Saturday, December 24, 2011

The JLB Creatives Regular Blog Posts will return January 9, 2012

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 A toast to our fans and followers!

~   ~   ~

Hello all of my wonderful fans and followers!
I certainly hope this finds you celebrating the holidays
in your own special way.

As the season approaches, I'm going to be taking some time off.
The JLB Creatives regular weekly blog posts will return January 9, 2012
when we start off the New Year with an Author Splash
featuring Lorhainne Eckhart.

I'd like to extend my gratitude to those who have made the JLB Creatives Blog 
what it is today: that includes my fans, my followers, and those who
have Splashed and interviewed all year long.

So while I'm on holiday, please take the time to surf around by
visiting the different pages you'll find in the red title bar above.
Be sure to check out HIDDEN EARTH, as publication is drawing 
closer by the minute. We're very excited, and hope you'll find
Maycly - Volume 1 to be an enjoyable read when it 
hits the bookshelves - hot off the press in the near future.

You'll also find a recipe for Peppermint Cupcakes 
at the bottom of this post.

Please be sure and post a seasonal wish 
to not just me, but to all the JLB Creatives 
fans and followers.

A Florida style Christmas Tree

May you prosper 
and be blessed with good health
now and the whole year through!

From your  rockin' blog host 
and her rockin' knight in shining armor:

 ~ Don and Janet Beasley ~

~   ~   ~

Peppermint Cupcakes


1 Red Velvet Cake Mix 
Add: 
1 TBS peppermint extract
4 small crushed candy canes
Bake according to directions

Icing:
3 cans of whipped/fluffy white icing
Add:
Red food coloring to one
Green food coloring to one
Leave the third one white

Place a dollop of each color atop each cupcake
Decorate with peppermint candies

~   ~   ~




Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog Tour Stop - Stephanie Keyes

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog!
Thanks so much for taking the time to check us out,
and hopefully become a follower if you're not already.

If you're brand new here, or even if you'd just like to see it again...
I invite you to check out the book trailer for my upcoming epic fantasy series
HIDDEN EARTH - Volume 1 Maycly, over on the right>>>>
Maycly is slated for an early 2012 release. 
For even more details, check out the HIDDEN EARTH page of the blog
using the tabs at the top of the page.

But enough about me...

JLB Creatives Blog was asked to participate as a "stop" on a blog tour
for the wonderful author Stephanie Keyes.


I'm sure you'll find her as amazing as I have, and will check out
all she has to say and offer as a talented author.

Be sure to read all the way through - she's even offering a contest for those who leave a comment!


~   ~   ~


The Author Behind the Star Child



I was born in 1973 in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was interested in music and storytelling from an early age. I have one brother, Adam, who was born when I was ten and a half years old.  Despite the fact that he vomited on my Magnum PI shirt as an infant, I’ve forgiven him and we’re very close.
 
When it cam time to decide on a career, it was a toss up between journalism and music. I studied classical clarinet and was accepted at the prestigious Duquesne University School of Music. Since the university was expensive, I cross-registered to take some general credits through the local community college. It was there that I met my husband, Aaron.

We helped subsidize our college education by playing in a number of jazz bands. Aaron played the trumpet and I played the saxophone and sang. I still enjoy writing pieces now and then and performing; I wrote all of the melodies that appear at the end of The Star Child. One those pieces, Come Walk With Me, will be featured on the soundtrack to The Star Child book trailer, which will be released by Avalon Graphics (Cathy Helms) and scored by Bronwen Harrison.

We stayed focused on the music for two years until we both realized that we would be unemployed. So we changed our majors to Information Technology. We both graduated in May 2000 from Robert Morris University.

Aaron took a job in banking and I started working as a software trainer in the telecommunications industry. In October 2001, we were married and honeymooned in New England.

I started writing and journaling after we were married, but my job as a trainer took me on the road a lot. Throughout the next five years I would visit cities throughout the country and in the United Kingdom for my work. 

My first son was born in 2007 and that was also when I found out about my father’s cancer. The emotional upheaval of having a parent undergoing chemo and radiation, forced me to look for an outlet for the emotions that this experience triggered. The Star Child was born out of this turmoil.

In 2009, I started writing my first novel, although I had no idea that it would actually make it to full novel form. I loved reading anything from the Fantasy genre, but enjoyed it better when fantasy could blend with reality. So that’s the direction that my first novel went in.

I completed the novel in nine months and took nearly two years after that to edit the work. The final review continued and included twelve edits by myself and my husband and two edits from editor, Kit Domino. The last round was completed just after my second son was born.

This February 2012 will be the three-year anniversary of the start of the Star Child project. I am thrilled to know that when that mark is reached the story of a love-starved prodigy and a goddess will be available for everyone to enjoy.

Use the Comments section to name three Young Adult, Fantasy books and you could win a Starbucks gift card! The use it to buy your coffee to accompany your read of The Star Child! Only comments posted on December 19th are eligible.

Click here to read an excerpt of Stephanie's Debut Novel:

The Star Child is available on;


Barnes and Noble

About the author:
When Stephanie isn’t writing, she works full time as a Corporate Educator and Curriculum Designer. She holds a M.Ed. from Duquesne University and an undergraduate degree in Management information Systems from Robert Morris University. Stephanie is a clarinetist, saxophonist, and vocalist, and is always making music somewhere at sometime. She credits her loving husband of ten years and her two sons for the completion and publication of the Star Child.

Find out more about Stephanie at http://www.stephaniekeyes.com.


Follow Her On Twitter: http://bit.ly/jjneXg

Stephanie is a featured author on Love a Happy Ending.com http://loveahappyending.com/stephanie-keyes/


Monday, December 12, 2011

Author Splash with Dr. Niamh Clune

Welcome faithful followers and new inquirers. It's great to have you here.
Things are hopping around JLB Creatives as there are tons of things
going on, getting ready to get HIDDEN EARTH Vol 1 Maycly published.
(Check out the cool book trailer on the right) >>>

There'll be so much more than just Maycly - and the best place to be 
to keep up with all of the news is right here on the JLB Creatives Blog.

This week we're featuring author Niamh Clune.
She is an amazing author who does more than write.
She is a think tank of ideas, a great promoter, and a wonderful person all the way around.
If you've not heard of Niamh, I suggest you continue on and join the
ranks of so many who have already discovered this rare gem full of talent!

Introduction Video for 
Author Niamh Clune:
video

~   ~   ~

In Niamh's words:

“The idea of giving the best you have to others, being all that you can be is the spiritual thread I have followed throughout my life. It has been my guide from earliest years up until the present day. This desire arose from having been a member of a large, Irish catholic family where children didn’t tend to receive much personal attention. I was never much good at demanding attention within the chaotic, market-place atmosphere of childhood where everyone clamoured for a few scraps. Often, only the loudest voices were heard, the most bullying or demanding, threatening, violent, or hysterical. My quiet, reasonable voice was lost amidst the general noise, fighting, and cries of “Look at me, look at me.”

I realised early on that I was in danger of becoming demanding or disappearing completely, as the deep-down sense of, I have no right to exist, became apparent. If a child does not receive what it needs, he or she remains unsatisfied, yearning, always in need of something out of reach.

My childhood was difficult to say the least. I witnessed, and was the victim of extreme domestic violence. As a child of two, I was aware of a choice. As I grew, the determination never to degenerate in nature as my father had done filled with me with fervency of belief and spiritual quest. Nor would I lose my soul to the bottle, killing myself slowly as my mother had done – my wits a mental blur, alienated from those who loved me. As a child, I was deeply sad. I watched the madness all about me and yet held to a vision of beauty that was innate within me. It was something of my own – a special world into which I could escape my father and the suffering of my mother. In that world, I could be a child filled with mystery and the magic of transformation. I could be special and unique.

In later years, my choice as an adult was to give to others what I could not have myself, whether it was a kind word or piece of recognition. I watched how others responded when I gave from my heart to theirs.

I have always tried to see a thing for what it really is – the truth of it, the beauty behind the clamour, the thing that unites us – whether passion, love, sadness or pain; it is the thing that speaks most deeply to our collective Humanity. Those earliest experiences and on-going learning processes shaped me into the person I am now.

The spirit of service is my only religion. I believe in striving to participate in the beauty of the day, even if we only manage to do this for a split second. In those moments, we re-connect to all that is good in us, to the beauty within that raises us above the general clamour, the noise, and the personal, sometimes egomaniacal sense of self-importance.

This spirit made me a healer, a Doctor of Psychotherapy, a social entrepreneur, an environmental campaigner. It took me to Africa during the nineties where I was fortunate enough to work for Oxfam, UNICEF, and World Food Programme. I lived among those who gave their all, and gave it with modesty. The spirit of service was the mucilage that held teams together and enabled us to open our hearts to the suffering of those much less fortunate than ourselves. We were fully alive with the fervent passion of it. I was happy then.

This spirit now makes me a writer. Unfortunately, a bout of malaria triggered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Some days, I can hardly think or move. The pain in my joints renders me unable to walk. A deep sadness suffocates me and tries to steal my wits. It is a physical depression not generated by any thought I have, or by a denied unconscious. It is, quite simply, an autogenic body response over which, I have little control. Before I suffered it, I never realised how terrible is the illness of depression. Writing saves me. Through it, I find healing.

During a particularly bad time, I wrote my current Skyla McFee series. I found Orange Petals in a Storm by escaping back into the world of the little girl – pure in heart – who learns to overcome the harshness and cruelty that surrounds her through the miracle that is her creative imagination.

The imagination is a wonderful thing. Through it, I can still participate in the beauty of the world. I can still write my books without fetters or limitations. I can imagine all manner of beauteous things, dance with my soul, and feel the strength of my spirit. My love of writing, getting the passion onto a page, seeks the unique in a story where spirit triumphs against all the odds to express beauty in a world-gone-mad. I hope it is of some value and that Skyla shall say it all!”

~ ~ ~


Listen to a sample and/or purchase
Niamh's vocal CD: click here

~ ~ ~

Orange Petals in a Storm 
Author Niamh Clune
Snippet

Her feet left the ground. All about her, dark blue light sparked into being and flitted here and there in chaotic abandonment. Gaining momentum, she travelled towards a swirling vortex that sucked her into itself. She plummeted into its blue-black core. As she approached the centre,the tiny pinpricks of delphinium went out. The world became black. She hung suspended where one reality inhaled and for a moment held its breath. Just as suddenly, the blackness sparkled. The fiery, blue pinpricks of light rekindled. The vortex exhaled, spitting her out with such force as to make her tumble on ,turning cartwheels through bland, grey space.
The vortex disappeared, swallowed by its own momentum. All that remained was a pinprick of blue, which was soon lost in the relentless, unbroken grey. She floated down and landed beside a precipice. She looked down. A vast, black chasm opened up in front of her. Somehow, the blackness was luring her into itself, enticing her to jump, to let go, to plunge into its vast belly. It whispered:
“Jump! You will feel no pain. Come into the darkness where you will be safe forever.”
She teetered on the brink longing to jump, longing to let go, to fly into the blacksoftness of endless night.


~ ~ ~

Click the link to discover

~ ~ ~

Be sure to visit Niamh's links, "LIKE" her pages, follow her blogs, and best of all support this amazing indie author by sharing her information with others and consider buying Orange Petals in a Storm.

Now in Paperback!   

Facebook:

Twitter:

Other:
Blogs:


~   ~   ~

Thank you so much for stopping by to discover the wonderful Niamh Clune.
Please share this post on Twitter, FB, and others as Niamh is worth the publicity!

Next week brings an honor to the JLB Creatives Blog
as it was selected as a stop on the blog tour of 
author Stephanie Keyes.

Have a stellar day!
Your blog host and epic fantasy author:
Janet Beasley




Monday, December 5, 2011

Author Splash - with Denise Baer

Welcome fans and followers! 
Thank you so much for your shared enthusiasm and support.
It's been busy around here lately. 
There's tons to get done before "Maycly" is released.
What? You haven't heard? Then here's the latest...


NEWS FLASH!


Maycly is approaching release.

Coming 2012!




Check out the latest Book Trailer on the 

right hand side!
>>>>>>>


~     ~     ~

All right, it's time to get on with the show!
This week is another Author Splash
with Psychological Thriller writer and Poet,
author Denies Baer. 

Introducing 
Author Denise Baer
video

~     ~     ~

Hello Everyone,

First, I would like to thank Janet for giving me this opportunity to introduce my debut novel, Net Switch, to you. It will be published just in time for the holiday season. Aren’t stocking stuffers great?

Now here’s a bit of ‘information dump’ about me.

I was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. After I graduated Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, I worked full-time while bartending and going to college part-time. As the years past, I thought I’d never finish college, but I finally graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, IL with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

During my last trimester in college I came up with an idea for a novel. I sat down and wrote it within a matter of a few weeks…but it wasn’t an entire book, more like the core of it. It was a romance novel, and after trying to refine it, I decided to put it in a drawer and let it sleep. I continued to write, learn the craft and read plenty of books.

In 2008, I began writing poetry, and recently published a poetry e-book, Sipping a Mix of Verse, which is a collection of poetry arranged by traditional forms and free verse.

Here’s a book trailer I created for it: Sipping A Mix of Verse

I entered the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) the same year I began writing poetry and completed a novel in a month. I was ecstatic, but I had no plans to publish it until someone read my novel. Positive feedback is so underrated. After I began cleaning it up, I hired an editor and now it’s going to print.

Book Trailer for Net Switch

My debut novel, Net Switch, will be available in December 2011. It’s a dark, psychological suspense.

“In the dead of winter, Sydney Hayes finds herself in an internet chat room in hopes of expelling her loneliness. Enchanted by a stranger, she soon finds herself caught up in an affair that spills over into her everyday life. Within a short period of time, the stranger captures her mind, her body and eventually her heart, but excitement turns to terror and Sydney must abandon the life she built in Chicago and assume a new identity.

A fragile woman in a new city, Sydney tries to put it all behind her as she makes a fresh start in Seattle, but her troubles follow her and she is running out of time. Feeling as though she has no other choice, Sydney is determined to destroy him before he destroys her—unaware that her journal holds the key.

Will she discover the secret before it’s too late?”

Thanks for your time and I’d love to hear from you!

Blog (written under the alias, Bea Sempere): http://skippingstonememories.blogspot.com/


~     ~     ~

I certainly hope you enjoyed this week's Author Splash with Denise Baer.
Join us next week when author Niamh Clune makes her Splash!

Until then...
Stay casual - live life to the fullest and have a piece of chocolate for me.

Your blog host:
Epic fantasy author Janet Beasley


Monday, November 28, 2011

Author Splash with Ilil Arbel

Welcome back Faithful Followers of the JLB Creatives Blog, and a big HELLO to all of you who are stopping by for the first time. We certainly hope you find the JLB Creatives Blog to be one you'll choose to follow and stay in-the-know regarding Janet's creativity and novel writing.

~     ~     ~

NEWS FLASH!


Maycly is approaching release.



Coming 2012!



Check out the HIDDEN EARTH

 Book Trailer on the right hand side!

>>>>>>>

And visit the HIDDEN EARTH page of the blog

more details!

~     ~     ~

     This week on the blog we're bringing you another Author Splash. Here's hoping you become an Ilil Arbel fan with so many other readers! Below you'll find excerpts, genre details, and much more! So, without further ado, I bring you Ilil Arbel's introduction video.

Author Ilil Arbel
Introduction Video
video

~   ~   ~

I cannot say that I have written in only one genre, since I have worked with several in a rather diverse range of interests. It is evident in my studies as well – I received my B.A.  in fine arts illustration, while my advanced degrees were in mythology and folklore. And if that is not strange enough, over the years I engaged in studying diverse subjects, including indexing courses, graduate certification courses for business writing, a certificate program in horticulture, a certificate program in fiction and nonfiction writing for children, and the most insane, a course in the repair and restoration of vintage dolls. So this might explain why I am a bit of a jack of all trades and have written nonfiction that included horticulture, mythology, folklore, natural history, crafts, health, biographies, personal histories, and memoirs. However, I love writing fiction too, so I have written some science fiction, fantasy, short stories, and novels.
I think my greatest love is biographies. When I was asked to write the life of the philosopher Maimonides, I was shocked. “But I am not a philosophy expert!” I said to the editor who called me about it. “I am not well-versed in his work. You need a lifetime to study him!”
“We don’t want a philosophy expert,” said the editor. “We want the real life and the real man. A true biography of Maimonides has never been written. All the books about him are an analysis of his work, with some biographical material tacked on. Besides, we tried two scholars and their work was abysmally boring and dry.”
Well. Certainly no sane person could resist such a challenge, particularly since Maimonides looked a bit like Sean Connery, and so I wrote the book. I had fantastic scholarly material available to me about his era, but very little about him. It took a lot of digging, but I ferreted enough to recreate his life. It was a joy.
And then I wanted to write a book about another difficult person. I was told it was not possible, but what of it? I am doing it now, on line, as a blog. It’s the strangest thing I have ever done… I think the introduction to the book explains it all:





The Golden Rule: Introduction

The Encyclopedia Britannica On-Line claims that it is impossible to write a proper biography of Hillel the Elder because “virtually every narrative about him is encrusted with legend.” I completely disagree. True, it may be impossible to give the exact date of his very happy marriage or the precise day when he left Babylonia for the second time, but dates are not necessarily the most important part of the story of a life. Bringing the man to life, showing him against the time and place in which he lived, putting a face on the myriad of legends is much more important. And that is exactly what I am setting out to do in this new book.

War, conquest, murder, scandal. Hardly the words that come to mind when Hillel the Elder is mentioned. And yet, this gentle soul lived against a most exciting historical background. The era, almost two thousand years ago, is dominated by the very handsome and sexually obsessed king, Herod the Great, a mentally imbalanced man of true genius and great charm, but with homicidal tendencies which come to the surface only too often. Herod is surrounded by a cast of glamorous characters -- Augustus, Cleopatra, Caesar, and all their crafty and influential advisors, murderous families, and dangerous spies.

Fascinating details are supplied by Josephus, the Jewish historian who wrote an account of the times in his book
Antiquities. Heroes sacrifice themselves on the field of battle. The stunningly beautiful Maccabean Queen Mariamne is murdered by her husband Herod, who then sets out to destroy their two sons. Cleopatra, certainly not the Hollywood glamorous character we are accustomed to, and much more concerned with wealth than with love, greedily plots and counterplots to attain lands. The scene in which she tries to seduce Herod who rejects her as an “ugly middle-aged woman” is priceless, and she retaliates by stealing his lands anyway. Augustus wields his power, sometimes for, sometimes against Herod, once his old childhood friend, now living in terror as his subject.

Against the horrors emerges the image of a man of wisdom, compassion, and courage. Hillel is the most important figure in Judaism since Moses. An influential Talmudic sage, the head of a famous school named after him, and the creator of some of the most important Judaic laws, he is instrumental in liberating and infusing life into the ancient traditions. Without his open approach and innovation, Judaism may have developed in a rigid and limited fashion, instead of the living, eternally growing religion it has become.

His many sayings are still quoted, his laws still practiced. The stories relating his kindness, intelligence, and love of study are still told. They appear in school books, novels, and one of his famous sayings even flashes on the screen as promotion for Public Television.

His kindness and straightforward behavior does not mean meekness or false humility. A truly cosmopolitan man, Hillel came from Babylonia. An international, magnificent city, the center from which kings ruled the entire known world for centuries, and where the Jews changed the face of God from a fierce desert entity into the merciful and omnipresent deity worshiped by today’s Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The place where Hammurabi wrote his Laws, so similar to the Laws Moses gave on the Mount of Sinai. This was a place where a man could grow to be well educated and sophisticated. Hillel knew his own worth and acted decisively when needed, causing quite a few scandals of his own along the way, and showing a certain arrogance at time, totally unexpected. He associated with the most important personalities of his age, acting and feeling as their equal. Some say he had a close association with Jesus, perhaps even acting as his teacher for a short while. The similarity of their views makes it quite possible and there will be a chapter devoted to this fascinating relationship.

A tiny country in a far away land, ruled by a giant empire. The great empire is no more, but it left a great legacy we still follow, images we see every day. The tiny country is still with us, modern and full of life. A story that happened so long ago, and yet is so vibrant that reading about it feels like a page of yesterday’s news. A giant of a man whose wisdom is part of our lives. A strange and fascinating time, full of tainted glory and true greatness. Could it really be two thousand years ago?









Excerpt from The Cinnabar Box



Chapter 5


The girls stole into Grandmother’s tent, carrying the Cinnabar box and a written note of explanation wrapped around it. Grandmother and the animals were sound asleep on their blankets. Donna put the little packet on a clean plate on the workbench, and the girls crept out of the tent and returned to Jessamine’s to attempt the reality shift.
“Not so fast,” they heard a voice. Bartholomew was sitting on a pillow inside their tent, his straw hat pulled low on his forehead.
“Oh, no,” said Donna. “How did you manage that? We woke you up, right?”
“Not exactly. I snooped when you thought you were alone in your tent, and then pretended to sleep in mine. I knew you would be up to something. I don’t trust you, Wicca, and I am coming with you to see that you don’t mess everything up. Camellia will take the Cinnabar box to the queen.”
“It’s tremendously dangerous, Agent Bartholomew,” said Jessamine respectfully.
“Do you think I will let two insignificant Wicca make trouble without trying to save the day?”
“Thank you, Bartholomew,” said Donna. “You are a real friend.”
“Ha!” sniffed the donkey. “I just know you can’t manage without me. Besides, can you imagine how it will annoy Camellia? I can’t miss that!”
Jessamine opened a small wooden box and took out a heavy, cloth-bound notebook. “My grimoire,” she explained. “A Wicca spell book. I copy everything I learn into it. Each of us has her own grimoire. It’s much more powerful than a printed book of other people’s spells, because it’s personal and geared to our own style. I will take it with me.”
“Should we pack anything else?” asked Donna.
“What for?” scoffed Bartholomew. “Either we accomplish everything right away, or we are dead. We won’t need any equipment.”
Jessamine studied a page carefully, then tucked the book into her belt’s pouch. “Donna, I will tell you what to do, and you will follow me, repeating the words and actions exactly as I describe them. Agent Bartholomew, please do not utter a sound, because anything you say may alter the coordinates. Stand near me. We must stay in physical contact.”
She took off a ring, mounted with a small crystal ball, and slipped it on Donna’s finger. She put her arms around the donkey and the girl.
“Donna, stare at the ball. Blink as little as possible, and allow your eyes to get tired. Focus on the center of the ball.”
Small lights appeared in the ball, dancing, fleeting here and there, growing and expanding.
“Donna, create a fog in your mind. Think fog, mist, grayness.”
Gray fog materialized in the ball, easily, effortlessly, gracefully. It filled the ball.
“Donna, make the fog envelop us. Think coolness, mistiness, grayness around us. All three of us. It’s coming out of the ball to embrace us.”
The fog drifted out of the ball like a tiny tornado. It grew into a mantle of soft, swirling wind. It caressed and encircled the trio.  
“Donna, create the coordinates in your mind and project them into the ball. See the numbers in the ball. 003-67-8-4. 003-67-8-4. 003-67 …”
Red, glowing numbers appeared in the ball. They shifted and moved, but were firmly planted inside the gleaming glass.
“Donna. Now. Take us there. We are following the coordinates. See us following the coordinates.”
They stood on a windswept beach, illuminated by the pale light of an early afternoon. Black tar and rank, limp seaweeds mixed in filthy shallow pools and on the wet sand. Blue-black water mirrored sunless sky. The sound of the wind mingled with the shrieks of sea-birds.
“Done,” said Jessamine flatly. “You are good at switching realities, Donna.”
Donna gazed stupidly around her, blinking and shaking. Bartholomew laughed. “Where are we?” she whispered.
“Wizards’ School Island,” said Jessamine. “That’s the Vizier’s permanent home. He studied here years ago and decided that he liked the miserable place. Wizards come here from all realities, so I guess he enjoys the company.”
“It seems deserted.”
“All activity takes place underground, and only at night. We will have to go to the school to get directions to the Vizier’s home. I know where the school is.”
They followed her into a cove lodged between rugged cliffs. A large, dark hole in the ground gaped at them. No gate, no sentry. Anyone who chose to take the risk could go down.
They descended the slippery, winding stairs. The rock walls emitted the odor of brine and seaweed, and the air became increasingly suffocating.
Finally they reached a huge, cavernous chamber cut directly into the rock. Heavy slabs of rock, serving as desks, supported many books, quantities of paper, and various writing tools, but no computers or even old-fashioned typewriters. Donna opened a book at random. It contained nothing but blank paper. Suddenly, letters leaped into the paper from nowhere, and the page blazed with fiery red and green words, written in an unfamiliar language. After a few minutes, the writing disappeared, and the page turned by itself. New words appeared on it, stayed for a short time, and vanished.
“More instruction appears on the walls at night,” said Jessamine. “The same red and green letters. It stays there all night, and the students can copy it. Then it disappears for the day.”
“No teachers?”
“Not visible ones, anyway. Here, I have found the book of locations and coordinates,” said Jessamine. “As it includes jails and current lists of prisoners, perhaps it will tell of Senior Witch Yolanda.”
“Can you read the language?”
“Yes. Here is the address of the Vizier’s home. We have to follow the path by the cove to the low hill in the west. Coordinates 52-1-6. Write it down, just in case, but I don’t think we should use the crystal ball here, we might be intercepted. We’ll have to walk, or fly. Ah, the prisoners’ list. Nothing. No official prisoners at present. Senior Witch Yolanda may be held, anyway, at the Vizier’s home.”
They left the school and walked, following the path described in the address book. The island, a dismal, flat place except for the rugged cliffs on the beach, presented an unchanging landscape.
Their destination was not far. Another hole in the ground gaped at them. “We will have to creep in carefully. The occupants are probably asleep, but they may have a sentry,” said Jessamine.
They crept down silently, treading each stair with extreme care. Reaching the bottom, they entered a room similar to the school, but smaller. A few doors opened to other rooms, furnished with plain, stone carved furniture. Whatever the Vizier did with his incredible wealth, it was not evident here. There was no sign of life, let alone Aunt Yolanda.
“She is not kept here,” said Donna sadly. “It was a wild goose chase.”
“We had to know,” said Jessamine. She opened the door to look into the last room, and suddenly flew back as if some incredible force punched her in the face. A sooty cloud drifted in. Purple lightening pulsated at its edges, and the sound of thunder rumbled through it. With chilling certainty, Donna recognized the purple face outlined in the cloudy substance. It was the same face she saw when her aunt was abducted. The face grinned viciously with its toothless dark blue mouth, and its hollow, yellow-green eyes winked at Donna, just as it did then. But this time she did not lose her consciousness. Grasping at Bartholomew and Jessamine, she visualized the coordinates of the beach she had used before to transport them to the island. 003-67-8-4. 003-67- …
They were standing on the beach. “Donna, here are the coordinates to my home. 005-98-8-2. Repeat. Transport us.”
Donna repeated, but could not continue to concentrate. She saw the purple cloud advancing. It followed them, playing with them, laughing viciously.
“Donna, concentrate!”
She tried. Palms sweating, heart beating. The cloud hovered above them, grinning, obviously enjoying their terror. Without warning, the blue mouth emitted a long, high screech. A small rock at Donna’s feet immediately exploded, sending a shower of splinters and torn seaweeds around her. Some of the material hit the water. A small whirlpool started to swirl in the dark water. It grew steadily.
“Donna, he started Sound Magic. It will grow. Concentrate on the coordinates or we will die!”
Donna’s mind blanked out. Nothing occupied it except the face of the Vizier, mocking her, paralyzing any strength she had left. The whirlpool grew. A huge foam column started forming around it. From a distance, large and small waves, coordinated like advancing soldiers, marched in unison toward the whirlpool. The growing water column fed steadily on the waves. Enormous now, it covered the sky with its swaying bulk. The darkness was torn by purple lightning. The column approached them as if walking on the water, gliding with oily ease.
“Move it, Wicca!” screamed Bartholomew, kicking her with his front hoof. “You miserable cowardly creature! Do you or don’t you want to save your aunt?”
Aunt Yolanda’s face suddenly filled Donna’s mind, replacing the Vizier’s terrifying grin. 005-98-8-2. 005-98-8-2. Smiling emerald eyes. 005-98-8-2. Always there, always supporting and loving. 005-98-8-2. 005-98- …”
They stood at the entrance to Grandmother’s tent.
~~~

“You can look now, Prime Minister. They are safe.”
“Temporarily, Your Majesty. He knows them now.”
“It’s a chance they had to take, my friend.”
“But they failed, Your Majesty.”
“I wouldn’t say that, Prime Minister. At least we know Senior Witch Yolanda is not kept at the Wizards’ School. She must be imprisoned on our planet, therefore, because he has no real power elsewhere, and we have a better chance of saving her.”
“True. And he may not think it worthwhile to pursue the girls here.”
“Exactly.”
“Your Majesty, have you noticed, just before they went, Jessamine said something about our great river having no name …”
“Yes. I am ashamed to own that this thought had never crossed my mind, Prime Minister.”





October Rose


The bit of paper swirled in the wind, attracting her attention. Focusing her eyes was hard, but she followed the small white square until it landed in her lap. She put out one bony hand from under the filthy blanket and grabbed the paper, suddenly terrified it would float away. The paper was a page ripped from a calendar.
For some reason the date stood out, black and important. October 27. Vaguely she wondered why it mattered. She could think coherently only occasionally, and so early in the morning, still chilled from the night on the street, it was impossible. So she just let her mind drift again, staring at the paper. The tired, pale blue eyes, bloodshot and red-rimmed, hurt as she looked at the black print, but she persisted. Suddenly she grinned triumphantly, remembering. October 27 was her birthday.
She leaned heavily against the low stone fence, outside the locked, private Gramercy Park. Miraculously, no one had pushed her away during the night and she had slept for a few hours, huddled in the tattered blanket, holding tightly to her shopping cart with alternating hands. She wasn't sure what objects existed at the bottom of the full cart, but it was important to keep the stuff safe from thieves.
Inside the park, the golden autumn sun glittered on a flock of pigeons as they descended in unison on the grass. The sinuous leaves of the willow tree moved gracefully, creating a delicate pattern of shadows on the chocolate-brown earth. The tiny face of a mouse peeked cautiously from its hollow tree, then withdrew hastily as the old woman moved, composing herself to rise. Something stared at her. She looked through the iron grating into the park and saw it.
The squirrel stood motionless, its immobility unnatural for such a quick, darting creature. Its beady black eyes gazed into hers, almost hypnotically. She felt the remains of her strength being sucked into the little animal's body, the energy draining, turning into something else. With supreme effort she averted her eyes, and the squirrel shook itself and leapt vigorously onto a tree trunk, gleaming as if electrical sparks came off its silvery-grey fur. The old woman could barely move now, but knew she had to get away before the residents of this expensive area would take steps to remove her. She put the blanket in the cart, held onto its edge with both hands, and pulled herself into a standing position, hearing the creaking of her fragile bones.
The bent little figure moved slowly, painfully, into Park Avenue, leaning on the cart. Wisps of colorless hair came loose from under her purple scarf, blowing in the brisk October breeze. Her shoes were too big and slipped off regularly, and sores formed on her feet where the shoes chafed them. But she didn't really notice the pain, only the heaviness, as if the sidewalk itself were dragging her, tugging at her feet, making each step more laborious.
The old woman thought she would go to Madison Square Park, only a few blocks away, and stay there during the day. Many homeless people went there, as it was a public park. Besides, she had a favorite bench in front of a large, circular bed of roses. They smelled so good all summer. But as she trudged on, the grey mental cloud started to descend upon her.
This stupor happened often, naturally enough. Those who survived on the streets, even if they had never touched drugs or alcohol, sooner or later lost their mental faculties. And the old woman lived on the streets for months. So the emptiness came, and she had no idea what she was doing for a while. Perhaps she walked on in circles; perhaps she just sat on the ground for hours.
When she woke up, the sun was high and she found herself somewhere between Gramercy Park and Madison Square Park. She sat slumped, soaking wet, on the cold pavement. The inability to control her bladder was the only thing that could still humiliate her. The raging, tearing anger brought her back to complete consciousness, and she got up as quickly as she could to rummage in her cart for something to cover the stains on her shapeless, torn skirt. She tucked a rag around her waist and walked on, the wind blowing, robbing her of whatever balance she could attain. She leaned on the shopping cart and looked steadily at the ground, effectively controlling a wave of dizziness.
October 27. Her birthday. She tried to remember her age and couldn't. She had no idea how she came to live on the streets, or if she had ever had a family or friends. Did she lose a job?  An apartment?  A husband?  What did it matter?  She only wished she could remember her name, but that was denied, too.
The old woman thought she might beg a bit, then perhaps force herself to eat something. She took an old styrofoam cup from her shopping cart and held it out, reclining against a sun-warmed, brick church wall. After a while, she dozed. Some people dropped coins into her cup. Carelessly, she forgot to take them out and the cup slowly filled. A teenage boy on roller blades stopped suddenly, noticing the full cup. With dizzying speed, he lunged at her and yanked the cup violently from her hand, almost dislocating her shoulder. In a blink of an eye he vanished into the mass of screeching traffic. The old woman was so stunned she didn't even cry out, and no one noticed or cared. No matter, she thought wearily. She couldn't eat anything anyway. Her stomach hurt and felt bloated, and she wasn't even thirsty. It had been days, as far as she knew, since she had eaten anything, but the thought of food caused her to feel nauseous.
When she finally came to Madison Square Park, twilight already painted the sky a delicate purple. The wind swirled the dry leaves in little whirlpools and sprinkled the tall, majestic metal statues with fine dust. A shaft of dying sunlight brightened the dark metal into a reddish tint on one statue, and the old woman suddenly thought that all the statues had winter coats carefully sculpted on them. Aimlessly, she moved from one statue to the other on her way to the center of the park, looking at each with detached admiration, though she had long forgotten who they once were.
A few homeless people were preparing cardboard boxes to sleep in, others collected wood in a metal trash bin for a fire. She moved cautiously in their direction. No one paid attention and she sat down as close to the fire as she dared. She felt her eyes closing as the warmth flooded her, but didn't really sleep. Dozing, she heard snippets of conversation. Something about a dead man. He sat spitting blood in front of a hospital, but wouldn't go in and no one came out to get him. City's policy forbade forcing a homeless person into treatment. And so he died and eventually they came to take his body.
Someone produced a batch of tea bags, but she didn't want any. She got up and wandered off, drawn toward the circular bed of roses and her favorite bench. Her right arm hurt so badly she couldn't use it to pull the cart, and had to struggle using her left hand. It wasn't really the young man who had attacked her, she suddenly thought. It was the City itself. It sent its creatures to suck her strength, to drain away her life. That's why so many homeless people lived there. The City wanted to eat their waves of energy…  She stopped in mid-thought, surprised at her own bizarre idea. So clear, so sharp, so different from the usual, vague thoughts that swam lazily through her head, like half-dead fish in brackish water.
She sat on the bench in the darkness and pulled the blanket around her. You're welcome to it, she thought. You can drain my life and use it as you please. There must be some purpose, after all. A squirrel is a nice animal. There are trees, and sidewalks, and lights and wind… The lanterns shown softly into the gold and green foliage of early fall.
The night passed peacefully. She felt cold, as usual, but not freezing. She dozed on and off, bits of dream and particles of reality mixing, swirling, dancing. The giant clock at the top of the tower shone as white as the moon, marking time that no longer meant anything to the old woman. The trees rustled. The fire in the trash bin died off. The men and women slept, barricaded in cardboard boxes and rags against the wind, or huddled, as motionless as corpses, next to the thick bushes.
The old woman woke up at dawn, but could not get up. She was lying on the bench in front of the roses, some already in their bare winter state, some still alive. Their sweet smell mixed with that of the decaying autumn leaves on the moist ground. Directly in her line of vision was a half-opened rosebud. For a second, just before she died, the old woman heard the brittle sound of the rosebud, suddenly bursting with unnatural speed into full bloom.

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I certainly want to thank Ilil for sharing her writing, and about herself.
I hope you find Ilil to be an author that you will soon add to your collection.

You'll find her books at Amazon.
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Author Ilil Arbel



Stop by her blog/website at:
There's plenty to discover!

See what Ilil has in store for the future!

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Until then...
Stay casual - live life to the fullest - and have a piece of chocolate fo me!

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