Grab Your Broom and Take A Discovery of Witches for a Spin

[Seaside Townee an avid traveler, reader, and boldly loves to go where no man has gone before asks "Have you read any good books lately?"]

Halloween has fallen upon us! This evening we will prepare for the onslaught of witches, goblins, and ghouls ringing at our doors. I for one will be stuffing my face with candy and enjoying the tradition of watching The Headless Horseman. One of my favorite movies of all time!

However, if you are in the mood for a fun Halloween read full of Vampires, Witches, and Daemons…May I suggest A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  It is a delightful book I picked-up this summer and could not put down!

It memorised me with its wicked spell! I howled, I bite a nail or two and had fallen in love with a mischievous Daemon by the end of the night!

Discovery of Witches is filled with rich history, a strong plot and characters that you will love to devour. It is a definite page turner that leaves you wanting more. Crack it open and let it place its magical spell on you!

Do you have a favorite Halloween read?

Wasting Away in Margaritaville

[Momma Be Thy Name serves up a daily dose of humor with her views on relationships, politics, and motherhood.  She asks "Where would you like to spend your retirement?"]

“A Margarita anyone?”

As I pour another one into my glass and serve up a plate of nachos to my friends.  We will lounge by my pool on our house over-looking the river. It will be my summer home. The place I retreat to spend time with friends and family. We will laugh, drink, and flaunt our cellulite heinies in our polka dot bikini’s laying in the sun. 

At the age of seventy my husband and I will hopefully be retired with a handful of grand kids visiting us on summer vacations. It will be our home that will welcome all of our family friends. Our bar will be well stocked with the proper necessities to keep the retirement party hopping tequila, lime, ice, and salt.

It is in the winter we will leave our splendid home and travel to unknown lands such Boca Raton. It is out of necessity we will need to escape the winter cold and keep enjoying the margaritas.

My cellulite can’t handle being pale and withered in goose bumps for a whole winter…

We will enjoy the high life of Boca Raton in our velour sweat suits  and visors! I will learn how to golf, play shuffle board, and take the fellas for all of their cash in late night games of poker.

The golden years will be my time to have fun in the sun!

How do you envision yourself when you retire?

If I Were a Cave Woman

[Nelle Writes is honing her craft as she toils away late nights on writing the perfect novel. She takes time away to share thoughts and snippets of her life on her stimulating blog posts. Nelle asks, "Can you share how your world would look if it were recreated in a Flintstone environment?"]

One of my only memories of the Flintstone’s is the sound of Fred hollering Wilma! If my husband felt the need to scream my name with such authority I would club him over the head, drag him over the mountain, and feed him to the mountain lion.  Afterall, he would be Neanderthal and wouldn’t know any better! 

If I were a cave woman I would not be living the Flintstone dream with the stone house, the rubble mobile, and all of the fine dining. I would not be so civilized or patient as Wilma.

I envision I would have a temperamental disposition,  a strange odor about me, scraggly hair, and a club for good measure.

My home would be the dirt floor of a cave with only a small fire to keep us warm. I would feed my children berries, leaves, and roots. The only comfort of the evening would be the kill of the day to fill our carnivorous bodies with nourishment.

I wouldn’t be thinking of the common woes of looking up at the glass ceiling, the rat race, and contemplating the next best diet late into the evening. I would be on the diet of survival and test of will to live until the next day.

My job would be to fend for myself and raise my feral children to use their brains when escaping the perils of the animal kingdom.  The comfort and security of home would be not even a memory. It would cease to exist. We would be the starting point of our evolution and defying the odds of natural selection.

The only difference in my cave world is I am equal to the man and am a necessity to his survival. It is my  ability to build fire, nurture our children, and work with other women to create an organized tribal society. The only question I ask as a cave woman looking into the future, Where and when did we lose our equality?

Do you have the answer?

A Traveling Calamity Clomping Along

[Brittany from the Shyness Project has been putting one foot in front of the other and stepping out of her shell. She has even braved toast masters!  I shiver at the thought of public - speaking! Brittany's one question is, " If you could write a book on any subject, what would it be about?]

A book. A non-fiction book. The stress! A book is much more stressful than a blog.  It takes patience, love, editing, getting kicked in the teeth, and holding  abated breath for a publisher to love it! I’m not sure I would ever have the courage to write a book, deal with the daunting task of query letters, and the countless rejections. 

The world has always been out there and I have always been keen to explore every inch of it. Curiosity has gotten me into trouble a time or two or three or four.

But it’s with humor you can shake off the toughest dilemmas and embrace the chaos.

If I had the courage I would write A book of collected essays from my previous travels called A Travelling Calamity Clomping Along.

It  would serve up essays with  such titles as “Voodoo 101: Know When You are Looking at Holy Spirits”,  “Switzerland has Sheep Fuckers” (yes I said that), “How to Throw a Graceful Left Hook while Shopping”, “The Knowledge of Golden Tequila”, and “Agile Roberto.”

Trouble finds me! Or maybe I find trouble! But I have a lot of fun on different journeys, skirted out of hairy situations, and enjoy life to the fullest on most days.

Now if only someone out there would pay me to go see it, write a book, and reap the benefits of travelling the world. I still have at least another six chapters to write…

If you could write on any topic what would it be?

A Conversation with the Headless Horseman

[Deborah Bryan of The Monster in Your Closet is always full of surprises! She serves up a daily doses of  inspiring thoughts and humor. Deb asks, "If you could have one minute with anyone living or ever having lived, who would that person be. What would you do with that one minute (assuming you opted to seize it)?" ]

As Halloween fast approaches  everyone wants the big story on ghosts, goblins, and unknown entities. I thought it would be the perfect time to take the plunge and brush-up on my interviewing skills.

It’s with luck that I made a pact with the underworld for one minute with the headless horseman. A dream come true! I wanted to get down to business and discover why he needed so many heads!

The underworld agreed to release him on the signed contract that I would supply them with candy from the living.

It was an easy enough deal – I just went to the local Wal-Mart and dropped a couple of bags of candy down the well. It was no sweat!

I followed the instructions from Death and waited in the opening of the hollow. I waited with such anticipation! I couldn’t believe my luck! I was going to meet a celebrity! And a celebrity ghost on top of that!

My handsome dark knight came out of the hollow through the fog striding on his horse. He was larger than life!  If only he had a head! He would have been quite dreamy…

As he rode up to me I  held back my breath and stepped out of his reach.

You can never be too careful with a hungry head hunter!

“Good Evening Sir!”

Heavy Grunts!

“What is that sir? I can’t hear you!”

Another heavy grunt!

“Sir I must say it is very difficult to speak without your head! Is that why you steal so many?”

He slams his fist against  the horse.

I  take the hint and back away slowly! ” Oh! I see sir!”

He gets off his horse, raising his sword,  ready to strike my head!

I duck! Jump out-of-the-way! And Scream! This is when I began to second guess my decision for a one minute conversation with the headless horseman. I think I may have even dropped my bottle of water on my pants!

I look-up and he  faded back into the fog.

I look at my hands and place them around my neck. “Phew! It’s still there!”

I guess that is the last time attempting to interview headless entities! Someone always wants a piece of something whether it be candy or body parts! Next time I make a deal with the dead I want to talk to Marilyn and get the whole story on the Kennedy affair. Now that would be a story!

If you had the chance to meet with a spirit who would it be?

The Long Walk Home

[Flying Gma is pursuing her life long dream of flying, has an amazing eye  for photography, and can wrestle a bathtub with one hand!  Jeanne asks, "What changes would you make in the second half of your life if once you got there it wasn’t what you thought it would be? Believe me it comes faster than you think it will…"]

I imagine the next half of my life will be a blur it will be like a worn movie  reel that fast forwards through time from present to the future. It will be the focus on the joys and pains of forgiveness. I am human. No matter how hard I try I will make mistakes. But how  I move forward from these mistakes will define the next chapter in my life.

The path I take will lead me down the unknown road. Life plans will be attempted, thwarted, and lost.  It is from these lows that will make me want to return home.

It will be a long cherished walk  providing time for reflection of the distant memories as each heavy step  propels me towards the future.

I will take the  Long Walk Home on the path that leads me  to embrace my loved ones and relish the next unknown chapter in my life. The return home will be my sunset on the horizon.

What is your sunset on the horizon?

The Frozen Scream

[Thoughts Appear is rationing for the Zombie apocalypse and I suspect she has a very large stockpile of Pop Tarts to sustain her through the madness. She also has a deep love for all things Halloween. She recommends to " write about Halloween: costumes, candy, scary stories."]

Mary was laying on the couch eating the last of the Halloween candy. It was getting late and it appeared no more goblins, witches, or ghouls would be knocking on her door. She finished reading her last blog post for the evening.

She had recently gained a new follower and couldn’t think of the words of disgust  to describe his last post. It almost made her mouth gag from the sadistic photos which appeared across her screen. It was the last thing she wanted to see or read before going to bed.

She thought when she clicked on The Devil Yearns for Your Soul. It would be the campy Halloween blogs she had grown to love. It was not! It was sheer horror!

As she walked up the stairs shaking off what she just saw thinking what if there was such thing as the devil.Would he be so cruel?  She felt  a cool breeze run up her spine and it was enough to confirm her answer.

She went into her room and  reached for her cashmere sweater.  She pulled it down over her tank top and realized it was going to be one of those cold sleepless nights.

The wind had picked up outside, as she peered outside her window she saw darkness and a shadow which seemed to be lingering from the lamp-post. It was her mind once again playing tricks on her. It was after all Halloween and the images she just saw were still extremely hard to shake from her mind.

She wandered back downstairs to shut off the lights and ensure the doors were locked. She sighed, You never know who could be roaming in the neighborhood on a night like tonight.

Mary slowly walked back up the stairs and stubbing her toe! She let out a loud curse! And hobbled into bed. It was at this point all she wanted sleep as she pulled the warm duvet  over her head.

It was several hours later a loud knock on the door slowly wrestled her out of her deep sleep.  She slowly opened her eyes, looked at the clock ,it was midnight, she let out a muffled curse, and attempted to roll out of bed.

As she tried to sit up she felt a tingling sensation and realized she could not move. Her whole body had retaliated against her and it was a dead weight.  She was pinned to the bed by her own body. She tried to scream for help but all she could do was moan. She was in the depths of a heavy sleep paralysis and she was helpless until it wore off.

She kept looking around the room as the knocks got louder and louder. Was someone in the house?  She began to coax her thoughts, Stay Calm! Stay  calm! Just stay calm and it will wear off!

She maintained calm for a second until her eyes were fixated on what was clutching her arms and standing above her. In the  blackness of the night all she could see was red eyes peering at her, chanting in tongues, and it’s touch burning her to the bone.

Mary attempted to move but all she could do is wither and open her mouth with a frozen scream as her soul was consumed by the darkness.  The devil crackled a laugh and whispered, “The Devil Yearns for Your Soul.”

Will he be coming for you next?  Do you have a favorite horror  or ghost story?

The Unknown Road

[T.  of "As Long  as I'm Singing" a rock n' roller with a good sense of humor who embraces his faith recently confessed he talks to his blog. It was a great relief to me that I was not the only one! T. asks "Would your life be any different, fundamentally, if you were the opposite sex of the one you are now?"]

As I look at the dishes in the kitchen, the garden that needs tending, and  the laundry piled in the basement. I sit and attempt to focus on my computer screen as two little widgets run about around the table, “Mom! Can we have a snack!”

I graciously grab the snack, send them outside, and try to regain my thoughts!  I sigh, where  was I going? Who am I? What would life be if I were a man? 

I reflect back, think of my early twenties, and retreat to my shelf examining the beat – up copy of Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. As  I gaze at the cover I dream I was traveling the open road with my knap sack never knowing the adventure that rambled around the corner.

Now that was the life and that was a man. If I was a man Dharma Bums would have been my bible. I would be the man without responsibility traveling down the unknown road.

I would rely only on my knapsack, a journal, and life free of responsibility. My quest to search for meaning, listening to jazz, and meeting a motley crew of characters along the way.

However, as a woman the freedom to hitchhike or hop a train eludes me.  The freedom of living the life carefree without concern of security, roaming the earth, and enjoying the fine mountain grass evades my presence.

It is the now that I look at the messy house, the weedy garden, and look to my children. I have a home full of warmth and love. It is this security that surrounds me with a warm  blanket.

It might not be the freedom of the open road but it keeps me grounded.  It is by staying grounded I learn that  life is about how you live it and embrace it. The open road will always be there to roam, characters will come and go, but to me there truly is no place like home.

Do you long for the open road? Or do believe there is no place like home?

Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Somtimes Help You Save Yourself

Love at First Bark is delightful novel by Julie Klam in which she introduces you to the life of three different characters Morris, Clemmie, and Jarhead. The story of each of these dogs has away of melting your heart.  It is the tale of each dog which reminds us why we must advocate for the dogs who have lost their best friend. 

The story of  Morris pulled at my heart-strings as Julie relentlessly attempts to find a placement home for lovable pit bull left tied to a sidewalk post on a hot summers day. It is her  fear of abandoning this dog in need is something I can relate to having been in the same shoes with my own dog.

We discovered her wandering in the front of  our house, no tags, no collar, it was as if she came to us, and chose her home. We took her around the neighborhood no one had ever seen her before, went to the local vet to see if there was a chip and there was nothing.

In the end, I had to take her to the pound and my heart was torn into a million little pieces. It was without thought or  fear I put my name down to adopt her if  no one would claim her within the next 7 -10 days. It was a week later I got a phone call from the city animal shelter and Sadie has become a warm part of our family.

Julie Klam’s novel Love at First Bark woofs up a delightful read reminding us that sometimes we need to take the lead  advocating for the strays who have no voice.  A dog is truly a mans best friend they have the ability to connect us with others and keep us company on the coldest of days.

Check-out the exciting discussions about Love at First Bark with BlogHer Book Club!

Have you ever adopted a pet? Did it become a welcome addition to your home?

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Does the Lion Ever Sleep?

[ Desi Valentine is  super mom! She sees no limits and pushes herself  to live life to the fullest! I would like to congratulate her on her next adventure as she makes the journey into grad school. Desi's one question is "If you were sleep walking while on safari in sub-Saharan Africa and happened awake near a watering hole where lions came often to stalk their prey, what would you do?"]

I woke-up from my slumber with sweat dripping down my back with the odd sensation of dirt under my feet. I opened my eyes slowly confused, looking up at the stars, glistening over the water hole, and then hear the sounds of tree branches crackling behind me. A bone chill runs down my back and I feel as if a silent killer is stalking me. I want to scream but am paralyzed with fear. I know there is no hero on a dark horse to rescue me from the clutches of the lion lurking behind me.

It is this paralyzing fear I feel each time I hear about the devastation in the Horn of Africa. The menacing lions are the corrupt governments and feuding gangs which have torn a nation’s such as Somalia from limb to limb. Men, women, and children are facing each day wondering if they will have access to clean water and food.

Somalia is battling one of the largest famines in decades.  It is just within recent weeks they have faced set back with torrential down pours and flooding making that much harder to supply clean water and food to millions of people. If I feel this paralyzed when I read the statistics and newspaper headlines. I can only imagine the daunting task relief agencies must face in the attempt to provide a helping hand.

It’s time for lion to lay down its head and allow for a helping hand to ease the devastation of the famine.MSNBC has compiled a list of relief agencies in East Africa who are battling this crisis on the front lines. It only takes a minute to check out the commendable work they are doing throughout such devastating crisis.

Do you feel over-whelmed when you read about the crisis in East Africa? What are the best ways  big or small in which we can contribute to making a difference in the world?