Thursday, December 24, 2015

Peace above all else





A woman walks through her door and sighs. She smiles, a tired, careworn look upon her face. Her work day was eight hours long, but felt much longer. For the burdens she shoulders add to the moments, almost like lead weights. She is the caregiver. The wife, and mother. She is the daughter of parents now old, and she has become the parent. When her mother asks a childlike question and she's taken the time to give her kindest answer, in that moment, she knows the roles have reversed.

She holds memories in her heart. Some moments of laughter from a close family, holiday memories, times that were lighter and carefree. She remembers that she, too, was once a little girl, the whole world before her, innocent and unknowing.

Past mistakes tickle at the corners of her mind, but she pushes them away. For they do no good at this moment. They only remind her what was, and torture her with what should have been. She's learned much from them though, and vows never to repeat them.

She thinks about him. Their marriage built on rocky ground, yet the solid moments they share. He's not perfect, she thinks, but then again, neither am I. But can she truly change? If she stood up for what she believes, if she voices her true opinion, if she stops pretending. . . Perhaps then, she will have peace, for that is what she longs for at this time in her life.

She is a praying woman. She's fallen asleep at night, hot tears streaming down her cheeks. Are her children safe? Will her parents live to see another holiday? Is there enough money to pay the bills? Am I losing myself? God, I trust in you. I need to sleep tonight. Take these cares from me. Hold your precious little girl in your arms, please.

In the quiet of her soul she gives herself completely. For God has carried her through before. Whether the future holds change, uncertainty, loss or gain, she has known true, complete trust. And when she awakes the next morning to the challenges of a new day, hand in hand with the knowledge of her Father's unfailing love, she rises to the tasks before her, and vows with all that is within her that it will be a day of true peace.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A little fun, a little mystery and a lot of heart!








Sometimes in life we are fortunate to make new friends, people we'd have never known otherwise due to the most interesting circumstances. Where else could I have met a woman who shares the passion of writing, the love of cats and an Italian heritage close to my own?

Facebook and the internet can be a wonderful venue to meet just such a person. And today, in her own words, I introduce the lovely Mae Clair to you all. Mae has written a tale in time for Christmas that I think you'll enjoy. A little mystery, a little romance, and as Mae puts it: "a smidgen of horror." I believe you will be glad you've met this talented, fun author.

Cats, Christmas, and Romance by Mae Clair
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is looming just around the corner. I have no complaints though, because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Not only do I enjoy December 25th and Christmas Eve, but I love the entire month of December. It’s like one long holiday with all the merriment, festivities, and spirit of goodwill that leads up to that very special day. I’m a Christmas sap.

So it stands to reason I’d eventually get around to writing a Christmas story.

Those who know me also know there are two things (other than writing) I’m passionate about: folklore and cats. When it came time to dream up a Christmas story, I decided to weave both elements into the tale. The result is FOOD FOR POE, a short Christmas novella that is also a tale of sweet romance, twined with the paranormal, and even a wee smidgen of horror (just a smidge, I promise!).

Take a look:

When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger's house on Christmas Eve, she doesn't realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.
Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.
Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.
Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble
~ooOOoo~


I’m happy to announce that FOOD FOR POE has just released. YAY! In celebration of the holidays, you can grab a copy for $.99 at http://www.amazon.com/Food-Poe-Mae-Clair-ebook/dp/B01800L6UE . If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle Reading App for your PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android or tablet: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200783640 . Cats and Christmas. What could be better? J
Merry Pre-Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Mae Clair's Bio:

Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at http://maeclair.net/
Sign up for Mae’s newsletter http://maeclair.net/newsletter-sign-up/
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
http://maeclair.net/blog/
https://twitter.com/MaeClair1 (@MaeClair1)
https://plus.google.com/+MaeClair/post
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mae-Clair/219356774828949?ref=hl
http://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1394989729&sr=8-1
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/29541
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair
https://www.pinterest.com/maeclair/
Purchase FOOD FOR POE from Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Food-Poe-Mae-Clair-ebook/dp/B01800L6UE





Thanks so much for participating, Mae!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Different but better







As Thanksgiving approached this year, I found myself angry and upset. Because of Mom's dementia and confusion about so many things, I'd wanted to take the full responsibilities of the dinner upon myself. I wanted her to relax, sit back and let someone else do all the cooking, all the preparation, all of it. No such thing happened.

About a month ago, Mom announced that she wanted to buy the turkey. I begged and pleaded, telling her it was way too early, first of all. I told her that they've come to my house for the last five years, and wouldn't she like to do that again? Wouldn't she like to just enjoy the meal and get out of her house for a change? Nope. Mom would get upset every time the turkey battle would ensue. She'd huff and puff on the phone when we spoke, acting what I thought was rather childish. Little temper tantrums about how she wanted to do this, and a day or so without speaking to me after she got upset over mashed potatoes.

I cried myself to sleep a few nights about this change of power. I felt wronged and I grieved over the injustice done to me. Then it hit me. This is not about me. This is about her illness. An illness of the mind. She doesn't have control over much these days, not her thoughts or actions at times. Perhaps this Thanksgiving meal is the last hurrah of sorts. Her one way to gain control over a situation that is important to her. For cooking and baking have always been Mom's strengths. We had meals through the years, and not only the Italian ones, meals that were homey and good. Baked goods and homemade pizza that rivaled most of the best pizza parlors in town. This is where Mom felt safe. Her kitchen. A place where she always had control. And here I was trying the power struggle to take it away from her.

When I let my pride go and got into the spirit of things, I immediately felt a release of all the pent up emotions of the last few weeks. If it was this important to her, then I'd make it my priority for it to be important to me. Mom started days before Thanksgiving with a chocolate cake. Then another dessert she always makes called refrigerator cake. (Recipe to follow.) She threw together a batch of unbaked cookies. She made potato salad even though I told her we wanted mashed potatoes. There was no stopping the whirlwind frenzy that was my mother in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving.

I fretted over the bird most of all. I wondered if she remembered how to make one. Was her stuffing going to turn out? Would that turkey be fully cooked? Were we all headed to the emergency room afterward?

My brother and father helped Mom best they could until I arrived early Thanksgiving morning. And I was surprised that the turkey sat in the oven, already stuffed, already baking. As the hours ticked by, and each additional preparation began, the heavenly aroma lay about the house as the bird continued to roast.

I found a meat thermometer which pleased me to no end a little later. And when I inserted it into the breast, I saw it jump to the proper reading. It was finished! Wow, and it looked great! The picture above is indeed of the main event. On my parents old stove sat the pride of my mother. She'd remembered and done well I might add. Yes, she talked about the same things over and over yesterday. She checked and double checked things many times. But each of us handled it with good grace and a sense of humor. We enjoyed the day, so thankful for the blessing of our family. So grateful to still have Mom and Dad with us and the closeness of the loud Italian family I speak of so often.

No, it wasn't like Thanksgiving's of the past. It was different, yet somehow better. Years and memories have come and gone. Good times and bad, happiness and sadness. One thing remains: the love.

Refrigerator cake:
Package of graham crackers
Large box of Vanilla pudding, the type you have to cook
Large box of Chocolate pudding,the type you have to cook
Milk
Bananas optional

Layer graham crackers in a 13x9 pan across the bottom, breaking them to fit. Do not crush them, lay them flat.

Cook vanilla and chocolate puddings according to package directions.

Begin with a thin layer of chocolate pudding across the graham crackers, spreading it evenly. Then layer graham crackers across the top. (Remember do not crush them, lay them whole.) Alternate with vanilla pudding, etc until you end up with pudding on the top. Now you can slice bananas onto the dessert if you wish, then refrigerate. No baking involved.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our talented youth



When I was fifteen I wrote what I thought was an extremely good short story. I'd certainly read enough books to understand the dynamics of writing, or so I'd thought. I listened to lyrics of songs, picturing grand novels from them, and obsessed over the movies I loved. How difficult could this be?

I handed the story that was about two best friends to my mother. It was a tragic tale, since one of them dies. I sat nearby waiting for the reaction I was sure would come from my mom. She'd clutch the pages to her chest, tears rolling down her face. She'd tell me it was Pulitzer Prize worthy, and she'd take me out of high school so I could begin my journey as a best-selling author.

Nothing of the sort happened. You see, Mom did something totally unexpected. She broke into gales of laughter instead. First, a slight chuckle emanated from her. Then total guffaws racked her body. My young fragile psyche was ruined. Laughing! You should be crying, Mother dear. I grabbed the story from her, ripping it into the smallest pieces I possibly could, and promptly threw the offensive story into the trashcan.

Nowadays, we parents try a little too hard to be our child's best friend. We praise them for every little deed they do, acting as if they'll win the prize for best daughter or son if they simply wake up in the morning. Now I realize what happened to me as a teenager might be a bit extreme. I'm not damaged or anything from my mother's reaction to the story I'd written. I mean, yeah, years of therapy and hundreds of dollars later, I'm okay, at least I think so. . .

Seriously though, it's good to have a little dissension. It's good for kids to have to work hard at what they do. They shouldn't automatically receive an A+ for a job that isn't their best. It's too easy to praise without the effort put forth into most things our children do. We shouldn't protect them from every scrape or bruise either. Because one day, they'll walk out into the world, and someone or something will hurt them and they will crumble right on the spot. But if we, as parents let them try something, fail perhaps at it, pick themselves up and do it again, but better this time, our child will have learned a valuable lesson.

I have gone from being laughed at to becoming a published author. And it wasn't overnight and it certainly wasn't easy. There were bumps and bruises along the way. Rejections and negativity. But there also is joy. Joy in encouraging someone with a piece I've written. A book that resounded with them, and a person shares with me their own tales because a character of mine touched a sensitive nerve or reminded them of someone they encountered.

Recently I've begun to mentor young writers. You can ask them if I'm fair. I think they'll tell you that I am. I give praise where it's due, and critique when necessary. But you can see the look on their face when they realize that they've pushed themselves out of their comfort zones. The moment when what I'm teaching them clicks into realization about a sentence or paragraph. When I ask, "would your character really do or say that?" They may even tell you that one day, they, too will become a published author. Chances are, they probably will.






Sunday, October 11, 2015

He Ain't Heavy







This morning in church I saw a sight I would never have believed. As service was about to begin in my non-denominational church, a man walked in with a large child across his shoulders. At first glance, I thought perhaps they were joking around, and that the dad would place the child down after a few giggles.

We all stood to our feet as the band came out onto the stage, the first chords of music punctuating the air, and the wonderful feel of community and oneness. The father chose to stand two rows in front of me, and the child remained across his shoulders. What on earth? I began thinking. Then I saw the child had bare feet and had an I-pad of some sort clutched in her hands. She was older, perhaps ten or so. As the music progressed, the father adjusted her in his arms, never losing grip of this large child over his shoulders as her hands played across the I-pad.

In my judgmental mind, I thought it was the most insane sight I'd ever seen. Then realization dawned on me finally of the situation. This child was handicapped. And the father never blinked an eye, stood with the rest of the congregation swaying back and forth in a soothing motion to the music for his child as he readjusted her weight only a few times as he kept her across his back.

Wow, I thought, he must be one strong man. His neck and arms were heavily corded with muscles. No wonder, I thought again, he must do this all the time. I felt drawn to watching this scenario as the music played on. I found myself offering prayers for this man and the burden he literally shouldered.

When the music had finished and it was time to welcome one another with a greeting, this man didn't hesitate to turn in all directions to say good morning to those of us who were seated near him. He had a smile on his face that I'll never forget.

Even when we sat, the father took his child to him, placing her in front of him this time, cradling her throughout the service, occasionally soothing her with his body language.

Wow, Lord, I thought. Is this how you care for us? You are known as the Good Shepherd. You are known to take care of us, your flock. You are known to go back for that one stray lamb who wanders from the fold every so often.

It hit me how great the love of our God is for us. If a man can love his handicapped child so much that he puts his own comfort aside and can bodily carry her across his shoulders, how much greater is the love of our Heavenly Father who carries our weight and burdens across His?

Think about it friends. We serve a most awesome, powerful God. A God that adores us and carries us when we need it most. Let's let Him into our hearts. Let's not miss the beckon of His hands when it's time for Him to pick us up and put us onto His shoulders.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

When Darkness Descends





The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
George Santayana


What if we weren't permitted to speak any longer? What if our country was run by a dictatorial genius who held a dark secret and our future in the palm of his hand?

Could it happen, friends? I know of past times when the will of one madman ruled a country and tried to eliminate a whole race of people.

Frightening death camps, families torn apart, the fate of their loved ones unknown. Belongings, all they held dear, taken from them. Hard labor, starvation, death.

It scares me to think there are people who say "the Holocaust never happened." There are those who may never know of the reign of terror of one man, Adolph Hitler. Since I was a very young girl, it has bothered me, thinking that one person could dominate an entire nation and have his evil henchmen do his bidding. How he or any man could decide the fate of who lives and who dies.

In honor of the Jewish people, I have written a story to keep their memories alive. No, it's not always good to ponder the bad, but I believe that our future generations must remember.....must never ever forget. For how else will they keep evil at bay?

Though it's a futuristic society I've written about, think about it. It could happen. Are we headed there already? Who knows. Only you can change it. Let's not let darkness win.

Take a moment to view this powerful trailer. Take a moment to ponder.

 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B62iW31Nlz6EU0tHdVdmWkpSUU0/view




Saturday, September 12, 2015

If it's not working. . . Change it





Why is it that we get stuck in old patterns old behaviors? Why do we stop the progression of time or in some cases of success? How easy is it to stay sedentary, comfortable in our small minds and even smaller worlds?

For I was once such a person. Not driving more than several blocks to my job for many years, and only comfortable to drive one town to the east, west, north or south, I imprisoned myself in a small space. My fears ran rampant with "what ifs?" What if I get lost, have an accident, look foolish? Unable to picture myself venturing further, daring to see what the world held, I felt a complacency and contentedness in staying stuck.

Even when something isn't working, we find ourselves unwilling to put forth the effort for positive changes. For me, it had to be something drastic. I had to move away from all that was dear to me. Was it the right thing to do? Well, I prayed. I sought God's will for my life for the first time in a strong way. I looked for answers and found them, leaving behind (albeit only an hour) my dear family and friends. There were situations and people who were linked to too many past mistakes. I think it was God's way of clearing the road so to speak for new ventures, and mostly to open my heart to His will for me. For how could I have done His will, or grown closer to Him if I continued to place myself in harmful relationships all because of their "comfort?"

No, it isn't easy or fun. It takes work and a few tears, sweat and mostly courage. It feels uncomfortable for a long, long time when we boldly make a change in our lives, taking ourselves miles out of a familiar comfort zone. Is it worth it? Yes. Especially if we dare to believe, dare to wait for the light that comes at the end of the dark, dark road. Will there be moments of strife, of grief, of mourning the past and our old ways? You bet. But let it go. Watch it swirl away in a cleansing bath of tears. Give up the easy mindset and trade it for the life you were meant to live. Don't be stuck in familiarity because it is easy. Dare to do the difficult. Dare to challenge yourself and wait with patience, hope, and perseverance the path God has for you as His beloved child. Ask Him. And wait for answer. It may surprise you.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lost in the scent of youth



Photo: daughter-in-law, Colleen and baby McKenna


This weekend my husband and I traveled to North Carolina to meet our grandbaby, McKenna. Upon walking through the door and holding her for the first time, I broke into tears of happiness. She's already three months old, so we missed the precious newborn moments, but immediately I fell in love with the little character she's already becoming.

The faces a baby makes are cause for some of the best laughter. Even when they don't mean to be funny, how can you not smile back at a giggling baby or child? Their whole face lights up, the face of a cherub, and you find time, years, and cares erased from yourself as you mirror that beautiful smile.

Their coos, gurgles and baby sounds are like music to the ears as you wonder what on earth they are thinking, and what are they trying to tell you.

But did you ever notice that nothing, and I mean nothing has the fragrance of a little baby. Well, barring the moment McKenna did her number two duty on my lap, but I'm talking about the fresh scent of youth and a lifetime of fairytale wishes, hopes and dreams before them. For that's the scent of a child. Innocent, pure, lovely and beautiful as God formed them to be. I breathe it in, and realize that at that moment, I don't have a care in the world. Nothing but that precious child matters, a life literally in the palms of my hands.

I have two full days to spend with her. Not nearly enough time when your children live out of state, having to go where their jobs and lives take them. But you can be sure that I will spend many wonderful moments lost not only in the scent and antics of this little girl, but being captivated by the spell she's put upon my heart because I know what unconditional love feels like.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mistakes are a part of life





I met with one of my oldest and dearest friends today for breakfast. After great, heartfelt talk, I almost broke into tears. I thanked this particular friend for being there through some of the toughest moments of my life. Not only the normal ups and downs caused by regular day to day living, but the moments where I brought grief upon myself.

I thought back to the times in my life where I made some of the stupidest decisions in my dating choices. This friend would patiently talk me through them and talk to me about God's forgiveness, encouraging me to read my bible. During these times, I would feel as if God Himself wouldn't want to hear from me, so I stayed away from Him, feeling as if I was hiding.

My friend once told me that God throws our sins into the "sea of forgetfulness" when we confess. Being brought up Catholic and Italian, guilt and sorrow were the usual motivators. I would beat myself up for the longest time over particular instances. I felt that my sins were the worst in the world, and surely even God would never forgive me. My choices in relationships were volatile, and I fretted many a night over the issues brought on by them.

Looking back now, I wish I'd have done many things differently. I found that I was "addicted to relationships," something I encourage young girls to think seriously about before jumping in with both feet to the wrong person. In my loneliness at times, I would obsess over the next person to date, the next frenzy of hurry up and wait for the phone to ring. And in my loneliness, I would make mistake after mistake many times living with the shame of a wrong decision, hurting only myself in the process.

Take time to get to know and love yourself. I wish I'd have done this many times over. I wish I could erase the pain of a failed marriage, an abusive boyfriend, if only I'd have done my homework a little better and known what was right for me instead of always feeling I had to "have someone."

Oh how much farther I'd be in life and better off if the control freaks wouldn't have monitored my every move. How can I blame them? I allowed it to happen.

I envy people who never loved and lost. Though I believe in true love, I also know now that not everyone has a need to be with a partner. There are people who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin, enjoying their life to the fullest. Their attitude is, "if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm okay with that too."

It's time to move on from my past. After all, mistakes are a part of life, and I've learned some serious lessons from them. But when I see my son who is well-adjusted, stable and happy, I know somehow, somewhere I made at least one really good decision.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

History does repeat itself







The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke



The parallels between the Nazi regime and my new dystopian story scare me. Especially in light of watching Adolph Hitler on the military channel recently.

Frank Tomlinson, in my book "Sound of Silence," is a man obsessed with power. Full of himself, a God-complex, disturbingly handsome and charming. It is his decree, the "Sound of Silence" law, that governs the New United States in the year 2050.

One regular man, Raymond Warren watches as an elderly woman falls in a transportation portal. Nobody comes up to her aid, and he doesn't think twice about helping her. She thanks him out loud in a world that doesn't permit speaking any longer. Ray, without even thinking says the words that will condemn him: "You're welcome." From here, he's on the run from the future military police, the Stewards of Order, who are the executioners and "peace keepers" of the future.

Ray must leave the wife and young daughter he loves to ensure their safety. As he's ready to walk out of his home for what may be forever, his eyes are drawn to the scar on his daughter's throat. The surgical implant paralyzing all children's vocal chords in the last ten years.

Free today, August 4th and Weds. August 5th on Amazon. The story will soon continue...

Reviews:
There is something endearing in Karen Malena’s writing, a warmth that is captivating. Her stories always revolve around relationships and family, dedication and faith, overcoming obstacles that every reader can relate to. Many of those elements are present in Sound of Silence even as Ms Malena delves into a dark, sinister dystopian future reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451 or Soylent Green, a world where adults are forbidden to speak and little children are never given the chance. Mark Venturini, Fantasy author

Have you seen Equilibrium with Christian Bale? I thought about that movie all the time when I read Karen Malena's The Sound of Silence because the concept was so similar. But whereas Equilibrium deals with a man who tries to overthrow the system in a future where feelings are illegal, Karen Malena uses the same concept and sets it in a world in which no one is allowed to speak. As far as I know, this idea has never been used in books or movies before, but it's so very efficient. Just like with her previous book, Piggy, Karen Malena's writing flows effortlessly and makes even a dark, daring subject such as this one entertaining. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series will turn out. Vanessa Morgan, author

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Silence-Part-One-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZSOUMFQ/ref=cm_rdp_product_img

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Avalon, a cat story for all time



 Some cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.

Many of us have been touched by a beloved pet. Some of us may have cats or dogs that have been with us for years and they've become members of our families. Recently I had the pleasure of finding one of the most touching animal stories of all time. In her lovely book, Avalon, Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan shares a story of the love between pet and owner, a bond so strong it was seemingly unbreakable. 

I was fortunate enough to read this amazing tale, which is part memoir of Ms. Morgan's life as well. I found her honesty and life story compelling, gritty and poignant. I saw myself mirrored in many of her insecurities, and rejoiced in her triumphs. Mostly I sat amazed in what I read about a feline companion of which I've never seen the likes before.

Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.

With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon's demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.

Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.

Vanessa tells us a little about her writing journey:

"I've always been interested in stories.

As a toddler, I listened to my grandfather's bedtime stories about Laurel & Hardy going on a safari. In my childhood, I buried myself in books. And in my teens, I watched more movies in a year than there were days.

Yet it wasn't until my early twenties that I developed the desire to write my own fictional stories. I lived in London at that time and was completely obsessed with West End theater. During a theatrical performance of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, I suddenly KNEW that I would never feel accomplished if I didn't write something just as beautiful.

In the months that followed, I became well aware of what I wanted to write. I especially liked stories that either scared me to death or provided readers/viewers with a sense of recognition regarding the darker sides of people's personalities and lives.

Scaring people was easy, so I started with that. My first two books, Drowned Sorrow and The Strangers Outside, were supernatural thrillers with one aim: to make readers so uncomfortable and scared they could hardly sleep at night.

My third release, A Good Man, was a mix of both genres. It was still a horror story, but my desire to focus on characters and unravel dark truths was slowly taking the upper hand.

Only now, with my latest book, Avalon, was I brave enough to embrace that honesty one hundred percent. It's easy to just give bits and pieces of the truth and adapt the rest to what you think the story and audience wants to read. I tried that with Avalon as well. It didn't work. If I wanted my book to have an emotional impact, I had to get uncomfortable and reveal the things I tried so hard to hide all my life. It was hard. It was scary. But with Avalon, I finally became the writer I wanted to be."

She is kind enough to share a humorous blurb from her story:

Around three o’clock that night, Avalon was fed up with the strange man in his bed. He plonked his rear down on Gillespillow, complaining fretfully in his ear while tapping him on the face.
After nearly an hour of incessant wailing and poking, more drastic measures were required. The new solution: pushing Gilles out of bed.
Avalon succeeded.
Climbing back under the covers wasn’t an option. Unable to sleep, Gilles got up. "I guess I didn't pass the test."
"Give Avalon some time. Maybe he was just irked because you took his side of the bed."
But Gilles had already understood that this wasn't going to be a one-time event.
For several minutes, Gilles and Avalon sized each other up. Then Gilles said, "I’d better leave the two of you alone now. It’s clearly what the little guy wants."
I swear I could see Avalon smirking when Gilles put on his jacket and left.
Instantly, Avalon leapt onto me, and compensated for the evening before. He entered a kiss-induced trance. This cat was all about exclusivity, and when granted that exclusivity, his love was immense.
"Are you really that happy that Gilles is gone?"
In reply, Avalon looked at me with swoony eyes and purred loudly, then swatted out his paw to urge me to continue to pet him, which I did.
A phone call interrupted our tender moment. It was Gilles.
"There won't be any train to Brussels for hours," he said. "Is it okay if I come back to your place for a while?"
"Of course." His return would offend Avalon, but I couldn’t possibly leave Gilles outside in the rain for several hours.
As soon as Gilles appeared at the front door, Avalon’s pupils widened to a pitch black.
Let's see who's the boss here, he seemed to be thinking.
Being a cat of action, Avalon went through his usual attention-seeking routine: making a selection of irritating noises, scratching the wallpaper, and pushing objects to the ground.
When that didn't work, Avalon opened Gilles' overnight bag and threw out a piece of clothing. His eyes so dark and evil they could be gateways to hell, Avalon stared at his adversary and waited for a reaction. He then pulled out a box of gel wax. Again, he looked up at Gilles to make sure he understood that all this bungling was meant to get a message across. A third object followed, then a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, until there was nothing.
Hell-bent on winning the game, Avalon took Gilles' coat in his mouth and towed it toward the front door. There, he used his right paw to tap the keys hanging from the wooden doorframe.
Avalon’s message couldn’t be any clearer: there was room for only one man in my life. A feline one.

I'd like to thank Vanessa Morgan for being a very special guest on my blog today. If you'd like to purchase Avalon or find her other works and social media, the links are below. She also writes a very special blog for cat lovers all over the world at Traveling Cats. There you will find stunning photos of some of the most beautiful felines and the places they inhabit.


Purchase links for Avalon

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1ImdPRo



Vanessa Morgan is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Two of her works, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man, have been turned into films. Her short film script Next to Her is currently in pre-production. When she's not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats (http://travelling-cats.blogspot.com).


Social media links