love (11)

Gotta Find a Home

Telling The Stories of Those Too Often Ignored

Throughout the past four years I have met many people, now friends, who for various reasons are, or were, homeless.

Antonio, slept on a park bench and was beaten, had his teeth kicked out, for no other reason than his choice to sleep outdoors. He is a small, gentle man who has a phobia about enclosed spaces.

Craig, slept on the sidewalk in the freezing cold. I saw him every morning,  was never sure if, when I lifted the corner of his sleeping bag, I would find him dead or alive. Sometimes, he confided, he would have preferred never to awake.

Joy,  fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of Starbucks. I saw her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips. I usually see her sitting on the sidewalk 'panning' for change.

I can't do much for these people except to show them love, compassion, an ear to listen, perhaps a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I want to do more. To know them is to love them. What was seen cannot be unseen.

I am  writing an account of their daily lives. Identities and locations have been changed to protect the usual suspects. My book, Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People, is published by Karenzo Media.  I thank publisher, Karen Silvestri for helping to realize my dream. Release date was June 4, 2014.  All profits will be used to support those forced onto the streets and the Ottawa Innercity Ministries, Street Outreach Program.

Purpose: OIM’s Street Outreach teams come to walk alongside the poor and homeless in the downtown core. Volunteer teams provide relief provisions, pastoral care, crisis intervention and referrals. Street Outreach is the main component of OIM’s work. Through Street Outreach our trained volunteers meet men and women living on the street, create trusting relationships, and can work to filling both physical and personal needs. Last year (2012) OIM connected with 7,672 individuals on the street in downtown Ottawa, 2,735 of whom were youth.

The Red Vests If you see two or more people walking down the street wearing a bright red vest with the OIM logo on it then you have run into one of our mobile outreach teams! OIM’s Street Outreach volunteers are out meeting with people and handing out snacks and toiletries six days a week. We have teams on the street Monday to Thursday nights (7pm – 9pm), including late Wednesday (9pm-Midnight). Additional teams are out during the day on Wednesdays & Saturdays (10am-1pm) and Thursdays & Fridays (1-3pm).


ParaDon Books Publishing

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What the Heart Wants: Soulmate #1 Prologue


The crescendo of his heartbeat rose in his ears. It began as a low, deep sound of a bass drum accelerating to the medium tone of the tom-tom. It drowned out all other sounds of that glorious day, like the cheerful song of the spring robin. His ears turned deaf to every audible vibration, including the wind rustling through the branches of the willow tree.

Why couldn’t he hear the wind? He could feel each gust tussling his hair. How a few dark strands caught on his stubbled jaw. He would brush it away if he could move. Right now, he didn’t want to move. Nothing mattered. Not the wind or his hair. Not even the birds or the tree. All that mattered stood before him. God help him. Nothing could deter him from his fascination…with her.

His eyes coursed over her delicate features. Chestnut curls. High cheekbones. Full, voluptuous lips…

Calling her beautiful would be unjust. A sin even. Lust came natural to anyone. But with her, it went deeper. She radiated like an angel. Soft. Sweet. Heavenly. It drew him in. Yet her presence, the way it made him shake inside, kept him wanting more.

The breeze blew her ringlets from the nape of her neck. Each swaying lock carried a hint of sandalwood. The same scent rushing through his nose. One more breath and he’d be intoxicated.

Her skin, a soft shade of peaches-and-cream, glistened every time gilded sunrays broke through the swaying branches of the weeping willow.

When he gazed down into her eyes, his breath caught. He tried swallowing the lump in his throat, but his constricted chest held it in place. Her warm, inviting eyes were a rich shade of gold woven with flecks of olive green. She was looking past him to the broken, shale wall surrounding the estate.

Something about the lush green grass and the smell of roses tugged at him. Wasn’t I about to… God, she’s beautiful.

He ignored his duties. Why shouldn’t he? Nothing could be more important than this moment under the willow tree with her, his golden-eyed angel.

His eyes searched hers for proof that she sensed the same magnetic force drawing them together. A force so powerful it was irrefutable as it called to his soul.

He waited for her to meet his gaze, shifting his weight from one foot to the next. The motion captured her attention. Her mesmerizing eyes focused back on his face. He released his breath, exhaling a slow sigh as he watched a smile spread across her lips.

Those lips…

He inhaled deeply, taking in her scent. It made his heart hasten when he imagined them pressed to his, allowing him to taste their sweetness.

She stepped in, closing the distance between them. Her eyes descended from his, lingering on his shoulders. He watched in silent awe as her arm stretched toward him. When gentle fingers touched his arm, a line of fire coursed through every nerve, wrapping him in a cloud of desire. He fought against the groan creeping up from his lungs as her fingertips stroked his skin.

Her eyes wandered further down his body, causing his muscles to flinch.

In the passing breaths, his eyes fell to her tiny waist and well-curved hips.

Every single inch—a masterpiece.

He could no longer withhold his desire to touch perfection. Reaching out to her, he hesitated for a heartbeat, but pushed his fears aside. His hand caressed her neck, sweeping slowly up skin as soft as rose petals. Then he cupped her cheek. She closed her eyes, her breath releasing a gentle sigh.

Her subtle reactions affected his soul. He knew women, but not like this. They’d never found the secret chamber that held his heart. Had never come close to touching it. But this beautiful angel in front of him—she knew. She’d not only found his heart, she’d brought it to life, made it race like a river rushing through a canyon. He wanted her more than a rose wanted sunlight. Needed her more than the air he breathed.

A smile played at the corner of her lips. She leaned her cheek against the warmth of his hand, her breath tickling his palm. “Can you feel it?”

Her voice was like a whisper from heaven. He reveled in it. Wanted to bottle it up and keep the sweet sound with him wherever he went.

“Yes,” he breathed out.

She opened her eyes and ran her hands up his arms as he enveloped her in an embrace. Her fingers continued until they met at the back of his neck, interlacing at the nape. The look in her eyes tugged his heartstrings. His hands met at the small of her back, where they stopped and gathered her dress.

Say it. Tell me what your heart wants. I need to hear you say it.

Her lips parted, the words playing there as she stared into his eyes. He braced himself, waiting for those words he wanted to hear. His heart no longer raced. It pounded so fiercely, he thought it would beat out of his chest.

But she didn’t speak.

Let me know those lips.

She leaned closer.


His beautiful angel stood on her toes, her lips brushing his in a soft, sweeping motion.

God, yes!

To his dismay, the ecstasy that enveloped them ended. Their sweet moment stolen like a priceless jewel. The heat of her body, of their passion, tore from his soul as she pulled away.

His disappointment consumed him.

Not again.

The tears forming in her eyes glistened as a sunray filtered through the dangling branches. Her bottom lip quivered.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, his voice cracking between words as he brushed a tear from her cheek. He feared that he already knew the answer, yet was still desperate for her to prove him wrong.

“You have to wake up, my sweet,” she said, her voice urgent, desperate.

“I’m not asleep. How can I wake up if I’m not sleeping?” He reached for her, wanting to pull her against him, to bask in the warmth of her touch.

She took a step back, tears sliding down her face, lips turning down in a frown. “You must.”

“No,” he begged. “Don’t go. Stay here with me.” Moisture stung his eyes as he pleaded with her to remain.

His voice betrayed him when nothing more than a whisper passed over his lips. “Stay.”

He reached out to her. This time, when he touched her skin, or what should have been her skin, the warmth was gone. There was nothing.


His heart squeezed. He tried again, reaching for her, but his fingers caressed nothing but air. His eyes widened.

God, no…

Her image weakened. She reached her hand toward his face, as though to stroke it. He couldn’t feel the warmth, just a gentle breeze blowing through his hair.

Though her silhouette faded, her voice carried once more to his ears. “Wake up. Please, wake up…”

His heart grew strained with disappointment as the scenery slowly blurred and vanished. He kicked his legs, trying to ground himself as he tumbled into an abyss of darkness. He searched for something to catch him, to stop his descent into black. Nothing was there.

Suddenly, his body jerked into a sitting position as he gasped. His eyes burned. Bright light reflected off the walls surrounding him.

My angel.

He gazed around the room with desperate eyes.

Where is she?

His heart pounded fiercely as he searched the room.

She has to be here.

He wanted to scream her name, wanted to beg her to return, but couldn’t. He didn’t know her name.

The room spun, or at least he thought it did. Maybe it was his mind. Squeezing his eyes shut, he grabbed his head, holding it with both hands as he tried focusing again. A deep inhale brought the sweet scent of sandalwood to his nose.

Where the hell…

He opened his eyes, again, taking in beige-colored walls, an oak chest of drawers, clothes strewn across the floor. When his eyes settled on a pair of black, snakeskin boots, his heart panged.

Of course. I’m here. But that means—

He was home, in his bedroom, alone.

Falling back into the bed, realization burned his stomach. Another dream…it was just another dream.

There was no golden-eyed angel.

The only thing that remained from the dream was the wicked headache. As much as he wanted to cover his head and never leave the bed, the aspirin in the bathroom called to him.

As he stood, his foot crunched a can that lay on the carpet. His eyes passed over a shimmering blue and white beer can. An empty liquor bottle lay on its side, just two feet away.

No wonder my head is pounding. A hangover. I have a damn hangover.

He laughed, thinking about why he began drinking in the first place. To forget her.

What a joke. Not all the liquor in the world could erase her image from his mind.

Staring aimlessly, his heart grew weary, knowing he would never truly feel skin as soft as satin, never look into eyes as rich as marmalade. His soul grew restless.

She would never be his salvation. Only his tormentor.


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10916222466?profile=originalRELATED TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI?


     It is true that I am a relative of Thomas Jefferson which causes a great deal of pride but lately, I have been considering the possibility that I may have another relation of more ancient descent and more holy.  This thought is not something which occurred to me suddenly.  Considering the events over the past twenty-five years, the randomness of this assumption is most unlikely.  Yes, there is indeed something very strange at play here.  Is it an aura which surrounds me?  Could it be my voice, which is a real contender in my considerations?  Maybe my scent?  What would cause a group of normal birds to behave so unseemly?  Perhaps that is the key.  Could the birds all suffer from some sort of mental instability?  Forgive the pun but maybe the birds in question were all bird brains?  Who knows but it is a unique story.

     My tale begins over twenty-five years ago when a friend asked me to join her for a day of sunbathing on the lovely local beach at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  A Carolina blue sky greeted us.  Looking up at the sky, I was content to watch the wispy thin layers of white smoky clouds move endlessly past.  The warm sun was so relaxing that it was impossible not to dose carelessly on such a day.  As I began to turn over so that sunburn may be avoided, I noticed him.  Standing only about a yard away, a simple seagull was watching me.  Harmless enough, I gave it no thought.  After a while, I again raised myself from my incoherent state of sun intoxication to note that what appeared to be the same gull was standing in nearly the same spot; still watching me.  This was a little strange but when my friend pointed out the gull’s strange stance and gaze, I agreed that it was more than weird.

     “Look at him, he looks like he is in love with you.  What did you do to him?”  My friend was one of those less than jovial sorts who was very suspicious of even the best of her friends.  When I explained that all I had done was enjoy the incredibly perfect day, she groaned loudly.  She thought that every man was a victim of some sort of spell which she believed that I cast. That was an interesting suggestion but this was not a man but a small bird.  I ignored her comments once again.  Yet, I began to watch the bird watch me.  He inched his way closer to me.  This was beginning to feel uncomfortable.  Was he about to attack me?  My negative minded friend remarked that he may be rabid.  This did not soothe my feelings of despair as others began commenting on the strangeness of the poor bird.  Another lady pointed out that the bird was looking at me with looks of love.  Quiet laughter was stirring around me.  The bird was so close that now he was resting near my foot.  He was passive so any fears abated for the time.  Still, he moved nearer.  Things continued well enough after that.  However, I was afraid to move my foot for fear that I may upset my new friend.  When a passerby moved a little closer than my protector felt was appropriate, he spread his feathers and charged him.  Laughter erupted as everyone agreed that the bird was in love with none other than yours truly.  My friend announced that she was embarrassed.  She thought that we should quietly leave.  Actually enjoying my notoriety, I looked at the bird as I softly commented that I was not dating anyone at the time and he was a very handsome bird.  He would make a lovely dinner companion.

     Marching away, my friend replied, “You always take things too far.  The bird is sick.”  After that, I have no recollection except that I felt sorry for the poor guy.  Mumbling only to him as I packed up for the day, “I’m really sorry if I did anything to encourage you.  I haven’t meant to hurt you.”  Sadly, he flew away.

     Fast forward about eight years.  My husband and I are enjoying cappuccino in Venice.  St. Mark’s square is not so busy; it is an off tourist season time.  As we enjoy the rare moments of quiet; I spy a lone pigeon yards across the square.  I notice that he seems to be looking at me.  Repeating the funny story of the seagull to my husband, we watch with disbelief as the pigeon walks very unsteadily towards me.  Something is obviously wrong.  He looks bloated. 

     “He is not well.”  I proclaim this to my beloved who sadly nods.  Closer the ill feathered friend moves until he is near my foot.  Feeling a little overwhelmed and perhaps slightly freaky, I change the subject; hoping to make my husband forget my earlier story.  When I feel my new friend collapse on my foot, I know that I could not ignore that the bird had chosen me to die beside.  This act raises questions in my mind such as is there some strange connection between me and nature?  When I embarrassedly reveal my secret, my husband whisks me away.  He also fears for my safety from others if they know my strange powers.  I have always regretted leaving yet another victim.  Surely, we should have given him a proper burial. 

     Years later, we are now living in Florida.  A place which displays endless sunsets of pastel crayoned colored skies.  Wildness such as one never images in the hustle and bustle of Florida are ours each day.  Bald eagles are a common site.  We have a family of the king of birds living near our home.  Frequently they stir our hearts by their flight of strength and majesty.  We watch the heavens for their sightings.  One of the eagles is goliath.  His large white head and tail are wide and strong.  He soars over our home; our days are richer because of his protective flights.  Any snakes that would harm us are in danger.  We name him Sampson; a worthy name.

     So it was that innocently I would call to him, “Good morning, Sampson.”  At first, nothing happened.  Quickly his act of avoidance seemed to turn to one of curiosity.  He began to fly over the house a little more frequently.  Waiting on the balcony for his majestic appearance, I would call to him.  Soon he would land in the tree near our house.  For a very long time, he would sit and watch me.  One day as I talked with my son on the mobile phone, I explained that I was in the garden talking with Sampson, my eagle.  My appalled son begged me to stop my liaison with “a predator.”  He seemed to believe that I may be putting myself in harm’s way.  Since I love and respect my son, another victim was left in my wake.  Poor Sampson still flies overhead but he ignores my calls.  He knows that I am fickle and no longer trusts me.  Just as well; my neighbor has mentioned my bizarre behavior of talking to the clouds.  Now I talk with God often in my garden so I ignore his looks of worry.

     The final episode in my list of quirky bird lore is the one that is now playing out each day.  This little Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker is driving me insane.  It started innocently enough.  Since I frequently study my Florida bird book with matching binoculars, I am aware of his fate.  He is an endangered species in our fair state.  He is almost as handsome as my warrior, Sampson.  This red headed specimen once lived in a dead pine tree months earlier.  I watched him frequently from my perch in the window.  Often I would see him in the tree in front by the garden.  One day, I made the mistake of calling to him.  I am a slow learner.  The next thing that I knew, he was pecking on our house.  The incessant pecking of this bird on hardy board seems absurd.  After all, we are speaking of a reinforced wood.  If he is looking for insects, they are not there.  His next move to my bedroom window seemed more thoughtful although my afternoon naps are constantly disturbed by his pecks of whatever it is he is pecking about. My retirement is not as blissful thanks to my newest amour. When I sit in the swing on the front balcony, he sits in the tree and stares at me.  It seems that he is talking to me.  My husband asks me to please not encourage another suitor of the feather species.  I laugh but am becoming concerned.  Then the bird dive bombs my husband’s head.  We no longer enjoy our swing.  It has become a place of territorial rivalry.  My husband wins, of course, but I never should have put him in this position.  Daily, my red headed friend pecks.  At night, I can hear him as he protects my bedroom in his tree by my window.  The only peace which I seem to obtain is when my husband yells angrily at him.  This causes him to fly away but he always returns.

     My deduction is that St. Francis must have suffered the same sort of admiration and love from his many friends. Did he also suffer from concern at their strange behaviors?   If I am related to yet another great person, I am thrilled. My hope is that perhaps these are small miracles that God has given me because he allows these creatures to see something special.  Maybe I have a similar quality such as kindness that only one who sees the heart can understand.  I hope this is true.


 Linda Heavner Gerald

Some of Linda’s other works: Beaufort Betrayal, Rosemary Beach, Will He? Dusty the Island Dog, and Till Heaven Then Forever.  Her books are for sale all over the world.

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Romance and Football

Romance and Football

A Second Chance Story

By Theresa Hodge


Drake Peterson and Alyssa Darden met and fell in love while attending Auburn University. Circumstance broke them apart and they lived in different cities until the death of a dear friend brought them back together again in Auburn. Drake Peterson is a man who shows passion on and off the field. He had a passion for his team when he was a defensive lineman and he has a great passion for his family and friends. He’s the type of man that will overcome any and all obstacles for the woman he loves.

     Here is a little peak into Drakes thoughts as he watches and reminisces on his favorite college team, from the stands. The cheers all around Drake set his blood to pumping, as he sits among the vigorous fans.  He thought about how the stadium was named for Ralph “Shug” Jordan, who had the most wins as head coach of the University football team and Cliff Hare, a member of Auburn’s first football team as well as Dean of the Auburn University School of Chemistry and President of the Southern Conference. On November 19, 2005, the playing field at the stadium was named in honor of former Auburn coach Pat Dye. The stadium is now officially known as Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium. All of those facts ran through Drake's mind as he pulled his wife, Alyssa, closer to his side. Shouts of victory rang out loud and clear among fans, students and alumni’s alike. Their opposing team was on the losing end and that was just how the Auburn supporters wanted it.

     Drake Peterson’s glory days were over as a defensive lineman for his favorite college team of all times. But that didn’t stop him from rooting them on towards victory.  He expected great things from the football team this year. They have a tough schedule, but the players are up for it. He knew that if the team stayed focused, healthy and injury free, that we are in for one great season. The great coaching staff is an added bonus.

     “War Eagle,” the shouts and noise was deafening around the stadium. The band began to play the song of victory. “War Eagle,” Drake and Alyssa added their own war cries as the Auburn team won another victory for the Auburn Tigers.

   My name is Theresa Hodge. I am the author of a two-book series titled Ask Me Again (Second Chance). I began writing the first book to battle my depression and grief after losing my sister to breast cancer. This book was my therapy. The characters grew on me the more that I wrote about them. I feel that those characters are a part of me now.

     I hope that you enjoyed this little snippet about me and two of my characters. If  you want to read more about Drake and Alyssa’s journey.  I urge you to get your copy of Ask Me Again book 1 today. Book 2 drops on September 30th. You can find the books on Amazon and Nayberry Publications website. Visit my author page on Amazon.

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A Few Words on Pat O’Regan

By Pat O'Regan

I’ve run the gamut in writing – novels, short stories, plays, essays, profiles – but, as a way of attracting attention, I’ll focus on just two works. One of the novels concerns the life and art of a professional outdoor photographer. Photography, of course, is a very common expression of the artistic impulse we all share. Who hasn’t looked through a viewfinder and been thrilled at the sight? Or gazed upon a photo and thought, “Maybe I was lucky, but I’ve taken a great shot!” In the context of the love and struggle of Peter Donnelly, professional photographer, Shadows of the Past shows the artist in all of us. This is me, the reader would think, for I’ve been overcome by beauty, too. Add to this a love story and a struggle with the family of origin and you have the world of Peter Donnelly, and the reader. This novel has been professionally edited to exacting (and expensive) standards.

The other work I might single out is a play on the Vietnam War. I’ve not yet seen this conflict, so embedded in the American Soul, covered on stage. What is the experience of young guys in combat? What does war do to them? Truly, war enriches people’s lives – when it doesn’t drive them mad or kill them. Having been in combat in Vietnam, I know something about the experience. I’ve seen buddies killed or wounded, many driven to the brink of endurance, mentally and physically. Basically, an anti-war play, every line of FDC has dramatic content, rising to the keenest pitch of excitement and despair in its portrayal of the grinding shocks and burdens of war as it assaults the hearts of young men. From curtain to curtain, an audience would be captivated. I staged a reading of FDC (Fire Direction Control: the hut in which most of the action of the play takes place) recently. There was no lack of energy in my living room that night. I would do whatever I could to help with the production of this work. Somebody would make a lot of money with this play.

All art is born of conflict and every artist is beset with it. Love in the context of pain or hate. We can know a lot about others by the great love in their lives. Mine is literature. I was raised by a father who loved alcohol. It brought him relief from the shame of having been abused. My mother, God bless her, loved her motor home (which my father hated, by the way, as did I. It was the only thing we had in common.). When I was young, I tried to end my life – a thing of no value to me, whatsoever – in the mundane way of getting lost in the woods in the dead of winter. But I couldn’t manage it. I got lucky – three times – stumbling out of the woods just as the sun was setting and the woods was becoming black as pitch. I stumbled, instead, into a teaching position at a small parochial college, where I did the work of two or three medical students, and where, for all my efforts, the nuns colluded to steal part of my meagre salary (by putting me on the salary scale lower than I should have been). Oh, the memories to write about! And I did. My novel about that college is called Mater Dei, which means Mother of God, the name of the college.

After the college (now, alas and predictably, defunct), burned out, I turned to writing for business. Unbeknownst to me at the time – or who could stand it? – often I was the only one in sight getting any actual writing done. This did not, of course, exempt me from being utterly taken for granted and treated disparagingly. Of course, I did not realize this at the time – or who could stand it? – and I am not saying that this is unique. You, too, are taken for granted. Besides, who’s complaining? I made a living, and I’m still here. Furthermore, is not all this turmoil the stuff of a writing life? The novel based on my life is called The Life of Jeremy Grady.

At this time, I began to get work published. I’ve had some eight or ten short stories published in various magazines. I also write for the local chapter of the Sierra Club and a regional running magazine (I’m a runner), called RunMinnesota. (Along the way, I’ve become well-read, which is the great joy of my life.) 

Some of this time, I was married. Can you believe it? We didn’t have any kids, but isn’t life a trade-off, this for that? I look at my library, consider the stuff I have written and recall the places I have been, and say to myself, “It’s okay, after all.”

The photography novel (Shadows of the Past) is being marketed at my own web site ( My four books of short stories have been listed on the POD publisher (enter Pat O’Regan in the Search field). I would send anyone interested a copy of the Vietnam War play (at my expense, of course).

I might mention another marketing angle. Of the many published articles and profiles, mostly on environmental issues and running, the profiles of some of the best runners around (including six Olympic athletes, four men and two women, and one Olympic coach) would make a very engaging book for anyone with an interest in athletic endeavor, especially running. This work gets at the souls of people who are among the best in the world at something. I can tell you, they are not like the rest of us. Some 20-25 profiles of these people would sell to the legion of runners out there. 

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Words of an Angel


After losing her job at the local newspaper, Rayanne Bradley finally had the time to reach for one of her dreams—writing a book. What should have been an easy task end’s up getting off to a slow start, until the day her muse shows up. Now, whenever the masculine scent of musk mysteriously fills the air, her thoughts flow freely as she types them into what will become her book. As the manuscript unfolds, the mystery deepens and becomes entangled with coincidences. Could this be real? Had she met the long haired, sexy, man of her dreams? Could she believe and trust the words of an angel?


“Rayanne, I really want to thank you for this evening. I haven’t had such a wonderful night since I moved here,” he said after the waitress left their table.

“I have to agree with you, I’ve really enjoyed myself tonight.” She took another sip from her glass, then placed it back on the table. She was totally surprised when Caliban reached for her hand once it was free from holding the steam-ware. Shivers shot through her as she felt the warmth of his fingers on top of hers, his thumb lightly caressing the crease of her palm.

“There’s just one more thing I want to do before we call it a night,” he said with his deep, masculine voice.

Rayanne tilted her head to the side and looked at him quizzically. “And what would that be, Mr. Tempest?” She watched as he rose from his seat and stood at the side of the table, never letting go of her hand.

“I want to dance with you. Please, would you do me the honor?”

Rayanne couldn’t help but softly chuckle. “Are you serious? Here…now?” She’d never seen anyone ever get up and dance in the restaurant any of the times she’d been there. It just wasn’t that kind of place.

“I’m very serious,” he replied as he lifted her hand, gently tugging, persuading her to her feet. Still holding on to her hand, not giving her a chance to say no, he guided her a few feet away from their table where there was a small clearing. He turned and winked at her, pulling her closer into his embrace so they could dance.

Rayanne didn’t protest. She looked around and saw that the restaurant was practically empty, but saw that the few remaining customers and staff were all now watching them. She could only assume that they had to be thinking they were crazy. She looked up at her partner feeling slightly embarrassed, but the uneasy feeling was quickly replaced as her attention was drawn to the wonderful feeling of Caliban’s warm hand on her lower back as he moved her to the music’s beat.

“I think we’re being watched,” he chuckled, trying to get her to relax when he felt the tension in her body.

“Ya think?”

“Just pretend no one else is in the room except for you and me,” he spoke softly. He let go of her right hand and smoothly wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her just a little closer. He could feel the tension ease from her body as she relaxed and wrapped her arms around his neck. He looked down at her then murmured, “Trust me.”

Rayanne looked up into his dark eyes.  She did trust him that much was certain. With his arms wrapped around her she felt safe; that he wouldn’t let anything or anyone hurt her. Without saying a word she inched closer, until their bodies were completely touching as they swayed to the melody. Her left cheek rested on his shoulder, his long dark hair mixing with her own. She closed her eyes and breathed in his sensual, manly scent as the fingers of her right hand involuntarily began to rub his neck at the hair line. The corners of her mouth lifted when she heard the faintest gasp emanate from him. Then she felt his fingers move in a gentle, circular motion on her lower back, rousing an aching need at the very core of her womanhood, a feeling she hadn’t felt in a very long time.

“See, now this isn’t so bad, is it?” Caliban asked.

“Mmmm, no it isn’t,” Rayanne sighed. She was lost in the moment and no longer cared what anyone thought of them. The wonderful feelings at that instant far outweighed any criticism from on looking strangers. She turned her head, nuzzling her forehead into his neck. She felt his hold on her tighten slightly, as he brought his cheek down to touch hers. A gesture so normal, yet felt as if she was experiencing the intimacy of dancing for the very first time. She could feel his warm breath brush against her face each time he exhaled, stirring the need—and want, to experience more of his touch.

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Merle Temple's novel, A Ghostly Shade of Pale, Stirs Interest in Hollywood 

Tupelo, Mississippi, native Merle Temple has written his first novel, A Ghostly Shade of Pale. It has garnered warm reviews from readers and Southern Writer's Magazine calls it "suspense-driven and you will not want to put it down..., his personal experiences make it a compelling read from cover to cover..., memories have their way with him so those raw emotions would surface and be laid bare on page after page of remembrances, in order for his readers to feel what he felt." 

Criminal Minds' Jim Clemente says "Ghostly is a crime story as literature. Merle Temple is a great storyteller, writing to all of your senses. He weaves a story so detailed and complex, yet beautifully sinister, that the reader is immersed in the feeling of absolute reality." 

Producers are looking at Merle's novel for a possible movie or TV series, and Merle signed books for the casts of Criminal Minds and Major Crimes while in Hollywood to meet with producers. He also appeared on Media Mayhem in Beverly Hills. Host Allison Hope Weiner said, "Captures the South, the period in the 1960s...evocative of some of the great Southern writers...a taste and feeling for where you are...intriguing, a lot of layers in this fascinating book..." 

Signings from Tupelo's Gum Tree Bookstore to LifeWay in Hollywood, and Barnes and Noble in Las Vegas to Marlowe's in Memphis have been greeted with long lines of book lovers. The crime-mystery thriller is written as fiction but based on Merle's experiences as a narcotics agent in the first declared "War on Drugs" in the early 1970s.

History files on a bygone era are ripped open and rewritten in games of murder, betrayal, the macabre, and the supernatural in A Ghostly Shade of Pale. 

Michael Parker comes of age as the tranquility of the old South is shattered in the 1970s by civil unrest, the Vietnam War, and a wave of drug abuse that brings the war on drugs to his front door. Fresh out of Ole Miss, he joins the newly formed Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and enters a world he is not prepared for. A chain of events unfolds that lead him to become an unlikely player in a game of international intrigue and a clandestine struggle for the soul of America.

The remote crop-duster airfields of Mississippi become launching pads for soldiers of fortune hired by intelligence agencies to smuggle guns into Central America. They return with drugs to fund black operations and shape what their employers call the "Real America." These intelligence rogues employ Fredrick, a murderous psychopath, to manipulate protests against the war and as a contract assassin who has no remorse. They realize too late that his loyalties are not to them or to the communists he also manipulates as a double agent but to the voices in his head that speak to him incessantly.

An uneasy and complex alliance between these shadowy figures, organized crime bosses, and corrupt politicians form a matrix where Fredrick indulges his madness, slimy Mississippi politicians nurture their deviancy, and snipers ambush Michael and his agents on frozen fields of regret. A deadly game of cat and mouse threatens the life of the woman Michael loses and finds again as she washes down black beauties with champagne in the seamy Memphis nightclubs of the Dixie Mafia.

As he searches for an elusive peace and tries to resist the charms of his troubled lover, the Dixie Mafia tries to kill him, mob lawyers try to bribe him, and the Bureau of Narcotics is infiltrated and compromised. Parker, a modern paladin in search of just causes and dragons to slay, is a cop-philosopher commenting on the world in which he travels as he awakens at twenty-six to find that the whole of his life-his notion of right and wrong and good and evil-was all a lie.

The plan to alter America filters down to and corrupts government at all levels and claims the lives of those who could never know or imagine the origin of their demise. It all comes unraveled in the madness of Fredrick and the conflicted state police agent who unwittingly becomes the fly in the ointment to machinations he cannot begin to grasp until he is forced to fight for his life and the lives of those he loves against enemies seen and unseen. 

A Ghostly Shade of Pale, the first in a trilogy, is available in hardback and eBook (Nook, Kindle, and iTunes) at and Barnes and Noble at, Gum Tree Bookstore in Tupelo, MS., Square Books in Oxford, MS., TurnRow Books in Greenwood, MS., Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, MS., Barnes and Noble in Tupelo, MS and Henderson, Nevada, and LifeWay Books in Tupelo, MS. and Brea, CA.

This article was also submitted (by Judd Miller) and published on all of the sites listed below on the same day (11/14/2013) to generate more views for the book and the author.,_A_Ghostly_Shade_of_Pale,_Stirs_Interest_in_Hollywood


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When I look into your eyes

When I look into your eyes,

I can see the star that shines;

10916212070?profile=originalI can see the bird that flies –

Soul that’s kind and nice.

When I look into your eyes,

I can see how waves leave signs

Sharing Beauty of the Rhymes –

Wonders from all sides.

When I look into your eyes,

Love and Joy increase in size;

Dreams can break all bounding ties –

Freedom from confines.

When I look into your eyes,

I can see the Truth and Lights;

I can see the way to Heights –

Friendly, peaceful tides.

When I look into your eyes,

Days turn into magic nights;

Stars light up and bless our lives –

Life in Paradise.

When I look into your eyes,

I can see the star that shines;

I can see the bird that flies;

I can see God smiles.

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My Father, My Hero!

What better day to honor my beloved, late father, and devote to my blog, than Father's Day?
Although Irving Goldstein passed away on January 23, 1999, my father has been on my mind every single day, and as time has gone by, I have a much deeper love and respect for my father than ever before.
To have put up with a son who is an addict is one thing, but to always be there in my corner, offering invaluable, much-needed advice and counseling, is something I treasured, and, in fact, rely on now, on a daily basis.
My dad was such a hard worker, and provided for his family and extended family his whole life, and I am forever proud of being able to be known as Irving Goldstein's son.
I was unfortunate to be incarcerated when my beloved father passed away, and unable to attend the funeral, but will never forget the lessons my father taught me all throughout his life.
It has only been over the past five years and seven plus months - the time I have currently been clean & sober - that I have truly been able to understand and appreciate everything my father taught me while I was growing up.
The morals and principles he instilled into me, that, to this day, I draw upon as I live my life and keep close to my heart, make me realize that, if I could end up being just a fraction of the great man my father was, I would consider myself to be a huge success.
Irving Goldstein, Happy Father's Day.
You always were, and always will be, my hero, and I love and miss you very, very much.
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Saving The Heart Of A Dragon

Assigned to rescue a vampire kidnapped by humans determined to exterminate them, a weredragon Enforcer falls in love. Will betrayal keep them apart?

Click to purchase SAFE HEART at

Can the pursuit of true love overcome the fear of society’s rejection and exile? Vampire Jaden Beayer thinks so. When she is kidnapped and tortured by humans, her government sends weredragon Enforcer Kiellen Henley to find her. After her recovery, Jaden convinces Kiellen to help her track down the humans responsible for her torture and exact revenge on them. The problem is, Jaden feels Kiellen is the missing ingredient for her complete recovery. Kiellen believes she has mistaken gratitude for attraction, and despite his overpowering need, he rejects her attempts at seduction.

As they face violence and betrayal from unexpected sources, Jaden’s quest for revenge becomes one for justice. Kiellen’s resistance evolves into acceptance and love. Jaden wants forever with Kiellen, but he’s realistic. They simply can’t be together because they are enemies. Weredragons and vampires have always been at war, and a relationship between Kiellen and Jaden could even endanger the fragile centuries-long truce.

When Jaden is finally safe and Kiellen’s name has been cleared, Kiellen says goodbye, leaving Jaden devastated and himself dangerously heart broken. Will Jaden ever be able to help Kiellen overcome his fears of prejudice and exile, and fulfill their love, making her his forever? Or will their love spark open warfare and send them both to the death penalty?

The Background:

Today's weredragons are the modern descendants of an alien species that arrived on Earth during the infancy of humankind. These highly intelligent reptiles, with their technological advances, considered themselves THE Apex predator. Humans weren't their preferred prey, being considered unpalatable and too much trouble for too little reward, even if they were the most intelligent, adaptable prey on the planet.

When dragons discovered vampires preying on humans, they couldn't allow the challenge to their superiority go unmet. A long and bloody war erupted between the two predator species, but the war only served to keep both populations under control.

Dragons adapted their chameleon-like ability to take the shapes of other life forms and learned to shape shift into human bodies. The skill allowed dragons to live secretly among humans like the vampires did, but didn't give them a real advantage in the war.

As human populations increased and became organized, they started to hunt dragons and vampires. Most dragons lived the majority of their lives in human form and eventually lost the ability to take on other forms. Around the same time, they began calling themselves 'weredragons' in an attempt to alleviate the brutal, predatory image humans held of them.

Today, vampires and weredragons are still enemies, but a long-term truce is in effect, enforced by the Inter Racial Council. Both continue to live secretly among humans, and only rarely cross paths.

Here's a little taste of SAFE HEART to whet your appetite:

* Warning: Adult language and sexual situation*

Kiellen waited until she turned away, then closed the door softly and turned the locks. Jaden’s heart caught in her throat as he turned toward her and leaned his shoulders against the doors. The low lighting set off his rugged handsomeness. His sensual lips tipped into a small smile and now-familiar heat pooled in her belly.

“You were jealous.” His eyes glinted as he started unbuttoning his shirt.

Jaden’s throat went dry as the firm skin of his chest came into view slowly, tantalizingly. “I was.” Then his shirt was open all the way, exposing hard pecs and abs. The little line of hair below his navel disappeared into the waistband of his pants. She swallowed hard. “I don’t share.” The words were out before she could stop them, revealing a possessiveness she hadn’t been aware of before. Something had changed.

He slipped the shirt off his shoulders and let it drop to the floor. “Why won’t you share me?” His voice was gravelly, thicker than usual.

Her heart pounded. She licked her lips. Stared at his chest. “You’re mine.” Her voice stayed so low she could barely hear it, the words involuntary, dragged from her being by some unseen force.

He moved and her eyes flicked back up to meet his. He crossed the room in three long steps and stopped before her. He just stood there, looking at her, his breath harsh. He raised his hands slowly and grasped her shoulders with a crushing grip.

Jaden stared at his mouth, his lips parted temptingly. Her body ached to be crushed to his. She strained toward him.

“Do you mean that?” His voice was a low growl, raising gooseflesh on her skin.

She couldn’t tell if he wanted her to mean it or not, or even if she did mean it. Thoughts raced frantically through her mind as she tried to decide how to answer. Then that moment in the car where he’d told her she was someone special came back to her.

“Yes.” Her heart lodged in her throat for a different reason. What if he didn’t want to be hers? She licked her lips again, staring at him, trying to read him.

His mouth softened and his grip on her shoulders eased. Gently, he drew her closer as he lowered his head. “Mine,” he breathed when his lips met hers. Jaden melted into him as his mouth played across hers, teasing. He buried his hand in her hair and tilted her head just so to give him better access to her mouth. His tongue teased at her lips, seeking entrance.

Jaden felt him smile against her mouth as she parted her lips. She had her answer. He wanted to be hers, at least for a time. His other hand smoothed down her back, over her butt, guiding her even closer to him. The closer contact brought the ridge of his erection against her. She moved slightly, rubbing against it.

He growled into her mouth, then pulled her shirt free of her waistband. She dropped her hands to his, stilling them from working at her buttons. “This is a good shirt. I don’t want it torn, and the buttons are decorative.” She didn’t give a damn about the shirt. What she wanted was to tease him a little.

He drew back, watching as she lifted the hem with shaking hands. When the shirt slid to the floor he drew his breath in a rush. Meeting his eyes, she reached behind her back and unhooked her bra and let it fall. It wasn’t like he’d never seen her naked, never made love to her, never licked every inch of her skin. That didn’t stop her from trembling from nervous anticipation. Everything felt new and special, like a momentous occasion.

Kiellen reached for her, settling his hands on her waist. His fingers burned against her skin. His hands weren’t perfectly steady as he unbuttoned her pants and shoved them down over her hips. He stepped back to look at her, his gaze devouring her body.

Jaden grasped his belt and pulled him closer. Her hands still trembled as she looked up, meeting his gaze, and unbuckled the belt, then unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. Dragging a breath in, she pushed pants and underwear down. She stepped forward the six inches necessary to bring her into the slightest contact with his body. Her breasts swelled at the sensation of his hot skin brushing them.

Another breath and his arms crushed her to him. The volcanic intensity of his arousal scorched her belly. Jaden let her arms creep upward and around his shoulders. His scent, always more intense and tantalizing with arousal, was different, in some unexplainable way. Jaden was absolutely certain that new quality was addictive, that having taken it into her lungs, she would be unable to live without it.

Kiellen bent and scooped her into his arms. He took a step and promptly tumbled over with her. They crashed to the floor in a crumpled heap.

Kiellen straightened himself and began running his hands over her, searching for injuries. “Are you okay?”

Jaden fought to control her breathing and found it impossible. Tears streamed from her eyes as she struggled to keep from laughing aloud.

“Damn it! Where are you hurt, baby?” Desperation tinged his voice.

She gave in and shrieked with laughter. “I can’t believe you dropped me!”

Relief settled over Kiellen’s features and he collapsed beside her. His shoulders shook with laughter. “I forgot I still had my boots on. Got tangled in my jeans.” He pulled the offending boots and jeans off and discarded them to the side.

As she watched him relax and laugh at himself, Jaden’s own laughter subsided. Seeing him comfortable and at ease with the world cranked her desire for him up another notch.

He caught her staring and abruptly stopped laughing. He rose onto his knees and leaned toward her, bearing her gently to the floor. His mouth descended on hers, powerful, devouring, consuming. He stretched out atop her and she shifted so that her body cradled his.

Watch for excerpts and updates on BLOOD DRAGON 2: Heart Of Stone, slated for release at the end of March, 2013!

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Paul, a handsome young Greek business executive guides Sophie, a younger ethereal beauty of a Greek Goddess in her Harvard Business School application. They are interested in one another. However, so many questions arise. Will they date, as Sophie has a steady boyfriend for six years, Robert. Also, Paul still has a mad crush on his former girl friend at Harvard, Wendy. Will they fall in love, will he ask her to marry him and will their marriage ever take place, if at all. Many threatening plots against their relationship unravel as they island hop the Greek Isles or jet around the world to Paris, Venice, India, Switzerland, Boston, New York, Cuba, Boston and Vail Co. Robert, Sophie's psychotic ex-boyfriend physically assaults her.  Wendy, Paul's ex girl friend stalks Paul. Sophie’s authoritarian mother constantly interferes in their affair. Paul's, aristocratic and snobbish mother plots to turn the lovers apart. Alain, Paul's classmate from Harvard grossly sexually harasses Sophie. Even Alice, Sophie’s sexy-bombshell sister wants to “share” Paul. Paul is definitely passionately interested...10916207286?profile=original

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