s care? She was no older than me. I took up the letter again.
“I would send Alex, but Papa sent him to school in England for the duration of the war, and we have heard nothing from him in two years. The blockades prevent all such communication.”
I felt my jaw tighten, remembering Emily’s younger brother. Alex’s first priority was always Alex. I couldn’t imagine him risking life and limb to help anyone, his father included, if it meant he’d inherit Mitchell House, and possibly Ashland, sooner. That was his life’s goal, even before his voice began to squeak.
“As you can imagine, this horrible war has taken its toll on us all, especially your dear mother. I promise that Cousin Caroline will want for nothing that I can provide in this life as long as I live and am able to care for her. If there is any way you or Cousin Charles can come to her aid, I urge you to do so. But I beg you to see about Papa first.”
My heart raced to think of going to Emily, and to Ma, that they might need me, might want me. It was the first news I’d heard of Ma in months. I tried to conjure their faces, but they wouldn’t come. I remembered that Emily was a younger, darker version of Ma, that Ma’s eyes were blue, and Emily’s brown. But four long years had passed since Ma’d left, longer still since I’d seen Emily, and there was not so much as a tintype to remind me. I forced myself back to the letter.
“With this letter I enclose a parcel of comforts for Papa. I have no hope that they would reach him if I sent them directly to the prison. We have heard such stories of the prison guards. . . ”
I set the letter on the parlor table and counted the days since the battle of Gettysburg. After ten months, stuck in a Union prison—chest wounded, and with small pox—I couldn’t hope that Cousin Albert lived. But for Emily’s sake, and for all she’d done and bound herself to do for Ma, I vowed to heed her plea, to go and see, and do my best by him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mismatched - Laura Major

By Laura Major

Arriving home from the jog, Tessa jumped into the shower to refresh herself. After enjoying a long shower, she pulled back the shower curtain and reached for the towel hanging behind the door. She was drying off her body, when the phone rang. What is this? Groundhog’s Day? Tessa thought. She stepped from the shower and walked through the bedroom, wrapping the towel around her as she went.
“Hello?” Tessa answered on the fourth ring.
“What are you doing?”
“Hi, Mom. I was just getting out of the shower, why?”
“Oh, it is Sunday, isn’t it? I see you still think gallivanting with your friends is still more important than supporting your relationship with the Creator?”
“You know I was jogging, not gallivanting. Besides, I was appreciating the Creator by communing with nature.” Even Tessa, standing in the center of her bedroom, was impressed with that quick retort.
“We’ll see how witty you are on Judgment Day.”
“Despite knowing how much you love to lecture me, I had planned to call you when I finished freshening up.”
“What could possibly entice you to bestow a little unprovoked attention on your mother?”
“You first. Why did you call?” Tessa asked ignoring the sarcasm. Preparing for the reply, she sat on the edge of her bed.
“I was checking on when you’d be by to finish helping with the rummage sale preparations.”
“I won’t be able to make it, something—”
“What? I should have known.”
“-something came up, but I’ll be there next weekend. However, I did arrange for Cara to come by today. That’s why I was planning to call you, so you’d know to expect her.”
“You know what they say about idle intentions. As usual, you’re too late. Cara’s already here.”
“So you’ve got your help then. Now, Cara’s not your daughter. You can’t badger and ridicule her. Be nice.”
“I am the perfect hostess. Besides, she’s been around long enough. I don’t have to give her any special treatment.”
“Well, I’ve got to go, Mom.”
“Fine. See you next weekend.”
Tessa hung up the phone knowing she wouldn’t hear the end of it from Cara next Sunday. She went back to preparing for her date. Once the process was complete, Tessa emerged from the bedroom refreshed and ready to enjoy the midday blind date. She entered the living room carrying white anklet socks in one hand and a pair of white oxford tennis shoes in the other. She wore a khaki mini skort and a sleeveless red polo shirt. Her hair was pulled back into a long wavy ponytail and her makeup was natural. Unsure of what to expect and no idea of where she was meeting this new bachelor, Tessa grabbed her backpack purse and exited the apartment, locking the door behind her. Walking down the hall, she knocked on Justin’s front door before using his spare key to let herself in. She opened the door when she saw a white blur whiz across her field of vision and disappear into the bedroom.
“Oops, sorry,” Tessa called out.
“Yeah, right. Don’t you mean, ‘Sorry I didn’t barge in sooner’?” Justin hollered back from the bedroom.
“Exactly, next time I’ll know better.”
“I should have known this was coming after I walked in on you last week.”
“You’re running late. Don’t we need to get going?” Tessa called out before she made herself comfortable on the sofa.
“I’ll give you the address. This isn’t a double date, remember?”
“Yeah, but you haven’t told me who I’m meeting and where.”
“Wait until you get there. He knows what you look like, so he’ll approach you.”
“You’ve been real secretive lately, and I don’t like it.” Tessa picked up the remote and aimlessly began to surf the channels.
“Come on it will be fun.” Justin walked out of the bedroom wearing blue jeans and a navy t-shirt.
“You’re wearing that?” Tessa asked suddenly feeling a little overdressed.
“What is that you’re wearing, a miniskirt?”
“It’s a skort. Should I change?”
“No. You look athletic. That’ll work, but I hope you’re good at staying on your feet. I’d hate to see you scrape up those pretty legs of yours,” Justin said with a smirk.
“Looking athletic is one thing, but being athletic is something else entirely. You better tell me what we’re doing.”
“Not a chance,” Justin replied heading to the kitchen counter. He wrote something on a piece of scratch paper. “Here’s the address. You better get going. Leila should be here any minute. Then we’ll head over after you.”
Tessa stood and took the piece of paper from Justin’s hand. Reviewing it, she recognized the street but couldn’t think of what would be there that was worthy of a first date. She left the apartment and drove to the address on the scratch paper. Upon arriving, she couldn’t believe where Justin’s note had directed her. Pulling into the parking lot, Tessa parked and began sifting through her purse in search of her cell phone. She found it, dialed and waited for an answer.
“Hello, Tessa. Are you there already? Leila just arrived and we’re heading to my car now.”
“Justin! Why are we meeting at a roller rink?”
“Come on, Tess. It’ll be fun.”
“I haven’t skated since we were kids.”
“Yeah, those were some great times.”
“Let’s focus, Justin. Smelly rental skates and cheap food isn’t my idea of fun. This is worse than the burlesque show. You’re doing this on purpose.” Tessa slapped the steering wheel for emphasis even though no one could see her.
“You need to lighten up. You’re thirty-one, not fifty-one. Now get in there and find your date.”
“I don’t know what he looks like, remember?”
“I already told you I selected him from your list of favorites. Besides, as I’ve said before, he knows what you look like. Now, go.”
Before Tessa could respond, the conversation was over with a click. She stepped out of the car and into the humid sunlight that only a Jersey Spring could provide. With a thumb on the remote, Tessa locked her car and headed to the rink’s entrance. Once inside, she ordered her rental skates and handed the attendant her debit card.
Looking at the card and back at Tessa he began, “You’re Tessa Dennison?”
“Yes, why?”
“Well, your admission and skate rental have already been paid for,” the attendant replied and handed back her card. “Also, here’s a gift card for the snack bar, because that’s already taken care of too.”
Tessa didn’t understand. “How can this be?”
“It’s included in the party package. Someone in your party arranged it. It was kind of weird, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“How’s that?” Tessa was very intrigued now.
“Well, the guy who arranged it paid for two parties, each one to accommodate only two people. Why not make it a party of four?”
Tessa couldn’t help but smile when she replied. “Well, it’s not your average party. Thanks for the info.” Tessa grabbed her skates off the counter and walked away completely amazed at Justin’s ability to address every detail.
Sitting on a bench near the rink, Tessa unlaced her tennies and slipped them off. Bent over to unlace the skates and slip her feet into them, she noticed a pair of skates approaching her.
Looking up, Tessa replied, “Yes, that’s me. You must be Niceguy73.” Tessa was relieved that she recognized him from her favorites list. Niceguy73 was just as he had described himself in his online profile, but his picture didn’t begin to capture his handsome charm. He was at least six-foot-two with a shiny cocoa brown head and hazel eyes. Aside from that beautiful baldhead, Tessa couldn’t overlook those bulging muscles that stretched the seams of his gray khaki slacks and black polo shirt to their limit.
“Please call me John. Can I help you up?” Before she could reply, John grabbed her by the elbow and raised her to her feet.
“Whoa, I haven’t finished tying my laces.” No sooner had Tessa finished her sentence than she felt her feet slip out from under her. John tried to regain grip of her arm. She began flailing her arms in a wild circular motion when her right skate jerked into John’s ankle, causing them both to collapse to the floor. Tessa held her breath. She had narrowly missed hitting her head on the bench.
With legs intertwined, John looked over at Tessa. “Well, I’m glad we got that out of the way.”
“Be prepared. I’m sure there’s more where that came from. Are you okay?” Tessa asked, reaching over to tie her laces.
“Yeah, but if you don’t mind, I’ll let you get up on your own,” John replied while he rubbed his ankle.
John managed to rise to his feet first. Using the bench to brace herself, she looked up to notice Justin grinning down at her from the glassed-in skybox lounge. Tapping John on the shoulder, Tessa pointed at the skybox. “That wasn’t there when I came here as a kid. What’s up there?”
“That’s the snack lounge. They added it when this place went through major renovations a few years back. There’s a pool table up there to occupy those who’d rather rack up balls, instead of bruises.”
“Well, depending on how I do out there, we may need to retire to the skybox to nurse our contusions over a drink,” Tessa teased and motioned toward the rink.
Tessa and John slowly shuffled toward the lockers to put away her shoes and other belongings. Putting the locker key in the pocket of her skort, Tessa smiled at John who was watching her every movement.
“So are you ready to brave the rink? Or would you rather warm up on the carpet?”
“Let’s go for it.” Tessa felt a burst of spontaneity.
“Ooh, I like a lady who’s willing to take risks. Let’s go.” John grabbed her arm before she could change her mind and headed toward the rink. Justin did it again, Tessa thought when she recognized the retro eighties music that played overhead. It was amazing how enjoyable this date was turning out to be despite its kiddy appeal. She chuckled to herself while watching skaters of all ages, sizes, and skill levels glide across the smooth floor. When Tessa and John neared the rink’s edge, John gave her one last smile before he pulled her in front allowing her to precede him. Feeling a little apprehensive, Tessa slowly stepped onto the rink floor. Obviously, anxious to get out there, John stepped onto the floor behind her, giving her a little push as he grabbed hold of her waist. They began to skate around the circular rink. Feeling that Tessa was comfortable, John let go and grabbed her hand.
“So you like risk, eh?” Tessa asked while keeping her eyes in front of her.
“In my line of work, it comes with the territory.”
“What line of work is that?”
“I’m in emergency response.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“I train different government personnel on how to respond to different emergencies.”
“You mean terrorism?”
“That’s one example, yes.”
“That’s pretty impressive. That explains the build.”
“Yes. I have to be ready for anything.”
After several laps, Tessa found herself torn. John was really interesting and good-looking. He encompassed a rare balance of brawn and intelligence. Daniel, on the other hand, possessed razor-sharp ambition, and he also was easy on the eyes. Justin may have started out a little weak in this matchmaking game, but he was right. He was definitely getting the hang of it.
“Hey, where were you just now?” John gently tugged her hand to bring her back to reality.
“Just thinking how nice this date is turning out to be.”
“After three weeks of e-mails through the dating site, are you really surprised?”
This having been the first time that Tessa had ever talked to John, she knew she would have to think fast to keep her secret.
“Not that I’m a serial online dater, but I’ve been at it long enough to know that not everyone is how they present themselves.”
“The same holds true for some in the real world, too.” John smiled at her and continued. “During our e-mail exchange, I was thinking that you might be too good to be true. But if you don’t mind me saying so this soon, you are even better than I imagined.”
“I don’t know what to say.” In actuality, it was too soon, but Tessa knew that John was working from a level of intimacy different from her own. She found it interesting that Justin could win this stranger over by impersonating her. It gave her insight into how he perceived her and what attributes she possessed that Justin thought others would find attractive.
“You don’t have to say anything. Do you want to check out the snack bar?”
Grateful that John wasn’t pushing for a response to his declaration, Tessa jumped at the chance to change the subject. “I’d love to. Let’s go.”
John let Tessa lead him off the floor, when she stopped suddenly and turned to him. “We should probably put on our street shoes.”
“Yeah, I can’t imagine trying to climb the stairs of the snack bar in these things.”
After making it back from the lockers with their street shoes in place, Tessa and John arrived at the skybox snack bar. Inside the bar, the walls were decorated terra cotta, and paprika red with black trim. The east and west walls were painted red while the south wall behind the bar itself was the color of terra cotta.
Standing in front of the menu billboard hanging just over the bar, the couple surveyed the options in silence.
“Have you decided what you want?” John asked while reaching into his back pocket.
“Yes, but why don’t you tell me what you want and I’ll order while you grab us a table?” Not wanting to explain why the snack bar was complimentary, Tessa hoped John would agree to her suggestion.
“Okay, sure. Here’s some cash.” John handed her two twenties from his black leather billfold after giving her his order.
“That’s not necessary,” Tessa said pushing the money away.
“Please, I’m a gentleman. Take it.”
Tessa knew it wasn’t worth an argument.
John left her with his money and headed to the lounge area in search of an empty table. Tessa turned her attention back to the snack bar and found her place at the end of the line. Waiting behind a mother who couldn’t decide on the most nutritious snack for her kids, Tessa sensed someone approaching on her right.
“How’s it going?”
“It’s going well, despite your attempt to sabotage this date.” Tessa knew Justin couldn’t resist interrupting to check his handiwork.
“What are you talking about? Roller skating is a creative first date.”
“Yeah, if we were twelve.”
Before Justin could reply, the mother finally made her selection and began looking in her purse to pay the tab.
“You’d better order. You don’t want to keep Bigfoot waiting.”
“Ha,ha,ha. Just remember, you selected him from my favorites. I didn’t know you had such great taste in men.”
“You didn’t leave me much to work with honey.” Justin smiled and turned on his heel, heading back from where he came.
Once the mother parted with her money and stepped to the side, allowing Tessa room to walk up to the bar.
After paying for and retrieving her order from the pickup counter, she turned around to search the lounge area for John. She spotted him waving at her. He sat only a few tables away from where Leila and Justin appeared to be playing pool. Had he witnessed her exchange with Justin?
“Was that guy bothering you?” John asked when Tessa arrived at the table.
“Why? Would you beat him up for me?” Tessa teased.
“That depends. What would you do for me?”
“Hey! Since when does a lady have to repay her suitor for defending her honor?”
“Sorry, hon, that extreme form of chivalry has gone the way of the corset.”
“Since when?” Tessa wasn’t sure he was teasing anymore. To avoid meeting his eyes in wait for his reply, Tessa sat the tray down on the table.
“Well, when you fight for equal pay, the right to choose, and burn your bras, you can’t expect men to still throw their coats over puddles so you can avoid getting your feet wet.”
Tessa, stunned for a moment, began to eat her hamburger in silence. Then a smile emerged as she dabbed the corners of her mouth with her napkin. “Care to play a little pool?”


“I can’t believe how long this week has been, and it’s only Wednesday.”
“The office hunt has really gotten to you hasn’t it?”
“You have no idea, Geoff. It’s not the hunt, but my hunting companion.” Justin whispered with his back turned to his computer.
“You shouldn’t let him get to you.”
“I know. I talked to Chambers about his attitude at the first site. But he just told me to deal with it since it’s only temporary.”
“That’s the version of his advice that’s appropriate for corporate consumption. In other words, stop your whining. Now tell me about last Sunday’s date?”
“Well, it was definitely entertaining.”
“Okay, I’ll bite, but it better be good.”
“Oh, it’s good. You know the skating rink in Edison?”
“You planned a skating date? How cute. I always thought you were a little light on testosterone.”
Ignoring Geoff’s dig, Justin continued. “I had Tessa meet her mystery date at the rink on her own. I didn’t tell her who the date was, so she arrived there totally blind.”
“So how did she know him when he arrived?”
“He was from her favorites list. Besides, he would recognize her from the picture she posted on her profile. But that’s not the important part.”
“You know I have to understand the logistics. But don’t mind me, go ahead and continue.”
“Anyway, all of the date expenses were prepaid including the skate rentals and snack bar costs.”
“Wow, you thought of everything.”
“I don’t know if you’ve been to this skating rink since the renovation, but the snack bar is actually upstairs. It’s constructed like a skybox lounge with pool tables for patrons who have no interest in skating and windows to watch the action below. They even have roller hockey tournaments.”
“What the hell? You made that up.”
“I didn’t, but the new owner did.”
“What the hell is it?”
“Think of roller derby with sticks and a puck, ice hockey without the ice, or better yet, indoor street hockey.”
“Dude, we’ll totally have to check that out. Can anyone play?”
“I think you have to join the league, you know like bowling? But again, we haven’t reached the climax.”
“Well, get there faster.”
“I’m getting there. I’m getting there. When Leila and I arrived—”
“Ha ha ha, maybe you’ll get over princess yet.”
“Please, she’s just a diversion.”
“A sexy diversion.”
“Anyway, Leila and I stayed in the skybox snack bar playing pool. We played right near the window.”
“So you could keep tabs on the date taking place below. Genius!”
“Exactly. It was like watching a reality TV show. I had a skybox view of this guy following Tessa around like a horny puppy dog.”
“Now you know how I feel watching you and Tessa all these years.” Geoff laughed.
“Screw you, I’m nothing like that. Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?”
“The truth stings, doesn’t it? But please go on.”
Justin was getting annoyed but everyone needs that friend who won’t hold back. Geoff, in his own crude way, was that friend. “Like I was saying, I had the perfect view. It almost made up for the fact that Leila was kicking my ass. Why didn’t you warn me she was a pool hustler?”
“Leila is full of surprises. I thought it best you discover them on your own.”
“Yeah, I’m finding out all right.”
“So did Tessa and this guy actually hit the rink?”
“Oh yeah, but not before crashing to the carpet in a limb-entangled heap.”
“With all the touching and body movements that go on in skating, it’s just like the bumping and grinding of dancing when sexual attraction is high. Are you sure this was a good idea?”
“Hey, Tess is no athlete and they were too embarrassed after that collision. It may not have stopped the attraction but it escalated like a trickling stream, not a raging river. Besides I spent a couple of weeks getting to know this guy.”
“I hope you’re right, for your sake.”
“Stop interrupting and you’ll see.”
“I’m listening, keep going.”
“They skate through several selections of her favorite ’80s music, and then suddenly they exit the rink, heading to the lockers.”
“Ooh, I bet you were worried that they hit it off too well.”
“Yeah, until I saw them switch into their street shoes and head toward the stairs that lead to the skybox snack bar. They had a little exchange in line at the snack bar and then he left her side after giving her some cash.”
“He didn’t know it was prepaid?”
“No, I guess he didn’t, and apparently, Tessa didn’t tell him. So I left Leila briefly to check on the progress.”
“I hope you filled Leila in on your role in this caper. Otherwise, she might be very curious to know why the two of you weren’t hanging out with Tessa and her date.”
“I told her all she needed to know.”
“Ha, you’re not as pure as you’d like people to think. I like this side of you.”
“Why, because it makes you feel better about your own lack of integrity?”
“Of course, I don’t deny it. So, how did Tessa take you checking up on her?”
Justin looked around the office to be sure he was still alone. “She assured me that things were going well. So, I went back to Leila, while keeping an eye on the events that followed.”
“You mean Mr. Wonderful would show his true colors this early? What an amateur.”
“You got it. Of course, I knew it was coming. I knew he couldn’t help himself. I never developed the art of reading lips, but I could see that he talked himself right out of Tessa’s feminine good graces.”
“You could tell that just from watching them out of earshot?”
“I admit it was just a sneaking suspicion, but it was confirmed when Tessa broke my cover.”
“She what?”
“One moment they’re sitting at a table eating a late lunch, then Tessa gets up and leads him to Leila and me.”
“Did she pretend you were strangers?”
“No, she introduced us. When his eyes popped out of his head, Tessa elbowed him in the ribs and said, ‘You don’t honestly think I would meet a stranger from the Internet without bringing along a little insurance, do you?’ I tell you, it was real smooth how she turned the tables like that. Then she turned to me and said, ‘Justin, you and Leila don’t mind if we crash your game, do you?’ She leaned forward and squeezed my arm while she asked the question, and in that moment, I knew that meat head had a lesson coming his way.” Justin laughed as he replayed the event in his mind’s eye.
“No kidding, that guy didn’t know what he was in for. But how bad could a date get in fifteen minutes? Tessa should know by now you can’t crush a guy’s ego on the first day. No wonder her love life sucks.”
“Dude, you totally missed the signal. That was her whole plan.”
“Man, I don’t profess to understand that weird codependent language you two share.”
“Whatever. My point is this, what does our little Tessa hate more than anything when it comes to men?”
“Yes, but not just any pig, but a male chauvinist pig in particular.”
“Oh boy, it’s humiliation time.”
“That’s right, my man. Most women would go into a long tirade about how much better women are than men and how men would never treat their mothers like second class citizens, but not Tessa, no. Tessa, who believes that action stings far more than any words she could hurl, would rather humiliate him on his own playing field.”
“Yeah, the poor bastard, how bad did he lose?”
“Oh, I lost count after he was in the hole for two hundred dollars.”
“Aw shit, man, she had him by the ’nads.”
“Yeah, it was a blast. He hardly had the chance to shoot. One of the numerous times Tessa stood next to me eyeing her next move while she chalked her cue, she mumbled, ‘Oh, he wanted to pay for everything. Well, he’s certainly paying now.’ Leila couldn’t hold back the laughter that time. So am I right, was that good or what?”
“Dude, you took the scenic route, but it was well worth it.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Margaret Iuculano - My God Box

A special opening message from Margaret Iuculano:

I want to thank our Blog Host for taking the time to read My God Box a memoir about an abusive childhood but more importantly on how a mustard seed of faith in God turned around the life of a child. I feel blessed that you are willing to share the book on the Blog Tour Name. You are helping to create awareness about a topic that desperately needs to be addressed and has reached epidemic proportions - 500,000 children in the Foster Care System within the US.

Our country is in a crisis with an overloaded Foster Care System and children falling through the cracks daily and being put into homes to provide safety only to be left neglected again. How can we expect these children to become productive adults growing up in this environment? How can we teach these children how to have faith in God and then themselves to correct the wrongs being committed in their lives? How can we help Foster Parents to recognize the difference they can make in a life of a child and the importance of their role? And most importantly, how can we teach to break the Cycle of Abuse so we can shrink the numbers of children going into foster care in the future?

There's a truth I came to realize that changed my life and can change the lives of others. Have Faith in God - put your troubles into his hands and allow him to use you for the purpose you were born for. Once I started to follow this truth in my life I came out of despair to complete happiness and peace. I recognized my ability to help others and the importance of viewing each other as Gods children, people who possess a lot of value and have a mission just like I do for God.

When I began to see that God had a mission for my life, I started to embrace my challenges and learn from them without looking back. I was able to rid myself of the victim mentality and succeed where I was told I never would.

My prayer is that you see the message in My God Box and that it will inspire you to learn to overcome a traumatic experience and more importantly help someone else. I pray that you will agree that all it takes is a mustard seed of faith to realize your God Given potential.

God Bless You,
Margaret Iuculano

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I am a wife, mother, entrepreneur and children’s rights activist with an unwavering faith in God that has led, leads and will undoubtedly lead me to the successful outcome of all my projects.

What compelled you to write My God Box?

I feel I was blessed to have found God amid all the pain and misery I endured during my growing years. However, I also feel it’s time to give thanks and give back. I struggled for over two years with doubts and mixed feelings about setting my life in print, but whenever I took a step back, I was energized and encouraged by the awe-inspiring certainty that God wanted me to tell my story—for self-healing, but more importantly to open the minds and hearts of other suffering individuals to the mercy and goodness of God. God is hope. Without God there is no hope. Without hope there is no life.

Who is your target audience?

My God Box is addressed to anyone struggling to overcome the traumas and challenges of a dysfunctional or broken life. It is also for anyone associated with someone living in pain and misery. Furthermore, it is for anyone who wants to live a serene life in harmony with the wishes of their Creator. In other words it is for everyone who seeks happiness and fulfillment for themselves and/or others.

What are some of the stark realities surrounding Foster Care Programs?

The truth is that children are not ‘OK’ just because they have been removed from an abusive home and entrusted to a foster family. Although there are kind, nurturing people enrolled as foster parents, on the flip side there are individuals interested only in the monetary aspects of the program; individuals often just as, if not more dysfunctional, emotionally unstable and abusive than the child’s biological parents. This is one of the reasons why I wrote My God Box—to bring awareness to the plight of foster children—and to hopefully fix the shattered parts of a system in desperate need of repair.

How many kids in the U.S. are in foster care?

On any given day the statistics show over 500,000 children in the US in the foster care system. The number has reached an epidemic level which has burdened a system not built or equipped to handle the issues facing these children.

How long do they stay in foster care (on average)?

2.5 years is the average across the US - the federal government has asked the individual states to try and reach a permanency solution for these children within 9 months but unfortunately the system is not equipped to meet this goal.

Do they live with the same foster parents the entire time?

If they are lucky! I personally experienced over 15 different living environments and see the same movement between homes and shelters happening today.

You grew up in foster care - what was your experience like?

My experience was most of the foster parents were not equipped to handle a troubled child who needed help. I was in poverty struck homes as well as abusive homes within the foster care system and these are the homes I advocate against. Children removed from their abusive home environments should not be put into a system that is not providing them a better environment than the home they were removed from.

There are many wonderful foster parents who want to help children. But there are people who take in foster kids for the money - how can that be changed?

Not all but too many foster parents see their role as a job not wanting to get too attached to the child as it is a temporary situation thus making the child feel like a 2nd class citizen. The daily stipend a foster parent receives is not a lot of money but if you take in a few children it can be more than a welfare check.

Do you think there’s enough training for foster parents?

There is not an easy answer to this problem with continual budget cuts within the foster care system but there really can't ever be enough training to learn how to cope with a child who needs help. You can become a foster parent in many states with only a few days of training and a criminal background check. Foster parents need so much more to make them successful.

Is abuse a common problem in foster care?

It is too common and this is due to lack of resources and money to create a system that rewards foster parents based on outcomes versus number of children per day you take in. Local Department of Children and Families needs to be monitoring these children more effectively to eliminate the abuse taking place in these homes. It is not okay to have 1 child abused within the system and this issue needs to be addressed as a priority.

What are your long range goals?

My goal is to promote awareness of childhood abuse by using My God Box as a vehicle to become and advocate for children’s rights. I want to inform and encourage others to join with me to make a difference in the life of an innocent vulnerable child who needs to be protected and defended from society’s evils. I am planning speaking engagements/seminars which will help motivate people to start thinking about making changes in their lives and in the lives of others.

Thank you for allowing me to share my book and God’s mission for my life with you. If you would like to learn more about me and my mission please visit - http://www.margaretlano.com/ and http://www.angelsforfosterkids.org/ and know that 100% of the book proceeds goes to Angles for Foster Children. Please feel free to contact me at anytime.

About Me

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I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.

I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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