Honor Thy Mother

Alexis Bourque-Lally stops by the front porch for an installment of our Summer Blogs segment. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this poignant memoir about her mother.

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“Honor Thy Mother”

“Love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. “
-JK Rowling

On the morning of November 22nd in 2015, I woke up early. Earlier than I had my entire life, without someone having woken me up. I showered, got dressed, and did my make-up, even though I knew that it would smear off anyways once I began crying. I did it because I knew it is what my mom would have done. She was strong like that. I sat down with a pen and a paper and stared at it for around two hours to write down what I would share with everyone at the funeral. Nothing. How could I still have nothing to say? It was in that moment that a ping from my phone let me know that I had a message. “Oh great, more condolences and stupid words from people who have not a clue what I feel,” I said to myself as I rolled my eyes. I opened the Facebook messenger app to see a message from a cousin of mine, Sonya. As I opened the message and began to read, tears came to my eyes.

“Alexis, I have been following the family page and your page, and I now know about the difficult decision that had to be made. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for you. You may be numb now, so I hesitated to reach out to you just yet. But for now, let me just say: I know we don’t know each other well, and when I was close with your mom, you weren’t born yet. I won’t search for the “right” things to say about her. What I will say is this: I have noticed for quite some time that among our family, you are special. You have a deeper understanding of love and of the world than most, especially for your age. I don’t have to know the relationship you had with your mom to know how proud she must have been to have you as a daughter. I am the mother of a daughter, and I know the special bond that moms and daughters share. I know the love of a mother, and now that you are a mother, I know you understand it too.”

In that moment, I felt peace. Instead of feeling numb and pushing the pain back like I had been doing for the last week, I let it flood me. Thankfully Brandon and my son were still asleep. I cried, screamed, and cursed everyone, God included. But when I was done, I realized something. My mother was still with me. She is a part of who I am. I am like her in the way my eyes shine green when the sunlight hits them, in the way that I nurture and love my own children. I am like her in the way that I write when I am sad and sing at the top of my lungs when I am happy. She taught me how to make sure my smile always reaches my ears, because there is never a reason to frown so much, and how to always keep my faith in God, even if I do not understand him. In that moment, I realized that my grief was never going away. It was a part of who I am now. I realized that instead of fighting it or letting it consume me, I could let it coexist within me.

My mother was an alcoholic since she was 15 years old, if the stories told about her childhood prove to be true. She was not a bad mother, nor was she a bad person. She raised her kids and raised them well. We’ve all turned out just fine, never suffering neglect or abuse, and are all relatively successful. But, being an alcoholic from the time you are 15 until you are 44 will have some long-term health effects. My mother suffered from a disease known as cirrhosis of the liver. Her cirrhosis was amplified by Hepatitis, which was contracted from a contaminated wound-vac she had received after having a surgery on a perforated ulcer. Combine that with the lack of coordination a person has when they are intoxicated and there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. She fell down a lot, suffering two broken hips, which often left her bed-ridden. Since she stayed in bed a lot when her health was not what it should be, bed sores would break out all over her body. In the end, it wasn’t her cirrhosis, her hepatitis, or a nasty fall that caused her organs to shut down, leaving her in a coma on life support. It was MRSA, a staph infection on steroids that she contracted through one of her bed sores, that took my mother from this earth.

I still have days where I am mad at the entire world, especially people who can call their mother. I am still sad that my mom missed so many events just in the two short years she has been gone. Some days, I still do not want to leave my bed, much less my house. When I feel this way, I close my eyes and I see her face smiling at me. It serves as a reminder that my grief is not who I am. It is a part of me, but it is not me, and it never has to be me. Instead, I lift my head, smile a little bigger, and chase my dreams. I laugh when I am happy, I cry when I am sad, and I honor my mother by trying my best to be a better me every single day.

That is the mark she has left on me.

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Halloween Uncertainty

And the winner is…

“Halloween Uncertainty” by James Hancock. The story is about two young women who go to a Halloween Party during Hurricane Helga, which has arrived in the Gulf Coast after hurricane season. Not all guests are in theme, and one guest comes uninvited. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Halloween Masquerade Ball

 

HALLOWEEN UNCERTAINTY

“Hurricane Helga is expected to reach category five with gusts reaching…”

“Hey, turn that up.”

Nose buried in her phone, Alice says, “Huh?” Without looking up, she says, “Are you still on for the party? I got this great Hermione costume.”

“Shh!”
“…is projected to make landfall near New Orleans.” Standing on a white sandy beach, the man on the television waves a hand at the cloudless sky and says, “It’s hard to imagine, but this one looks a lot like Katrina. FEMA recommends…”

“Yeah right,” says Alice, taking her face from Facebook and muting the television. “It’ll go to Texas just like the last one. And anyway, who heard of a Cat Five Hurricane this late in the year? I didn’t spend thirty bucks on this costume to go running at the first sign of rain.”

“Alice, the storm is already in the gulf. It’s gotta land somewhere and you saw the cone of…”

“Oh Julie. Cone of uncertainty?” Alice rolls her eyes. “The key is un-cer-tain-ty. Now, did you order that Nimbus Two-thousand like we talked about?”

“It’s just a broom, but anyway I don’t want to go in a Harry Potter costume. I want to go as something scary. Halloween is supposed to be scary.”

***

“Nice, Julie,” says Alice. “Everyone is going to be in costume, and here you are going in that.”

“Hello,” replies Julie in a musical tone batting away Alice’s accusing finger, “I am in costume.” She flips the hockey mask down over her face and adjusts the elastic strap. “It even comes with a machete.” She lifts the plastic blade to the side of her face. It’s dripping with fake blood. “Come on. Let’s get moving before the storm really kicks into gear.”

“The forecast has the worst of it going west, just like I said.” Alice presses the buzzer and holds it for a few seconds. “It’s Hermione and Jason. Let us in.”

“Ahh,” says Julie. “So now you believe the cone of uncertainty.”

“Shut up,” Alice begins to say, but she’s cut off by the speaker.

“Door’s unlocked and the keg’s tapped,” replies the voice. “Third door on the left.”

Professor Snape answers the door with Dumbledore at his side. Red and green scarves mill around with black robes. “What is this,” asks Julie, “a Harry Potter theme?”

Alice points to the invitation before she hands it over to Snape. “Uh, yeah. Can’t you read?” Without waiting for an answer, she says, “Whatever. I’m going to go talk to Longbottom over there.”

“Which one?” Julie points to the pair of Gryffindors across the room.

“The cute one.”

***

Julie leaves her friend – is left by her friend – and ventures over to the corner to join one of her kindred spirits. “Hey, wallflower,” she says. “I’m Jason.”

“Luna Lovegood.” The blonde girl holds out a hand. “Hey, I thought this was supposed to be a themed party. If I’d have had my way, I would’ve come as something scary like Pennywise.”

It’s an intriguing conversation, but lightning crackles and thunder echoes in the night. The lights flicker, surge, and go out and good-natured, high-pitched screams fill the party. Someone stumbles with an “oof” and an “ow” and someone else exclaims raucously, “Party foul!”

This is met by the tentative laughter of twenty-somethings who are drunk and not used to being away from home during storms. Through the laughter comes the shriek of a Hufflepuff pointing out the window. “Look!”

Close to the window that looks out onto the parking lot, Julie turns to do just that. The power is out everywhere, and she’s looking out into a world of blackness bleached intermittently by lightning flashes. A pale hockey mask is staring back at her.

Though they are separated by a thin pane of glass, a half-mesmerized and half-terrified Julie leans for a closer look. The ghostly mask opposite her does the same. She shifts to the right for a better angle, to the left, and the mask mirrors each movement. Staring intently, the ghastly vision lifts a bloody hatchet and raps the blade on the glass.

“What are you doing?” asks Luna. “Why are you taunting him?”

“Huh?” Julie steps away from the hot spray of whisper. “What?”

“Put that knife away. I’m going to call the cops.”

“Phones are down,” says someone else.

“Cell phone,” says Luna. “Still have signal.”

The lights come crashing on and everyone from Hogwarts is staring from the window to Julie. “It was just her reflection,” says a smirking Snape. “False alarm. Now, someone pass me another potion.”

***

The party starts up, if a little awkwardly. The chemistry has gone, as have Neville and Hermione.

“That’s it,” says Dumbledore. “Beer’s gone. You don’t have to go home, but….”

A loud, authoritative knock on the door interrupts the end of the party announcement.

“Police.”

“Sorry,” says Dumbledore after opening the door. “The lights went out and we had a bit of a scare. Turns out it was just Jason’s reflection in the window.” At this, he points at Julie standing in the corner with the other wallflower.

“Yeah,” says Luna. “I made the call but I didn’t think it went through. Sorry about that, officer.”

Staring down at her machete, Julie says quietly, “Not a hatchet.” Then louder, she screams, “Run!” At the same time, the officer flips down the hockey mask, adjusts the elastic strap, and pulls the bloody weapon from his belt.

James Hancock lives on the Gulf Coast with his family. In addition to other works, James published the short story “Reap Dance” in the bestselling horror anthology Secret Stairs, available on Amazon.

Social Media Link:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamesGHancock

 

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Vampire Boss

This week is our second place winner! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy “Vampire Boss” by Michelle Presley.

Halloween Masquerade Ball

 

Vincenzo knew the sun was coming up. He had one last piece of business to deal with. He needed a human to take care of the rat in his organization before the feds got to him.

“Janice, can you get Big Al for me?” Janice got on the phone to find Big Al. Al materialized in the doorway not twenty minutes later.

“What can I do for you, boss?” Big Al was Vincenzo’s right hand. He was always there to handle what needed handling. “I need to you to get a message to Don Carlo over in Brooklyn. I need to meet with him. Tell him sundown tomorrow at Sparks.” Sparks was Don Carlo’s favorite steak house.

Vincenzo had to trust that Big Al would remember everything he told him. Nothing was ever written down unless it pertained to one of his legitimate businesses. After Al left, Vincenzo put some papers in the drawer of his desk then took off out the door at the speed of light. It was time for him to get under ground. Everyone knew Vincenzo never did business during daylight hours. Only a select few knew why.

***

The next night Big Al was waiting when Vincenzo surfaced. “So, is Don Carlo willing to meet?” He waited for Al to answer.

“Yea boss, he is willing to meet. He should be there now.” Vincenzo and Big Al left the brownstone that Vincenzo had been dwelling in for the last ten years. Every fifty to sixty years he had to move around. At this point in his eternity he was a crime boss in New York. He partnered with Don Carlo Costello to control the Burroughs. Don Carlo was one of only a handful of people who knew his true identity. When they first met, Carlo wasn’t sure he wanted to work with a vampire. Once Vincenzo agreed to the rules Carlo set down in order to work with him, Carlo wasn’t so hesitant. The biggest rule was that he couldn’t hunt in the Burroughs. Vincenzo agreed to go outside of New York. The agreement has held for the last nine years.

“Tell me what’s going on. Vince.” Carlo commanded

Carlo always used the American version of Vincenzo’s name. Every time it annoyed him.

“This Rocco guy is an associate in Gino’s crew. From what I am hearing, he’s been talking to the Fed’s. We really should handle this now. Per our agreement, I’m coming to you to get someone to take care of him. I don’t want to run the risk of a showdown with the F. B. I.”

“Honestly Vince, I think we should wait it out to see what happens. He may not know enough to do much damage. Reach out to Gino to see if he can tell you more about this guy.”

Vincenzo could feel the anger building. He knew Carlo wouldn’t do anything. It wasn’t one of his crews. Vincenzo on the other hand was convinced that this guy was going to make major trouble for him. He knew it was time to take matters in his own hands.

After leaving the sit down with Don Carlo, Vincenzo let the vampire part of him creep back in. How could he get rid of Carlo and this snitch without it coming back on him? With Halloween coming it could be easier than he thought.

Vincenzo met Big Al on the docks to discuss the issue. They agreed Halloween would be the perfect time, especially in the Burroughs. All the strange and unusual come out during this time if year. So, it wouldn’t matter about the agreement that was made. No one would know it was him.

***

Sun down Halloween. Vincenzo went to the office to handle some things before taking care of the bigger issues. Big Al was waiting on him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I have some news from a member of Gino’s crew. Apparently this Rocco character knows more than we thought. He met with a Fed earlier today” Before Big Al could say another word, Vincenzo flew out the window. Usually, he would use the door. Tonight, his anger was taking over. It was time to take care of business before things got anymore out of hand. When he reached Rocco’s apartment he decided to torment him first.

Rocco’s window was open so it was nothing to get in the apartment. Rocco didn’t see him. Vampires had a way of moving that humans couldn’t see.

Once Vincenzo was in, he slammed the window shut. Rocco jumped and grabbed his gun off the side table next to the chair he was sitting in. Vincenzo whipped around the room knocking books off the shelf, slamming cabinet doors. Rocco was spinning with fear. He kept calling out “Who’s there?” Vincenzo just smiled. When he finally had enough of playing with Rocco he landed perched on the counter that decided the living room from the kitchen.

“Oh Mr. Moretti, I’ve heard you have been a bad boy.”

Rocco was shaking and trying to stammer out a response.

“I ddon’t know what you are talking about.”

Vincenzo could feel the anger building again. “Don’t lie to me. I know you have been talking to the Feds. Now you are going to tell me exactly what you told them.”

“Don Vincenzo, I swear to you to you. I have talked to the Feds.”

Vincenzo didn’t want to give him another chance to answer but he had to find out what the Feds knew.

“One more time, What did you tell them?” Vincenzo moved from in front of him to behind him in a split second.

“I didn’t say anything. I swear it.”

That was Rocco’s last chance. Vincenzo had a hold of him before he could even blink. At that point, Vincenzo just let the anger consume him. Once his fangs were out, there was no stopping him. Rocco pissed himself from fear. Vincenzo pulled his head back and ripped out a chunk of flesh. He drained every drop of blood from Rocco. Tossed him aside, wiped the blood from his lips.

“Don Carlo, you’re next.”

About the Author:

Michelle Presley started writing in high school. Her first book, Harvest on the Mountain, will be included in the Cool Weather, Warm Hearts anthology. She is the mother to three girls and has one grandson. She’s been married to an awesome guy for 13 years. 

Find Michelle on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/michellepresley2775/

Frightening-Leigh

This week kicks off our Halloween Flash Fiction Contest winners! In third place is a story by J D Boudreaux. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Frightening-Leigh

Halloween Masquerade Ball

Bare feet touching bare feet, they sat across from each other. This was how they normally sat—shoes off—even in the current changing weather of late October. They’d probably be barefoot on their birthdays in December when, just two days apart, they would each turn twelve.

Alex stared at Leigh. She had become his official girlfriend back in the summer. They had sat in this same position under the tall pampas grass bushed of his neighbor’s yard. It had been Leigh who had asked him the fateful question. Alex had responded by asking for a kiss, the “first kiss” for both of them.

They’d smooched secretly on occasions, had developed their own secret phrase, and often joked about the whole about the whole process. Best friends since birth and everyone had visions of a happily ever for the two of them. They’d joked about that, too, but looked oh so forward to it.

“What are you staring at now?” Leigh asked. She’d grown accustomed to her friend’s habit of “observing” people and things.

Alex frowned. “Your orange shirt. You really, really need a different favorite color.”

“Like what? Pink?”

“No.” Alex ran a hand over his cowlick. “I’ve always thought you looked really pretty in green.”

“Green?”

“Like emerald green or some darker shade.”

She tapped his foot with hers and smirked. “Emerald? Because I’m a jewel and precious to you?”

“Oh, you’re a treasure…” He tapped her foot back. “…that should probably be buried.”

“You’re lucky you’re my boyfriend and best friend.”

“Trust me, I know exactly how lucky I am.” Alex grinned. “Exact-Leigh”

She was used to his stupid name-puns. “You better.”

Leigh pushed a few loose hair strands behind her ears. “Does that mean you’re going to be a pirate for Halloween?”

“You know I hate Halloween.”

“I want to be Wonder Woman this year.” Leigh stood and posed, closed fists on hips.

“People say I look like Linda Carter.”

“Yeah.”

Leigh clucked her tongue. “You’re useless.”

“Except when you need help on tests,” he kidded her. “I still haven’t forgotten the incident with Miss Kibbee.”

Leigh quickly returned to her earlier question. “Come on, Alex. It’s our last year of trick-or-treating. You have to come with me. You will come with me. You just need a costume.”

“I could go as the King.”

“Elvis? That would be good.”

“No. The King. Richard Petty.”

Leigh exhaled loudly. “I’ll give up my orange when you give up your NASCAR.”

Alex glared at her. “I love when you wear orange.”

They both burst out laughing.

***

Leigh picked her orange flip flops off the ground and carried it with her as they headed back towards her house. Walking along the railroad track that ran behind her street, she offered Alex other options for his costume, but Alex was adamant about being a racecar driver.

Before coming to the gate that opened into her backyard, Leigh stopped. Still invisible to their mothers or anyone looking out a window, she turned and faced Alex.

“What’s wrong?” he wondered. “Are you mad at me?”

Leigh rolled her eyes. No, Alex, but I probably should be.”

“What did I do this time… or not do?”

Leigh loved that about Alex. He would take the blame no matter what. He’d saved her bacon more than once, including getting caught cheating in Miss Kibbee’s class.

“Nothing,” she said, slipping into her flip flops before joining her pinkies together. “It’s just I, well… wish I had a nickel.”

Alex’s grin stretched a mile wide. “Wish I had a nickel,” was their secret phrase. He took her hands in his, leaned in and—

“Leigh and Alex sitting in a tree,” someone sang above them. “K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then—”

Leigh fumed. It was her idiotic neighbor from down the street. “Shut up, Greg!”

Alex scratched an eyebrow and looked up at the trees across the tracks. “Uhh, you’re the one sitting in a tree.”

Greg dropped down from the crook of the tree.

“Enough from you, Big Ears.” Greg turned his attention back to Leigh.

“Is that your Halloween costume?” he leered.

“Don’t!” Alex warned him.

“Oh, wait. No, that’s your normal ugly face, Leigh.”

Alex dropped everything and practically flew across the railroad tracks.

“And that orange shirt? You know it—”

Greg never finished his sentence, and this time Alex did fly. He launched from atop the last rail and hit Greg squarely in the chest. Both toppled over, but Alex managed to stay on top. A year younger and many pounds lighter, Alex had the momentum and the element of surprise.

“Don’t you ever, ever make fun of her again,” Alex spat, trying to land a blow with each word.

Many punches were blocked, but a few found the mark: Greg’s nose.

“Alex, stop!” Leigh yelled, but it appeared that Alex had no intentions to do so

“Please, Alex! You’re scaring me!” she pleaded. “And he’s bleeding. His nose is bleeding.”

“Good!” Alex stood up, grabbed Leigh’s hand, and walked her back across the tracks.

Never once did he look back.

***

Leigh and Alex managed to slip into the house without either of their mothers seeing them. Speed-walking into Leigh’s bedroom, the door was quickly and silently shut.

“You don’t seem the worse for wear,” Leigh commented, eyeing him up and down.

“You’re not bleeding or anything, but your hair is a mess.”

He tried to finger-comb his hair. “With this cowlick, it always is.”

“Thank you, Alex, but you didn’t need to do anything.”

“No one is going to make fun of my friend…” He paused and smiled. “…my girlfriend and get away with it.”

Leigh smiled, too.

“Hey, I have an idea. Since you so obviously can fly, you can be Superman to my Wonder Woman.”

“Nah,” he replied, taking a seat on the floor. “I still want to be The King.”

Leigh knelt next to him and did what they had almost done outside before being rudely interrupted.

She kissed him.

“You’re my king.”

He blushed.

“Maybe I’ll change my costume and be your queen,” Leigh suggested, arms still around his neck. “I have the fancy dresses. I just need a crown.”

“With emeralds,” Alex quipped before pecking her lips.

***

Both sat with their backs against the dresser across from the bed.

“How long do you think it’ll be before Greg’s mother shows up?” Leigh asked.

“In five…four…three…”

Ding-dong.

“How long do you think you’ll be punished?”

“I’ll see you at graduation,” Alex grinned. “College graduation.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No need to be. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

His mother shouted. “Alex!”

He looked at Leigh and sighed. “The things I go through because of you.”

Leigh agreed. “Spooky, isn’t it?”

“Eerily so,” Alex chuckled. “Eerie-Leigh”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and bred in Opelousas, Louisiana, J D Boudreaux is married and has three grown children. The family now resides an hour south in the small town of Erath. Living not quite in sight of the coastal waters, J D swears you can smell it on a good, clear morning. A good story, good friends, and a good cup of coffee are the ingredients that make up a great day for J D. Add a little boudin, cracklins, and Momma’s homemade carrot cake, and JD will call it a perfect day!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJDBoudreaux/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JD_Boudreaux

2018 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest

 

Halloween Masquerade Ball

Bienvenue Press is hosting its Annual Halloween Flash Fiction Contest! The contest will open September 3rd and remain open until September 30th.

Entry and Submission Guidelines:

*Only original, unpublished flash fiction is eligible for this contest.
*Entries must be 1,000 words or less.
*Stories must have a Halloween setting.
*Send submissions in the body of an email to submissions@bienvenuepress.com.
*Include your bio, social media links, and picture of yourself with your submission.

What Winners Receive:

*2nd and 3rd place will be posted on our blog with your bio and links.
*1st place will win $50 (USD). (You must have a PayPal account.)

Questions? Email alvincent@bienvenuepress.com

The Joy of Vacationing in the Mountains

Kathy Penn stops by the front porch for an installment of our Summer Blogs segment. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy her story of vacationing in the mountains of North Carolina.

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“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” At least it is when we spend a week relaxing in the North Carolina mountains. My husband likes to fly fish, so when we don’t make it out West for this activity, we head for the mountains closer to home. I prefer to escape to the mountains when the heat is unbearable in Atlanta, but he likes to fish in the spring during catch and release season which ends May 31, so we compromise by going as late in May as possible.

Typically, I find cabins online, but this time I stumbled across a cabin on the Tuckaseegee River while at a craft festival. When I discovered the owners allowed dogs, the deal was sealed.

It takes a bit of preparation to embark on a week of leisure. For my husband, that means a shopping trip for fishing gear. Me? I like to plan a few easy meals, make a list and head to the grocery and the wine store for the essentials. Wine is essential, right? I say it ranks right up there with coffee and snacks. I don’t want to wake up the first morning without my coffee, and I want cheese, crackers, and other nibbles handy when we arrive the first evening. Throw in staples like olive oil, vinegar, spices, and for this Greek girl, feta cheese, and we’re set. With the SUV loaded with dogs, fishing equipment, books, suitcases, and food, we look like the Clampetts, as we drive away.

Once we settle in, my husband hits the river most mornings with his fly rod in hand, while I savor my coffee and take long walks with the dogs. They enjoy being off leash, chasing rabbits, seeing cows and even llamas, and taking an occasional dip in the river. Next, I relax in a rocker on the porch usually with a book in hand. I do read on my Kindle, but I have such a stockpile of books from library sales, I prefer the real thing unless I’m flying somewhere. It’s hard to pack a week’s worth of books in a carry-on bag and still have room for clothes.

When I’m not reading, I may work a jigsaw puzzle or visit nearby small towns—in this case, Sylva and Dillsboro—to explore the shops. Though I complete lots of my holiday shopping at our local arts festivals, I’m always on the lookout for unique gifts when I travel.

Visiting a few shops or reading leads naturally to an afternoon nap, one of my greatest vacation pleasures.

After happy hour and dinner, we end the evening taking in the stars from the rockers or the hot tub, playing a game, or both. For me, a trip to the mountains is all about relaxing and enjoying unscheduled, unhurried days. We occasionally take active vacations with our bicycles, but on a mountain trip, our goal is to kick back and enjoy “… those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” Here’s to the joy of a vacation in the mountains.

 

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Born in New York City and transplanted to the South in high school, Kathy Manos Penn lives with her husband and their four-legged kids in Dunwoody, Georgia. She taught high school English before embarking on a three-decade career in banking, where, it seemed, she always ended up writing. While still working in the corporate world, she began a side job as a columnist for the local newspaper. She is now happily retired from banking but has no plans to retire from the joyful job of writing.
Her collection of newspaper columns, The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday, is available on Amazon as is her humorous novel Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch. She describes her work as “Books to make you smile.” Follow her on Facebook and visit her website to keep up Lord Banjo’s antics. Yes, Lord Banjo is a real dog.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kathy-Manos-Penn/e/B01N5Q31FH

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Call for Submissions

century hallaug 19 20198_00 pm

Bienvenue Press is pleased to announce a Christmas-themed anthology for charity benefiting the Cajun Navy. What are we looking for? Romance stories featuring hometown heroes. These stories can be any genre of romance (contemporary, historical, paranormal, etc.). However, there needs to be a HEA and one of the main characters must be a hometown hero. The anthology will be published in December 2018.

DEADLINE: September 30, 2018

WORD COUNT: 5,000-10,000 words

PAYMENT: This is an anthology for charity. Contributors will receive a Digital copy (mobi, epub, or pdf) of the anthology. Print copies will be available to the contributors on request, but given the nature of this project, we would hope you would be willing to purchase a print copy.

The first page should include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and pseudonym (if writing under one). Send submissions as a word attachment to submissions@bienvenuepress.com. Include Hometown Heroes and submission title in the subject line.

No royalties will be paid for story submissions. All authors retain their rights to their own stories and are welcome to reference other work, contact information, etc.

New Release from Jolie St. Amant

voodooTHAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO by Jolie St. Amant
Series: Chateau Rouge Series
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Bienvenue Press

Chateau Rouge is rumored to be a haunted hotel. It hides secrets and stories within its walls, tales that lure guests from all over the world.

It seems this enchanting hotel is still up to its old tricks, igniting the flames of romance while subtly nudging reluctant lovers to fall into the hands of fate.

Will Josey’s love survive the test of time, despite being doomed from the start? Can Julien melt Hannah’s cold heart, allowing her to see that love is right in front of her? Will Chloe find the home and love she’s been looking for?

Here at the Chateau Rouge you can expect the unexpected. Be careful, or you, too, may become captivated by its spell.

Purchase That Voodoo That You Do:
Kindle: http://a.co/hXlBJO3
Paperback: http://a.co/3uD2z3I

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jolie St. Amant fell in love with all things New Orleans after reading Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Now, a frequent visitor to the Crescent City, she can often be found getting inspiration from ghost tours, or sipping cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JolieStAmant/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JolieStAmant

Reader’s Group/Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/425463904324654/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRiinr

Bienvenue Press Welcomes Molly Zenk!

Bienvenue Press would like to welcome Molly Zenk to our company/family!  Molly was the winner of our Halloween short story contest last year. We look forward to working with her and sharing her books with you. Today, she stops by the front porch to share a little about herself.

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

I used to teach high school English and creative writing, but now stay home full time with my kids. I still keep in contact with a lot of my former students.  They’re adults now. It’s fun, but a little strange, to see them grow up, get married, and have families of their own.

What made you want to become a writer?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer.  I always said “I want to be a teacher and a writer.”  I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do both.

Music or silence? If music, what do you normally listen to?

I need some sort of background noise.  Sometimes I have the tv on, but I focus better with music. I like creating playlists with songs that relate to the characters or themes of the manuscript.

What is your book about?

It’s a romantic comedy about a girl (Glynnis) with really bad luck with blind dates and dating in general, and the geeky guy (Corin) with a crush on her.  Glynnis’s best friend thinks she should hold out for someone flashy and exciting, like a romance novel alpha male. Corin is unassuming and as far as you can get from an alpha male. He’s a good guy, though, which Glynnis is very drawn to.

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?

Sometimes I have really vivid dreams where I wake up and write down notes.  For my historical fiction,  they’re set in time periods and events I have an interest in.  I’m very visual. When I write, I see and hear everything in my head and transcribe it.  Sometimes I talk out loud when I write – especially the dialogue – to make sure I ‘hear’ it just right.

 What do you love most about the writing process?

Being creative and getting lost in telling someone’s story.  It’s also a nice escape from the stresses of normal, every day life.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

When my kids are in school,  in addition to my own writing, I do freelance ghost writing and write for hire projects.  I like freelance because I can always say no to a project if I don’t have the time or don’t like it.  I just finished two write for hire projects for a publisher that I’m really excited about. They come out Spring 2019.

 Where can we find you online?

I’m most active on Twitter and Facebook.   I need to get in the habit of blogging more and start up an author newsletter. Stay tuned for details on that.

mollysocialmedia (1)MOLLY ZENK  was born in Minnesota, grew up in Florida, lived briefly in Tennessee, before finally settling in Colorado.  Her publishing credits include Heart’s Affections (2013),Hyperion Keats (2013), Better Date Than Never (2014), 3 Nights In Ibiza (2014), Christmas Kisses anthology (2015),Westward Hearts anthology (2015),  Out Of Character (2015),United To Strike: A Novel Of The Delano Grape Workers(2019) and More Precious Than Gold: A Novel Of The California Gold Rush (2019).  Molly won the first annual Halloween Flash Fiction contest presented by Bienvenue Press in 2017.  She is also the ghost writer for several best-selling Amazon short reads authors  Molly is married to a Mathematician/Software Engineer who complains about there not being enough “math” or info about him in her author bio.  They live in Arvada, CO with their daughters.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://mollyzenk.wixsite.com/home

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnsinkableMoZe

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mollyzenk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authormollyzenk

Have a manuscript you would like to submit to Bienvenue Press? See our website for details.

https://bienvenuepress.com/submissions

 

Spring and Summer Bring New Rhythms

Who loves spring and its new beginnings? Kathy Penn does. Sit back and enjoy her story about the new life and rhythms of spring.

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Spring has sprung in Dunwoody, and summer is almost upon us. With the pollen finally subsiding, we’re once again enjoying our screened porch, reading the paper out there most mornings and eating dinner with friends in the evenings. We’ve seen the dogwoods come and go, and now the magnolias are in full swing. Those are just a few of the many enjoyable signs of the season around our house.

We started with the Carolina Wrens building a nest in our rosemary bush. What a delight to watch the eggs and the mom and dad coming and going. It seemed as though only a few weeks passed between seeing the eggs and then the nest being empty. When they first hatch, all you really see is their tiny beaks and the white line beneath their closed eyes. I never did get to see them with their little beaks open, and then—poof—they were gone.

I was startled one day when I looked out the kitchen window to see a hawk on the porch railing right above the pot with the nest. He seemed huge and hesitated long enough for me to get a good luck before flying off. I’m sure he was looking for a tasty snack in the nest. Right as he flew off, a cardinal and a wren landed on the porch, almost as if they were both looking out for the babies. I googled hawks, and found out it was a red-tailed hawk.

Next, a pair of bluebirds moved into our bluebird house. They don’t do that every year; several couples will check out the house for a month, but we don’t always get “buyers.” My husband says they’re condo shopping. Once they move in, the mom and dad come and go, and then one day, you step onto the side porch and hear the noisy babies chirping.

As I’m writing this in late May, we haven’t yet seen any Bambis, as we call them, but it will soon be time. I’ve probably written before about Banjo, our eighty-pound dog, coming nose to nose with a little Bambi a few years back. What a sight that was—the tiny thing on its wobbly legs, frozen as Banjo stretched his nose out for a sniff. The deer dine regularly in the field beyond my kitchen window and chomp on plants I’d rather they’d leave be, but the pleasure I get from watching them meander past the kitchen windows on one side and the living room windows on the other is worth losing a few plants.

For me, the other less pleasant sign of spring is my spring knee. No, I didn’t make that term up. On an April bicycle trip one year, the tour guide said that’s what I had as I sat in the support van icing my knee. I told that story to my knee doctor the next year when I had the same complaint, and he laughed. He agreed that he sees many more folks with knee issues in the spring, when we all become active. This year, as my husband and I are trying to get in shape for a bicycling trip to Normandy, I’ve got spring knee again and am wearing a lovely and stylish red knee band to try to minimize the twinges of pain.

Yes, nature and knees tell me we’re approaching summer, and what a glorious time it is.

Processed with Snapseed.Born in New York City and transplanted to the South in high school, Kathy Manos Penn lives with her husband and their four-legged kids in Dunwoody, Georgia. She taught high school English before embarking on a three-decade career in banking, where, it seemed, she always ended up writing. While still working in the corporate world, she began a side job as a columnist for the local newspaper. She is now happily retired from banking but has no plans to retire from the joyful job of writing.

Her collection of newspaper columns, The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday, is available on Amazon as is her humorous novel Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch. She describes her work as “Books to make you smile.” Follow her on Facebook and visit her website to keep up Lord Banjo’s antics. Yes, Lord Banjo is a real dog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kathy-Manos-Penn/e/B01N5Q31FH

Want to be a guest blogger? Visit our webpage at: https://www.bienvenuepress.com/front-porch-blog