The Hymn of Brutal Intimacy: “Hallelujah”, by Lazarus Barnhill

(I apologize in advance for the length of this post; it’s my fail for the month.)

“I heard there was a secret chord
that David played and it pleased the Lord,
but you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
the minor fall, the major lift,
the baffled king composing hallelujah.”

One way or another, we all know the song. Leonard Cohen, the Canadian folk singer, composed it in 1984 and since then it has been recorded by over 200 artists and groups. And we all have our favorite interpretation of it. My children and grandchildren love the beautiful Rufus Wainwright version included in the first Shrek movie.

“Your faith was strong, but you needed proof.
You saw her bathing on the roof.
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you.
She tied you to a kitchen chair.
She broke your throne and she cut your hair,
and from your lips she drew the hallelujah.”

One doesn’t have to have a profound familiarity with the Hebrew scriptures to know that there are multiple—and mixed—references to the Bible in the song. Of course the second verse is a reference to the restless King David, restricted from the battlefield on account of his importance to the Israelites, entranced by the exquisite, naked form of Bathsheba, the wife of his devoted servant Uriah. Cohen combines this narrative with that of another Hebrew warrior, Samson, who like David was beguiled by a beautiful woman: Delilah, who cuts the hair of the Israelite leader as he sleeps in her bed, robbing him of his great power. There are those vocalists who seem to focus on the biblical element of the song, taking great delight in the “hallelujah” chorus—if you’ll forgive the pun. Among these singers are Three Talented Girls, John Thomas and numerous church groups.

“Baby I’ve been here before.
I’ve know this room. I’ve walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag from the marble arch.
Love is not a victory march.
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.”

It’s in his third verse, however, that Cohen affirms the real theme and message of his song. “Hallelujah” is a treatise on romantic love, specifically the sort of brutality that exists between people who share the most intimate of relationships. He focuses on the authority, prowess and might of men, and states that all male power melts away from the man who is enchanted by a woman. Their relationship becomes a struggle, a competition in which there are consequences and casualties, but no real winner. This is expressed so poignantly in the first verse, as Cohen says to the woman he loves: “I make this beautiful music, and it means nothing to you.” The singer who seems best to have captured the essence of this message was the late Jeff Buckley—the person whose rendition of the song is often considered the best of all.

“There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below,
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
and the Holy Dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was hallelujah.”

The fourth verse once again reveals Cohen’s use of religious texts. “Holy Dove” is a reference to the Spirit of God in a distinctly Christian way—at least for a guy who is Jewish. This is actually not unusual for him (he reflects at length on loneliness of Jesus in his marvelous song “Suzanne”). In “Hallelujah,” Cohen uses the spiritual metaphor of the delicate, fleeting divine Spirit to describe the sudden absence of intimacy between himself and his lover: “Losing your love is like losing the sacred presence of the Holy.” That haunting theme of lost affection, some have said, is captured particularly well by KD Lang in her recordings of the song (maybe it’s because she’s a Canadian too)—though often she leaves out this fourth verse.

“Maybe there’s a God above,
but all I’ve ever learned from love
was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
It’s not a cry you can hear at night.
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light.
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.”

Verse five is, to me, the ultimate expression of despair—the depths of loss compounded by the recognition that the Holy One is not going to intervene to set right the relationship that is so profound and precious. This is a make-or-break verse that has the power to reveal whether or not the singer has suffered the sort of emotional grief being described. Jon Bon Jovi’s understated version of the song—and particularly this verse—expresses the feeling of human and divine abandonment with particular poignancy.

“You say I took the name in vain,
but I don’t really know the name;
and if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word.
It doesn’t matter what you heard—
the holy or the broken hallelujah.

The sixth is “Leonard’s verse.” In it he deals with the great subtheme that has developed as a result of his ascribing divine importance to something as human as the affection between lovers. I can almost hear his departing love criticizing him for comparing the loss of romantic love to divine abandonment, and his response: “whether you recognize it or not, the love between us drew the angels to us and elevated us to the holy places. It is in the embraces and clashes of lovers that sacred and profane are entwined.” Leonard has a point. Those scriptural stories to which we most closely relate are not the great tales of victory—Samson slaying lions or David killing Philistines. Instead we find ourselves yoked to the brokenness of these great figures—the shame of David when the whole of the Hebrew nation learned how he plotted the death of Uriah; the humiliation of Samson, blinded and mocked in the temple of a foreign god. And this is Leonard’s verse especially because Leonard Cohen, who sings of the divinity found in the failures of life, is often considered among the poorest singers of his own song. How odd to realize one of the great lessons of this song is that we are closest to the sacred in our most conflicted, defeated moments.

“I did my best. It wasn’t much.
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch.
I’ve told the truth; I didn’t come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I stand before the Lord of song
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.”

“Hallelujah is a long song. The briefest versions are all over four minutes. Many renditions, even if they don’t have a musical bridge, are over six minutes. As a result, often singers omit verses and in particular this last one—which is too bad. Here Cohen goes back to his original statement, that music is his divine gift, saying, “Well maybe I failed (in love and in song), but ‘hallelujah’ was what I was aiming for and I’m not ashamed of that.” The song—melody and lyrics—are a bittersweet treatise on love, failure and the ever-presence of the holy. A friend of mine told me once that the angels stay so close to us because it’s their only chance to experience the depth of human love and grief. Somehow, Leonard Cohen captured all that; else 200 artists would not have recorded multiple versions of the song and millions would not have listened.

That brings me to the reason I’ve written this ponderous, lengthy examination of “Hallelujah” and its versions: I just heard a most beautiful, ironic version of it. The IDF—that’s right, the armed forces of Israel—recorded a knocked out version of Hallelujah . . . in Hebrew. Watching the video of them (see link below) encapsulates the profundity, irony and magic of this incredible piece of music. Listening to the angelic voices of these very young Israelis and watching them, dressed in drab, baggy military fatigues and bathed in smoky, blue light, is an astonishing thing. Here are the descendants of Samson, David, Bathsheba and all the generations who followed—in the process of living out—as we all do—the magnificent, excruciating truths of this tender song. –Lazarus Barnhill
If you can’t see the video via the above link, you can see it on UTube here:


Lazarus Barnhill is the author of Lacey Took a Holiday, The Medicine People, and Come Home to Me, Child (with Sally Jones).


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What a Day – Happy Birthday my Littlest Princess by John E. Stack

Today was a big day – a REALLY big Day. Today (Saturday) we celebrated my baby girl’s 5th birthday. Allie has grown up so much and we never knew whether we would see this day or not. I know that some get tired of hearing other people talk about their children and if that is you feel free to hit the delete key. Anyway, we had a busy day. It was predicted that we have thunder storms all day and when we got up it was raining. We had planned to have the party outside since the long range forecast did not mention rain, but things changed. We all prayed that things would clear before party time.

Allie is a Frozen fanatic so we had a Frozen birthday. It is all we have heard about since she saw the movie. For the last month she has told everyone that she talked to that she was having a Frozen party. We ended up having about 35 people, mostly adults. We had wall hangings of Anna, Elsa and Olaf. We had Pin the Nose on Olaf game. We had Frozen necklaces and Anna/Elsa centerpieces. And, we had a Frozen piñata filled with chocolate. Oh, and we were supposed to grill out.

Our prayers about the weather were answered. Just before noon it stopped raining and the skies cleared up. The humidity spiked but by party time it was really nice outside.

After about an hour we were mostly through with eating, but not quite ready for cupcakes. Suddenly, we had a visitor. My wife had arranged for Queen Elsa to stop by and spend some time with the girls. Allie screamed as soon as she saw who it was. The closer she came the more excited Allie got and the louder she got. Queen Elsa played games and made crowns and took lots of pictures with the girls.

We tried to get my grandson to join in but he didn’t like princesses. He wanted to make a crown, but there was no way he was going to be seen with a princess. He is almost 4. After they moved on to the next thing he took time to sit and make his own crown.

Elsa stayed about an hour and the party started to dwindle down. The excitement lingered for several more hours. Now we have cleanup and thank you notes. Yes, we still believe children should write thank you notes. This birthday will be one long remembered.

We received another blessing this week too. This past Saturday was the Bookmarks Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. The book that Allie helped me write, Olivia’s Sweet Adventure was released at the festival. Since that day she has read the book twice a day and carries it everywhere she goes.

Through all of this I’ve come to realize that life is not about things. Things break. Memories last forever. I think Allie stored a lot of treasures today.

***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Trip at the Zoo and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure (co-authored with Allie). These can be purchased from Second Wind Publishing or on Amazon.

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Downloading and editing that journal, by Sheila Deeth

I run a local writers group at our neighborhood library and we had this great idea: let’s publish a journal! To be fair it’s not the first time we’ve had this great idea, but we’re a growing group and this new journal has quite a lot of entries, all written with different conventions on different word processors, all in need of being made to fit together. It’s a bit like doing a jigsaw I guess,  and I’m glad I’ve got lots of willing helpers. But getting it all into one document for everyone to work on – that was my job this last week, and I’ve gained an even greater respect for editors and compilers of anthologies.

First there were those empty lines after paragraphs, which turned into excess white space when I let Word insert is own paragraph breaks. Then there are the paragraph indents – three spaces, five spaces, random numbers of spaces and tabs interchanged… or a nicely consistent half inch. Next came the double spaces after periods, making sentences stretch like languid snakes across the page (or inchworms perhaps)… And then… And then…

But I’ve done it and sent the file to our friendly neighborhood editors – fellow members of the group. I’ll leave it to them to check spelling and grammar and see if the section headers I chose make sense… And then… And then…

And then we’ll have a Writers Mill anthology. Hurray! And I’ll get back to writing Subtraction, coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

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A Dog’s Life by Chuck Thurston

Stories about pets always seem to have sad endings, so I was prepared to get a little emotional as I neared the end of “Marley and Me”, John Grogan’s book about his family’s goofy but loveable yellow lab. Sure enough, Grogan’s book got a snuffle or two from me as Marley passed on. It also got me thinking about the various dogs in my life — and one in particular.

We were enthusiastic rabbit hunters on the farm where I grew up. Along with a shotgun, a good beagle was considered essential — and Judy was the best.

The beagle is a bright, inquisitive — and I believe courageous — little dog, often no more than a foot high at the withers. They have one of the best noses in dogdom. When a rabbit is flushed they are on the trail with unmatched persistence and a thrilling bugle call that will make any true hunter’s heart race.

They are great at their job precisely because they aren’t very fast! A rabbit rarely wanders far from familiar territory during its entire life, so, lulled into a sense of false security by the beagle’s failure to catch it, it makes a large circle and eventually hops back — and under the guns of the hunters! Ahhh…fried rabbit in the skillet tonight!

Other hunters would frequently bring their own favorite beagles around to run with Judy, hoping that her magic would rub off on “Buck” or “Duke.”

One warm fall day, in my mid-teens, I took my shotgun, called Judy, and headed for the fields north of the house. I was enjoying the walk — perhaps more than the hunting — when suddenly a ring-necked pheasant raced through the weeds no more than 15 yards in front of me. I raised my shotgun and, as I fired, saw Judy cross in front of the gun barrel! She let out a yelp and tumbled head over heels.

Later, I realized what had happened. Someone had winged the pheasant. Unable to fly, it had been running through the tall weeds — and these long-legged birds can really run. Judy had seen it and given noiseless chase, but I had not seen the little beagle hot on the pheasant’s tail as I fired at — and got — the bird. As I ran up to Judy, I saw — to my utter horror — that she was frantically rubbing at her eyes and nose with her front paws.

I was sickened at the thought that I might have blinded my dog. I picked her up and looked her over. There was one bright streak across the bridge of her nose. Apparently a single pellet had creased her there. Within minutes she seemed like her old self, but I put the pheasant in my game bag and carried her home anyway.

I found an ointment of some kind in the old farmhouse medicine cabinet and put it on the wound. She healed quickly, but carried the scar the rest of her life.

I figured that, at the least, Judy would be gun shy from that point on, and useless as a hunting dog. I was wrong. Till almost the end of her days, Judy looked forward to a rabbit hunt with unabashed enthusiasm.

Even when she became old and arthritic, nearly deaf, and unable to hunt, she would rouse from her pillow in the warm corner of our living room and give an excited little howl when my brothers and I pulled our guns from the cabinet to head for the fields on cold, crisp fall days.

We knew what it meant to her. One of us would pick her up and carry her outdoors. We would walk a few yards toward the fields and sit her down. She would run around a little — searching for a familiar scent — but would soon tire. We would pick her up, carry her back to the house and return her to the pillow in the warm corner. Only then would we take off on our hunt with the younger dogs — leaving her, I like to suppose, to dream of crisp fall days and brushy fields and the scampering rabbits of long ago.

“A Dog’s Life” first appeared in Senior Scribbles Unearthed by Chuck Thurston. The book is available through Amazon or Second Wind Publishing.


Judy Hot On The Trail

Judy Hot On The Trail

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Time for Bubbles-Champagne-That Is

Exactly seven months ago today, I signed the contract for my master bath remodel and I can proudly say it is finally done, as of yesterday! Yeaaaaay!! And in my humble opinion, it is gorgeous!

Before I get to the photos, I’d like to share what I have learned about remodeling, since this was my first major one. I was told by the company I hired, that my remodel was quite different than most, because I designed the project and researched and bought most of the supplies myself: sinks, toilet, shower and sink fixtures, medicine cabinet, ceiling tin, wall and ceiling light fixtures, columns, and all the tile. And I faux finished the ceiling and the Greek columns. Usually the remodeling company handles all that and the customer just pays for it all.

Regardless of how it is done, I suggest that impeccable records be kept of everything. Period. A diary is ideal if it includes how much things cost, but also when items were installed. It was more complicated for me because I had to keep track of my own costs for sinks, for instance, and also costs regarding the company I hired, mainly demo, installation and extras. Take pictures before the project starts and periodically along the way. They will be fun to see later.

I learned that remodeling costs more than you plan for. If you want anything out of the ordinary, like Champagne Bronze plumbing fixtures, you will have to pay an “up-charge,” sometimes called a “change order.” That will be in addition to the estimate you initially received from the contractor.

Also, the estimated time for completion is likely to be longer than expected. In my case, a lot longer. That actually worked in my favor, because it gave me additional time to save money to cover those unexpected extra costs.

At tally-up time, since I kept impeccable records, I even found a couple discounts my contractor forgot. That saved me money and made me happy. One of my discounts came through Angie’s List, so I recommend it.

And now, without further ado…here are the photos I promised. Want to share some bubbly with me? (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Before-Window Seat

Before-Window Seat






Before Vanity

Before Vanity





After-Window Seat

After-Window Seat












After - Shower

After – Shower





After - Column Capital

After – Column Capital






After - Column Base

After – Column Base









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Do What You Want by Harry Margulies

I think I did something very wrong last night – I had breakfast for dinner. I know it’s not an uncommon thing to do, but it’s been gnawing at my conscience worse than the two 1SoyBaconstrips of soy bacon have been gnawing at my masculinity. I feel as if I’ve committed a sin, or some sort of crime. I disturbed the natural order of things, and I can’t stop fretting about it.


As far as I know, animals (except for the human type) aren’t obligated to start their day with a cup of coffee and end it with a slab of lemon meringue pie. If an animal likes pie, he 2Coffee:LemonPiewill eat it regardless of the hour, without fearing societal pressure to stop behaving like an animal. I never harass my cats for eating cans of turkey pate with shrimp sauce for breakfast. In return, 3Lasagna:CatEatingthey never harass me for eating cold lasagna for breakfast. It’s an understanding we have with one another; they enjoy vile food, and I enjoy Italian food. Does it really matter what time of day we shovel it into our bodies?   


I’m pretty sure we have Fred Flintstone to thank for this. Every weekday at exactly five p.m. Fred’s foreman at the Slate Rock & Gravel Company would yank the tail feather of a bird that for some reason always seemed surprised, despite his feather getting yanked the same way at the same time every day. 4FredFlintstoneThe poor thing would screech, just as you would if someone pulled on your tail. Fred would hear the bird wail then slide off his dinosaur crane and head straight for rush hour traffic – with a smile on his face. Everyone else in the town of Bedrock did the same thing; they punched in for work at nine a.m., and punched out at five. If you IMDb the Flintstones like I did on one of my more productive days, you would note that Fred ate his breakfast at eight, had lunch at noon, dinner at six, and a slab of ribs while at the seven-thirty drive-in show. Fred set the standard. He lived the ideal schedule. And I blame him for why we’re all so…persnickety about when we do things.


Here’s something you may not know: there’s a giant biorhythm machine that was built by a mom and buried beneath a giant clock in Greenwich England that5GiantClock:Omelet rules all humans. It
dictates when it’s dinnertime, and it informs us of the things we’re allowed to eat for that meal. It specifically dictates that after five p.m. it’s only proper to eat dinner-ish things – not omelets, waffles, or fake bacon.


Baked potato with toppings.I’m not so much bothered that I’ve been programmed to reject a loaded baked potato for my morning meal. It’s that my entire day is governed by a set of rules; the same rules that define the parameters of when I can wake up, go to bed, and take my mid-afternoon nap.


Realistically, I realize I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.Man lying in bed sleeping I just hate having to hear about it the next day. You went to bed how early last night? You ate a bologna sandwich for dessert? You attended a matinee?


I envy the people who work the night shift – except the part about staying awake past my bedtime. I bet these folks are all smiles, all night long, what with their empty freeways, 8IHOPlogoempty gyms, and always-available seating at those 24-hour restaurants. By the way, did you know those restaurants allow you to order breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of the day? You would think that would make them immensely popular, but reservations are never necessary. In fact, they don’t even take reservations. Why? Because they always have available tables in the middle of the night since people are too chicken to mess with the order of things.


I think I’ve had enough of living my days the way I’m supposed to. I don’t want to drive on the freeway when everyone else is, so no more rush hours for me. Instead of reading a book before I go to bed, I might read one before I wake up. Man reading book in bed.And speaking of sleep, I’m going to start taking my mid-afternoon nap right after breakfast. For me, prime time TV will start when I say it starts, like as soon as something I feel is worth watching comes on. And just to unnerve the authorities, I’m going to eat a meal of steak

11SteakandEggsand eggs – the most daring, bipolar meal of all. Take that, Mr. Flintstone.


One day people will catch on and start behaving more like animals than they already do. Animals have taught me that I can have all the pies 12Bears:PieI want, just by sneaking up on them while they’re sleeping. They’ve always beenPouring Fresh Coffee smart that way. I believe I’m going to join them – right after I finish my morning coffee.




* * *

Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.

Soy bacon courtesy of Arvind Grover
Steak and eggs by Alpha (Melbourne, Aust)

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Excerpt – Death in a Small Town by H.V. Purvis

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of my new murder mystery, released September 6.


John slowed the airport rental car to a stop in front of the building. He did not get out. He was not sure he could. He sat there. The motor running. His heart raced. It was cool inside the car, but beads of sweat covered his brow. He flexed his fingers. Make a fist. Then straightened his fingers. He did this over and over. It was an exercise his shrink had given him to regain control of his nerves. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his mouth. He had flown from DC. Driving still tied his guts in knots. He rarely drove anymore. He rarely even left his apartment anymore. Now that he was here, he did not know if he could make himself go inside.

He knew before he left that this trip was going to be difficult, but it was something he had to do. He owed it to Stan. Now he sat in the car, his hands shaking, his heart racing, feeling sick to his stomach. His leg throbbed, even though the doctors said it should not. He cursed at himself and stared out the side window at the hundred year old southern colonial which loomed over the business end of a street of impressive older houses.

John had grown up further down this street. All the lawns were immaculate. He remembered that on Saturday mornings the older ladies, in their “working in the yard” clothes which looked just as nice as their “going to the store” clothes, would put on their straw hats and tend their roses and flower gardens. His hands shook as he raised the soda he bought after leaving the airport. It was warm, but he took another swallow, trying to work up the courage to turn off the engine and go inside.

He smacked the steering wheel with his hand. This is stupid! I’m a grown man, for God’s sake! He stared at the double front doors of the colonial building. A gut wrenching dread knifed through him. He looked away. There were too many ghosts in this town and particularly inside that building. He had spent the last five years avoiding those ghosts. He reached for the keys. His hand stopped short.

Horrible memories of his last visit to this town ripped him apart, but he owed Stan. They had been best friends since first grade, played football together, double dated together. When John went off to college, Stan joined the Parkwood police department. After college, John joined the bureau and moved to DC. Stan was always the one who reached out to make sure they did not lose touch. After the wreck, he called John in the hospital every day to check on him. At least once a week he drove the two-hour round trip Chapel Hill to visit and sit with him. Now Stan was dead. John leaned his head back on the headrest and closed his eyes.

Someone tapped on the window. John jerked upright. He had been lost, drifting in numbness land, and the tap startled him. His heart pounded harder. He looked over and saw his sister, Helen, standing in the street. Traffic moved slowly to go around safely. No one honked a horn. No one stared angrily at her. No one raised a fist or middle finger. Most of the people did throw up their hand, but it was a friendly wave. This was the way people were here.

Hoyle Purvis

Author of Extinction  , facebook page H.V. Purvis, twitter @hvpurvis

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Second and third Books

Kim’s Blog
Having one book with a publisher is wonderful but having two or three books is even better. My first book with Second Wind- A Murder in Her Past, begins a new series about the Rivers brothers. Briar Rivers helps a college discover the identity of a serial killer and stop him.
His brothers Aaron, Cade, Elliot and Quinn along with helpers, Faith, Jerah, Kanan and Fallen fight crime along with the FBI. The Second book in the series, Cards of Justice- is Aaron’s story- as he and his brothers track a killer who leaves playing cards as a calling card. Each card has a sin written in blood. They find these cards all up and down the East coast but when the killer threatens Aaron’s wife, Aaron and the boys must find him before he gets to her.
Book three with Second Wind is, In Search of Justice- the story of a professor’s search for why a video game would turn kids into killers. When Alex Maleet’s nephew is caught up bringing a gun to school, Alex knows something isn’t right. His nephew has been playing a demo video game and when Alex checks out the game he find something that shouldn’t be there. He finds a hypnotic suggestion. Digging deeper he finds something he wasn’t supposed to find. While he’s looking into the game his wife and best friend is murdered. He is the prime suspect in their deaths.
He finds connections to a crime boss in New York. He also finds a huge robbery that no one knows about yet. Someone is taking a fraction from ever gallon of gas sold in the United States as well as fraction from every prescription sold. It may not seem like a like lot money but it adds up to over one hundred forty million dollars. The money is being transferred to other accounts but the companies don’t realize it. Can they find the links to catch the real bad guys and the money before they are stopped?
A Murder is already out but I have no release date for Cards of Justice or In Search of Justice yet. I’m hoping to hear soon but so far have heard nothing on either new book. Meanwhile I continue to write and work on the rest of the books in the Rivers Series- as well as others.
I just love it when an idea turns into a new book!


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Books, books, and more books!

For several years now, I have been attending the Bookmarks book festival during the month of September.  This event is held annually on the streets of downtown Winston Salem.  There are numerous activities, speakers, food trucks, and of course, books! 

My first year attending, I wandered the streets simply looking for books to purchase.  I found one I liked and had the opportunity to meet the author, who signed the book I purchased.  Since that time, we have become quite friendly and she has offered me her guidance as I entered the publishing arena.

The second year I attended, I somehow managed to score a seat just inside the covered area that Diana Gabaldon, one of my favorite author’s, was going to be speaking.  Although I had my two children with me and they fidgeted the entire time she spoke, I was glued to my seat as she read from her book that had not yet been released.  After she finished, I ran to the book signing arena and waited in line for her to sign my very own copy of one of her books. 

Having been to this event on several occasions, you can only imagine my delight when I was asked to attend this event, not only as a member of the reading public, but as an author myself!  The day my first book was released coincided with the book festival.  I arrived early and met my publisher and then was handed a brand new copy of my newly released novel.  I spent the remainder of the day at the event greeting anyone I knew and encouraging them to purchase my novel. 

This is now my third year attending this event as an author and I continue to be excited beyond belief.  Each year I run into someone who I haven’t seen in some time and may not know that I have had two novels published and I, once again, feel the thrill of telling someone that yes, I am a published author. 

I am currently working on my third novel and hope to have it completed in the next few months.  But I will be taking today off to attend the Bookmarks book festival as an author and an avid reader.  So if you’re in the Winston Salem or nearby area, drive, walk or bike to the downtown area and purchase some books!  And while you’re at it, stop by the Second Wind Publishing tent and say “Hi!”

And did I mention the event is free? 


Filed under blogging, books, Donna Small, fun, Humor, writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 27 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle visits Emily in the infirmary and encourages her to visit the faith healer, figuring it can’t hurt for her to try. Afterward, Dr. West reveals some secrets about Emily that shock Kyle. Emily is a very wealthy woman, the only heir of billionaire Edward Geraci, who was killed in a car accident just before her husband left her. It couldn’t be proven, but police suspected her ex-husband had something to do with the so-called accident.

  “And he left her. What a moron!”

“Indeed, the cancer could have done for him what he could not do for himself. Had he stayed, based on her will, he would have inherited everything.”

“And now?”

“No one has seen her new will, though we all know that she has taken Robert Blume out of it. He gets nothing if she dies.”

“And you all thought I was pulling a Robert? Thanks.”

“After talking to your housekeeper, I was relatively certain that I was wrong. She seems too open and honest to lie to me about something like that.”

“Carmelita is an honest, God fearing woman. If you ever insinuated that she was lying—well, I’d hate to be you. She’s got a mean right hook.”

Doctor West laughed, then turned serious. “Adam said he told you of her goal.”

“At least he can see how much I care for her, even if you can’t.”

“He’s young, trusting, easy to fool.”

“I see him as young, trusting and very astute. But yes, he told me.”

“And what do you think?”

“That if it will make her feel better, even if he doesn’t cure her, she should go. How long have you been a doctor?”

“Seventeen years.”

“And in that seventeen years did you ever see things you couldn’t explain? Miracles, if you will.”

“Of course. Every doctor has.”

“Then why can’t it be a real miracle this time? If you’ll excuse me now, my children are expecting me to tuck them in.”

“Of course. Mr. Scott?”

Kyle turned at the door, facing the doctor.

“I apologize for distrusting you.”

“As long as we’re square now, no hard feelings.”

“We’re square.”

“I’ll be by to see her tomorrow before I take the kids sightseeing.”

“Of course. Goodnight.”


After getting the kids to bed, Kyle settled down for a long night’s sleep, but he couldn’t relax. He moved around restlessly, his mind too active for sleep to come. He had a lot to think about. There was a light tapping on the adjoining door. Carmelita was there with two bottles of beer in hand.

“I figured you could use this to help you sleep.”

“Thanks, Lita.”

They went to the sitting room. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes. Kyle didn’t know how much Carmelita knew about Emily and didn’t want to say anything until he did.

“I talked a long while with that handsome Doctor West today.”


“Yes.” She grinned. “That was the first thing I asked him before he told me why he was talking to me. He was worried about you and Emily. Of course, having you diving for her tonsils later didn’t make him feel much better.”

“It wasn’t like that, Lita. It was just a kiss. No one needs to make a big deal out of this. I’ve kissed her a couple times, we’ve been dancing.”

“Her ex-husband….”

“Yeah. I’ve heard about him. He sounds like a real winner.”

“What exactly have you heard?”

“He was creepy and manipulative and may have killed her father.”

“Did she tell you he’s threatened her? He visited her in the hospital before their divorce, making noises about suing for alimony, getting a settlement, keeping her from changing her will. He even threatened her life.”

“I hope they put the bastard in jail.”

“For awhile, but they can’t hold him forever. Did the doctor tell you anything else?”

“That her father was worth a huge fortune and now she is.”

“That one of the things she owns is this cruise line.”

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