Maretha Botha Author Spotlight

Scan0009Maretha Botha has an Italian background. She loves espresso, and she loves pasta- just with olive oil and a bit of grated cheese, or a tasty Pasta Vongole with a few clams, cheery tomatoes and olive oil-this is an easy dish when she is busy illustrating and stopping to cook a fancy meal for hubby, might destroy the image in her head.

However, when she hits a blank-either with illustrating or writing the next big adventure-gardening gives a welcome break, taking photos of what the garden has on offer or simply getting down and doing some digging. A variety of bulbs, especially blue bells are great inspires in Spring, and rose are in a class of their own!

She prefers writing for children between 9 and 14 years, but “even better readers in this age group still like to see a few pictures of their favorite character,” she says. With that in mind, here are a few illustrations from the fourth book in Fauna Park Tales, called “Trails and Trials: An African adventure, as well as a book description.Scan0016Four trails one destination, “Trails and Trials: An African Adventure”, “Fauna Park Tales” 4, is written from four different viewpoints, combining four smaller books into a complete book of 148 ages-each with its own title and subtitles, illustrations, descriptions and footnotes of foreign words-based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends”, a Harper Collins Authonomy Writers’ Website Gold Medal Winner.

Life continues to take strange turns for Flame, a working dog on a free-range cattle farm. He and three of his furry friends follow the trail of Tall Leader and his gang of poachers into the desert, after they kidnapped their beloved orphans and stole all the villagers’ cattle. To follow their enemies’ trail, the brave friends jump on and off trains, sleep under the stars, and find friends and foes while on their dangerous mission. Their loyal feathered friends-a martial eagle and a female eagle owl-are their scouts, helping them whenever they get lost, which is often. All the characters-both human, and furry and feathered-strive to reach the last waterhole at the Tukani River as soon as possible. Here, a cattle stampede, heroic deeds, finding long-lost family and solving secrets happen in quick succession.

“Hope’s Memories”-is a backstory summary of book three, “The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure” and gives the reasons why Flame and his friends are on this risky mission. Young and old will enjoy reading more about the African desert, how to survive its harsh climate and appreciate the importance of friendship, especially when facing difficult challenges.

Some illustrations below.

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RRBC Spotlight Author Maretha Botha

RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR INFORMATION MAY 6

Follow the above link to view Maretha Gotha’s information about her life, books and more.

 

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The Three Musketeers

The three cats huddled together in front of the bay window and appeared to be having a serious conversation. They kept glancing at the humans who decorated the large pine tree in the corner. Every once in awhile there was an occasional meow. If you had learned to talk cat, you would understand what they were saying.

Ringo whispered, “Wait until the humans leave then we can get those colorful little balls they are putting on that tree.” He peaked around the corner of the sofa. “They should be leaving shortly.”

“Oh goody,” Puff Puff continued to groom her bushy ginger tail. “I had lots of fun last year chasing those little balls all over the place.”

“They are watching us,” Queenie turned her back on the humans and washed her white face. “Pretend not to be interested.”

The three cats strolled down the hallway as the little humans giggled and wrestled in the middle of the living room.

Ringo being the oldest explained. “The little humans are excited for the arrival of Santa Clause, a large man with a white beard.”

“Does Santa Clause come for cats to?” Queenie asked, as she looked over her shoulder.

“Santa leaves stockings and presents under the tree. There are always special cat stockings of treats and toys. It is fun,” Puff Puff pounced on a piece of fluff.

“Do you guys want to play in the kitchen?” Queenie asked as she perked her ears forward.

“Hey, good idea,” Ringo meowed as he padded away. “Race you.” There was a racket as the cats raced down the hallway.

Ringo stretched his paws up against the dishwasher pressing buttons and shut the door  with a bang. Then there was the sound of water running. “I always like doing that. It puzzles the lady human when the machine starts like magic. ”

Puff Puff jumped up onto the counter. “Aw, nothing interesting up here.” He landed on the floor with a thud.

Queenie pulled on the pantry door with her paw. She poked around inside before wiggling onto the bottom shelf. “No treats here. Let’s go outside for awhile.”

There was the sound of cat door going flap flap three times as the cats disappeared into the enclosed porch.

“Hey you guys, the humans were saying there was a missing pink slipper.” Ringo padded over to the window as a bird chirped in the spruce fir.

“What clues are there? Where was it last seen?” Queenie jumped on a pile of newspaper listing to the crackling sound. “The little human always loses things.”

“The little boy human lost his red car last week and I was the hero when I found it,” Puff Puff meowed as she watched a squirrel wave his tail in the air.

“The little girl was crying for a long time when she couldn’t find her favorite pair of pink slippers,” Ringo meowed. “She quit crying when I climbed on her lap and started to purr. The humans are watching.”

“Come on. Follow me,” Queenie meowed

Once again there was the sound of the cat door flapping three times as they padded along single file and then the thunder of their paws as they galloped down the hallway in hot pursuit of Queenie.

Ringo slid to a stop almost colliding with Queenie when she stopped in the middle of the hallway. He shook his head. “What now?”

“Don’t let the humans see us. They are watching again.” Queenie meowed.

The three cats formed a circle glancing at the humans every few minutes. “When the slippers went missing the little girl human was playing in the attic.” Queenie meowed.

“There are a lot of nooks and crannies up there. The door is closed.” Puff Puff meowed. “What is your plan.”

Queenie started to scratch the door while she looked over her shoulder at the humans. She slid her paw underneath the door and wiggled and pulled until the door popped open. “A closed door can’t stop me. Come on guys, let’s go.”

One by one three fluffy tails disappeared into the open crack and their feet padded stealthily up the stairs. They padded across the floor and leapt onto trunks and boxes.

Ringo leapt onto a pile of boxes and looked in corners. “Nothing here.”

Queenie padded across the wide plank floor towards a brown wooden trunk. Then her fluffy tail disappeared. In a few minutes she came out with a bonnet in her mouth. Then she disappeared again for a second and came  out with a couple of little satin slippers in her mouth. “These will be better than those fancy presents under the tree.”

“Okay. Let’s go,” Ringo meowed. “Where can we stash the slippers?”

“Under the tree of course,” Queenie said as she pranced across the floor with a mouthful of slippers.

That night when the house was quiet the cats snuck into the living room to the gaily decorated tree that sparkled in the dark room They stood with open mouths as they gazed at the tree.

“How pretty. Everything has been rearranged.” Ringo meowed.

“Let’s put the slippers at the front. The little girl will find them first thing. “Puff Puff meowed. “Hurry. I heard jingling.”

“Okay. Done.” Ringo  placed the dainty satin slippers and bonnet on top of the gaily decorated packages.

The next morning the cats were curled up innocently on their large cushion when excited voices were heard throughout the house as the children opened their stockings. The cats listened to the pitter patter of little feet in the hallway.  Then a little voice was heard above everything. “My slippers and bonnet! They are under the tree!”

Queenie rubbed against her ankles purring while Ringo and Puff Puff watched from a safe distance. They robbed noses and appeared to be telling secrets. “Be careful. The little girl has that look again.”

Then the little girl got down the special cat stockings and gave each of the cats their presents before sitting down to put her little slippers and bonnet on. She danced around the living room as the cats explored their stockings stuffed full of catnip toys and treats. In a few minutes, they abandoned the toys and started jumping around in the empty boxes and in and out of the crumpled wrapping paper.

All day the house was filled with happy voices and sounded like a noisy bee hive as everyone visited. The cats watched and waited for their special treat of turkey. Then gradually the house became quiet as everyone settled down for the night. Ringo, Puff Puff and Queenie settled down on their new puffy beds licking their paws with bellies full of turkey.

The End

If you liked this story then maybe you would like to go the following links for more work.

https://www.amazon.com/author/mehembroff

https://www.books2read.com/u/b5M6R7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rave Reviews Book Club’s “Spot light” Author, Michael Lynes

Author PicBook CoverAuthor Bio:

Mr. Lynes is a serial entrepreneur who enjoys dry red wine and single malt scotch. When not occupied with arcane engineering projects he spends his time playing with his two grandchildren, baking bread, feeding seasoned hardwood into his ancient Timberline wood-stove, working on his various cars, bird watching and taking amateur photographs. His current menagerie include one short-haired turtle shell cat and a pair of actual turtles.

His last book, There is a Reaper; Losing a Child to Cancer, was an Indie B. R. A. G. Gold Medallion Honoree in January 2017, a silver-medal winner of the 2016 Readers International Awards for Memoir, a medalist in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards for Memoir, a winner of the 2015 TISBA (The Indie Spiritual Book Awards) and a finalist in both the Independent Author Network 2015 Book of the Year Award and the Beverly Hills Book Awards for 2015.

Mr. Lynes was awarded a BSEE degree in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and currently works as an embedded software engineer. He has a consuming interest in the science of emotion as promulgated by Dr. Paul Ekman and has made a comprehensive study of his Face and Emotion courses.

Mr. Lynes has four sons, has been married for over thirty yeas and currently lives with his wife and youngest son in the beautiful secluded hills of Sussex County, NJ.

******

Follow Michael online:

Twitter-https://twitter.com/woodheat

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/MLynesAuthor/

Website-https:mikelynes.wixsite,com/mlynesauthor

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Michael’s Books:

The Fat Man Gets Out Of Bed: https:/www.amazon.com/Fat-Man-Gets-Out-Bed/dp/1938812905

There is a Reaper-https://www.amazon.com/There-Reaper-Losing-Child-Cancer-ebook/dp/BOOXNZW6C4

Two Way Radio

Hey! Let me clue you into the Next Big Thing! Are you ready?

It’s, (insert drum roll here) Handheld Two-Way Radio! Taa-daa(waves tiny flag) Exciting huh?

If you are mentally backing away right now without making eye contact I can’t say I blame you.

Wireless tech is everywhere these days. Nobody thinks twice about downloading movies to their smartphone or posting the live output of their drone-can to their social media account. In fact, unless you’ve sent the last couple of decades living in the interior of Papua New Guinea, you use wireless two-way radios every day.

But , you say, those apps are hip and modern! Handheld two way radio is old school.Good maybe for firefighters or NASA but not for us tech-savvy Gen-Y’ers.

In reality Handheld Radio is even more important and ubiquitous than ever before. In fact according to a recent report in Homeland Security News Wire the worldwide market is on track to exceed sixteen billion dollars in 2017.

Two-way radio provides excellent low cost, high quality communications service to tens of thousands of commercial and public sector workplaces. However as with any complex system there are many modes of failure. Given the critical nature of these services the ability to correctly identify, diagnose and potentially resolve communications issues is a critical skill.

One of the most frequently reported issues with handheld radios is interference. Interference is unwanted radio energy in the same band as your handheld. Sources of interference can be divided into three categories:

1:Other nearby radio users

2 Incidental sources (Power lines, spark plugs or microwaves)

3 Environmental (electrical storms, geomagnetic conditions or sun spots)

Range is the next most reported issue. Range is the maximum that your radio can be separated from another and still be able to exchange information effectively. Radio waves radiate like a light bulb. On a clear night the only thing limiting the range would be the curvature of the earth itself. Why then do you have problems communicating with another radio only a few thousand feet away? The range of a radio signal can be limited by many things, some obstacles (like buildings or other structures) block or absorb or reflect the signal so that it is weakened. Range is also limited by the power that a signal is sent with.

Resolve range issues by increasing power, using a better antenna or changing your location.

Lastly the best advice is to RTFM (Read the Blanking Manual) Know how to use your radio! Mistuning, incorrect transmission settings and incorrect operating modes are frequent causes of performance issues. The user’s Guide or a training video can make you handheld experience tons better.

As with most things, a little common sense and following proper operating procedures go a long way. Before sending you radio in for expensive bench testing or repairs apply these simple troubleshooting tips and save yourself money and time.

 

 

Posted in books, literature, Uncategorized, writing | 23 Comments

Lost

The two kittens, Mat and Fluffy had run until they were exhausted. Their horse friends pawed and whinnied and their voices became hoarse as they neighed in desperation. The biggest horse,Prince frantically pawed at the wall and made a hole large enough for the little animals to escape the flames that leaped in the air. Fluffy begged him to make a bigger hole or let them stay. They had run out into the frosty air as humans came to rescue the big animals that were terrified of the monster that enveloped them.

Mat came to an abrupt halt. “Where are we?” He looked around with eyes as big as saucers. “The biggest horse said to run as far away as possible. He didn’t think the humans would be able to rescue everyone.”

“One minute I was sound asleep on Prince’s back and the next there were red flames leaping on the far wall.” Fluffy meowed. “My fur is a mess and I am hungry. Where can we find something to eat?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know where we are.” Mat looked around again. “The flames didn’t follow us. We need to go back but I don’t know where back is.”

Fluffy looked around trying to get her bearings but shook her head. In all of the time they had lived on the farm they’d never been this far away from home where ever that was. The moon was just peaking through the trees as Fluffy wondered what to do. “Maybe if we climb the trees we will see something familiar. The humans always gave us warm milk when they milked our cow sisters. We will have to put our hunting skills to use and catch our own food.”

Mat looked over his shoulder, “We have company. One of the big eared animals that hop instead of running, like we do. The forest is full of strange animals and I don’t know which ones are more dangerous. If we aren’t careful they might eat us.”

Mat and Fluffy  watched from near a tree ready to scamper up  if necessary. The big eared animal hopped towards them. “You are new here. Where are you from?”

“We ran when large red flames terrified all the animals in the stable. One of our horse friends told us to run as fast as we could. Now we don’t know where home is. There was a white house with a veranda and a stable and other buildings. We got food on the veranda twice a day. The humans always rattled the food dish at meal time..” Fluffy said. “I am hungry and scared. Where is home?”

“There was a large garden all summer wasn’t there?” Miss Bunny asked as she looked at the scraggly kittens.

“Yes, we played there chasing butterflies in the sunshine,” Mat answered. “Do you know where it is?”

“Yes, but there isn’t much in the garden to eat now,” Miss Bunny said. “Have a rest and  then I will take you there. There is water in a bird bath if you don’t mind drinking around feathers.”

“Oh, thank you,” Mat and Fluffy said as they followed their new friend.

“I will take you to my home under the oak tree. You need to rest. There isn’t a fire here so you will be safe, my friends.”

The sun was peaking through the small opening under the oak tree when the kittens yawned and stretched. They were both hungry and thirsty ” I will try out my hunting skills and see if I can find us some breakfast. Miss Bunny offered us some strange green stuff but it didn’t taste good,” Mat said as he looked at his sister.

“Let me help hunt,” Fluffy said. “I am a good hunter, too.”

“Let’s stay together and not go far. Miss Bunny will be back shortly.”

The kittens snooped around the pile of crunchy leaves and soon each had captured a small mouse. They were sitting in Miss Bunnies doorway washing their faces when she returned. “Are you ready to go? I will show you the way home. I sent out word among my friends and it is safe to go that way.”

The kittens padded after Miss Bunny through the dense forest. Mat kept looking this way and that when he  heard strange sounds. They went single file with Miss Bunny in the lead and Mat taking up the rear. He was careful not to fall to far behind. Everything looked strange.

They had been traveling for hours when Fluffy paused. “Look there is the meadow. I will never get all the knots and burs out of my fur. I have never been such a mess. I am famished.”

“Me too but we have to keep following Miss Bunny. She will take us home,” Mat said as he trotted along the path.

Miss Bunny stopped and looked over her shoulder. “Look up ahead. We are just about there. Let’s avoid the burnt building. It smells terrible.”

A few minutes later they saw the charred remains of the stable and on the hilltop the white house stood unharmed. Fluffy and Mat started to run when they saw the house. They stopped a few feet away. “Thank you Miss Bunny. Do you want to come with us?”

“No, I have to stay out of sight. The big dogs chase me. One of my brothers got caught last summer and the dogs riddled him into pieces. I still have nightmares. I can still hear his screams for help.This is as far as I can go. Good luck, my friends,” Miss Bunny said.

“The dogs are our friends. I will have to talk to them,” Mat said as he said goodbye to Miss Bunny.

“Go, before they turn the lights off.” Miss Bunny said as she hugged each kitten.

“I can open the screen door, ” Fluffy said. “It is one of my special talents. Goodbye dear friend. I hope to see you again.”

The sun was low in the sky when Mat and Fluffy jogged across the yard and up the veranda steps where Fluffy hooked her paw under the screen door and opened it.They jumped up on the inside door just as they’d seen the dogs do many times. Mat and Fluffy meowed loudly as they scratched frantically.

In a few minutes the door was opened and a tall human stood there.”My dears where did you come from? We thought we’d lost you forever.” They were both picked up and cuddled. Mat and Fluffy purred and snuggled into the warm arms. “Oh, you must be hungry.”

Mat and Fluffy meowed a yes and squirmed out of the arms and stretched up against the human’s legs meowing.

This story was first published in the Story Quilt, an online Canadian magazine. You can follow me on the following.

Facebook: https:www.facebook.com/mehembroff

Twitter: https://twitter.com/margiesart1

 

 

Posted in animal stories, children's stories, literature, new beginnings, short stories, story collection, Uncategorized, writing

Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour/ Jonie Parker

joni-parker-photoRWISA TOUR (1)

On The Air by Joni Parker

Good afternoon, this is Mike Evans at iFantasy talk radio in Tucson, Arizona where we love to talk about science fiction and fantasy. Thanks for joining me today. We have a very special guest lined up for you, at iFantasy talk radio exclusive. World-famous journalist, Olivia Richards, is expected to join us via satellite telephone. As you may know, Olivia and her husband, John, were reported missing at sea several years ago, but she’s made contact and will be here in a few minutes. But first, we must hear from our sponsors at Cactus Thumb Nurseries. (run commercial)

Mike: Welcome back. We’ve just made contact with world-famous journalist, Olivia Richards. Hello, this is Mike Evans. Can you hear me? ( static) Olivia, are you there? (static)

Olivia: Yes, I can hear you, but just barely, please speak up.

Mike: I will. Thank you for joining me on iFantasy talk radio. I’m Mike Evans in Tucson, Arizona. Let me begin by asking, how are you and where are you?

Olivia: My husband and I are fine, but for the last few years, we’ve been stranded on this island called Seaward Isle. In 2011, we rented a sailboat in southern France and were sailing to Italy when we were caught in a ferocious storm. It came out  of nowhere. We hid in the cabin below deck for hours until our boat crashed on the shores of this island. We survived the crash just fine, but we haven’t been able to find a way off. We’ve met hundreds of people here just like us. That’s how I met Takura. He’s a friend of yours, I understand. He talked me into coming on this program because he was concerned people wouldn’t understand his English.

Mike: Yes, I’ve met him and I thought his English was fine. He went to Harvard for his doctorate.

Olivia: Yes, I know, but he feels very self-conscious.

Mike: How is he?

OLivia: He’s doing well. As you know, he’s a geologist and has gathered a group of Japanese scientists to figure out our situation. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough computers or the right equipment to do the job, but at least, he’s discovered that we’re not on Earth and he’s discussed this problem with the Elves.

Mike: Say what? You’re not on Earth? Did you say something about Elves? Are you kidding? Say, have you met Legolas by any chance? (Laughs)

Olivia: No, but yes, I’m serious. They’re real Elves. This island belongs to them and even they can’t figure out how we got here.

Mike: So where are you, if you’re not on Earth?

Olivia: We believe that this island is at the end of a wormhole somewhere in space. We don’t know how or where, but here we are. Takura believes the opening is located about six hundred kilometers above Earth’s surface somewhere near the moon. We ask all astronomers to use their equipment to locate the opening and ask NASA for a rescue mission. That seems to be our only hope.

Mike: Attention all astronomers and scientists at NASA! Olivia needs your help. Contact this station immediately if you can provide any assistance. (chuckles) How are you able to talk to us?

Olivia: My friend, Ebony Shorter, had a satellite telephone when she crashed on the island. She was in a yacht race that went around the world, but she was caught in a storm and ended up here. Takura and his friends repaired an old generator to make electricity to recharge the phone. He’s also set up a computer network with bits and pieces he’s found.

Mike: What do you use for fuel?

Olivia: The scientists use alcohol made of old potato skins and grain.

Mike: You mean moonshine. Right. Anything else we can help you with today, Olivia?

Olivia: No, just please get the word out. We’d really like to get home and see our families. Thank you so much for your help. (static) Our connection is fading…(static)…only a few (static)…Please help….(static)

Mike: Apparently, we’ve lost our connection to Olivia. Once again, let me reiterate her desperate situation. She’s located on an island called Seaward Isle, somewhere at the end of a wormhole and needs the help of astronomers and NASA scientists to locate this opening and rescue them. Well, maybe we can bring the Shuttle program back to life. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you for joining me on  iFantasy talk radio and join me tomorrow for another adventure into science fiction and fantasy. and don’t forget to send your comments and ideas to our Facebook page. Many thanks to our sponsor, Cactus Thumb Nurseries.

Mike leaned back in his chair and listened to the program again. Then he pulled out his cell phone. This had to be a joke. But he shook his head when he recalled that his old buddy Takura, could never tell a joke. He was so serious. They’d met in college nearly twenty years ago when they were freshmen at the University of Arizona with majors in geology. Tak, as he wanted to be called, was a foreign student from Japan and understood more English that he spoke. He also loved the geological formations in the local area, but knew nothing about hiking in the desert. Mike was an experienced hiker and took him under his wing.

They’d remained good friends, but lost contact when Tak transferred to Harvard to finish his doctorate in geology and later returned to join the faculty at the university. Mike speed-dialed the geology department and it rang and rang. Finally, a young woman answered the phone.

“Geology Department, University of Arizona. bear down, Wildcats!”

“I’d like to speak to Professor Takura, please.”

“I’m sorry, there’s no one here by that name.”

“What? Where is he?” Mike furrowed his brow.

“I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know.”

“Is Professor Lopez there?”

“Hold on.”

“Professor Lopez. Who’s calling?”

“Julio, this is Mike Evans.”

“Mike! What’s up, man?”

“Hey, I was trying to get in touch with Tak, but I understand he’s not there anymore. Where’d he go?”

“Don’t know, man. A few years ago, he went on a sabbatical and never came back. His parents told us the ship he was on disappeared in a bad storm.”

“You mean it sank.”

“No, man. It vanished. No debris, no oil slick, no survivors. Nothing.”

“Weird. I got an email from him at the radio station last week asking for an interview so I agreed. He sent Olivia Richards to speak to me. She’s a famous journalist who went missing a few years ago. She was on a ship in a storm, too. Anyway, she told me that they were stranded on an island called Seaward isle, somewhere in space at the end of a wormhole with Elves. I didn’t believe her.” Mike sighed, leaning back. “Thanks, man or should I say Professor?” He laughed and disconnected the call. After a few moments, he scrolled through his list of contacts and called one of them.

The receptionist said, “You have reached the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. How may I direct your call?”

“Doctor Rachel Goodwin, geology division.”

“Hold on while I connect you.”

“Doctor Goodwin speaking.”

“Hey, Rachel. It’s me, Mike Evans from Tucson.”

“Seriously? After all these years?”

“Hey, I come in peace. I apologize for whatever I did.”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not exactly. Hey, have you been in contact with Tak from college? The Japanese guy?”

“You mean the nice guy who asked me for a date and you told him he was nuts?”

“Um, yeah, him. I think he’s in trouble and needs help. Julio told me that he was on a ship that disappeared in a storm, a few years ago, but he emailed me for an interview on my radio program. He sent a friend, Olivia Richards, the famous journalist. She was lost at sea, too.”

“So you don’t have a regular job yet?”

“Not fair. I want you to listen to it, okay? Just listen and tell me what you think.”

“Okay.” She sighed.

Mike played the program. “Well, what do you think?”

Silence.

“Rachel? Are you there?”

“Yes. Is this a joke?”

“That’s what I thought, too but Tak couldn’t tell a joke if his life depended on it.”

She paused. “You’re right. Send me a link to your program.”

“Thanks, Rachel.” Mike sighed deeply when Rachel hung up. She hadn’t changed much and still resented that prank, but he’d always found her attractive. Maybe he should try again, someday. Mike shivered when the air conditioning kicked on; he’d been sweating heavily. He emailed her the link and leaned back. What if it’s real? Can’t be, can it?

 

Thank you for following Joni Parker today. You can learn more about her by going to Rave Reviews Book Club and then going to RWISA’s link. If you’ve become a fan check out the book RRBC and RWISA’s book catalogues for a listing of her books. You can also follow her on twitter: Twitter:@ParkerJoni Facebook:AuthorJoniParker. Once again thank you for following Joni Parker today.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in fantasy, literature, mysteries, Science Fiction, series, short stories, story collection, Uncategorized

Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour/Stephanie Collins

RWISA TOUR (1)STEPHANIE COLLINS

Guilt, Shame and Fear by Stephanie Collins

“I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

“You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What?” You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would make you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at  me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

“Uh…no!”

“Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…. and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have a memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with-innocently enough-“So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was (brutally) raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in highschool. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. she was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend ] yet? she burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s..it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse as rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our[even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional ] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am- 40 years after my first memories of molestation- and I’ still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts ( regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets- to the best of my ability-a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have-that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutal savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to secure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that -as a society-we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

 

 

Thank you for following Stephanie Collins on this Watch “RWISA” Write Showcase Tour. If you have become a fan of her writing go to the Rave Reviews Book Club and click on the RWISA link. You can also click on the book catalogues on both sites and check out her books. You can also follow her on Twitter:W_Angels_Wings. Her blog http://withangelswingsepelogue.blogspot.com. Her website: http://www.withangelswings.net.

 

 

 

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