Let’s take this show on the road!

Have you seen this? An amazing book tour with some simply awesome authors! Like C.S Boyack … Mae Clair … Harmony Kent … Joan Hall … Staci Troilo and P.H Solomon… Don’t miss the opportunity to win some brilliant prizes, and support some marvelous authors.

Story Empire

Hey gang, Craig here. As you know, Story Empire is a cooperative effort of six talented authors. We try to bring you some wonderful content on this blog, but we’re all authors, too. Doing a bit of collaborative promotion is part of the deal.

This week we’re going on the Story Empire Roadshow. All six of us are doing a blog tour, there will be some deep discounts on our books, and maybe a few freebies along the way. Watch for the Story Empire Bookmobile out in blogland, and tell your friends about it. You might find some wonderful new blogs to follow, too.

For myself, I’m doing some discounts on my books, and giving a couple away, but you’ll have to follow the tour to get the exact dates. At the end, the two most prolific commenters will win some awesome coffee mugs I had made with a graphic…

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Glimpses Across The Barricades #Poetry Collection. “Canyon Of Dreams” by S. Burke.

Thanks so much for stopping by. This is a collection of poetry (Still a work in progress) I share with you poetry from my yesterdays, and hints of my tomorrows.

Canyon of dreams EAGLE

Canyon of Dreams.
My soul soars high on thermal winds
as I gaze enraptured at earth below.
I watch as the mother gently awakens
caressed by mist in dawn’s red glow.
Deep valleys of muted green, whisper secrets,
as softly, softly ends the night.
Leaf-laden branches like lover’s arms reach out
to hold and cherish the enfolding light.

As Autumn breezes chase through her canyons
swirling leaves of amber and gold come dancing
in a twirling tango they move entrancing
as falling through corridors of color
to settle soft on the moisture laden soil
that lay untouched below her patch-work canopy
where the air is sweet and cool,
Muted perfume of liquid amber and pine
with scent of velvet moss and peat combine.

Through endless stretch of bracken fern
on blankets of golden leaf and pine
the dappled glow of morning, at last begins to shine.
The light touches all that lay there, whilst close by
the diamond water sparkles, running wild and free
as in suicidal-dance they hurtle downward
as they have for all eternity. Over steep ledges
worn by time, the sound thunders as they fall
to create a bridal-veil of mist,
rebounding off the canyon wall.

Whilst high above on sandstone castles
The proud eagle surveys his domain
with hunter’s eyes and talons sharpened
He launches into Autumn skies.
His prey begins a fruitless journey
to escape his hunters grasp or die.
Sudden cries of hunter’s jubilation
mesh with screams of capitulation
Echo off steep walls as old as time.

In this paradise I am the uninvited
humbled to witness such perfection,
as yet untarnished by the hand of man.
This endures and will continue
long after frail bodies turn to dust.
If we can but respect her, she will remain,
to soothe our troubled minds.
We who ask her the riddles of all man’s seasons.
and discover there are no answers left to find.

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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.

Welcome Harmony Kent with Moments #RRBC Author

Prepare yourselves, another fabulous book from the talented pen of Author Harmony Kent is available for pre-order, Grab your copy of “:Moments” now!

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Today I’m happy to welcome Story Empire author, Harmony Kent to my blog. This is her first time appearing here, so I hope you’ll give her a nice welcome as she shares the news of her upcoming release, Moments.

Banner for the book Moments by author, Harmony KentHello, everyone, Harmony Kent here. Welcome to my book release blog stop at Mae’s place. Today, I’m celebrating the upcoming release of my eighth book! Moments is a collection of short stories and poetry and brings together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. I’d like to take a moment to thank Mae for her support in helping me to promote my newest collection of stories. It comes out on April 14th, and the preorder links are listed at the end of the post 🙂

About the book:

Come.

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with…

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The Cozy Is Coming

Don’t miss the chance to read this amazing prologue to “One Dyke Cozy” Rhani D’chaes latest project! Delighted to reblogg.

Rhani DChae

Let’s get cozy

 Many years ago I met a girl named Shylarynn, and I fell in love with the name. My current project, One Dyke Cozy, came from that name but I’m not exactly sure how.

The story revolves around two girls, Shy and Gabby, who meet at a very young age and immediately become best friends. It covers some of their more significant moments from grade school to Shy’s untimely death.

I have included the prologue for Cozy in this post, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

* * *

Prologue

    My mother used to say that people come into our lives for a day, a season, or a reason. For the most part, I’ve always found that statement to be true. There were exceptions, but for the most part, the people who entered my life did…

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Welcome to my new work ‘under construction’ “Arrival” A Paranormal Thriller. An excerpt will be featured each week.

Welcome to my new work in progress! “Arrival” A Paranormal Thriller.

MIND CONTROL FOR TO BE CONTINUED PAGE ARRIVAL.

I will be featuring an excerpt from “ARRIVAL” my latest work (In progress)  each week. I have listed this as a paranormal/thriller. I have yet to decide if I should add Dystopian to that genre list.

Your thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated.

Here we go! (No synopsis)

CHAPTER 1 Excerpt 1.

“Arrival” by Suzanne Burke

The blood was pooling now; the pools becoming rapidly drying rivers in the oppressive heat of early morning.

It caked the whitewashed walls in grotesque patterns, like Picasso on a bender.

The team moved softy, unaffected by the stench of death. As ordered, they were sending  ‘activation’ messages to those of the ‘Breed’ that stood  watching the carnage without expression.

The other onlookers, the ‘Nontells’ were deemed irrelevant. As always they would do as instructed; unaware, unafraid, robbed of free thought.

Diago Ortega was a Nontell. He watched the Breed team carefully, fascinated as always with the teamwork without words that they excelled at. The poetry of movement between them was a beautiful thing to behold. His brain took a snapshot of the moment, storing it in his photographic memory along with the rest of the horror.

It was only when his own part in this nightmarish scenario was played out that he would stop long enough to reflect. For now the bodies were still warm to the touch; death had not yet visited for long. Dismemberment was carried out in routine order. Diago had a fleeting gratitude that his team did not need to decapitate the body. Taking the limbs was sickening enough.

His face reflected no horror. For he had witnessed far worse.

Why did the the Breed insist that all Nontells leave the room once forensics were underway? Why did the Breed always clean the gore themselves, when they had an army of Nontells to do it? It made no sense.

Why indeed were the ‘Breed’ at all times,the last ones to remain on the scene, and the first to arrive?

Diago tried unsuccessfully to stem the tide of his suspicions. The ‘Breed’ could read his thoughts, he was certain of it; all that kept him safe was their egomaniacal assumption that a ‘Nontell’ would have no thoughts worthy of reading.

He sat. He pulled a beer from the ice-box and drank it down fast; it cleared the bitterness from his palate … for a time. Alcoholism was rampant within the Nontell enclaves; it had been since the ‘Arrival’; in fact, the Breed encouraged it. It was the one thing that the Nontells were permitted to excel at.

Diago remembered well the days before ‘Arrival’. Those days before were forbidden to recall, never to be spoken of. The Breed had succeeded overwhelmingly well in quelling their humanity. But not for all. Not for him.

The memory played out in the theater of his mind,  sweet, sweet, memory … of the days when laughter was spontaneous, tears were permitted, and joy was anticipated with delight. Days of sunshine and superman, dogs and children, doughnuts and coffee.

Years of striving to attain a place. Working, long, discouraging, deadly hours; holding on desperately for those times of returning home, to the love of a partner who valued your contribution to their world.

‘Arrival’ had irreversibly altered that sacred pattern.

The ‘Breed-Master’ had declared the days before “Arrival” as a pestilence to be diminished and swept from memory.

It was so ordered.

Diago Ortega chose to disobey.

As did the others …  they would arrive soon.

The other Nontells, the ones with enough humanity remaining to dare to be different; to question, to seek the truth … and. perhaps more importantly, to locate within themselves the courage it would take to act on what they discovered. Small pockets of them had begun forming, always alert and always at risk.

Diago waited,  allowing his thoughts to drift, permitting visions of yesterdays to enter once more.  They blazed with unfettered passion, he could feel the heat as he suffered again in the light.

The loud pounding on the door, startled him. He jumped up, spilling the contents of his beer over an already dirty shirt. He glanced around quickly as if a method of escape would magically appear, it did not … . He located and grabbed his old gun, tucking the Glock firmly in the waistband of his jeans. The pounding continued and his heartbeat accelerated, all his focus now on that door.

They others had a prearranged signal and this wasn’t it.

To be continued….

I do hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Those that read this, will be the first to do so.

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Book Review: ‘Hurricane Kretschman’ by Jeff Lee. Book 4 of the ‘Adventures in La-La Land’ Series.

 

Meet the author.

Jeff Lee image for review
Jeff Lee.

Born in New York State, Jeff Lee was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has spent his entire writing career in Los Angeles.

For more than thirty years he has been a copywriter and creative director for some of the advertising industry’s most recognizable agencies, winning numerous awards for his creativity. None of those ad agencies are still in business, but Jeff appears to have a solid alibi.

Trained as a cook in the Army, he still enjoys being creative in the kitchen and admits that few things in life compare with the thrill of discovering you have just given a nasty case of food poisoning to 140 heavily armed men.

Jeff lives about halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, in a house he shares with his two sons and a cat that’s part golden retriever.

 

BOOK COVER HURRICANE KRETSCHMAN BY JEFF LEE JPG

 

HURRICANE KRETSCHMAN:

BLURB

All wisecracking, Harley-riding Repo Man and Bounty Hunter to the Stars Fish Fishbein wants is a cool vacation. It’s just him and his three best buds, potato-potato-potatoing down the highway — along with a force of nature named Shawna Kretschman, a bad-ass blonde with her own full-race hog. Not to mention a short fuse, serious fighting skills and an outfit that leaves zippo to the imagination. All lickety-splitting their way to Sturgis, South Dakota to link up with better than a million hard-drinking, harder partying Harley owners at the town’s annual Motor Cycle Rally.

But a high-powered real estate developer wants all the bikers gone, so he can sell the area as a family-oriented resort town. And he’ll stop at nothing – including murder – to get what he wants. Bikers and locals suddenly start dropping like road racers on a rain-slick GP course. And Fish, his friends and his big mouth are all in the developer’s crosshairs.

They’re on a hysterical collision course that includes phony cops, bar fights, pepper spray-laced paint balls, a no-holds-barred wrestling match in a ring full of chocolate pudding, getting adopted by the entire Sioux nation and manscaping.

The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally might be an 80 year-old tradition. But it’s going to take all of Fish’s brains and a ton of luck to keep himself and his buds alive long enough to enjoy a few more seasons.

My Review 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Hands-down, one of THE funniest Books I have read.

Every once in a rare while an author comes along with the comedic timing essential to writing a fast-paced one liner such as ‘Hurricane Kretschman’. Having been totally entertained by the three preceding books in this series, I was both curious and excited to see if this talented author could make me laugh out loud in public yet again. He did. Author Lee’s wonderfully creative touch has given substance to several amazing characters in his journey through the mayhem that is crafted within these pages.

Central character “Fish” Fishbein is more complex than you would suspect at first viewing. The layers of this hilariously funny and deeply caring man are peeled back slowly, and every clever line of dialogue is intertwined with the characters love for his crazy companions, Kenny and Einstein, as they decide to head across the USA to the Motor Cycle Rally to end all Rally’s in Sturgis, South Dakota.

His constant companions and partners in  … well … everything, are cleverly drawn. Well enough in fact, to become clearly visual and as equally lovable as they are chaotic.

To my delight (And Fish’s) a new character explodes into being along the way.

How on earth does a reviewer ever hope to encapsulate the outrageously funny, and often diabolically dangerous persona of Shawna Kretschman aka the Hurricane Kretschman of the books title.

Suffice it say that this beautiful blonde PTSD suffering, Harley riding ex-Military M.P with attitude to ‘die’ from …er … for, adds further dimensions to the reading enjoyment. She sets “Fish’s” pulses racing as fast as a hog on a racetrack. Has our hero found love at last?

Whether they live long enough to find that out remains to be seen.

Enter the villain in the unflattering shape of Dale Kimbrough, a land developer set on making the bikers (All of them) disappear so he can develop a family friendly place. What’s not family friendly about bikers?

Suffice it to say, bodies start appearing, and bad guys start disappearing in rapid succession. The developer badly underestimated just how much mayhem he was unleashing when he chose to take on our heroes.

I laughed out loud so often along the road of this amazing journey, it was indeed a pleasure to become reunited with author Jeff Lee’s superbly talented writing. I simply can’t recommend this book highly enough.

OTHER OUTSTANDING BOOKS BY JEFF LEE.

BOOK COVER JEFF LEE THE LADIES TEMPERANCE CLUB FAREWELL TOURBOOK COVER JEFF LEE CHUMP CHANGE

purchase CHUMP CHANGE on Amazon.com

Purchase The Ladies Temperance Club Farewell Tour on Amazon.com

Purchase Hurricane Kretschman on Amazon.com

Jeff Lee Author Page on Amazon.com