New Release: Stories Through The Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2022

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Stories Through the Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2022. My entry, “Between Heaven and Earth,” was selected as one of the stories for this anthology.

Synopses

Living Springs Publishers has the honor of presenting Stories Through The Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2022, a collection of sixteen outstanding stories by authors who were born in 1966 or earlier. We are incredibly fortunate to have many gifted and talented authors among the winners published in this, the sixth installment of Baby Boomers Plus.

The Blizzard of ’78 : Diane Lavin’s excellent relationship story wins 1st place in the 2022 edition of Stories Through the Ages Baby Boomers Plus. A blizzard is the setting. A reluctant mother facing her own demons must come to grips with the reality of a husband and daughter that she both loves and resents. The characters leap from the pages like the howling wind from the Blizzard of ‘78’.

Rounding Third: Author Elaine Thomas is the 2nd place prize winner in the 2022 edition of Stories Through the Ages Baby Boomers Plus. An unwitting love triangle with her dead brother’s best friend and the young boy next door set the stage for a young woman ready to start a new stage of her life. A fantastic coming-of-age story.

Mouth Sewn Shut: As the only witness to the assault and abduction of her sister, Martha is under pressure to remember what happened. Mary Ellen Fox, the 3rd place prize winner in the 2022 edition of Stories Through the Ages Baby Boomers Plus, has given us a look inside the mind of a troubled young girl.

Jimmy’s Swing: It is moving day from the family home and our heroine reminisces about her life with Jimmy while sitting on the swing he built for her. Emely Bennett has given us a poignant tale of moving on when life changes and an excellent surprise ending that makes sense after the fact.

Rightful Magic: A midwife and healer of the 16th century, who is running away from home, performs a good deed in a neighboring town. When things appear to go wrong, she is accused of witchcraft by the people she tried to help. A riveting story by Carol Campbell. Very creative and well written.

New Neighbors: It’s 1996, and a young environmental consultant is intrigued by the mysterious new tenants in the office next door. Something is up in the sleepy little town of Helena, Montana and she’s dying to find out what it might be. In her wildest imaginings, she could never have envisioned what the real story was and how it would light up the news media around the world.   Author Karen Ekstrom has given us an excellent story.

Waiting Room: Henry and Lillis deal with the stress of waiting on the results of a biopsy while at the same time dealing with their two adult children. The successful daughter who has little time for them and the son who puts in the time but not the effort. Susan Evans has given us a great story of family relations.

The Blessings of Grasshoppers: The grasshoppers used as bait to fish become the food needed for survival when a virus rampages the world. Adele Evershed has written a fantastic story of love, family, and the basic instinct to survive whatever the cost.

The Outing: A man gets up the courage to visit a gay bar. We don’t want to give the plot away, but Alan Gartenhaus has written a story that made us chuckle at the end.

Between Heaven and Earth: Frugalista, a superstar angel from the Depression era, reluctantly agrees to help boomer women and their older sisters deal with the after-effects of the 2008 recession. Her first client is a divorced, unemployed woman who has just received a cancer diagnosis. An inspiring and entertaining tale from Joanne Guidoccio.

Curse of the Cane Man: A newly hired detective investigates the disappearance of some local people. His inquiries turn up more than a simple tale of abduction. A story of intrigue by Michael Jefferson. Beautifully written and crafted with more than its share of gripping revelations.

An American in Paris: Rosemarie S. Perry shares her eye-opening month-long trip through Europe in 1972 as a solo traveler. It makes you wonder, was I ever that young and naïve, and would I do it again?

Migrations: A Vietnam veteran and Native American struggle as lonely outsiders in their own birthlands in this story set in the 1970s. A tale of the times by C. E. Reynolds.

A Night in a Rural Town: A man has car trouble in a rural area and must spend the night. From the moment he arrives he is treated to the friendliness of people in a small town. Through a chance visit with the local rancher, he is treated to an evening of fine country cooking and hospitality. A heartwarming story by J. R. Reynolds.

A Saturday Night: A simpler time when kids played outside. A group of boys decide to “go harvesting” from a Jewish sukkah, which puts them in danger from local gangs and on the radar of the local police. A very entertaining story by Gerald Ryan of how appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Dodge City: Ann Worrel writes a coming-of-age story about a young man who draws a low number in the Vietnam draft lottery. Rick receives conflicting advice from his family, his friends, and a former military man who tells him…’Don’t Go!’ What should he do? Excellent story by Ann Worrel

Excerpt (Between Heaven and Earth)

April 2009

Head angel Mark’s gaze lingered on the bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey. Tempted to have a second drink, he decided he couldn’t risk it. Not today. Not ever. Tearing his gaze away from the Scotch, he headed toward the East Wing. As he neared his destination, he struggled to recall the details of his last conversation with the Frugalista angel, but nothing came to mind. Definitely a good sign. If he couldn’t remember, then no inappropriate comment had been made.

He found Frugalista reading in her usual corner. “Greetings. It has been a while since we last spoke.”

“Um…hmm,” Frugalista paused for a fraction of a second, “Seventy-one years, three months, and seven days.”

Mark started to question her numbers but quickly changed his mind. How could he argue with such precision? “These are difficult times. The first- and second-tier angels are burning out and refusing to take on new assignments. HE is not pleased.”

Frugalista tsked, “If those humans don’t change their ways, it will get worse.”

“I’ve had to send in third-tier angels, and the results have been disastrous. They can’t handle this economic tsunami.” Images of the lingering after-effects of the 2008 recession flooded his consciousness. Layoffs. Home foreclosures. Longer lines at food banks. “I need your help.”

“I retired at the end of the Depression and made it clear I could no longer help in the trenches. I spent one decade training two tiers of angels, and they trained a third tier. Even if a few are burning out, millions of third-tier angels are still willing to help.”

“They may be willing, but that third tier cannot help. There have been several aborted attempts, and I had to send in first and second tier angels to do damage control.”

“You want me to retrain the third tier?”

“No, I want you to inspire and motivate the first and second tiers. We have enough of them to do the job, but they are burning out.”

Frugalista gasped. “You want me to retrain both tiers?”

“No, I want you to get back in the field and work your miracles.”

Her book fell to the floor, “This…this is beyond me, Mark.”

“It’s been over seventy years since you walked the Earth. Many angels don’t know or have forgotten what you are capable of.” He raised his voice. “You read, meditate, and isolate yourself from the others. When was the last time you left your comfort zone?”

Buy Links

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Available for Pre-Order: 40 Life Changing Events

My essay, “Honoring My Inner Sloth,” appears in this anthology.

Blurb

In our constantly evolving world…

…where the unforeseen lies in wait.

Surprises abound.

In this latest anthology, 25 writers share events that have changed their lives. Some stories are tragic, others full of joy, but they all encapsulate the tenacity, resilience, and self-belief of the human spirit.

During these challenging times, with the world in turmoil, it is stimulating to learn from other people’s experiences.

What will you take away from these exceptional recollections that span the generations?

This fascinating compilation will encourage you to pause and reflect, with tales that offer much needed motivation and inspiration.

Get it now.

Excerpt (Honoring My Inner Sloth)

For too many years, I subscribed to the busy bee myth: Complete all given tasks and start on tomorrow’s To-Do List. That was my modus operandi for the first fifty years of my life. Or, more precisely, the first forty-nine years, seven months, and seven days.

All that changed with a diagnosis that came out of nowhere: Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IIIB. To be truthful, my body had tried to communicate with me many years before the diagnosis. Persistent colds and bouts of bronchitis. Slow-healing bruises. Bone-crushing fatigue. Determined to soldier on without taking advantage of sick days or lazy weekends, I chose to ignore those whispers. But I knew all about them from the Oprah shows.

To this day, I get goosebumps when I recall those words of wisdom from television’s favorite teacher: “If you don’t pay attention to the whispers, it gets louder and louder. It’s like getting thumped inside the head like my grandmother used to do…You don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that; the whole brick wall falls down.”

While I was in the thick of it with family and workplace stress, I didn’t realize—or chose not to realize—that those whispers were about to break a sound barrier.

Buy Links (ebook and paperback)

Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Release Date: Sunday, December 12, 2021

Show Australia Some Love

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Show Australia Some Love, a three-volume anthology from The Wild Rose Press. My short story, “Lost and Found,” appears in Volume Three of Australia Burns.

Back Story

This project was the brain child of Wild Rose Press author Stephen King, an Aussie writer who wanted to do something for his country. In early January, he asked us (the authors) if we could donate stories for an anthology and have all royalties go to help in the efforts to aid victims of the Australia wildfires.

The Wild Rose Press community stepped up in a big way. Forty-eight authors donated stories. Editors, artists, and production staff donated their time and talents to edit these stories and compile them into three volumes.

Update from Stephen King

Recent rains have helped enormously, still there are fires, but not to the same extent as there were, and the focus now is more on recovery and rebuilding. To that end there are advertising campaigns now to stop what’s called the second wave disaster and that is people staying away from tourist areas and business who rely on travelers and visitors to survive. Most of our tourist destinations are unaffected, yet people think the whole country is gone, which of course isn’t true. The problem of course is that if people stop visiting, businesses will go broke, making the overall recovery much harder. With the rains, re-growth has already begun and some burnt out areas have grasses and shrubs recovering already.

Then of course there is the wildlife, and those organizations such as the RSPCA, and others are doing remarkable work rescuing animals and rehousing them. A lot of our native trees are Eucalyptus, and with millions of trees gone, Koalas only eat those leaves, so regrowth and resettlement is going on in huge numbers to save a cuddly species from extinctions in the wild. Kangaroos will bounce back, and in time, the feeling is most other animals will to, but the key words are – in time. In a lot of cases we hope the burnt trees themselves will regrow as they have evolved to grow after bushfires. I’m told with heavy rains in recent days some are showing green growth, which is encouraging.

All charities are ‘working their bums off’ but the one who seems to be doing the most is the Red Cross. So in closing, two things. Firstly – and I know I’ve said it before – my heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for participating in whatever way you have. Forty eight stories simply is mind-blowing, and the offers for promotion, trailers, editing, cover design, formatting and of course redirecting the money has been so uplifting I can’t even begin to tell you – and for someone who uses words all the time – that’s saying something.

Secondly, if ever you’ve thought about visiting this country, now’s the time. And as Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) once said in some fantastic famous ads in the US and across the world. “Come on down; I’ll throw a shrimp on the barby for you.”

Proceeds from the sales of these books will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

Buy Links – The Wild Rose Press

Volume One | Volume Two | Volume Three

All three volumes can be found at Amazon, Nook, iTunes, KOBO, Scribd, and other fine retailers.

About Volume Three

A collection of Paranormal, Horror, and Sci-Fi Fiction Short Stories.

Stories in this collection are contributed by authors who care about Australia and the relief efforts from the devastating bushfires. All profits from the book will be donated to charities involved with the recovery efforts. The publisher and authors are not affiliated with the charities. They simply want to show Australia their love and support.

Buy Links – Volume Three

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble | KOBO