Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Multicoloured Bard

I met him through a love of tea, of course. He seemed to be at peace with the world and didn't care if anyone thought him to be strange looking. Bright clothes that were mismatched, hair dyed a bright colour, adorned with jewelry and a smile that could light up a room. I didn't think he was crazy, only just a wandering soul. He told me a strange story about an experience he had in a ditch and even to this day, I still think about it. Did he, perhaps, tap into something we've always dreamt about? Or, did he come from the Other side to see what we had that makes us happy? When I saw him a second time, I was surprised that he remembered me, for I remembered him all too well. I gave him another cup of tea and he went on to enjoy the day in his way. Before we'd actually spoken, I first saw him set up in a park, carrying on with his life as though the rest of the world didn't exist. All he had were his belongings and perhaps those who protected him from the true evils of the world. When I first saw him, I wanted to know why he loved colours so much. I see people milling about with a glassy eyed look, going through the motions with dreams of that coffee drink on Friday after work. When you bump into them, they slowly acknowledge you and shuffle off, or they look as though they just woke up. These people would probably give the multicoloured bard a dollar then walk off with thoughts of him already dissolved from their minds. Or not.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Widow of the Nameless Sea

(Cape Cod, Massachusetts - 2016)

"See that woman in the window of that house over there?" said the ghost as he attempted to stroke my hair. "She has been a widow for twenty years, yet she looks out from that window every day."
"What for?' I asked as the ghost's cool breath washed over my face.
"She looks for her loved one to come in from the nameless sea. This sea has no name because so many people lost their lives in it."
"Including you?' I asked. The ghost refused to reply but only stared at the widow.
"She loved her husband and he loved her," replied the ghost after some time had passed, "yet the seas called to him. He had water rather than blood flowing through his veins. So, he left her one night to see the world, as it were, with promises that he would return with enough riches to change their lives forever. Although she was sad to see him leave, she was also happy for him. Due to a childhood accident, she couldn't leave the house and so left it up to her husband to live for both of them. When he left, she felt a stone form in her heart yet she refused to give into the blackness. Day and night came and went with her rocking in her chair, waiting for him. One day, the mayor of this town paid her a visit, yet it was not a happy one. They found a bloodstained cap on the beach and knew it belonged to her husband. The widow took the hat, thanked the mayor, then resumed her seat by the window."
"Is she mad?" I asked as the ghost brushed his lips on my cheek. Suddenly, I felt a strong wind blow against my clothes. I turned to see faint glowing figures slowly rising from the sea. I felt the ghost attempt to embrace me as we watched the lost souls of the nameless sea finally return to the town. Among them was a young man with still fiery blue eyes who walked towards the house. When he reached the door, he disappeared, only to reappear in the window with the widow. The two embraced then the house went dark as they both disappeared.
"Love can be mistaken for madness," said the ghost in a faraway tone, "by those who fall and remain there."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Unfolding Words Like Tears

(model - Alissa Brielle)

He listened to the music while he typed on his old typewriter, the two sounds melting and flowing all around him. His thoughts were direct clouds of nothing as he typed out strings of nonsense. The letters, black and bold, filled page after page that he tore out and replaced with fresh paper. He cried as the male singer continued to wail about losing the love you wanted so badly. Strings and strings of letters. An occasional word here and there. A chain never to be broken. She walked up behind him and placed her hands on his rock hard shoulders as the tears continued to fall. She wanted to say something, anything to stop him from this madness. She sighed then left him as a string of unsaid words slid out of her partially open mouth and made a trail behind her regretful steps. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Forget and Then Know

(photo taken at Shelby Farms Park, Memphis, Tennessee)

"I want to still remember you," said Melanie as she tried to keep the tears from running down her face. "You can't take that away from me." The figure just stared at her in silence, knowing that all of her pleas were futile. He came to do a job, not to offer a sense of peace. Melanie stared at her hands, cracked and dry from the long hours of working on the tea plantation, then up at him. "Why can't I just have this one memory?"
"Because," he said with a sigh, "we both know how this will end. I will walk away and you will continue to live your life. Away from me. Away from . . this. That is why I came here."
"Richard . . . " He turned away then slowly walked up the forest path without a backward glance. Melanie watched until he disappeared into the trees and even when she thought she could still hear him breathe. When the trees slowly moved in the breeze, she got up, dusted herself off, then walked back to her car.
"He believed more than I did," she murmured to herself as she got in and drove off. "He took the chance. I only have the memory."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

To Love Therefore, Be Loved

(taken at Woodruff Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee)

From the first moment she met him, Julia wanted to know what his lips felt like on hers. Timothy seemed so nice, so honest with her, that she almost wondered if it was all a game. That perhaps, he was only nice to her for some nefarious reason. Every time he said something to make her laugh, or present an idea letting her know that he understood what she was trying to get across, Julia fell back into her fantasy of him suddenly kissing her. After two years of silently holding her desires in check through their friendship, Julia discovered that the desire was no longer there. It felt as though a boulder suddenly rolled off her shoulders, giving her room to stand upright and breathe. As they met for their usual coffee at the local coffee shop, Julia sipped on her vanilla latte and noticed that Timothy was rather quiet and seemed to be nervous. When she asked him what was wrong, he suddenly took her hands in his then tenderly kissed them. Julia watched with wide eyes as he proclaimed how he had loved her all this time and that he couldn't go on any longer without telling her. He looked into her eyes and smiled his usual lopsided smile as he waited for her response. Julia stared back in silence, then suddenly began to laugh. Timothy's smile fell quickly as she continued to laugh so hard that tears fell down her face. It felt good to laugh that hard, that fierce.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Carrot Cake In a Cup - New Tea Review

As my five day vacation comes to a close with awesome music by musician Alana Davis , I'm ready to dive back into the world of tea and writing. Therefore, it seems appropriate to write up my latest tea review on a tisane (or herbal tea) that won me over the first time I tried it at the Midwest Tea Festival.

How many of you love carrot cake? I'm very much a fan of the cake, as is my dad, yet when I learned that the delicious dessert now comes in tea form, I was a bit shocked and skeptical. There are many tea blends to choose from, yet carrot cake?! However, thanks to the good people at Anna Marie's Teas, the seemingly impossible is now very possible. Welcome to Carrot Cake Rooibos!

Rooibos is a red bush that grows in South Africa. Although it has no caffeine, the taste is quite sweet and makes for an excellent herbal tea. In adding chocolate pieces, carrots, and other pieces of fruit, Carrot Cake Rooibos is a nice way to end your day, or perhaps your choice of dessert after a filling lunch or dinner. When I made my first cup today, I added honey to enhance the flavour. However, there is no need to add any kind of sweetener to the tisane - it's already sweet enough. The second cup proved to be just as good with no added sweeteners. In fact, as the hot water made contact with the tisane blend, my kitchen instantly smelled like carrot cake! You can't go wrong with this herbal tea, unless if you don't like rooibos or carrot cake. Try a bag today, or visit my place sometime for a hot cuppa of this blend.


Monday, November 13, 2017

The Chronicles of the Afflicted

Yes, this review is going to be one of those "I devoured the book and let me tell you ALL about it" book reviews. Because I did devour the book. And I want to tell you all about it. I purchased this book yesterday and just finished it twenty minutes ago. Whenever I get a book that I truly like, I literally devour it. Afflicted: Book One of the RTX Chronicles by authors Michael B. Hinton and Sherry R. Melancon is one of those books in which you can't put it down and when you do, you'll want to pick it up again to pick up where you left off. The story is thus:

Welcome to America, land of the free and home of the brave. Now, take Revelations from the Bible and make it happen. Welcome to the Event - when the world as we know it ends and begins at the same time. However, with the Event comes a most interesting after effect - people suddenly obtain abilities such as telekinesis, shapeshifting in every format possible, the ability to shoot fire from your fingers, the ability to cloak and become invisible, and so on. Such people are known as Afflicted. These people are hunted down and killed, or hunted down and . . . studied by the government. Yet, all is not lost as those who are Afflicted soon find each other and create towns and cities as refuge from "normal" people.

This novel has three flawed "heroes": Reginald Sebastian Unglesby IV or "Ruddy", Ezekiel Daniels or "Xeke", and Teri. Although they are Afflicted with powers and abilities to wipe out entire cities, they are also human and that makes them even more dangerous to others. They also live with their own inner demons carried from childhood that seem to neither be a blessing nor a curse. Yet, as the trio escapes from White Supremacists, government officials who are Afflicted, normals who think of their kind to be in league with Satan, and the not so simple act of having crushes and falling in love, they find that the truth is NEVER the truth. Lies are more acceptable and quicker to forgive. Oh yes, and a pink blanket. You must have that.

This book is a big pot of adrenaline rush, X-Men without the cool costumes and the protective academy, lessons of trauma and mental illness, and the always enjoyable theme of post apocalyptic "dear god, what now?!" I will warn you that there are many "triggers" in this book - specifically regarding child abuse in its many ugly forms as well as mental illness. If you are not able to read stories that contain such subjects, then unfortunately you may not want to read this book. However, I will give Sherry and Michael credit that they handled those scenes rather well without going overboard. As I read this book last night while waiting on having dinner with My Kid, I messaged several of my bibliophile friends, telling them that they needed to read this book. Like now. In speaking with one of the authors (who is also my World of Warcraft buddy - Glory to the Sin'Dorei!), I learned that they are currently working on the second book. That's the only problem when you find an awesome book to read  - sometimes, you have to wait for the sequel. Yet, I know that the wait will be worth it. I do feel a little sad that I've left Teri, Xeke, and Ruddy, but hopefully I'll see them again soon.

Sherry and Michael - that cliffhanger ending - it was like watching the show Dallas! Well done!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Vampires, Rednecks, and Morlocks?!

Let me just start this off with this - if you have NOT read the Black Knight Chronicles, here is the link to order the books as well as a bio of author John G. Hartness: CLICK HERE NOW.

Okay, done with that. If you did click on the link to order the books, you are in for a treat!

In the Still of the Knight is Book Five of the Chronicles - our beloved geek vampires Jimmy and Greg must deal with new vampires, a creature that drains humans of their life force, and pissed off rednecks as they discover that the city of Charlotte survives/manipulated on rules older than Time. The rules are never fair and lead to spilled blood and stepped on egos. Yet, with new threats and buried emotions dragged to the surface kicking and screaming, can our Undead Duo survive it? And if they do, will it change them for the better or worse? As much as I love this series, this book grabbed me by the neck and wouldn't let go. And I'm glad it didn't. This book made me laugh out loud, brush away tears, and get just as angry as the characters did when confronted by unwanted choices thrust upon them. The scene between Jimmy, a corpse, and God was intense. Book Five is very much John Hartness and yet much more - at the end of the book, I saw Jimmy in a new light. It seemed as though he "leveled up" and I remembered thinking "it's about damn time". 

I refrained from immediately diving into the sixth book, as I needed to allow my brain to settle down after Book Five's constant adrenaline rush. However, I know that time period won't be long, as Book Five left me on an "oh damn, NOW what?!" feeling.

Kudos to John for being an amazing Renaissance man and one hell of an author. Hope to see you soon, dude!