author, books, Cereal Authors, childrens stories, JD Holiday, parents, Teens, Truth, As Strange As Fiction, YA

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Betsy Wetsy

betsey wetseyThe Authors Words: Betsy Wetsy – The Back story for Simple Things by JD Holiday

The Christmas in 1956 a truck delivering gifts from the Spiegel catalog company caught fire on route to New Jersey the week before the holiday. My parents ordered the toys from it that year. Once informed by mail that the accident occurred my parents must have been in a panic. After all, they spent all the money they had allotted for Christmas on that order. But Spiegel, one of an American  direct order catalog company at that time founded in 1865, assured them they would make good on their delivery, even if some of the items would not be exactly what was ordered.

The Spiegel along with the Sears catalogs consisted of numerous pages devoted to toys for the Christmas season which us kids poured over from the time the catalogs arrived in the mail thorough the Christmas season until that wonderful Christmas morning. My parents, to make the excitement last for us, or maybe them, they liked sharing the season’s enthusiastic passion with us. For the whole month of November up until my parent acquire the expected toys would take us to the 2 or 3 local toy stores several times to observe the items we fancied. They would either go back and buy what we liked or order from either the or SEARS catalogs. I wanted the Betsy Wetsy doll that drink and wet, bottle and diapers included! The Betsy Wetsy dolls were originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It “drink-and-wet,” and was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post–World War II baby boom era.

We were about to get ready for bed Christmas eve when commotion began outside the single family home we rented in Totowa, New Jersey on the same block a the town cemetery. The surprise of this intrusion changed the nightly routine. The family was sitting around our living room as people did in the 1950s just to watch the beauty of our decorated and lit tree. The door bell rang to the front porch of the house. My father got up and went to look. “No one look out the window,” he commanded.

He was clearly expecting something to happen. We would learn much later that he and my mother were not so sure the toys would actually make it by truck from the companies headquarters in Chicago.

My father closed the door behind him as he went out onto the porch where muffled voices began followed by a lot of bumping and crashing sounds.

Our mother scurried to get us upstairs to our rooms and into bed leaving us children unsure of what was occurring.

Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see all the wonderful looking packages under the tree. That is until I ripped open the box to see my Betsy Wetsy doll. But it wasn’t her. It was a doll I haven’t seen before. I received a knockoff.

I cried throwing the baby doll to the floor, “It’s not her!”

But she’s a baby,” my father said, with a sympathetic facial expression for the rubber baby. He bent down and picked up the doll and rocked it while holding it tenderly.

I don’t want her. I want Betsy,” I told him.

But look. I think the baby’s hurt,” he said, mocking more sadness.

I looked over his arms to see the baby’s face. She didn’t seem to be hurt, but just so cute. I took her from him and hugged her. My Betsy. I was five.

©2018  J.D. Holiday https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

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author, books, Cereal Authors, Fantasy, Fiction, GENRES, humor, Literary, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel excerpt continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

 

Chapter One (cont’d)

***********************************************

After awaking in Gala’s bed with her cinnamon arms draped over him in a gentle entrapment, Keinigan had promised to get her the twenty silver by that afternoon. She let him slip out with sharp distrust in her black eyes, but he indeed did return within six hours, despite the gray rainfall that beleaguered the land.

He had proudly presented a small pouch of coins that she counted quickly in front of him. Keinigan felt offended at this show of cynicism before Gala reminded him of the last time she had taken his silver without checking it first. He conceded that she was better off counting it. She did not ask him where he had acquired the silver pents, and when she promptly turned back to the young human with whom she had been flirting as Keinigan entered, the fae realized that his time with her was concluded for now. He was free to go.

Which, he did with her rejection chafing him sorely. He had hoped to enjoy her favors once again before turning to the arduous task of finding more money.

He had borrowed the minor amount from Big Lukas, a local moneylender in the coastal region. Once the Slider Guild was paid, he had less than thirty hours in which to scrounge up twenty-five silver pents to pay Lukas.

The pent coin, so called because of its five, flat sides, was the most common monetary increment minted throughout the civilized lands on Jorthus. Silver was a rare mineral and, therefore, the base of the value system. The agreed upon value of a stamped coin was represented by its size, shape, and weight as well as the mineral from which it was made. As copper and gold were abundant, they were usually used for jewelry or smaller, round coinage. For higher increments of value, one would seek out either silver “pents” or gemstones. Gems were highly prized and held a steady value to all peoples on the world. If one was rich, it was easier to carry gemstones than bulky amounts of their stamped coin equivalent.

The interest that Big Lukas charged was exorbitant, and the faerlin planned to pay him back within one day, avoiding any accumulation. He also hoped that he would not have to work for it. Thus, the entire remainder of that day he sought out wealthy-looking patrons in the marketplace that had heavy pouches dangling from their belts in the hope that he would not have to think harder on the subject.

Life, as always, was not being kind to him. He detested manual labor and refused to beg, so he sought another way. Being left with enough to make one well-placed bet to try raising the full loan amount, Keinigan headed to the warehouses. He usually considered himself lucky at gambling. Not enough to make it a lucrative profession, but lucky enough to pick winners when he really needed them.

This night, his luck failed him.

The warehouse district of Eddermont, commonly known as The Dungs, was always teeming with some sort of game action, as well as questionable characters. Tonight, the bets were being exchanged on a number of large, long-furred rats. The seedy owners trapped, trained, and cared for the rodents. They would starve them for one day, and then race them along deep, narrow trenches that ran below the warehouse floor as drainage against flooding in that area. Several owners gained speed from them by hanging bits of food at the end of the trenches.

The rats skittered around inside their cages; a few were hungrily gnawing at the wooden bars encasing them. Keinigan looked them over. Choosing a sleek, muscular rat as his favorite, he placed his remaining money on the vermin. The odds would yield enough to pay back Lukas and have plenty to spare. This convinced him the Emmissars of Fortune were smiling on him at last.

Keinigan saw several familiar faces in The Dungs. Some he was glad to see again and some far less so. He was chatting with an eight-fingered thief from the lower end of town when he noticed a hooded person inspecting the cages. The tall, straight-shouldered figure seemed familiar to him; though, he could not have said a name or placed a face to it.

He did not give the cloaked figure any more thought at that time. It was only after the race — after he had lost all his money because a mangy, rotund rat considered unlikely to waddle, let alone win, had made a frenzied dash for the finish line — that Keinigan puzzled on how his luck had turned against him.

Many people lost or won money throughout the dark hours on many events, but only one individual walked away from that particular race with silver. Keinigan stood on the side of the trenches, stunned. Engulfed in angry shouts, he stared numbly at the exhausted rat as it collapsed at the end of the track, gasping. The little creature was not even eating its reward; it was simply lying on its side, beginning to spasm. Keinigan’s brow furrowed. Hunger had not driven that rat so furiously to win. Something else had. He stared at the animal as mumbling, cursing folk jostled him. Trying to see what would come of this odd behavior, his vision was continuously blocked.

Frustrated, Keinigan glanced over to the exit. He glimpsed the cloaked winner retreating by the far door. Two other figures also slipped out of the warehouse after it. Keinigan assumed that they were disgruntled gamblers bent on exacting a refund.

He turned back in time to see a heartbroken trainer carrying the limp, twitching body of the winning rat out of the race area. Keinigan did not call attention to the odd ailment of the rat or the fact that only one person had bet on it. He quietly decided to leave that information stored in his brain for a later time, as he had no idea how it had been accomplished. He could prove nothing.

Still, he decided to follow the winner’s path, morbidly curious if the other men would overtake the lucky gambler or not.

*******************************************************

The two “angry pursuers” had left an obvious track in the damp, sticky night, even though Keinigan slumped along without any real hope of overtaking the mysterious trio. He was mainly giving his mind time to deal with the reality that he was now broke again.

Following the trail into a dark passage, he stumbled over a soft object. With an irritated curse, he lifted himself out of the mud and froze. He smelled blood. At his feet was a body. Instinctively, he turned to run. As he did so, a fading warm glow outlined a second body propped against the alley wall. Both men had their throats slit, deeply. Warm blood spilt down their chests, into the mud, and formed a gory river that trickled into the shadows.

Keinigan got the distinct impression that neither of these dying humans was the winner in the dark cloak. He was also certain that they had not gotten their refunds.

Impulsively, he snagged a money pouch off the nearest one. It was sticky with fresh blood and desperately empty. The faerlin dropped it in revulsion. Steeling his nerves, and resisting his instinct to be gone from this scene of death, he crept closer to search their bodies. He promptly found it was a fruitless effort, for the being that had taken their lives had also cut their belt pouches open. A grating noise disturbed the end of the alley. He whirled about, snatching out his dagger in reflex. This was a bad place to be caught.

A cat fled a tumbling box; Keinigan’s heart skittered as quickly as the animal before he felt the chill stillness creep back into the alley. Looking at the paltry find from the pouches, he gave up the tracking game to mourn his loss in the safety of his inn room.

The rest of the night crept by with the shadows nagging him about the pitiful state of his affairs, which he had created by steadfastly honoring his life of crime. The nagging strangely reminded him of his mother; Keinigan responded by drinking the last of his redberry wine in order to drown it out.

Sleep began to take him, and as dawn broke over the corroded town of Eddermont, his reckoning came.

********************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, books, Cereal Authors, Uncategorized

Why You Should Read to Your Unborn Baby

 

Reading to your unborn baby brings many benefits – both for the parent and the baby. The relaxation and bonding you feel when you share reading time with your baby are undeniable. Did you know that, according to science, reading to a baby in the womb helps the baby develop early language learning?

It is well-known that reading helps with language development and word recognition in small children. It creates a positive bond between the child and the parent, providing a special unity feeling before bedtime. Knowing that all of these also apply to unborn babies in the womb gives you the ability to get a step ahead of bonding with your child, and preparing them for the outside world.

Let’s list the most important advantages of reading to your unborn baby:

Reading to Your Unborn Baby Might Make the Baby Smarter

The University of Oregon conducted a study during which they gave pregnant mothers a recording containing a made-up word which they would play to their baby near the end of pregnancy. After they were born, the babies were able to recognize the made-up word and some of its variations. They measured the neural signals the babies emitted to show that they realized the sounds of the fake word. The most cogent response came from the babies who heard the recording most frequently.

In conclusion, the study suggests that infant language learning begins before the baby is born.

Reading to Your Unborn Baby Reduces Maternal Stress

Many studies show reading to your baby in the womb causes the baby’s heart rate to drop, mainly when it’s coming from the mother’s soft, relaxing voice. Reading to your baby doesn’t only help the baby relax, it also helps reduce maternal stress. It will help you relax and slow down, and thoroughly enjoy the early fun moments of parenting and bonding with your child. Nothing reduces stress as much as happiness and love do.

Bonding With Your Unborn Baby Through Reading

Even while your baby is still in the womb, you can experience the bond that usually starts developing after the child is born. All that it takes is for mommy and daddy to read to their baby prenatally. Reading is also a fantastic way for other family members to bond with the baby.

Very often we get caught up in preparing for new life on the practical side, that we forget about the benefits of early attention to the child. Reading to your unborn baby builds a fantastic foundation for future loving relationships.

The Best Books For Your Unborn Baby

It is the process of prenatal reading that matters more than the type of book you choose. However, you apparently shouldn’t read a mystery novel or a thriller while trying to bond with your unborn baby. Reading to your baby should be relaxing and loving, and not stressful in any way. The best books to choose are classic children’s books with cheerful characters and exciting stories. Choose a traditional book or a contemporary, funny fairy tale – whichever you find more interesting. The important thing is to feel calm and loving during the reading process, and you can rest assured it will benefit both you and the baby.

Amanda M. Thrasher

 

author, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, JD Holiday, publishing, Teens, tweens, YA

Art Work, Simple Things by JD Holiday

Simple Things cover DONE Signed

© 2018 by JD Holiday

This is a painting I did for my latest book, Simple Things, a middle grade Christian based story.  It will be published by Dancing With Bear Publishing.

 Simple Things is about the Cameron children worried that they will not get the toys they asked for for Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even though her uncle said, “He was no good.” Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. But helping Trisha makes them realize that sometimes the lives of others are more important than their own interests, especially at Christmas time.

 

~ JD Holiday

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 16

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix and Deacon find Pete on top of the mountain. Deacon shows her his personal cloaking device. She provides a distraction, talking to Pete, while he moves into position. Fiddlestix fires at the cyber handler, only to find herself contained in the slow motion field.

Pete leaned in, careful not to be caught in the field himself. “Pretty,” he chuckled darkly. “Pretty, pretty lady. Very deadly, insubordinate. Macky doesn’t like you, nope, nope, nope! Wacky Macky doesn’t like interfering, fiddling Stix!”

With a mammoth effort, Fiddlestix tried to move her hand to fire at him. He was so close, she could smell his bad breath. But he wasn’t close enough to get caught in her field. Suddenly, Pete Livingston was shoved into her. Caught in the same slow motion field she was, he was at her mercy. Her cyber arm was able to move more quickly than the flesh and blood one. It wasn’t governed by the same parameters as the rest of her. Blade deployed, it slid slowly through his throat, severing his spine. Gurgling, Pete Livingston wilted to the ground, his blood spraying in long, slow motion arcs, bathing her from head to foot.

With a disorienting surge, time started moving right again. Deacon was at her side, Livingston’s computer in his hands. Grabbing her arm, he jerked her toward the clearing. There was, rather unexpectedly, a console in the middle surrounded by toadstools and wild flowers. Deacon placed his hands on the dome covering the control panel and it slid aside. Palm down, he placed it on a screen. A quick scan and she saw a row of yellow blinking lights gradually fade and go out.

“Your people are free again,” he said. “Contact them.”

“Diaz,” she bellowed.

“Yes, Master Sergeant!”

“Get to the Shine Clan compound. They need our help.”

Deacon was already talking to Jasper. “Hannah’s people are heading up the mountain now. They’re coming to help.”

“Get back here fast,” Jasper said abruptly. “It’s fixing to cut loose.”

“On my way.” Deacon held the device out to Fiddlestix. “Tell me you can use this,” he implored.

“I can’t, but Harmony can. He used to be a handler. What’s the fastest way back down?”

“The speediest elevator east of the Mississippi.”

He grinned, leading her to a large tree to the side of the clearing. The inside of the tree was hollow. There was a metal platform that hardly looked big enough for the two of them to stand on it. Deacon held her to him, hugging her close, heedless of the blood on her. As soon as they stepped on the platform, it started to drop.

Fiddlestix felt like she was going to vomit. Had the trip been any longer, she probably would have. It was over in less than thirty seconds. Ears ringing, she stumbled out of the shaft with Deacon in her wake. They were standing next to the room they’d started from earlier, at the junction of the tunnels leading to the east and west gates. They heard fighting behind them. A glance at the scanner showed that the cyber warriors were already at the east gate.

“Harmony!”

“Yo, Master Sergeant!”

“Got a job for you. Where are you?”

“East gate, Master Sergeant. We’re under attack.”

“Coming.”

Deacon nearly dragged her behind him as they ran along the hall. Harmony was waiting for them at the mouth of the tunnel. She thrust the scanner into his hands.

“What can you do with this?”

“Let me see.” He fiddled a moment with the controls, then smiled. “It’s responding. Get your console, Master Sergeant. We’ll take these boys out.”

Kaz’ console in her hands, she typed in the deactivation code. She followed Harmony to the gate. Cyber warriors were mowing down the Shine Clan soldiers, flattening them. The one doing the most damage slowed slightly, hitched and stopped moving. His gaze traveled to Fiddlestix and Harmony. Raising his weapon, he tried to fire, but froze. His companions surged him over, walking on top of him as they clambered up to the door. The second one in line faltered, hesitated and crashed onto its back. The third got a little further, but tripped on his downed companions before toppling over and rolling down the mountain a couple hundred yards before crashing into a tree.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

For More About Dellani

 

Dellani Oakes, Red River Radio Network, What's Write for Me

Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Karen & Scott! Tuesday, July 31 at 4PM EDT on Blog Talk Radio

Catch Us Live!

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It’s summertime and it’s HOT! In order to take our minds off how sweaty we are, I’ve got two really cool authors lined up to chat with us today.

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First up, alphabetically speaking, is Karen Vaughan is the author of the Laura and Gerry Mysteries, as well as Holmes in America and Dead Comic Standing. She is also a PA for authors, and a talk show host here on the Red River Radio Network. Welcome back, Karen. You’ve been here so often, I’ve lost track. It’s like a second home for you.

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Second is Scott Moses, author of the futuristic thriller Between Truth and Eternity and the hilariously thought provoking Fools of Parody. Welcome back, Scott! We’re so delighted to have you here for a second visit.

This show was originally scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, but I was ill. I’m better now, so away we go!

Listen in live, or catch it at your convenience.

Karen Vaughan Scott Moses What's Write for Me collage

 

author, books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

CHAPTER ONE (cont’d)

Keinigan watched the newcomers from behind the bar. They touched and whispered with a familiarity he identified, though seldom shared. Trying to appear nonchalant and busy himself about the bar, his eyes were continually brought back to the young woman. She was breathtaking. Light eyes, the color of amethyst, had ensnared him instantly. Her skin was cream, smooth and flawless, filling a slight yet curvaceous vessel. The openness in her expression made him want to defend her, please her. Follow her, anywhere.

He had no doubt that her traveling partner felt the same towards this magnificent lady. The companion, whom Keinigan could tell was most definitely male (even covered deep in a hooded cloak), did not leave her side for an instant.

The thief had considered assailing the pair once they left, so he could relieve his debt to Gala. But, as soon as the woman had unwrapped her veil with the graceful movements of a dancer, revealing a fall of fiery golden tresses down her back, Keinigan had forgotten all about the money. He thought of nothing but burying his face in those tender waves and taking in their sweet fragrance.

“You thinking of my forty silver, Keinigan?” Gala’s voice jolted him out of his fantasies. Her stare followed his, and she nodded to the two seated at the table. “Think they have that much?”

“You think me insane?” He whispered over the bar top, “Look at that man. I can’t tell his race, but he easily has three blades on him.”

“That are visible.” Gala chuckled at Keinigan’s discomfort.

“And take a look at that sword. He must be an ex-soldier. I am not about to die for forty figgin’ silver,” he stated before catching on to the number. Shooting a glare at her, he snagged her arm. “Hold on, I thought we had settled for twenty?”

“Well, either way, you had better start thinking of how you’re going to get it, smart guy. Time is wasting.” She tapped him on the head with the serving platter she was still holding.

“By the way,” Keinigan grinned. “You make a cute serving wench, Gala. Think you’ll get a big tip?”

“Laugh all you want, Keen. You’re going to be the scrub-boy,” she smirked back. Then she fell silent and serious again as she glanced at the couple.

“What?” Keinigan sensed that she was disturbed by something.

“Do you recognize him?” She gestured with her head towards the beautiful woman’s companion.

Keinigan shrugged. “I can’t get a good look at him with that hood on. Why? You know him?”

Gala shook her head. “His hands. They’re strange. And he keeps himself well hidden. I’ve been over there three times and still haven’t seen his face. I wonder who he is.”

Keinigan felt completely uninterested in the man. “Who cares?”

“By the color of that hood, I’d swear it was one of ol’ Cylas’s fingermen, but the fellow’s manners are too good. Plus, he doesn’t talk like a mercenary. He speaks very… well, fancy talk; you know, the way they talk at court.” She was not really speaking to Keinigan anymore and this put him off.

“Oh, yes, I am frequently at the courts, dancing, dining, and hobnobbing with all the town officials. I know exactly what you mean,” he babbled to himself.

Gala turned back to him, grinning at his jealousy. “Oh, you’re at court a lot, just not that kind of court. There’s a slight difference.”

Keinigan sneered at her jab.

She slid around to face him fully; a cat with a squirming mouse in its claws, her dark eyes watched him. “Back to the point of my money, then.”

Hanging his head, he raked a hand through his shaggy hair. He was hoping to get her onto a different subject, one that might lead to more pleasant positions and situations.

“I suppose I’ll hit the cockfights or The Dungs tomorrow. I can usually get a fair amount there.” He was feeling morose.

“Oh, Keinigan.” Gala was shaking her head, her eyes sad. “When are you going to stop living like this? You lose money faster than anyone else I know. You have got to get into a more stable line of work. Or, at least, stop getting caught,” she clucked sympathetically. “Why won’t you accept a steady guild status or tump in some other town? That would help. Don’t you have any money stored anywhere? Didn’t you save anything from when you were in the Northgate militia?”

His head snapped up at the name as if she had struck him. “Don’t open that wound again, Gala. You know I wasn’t paid. The only money I came away with was what I’d stolen from the militia’s looting. As a convict, I didn’t have the right to have money, remember?”

She apologized.

He stretched up tall, trying to settle his anger at the memories of his futile past. The young faerlin’s eyes fell again on the couple by the door. His keen ears had overheard the conversation about ports and a voyage. The man mentioned getting enough money for passage somewhere. Keinigan quickly calculated that it would be more than twenty silver pents. The possibility of robbing them surfaced again.

Then his eyes fell on the black scabbard hanging off the man’s thigh, and his ambitions died there. That weapon looked as if it was well used and he did not doubt that he would find out just what the blade of it looked like if he tangled with the man. Although he could not see much of the fellow, he sensed a disagreeable aura coming from him.

He pulled Gala close to him again. “You said that his hands were strange, how so?”

She held up her hands to illustrate her narrative.

“His nails are not flat like ours. They come out and down a bit, like talons almost. And they are a darkish gray.”

Keinigan’s brow creased in concentration. “Sounds familiar; though, I can’t remember where I’ve heard that kind of description before.”

“He’s not full-blood human,” she conceded. “Could he be part ogre? Or faerl?”

Keinigan looked offended at the comment. “The Fae don’t have claws, Gala.”

She shrugged the statement off. “Well, maybe I can get him to take that blasted hood off.”

Headed over to them again when the couple stood up, she paused. Having finished their meal, the man was tossing a few silver pieces on the table. The woman drew in close and, stretching up, embraced the man in a kiss. The hood slid back to reveal ashen skin, black hair, a striking face that was accented by piercing blue eyes, and tall, pointed ears.

Gala let out an involuntary purring noise and Keinigan did not care for its sensuality in the least. Admittedly, the man was good-looking, and any hope of stealing the red-haired woman’s affections away seemed faint suddenly.

Their kiss was cut short by Gala’s reaction. The man turned and bid them goodnight, pulling his hood close over his face again before swiftly helping the woman into her thin cloak.

They departed without another word.

****************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, books, Teens

SECRET CALCULATOR PHOTO VAULTS

As a parent of teens, I try to stay observant in regards to what my kids are doing with their devices and use of technology. As an author who has written a couple of award-winning YA books, I tend to research what teens are doing with technology period.

I want to be clear it’s not that I want to bust teens or even seem like a super mom, because I’m far from it, though like every other working mom we sure try our best to get it all done. My research is for the work that I do (my novels, fiction) to ensure the work has truth in it. I like to show the dangerous side of what can happen when teens aren’t careful with the technology that they have access to these days. I try to explain the dangers through my characters so teens have the opportunity to think about the consequences of their actions through someone else’s eyes. It never occurred to me I would stumble upon an application disguised as a calculator that kids, teens, and anyone else can hide their photos be it nudes, inappropriate videos, sexting, or whatever from whomever that they like in an app. called a Secret Calculator Photo Vault. 

These secret vault apps are also known as private photo apps. They can be disguised as calculators or games.
They look like any other app to someone like me, a parent that isn’t tech savvy and keeps an eye on teens but isn’t out to deceive anyone. They are designed to mimic a calculator or a game. In reality, they are a secret passageway to hide private photos and videos. Here’s what they look like (see photo) a calculator. All you have to do is search Secret Calculator Photo Vault from your App Store. There are hundreds of them. Assuming your teens aren’t sending nudes, drinking at parties, doing drugs, sexting, or having sex on video, you have nothing to worry about, but unfortunately, we know statistically that’s not the case. Plus, if these kids or anyone didn’t have something to hide there wouldn’t be a use for these apps. However, what if it’s not just about the teens? What about child pornography? This, for now, could be another way to hide horrific photos like that.

I’m not trying to say you have to invade your teen’s privacy continually. I’m just saying to be alert. These apps are designed to deceive and secrecy which could lead to teens making terrible decisions that ruin them later on in life. Nudes are often are revealed, shared, and of course, reputations destroyed.

And just when I thought we were out of the woods; should have known! Be safe and stay vigilant.

Amanda M. Thrasher

 

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 15 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAlthough they haven’t found Pete Livingston, Deacon thinks me might be at the top of Shine Peak. He takes Fiddlestix to the fire station so they can fly in via a two man flitter.

No questions, just instant response. No one knew what he was planning, but they didn’t second guess his orders. Fiddlestix had to admire that about him, as well as his people.

“We’ll fly in,” he told her. “Can you handle a two man flitter, Master Sergeant?”

“Rating ten, General.”

“Great. I’m only an eight. You fly.”

“As the general wishes,” she winked.

At the fire station, they ran up the steps of the fire tower. Saunders had a small, two man flitter set up and ready to go. The small ultralight looked like a skeletal bug, but it was fast, highly maneuverable and silent. They put on helmets and goggles and took off. Deacon showed her where to circle around and land on top of Shine Peak where they were less likely to be seen.

“If he’s in the room itself, he’s blind. No monitors work up there. If he’s outside, he can still be partially shielded. The scanners won’t work right there, not with all that power flowing through it.”

“What does that cloak do? My people disappeared. But even cloaked, they’d be able to hear me and respond.”

“They get held in a slow motion field. They won’t hear your voice until sometime next week.”

“What?”

“It’s like a stasis field, but takes less power to maintain and leaves less of a footprint.”

“I see,” but she really didn’t at all.

“You trust me, Hannah?”

Fiddlestix blinked. Did she? “Yes.”

“Good.” He kissed her and disappeared. He reappeared behind her. “Portable. Only a few of us have them. That’s how we snuck up on you in the woods.”

He took her hand firmly, pulling her close. He hit a button on his communicator and a shimmering wall surrounded them. She could see through it, but it was like the entire world had slowed down. They weren’t affected.

“How’d you do that?”

“Slight modification. We are cloaked, but can move. Don’t talk though. We’re invisible, not inaudible.”

Picking their path carefully, they approached the top of the mountain. In a small clearing, she saw Pete Livingston. He gazed intently at something in his hands, occasionally laughing slightly hysterically.

“I know you’re there, Hannah Braun. I know, know, know!” he giggled, turning in slow circles, looking for them. “Yes, yes. I know! Come out, come out wherever you are!” He pointed directly at them, eyes wide with maniacal glee.

Deacon said nothing. Walking in a slow arc, he moved to the other side of Livingston. Putting her finger to her lips, Fiddlestix let go of his hand. She immediately reappeared facing the psychotic handler.

“Look, look! There you are! I knew it! Can’t fool Pete. Nope, nope, nope!”

“I’m here to take you back, Pete. McLain’s plan has failed. We’re taking your men out.”

“Code’s not working anymore is it?” He giggled loudly. “Not anymore!” He teased, waving the small computer in his hands. Dancing around in a circle, he giggled again. “They’re almost to the doors now,” he sounded almost rational. “Very soon it will all be over. We’ll take the compound and kill them all off. Yes, we will! And you’ll be blamed! You’ll face court marshal, yes you will! Marshal court, court marshal! Then won’t you be sorry, sorry, sorry that you insulted General McLain! Because only he can save you!”

“I’m gonna kill you, Pete. I’ll end you. Right here, right now.”

“Nope, nope! Not gonna end like that. I’m gonna kill you!” He hopped and danced, chanting, “I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna kill you!”

Fiddlestix had enough. Grabbing her handgun from her belt, she fired at Pete’s head. Point blank range, the bullet never left her gun. She was slowed in a time field. Caught in the same cloak as her people, she could only stand there feeling like a fool, gun raised and ready.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel, Chapter 1 continued…

by R.L.Davis Hays

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Chapter 1 continues:

~~~

The Drunken Faery Tavern was nearly empty; the few lamps that burned gave a secretive light to the place. The stale smell of ale filled Lylith’s mind with images of dark deeds and careless laughter. It was the kind of tavern she imagined would appear in the tales she read; the sort of stories that always initiated some unknown youth into the dark paths of crime, only to have him save his ladylove at the end.

Alone, she would have never stepped foot into this little pub, yet with Lord Dharromar Weiss on her arm, she felt untouchable. Her new acquaintance bore an intensity that made most harm-doers back down without a second thought. The worn, leather scabbard and intricately carved hilt of his blade, resting with ease on his hip, made those that did give them a second thought turn away as well.

They sat at a small, scarred table near the door. Her companion kept his dark green hood drawn low over his stern face until a loud rumble from her belly caused him to smile.

“That hungry, m’lady?” he chuckled as they settled and signaled the barmaid. “We should have stopped sooner.”

Lylith smiled. “Pardon me. I suppose I am hungrier than I knew. My mind was rather occupied with other things before.”

They exchanged the secret smile of new lovers. Blushing, Lylith changed the subject when the waitress appeared beside them with two mugs and a plate of roast venison, the aroma prompting another internal growl. She asked Lord Weiss, “Will we reach the port soon?”

“There is a town a few leagues ahead where we can bed down for the night. Then, if we get an early start tomorrow, we should reach the port town of Nothshore by evening,” he answered after the food was on the table. The dark-skinned waitress withdrew sourly, appearing put out by the arrival of these latecomers.

Unable to resist the succulence, the young sengheir was quick to eat, but Lord Dharromar was silent for a long time, spurring Lylith to look up from her meal. He was watching her intently.

“Are you absolutely set on this course, m’lady?” he asked.

“Yes, I should think. I want to see this island. At least try. I’m not able to explain it other than to say that I feel compelled to go there.”

The gentleman nodded in understanding. “Then, we go.”

“Do not feel that you must accompany me, Dharromar –” Lylith began. He raised one pale hand to ward off her dismissal. She glanced at the candlelight reflecting on his gray, claw-like fingernails. It was captivating; they were one of his weird qualities that fascinated her, making her crave to know more about him.

“I have learned that it’s better not to argue with a magda on a course of action when they say that they are ‘compelled.’ Besides m’lady, the night we met I did promise my sword for your protection and myself as your guide. I never go back on my word. Without our word of honor, what are we but the Beasts of Chaos?” He shook his head and added, “No. I will accompany you to the ends of this world if I must. As long as you have need of me.”

She smiled gratefully. “I am glad. I have enjoyed your company these past few days. You have proved to be a most helpful guide. And, I cannot deny that you are most helpful in other ways, too.” She giggled as the memory of their first, passionate encounter flowed back into the forefront of her mind…

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She had traveled into the unfamiliar lands outside her home for less than a day when she sought refuge in a small, two-story inn that boasted the name of The Regal Lion, though its crippled and weathered boards hinted that it held the name from ages long past.

Rains swept over the landscape and night was quickly following. She knew she would be staying here until the morning. That was if the stained, thickset crowd inhabiting the tavern did not chase her back out into the downpour. The heavy, wooden door creaked shut behind her, causing all heads to swing towards the newcomer. She could feel their eyes crawling over her greedily.

With a mixture of natural interest and inexperience, she surveyed the room, meeting each pair of eyes one by one. Some fell away at her glance and returned to their mugs of ale; some leaned closer with perverse glee. Her skin felt sullied by these stares. Her heart began to tremble as she marveled at her audacity to attempt this trip alone and on foot.

Then her eyes fell on another individual, one that seemed wholly unique in this place. Dark blue eyes gleamed from the far side of the room, mimicking the color of tumultuous clouds etched by flaring moonlight. His lean frame lounged against a carved doorway which opened onto a staircase. His stare did not frighten her. It seared her, intrigued her. His lips held her gaze with a sly, inviting grin and trapped his thoughts inside. Modest, yet elegantly detailed clothes draped over his muscles, defining his shape rather than hiding it. The firelight caressed his pale skin and glinted across the smooth fall of hair that was as black as the deepest shadows in a nightmare.

The buzz of conversation resumed around the stuffy tavern, the other patrons fading back into their own business. She stood mute, pondering her next step. The fire popped and jumped in a short, stone hearth to her left. Tables, crowded with travel-worn patrons, filled the room before her and a line of hunched backs covered the bar that stood opposite the fireplace.

Neither hungry nor tired, she was simply seeking a safe haven. The tavern staff seemed busy with the room’s demands and she did not know the name of a single soul in this town. She felt very lost.

Her glance was drawn back to the man by the stairs. He had not moved. She felt a tingle run through her as she met his intense, knowing eyes again. He was merely leaning on the wall, his arms crossed over his broad chest comfortably, one booted foot cocked against the baseboard. But, his smile threatened to strip her dress from her skin, exposing and fulfilling all her wanton desires.

Her heart lurched; brushed by his fire. It seized a curiosity within that had consumed her for many years; the neglected lust for uninhibited adventure that propelled her dreams through restless nights. This man’s expression stoked that buried inferno, giving promise of its release.

He had nodded a friendly greeting. The shape of his face was most pleasing, framed by the ebony hair. There was something audacious about him. A dark radiance sparked deep within those sultry eyes, rimmed in their black lashes.

Perhaps lured by his savage beauty or because of the impudent confidence in his stance; either way, she had decided that making his acquaintance would surely prove most exciting.

Not knowing what was socially proper, and not really caring about convention, Lylith had walked straight up to him and asked why he smiled at her.

He did not react as one shocked by her behavior nor did he make any polite excuses. He had simply smiled broader, which revealed slight fangs, and stared deep into her large, violet eyes.

“I was imagining what you would look like on my bed, m’lady,” his resonant voice had purred.

“And where is your bed, sirra?” she had asked, aroused by his blatant comment.

One black eyebrow arched as he replied that it was upstairs, third door on the right.

She had nodded and given a mischievous grin. “All right, m’lord.”

With that, she walked straight up to his room. Her sense of adventure engaged, she was not one to play senseless games.

He had followed behind her after a brief moment of surprise and confusion, but the “introduction” that followed was, to her, quite remarkable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the brief reverie, Lylith found that she had been staring at Dharromar for quite some time. They were both silent. His smile was inquisitive and kind.

“Were you having pleasant thoughts, m’lady? You didn’t seem to be listening to me, so I stopped talking.”

“Oh, I am sorry.” Lylith laughed at herself. “I was just remembering how we met.”

They both grinned and, surprisingly, she saw him blush as he looked down at his plate.

“I will concede, m’lady, that is a most pleasing thought, but we do have the problem ahead of us of how to pay for the voyage. You, as you have said, have no funds to pull from and I cannot access mine this far west.”

Lylith shrugged. “I could use majiks to get us whatsoever money we need.”

Lord Dharromar shook his head and glanced around the bar. “No, no. Besides the fact that actions of that kind are illegal, we don’t want to wreak havoc upon the economic balance of a small port town. I can get the money needed. But, it will take a little time.”

“How long? Will we miss the ship?” Lylith’s voice had a strange distressed tone to it.

He glanced at her, concerned; then he shook his head. “I think not. The clouds gathering this evening foretell foul weather tomorrow. Possibly rain for a few days. I don’t think the ship will leave port in a storm. We have time.”

A playful thought came to her. She reached out to draw tiny circles on the back of his hand resting on the table. “Then we do not really need to get up early in the morning, do we?”

His warm fingers captured her slender hand and he brought it to his lips. The hot breath trickled down the flesh of her arm with intimate promises.

“I am your most humble servant, m’love,” he whispered.

******************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/