I DID SURVIVE: A TRUE STORY told by Fran Lewis

Au

Growing up I wondered why my grandmother had trouble seeing at times, why she constantly had to check her blood levels and why she always seemed so sad and frightened. As a young child and because she was my best ally, best confidante I knew that at the age of 14 I was too young to ask her about her life as a child not of course thinking that she had something she wanted to hide. But, one day she sat me down when no one was around and explained just why my grandmother was her hero, her champion and how she came to be Mrs. Max Goldberg.

My grandmother had five sisters and all of them were in different camps during WWII. The stories she told me that I am going to relate to you as they were told to me will reopen old wounds, replay scenes from the war most would choose to forget and let everyone remember that this really did happen and we better stay on guard or it just might happen again. What was done to my grandmother was an insult to humanity and her dignity. So many suffered at the hands of a select few. Hear her voice as she relates the story behind the stone and then meet the man who did this to her as I made sure he had a stone of talc with his name written on a piece of paper pasted to the outside. It’s more than he deserves.

Here is my grandmother’s story.

My name is Katie and what I related to my granddaughter really happened to me and explains why I had so many medical issues to deal with and why she heard her Aunts and Uncles at first call me by my first name or Tante and not Mama. How the world allowed this to happen is unthinkable and the fact that I survived quite remarkable. Doctors are supposed to save lives not destroy them. I was placed in a cell that was filthy with rodents crawling from all parts, as there were so many holes inside it. No windows, no vent just a small metal opening in the door to push a food through. Food that I would never touch because just smelling it allowed me to know that it was drugged and would make me even sicker than I already was. There was a cot, a small mattress, a small pillow and a blanket with holes in it. The cell was about four feet long and 6 feet wide. The bars on the door were close together you could barely see outside but the screams and cries of the others could not be ignored. Fear entered my heart as I had no idea what they were going to do to me and why. The time period of the Third Reich and the Nazi doctors violated more than my privacy, dignity they tore at my inner core and soul. They were cruel, relentless, heartless and demanded total submission. They taunted us every chance they got and the tortures were many. One morning after trying to make me eat what was supposed to pass for oatmeal but looked like someone’s stomach contents they took me into a stark white lab and placed a burning hot sun lamp on my lower parts. They did this many times and the pain was horrific. My screams were unheard and the faces of those in the room frightening as the just smiled, laughed and wrote down what they saw.

But, this was not the worst of what I endured as they had devised a sterilization plan that led to more than 200,000 Germans being sterilized and based on The Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases. ( July 14, 1933). If successful and in my case it was the sterilization could rid the world of inferior races and create what they felt was the master race of those within it who were masterful and rid the world of those of us that were not perfect.

There were two forms of sterilization that they used: x-rays and injections. In my case it was X-rays. Fear was in my eyes but I would not allow them to see me cry nor would I give them the satisfaction of knowing that I was terrified. I tried to hide my feelings as two or three times a week I was brought in to have my ovaries irradiated with x-rays. The dosages varied. I was subjected to these experiments and at times too weak to go back to work but they did not care. I don’t know whether working in the kitchen and making their food was better than living in a state of hell within that cell. Prisoners such as myself were subjected to these experiments and the pain and burns from the radiation did not deter my tormenters. Suffering the serious burns and swelling on my genitals did not receive any medical relief.

The results of these sterilization experiments to some seemed disappointing but in my case they served what they would say was their purpose. Others were victims of surgical castration and they felt that this time more time-efficient.

The sick mastermind behind these experiments was Dr. Josef Mengele who became the chief physician of Birkenau in 1943 hoping to prove the superiority of the Nordic Race. Schumann was the man that created them where I was. But, this was not to be my final destination as they sent me to Dachau where pharmaceutical compounds were tested to supposedly fight off contagious diseases like TB, yellow fever, malaria and other infectious diseases. Sulfa drugs were invented and used on some prisoners but they refused to see that I am allergic to that drug and kept injecting me with it anyway.

These doctors were sadistic and enjoyed what they were doing and they had little or no morals, no consideration for any of use and could care less if we survived. There were some seventy medical research programs at these camps or so they were called and over 200 so called doctors. The fact that they had contacts with leading universities and medical institutions is scary.

After being here for at least two years or more I have lost track I look at myself and wonder that I really am. I can’t sleep, eat and every time they come to get me I have no idea what will happen next until a miracle occurred and God heard my pleas and my voice.

In response to the German occupation, some Poles organized one of the largest underground movements in Europe. More than 300 widely supported political and military groups. I could not believe what happened. We heard little about the outside world or the news but the guards often talked when we were even allowed in the yard for some respite of fresh air but not much.

After finally escaping I learned more about this group and why someone would come to my cell dressed as an SS officer, pretending to take me for another experiment or test and then I was taken into the woods, under tunnels and found myself somewhere else and supposedly brought to safety with many others. Air force physician Dr. Horst Schumann ran the experiments where I was at Auschwitz.

Liberated and free did not help when I was haunted by the nightmares of this horrific place and the stench that never left my body. The bugs, the smell of death and the tattoo on my arm that I hid from everyone by wearing long sleeves, hiding my shame at being a victim of these monsters as I picture the camp divided into three main areas. According to what my granddaughter learned from her research the estimated amount of innocent Jewish people killed at Auschwitz was between 2 and four million people. Those gas chambers burned the bodies in twenty minutes and starvation, showers; sleep deprivation were just some of the horrors. Freedom comes at a high price but those of us that found our way were not ever really safe within our own hearts. Although freed from the horrors we had to remain silent, safe and in close quarters in the homes of others who agreed to protect us until we could gain safe passage to America.

When I finally arrived in America my sisters Fanny, Rosie, Shandina and Tillie all who were taken to safety but had not undergone most of what I did greeted me. We never spoke of our experiences or shared our heartaches. We preferred to keep it all-private. My granddaughter will tell you some of the rest before I complete my thoughts and the reasons why I am behind this marble stone.

Fran Lewis continues the tale:

I am named after my grandmother Fanny. She had four sisters who survived the concentration camps in Poland. Two sisters and Fanny’s parents were brought to America from Poland by my grandfather. Katie and Tillie came from Poland and their parents Tzvia Bella and Joseph Mordecai Cohen as well.

Fanny, my biological grandmother, spoke five languages and instilled in her children the importance of being educated and going to school. Both Max and Fanny taught their children Irving, Kenneth, Harry, Tova and Ruth, to always strive for what they wanted and never give up until you succeed. Always working to succeed on your own with the support and guidance of your family is the only route, Max felt to being successful.

When Fanny passed away, Max was devastated. He no longer had a mother for his five children. Faced with this serious situation he decided to court and finally married the only grandmother I ever knew, Fanny’s sister Katie.

Katie did not walk into a great situation. She had a difficult time making the transition from aunt to mother. A unique and wise woman, she quickly won the love, trust and devotion she so rightly deserved from all five children. Katie and Max brought up the five children with love, understanding guiding them and supporting each one in whatever they chose to do. With a strong and firm manner my grandfather headed his family and received the respect he deserved from every member.

Katie’s story continues:

Five children that learned that I was their new mother after Fanny died and left them. It took many years before they considered me their Mama but they finally did. My grandchildren, many of who live in so many different places never learned the truth. You see, because of those monsters and what they did to me I am sterile and cannot have children. I have this awful brown liquid that comes out of me and I have to use stool softeners and enemas in order to cleanse my colon. My life is great being married to Max and my grandchildren and children are my life.

They are respectful, wonderful and my granddaughter that is telling you this story even taught me how to write my name and read. I still cannot see that well when I walk in the street I have to count the number of steps that I know to my destinations. You see I have these awful cataracts too thanks to everything they did to me plus Diabetes and other illnesses. This would get anyone down but not me you see I DID SURVIVE. The love of one man who devoted himself to me and his children and the love of my grandchildren is what kept me going for so many years. To the SS officer that did this to those and me that helped him torture so many others and they and me your voices have been silenced do not deserve to hear now or ever. This is my story. My name is Katie Goldberg and I DID SURVIVE! They tried and tried but my spirit was never broken.

Fran continues:

Although the facts are there the sequence of events might not be perfect but this is what I recorded when my grandmother told it to me. Historical events sited in this story are written and told the way my grandmother told them to me. She was brave. She was smart. She was KATIE!
Shared by Katie and Fanny’s granddaughter Fran Lewis:

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF A LONE WOLF KILLER by Unni Turrettini

b123

Anders Behring Breivik grew up a twenty-minute drive from my parents’ home near Oslo, Norway. We frequented the same movie theaters and cafes and no doubt crossed paths at some point. Although he didn’t look like a terrorist then or does now, he murdered seventy-seven people and wounded hundreds more five years ago, on July 22, 2011. In shock and disbelief, I asked myself how something like this could happen in my native country. How, in Norway, the second wealthiest nation in the world, with the second highest gross domestic product per capita, and its Nobel Peace Prize?

Breivik was not born a killer. In fact, the psychiatrists who observed him as a child concluded that Breivik was a docile boy, showing no signs of violent behavior. So how did he become one of the worst mass murderers in history?

Any country can produce madmen, one might argue. Unconvinced by that easy explanation, I went on a mission to discover how this seemingly normal young man could become a mass killer. I needed to know if there were any way to stop the next massacre by the next Breivik, regardless of his country.

a123

As I studied other lone wolves, including the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, I discovered that the lone wolf doesn’t murder for fun, profit, or as a shortcut to suicide. This killer is so shut off and shut down from humanity that the only way for him to matter is to connect so completely with a cause that he is compelled to kill for it.

Breivik’s childhood could match that of anyone growing up in Norway in the 1980s, including mine. He was born in 1979 to economist Jens Breivik, a diplomat stationed in London and Paris, and Wenche Behring, a nurse. Soon after Breivik’s birth, the marriage fell apart, and Wenche decided to return to Norway, settling in Skøyen, an area within Oslo’s affluent West End.

So far, there was nothing exceptional about Breivik. But underneath the appearances, his childhood differed from mine. Before entering grammar school, when he was three years old, his mother began showing signs of erratic behavior. Neighbors gossiped about her smothering her son with inappropriate affection, having him sleep in her bed with her, and then suddenly turning on him with a mix of anger and fear, as if she were frightened for her own safety.

Due to exhaustion, Wenche requested help from the State Center for Child and Youth Psychiatry around the time Breivik turned four. Child Protective Services, upon hearing that she was frightened of her small son and that she was emotionally unstable, recommended that young Breivik be sent to a foster home. Breivik’s father made an attempt at obtaining custody, but the court decided in favor of Wenche, and Breivik remained in her care.

In school, Breivik’s hunger to succeed and be recognized found little nourishment. A misbehaving or openly ambitious child was quickly put in his place by the teachers and fellow students. Sticking out, even in a positive way, was unacceptable in Norwegian schools, and Breivik experienced both bullying and exclusion.

The attachment issues Breivik experienced as a young boy with an unstable mother and a distant father no doubt contributed to his difficulty in developing meaningful relationships and his rejection from every group with which he tried to connect. Breivik’s childhood was not worse than many others, but the lack of emotional nourishment was catastrophic for his development.

All the lone wolves I researched were intelligent and highly sensitive. Some psychologists refer to them orchid children, because of their fragile personalities. If neglected, orchid children wither. But if they’re nurtured, they not only survive, they flourish.

Few people recognize the killer among them when that killer is a lone wolf with no paper trail. Had I sat in a classroom beside Breivik in those early days, I doubt that I would have found him unusual, let alone dangerous. I might have even related to his need to be more than a sheep following the rest of the herd into Norwegian mediocrity. Perhaps that is one reason I wrote my book—to understand how a culture contributes to the making of a killer. More important, I wished to find a way that will allow law enforcement to identify a killer like Breivik before he strikes.

***

Norwegian born Unni Turrettini is an attorney and the author of The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer: Anders Behring Breivik and the Threat of Terror in Plain Sight from Pegasus Books.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

A few poetic laughs by Micki Peluso

abcd

I)
There was an old house in Kentucky
That neighbors considered unlucky
When it kept falling apart
Its owners soon lost heart
And moved to a tent in the park

2)
An Eagle Named Eddy

There was a young eagle named Eddy
Who loved to soar by the jetty
He made a dive a little too wide
Nearly got swept by a rip-tide
Yet his dynamics kept him steady
His endurance filled Eddy with pride
Childlike, he threw caution aside
Happiness faded quickly away
As a huge trash can got in his way
Poor Eddy had a really rough ride

bcde

3)
The Web of Lust

Tarantino the tarantula, so greedy
Felt pangs of arousal, so needy
Amorously peeked through the web
Of Tabitha, the tawny beauty
Emitting her sensual musk

“Might I enter?” He implored; bowed head
“Most certainly, my love, come test my bed.”
Tarantino’s hormones leaped for joy!
He followed Tabitha, so sweet, so coy
His eight legs(maybe nine:) trembled with lust

“So sorry, I can offer you no flies,
To please your palate, my handsome dear
But I offer other pleasures, never fear”
Tarantino thought he would surely die
Foolish male, his brain had turned to dust

Tabitha smiled a secret smile
Enticing him with all her wiles
She contemplated many eggs, his spawn
To be conceived well before dawn
Tarantino spent—fell asleep before dusk

She wrapped him tight within her silk
Proudly surveyed the tomb she’d built
By sunrise, Tarantino was quite dead
Tabitha sighed; her babies would be fed
Tarantino filled his needs at great cost

A word to male spiders everywhere
When crawling past a silken lair
Keep right on going or end up dead
One might hope his babes, well fed
Revered their father, at the very least

Sadly, this never crossed their tiny minds
In spider life, survival is all that binds
Tabitha played her part as host
Poor Tarantino lived, lusted and lost
Tabitha layed in wait for next time

4)
There was a lass named Purella
Who bedded a very odd fella
But when he refused to wed her
She locked him in his own cellar
He wished then he’d never met her

If you enjoy Micki Peluso’s humor, you can find her work on Amazon.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

The Saga of Dr. Hicks by Patrica Dusenbury

Pat Dusenbury signature

A state line can come in handy. Dr. Thomas Hicks started out in Copper Hill, on the Tennessee side. He sold narcotic painkillers to a returned WWI veteran who turned out to be working undercover for the FBI. It was a criminal act that could also have been one of mercy. Regardless, conviction sent Dr. Hicks to federal prison and cost his license to practice medicine in Tennessee.

Upon his release, Dr. Hicks settled in McCaysville, on the Georgia side. He obtained a license to practice medicine in Georgia and re-opened his clinic, two blocks away from the old one. The Hicks Community Clinic provided basic health services to the people of McCaysville, Copper Hill, and nearby settlements. The good doctor provided free medicine to those who couldn’t pay and made house calls if people were too ill to come to the clinic. He donated money to community causes and to his church.

Dr. Hicks’ generosity was supported by the abortions he provided upstairs from the community clinic. From the 1940s through 1964 when he was arrested again (on abortion charges that were eventually dropped), this medical Robin Hood subsidized health care for poor locals by providing illegal abortions to women able to pay.

The abortion clinic was an open secret. Residents saw the limousines bringing women from Atlanta and Birmingham and Chattanooga, small planes landed on a dirt airstrip outside town, but no one told. Perhaps because Dr. Hick’s illegal activity could, once again, be viewed as merciful. Women desperate to end unwanted pregnancies were risking their lives in alleys and backrooms. Dr. Hicks offered a safe alternative. However, his story doesn’t end here.

Dr. Hicks began selling babies. He convinced some of his would-be abortion clients to carry their babies to term. Or maybe they couldn’t pay, and he offered them an alternative. Regardless, he provided these pregnant women with lodging at his farm or in town and, when they delivered, arranged “adoptions.” Thanks to a cooperative county clerk, the babies came with birth certificates that listed the purchasers as the birth parents.

Couples seeking babies came from an even larger market area than the women seeking abortions, and they paid higher fees. Dr. Hicks charged a thousand dollars for a baby and may or may not have given the mother a cut. Selling babies is tough to justify as merciful—there were alternatives, homes for unwed mothers that arranged legal adoptions—and his black market babies, now called Hicks babies, have brought him posthumous notoriety.

In 1989, an Ohio woman whose parents had told her the true circumstances of her “adoption” traveled to McCaysville, seeking information about her birth mother. Jane Blasio walked around McCaysville and Copper Hill, staring at faces, looking for someone who might be a relative. Her quest led her to Blue Ridge, the Fannin County seat, where birth records are kept. There, Ms. Blasio found an ally in a Georgia probate judge, and the web of lies began to unravel.

According to Fannin County birth records, more than 200 women from cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan, and as far away as Arizona came to Dr. Hicks’ clinic in the isolated little town of McCaysville to deliver their babies. This phenomenon began in 1951 and ended in 1965. Jane Blasio’s mother was one of those women. The information was all there, it had been sitting there for decades, and it was all lies.

Widespread media coverage brought forth more women who had “adopted” babies from Dr. Hicks and more adoptees who wanted information about their biological parents. It’s not an easy search. The birth records list only the purchasing parents, and no records of the birth mothers, if there ever were any, have been found. Dr. Hicks, his nurse, and the cooperative county clerk are all dead. If anyone still living knows anything, they aren’t talking.

The story continues. A confidential DNA registry has been set up for Hicks babies, Ancestry.com is providing free services, and long-time residents are being asked to contribute samples. People still come to McCaysville/Copper Hill and walk around, looking for someone who looks like family. The most recent reunion story I found was in a newspaper dated less than a year ago. The judge who helped uncover this black market in babies said it best:

”This is just too bizarre for real life,” said Judge Linda Davis of Fannin County Probate Court, who has risked the ire of people in her county to help Mrs. Blasio in her quest through county birth records. ”If I wasn’t so personally involved, I’d think they were making it all up.”

  • The New York Times, August 23, 1997

I grew up in a small town. I don’t think this could have happened there, but I don’t know. Do you think this could this have happened in your hometown?

***

Pat DusenburyBefore she became a writer, Patricia Dusenbury was an economist and the author of numerous dry publications. She is hoping to atone by writing mystery stories that people read for pleasure. Her first book, A Perfect Victim, was named 2015’s best mystery by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. Book 2, Secrets, Lies & Homicide, is a finalist in the 2016 EPIC award and was a top ten finalist in the Preditors and Editors 2014 readers’ poll. Book 3, A House of Her Own, released in October 2015, completes the trilogy. It has been nominated for InD’tale’s RONE award. Pat’s newest book, Two Weeks in Geary, is a finalist for the Killer Nashville 2016 Claymore Award.

When she isn’t writing, Patricia is reading, gardening, hanging out with the grandkids, or exploring San Francisco, the fabulous city that is her new home

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

Special Places by Patricia Dusenbury

 

a

Special good or special bad, some places are simply more interesting than others. A unique character makes them tourist destinations—and popular settings for fiction. My first three books are set in pre-Katrina New Orleans.

The Big Easy, The Crescent City, The Paris of the Americas—New Orleans has nicknames to spare, and more than enough personality to support them all. How can you not be charmed by the food, the music, the glorious mix of people, and the easy-going atmosphere? But wander off the beaten path and you’ll see poverty. Don’t go too far or you’ll risk being mugged. Dig a little deeper and see how easy-going can lead to an acceptance of corruption. Put the good and the bad in a pot, stir it up, and you have a great setting for mysteries.

New Orleans also has numerous old houses in various states of repair, which makes it a perfect location for Claire Marshall whose vocation is the restoration of historic houses. Claire loves her adopted city, but she learns that its old houses hold secrets: hidden cupboards, ghosts, skeletons real and metaphoric. People have their secrets, too, things no one wants to talk about, and if you insist …  Well, you get the picture.

After three mysteries set in New Orleans, I wanted a change of scenery. Geary, NC cannot be found on any map, and the imaginary 700 miles that separate it from New Orleans are a chasm. Where New Orleans is a diverse and tolerant port city; Geary is small town Appalachia, homogenous and judgmental. The anonymity that is part of city living doesn’t exist in Geary, but there are things no one wants to talk about.

The new setting gets a new heroine. Older and wiser than Claire, Susan Randolph has been around the block. Her history includes a shotgun marriage to the scion of Geary’s first family, two sons, growing unhappiness, and a hasty departure. That was eleven years ago, and as far as Susan is concerned, Geary exists only in the past.  But then she sees Chris on television. The boy she left behind is now a young man, a suspect in a brutal double murder, and the object of an intensive manhunt.  Susan, who works for a criminal defense attorney in New York City, thinks she knows where Chris is hiding. She knows she can help him. Desperate for another chance to be a good mother, she returns to the town she hates.

I think the right setting adds color to a story, and some settings cry out for a story. Copper Hill TN and McCaysville GA, really one town divided by the state line, are calling to me. For almost a hundred years, they sat in a biological desert. Deforestation and copper smelting had created fifty square miles of eroded red clay and acid creeks where only man, the species that made the mess, could survive. Much has been written about the environmental devastation and the decades of reforestation efforts that, finally, is bringing back plants and animals. What interests me is the people who lived there.  Does such an extreme environment affect behavior?  I’m thinking the answer is yes, and one day I’ll set a book there. Meanwhile, the second installment of this blog will be a stranger-than-fiction true story from McCaysville.

***

Before she became a writer, Patricia Dusenbury was an economist and the author of numerous dry publications. She is hoping to atone by writing mystery stories that people read for pleasure. Her first book, A Perfect Victim, was named 2015’s best mystery by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. Book 2, Secrets, Lies & Homicide, is a finalist in the 2016 EPIC award and was a top ten finalist in the Preditors and Editors 2014 readers’ poll. Book 3, A House of Her Own, released in October 2015, completes the trilogy. It has been nominated for InD’tale’s RONE award. Pat’s newest book, Two Weeks in Geary, is a finalist for the Killer Nashville 2016 Claymore Award.

 

When she isn’t writing, Patricia is reading, gardening, hanging out with the grandkids, or exploring San Francisco, the fabulous city that is her new home

 

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

WHAT’S NEXT? How Adversity has Changed My Life By Nancy Cole Silverman

I started writing the Carol Childs Mysteries when I was bucked out of my previous life. That’s right, bucked. If I substituted the B in that word for another more suitable letter – namely the letter F – you may have a more accurate description of how I felt.

Yes, I was #%-ucked!

You see after a long career in radio, I had launched The Equestrian News, a southern California newspaper I founded for the horsey-set. At the time, I thought I was literally in my heyday. Pun intended. I was like a little kid at the barn. I was there every day, and when I wasn’t at the stable I was having so much fun writing and reporting on horse shows and the like, that I never dreamed I would one day want to be doing anything else.

That is, until the day my horse spooked and my world changed.

My bulletproof horse, who I thought would never do such a thing, was frightened by a tractor. No doubt he thought it was a dinosaur, and he took off with me. And when the horse you’re riding is better than seventeen hands I can tell you that’s scary. To make a long story short: He ran. I held on. He stopped. I didn’t. I ended up going over his head and nearly breaking my neck and losing my hand. Fortunately I didn’t, but two surgeries later, and after a year of very painful rehabilitation – not to mention being told by the doc I couldn’t ride again – I found myself staring at a computer keyboard and wondering, so what’s next?

Prior to my accident, I had spent nearly twenty-five years working for news and talk radio stations. I had done everything from commercial copywriting to news, and because I was always one of those lean-in type of gals, I retired as the general manager of a sports talk radio station here in Los Angeles. At the time, there were only two female general managers in the market. Some might say it was a feather in my cap. I like to say, it’s proof that God has a sense of humor.

So that’s my background. And as I stared at the keyboard, I knew one thing. Writers write what they know and nobody knew the inner workings of a radio station like I did. The stories behind the mic? The personalities? The political workings of a station? I could have fun with that. Plus, I didn’t think it was very likely I’d get bucked off my desk chair, and that had a lot of appeal.

What I wanted more than anything was to create a different type of female protagonists, one that was more brain than brawn and who believed a microphone was more powerful than a forty-five.

Thus, Carol Childs, a thirty-nine-year-old, single working mother of two, was born. At least on the page, and along with her boss, Tyler Hunt, a twenty-one-year-old whiz kid who considers her the World’s Oldest Cub Reporter, I had a built-in conflict. Something I felt most women could relate to.

How about you? What experiences have you had that lead you to where you are today and influenced your writing?

Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

The Music Never Stops by Sharla Shults

 

 a

As the Earth spins, music is in the making! Much like the rotation of the Earth never stops, music resounds every day, every night, naturally plus imaginatively. It, too, never stops. Whether captured within the sounds of nature, vocalized, strummed, instrumentalized or hummed, it is ever present. Its beginning is as old as time itself, its ending will come at the end of time.

Each Fa La La…Tra La Boom De Ay…Boom Boom ShaBoom…NaNa-Nana-NaNa… everything before and after, as well as everything in between resonates harmony. Have you ever thought where we would be without music? Can you imagine a world without melody? Even everyday occurrences carry musical tones. Where there is sound there is rhythm even from the clanging cogs of wheels definitely not ‘in pitch’.

Journeys through time can be fascinating, especially when it comes to the evolution of music. Diversity, as well as commonality, intrigues us. Take ‘beats’ for instance, the pulsations which give music its regular rhythmic pattern. Even the banging of pots and pans can be noteworthy! As with any musical composition, each note has a notevalue, or duration, (that is, how long the note should last). The duration of a note is counted in beats, i.e., a whole note lasts 4 beats, a half-note lasts 2 beats, a quarter note lasts 1 beat, etc. Patterns of a group of beats form measures. This, of course, is a very simplistic way of representing music but once the concept of measure and beats is clear, music through the centuries becomes all the more connected.

Music in the 21st century is up for grabs. Many songs from the 50s all the way through the 90s still remain popular. Of course, it was by way of the 20s, 30s and 40s whereby music evolved into a passion relative to survival as many listeners would so declare today. Not all music born with the times survives. But, with music comes freedom…freedom to enjoy listening to one’s preferred choice whether for the energetic vibes, relaxation or healing. What one perceives as music comes from within. What strikes the heartstrings of one may not even emit the tiniest spark for another. So diverse are music styles that only by experimenting with different genres can listeners discern for themselves what appeals, or does not appeal, to their particular tastes.

Have you ever taken the time to listen to musical hits year-by-year with focus on their evolution…changes, as well as similarities, in rhythmic patterns? What about the beat? Now is your chance. A video link is provided below offering you a journey through time with song snippets hit-by-hit of some of the popular tunes from 1890 to 2009. Understand this is put together by one individual so it is obvious neither all ‘hits’ nor all popular recording artists of the times made it into the video. That would be impossible in just under 15 minutes! It is interesting enough, however, how the music evolves rhythmically with the change in times and which are still considered popular today. Listen for the change in beat and the progression in rhythm.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaqokusDbbs

By the way, the concentration thus far has been on popular music. There is one type of music, however, that dates itself before medieval times, has outlived all genres finding itself still being performed by the best of the best musicians. This is not hip swinging boogie-woogie mainly associated with dancing nor your rappers who present a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted nor the ever-present rock ‘n’ roll. It is classical…that which goes much deeper, remains intrinsic, and is the foundation for all that is considered truly music!

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times… The music never stops! It keeps the sane man sane and lifts up the insane.

Sharla Lee Shults, author of inspirational and historical poetic writings – Echoes, Remembering and Awakenings – designed to awaken your thoughts and senses to echoes from the past as you remember discover and reflect.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

1966 by Bryan Murphy

 

1966

I recently returned to my home town, where I took my better half to see a local park in which I’d kicked a soccer ball around as a teenager. It took me a while to recognise the place–it is so much better now: the local authorities and teams of volunteers have managed both to conserve a stretch of wild countryside in an urban environment and to make it a civic amenity. This is truly shocking. We all know that things are supposed to get worse, that nothing can possibly be as good as it was when we were young, healthy and hopeful.

Fortunately, soccer exists to console the ageing English fan. On 30 July 1966, England won the World Cup by beating West Germany at Wembley Stadium, London.  Half a century later, England was humiliated at the European championships by Iceland. Since I was lucky enough to witness the former event at first hand, please join me for a little wallow in nostalgia.

1966

I have to fight to get time free
from a summer job at the Castle Hotel,
washing, cleaning and clerking
to be up here in London,

a provincial doing the Wembley walk:
cigarillo in mouth, rosette on jacket,
hand clutching the entry voucher
to a sliver of history.

Though the Cup has been won an hour,
only pigeons fill Trafalgar Square.
News travels slowly, ecstasy
has yet to light the English party spirit.

I ride the train home to a town dormant
between its shopping and its pubs,
flee, five years after, to the World
that gives the Cup its name.

Bryan Murphy welcomes visitors at http://www.bryanmurphy.eu . You can find his e-books here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts and several of his poems and flash fiction pieces here:  http://thecamelsaloon.blogspot.it/search/label/Bryan%20Murphy . Bryan is currently working on a novel set in Portugal in the 1970s.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

The One That Got Away A Novel by Bryan Murphy Part One

abc

The telephone buzzed.

Teased out of his dream, Amos stretched out an arm and lifted the receiver. He placed the plastic implement on the table, then turned his body to the warmth of his wife, who was stirring under the sheets.

An hour later, the alarm clock crowed. Without thinking, Amos thumbed the snooze button. When the clock crowed again, he sat up in bed, turned it off and slipped the phone’s receiver back into its cradle. At once, it buzzed. This time Amos picked up the receiver and waited. His free hand caressed the indentation his wife’s head had left in her pillow.

A once-familiar voice slipped into his ear.

“Laxenby?”

“Amos, Inspector. Or should I call you Jack now?”

“Please do. It’s been a while.”

“I’m sure I’ll recognise your voice just as easily in another three years’ time.”

“Amos, I regret having to say this, but we need you. Amos? Did you read those files I sent?”

“I read them but I didn’t enjoy them. I prefer fiction these days.”

“Amos, a case like this … frankly, it’s beyond us. It may be beyond you, too, but you’re our best chance of stopping a repeat of what happened. You can name your own terms for this one, Amos.”

“Jack, don’t ring me again. I’m going on a fishing trip. You won’t find me.”

Amos left the phone off the hook and embraced the new day.

Part Two

With the help of the old man who looked after it for him, Amos pushed the boat into the calm water. He heaved himself over the gunwale, stowed his fishing tackle more carefully, set the oars, and rowed out into the lagoon.

When his muscles told him that they had woken up, he stopped to cream his exposed skin ready for the rising sun. As he rinsed his hands, his mobile phone vibrated against his thigh. He pulled it out of his shorts pocket and accepted the call.

“Amos Laxenby, my name is Vincent Thannington. I work for Her Majesty’s Government. You remember the files Jack sent you, I’m sure. Well, there have been further developments in the case. Most unwelcome developments.”

“And you need my help.”

“We are counting on you.”

“Sorry. No can do. I’m fishing.”

“Mr Laxenby, you don’t seem to appreciate the urgency of the matter.”

“Why are you talking to me, not to someone from Jack’s crowd?”

“We believe there may be an international angle to the case. You have more contacts, longer experience and deeper knowledge.”

“Sorry. As I said, I’ve retired.”

“Mr Laxenby, your country needs you.”

“Mr Government, my family needs me more. And I need peace and quiet.”

Amos closed the phone and bowled it like a googly into the lagoon. He heard its light splash and watched its ripple weaken. The sky was still unlit. He turned his attention to starting the boat’s small outboard motor.

###

Epilogue

I walked into his house. There was no need to knock. I’d sent his wife out shopping earlier. The house was clean but it felt lived in. I rummaged through his music collection for a CD I could bear to listen to.

When Amos walked in, Django’s guitar work was nodding my head. I smiled at Amos’s expression but my fingers gripped the glass of his bourbon more firmly.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Bryan Murphy.”

“Let me guess. New York City Chief of Police?”

I shook my head.

“An IRA enforcer?”

I forced a laugh.

“No, Amos. I’m your author.”

“Oh, I see. Getting heavy, now, are we?”

“Not at all. Just tell me, please, why you’re not cooperating.”

“Like I told those chaps, I’ve retired.”

“That’s what you told them. But me? Why aren’t you cooperating with me?”

“Look, I’ve become an ageing family man who likes nothing better than pottering about on boats. That’s just how I like things.”

“Amos, really? I can give you a posher house, a bigger boat, a younger wife. Don’t look at me like that. I’ve always looked after you, haven’t I?”

“Bloody hell, you’ve put me through some rough times.”

“But I’ve got you out of every scrape, haven’t I?”

“In your own twisted way, I suppose you have.”

Amos limped to the sideboard and poured himself a tumbler of Bushmills. No ice.

“I don’t have to do that, Amos. I can always have you flayed alive, roasted, or forced to watch while your grandchildren – ”

“But you wouldn’t, would you?”

“I probably would not. However, I certainly could. Your life is in my hands.”

“In your head, not your hands. And since I’m no longer cooperating, it’s going to stay there. Suits me.”

We stared at each other, neither of us blinking.

 

The author

Bryan Murphy did his share of fishing in Portugal and Angola. Nowadays, he is more of an indoor guy. He welcomes visitors to his website at www.bryanmurphy.eu and you can find more of his fiction at viewAuthor.at/BryMu His second novel will be out this year. It is full length.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

Award Winning Strangely Different Short Stories

First there was Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road. These are strangely different MediumFrontCover.jpgmodern/literary stories meant to break the boundaries of the genre. Edited by Sassy Brit and C.C. Bye, it placed 4th in the P&E Readers Poll for anthologies in 2012

Then there wThe Speed of Dark Front Cover Beta Versionas The Speed of Dark. This is a collection of strangely different horror stories. It picked up eight awards, including an honourable mention in the 84th Annual Wrtiers’ Digest Writing Competition.

Today we are releasing a fine collection of strangely different, genre busting, western stories. The anthology, The Nettle Tree,  includes some of the authors from The Write Room Blog, as well as some fine talent from Canada, the U.S. and the UK. You can order your copy through Amazon or directlly from Chase Enterprises Publishing.

Front Cover

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Reddit