Thirty Years a Junkie

Addiction ~ perhaps begun in pleasure ~ becomes predator if we attempt to let go, and persecutor if we do not. Andrew Joyce has written a compelling no-holds-barred article about his years as an addict. When, where, how, and with whom we learn our life lessons are all based in choice, whether or not we choose to accept this. Despite the theme, there’s something in this story for everyone …

Andrew Joyce

andrew-young

Compared to some, I’ve lived an exciting life. At least parts of it were. However, compared to others, my life has been humdrum. The only thing I’m satisfied about is that all the drama took place when I was young and able to handle it. That would not be the reality today for I have grown old.

It’s confession time. I’m not looking for absolution. My only intent is to show some of you out there that there is hope. Nothing is forever. Perhaps my story might help you get to the next stage of your life. Maybe not, but I had help getting there, and I’ll tell you about it in a minute. First, a little background. And please, feel free to judge me. You cannot condemn me any more than I have already condemned myself.

When I was kid, I always had a wanderlust. I would see a…

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A Message of Peace and Love

(Featured image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova)

Gag orders on gov’t agencies; walls being built between countries; bans on immigration to a country that is a melting pot . . .
My fellow Americans and all Citizens of the World: 
Lucie Stastkova
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova
Even though leaders in the Trump administration are behaving like children let loose in a candy store ~ now more than ever ~ it is important to keep positive thoughts, send out positive energy, take positive action, and simultaneously keep abreast of all that is occurring within the United States government and across the globe.

Collecting and sharing data is vital. Dwelling on the negative is self-defeating. Reacting with violence will sabotage any and all positive change.

Remember: The women’s marches took place in all 50 states and in 57 different countries. This was a first in the history of humankind. All marches were nonviolent. 

Everything unfolds in an orderly fashion. As above, so below.

The patriarchy is dying and rearing its head for one last stand.

United, we will get through this troubling time. This is the time that prophecies of most cultures and religions spoke of centuries ago. They speak of us moving into the Golden Age of Enlightenment. This is the time. We are in the storm before the calm.

It is imperative we recognize this and come from a place of love in our hearts instead of a place of fear. While keeping abreast of U.S. and world affairs, it is crucial that any and all action we take be positive and nonviolent.

Love is the only answer to the heightened treachery and tragedy we now experience, not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Only love will still the waters.

We have forgotten who we are ~ beings of light. It is now time to remember. In our purest sense, we are love. And only love will prevail.

 We must not lose sight of this.

 Love is the ONLY answer . . . 

Meet Guest Author A.C. Flory…

Author A.C. Flory is a guest on The Story Reading Ape, where she refers to the rhythm and flow in our writing as the “hidden ‘soundtrack’ to the action.” Being a musician and songwriter, this struck a chord in me ~ no pun intended ~ maybe 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

self-portraitHi, my name is Andrea, and I’m a writer,” she said, stumbling over her words.

That’s me, A.C. Flory, science fiction writer and introvert extraordinaire. I’m not stereotypically shy, and if you ask me about one of my passions, I’ll happily chew your ear off, but talking about myself and my writing still feels…odd. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t start writing fiction until I was forty-eight.

I may have been a late bloomer when it came to storytelling, but reading was another matter entirely. I began reading for pleasure when I was eight, and by twelve I’d read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment…and loved it. Before anyone gets too excited, I have to point out that education was very different back then, especially in the Catholic school system. We were expected to be really good at ‘reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic’ by the time we reached the end of primary…

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Meet Guest Author Pamela D. Beverly…

Author Pamela D. Beverly is a guest on The Story Reading Ape today, recalling our pre-tech days, which ~ I realized while reading her humorous post ~ weren’t that long ago! I, too, went from pencil to pen to manual typewriter. Geez, where has the time gone . . .  🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

pamela-d-beverlyAnyone over 30 seems to get written off these days as an old geezer, which is kind of ironic and funny to me. The music accompanying TV commercials to present-day TV shows and movies are chock-full of retreads, ahem, reboots they’re called by the younger generation.

Wedge-heeled shoes that women wear in the summer aka espadrilles (uh, we did that).

Horn-rimmed aka Clark Kent eyeglasses (“Birth control glasses” are what we called them when I was in basic training in the Air Force. If you wore eyeglasses, you were issued a pair. And trust me, they weren’t considered cool back in the day, especially for those of us women that were forced to wear them if we wanted to see. Yikes! I didn’t even wear them in my basic training photo. Who knew that they’d actually come back into style one day? I sure didn’t! And really, I have to admit, they were even…

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Chronic Illness and Self-Acceptance

Lucie Stastkova Art
Photo courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

Living with a chronic illness is a challenge at best. If the illness is devastating but not recognized by the medical establishment, convincing ourselves life is worth living becomes an uphill battle.

In the year 2000, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that presented as a drop-dead flu. I’d been symptomatic since in the 1980s, but early on, flareups were few and far between. Innumerable doctor visits always produced tests with negative results. Over time, symptoms increased in severity and duration until they became immobilizing and constant in 1999.

I knew my doctors thought I was malingering. I felt invalidated yet knew damn well something was wrong. I lived in fear of a dreaded disease not being detected in time to be treated. Simultaneously, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. By 1999 I was nearly bedridden; in debilitating pain; overwhelmed by fatigue; suffering varying degrees of GI problems; plagued by sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction, free-floating anxiety, panic attacks, and depression; and had a constant low-grade fever with sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. It wasn’t until I consulted a rheumatologist that I finally got a clinical diagnosis – one based on physical examination, as no definitive tests existed.

Since I was too sick to work and had been denied disability for two years, I exhausted my savings and retirement. Add to this that I had to advocate for myself while nearly bedridden, exhausted, and in constant pain, it’s no wonder I reached the point of planning to end my life.

So what stopped me? I had lists made of people to whom all of my possessions should be given. I knew where and how I would take the final leap. The only question left unanswered was when. What prompted me to delay making a decision?

Lucie Stastkova Art
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

Antidepressants helped somewhat but left me feeling flat and worthless. I also hated putting pharmaceuticals into my body. Two things saved me: my spiritual practice and the constant reminder of love from treasured friends. I had to learn to grant myself the same acceptance, compassion, and love I so freely bestowed upon others. It has been said by many – myself included, at times – that we are incapable of loving another if we do not first love ourselves. But I found the exact opposite to be true. I felt deep love and compassion for others, but every time I looked in the mirror, I faced self-loathing for the specter I’d become. I knew that in order to survive, I needed to turn the same love and compassion inward.

My belief that Mother Earth is a schoolhouse deterred me from ending my life. If we incarnate to learn specific lessons, and if we leave short of learning those lessons, we’ll need to return and undergo the very same experiences in order to grow. I didn’t want to backtrack. I didn’t want to suffer the same ordeals when all I had to do was commit to seeing them through this time around.

It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. I’m no longer taking pharmaceuticals and don’t rely on allopathic medicine for anything more than relative diagnosis and emergency/trauma care. There’s no known cure for this illness and the etiology is unknown. I still have flareups, but other than low-level pain and fatigue, the symptoms are no longer constant. I’m still learning to love myself, and I wonder if that isn’t an ongoing struggle for all unenlightened humans.

My biggest challenge is keeping up with social media. Writing can be accomplished when I’m feeling well enough, but maintaining an online presence can be demanding. I often find myself merely treading water. And when in a flareup, I feel as if I’m trudging through neck-high water, pushing myself to complete the simplest of tasks.

Lucie Stastkova Art
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

I’ve lived with this condition for over 25 years and generally take it in stride. But since flareups are random and of unpredictable severity and duration, I’m finding it difficult to plan and write blog posts, visit other’s blogs and share their posts on a regular basis, and read the books on my overflowing TBR in a timely fashion. When I visit blogs, my ability to comment depends on my cognitive state at that moment.

When in a flareup, I have to accept a stop-and-start work scenario:  work a little, rest a little; work a little, rest a little. And I’m usually unable to do little more than click on a few share buttons, unless the fatigue and mental fog clear long enough for me to write a few lucid sentences. If lucky and my head isn’t dropping to the keyboard, I’m able to do a reblog or create a post. The challenge in all of this is self-acceptance and not giving in to frustration.

I remind myself each day not to become my own worst enemy. Self-acceptance on all levels is crucial to survival. Compassion for oneself is as vital as breathing. What concerns me most is not being understood by the people in my life. It’s difficult to imagine – much less believe – what someone else is experiencing when their condition or situation borders on unfathomable.

I hope my fellow bloggers will understand when I’m unable to visit their blogs as frequently as they visit mine. I hope my fellow authors will understand when I’m unable to read and review their books as quickly as they do mine. My desire and intention are to pay it forward; at the very least, to be reciprocal. Yet when a flareup strikes, I fall short in meeting my goals. I’m still learning to accept this as a life lesson for which I contracted before I incarnated. We all choose the lessons we want to learn before we come in to this earthwalk. The trick is not to give up on ourselves.

Self-acceptance. Self-love. Self-compassion. I’m still a work in progress . . .

Until the next time, my friends . . .  Namaste ❤ 

Rejection: the Ultimate Teacher – Guest Post by author Tina Frisco…

Thank you to Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape, for hosting me on his blog and for his steadfast support of authors 💖

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

LuSt 4 ART

Rejection comes in many forms, from many places, and is very painful. What makes rejection so devastating? What causes us to react in a particular way? How can we use rejection to our advantage?

On a purely instinctual level, rejection threatens to extinguish our life force by depriving us of vital nourishment. No being can truly thrive without some measure of love and acceptance.

Rejection devastates when we attach our personal worth to someone or something outside of ourselves. Feeling worthy only when liked and accepted by those with whom we engage sets the stage for rejection.

When feeling disliked or ignored by another, it’s wise to step back and view that person’s behavior as a mirror our own subconscious. Often the things we don’t like in ourselves are reflected back to us by others, giving us an opportunity to examine what…

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Guest Post Reblog: Returning Author #Tina Frisco

Author Allan Hudson has kindly hosted me on his blog for a return visit to talk about my new novel, Vampyrie.  I want to thank Allan for his continued support. Please visit his sites and follow, like, and share.

Blog   Amazon   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   

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Tina FriscoThe Scribbler is happy to have Tina Frisco return as a guest this week. She lives in California and is a very generous participant, not only in sharing her thoughts about her own writing as well as advice on being an author. She is a relentless promoter of other authors as well.

This is Tina’s second visit to SBS. She talks about her latest work and shares an excerpt from her novel, Vampyrie. Her first visit can be seen here.

Her links are below.

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First let me say that Vampyrie is not your typical vampire novel. It’s Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampirebased in science and brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Although Vampyrie is not part of a series, two primary characters from my first novel, Plateau, play major roles. In this excerpt, Phoebe, the protagonist in Vampyrie, has just met one of these characters in the catacombs. W’Hyani has told Phoebe that she’s there looking for her mate who didn’t return home to their village after his vision quest. Phoebe is in the catacombs searching for two of her friends who went missing. She’s sure they were abducted and brought to this infernal domain. Coming from two different cultures, Phoebe and W’Hyani had a bit of an awkward introduction; but the gifts they exchanged and their common goal quickly united them.

Abyss of Doom

Phoebe and W’Hyani walked stealthily side by side, each keeping close to the tunnel wall and holding her torch in her outer hand. It seemed they’d been walking forever with no end in sight.

“It can’t be much farther,” Phoebe whispered.

“Look; a forked tongue.” W’Hyani pointed up ahead. “We have been walking in a circle.”

“Are you sure?”

fire-allan-hudson-sbs“I am certain. Follow me and I will show you.” They hadn’t walked five yards when she extended her torch to the right. “Do you see? It is the other side of the passage.”

Hoping W’Hyani was wrong, Phoebe walked a few more yards and stepped into the same large open area from where she’d started. “Damn it!” She clamped her hand over her mouth. Cursing doesn’t lend itself to whispering.

“We have taken the wrong path. We must now walk into the wind.”

Feeling a cool breeze blowing from the west arm of the main tunnel, Phoebe assumed it was the direction to which W’Hyani referred. It also was the direction she should have taken instead of diverting to the smaller passage.South Branch Scribbler

W’Hyani laid her torch on the ground and turned toward Phoebe.

“Give to me the feather. You must wear it. It will give you much
strength.”

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For the Love of Reading–Book Review: Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire

I’m so pleased to share Terri Webster Schrandt‘s 5-star review of my latest novel, Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire …

Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

Read my book reviews on For the Love of Reading

Now that I am a self-published indie author, I very much appreciate book reviews! In the world of blogging, I am honored to know a growing number of indie authors who are self-publishing books. My goal on this blog is to review at least one book per month. You will find the reviews on my page, For the Love of Reading.

Today, I introduce Author Tina Frisco’s newest book Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire. 

Author Tina FriscoFrom the Author

I always have been fascinated by the myth of the vampire and often have wondered if the phenomenon actually could exist. My background in medicine led me to speculate about how this might have a basis in reality. If rooted in science, how might this myth come to life? The most likely answer would be as a physical disorder or disease.

One day during my morning walk, the word Valkyrie came…

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GUEST POST ~ #Danny the Dog

My very special guest today is none other than the dauntless and debonair #Danny the Dog, who has kindly contributed one of his adventure stories. Danny’s person, best-selling author Andrew Joyce, will begin by introducing our celebrated canine friend.

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Andrew JoyceMy name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Tina has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel, Yellow Hair. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog Danny. He always has a bad attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

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Danny the DogAndrew woke me up from a nice nap to help him out here. I was dreaming of hot dogs. Yummy! For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my latest adventure. I’m always having adventures. I like to write about them and what I write is 100% true.

In way of introduction, it is I, Danny the Dog, everyone’s favorite dog. I haven’t written anything for a while because my human, Andrew, has been using the computer. He was working on his new book. I told him I’d write it for him, but no; he said I don’t write in the same style as he does. Well duh! I’m so much a better at writing than he is.

I have a story to convey that I am not proud of. At first, I was not Danny the Dog
going to tell you this story, but Andrew said that if I’m going to write about myself, I have to tell of my foibles as well as my strengths. I didn’t know I had foibles, but if I do, perhaps I should see a vet and have them checked out.

Well, I’ve dilly dallied long enough, here’s my sad tale (no pun intended).

Andrew has this friend, a female friend. Yeah, I know. I too was surprised that he had a friend, let alone a female friend. But during my long life, I’ve been witness to stranger things. So this friend, whose name is Suzanne, came to visit last week and she brought her dog with her. Now, I am a peaceful dog, I come from a long line of peace-loving dogs. In fact, my father was so peaceful, he only bit the mailman once a week. But as all of my canine readers will attest to, when a new dog comes onto your turf (or boat in my case), you have to assert your dominance. And in this instance, that was not going to be a problem.

Danny the DogThe little critter was tiny. I wasn’t sure if it was a dog or a hairy rat. Andrew, knowing my ways, tied me to a tree so I couldn’t get to the little monster. But I wasn’t giving up. I barked my head off and strained against that insidious leash. And ultimately my efforts paid off, but now I wish they hadn’t. I was tied to a thin branch and it finally broke, freeing me to go and teach that interloper a lesson. I wasn’t going to hurt her, just let her know who was boss.

I ran full force right at the little thing, but instead of cowering or running away as any normal small dog would do, she turned and faced me, bared her teeth and started barking at me! I was so unprepared for this turn of events that I screeched to a halt (and this is the hard part to tell), turned tail and ran. I ran right to the boat, jumped inside, and hid under the bed. And do you want to know what the worst part was? As I ran, I could hear Andrew laughing his rear end off.

The conclusion to my sad story is that eventually I made friends with the little terror. Her name is Maui, and for a little female rat-dog, she’s not a bad sort. But she does tend to boss me around a lot.

And as for Andrew, he will never let me forget it. Sometimes when
he’s at the computer, he’ll break out laughing, turn to me, and in a Danny the Dogsickening, sugary voice say, “How’s my big brave doggie doing? You better watch out, there are a few mean-looking cats around.” I could just strangle him at times.

I have to be going. I have an appointment at the vet’s to get my foibles looked at.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s book. It’ll make the old guy’s day.

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This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Tina for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.
You’re welcome, Andrew. It has been my pleasure to host you and Danny.
Learn more about Danny:  Blog   Facebook   Learn more about Andrew:  Website   Blog   Amazon   Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   

#BOOK REVIEW ~ #Conflicted Hearts by #D.G. Kaye

Conflicted Hearts

Debby Gies‘ aka author D.G. Kaye‘s book, Conflicted Hearts, moved me in ways I can barely explain. Below is my 5-star review, which I also posted to Amazon. If you aren’t already familiar with Debby and would like to learn more about her, please visit her sites:

Website/Blog   Amazon   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   LinkedIn   

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Conflicted Hearts by D.G. Kaye reads like a personal conversation between two best friends. The level of intimacy shared by the author is second to none of any self-help book I’ve read to date; and I’ve read many.

D.G. Kaye Author

I refer to Kaye’s memoir as a self-help book because it reflects timeless struggles we all share and reveals the author’s many attempts at dealing with them – some successful, some not.

Kaye draws us into a world of deep and conflicting emotions, where she struggles to find balance and a semblance of inner peace. Her mother – demanding and narcissistic – thought only of herself and disregarded the needs of her family, especially those of her children and husband. This propelled the author, the eldest of her three siblings, to step up to the plate and act the parent. In so doing – coupled with also attempting to meet the needs of her mother and father – she forfeited her childhood. As an adult, it took many years for her to reconcile her own needs with those of her mother.

The candor and intimacy shared by the author often brought me to tears, as I reflected on the similarities in my own life. I had read a few chapters when I had to put the book down due to illness. When I picked it up again a few weeks later, I became so engrossed that I read straight through to the end.

For me, the mark of a good book is one that pulls us out of our rote way of life and immerses us in another world, broadens our imagination, heightens our level of awareness, or deepens our life experience. A book that does two or more of these is exceptional. Conflicted Hearts is one such book. It left me emotionally stirred in a very positive way.

Any book that moves me to reflection is a book I will always carry in my heart. Thank you, D.G. Kaye, for this timeless gift …

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Other books by D.G. Kaye:  

P.S. I Forgive You

Have Bags, Will TravelWords We Carry

Meno-What?

Too Much On the Plate – Guest Post by Charles E Yallowitz…

Author Charles Yallowitz is a guest on The Story Reading Ape, discussing the gazillion things he accomplished last year, short of losing his mind! Perhaps saying the ‘white shower thingy’ because you can’t remember the word ‘soap’ is an indication that you have a bit too much on your plate. But then, Charles has plans for an equally brilliant 2017. Hop over to Chris’ blog to learn more about this amazing author …

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

2016 was a busy year filled. So many holidays that closed school, family events, health issues, bouts of depression, unexpected disasters, and I’m sure I’m missing other categories. Yet, somehow I managed to publish 4 books, write 5 books, write 1 short story, write 1 novella, outlining at least 10 other stories/series, and a couple hundred blog posts. This is on top of getting my son ready for school, running errands, doing laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, helping my son with homework, and everything else that shows up. You might think this is a weird way to start this blog post, but I want to see if I can get you as exhausted as I am.

*Pause because I apparently have to do all the bedtime stuff alone.*

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I’m routinely told that I should take a break, but I’m horrible at listening to this advice. So here I am as…

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Guest Post – Author, Tina Frisco

I want to thank Jan Sikes for featuring me on her lovely blog and giving me the opportunity to introduce my new book to her followers. Please visit and take a peek at Jan’s award-winning books. She is an exceptional author 💖

Writing and Music

Meet my guest today, Author, Tina Frisco. tina-4a

She has a brand new book release and I am happy to share it here.

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Jan. I appreciate this opportunity to talk about my new book, Vampyrie: Origin of the Vampire.

Vampyrie is not your typical vampire novel. It’s based in science and brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Although the book is not part of a series, two primary characters from my first novel, Plateau, play major roles.

One day during my morning walk, the word Valkyrie came to mind. As you may know, a valkyrie is one of a host of female helping spirits of the god Odin in Norse mythology. Depicted as both loving and bloodthirsty, valkyries decide who lives and who dies in battle. They also assist Odin in transporting…

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