Alex Atkins, an ambitious writer would rather skip the holiday season than work on one of the cookie-cutter Christmas movies her network makes every year. All they do is remind her that she has nobody to share the holiday with. Alex’s attitude toward the movies changes when she is asked to step in and rewrite the network’s next big Christmas movie. Her dream of being published will come true if she can get it finished in time. Her plans to seclude herself in her father’s mountain cabin to work derail when her car skids off the road, and she is stranded in a ski village. Alex soon finds herself surrounded by holiday cheer, the town’s handsome doctor, his charming son, and of course, his scheming ex-wife who wants him back. When Alex realizes that her time in this town is turning into her own real life Christmas movie, she’ll need to decide if she wants her own happy ending, or if she needs to re-write her life as well…
As Thanksgiving grows near, I’m always taken back through the past, to the holidays of my youth, and early adulthood. The years have been kind to me, and I’m thankful for the life I have been blessed with.
Today, I was thinking about how thankful I am for my memories. The holidays always bring out the best times from my past. I was thinking of my Grandparents, who I affectionately nicknamed “Meema” and “Peepa” when I was a toddler. I was thinking of how much they affected my life, even to this day.
This year, I’m hosting Thanksgiving, and I’m excited for the smell of the turkey to fill the house, the laughter from us girls in the kitchen, and the sound of the guys grumbling over the Cowboys game. We won’t have everyone this year, but I’m happy that I get to make new memories and traditions with my kids and grandkids to get me through the day.
If you’re ever in the great state of Washington, stop by Port Gamble for a Tour. A guided ghostly Tour, led by Pete Orbea, Paranormal Investigator of Port Gamble highlighting the town’s history of the paranormal. Includes tours of the more active buildings in town. Must be 16+ to attend. Tours cost $25 per person and reservations are required. Tours start at the Port Gamble Historic Museum at 7:00 PM. Click below for dates and information.
Don’t forget your flashlight and warm weather clothing!
CAMERAS, METERS, etc. ARE WELCOME
Things are on the up and up. The Ghost From Nowhere has been accepted by Snow Leopard Publishing, and is currently in the editing process. As soon as I know the release date, I’ll let you know.
I’m going to write the sequel to The Ghost From Nowhere, Cass and Ivy will be back in action working as teen ghost whisperers, but I’ve had some issues getting motivated, so I’ll have to visit my favorite haunt, Port Gamble, WA and also spend some time with my little brother picking his paranormal brain.
In the meantime, I’ve started a new work in progress. It’s about Phoenix Stone, a teen girl with dyslexia. Phoenix is looking forward too is spending Junior year with her two best friends, Everleigh and Kenna. The latter two turn up missing, and Phoenix wants nothing more than to find them. Her dyslexia will come into play when certain clues are left that only someone who sees the world through dyslexic eyes will understand.
I know that doesn’t give you much to go on yet, but I’ve literally just started this, so stay tuned. I wanted to write a dyslexic character for so long. My daughter McKenna has dyslexia, and with tutoring and hard work, she has overcome so many issues related to it. I’m very proud of how hard she has worked and look forward to writing about how she sees the world through dyslexic eyes.
Happy Reading, Happy Writing!
What am I? I was created to fool you, and the fool always goes with the liar. I come in many forms, although I am invisible to those who don’t know me. I bet you’ve encountered me more than once, only you didn’t know it. I’m that good at remaining unseen.
Those who do know me hate the very essence of my being. I fool even them sometimes until it’s almost too late. I’m not evil outright, at least I don’t set out to be, it’s just the nature of who I am. I can’t apologize because I didn’t choose to be this thing, this horrible, incredible thing.
Once upon a time I didn’t exist. Life was good before I came to be. How I was created remains a mystery, even to me. You can try and get rid of me, but rarely will I go. I may hide for awhile, and just when things are great BOOM! I’m back always by your side.
I’ll try to ruin you, I’ll try to end you. You will fight me and you will succeed…For awhile, but like I said I’ll always be there hiding in the shadows. I’m so bad, I’ll make you lie to everyone, even strangers at times just to make things easier for them. You won’t like it but you won’t have any choice.
You’ll curse the day I entered your existence. Your family and friends will curse me to. They want me gone but don’t know how to get rid of me. You’ll hear “have you tried this?” or “what about that?” You’ll start resenting them for not understanding, when really you resent yourself for being too weak to fight me yourself. They will start to think I am only in your head, now I’ve made you crazy.
There will be times when I’m weak, and you think I’ve gone. You’ll celebrate and life will be good once again. Just remember, I’m always waiting for that one weak moment when I can strike, and I’ll be back, probably stronger than ever.
You’ll turn to others who have friends like me for support. You’ll compare notes, you’ll try new things, but believe me when I tell you, we are rarely the same for anyone.
I am not your friend. I suck the life out of you, and then give it back slowly in spurts. I take what I need from you and sometimes never give it back. You get weaker and weaker while I get stronger.
I have taken control of you. I remain unseen so people think you’re a whiner, or a faker. You’re a drama queen complaining all the time until everyone you love is tired of hearing it, or they just don’t believe you. You look normal, beautiful at times. Nobody can see the depths of my affect on you, so I must not exist.
I can strike you down in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re fine, the next you’re exhausted or in pain. Maybe I control how you breathe or walk. Perhaps I’ve robbed you of time spent with your children, or having children in general. But since you look fine, maybe I’m not as bad as you make me out to be. Maybe you have gone crazy.
You can try to fight me, you can use what has worked for others. What works for some may not work for you. You can to change your entire lifestyle. It won’t work. You can pretend that I don’t exist. But I do. I am that bad, I am evil. I am an invisible illness.
I am lupus, Fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis, Chrohn’s, Anxiety, Depression, and all of the other diseases that are invisible to those not afflicted.
You are smarter and stronger now that you know what I am. Unfortunately for me, you are your own warrior and you will try to defeat me. You probably won’t succeed, however now that you have declared war on me you will never give up the fight. You are someone who may be down, but will never be out.
Jeff and I met a man recently, but I will not say when or where, or even tell you his name for his privacy. For this purpose I’ll call him Sam. We didn’t ask him to, but with one polite question, Sam began to tell us his story.
Sam; you see, served in the US Air Force and served our military diligently and faithfully in Iraq. I can’t recall what year it was. He was one of many Non US Citizens who served the American Military. They served to gain American citizenship, escape their own war-torn country, or simply because they believed in what they were fighting for.
Men and women volunteered from Australia, Ethiopia, Europe, Guatemala, and Canada to name a few. Most had never set foot on American soil. These people were given the same gear and weapons as our brave men and women. They were given training and jobs to do and areas to protect.
Sam made many friends during his service. He watched as they fought side by side, and he held them as they died in his arms. Sam decided to spare me the gory details, but I understood what he was saying.
In his home country, Sam is a college graduate and holds an MBA. He is also a pastor. As a Christian man, he enjoyed sharing the bible with the people (service men and women, as well as citizens) he came across. He especially enjoyed talking to the children he met.
Being well versed in many languages made it easier for Sam to communicate with the locals, as well as the other non-American service members who may have had issues with the language barrier. Sam didn’t say it, but as you can see he was a very valuable member of the service.
When the war quieted a little and the troops were withdrawn, Sam and many of his fellow volunteer service men and women were left behind. There was still a war going on mind you, but the decision to remove many of the American troops were set. Sam prayed and thanked God he was still alive. He knew he was still there for a reason. Sam and the others continued fighting for the cause, serving next to those who remained behind, waiting for their turn to withdraw.
You see Sam knew he would be going to America after he served them so diligently, time after time putting his own life on the line. After all, now that he had served the American Military he was considered a criminal in his own country. If he went back, he’d be arrested or worse. So he waited and he prayed. He also thanked God that his family was safe.
As time went on, and nobody came for them, Sam became angry. Still he prayed, only he was asking: How could they leave them there? After everything, the sacrifices made, the lives given for a country that wasn’t even theirs and they left them behind! The anger almost got the better of Sam, but he knew he still had a small chance. So he prayed again, and thanked God he was alive.
He watched helplessly as hundreds of his friends, men and women gave their lives for a country they weren’t even a citizen of. He understood why they served, as he too believed in what the US Military was trying to do. Even as he prayed for their lives and prayed over the dead, he continued doing what he came to do, he fought, the anger inside him simmering below the surface. Still he prayed that he would find a way out.
With everyone either dead or gone, Sam knew he wouldn’t make it out alive, there was nobody coming for him. He thought he should get to the American Embassy, he knew that if he made it there he would be saved. He prayed and thanked God for the gift of knowing many languages.
Getting to the embassy was harder than it seemed. Sam did the only thing he could think of. If you’ve ever heard the saying “when in Rome,” then you can probably guess what he did next. He found some clothes native to the area he was in. He is dark-skinned, and remember he can speak many languages fluently, so he blended right in.
As he was doing his best to blend in, so he could travel unnoticed to the American Embassy, the Iraqi soldiers were beginning to suspect that he was not of them. Just when Sam was close to being caught, he closed his eyes and said a silent prayer.
Sam was running for his life now, the soldiers, no longer fooled, were onto him. He ran and hid when he could and ran some more. Just when he was about to give up he saw the most welcome sight ahead, American Soldiers. He thanked God for them.
Sam ran right up the first soldier he saw, unarmed, arms raised telling him, I’m on your side! The soldier actually had actually fought alongside Sam and remembered who he was. He rushed Sam to his commanding officer, who horrified at Sam’s story accompanied him, to the American Embassy.
There is something that Sam had to say to the Commander so he would know that he was on the side of the U.S., but Sam couldn’t talk about that part. I didn’t press him, as we sat enthralled with Sam’s story.
Once safely inside the American Embassy, Sam repeated his entire story from the moment he left his country to serve the U.S. Military, including the part where he and many of his brothers and sisters in arms were left.
As Sam spoke the words the anger he held for so long came bubbling up to the surface again. “Why did you leave us behind?” he shouted at the commander, knowing it was not the commander he was really shouting at. The Commander let him go on and on, and took everything Sam hurled at him through his words. He held him while he wept for the lives lost and for the betrayal Sam felt.
When Sam ended his tale the commander shocked and disgusted by what had happened to Sam and to the others, asked him to sit and wait a moment while he made a call. Sam doesn’t know whom the man spoke to, and never asked. When he returned, he simply knelt by Sam and prayed with him.
The commander assured Sam that there was never any intention to leave any soldier behind. In fact the commander saddened and horrified by everything he heard, kept repeating “No man left behind!” As a few soldiers had entered the office now to see what the commotion was about, they too began repeating “No man left behind!” Sam took his head from his hands. When he opened his eyes, the soldiers, including the commander all stood at attention and raised their hands and saluted him.
As everyone gathered around Sam, hugging him, shaking hands, and thanking him, another soldier brought him a fresh uniform. As he was cleaned up and changed he heard the familiar beat of a helicopter, and it was close.
As they escorted Sam to the helicopter, the Commander, holding a small bag, got in beside him. “Where do you want to go Sam, anywhere in the world,” the commander asked him.
Sam considered briefly returning to his own country. “You’ll be arrested, or killed if you go back there now Sam.”
Sam knew he was right. “While you sort that out, come stay with me and my family.” It was almost an order, but Sam knew that he and the Commander now had bond of friendship that could never be severed, and that he would go home to America and he would go with the Commander.
Sam did stay with the Commander and his family for a short while until he discovered what he wanted to do. After receiving a medal of honor from our president, Sam now calls the Pacific Northwest his home, and has a very good job. He starts medical school in the fall.
Sam is also the pastor of a church, and there are many people from his home country in his congregation. It makes it a bit easier having his family so far away.
Sam also knows that as soon as he becomes an “official” American Citizen, he will be free to return to his home country any time he wishes, and plans to do so.
Sam apologized for taking up so much of our time, but he can always tell when someone needs to hear his story and knows they will listen. I told Sam he should keep telling his story, as inspirational as it is, he should write it down.
Sam’s story taught me that no matter what is happening in your life, always remember what you have, not what have not. Always try to find the good over the bad. And finally, I learned that no matter how it seems you are never truly alone.