The Halloween Baby – A Poem

* For Bev, who brings joy. Happy Early Birthday!


When you were

born, the witches

gathered around you

in the darkness.

They were shrouded

by shadow and

the clothes they

wore helped them

blend like smoke

into the night.

Each of them

looked down upon

you, their eyes

shining like bright

jewels in the

twilight. The first

woman, a lady

with dark hair

and eyes so

dark it was

as if she

carried the sea

within her said:

“Give her bravery.”

She waved her

hand and a

shower of silver

sparks fell like

stars upon you.

The second woman,

taller than the

first, with red

hair that fell

in ringlets down

her back and

a litheness to

her frame and

green eyes that

were bright like

precious emeralds said:

“Give her kindness.”

She waved her

hand and the

air was filled

with lights that

fluttered around you

like wishes. The

third woman, a

matronly woman that

had bright blue

eyes that shone

like sapphires and

blond hair that

fell in ringlets,

her whole form

pulsing softly with

a muted glow,

smiled down at

you and said:

“Give her a laugh that is like music that will bring joy to all who hear it.”

She waved her

hand and light

that shone like

the sun filled

your bassinet. As

the years have

passed, they have

watched you grow

into the woman

that you are

today; you are

truly a woman

of remarkable bravery,

and have overcome

that which would

have felled a

lesser person, You

are the embodiment

of kindness, always

giving from the

heart in everything

that you do.

And your laughter

is the most

musical sound that

the witches have

ever heard and

that is your

magic. It has

the power to

lift people’s spirits

and banish the

darkness and shadow

that are often

after us. You

are the embodiment

of magic and

we are blessed

to know you.

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Move Forward Into Story – A Poem

I’m standing in front of a blank canvass.door-to-success-green-meadow-14215155

It beckons me forward and I feel a tingling

in my fingertips as they itch for a wand

to channel creativity through.

I look down and expect to see

a brush dripping with paint

or a piece of charcoal smudging my fingers.

Instead, I see a pen gripped and ready.

Its vibrating slightly as if it already

knows what its going to write.

I place the pen on the canvass,

as visual art is another way to

tell a story, to catch a moment in time

standing still so that we can

observe its beauty. When the pen

touches the canvass, I watch as

lines of ink flow out from the tip

of the pen. These lines swirl across

across the canvass and shape themselves

into a form that is taken from my memory.

The lines begin to move so the whole

picture looks as if it is real.

I see a boy sitting with a journal in hand,

clutching a pen much as I am now.

He begins scratching the paper with

his pen, making words along the page.

I watch as the worlds he’s creating

come to life in front of his eyes

and the wonder he feels as being able

to harness this magic. It takes me a moment

to realize that the boy is me, that this

was the moment I first put pen to paper.

I move my own pen along the canvass

and the lines move and shift once more.

As the lines begin to twist into shape,

I see a young man, holding a book he

wrote for the very first time, holding his words

as if the book were a child. The young man

turns his face and I see myself.

I look more closely at the canvass

and see the title of my first book,

the words that I had typed out

filled with their own special kind of magic.

The book itself is shining and, even through

the canvass, I can feel its pulsing heat.

I move my pen one final time,

watching as the lines shift and move

into a shape. I lean my face closer

to the canvass and see that the lines

are actually all made up of words and letters,

The lines of words shift and move

and there is the sound of bells in the air

as if something I cannot see is singing to me.

When the lines stop shifting, I am

looking at myself as I am now,

my holding a pen against a canvass that is

moving and changing as I look at it.

I almost take my pen away from the canvass

when the me on the canvass turns and gives me

a soft smile, as if it knows my momentary fear.

I keep the pen on the canvass and watch

as the lines shift once more. They become

a doorway. The door is situated in the midst

of a meadow. I can flowers in the grass

moving and shifting in the wind.

There is a tree in front of the door

and its branches also bend and shift,

almost as if welcoming me to enter,

beckoning me forward to the unknown.

Slowly, the doorway opens but I am

not afraid. I blink and then the doorway

is in front of me, the meadow around me.

I can hear the whisper of the wind

through the grass, hear the creak of the

tree as it continues to wave in the wind.

I hear the sound of bells again and

they sound like music. I know that

I have nothing to fear, that these

are my words that are surrounding me

and they mean me no harm. I step forward

through the door, knowing I can return

any time I want to. I may not know what

is on the other side of the door,

but the only thing I can do

is move forward into story.

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Not Just for Christmas by Alex Brown – A Book Review

image001Kitty Clarke has been in mourning for four years.

Ever since she lost her husband Ed, she’s been mourning him. She’s found solace in running The Spotted Pig Café in Tindledale and in her daughter Teddie. The pain has gotten easier to deal with but she still misses Ed something fierce but life continues on.

She remembered him in small ways. Every year in the run up to Christmas, she would light a candle at the war memorial in his honour. Ed had died during his last tour in Iraq but she missed him every day. He had never even seen their daughter who was just beginning to realize that her father would never come home.

She gets a surprise when she gets a call from Mack, Ed’s best friend, the best man at their wedding and the man who was with Ed when he died. Ed lost his life when a land mine had exploded and Mack had lost the lower half of his legs and was bound to a wheelchair.

Mack has a favour to ask. Ed’s service dog Monty has been retired from the force. Would Kitty be able to take him in and care for him? Monty lost an eye in the blast from the landmine and he walks with a limp.

Kitty’s heart goes out to the dog and she realizes that Monty is her last real connection to Ed so she agrees to take him in. Kitty has no idea how much that one act will change her life for the better…

I loved this book so much. Alex Brown manages to fit a full novels worth of happiness, heartbreak, joy and miracles in this novella. I am constantly amazed by her power with words. She writes such believable characters that I feel as if I know them when I’ve finished one of her books.

Kitty is a wonderful protagonist and her daughter Teddie is so adorable that I wanted to reach into the book and hug her. There is also a secondary protagonist, Taylor from Paws Pet Parlour in Tindledale where Kitty goes to get help with Monty.

Taylor and her mother live in a cottage that has become a wayward home for lost animals. Taylor knows that she has to do something to alleviate the strain on her mother and her home. Monty might just be the answer to her prayers.

She always tackles tough issues, blending the lines of women’s fiction until it is something different. Not everyone could write a tale of moving on, of finding love during the Christmas season and combine that alongside the ways that war affects those that are left behind and the plight of forgotten animals and make it work.

When I finished Not Just for Christmas, I was left with a feeling of hope and of happiness, of joy and cheer. Above all, I was left with a feeling of thankfulness that I had been through this story with the characters and all the folk in Tindledale.

I only with it was a real place. Well, you know what they say: sometimes, wishes do come true. Read this book and feel the magic of the Holiday season. It left me wanting to read the next Tindledale book!

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Wish Cloud – A Poem

I would havesmaller

missed you if

I had not

turned my head.

I had not

seen you in

seven years. You

had not changed

much, except for

your eyes. They

were filled with

ice when they

took me in.

Your face was

creased in anger

and I could

almost see a

large black cloud

following close behind

you. As you

neared me, there

was a lot

that I wanted

to say. Such as:



“How are you?”


“I hope you’re well.”

To think that

we had spent

five years of

our lives together,

yet there was nothing

that we could

say to each

other. You, because

the past was

still alive and

well; and me

because I could

see that you

wouldn’t listen to

anything I had

to say. The

look you gave

me as you

passed by me

would have left

me hurt and

severely scarred if

you had the

power to hurt

me anymore. I

only felt bewilderment

that you chose

to live with

so much hate.

You moved past

me and as

I watched you

walk away, I

realized that the

well that I

carried inside me

that had been

full of hurt

and pain was

now only filled

with light. I had

thought I would

be afraid of

you, when I

saw you next

but instead, there

was only calmness.

You had lost

the power to

effect or control

me. You walked

on, your shoulders

hunched against a

world that you

were determined to

be angry at.

So I did

the only thing

I could do.

I reached into

the well inside

of me, filled

with ink and

brightness and I

sent you a

little bit of

light. I watched

as the light

made its way

towards you, hoping

it would lessen

the size of

the cloud that

followed you closely.

Within that light,

I put one

wish. I said:

“I wish you well.”

It was my

final gift to

you. When I

turned away from

you, I knew

that you would

remain in the past

and that I

was heading home

to my future.

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The Reality of Dreaming – A Poem

For as longsmall

as I’ve known

you, I’ve felt

like I was living

inside a dream.

As if everything

that I had with

you was too

good to be

true. I was

holding on to

the dream, living

within it, enjoying

every moment that

I had with

you. Part of

me thought that

it was doomed

to end as

no one could

be this happy,

this content, this

enraptured, this joyous

for very long.

Though as time

passed and the

days turned into

weeks, then into

months and now

years, I let

go of the

idea that this

dream would fade

as all dreams

do. It still

felt as if

I was living

inside of a

dream and I

knew that I

didn’t want to

wake up, that

I couldn’t live

my life without

you and the

light that you

bring to it.

I began to

believe that we

would spend our

lives together, that

what we had

transcended the idea

of love and

mad it into

a reality. Then

the unthinkable happened.

“You know,”

You said.

“We’ve been talking about having a commitment ceremony. We’re doing everything but getting married. So why don’t we just get married?”

There must have

been a disconnect

in my brain.

All I could

hear were the

sounds of glitter

joy and stardust

as they sped

through my head.


I couldn’t get

the words out,

didn’t know what

to say, words

had left me.

“Will you marry me?”

Instead of answering

you right away,

as the words

were still trying

to find their

way back into

my consciousness, I

did the only

thing I could

think of. I

kissed you. Inside

of that kiss

were the words

that I couldn’t

find, the emotions

that you stirred

in me, thankfulness

for you that

illuminated me ever

day, the joy

I have of

being loved by

you. When I

broke the kiss,

there were tears

in my eyes

and you said

“So is that a yes?”

I looked you

in the eyes

and said “Yes.”

I realized then

that I wasn’t

dreaming, that this

was glorious reality

and my dreams

had become real.

You have given

me a reality

that was better

than any dream.

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Taking Flight – A Poem

When the darkness clears,small

I am flying through the sky.

Though I know I am asleep,

I am more awake inside the dream.

Underneath me I can feel muscles

moving up and down with the wind.

I can hear the flap of wings

and see the flash of purple scales,

shining like jewels in the moonlight.

There are sparks coming off of

the scales and they float through

the darkness like stars.

I feel the dragon begin its decent

and wonder where it has taken me.

It sets down on the grass softly

and I slide off of its back.

I look around me and, through the shadows,

I see the home that I lived in as a child.

Its curtains are closed and there

is no one home, but there is a light on inside,

as if the house was expecting me.

The dragon urges me forward,

pushing open the front door with its tail.

I slip inside quietly, afraid to see what

lies in wait within the darkness.

I can hear the sounds from the memories

that are encased within the walls,

the torment that these walls encased,

hidden from the world outside.

I take a step into the house and a breeze

follows me inside, bringing purple stars

upon it. As I look at the stars,

they fall in a path leading upwards,

footsteps appearing on the wood

as if I had already walked this path before.

I slip up the stairs, careful to step

on each footstep. Each time I do,

the sound of bells rings through the air.

The footsteps lead to my old bedroom

and the door is already ajar.

I stand in front of it and place my hand

upon the wooden surface.

I see myself as a young child and wonder

where that boy went. I feel an answering

beat inside myself and know that

I carry him within me.

Inside, the room is much as I had left it

And I head to the closet to see

If my box of treasures is still there.

The box begins to vibrate and hum softly

When it feels my gaze upon it.

I approach the box with trepidation and

anxious anticipation. I open the box,

its wood worn smooth after so long,

and look inside. Lying nestled at the bottom

of the box, on a bed of purple felt,

is a pencil. It’s yellow and has a pink eraser.

My name is written upon one of its sides.

I remember this pencil. I wrote my first story

with this pencil, wielding it like a sword on the page.

I pick it up and it starts to shine when it

comes into contact with my skin.

Purple light, so reminiscent of those stars,

begins to shine out from it and I can see

words floating through the air, words that

it had written. Soon, my bedroom is filed

with the words of all the stories I wrote here,

the stories and the words were my escape,

my safety, my refuge, my salvation.

I hear the roar of the dragon outside

and run to join him, the pencil still

spilling out words and light.

Now it’s letting loose words from stories

that came after, novels and sonnets,

poems and stories, poems and prose,

so many words and each one a joy.

Outside, the words begin to float up

into the air. The dragon gives another roar

and lets out a stream of purple fire.

I run to it, clutching the pencil

in my hands. The dragon lowers his head

so that I can climb aboard and then

he takes flight. We fly up into all of

the words I have written, every syllable,

every letter. They are like clouds in the sky,

like smoke upon the water.

As we fly further, away from what I used to be

and towards what will be, I see more words

shining in the distance. These are gold in colour

and I know that they are words that

I have yet to write for my story is

far from done. I urge the dragon onward

and when we enter the glowing cloud of words

it is like entering the sun. The dragon

give one final roar and when I wake,

there is a pencil clutched in my hand,

glowing softly and pulsing with

soft light.


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Covenant by Michelle St. James – A Book Review

covenantCharlotte Duval is at a loss for what to do.

Her father has passed away and she is stuck with the task of what to do: close his antiques shop, the Galerie Duval in Paris or move on and go back to Los Angeles, where her own job at the Getty museum waits for her.

Does she close the shop, the one reminder of her father’s legacy and the only place she ever felt a connection to her father? Or does she return to LA where her job and her mother await her? The choice should be clear, but closing the shop would be like letting go of her father forever.

While working on repairing a desk for Christophe Marchand, one of the shops best clients, Charlotte discovers a ring embedded in one of the drawers of the desk. On the inside of the band, the phrase The fates lead the willing is inscribed in Latin.

When she drops off the desk at Marchand’s, she isn’t prepared for her reaction to him. Her heart races and she finds herself imaging what he would look like undressed. The air rushes out of her lungs in wanting. She is slightly unnerved, though, by the gentlemen guarding his home. They are carrying guns. What kind of man needs men who have guns to protects him?

That man is Christophe Marchand. Head of the Paris mob, he’s not a man to be trifled with. He rules the Paris mob with an iron fist. But he is far more than a mobster. He is a collector of memories. After his father squandered the Marchand fortune and sold off pieces of furniture to pay bills after Christophe’s mother died. Pieces that Christophe remembered form his childhood.

Christophe has painstakingly put the house back together, piece by piece. The house makes him remember his mother most of all. Christophe hadn’t realized how much his mother held the family together, his brother, his father and himself, until she was gone.

For his part, Christophe is not prepared for his reaction to Charlotte. It is almost primal

When men break into the galerie and threaten Charlotte, demanding the ring, one of them holds a knife and Charlotte knows real fear. The men give her one day to hand over the ring. The thought of them coming back and potentially doing more harm to her and her fathers shop fills her with even more fear.

She turns to the only person she thinks can help her: Christophe Marchand…

There is so much to love about Coveted. Michelle St. James always manages to fill the pages with a story that moves me, that strikes a match and sets the world she creates aflame. However, she went one step above with Coveted. Words can’t express how much I love this book.

Christophe isn’t your average mob guy. He’s a man with so much heart but he keeps it hidden behind a hard wall, afraid to let anyone in. The fact that she gives us such a deep look into his psyche and personality deepens his connection with us. He’s so afraid to let anyone in that when Charlotte lights his match, he tries to forget her, tries not to think about her, but the heart wants what it wants. St. James paints this struggle so well that, by the time they come together, I found myself cheering for him.

We’re also given a deep look into Charlotte’s life. Living in L. A. in a job she likes, dealing with her washed up actress of a mother, St. James shows us a woman on the edge, wanting change, wanting adventure. Unsure of what she wants, heartbroken after the death of her father, Charlotte knows she just wants more.

They find solace in each other and watching them come together was a joyous experience. I was struck by the depth of these two characters. The secondary characters also sparkled and lit up the pages, but this is Christophe and Charlotte’s story, make no mistake.

I love how Michelle St. James tells the story of two people who don’t know that they’re lost until they find the other half of their hearts in the most unlikely of ways. I always say that this is the best book Michelle has written and it’s no different this time around. Michelle has given us a story of two people who are so entwined in their lives that they almost don’t recognize salvation when it happens.

Covenant was such an emotional journey that it left me wanting more! It had heart, humour and was hot enough to set the pages afire. I can’t wait until Revenant is released in October to find out how the story continues!

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