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To be a forger or not to be a forger, that is the question. Tamera Alexander’s character Claire Laurent struggles with this question as she fights for what she knows is right and what she can not undue. Claire’s story is written within the rich background of America’s recently ended Civil War.

Painting is Claire’s passion in life and she wants nothing more than to paint one painting that she can call her own but as a forger, her life’s blood is strengthened by the works of the masters and Claire’s own family are her masters. Then, suddenly, the unexpected happens and Claire finds herself alone and her life spiraling out of control as she is forced to flee the one city she’d begun to call home.

Alone in a new city and in the company of strangers, her every instinct tell her not to trust, she must again run. Now, truly on her own she must fend for herself. The shelter of a church gives her a place to sleep but what to do in the dawn.

The next morning, a bit of accidental eaves dropping and a chance encounter send her on her destined path but can she become the woman she longs to be? Can she truly put her past to rest and start the life of happiness she longs for? Can the man she’s come to love accept her for who she was and who she has become? Follow her journey in A Lasting Impression and see if Claire’s story leaves a lasting impression upon your mind.

Driving down the road we don’t usually think, “I’m fine because I’m buckled in,” or “I’d feel safer if my belt were on.” If we think about wearing a safety belt at all it’s usually because we don’t want to be stopped by the police for not wearing one. We think of the money getting stopped is going to cost us and not of the health and safety reason why we should buckle up.

Recently a six-year study found that of 200,000 fatal passenger vehicle crashes, people who were of larger than normal weight were 66% more likely not to be wearing a seat belt. The safety standard for seat belts went into affect in the 1960’s. At the time seat belts were required to service people up to 215 pounds. Today’s American population has grown not only in size of population but in physical girth as well. We’ve reached beyond the 215-pound capacity seat belt and now passengers find it difficult to near impossible to put the belt on.

We don’t need new laws. What we need to do is adjust the regulatory needs of the safety belt so that people who are larger will be safe.

Source: Chicago Tribune – Sunday, February 2, 2014 – Section 1, Page 24

There once was a time when living well was not so hard. All we had to do was eat well and be aware of our surroundings. If we did that, we tended to be all right most of the time. It was that other fella that got in the way that upset the apple cart.

Today things are very different. While fruit and vegetables are a renewable resource and the advent of refrigeration and freezer trucks makes it available all over the nation, all year round, some places still seem to be left behind. Produce is not available to everyone simply because the grocer doesn’t provide it for his clients.

I know this to be true. I live in a small town in the Chicago Midwest. Population 9,000, there abouts. A few decades ago we were a self-sufficient community. Then a big box store moved into town and slowly but surely the downtown began to fail. It’s a familiar story. Many of you have experienced the same thing. Last month our last regular independent grocery store closed its doors for good. It tried everything in the last twenty years to stay open. It expanded. It shrunk. It changed into a cost plus food outlet center and then it just died. Today, I get my groceries from the big box store that closed down the downtown.

There you can find almost everything that the small mom and pop stores had. What it lacks is consistent service and quite a few of the essentials of a healthy life. You can get all the variety of chips, pops and snack foods but the real life sustaining foods are missing. When it comes to fruit – apples, oranges and bananas are the choices. In the summer you can get some additional fruits but these only last a few months and then they’re gone until the next year. To get actual food you have to leave town and go to a neighboring town.

Another problem is paying for this real food. Chips and pop are cheep. It’s easy to budget those items into the household accounts. But trying to figure out how to pay for peaches when they’re $2.99 a pound and a pound is only about 4 pieces of fruit can be frustrating. It’s gotten to the point that real, unprocessed foods have become luxury items. We buy them when a guest is coming over. Day to day life leaves no room for them and our health fails just as the grocery store in my town failed.

In this day and age we have so much at our fingertips and yet there seems to be a forgotten measure of life. We don’t think of ourselves as healthy people because we don’t think of our health and so we aren’t healthy anymore but we don’t know it. We have too many over-weight people and too many who are bordering fat that still think they have nothing to worry about. They look to their neighbor and say – well there’s a lot of us so I must be okay. That simply isn’t true. There are a lot of people who don’t pay any attention to what they’re doing to their bodies and that is wrong.

They decide to go to the doctor only when they are forced to and then if they don’t have insurance a bomb is let off over their heads. To get a doctor to look at you and do some lab work the cost has reached $800 for the uninsured. If you forgo the lab and just do the question and answer portion of the exam it still costs enough to make you wince. It’s reached the exorbitant rate of $200. Now with prices like that it seems that we should be extra sure to watch our diets. It might cost more to eat healthy but in the long run it costs less and we feel better.

 

The Story is in the Pipes

Copper-pipeDesperation makes people do strange things. In the beginning there is a feeling that something will come along and things will begin to look up again. As the days become weeks and then months this faith slowly dwindles until there seems to be no hope left. What would have never crossed their mind before slowly creeps in until it is seen as a possibility. This happened to Brett A. Roberts.

Something drove Roberts on. There was a devil on his tail and he responded. There was a vacant house on Queen Anne Road near Woodstock, Illinois. How he got in I don’t know but once in he saw a possibility few would have. In the basement Roberts found the plumbing pipes to be copper. Copper has gone up in the last few years and Roberts must have known this and devised to steal them. melted down they would feed him for days. What he didn’t count on was someone coming into the supposedly vacant residence.

The house might not have had people living in it but it wasn’t abandoned. It was simply For Sale. While Roberts was busy in the basement, hacksaw in hand, the real estate agent came in to check things out. He was interrupted in the act but got away before McHenry County Sheriff’s Police could get there. If he’d been smart he’d have worn gloves but he hadn’t thought of that.

In his haste he left behind the hacksaw and the pipes he’d already cut loose. On the pipes he left his fingerprints. Already in the criminal database they left a direct trail.

Roberts thought he could steel the copper pipes and get on with his life. He couldn’t see the future and so he didn’t know the outcome. April 14, 2011 he was charged with residential burglary and criminal damage to a property. He was found guilty. His punishment could have been up to fifteen years in prison. He was able to testify that since no one was living in the house it was no residential burglary and therefore his sentence was reduced to the possibility of three to seven years. If he got it or not, I doubt he would say the pipes were that valuable. He should have known better. After all, he’d already been convicted in the past for theft and forgery. Lesson learned this time? Perhaps, at least, one would hope so.

Sources:

Northwest Herald Friday, February 2, 2011 Pg. 3B

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130114/news/701149623/

 

What would life be like if nothing ever happened?

WRITING IS?

Writing is a free-for-all of all of thoughts and activities. Anything that comes to the mind or any action the body can perform can be translated to the written word. Life is creativity and a huge supply of both the mundane, mediocre and the fantastic. All can be wrapped up in one package known as Pandora’s Box. Once opened humanity will suffer from a jarring strain on the nervous systems that threatens to implode.

 

The reality is that we can’t stop the inevitable from happening. We can advise, warn and tell others not to do things but in the end we can’t stop them from doing what they will. Destiny is the unknown and we are indeed powerless to understand it or prevent it.

OLD?

Old, what defines old? Is it a time, an age or a memory on the verge of forgetfulness? Some shop owners define an antique as being any object of fifty years but does that mean that when we ourselves slight forward from forty-nine to fifty that we too are old? If our memories hold true, if we can get up and journey onward doesn’t that mean we haven’t reached the winter of our lives?

 

I submit that to be old, one no longer remembers self. Time itself has forgotten that way of life. Our history books inform us of that other time and place before our parents and grandparents were thought of.

 

            John Goff’s debut novel The Wait is written in a rich style that takes you straight to the Gulf of Mexico’s coast and the small town of Pascagoula, Mississippi where life is lived on the water and fish and shrimp set the table. Once there you will be instantly surrounded by the raucous sounds of the Kennedy clan. Whether on land or sailing the Gulf this family will hold your attention.

            The Wait is a story of four generations and the trials and triumphs of a family making its way in a new land. They left Ireland behind for a promise of a new life and this they found in Mississippi where the Gulf reminds them of the ocean they left behind with its rolling waves and tempestuous temper. Follow along as they tame and are reminded who they are by the Gulf’s sometimes docile and other times rough waters.

            John’s title is not apparent at once but as you read along it becomes apparent why he chose it. It is perfect.

 

ISBN: 1482329948

Lots of people say it. They have some long tall tale to tell. It was one of those events that happened years ago and they still can’t quite forget it.

These are real life stories, things in everyone’s memory that the right comment sets off and you find yourself sharing. There are so many things that happened in connection with that event that naturally, “You Could Write A Book.”

It sounds easy. After all, how hard could it be to jot down on paper what you remember. There is no research, no interviews and most of all, no right or wrong answers.

So why is it so many of these stories never find it to paper? Is it because they aren’t important? No, we just haven’t made the time.

I challenge you, my readers to share your tall tales here and make them reality. Everyone will learn.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a writer, look no further. Being a writer (an average writer, not a bestseller) means living a double life.

You’re a writer but that’s not your job, at least not the one accepted by the vast majority of your family and friends. To them you will always be the girl handy-woman. Every now and then you work up the courage and say, “I’ve finished another story. It’s almost ready to be sent out.” This exited statement is quickly reduced to a, “That’s nice dear. Did anything happen at work today?” so you see, oft times a writing muse is done for the day, writer is an ego of one. He or she must believe in themselves, without the help and encouragement of those they love most.

At times a writer will calmly, rationally decide maybe their wrong. Maybe they’ve been kidding themselves and they’re not a writer. But if that’s true how come rich intriguing ideas spring forward when you’re at a clients house, standing on a ladder, holding a board in one hand, an electric drill in the other and have a mouth full of drywall screws? It’s then that you know you’re a writer and you can’t wait until you’re on the ground again so you can jot down the new ending of your story. But that’s won’t happen for another thirty minutes, so you repeat the lines over and over again in your mind until they’re as permanently implanted on your brain as your own name.

Once those words are down on the page you think your writing muse is done for the day, she’s clocked out and you can resume your own life but your wrong. Pursuing a movie, she strikes again with a new twist. Almost gleefully you turn off the TV to whines of “Oh, Mom. It was just getting good!” you’re sorry but idea mania has no bounds.

With that done, you turn out the lights and go to bed. Sleep takes you far away and then you bolt upright in bed at three in the morning. Another idea has pounced and sprung you back into the habitual ritual of ink and paper scratching we know as writing.

Once again, our faith in our writing ability and ourselves has been reaffirmed but we sure wished our muse would keep to business hours!

Destruction in a ball of Flickering, Fantastic Flames.

 

For many towns there is a claim to fame. Though these could all be good things, most often they aren’t.
Fire is the chief source of destruction. It finds its way to the poorest and the riches city’s. At times it is the great equalizer for it does not consider anything to be inferior, least of all, itself.
To that end, we can find small town America on fire anywhere, every day. Some are small and only consume a single house, while others take the whole block, district, town or the countryside.

Chicago and San Francisco are the most well known fires here in America but there are dozens of town fires that are just as interesting that we have never heard of before. While that may not be right, it certainly is true.

You tell me. Have you ever lived in a town that didn’t have a fire in it? Have you heard about the great fire that ate a good portion of the town before rain or stringent firemen were able to put it out? I’m sure you have.

 

Share those memories with me. Great or small, they all deserve to be told.

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When you become a member of a Writer’s Group you join a different type of family. Still, there are aspects that remain the same just as they do in most families of blood. We have had one funeral and later this year we will have our first birth. Perhaps someday this little boy will become a great writer like his dad. If not, I’m sure he will be supported in whatever endeavor he goes out for but it is these similarities that make a successful writer’s group strive and thrive for years.

Here in Cary, Illinois we affectionately call ourselves CAWG’s as we are members of the Cary Area Writer’s Group. We, like all families have had our share of changes over the years, yes, years. This year we will be celebrating our forth year in August and we can be proud of ourselves. We have accomplished much as a group and singly but mostly because we are a group who encourages and lends a helping ear and pen when needed.

Squabbles, sure we’ve had some but that’s all they’ve been. We haven’t thrown anyone out and when someone chooses to leave they know the door is always open for their return. We communicate to each other in different ways just as any other family does and always there is a deep abiding respect. No one is insignificant.

In the past six months there have had been three books published, a forth was a finalist in a contest. Blogs have been developed and existing ones have flourished with new posts and pages added. The number of followers has increased ten-fold in that time and we are scrambling to keep up. It’s a good thing.

To join us on our journey forward in time please follow us at our other locations.

Eileen Lynch’s book Distracted Living can be found at ETLynch.com

Debbie Marcussen’s book The Tax Angel and her blog can be reached at DJMarcussen.com

Yours truly, Grace Rellie’s books A World of Joy, Bleeding Ice and my blog can be found at Gracerellie.wordpress.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and for your continued support of our group.

Grace Rellie

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