Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Such a Sweet Child

So for the WAG eight assignment, we had to make something unappealing appealing And I did so in my last post—for those of you who missed it--I turned a construction sight into a calypso band and dreamed I was sunbathing in the tropics. Now for this week, it’s time to turn the tables around and make something appealing anything but. And since one of the suggestions Nixy gave was a sweet child, one in particular came to mind…

My friends and I were at a picnic one warm hazy day in late summer. It was a picture perfect day with puffy white clouds drifting aimlessly across azure blue skies. A slight breeze swooshed through the towering pines in the woods, stirring the scent of charcoal and grilled burgers. Paddle boats rippled the waters of the mirror-still lake, kids and adults enjoying the last of the lazy, hazy days of summer.

I noticed a little girl hovering in the far corner of the shelter. She had her arm wrapped around the post as if needing something to cling to. Her perfectly groomed pink fingernails gleamed in the sun like neon lights. And not a lock of her thick blonde hair was out of place. She looked about six. Unlike the other kids, she wasn’t partaking in a game of catch or bad mitten. She wasn’t tugging on a parent’s arm for something to eat or drink. She wasn’t doing much of anything other than watching life pass her by. While the other kids screeched with laughter, she stood alone in the sidelines, quiet and subdued as an old woman.

Her spotless pink striped shorts and white t-shirt pulled at my heartstrings. Even her tennis shoes were a shocking shade of white. No way could the other kids attempt to hide what they’d been eating. Their cherry-stained lips, mustard and ketchup stained t-shirts and sticky fingers were dead give aways.

Sorrow and pity wedged its way into my heart, watching this sweet angelic child stand there all alone. Why didn’t the other kids invite her to play? Was she too prim and proper? Too pretty to play with? Surely at some point, they’d all arrived looking just as clean. It was natural for kids to get dirty and have fun. And where was this child’s parents? Why wasn’t anyone tending to her, asking her if she wanted a bite to eat or drink. Setting my burger down on the picnic table, unable to choke down another bite, I walked over to her.
“Hi there. And what’s your name?”
“Penny,” she said, her big cornflower blue eyes wide with innocence. “And what’s yours?”
“Sharon,” I said. “Who are you here with?”
“My mom and dad.”
“Ah. And where are your parents?”
“Out on the boat, see?” she pointed to a couple on the lake.

They looked over and waved. My heart dropped. What kind of parents would go out on a boat and leave their six year old child to fend for herself. I studied her. She was far too serious for a child her age. And it didn’t take a Rhode’s scholar to psychoanalyze her. Not even a class in Psychology 101. I sighed, disgusted.
“So, Penny, would you like something to eat? A hot dog or a burger? Something cold to drink?”
“No thank you. I’ve already eaten.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You have. My, you sure are neat. I noticed a dabble of mustard on my shorts. “Neater than me.”
She smiled up at me, the sweetest dimple in her left cheek. She batted her eyes and looked down. “It takes practice, practice makes perfect.”
I cleared my throat. What a sweet child, so lonely, so grown up for her age. Then I saw it, a tear rolling down her cheek. And just as I went to hug her, tell her it was all right to be a child, she stuck her long slender leg out and tripped me, a big smile on her angelic face.

I tripped and fell flat on my face. My mouth agape, I stared up at her in total disbelief, watching her angelic face turn into a monster. Her bow-shaped lips stretched into a screeching howl. I got up, brushed myself off. “Why did you do that?”
She ran off, cackling like a wild hyena. Over her shoulder, she yelled, “Cause turning adults into suckers is my favorite game in the whole wide world. And I always win…”

Want to join Nixy's writing group? Visit her blog for details at:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's in a gemstone?


Want to ward off evil spirits? Bring balance and harmony into your life? Here is some legend and lore about gem stones dating back millions of years.

Facts: Mystical stone for September, Zodiac sign Gemini. Gift for the twelfth and fourteenth wedding anniversary.
Location: All over the world
Color: All colors of the rainbow, although green and blue are rare.
Legend: Believed to discern truth, accept circumstances and is a powerful emotional healer. According to legend, agates improve memory and stamina and increase honesty. The agate is said to be particularly beneficial to those born under the Gemini sign as it brings calm. The agate is thought to prevent insomnia, bring pleasant dreams, improve one’s analytical talents and ward off danger.

Facts: Official birthstone for February, Zodiac sign is Pisces. Gift to give on fourth, sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversary.
Location: All over the world
Color: Purple variety of the quartz stone ranging from deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve
Legends: Throughout history, amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. This stone has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia headaches and other pain. The powers of the amethyst include peace, love, happiness, courage, general uplifting and is said to ward off thieves.

Facts: The mineralized remains of the ammonite. The ammonite is derived from the ancient Egyptian god Ammon who believed these creatures were divine. Ammon is depicted in literature by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns.
Location: Mined in Alberta, Canada
Color: red, yellow, green, blue and every color of the rainbow
Legend: Dates back to the Blackfoot tribe of North America and was used to ward off evil spirits. It is believed by some Feng Shui masters that the ammolite absorbs cosmic energy from the universe and is thought to bring the wearer health, wealth and enlightenment. The ammolite is thought to enhance harmony, vitality and well being to owners and visitors of the home. The ammolite is said to be the rarest gemstone in the world.

Facts: Modern and traditional gemstone for May; Zodiac stone for Taurus and Cancer; Planetary stone for Taurus. Gift for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversary as well as alternative stone for fifty-fifth.
Location: Columbia and Brazil
Color: Deep grass green with slight bluish cast
Legend: Used as amulets to ward off epilepsy in children and cure diseases of the eye. Folklore suggests these stones will enhance memory, intelligence and clairvoyance, thus helping to predict the future. Cleopatra considered the emerald to be a most precious gemstone, bringing love and contentment.

Facts: Birthstone for January, Zodiac sign for Aquarius. Gift for second and sixth wedding anniversary.
Location: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Scotland, Switzerland, Burma and the US.
Color: Every color except blue. Pyrope garnets are crimson to dark red.
Legends: Powers include protection, healing and strength and is often worn to reduce inflammation of the skin, regulate the heart, blood flow and ward off depression. In ancient times, garnets were given between friends to demonstrate affection and to ensure they’d meet again.

Facts: Mystical birthstone for the month of March and for the sun sign Virgo. Given as gifts for thirtieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Location: Mexico, Russia, Central and South America
Color: Emerald green. Rarer jade is pink, lavender and black
Legends: Thought to protect the kidney, liver, spleen, heart, larynx, sinus and thyroid. Ancient folk believed wearing jade would increase strength and add longevity. Jade is an ancient symbol of love and virtue.

Facts: From the quartz group, believed to be derived from sun-dried and oxidized iron-rich clay. Jasper is long attributed to magical powers in many cultures. It was used in ancient European cultures as a rain bringer as well as in some American Indian cultures.
Location: Morgan Hill, CA, Germany, Russia, India, Pakistan, France and the US.
Color: Multi-colored in stripes and spots, some of which are red and yellow.
Legend: Poppy jaspers act as adrenaline, stimulating areas of the body that appear to be sleeping. It is said to bring a deep connection with the life of the earth. Inspires joy and motivation and creativity. Jasper was thought to ward off evil spirits as well as snake and spider bites.

Facts: Mystical birthstone for December, Zodiac sign for Leo. Onyx comes from the Greek word meaning nail of the finger or claw.
Location: Mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay
Color: Black
Legends: It is believed that one day while Venus was sleeping, Eros/Cupid cut off her fingernails and scattered the clippings on the ground. Because no heavenly body part can die, the gods turned them into stone which later became onyx.

Facts: Birthstone for October, Zodiac sign Libra. Opals almost never crack because of their low water content.
Location: Australia
Color: Translucent reflecting all colors
Legends: Healing powers include aiding inner beauty, faithfulness, eyesight and helps recall past lives.

Facts: Birthstone for June, sun signs Gemini and Cancer. Fresh water pearls are given on the first wedding anniversary, as well as third, twelfth and thirtieth. An organic gem, pearls are formed inside mollusk shells as oysters or mussels. They are formed when an irritant as a stone or sand gets inside. A lustrous substance called nacre is secreted around the object to protect the soft inside. As layers of nacre form around the stone, a pearl is formed. This process can take up to eight years. The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical and large. They have a shimmering iridescence called orient luster.
Types of pearls:
Natural pearls are made without human interference
Cultured pearls are made when a foreign substance is intentionally inserted in a living oyster.
Blister pearls are attached to the inside of the shell
Fresh water pearls form in fresh water mollusks and resemble puffed rice
Seed pearls are tiny pearls used in Victorian jewelry and are sewn on clothing
Location: Persian Gulf around the coast of India and the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come from fresh water rivers and ponds, where Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water. Fresh water pearls are also grown in the rivers of Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France and the US
Color: Pearls vary in color from white to those with a hint of color as pink, brown or black.
Legends: Fresh water and cultured pearls have the power of protection, love, money and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love as well as protect children. Ancient Chinese cultures believed pearls fell from the sky when dragons fought.

Facts: Tiger’s eye is the planetary stone for Gemini and is the accepted gift for the ninth wedding anniversary
Location: Mined in Western Australia, South Africa, Canada, US, India, Namibia and Burma
Color: Greenish cast with shades of brown, golden-yellow, red and blue
Legend: Psychic protector, great business aid and for achieving clarity. Also thought to bring health and well being to the wearer.

Facts: Birthstone for October, Zodiac sign Leo and the accepted stone for the eighth wedding anniversary. Tourmaline means that of mixed color.
Location: Mined in Africa, Australia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and various countries around the world.
Color: Wide variety and appear to change color from different angles. Pink and blue tourmaline are the most expensive.
Legend: Ancient legends suggest the tourmaline is found in all colors because it traveled along the rainbow and gathered all its colors. The stone is believed to strengthen the body, especially the nervous system, blood and lymphs. The tourmaline is said to inspire creativity in writers and artists.
Facts: Adopted birthstone for December and Planetary gem for Aquarius. Turquoise was brought to Europe by the eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders—more commonly known as Turks.
Location: Mined in Persia and the US. The turquoise mined in the US has the black vein.
Color: Ranging from green to sky blue
Legends: Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include protection, healing, courage, friendship and luck. It relaxes the mind. Turquoise is sacred to many Native Americans and is carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in the Indian tombs to attract the beneficial spirits and to guard the dead.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rose colored glasses

Here's the exercise:
“WAG #8: Rose Colored Glasses” Go out and choose an unfamiliar object (in other words,
one you have no history with) that strikes you as ugly, repulsive, annoying, etc…
some ideas might be: a wad of squashed gum on the pavement, a dead squirrel on the
side of the road, an ugly sign, a loud construction site, a tacky sculpture in a
charity shop… and write about it in such as way as to make it appealing to your reader.
Really sell it! Use whatever words you want and cheat as much as you want, but do
your best!

Totally unplugged, my writers’ block a thing of the past, I was up most of the night typing my blues away. And with the help of some pretty strong black coffee and a whole lot of quiet—I added three chapters to my suspense thriller. But suddenly, the caffeine kick fizzled out, leaving me dead tired and dragging. I could barely hold my head up. So with the dawning of a new day, I turned down the sheets and rolled into bed. Ah…that pillow felt like heaven. The window was open, bringing in the brisk morning air and the delicate scent of green grass and lavender. And with the birds sweetly chirping, I dozed off into a world of total bliss…
No sooner had I closed my eyes when the roar of bulldozers blasted from outdoors, followed by a massive boom that shook the earth. Then the grinding started, producing a vibrating shriek.

My temples throbbed. Reality filtered through my brain. The neighbors mentioned something about having their diseased oak tree chopped down this morning. Moaning, I pulled the comforter over my head, shrouding out the world. But the hissing of saws grew louder and louder, slicing through my last nerve. Then the bellowing began, robust male voices rising over the extricating of gnarled branches.
“Timmmmmm berrrrrr!”
Crash. Bang. Grind.
In the distance, a dog began yapping. Then the screeching of brakes across the street, a heavy slam of the door. Within seconds, the growling of a power mower on the neighbor’s terrace from across the street. The sound of my own blood thundered in my ears. “Noooo!” I wailed. Tuesday. The elderly woman across the street had her lawn manicured every Tuesday morning.
And so it continue—the hiss of the saw, the massive bang of tree limbs plummeting to the ground, the bellowing of male voices, the zinging growl of the power motor. And in between, the yip yip yip of the dog.
How could I sleep. Too tired to get up, I listened, hypnotized by the steady sounds assaulting my eardrums. The mingled noises reminded me of a motley crew of amateur musicians. And if I used my writers’ mind, my creative muse that got me into this predicament in the first place…maybe…just maybe…

I was sun bathing on a Caribbean island in the tropics, the smell of coconut oil invading my senses, hot sun baking on my skin, a chilled margarita in my hand. Beneath the undulating palm trees, a calypso band played reggae music. The steady beat of the bongo drum, the blast of the horn, the vibrating zing of the brass cymbals banging together. They sounded so peaceful, so surreal…like paradise.
And before I knew it, I was dreaming I was in the islands, relaxing in the sun with my rose-colored sun glasses, toes buried in the coppery gold sand, sipping on a tropical beverage. And in the distance, the calypso band played on and on and on…

Would you like to join the writers adventure group? Visit Nixy’s blog for details:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


“WAG #7: Imaginings” This one is people-watching with a twist. Observe a stranger
and sketch a brief background for them, including a secret. Then describe why they
are in that particular place at that particular time (where you ran into them) and
how it will affect their future. Feel free to be creative, but don’t forget to describe
the concrete reality that made you pick them in the first place!

I am going to use a scene to describe my main character’s secret. Here is a scene, his own private thoughts, giving a detailed description of what he wants and how he plans to get it.

Pouring himself two fingers of finely-aged bourbon, billionaire business tycoon Michael DeVeccio walked on the verandah of his mansion and gazed into the foothills. The raw beauty of the Red Rock Mountains encompassed him – massive columns of rock and open valleys thickly studded with sagebrush, miles of rugged terrain where rock formation changed from a startling white limestone to an iron-rich red, and lush forests full of petrified logs the Paiute Indians believed to be weapons of the wolf gods. And what a rush to climb to the top of the mountain and survey the dazzling Vegas Strip like king of the jungle.
Fishing a Marlboro from the pack, he tapped it three times on the parapet before lighting it. He inhaled deeply, allowing the nicotine to filter into his brain. Under the hunter’s moon, night predators slithered out of the underbrush, just on the periphery of the jagged twists and turns of the canyon. From deep in the woods, a coyote howled, its keening wail slicing through the quiet. Michael loved the call of the wild. The primitive cries got under his skin, arousing him. Dominant and defiant, animals fought to protect what belong to them. He especially admired the sleek moves of the panther. With its keen eyesight, acute hearing, and uncanny ability to sneak up on its prey unnoticed, it pounced on its victim in one slick move. Michael understood the moves of the night predators. He was one of them.
Michael DeVeccio had it all. A billion dollar construction company that built luxury resorts all over the world, a twenty-four room mansion with servants at his beck and call, the most dazzling club on the Vegas Strip, a fleet of outlandishly expensive sports cars, a private jet—and more money than he could use in ten life times. He had it all with the exception of one thing, a son, an heir to his vast domain. And once he found the perfect woman to produce his heir and propagate the family business, the DeVeccio Empire would rule the universe. He envisioned the ideal woman to produce his heir being flawless in every way. Her inner beauty would shine as bright as her outward appearance, she’d have proper etiquette with impeccable manners, and she’d be cultured in fine arts. His perfect woman would be well educated on current events when hosting extravagant parties and galas for his business associates. She’d be honest and sincere and loyal to him and only him. And she would not be a woman beguiled by his wealth and fortune. Yes, he mused, taking a final drag of his cigarette. This perfect woman would be angelic and worthy of producing the heir to his kingdom. And the time had come to find that woman. And it would happen. He ruled it so.

So you get the idea. His intention is to beguile the perfect woman into believing she is the woman of his dreams…for the sole purpose of producing his heir…

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!!

Myspace Graphics

Easter Traditions From Around the World
Every nation has its own holiday traditions and Easter is no exception. The world’s diversity is reflected in these customs. I love collecting trivia and legend and lore. Here are some of my favorites to share with you.

United States
Begins with carnival, a celebratory parade in New Orleans the night before Lent. Lent continues for six weeks ending with a sunrise service on Easter morning. Some traditions include dying eggs, hunting for baskets and an egg hunt before enjoying a meal of ham, potatoes, breads and desserts. There is an annual egg hunt hosted by the president in Washington D.C. at the White House, a tradition started in 1978 by Rutherford B. Hayes.

In small towns, pancake races are held on Shrove Tuesday to mark the start of Lent. Traditionally, pancakes were made to empty the larders of rich food until Easter Day.
Celebrates the resurrection of our Lord with a festive parade. Churches are decorated with Easter lilies. Dance performances are hosted in which Morris dancers costumed in white shirts and red sashes celebrate. To add to the festivities, they wear bells around their wrists and ankles.

The Polish love the traditional meal of ham, kielbasa and babka bread. No Easter would be complete without this light yeast bread made with plump raisins, rum and vanilla. But not a bite is eaten until the food is placed in a basket and blessed at an Easter Saturday service.

Papier-mache images of the traitor Judas of all sizes are suspended over streets and poles on Easter Sunday. They are filled with fire crackers and lit at the appropriate moment followed by much rejoicing.

Young Swedish girls dress as witches on Easter morning and go around the houses with coffee pots to collect sweets and coins while people try to frighten them off by lighting fire crackers.

Easter is celebrated by beautiful floats of red carnations. In Murcia, a table is set to designate the Last Supper. Twenty-six men carry it through the town before setting it down for the feast. Madrid processions are silent--where village boys in Valencia and Helen play a drum roll from Holy Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

A priest lights a candle and all his neighbors use this candle to light their candles. After the service, the candles are carried home through a festivity of fireworks.

Girls wear as many petticoats as possible to church. When they come out, boys sprinkle them with water for good luck.

Swiss toss eggs down the mountains for good luck. Fathers whistle on the Easter hare in the hope he will lay eggs in the children’s baskets on Easter morning.

Bells stop ringing on Holy Thursday to mourn Jesus’s death. On Sunday morning, the Resurrection, bells ring and people rejoice, hug and kiss.

Is where the Royal Easter Show is hosted in Sydney. This show exhibits the best produce and farm animals. Other festivities include fireworks, parades, joy rides for kids and delicious food. Rather than the rabbit, the Bilby is the symbol most associated with Easter in Australia. This is said to be due to the bunny rabbit destroying the agriculture crops. The hot game is Egg Knocking. The Easter celebration begins Good Friday and ends Easter Monday.

Begins on Good Friday with the draping of the cross. Fish is eaten on Easter Feast. Kids light huge bon fires on Easter Eve. Easter lunches include cookies, chocolates and cakes in the shape of a lamb along with ccruller, a thick donut. Kids enjoy egg hunts and a game of chocolate kiss where they gobble up as many chocolate covered marshmallows as they can stuff into their mouths. The child who eats the most and has the cleanest face wins a prize.Christmas trees are burned to welcome spring. The passion play, based on the life of Jesus is held in a town where about 1200 villagers take part.

So let’s have some Easter fun. Today is the twelfth day of A TISKET A TASKET PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET Contest.

Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. Children anxiously await the big morning
where they can graze on candy all day. What about Mom? We’ve got a treat for you!
Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize
a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. I’m hosting the day’s contest and providing the link to tomorrow’s location.
Don’t forget to enter to win the grand prize! Here’s the dirt…
To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see
each day’s post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four
Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.

You will be searching for the above egg. And no, this isn’t one of them! (But it
might be hidden here so look around, just in case.) Visit all of the authors’ websites,
locate the FOUR eggs hidden somewhere on four different sites, make a list of their
locations by pasting the URLS to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry
to by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be
randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at
Skhye Moncrief’s Blog
. Tip #1, subscribe to
Skhye Moncrief’s Blog
to learn if you’re the winner! Don’t miss the fun! See you next to the burgundy tulips. ~Skhye

So today, I am giving an eBook of my Easter story Lasting Love. Just leave a comment about a favorite Easter tradition and I will choose a name at midnight. Good luck!

And for the grand prize, I am donating a gift card for this beautiful Lasting Love rose bush. Isn’t it pretty?
So, tomorrow, April 13th, go visit Jennifer Johnson’s blog

Good luck bloggers and Happy Easter!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Here's the exercise:
“WAG #6: Overheard” Another people-watching exercise this week! This time, let’s
listen! Choose a stranger and do your best to overhear what they say, and then write
it down. It can be on the phone, to someone else, or even them talking to themselves.
What does their voice, word choice, or tone tell you about them? Feel free to write
their exact words OR write it as you would for fictional dialogue. By now you guys
know the rules aren’t what’s important, but the experience!

So I’m sitting at a restaurant, waiting for a friend. With nothing better to do—and the assignment a perfect opportunity—I set out to do a little eavesdropping. And it wasn’t hard. The couple across from me gave me plenty to think about…

“Six months at best,” she quietly sobbed. She blew her nose daintily into a crumpled tissue. “That was the last thing I ever expected him to say when he came in with the lab work…six months.”
“I know, dear,” he said, emotions lodged in his throat. “I know. But we’ll make the most of it; I promise.”
“What about the kids?” her voice cracked. “Even though they’re all grown, this will break their hearts. You know Christmas is their favorite time of the year, a time for family, a time for reminiscing…”
“Hush now,” he reached over and patted her hand. “We’ll make every day Christmas, we’ll make every day a holiday.”
The woman paused as the waitress set down the coffee mugs. With a wistful sigh, she unrolled her silverware from the linen napkin. The metal utensils’ clinked together before gently clunking onto the surface of the wooden table. She snapped the wrinkles out of her napkin and sighed again. “I guess we never know when our time is up, do we?”
“No,” he stirred his coffee. “But when you think about it, knowing is a gift. Now we can make time to do all the things we wanted to do and never had time for. So what would you like to do? I’ll take some time off work and we’ll make every day an adventure.”
“Travel,” her melodic laughter echoed through the room. “You promised to take me to Paris some day. I’d say some day is now, don’t ya think?”
“Paris in the spring,” he stirred his coffee again. His spoon rattled when he put it on the table. He cleared his throat. “We kept putting it off, thinking we had all the time in the world, the business, the kids…and now…”
“Shh…” she patted his hand. “We have six months and that’s a long time to make every day count.”
“You’re right; it’s a gift.”
“Let’s go home,” she said as Always and Forever played softly on the stereo. “Let’s leave nothing to chance.”

Their departure left footprints on my heart. I sniffed, emotions lodged in my chest. Six months to make every day count, I thought to myself. How often we put off today what we can do tomorrow. What would you do if you had six months to do something you put off doing?

How to Join the Writing Adventure Group
Cora Zane
Iain Martin
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Nixy Valentine
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