Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon. Her articles, essays,
poems and short stories have appeared in several newspapers,
anthologies, magazines and E-zines. She is the author of fourteen books,
among them BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing
Parents; 365 TIPS FOR WRITERS: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat The
Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity; Love is Like a Rainbow:
Poems of Love and Devotion and the children’s book The Yellow
Rose. She is co-author of the book Totally Scared: The Complete
Book on Haunted Houses.
Her Web site is:
Congratulations to Dawn for being in the 2013 Preditors and Editors top
ten in Other Novels Category for Shadow of Samhain and in the 2014
Preditors and Editors Anthology for Anthology for A Ghost on Every
by Dawn Colclasure
Order the Love is Like a
Rainbow Print Book
Order The Yellow Rose Print Book Today!
Order the Shadow of Samhain Print Book Today!
Order the Parenting Pauses Print Book Today!
Order The GHOST Group, Books 1 and 2 PRINT TODAY!
Order A Ghost on Every Corner PRINT TODAY!
Order the Faded Reflection PRINT TODAY!
...a reminder there is still hope in this world.
...a gentle whisper to guide you and give you strength in hard times.
...a neverending bond that transcends death.
...a promise of forever when two people become one.
...a brand new day after life's most turbulent storm.
Love, romance and eternal devotion come to life and restrengthen a bond through the power of verse. With words written from the heart and speaking to the soul, Love is Like a Rainbow contains love poems to remind readers to " let love come in."
Word Count: 9970
Pages to Print: 76
File Format: PDF
(Click here to order the eBook Only; Use the
button below to order your print copy.)
Love is Like a
Rainbow PRINT BOOK!
(ISBN # 978-0-9844521-0-1)
Dawn Colclasure’s dark poetry collection, Songs of the Dead
(formerly named Topiary Dreams), is not only dark, but
passionate. Anger, fear, hurt and betrayal run under the skin of
this work and shine through especially bright in poems such as
No Turning Back, Deep Within and I am Madness. Colclasure
examines the dark side of human nature; murder, drug use,
violence, insanity and isolation. But, beyond the tales of death
and darkness there’s also a message of empowerment; the voice of
someone who has taken too much, for too long and has finally had
Songs of the Dead is a re-release of the chapbook originally
published in 2003 and with more than twenty-seven new poems; it
has more than earned the title “expanded”. Colclasure has a
flair for prose, with lines such as “walk on the moon and hear
the stars breathe,” (from Death Shows my Pain) and different
poetry forms stop the reader from falling into a sing song
rhythm of sameness and help to keep the collection fresh and
interesting, page after page.
Word Count: 5700
Pages to Print: 55
File Format: PDF
||One day a gardener living on a tiny island discovers a
surprise growing in his garden: A beautiful yellow rose that
will never die. Every day he takes care of this perfect rose
until men from a big city come to the island and convince the
gardener to share the rose with the world. The men become very
rich while the yellow rose becomes very weak. The greedy men
want to destroy the rose since it can’t make them anymore money.
Can the gardener save the special rose that he loves so much?
Page down for more information and to order!
Illustrated by Allison Warner
Word Count: 3200 Pages to Print: 39
File Format: PDF
THE YELLOW ROSE PRINT
BOOK! (ISBN # 978-0-9834027-1-8)
|She called him the “dark man.”
Who is Jonathan, a man haunting Malissa Ratham’s dreams? What
sort of secrets from his past does he try to keep buried?
Everybody says the dreams are only dreams and nothing more. But
soon Malissa starts acting strangely, knowing about ancient
Druidic rituals and a history too mysterious to unearth. With
the help of Jovin, an ancient Druidic spirit on a mission to
stop Jonathan from his path of death and destruction, and Tessie
Malkin, a psychic with an advantage over Jonathan’s power,
Malissa must owe up to her past and walk between worlds to
destroy an ancient curse…
…before it is too late
Word Count: 92300
Pages to Print: 313
File Format: PDF
SHADOW OF SAMHAIN PRINT TODAY! (ISBN
|"You have cancer." These are words people dread hearing. But
when worse comes to worst, push comes to shove, something
wonderful happens. More people come together for support and
encouragement. More people participate in "Race for the Cure"
events, and more people discover an inner strength within
themselves that they never knew they had before. On the Wings of
Pink Angels offers a gentle hand through this difficult time,
sharing stories that inspire hope, strength, gratitude and
courage during a time when someone must fight for his or her
life against breast cancer.
Word Count: 32000
Pages to Print: 133
File Format: PDF
||Lynn Johnson’s sister, Patty, visits for Christmas and all
seems to go well until memories of an abusive childhood from the
sisters’ past threaten the holiday cheer. Will the sisters be
able to come together in the spirit of the holiday season in
order to find the power to forgive and move forward in life?
Word Count: 4000
Pages to Print: 18
File Format: PDF
|There’s something different about Sarah Town. It’s brimming
with ghosts—and some of those ghosts need help! That’s where the
GHOST Group comes in—the Ghost Helpers of Sarah Town. The GHOST
Group is made up of five 11-year-old team members: Jesse, Jenny,
Ryan, Trent, and Cassie.
The Ghost of Sarah Travers is the story about Sarah, who Sarah
Town was named after. Her ghost haunts what used to be her home,
but can the kids help her find who she is looking for before the
town skeptic brings an end to ghosthunting in Sarah Town for
The Ghost of the Crying Valentine has the Ghost Group solving
the mystery of a sad ghostly girl haunting their school. Rumors
about this girl ghost catch the attention of a TV show, and the
kids lock horns with the show host as they try to help the
Word Count: 48700
Pages to Print: 184
File Format: PDF
|Being a deaf parent isn’t just about not being able to hear
anything—it’s more. From limited access to information in the
medical establishments to daily challenges in dealing with
discrimination and communication hurdles, the world of deaf
parenting is one fraught with trials, fears and tribulations
that no other parenting experience will offer. But at the same
time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Deaf parents
CAN conquer those trials, they CAN overcome those fears and they
CAN work around those tribulations in order to make deaf
Parenting Pauses will give readers, both deaf and hearing, an
inside look into the world of one deaf parent, along with some
tips and techniques learned along the way.
Word Count: 60844
Pages to Print: 192
File Format: PDF
PARENTING PAUSES PRINT BOOK! (ISBN
|There’s something different about Sarah Town. It’s brimming
with ghosts – and some of those ghosts need help! That’s where
the GHOST Group comes in – the Ghost Helpers of Sarah Town. The
GHOST Group is made up of five 11-year-old team members: Jesse,
Jenny, Ryan, Trent, and Cassie.
The Ghost of the Irish Setter is a “ghost dog” story where team
member Jesse must come to terms with losing his dog, Lolly,
after she ran away. A ghost dog that is an Irish setter seeks
Jesse’s help, but when the rest of the GHOST Group join the
case, it becomes a matter of life or death after Cassie and Ryan
are kidnapped! Can the GHOST Group help the ghost dog? And can
Jesse find out what really happened to Lolly?
In The Ghost of the Missing Hiker, a day of April Fool’s hijinks
turn into another mystery for the GHOST Group. Meanwhile, the
group's helper ghost, Adam, has some bad news for the team, and
Jenny realizes she must accept her special gift and learn how to
use it so she can help other ghosts in Sarah Town.
Word Count: 31700
Pages to Print: 135
File Format: PDF
||There’s something different about Sarah Town. It’s brimming
with ghosts—and some of those ghosts need help! That’s where the
GHOST Group comes in—the Ghost Helpers of Sarah Town. The GHOST
Group is made up of five 11-year-old team members: Jesse, Jenny,
Ryan, Trent, and Cassie.
Four delightful and spooky tales to thrill and delight you:
The Ghost of Sarah Travers
The Ghost of the Crying Valentine
The Ghost of the Irish Setter
The Ghost of the Missing Hiker
ORDER The GHOST Group in Print (ISBN: 978-1-61950-209-3)
|There’s a ghost town then there’s a “ghost” town! A Ghost on
Every Corner is a collection of stories from paranormal
investigators who have done investigations in some of America’s
most haunted cities. Read about the ghost haunting a restaurant
in Galena, Illinois, or about a Gettysburg Battlefield ghost who
follows an investigator home! There’s also Marilyn Monroe’s
ghost haunting the famous Roosevelt Hotel, a ghost violently
attacking an investigator at the Sallie House and the ghost of
Edgar Allan Poe’s adoptive father angrily pushing an
investigator down the stairs! You’ll also get to read historical
(as well as ghostly!) information about places such as The
Alamo, Myrtles Plantation and the famous BirdCage Theater. Walk
with investigators located across the country as they gather
evidence about ghosts and go where no other would dare to tread!
Word Count: 110000
Pages to Print: 393
File Format: PDF
ORDER THE PRINT TODAY! (ISBN:
||Laura Williams takes a chance on Carl Gunderson, and it’s
the most fatal mistake of her life. Carl is convinced Laura is
the wife that he murdered—or thought he murdered. Apparently, he
hadn’t left her for dead after all. Now she’s back in his
life—and this time, he will make sure he finishes her off for
Word Count: 65000
Pages to Print: 217
File Format: PDF
Faded Reflection PRINT TODAY!
|Writing from home can be a challenge when you’ve got one or
more kids tugging at your sleeve for attention. There are days
it seems like you can’t get ANY writing done, and looming
deadlines mean sleepless nights and frazzled nerves. Take heart:
Writing parents who have figured out this writing parent thing
share their stories and the lessons they’ve learned in trying to
find balance between writing and parenting. If you’re a
freelance writer, commercial writer, author or journalist trying
to figure out how to keep your writing career going strong and
be a capable parent at the same time, check out Burning the
Midnight Oil Revisited to get some tips and techniques on how to
make it happen for you!
Word Count: 57337
Pages to Print: 204
File Format: PDF
Love is Like
a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion
“Time passed you by,” said the judge.
“You let life pass. Without a grudge.
You let yourself be pushed and shoved.
What say you?” Said the soul, “I loved.
"I knew the warmth in my heart love gives.
You say I didn’t live. I lived! I lived!
I tasted the passion of love, its voice.
I let love move me, and by choice.
“I knew sorrow, I knew pain.
I let it hit me again and again.
I saw things in ways none other could.
I let love rule my life as it would.
“I opened my heart and gave my all.
This I’d do even after I’d fall.
I journeyed to the ends of the earth.
Knew the joys that came with birth.
"Faced each challenge with my heart so strong
Because love made it that way for so long.
Knew myself in ways I never would otherwise.
Saw true beauty in my beloved’s eyes.
“It was because of love I worked, helped and would create.
I would love first before I’d hate.
Love was there to make sure I’d give a helping hand.
Love taught me how to better understand.
“Love filled my heart more even after it burst full.
Because of love, my life was never dull.
No other feeling did as much for my life or make me feel so moved.
For this, I truly lived, because I loved.”
Back to Love is Like a Rainbow
Songs of the Dead
|I’m the Only One Who Can Take
Push me now into your veins.
Push me softly, deep inside.
Let me take you far away
Where you won’t have to run and hide.
Forget your tears, forget your pain.
Escape from this world of despair.
Come to me, I will save you
I’m the only one who can take you there.
You don’t need to be afraid.
I will shield you in my arms.
No more sadness, no more pain.
I'll protect you from life’s harms.
Never fail you, always true.
And you enjoy the things I do.
You won’t find better relief anywhere
Because I’m the only one who can take you there.
to Songs of the Dead
| “Hooray! A new day is here to
work in my garden!” a gardener living on a tiny island cried
out with joy one morning. The sun woke him up, and he’d just
finished eating all of his breakfast.
He got all of his gardening tools and went outside of
his small hut to where all of his flowers, plants and fruit
He knelt down in one spot of his garden where he grew
flowers. He used a small shovel to move soil away from the
ground. He opened his hand and dropped seeds into the hole
he had made. He covered up the hole with the soil. “That
should do it!” he said, patting the soil down onto the
ground. “Now you are at home!”
He stood from the ground and walked through his
colorful garden. He ran his hand through his black hair,
looking up at the sun shining in the sky. What good weather
for his plants to be growing in!
He looked back down at his flowers. He checked on his
many lilies, begonias, tulips and daisies. Every flower was
safe and looked very healthy.
Back to The Yellow Rose
|Shadow of Samhain
He awoke from a deep sleep. The white wall above should have
been familiar to the person whose body he inhabited, but it
wasn’t familiar to him. In fact, the daylight stretching
across the white wall was unfamiliar to what he’d known for
all these centuries. Such darkness.
He rose up in the bed, staring around the room. This was
Malissa’s room. There was her desk by the window. Her
dresser stood by the closed closet. And there, on her floor,
sat her shoes.
They were all things that belonged to Malissa Ratham. So
this was how she lived outside of the dream world.
He climbed out of the bed. The comforter and sheets felt so
soft and warm, a far cry from the dirty blanket he’d slept
with on the cold floor of a thatched hut. He examined the
girl’s hands, smiling over how clean and perfect they
looked. Even the nails on her fingers were perfect; she
obviously didn’t bite them. He hoped she took likewise good
care of the rest of herself; the last thing he wanted to
worry about was tooth pain.
He walked to the closet and swung open both doors. The
clothes inside consisted of blouses, skirts, sweaters and
pants, all in feminine colors. All clothes that were typical
of a 17-year-old female. He removed a denim, long-sleeved
dress and held it in front of him. He’d have to get used to
dressing like a girl. After all, that was the gender of the
body he was in now.
But gender was unimportant. All that mattered was that he’d
finally overpowered the girl whose dreams he’d inhabited.
Now he was free to have his revenge.
He quietly removed the pajamas, grateful that they were at
least a pants and top ensemble, then put the dress on. He
added a wide brown belt around the waist, then located a
pair of white stockings in the dresser drawer. He put these
on then slid into the brown leather moccasins on the floor.
He walked out of the room and crept through the hallway,
examining the faces in the framed photos. None of the
children looked familiar, yet when he saw Jane’s face, he
stopped. He stared at the wedding picture, looking at the
man hugging Jane then back at Jane’s face. The face was that
of an older Jane, but he still knew that face very well.
“What are you doing?”
He turned, then smiled. The girl with long blond hair looked
exactly as Jane once had, when Jane had been fifteen years
“Where is Jane?” he asked.
He thought a minute then remembered. Jane had changed her
name long ago. He looked at the girl again. “Janay.”
The girl scrunched her face. “Don’t you mean Mom?”
“Where is she?”
“At work.” She studied his face. “Malissa, are you okay?”
He walked up to the girl, smiling at her. She still wore her
pajamas. “Fine.” He put a hand on the girl’s shoulder.
“Everything is fine.” He leaned over to look the girl in her
eyes. “Where does she work?”
The girl blinked in surprise. “At the fabric store. You’ve
been there to buy stuff for clothes.”
He smiled, then turned to walk away. Finding the fabric
store would not be a problem; the location was somewhere in
As he entered the kitchen, he heard the girl say, “Can you
take me to school? Malissa?”
He walked outside and down the steps. The October wind beat
against him, blowing the long black hair in either
direction. He moved a strand of hair from her eyes and
looked around. This was the backyard; he saw a door to the
garage, a tire swing hung from a tree, and bikes were parked
along the wooden fence.
He walked to one of the larger bikes, then led it out of the
yard through a gate. He examined the seat, the frame and
tires. He recalled memories of how Malissa rode the bike in
the past, pedaling the rectangular metal things on a
rotating bar in the lower center. He climbed onto the bike
and started to peddle it down the driveway, shaking as he
adjusted his balance.
He searched the street signs as she pedaled, watching for
cars and buses that passed by. He soon entered a busy town
and steered the bike through the crowds of people walking
along the street and sidewalks, the girl’s hair blowing in
the wind. Everyone he saw wore a coat, sweater or jacket.
Even though the denim was sufficient for warmth, he hoped
being without an extra garment didn’t make the girl stand
The fabric store finally came into view. He parked the bike
against the wall next to it, then walked inside. Only two
other people were in the store today: Jane and a customer.
Jane stood next to a swinging tray of assorted cloths,
discussing one such fabric with an elderly woman.
He slowly approached Jane, eyes fixed on the woman’s face.
The face Jane had now was calm and relaxed, speaking with
this elderly woman in a soft tone of voice. Yet as he walked
toward Jane, all he saw was the face of the frightened
ten-year-old girl the woman had once been.
Jane finally caught sight of him. “Malissa? What are you
He stopped in mid-step. He stared hard at Jane, the anger
rushing through his veins.
“I have come back for you, Jane,” was all he said. The body
may have been female, but the voice definitely sounded like
it should have been male. It was his voice, after all.
The elderly woman stared at her. She took one look at the
girl’s face, then gasped. She backed away, slinking back
with one cautious step after another.
“Malissa?” Jane asked, her voice curious and her eyes never
leaving the person she saw as her daughter as she put the
piece of cloth back onto the tray.
“You thought you could escape me,” he said, still using his
voice. “You were wrong.” He chuckled. “I have your daughter.
And now I have you.”
The elderly woman stopped moving away. Her eyes fluttered
and she fainted.
Jane looked to the woman, then back at him. She studied him
for a few moments then took a step forward.
He threw his arms out at her and used his power to throw her
back. She screamed as she toppled over the tray, then fell
to the floor. Fabric sheets drifted down to her back as she
groaned. She turned and looked up at him standing over her.
“Please,” she sobbed, her wide eyes trying to understand
what was happening. “Please, Malissa. What are you doing?”
He turned and tore a metal bar off of a display rack. She
heard Jane gasp, then whisper, “Oh, my God,” as he slowly
turned back to face her. He gripped the metal bar with both
hands and held it above him.
“No!” he heard Jane scream.
His gaze fixed ahead, Jonathan mechanically brought the
metal bar down. He heard Jane scream, “No!” again, then all
sound suddenly disappeared as he froze, holding the bar in
Jonathan! a woman’s voice commanded in his mind.
The image of an African-American woman wearing
rainbow-colored clothes and assorted jewelry came to him
through some kind of link. The woman pointed directly at him
as she spoke. Jonathan! Harm her no more.
He held the metal bar inches over the sobbing figure of Jane
Ratham. His vision of the store in front of him—with the
counter, cash register, assorted fabric displays and
homemade clothing—all suddenly disappeared. A bright light
shone in his eyes as something, some form, pushed him away
and out of the body he had stolen.
Malissa felt herself returning to life within her body
again, consciousness sweeping through her.
The air left her lungs for only a moment as she realized
she’d been out of her body all this time, then she collapsed
to the floor, releasing the metal bar as darkness overtook
Shadow of Samhain
|On the Wings of Pink
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985
by a variety of health and medical organizations promoting
the message of breast cancer awareness.
You can visit the site here: http://www.nbcam.org/
And here is the Wiki page:
Since its inception, businesses and charities across the
globe have stepped up to do their part in the fight against
breast cancer. Major corporations such as ValPak, Walmart
and Lands End have participated in NBCAM in some form or
another. They have distributed flyers and informational
documents about breast cancer among employees and customers,
created support groups to help those with breast cancer and
created an in-house breast cancer screening program. Even
the government has done its part in participating in NBCAM,
by including a message about breast cancer on government
employee pay stubs during the month of October.
Over the years, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has
been a month of challenges, inspiration, support—as well as
controversy. A local breast imaging center in Eugene, Oregon
started a “Make Time for the Girls” campaign during National
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2010. The idea of calling
breasts “the girls” was met with a public outcry, spurring
many residents to complain to their local newspaper about
such insensitivity. Still, the campaign persevered. Another
year when NBCAM rolled around, many people on Facebook
shared a status update saying, “Let’s find a cure for ALL
cancers, not just breast cancer.” The purpose of National
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to promote awareness and
support for anyone fighting for their life against breast
cancer. Yes, we do want an end to ALL cancers one day, but
let us remember that this special month was not created to
slight the other cancers, or even to dismiss the struggles
of those afflicted with other cancers. Let us march forward
with our pink ribbons spreading the message that the fight
against breast cancer, and indeed all cancers worldwide,
must continue to go strong.
Beating Time At Its Own Game: Life Begins With Cancer
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
The day after my biopsy, my husband and I drove to Las Vegas
on a business trip, never thinking about possibilities. We
stopped at the state line for a ride on the giant Ferris
wheel. We shelled giant prawns for lunch at the Stardust
buffet. We slid quarters into a slot machine—the old
fashioned kind I like with spinning cherries that will
surely triple my money and spill the winnings into a silver
That was not a bad approach at the time. There is no reason
to assume the worst, to project abject possibilities that
may never come to pass onto the present. Denial is sometimes
very useful. On the other hand, it often keeps one from
examining one’s own behavior, one’s own motivations. I share
this anecdote because it illustrates how thoroughly denial
had become entrenched in my life.
I was raised in times that were not easy for women. Most of
the barriers I faced were ones that couldn’t be seen nor
acknowledged because I didn’t know they were there. They
crept up silently on padded feet and, if I sensed them at
all, I chose not to turn and face them.
This faculty for denial was intact and very healthy when I
was diagnosed with cancer. By 3 p.m. that day, the picture
was not so jolly. We had to return home so I could begin
autogenous blood donations. The risk of AIDS in the blood
supply was still high; my doctor believed that we should
have my own blood on hand in case it was needed.
My first reaction was true to pattern. I reassured myself
that everything was going to be just fine, that I wasn’t
nervous, that cancer was not a terrifying word.
Unfortunately, my doctor had not sounded especially positive
when he demanded that we set a surgery date in that moment,
over the phone.
My husband was also up to the task. “We won’t work today.
We’ll just take off, have some fun and drive back tonight.”
We were two peas in a pod. We’d both try anything other than
just saying, “Gee, I’m scared.”
I almost went along with that plan. Instead, I used the time
on the open road to meditate. In that time, I realized—sort
of knew at a cellular level—that I had to do more than
donate blood to myself and that cancer doesn’t just happen.
|Back to On
the Wings of Pink Angels
“Is she here yet?”
Lynn Johnson smiled. “You just asked me that five minutes
ago.” She turned away from the potato salad she’d been
stirring at the kitchen counter, and then sighed as she
folded her arms at her son. “I’m sure she’ll get here soon.
What’s up with the impatience?”
Her sixteen-year-old son smiled, showing white teeth that
seemed to make his blue eyes sparkle. “I just can’t wait to
see the look on her face when she opens my present for her.”
She nodded, and then walked over to him and put her arm
around his shoulders. “It’s a special Christmas for all of
us. I haven’t seen your Aunt Patty for ages. She’s always
been too busy with her job. The globe-trotting newspaper
reporter.” She swung her head around and nearly sang the
“I’m proud of her, Mom; and you should be, too. Even if
she’s not ever around in person, at least we get to have her
“Yes, and I’m proud of her, too.” She tousled his black
hair. “Now go get your sister. It’s almost time to eat.”
She folded her arms over her chest again and smiled as she
watched her son walk away, knowing she didn’t have to remind
him to wash his hands before dinnertime. Andy knew what was
expected of him. So did his sister, Lillie.
As she turned to walk back into the kitchen, Lynn caught
sight of the snow coming down outside the dining room
window. She frowned, walking over to the window and placing
her hands on the sill. She stood there watching all the snow
that just never seemed to allow a clear view of anything.
The radio had said the weather conditions might cause a
delay for incoming flights, but hadn’t Patty’s plane landed
hours ago? She hoped the car her sister rented wasn’t stuck
somewhere. Then again, she’d probably call on her cell if
anything went wrong.
“We can’t eat dinner yet!”
Lynn turned from the window to see her fourteen-year-old
daughter, Lillie, standing next to the dining room table,
her arms outstretched. The only thing her hair had in common
with her mother’s was the blond color; Lillie’s hair ran
down her back, whereas Lynn’s was cut to shoulder-length.
She had her mother’s green eyes, but her hips were a tad
wider than Lynn’s. Still, Lillie remained active in sports,
the sweatshirt bearing the emblem of the local tennis club
proving as much.
“Aunt Patty’s not here,” Lillie continued.
Lynn smiled. “Don’t worry. She should be here any minute!”
As if on cue, a knock sounded at the door.
“See?” Lynn said, looking from her daughter to the door as
she walked to it.
“It might be Dad,” Lillie mumbled.
“Think positive,” Lynn sang. “And anyway, why on earth would
your father knock at his own door?”
Lynn didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, she unlocked the
front door and opened it. Her eyes widened, she smiled and a
squeal of excitement left her mouth as she jumped up and
down at the sight of her sister on the porch. “Patty!”
“Sis!” Patty Everett exclaimed, holding out her arms to
return Lynn’s embrace.
The two women moved away from each other. “Look at you, all
covered with snow!” Lynn said, brushing snow off of her
younger sister’s coat.
“And look at you, still as skinny as ever,” Patty said. She
shook her head. “I don’t think you’ll ever lose that
California girl image, no matter how far east you move or
how old you are.”
“Every year I get older is a gift!” Lynn enthused.
“Speak for yourself; I’m not exactly looking forward to
turning thirty-five next year.”
“Aunt Patty, you’re here!” Lillie said behind Lynn. Lynn
moved away so that Lillie could hug her aunt.
“Lillie! So good to see you!” Patty gushed, hugging her
“I missed you,” Lillie said, moving back to stand by her
“I missed you too, sweetie,” Patty replied.
“Is that Aunt Patty I hear?”
The group turned to see Andy walking toward them, holding a
wrapped Christmas gift.
“There you are, Andy!” Patty exclaimed, smiling and holding
her arms out to hug her nephew.
“I’m so glad you made it,” Andy said, hugging her. “We were
“You’re lucky your house isn’t buried in all this snow!”
Andy held up his free hand. “Not on my watch!”
The Perfect Christmas
|The Ghost Group Book
The Creepy Substitute
Anybody who looked up Sarah Town on the Internet would see
the words historical town. Jesse Wolf knew what a historical
town was. His parents had explained it to him a couple of
years ago when he’d asked why the town looked like it
was—well, old. It was an historical town, they said, and
that meant it was being preserved to look like it did when
it was established back in the 1800s.
So maybe that was why walking through Sarah Town was like
taking a step back in time to the Old West. Of course, Sarah
Town wasn’t even in the west; but it had that look and feel
to it, like pictures he’d seen of what the Old West looked
He could see it all now, as he looked out the window of the
car he was riding in. The buildings made out of wood, just
like the buildings in the pictures. The large and fancy
writing on these buildings and signs that was the same as in
those pictures. There were even posts in front of the
buildings for people to tie their horses to.
He looked straight ahead this time to see the road in front
of his father’s car. There weren’t any horses on the road,
of course. There were cars. Everybody drove cars or maybe
rode a bicycle. Some drove trucks.
In fact, there was a gigantic truck right there in front of
his father’s car right now, coming straight at them.
Jesse stopped smiling and his eyes grew wide.
Wait a minute, straight at them?
“Look out, Dad!” Jesse cried, flying to the edge of his seat
and gripping the sides of the seat in front of him.
He gasped and clung onto that seat for dear life as Mr. Wolf
shook awake and swung the steering wheel to the right side.
Jesse’s teeth chattered and his heart pounded in his chest
as horns honked all around him and his father’s car spun in
a circle on the snow-covered street.
Mr. Wolf got the car straight again and parked it on the
side of the road. He turned around to look at Jesse. “Are
you okay, son?”
Clutching the seat in front of him, his eyes still wide,
Jesse breathed in quick bursts of air. He finally managed to
let go of the seat as he slid backward. He rested his hand
on his chest, feeling it move up and down with each breath.
“I’m still breathing.”
Mr. Wolf sighed, wiping his forehead. “That was a close
Jesse nodded, trying to relax. That was too close!
“I must have dozed off,” his father said, sitting straight
in the driver’s seat again and switching the gears of the
car. He pulled away from the side of the road and drove down
the street. “I’ve been working so much, you know.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jesse said as he let out a large breath of
air. His dad’s working a lot wasn’t anything new. It seemed
like he was working so much a lot of the time. Someone
needed their door fixed or someone wanted to add another
room to their house. His father was not the only carpenter
in Sarah Town, but sometimes it seemed like he was, because
people were always calling him to do one job or another.
This was good because it meant he had work. Some people in
Sarah Town were not so lucky. Jesse frowned as he thought of
his friend, Brian, whose father lost his job as an
electrician two months before and hadn’t found another.
They’d had to ask for help from neighbors and other people
in Sarah Town to get food or go to the doctor. Not too long
ago, he’d gone to Brian’s house with his mother and watched
her hand Brian’s mother a big brown bag of food. Brian had
looked a little uncomfortable about it. Jesse remembered how
Brian didn’t like talking about getting food from people; he
mostly wanted to play video games on the TV in the living
room. Jesse started to think maybe it was a good thing that
his dad worked, because he might feel the same way Brian
did, if his family had to get food from their neighbors.
But what was bad about his dad working so much was that he
was rarely at home. He was always working! And always
working meant he didn’t get a lot of sleep, either.
Jesse looked down at his blue backpack on the seat next to
him. He picked it up, then zipped it open. He had everything
he needed for his first day back at school after Winter
Break: his blue binder with all of its folders in it,
pencils, erasers, pens, a ruler and a spiral notebook of
paper. He was ready for his first day back.
Or was he?
A reminder flashed through his mind. A reminder of something
else he was supposed to bring back to school with him. He
gasped. “Oh, no!” he exclaimed, slapping his forehead.
“Something wrong?” his father asked.
“I forgot to make a New Year’s resolution,” he answered.
“Our teacher asked us to write a paper during Winter Break
about what our New Year’s resolution is. We’re supposed to
turn it in today!”
“You can always work on it later.”
“I know, but I just wish I had it done already.” He’d always
had his homework done before. How could he go back to school
with an incomplete assignment now? What a way to start a new
school year. He’d have to be sure he would stay on top of
things and get his homework done. It wasn’t any fun working
on incomplete homework during morning recess. That’s what
anyone who forgot to finish their assignments on time had to
And now it would be his turn to miss morning recess so that
he could complete an assignment.
He sighed as he looked out the window. Kids wearing
backpacks were walking to school. They all probably had made
a New Year’s resolution. He didn’t have a New Year’s
resolution, so maybe it was a good idea to start thinking of
one now. That way, he could start writing right away when it
was time for recess and he’d get done faster.
What could his New Year’s resolution be? Learn something
new? What did he want to learn? Maybe he could learn how to
read a compass. Or maybe his mom could show him how to make
those cheesy scrambled eggs he liked to eat for breakfast.
His sister, Natalie, usually ate one of those toaster
waffles. She thought eggs were gross, but his mother always
told him eggs had protein in them, and they were a good way
to start a busy day.
Back to The
Ghost Group Book One
|Parenting Pauses: Life as a Deaf Parent
Adventures in Reading (and Signing)
A common piece of advice given to parents: Read to your
children. That’s a message I’ve taken as gospel and read to
my children whenever I can. But because the parent in this
case is deaf, and the children in this case are hearing,
story time takes on a whole new adventure.
As a child, story time was different for Jennifer. It was
like the rest of the world was gone. It’s only the two of
us, exploring a world or just having fun with words. While I
could not hear her repeat the words that I said during these
times, it was still a bonding experience.
The common message behind reading to or with our children is
that it should be an educational experience. It should be a
time where the child can understand and pronounce new and
longer words. Some other suggestions recommended by experts
are to allow the child to participate in the storytelling by
asking them to share their own ideas and to see exactly
which words the child can and cannot read.
Listening to my children’s ability to read certain words or
pronounce them correctly just isn’t a task that can be done
for me. But this doesn’t mean story time is no longer an
educational experience for them; it is. It also turns into a
Because I can speak, I use sound effects as I read to my
children. When I say that a bus is going through town, I’ll
make driving noises and pretend I’m steering the wheel. If I
say the wind is blowing hard, I’ll make exaggerated wind
sounds. Sometimes, Jennifer imitated the sound effects I
made. I didn’t know this by sound, of course, but by
lipreading her and watching the expression she made.
Lipreading is a big part of what I experience during my
children’s story time. Jennifer often grabbed the book to
take over the reading and sometimes I didn’t see her lips to
tell if she was reading the words correctly, but more often
than not, lipreading her has clued me in to what she said.
Sometimes, she repeated a sentence or asked a question, and
that’s when we stopped reading the book to explore what she
understood so far. Asking her if she understood the story
can happen at any other time, though; sometimes, if I think
she’s confused, we’ll linger over the pages, talking about
what I just read. I’ll ask her questions like, “Do you think
the bunny is lost?” or I’ll say simpler statements like, “He
can’t find his mommy.”
Story time is also a great opportunity to teach my children
the sign for something. If a picture in a book has simple
objects, I’ll point to them, then show the children the sign
for it. For example, if there is a cup, I will point at it,
say cup then make the sign as I again say cup. We sign mommy
and daddy for the appropriate images, and I’ll even try to
squeeze in a signed sentence or two (as long as the
sentences are simple, such as, “It started to rain.”).
Most of the time, these signing lessons aren’t always
imitated on every try. There were times Jennifer watched me
sign something then just turn the page. I still think
nothing is lost. I think that on some level, and with enough
repetition, they will catch on to the sign for certain
objects. After all, once the story ends, we almost always
turn back to different pages and I can sign things to them
again. I’ll know that extra effort has paid off after they
sign those words back to me.
After we finish reading a book, we top the session off with
a little discussion about the story. I will try to sign
things again, but the main goal here is to see if they
understood what we just read and if they can remember
things. I will ask them something like, “Do you remember
when the bunny was being naughty?” or, “Did the raccoon eat
the nuts?” They won’t always sign to me during this time,
and they may not sign a single word, but as long as I can
lipread them and get a straight answer, I let the lack of
I don’t try to make using (and learning) sign language a
major part of our story time. Not yet, anyway. Once the
children are older, sign language will be a bigger part of
our story time, and it may even allow us to create
alternative storylines or endings for our fictional friends.
Meanwhile, all that matters is that story time is still a
fun and educational time for all of us to strengthen that
parent-child bond in a deaf and hearing way.
|Back to Parenting Pauses
|The GHOST Group
The Ghost of the Irish Setter
If there was one thing that could be said about Deanna
Foster, it was this: She was not much of a cook. Jenny
winced at the thought, recalling the many times her mother
had served something burnt or unrecognizable for dinner.
Good thing usually her dad did most of the cooking or they
ate takeout. “Not much” was putting it delicately.
Oh, sure, her mom could make toast—when she didn’t burn it.
And she could also figure out how to get the microwave to
work to nuke something for them to eat—on a good day.
But put her in front of a stove or tell her how to bake
something in the oven, and all of a sudden, she turned
clueless. You might as well have been trying to explain to
her how to perform brain surgery; it was uncharted territory
So of course Jenny had been surprised when she noticed her
mother looking through a bunch of cookbooks, searching for
some recipe or another. When Jenny noticed what kind of
cookbooks they were, it all made sense: Cookbooks for Irish
Irish. Of course. This was March, after all, and the St.
Patrick’s Day Festival—a big deal in Sarah Town—was coming
up. Every year, her mother made some kind of dish for the
St. Patrick’s Day Festival, and every year they all got to
read about it in the newspaper the next day when people got
sick or had to be rushed to the hospital from food
Okay, maybe that last thought was an exaggeration. But,
yeah, her mom and cooking just didn’t mesh. Still, her mom
was never say die with that kinda thing. Proof: The many
sounds of pots and pans clanging together in the kitchen for
hours, the occasional screams of frustration or the sounds
of crying and praying coming from behind the kitchen door.
Jenny frowned, looking down at the picture she’d been
quietly working on the whole time her mom had been in the
kitchen. She didn’t try to force herself to do something for
the festival that she knew she wasn’t good at; instead, she
did something she did know she was good at. She created art.
She held up the poster, admiring the picture she’d made. And
it was a pretty good picture, too, she had to admit. She’d
written Happy St. Patrick’s Day! in the center, drew a
dancing leprechaun under that, then created a shower of
shamrocks all over the top, with some of them circling the
words in the center of the drawing as they came down around
Jenny looked in the direction of the sound as she placed her
picture back down on the table.
“I’ve done it!” her mother declared, holding a plate of food
in one hand and holding her other hand up as though she were
praising the heavens. “Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes!
The perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day!”
Jenny winced. “Yuck. I’ll take Foods I Never Want to Eat for
“Well, eat it, anyway,” her mother said, walking over to
place the plate of food onto the table in front of her.
Jenny swallowed the puke that came rushing to her mouth at
the sight of the disgusting food.
“This is the dish I’m making for the St. Patrick’s Day
Festival,” her mother said, smiling. “And I need a taste
Jenny looked up at her. “Hey, Mom, why don’t you ask Dad to
taste it for you? He’s the best taste tester in the world!”
Her mother didn’t say anything. All she did was heap that
green and brown stuff up on a fork and hold it up to Jenny’s
Alarm bells screeched in Jenny’s head. Little people in
charge of the Tasting Department frantically ran around,
trying to control the chaos of impending doom. “Full alert!”
one screeched. “Disgusting food about to enter the mouth!
Batten down the hatches!”
“Taste it,” her mother encouraged. “Please?”
A knock sounded at the door. Jenny’s mother handed her the
fork. “Here. I’ll be right back.” She turned around to walk
out of the room.
Jenny made a face as she held the food up in front of her
mouth. It smelled almost as bad as it looked! What excuse
could she come up with to avoid eating this stuff? Tell her
mother she was allergic to brown and green food?
No, that wouldn’t work. She wouldn’t be able to eat
hamburgers or bacon in front of her mother again.
Maybe she could pretend the food she inched closer to her
mouth was a nice juicy hamburger. Yes, that was it. Just a
thick juicy burger with ketchup and lettuce and . . .
“Jenny! Cassie’s here.”
Jenny lowered the fork and let out a huge breath of relief.
She hopped off the chair, ran from the table to leave the
room, then ran back to where she’d been sitting to look up.
“Thank you,” she whispered. She turned to run out of the
“I smell food,” Cassie said, sniffing the air as she walked
into Jenny’s house.
Jenny smiled at her friend. “And you just saved me from
eating it, too. Mom’s practicing her dish for the St.
Patrick’s Day Festival.”
Cassie frowned. “Are you guys Irish?”
Jenny shrugged. “How should I know? But I guess everybody's
Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Cassie chuckled. “My house smells like bread. I guess both
our moms are making something for the festival.”
“Do you think Ryan’s mom will make anything? I know they are
Cassie laughed. “Ryan’s mom isn’t much of a cook. She’ll
probably grab something from the bakery. Have you found any
new ghost cases for us yet?”
Jenny frowned, shaking her head. “Not yet.”
“Well, maybe something will turnip.” Cassie laughed.
Jenny only shook her head. Why on earth was Cassie bringing
up turnips? And why did she use it in a sentence that way?
“Get it? Turnip? Turn up?” Cassie asked. When Jenny only
stared at her, Cassie placed her arms on her hips. “Well! We
were talking about food!”
Jenny forced a laugh. “Oh, right. I get it. Funny.”
Jenny walked over to the table, ignoring the horrible food
still on the plate, and carefully removed her picture as
though she were Indiana Jones removing the idol from the
pedestal. She hurried away with her creation, a chill racing
down her spine as thoughts of a giant ball of corned beef
rolling behind her tugged at her mind; she paused until her
friend caught up, grabbed Cassie’s hand and pulled her into
her bedroom. Only after the threat of eating disgusting food
was averted did she turn to Cassie and sigh. “Phew! We’re
Cassie laughed. “What was that about?”
“You don’t want to know,” Jenny replied, shaking her head.
She smiled, remembering her poster. “Check out this poster I
made!” She held her creation up for Cassie to see.
Cassie looked it over, her eyes widening. “Wow! That’s
“Thanks,” Jenny said, smiling.
The GHOST Group Book Two
|A Ghost on Every
The atmosphere in the pub seems calm. Bar patrons converse
with each other, gratefully sipping their brews and
reminiscing of times gone by. Talk about work holds the
attention of customers seated along the bar, as the faint
sound of country music plays in the background.
The jovial mood is broken when a stranger bursts through the
door. Eyes wide and hands shaking, he recounts how he’s just
driven along a certain stretch of road and encountered what
appeared to be a hitchhiker. He picked up the hitchhiker,
and they continued along the barren dirt road, making idle
chit-chat. During the course of their conversation, the
driver turned to see that his passenger had suddenly
Disappeared. Without a trace.
Instead of reacting with shock or alarm at this tale, the
bar patrons shrug it off and go about their conversations.
Only after some desperate prodding of the barkeeper does the
stranger learn this kind of thing is common in their town.
. . . Because, you see, it’s filled with ghosts, and
everybody has grown accustomed to spectral encounters.
By definition, a ghost town is a city or town that has been
abandoned. Ghost towns are usually envisioned as places
where you’ll find barely-there houses, vacant streets and
rundown buildings that once served as places of business.
However, there are bustling cities and towns that are
literally ghost towns. Haunted cities abound throughout the
world, and it seems everywhere you turn in such a city,
someone has a good ghost story to share. The only difference
between their stories and what you hear around a campfire is
that theirs are true.
Why are cities haunted? There are several factors that can
cause a whole city or town to burst at the seams with
paranormal activity. A town may be haunted because of unique
variables. What may seem like a harmless, innocent prank
that ends up going wrong can open a Pandora’s Box of ghosts
and hauntings. Or, in cases such as the Bell Witch, someone
might curse an entire town and thereby incite ghostly
Another reason a town or city may be haunted is historical
events. Cities such as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and
Appomattox, Virginia, were the sites of battles that took
the lives of many brave soldiers. Ghosts from the past still
linger in such places, often seen in full uniform,
reenacting the roles they played in history. Or the city may
have suffered an outbreak of an epidemic disease that killed
many of its residents, like the yellow fever epidemic in
Memphis in 1878.
A town or city may be haunted because of where it is built.
Any city built on an ancient Native American burial ground
is a prime candidate for being a haunted city. If it’s built
on the site of bloodshed or where tragedy occurred, then it
is also possible the whole city or town will be visited by
From time to time, a city or town will be labeled haunted
more because of urban legends and rumors than for actually
having ghostly residents alongside the living ones. Another
reason may be the presence of one or two famous haunted
sites—the Amityville Horror house, for example. These are
not the places you will find in this book. The towns and
cities offered here are actual, bona fide ghost towns rife
with ghostly encounters and haunted locations, with
residents willing to share true ghost stories. Cities where
it’s not uncommon to discover the woman standing next to you
on the corner is a ghost.
It’s not just the residents of a ghost town who have spooky
stories to share, however. Paranormal investigators are the
folks who confront haunted cities head-on. They investigate
reports and make it their mission to get the facts about
just what’s up with these locations. The evidence they
collect may prove a true haunting is taking place and add to
the city’s credentials as a real ghost town.
One surprising thing about haunted cities is that there are
so many of them. As a result, not all have been included in
this book. If you don’t find a particular notably haunted
city here, rest assured it will likely appear in a future
volume. For that reason, the author welcomes contact from
paranormal groups and residents of a haunted city or town.
Because paranormal investigators have shared stories in
their own words, the occasional bit of jargon or ghost talk
is included in their stories. A glossary of terms used by
investigators is located in Appendix A. You will also learn
more about their tools and equipment in Appendix B.
While it is the author’s wish to share stories straight from
the mouths of investigators, this was not possible for every
case. On the one hand, in some cases, several different
witnesses needed to be interviewed and more research, and
information gathered independently for a story. On the other
hand, many investigators felt more at ease discussing their
cases through interviews, and the information they provided
was then compiled by the author. All stories originating
directly from investigators are noted as such.
Some of the locations discussed in this book are private
property, and exploring them without the express permission
of the owners is trespassing. Professionals don’t trespass,
and for those who are simply curious, we ask that you
consider how you’d feel if strangers suddenly invaded your
home without invitation, before you go exploring.
When this book was in the early stages, I was amazed to
discover that there were so many stories associated with so
many actual ghost towns. It made me wonder: What’s it like
to live in a haunted city? What kind of ghostly encounters
take place there? How do local residents manage to live
peacefully and happily alongside their ghostly neighbors?
This book helps uncover the answers to those questions.
Say the city name Tombstone and probably the first thing
that comes to the minds of many people is Wyatt Earp and the
famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This Arizona city,
founded in 1879, does indeed have a rich history of outlaw
gunslingers fighting lawmen during the days of the Old West,
but it is also widely recognized as one of the most haunted
cities in America.
Aside from shootouts among the outlaws creating fear and
anxiety among residents, there were also mining disasters,
fires and lynchings. Violence and murder got to be so bad in
Tombstone at one point that then-President Chester Arthur
nearly sent the military to restore order to Tombstone.
Because of this violent and tragic history, it’s no surprise
that many people today believe that Tombstone is haunted.
The ghost of Marshal Fred White, who was accidentally shot
by Curly Bill Brocius, a leader of the Cowboys, then later
died of his injuries. White has been seen in front of what
is today the Birdcage Theatre, where the shooting took place
in 1880. The ghost of who many believe to be Virgil Earp has
been seen crossing a road—though he never officially makes
it to the other side. A ghostly figure who many believe to
be the warrior Cochise has been seen playing a flute at the
Cochise Stronghold State Park.
Ghosts have also been seen or made themselves known at
various restaurants, motels, homes, bars and even Boot Hill
Cemetery. Tombstone has been featured as a haunted city in
books, TV shows and on various web sites. There is even a
Tombstone Ghost Tour that will delight visitors with
historical information and real ghost stories.
If you want to visit one of the most haunted towns in
America, the city of Tombstone is definitely a ghosty town
that will not disappoint.
|Back to A
Ghost on Every Corner
Her hands shook as she turned on the faucet. As the water
poured down the drain, a shudder raced through her spine.
For a moment, she was thrown back twenty years in time, when
blood, her blood, went down a sink drain.
Pushing the memories aside, she cupped her hands under the
water then splashed it onto her face. She knew her mascara
was probably running now and her lipstick was probably
smudged, but she didn’t care. She had to try to forget what
she had just seen.
She looked up at her reflection in the mirror, directly into
her green eyes. The images from the movie tugged at her,
reminding her of how she’d gone through that exact same hell
once upon a time.
She gritted her teeth, pushing that aside, too. “Stop
freaking out,” she ordered in a hushed whisper. “It’s only a
movie. It’s not real.” Sure, it was a movie, but it had been
too much. She sighed. She should’ve suggested they see
She threw water onto her face again, the force of her hands
against her face reflecting her rage. The bastard was dead
and buried. He could not hurt her anymore. He would never
hurt her again.
He was gone, but the memories weren’t. The scar he’d left on
her soul was still there, creating nightmares and horrific
She swung her head up, ready to scream out of instinct. The
person who had called out her name was not her father, it
was her best friend.
Laura’s gaze softened as she relaxed against the sink. “Hey,
“Are you okay?” Karen asked, searching her face for an
Laura looked back at the water running into the sink,
feeling her face flush with embarrassment. When she had
agreed to meet with Karen to see a movie on her day off from
work, she hadn’t expected to freak out over some scene. The
last time something had gotten to her about her past was
almost a week ago, and that was only after a patient in the
oncology ward had let it slip that her father beat her. She
had not reacted to that situation as strongly as she did to
something similar today, but maybe seeing the actual
violence was what brought it on stronger.
“Fine,” she said, shaking water off of her hands before
turning off the faucet. She straightened, pressing her hands
against her face as she closed her eyes. She took a deep
breath, visualizing a sense of calm running through her.
Then she smiled and looked at her friend. “I just freaked
out a little bit. That’s all.”
Karen sighed, shifting her weight. She studied her, and the
silence almost made Laura feel uncomfortable. Then Karen
finally spoke. “I’m sorry, Laura. I didn’t know that was
going to be in the movie.”
Laura forced her smile to widen. “Hey, no worries,” she
said, walking over to Karen and placing her hand on her
shoulder. “I can’t expect you to read all the reviews of
movies that just came out before inviting your ultra-fragile
friend along to see them.” Laura shook her head at those
words. “I’m fine. Really.”
Karen relaxed, almost grinning. But Laura could detect that
wariness in her friend’s eyes.
“Okay, cool,” Karen said. “Come on, let’s go eat. I’m
They’d agreed to have lunch at a Thai restaurant and from
that point on, everything seemed normal again. The mood had
lightened, and Laura even relaxed as she laughed over a
funny work story Karen shared. But after they got into the
car and Karen started driving her home, an uncomfortable
silence returned. Laura could tell that Karen still worried
about her; it was all in the careful glances she’d shot at
her every now and then at lunch.
But maybe Karen wouldn’t push the subject. Maybe she would
just keep her thoughts to herself.
“Did you ever get counseling?”
Laura bristled at the question, but pulled herself in before
“Counseling for what?” she asked.
“You know what,” Karen answered, “the abuse.”
Laura sighed, keeping her gaze straight ahead. “You know I
did.” Now she looked at Karen. “Your parents were the ones
who drove me to all those appointments.”
Karen nodded. “Right. That one psychologist was such an
asshole.” She shot a glance at Laura. “What was his name
again? The one who made fun of you for having nightmares?”
Laura frowned, looking away as the memory hit. “Zann.”
“That’s right, Dr. Zann.” Karen shook her head. “Man, what a
“And yet he went to Yale.”
Karen giggled. “So did we, but it’s not like we adopted a
self-righteous attitude with everyone we work with.”
“Or in our care. I’m the one in nursing and you’re the one
in computers. I work with people, you work with machines.”
She grinned at Karen. “At least you can tell a computer
Karen smiled at her before redirecting her attention to the
road. “It’s good you can work with people. That’s like the
number one way to have something happen in your day that
could trigger something about the past.”
Laura tilted her head, considering this. “Well, I’ve been
doing this for five years. It’s not like I’m not used to
“But you’re still okay? Right?”
Laura remained silent, thinking back to last week. She’d
only taken a few moments alone in the bathroom, practicing
her deep breathing as she struggled with the memories
flooding through her. She’d gotten through that episode well
and she made it through today. “I’m fine.”
The conversation drifted for the rest of the ride home. But
right after they settled onto the couch in Laura’s
apartment, Karen decided to launch into another conversation
that Laura really didn’t want to have.
“So, how’s the dating scene?” Karen asked with an expectant
look on her face. She’d tried to sound casual, but the swift
change in subject was too out-of-the-blue.
Laura laughed, shaking her head. “You’re amazing!”
Karen looked at her, dropping the strands of hair. “What?”
“You just went from talking about how I dealt with my past
to asking about my love life—as casually as changing the
Karen grimaced. “Sorry. I was just curious. Unless you want
to go back to talking about how you’re dealing with the
Laura shuddered, shaking her head. “No, thanks.”
“So, apparently, you’re still dealing with it.”
“And in my own way.” She playfully hit Karen with a pillow.
“And as to the dating scene, no comment.”
“No one new?”
“Nope, I’m free as a bird!” Laura proclaimed, holding out
her hands with a false sense of excitement.
Karen shook her head, a look of disappointment spreading
across her face. “You know he’s never coming back.”
Karen leaned closer. “Ron. That’s who.” She sat back on the
couch. “The guy you fell madly love with, but who actually
never made much of an appearance in your life.”
Laura pushed the comment aside. “I know he’s not coming
back. It’s been three years. No email, no letter. Not even
so much as a how have you been? on my answering machine.”
She looked hard at her friend. “I know that, Karen.”
“But you still love him.”
Laura shrugged. “And he loved me.”
“He loved the idea of you.” Karen sighed, taking her hand.
“Look, I know that was harsh. I’m sorry. I just don’t want
to see you keep holding out hope that the guy you fell in
love with will magically appear on your doorstep.” She
squeezed her hand. “Laura, it’s time to move on. It’s been
time to move on for quite some time now.” She frowned. “I
know you still love him, but he doesn’t love you. And I want
you to be with someone who does love you.”
Laura fought back the tears. She didn’t want to cry in front
of Karen. She didn’t want today to be a day she’d be crying
about her problems all over again.
Ron Halsbrook was supposed to be the guy she’d spend the
rest of her life with. That was what she hoped for, anyway.
It had been his good looks that attracted her to him at a
rally, and the first time they’d made love made her feel
like she’d finally found happiness with a man, instead of
pain and fear. Laura frowned at the memory. That first time
had been the only time. They’d never gone on another date
and his messages on her machine dwindled to a big fat zero.
Then he’d left New Haven, leaving her with no return
address, and she hadn’t heard from him since.
And here she was after all that time, for three years now,
still hoping he would make a re-appearance in her life.
Three years she could never get back. She’d put her life on
hold for nothing.
She came out of her thoughts as she realized Karen was
hugging her now. She slowly placed her arms around her
friend, becoming suddenly aware of the tears that had
spilled down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” Karen whispered. “That was really mean of me to
say. I’m sorry.”
“No,” Laura said, still hugging her. “No, you were right.
You were right, Karen. It’s time.”
Jeff Carson leapt up the stairs leading to his floor,
ignoring the wind as it beat against his workout clothes,
tossing his sandy hair into his green eyes. He smiled at
Laura as she came into view to his left.
Her red hair hung in a loose bun at the back of her head,
strands of it tangled in the silver earrings dangling from
her ears. She fumbled with her keys, leaning on her door as
extra support for the overstuffed brown bags of groceries
against her chest.
As he strode toward her, the bags slid from her arms to the
“Dammit,” she muttered, letting go of the key to pick them
up. She sighed at the sight of what was left of her dozen
“Having some trouble?” he asked, stepping up to her. He
hurriedly bent over in front of her to rescue anything still
edible, carefully placing her cottage cheese, skim milk,
yogurt, and bag of frozen vegetables into one good bag and
hoisted it and another into his arms.
Laura grimaced as she scraped the egg mess onto the torn
bag. Jeff moved a strand of her hair to rest behind her
She looked up at him and smiled. “Thank you.”
The groceries restored to their bags, Laura stood in front
of Jeff, fumbling with her key again. He stared at her,
watching the little expressions of annoyance and confusion
that crept across her face as she fumbled with her keys.
Five years as neighbors and he saw her every day, but every
time he saw her again was like seeing her in a new light. He
was five years older than Laura, but the two of them got
along well and they didn’t seem to have any major
Not any personal differences, anyway; the physical ones did
stand out. He was taller than her, and his build was more
athletic compared to her small frame.
Finally, the lock turned and the door shook as it opened.
Jeff evaluated the doorframe as she went inside. “Better get
that looked at. It’s not safe to have a bad front door.”
He entered the apartment and walked to the kitchen, where
Laura busied herself with putting away her groceries.
“How long has it been like that?” he asked, setting the two
bags he carried onto the white marble countertop.
Laura shrugged as she put her bran cereal into a cupboard.
“A couple of days.” She closed the cupboard and went to the
other bag, removing a head of lettuce, bag of carrots, and a
plastic bag containing two peaches. “I was going to ask
Simon to look at it for me.”
Jeff grimaced as he removed two cans of tomato soup from a
bag. “Simon may seem like the new manager who could, but
trust me, he couldn’t fix a door to save his life. I’ve had
the misfortune of seeing his handiwork. You know, I could
fix it for you sometime.”
“No, Jeff. It’s okay.” She reached into a cabinet beneath
her sink to set two cans of furniture polish inside, turning
her head to smile back at him. “Thanks, anyway.”
“Sure,” Jeff grinned.
He looked across the kitchen to see her wiping an area of
her countertop with a washcloth. Had there even been a speck
of dirt on there?
“Bring me those eggs?”
“No prob,” he said, hurrying to the egg mess outside the
“Um, Jeff, maybe take some cleaner with you?” Laura called
after him, holding up a bottle of disinfectant.
But Jeff was already out the door and scooping up the mess
with his hands.
Laura breathed heavily, gripping the armrest of the
passenger side door of the car she rode in. A stream of
lights from cars flew past the windshield and to her right.
“Everything’s gonna be perfect now, Laura,” the voice said.
“You’ll see. Just stick with me.” A dry chuckle followed.
“Everything will be fine.”
She closed her eyes as she braced herself against the seat,
steadying her breathing. “Yes, Ron,” she whispered. “I know
“And you will always be mine.” The voice grew colder now,
menacing as she felt an icy hand on her arm. “You will
always be mine.”
She slowly opened her eyes, looking down at the hand on her
left arm. Her heart froze as she saw the arm covered with
rotten skin, maggots burrowing inside as white bone peeked
from a small area of the wrist.
She slowly turned her head to the left, the sheets of light
seeming to sweep past her as the car continued to speed
along the highway, faster and faster.
A rotting corpse sat in the driver’s seat, one hand
clenching the steering wheel as the face gazed only at her.
The flesh was severely decomposed, the eyeballs missing and
the head completely hairless. A series of worms slithered
along the upper chest and a ball of smoke exited the back of
“Always mine!” it cried in a shrill voice. “Always mine!
Laura awoke, screaming.
|Back to Faded
|Burning the Midnight
Writing and parenting are probably two of the biggest
challenges to manage in a writing parent’s life. You want to
have time to write, but you also want to spend time with
your kids. You want to get out there to promote your work,
but you also want to make sure your young children are being
cared for while you’re out.
Many writers who are parents can tell you just how hard it
can be to accomplish those things, as well as a host of
other responsibilities attached to their writing careers.
But out of these stories will emerge the hard-learned
lessons that helped them make it all work. Each of these
professional writers have figured out just how to manage
being a writer while also meeting their responsibilities as
parents, and they’re here to tell you that, yes, it CAN be
done! Many of these writers have been at it for years and
understand the importance of both jobs.
If you are a writer who is also a parent and you are
struggling with how to find time to write, this book will
share ideas on how to make that happen. You’ll also get a
chance to read about these parents’ ups and downs, both as
parents and as writers. The interviews in this book will
introduce you to 27 writing parents from around the world
who have “been there, done that” and are ready to guide you
on your quest to be a successful writing parent. The essays
included are from the former newsletter, BTMO Book Zine, and
will share with you my own experiences in trying to make
this writing parent thing work. I have done it, they have
done, and you can do it, too.
Burning the Midnight Oil, Revisited