Without Touch

Without touch

We are a dead sea

Where tides rise and fall

On a barren shore


Without family

We are the last white rhino

Of a nearly extinct sub-species

Waiting in vain for a mate

That never comes


Without love

We are but hollow shells

Exoskeleton crustaceans

Branded by the noonday sun



We are but specimens in a zoo

We pace before the bars

Of a hundred onlookers

Searching each face

In despair.


Grandma’s Arms


As I look back

And view

The 1963-RCA-wide-screen-color-t.v.

It flickers on.

Before me lie

Cousins, brothers, sisters

Splayed on low ply carpet

Fidgety chins drilling holes into their fists,

Eyes wide

Elbow to elbow

“Hey! Scoot over! I can’t see! Grandma!?”

Her voice

A scratched phonograph record

I continue to dance to.

“Now, now you kids get along,”

She soothed,

And we did.

I change the channel

Grandma’s toast

Waiting in the warming oven

Golden edged butter rays

Radiating like mini-suns.

I watch them melt and disappear.

“It’s ready!”

I hear my child-voice cheer.

Commercial time

Cousin Davey giving a testimonial

“Round steak and Grandma-Gravy on top of white bread taste better than Sizzler’s any day.”

Back to our program

Bernice kneeling in a stunted strawberry patch

Sturdy hands grasping an unfortunate dandelion.

“This hard pan,” she mutters

As her harrow-hand cuts rows

Into the brick

That was her stretch of land.

I wonder what’s on Channel Three?

Children lie on either sofa

A-bed for the night,

Watching her,


That RCA-wide-screen-color-t.v.

Johnny Carson’s handsome face

Flirting through the glass,

Her head tossed back in laughter

Course-grey hair bouncing

And catching the dim light.

We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin.

“Yahtzee!” thrice she shrieks.

Aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers chuckle

As  kids mumble, “I wanted to win.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Grandma’s arms

Kneading pie dough or pulling fabric

As she bent over the antique Singer sewing machine

Making secret gifts we all knew about.

Were draped velvet

For small hands to brush.

Each one of us

Would pet

The softness of she

As tender whispers called in our minds,

“Those arms are just for me.”























Corporeal Metamorphoses

We live in an age of love’s corporeal metamorphoses

Where butterflies are banished back to chrysalides

Veiled in pupal gowns

They emerge as larva crawling and devouring

Ever younger and greener shoots

Until the garden is denuded

And it is time to call upon corporeal lust

To nourish an emptying sky of butterflies

And as the wind is hushed from the beating of astral wings

And skyriders descend into the venery of a mucinous desert

Gypsy moths dance on their aborted souls


Now That I Can Dance

Remembering a dancing class…

Laurie Woodward


“You broke my heart ’cause I couldn’t dance. You didn’t even want me around.”

Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance) by The Contours blasted from the loudspeakers as my fifth graders waited to break out and boogie. On one side of the stage the boys bowed on one knee and sang along. On the side the girls the girls crossed their arms no.  But with the next line of, “And now I’m back to let you know, I can really shake ’em down,” they all leapt into the air and shook their hands.

This was my ninth year choreographing a dance for my class and as usual the introduction was met with groans and complaints. “It’ll be embarrassing,” Jackie said. “No way,” Devon protested. “I’m going to be absent that day,” muttered Juan.

When they’d finished their little diatribe I said what I always do. “Everyone participates. With respect. And you will

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Author Spolight: Jade Harley

The other day I was looking on Amazon for books that might be similar to Forest Secrets and happened upon an author whose work I just had to share with all of you. Jade Harley is self-confessed rebel who wants to inspire girls to stand up for what they believe in and protect the environment. Go girl!

She recently released her first novel, The Adventures of Lola, which follows thirteen-year-old Lola’s journey to save her town before disaster strikes. As Lola struggles to remain in the good graces of the people in her life, she starts to realize just how unique she truly is and the magic she held inside all along.


Who or what inspired you to be an author?

I’ve always been creative; my first job was as a singer and I studied performing arts but most recently I’ve worked in the media industry. I had never considered writing a book before but my circumstances changed, I was no longer happy doing what I was doing, my company went out of business and suddenly I had this character in my head, keeping me up at night. The only way to get some sleep was to start writing her story, so you could say I didn’t get much choice in the matter. Once I started writing I realized how much I loved it.

Your author biography says you are a fierce conservationist. How do you use this passion to inspire your writing? 

I have been a vegetarian since I was twelve, way before it was commonplace. As I’ve got older I’ve become more educated on the complex issues that lead to deforestation, climate change, and animal extinction and I’ve realized that the only chance we have of saving this planet is by ensuring widespread education on these issues. I hope that my books can encourage a love of the natural world and the desire to protect both the environment and the myriad of amazing creatures that depend on the planet for their very survival.

What inspired The Adventures of Lola? Is there a takeaway that you want young readers to have after reading?

There was no inspiration, Lola was just very insistent about telling her story. I am merely the channel, she is in control. I hope that young readers escape reality for a while, (after all that’s what a good book should do) and hopefully become more interested in the world around them. It’s a big beautiful world and I want them to explore it.

Do you see yourself expanding into other genres?

Maybe who knows what will happen in the future! But for right now, I’m working on my second book and a range of coloring books and eco-clothing, watch this space…

If you were only allowed one book, what would it be and why?

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, because it was the first book I fell in love with. Everyone has that one book, the one that grabs them and makes them a book lover for life. The Magic Faraway Tree was that book for me.

What advice would you have for aspiring writers?

Just write. Starting is the hardest part and once it’s written be ready to learn a lot, writing is just the beginning, the real work starts trying to market it and reach your readers, I’m learning daily.

If you could send one message to your fans, what would it be?

Be in love with the adventure of life.

For more information click here: Jade’s website


This weekend I am offering my environmental fantasy book for just $0.99. That’s less than a latte, an ice cream cone, or even a gallon of gas.

C. Hilts five star review said, “I might be a grown-up, but I enjoyed reading this to my daughter as much as she enjoyed listening. A  whimsical tale of adventure that teaches the importance of saving our environment for future generations.”

Buy Forest Secrets Today!


Author Spotlight: Dax Varley

Fantasy YA author, Dax Varley, loves writing books she wishes were around when she was a teen. These thrilling fantasies take her readers on journeys where love is found after an encounter with the Headless Horseman, a girl’s job in a New Age enchantment shop leads to real spells, and a glass of water tells of a mystical lost girl.

When I recently contacted her about a biopic, she offered, “How about the top 10 reasons I write?” 

And here they are:

  1. I make my own hours. No punching a clock. Unless I’m mad, of course, and the clock has offended me in some way. Would that be clocking a clock?
  1.  No business wear. I write in my jammies. Wait…I don’t literally write in or on my jammies, I wear them while writing.
  1. I’ve got a headful of stories that need to come out. If I don’t write, they continue to build until I have this unpleasant visual of my noggin popping like a balloon.
  1. I’m a pantser. So writing the story is an adventure. I love adventures.
  1. Research. Of all the books I’ve written, I’ve never had one just fall out of my head without some research. I’m constantly learning new things. (Though occasionally I feel the need to clear my browser history.)
  1. Creating characters. I love being in someone else’s skin. Even if that someone is about to go through a string of misfortunes. But, hey, conflict is fun when it’s fictional.
  1. I get to travel at home. My characters don’t live under my roof. They are set in various areas and time periods. Therefore, I must (time) travel to those places for accuracy. (See #5.)
  1. Creating new worlds. If no city, state, or country suits me, I simply make one up. Yes, that’s fantasy. And, yes, that’s so cool.
  1. Hanging out with other writers. Being part of the writing community is essential to me. Lunches, conferences, and cons are where I’m most comfortable in public…like minds and all.
  1. Fan mail! Over the years I’ve received some wonderful letters and emails. They always make me smile, and I always write back.

If you’d like to keep up with new releases by the author, follow her at:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/daxvarley  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CXJVTME https://www.facebook.com/DaxVarley/    https://twitter.com/daxvarley   https://www.daxvarley.com/blog

Dax Varley Publicity Photo

Creating an Author Page on Facebook

Are you a shy author like me? Do you find it challenging to put yourself out there to get interest in your books? Are you afraid that you will become that annoying salesman that everyone avoids? If so, one way to create interest is to make a fan page on Facebook

It’s easy. All you have to do is Click on “Create” and then “Page” from your home page. Next you will be asked to choose from an icon menu. I chose “Brand” but “Entertainment” works just as well. Now you set up your page just like your FB profile, link to your books, and wallah you are ready to invite friends to like it.

Give it a try. You won’t even sound like that annoying time share salesman you listened to in Hawaii just to get a free snorkel trip. I promise.


Supportive Environments

I was chatting with a young lady recently who was very excited about a new job opportunity. It was in the medical field, paid well, offered training and provided excellent benefits, in many ways the dream career choice.

Fast forward two months. This woman has now gone through training with top scores, learned the medical procedures to gently administer care to patients, and is ready to begin as a full-fledged practitioner. But there was one problem: her co-workers. None of them had kind words of encouragement, offered assistance, or comforted her when she was distraught when a patient died. On the contrary, these employees reported her every little mistake and tear over the suffering patients to the management.

Net result? She quit. She could not work in an environment with no emotional support. And that business lost a big-hearted individual who brought smiles to people in extreme pain.

I, on the other hand, work in a school where the staff respects and supports each other. We share lesson plans, behavior strategies for challenging students, exciting innovations and most of all empathize with each other when times are tough. For example, when I recently had a neck injury, my co-workers jumped in to help out my substitute, offered assistance, and sent me kind get well wishes. It honored me to be part of a group that truly had my back.

Now I’ll admit, teaching is a rewarding job in and of itself. Daily you see young minds growing and that is quite different from dealing with people in pain. Still there are things that we have done that I believe help to build teams.

  1. Staff meetings with team building exercises. Some are goofy, others are to provide new information but we often work in groups to achieve a task.
  2. Leaders who acknowledge the challenges of the job and affirm the successes.
  3. Release time and stipend pay for staff development.
  4. Inspirational seminars.
  5. Administrative support for challenging students.
  6. Administrators with an open door policy.
  7. A no bullying stand.
  8. Outside gatherings for happy hour, lunches, beginning/end of year parties.
  9. A social committee that sends flowers, cards, and gifts to new parents, and ill or grieving employees.
  10. Most of all, our school encourages us to be friends.