Welcome to ‘Glimpses Across the Barricades’ This poem was included in the epilogue of my book “Faint Echoes of Laughter”.
In A Perfect World
As I lay snugly warm and safe
Within my families womb
My heart begins a slow sad ache
For another child will cry tonight
Another child will die tonight
What was once their home
will become their tomb
Anger tears me as I read The desperate plead of a child in need How can we continue to ignore The deafening cries from every land? Can the balance be restored or Are we so desensitized to pain That we can’t give Without thought of gain
If I had but one wish to make Then that wish would surely be That when my own sweet child has grown, and if fate so decrees
I’ll hold her own children on my knee And when I lay them in their beds No sad thoughts will fill their heads
For our world will have become a place Where all its children have their space Where no ugly thoughts will touch their minds When faith is restored in humankind
No sweet child will need to cry No hungry child will need to die
We have that power in our hands To make these changes throughout all lands If we can but clearly see That our world is not What it needs to be
Once the changes have been made Each child may sleep with sweet child dreams
Each child will wake to see the dawn Each child will be thankful they were born.
BOOK REVIEW: ULTIMATE BETRAYAL. By JO ANN WENTZEL.
Meet author Jo Ann Wentzel.
Jo Ann Wentzel has been married to the same man, Dan Wentzel, for over 52 years. She is a mother, grandmother and former foster care provider. She worked with over 75 kids while also working as a writer for weekly newspapers and many websites. She served as a Guardian-Ad –Litem and Court Mediator. She and her husband have been speakers and workshop presenters for many groups including foster parents. Almost two years ago, she and her husband retired to a motor home and travel the US with a rescue dog named Jessie.
Ultimate Obliteration is Wentzel’s fourth book and sequel to her novel Ultimate Betrayal. In her first novel, she describes her setting this way “Imagine a dystopian world where society cannot protect their children from moral decay and the spread of evil.” Ultimate Obliteration continues finding a solution to this issue with many using their own brand of justice.
The Rave Reviews Book Club selected her book It Begins and Ends with Family as one of the Books of the Month. This book describes her experiences working with challenging teens and the secrets to running a foster home.
Wentzel also wrote a book A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts, a selection of a variety of her articles in answer to many of your questions.
She has several writing projects in the wings so you certainly will see more of this author.
Jo Ann wants to thank all readers who support her and would love to hear from you. All contact information, more of her writing and a forum to express yourself is available on her website, authorjoannwentzel.com
I am reviewing “Ultimate Betrayal.”
Imagine a dystopian world where society cannot protect their children from moral decay and the spread of evil.
Andrew Zenith, a conscientious local TV reporter, never worries about getting ahead just making a difference. He uncovers a story that will change the direction of his life forever. After hearing this story, all he thinks about every moment is confirming the facts he hopes are not true. He is driven to save the children. This task is near impossible since the majority of people have cold hearts and a loss of compassion for others.
He joins with others who care. Their mission-is to save the children at all costs. If their mission fails young lives will be ruined and even cut short. The fate of the children rests upon finding answers to the questions no one even wants to ask. Will he succeed against overwhelming odds?
MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A look into a frighteningly possible world.
This book may well be science fiction, and set in a future Dystopian society, but, you would need to be utterly hidden from our current society, with no outside communication whatsoever, not to understand that this book can well reflect with rare exception, the inhumanity exhibited in our world today. Not in some far distant time.
The character of Andrew Zenith is presented well. Author Jo Ann Wentzel’s writing allows us to feel the many layers of this man, his passion for life, his compassion for those for whom life has become unbearably dark. Most notably the children with nowhere to run and nowhere to turn to for safe-haven.
The book permits us a glimpse into a future where the desensitization to other people’s pain has created a callous indifference to suffering, and a well-shielded conscience.
The story is classical good vs evil. What sets it apart from other such classic tales is the author’s ability to allow many shades of both darkness and light to co-exist. It is a complex co-existence. Author Jo Ann Wentzel weaves it well.
An entertaining and thought provoking read indeed. I look forward to reading the sequel.
Welcome again to “Glimpses Across the Barricades” my poetry in progress.
Today I share with you a brief glimpse of my dear friend, Jenny. I met her on the streets when she was barely eight-years-old. I was eleven. She took her own life several years ago. The world is a darker place now that her sweet soul no longer lights it.
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
Small towns hold the darkest secrets.
Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.
But memories in small towns are bitter and long.
Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.
MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 An engaging, unpredictable Page-turner!
This is my first venture into the world of Author Mae Clair.
Eclipse Lake caught my attention, partly because of the excellent blurb, and partly because I rarely review anything remotely connected to Romance, and a Mystery Romance seemed a great place to start.
Having said that, I was utterly unprepared and seriously delighted by what lay between these beautifully written pages.
This author has a deceptively elegant writing style. Deceptive only in that the flow of words have iron hidden within the dialogue.
The conversations between the central characters are pivotal and the author utilizes that marvelous skill by allowing the characters souls, dreams, and despairs to be communicated clearly each time they speak.
Wonderful characterizations of each player, you’ll find nothing one dimensional here.
Meet Dane Carlisle. This is a man driven. His complex layers are composed with intricate threads of sorrow and longing, regrets and secrets he has never revealed. He comes from a dark childhood and through the actions and intervention of a mentor he reveres, he establishes a company, and makes a great success of it. A promise to his dying wife finds he and his teenage son journeying back to Danes home town of Onyx, a place of dark and closely held secrets.
Meet, Jesse his adopted son, seventeen and beginning those years of questing against and questioning everything that touches their world. The growing respect and understanding between he and his father is a pure joy to read. It is neither rushed nor formulaic, these folks are permitted to breathe, bleed and suffer as they rediscover each other.
Meet Jonah, Dan Carlisle’s estranged brother. Jonah is an angry man, his brother and he have a history, and his resentment of his brother Dane is both palpable and pivotal to this well thought out plot.
Meet Ellie: Successful photographer on assignment to Onyx. Enter the romantic element, and I must say I was delighted at the endearing and memorable way the growing love between she and Dan Carlisle is handled.
Combine all the splendid ingredients with the Sheriffs long missing daughters body being discovered, fingers being pointed, and nasty gossip doing its usual harm; that will launch all the characters into the unexpected conclusion.
Suffice it to say that that conclusion is a jaw dropper! I am now firmly committed to reading many more of this talented authors works.
Every so often on my journey through this crazy world I have the urgent need to write ‘off the wall’ crazy stuff, just for the hell of it. I’ve decided to reserve a special page on my blog; the “Soooz Says Stuff Page” The following is the result of one such trip into mayhem. The original Limmerick goes (I believe) as follows.
“I’m not the pheasant plucker
I’m the pheasant plucker’s son
I’m only plucking pheasants
till the pheasant plucker comes.”
Then we have my expanded alternate version:
WARNING! Dangerous when spoken in company … unless you are completely sober … and are in possession of teeth … preferably your own.
I am a peasant who plucks pheasants
Morning noon and night.
T’is no easy task this pheasant plucking
and, I just can’t get it right.
I pluck ‘em fast; I pluck em slow
Till I’m flat out on the floor
Doesn’t matter what I do,
there always is one more.
Now a peasant’s life’s no pleasant picnic
I truly kid you not.
But plucking clucking pheasants
Is the only job I’ve got.
I don’t really understand it
Perhaps I try too hard
Chasing pheasants to be plucked
Out in the plucking yard
The farmer’s kids stand watching
And laughing till they cry,
If I could be offended
I would be mortified.
But “a pluck’s a pluck” my mom says
And brother she should know
She pleasantly plucks pheasants
Everywhere she goes.
She is the princess of pheasant plucking
Her fame is world renowned
She plucks her way from shore to shore
And sleeps on duck plucked down.
She can pluck while seated,
She plucks standing on her head
I’ve heard tell she also plucks
Whilst lying in her bed.
Matters not which way I pluck ‘em
I cannot match her score
I just don’t understand it,
I really pluck ‘em raw.
After all this pleasant pheasant plucking
You think I’d quit the game
But no, not me, I go right on plucking
Till they all look the same.
At end of day when I’m plucked out
I can’t even raise a peasant smile
I have a drink at the Plucker Inn
After I walk a country mile.
My friends all gather round me,
and give me drinks for free,
they kindly ask about my mother’s
latest, pheasant plucking spree.
One day as I was plucking pheasants
In my usual plucking place A stranger came up screeching!
Cursing loudly in my face.
“My god! What are you doing?”
Is what she asked of me,
“I’m a peasant plucking pheasants,”
said I, “as you can plainly see.”
“Are you a fool?” she cried aloud.
“You haven’t got it right.”
“Don’t tell me that fair lady,
‘cause I pluck pheasants day and night”.
She slapped my pleasant peasant face
Then she screamed out fit to burst.
“If you’re going to pluck a pheasant, peasant You’re meant to kill it first!”
I can hear you groaning from all the way down here in Oz! … You were warned! 😊😊😊
Yes, I did say privilege. Why? … Because it must be so! Motherhood must be regarded as the greatest joy of your combined life experiences.
We hand out special licenses to folks wishing to drive a car. A car is a potentially lethal weapon.
A child created and raised by unfit parents is also … a potentially lethal weapon.
I have written much about the woman that gave birth to me. For that is all she ever was. I spent many, many, soulless, and empty years hoping to find a different, a more palatable and convenient truth. For I so badly needed to believe, that She was damaged, and accordingly had no control over what she caused to come into being.
That thought kept me reasonably sane, in a violent, pain-filled world … that hated world, that world that made no sense to me at all.
But the years have peeled back the blinders that I used for safety, and I have come unwillingly to believe, that rather than an illness that caused her to inflict pain, I was instead her living sacrifice, to be punished upon the ‘altar’ of the train-wreck of her own life.
In order to accept that, I needed to lose the hate. Whilst I’ll never be indifferent, to even the mere mention of her name … that bitter bile of hatred has been tempered over time. Not ever fully understanding what caused her to inflict such vile pain, is simply now just something I have learned to bear. Losing the hate I have accomplished. Forgiving her is a whole other journey I have at last been at least willing to begin.
The joy of giving birth will never leave my mind. Into my freshly awakening soul, a precious girl-child was permitted entry. I have yet to feel a more all-encompassing need to protect another living being. For the very first time in my life I was grateful to have been born a woman.
The greatest love I’ve ever known erupted into my unprepared world.
Her laughter and that boundless lust for life colored my planet with sunshine … as did the never ending fear that I would somehow let her down. That reflected in much darker corners in sombre tones.
My husband and I created ‘Magic’ for her newly awakened self. Her fathers’ loving parents, his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews all became our willing accomplices, as they fell captive to her joyous laughter. We reconstructed ‘Neverland’ and housed her as the reigning princess within its seemingly impenetrable walls.
All those marvelous days we’d celebrate with the ‘Magic’ element firmly in its place.
Christmas, and Birthdays, Easter egg-hunts, and Halloween. We never granted any excuse to miss a single one.
We sheltered her like a fragrant Frangipani, never allowing even a hint of the cold touch of frost to damage those tender flowers.
And when unheralded, the end of the reign of the King and Queen ruling together united … stormed into her life, at the as yet untested age of eighteen; that precious ivory tower melted like chocolate into untried sands.
She staggered into a world she was unprepared for, for we’d never handed her the weapons or the skill with which to use them.
We lost some years she and I, whilst each of us learned to both grow, and let go. Time was an ally then, and softly the healing leaves were sown.
Please know we’ve journeyed far in those intervening years, and know too, that life is joyous now, and we share our tears our truths and fears.
She asked me to be there, in that precious, priceless, unforgettable time as she gave birth to her son. How lucky am I to be so loved.
My Child’s Child.
He came screaming into his world two weeks earlier than expected. My child’s child … my grandson. I had the utter joy of seeing that look on her face as she craned to see and experience that ageless ‘falling in love with your first child’ moment.
We live together now, my daughter, my grandson and I. She has done me the great honor of asking me to assist her to raise her son.
Wise beyond her years she knew that living with my grandson’s daddy would only end badly for all three of them.
I’ve watched on proudly as she works tirelessly with the little ones’ father to be as utterly fair to each other as is humanly possible.
You will never hear one negative word about him. NOT in the house where his son lives, and grows. The young one loves his daddy unconditionally, which is as it should be for now. My child, grants, to her child, the right to ask questions, and she answers them with as much honesty as an almost five year old can handle. She gives him the ‘fairy tales’ with a hefty dose of magic …. but she also reads to him the darker ones, age appropriate to him.
Which does he prefer? I’m smiling here. For as long as there is no blood shown, or discussed, he’ll choose the dark stuff, every time. He’s relentless in the joy that he sheds when he’s just being a boy.
My daughter yesterday repeated something she says on occasion, which I will never tire of hearing. “Mom, I had the happiest childhood of any kid ever.”
She gives to me freely the greatest compliment I have ever heard.
Her way of parenting is uniquely her own, she teaches and creates using magic, and world truths tempered by her own life experiences, and above all things her all encompassing and unconditional ability to show and give love.
We’ll make quite the proud trio on Sunday Mothers Day May 14th …. My Child … Her Child … and I.
I’m here and overjoyed to be so. I have so many marvelous reasons to celebrate.
I wish you happiness, and the ability to share it with people that you love, on that special day. I am, and will remain, forever grateful for the privilege of being graced with the title of “Mother”.
It is possibly the hardest earned and most rewarding of any title you may have been granted.