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Check Out These Books!

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LIFE OF A BABY BOOMER is a book especially for those who grew up in the fifties and sixties, or suffered any kind of abuse, or had doubts about their capabilities, or served in the military, or have ever worked in law enforcement. I’ve read this book many times, and its words still serve to comfort and inspire. It was a privilege for me to help Steve put this book together. Steve has always believed faith in God–even if it is shaky and as small as a mustard seed–is the key to surviving life’s difficulties. A mustard seed of faith doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to overcome all the hardships life deals us. I hope you will join Steve on his journey.

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SOMEDAY MAY NEVER COME is my first mystery and I had a great time writing it. The setting is the Florida Keys, only I made up my own key, Mirror Key, which represents a reflection of what we wish to see in ourselves and our lives. Anna Howard’s journey of self-discovery is one that most of us face at one time or another. It’s that discovery of a truth that was right in front of us all along, but we may have chosen to ignore it.  Gina and Kimberley Kraft are the murder victims and in their murders, lies the truth of the lives of all of those involved in Mirror Key. When the truth is discovered, hopefully, those who have survived will be able to pick up the pieces of their lives.

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TENTH DEGREE OF THE PARANORMAL is a book about the battle between good and evil, but it is also the struggle of a mother’s relationship with her daughter, and the knowledge that some day she has to relinquish control over her daughter’s life. Barbara Stevens is a woman who has always struggled with the fact that she is different, but her daughter embraces her powers and tries to help her mother accept her own abilities. Ivan Karlovsky will stop at nothing to harness the paranormal powers of this young girl, which threatens to open the gates of hell itself, but Barbara will stop at nothing to protect her daughter and close the abyss. Set in the backdrop of contemporary Russia, this is a battle where winner takes all.

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It’s not your mother’s vampire story because it has some twists that are not typical of the vampire genre. Elizabeth Curran, the female protagonist, is not content to remain a vampire and is in search of her soul. More a battle between good and evil rather than the life of a vampire. What was truly enjoyable about writing this book was the historical aspect. Most of what I write about King Charles II of England is true, well, except the part about someone trying to make him a vampire. LOL! The Restoration in England is one of my favorite historical periods, and I loved writing about it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out these books and all of them can be found at

http://amzn.to/1sBlyyu
Thanks you for stopping by.
Bren

THE KING’S VAMPIRE–Not Your Mother’s Vampire!

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I can hardly believe that “The King’s Vampire” was published by Soul Mate Publishing nearly four years ago! http://amzn.to/1sBlyyu That means it will be going out of print some time in March. It’s a book that meant a lot to me, and I’ve been thinking about reprinting it as an indie, but I’m not sure yet.

It’s not your mother’s vampire because it has some twists that are not typical of the vampire genre. Elizabeth Curran, the female protagonist, is not content to remain a vampire and is in search of her soul. More a battle between good and evil rather than the life of a vampire. What was truly enjoyable about writing this book was the historical aspect. Most of what I write about King Charles II of England is true, well, except the part about someone trying to make him a vampire. LOL! The Restoration in England is one of my favorite historical periods, and I loved writing about it.

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The oak tree above was grown from an acorn of the royal oak where Charles Stuart climbed to hide from Cromwell’s men. According to the legend, Father John Huddleston was the priest who helped him hide. The very same Father John Huddleston was the one who gave Extreme Unction to Charles Stuart on his deathbed.

It’s a well-known fact that King Charles had many mistresses, and Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine, has a few run-ins with Elizabeth in my book. Nell Gwynn, infamous actress & harlot of the Restoration, is also there. I make mention of a nude portrait of her hidden behind a secret chamber, and such a portrait has been found and thought to be Nell Gwynn. History is so much fun!

I make mention of a Philip Rohr who was a German theologian who believed in the vampire lore of the time, and also a Francois Richard who wrote about vampires and witches. It’s fun to use history as a catalyst for fiction. Sometimes, the problem when you write paranormal, people tend to dismiss the historical facts along with the fiction. That’s understandable, becomes sometimes fact is just much weirder than fiction, as we can all attest.

One of the last historical realities I’d like to mention in my book is the topic of Catherine Montvoisin, or La Voisin as she came to be called. Noblemen and women of Louis XIV’s court did embrace her dark arts. The scandal really hit the fan when Louis’s mistress, Athenais de Montespan got involved with La Voisin. Rumors spread that Montespan had stripped naked on the altar, and they found a sacrificed newborn over her body. Whether it was true or not, it spelled trouble for the nobles. I guess my fascination with these topics prove in my mind that there is always a continuous struggle in the world between good and evil, and we must always remain vigilant to the demons who might steal our souls. Just because something is fiction, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

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One last favorite part of my book, THE KING’S VAMPIRE, is my vampire dog, Charlie. And while there are no real vampire dogs, Charlie was real as my little dog, Toto. THE KING’S VAMPIRE will be out of print soon, but I hope if you get the chance, you’ll take the time to read it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bren

 

 

 

Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy Anniversary, & Happy Birthday! February is a big month for us!

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February is always a very big month for us. Not only is it Groundhog’s Day, but we also celebrate our anniversary and Steve’s birthday. We’ve been married forty-two years and sometimes it seems like it’s just been a heartbeat since we were first married, and yet, so much has happened. And yes, that is a ’72 Pinto we were driving!

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The first night we spent as husband and wife was at the Holiday Inn on the Altamont in Livermore, and I don’t even know if the hotel is still there! I was twenty-two and Steve was twenty-seven and I thought we knew all we needed to know about life. That’s because I was twenty-two! If you had told me I’d be sixty-four in the twinkling of an eye, I would have laughed and laughed!

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We went to Disneyland on our honeymoon, and it was amazing to me. Little did I realize that forty-two years later we would be going to Disney World nearly every week, and I’d find it just as amazing, and we’d sometimes get to share the experience with our grandsons.

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Steve took me to Tijuana, and yes, this was actually the first time I was ever out of the USA! It was just the beginning of all the adventures we’d take together, and I have say that I’m glad we shared this journey together.

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Our last stop on our honeymoon was Las Vegas, and it was there we ran out of money and had to go home. It wasn’t that we gambled, it was just that we ran out of money because we didn’t have that much to begin with.

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I know these old honeymoon photos are pretty faded, but the memories are just as vivid as they ever were. To my husband, Steve I’d like to say, “Happy Groundhog’s Day, happy birthday, and happy anniversary! I’m so glad we found each other. Thank you for sharing these forty-two years with me, and also sharing your own spiritual journey of the heart with me.

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Life is a fragile thing, and I think we all need to hold our loved ones close and tell them how much they mean to us. Thank you for stopping by!

Bren

 

 

Here’s Wishing You A Blessed Holiday Season & A Happy New Year!

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I’m certain as Christmas draws closer, memories go back to times of long ago and of people who are no longer in our lives. I remember my own mom worked very hard to create holiday memories for us and our kids, and I’m happy to say that she was extremely successful. It is one of her greatest legacies to our family.

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Time flies, as life pretty much guarantees it will, but we will always feel the nearness of our parents, our children and their families, our aunts and uncles, our beloved cousins, and our friends, no matter where they might be, because we’ll always have our memories of them.

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Let’s not forget  joyful memories and let’s keep them close to our hearts. Let’s hold  loved ones close and not forget to tell them how much we love them. We don’t really remember the gifts we received over the years, but we never forget the moments shared with others.

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Our world has become a much more dangerous place than it was when we were growing up, or when our children were growing up. Even while we enjoy the holiday season we must take time to pray for peace and think what the Prince of Peace wanted most for those of us on earth. We can’t forget those brave Christians who profess their faith even when they are threatened with the possibility of death for their faith.  God tells us to love others as we love ourselves, and while few of us would argue with this logic, in a world grown darker, it becomes more difficult. We have been truly blessed in this country, and it is thanks to God we have such joyous memories of life here. But during this holiday season and in the new year to come, let us not forget to keep vigilant in prayer that peace will come to us all and we will learn to live together in harmony.

Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas this holiday season, have a joyous time and remember to be thankful for all your blessings this past year and have many, many more in 2016! In the words of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!”

Thank you for stopping by.

Bren

Steve’s Book, Life of a Baby Boomer is Now in Paperback!

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I’m so excited Steve’s book, “Life of a Baby Boomer”   http://amzn.to/1sBlyyu   is  now in soft cover on Amazon. It will be available on e-book on Amazon after December 1st. He’s included pictures of his family in the book, which brings the story even more to life. It’s an inspiring story for anybody who has ever felt down and out and maybe believed they were being judged unfairly. His book can be found on Amazon as a soft cover for $8.43 (don’t ask, I know it’s a weird price). He made the price as cheap as possible so more would be able to read it, and hopefully benefit from his story.

This is a book especially for those who grew up in the fifties and sixties, or suffered any kind of abuse, or had doubts about their capabilities, or served in the military, or have ever worked in law enforcement. I’ve read this book many times, and its words still serve to comfort and inspire. It was a privilege for me to help him put this book together. Steve has always believed faith in God–even if it is shaky and as small as a mustard seed–is the key to surviving life’s difficulties. A mustard seed of faith doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to survive all the hardships life deals us. I hope you join Steve on his journey. It’s a book that will make a great gift for the holidays.

Below is an excerpt from the book:

Chapter Three

 

 

The Lord said, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this

   mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea; and it will obey you.  Luke 17:6 NIV

 

In spite of the horror of my childhood, I felt secure in the love of my Grandpa and Grandma Rockwell, though I didn’t dare tell them what happened to me at home or at school. I also had a secret sustaining me, because I’d never forgotten that near-death experience I’d had, and although I didn’t have the words to explain it, I knew someone was protecting me. I thought of it as the guardian angel my granny used to talk about.

Not only was there emotional torment at home, but I had difficulties at school as well. Once I came home from school crying because the teacher had taken my arm and scratched it with her fingernails, leaving four trails of blood down my arm, and then my mother yelled at me because I was too old to cry.

To my mother, expression of my feelings was a sign of weakness. It was one of those rules I had forgotten, but it wasn’t likely I’d need to be reminded again. During my first month of kindergarten, my mother would take me to school, and I’d run home as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

I couldn’t explain to others why I kept running home, so they assumed I was afraid of school. The truth was I was afraid to leave my mother at home because I feared my stepfather would kill her if I wasn’t there. It was a secret I couldn’t share with anyone. In my mind, if I was present, he wouldn’t kill her because I’d be a witness. It never occurred to me that he might kill me too.

I concluded my presence saved her, because the five or six times he beat her badly enough to be hospitalized, I was in my room and my brother was at his real father’s house. All I’d hear was my stepfather punching her as she slammed up against the walls, and the sound of her screaming.

Once she hit the floor with a dull thud, an ambulance would be called and I’d remain in my room, too terrified to move. When she’d come home from the hospital all bruised up, she’d say she’d had an operation. I never dared question her about these lies; I was just grateful she was still alive.

My long ride on the short bus started in kindergarten because I continuously ran home to my mother; I never talked to anyone other than my brother or grandparents, or occasionally, my mother, until I reached the second grade. On the first day of school in second grade we were told to write a poem and read it in front of the class.

I proudly read aloud to my classmates: “Once there was a dog, he slept with a hog./The hog was dead./ The dog had no head.”

In my mind, the poem wasn’t twisted, and it made perfect sense. I had sort of an “Old Yeller” theme going on like in the movie. I pictured a dog in his doghouse and a hog trying to get in, so they got into a fight. The hog, which had huge tusks, ripped off the dog’s head, but the dog had injured the hog enough so he also died of his injuries. The poem had the added bonus of rhyming and having a sense of justice.

In spite of my complete understanding of the poem, I was sent to the office to be seen by the school psychologist. I explained to him I’d created my own language in my head and the only person who could interpret my language was my brother. The psychologist nodded a lot, as though he understood, but he clearly did not. This wouldn’t be the last trip I’d make to his office.

Even though my first poetry reading was not what I’d hoped for, I did begin to speak normally in the second grade, but I don’t believe the psychologist was responsible for my progress. I credit my ability to speak to others to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Emmons, whom we fondly called M&M, after the candy. In fact, she looked like the lady on the See’s candy box, a grandma-type representing everything sweet and good in life.

She’d sometimes set me on her lap and give me a hug, an experience I was unaccustomed to, but I learned to like it a lot. She was the first person, except for my grandparents, who accepted me for just being me, and she was one of the few who loved the misfits more than the socially acceptable. She was the first teacher I ever remember giving me the recognition I longed for, and it was partly because of her that I later became a teacher.

Even though I was now speaking, and I rejoiced being in Mrs. Emmons class, I had already been labeled as one of those children who rode the short, yellow bus. I was still taken out of class one hour in the morning in order to have remedial help.

In my special education class, I was instructed on how to make sounds, and when I made a mistake, I would be slapped across the face. When I incorrectly wrote the sound or letter, I would be hit on the palm of the hand with a ruler. As horrific as these teaching practices sound, they were acceptable methods for training “slow” or “retarded” students back in the 1950’s. I was subjected to these learning methods until I entered the sixth grade.

That hour of special education each day was more like an interrogation than a learning experience, except there were only bad cops, no good ones. Each day I entered a room not much larger than a closet, with bare, concrete walls and no windows, nothing but gray concrete surrounding me, a barren room where no love of learning could ever take root and grow.

The theory of educating students like me was that a disciplined body would lead to a disciplined mind. For that hour, I’d sit on a hard wooden chair with a table in front of me. The teacher would never sit; she’d walk around, continuously circling me like some boney bird of prey. It never occurred to the teacher I might have inner needs she could possibly discover through talking to me about my life.

The sound of her footsteps would thud in my ears, as I concentrated on keeping my arms on the armrests of the chair and my feet flat on the floor. Good posture was considered important in my speech training.

If I moved, I’d get whacked with a ruler, so I learned to sit really, really still. Every minute I sat, the room would get smaller and smaller, the clock ticking louder and louder. The bare concrete walls, no windows, and hard green tile on the floor could be compared to a prison I’d later work in, only the prison had colorful murals and painted stripes on the walls.

I remember coming back to my regular class where Mrs. Emmons would always give me an extra special hug; I’m sure she’d see by the expression on my face the trauma I’d been through. Mrs. Emmons was a bright and golden ray of sunlight in the dark, gray clouds of an unenlightened school system. Maybe I needed the darkness to give a background to the brilliance of her warmth and kindness.

I’d recall in my Sunday school class when the teacher would talk about having faith just the size of a mustard seed and being able to conquer mountains. Mrs. Emmons was my mustard seed of faith.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and you can share this book with others. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Bren

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