She watched, not really paying attention, until a soft knock at the door accompanied the call of “Room service!” Cautious, she glanced through the peephole and then admitted the white-uniformed server. He uncovered the dishes, presented the check, and accepted her signature to add the meal to the room charge. Cassia secured the deadlock after the server departed and settled down to eat her dinner. She’d chosen a bland dinner of grilled fish and steamed vegetables, something unlikely to upset her stomach.
Good, you’re eating.
Caught by surprise by the mind-to-mind communication, Cassia choked on her food. She coughed and managed to swallow, then took a sip of wine. Her palm tingled.
Get out of my head.
I will see you soon.
And the mental connection was cut off, but a sensual tingling spread from her palm through her body as though her skin were being stroked from the inside. It was definitely weird and distinctly arousing.
Quit that! she thought at him.
The sense of satisfied masculine chuckling flickered in her mind and disappeared, as did the tingling. She stared at her palm and her upper lip lifted in a silent snarl at the white scar visibly branding her as his.
By Holly Bargo
“No one will ever read what you write,” my mother once told me.
To say that hurt understates the damage and the determination. For most of my life, writing was something frivolous, something unimportant, something mildly shameful, something that embarrassed my family. At least my writing.
But I still wrote. In 1994, I received an acceptance letter from a publisher. It seemed legitimate. I learned later and to my regret that it wasn’t, not really. My foray into publishing came in the guise of a vanity publisher that went belly-up owing me royalties.
But I still wrote. I dreamed of becoming a published author. I won a national writing contest. The grand prize: three t-shirts (which I still have) and a Dungeons & Dragons chess set (which I still have) and publication of my short story. That chess set is the epitome of nerd cool. The story was never published, at least not that I ever saw. A few years later, new magazine accepted a story and they paid me a whole dollar for the rights to publish it. Validation at last!
It didn’t last, neither that dollar nor that validation. My attention turned to other things, like the challenges of everyday life and a job I absolutely loathed. But one does what one must to pay the bills and ensure the kids have food and clothing. My compulsion to write appeared to have died a hard death.
After about ten years, a lot of emotional distress, and a new job (which I quickly grew to loathe), the urge to create trickled back. Trickled. But it was enough. I started writing again, fanciful fiction to exorcise my own demons, to give form to flights of fancy, to set dreams in something less ephemeral than my own mind.
In 2014, I self-published my paranormal romance Rowan, which became the first in my Tree of Life trilogy. I trembled with anxiety at the huge leap. Not to worry, the world didn’t notice my daring courage.
By the end of 2015, I published five books. The creative juices flowed. My family still didn’t understand or even approve, but I no longer cared. Now we’re halfway through 2018, and I’m getting ready to release my 20th book, Daughter of the Dark Moon, which is the third in my Twin Moons Saga.
My family still doesn’t understand and they don’t quite approve, but they’ve learned to accept that, yes, I’m a writer. I write stories. That’s what I do. A writer is who I am.
A journey takes one from place to place. A quest is fraught with hardship. For me, writing is a quest.
In my 50-plus years, I have received many gifts; but which is the best? Unfortunately and despite the MFRW writing prompt for this week's blog challenge, I can't quite decide. I will, however, focus on the material (instead of the spiritual or intangible) and narrow them down:
When I was a kid, there were no such things as cell phones. We had a landline. A single line. Every phone in the house plugged into a single line. Younger folks may boggle at such primitive conditions. However, it was a measure of indulgence and privilege to have an extension in the bedroom. When I was around 12 years old, I desperately wanted my own phone so I could have private conversations with my friends. Not only did I want my own phone, I wanted a princess phone.
Sometimes, it's good to be the only daughter among a houseful of sons.
As a youngster, I had friends who owned horses and begged my parents to let me, too, have a horse. Several weeks before my 15th birthday, my mother agreed to float me a loan to purchase a horse with the agreement that I would pay her back, support the animal (boarding fees, farrier, veterinarian, etc.), and keep up my grades. She found Suzie, a 15-year-old, Morgan-Arabian crossbred mare with a pot belly, ringworm, a swayed back, and a reputation. The horse didn't like sheep and had killed one. But that mare also came with a saddle, two bridles, brushes, and more. I took that loan and enjoyed several years riding that old mare everywhere. She died when we were both 22 years old.
When I graduated from college, Suzie had since been retired from duty due to arthritis in her spine and I was riding my youngest brother's horse, a big Appaloosa mare named Sassy. My brother discovered cars and girls and lost interest in all things equestrian. Upon graduation, my mother gifted Sassy to me, signing over the registration papers. Two weeks later, I got married and discovered we had no money to support a horse. But I clung to that mare and enjoyed my years with her until equine cushing's disease forced a humane end to her life.
As Sassy (rapidly) declined, I fell in love with another horse, another Appaloosa mare. My husband took out a loan to buy that horse for me. A black roan, she boasted a large, elegantly chiseled head and an arched, swanlike neck. And a nasty case of arthritis that crippled her by the time she turned fifteen. We remember her for her protective attitude toward our children, her hatred of pigs and my husband. Lots of stories accompany memories of that temperamental mare.
In January 2006, my husband took me and our kids to a shooting range, determined to introduce me to firearms. I'd never held a gun, much less shot one. He rented a .22 pistol, loaded one round in the chamber, and showed me to hold the weapon. He instructed me to pull the trigger ... gently. The gun fired. I screamed and dropped it. Which was why he only inserted one round into the chamber. The man knows me well. Fast forward to May. I'd developed a liking for firearms. Because my birthday and Mother's Day often coincide, he enrolled me in a general gun safety course and purchased a 9mm pistol for me. It's a grand pistol, perfect for my hand. The next year, he enrolled me in a course to acquire a concealed carry permit and gave me a .32 caliber pistol, small, lightweight, and enhanced with a laser site. Fun stuff.
(No, the pistols linked are not mine, but they are the same models.)
The telephone and the horses mentioned are nothing but fond memories now, but the equestrian experience comes in handy when I come across a book or manuscript or ghostwriting project that includes horses or guns. I can say, "Nope, not real." I can identify writers who haven't done any research and don't know whereof they speak. And I can better identify those who did and can. I know enough to be dangerous.