Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Calm After the Storm


Calm after the storm

The Calm After the Storm by Mya O'Malley

Can true love shine through the darkest storm?

The storm of the century raged through the northeast, causing destruction and despair, millions were left without power and hope. Weeks later, countless people were still devastated by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Emma Riley among them.

Determined she didn’t need the help of a man, Emma was convinced that she could brave the aftermath of the storm on her own. That is, until Jake came into her life.

After having suffered heartbreak and embarrassment, Jake Mack, a utility foreman, volunteered to travel north from small town, Georgia to assist with the aftermath of the storm. Jake was decidedly done with women. But he didn’t count on meeting Emma or falling in love so quickly. Can he trust this woman or will his past get in the way and ruin the relationship with the one woman he truly loves?





Excerpt from The Calm After the Storm:

Jake and his crew had now been in the suburbs of New York for a few days. His first thought upon entering this area was his surprise at the devastation. Sure, he had heard about the destruction on the news and had seen footage of the aftermath of Sandy, but it still hadn’t prepared him for the actual sight of Sandy’s rage. Telephone poles were down, trees were snapped in two, and houses were completed destroyed by the storm. Seeing all the destruction only strengthened Jake’s resolve that it had been the right thing to come. He felt proud to be able to help out and be a part of the solution to the horrible aftermath of this disaster.

As the day was wrapping up. Jake and Chris met up with some of their crew in the next town to finish one more area before calling it quits. The chill in the air was something that Jake had prepared for, but was not accustomed to. Clutching the new flannel he had purchased right before his trip, he put it on over his thermal shirt. Thankful for his thermos filled with hot coffee, Jake grabbed it but quickly tossed it aside.

“Come on, Chris! I asked you to stop drinking my coffee. Now there’s none left,” he said as he shook his head, irritated at his friend.

Chris looked up at his boss sheepishly. “Sorry, man. I didn’t sleep well last night. I needed some caffeine.”

“Well, that makes two of us.”

They rode until they approached the utility pole that needed attention. Jake and Chris were among the first to arrive and got busy setting up for the job. Within minutes, the rest of the assigned crew trickled in. The workers were now familiar with the details and routine of this job, so for the most part they worked in silence, focused on getting this last job done so that they could grab some dinner and hit the sheets. It was cold and dark, the night chill settling in upon them. Jake supervised and helped his crew perform their individual duties as quickly as possible. As they were just about wrapping things up, Jake headed over to Steve, one of the older guys directing traffic. He looked frail and tired.

“Hey, Steve. I got this. Why don’t you call it a night, huh? We’ll meet you at the hotel for some dinner.”

“Nah, Jake, we’re almost done here. I’m good,” Steve said as he looked up at Jake with glaring dark circles under his eyes.

“Steve, go. I’m serious. Get in a hot shower and we’ll meet up for dinner. Boss’ orders. Now go and take Andy with you,” Jake gestured toward another man on the crew who looked like he was ready for bed.

Shrugging his shoulders, Steve made his way to one of the smaller utility trucks, calling for his co-worker to join him. Jake took over the responsibility of directing traffic, slowing people down and stopping cars when necessary. Yawning, he waved a small SUV along, noticing that the approaching driver was slowing down, much more than necessary. Jake squinted his eyes to get a better look. The car came to a stop when Jake stepped up to it and its window rolled down. Looking back at Jake was a woman who appeared pretty, even in the diminished light. Wait, scratch that—she was stunning, with long, wavy hair and piercing eyes. His heart faltered just a bit.

“Hi. I wanted to thank you guys for all of the hard work that you’ve been doing. We really appreciate you guys coming up here. I think I speak for everyone,” she said as she smiled widely. Her smile hitched his breath ever so slightly. Jake smiled back. This was certainly a change. Since he had been in this area, some people waved, some people smiled, others remained with their eyes straight ahead, but nobody had yet offered any thanks verbally. So different from the Southern hospitality way of life where he grew up, Jake mused.

Here it was different, the pace of life was much faster. People always seemed to be in a rush, and they minded their own business for the most part. Sure, being so close to the big city must be nice and the landscape was quite beautiful at times, but he didn’t think this lifestyle was something he could ever get used to. It seemed too stressful, too impersonal. He would be glad to be back home when his job was finished.

The woman leaned over and offered Jake a box of donuts, disposable coffee cups, and a box of hot coffee. Jake was impressed.

“Thank you, that was very thoughtful!” Jake gushed, thrilled at the idea of hot coffee. He thought he felt warmth spread across his cheeks despite the chill in the air.

The woman stared back and smiled at Jake for a minute and then set her eyes on the road ahead. She waved as she pulled away.

“Wait!” Jake called out. “Wait, what was your name?” But the words were lost. The mysterious woman with the coffee and donuts was long gone.

“Guys!” he called out as his crew worked on cleaning up for the night. “Guys! Our guardian angel just appeared, and she brought coffee!”

The coffee and donuts were gladly received, but the idea that someone would go out of their way to show a random act of kindness truly touched Jake. He felt the warm liquid slide down his throat and knew that he would always remember the woman’s thoughtfulness. Who was he kidding? That woman’s beautiful face was what he would most remember. He just wished that he had gotten her name.



Mya OmalleyAuthor Mya O'Malley
Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of two boxers, named Destiny and Dolce, and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. She spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel and has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Costa Rica. She is currently working on her sixth novel.


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Numbers Game



Numbers GameNumbers Game by Rebecca Rode

Treena is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever—a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend the academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life—and boyfriend—back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there’s Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within her heart.

Excerpt

“Your Rating is wrong,” Vance said. “Their precious Rating system says absolutely nothing about you and what you’re capable of.”

I shook my head. “So far, everything I’ve done has proven my number absolutely correct.”

“Treena.” His tone softened. “I don’t know why you that happened to you. But I do know one thing.” He stopped on the step below me, and I whirled to face him. We were the same height now, and his expression was fierce. “You are the most loyal, the most determined, and the most fascinating girl I’ve ever met. No number could ever describe you.”

The deadness inside cracked, and the pain came flooding back. I felt like a five-year-old again. Falling, grasping for a handhold, for something to save me. “It doesn’t matter now. Tali's dead.”

He gave me a long look. Then he sat down, right on the steps, easing me down next to him. I lay my head on his shoulder and let him pull me close. The warmth of his embrace felt completely and utterly right. For a long moment, I allowed myself to forget about the past few days. There was no empress, no punishment mode, and no mission. There was just us. The world was cool and dark, and his touch sent my heart pumping as if it had just awakened from hibernation.

“Dying isn't the worst thing to happen to someone,” he continued thoughtfully. “Anyone coward can die. The hardest thing is being left behind, trying to make sense of a world without them.”

I tilted my head back and allowed myself to look up into Vance’s eyes. They were dark, pulling, as if absorbing all the light that entered, saving it for some future purpose. His eyebrows were choppy, untrimmed, and his lips chapped. But somehow, it worked. It was simply . . . him. No surgeries, no tallies of volunteer hours and checklists. Vance just took life one day at a time, keeping his family safe, trying to put the pieces of himself back together. I could see it, the pain in his heart. It was something we shared now.

A warm feeling spread through my chest until I thought it would burst. This was who he really was. The tumultuous battle within him seemed to have trickled away, leaving one gallant, vulnerable boy. A boy who was looking at me as if I were something precious—who looked at me, instead of at my Rating. His eyes flitted between mine, his confidence replaced with uncertainty.

“It feels good to finally choose sides, doesn’t it?”

“Whose side are you on, then?”

His chin was just above mine, and he lowered it until our eyes were level. Then his hand tilted my chin upward toward his. His fingers brushed the side of my face, cradling it gently in his firm hand. I felt his breath on my face, felt the battle within him as well as I felt it in myself. But something pulled me toward him.

“Yours,” he said. He closed the distance between us, slowly, then paused.

And our lips met.

add to goodreads


Praise for the Book

"Gripping, from beginning to end . . . a tale as action-packed as Divergent yet as introspective as The Giver. . . . Sure to be an instant classic in the genre." –R.J. Craddock, author of The Children of Cain series

“Fluent and engaging . . . brimming with fabulous characters and intrigue that will keep you flipping pages. Can't wait to read the next book in this series!” –Adrienne Monson, author of the Blood Inheritance trilogy

“Had me hooked from the first page to the last . . . Thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend!” -Randy Roberts, BoredShorts TV (Kid History/Kid Snippets)



rebecca rAuthor Rebecca Rode

REBECCA RODE is an award-winning author and journalist. She is the author of the inspirational book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces, and writes for Deseret News, KSL.com, FamilyShare, and Provo Daily Herald. However, her true love is writing for teenagers. She enjoys playing with her four children, traveling, reading, and martial arts, and she has a ridiculous addiction to her husband's chocolate-banana shakes.


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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Sounded Like a Bomb Went Off

Well, so it was my youngest's Birthday yesterday. Fourteen. Now Tater is his own man. He likes to keep things simple and would rather have me spend money on buying the parts for his computer that he is building. So I got him another part. Should be arriving today.

So simple party. I'm really good with that. I did go over the top and made really cute Tent invites, which he said were too cute. He's not like that and he was just going to tell his friends. "But, but, mom's like to know these things are official," I pleaded said. Fine, but not the tent. So redid them on flat boring paper, which I'm not sure got passed out since only one mom RSVPed. The rest just let their kids text Tater when they were showing up. They did come in to meet me though. Yes, we moms of 14-year-olds must band together in the face of our sons' I'm-too-cool-for-that swaggers.

Poop Cake


He has four good friends. That's all he wanted to come over for a sleepover hang-out. What do 14-year-old boys really like? Fire. And we have the perfect backyard for it too. A nice porch and woodsy non-grassy dirt that they enjoyed digging a hole for. I also had some long tree limbs that needed sawing. They got right to it. In no time, they had a great fire. They cooked tin foil dinners, roasted little smokies, had pizza, and then s'mores. You wouldn't think a fire could occupy boys so well.

Friends around the Fire
The Culprits


What I didn't take into account was 14-year-olds like to do what their older brothers tell them they've done and that whole group mentality of let's-do-this-it-will-be-awesome and just plain 14-year-olds think they are invincible and sometimes do dumb stuff cuz it's fun even when the adult is right inside, in view, monitoring while also giving them some privacy. I'm looking right at them. What could go wrong?

Sneaky things these 14-year olds. Snuck a can of Axe deordorant spray right past me, stuck it in the fire...

Never heard such a loud bang in my life. It was an explosion that went as high as my house. I came off my chair just as fast. {{{What happened?}}}

The look on their guilty-little-didn't-expect-that-big-of-a-combustion faces. Priceless.

No injuries. None. Thank the Almighty on that one.

And of course several of my neighbors also hearing what they must have thought was an explosion--and they weren't wrong--called 911. A Fire truck began prowling the streets trying to pinpoint where it came from until we went out, waved them over, and explained. Funny thing, they didn't look surprised at what 14-year-old boys do, and just wanted to make sure everyone was all right. One of them even said happy birthday and that it was his birthday as well. I should have offered them S'mores but I was a little rattled after having had an Axe Spray Bomb go off in my back yard to think about it.

Maybe next time...

What follows is the motherly word of caution:
 14-year-olds reading this: Do not try this at home or anywhere else. There can be serious injuries, even death, when the can (any spray can) combusts, from flying metal fragments. Even though I relayed this in a light manner, it was a very serious scary thing that all four boys escaped from through sheer luck and the grace of God, despite their stupidity. It would be embarrassing to die from being an idiot. You don't want to be wearing that sign in the spirit world. Not a cool swagger at all. These four boys will never do something so reckless again.
And yes, as a mom, I tattled to the other moms. We do that you know.



Friday, January 23, 2015

To Do List of Books to Write

So many ideas, so little time...


I thought I better make a list of all these stories in my brain in case my memory needs a joggle. These are all of the books that are brain stock-piled, enough to keep me busy for years. Not in any particular order except #1 because that needs to be finished like yesterday.

Highland Illusion, Lance's story. Nearly complete. Cover finished, waiting and ready.

Highland Soldier. Ethan's story. Okay, so the reality is that I want to leave Lance's story and move onto Ethan, because he's a much more fun character to write. Truthfully, Lance and I butt heads. But Ethan is the loveable, black and white thinker, say whatever he thinks, vulnerable, gun-loving dude who gets totally turned around by his love interest. He's even sneaked in a few scenes in Lance's book.

Highland Laird, Dez's story and the final book that will conclude the Highland Sorcery arc, taking the ending back to the very beginning of the Limont Clan and their dealings with the Fae who made them the protectors of the balance of magic. Can't wait to write this one.

Highland Dragons. Going back to WWII before Edeen, the Limont empath was awakened by Roquemore, the half-dragon, half-vampire. This series will follow a squad of half-dragons as they work uncover to thwart the nazis. Very fun. Have the first book plotted and can't wait until I can dive into it.

Recycled, the second book to Extracted. I really feel like Extracted was some of my best writing yet and this YA series needs to continue.

Never After, the second book to Never Ever. Would you believe this book is already half-way written and waiting for me to get back to it? Poor Aden is at a perilous point in the story and just left hanging. Poor guy.

The next book in the Viking Mine world with Sigur taking the lead as he journeys off on his dragonship. I also want to write several more historical romances set in the Medieval era, going off on the same type of story, but in different cultures. For example: Spartan Mine, Gladiator Mine, Saxon Mine, Pharaoh Mine...well, you get my drift. Love researching history and then messing it all up to suit myself.

The Fourth book in the Anointed series. Here's another character I've left in a bad spot. Poor little brother Cael has other dimension goop seeping out of his wound which will work havoc on him, freaking big brother Jake out big time. Gotta get back to these guys before they bring their entire weapons stash to my door in retaliation. Sorry guys, I really am sorry.

Ireland, Y'all. This is a story of my heart that is plotted out entirely in my head about a young Texas widow who brings her epileptic daughter to Ireland for a new beginning and ends up in a small village made up of some of the quirkiest characters rattling around in my head.  Basically the mom will learn to give up some of her control and allow others to help her. It takes a village, that sort of thing.

Then finally after I get all of those written, I have another YA series I'd like to venture into, each book about some sort of supernatural creature that has to decide whether to be completely human or go back to his/her world. But that will be for much much later. Have too many others I'm committed to before that can happen.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

North Texas Romance Writers of America President's Letter December

#GiveMas


This week on the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show one of the hosts Jenna Owens talked about how she’s at the point in her life where she doesn’t really want presents. If she wants something, she just goes and buys it herself. But what she does value from her friends is time spent together because in their busy lives that seems to get rarer and rarer.
So this year Jenna is spending quality time with each of her friends while they go do something to give back to the community. They decided on working at a soup kitchen for this first year and even coined the hashtag #GiveMas for anyone else who wants to share what they will be doing this season toward less spending, more giving.
This struck a chord with me because the limited time I get to spend with my sisters, my friends, my critique partners (who have become my sisters and friends), and all of you at NT is time I cherish above any tangible gift.
(Not that I don’t like presents. Who doesn’t?)

I’m beyond excited to see as many of you as can make it to our Holiday party. Some of you I haven’t seen for a long time as circumstances have made it hard to come out through the rest of the year.
But whether you make it or not, my “intangible” gifts to you all, besides the giving of my time, are these:
(This is the part where you pretend I’m the #GiveMas fairy, waving my magical wand over your collective heads.)

To you, er, I mean, y’all, I give:

An abundance of creativity and story ideas.
Continued joy and enthusiasm in the day to day craft of writing.
Confidence that what you are writing is good. Really good. Your work has paid off.
Hidden pockets of extra time to pursue your dreams.
The understanding to measure your success by whatever standard you define it for yourself.
Good writer friends to surround you with encouragement and knowledge from their own experiences.
Along with empathy and wisdom to do the same for others.
And finally, the courage and perseverance to continue the journey on whichever path or paths you decide to take.

Have a most wonderful excellent Holiday Season! It’s been my pleasure and honor to serve you this year!
  

Clover Autrey

NTRWA President 2014

Critique Partner Michelle

CPs Jen and Gina

CP Chrissy



Saturday, November 15, 2014

North Texas Romance Writers of America President’s Letter November

George Washington's cabinet


George Washington didn’t feel he would make a good president. He’d already been a great general, was a favorable figurehead for the infant country, but he personally didn’t feel like he had the qualities for leadership in a political sense. So he made a wise move and surrounded himself with the brilliant men of the time, filling his cabinet with advisors the likes of Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.
When I was approached to be the president of our group, I didn’t really feel like I had the qualities for leadership either. I said no at least five times, to little avail. I’m such a pushover, which, hello, isn’t that enough of a clue that I’m no leader?
Since I couldn’t get out of it, I borrowed Washington’s philosophy and made sure our board was made up of people who were not only extremely reliable but knew what they were doing.
And I have never been disappointed.
There hasn’t been one time that I’ve had to nudge or remind people to do their job. Seriously. They just did it. To be honest, being president this year turned out to be fairly easy.  The board and chairs did all the heavy lifting for the conference and contests and our wonderful programs and newsletters.
But the best part I learned about these people, besides their work ethic, is the genuine concern they have for our members. Countless times during our board meetings, one of the board would ask, “Is this the best thing for our members?”  
And each time I’d get a little squeeze in my heart at the genuineness of that question.
These women volunteered their time, their skills, their creativity and their knowledge, sometimes their sanity, and huge chunks of their hearts in the hope that all of us at NT have a great experience and get out of our membership something worthwhile as writers who support each other.
This Thanksgiving, I want the board and all of our volunteers to know how thankful I am for each of you.
The board has done a helluva job and I, for one, am extremely grateful and proud to be in their company. This is me standing up and applauding.
I will miss you all this month. I hope you gathered long and prospered at all your various mini retreats. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and can’t wait to see you all at our Holiday Party!!!
   

Clover Autrey

NTRWA President

Writers Wanted.

Permission to Forward: 


The 2015 Carolyn is open for entries!!!



Early bird price is $20 through December 14th. Fee goes up to $25 on December 15th.

Last year's prize was a collective ad on RT's Daily Blog page. (The banner ad there at the top.) We are planning on doing the same for next year, schedule and cost permitting.

http://ntrwareaderschoiceaward.blogspot.com/p/enter-carolyn.html


Monday, November 10, 2014

Readers: We Want You

It's that time again that The Carolyn Readers Choice Awards (CRCA) from the North Texas Romance Writers Association is gearing up and we need Readers to judge the newest, hottest, up and coming books.

Judge for the CRCA

So if you like free books, and who doesn't?, are willing to read and then fill out a short questionnaire, go to the Carolyn Readers Choice site and sign up. It's as easy as that. 

Happy Reading!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

K Magazine

Okay so it's here...the big K Magazine article I'm featured in. November's issue.

K Magazine November

Since I don't live in Keller anymore I had to go to a bank in Keller that my chiropractor's wife told me had a bunch of copies. So I helped myself to 3 of them thank you very much.

As soon as I got in the car I opened it up and went in search. It's on page  . And wham, got hit in the face with my huge mug. The picture I'm in takes up half the page. It's not a great picture of me either. My smile is tentative or let's face it, just plain weird, and the scarf I was trying to be all fancy with went wonky, but the photo is huge and it's in a magazine and I have a fairly lengthy quote and am the first author up so all that makes up for the cheesiness! Plus my interview came off really well, like I know what I'm talking about!
I love it!

So what if I'm carrying the magazine everywhere I go and shoving it into people's faces?

The Writers Block K Magazine


You can read it at the Star Telegram site.

Plus, I've decided to take a page from the best-selling author Lilliana Hart and make the first books of each of my series free so more readers can find them. Plus I have enough books out now it shouldn't make a radical dent in my income so I'm able to do that for my readers. I'd love to say it was completely strategic on my part that those books went free right at the same time as the article, but truthfully I wasn't thinking about one thing going with the other, but wow, did it work in my favor that they did hit at the same time and the freebies soared.

Highland Sorcerer (a Highland Sorcery novel Book 1) is sitting pretty as the #1 Bestseller on Amazon's Scottish Historical Romance list. Right across from Outlander. Whoop!



#1 Bestseller Scottish Historical Romance


Ah, sighing. Just so happy about this.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Escorts upon Dying

While writing about the possible ghost in my house, I promised I'd write about the death escort I once saw.

I was eight years old. My older sister, Bekie, was ten. And our youngest brother, Brett was two. He was ill with some type of flu symptoms. He'd already been in the hospital recently, but sent home. Honestly, I was too young at the time to know exactly what was going on, but I felt the sense of my parents' worry.

We lived in a 3 bedroom house with the two kids' rooms right next to each other in the front of the house so that the windows of both rooms faced out in the same direction in our front yard. And these windows were large, expanding across the entire wall.  Bekie and I shared a room while the "little kids" all shared the room next to ours.

Anyway, one night I was in the living room doing whatever when Bekie came out of the hallway where our rooms were and whispered my name. Instantly I knew something big was up by her tone and I immediately felt her fear. "Clover, come here. There's something outside our window."

Usually I'd be the argumentative little sister, demanding, "What? Why?" Because that's just what I did before I ever budged. But just looking at her, getting that immediate onslaught of her adrenaline and that pinch to her voice, I was up and following her immediately.

We went into the hallway... following her lead of doing that spy kind of walking, you know, where you stay pressed against the wall and rush across the open doorways. Well, only one open doorway in our case, but we were small so the distance seemed huge. My pulse was on high alert when Bekie barely poked her head around the doorway to see inside our room. Moving around her I also looked in and got the shock of my life. From Bekie's behavior I knew this was something important but there was no way I was expecting anything like that.

Standing directly outside of our bedroom window, was this guy. I say a guy, but he wasn't exactly. It was dark outside and he was invisible. Well, not really invisible, but like a glowy chalk drawing that you could see the night's darkness through. Every detail, every wrinkle, every fold of his clothing, was lined in. He just stood there as still as a statue, directly in front of our room but his body was angled to face our younger brothers and sisters' room. He had a beard, wore flowy layered robes, and had his arms extended toward the little kids' room in that lowered come-give-me-a-hug type of posture.

I screamed and ran for my mom, Bekie screaming and running right alongside me, telling my mom about it. I honestly can't remember how we described him to her, though we were both descriptive little suckers so we probably told her how he glowed and was just standing there and everything. Mom didn't exactly believe us, maybe because we were generally creative. At least she didn't believe us about it being a ghost or however we described him. Or maybe she did, but didn't want to let on to us when we were already scared. She was already stressed out over my brother. She came up with it being the reflection off of a car (we lived on a busy road) or maybe someone just walking across our yard.

But no, we didn't see anything vague. We knew what we saw and it wasn't a flash of light. This guy/ghost/angel/whatever you want to call him was clear and in detail. Forty years later I still see him clearly.

Regardless of what Mom thought, she knew we'd seen something even though she couldn't see him when Bekie and I both were looking right at him. We were so adamant and scared that she grabbed the flashlight and took us outside to ease our fears. Uh, nope, didn't help. I don't know if he was still there while we were outside because I refused to look. I had my face pressed into my mom's hip, holding on to her for dear life while we three shuffle-stepped right over the spot we told our mom the guy was. I'm not sure if Bekie looked either or kept her face buried as well. I'll have to ask her.

My mom never did see him, but when we went inside and sneaked a peek out the window, he hadn't moved a muscle. He never looked at us or anything, just stood there staring at the other window.

At bedtime, we had both run to our beds and pulled the covers over our heads, and then argued about who should close the curtains. Our curtains didn't have a draw string so had to be closed manually. Neither of us wanted to expose ourselves to the ghost's view (not that he ever looked at us) but I wasn't going to do it. So even as she wailed that she was the oldest so the ghost probably wanted her, Bekie walked across the dressers in front of the window, pushing it closed as she hid behind the curtain as she went.

In the morning we woke up to very large men in our house (paramedics), scrambling, and then rushing out the door, leaving the rest of us kids with some neighbors who were also there. I remember looking out the door, seeing an ambulance pull out.

My little brother died on the way to the hospital.

That night the invisible man was gone.

Afterwards my parents wanted to know every detail of the guy, what they said must have been an angel coming to take Brett home. I know it gives them comfort to believe that.

Truthfully it gives me comfort too and I do believe that. I want to believe that. However at the time, it was scary. And the after effects weren't so great either. I wouldn't go into my room alone. If someone was with me (even one of the younger kids--like they could save me--yes I'm rolling my eyes at the logic) I was fine, but if I had to go in by myself I would run in, grab what I needed and high-tail it out of there. If it was clothes, I changed in the hall or bathroom. Isn't that sad for a kid to be afraid to go in her own room? Not really sure when I got over that.

And then later in life when I had a terminally ill child of my own, I used to glance out the window at night, relieved when there wasn't any invisible being waiting there. Isn't that awful? I think it is. No parent should feel compelled to look out the window to rest assured death isn't coming for their child that night. It was dumb. It was illogical. But I still did it. I don't know what I would have done if I'd ever seen anything. Certainly not be afraid like I was as a kid, but I'd probably run out there and confront him and beg him to go away.

Anyway, moot point. Never saw anything, mercifully.

I don't know why both my sister and I saw this guy when my parents couldn't. Because we were young? To bring my parents comfort? To give me comfort later in life? Just an odd circumstance? I have no idea. And although it was frightening, heck, I was frightened before I even saw him because I drew from the fear coming off my sister. Maybe if I'd seen him on my own first, I'd have a different reaction, then again, maybe it would have been the same jolt as how Bekie came upon him.

What was God thinking? A little warning please? Ease two young girls into it. Come on. I mean seriously. The spirit that came to tell my other sister our brother was going to pass away was much much kinder and gentler. That's another post I guess. But even though it was scary and had some negative effects I had to get over, my belief in something after death, in other spirit realms, in ghosts, in that we don't just die, not really, that, I'll never question. I've seen it.

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