Sunday, November 10, 2013

...The Unveiling, and Our Day in Court





...following three months of construction, the family basement is finally resembling the image of an entertainment area worth boasting of.  

New flooring, new drywall, new plumbing in the bathroom, a fresh coat of paint, and a forest green sectional to wrap the room up nicely.  It cradled two adults, two teens, and two 'tweeners with room to spare for last evening's Saturday night flick ;)

Not pictured is my future desk area, which is still in the works...but getting there.  And yes, when complete, I'll most definitely share the goods.

I'll use the basement project as my excuse for not participating in this year's NaNo, but honestly that had nothing to do with it.  I've written some fine fodder under far greater duress in my days.  

Nope, the real reason for my NaNo NoShow was wrapped around November 6th, 7th, and the upcoming 12th.  For those are, and will be our days in court for the custody battle over that little boy who first visited our home at four days old...and thus far, remains under our roof.  

Regarding the first two days...testimony rolled on as expected, all witnesses arrived on time, cordially made their statements, and were duly thanked for their participation.  

My wife and I took the stand on day 1, were asked questions that we were expecting, and were prepared to answer.  

The highlight of the day, coming when my wife was on the stand... "can the little boy in question speak yet, at fourteen months old?"

"Yes, Ma'am, he's been talking for some time now."

"What are some of the words he can say?"

"Typical baby talk, mostly.  Dadda, Momma, Sissy, Bubba, Doggie, he meow's for kitty, and can say my son's name, Dylan, as well as you and I."

"When he says, Momma, or Dadda, who is he referring to?"

"My husband and I."

"If you were to be sitting in a room with the baby's birth parents, and he was asked to go to his mommy and daddy, who would he go to?"

"My husband and I," spoken without hesitation.

"Just one more question, Mrs. Grace.  If given the opportunity, is your family prepared to adopt the child in question?"

...deep breath, exhale.  "Absolutely.  We are all he knows, we'd be lost without each other..."

...the case will wrap up on Tuesday...I'll be in touch.

Thanks for reading ;)

El

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Busy Times, and another South of Charm Review...




...my apologies, dear friends, for my recent absence.  No, I have not been taken hostage by my co-workers, in hopes of thwarting my latest writing project, (which of course means an overall lack of sleep, and a zombie-like appearance at the office ;)  Nor have I been run over by an errant passer-by and left for dead like my tiger-striped feline from "South of Charm."  

Nope, all's well.  Just busy.  Very busy.  There's a basement renovation project currently in the works, which, when complete, will house my new writing spot, where, with a little luck, "Ollie" will be penned.  Pics will be forthcoming...

There's also a court battle under way.  Nothing illegal, but rather, justice residing over the possible permanent custody of a little boy who was placed in our care at four days old.  A bouncing thirteen month toddler these days, whose fate rests in the hands of our precarious child welfare system.  He calls her "Momma."  When I arrive home from work, I'm known as "Dadda."  For he knows no other.  When he places his hand in mine, he never questions why his skin is darker then my own.  He clings to us as if there would never be, and should never be, anyone else to reach for.  We're always there for him, and will be, as long as we're deemed able...

What I'm currently reading...



Thus far, another masterful performance by Roland Yeomans, in the ongoing Legend of Victor Standish series.  Well done, my friend.  I'll be leaving a review when complete. 


As for me...



Check out my latest review on "South of Charm," from Lu Ann Worley at Rockin' Book Reviews.  

http://www.rockinbookreviews.com/2013/09/10/south-of-charm-by-elliot-grace-book-review-by-lawonder10/

Thanks so much Lu, for your time and honesty!

So that's what I've been up to.  How about you?

Thanks for reading...

El ;)


       

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Things I've learned while at the Beach...




...I always find it interesting how the ins and outs of life slow to a crawl during visits to those enchanting, southern beach towns, both along the Gulf Coast, and the Atlantic seaboard.  

Those citizens who've managed to figure out a comfortable way of life along either coast, have also discovered the secret to an enjoyable life, even if it is a bit behind the times...which is not necessarily a bad thing.  

One can still rent VHS tapes at the local movie store.  Wifi is often accessible in the town coffee shop, or occasionally on the upper deck of one's rental, as the tide permits.  But only then.

Volkswagon vans still troll along Highway 17, rust free since 1963.  

When it rains on the coast, it really does pour, fearfully so.  And within minutes, the clouds move on, the sun returns, and all's well once again ;)

Something I'm curious about...the demand for local reading material along either side of the coast remains high, and not so much of the electronic variety.  Book stores in southern Florida and the Carolinas are a hot spot, their shelves stocked with actual books, some used, others hot off the press, smelling of ink, and bindings that creak when opened for the first time.  Lord, how I've missed that sound.  

Local writers are held in high regard, showing up at indie book stores for an afternoon signing and a cocktail, or three.  

Everything slows to an idle pace, where tourists are not only welcomed, but anticipated.  Smiles are addictive, which lead to glorious relaxation, forgetting those irritable to-do lists left miles behind, but waiting.

I realized how fun it is to shark fish in the Gulf...no worries, it was catch and release ;)

In spending a week with the kids, I learned during one rainy afternoon that Robin is no longer Bat Man's trusty sidekick, but is now a relatively tough dude on Teen Titans, having left the Dark Knight in the dust...(at least on Nickelodeon.) 

My wife and I realized that our youngest member of the family, the little boy we hope to soon adopt, not only loves the water, but is fearless of those choppy waves.  Swimming lessons are on the docket.  

And while relaxing, I had time to think.  To dream.  To create.  

An idea took shape, one that tickled my fancy during last year's vacation to the Carolina coast, and returned with a vengeance.  Something brewing over the past months that  I considered an interesting thought to remember, has now moved to the top of my list of projects, a story that demands attention.  

I call him "Ollie."  Last year he was just an interesting character.  He's now become a very special boy.  A foster child buried in the system, struggling for peace, when he discovers a gift that he's been granted.  Perhaps born with.  One that will change everything.  Everything...

I adore those coastal waters and the many gifts they offer.  Those of peace, and those of opportunity. 

Thanks for reading ;)

El

Friday, July 19, 2013

...Off the Grid





...sneaking off the grid for a bit, traveling South with the family for a little R & R in The Gulf.

And perhaps if I can work a little "Charm," there may be a southern-style book signing in the near future... 

I'll be back in a few weeks!

Happy Summer everyone ;) 

El


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mark Cooper's Independence Day...




...this past Wednesday, July 3rd, James David Myers, a convicted rapist serving a life sentence at the Mansfield Correctional Institute, (once the home of Andy DuFraine in The Shawshank Redemption,) celebrated his birthday by escaping from the prison and vanishing into the stormy evening.  

An all-points bulletin hit the airwaves shortly after.  

Because my home sits less than 30 minutes east of the prison, we took notice. 

A twenty-four hour manhunt for the escapee turned up no clues as to the whereabouts of Myers.  Many figured him to have departed the area, gaining as much distance from Ohio as possible.  

Only one day later, while many of us were celebrating our Independence Day with family & friends, James David Myers entered the Olivesburg General Store, a small locally owned market, eight miles north of the prison, and less than ten minutes from my home.  

He steps up to the counter, places a hand over his very own mugshot, taped to the glass only hours earlier, and asks the clerk to use the phone.  

Recognizing the escapee, the trembling store attendant hands Myers a cordless receiver.

At about the same time, Mark Cooper, his wife and son, enter the store and order ice-cream cones from the nearby freezer.  Mark notices a man talking on the phone a few feet away, considers his appearance, thinking that he's seen him somewhere before, then makes eye-contact with the attendant behind the counter.

Realization dawns...

Remaining calm, Cooper ushers his family outside, dials 911 on his cell, then instructs his wife and son to stay outside.  He fears that Myers may get away before the authorities can arrive.  He thinks, what if that were my wife or daughter behind that counter? 

Mark Cooper reenters the store, notices that Myers is no longer using the telephone, but remains at the counter, eyeing down the candy bars and packs of chewing gum.  Cooper, standing over six feet tall, tipping the scales at three hundred pounds, and wearing a shirt donned in our country's stars & stripes, walks past Myers, hesitates, then grabs the escapee from behind, locks his arms into a full nelson, and pins him to the floor.

There they wait until the police arrive, guns drawn.  

In the time it took them to get there, really no more than five minutes give or take, their job had already been done for them. 

They found James David Myers tied up in banding wire, and held down under the weight of Mark Cooper, left with no choice but to stare at a United States flag until being escorted back to his cell in Mansfield.

Now that's what I call, being a Patriot on Independence Day ;)

Thanks for reading, 

El     

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

...A Passage that would Change Everything



...this past weekend my oldest son and I attended a local musical competition known as The Battle of the Bands.  As the title proclaims, musicians from around the area, some from across the state, others peddling in from down the block, meet up at the fair grounds for a winner take all concert.  

The concept...play four or five of your very best songs, offering musical  sustenance to an impatient audience baking under clear skies, for a chance at winning some free recording time, their best tune played on the local radio station, and an hour long concert during the yearly Octoberfest.  

For an unknown artist of the lyrical tune, this is playoff time.

My son and I sat toward the back of the grandstand, enjoying a taste of local flavor, occasionally offering support, at times yearning for the chorus to end.

Nearing the conclusion of the show, our true reason for being there ambled onto the stage.

I leaned toward my son, who'd never heard them play.  "You're in for a treat."

Musical group Reddy Freddy, three brothers and their enthusiastic drummer, all born and bred less than a mile from the stage they now stood upon, eased into their first song.  

I'm a fan of Reddy Freddy, have mentioned them in previous posts, and spend my days in a cubicle, (when not on the road), sharing thoughts and ideas with their base player.

The crowd, restless after endearing twenty minutes of bad karaoke, grew still, thinking perhaps they were listening to Dave Matthews, or Jack Johnson, as opposed to a group of fellas from across town.

Each song garnered wild applause.  When they finished up their time in the spotlight with their best hit, "DNA," every last soul in attendance was on their feet.

Playing only their own work, Reddy Freddy swept the competition and took first place.  Perhaps I'm biased, but in the end it really wasn't even close.

When I introduced my son to the band members, including the talented base player who, during normal business hours, shares an office with yours truly, the first question out of my boy's mouth proved a bit forward, but nonetheless worthy of discussion.

"Why are you guys still playing for pennies around here, and not on tour with The Lumineers?"

The answer was really quite simple.  "Because that ONE person hasn't heard us just yet."  He then leaned forward, as if about to offer my son the secret to tuning a guitar in less time than it takes to slap together a ham 'n cheese on rye, and said, "But I'm pretty sure he will...some day."

That conversation between my son, and my musical pal from the neighboring cubicle, has stuck with me since.  

When it's all said and done, musicians and writers are very much alike.  Starving artists from opposing branches, yet stemming from the same thick trunk.  So much talent, all those dreams, each of us waiting around for that ONE person that'll change everything.

And from there, an idea struck.

What if, say...Stephen King were to somehow get a copy of my novel, South of Charm?  And what if he were to be so cool as to read a passage of Charm on YouTube, perhaps even the first few pages of chapter 36, my personal favorite?

And what if that simple download, just a guy reading a story, were to earn a hundred thousand hits during its infancy?

What then?

All it would take is one person to change everything.

Just one.

Pass it on... 


You can listen to Reddy Freddy's "DNA" on the link below...
     http://reddyfreddy.bandcamp.com/track/dna

And in case you're interested in reading Chapter 36 from South of Charm...
http://www.amazon.com/South-Charm-Novel-Elliot-Grace/dp/1590983637/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372298367&sr=8-1&keywords=south+of+charm+by+elliot+grace

Thanks for reading ;)

El

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Claude Anet's "Ariane"



...while sorting through dusty boxes and the long forgotten relics left behind from my wife's recently passed mother, I pulled from the corner of the attic, a treasured classic.

"...A sky of almost oriental crystal, a lovely clear, luminous sky, blue as a Nichapore turquoise, hung over the houses and gardens of the still sleeping city.  In the dawn and its silence, one caught only the call of the swallows pursuing each other across the roofs and the acacia branches, the luscious cooing of a dove on the tree-top, and far away, the harsh creak of the axles of a country cart approaching main street and the most fashionable of the town..."

Upon my first encounter with Ariane, I found myself enchanted with Anet's prose, a slower pace of poetic beauty.  Almost mystical penmanship, shared with the world during a time of most proper technique.

I vowed to improve upon my writing, yearning to one day pen such admirable  prose.  

...still working on it, but someday perhaps ;)

An Amazon search estimates the book's value at $49.95, this copy in particular, from the early 1920's.  

I figure we'll be hanging onto this gem a bit longer.

Thanks for reading,

El 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Awareness...




...here's what I know.

At the age of five, a girl is taken from her mother, deemed unfit to raise her child.  Mother suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, often seen ranting about on the front stoop.  Neighbors complain to the authorities of her lewd behavior, tossing dirty laundry out of her second story window, screaming at alarmed families venturing by her residence at night.

She refuses her medication, arguing that it makes her sleepy.  Fights a court order to be hospitalized, and manages to scrape by, mentally unstable, yet savvy enough to live off her neighbors's tax dollars.

The young girl is placed in a foster home, her mother declared unable to ever care for her daughter for the remainder of her childhood.  

The courts however, allow weekly visits to continue, despite terminating mother's parental rights.

This act alone dissuades any potential adoptive parents from offering the girl a chance at a real family.

Years drag on like grass clippings in a weary breeze.  The girl ages to a teenager, bounces around from one home to the next, settling in, moving out...and continues to visit her mother.

At fifteen, she finds a family willing to adopt, on one condition.  No more visits with the birth mother.

Mother hires a lawyer, goes to court, and wins.  Visitations continue.  

The girl lets her grades slide.  Begins acting out in school, getting into fights, facing suspension.  She tells her foster parents that she can't control herself, that she feels "crazy" at times.  She tries to run away...is caught, demands to be moved, blows out of another home three months later...

A year limps by, and the girl now resides in a therapeutic home, doors locked at night from the outside, constant supervision, no time for play.

And the visits with Mom continue...

...I know of a young boy, three at the time, who is taken into care after his father beats him to a pulp for waking him up one night with a belly ache.

The boy spends two years in care, settling in with a family who adores him, yearn to have him as their son.  They push Children's Services to fight for full custody.  Hire their own lawyer, wage a custody battle with a set of birth parents struggling to sober up, to keep a job, to maintain a residence...and lose.

The boy is returned to his birth parents.

Three months later the boy is beat to death by his father, who now sits in prison.  

I wonder if he ever thinks of his son...while he sits there, thinking.

...here's what I believe.

...in this world we live in, the majority of  females, regardless of species, is at some point in their life, capable of reproduction.  Gifted with the ability to create life.

Where we as a society continue to fail, is in the belief of motherhood.  Giving birth to a child does not make one a mother.  The title of Motherhood is a noble accomplishment...one that is earned, not granted.    

When will we learn?  When?

El

 http://www.amazon.com/South-Charm-A-Novel-ebook/dp/B005DJ945A/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_4_JED2

http://www.amazon.com/The-Fall-ebook/dp/B00AZBIM68/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_2_CA7M

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

...are you Reddy Freddy?





...as is the case every Spring, the calendar bulges from the seams with to do lists and endless tasks, leaving only minutes at a time, like loose change jingling in one's pocket, for working on the next project.

When those precious moments do arise, the playlist I turn to for inspiration is locked and loaded with the usual suspects... 

Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Muse and the like.  A steady beat, some lyrical drawl, a steady tap tap tapping to the rhythm of fingertips on keys.

...and then there's these guys.

Reddy Freddy is a local band, their bass player and I are in neighboring cubicles at the day job, the two of us yearning for a little something more...just that one big hit.

I've added their latest release to my playlist, and considering it's mellow soul, thought perhaps my peers may want to do the same.

Give it a listen...Reddy Freddy with their latest hit, "DNA."

http://reddyfreddy.bandcamp.com/track/dna

Enjoy ;)

El

Monday, May 13, 2013

...an Interview with Donna


...hey guys, I'm visiting with Donna Hole today, talkin' about The Fall and all things in and about the world of publication.

Hop on over & check it out!

http://donnahole.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-fall-by-elliot-grace.html

El

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Releases!



...doubling up on this week's announcements, two pals of mine, and talented storytellers, Donna Hosie and Nicki Elson, are debuting their newest releases.  

Check it out!


Donna Hosie released the cover of, "The Spirit of Nimue," the final chapter in her Return to Camelot series.  Her Amazon release date is scheduled for May 31st.  

BLURB

THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy concludes in THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE.

Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, have removed the magical darkness that had fallen over the land of Logres.

But all actions have consequences.

Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, is now a sworn enemy. Natasha realises that the only way the land of Logres will truly be at peace is if the sorceress is removed forever. So with her beloved Sir Bedivere, the feisty Guinevere, and a trusty brethren of knights, Natasha plots to free Logres from the malevolence of Nimue once and for all.

Yet Arthur also has problems. Now a father to Mila, he starts to witness a terrifying change over his girlfriend, Samantha, as she struggles to contain the awakened powers of Morgana.

With dark magic coming at them from all sides, Natasha and Arthur decide to make use of the Falls of Merlin: a mystical landscape of waterfalls that connects 21st century England with the mystical world they fell into. A place that does not exist in the future.

And by the end, they will know why.

As Natasha finally discovers the truth about her past link to Logres a tragedy will strike at her very heart. Can Arthur get his young family back to the 21st century and still continue to be the king that Logres demands he be? What is the secret that Sir Gareth has been hiding all this time? 

And who is the true owner of Excalibur?


THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE is released on Amazon on the 31 May 2013. It is the final book in THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy. 

AMAZON.COM
http://www.amazon.com/Donna-Hosie/e/B00A49AN7M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


Nicki Elson's latest, "Divine Temptation," is currently available on Amazon...

Maggie Brock has everything under control. Even her divorce, though painful at the time, only registers as a minor blip in her carefully constructed universe. Her life in Prairie Oaks has once again returned to a smooth, predictable pace...until an angel shows up in her bedroom. The angel is just as bewildered as Maggie about why he's been sent to her, but their unsuccessful efforts to gain understanding of the mystery fade to the background as their relationship grows. Soon, Maggie's biggest problem becomes the angel himself, as her feelings for him develop into something less than saintly. While Maggie struggles to keep her desires pure, a nefarious being lurks in the shadows of Prairie Oaks, watching and waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his ambiguous purpose. Preying on her conflicted emotions, the demon manipulates her at every opportunity, but the one to deliver Maggie directly into his hands is the last person she'd expect.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1623420083/ref=pe_174270_28914430_nrn_lm

Congrats to both Donna and Nicki on their latest releases ;)

El

Sunday, April 28, 2013

...Spillin' the Goods for the Liebster Award ;)




...dear friend and fellow writer, Nicki Elson, recently tagged me with the honorable Liebster Blog Award, (German for sweetheart, beloved person.  Nicki, the world needs more like you ;)

The rules are simple, offer 11 fun facts about yourself, answer 11 questions provided by Nicki, pass the award on to 11 blogger pals, answering 11 new questions from yours truly.  

Alrighty then!

11 Facts...

1) I'm a father of three, married for 19 years...but after surviving the first ten, who's counting ;)

2) My wife and I are licensed foster parents, currently with a little boy who was delivered to us when he was four days old.  (He's now 8 months, and doing quite well.)

3) Once, while eating dinner at Outback Steakhouse with my wife, I recognized an award-winning author sitting at the table next to us, sharing a meal with a loved one, (whom I'm quite sure was not his wife.)  Nope, never said a word to him.

4) Having suffered through the discomfort of either breaking or jamming nearly every finger on both hands from my playing days in high school, writing for long periods of time can get interesting when arthritis sets in.

5) A friend of mine once paid me a handsome sum to write a letter of admittance for him, that he attached to a college application...and was accepted.

6) That friend is now the manager of a successful sports bar in Cincinnati.  He owes me a drink.

7) While my family resides in the Buckeye state, I'm formerly from Sarasota, Florida.

8) I'm an avid bookworm, having devoured such monsters as The Stand, It, and Terry Brook's entire Shannara series by the time I'd hit my teenage years.

9) My twelve year old son won a bet by sinking a half-court jump shot, and causing his sixteen year old brother and three of his friends to walk through town in nothing but their skivvies.  Great shot, kid!

10) I positively love movies by Quentin Tarantino, and novels that are too heavy to carry with one hand.

11) I once saw a ghost, a pair of them actually, just as clearly as watching one's next door neighbor pushing a lawn mower through tall grass, and have sworn to write a story about it...some day.

Questions from Nicki...

1) Les Mis, or Sweeney Todd?
     -Les Mis

2)  If you were a comic book super-hero, what would your name be?
     -The Typist

3) What are the toppings on your dream hamburger?
     -mushrooms, onions, pepper jack cheese, and mayo

4) What city (that you've never visited), do you most want to visit?
     -Melbourne, Australia

5) Favorite city that you have visited?
     -Savannah, Georgia

6) Which Disney character is most like you?
     -Rafiki 

7) Why? (from Q6)
     -He's a wise old coot with all the right answers ;)

8) Would you rather write a book that's a best seller, or one that's highly acclaimed?
     -Highly acclaimed

9) What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to grammatical mistakes in a published book?
     -Making the same mistake more than once. (Once is forgivable, twice...nope)

10) If you could live permanently in any decade, which would it be?
     -Eighties

11) Who's your favorite fictional romantic couple?
     -Mulder & Scully 


...and now, my 11 Blogger pals, tag, you're it!

and your questions are...
1) What is your favorite genre to read?
2) Pizza or pasta?
3) If you were to be stranded on an island and could choose one book to take with you, which would you choose?
4) If you could choose to have dinner with one writer, in order to pick his/her brain, who would you choose?
5) Who is your choice of musician for inspiration while writing?
6) The Walking Dead, or Breaking Bad?
7) If you could choose an actor to play the part of lead role in your book, who would it be?
8) Do you prefer writing in the a.m or p.m?
9) What is your best antidote for writer's block?
10) When going on vacation...drive or fly?
11) Name the city that tops your bucket list to visit.

Enjoy!

El ;) 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

3 Year's since the Gulf Spill...



...in remembrance of the oil spill that left our Gulf Coast in ruins, and in honor of its recovery, I've republished, "Poisoning the Gulf," a short that I penned with heavy heart, following the disaster.  

Enjoy, and never forget...

El





A rogue pelican flutters thirty feet above the coastline bordering Louisiana's southern peninsula. No longer capable of spreading its wings to their full width, its movements appear awkward, its trajectory tilted as if the bird were attempting to fly at a ninety degree angle.


It hitches a ride on an ocean breeze, the winds pushing the incoming tide toward the deserted shoreline.


Lowering its body to a foot or two above the rolling waves, the bird dips its head into the water as it veers into a glide. Submerged no more than a second, then rising, struggling to gain altitude.


Its bucket-shaped bill, designed for scooping unsuspecting fish from the ocean's current, has captured only a mouthful of sludge, which slowly drains from either side of its mouth like a busted sewer pipe. Rotting sewage returning to its basin to ferment under a bayou heatwave.


The pelican hasn't fed in a week. While fish dot the water's surface in vast numbers, their silver scales resembling diamonds sparkling in a field of tar, they're floating with the tide, lost to the poison. The few survivors have gone deep, in search of an ocean free of disease.


A filmy layer of mucus blocks the pelican's vision, allowing it access to a world gone black, through a line of sight the size of a pinhole. And of course there's the added weight to consider. With every plummet to the water in search of food, a fresh veil of oil coats the bird's already failing wings. Unlike salt-water, the poison refuses to filter through the its feathers, but instead clings to anything within reach, forming a mold, slowly enveloping its victim like a spider's web.


Hunger pains grab the bird's spine and clench. It calls out for assistance, but finds none. It is the last surviving member of its flock. And the weight continues to push downward to where the black sea awaits.


We've plundered our world's resources, pierced its core and released the bile within. It rose to the surface, its tentacles reaching for our shores, choking the life of every living soul in its path. A mass of slimy filth, polluting our ecosystem, turning our once green waters to mud. And all for a population bent on moving faster, on keeping our food colder, and our water warmer.


The Gulf lies in ruin. A sea of tar. Waves of poison splashing ashore and tainting our sands to a gelatinous ooze. The underbelly of our planet's core. A multitude of seaborne bodies floating atop an ocean dying, its curse spreading further with the current.


And unnoticed to anyone but the dead or dying, a once majestic bird, now nothing more than hollow bones wrapped in soot, releases a final screech before plummeting from the skies to its floating grave below. Swallowed up by the poisons set free by those held in charge of sustaining our planet.


Us.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

...Words from the Recovery Room



...the following conversation was shared between my son and I from the Cleveland Clinic recovery room, shortly after awakening from successful knee surgery.  (Keep in mind, the young man was still climbing out of a sedative buzz ;) 

"Hi Boo, how ya feeling?"

"Hi Dad.  Your face is blurry."

"Do you want to go back to sleep for a few minutes?"

"Why?  Is it bedtime?"

"No.  But if you need to close your eyes to keep the room from spinning, you can."

"Is my knee fixed now?"

I smiled.  "The doc says you'll make a full recovery."

"So I can still make it to the NBA?  Maybe play ball with Kyrie Irving?"

"Well Boo, going pro takes a ton of effort and a whole lotta talent, but who knows?"  

The twelve year old closed his eyes a moment, considering his future, releasing a breath.  Then, "I was pretty nervous before surgery." 

"I know.  That's okay."

"Thought I was going to puke."

"Well, you didn't, so that's..."

"Hey Dad."

I giggled, the boy's thoughts now gaining speed.  "Yeah?"

"Did I remember to say thank you to the doctor?"

"For what?"

"For fixing my knee."

"Well, I don't know.  But you'll have a chance later."

"Okay.  Hey Dad?"

"Yeah?"

"How long will I be on crutches?"

"At least a month, maybe more.  It depends on..."

"Oh yeah, I forgot.  But what do I do when I have to take a poop?"

"We'll figure that out.  It'll be interesting."

"Maybe I'll just hold it."

"For a month?"

He shook his head.  "Yeah, that would be tough.  Hey Dad?"

"Yeah Boo?"

"I can't wait to play ball again."

"Me too."

"I think I'm going to close my eyes for a couple of minutes.  Is that okay?"

"That's fine.  I'll be here when you wake up."

"Don't let me forget to thank the doctor."

"Okay, son."

"He Dad?"

"Yeah?"

"Can we get ice cream later?"

"Absolutely.  Maybe even some for the doctor."

"Okay.  I'll ask him what flavor he wants when I thank him for fixing my knee."


"Sounds good."

"Don't let me forget to thank him, okay Dad?"

"I wouldn't dare forget..."


...happy to report that he's doing quite well.  And yes, he thanked the doc for fixing his knee ;)

El


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"History's Conspiracy"




...someone apparently offered Glenn Beck their favorite wooden spoon just prior to taking the air a few days ago, along with the following advice, "Stir the pot, Glenn, my boy.  Stir the pot and watch those ratings soar!" 

Without Hollywood's cosmetic additives, Moroccan actor, Mehdi Ouzaani looks nothing like our Commander in Chief.  Throw in some special affects however, and the History Channel's version of satan in their highly acclaimed series, The Bible, has many accusing the cable network of wrong doing.

The show's producer, Mark Burnett, has denied the accusation, calling it utter foolishness.  The History Channel's take on the subject..."we have the utmost respect for President Obama, and it's unfortunate how someone has made the false accusation."

The show really is fascinating.  A series of epic proportions, with ratings currently shattering the competition.  

As for the resemblance...opinions remain widespread.  Ask a strict Republican on their thoughts, and you'll receive their version of history in biblical terms, armed with enough drama to cause hair loss.  Ask a Democrat, and you'll  get something entirely different.

How about some opinions from fellow storytellers?  What's your take on the conspiracy?  Was it all just a coincidence, or something more? 

Thanks for reading ;)

El

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In honor of our loss...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEi7GPkxfsE

El

To a dear lady...


...our family lost a dear lady this past weekend, leaving us at far too young an age.

She was a grandmother, a wife, and a friend for many years.

She not only inspired the completion of South of Charm, but helped out in every aspect of the process.  We are indebted to her...she will be missed.

In honor of her passing, I'm posting one of her favorites.

Enjoy...

El

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Game Day!



...I'm taking a break from touting The Fall & South of Charm this week in order to gear up for my son's tournament on the ball court.  Big game on Saturday vs. my alma mater, and a game on Sunday afternoon that will make or break our season.  

Therefore, in honor of his upcoming competition, I'm re-posting "Game Day," a short that I penned a year ago, stealing a few minutes that I shared with my son just prior to tip off.  

(Blogger has a tendency to misbehave when I republish past stories, so let's keep our fingers crossed ;)

Enjoy!





...Saturday afternoon. On the road. Game day.

Despite the sun's distant grin, the recent freeze has resulted in an ice-packed layer of crust holding firm to our corner of the world. But the roads are clear, the traffic steady, the car's heater keeping the frost at bay.

Aside from the purr of tires, the world has offered us a moment of peace.

Glancing into the rear view mirror, I spot my son in the back seat, head tilted, eyes focused on the passing scenery. But yet, not really.

His gaze seems to follow a row of naked elms as we cruise by, but if I were to ask him which one stood the tallest, he could offer me no more than a shrug. For while his eyes are aimed at the snow-covered landscape, his thoughts rest elsewhere.

Afterall, its game day.

I continue to watch him, an eleven year old now, a dusty blond, still wiry as a twig, but gifted with a burst that can't be taught. A set of thin fingers drum upon his thigh, as if feigning the play of an imaginary instrument. And if studied closely, one may catch the movement of his lips...thinking through the plays, the various scenarios he will surely face in less than an hour, when he steps onto the court.

I study his focus, the flush of his cheeks, and smile to the passing traffic, remembering my days in the game, so long ago.

The intensity of game day, of sweaty palms and twitching muscles. Pent up excitement, and those bursts of adrenaline. The magical sound of a leather ball slipping unscathed through an iron hoop. Swish!

Such fun that was, those days of competition. And yet, more than two decades later, the real fun is about to begin...

We pull into the parking lot. The engine settles to a hum. I twist around in my seat. "It's time, Son.  You ready?"

A pair of eyes, green like the sea, lift their gaze from the pair of scuffed Reebok's on the floor, and offer me a twinkle.

"Let's do this."

El ;)



Sunday, February 17, 2013

...a pick me up ;)



...it's tough not to complain about the new year, when every day there seems to be yet another blow dealt below the waist.  While I'd consider the penning of a woeful list as being trite, if not laborious to read through on a Sunday evening, the lineup of rotten luck, six weeks into 2013, would be lengthy.  

Therefore, when I opened my email this afternoon and read a personal letter from a young lady who'd recently finished my novel, South of Charm, the timing was impeccable. 

...Mr. Grace, my aunt let me borrow your book when my husband and I were visiting.  I am an avid reader, but it usually takes quite a book to hold my attention, so I was surprised to finish your story in two days.  I just want to say, wow!, what an amazing book.  I believe that some of the story is indeed a memoir, which made it so haunting for me.

Thank you for shedding such an honest and raw light on mental illness.  After reading this book, I was reminded that mental illness does not discriminate against age, gender, religion, or ethnicity.  It can truly affect people at any time in their life, be them a spouse, parent, friend, or co-worker.

I am looking forward to reading many more novels by you!  


...I don't believe in coincidence.  Never have.  However, the timing of this letter urges one to consider those signs that we're quietly offered from a higher power, often showing themselves during a period turmoil.  

It's a showing of hope.  A promise of better days to come.  A warm hand upon one's shoulder, urging them onward.

I emailed her back, thanked her for the letter, and included the link to The Fall, currently available on Kindle, just in case she was serious about reading more of my work ;)

Thanks everyone for reading!

El

http://www.amazon.com/South-Charm-A-Novel-ebook/dp/B005DJ945A/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3_MKZX


http://www.amazon.com/The-Fall-ebook/dp/B00AZBIM68/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_2_EHM6