Category Archives: Book Stuff

So Who really Killed JFK?

With my re-release of Crime Scene, I came across this interesting bit of news and thought I might share it. For all of you that wonder what really did happen…

Who Really Assassinated JFK?

Updated on October 10, 2016
President Kennedy Was Killed That Day and America Changed Forever
President Kennedy Was Killed That Day and America Changed Forever

If You Were Alive at the Time, You Remember That Day in Dallas

Yes, if you were alive that day November 22, 1963 you remember where you were at, and what was going on, when you heard that the president had been shot. I was with my family at Winn Dixie in Jacksonville, Florida at the time. They announced over the loudspeaker that the president had been shot and then just a few minutes later, as we were standing at the checkout, they announced that the president had died in Dallas. I remember looking across the checkout aisles and people were crying in line. The lady checking out my mom was crying and so was my Mom. America changed that day. It has never been the same and never will be. Who really shot Kennedy? It’s always been a question asked by people all over the world. I think that the US government knows the truth and has kept it hidden. It is my belief that Oswald did not shoot anyone. A recent photo has come out of Oswald watching the motorcade. If he was, he could not have possibly shot anyone.

We don’t know how many have died because of what they knew about the Kennedy assassination. I think that the American people have the right to know the truth about who killed him. I, for one, will always wonder about what happened that day in Dallas and in the days that followed.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy born May 17th, 1917 was the 35th president of the United States. He was also the youngest man to ever be elected president. Kennedy served from 1960 until his death in 1963. His brother, Robert, was later assassinated and his son John Jr. later died in a plane crash.

Some very important events in history occurred during his time in office. Among them was the Bay Of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and the start of the Space Race. Recently there has been much speculation that Fidel Castro may have been involved in the murder.

President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 and Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder and was subsequently killed by Jack Ruby two days later. Ruby later died in prison of cancer and may have been ordered to snuff Oswald to cover up the fact that he was innocent.

The Warren Commission ruled that Oswald acted alone. However in 1979, the House Committee ruled that it was likely that a conspiracy did exist and that he did not act alone.

And we also now have photos showing Oswald standing in the doorway of the Book Depository when Kennedy was shot. If he was in that doorway when the shots were fired, then he was innocent.

If it’s proven that it is him in that photo, then the American people have been told a lie all these years and the people who carried out this crime need to be brought to justice.

The Zapruder Film: Truth or Deception?

Oswald Did Not Shoot Kennedy

If the photo below can be believed then Oswald did not shoot John F. Kennedy. He could not have. If the photo is real then Oswald was standing downstairs when the deadly shots rang out.

Multiple Theories Arose

If Oswald was not the shooter, then there was indeed a conspiracy. Recently it has become public knowledge that Oswald and Jack Ruby probably did know each other before any of the events happened. If so, then it is very likely that he was what he claimed to be all along, a patsy. Oswald was set up and Ruby was sent in to kill him and keep him silent. Some people theorized that Oswald would be killed by the police or secret service and would never stand trial. But when he was arrested he had to be eliminated and Ruby, who had deep connections to the mafia, was ordered in to kill him.

It is looking more and more possible that Louisiana’s New Orleans District Attorney Garrison was right on track and that possibly quite possibly the U.S. Government and the Mafia were in on the plot to kill John F. Kennedy.

The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened in Dallas on that cold November afternoon all those years ago. They have a right to know who killed Jack Kennedy. If Oswald did not pull the trigger, then who did?

  • Was it a team of snipers that killed him, while Oswald watched from the doorway, when he was supposed to be upstairs shooting the President?
  • And when he was taken into custody, instead of being killed, was Jack Ruby ordered to go in and kill Oswald to keep the truth from ever coming out?
  • If all of this went on, is it so far fetched to believe that President Johnson may have indeed been behind the murder? Maybe that is the reason that Bobby Kennedy, and later John Jr., were killed. They were killed to keep the truth hidden.

And in recent years, it has been theorized that possibly Fidel Castro was behind the murder of all three of the Kennedy’s. Maybe the operation that was started to kill Castro was turned back on Kennedy. Maybe our president was killed on his orders.

What Do I Think?

I think that all three Kennedy’s were killed on the orders of President Johnson and others. I think Bobby Kennedy and later John Jr. were killed to keep the truth hidden from the American public. I think America was changed forever on that November afternoon in Dallas. I would love to see the truth to come out about the murder but I just don’t know if the truth will ever come out.

Recently Released Photo Showing Oswald in Doorway During the JFK Presidential Motorcade When He Was Supposed to Be Shooting the President
Recently Released Photo Showing Oswald in Doorway During the JFK Presidential Motorcade When He Was Supposed to Be Shooting the President

Photos of President John Kennedy (Including Many from the Crime Scene)

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Kennedys Are Looking Happy In This Photo. The Shots Are About To Be Fired. Notice President Kennedys Hands In This Photo. He Has Just Been Shot In This Photo. A Happy Photo Of President Kennedy And Jackie Kennedy. Photos From The Dead Body Of President Kennedy. A Shot Has Just Been Fired At President Kennedy.In This Photo You Can See Jackie Kennedy. President Kennedy Has Already Been Shot In This Photo.Here The President Has Been Shot And The Limo Is Being Driven To Parkland Hospital. President Kennedy And Jackie Kennedy Before The Shots Were Fired.Here We Have A Photo Taken After The Shots Are Already Being Fired.Jackie Kennedy Getting Out Of The Limo At Parkland Hospital. President Kennedy And Jackie Kennedy Before The Shots Were Fired.In this photo is the bloody back seat where president Kennedy was killed.Again in this photo Oswald Can Be Seen Standing In The Doorway Outside When The Shots Were Fired At The President.President Kennedy And Jackie Kennedy Before The Shots Were Fired.Rear View Of The Presidential Vehicle.
The Kennedys Are Looking Happy In This Photo. The Shots Are About To Be Fired.
The Kennedy’s Are Looking Happy In This Photo. The Shots Are About To Be Fired.

Oswald in Doorway When He Is Supposed to Be Upstairs

There is no doubt in my mind that Lee Oswald is standing there in the doorway of the Book Depository building in the photo above. The American people have been lied to and fed a line of B.S. It’s really a serious crime. We have been lied to by people in the highest levels of the American government, and they thought they could keep us in the dark forever.

Why Is Lee Harvey Oswald in That Doorway?

But now photos of Oswald standing in that doorway are everywhere and if you’re an American citizen you should care. You should be writing to your congress person and senator and asking them what is Lee Harvey Oswald doing in that doorway? You should ask who killed John Kennedy and why is it still being covered up? I really believe that there was a conspiracy and I think that presidents, congressmen, and senators have known the truth and they have gone right along with telling the American people a lie.

As an American Citizen and Former U.S. Naval Officer I’m Seriously Concerned About This, as Should Be Every American Citizen

We were told a story down through the years since the assassination and over the years they have changed the story again and again, as needed. They think we should just forget about it and move on. America was seriously changed that day in Dallas– part of it died.

  • Robert Kennedy and John Kennedy Jr. Were Killed to Cover up This Lie
    I believe that they killed Robert Kennedy to cover up the lie and I believe they also killed John Kennedy Jr. If Ted Kennedy had ever become a serious candidate for president he would have been killed.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald Was Killed to Hide the Continuing Conspiracy
    He was set up to take the blame for killing the president and Ruby was ordered to kill him to prevent a trial in Dallas. It’s not that farfetched to think that Ruby was given an injection of cancer cells to kill him off and keep him silent.
  • Did President Johnson Know Kennedy Was Killed by the U.S. Government?
    I believe that the conspiracy went all the way up to President Johnson and probably included many more people than we realize. I believe that President Johnson was in on the murder of the president and may have even approved the actions. By removing Kennedy, he was able to keep the Vietnam War going and it created billions of dollars of income for companies supplying weapons to the U.S. Government in Vietnam. Johnson would not run for a second term as U.S. President. Did Robert Kennedy threaten to expose Johnson? Is this why Johnson chose to not seek a second term as U.S. President?

Check Out These Photos Carefully

Photos of Lee Harvey Oswald And another photo of Oswald in the doorway of the building.
Photos of Lee Harvey Oswald And another photo of Oswald in the doorway of the building.
You can see Lee Harvey Oswald Standing In The Doorway And If He Was In The Doorway He Could Not Be Shooting President Kennedy
You can see Lee Harvey Oswald Standing In The Doorway And If He Was In The Doorway He Could Not Be Shooting President Kennedy

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Q & A with Vespias


In my book, The Last Ranger of Sarn, soon to be published by Snow Leopard Publishing, a few characters expressed a desire to allow our world to get to know them better. They are; Continue reading

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Brain to Books Blog Tour Day 7/#1

Kim Troike

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

Author: Kim Troike A.K.A. Caroline Clemens

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Book: Into the Vines from the Vintage Bleu Trilogy

Official Site


Kim TroikeKim Troike is a female author residing in Atlanta, Georgia. She has written fiction in the adventure, mystery, romance and contemporary genres. Her latest epic novel is “Into the Vines” which includes award winning Bleu Moon, published by XLibris in January 2015 and available as an e-read or print on Amazon.

Previous published works of Kim Troike are “String The Cranberries” and “Kiss Ride” both are novellas available as e-reads on Amazon. She’s a blogger and previously a part time journalist. Occasionally, she pens poems or children’s stories using the pen Caroline Clemens.

Kim has worked most of her life as a nurse in the acute settings of the Intensive Care Units. Her journey in life met with some struggles and many wonderful people along the way. She combines this storytelling in poetic and intricate words woven to master the English language. Read her compelling and unique stories of children, families and love; anything that makes the world go forward.

She is a member of the Georgia’s Writer Association, honorary winner of the London and Los Angeles Book Festivals for Bleu Moon, participant of Georgia Red Clay Writer’s Conferences, nominated Georgia Author of the Year for Bleu Moon, and uses gardenlilie and theivorytide as profile names on social medias for the net.


Into the Vines A family is formed on a vineyard through extreme circumstances after a pilot rescues persons around the globe from disasters!


December 23rd, 2012

RSVP: Marie and Nicolas

*complimentary Vineyard Stay

“How many have responded?” he asked.

“Marie told me about forty family and friends responded, with ten additional from the vineyard Christmas guest book,” Brie answered.

“So with us that makes about sixty with all of us. There should be plenty of room if everyone is spread out amongst the two floors,” Olivier said.

“Two . . . floors?” she asked.

“Yes, you didn’t go upstairs?” he asked.

“Upstairs, you mean the bedrooms?” she answered.

“Brie, there is a large dance floor with piano and band area. A small bar for parties,” he said surprised she had not seen this.

“Really, you have a dance floor on the second floor?”

“Yes, you’re going to like it, if you like to dance.” He raised his eyebrows a little.

“I thought Marie would use the front hall and guest receiving area for the reception,” Brie said.

“Back in the day, they built these dance halls upstairs to entertain the guests and to look out over the vineyards. To entertain themselves and enjoy the festivities! You’ll see,” Olivier said.

“Did your brother and sister also hire a band?” Brie asked.

“Surprises, Brie, let’s just be surprised,” Olivier answered. Brie smiled. She liked surprises.

Brie looked out the window at the snow coming down; it made the countryside look beautiful. The moon was about half full, but bright, as it lit up the homes and chateaus. In the distance, she could see a very large, old chateau and she wondered who built these. They seemed so magical. She decided she needed to look at a book and read about this part of France. Marie’s gift shop probably had one. She should buy it for Olivier, and then he could fill in all the extras with his knowledge of the area. She looked over at Olivier, and he was in full control over his emotions. He seemed fine, no further episodes of dreaming or waking up to terror as of late. He was calm, happy, and not missing the missions. He was focused on the future, the new vineyard he purchased, their wedding, and even talks of children. Brie wasn’t sure what the future held, but she knew one thing: she would not worry because that didn’t help anyone.


Amazon Author Page

Official Site






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Brain to Books Blog Tour Day 6/#2

Ella Drayton

Brain to Books Blog Tour Ella Drayton

Fast Facts:

Author: Ella Drayton

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Book: The Letters

Official Site


Ella DraytonWriter. Book Critic. Mother. Animal Lover. Twitter addict. Insomniac.

Ella is from a very small town in Alabama. When she is not day dreaming about her next story she spend most of her time caring for a Tiny Tyrant and her furry best friend, Mutt. Her house and her electronics are cluttered with books she’s read, books she’s reading, and books to be read. She also pretends to be a housewife in her spare time, occasionally cooking and cleaning for a wonderful husband who never complains. Writing and reading are her two biggest passions other than pretending to be a T-Rex princess pony that can only eat pink Starburst with her little one. Ella also uses movie quotes and song lyrics constantly in conversation and freaks out/passes out at the sight of slugs.


The LettersBrodie Barrett is a widowed mother of a 10 year old girl and a homicide detective for the Birmingham Police Department. Everything seems fine in her world until her ex-fiance, Keaton Maddox walks back into her life. She’s ready to start a new life with Keaton but he’s also got a pregnant girlfriend working at his restaurant. Things at work start heating up for Brodie when someone decides to send her love letters at work. These aren’t your ordinary love letters, though! These letters leave clues for Brodie to find bodies of her admirer’s victims. Who could be sending these letters and why do they want Brodie to find the bodies?

Book Review:
“For me, the mystery within The Letters carried just the right amount of weight. The story was well paced, offered plenty of provocative details to keep me enticed, and happily kept me guessing. Pacing is an important detail for me as a reader; based upon the pacing of this book, I look forward to reading more by Ms. Drayton.” – Cary Ellen Kramer

“I liked this book. It overcame something of a hurdle I’ve had in enjoying mysteries for a long time: patterns of clues and behaviors that don’t hold up when you consider that cell phones and the Internet both exist. I’ve often worried that the onward march of tech was going to lead to the end of mysteries of the kind I used to love, but I’m now reassured that the art of writing good mysteries is alive and well.” — John Blackport


“What do you want?”

“Feel like company?”


“Too bad. I’m at your front door.”

“Go away.”

“I’m using the key.”

“Shove that key up your ass.”

I heard the phone go dead and then my front door opening. Walker had been my best friend since junior high. I had given him that key after my husband, Grayson, had been kidnapped and killed by a man who had been stalking me. His body was found on our fifth wedding anniversary.

I decided since Walker was already in my house and there was no chance of going back to sleep, I might as well get up off the couch. I walked into the bathroom and flipped the switch nearly burning my eyes with the fluorescent light that flooded the room. As I was about to brush my teeth, he appeared behind me in the mirror. Walker, who was a chubby kid in high school, had become a muscular gym rat. He traded in his shaggy brown hair for a bald head, stopped fighting the beard that kept trying to grow (he kept it very closely shaved, however), and wore most of his designer clothes so tight that you didn’t have to imagine what that muscular body might look like without them. At nine forty-five in the morning, he looked like an Abercrombie model in his light pink button down shirt and faded jeans with the holes strategically placed down the legs. I looked like shit.

“You’re really rocking that whole t-shirt and sweatpants look. Nice bun, too, grandma.”

“Who left your cage open?”

“I was just wondering how you comb your hair so the horns don’t show.”

“Gee, you’re hilarious. Have you ever thought about doing stand-up? What do you want? This is supposed to be my off day. As in, I’m off from everything. I do not exist to the rest of the world. It’s just supposed to be a ménage trios between me, the couch, and my TV.”

“A ménage, huh? I didn’t know you were into such kink. I could make that a lot more fun for you, you know?

“Oh, Walker,” I said between strokes of my toothbrush. “I’m not your type, sugar. I’m not inflatable.”

“I wish there were words to describe how much of an ass you are.””

“There are. They just aren’t covered in ‘Run, Spot, Run’ so you’re not familiar with them.”

“Ha Ha. Wash your face and let’s get something to eat. My treat?”

My eyebrows shot up and I stopped wiping my mouth on my towel. Walker was apparently up to no good. He never offered to pay for anything unless he was trying to talk me into something or sweeten the blow of something he’d done. He’d purchased my senior prom dress and brought it to my house in the hopes that I wouldn’t be pissed at him for breaking my date’s nose two days before the prom. I can also remember two separate occasions that he paid for a weekend vacation at the beach to make up for backing into my car and for setting my custom built shooting house on fire. The stories of how these two instances actually came about were still kind of vague. Needless to say, Walker was an accident waiting to happen and believed that money could smooth anything over.

“Your treat means something is up.”

“You always were a smart one. Hurry up.”







Amazon Author Page

Book Links:

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Brain to Books Blog Tour Day 5/#2

Sylvie Nickels

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

Author: Sylvie Nickels

Genre: modern fiction with emphasis on reconciliation, effects of war, positive attitude towards aging

Book: It’ll be Better Tomorrow

Official Site 

BioI started writing as a child in World War Two, and have barely stopped since. Much of it has been as a travel writer for major UK newspapers and magazines. More recently I have returned to my first love of writing fiction and have self-published several novels, two anthologies of short stories, and a true adventure (The Big Muddy – a canoe journey down the Mississippi with my late husband).

A recurrent theme has been the effect of war on the children and grandchildren of participants (as in my trilogy ‘Another Kind of Loving’, ‘Beyond the Broken Gate, and ‘Long Shadows; and, more recently, ‘The Other Side of Silence’). Reconciliation is also a recurrent theme as is my belief that it is better to be part of the cure than part of the problem. My first attempt at a YA novel deals with the problem of addiction. ‘It’ll be Better Tomorrow’ is my most recently anthology and puts the matter of aging in a positive light.

I currently have two further projects in my mind. One is yet another anthology, this time venturing into the world of semi-fantasy and parallel universes. The other is concerned with the growing problem of dementia in what is a massively increasing number in our aging population in the UK (and probably the world). Having cared for a husband with mild dementia, with all the humour and frustrations that go with short term memory loss, I am also keenly aware that beneath the illness remains a very worthwhile companion and friend. His long term memory remained phenomenal and has led me to create a new type of hero for my next book: a man with mild dementia who provides the solutions to a mystery involving identity theft.

Author Accomplishments

My late husband (my best mate George died in February 2013) and I travelled widely, walked a great deal and were responsible for creating a marked circular walk in our corner of England (north Oxfordshire).

My Swiss grandfather was a forester and I was responsible for the creation of a wood in the same part of England: very small but it has added a new small green patch to the map of our county. It belongs to a national charity called the Woodland Trust, but we had to raise a lot of money in a hurry to qualify for their planting of the trees – all native trees and now – nearly 20 years later – looking really splendid. It’s a great magnet for walkers and children.

I belong to and am active in U3A (not sure if it exists in the U.S., but it’s an organisation for retired people, organising groups with shared interests such as writing, art history, philosophy). If you don’t have it, I suggest you start it (they will have a website).

At nearly 85, I guess my stamina isn’t quite what it was!


Read reviews at The Book Bag

Read reviews at S. Nickle’s Books


The older generation don’t always get a good press, but some of them are quite remarkable. For example, teenager Buzz was blown away when he found how his Granny Em had put his lessons on computing to very unusual use (Grannies dot com). Harry Briggs was another one who managed to turn the tables with a little help from his grandson and modern technology (Wake Up Call). In contrast, Elli (The Class of ‘65) and Phillida (The Don’t Care Generation) had both left an impression on the Third World; Alice learned at last to stand up for herself (The Wrong Track), Robert Sinclair kept his exploits to himself (Reluctant Hero), and Astra finally solved the mystery of her father’s World War Two trauma (Just Nineteen Days). But maybe the last word remains with Ben whose mantra provided the title for this book. When pushed about his uncertain future, he unfailingly said “It’ll be Better Tomorrow.”

These are some of the stories of Manorfields’ residents, their relatives and their carers. There is humour, poignancy, even romance, but above all they demonstrate that life is very often stranger than fiction.




Amazon Author Page

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Brain to Books Blog Tour Day 5/#1

Janet Roberts

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Fast Facts

Author: Janet Roberts

Genre: Historical Love Story

Books: ‘The Clumber Love Story’

Official Site


Janet RobertsI live in Nottinghamshire, right in the middle of England, not far from Robin Hood’s haunt of Sherwood Forest!

As a frail child I was unable to gain popularity at school by being good at sports, but instead I was the class story-teller, a good training for a writer!  In those days we were given ‘set books’ to study, often Dickens or something similar, and at the end of the year we would be examined about the story/characters etc.  A lot of my class never read the books, they just relied on me to tell them what was going on, using different voices and expressions, so that the story was alive and vivid for them!

Later I started writing stories for women’s magazines, and once the children were grown I began to write more seriously, for national magazines, finding my interest was increasingly in historical facts.

I wrote this book after going to a slide evening held at our local library.  The historian would put up a picture, and the audience would enthusiastically call out the location and name of the subject – until he showed a picture of a small, somewhat dark building, that had got everyone puzzled.  After much encouragement from the speaker, someone tentatively suggested it was ‘that strange building near Milton Moor’.  This was correct – it was in fact the Milton Mausoleum, which I, and I think most of the audience, had never heard of.  The speaker then showed a picture of a marble statue, showing a reclining woman holding two babies, one in each arm.  No one had a clue where this was, but he assured us it was within the Mausoleum!

This was something I just had to see, the statue was so lovely.  However, on going to visit a few days later, I discovered the sad little building locked and totally inaccessible.  It was a very long time before I saw the statue for myself, but I had established that I could find out more about it by going to Nottingham University and studying the diaries of the 4th Duke of Newcastle – the chap who had commissioned both the Mausoleum and the statue.

What an adventure that turned out to be!  Not only did I have to look on the map to find out where the University was located, but on arrival I had to have an interview, to established that I was a serious student, and of good character! Only then was I given a Reader’s Card, and told I was limited to a pencil and a notebook, and then the ordering system explained.  With the help of the librarian I selected the first surviving diary of the 4th Duke, and a white-coated porter eventually appeared, bearing the precious book on a white pillow!  This was placed before me, and I was aware of being watched like a hawk as I carefully opened the precious book, to discover that the very first surviving words, written in the Duke’s distinctive handwriting were: May 27th 1822: On this melancholy day we have lost our dear child Anna-Marie – about a week and two days since she complained of weakness and no appetite.”  How sad was that!

Many years later I became a guide at the Mausoleum on the couple of days a year when it was open, and people were captivated to hear the story of this most loving couple.  I am delighted to say that a ‘Friends of the Mausoleum’ has recently been formed, the building has been much improved (even with glass in the windows instead of being boarded) and it is open several Sundays a month – so many more people are seeing the statue and hearing the story behind its commission.

Author Accomplishments:

As well as writing e-books and booklets, I am kept busy with the Local Talking Newspaper for the Blind, an excellent organisation that I have been involved with for several decades. Over that time I have carried many different roles, but now I concentrate on producing scripts to be read onto CD’s or Memory Sticks.  The challenge is not so much writing the feature, or even getting it the right length, but endlessly thinking up suitable topics which would appeal to people who are blind, remembering that for some this has been for a lifetime, for the majority it is something that has developed together with old age.  This week I have chosen a section from the excellent book ‘Consider the Fork – A History of Invention in the Kitchen’ by Bee Wilson.  I was also very fortunate in being able to track down this author, who has most kindly said I can quote directly from the book, with the necessary credits of course, but this has saved a lot of work, as well as capturing her delightful style.
Every week I also go to ‘Healing Hands’ a group that has been functioning in nearby Mansfield for some 18 years.  It’s run on a drop-in basis for members of the general public, and Reki is offered by trained practitioners.  My role is running the library of what I hope are suitable, and very mixed books, with something for everyone.  I also think it’s important to be sociable and welcoming, especially during tea and biscuits at the end of the afternoon, for many people are lonely and this might be their only interaction for several days. Most importantof all, I am responsible forsending Distant Healing.  I became increasingly aware that not everyone could come to a healing session, and knowing that many churches run healing books, we also offer this  service.  I like people to write the name of the person in the book themselves, as this makes it more personal, and I prefer not to know anything about the problem, my reasoning being that if a person has, say, a diagnosis of cancer, not just the site will be affected, but the whole person’s mental and physical well being will be in turmoil.  A holistic approach I feel is most suitable  I also have no problem with people adding animals to the list, after all they too are part of God’s creation, although I do find it easier to visulise if I know if Sparky is a dog, cat or a horse!  As a direct result of this work, I wrote the small handbook
‘The Power of Distant Healing’ details of which you can on my web page.
In additon my friend and I are collectors for the charity ‘Tools with a Mission’.  The idea is that when someone has an unwanted item, such as a knitting or sewing machine, carpentry tools or an old typewriter, rather than just throwing it away, we go and collect it. This excellent charity refurbishes everything, and then it is sent to Africa, where people can start their own business.  This seems so much more sensible than just sending money.  This way they can feed and educate their children for years, rather just having a meal for a day. For more information please see
My friend lives with me, after a terrible 50 years of abuse and maltreatment.  I told them that the past may have been rubbish, but for however long we had left we would do everything that sounded like fun!  Consequently my blog: chronicles some of our adventures, and tells fellow travellers what I thought of the places we visit.

Book blurb:

Cover - Clumber Love StoryThe 4th duke of newcastle was a sad and unhappy man until he met and married 18 year-old georgiana in 1807. he took his 18 year old bride to clumber house, a fine mansion in the middle of sherwood forest.
tragically their idyllic marriage ended with her death at the age of 33 but his thoughts and plans remain vividly in the diaries he wrote at the time.
these form the basis for this ebook

Book Excerpt:

30th January 1822:  Today is my birthday.  I have this day completed my 38th year.  A heavy cloud hangs over me, and affects me greatly.  I cannot help comparing my situation now to what has been in former years.  On this day I used to receive the earliest congratulations of my dearest wife, enhanced by a thousand kindnesses and amiable attentions.  Now what a change, a dreary blank…’

Where to buy the book:

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Brain To Books Blog Tour Day 4/#3

This and That

Brain to Books Blog Tour

This and That

I have a few days planned for this blog tour that I’ve set aside for a little something extra to share. A collection of poems and excerpts from one of our featured authors, Ed Ireland.

authorpic Ed Ireland is a gypsy wanderer with a passion for words. His life has taken quite a few twists and turns, some happy and some on the regrettable side. It all shows up in his collection of short stories and
poems, Forgotten Treasure. Each story and poem strikes a nerve of some event in his life or shows his ability to fascinate or confound his readers.
The poetry is inspired by emotions. Anger, joy, love and spirituality all find their way out in them. The short stories are studies in different genres. There is humor in the Wiki-esque biography of Popeye the Sailor and the irreverent “When the Music Stops”, fantasy in the “Bonds of War” and drama in “Silver Lining”. No matter what hits the chord with you, chances are you’ll find it in this book. Reviewers have said “Every part of this book has something interesting to say. The poetry especially is quite outstanding, really speaking to the heart.” and “Reading through this book encouraged a wide range of emotions and feelings, and that to me is a sign of a good book.”
Forgotten Treasure will be available for free at for
the duration of the tour. You can also visit Ed’s website and join his member’s area for news on when
Forgotten Treasure 2 will be available.

Excerpt from Forgotten Treasure:

Treasure6“My Regret” by Ed Ireland

In the twilight times of my days
I sit solitary, surrounded by the voices
Of a thousand wrongs I’ve done
Chastising and screaming for honor to be restored
Honor lost never to be regained
Such is the price of fear
Lost in the twilight times of my hours
Surrounded by the specter of loneliness
Gripped by the cold hands of self-imposed punishment
My strongest regrets are the loves I let slip
Through my unwieldy hands
And my unopened heart
Until finally in the twilight of my minutes
The stone hearts of the multitude open
Their searching eyes resting on what is left of my soul
Their grasping hands reach to render my life
All thoughts turn to you
And the hope you saw the child
And forgave my fear

A little something by H.L. Burke

This is from Thaddeus Whisker’s, a YA fantasy by H.L. Burke.

Thaddues Whiskers and the DragonThaddeus F. Whiskers is a pampered palace pet, a kitten enchanted to never become a cat. Princess Clarice loves him, for in the entire kingdom, there is no other kitten as cute or as clever. He leads a life of cushions and cream until a wizard’s “gift” results in his banishment. Determined to make it back to the princess he loves, he escapes into the wilderness where he discovers the lair of a dragon.

Grandious, the dragon, doesn’t care about anything besides himself. He wants to be left alone with his treasure. However, there is something about Thaddeus that has him entranced. He finds himself opening his home and his heart to the little cat.

Thaddeus is a small creature in a big world. Between him and his beloved Princess stand conniving wizards, would-be-step-mothers, and rampaging rats. However, when danger threatens both Clarice and Grandious, Thaddeus won’t allow his size to get in the way of saving his friends.


For the first several steps, the floor was damp, slick stone, but as he moved inward the ground dried. The warm red glow flickered like the fire in a hearth, one of Thaddeus’s favorite things. He glanced up and stared at the great stalactites jutting from the ceiling like teeth. His tiny mouth dropped open. He put a paw forward, and the ground slipped beneath him with a clinking sound. He stepped again. Clink, clink, clink came each paw-fall. He nudged at one of the strange pebbles, flat and perfectly round, smooth and cold, gleaming in the fire light.

Coins? Thaddeus didn’t have much use for such things, but he knew humans liked them. He vaguely remembered when Hermes had chosen him from a farm cat’s litter to be the princess’s gift. Hermes had given the farmer two of these coin things, and the farmer had seemed quite pleased–even though Hermes had clearly gotten the better end of that deal.

Coins were cold, hard, and not tasty. What was the use of such objects? No wonder they’d been left in a cave.

The only treasure that interested Thaddeus was the source of the light. Light meant fire. Fire meant warmth. Warmth meant dry. Also, someone must have started the fire, which meant there might be humans there. Humans who could feed and care for him.

Water dripped from Thaddeus’s whiskers. He left wet paw-prints as he picked his way over the pile of gold. Coins loosened and slid down the hill in a tinkling avalanche. Thaddeus paused. Had anybody heard that?

He listened, both ears stretching towards the ceiling. He heard something: a repetitive wheezing in and out, like the bellows the maid used on the fire. Lowering onto his belly, Thaddeus crept to the top of the coins and gazed into the center of the cave.

There, curled among the coins and chests, gems and pearls, lay the largest creature Thaddeus had ever seen. Terror gripped the kitten. His tail stuck straight up.

It glistened bright green with scales like a fish’s but solid and dry, rather than supple and covered in butter and lemon juice. Claws, similar in shape to Thaddeus’s but twice the size of his whole body, tipped each of the monster’s four limbs. Great bat-like wings rested in folds at its sides. He remembered seeing a picture of one in Clarice’s books. A dragon. Thaddeus doubted if the creature would fit in King Victor’s throne room.

A creature like this could swallow him without even noticing. As bad as outside was, inside the cave was worse. Where could he go now?

Thankfully, the dragon’s eyes were closed. If Thaddeus backed out slowly . . .

He stepped backwards and something within the pile shifted. The surface Thaddeus had been standing on rolled forward, pulling him with it. He landed on his back even closer to the dragon.

“Lies” by Angela B. Chrysler

As seen in “Broken”

“There at love’s bitter end when the deadened heart is done,

The moon it wanes with one last sigh and the silence breaks. It breathes, “The end.”

And Death it calls as the stone crow breaks. Streaks of blood malform its face.

Death becomes its withered eyes and the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

Broken by Angela B Chrysler 1600x2500Now within the dying ground as I hear my maddened sound,

From the eaves the darkness seeps. It is there that the shadows whisper, “Lies”

With outstretched hand, I call, I moan. My fingers graze Death’s withered hand,

“My love,” I gasp. Despair clamps down, yet all I hear are lies.

With words of love, you kiss my face. Your sodden tears they fall like rain.

With twisted smile or upturned frown, you walk away, my death unfurled,

And I regain my heart betwixt your love, my blood, the lies, the pain

Yet you see none, and there I lay remembering your lies.

Belittle were your words of love, despite the warmth within your touch

You made my body sing and cry, and smiling you would watch me writhe

Voiced with words and sweet caress, you impaled me with your flesh

Now, upon my death we part. Still, the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

Throwing back my naked breast, cold death’s grip, I welcome it.

And at last, with final breath I open up, invite him in.

Through me, riddles Death’s cold hand, as he rakes my skin from bone,

Death, in peace, at last I’ll sleep while the shadows whisper lies.

There at love’s bitter end when the deadened heart is done,

The moon it wanes with one last sigh and the silence breaks. It breathes, “The end.”

And Death it calls as the stone crow breaks. Streaks of blood malform my face.

Death becomes my withered eyes and the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

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Brain To Books Blog Tour Day 4/#2

A Voice Among Many

Brain to Books Blog Tour

Voices Among Many

From the pen of Charlene Diane Jones

This poem doesn’t appear in any books but free flows through readings I have done over the last couple of decades.

I performed poetry with my poetry partner Linda Stitt across much of Southern Ontario

throughout the last decades of the millenium, and have focused through the new millenium on being at home to write, poetry, prose (my novel The Stain is available at

I have a radio program twice monthly on 102.7 fm in which I interview writers. Let me know if you are interested, by contacting me at

I also have a blog space at I love science, which often sounds in its amazing and surprising details like poetry to me. I particularly love Neuroscience and have just completed a small book called Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind on the power of visualization as explained by neuroscience. No, really, it’s an easy to read primer to those two subjects.

Anyway thanks for taking time here with me. I look forward to more contact later!


“Beading” by Charlene Diane Jones

Snow falling, near midnight

your voice on the phone.

I walk the long mile to your house

my black cape flaps like a crow’s wing

you remove, down to my eager skin.

That was long ago.

Now, between my skin and this wall

your face appears, rises and dissolves.

Memory and dream

wind on the same skein.

Our waking days bead

the braided string.

This day I wake to cigarettes,

scotch and this wall,

where memory frames

you stepping into my kitchen

or ambling with me through villages

where a your man snakes his hips

under the low-slung silk skirt

his kohl-darkened eyes burning,

beckoning the older man, his partner.

I remember you said then

you wanted a man, a young man, that man.

Memories and dreams

wind on the same skein.

Our waking days bead

the braided string.

Now, I leave my house

to walk in snow

wrapped in ten years of dreams

and a need to forget

that dream about the plague,

you thin, blistered, fevered

choking in delirium

delusion about recovery,

need to forget how you said

last time we met

the dream about the plague was mine

how last time we met you said

that dream about the plague was mine.

How dreams and memory wind

together on the same skein.

Under my skin waking days bleed.

The beads spin.

Your death yanked the string.

From the Desk of B.R. Kingsolver.

From I’ll Sing for my Dinner by BR Kingsolver

I'll Sing For My DinnerWe went up on stage and he handed me a white Fender Stratocaster, a Jimi Hendrix guitar. Jared had been playing a hollow-body Gibson most of the evening, but switched for a few songs.

Strapping on the Strat, I strummed it to hear how it was tuned. And then one of my imps seized control. I launched into Purple Haze, running the entire introductory riff. When I stopped and looked around, everyone in the bar was staring at me.

Stepping to the mic, I said, “Sorry. I’m not used to driving a guitar this powerful. It just sorta got away from me.”

Everyone laughed.

We got me in tune with the rest of the band, and when the other members came back from their break, Jared introduced me.

“We have a special treat tonight, a psychedelic rocker from the East Coast.” That got a laugh. “Those of you who happened to catch her playing here during dinner last night or tonight know what a special talent she is, and she’s graciously agreed to sing a couple of songs with us. Please welcome Miss Cecily Buchanan.”

Their band was tight and I liked playing with them. Jared was an excellent lead guitarist, and their pedal steel player was pretty good. The bassist and drummer were also good musicians. The rhythm guitarist was adequate, but had a nice voice. We played half a dozen Emmylou Harris songs, including Luxury Liner, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Roses in the Snow, Boston to Birmingham, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and I sang a duet of Hello Stranger with Jared.

I’ve never been shy on stage, and the applause and cheers as I put the guitar down and stepped off the bandstand felt as good as if I’d been playing Carnegie Hall. It’s better than food. I drank it all in shamelessly. For the first time in years, I felt whole, like myself. I remembered that I used to live for that feeling. How had I gone so far astray? This was so much better than any drug.

Jake came out from behind the bar and I skipped toward him. I threw my arms around his waist and gave him a hug. He hugged me back, in a friendly sort of way. His large strong hands on my back felt good. He didn’t try to pull me into him, and for some reason, it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable.

“Damn, Cecily, you’re incredible,” he said.

I looked up in his face. He was smiling and happy for me. Filled with approval. My heart seemed so full I thought it might burst. Where had this man been? Why hadn’t I run into him two years ago? Someone who seemed genuinely happy when I succeeded, instead of jealous?

I pulled his face down to mine and kissed him on the lips. “You can’t imagine how happy you’ve made me, and I’ve barely known you a day,” I said.


teaser 2I turned to the band, and launched into the opening rift of Dance All Night. After the second rift, they came in on time, and I turned to the mic to sing.

It’s been a lousy day

Come home to get away

Boss was a jerk, always down on me

Need to kick loose and move to feel free


Going to go out and

Dance all night

The music makes things right

Shake my ass and forget

Ain’t heard last call yet

Dance all night


Boyfriend called and moaned

Says he has to work ‘til dawn

Thinks I’m too dumb to catch on

He’s gettin’ some on the side

I ain’t staying home while he rides

Don’t want to sit around bored

Short dress and fuck-me shoes, hit the door


Going to go out and

Dance all night

The music makes things right

Shake my ass and forget

Ain’t heard last call yet

Dance all night


<guitar solo>


Don’t want to sit around bored

Short dress and fuck-me shoes, hit the door

Flirt with all the good lookin guys

Gonna find one to make me fly


Going to go out and

Dance all night

The music makes things right

Shake my ass and forget

Ain’t heard last call yet

Dance all night


When I finished, I did think the roof would come off. It was a new song, one I started thinking about in New York and finished in London. It had a dance beat, and the lyrics were inspired by all the women I saw alone in the clubs. I had practiced it with the band, but no one else had heard it. Neither Darlene nor Terrie had great singing voices, but when we practiced it we decided they should come in on the chorus.

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Brain To Books Blog Tour Day 4/#1

Today is a different kind of day. Today, instead of featuring authors and their works, we’ll be filling the gap differently. The authors will return tomorrow so have fun with these in the meanwhile…

Art Imitates Life Imitates Art:

Writing Fiction as Kind of Therapy

by Joshua Blum

Snow Leopard Publishing

I have a few days set aside during the Blog Tour to focus on a variety of topics and authors. Today, my attention goes to Marc Estes. This week he launches his new publishing company; Snow Leopard Publishing. The site is

You can also check out Marc’s novels here.

Marc makes his appearance during the Blog Tour on 30 July 2015. Don’t miss out!

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Brain to Books Blog Tour Day 3/#3

Laxmi Harihara

Brain to Books Blog Tour Laxmi Harihara

Fast Facts:

Author: Laxmi Harihara

Genre: YA Action-Thriller

Book: The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer (Ruby Iyer #1)

Official Site


Laxmi HariharaA near life incident told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi has been a journalist with The Independent and a global marketer with MTV and NBCUniversal. She is the author of the kindle bestselling, epic fantasy The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1) and blogs for the Huffington Post among others. She has a weakness for skinny tattoed rock stars, electronica & sweetened chai. London is where she creates. Bombay is what fires her imagination.

Author Accomplishments

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer debuted #1 Hot New Release on Amazon Asian LIt, and placed as a finalist at the National Indie Excellence Awards.


The Many Live of RRuby IyerA YA action thriller, with strong dystopian undertones, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.

A terrifying encounter propels Ruby Iyer from her everyday commute into a battle for her own survival. Trusting her instincts, she fights for what she believes in and is led on a mysterious path between life and death on the crowded roads of Bombay. When her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the sexy Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?


… a white-knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay as a terrifying encounter propels our heroine from her everyday commute into a battle for survival – her own survival and the survival of the city she loves.” – Fran Pickering, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winning author.
“Laxmi Hariharan can write! With great detail and high emotions, Ms. Hariharan’s world feels real, depressed and stark.” – Dii, Amazon Top 500 reviewer
“…In the end it’s not only Ruby who has many lives and many possible paths: it’s the reader who follows her journey to self-realization and newfound perspectives. And perhaps this is the greatest strength of all in a dystopian young adult novel that presents so much more than a singular, easy path.” – D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR (Midwest Book Reviews)
 “The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer, intricately weaves high stakes adventure, voracious determination born out of love, and richly detailed prose in one captivating story. In a market flooded with YA thrillers and dystopian fantasies, The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer offers the best features of this subgenre while forging new paths in its setting and context.”  – Charmaine Savage, Reviewer, NetGalley
“The author does an excellent job of portraying the city-as-a-mother, leaving the hero(ine) to grapple with the dilemma of choice.” – Jormund Elver
“Laxmi builds worlds populated with endearingly down to earth bravehearts.” – Inma Martinez, world leading digital media strategist (FORTUNE and TIME)


The Origins of Ruby Iyer

Growing up in Bombay I was weighed down by the expectations of traditional Indian society. Yet, I wanted to be economically independent. So, daily I would leave the relative safety of home, knowing that my commute to work was going to be nightmarish. It’s just how public transport is in this city. When you get on a bus you know that the man standing behind is going to brush against you. When you walk through a crowded local train platform, you accept that you are probably going to be felt up. Every time this happened to me, I would get really angry.

But, I would deal with it and get on, because if I raised my voice or did something about it, the results would not bode well for me. So, when a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight, I was furious.

It was as if nothing had changed in all the years I had been away.

Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down anymore; who would stand up for herself regardless of the consequences. Who would follow her heart … Thus Ruby Iyer was born.

Make no mistake though Ruby is her own person. She leads and I follow.

THE MORNING INVOCATION from the Shiva temple seeps through the holes in the faulty concrete walls of my bedroom. By the time they reach my ears, the Sanskrit chants entwine with the pinging of my iPhone, a multi-layered vibration, which blends with the humming of the air conditioner. The resultant noise is a mix of the spiritual and the electronic, tinged with the salty air from the Arabian Sea. It’s that special Bombay vibe, found only in the former seven islands of Bom Bahia—the Good Bay, as named by its Portuguese founders. Reaching out to shut off the phone, my hand slams into the glass of water next to my bed. It promptly falls over, the crash more effective in cutting through my sleep than the iPhone’s wake-up alarm.

Meanwhile, the air conditioner works overtime, trying to bring down the temperature of the room to less than blistering hot. I stumble out of bed and into the adjoining kitchen to fire up the stove below the saucepan half filled with water.

“Where’s my chai?” Pankaj, my flatmate, props himself against the doorway to his own cubicle-sized room.

“Get it yourself, bitch,” I reply mildly, spooning out tea leaves into a saucepan.

“… Please?” He wheedles, “Pretty please?”

Ha! I’ve trained him well. “But, since you have asked me so politely … I might just make your chai. This time.

“Haven’t I told you to wait till the water boils before adding the tea leaves?” Pankaj protests. I mentally mouth before adding the tea leaves in sync with his voice.

“Okay, Mum,” I mumble, splashing milk into the now boiling liquid and letting the concoction stew for a few seconds before pouring it into the mismatched cups. I add sugar to Panky’s cup, pausing in the act of adding a spoonful to my own.

“Ah! Time for the sugar dance, I see.”

“Umph!” It’s uncomfortable that Panky knows me that well.

“Go on, do it, Ruby. A spoonful more can’t kill you.”

Of course, I agree with him. Not that I would ever admit to it aloud. I dunk in the sugar, stirring it quickly. If I didn’t see it, it didn’t exist, right?

Sliding one of the cups towards him, I gulp down the steaming liquid from the other. The blood vessels along my skin bloom as if dancing to the sudden onslaught of the monsoons.

“Don’t kill all your taste buds in one go, now,” Panky says, grinning.

“I have to drink my chai boiling hot.”

“No kidding!” He teases. “You are the first South Indian I know who prefers tea to coffee.”

“Strange, no?” I perch on the sole remaining barstool at the tiny breakfast nook. “I knew we were going to be friends for life from the moment you called me a South Indian, instead of that hated M word.”

“The M word?” Pankaj sputters. “Whoever says Madrasi anymore? Just because Madras is one of the biggest cities in the south of India, doesn’t mean you just have to label anyone from the region Madrasi.

“I know, right? Once, I had my friend Tania over for lunch. Ma was happy to ignore her till she asked me innocently if I was Madrasi. At which point Ma gave poor Tania an earful and had her run off crying. I don’t know what traumatised me more—having my best friend call me Madrasi or losing a friend, thanks to Ma’s outburst.”

Not that being called Madrasi is derogatory. It had just felt uncool in South Bombay, or SoBo, as those square miles of eye-wateringly expensive real estate are called. I had grown up there surrounded by prime quality human specimens, all tall, and fair, bearing genes of their Aryan forefathers from the north of the country.

Culturally we may well have been from another planet, the smells and sounds of my home were that alien to them.

“Your ma’s quite a character, hanh?”

“Yah!” You have no idea! “You should meet my dad, though.”

Panky opens his mouth as if to ask another question about my family. I am relieved when instead he queries, “Breakfast?”

“Nah … On a diet, remember?”

“No dinner, no breakfast—you are going to fade away,” he chides.

“If only that were true. This,” I pinch the pyjama-clad skin of my thighs, holding it out to the side, “is proof that I have enough fat to survive a few famines.”

“Honestly, lovely,” he grumbles, “you do need energy to survive.”

“I live on vitamin C and fresh air,” I proclaim.

“In this city? Perhaps you should rephrase that to vitamin D and recycled air.”

Panky always has these facts right at his fingertips. Trust me to have the only fashion-conscious, high IQ geek in the world for a best friend.

I pat his cheek. “Stop worrying. I will be just fine.” Tossing back the dregs of my chai, I thump my mug down. “It’s an experiment,” I call out over my shoulder, en route to my room. “I am trying to see how many meals I can skip before I give in to the hunger.”

Panky groans, “Why can’t you place the used mug in the sink? I simply don’t understand, you spoilt children from rich homes …”

It makes me grin with wicked pleasure.

Passing the sword hanging on the wall of the living room, I pull it down, brandishing it at him in a mock attack. It’s a strange weapon inherited from a past tenant. It’s quite ugly to look at, and rusted from the sea air. Yet it seems to have some kind of antique value; it’s probably the most valuable thing in the run-down living room. It’s definitely the quirkiest item there.

Our landlady, Mrs D’Souza, has furnished the room, combining antique pieces with modern glass and chrome. It’s an unsettling combination, as if I am forever balanced on a portal between the past and the future.

I slip the sword into its sheath and hang it back on the hook. My regular workouts with the weapon have made me feel rather possessive about it. Or perhaps it has claimed me?

Walking past my bedroom into the bathroom, I drop my pyjamas before stepping into the shower.

Despite my earlier dawdling, I am dressed in under ten minutes. I throw on my usual uniform of sneakers and a plaid shirt tucked into the waistband of skinny Diesel jeans, with my satchel-like handbag slung over my shoulder. Oversized Ray-Bans are perched on my nose.

I may have left SoBo, but damned if I was going to give up my designer clothes. Sure I am just an intern, but hey, nothing stops me from being with it, right?

I pause at the doorway to the living room. Panky has draped himself across the settee with the delirious chatter of a hyper-excited news presenter for company. “… Mars, Earth, and the sun all aligned last night, a rare opposition of the planets that only happens once every 778 days. But this event is even more remarkable as it occurred precisely a week before everyone on Earth will see the first of four blood-red moons. An extraordinary event some believe represents the second coming of the saviour …”

“Oh! What trash,” I complain. “It’s worse than reality TV. And why is she always screaming at the top of her voice?”

“It’s breaking news, and she’s excited to break it to us. Isn’t that enough?” Panky asks. “Besides, I am a news junkie.” He turns down the volume and whistles. “Sexy model look today, I see?”

“You think?” I pose, my right hand on my slightly thrust out hip. “Really, Panky? This is hardly sexy.”

“It’s those sunglasses, my dear. V-e- r‑y sexy.”

“And here I was trying to downplay my allure.” I flutter my eyelashes.

“Just the opposite, d-ah-ling!”

“Will it attract too much attention?” I ask, worried. “Should I change, you think?”

There is bound to be at least one smart-ass, wannabe Romeo on the street who is going to whistle while cycling by, or offer rude remarks while I’m walking past.

“Nah!” Pankaj assures me. “You can handle yourself, no? After all, if it wasn’t for you …”

I know he is thinking about how we met. One night, on the way back home, I had stumbled across Panky, surrounded by three other kids. One of them had him by the collar, the other held a knife. They had been trying to rob him of his phone and his wallet. Good thing I had some knowledge of self-defence.

I stayed to help Panky.

And they had come at both of us.

If it had not been for a family passing by who had raised the alarm … I dread to think what would have happened.

Still, one rash act of courage does not mean I am used to unwanted male scrutiny on the streets.

I am better at coming to other people’s aid than my own.

“I am not so sure.” The skin-tight jeans live up to their promise, embracing my curves. I know the trousers will seem provocative.

Glancing down at my iPhone to check the time, I shrug. “Damn, no time to change anyway.” I pull at the shirt till it comes free of the jeans, the material now halfway to my thighs.

“Gotta go, bye, honey!” I blow Pankaj a kiss. It’s a joke between us, this role-playing at matrimony.

“Ciao, darling.” Pankaj grimaces. “We’re never gonna find husbands at this rate.”

I lean over to kiss his smooth cheek. “With friends like you, who needs a man?” I grin.

“I do!” Pankaj’s voice follows me out the door as I run towards the gates of our bungalow in Pali Hill, the most genteel of all the middle-class suburbs of the city.

I pause on the threshold next to a man who is always there, just outside the gates. He is always bent over his notebook: writing.

He has curly hair worn in a halo as if to contain the flow of letters, like Lord Shiva trying to contain the restless holy Ganges river in his matted locks. As always, he is wearing faded jeans, a grey shirt tucked in, and a tie loosely knotted around his neck. His shoes have seen better days. The sign in front of him reads:

The end is near

There’s an upturned hat to receive any donations from passers-by. He never asks for money.

He is a writer.

He is a beggar.

“How many days, then?” I ask as I always do. It’s another running joke in my life, this wisecracking with the gentleman-beggar. He’s never answered me. Till now.

He holds up his fingers: seven of them.

A tremor runs down my back.

“Seven what? Months? Years?” I demand fiercely.

He only smiles, showing a gap between his front teeth. I am looking for reassurances. I get questions in return. I run out of the gates of the bungalow.


Having hailed down an auto rickshaw, I stand on the platform of Bandra train station. I have to position myself sideways to fit between the saree-clad aunty on one side, and a girl furiously working the keys of her phone on the other. The fishy smell of sweaty armpits shot through with the sharp notes of red carbolic—Lifebuoy soap—entangle in the hairs of my nostrils.

A ripple runs through the throng in anticipation of the arrival of the train. We are runners at the start of an obstacle race, each of us itching to be the first off the mark.

I brush away a light stroke on my thigh, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, pushing away the large handbag of the woman next to me, which threatens to get in the way, hampering my own jump to the finish line. As the touch persists, I finally look down to see a hand. It brushes my thigh, once, then again. Its fingers walk their way up my leg, disappearing underneath the hem of my shirt. The hand has a life of its own, detached from its owner. It pauses once to gently squeeze the soft bulge of my jeans around the skin of my inner thigh.

I follow the arm, the other way, all the way up to the face of the thin, gangly fellow it belongs to. Where did he come from? And I had thought it was safe to travel in the ladies’ compartment.

He stares straight ahead, a serene look on his features, as if to say, Don’t look at me, I don’t know what my hand is doing, really! It belongs to someone else.

I open my mouth to protest at the invasion, yet something stops me from saying anything aloud. Should I scream? Shove away that horrible thing even now touching my body?

He smiles. Innocence—it flickers on his face, breaking the trance I have fallen into. My hand jerks up to slap him; once, twice—and then I am falling.

Shoved by the same hand, I am thrust through the birth canal of the crowds. I burst through to the other side, plunging headfirst off the platform. Hitting the edge of the surface, I tumble onto the railway tracks. Pain explodes through my side.

I have always obsessed about the future … is it because I don’t have one?


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