Rave Reviews Book Club “Springtime Book and Block Party!

RRBC Badges (2)

 

Welcome to my blog on this wonderful Rave Reviews Book Club ‘Springtime’ Book and Blog Block party tour! Coming to you today from my latest location; the beautiful rural township of Bathurst, in New South Wales: Australia.

BLOG IMAGES FOR CITY GIRL

Please leave a comment below today, April 21st, to be entered in the drawing to win one of these prizes!

1 (Ebook copy) of “Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Faint Echoes Of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Beyond Redemption” (Unintended Consequences) Book 1 #Thriller #Suspense.

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Of Betrayal” (Unintended Consequences) Book 2. #Thriller #Suspense.

Total Prizes I’m gifting today = 4.

I do love a party! So, let’s have some party-time fun! I know just the woman to add a little ‘spice’ to the proceedings.  Meet Sheila Harrington one of the pivotal characters in my Thriller Suspense Novels “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts Of Betrayal”

Lets’ dress my little monster for the party … and we’ll make it formal, shall we?

Sheila ballgown by Michael costello

 

Ah, yes of course, we need a stunning location. What better setting than this  ballroom?  The occasion? The highly publicized Charity event of the season …The ‘Governors’ Black and White Ball’. Thrown with his accustomed panache by New York Governor (And Presidential Candidate) Damon Henderson. Sheila Harrington is as always his date.

Blog Black and White Ball 2

Sheila is tall for a woman, and the elegant Jimmi Choo shoes boost her height to just over six feet. She is both beautiful … and deadly. She adds more than just a mans’ heart to her little bag of collectables … she evicerates his spirit, and destroys his soul without hesitation, or remorse.

Love her or loathe her? Now that is the question. Whatever the decision, you may not forget her in a hurry.

Now relax,  kick your shoes off, and listen in to an (imaginary) conversation between the beautiful Sheila and her unseen ‘guest’… Let me see, what shall we name him? Ah, yes … Mr D Evil, will do nicely.

***

“You look bored, Mon bebe.” The voice was husky, inviting, deeply-timbered. Sheila shivered delightedly, then smiled.

” To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” She whispered.

“I grew bored, and there are brief moments when you actually manage to entertain me, Mon bébé. I’m loving the dress. Black becomes you.”

“Yes … it does.”

“Have you chosen your plaything for this evening as yet?”

Plaything? An interesting choice of word. That implies that I would gain some sort of pleasure from any interaction I pursue.”

“Do you not?”

“Only the fleeting recognition that any predator enjoys. It’s all in the game. Pleasure in and of itself is not something I actively seek.”

“Only because you have yet to experience it, Mon bebe. You have had ample time to select.  Does nothing here interest you?”

Sheila  surveyed the glittering, brittle, breakable, crowd, before answering. “There may be one that could conceivably brighten up my evening for a brief while.”

Her companion followed her gaze, “The overdressed woman with the irritatingly piercing voice, now holding court with your date?”

Sheila laughed, well aware that heads would turn, drawn by the infectious warmth of the sound. “Too easy! Clarissa Mainwearing was born ugly, and no matter what amount of her ‘old’ money she throws at it, or how distinguished her pedigree; that type of ugly just won’t go away. My beauty would make her a lap dog inside ten-minutes. Besides, Damon is undeniably mine to control.” She sighed,  “So … no. Guess again.”

Her companion settled back, smiling contentedly to himself.

“I could of course force you to choose the one I desire.”

“That would rob you of surprise.”

 He favored her with his cold smile, “Who then?”

Sheila again surveyed the room. Then having made her decision, and without needing to point, she began, “Tall, well defined muscles, even the Armani threads can’t disguise the fact that he has a wonderful body. He has the confidence to wear his hair long and in a ponytail. He has not had his back to a door or window all evening. His stance is loose, and non-threatening. He surveys the crowd without making eye contact, or conversing with anyone. He is trained. How well trained remains to be seen.”

“Hm … interesting choice. I’m pleased. How will you proceed?”

“I’ll dismantle his detachment.”

Her unseen companion surveyed the subject of the discussion again, more slowly. “I don’t believe you can do it as easily as you may think, ma petite.”

“Is that the sound of a gauntlet hitting the floor?”

“Consider it so.”

“Wonderful! Watch me.”

“Always.”

Sheila missed the comment, already walking slowly across the crowded room, and as always parting the crowd in her wake. The women not graced with beauty of their own gazed at her retreating back with envy, the men, with unbridled lust.

She approached, glancing at the handsome, disinterested face; then shuddered briefly as his gaze met her own. She stood next to him now, still silent, sipping her cocktail and observing the room. She waited for longer than most would find comfortable, before, finally, he spoke.

“Is there something you require?”

She slid her eyes slowly over his body; it was more the studied look of an artist recognizing a fine piece of artwork, than a simple flicker of flirtation, “Require? That’s doubtful. Perhaps I’m simply curious as to what type of gun is tucked into your waist band?”

His reaction pleased her, for only the momentary dilation of his pupils gave any indication that her remark had even been heard.

“Probably the same type you are carrying in your clutch-purse, Miss Harrington.” He smiled, gave a brief dismissive nod and turning his back on her, he walked away.

Sheila smiled, and her blue eyes flashed fire. ‘Touche.’

Mr D Evil smiled at the exchange. ‘You have now entered the eye of the cyclone, mes enfants. Now … do you enjoy … or destroy? The evening ahead took on a new color … and the color was red. ‘Game on.’  He was well pleased.

***

Now that was fun. Sheila Harrington is a complex woman. This little interaction barely touches on that complexity. But I sure hope that you enjoyed it.

Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1)

ABR MADE BY SATAN new for JANUARY 2017 HIRED ASSASSIN

BLURB

Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly, journey.

Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.

His team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads.
Their nightmares are stripping them to the bone.

Finally, a break in the case hands them a suspect!

Sheila Harrington appears to have confessed to the horrific murders.

Sheila Harrington also looks set to become the wife of The Governor of New York, Damon Henderson; the man strongly favored to become the next President of The United States of America.

Eminent forensic psychologist Nigel Cantrell is called in to assist the team.

Yet nothing and no one could prepare them for what is to come.
Someone on the inside is deflecting their weary eyes away from an incomprehensible and shattering truth.

Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?

Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive?

Purchase ‘Acts Beyond Redemption’ on Amazon.com

 

Acts of Betrayal (Unintended Consequences Book 2)

 

ACTS OF BETRAYAL HENRY KISSINGER

BLURB

In this powerful sequel to Acts Beyond Redemption Nigel Cantrell is back, and he’s out for blood.

One of his team holds on precariously to life, with no guarantees of recovery.

Can those responsible drag him into a nightmare he will struggle to contain?

In a complex dual where oaths taken are forsaken, and promises made are broken beyond repair; he must seek the help of the only people he can trust, people who revere him … and, those that despise him.

Cantrell is efficient and deadly, but even he has ghosts in his past, demons that must be exorcised. And nothing is more demonic than the peril he must now face, as a one man’s maniacal thirst for revenge is uncovered.
A man so enormously powerful, with a hatred so intense, so extreme, that the possible demise of his own species means nothing to him.

He will dispense his revenge as his diseased mind sees fit.

Nigel Cantrell and his team do not have failure as an option.
The fate of their country and beyond now rests in their hands.
Can they prevent the final acts of betrayal?

Purchase ‘Acts Of Betrayal’ on Amazon.com

My non-fiction books are available as follows.

“Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1.

Empty Chairs available on Amazon.com

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2.

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” on Amazon.com

“Still Sassy at Sixty” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 3. DUE FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 2017.

A very quick personal note. I have been hospitalized this week and just wanted to say a big thank you to the lovely folks that have taken a moment of their precious time and sent me such kind wishes for a speedy recovery. It endorses everything I’ve said about Rave Reviews Book Club being a family. Don’t be concerned my friends, it is a known health issue that caused my trip to ICU. I’m home now and will be back to my cantankerous ol’ self in no time. Hugs to you all. Soooz xo

 Don’t forget to stop in and check out the other tour stops at https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/rrbc-2017-springtime-book-blog-block-party/as the party goes on all month long!

Kangaroo they went thataway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Arrival” Excerpt 2. My work-‘Under Construction’. A Paranormal Thriller.

Hello, and thanks for joining me again. I will be sharing one of my latest projects here with you each week. The installments are brief. I do hope you enjoy them.

If you like what you read, you can catch up with all previous excerpts here:

PREVIOUS EXCERPTS FROM ARRIVAL … HERE

 

ARRIVAL

By

S. Burke

Chapter 1 … Excerpt 2.

MIND CONTROL FOR TO BE CONTINUED PAGE ARRIVAL.

.

 

Chapter 1 … Excerpt 2.

 

 

Diego rested his hand on the Glock, seeking comfort in the unrelentingly cold hardness of the metal.

He checked the CCTV image; uncertain if it were a trick of his mind that permitted him to visualize the shapes that waited there, as friend, and not foe.

Two people stood unmoving, both concealed by the dark hoodies that covered their heads and faces so successfully. The stance of one was tantalizingly familiar; yet Diego’s brain recognized it as an impossibility, even as the thought formed. ‘No … impossible!  No, no, no,  you’re dead’

He clicked the intercom open, and was not surprised when his voice quavered as he spoke, “What?”

“That’s no way to greet an old friend, Chicano!

“Santa Madre de Dios! No! I saw you die.”

The one who had spoken, raised both hands, then, slowly and with long-tapered fingers’, pushed back the hoodie. The perfect features worked themselves into a high-powered smile. “I decided that death was supremely overrated, Chicano! You know how I am when I make up my mind. Now open the fucking door, I need a drink!”

Diego Ortega made his choice, and with a hand that shook, he deactivated the explosive charge, his first-line of defense.  He opened the door; even as he clicked off the safety on the Glock, and stood ready to use it at point blank range if necessary.

“Weapons on the table. Both of you, now!” He said, surprising himself that he could speak at all.

“That’s the first smart thing you’ve said.” The un-hooded one replied, placing another Glock on the table.

“You!” Diego pointed his weapon at the shorter of the two, “The weapon, now!”

The second person slowly moved their right hand, and pulled a gun from beneath the hoodie. It was carefully laid alongside his companions.

Diego placed his gun barely inches from the face of the one he recognized, “The back-up. On the table. Make it fast.”

“Good call! So you do remember?” The left ankle was quickly revealed and a lethal knife was quickly removed from its sheath, to join the guns on the table.

“Hands behind you. Kneel on the floor.”

“You,” he pointed the gun at the second one, “Down.”

The two threats to his sanity were now cuffed. “Tell me what you want. Make it fast.”

“I want a drink, Chicano. You know what I like.”

“Still drinking Buds?” Diego smiled stiffly as he asked.

“I’ve never touched beer in my life. Nice try, Chicano. But no cigar! You disappoint me; I expected your wits to have remained sharper than this. I have my preferred drink of choice in my backpack; unless you happen to have a Twelve-year-old single malt scotch available?”

Diego heard clearly, “That is hardly a secret. You’ll need much more to convince me that you are who you appear to be. Much, more.”

“You whisper ‘Ti Amo’ when you orgasm.”

“I do that with anyone that satisfies me.”

“I’m tired of this bullshit, Chicano! You ask the damned questions. I want a drink while I wait.”

Diego was wavering, but held the gun ready. He racked his memory banks for something unique to his tormentor. “What did your mother say to you just before she died?”

The tormentor glared at him, not speaking, for a long, cold, moment. Then the words erupted like poisonous sores spewing puss.  “She said, ‘You were always the waste of a perfectly good fuck!’ Just before I shot her.”

Diego stood motionless for what felt an eternity, then, with tears pouring from his still disbelieving eyes, he moved behind the visitors and removed the cuffs.

“Querida. Mi amor preciouso!” He pulled the woman into his arms.

She laughed delightedly and kissed him. “Your accent thickens whenever you are passionate or afraid. Which is it now? ”

Diego looked in her green eyes, as his memories threatened to spiral out of control, “A mixture of both, Elizabeth. We need to talk. I have company coming, soon now. We will talk later.”

He turned his attention to her companion once more, “Your name?”

“His name is Javier.”

“Can he not speak for himself, Elizabeth?”

“No … he cannot. The Breed removed his tongue.”

Diego looked at the younger man, “I’m so sorry.”

” Why did they allow him to live? They usually complete the butchering process.”

The woman looked across at the young man. They shared an unspoken moment.

“It will take time to explain, Diego.”The woman looked into his eyes for a long moment. “These people you are expecting … . Do you trust them with our lives, Diego?”

To Be Continued …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Dog of Depression … Biting it back! In loving memory of Jamie. He deserves to be remembered.

April 1st 2017:

I have re-posted this to honor the memory of my dear friend ‘Jamie’. The anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. He finally gave up his struggle with life.  The pain is still raw, and all the ‘if only’s’ in this world add to that tally.  This post is confronting … because it needs to be.

depression 1

2016:

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since I wrote the post that follows.

Can it really have been that long?

Three years to the very day and hour. So much has happened in that time. Yet the same wonderful folks that offered me love and support back then are still in my life. How damned lucky I am.

If the reposting of this helps just one person understand the long term problems of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) then it’s well worth the time.

Here is the original post …

I will update my current situation at its end.

The “Black Dog” of Depression! Biting it Back.

2013:

Fighting back … and biting the ‘Black Dog’ of depression on the Ass. Great title for a blog post. Too easy.

If only it were that simple.

Most of you who have given me the honor of following my life through my books have commented on my strength. I have looked at those comments again and again recently, and I wonder … where is she, that feisty female?

Where did it go, that ‘strength’? Have I lost it? Or was it not strength at all?

Was it more likely my pig-headed determination after all, and not that inner resilience that one can draw on in times of great distress?

You know me well enough by now to know, that rightly or wrongly I have always been my most devastating when threatened.

What the hell happened to that?

There would be no point in even attempting to write this blog entry if I hadn’t decided at the outset to be honest.

Honesty does not always bathe us in an aura of golden light. It can be, and at times must be, clinically cold. It is, and I must be hypercritical of self if the point of the article is to make any sense at all.

So … let’s take a walk together, you and I. Hold my hand, (for I need it) and I’ll guide you through the past five months of my crazy life, in the hope that when we reach today, not only you, but I, will have a greater understanding of depression … and…the self destructive behavior that perpetuates the cycles of darkness when they begin.

This is not a prettied up version of events.

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my daughter and 11 month old Grandson.

I have not walked out the door of the apartment for 18 weeks.

Where did the Summer go? When did the crisp green leaves of Summer change to the golden hues of Autumn and fall to the fast growing coldness of the ground beneath? When did the neighbor’s children stop playing ball in the parking lot, and shouting delighted cries of challenge from the pool in the warmth and never ending daylight of our Australian Summer? Where the hell did that time go? It’s lost to me now, I can’t recapture it or relive it, I can only mourn its passing.

When did my darling daughter’s face begin to carry that look of worry?

When did I cease to notice or even care that I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my hair in weeks? When did a few glasses of wine once a week or so become anesthesia to wash away my fear?

Blaming my deteriorating health would be convenient. And yes … my health is bad, very bad in fact. BUT … it has been heading this way for a very long time.

I had a choice to take preventative measures, not to cure, because it is not curable, but at the very least to have given me some sense of control over time spans and a measure of comfort. I refused to do so.

Am I weary of being on guard all the time?…Damned straight!

Am I weary of always being perceived as the tough woman that survived so much? Sure I am. But that is the person I chose to be.
I recognize the presence of fear again.

I have tasted the bitterness of it like bile in my mouth many times in my life.

Why now has it’s presence become so devastatingly present? Why at almost 60years of age am I like the small child I once was with no control of her life in a world gone mad?
Fear is a devastating task master, make no mistake. If you allow it the upper hand it will strip the flesh off your bones with no apologies. I am afraid to look in any mirror, for the ravages of time and ill health show me a face that should be serene … but is not.

I am afraid if the food in the cupboard runs down.

I am petrified if the bills mount up and I simply have to wait a week or two to begin clearing them.I am aware of the vulnerability of relying on a pension payable by a government that has no insight into what it feels like to be at their disposal.

I began to isolate.

Again.

I am comfortable in my isolation. That is the deadliness of it. I sit in the early hours of the morning, when my body craves sleep; I sit on the balcony, comforted by the darkness and the lack of necessity to communicate with neighbors who in the daylight hours may have looked up and smiled, or even raised a hand in friendly acknowledgement.

How dare they intrude. How dare they even notice me there? For surely if I sat still and unmoving I ceased to be visible to them … didn’t I?

Caring for my baby Grandson during the day is probably the only thing that gives me any semblance of normality. He demands as much love as I can give.
For my daughter and the little guy that love is and will remain unconditional, but how long can I expect her to watch me slowly self destructing? How long can she tolerate the worry?

My grandson and I spend our days laughing and interacting in play. I am not well enough to take him for walks in the park, or walks anywhere for that matter. Simply walking from my room to the kitchen robs me of breath. Physically I am simply unable to walk far at all. Convenient? Perhaps. Can that change? No. I can’t regain the loss of lung function. But I can and must regain the beginnings of life function.

Other events over the past six months have taken their toll.

Perhaps if everything had not come crashing down at once I would have dealt with it a little better.
Perhaps.
But everything did come at me at once and seemingly out of nowhere and all within a very short space of time.

A long term relationship that I treasured, ended. I hadn’t seen the signs, too caught up with everything else that needed my attention I guess. A poor excuse really, I could and should have seen the warning signs.

I didn’t.

Reason can’t substitute for feeling.

I now have a dear friend still, but no longer my lover.

It took me a while to recognize that the visits were less and less frequent, the phone calls that had once come every day just for the comfort of hearing my voice, suddenly became weekly, and then not at all.

Did I ever tell him that the only time I ever felt truly safe were those times in his arms? The times when I would simply lay there, listening to his breathing and know with absolute certainty that I could fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that he would awaken instantly if I moved. Safe in the knowledge that he would give his own life to protect me if I were under threat.

I miss him.
I shall always miss him.

My writing? What have I written in the past 10 months? Hah! I finished a work of fiction that had been hanging in the back roads of my consciousness for a long time. But it was only one chapter that needed doing.

I wrote 65,000 words of another piece that for reasons that don’t really matter a damn anymore have been relegated to the trash heap. Apart from that… zilch!

Until today.

I need to get this down, I need those of you that have suffered from depression to understand that whilst it is a lonely street you walk…many of us share that same welcome darkness.

Will I come out the other side of this hideous fog? Only time will tell.  Being here cloaked in the darkness of thought, feels safer than coming out of the damned fog and needing to deal with basic day to day necessities, I don’t want to shower for I would then need to look at my body and accept the deterioration.  Even recognizing intellectually what is happening  gives no guarantee that I can act on that recognition and do something about it.

Counseling … thanks but no thanks. It works wonderfully well for many many people and I am thankful for that. It just isn’t for me. I just don’t trust folks enough to go that road again.

I haven’t written a blog piece in six months. Today that stops. I realize that the only way back from the darkness is for me to switch on my inner pilot.
Consider it switched on.

Comment and kick me in the ass if you choose. This is going to take quite some time my friends. The damage runs deep. Hold me in your thoughts, comment as and how you will.

Soooz ain’t dead yet! She just smells that way.

Thanks for reading.

Now an update …

Today is June 29th 2016. I am still here! Color me amazed.

sunrise

I guess I always seem to find some muddle headed way of bouncing back. I think it likely that I am just too pig-headed and stubborn not to.

So where am I at now, where is my life as I sit  in my small office writing this?

I have restructured my life piece by piece in the last few years. I have taken the precious moments and lovingly moved them to the safe place in my mind, and there they remain unsullied by the external world.

I have rejoiced with my child and my grandson.  I have laughed more than I remember doing for such a long time.

I still isolate but not for as long or as often … baby steps.

I pulled my head out of my ass and re-published my books as an indie author after the publishing house that carried my books closed its doors.

I now use a wheelchair and it affords me the opportunity to get out into the daylight and suck in the air, with my loving daughter steering me determinedly from behind.

I have written two new books and have three more in progress.

All positive things.

I dragged myself back from the alcoholic haze and have been dry (Again) for over two years.

I have ceased to have contact with those that would relegate me to the easily dismissed pile in their lives.

I have lost two dear friends to suicide.

I have allowed myself to cry and to mourn.

I consider myself fortunate to have friends who stand by me.

For now … for today … I am happy.

If you know someone that suffers depression, if you suffer it yourself, reach out to those that can inform and assist you and hold true the belief that you are a human being worthy of being loved and respected.

April 1st 2017.

Thank you for making the time to read this post. Jamie deserves to be remembered,

Here are links that may assist you when the darkness threatens…

Beyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Depression Alliance U.K

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Thank you for being here.

Dazzled by the ‘Spotlight’ on Rave Reviews Book Club!

I love to share the special Highlights of my life! My month long featured tour as The Rave Reviews Book Club’s “SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR” for February 2017 ranks among the most memorable times thus far in my journey as an Indie Author!

WHY?

Let me give you just a glimpse!

SPOTLIGHT TOUR LOGO FOR FEEDBACK BLOGPOST

If you are expecting a “Rave” that’s precisely what you are going to get! BUT, I like to back up my rhetoric with some statistics. So let’s take a look at a few, shall we?

My “SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR TOUR” commenced on February 1st 2017.

My visitors to this site for the entire month of January 2017 numbered = 91.

My visitors to this site for the duration of the “SPOTLIGHT TOUR” February 1st/February 28th =181. Yes! My visitors doubled!

My visitors’ country …

SCREENSHOT ON COUNTRY BLOG BREAKDOWN VISITOR STATS

The rest of the world contributed a further 20 visitors! Considering the fact that I’m an Australian based author these stats are so very welcomed.

We all write because we love to do so! I’m no different. We wouldn’t put ourselves through all the angst of being a writer, otherwise. The icing on that cake is when other people purchase, read and hopefully enjoy our work. When that happens it sets off a chain reaction that reflects in that “Bottom line” we never thought we’d care about when we became writers.

SO! Lets get down to that, shall we? The SALES figures for my SPOTLIGHTED book “ACTS BEYOND REDEMPTION”

In the month of January I garnered For my featured book “Acts Beyond Redemption”  90 sales.

In my ‘Spotlight Author” month of February “Acts Beyond Redemption” Garnered 176 sales. Nuff said, folks? These figures really do speak for themselves, don’t they?

By extension of the interest in my work due to the SPOTLIGHT TOUR ALL of my books listed with Rave Reviews Book club had sales increased for the month of FEBRUARY.

And last but certainly not least my followers increased both here on my blog and on TWITTER @pursoot where I hang my hat.

My blog now has a wonderful 9445 followers.

Color me CONTENT! Don’t wait…pop in and take a look at #RRBC this is one place where you get out of belonging to a Book Club, exactly what you put into it … and THEN some.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

I re-located on February 27th to a small University Town hundreds of miles from Sydney! I was promised that I would have Internet connection within five days. Didn’t happen, folks! My internet was only connected YESTERDAY!  18 days later! Frantic doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling … on top of all the stress of such a big move. I logged in to Twitter only this morning to find that every one of my scheduled posts for the month to date had received continuous and marvelous support from all the folks at RRBC, despite the fact that I had been unable to offer reciprocal support for weeks!

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about.

I am one very happy camper!

THANK YOU ALL! For your faith in me, and the friendships which I shall continue to treasure.

To the President of Rave Reviews Book Club; The wonderful Nonnie Jules, thank you will never be enough.

talent-spotter-images-links-for-liza-oconnor

ACTS BEYOND REDEMPTION ON AMAZON.COM

My AUTHOR page on AMAZON

 

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“Glimpses Across the Barricades” Poetry Collection #1 ‘The Pigeon Lady’ by Suzanne Burke.

Hello, and thank you for making the time to drop by. I will be sharing one of my poems each week, from my wip “Glimpses Across the Barricades” A collection of my own takes on those moments that bring about change in our lives.

 

 Glimpses Across the Barricades.

‘The Pigeon Lady’

A Story Poem.

By Suzanne Burke.

In loving memory of ‘Noelene’.

blog-glimpses-straw-hat

She fed pigeons in the park opposite my home.
The same bench each day she occupied; she never seemed to roam.
There she sat in the early morn and again at end of day.
On my way to work as I hurried by, she’d smile at me and say
“Good morning dear, a lovely day for your early morning walk.”
I nodded my response; I did not make the time to talk.
I’d quickly grab a coffee from the station coffee shop
and gulp it down as I waited for my crowded train to stop.
My working days were filled with legal speak and lengthy hours.
I remained remote and untouchable inside my clever ivory tower.
My world was filled with designer clothes, and all the correct possessions,
and of course, I had my dearest friends, and our numerous bitch sessions.
My calendar was full with gallery openings and plays-
I was on the “A” list of the social must invites, where I worked hard to stay.
I surrounded myself with people whose favorite word was ‘yes’,
those cool, together, people, who never showed distress.
The seasons changed with rapid pace, the fall wind was chill.
The pigeon lady remained upon her bench, and smiled her greeting still,
A battered straw hat she always wore, upon her graying head.
I didn’t break my stride as she spoke. I hurried by instead.
The mornings grew darker, as days were met by early winter snow,
yet still she sat with her battered hat, perhaps she had nowhere else to go.
It was not my problem after all; therefore, I didn’t stop to ask
I had Christmas shopping yet to do, so I thought only of that task.
One early morning in late December, I awakened so unwell
the thought of going out to work my fevered brain dispelled.
The illness burned and left me weak and shaking in my bed,
day merged with night, as I lay with pain pounding in my head.
For three days I lay in sweat-drenched delirium, yet shook with fevers chill,
I telephoned my dearest friends for help; they were all too busy still.
By day four the weakness had me in tears of lost despair.
My doorbell rang, I answered …  to find the Pigeon Lady there.
“Good morning dear,” was her surprising greeting,
she continued on, and said “I’ve made you soup but it needs heating.”
She stood there in her battered hat then gave me flowers that she bore,
she laughed, a quite delightful sound, at the expression that I wore.
“I’ve missed you dear,” was all she said, as she escorted me briskly back to bed.
I was confused, which clearly showed, pain was pounding in my head.
“Where is your linen kept?” she asked, she then changed my sweat-soaked sheets.
She raised the blinds to let the sunshine in, and then I had her soup to eat.
After the soup she explained, “Your gardener told me you were ill.”
I had no idea what to say, my eyes were closing against my will.
“Come on, young woman, off to sleep,” said she, and I gladly went.
I slept at once in my clean fresh sheets. My crying was all spent.
I awoke unsure of what I’d see, a delightful aroma filled the room;
a cheery fire awaited me, to take away the chilly gloom.
She’d left a note, which read, ‘I’ve left a meal, and tomorrow I will call.’
I had not the strength to ponder, why she had come at all.
On the morrow just on daybreak, she was there once more
Her clothing clean and tidy, yet still her battered hat she wore.
I didn’t know how to thank her for the kindness she had shown.
It was so far outside my experience, on the streets where I had grown.
“Your life has been so empty dear.” How did she understand?
“It will be all right you’ll see;” said she, as she gently touched my hand.
“What is your name, my dear?” she asked, with her sweet slow smile
“Of course I gave you your park name, it’s been bestowed on you a while.”
“My park name?” I queried. “Whatever do you mean?”
“Oh; I give everyone a name my dear!” and her eyes began to gleam.
“We have so many characters in the passing parade I see,
that I bestow on each a name that means who they are to me.”
I was not certain I would like or understand what I was about to hear.
She looked at me, and gave my hand a pat. “Why you are the ‘Lady Guinevere;’
still in search of ‘Camelot’. Be patient dear, she added, I just know it will arrive;
if you can just stop from shutting out the world in order to survive.”
How had this strange woman looked inside, and found the child that once I’d been?
I was profoundly shaken, how could she know these things others had not seen?
She smiled once more and waited, “And so what is your name?”
I grinned at her at last, and made no attempt to hide my pain.
“My name is Jennifer,” I said, how we laughed at that. ‘Guinevere’ was so correct
“Well now, Lady Jennifer.” she said, in her manner so direct
“My name is Francesca, however dear; you may call me Fran.”
We shook hands my new friend and I, and we talked as some friends can.
Three more days went by before I was well enough to work resume
Fran came by each day to check on me, she didn’t just assume
always asking if it were convenient for her again to call,
I thanked her and told her truly it was not inconvenient at all.
Day four I had risen early it was still a little dark
I made two mugs of hot, sweet, tea and joined Fran in the park
She was clearly so delighted, we enjoyed that place and time.
Then each morning thereafter, a small bench space was mine
I learned about the pigeons; their names and all their individual deeds .
They soon became accustomed to my joining in their morning feeds
Fran shared with me her park people, and a few I helped identify
There was, Mr. Baggy Pants who almost lost them as he scurried by,
and young Master Odd Sox, was color blind for sure,
I became ever more grateful, that she had knocked upon my door.
People that I worked with commented on a change in me
Mostly they seemed uncomfortable. So they just let me be.
Fran one morning said to me as another season changed
“Lady Jennifer my friend, a dinner I have arranged.”
“I’d like you to come home with me tomorrow after work”
“Come home with you?” I questioned, then, I felt a total jerk.
Luckily she laughed at me, and no offense did take
“Yes dear I have a family, and a home” she corrected my mistake.
I had mixed feelings about that evening, I was unsure what to do. I mentioned this to Fran, who said “My dear you just be you.”
Our morning ritual we shared and arranged a time to meet.
Fran’s large dog was so pleased to meet me, he knocked me off my feet.
I was welcomed as her trusted friend by her sons, all three.
Thomas was the eldest, head of the family was he.
The middle son was Jacob, so like his mother he did look.
The youngest one was Elijah who read me like a book.
All three sons proudly wore policemens’ uniforms.
Their father was killed in the line of duty, I was sadly then informed.
The time flew by so quickly, and often to their home I went
Many happy hours of shared dreams and laughter was time so gladly spent
Fran held herself so gracefully, I could not think of her as old.
I did not want to ask her age fearing she would think me bold.
Her hair was completely gray by now; and her hands would often shake.
And as the distance she would walk became difficult to make; she said no words to indicate that may have worried me
her carefree laugh, and ready smile, were all she’d let me see.
I awoke one morning as usual and prepared our cups of tea
I walked outside, then, stopped in shock; for Fran I could not see.
The pigeons were all there waiting, as it softly began to rain,
She is just late I told myself; I waited for hours in vain.
A police car stopped outside my home, Thomas looked my way;
I did not want to hear the words he said; I wanted to run away.
Our beloved Fran had gone to bed, and in her sleep had died
Thomas put his arms around me as we clung to each other and cried.
I feed pigeons in the park opposite our home
I wear Frans’ battered old straw hat; I have not far to roam.
My daughter lay safely in her pram. The passing parade goes by.
My small Francesca loves the birds, and greets them with a delighted cry
Her daddy Thomas dotes on her, and on me, his wife.
Every day I tell my Francesca more about her grandma’s life;
One morning as we sat there, a young woman strutted into view.
A “Lady Guinevere” at last! I looked up and smiled,
Fran this one’s for you.

 

Book Review: “Ingrid.(Daughter of The Alvar) Book 1.” By Hannah Warren.

Welcome to my first BOOK REVIEW of 2017 “Ingrid. (Daughter of The Alvar) Book 1.

Let’s meet the author, Hannah Warren.

Talent spotter Hannah bio

When I’m not writing or thinking about writing, you can find me at the paid job at my local university translating stuff and recruiting international students, experimenting with organic food in my kitchen, stretching my old bones in Yoga or glued to WhatsApp exchanging funny messages with my grown-up kids.

But writing is the real deal for me. I love creating complex characters (mostly women), who are faced with impossible choices in life and still they crack it, whether they perish or not. I write both contemporary and historical fiction and suppose I’m quite old school with my descriptive, character-driven style.

Recently I joined the writer’s collective 13th Sign Publishing. Apart from publishing books, we bring out a quarterly free eZine on topics we love: healthy living, healthy eating and great reading.

book-cover-ingrid-hannah-warren

On a lonely windswept island off the coast of Sweden, there is a place so desolate it feels abandoned by the fates. And yet, it possesses a strange beauty, which summons souls to awakening. This is the Alvar. Its very nature is a contradiction, and it is this ambiguity that calls to Ingrid, daughter to the vicar of Smedby.

Raised as God-fearing, she believes in charity, and when Kalle returns unexpectedly to the island community, her instinct is to help him. Considered a pariah by all due to his sordid past, one that saw him exiled for many years, he ventures into the Alvar to live, to escape the censure of the villagers. In this desolate place, how will he survive? Ingrid resolves to help him.

No one will tell Ingrid why Kalle was exiled. Her father commands her to stay away from the poacher. Their housekeeper warns her off. Her brother does not know what happened. Her French tutor, Max, is new to the island. The mystery is overwhelming and the only one who knows the truth is Kalle himself. In the spirit of charity, and also curiosity, Ingrid befriends Kalle, hoping to uncover the past, hoping also to help him survive the Alvar.

A gypsy reveals to Ingrid that she will lose everything, but the cossetted vicar’s daughter is headstrong. She enters the Alvar despite every warning … and meets her fate there.

MY REVIEW:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I made a decision in the past year to explore genres hitherto outside my usual comfort zone. Historical Fiction is a relatively new genre for me, and I approached it with an open mind, guided also by the fact that I have read and enjoyed other works by Author Hannah Warren.

Let me first explore the primary character of Ingrid.

Ingrid at the age of sixteen is the over protected and exceedingly naive daughter of the Vicar of Smedby. Her decision making process is governed by the strictest of upbringings  and the socially acceptable behavior patterns of a community isolated from the influences of the outside world by location, and crafted by the prejudices that exist within such a closely bound village.

Ingrid’s position as the vicars’ daughter is viewed with eyes that hold her both above, and accordingly protected from, anything even remotely connected with scandal; and herein lay the foundations of future behavior as this young girl experiences her first tantalizing and unexplored tastes of burgeoning womanhood.

Rebellion in teenagers can take many forms, and Ingrid finds herself both intrigued by, and more than a little curious about the arrival of a man whose actions when he was a part of this community earned him both the disrespect and hushed whispers that accompany anything considered outside of acceptable parameters.

Ingrid’s first acts of disobedience, are, in part, retaliation against the confines of her upbringing, and her newly dawning awareness of womanhood, and her need to exert her own will, whatever the cost. The arrival back in the village of the forbidden Kalle is simply too intriguing to resist.

Kalle’s character is less finely drawn, for to do so would reveal more than the reader needs to know if tension is to be maintained. Suffice it to say that he, along with other lesser characters is crafted beautifully.

The location itself is what helps drive this work to its unexpected conclusion. Author Hannah Warren invites you to experience the stark windswept place known as The Alvar. A place that invites secrets, and houses its own deep sense of mystery and darkness.

I detest spoilers in reviews, and to share more here would detract from what I found to be a enormously enjoyable and unpredictable reading experience.

I highly recommend this work, and look forward to reading more of this series.

Purchase ‘Ingrid’ here on Amazon.com.

Find Hannah here on Twitter; @hannah_war

Find Hannah here on FACEBOOK:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Dog of Depression … Biting it Back.

April 1st 2017:

I have re-posted this to honor the memory of my dear friend ‘Jamie’. The anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. He finally gave up his struggle with life.  The pain is still raw, and all the ‘if only’s’ in this world add to that tally.  This post is confronting … because it needs to be.

depression 1

2016:

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since I wrote the post that follows.

Can it really have been that long?

Three years to the very day and hour. So much has happened in that time. Yet the same wonderful folks that offered me love and support back then are still in my life. How damned lucky I am.

If the reposting of this helps just one person understand the long term problems of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) then it’s well worth the time.

Here is the original post …

I will update my current situation at its end.

The “Black Dog” of Depression! Biting it Back.

2013:

Fighting back … and biting the ‘Black Dog’ of depression on the Ass. Great title for a blog post. Too easy.

If only it were that simple.

Most of you who have given me the honor of following my life through my books have commented on my strength. I have looked at those comments again and again recently, and I wonder … where is she, that feisty female?

Where did it go, that ‘strength’? Have I lost it? Or was it not strength at all?

Was it more likely my pig-headed determination after all, and not that inner resilience that one can draw on in times of great distress?

You know me well enough by now to know, that rightly or wrongly I have always been my most devastating when threatened.

What the hell happened to that?

There would be no point in even attempting to write this blog entry if I hadn’t decided at the outset to be honest.

Honesty does not always bathe us in an aura of golden light. It can be, and at times must be, clinically cold. It is, and I must be hypercritical of self if the point of the article is to make any sense at all.

So … let’s take a walk together, you and I. Hold my hand, (for I need it) and I’ll guide you through the past five months of my crazy life, in the hope that when we reach today, not only you, but I, will have a greater understanding of depression … and…the self destructive behavior that perpetuates the cycles of darkness when they begin.

This is not a prettied up version of events.

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my daughter and 11 month old Grandson.

I have not walked out the door of the apartment for 18 weeks.

Where did the Summer go? When did the crisp green leaves of Summer change to the golden hues of Autumn and fall to the fast growing coldness of the ground beneath? When did the neighbor’s children stop playing ball in the parking lot, and shouting delighted cries of challenge from the pool in the warmth and never ending daylight of our Australian Summer? Where the hell did that time go? It’s lost to me now, I can’t recapture it or relive it, I can only mourn its passing.

When did my darling daughter’s face begin to carry that look of worry?

When did I cease to notice or even care that I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my hair in weeks? When did a few glasses of wine once a week or so become anesthesia to wash away my fear?

Blaming my deteriorating health would be convenient. And yes … my health is bad, very bad in fact. BUT … it has been heading this way for a very long time.

I had a choice to take preventative measures, not to cure, because it is not curable, but at the very least to have given me some sense of control over time spans and a measure of comfort. I refused to do so.

Am I weary of being on guard all the time?…Damned straight!

Am I weary of always being perceived as the tough woman that survived so much? Sure I am. But that is the person I chose to be.
I recognize the presence of fear again.

I have tasted the bitterness of it like bile in my mouth many times in my life.

Why now has it’s presence become so devastatingly present? Why at almost 60years of age am I like the small child I once was with no control of her life in a world gone mad?
Fear is a devastating task master, make no mistake. If you allow it the upper hand it will strip the flesh off your bones with no apologies. I am afraid to look in any mirror, for the ravages of time and ill health show me a face that should be serene … but is not.

I am afraid if the food in the cupboard runs down.

I am petrified if the bills mount up and I simply have to wait a week or two to begin clearing them.I am aware of the vulnerability of relying on a pension payable by a government that has no insight into what it feels like to be at their disposal.

I began to isolate.

Again.

I am comfortable in my isolation. That is the deadliness of it. I sit in the early hours of the morning, when my body craves sleep; I sit on the balcony, comforted by the darkness and the lack of necessity to communicate with neighbors who in the daylight hours may have looked up and smiled, or even raised a hand in friendly acknowledgement.

How dare they intrude. How dare they even notice me there? For surely if I sat still and unmoving I ceased to be visible to them … didn’t I?

Caring for my baby Grandson during the day is probably the only thing that gives me any semblance of normality. He demands as much love as I can give.
For my daughter and the little guy that love is and will remain unconditional, but how long can I expect her to watch me slowly self destructing? How long can she tolerate the worry?

My grandson and I spend our days laughing and interacting in play. I am not well enough to take him for walks in the park, or walks anywhere for that matter. Simply walking from my room to the kitchen robs me of breath. Physically I am simply unable to walk far at all. Convenient? Perhaps. Can that change? No. I can’t regain the loss of lung function. But I can and must regain the beginnings of life function.

Other events over the past six months have taken their toll.

Perhaps if everything had not come crashing down at once I would have dealt with it a little better.
Perhaps.
But everything did come at me at once and seemingly out of nowhere and all within a very short space of time.

A long term relationship that I treasured, ended. I hadn’t seen the signs, too caught up with everything else that needed my attention I guess. A poor excuse really, I could and should have seen the warning signs.

I didn’t.

Reason can’t substitute for feeling.

I now have a dear friend still, but no longer my lover.

It took me a while to recognize that the visits were less and less frequent, the phone calls that had once come every day just for the comfort of hearing my voice, suddenly became weekly, and then not at all.

Did I ever tell him that the only time I ever felt truly safe were those times in his arms? The times when I would simply lay there, listening to his breathing and know with absolute certainty that I could fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that he would awaken instantly if I moved. Safe in the knowledge that he would give his own life to protect me if I were under threat.

I miss him.
I shall always miss him.

My writing? What have I written in the past 10 months? Hah! I finished a work of fiction that had been hanging in the back roads of my consciousness for a long time. But it was only one chapter that needed doing.

I wrote 65,000 words of another piece that for reasons that don’t really matter a damn anymore have been relegated to the trash heap. Apart from that… zilch!

Until today.

I need to get this down, I need those of you that have suffered from depression to understand that whilst it is a lonely street you walk…many of us share that same welcome darkness.

Will I come out the other side of this hideous fog? Only time will tell.  Being here cloaked in the darkness of thought, feels safer than coming out of the damned fog and needing to deal with basic day to day necessities, I don’t want to shower for I would then need to look at my body and accept the deterioration.  Even recognizing intellectually what is happening  gives no guarantee that I can act on that recognition and do something about it.

Counseling … thanks but no thanks. It works wonderfully well for many many people and I am thankful for that. It just isn’t for me. I just don’t trust folks enough to go that road again.

I haven’t written a blog piece in six months. Today that stops. I realize that the only way back from the darkness is for me to switch on my inner pilot.
Consider it switched on.

Comment and kick me in the ass if you choose. This is going to take quite some time my friends. The damage runs deep. Hold me in your thoughts, comment as and how you will.

Soooz ain’t dead yet! She just smells that way.

Thanks for reading.

Now an update …

Today is June 29th 2016. I am still here! Color me amazed.

sunrise

I guess I always seem to find some muddle headed way of bouncing back. I think it likely that I am just too pig-headed and stubborn not to.

So where am I at now, where is my life as I sit  in my small office writing this?

I have restructured my life piece by piece in the last few years. I have taken the precious moments and lovingly moved them to the safe place in my mind, and there they remain unsullied by the external world.

I have rejoiced with my child and my grandson.  I have laughed more than I remember doing for such a long time.

I still isolate but not for as long or as often … baby steps.

I pulled my head out of my ass and re-published my books as an indie author after the publishing house that carried my books closed its doors.

I now use a wheelchair and it affords me the opportunity to get out into the daylight and suck in the air, with my loving daughter steering me determinedly from behind.

I have written two new books and have three more in progress.

All positive things.

I dragged myself back from the alcoholic haze and have been dry (Again) for over two years.

I have ceased to have contact with those that would relegate me to the easily dismissed pile in their lives.

I have lost two dear friends to suicide.

I have allowed myself to cry and to mourn.

I consider myself fortunate to have friends who stand by me.

For now … for today … I am happy.

If you know someone that suffers depression, if you suffer it yourself, reach out to those that can inform and assist you and hold true the belief that you are a human being worthy of being loved and respected.

April 1st 2017.

Thank you for making the time to read this post. Jamie deserves to be remembered,

Here are links that may assist you when the darkness threatens…

Beyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Depression Alliance U.K

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Thank you for being here.

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