Wednesday, August 31, 2011


To The Maltese Falconess.
The Hurricane Falconess
Ruffled feathers upon the wind, a hurricane is headed my way. Not the kind the weathermen delight in; there'll be no non-stop preening before the camera's eye while words like "deadly", "dangerous", terrifying" preceed words like "rain bands" "wind gusts" and 'flood warnings" emerge from lips of polished silicone glue.
This hurricane, heading my way, I confess, brings the fiery spirit of my avenger's tropical home, the tenacity of her aviary vision, and the determination of a crusader on a mission.
What is that mission? Well you might ask. To take to task the downtrodden, like me, bearing heal marks upon our sad souls from countless siphons of energy and spirit, determined one and all, to leave those like me bearing the permanent brand of their disdain.
"Hide!" she roars when I speak of my life, her head shaking wildly, her beak sharpened with rage, "when your light is brighter than all others? Not as long as my feathers spread wide, and my bird speak can reach even the smallest creatures in the Land, shall you hide any more.
"Rise upon the laurels of your gifts and let the robbers beware. No longer can they stomp your light, for I am here and I'll swoop down and avenge them for all that you are."
"I am unworthy," I yell to the heavens, "of such wonders as the voice of your rage. I weave some words, now and then with such ease I barely break a sweat. Others toil, their limbs made weary, while I spin tales of love and magic, that is perhaps, I regret, truly before its time.
"Look around Great Bird Sage and see the brokeness of the masses around us. I do not know why they are so broken. I've walked the path many of them walk, and come out not hating, but aching for what I know should be."

A hurricane is coming my way. Her wings are spread wide, and her eyes see much way up there in her aerie in the sky. Her love makes me humble, her words most potent, reaching past the doubts and treadmarks left by the demons I have known.
Tomorrow when the storm has passed and the sun shines brightly, your words will take root and grow, for no wise one would dare defy one such as you, a falconess that is Maltese.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


A Short Story
L.J. Holmes
August 30, 2011

Music, coming from the attic?

Brenna frowned and tried to remember if the interim owners warned her of strange music coming from the attic. They'd told her about the iffy sump pump, and the transient functioning of the central air. Brenna believed both...after all, her father installed them many years ago, and the last thing her father believed in was doing it right.

Still, none of that explained the music drifting down in varying cadences from the attic now.

Back in her childhood years, the attic had indeed been haunted, by annoying beasties with clicking nails, long tails and rodent-like whiskers a-twitching. Some had wings she'd feared would get entangled in her hair and suck her blood dry. She'd always had an active imagination.

Not that there hadn't been musical treasures for an avidly eager, but timidly alert young mind to unearth.

The guitar, older by far than any guitar her brothers twanged through the house during their "ain't nothing but a hound dog" days lay buried inside a chest the young Brenna felt certain belonged to some ancient pirate dangling precariously, and only mentioned in hushed tones, from one of her family tree's spindly branches. Of course the stuffed parrot sitting atop it was a dead giveaway of origins too.

The truth was much better. The fancy instrument belonged to the General, the grandfather Brenna never met. The same grandfather who convinced the shaman's daughter to leave her tribe and spend her Forever in the arms of the man who adored her...his.

On the other side of the open beamed attic, young Brenna found a dresser bureau dovetailed so well, she suspected a master cabinet maker created it during the Civil War era. In the second drawer and beneath the genuine gypsy costume she spent her childhood hankering to don on any Halloween, little Brenna found a leather box, this long and only that wide. She opened it.

She thought it a flute made of pure silver, but her mother quickly corrected that assumption. She never confirmed the silver part, but the flute was a piccolo.

"Who did it belong to," Brenna asked her Mom.

Shrugging her shoulders and shaking her dark head, Brenna's mom admitted she'd never learned who in the family played the really ancient woodwind instrument.

"I suspect Thomas J. Grayson owned it, " her mother continued. A logical assumption. Little Tommy Grayson played the flute for General Arthur St.Clair of the Continental Army.

Looking at her ceiling, the music a cry of pain, Brenna pondered the wrenching sounds that switched to a clicking so fast and furious she felt rage to the very center of her marrow.

Castanets! She'd found them in the bottom drawer of that old bureau and always suspected the gypsy costume belonged to some impudent side of her family lineage and the castanets belonged to the same cousin. Did the Romany people spend time in Spain?

Some say castanets originated in around one thousand B.C. with the Phoenicians, a very commercial people who thrived in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain. That would fit.

A deep, pain filled wail from above, brought a lump to Brenna's throat and a stab of hurt to her heart.

The violin. She'd never been able to play it in her youth, the strings on the bow long frayed and broken. But she'd recognized, even as a kid, the beautiful instrument in the steamer trunk beneath her Grandmother's tissue wrapped wedding gown had not been made by someone with the first name Bubba, but by a true maestro?

None of her brothers could be bothered to learn to play an instrument, and although she sat for long hours beside her Grandmother before the Concord Mission Upright Piano, her fingers never created the hauntingly beautiful tones her Grandmother's did. Brenna wasn't so much tone deaf, as finger deaf.

The ceiling seemed to vibrate as the music in the attic swelled.

All the instruments were long gone. After Brenna's mother died, her father pillaged through the years of family history, pawning it here and there before going one step further, dumping the house on the first willing buyer to come along.


It's taken Brenna years to make her name and fortune. No overnight success for author B.J. Hellings. Finally, only three weeks ago, she'd signed the closing papers, accepted the keys to her former childhood home and began moving back.

The neighborhood changed in the intervening years...oh, not on the surface, but beneath it. The Garmichaels, Kaltons, Liversons, Rowtons, and even the Kittricks, descendants of the Founding Father were all gone, some just names on headstones, others scattered to the many winds.

The music pitched.

Did she have a ghost?

Could it be her Grandmother, unhappy that her treasures, treasures given to her by the man who claimed her love and loyalty right up till her own death, thirty years after the General's passing has returned?

If Nan haunted this house, Brenna could not blame her, especially the attic, so voluminously empty of all signs the General and the Indian Shamaness loved this way.

Once more a wail of soul deep mourning permeated the rafters, gripping Brenna's spine and squeezing till she also howled.

"What are you trying to tell me, Nan?" she asked the wooden ceiling. The piano keys created a litany of anguish, despair and loss; the castanets clicked with a fiery rage. "I don't understand."

From somewhere above her, it drifted down. Bending from her waist, Brenna lifted it to her eyes and blinked back the tears. "Oh Nan!"

The photo in her hand, Brenna never saw it in all the boxes of pictures she'd happily scoured as a child. It showed a dapper man with white hair as pure as a new blanket of snow in his form fitting beribboned uniform and a beautiful long haired, high cheeked woman in a gown of imported lace both seated at the piano Brenna spent her childhood trying to learn how to play. Behind them was a wall of instruments, all classics, displayed with pride...a violin so well crafted it gleamed despite the black and white patina of the photograph; a piccolo back draped by an early, early American flag, a guitar finer than anything her brothers twanged during their "ain't nothing but a hound dog" days, and castanets she did not doubt for a moment were crafted in the days of some impudent Romany temptress.

The truth hit her.

"You want it all back," Brenna said out loud. "You want your treasures back."

The music crescendoed, joy replacing the haunting laments of anguish and loss.

"I promise, "Brenna swore, her gaze on the ceiling above her, "I will find them and bring them back."

A light trill from the piccolo, and an airy tinkling of piano keys, blended with the lighthearted click of the castanets.

Turning towards the door, she grabbed her purse and keys. She had some antique shops to visit, but before she closed the door on her exit, her eyes were drawn to the sparkling motes in the sun streaming through the picture window...just for a moment...could it be?

The General and Nan, right there in wavering flesh, looked back at her with happiness and a love so deep and unconditional aimed, could it be, at HER, Brenna felt complete. Long after the motes shifted, Brenna smiled and thanked the Fates for bringing her home!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The Magic Of the Home That Is Muse
a short story
L.J Holmes
August 27, 2011
Scanning through her e-mails has become a daily chore. The past year every word typed from her often arthritic fingers remind her of the duties and responsibilities she willingly claimed as her own back in the beginning, back when the Light of Love parted the churning waters of writer's unrest and led her to the Muse.

How, she wondered, had their paths not crossed before? They'd been at the same venue mere months ago, yet had obviously walked right past each other, not recognizing what was to become of them.
Not recognizing, or not yet ready to take advantage of it? Timing in the overall scheme of things is important, and not often recognized by the ones focusing on their own narrowed needs.

The drawbridge of Muse is coated in dust of pure Light magic, but only the true members of the magic of soul recognize it and see the glittering lights sparking from it.

She felt her spirit lifting and joy replacing the dark anguish from years of living amongst the Drainers. Each step into the haven of the Muse Temple called her mind's eye to look this way and that. Over there, yes, that one most assuredly fluttered beneath the radar, but sparkled to those that can see beyond the obvious. Over there...yes, she would have to introduce a bird into this aerie to call to those yet awake and help bring smiles to their somber faces. She would call him Paul, Paul Parrot.

Across the room, stepping from the enclosed cloak room Superman emerged, lifted his head and...oh my...yes, he winked. For one surprising moment she thought she could feel his lightness pass through her like a tickle of love she wanted to giggle over.
Holding onto her mirth, she turned toward the cheesecake laden table and took minute notice of the Goddess of Inspired Beginnings and Butterfly Wings. As if sensing her gaze, the goddess turned and her eyes began to twinkle.

Home...yes, she'd come home.

From behind her voices called and she turned to see why the air behind her was now rich with sparkling magic dust.
The Goddess of Inspiration and World Shine complete with her treasure chest of avatars cross the drawbridge first.
Hearts can swell, she knew that before, but now she knew they swelled from just the melodic peal of another's laugh. Before she could recover herself a bird of farseeing wisdom flitted in, her speak rich in knowledge gleaned from across the seas.

And finally, flowers spreading before her like aromatic diamonds blending with symbiotic recognition of magic to magic entered the last of the soul unit. Soul Unit created at the Dawn of All That Is, separated by adventure and need to learn, but eternally called back together, a need stronger than any of them can deny.

The Goddess of Inspired Beginnings and Butterfly Wings built this chrysalis, calling to the rest of us to come home.

Home is where the heart is not a place, it is a joining of spirits that have been part of the Light of Always since the beginning of Time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011



A SHORT STORY (979 words)

Long ago and far beneath the Castle Lore, deep within a pristine cave of the Sagetop Mountains, his legend began. Here where time and fantasy knew no boundaries, his presence was whispered on the shaky lips of young and old alike.It was not easy being the last of your kind, misunderstood, feared, and given a berth so wide that only the very brave or very foolish would dare place themselves before you.

He had been created, eons ago when the stars and Cosmic Earth had first collided. A child of the sky and a prisoner of the land, he was granted the very powers that simmered in the life's blood of both elements.Soaring over all that is, he and his others were, at first, the fiercest friend and ally to those transplanted here from far off worlds to flourish and grow. Light from the ever sparkling jewels of his eyes, illuminated the shadows and brightened the encroaching tendrils of nighttime.

His breath, a mighty back draft from the eternal flames burning in his belly, kept them warm against the icy fingers of season's change. For lifetimes, he and his brothers and sisters lived in symbiant harmony with the progeny of the original landed ones.

But, over time, as often happens when a quest for battles and enmity looms up in the jaded hearts of one or more of the landed ones, what had been perceived as a mutual respect and inter-relationship, becomes steeped in lies, misdeeds, and illusion. A gift of caring, becomes a threat of destruction, and long standing friends become hunter and prey.

Now, alone, the last of his mighty breed, hidden from the questing eyes of those fools and misguided champions, he longs for the end, when time removes him and carries him back into the skies, to join, again, with the eternal souls of his kind.

Into this void steps the one who could offer him change. He paraded, sure of foot, into the sadness, his flowing garbs made of iridescent night magic, the air sparkling with vibrancy when he spoke. With but one wave of his mighty crystal wand, the one who could call upon the energizing alchemy of the Creator offered him the change...the change that could bring him out from the cave, into the meadow where once more he could hear the dainty songs of the fluttering birds, the gossipy chatter of the forest life, and the sweet seduction of the Maiden Beauty, her voice raised in happy melody.

Looking down at his massive body, he contemplated the changes. The bold red texture of his skin seemed to ignite beneath his scrutiny. Spreading his wings, his elegance filled the very depth and width of the caverns internal space. Imagining the powerful warmth of his Forever Flame brought forth the raging twin fire blasts from his mighty flaring nostrils.

To walk upon the two limbs of the landed ones, he would have to give up much. Instead of mere inches, he would be diminished by feet. Instead of breathing heat into the cold, misty morning, and dark, frigid night, he would lose the fires forever, and never know warmth again...and for what?

His mind's eye created the image of the fair and gentle one, her hair falling like a waterfall of golden rays, her eyes the color of the endless, cloud-free sky, and her voice, a call to something old and longed for beneath his breast. She would be his, promised the one with the powerful crystal wand. She would take one look upon the he, he would become and share a love that would fill every gaping void within his soul...all he had to do was become who he was not. All he had to do was allow the legends of his proud brothers and sisters die with him turning his back on his blood family.

"What did he do, Papa?" asked the wide eyed child many years later.
"From the sky," the father continued in his Mesmer's voice, "came a great wave of love from the souls of old that reached into all the corners of the land, and yes, even into the very depths of that long ago cave within the hills and valleys of Sagetop Mountain, and found a home in the breast of that old dragon.

'Rise up on your legs' the voice of Love bespoke, 'Rise up and know the hours of day as man. Claim the one to share your soul with, but come the deepening shadows of nightfall, return to all that you have been, and never forget no matter what creature you be, deep inside, where our true love flames live, we are all of us Seeds of the One True Love.'

The dragon, as man in the day's span claimed the maiden as his one-true-mate, but at night, he must kiss her good-bye and soar the skies as his ancestors had, the last, but most remembered of his kind."
The silence that followed the story's end was profound.

From another room in the rear of the stone and thatch hut, the mother approached, her long tresses like a waterfall's golden rays, her tender eyes, that came to rest upon her husband and child, the vibrant color of the endless, cloud-free sky. The sight of her ignited the eternal flame in the belly of her continually enchanted husband.

For just a moment, as her skin brushed his in reaching to lift their child to carry to bed, the flames licked and what was flesh-tone darkened, reddened, and spread.

Watching his Beloved and child disappear down the hall, he rose with a contented smile, stepped into the night, spread his ancient wings and lifted into the sky with a love-softened roar.

In change we seek growth, but in growing, never forget
who you are, for you are first and foremost
Perfect Love.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Here For a Penny, The Riches Of Muse Compounded

Welcome to my very first EVER author interview. It is only fitting that my first be with the very first person to open her own generosity to me when I first crossed the threshold from wanna-be to bonified author. Please join me in showing Penny Ehrenkranz the LINS OWN Blogging brand of love.

Penny Ehrenkranz

1.     Tell us about the very first story you ever wrote. How old were you? Did you have an audience already in mind, or was it just one of those stories that comes?   I'm not sure if it's the first, but it's certainly one of the first stories I wrote was titled, Patty and the Country Ghost.  I was nine or ten when I wrote it.  I printed it, illustrated it, and bound it together with ribbon between shirt cardboard.  There was no audience in mind as I wrote it for my own entertainment.   I find it somewhat amusing that my first published novel, Ghost for Rent, was about a girl who lived in the country and had a ghost in her house. This was written for a specific audience as it is a middle grade paranormal mystery.
2.     You took a divergent root into the publishing world as both an author and editor. Is it easier for you or harder knowing what is in store when you submit manuscripts?   I was an author long before I became a paid editor.  It's still really hard to edit my own manuscripts.  It's amazing what I miss when I'm doing my own editing.  When the stories are your own babies, you don't often see the mistakes. It takes someone who isn't attached to the words to find the errors.    I would say it's easier now for me to submit because I can understand the process and how many manuscripts are received in by a publisher.  You really have to be good to get your work accepted.  With so many choices, your story has to really shine and be professional.
3.     Do you have a critique group read your stories before submitting them, or do you do your own polishing and preparing, and then leave it to the submission process?    I've never worked with a critique group, although for a while a few friends and I who all wrote would get together to talk about writing.  I do my own polishing and editing before I submit the story.  After the story is accepted, the hard work comes when the editor points out all the weak places.
4.     As an editor is it difficult to shut off that part of yourself when you are writing? Does it make the wait time between submission and decision harder?       I don't let my inner editor get in the way of my writing.  I usually write longer works in spurts and when I start the new day, I go over what I wrote the day before.  Sometimes, I make minor changes, but mostly I do it so I know where I am in the story.  I'm not much or a note taker and I don't outline.  Waiting is never easy, but I don't think that's changed since I became an editor myself.
5.     You have just received a beautiful cover for your soon to be released Muse It Up book titled LOVE DELIVERY. What was your reaction when you received the mockup from your cover artist Delilah K. Stephans. Did Delilah hit it right off, or did the two of you have to make adjustments to your final cover?     Delilah hit right off.  There was a question as to whether my whole name would fit on the cover, but she got it on there. The only other problem was the title had a misspelling which was a breeze for her to fix.  Delilah is amazing and I'm thrilled she was my illustrator for the cover.
6.  Tell us a little bit about your story. Where does it take place?Tell us about your hero and heroine.  Love Delivery is the story of two people who’ve been hurt in love before and hesitate to take a chance, yet are drawn to each other.  It takes place in an unnamed town and the surrounding countryside with the main action taking place in the donut shop where Ann works, her city apartment, and Tom’s country home.  Here’s a short blurb: Cats and a villainous ex-wife?  What more could the delivery man bring to the new love in his life?
Ann works as a waitress in a donut shop.  She’s happy with her single life and her cat, Mittens, but she finds herself interested in the handsome man, Tom, who makes deliveries to the shop.  Tom is also attracted to Ann, but unfortunately, Tom comes with some baggage including five cats, Maria, his vicious ex-wife, and Maria’s adorable daughter he calls Kitten. 
When Maria, a newly hired waitress in the donut shop, learns Ann and Tom are beginning a relationship, she does everything she can to tear them apart.  Ann starts to have doubts about her budding romance, but Tom is determined to make it work, despite Maria’s interference.  Will Ann and Tom’s love prevail, or will the evil ex-wife win in the end?  Love Delivery delivers a sweet romance which will bring tears to your eyes but a smile to your lips.

I know this is the first book you have releasing from Muse Publishing. Is this your first published book ever? If not, tell us a little about your other books and where we can find them. My first published book is a middlegrade novel, Ghost for Rent.  It was published by Hardshell Word Factory, but I recently requested a reversion of rights.  I’ve contracted the sequel, Ghost for Lunch, with 4RV Publishing and they would like to have both books in their house. My second published book is A Past and A Future, which is a collection of eight short fantasy stories and eight short soft science fiction stories.  It’s available in print from Sam’s Dot Publishing ( and from Smashwords as an ebook (  Most of my other work is short stories in various small press and online magazines and non-fiction focusing on writing tips, parenting tips, and teen self-help.

7.  Do you have a favorite author? If so what is it about this author’s writing that makes him/her your favorite? What was the last book by this author you read? I actually have four current favorite authors: George R.R. Martin, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Devon Monk.  Of these, the last books I’ve read are all the most recent in their various series books.  I like the strong writing style, the action, and the characterization all of these authors use.  I’m also very much a fantasy reader and each of these authors delivers.
8.  What comes the easiest for you, writing or editing, and why do you think that is? The writing definitely comes easiest (even though I’m an editor myself), and that’s because it’s always hardest to see your own mistakes.  It’s also hard to cut your precious baby up into little pieces and throw away the extra words.
9.  What did you do before venturing into the publishing world? Most of my working life has been spent as an executive secretary/office manager.  My last position before retiring was the Office Manager/Chief Legal Secretary for the Columbia County District Attorney, here in Oregon.
10.                     How does your family respond to you being a writer? Do they get it? Have any of them read your work? Bought your work? Of my immediate family, all of them are proud of what I’ve accomplished. I do believe they all get it. Both of our children are working on advanced degrees and have published work in conjunction with their studies.  My husband, as a science teacher for many years, published a manual of chemical experiments with a colleague. So, in many ways, we are all involved with writing.

 My daughter was the one who was my inspiration for writing my first novel, Ghost for Rent. As a youngster, she didn’t think I was a “real” writer because I didn’t have a book, only magazine publications.  All of the family members have read some, but not all of my work, and none have purchased work but accepted gifts of my books.
11.                     Do you have a website, or a blog address you can give my blog visitors where they can find and follow you?  Yes.  My website is, and my blog is at
12. Any upcoming appearances or news you want to share with your readers? I have two other books coming from MuseItUp:  Lady-in-Waiting (November, 2011), and Mirror, Mirror (December, 2012).  I have four children’s books contracted with 4RV Publishing: Boo’s Bad Day, Funny Dog, and Many Colored Coats (all picture books), and Ghost for Lunch, a MG novel.

13.                     When you and I discussed your coming over here to my blog today, you mentioned a blog tour. For those who haven’t a clue what that is could you explain it? A blog tour is much like doing a book signing, except the author doesn’t go anywhere and can visit with readers while wearing jammies and bunny slippers.  I contacted a number of bloggers, like yourself, and asked if they would be willing to host me as a guest.  Many of them sent me questions to answer about my work, others have requested that I do a guest post about my work or something related to my book which I am touring.  Then, each day during the blog tour, I am “visiting” a different blog.  I will stop by to read and respond to comments posted by readers.  I think of blog tours as a great way to get to know other authors and to reach people I don’t reach on my own blog. In return, I offer authors an opportunity to appear on my blog to promote their work.
14.                     Do you have a list of places set up yet for your tour for us to mark on our calendars? Yes.  Thanks for asking.  Here are the tour dates and stops, some of them have already occurred, but folks can go back and read the earlier posts if they’d like:

July 29 --              Lin Holmes,  Stationary Trailer Day!
August 12 –         Ginger Simpson, 
                                        Marva Dasef,
August 13 --        Elaine Cantrell,
August 14 --        Janie Franz, 
August 15 --        Joanne Tropello               ,
August 16 --        Long and Short Reviews,
August 17 --        Nicola Sheridan,
                                        Celia Yearly, 
August 18 --        Su Halfwerk,
August 19 --        Lin Holmes,  
August 20 --        Janice Seagraves, 
August 21 --        Joylene Butler,
August 22 --        Roseanne Dowell, 
August 23 --        Tina Donahue,
August 24 --        Grace Elliott,
August 29 --        P.L. Parker,  
15.                     Okay, I have to ask you one technical editor’s question. What is the one mistake authors make you really wish they wouldn’t? My biggest pet peeve would be switching point of view in the middle of a scene.  Almost everyone does it, but it really throws the reader out of the story.  The other thing is writing in a passive voice.  The active voice is so powerful, as authors we really need to perfect it in our writing.
16.                     I’ve asked you just about everything except the most important question of all, when will Love Delivery be released? Does it have a Muse BookstoreBuy Page yet? If so, do you have its address? Release date was August 12th. The buy page is:

Thank you Penny for visiting me on my Lins Own Author's Platform today. It’s been a privilege spending time and learning about you and your exciting book. I am looking forward to

Love Delivery releasing, and as one of the lucky authors you’ve helped through the editing process, I want you to know what a pleasure it has been having you as my very first ever interviewee on my brand new Blog. I hope you’ll come back and let me interview you again.

Lin, it’s been a pleasure both working with you and being a guest on your blog today. You are amazing and an inspiration not only to me, but to many authors who have the privilege of being published by MuseItUp Publishing.  Thank you for all you do.