Authorpreneur, Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RWISA @NonnieJules

Nonnie (aka Wonder Woman) has been super busy organizing the 5th Annual #RRBC Writers’ Conference & Book Expo (a super-duper virtual literary event!!!!), so a group of us decided we would shine the spotlight on Nonnie.

Please support an author who gives tirelessly and selflessly (on steroids!) to other authors every day of the year. So, as well as sharing our posts & tweets, please buy her books, and post your honest reviews.

#RRBC and #RWISA – Let’s make some NONNIE NOISE!!!!

Nonnie Jules – President & Founder of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB {RRBC} and RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS {RWISA}

“As a writer who values the (polished) written word, it is my mission to help my fellow authors understand that their reputation as a writer should be treated as a rare treasure and that the only way to be taken seriously in this business, is to ensure that your writing (no matter the forum) is impeccably written and well-edited.”

RRBC Author Page https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/about-nonnie-jules-nonniejules-rrbc-rwisa/

You can find Nonnie’s books listed under the following categories in the RRBC Catalog:

Non-Fiction

Novels

Parenting & Relationships

Poetry

Short Story

Latest Release: No Pedigree

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Baylee never quite fit in…anywhere. She was taunted and teased because her clothes had no designer labels, and spit upon because her only pair of shoes had holes in the bottom. The butt of many jokes, she was excluded from all social activities, sneered at by the parents of her peers after school as she waited for the bus, watching them drive away in their fancy cars; assaulted in the most unthinkable fashion.

Having been born to a white father and a black native American mother didn’t make things any easier. In fact, that circumstance made her life ten times harder – until the day she made them all stand up, take notice, and regret every ugly word and deed they had inflicted upon her.

My 5 STAR REVIEW OF “NO PEDIGREE!”

SWEET REVENGE!

This is a short story that addresses a social crisis that still plagues us. Racism has never gone away in the United States, and in fact, over the past four years, has escalated. This short story shines a light on that hard subject. When a beautiful girl of mixed race is forced to attend an all-white up-scale school, she is shunned by everyone but one girl. So, when the most popular boy in school shows an interest in her, she has no idea of his motives. The story is well-told and the best part was the ending. Satisfying is not a strong enough word to describe the ending. This book is inspiring because in real life we all know that the good guy does not always win. I highly recommend that every teenager in America be required to read this story.

RWISA Author Page https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-nonnie-jules/

Watch out for Wonder-Jules truth lasso!

Social Media Links

Contact via:

Email:  nonniejules@gmail.com

Twitter:  @nonniejules & @AskTheGoodMommy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BooksByNonnie/

Blog/Websites:

Books By Nonnie

Watch Nonnie Write!

Ask The Good Mommy

4WillsPublishing

#RRBC #RWISA Thanks for supporting author, Nonnie Jules!

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 12, Nonnie Jules @nonniejules #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

Today is the final day of the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour and we close it out with our RRBC and RWISA President, Nonnie Jules.

by Nonnie Jules

By Friday, I doubted that I would even be part of this event.  I’m sure many of you noticed that I kept moving others ahead of me and ahead of me, until I ran out of members to move – as I struggled with finding the time in my schedule to write something.  As of this morning, I had finally decided that I just wasn’t going to be able to participate, as again, I saw no opening in my schedule that would allow it. 

Then, I got a phone call at 7:37 this evening from a friend, sharing that her relative had just attempted suicide due to his personal struggles since the arrival of COVID19.  He had lost his job, had received an eviction notice, and saw no clear path to anything remotely close to “better” while the Coronavirus lingered.  That conversation forced me to sit down at my desk just as soon as I hung up the phone.  What you will find below may not be that great, but it’s what my heart rolled out in the final hour. 

***

And So, I Believed

We are living through what is possibly the most trying time in many of our lives.  We are a world on lock-down, and though there are those of us who are living a bit more comfortably than others during this pandemic, many in the world are suffering.

Some of us are not concerned with how our mortgages and car notes will get paid.  Some of us aren’t concerned with where our next meal will come from, or, if we’ll have to suffer through another night filled with tears streaming down the faces of our hungry children, along with our own tears of helplessness.

For those who suffer with mental illness, their situations are creating a new wave of crisis, as many who see no way out, are, out of fear and desperation, turning to suicide.

My heart breaks for these innocents in this war.

***

It’s quiet.  

I’m afraid​. ​

I’ve been locked up inside for so long, I don’t know my nights from my days.

It’s lonely.  

I’m scared.

There’s no place to hide, ​and ​no other place to go​, ​because it’s everywhere.

I need to make a run

​…​just out to the store

…but, I’m not even sure

…it’s safe to open my door.

It’s in the air ​we breathe​

​…​on everything that we touch

I never realized ​until now​

​…​I needed people so much​. ​

I’ve no medical insurance

…so, I mustn’t get sick​. ​

My stomach is growling​​​ 

​…​but, it will soon quit​. ​

I’ll just stay inside for now.

I do need my meds 

…to kill the voices in my head.

They’ve never been this loud before.

A little knock at the door 

…would really help right now.

It’s ​too ​quiet.

I’m ​so ​afraid.

I open my wallet and remember…

I haven’t even gotten paid.

What will I do?

​How will I survive?

I don’t even know if it’s worth staying alive.

And, what will I eat?

What about the heat?

I know that it’s summer

…and it’s supposed to be hot

…but​, ​this thing has me terrified

…all tied up in knots.

​So, I strangely shiver as if it is cold.

While parts of the world move, my life is on hold. ​

Under the covers

…the only place I feel safe.

Oh, how I wish

…to feel the sun on my face.

How will I ​cover​

…the rent that is due?

My landlord’s expecting 

…to be paid at two.

Some understand 

…but others not

My luck ran out

…with the landlord I got.

“I’ve got a family to feed – you’ve only got you.” 

He does not ​see​ that only me has to eat, too.

I don’t have the rent, dear Lord. 

What will I do?

Where will I go?

I need a sign

…because I just don’t know.

How long will this crisis last?

No one knows for sure.

I’m afraid​ of my thoughts​.

How much more can I endure?

I just don’t know.

My mind is racing

…it just won’t stop.

Please slow it down, Lord

…these thoughts are just not – to your liking.

I cover my mouth

A cough escapes.

​I d​rift over to the window

…and pull back the drapes.

Unlocking the locks

…one by one

I can hear the calling ​

​…​not a voice​, ​but a gun.

​No, too noisy, I think.

And what if I miss?  

I’m already afraid to even consider this.

Now, it’s a voice – louder – more clear  

Almost a shout – deep in my ear.

“Come closer to me. 

Look, I’m down here.” 

Five stories below me

Cars rush​ing​ by

​I hear the voice again​

“​C’mon, you can fly.”

I look back over my shoulder

As my landlord knocks

Then I glance at the wall

…it’s straight two o’clock.

“Why are you hesitant? There’s only pain here for you.

There’s nobody to help, so, what will you do?

The world is on lockdown, but you can be free.

Do not wait another second; come and join me!

You see, I am free – down here. 

And don’t forget, you can fly.”

And so, I believed.

***

To everyone reading this who might be struggling with thoughts in their head, that under normal circumstances wouldn’t make sense, yet, they seem to make sense in the moment, what you should always remember is that the devil is alive and well, and sometimes looks and sounds just like you and me. {And of course, he wants you to join him…in hell.} 

Fight those voices that encourage you to harm yourself and others. 

If you were not born a bird or created in the likeness of some type of aircraft, listen to ME – you cannot fly.

Please take a moment to visit Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 11, Peggy Hattendorf @peggyhattendorf #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

I’m happy to welcome RWISA Author, Peggy Hattendorf to my blogsite today.

by Peggy Hattendorf

“Mother is the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.” Kahlil Gibran

We define, mother or mom, as the female parent, whose responsibilities center around the physical and emotional care of a child, who may or may not be her own biological offspring. In certain circumstances, childcare commitments may be handled by the grandmother, stepmother, foster mother, godmother, or mother-in-law.  All categories of “mothers” who have a hand in nurturing, teaching, and fostering the development of a child, deserve respect and admiration.

The American terms, mother, or mom, adopted from the British English names, mummy or mum, sound remarkably similar or are spelled the same, in many languages around the world.   

Whether we say,  

  • Mother or Mom – American English
  • Mummy or Mum – British English
  • Mother or Mom – Canadian English or Maman – French-speaking province of Quebec
  • Madre – Spanish
  • La Mere – French
  • Moeder – Afrikaans
  • Ma – Hindi (India)
  • Moeder – Dutch
  • Madre or Mamma – Italian
  • Mama – Romanian
  • Matka – Polish
  • Mor or Mamma – Norwegian
  • Mum – Australian English
  • Mum – New Zealand English
  • Mueter – Swiss German
  • Mamma – Swedish
  • Mutter – German
  • Me – Vietnamese

the meaning and the identity of the person referenced is the same – the female parent of a child.

The initial love and affection, devotion, and care, given by our mothers, cultivated our early introduction to life and the universe around us. It provided the initial foundation and perceptionsof the world as a happy, gentle, and kind place or a world to be viewed as hostile, brutal and unkind.  

Without the support, training, guidance, and discipline set by our mothers, we would not have grown into social beings, in the image of God. Mothers help prepare us with knowledge, skills, and abilities to mature and become independent. In so doing, our mothers sacrificed many of their desires and needs for our necessities and demands.

If the virtuous governing principles of life are learned by teaching and examples bestowed by our mothers, then a “world without mothers” would be:

  • A world with significantly less women
  • A world devoid of selflessness and unconditional love
  • A world less disciplined and restrained
  • A world less organized and efficient
  • A world less righteous, decent, and understanding
  • A world less emotional, demonstrative, and affectionate
  • A world with less compassion and empathy
  • A world less patient, kind, and gentle
  • A world with less encouragement and motivation
  • A world less balanced and controlled
  • A world less polite and respectful
  • A world less thoughtful, tender, and considerate
  • A world less merciful and forgiving

Mothers play an indispensable role which is hard to duplicate.  As infants nearly all of our physical needs are attended by our mothers. That physical care prevailed as we started to crawl and then walk, babble, and then talk, and shed our diapers when toilet trained. Our safety, protection and physical well-being remained paramount to our mothers even as we matured and entered adulthood.

For many of us, the emotional care given by our biological mothers originated before we were born. After birth, we were embraced with love and affection. That unconditional love stands as the cornerstone of the mother and child relationship. As our mothers motivated and inspired, encouraged, and supported, they provided the strength necessary for us to grow and mature. As our first instructors, they taught us about love, and hope, faith and spirituality, acceptance and tolerance, courage, and bravery, confidence, and determination, giving, and charity.

And they raised us to let us go and assume independence; all-the-while, we remain in our mothers’ hearts and souls forever. Mothers change the world with every child they raise.

Women are not handed an “instruction kit” as they assume the role of motherhood. No guidebooks, training manuals, or college courses prepare them for the most challenging, yet most fulfilling experience of their lives.

It is hard to envision a world without our best supporter, best listener, and best friend forever. Mothers are the ones who are always happy to hear from us, no matter what we are calling about, or when we are calling. They are the ones that will drive us crazy – but we know will always be there.  And no matter our age, we always need our mothers.  My mother has been gone for twenty-one years, but there is not a day, I do not wish I could pick up the telephone and speak with her.

Below, my grandchildren and daughter have shared their perspectives on what life would be like without mothers.

From my 16-year old granddaughter Anabella:

“I can’t imagine a world without moms, as my mom is my biggest supporter and sometimes my biggest critic. My mom has always been there to laugh at me when I fall, but to also pick me up and wipe my tears. I love my mom; she is always there to help me. She is my best friend. I can come to her with all my problems and she is always there with a witty comment and some friendship knowledge.”

From my 15-year old granddaughter Skylar:

“A world without moms would be dark and unforgiving. There would be no one to love you unconditionally, no one to bring you back up when you are sad and feeling down. You would not have your biggest cheerleader and fiercest defender by your side. You would not have that unconditional love that a mother gives to her child. And you wouldn’t have anyone who utterly understands you like your mother.”

From my 10-year old grandson Erik:

“What a world without moms? No, that cannot be, because it means everything in the world to me to have a mom. She takes care of me when I am sick.”

From my daughter Rebecca, the mother of Anabella and Erik:

“Strong women raise strong girls and you are the strongest woman I know. I can’t imagine the world without you and all the other strong wonderful moms.”

It would be a decisively different and fragmented world without the love, hugs, and the comforting touches of mothers.

In a world without moms, we would lose our navigational compass, our emotional barometer, and our positioning in the world-order. We would be set adrift in an ocean of ever-changing conditions and unknown dangers. Thankfully, we have mothers and live on a planet fondly called “Mother Nature” or “Mother Earth” from the Greco-Roman personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of a mother.

Please take a moment to visit Peggy Hattendorf’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 8, Yvette Calleiro @YvetteMCalleiro #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

I am more than happy to host RWISA Author, Yvette Calleiro today. I hope you enjoy her contribution to this blog tour!

SIGHTS by Yvette M. Calleiro

What if,

In our hustle and bustle,

In our go go go,

We made it a point

To slow down and meditate –

Tune in to the now,

The beauty of each moment?

If only we had slowed our lives down

To enjoy the present moment,

We’d have less people living with anxiety,

Fewer suicides and more survivors,

More productivity in our workplace

With fewer hours at the job.

What if we chose

To care about the foods we eat,

To focus on nutrients from our earth

Without pesticides or genetic modifications?

If only we had stayed away

From GMO-products and processed foods,

We’d have fewer loved ones suffering

From obesity and digestive issues

And autoimmune disorders.

What if we cared

About our fellow man and woman and child

Enough to help them find shelter

And food

And employment?

If only we had cared more about

The community as one

Instead of individualism,

We would have risen up

To find solutions for homelessness,

To help rehabilitate the hopelessness

And leave no human hungry.

What if mothers and fathers

Could spend quality time with their children,

Laughing and playing,

Nurturing and comforting,

Molding them into loving human beings?

If only we had valued the family unit,

There would be fewer broken families,

Children would grow into

Caring and confident adults,

Valuing love and laughter.

What if we chose

To heal the mind, body, and spirit

As one,

With natural remedies,

Focused on healing and curing

Instead of masking and prolonging?

If only we had focused on healing

Instead of profiting on illness,

Our immune systems would be strong,

Able to fight harder against viruses and diseases,

Our minds would be calm and serene,

Our spirit would be at peace and

In harmony with the world.

What if we cared about our planet,

Sharing the earth with

Its other living inhabitants,

Making small sacrifices

So our planet can grow and prosper

Alongside us?

If only we had not been so selfish in our ways

And had made the necessary changes

To allow our planet to heal,

Our forests would flourish

And shelter our animals,

Our oceans would provide life and enjoyment,

And our air would be clear and breathable.

What if we changed our ways?

If only we could do something

To stop this downward spiral of catastrophes

That we have created.

We can.

We should.

We must.

When RWISA asked its members to consider the new world we are now living in, they wanted us to consider what we would have done differently to better the situation we are currently in. This led me to think about foresight and hindsight. We all have the ability to pause and wonder what the world could be if we choose to make the hard choices and work toward a better world. Similarly, once the catastrophe has happened, we can look back and realize what we did wrong.

So, I created this poem. Choose to read it line by line or read the left side in its entirety and then go back and read the right side. Either way works! 😊

So often, our leaders look back and say, “Oops!” and then just keep trudging along without righting their wrongs. We, as citizens, do the same. We have become quite comfortable in our spoiled lives. We, as a society, focus on individualism instead of community. We live in a bubble that is only concerned with how enjoyable our own little world is, forgetting that we do not live in isolation. We ignore the pleas of others to help the planet/hungry/homeless/poor because that would mean putting effort or perhaps making sacrifices, and who wants to give up the luxuries that they have become accustomed to?

And so it goes. Our current path is not sustainable. If we are to survive and thrive, we must put the planet and all who encompass it as our priority. We need to make changes/sacrifices to flourish. Just look at what the past month or two of stay-at-home orders has done for our planet. Endangered turtles are being born and surviving. The peaks of the Himalayan mountains can be seen in India for the first time in decades. Pollution levels have shown a decrease in nitrogen dioxide over China. The waterways in Venice are crystal-clear and fish can be seen swimming in the canals. The signs are everywhere.

Can anyone still doubt that humans and our ways have hurt our environment and will continue to hurt our planet unless we make serious changes to our ways of life? How many businesses are realizing that their workers can actually do their jobs from home? That one change can cut back on car emissions, stress, and other pollutions. I don’t have all the solutions, but maybe it’s time that we, as a society, start to use our foresight to change our world for the better.

Please take a moment to visit Yvette’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 7, Wendy Scott @WendyJayneScott #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

It’s Wendy Scott’s turn to share her amazing writing with us, and I relinquish my blog site to her with great pleasure!

FOLLOW THE LEADER by Wendy Scott

Darkness swallowed dormitory B49. The lights had been extinguished an hour before at 8 pm. Stevie listened for the rhythmic breathing from the cots, aligned with military precision, one metre apart. Twenty beds, divided into two rows, sat on opposite sides of a red painted aisle. Identical grey bedding topped each hard mattress. The sheets were starched so stiff they were difficult to tuck under the corners, and the pillow was as unyielding as set concrete, but its worst feature was the coarseness of the blanket’s weave that threatened splinters.

Controlling his breathing into an even flow, he opened his thoughts to the ones forbidden by the masters. Silently, he recited his litany of self, as he had every night for the past five years.

“I am more than the number B49-17.

My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

My father’s name is Mark.

My mother’s name is Katie.

My sister’s name is Jenny.

My family existed.

I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

Tears gathered, but he was careful not to snuffle aloud. The cameras and microphones embedded in the walls monitored any transgressions every minute of every day.

Further, up the row, bed springs creaked as B49-3 tossed in his sleep, deep in the throes of another recurring nightmare. The silence shattered. His roommate screeched into the blackness, “Mama!”

Heart palpitating, Stevie squeezed his eyes closed, stilled his body, and faked sleep. Moments later, boots thundered into the dormitory, followed by scuffling sounds as the offending boy was dragged out his bed and marched away. The doors crashed shut, muffling the boy’s protests. Stevie had witnessed numerous night raids, so he knew to remain frozen.

A torch button snapped on, then measured boot steps resonated on the wooden floor boards. Three paces. A pause. Stevie imagined the torchlight scanning over the statue-like faces. A few paces at a time the master inspected the dormitory until he halted by Stevie’s cot. The smell of leather polish ripened the air. Stevie focused on breathing. In and out. In and out. No twitches. Feigning sleep. Early into his captivity he’d learned the harsh consequences of non-conformity.

Finally, the boots trod away. Before he exited the master intoned, “The Leader watches over you all.”

***

Clad in identical uniforms, the boys from B49 trooped into the instruction room, their orderly line pausing as each boy bowed before saluting the oversized portrait of the Leader. A shadow of crew cut hair, a creased forehead, lips thinned into a disapproving line, and demon eyes bored out of the frame as if tracking each boy’s movements. The identical image dominated the boys’ access zones: the dormitory, the canteen, the corridors, and the ablution’s block. The Leader’s face had become more familiar than Stevie’s own. It had been five years since he’d seen his reflection in a mirror.

Without a murmur the boys filed to their designated desk and stood beside their seat. Stevie glanced at the empty space allotted to B49-3. A sickly sensation puckered in his stomach but it wasn’t due to the beige mash the servers had dished up for breakfast. Years ago, his taste buds had withered away as he learned to chew the gluey texture for its sustenance value. Refusal to eat resulted in ejection, and reassignment to the intensive reprogramming wing. For boys who cried out in the night, the punishment was the same. None ever returned, and within days a different boy would be slotted into their place, and assigned their numerical identification. The Leader’s message clearly delivered. They were expendable cogs in the Leader’s war machine, merely insignificant numbers. Individuals didn’t exist.

Head straight, eyes forward, Stevie snapped to attention as the master strode into the room. “Be seated.”

Chairs scraped across the floor boards in synchronised motion. The master’s laser gaze scanned above the boys’ heads. “It seems a reminder is necessary. Our lesson will focus on our basic principles until the Leader is satisfied that B49 understands their function.”

Lies. Propaganda. Brain-washing. A turmoil of thoughts swirled through Stevie’s brain, but he kept his expression bland and his body language submissive.

Do. Not. Attract. Attention.

The master picked up a cane and whacked it against a board, directing the group’s focus to the three sentences printed in regulation white chalk.

“Recite together.” He traced the written words with the tip of his cane.

Obedience—Leader knows best.

Conformity—Leader made everyone equal.

Conception—Leader created each of us for his divine purpose.

The taps acted as a metronome commanding repetition until their voices sounded like they’d gargled gravel.

“Halt.” The master consulted the clock on the back wall. “Proceed outside for drill instruction. Convene back here in one hour. The Leader watches over you all.”

***

Under the direction of another master, the boys marched around the quadrangle in orderly lines under an overcast sky. Beneath his cap, Stevie swept his gaze around his surroundings. Windowless concrete high-risers towered around the compound, each one housing identical dormitories. Electrified barbed wire fences and fortified watchtowers incarcerated the thousands of boys within the indoctrination camp. Overhead, a drone buzzed, surveying the sea of uniforms for any sign of non-conformity.

A mine field separated a squat building from the rest of the compound. It accommodated the reprogramming centre. The only entrance was via a rusty metal door. Stevie’s nostrils twitched, the air tainted by the black smoke belching out of the stack of soot-stained chimneys on its roof. The air stunk like burnt barbecued ribs. The boys’ route included parading past the centre’s outside gallows platform. Relief flooded Stevie when he spied the empty nooses. A brief respite as today, they wouldn’t be forced to stop and stand to attention, witnessing the distorted faces of those who broke the Leader’s rules.

For years, he’d shared a room with B49-3. They’d eaten, washed, and marched to the same regimented routine day-in and day-out. He shuddered to think of what the other boy was suffering inside the bowels of the centre. Trained sadists, the masters displayed no capacity for compassion.

Behind him, a voice whispered, “His name is Tom.”

Heart thumping, Stevie’s foot fumbled the next step. He didn’t dare turn his head and acknowledge B49-18’s forbidden comment.

From the front of the line the master roared. “Keep in time.” The cane whacked on the concrete. “Left, right, left.”

The path turned sharply by the outer fence. A flash of purple and yellow caught Stevie’s attention. A lone pansy grew between the cracks in the pavement. He risked peeking at the master before stooping down and plucking up the flower. Careful not to crush its petals he tucked his stolen prize up his jacket sleeve. A tidal wave of adrenaline coursed through his veins; he hardly believed he had dared to jeopardize his life for a pansy.

No outcry ensued and he concentrated on keeping the rhythm. Sometimes the authorities planted informants among the dormitories. Boys who traded secrets for extra rations. He could not afford to slacken his guard.

***

The clock hand ticked over to 8 pm, and the dormitory plunged into darkness. Stevie waited ages before rolling onto his stomach. He extracted the flower from his pillow case and brushed the petals across his nose. The floral bouquet reminded him of the tubs of pansies his mom had grown on their porch. After gardening, the pansy fragrance lingered on her skin.

Memories cascaded like a broken dam. Blowing candles out on a chocolate frosted banana cake. Giggling with his younger sister as their dad spun them around in circles on the back lawn. Wet kisses from his puppy, Sparky. Rainbow lights flashing on the Christmas tree. His mom reading him a bedtime story before pressing a goodnight kiss on his forehead. “Sweat dreams, son.”

He smothered a sigh with the pillow. Silently, he recited the words that kept him sane.

“I am more than the number B49-17.

My name is Stevie Robinson, my birthday is the 11th March, and I’m 12 years old.

My father’s name is Mark.

My mother’s name is Katie.

My sister’s name is Jenny.

My family existed.

I vow to always remember our life together before the invasion.”

Stevie swallowed the flower, destroying the incriminating evidence. He added to his mantra. “The Leader watches us, but I’m watching back. In my heart, I will never follow the Leader.”

Please take a moment to visit Wendy’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 4, Robert Fear @fredsdiary1981 #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

Today, I welcome Robert Fear to my blog site to share his views on social distancing and the COVID-19.

MOTIVATING OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

by Robert Fear

If anyone had told me at the start of the year what was going to happen in 2020, I would have thought they were crazy.

Over the past few weeks, I have learned to cope with this new reality. The initial feelings of anxiety and fear subsided, and my views changed as I became more sensitive to others and aware of how fragile our society is.

We are among the lucky ones. Although work from my day job has evaporated, my wife and I live in a comfortable house, our three cats keep us company, and we have enough money to last through this crisis. As a bonus, the weather has been warm and sunny for the daily exercise walks we are allowed to take.

When the lockdown was implemented, my thoughts turned to those less fortunate. Older people unable to leave home, those suffering from grief and depression, and residents of countries with even stricter lockdowns. I thought about how I might share my experiences on social media, to give motivation and bring a smile to the faces of those within my reach.

Living where we do in Eastbourne, on the south-east coast of England, we have many beautiful spots close to our home. There are several parks filled with trees, plants, grassland and lakes. Not far away is a farm track that winds through fields where horses, sheep and cattle graze. Birds sing as though nothing is wrong with the world. Then there is the seafront, along which runs a three-mile promenade, with views out across the English Channel.

Because of the lockdown and social distancing measures, there have been few people around on my daily walks. I gained a sense of tranquillity and tried to capture those precious moments on my smartphone, so I could share them with others.

With video clips, I recorded nature’s sights and sounds. These included gentle swaying trees with uplifting birdsong in the background, views across idyllic farmland to the hills of the South Downs, and waves crashing onto the shingle beach on a windy but sunny afternoon.

Amongst other subjects, my photos captured the beauty of spring flowers, rainbows drawn by children hung in windows, colourful beach huts, seafront carpet gardens, and the pier’s golden dome sparkling in the sunlight against a backdrop of clear blue skies.

I posted these to Facebook, both on my timeline and in two groups. In addition, I shared selected videos and photos on Instagram and Twitter. Three of those images are included here.

A close up of a bunch of pink flowers

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Cherry blossom

A flock of seagulls standing next to a body of water

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Social distancing seagulls

A building next to a window

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Children’s rainbow drawings

The responses to my posts have been encouraging and there has been positive feedback from around the world:

Ah, the sound of the sea. Just what I needed. Very clear skies.  Robyn – New Zealand.

Oh, happy memories of a childhood near Brighton! The shingle beach and big waves. Thanks for sharing.  Jackie – France.

I don’t know about you, but I’m appreciating spring more this year. It’s so lovely to watch the birds, butterflies, bees and other creatures carrying on with their daily lives amid the blossoms and blooms.  Jay – Turkey.

Ebony was watching the birds outside from her perch and listening to the birds on your video thinking she was in real time.  Laurie – USA.

One can’t be stressed watching the cows graze and listening to the bird song.  Carola – Canada.

Lovely sights and sounds! Thanks!  Susan – Uruguay.

How lucky to be able to go out for a walk. Thanks for sharing the pics.  Patricia – Spain.

If you are on Facebook and want to view the video clips and see more photos, please send me a friend request and visit my page by clicking here.

As I bring this piece to a close in late April, the weather here has changed, and there is some much-needed rain. Our first rose of spring has chosen this day to make an appearance. A sign of hope for the future?

A close up of a flower

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Please take a moment to visit Robert Fear’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 3, Jan Sikes, @jansikes3 #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP


Welcome to Day 3 of the 2nd “RWISA RISE-UP” Blog Tour! Today I’m up and I hope you enjoy my contribution!

DEPRESSION SOUP

By Jan Sikes

She stood in a line her head bowed low

There was nowhere to run, no place to go

With clothes that were ragged

And shoes that were worn

There were millions just like her

She wasn’t alone

America’s Great Depression had stolen their homes

Took its toll on their bodies

Tried to squash their souls

But she squared her shoulders, raised her eyes

Fierce determination replaced her sighs

She’d fight to survive, that much was true

Although many times, she’d be sad and blue

Someday there would be plenty

But for now, she was caught in a loop

She held out her bowl

For another serving

Of Depression Soup

Born in Missouri in 1917, my mom, Marian Edith Clark, learned about hardships at a young age.

Her mother, my grandmother, Sarah Jane, was sickly. The household chores fell on my mom’s shoulders when she was still a child. She shared memories of having to stand on a box so she could reach the stove to cook their meals.

My mom blue eyes sparkled, and her smile could light up a midnight sky. She started school in Treece, Kansas. Her family were migrant workers. Anytime they found an abandoned house, even if it was spooky, they moved in. Eventually, they landed in Pitcher, Oklahoma, where her father found a job in the iron and ore mines. She was in the ninth grade when he had an accident in the mines, and she had to quit school to help make a living for the family.

Her father became a bootlegger in Oklahoma. He would often get caught and wind up in jail for six months at a time, leaving the family to fend for themselves.

They eventually moved to Arkansas, where they had kinfolk who were sharecroppers. They picked cotton, and in Mom’s words, “Nearly starved to death.”

When she was around fourteen, her dad took the family to the Texas cotton fields. The whole family could pick, and they would make twenty-five cents for every hundred pounds of cotton.

We found this story written in a journal after Mom passed away.

“My last school was in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, population around 2,000. We lived two miles out in the country. I went to a two-room school. A man and his wife were both teachers. He taught in one room and her in the other. The man teacher went crazy and tried to kill his wife. When she got away, she came to our house. I’ll never forget how bloody her head was. When the police found him, he had crawled up under their house. So, they put him in a mental hospital.”

The Great Depression hit America in 1929, wiping out any semblance of a prospering economy. It was during that catastrophic era that my mom and dad met in Sayre, Oklahoma. At the time, she was babysitting for one of Dad’s sisters, and living in a government migrant camp with her family.

She was only seventeen, but they fell head-over-heels in love and decided to marry.

Mom had no shoes to wear for the ceremony, and a woman next to them in the camp loaned her a pair of shoes.

On April 14, 1934, they said their wedding vows in a preacher’s living room and began life together.

There were no pictures, no fanfare, no parties, and no honeymoon.

They spent their first night as newlyweds, sharing a bed with some of my dad’s younger brothers and sisters.

Their first home was an old farmhouse with nothing in it but a wood stove, a bed, and a table. Mom had no broom to sweep the floors, and when snakes crawled across, they left trails in the dirt.

Through the years, she shared many harrowing stories of how they survived as transients. They stayed within their family group and moved from the strawberry fields in Missouri, to potato fields in Kansas, to cotton fields in Texas. Often, they had no shelter from the elements, sleeping outdoors under a shade tree. Other times, they managed to have a tent or share a tent with other family members.

Mom and Dad’s life together, began under this umbrella of hopeless poverty.

 Hunger was a constant companion. My mom had an older brother who often would go out at night and steal a chicken or watermelon.

Enmeshed in daily survival, they could see no future.

Sometime around late 1934, they moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas not knowing it was in the middle of an epidemic. They were lucky enough to find housing in a WPA camp. My dad got a job digging graves for fifty cents a week, plus a small amount of food. A man working with him warned him to stay clear of the hospital; that no one came out alive.

However, the hospital laundry was the only place Mom found work. Automation wasn’t yet widespread, and especially not in Arkansas, so all of the washing had to be done by hand on rub boards.

A large scowling woman marched up and down behind the workers with a blackjack in hand. If she thought they weren’t working hard enough or fast enough, she’d whack them across the shoulders.

During this time, my mom fell ill with Scarlet Fever and they quarantined her. They kept her in a room under lock and key. My worried dad climbed to her window with food. It became apparent that they had to get out of there, or Mom would die. One night when all was quiet, she tied bedsheets together and lowered herself from the two-story window to the ground, where Dad waited.

They caught a ride to Oklahoma on the back of a flatbed truck, and Mom eventually recovered. They never went back to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

As the years passed, much of my dad’s family migrated to California, the land of milk and honey. But Mom and Dad didn’t go with them due to my grandmother’s failing health, and a younger sister who was inseparable from my mom. They all stuck together. My grandmother passed away in 1942 in Roswell, New Mexico. Pictures show a large goiter on her throat. She died long before I was born.

Mom gave birth to my siblings with help from family and friends. I was the only one to arrive in a hospital setting.

By 1951, the year I was born, Mom and Dad had settled in Hobbs, New Mexico, and purchased a lot on Avenue A. They stretched their tent and immediately started building a house. They put down roots and said goodbye to the transient life they’d known.

Like everything else in their lives, they built our house themselves. A place not too far from Hobbs, The Caprock, had an abundance of large flat rocks. Every day Dad wasn’t working, he’d head up and bring back a load of rocks to cover the sides of the house. That house withstood many storms, and still stands today.

When I was around twelve, I distinctly remember watching Mom climb up and down a ladder with bundles of shingles to roof the house. And she did this alone.

I believe I can declare with all certainty that no two people worked harder than my mom and dad.

Mom was a fantastic cook, having learned from necessity at a young age. She had a sweet tooth and loved to bake. Her specialty was pies. She could make a peach cobbler that would melt in your mouth.

She never measured anything. She’d throw in a handful of this and a pinch of that, and it turned out perfectly every time.

Mom was not a worrier. Her philosophy was, “If I can’t fix it, there’s no need to waste time worrying about it.”

I’ve strived to adopt that same philosophy.

She lived by these seven wisdoms:

  1. Count your blessings every day.
  2. Don’t whine or throw a fit if things don’t go your way.
  3. Take whatever trials God sees fit to give you and make the best of it. Never sit down and give up.
  4. Believe in yourself and your dreams, and they’ll come true.
  5. Love life and live for God.
  6. Hard work never killed anyone. Try your best and don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the way you first thought.
  7. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.

I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my mom, as you know if you’ve read my books. But I never forgot her teachings, her strength, and her determination. And for the last thirty years of her life, we were close.

She was the best grandmother my two little girls ever could have hoped for. She adored them as much as they loved her.

I watch my daughters now and see them practice some of Mom’s ways with their own children, and it makes me happy.

So, here’s to my mom – the strongest woman I ever knew.

I’d love it if you’d visit my RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 2, D.L. Finn @dlfinnauthor #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

Welcome to our 2nd RWISA “RISE-UP” BLOG TOUR!

It is my pleasure today to share my blog space with an author who always goes above and beyond to support others, D.L. Finn.

D. L. Finn’s Poetry

MISTY MOUNTAIN MOMENT

It flows quietly on a breeze

Covering the landscape in its presence.

The world simplifies at that moment

While the mountain mist intensifies.

Its threatening chill keeps us indoors

Watching…

Waiting…

Worrying…

How long will it eliminate color from our world?

Yet, we’re securely tucked away inside.

We have a full stomach.

A place to sleep… others don’t.

Some live outside in this mountain mist

Trying to survive.

We offer what we can… from a safe distance.

As we head back to our protected lives

Suddenly, we get a glimpse past the monochrome.

Then we remember that a dreary gray mountain moment

Does not subdue the light that shines within all of us.

GONE

Gone is my freedom as I shelter at home.

Gone is abundant supplies; I must get in line to shop.

Gone are family gatherings, events, and appointments.

Gone is the income from those deemed non-essential.

Gone is the guarantee they will be helped.

This is all replaced by a new world.

Where procuring toilet paper is a reason to celebrate.

Where putting my wants over someone’s safety is a priority.

Where people risk their lives to save others.

Where people do without, perhaps for the first time.

Where learning how to make what used to be available.

Yes, so much has changed and is gone—for now.

My hope is this new insight and caring…

Stays long after everything that is gone, returns

And things go back to a new compassionate normal.

STORM

A storm tore through our world unseen

But we felt its presence as hospitals filled.

We tried to wash it off and hide from it

Yet, it kept coming.

Finally, we headed into the storm shelter

Only venturing out for food…

Unless we were needed to fight this storm.

So many heroes raced into the chaos

Sadly, some did not make it back home.

While the rest of us waited in our safety

Grateful for what we had

Worried for what we did not.

Here we wait for that sunny day

When the storm fades away,

And we return to normal again

Armed with a new understanding…

Of how fragile our existence is.

Something the wise won’t ever forget.

For more about this RWISA author, visit her Author Page here: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meetthe-authors/author-d-l-finn/

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA“RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA“RISE-UP”Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

Welcome to Day 5 of the “REFLECTIONS” Blog Tour! @JohnJFioravanti @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA #Inspiration #Quotes

GIVEAWAYS:  The author is giving away (3) $5 Amazon Gift Cards during this tour! For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below as well as leaving a comment on the author’s 4WillsPub tour page.  GOOD LUCK!

Today, it is my great honor to turn my blog over to an inspirational author and RRBC member, John J. Fiorvanti. I’ll let him tell you about his book, “Reflections!”

Good day to you! I extend my appreciation to Jan, who generously agreed to have me as a guest, and to the good folks at 4 Wills Publishing who organized this tour.

An Incurable Romantic

“One might say I am an incurable romantic in that my emotions have a lot to do with who I am, what I do, and why I do things. I must write about that which inspires passion within me.”

~John Fioravanti

I took this quote from the Introduction of my book, A Personal Journey To The Heart Of Teaching. It is an autobiographical work in that I trace my path from childhood to professional teacher. I wrote the book primarily for new teachers, those studying to join the profession, and for those who are thinking about teaching as a career. I recognized the signs of high stress among new teachers and I hoped the book would help them realize that they are not alone in these feelings and that it is a good thing to reach out for help.

I used the word romantic in the first line above in the sense that I’m an idealist. I strive to keep myself grounded in reality, but I refuse to lose sight of what is possible both for myself and the world in which I live. Throughout the book, I speak of my quest for the heart of teaching. I searched for over three decades for this ideal in order that my work in the classroom would reflect it, even if it paled by comparison.

As well, the first sentence of the quote reveals that I am a person driven by emotion. There were times when this got me into all kinds of trouble as a child and as a young adult I struggled to harness my emotions and just sit on them. I failed. I am what I am! During the ensuing years, I came to understand that these emotions that I regarded with a jaundiced eye, were not the enemy. It was what I did with them that could be judged as good or bad.

Good ideas appeal to my rational side but they don’t motivate me to action or to write. Feelings about ideas or events galvanize me to express myself through writing. Whether I’m writing a reflection like this or writing a fictional story, I must be emotionally invested in order to produce anything that satisfies me. Thus, I write for myself. If others enjoy what I write, that pleases me but I write because my feelings about something compel me. If there is no passion, there is no writing happening. I don’t see this as good or bad; it just is.

This is the kind of teacher I became – one driven by passion. Some students would lament that history is boring and useless. I’d smile before I replied and would notice some students who knew me were smiling as well. I taught history because I thought it was exciting to find out about people who lived long ago, breathed the same air, saw the same sunsets, and felt the fears and joys that we the living still do. I allowed my passion for the subject at hand to flow freely and enjoyed watching the bored students transform into avid listeners who started to think about the past in a different way. I could not teach any other way. It is who I am.

An Amazon Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice of Inspiration

Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

On the cover, John Fioravanti is described as ‘A Voice of Inspiration’. That intrigued me. The further I delved into his writings the more this bold claim proved to be true.

The concept of this book is simple. Take fifty quotes from a variety of people that have touched the author’s life, ranging from ancient philosophers to more recent influential characters and talented individuals from the present day. Then add personal experiences and interpretations to those inspirational quotations. A simple concept maybe, but it takes real skill to write the motivational passages Mr Fioravanti has done in such an easy-to-understand way.

Enthusiasm and the love of writing shine through as you read the author’s astute observations. His background as a History teacher for thirty-five years gives reassurance of his own experience in tackling many challenges in the real world. Despite his own self-confessed demons, which he has learned to overcome, a positive and refreshing approach to life inspires you to achieve the same.

I read this book after Christmas, a period of reflection on the year just gone and the year to come. It challenged me on many levels. The lessons learned will help improve my attitude toward life. It is an inspirational volume I will return to when I need renewed motivation.

– by Robert Fear

Author Bio:

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five-year career in the classroom in June 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life! Book Two is Treachery & Triumph.

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-six years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

JOHN’S LINKS:

 REFLECTIONS on Amazon

FIORA BOOKS WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

Thank you for supporting this author and his tour.  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please drop in on the author’s 4WillsPub  tour page.


If you’d like to schedule your own 4WillsPub blog tour to promote your book(s), you may do so by clicking 
HERE.

JONAH is on Tour! @4willspublishing #RRBC #RWISA #RRBC_Community

I am thrilled to share all of the blog sites where Jonah has visited this week! With only two more days to go on the blog tour, I hope you’ll take a look at each blog post and leave comments. If you do, your name will go into a drawing to receive an Amazon Gift Card!

DAY ONE:

Wendy Scott hosted. Here is the link: http://www.wendyjscott.com/my-blog/welcome-to-day-1-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-4willspub-rrbc-rwisa

DAY TWO:

D.L. Finn hosted. Here is the link: https://dlfinnauthor.com/2020/04/06/welcome-to-day-2-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-4willspub-rrbc-rwisa/

DAY THREE:

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko hosted. Here is the link: https://jinlobify.com/welcome-to-day-3-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-4willspub-rrbc-rwisa/

DAY FOUR:

Jade at the Blog Tour Maven site hosted. Here is the link: https://blogtourmaven.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/welcome-to-day-4-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-nonniejules-rrbc-rwisa/

DAY FIVE:

Nonnie Jules hosted. Here’s the Link: https://nonniewrites.wordpress.com/2020/04/11/welcome-to-day-5-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-w-author-jan-sikes-rijanjks-rrbc-rwisa-rrbc_community-4willspub/

DAY SIX:

Rox Burkey will be hosting. Here is the link to her site: https://roxburkey.com/welcome-to-day-6-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-4willspub-rrbc-rwisa/

DAY SEVEN:

Robert Fear will host. Here is the link to his blog site: https://www.fd81.net/2020-guest-blogs/welcome-to-the-final-day-of-the-jonah-blog-tour-rijanjks-4willspub-rrbc-rwisa

I do hope you’ll take a minute to look at each of the blog posts. They are all different and all directly related to JONAH!

Comments are closed here. Leave a comment on one of the hosted blogs to be entered for a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

Thank you!