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Book Review: Spinning Silk by T. Cook

T. Cook weaves Japanese mythology and women’s fiction together, creating one exquisite piece of literature in her debut novel Spinning Silk.

T Cook

Spinning Silk, written by T. Cook, transports readers back to a time of the Samurai when only nobles wore silk and peasants became slaves. Then, in a flash of fantasy so well-formed through mythology and the written word, reader’s find themselves believing the unreal to be true. Filled with the emotional gamut found in T. Cook’s novel, I found myself enamored and unable to put Spinning Silk down.

About Spinning Silk:

Furi lives anything but an easy life. Perhaps the most adept and creative silk weaver in all of Japan, she finds herself treated as a slave by her adoptive mother and then sold as a slave to a cruel woman who exploits her weaving talents to the brim. Though the beatings make life miserable, the pull of the loom keeps Furi creating for herself as much as for anyone else. Seven years she spends sprawled for punishment befitting the very masters who wield the whip, until Shin, a humble yet strange slave, comes as a gardener. Soon, illnesses and death surround Furi as much as Shin’s mysterious healing. When Furi finds herself alone, Madame Sato teaches her to live the life of nobility only to suddenly introduce Furi as her dead daughter. Searching for the truth of her existence, and hoping for love, Furi travels through the best and worst of emotions, creating and growing along the way.

My Thoughts:

T. Cook pulled me into her creation immediately with incredible prose and perfectly-written imagery. As a fan of fantasy, I know I can be pulled into other worlds but was uncertain about being pulled into Feudal Japan, and I hoped my limited knowledge of Japanese history wouldn’t distract from the story. My fears were unwarranted, as Cook painted an amazing picture. To help those who want more, she included explanations of the terms (found in italics) at the back of the book.

Not everyone loves fantasy, but I emphatically recommend Spinning Silk to readers of women’s fiction and romance novels, including those who don’t usually read fantasy. The fantasy is not overt, and life shines through more than mythical creatures, magic, or the like. Sorry, fantasy lovers, you won’t find a mage, and the dwarves stayed home with Snow White, but I promise you’ll love this incredible book anyway.

Spinning Silk does have some typos, and they are typos, not problems with word choice or lack of writing skills. They do not detract from the story at all. The novel is a clean read without the need for a disclaimer. It has immediately won a home in my library as a definite read-again-and-again. I can’t wait for the release of the second book, Shin.

More Info:

Purchase your copy of Spinning Silk on Amazon.
Follow T. Cook on Facebook and Twitter
Visit her website: www.tcookbooks.com

Learn more about me and download your free copy of Sometimes a Bird Has to Fly by visiting my website: kameomonson.com

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Songs of You and Me

A true-to-life sweet romance, The Songs of You and Me reminds us that dreams can come true.

Mylissa Demeyere enters the writing scene with her first novel, The Songs of You and Me, a sweet romance about second chances. If you love simple, yet sweet love stories, you’ll want this one.

About The Songs of You and Me:

The Songs of You and Me follows the stories of Jane and Jackson. Would-be high school sweethearts, if nothing had gotten in the way. But life did, as it usually does. Now that Jane and Jackson are both single and, once again, living in the same small New York town they grew up in, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Reader’s learn about the love Jane and Jackson shared in high school through labeled chapters, similar to flashbacks, while at the same time, following their current lives as they rekindle their past friendship with a little help from Jane’s best friend and Jackson’s sister, Sarah. But the heartache of their past marriages brings pain to the forefront. Read the book to find out if they end up in each other’s arms.

My Thoughts:

“So, how did you two meet?”

It’s a question we’ve all heard and answered—one we ask each other regularly. Watching the smiles and the love pass between husbands and wives fascinates us, giving us goosebumps in all the right places. That’s what Mylissa Demeyere’s book, The Songs of You and Me reminds me of—a simple love story everyone wants to hear. To make your reading experience even better, Demeyere includes a link to a fitting song at the beginning of every chapter. While my Kindle has no speakers, I thought the idea was genius.

I found Demeyere’s writing simple and easy to read. There were some errors in the word choices and editing, but that can be expected in every book. Though I noticed the errors, I didn’t feel they detracted from the story much, if at all. The storyline is one-hundred percent believable; if you want an extreme love story, you won’t find it here. However, you will find descriptions of some mighty fine looking people, or hot, as Demeyere describes them. I did find myself getting a bit lost in the heavy descriptions of the characters’ styling choices (especially Jackson’s), but I tend to prefer limited character descriptions.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would read another by Mylissa. Though I’m not likely to read it again and again, it brought a smile to my face, sometimes it’s the simple pleasures.

The Songs of You and Me is a clean read. Expect some hot kissing and some mild swearing.

More info:

Purchase your copy of The Songs of You and Me on Amazon

Follow Mylissa Demeyere: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads
Visit her website: www.mylissademeyere.com

Have a book you’d like reviewed?

Contact me at KMonson.author@gmail.com. Find my guidelines on my Recommended Reads page.

Want to see more from Kameo? Receive my monthly newsletter and get a FREE copy of Sometimes a Bird Has to Fly: a Flash Fiction Piece by leaving your name and email below.

 

 

Flash Fiction: Hope

As I considered what to write for this week’s blog post, I decided to write a piece that shows what it is like to deal with anxiety and school avoidance for both parent and child. Having experienced such crises firsthand, the story, though fictional, lives in reality.

Hope

Flash Fiction: Hope

The alarm rang, and I wanted nothing more than to ignore the blasted beeping. How could I face another painful day of watching my child suffer at the hands of the educational system? That’s how I felt, anyway. I rolled out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom where I took my time. Hanna needed as much time in bed as possible before I ripped her from safety and forced her into raging discomfort yet again. I’d stretch the time longer but the ongoing fight required all the time I had left.

Shuffling my bare feet down the cold, hard tile, I opened Hanna’s door. “Come on, baby, time to get ready for school.” The blanket flipped over her head as she clutched it closer. “I know it’s hard, sweetheart, but if you don’t go to school we both get in trouble. Come on, time to get up.”
Grabbing the blanket, I removed it from her body. Her small frame lay too tiny for so much angst and too big for me to dress. I always stopped short as I smothered my own frustrations. “Get dressed Hanna, now.”

Tears streamed down her face, her body shaking uncontrollably. Blue eyes pleaded with me to let her stay home—pleaded for me to protect her from the terrors she faced. “Get dressed and come downstairs. Start with that. Can you do that?”

She nodded. That was more than yesterday. I stepped outside the room and down the stairs to make her lunch, wondering if she would eat at home again. Five minutes later, I called Hanna, reminding her to hurry. The doctor called it anxiety with panic disorder. I’d seen nothing like it. Similar to some teachers, I had assumed she wanted to stay home—or come home. Isn’t that what kids do? Not according to the doctor. “Consequences without pressure require walking a fine line,” he said. “You must balance the two.”

How do you balance consequences without applying pressure?

Teachers complained about Hanna curling into a ball on her chair and crying silently. She occasionally lashed out if they pressured her without recognizing the signs of an oncoming attack. Her bedtime was always questioned. Every one of them showed surprise when I said she went to bed by 8:00 PM. They hadn’t seen anxiety like this either.

“Hanna, come downstairs, now.”

The creak of her bedroom door told me she’d gotten dressed—or not. Standing at the top of the stairs, Hanna’s shoulders dropped, her head hanging lower.

“We have to go, Hanna. Where are your clothes?”

Tears poured down her cheeks, puddling on the hard floor beneath her feet, and she crumpled into a ball. I stepped up the stairs and pulled her into my arms. “What’s hard today?” Hanna shrugged. “Don’t you want to see your friends?”

“I have no friends!” The words sounded angry, but hurt was the real emotion.

“What about Sam? Or Leah? Or Danni?”

She hid her head further between her knees. “They won’t talk to me.”

“Do you talk to them?”

Now her eyes filled with agony. “I try, but they just talk to each other.”

I rubbed her back. What could I say to that? “Baby, I need you to get dressed, okay? If you can make it to school, we can have warm chocolate chip cookies when you get home.” I paused, hoping she would stand. Nothing. “If you need to come home you can call, but you need to try.”

Resigned, Hanna rose and reentered her room. A minute later, she came out dressed in jeans and a striped top. I handed her a breakfast sandwich and her shoes as we rushed out the door.

I tried not to talk too much on the way there, but unlike Hanna, I talk when nervous. “The other day I read about a girl who wanted a hairless cat…”

“I want to be homeschooled.”

I shook my head. “The doctor says attending in a classroom with other students is better for you. Besides, I don’t know how to teach, and you’ve seen me try to write an email. I don’t know a noun from a verb.”

“I want to be homeschooled.”

My heart lurched into my throat. I couldn’t homeschool. I squirmed like a trapped squirrel. “So, if you could have any animal you wanted, what would you choose?”

Silence.

We pulled into the school parking lot late enough that I ignored the loading zone sign. Besides, technically I was unloading my daughter. I hoped. I opened the door for Hanna, who tucked her head into her knees, hiding her face. “We can’t do this Hanna, you need to go in.”
I had fought to get her on campus for months. At first, she attended every day, regardless of long fights in the morning. A couple of weeks ago that number diminished significantly as most days she either checked in late or came home early. Consequences changed nothing. This week, she’d already missed four days. I wanted to bang my head against the steering wheel, drive her home, wrap my arms around her, and tell her she didn’t have to go to school ever again. But I knew better. Life without school meant heartache as an adult. Besides, legally she had to attend.

Sometimes I hated laws, even when they made sense.

“Come on.” I reached my hand around her and undid the seatbelt. She fought me, trying to grab at the buckle. “Please Hanna. If I need to, I’ll stay with you, but you have to go to school.”

She lifted her head and met my eyes with hers—red, hurt, scared. I offered my hand, and she took it. Together we walked into the office where I checked her in. We’d spent twenty minutes in the parking lot. She was late. As she trudged toward her classroom, a tear ran down my cheek.

“I think I need to set an appointment to discuss Hanna’s anxiety,” I said to the receptionist, adding, “She’s seeing a doctor, but it’s taking too long.”

“I can set an appointment for you with Mrs. Langley. She handles the 504 plans and the IEPs for kiddos with needs.”

“I really just need to discuss her absences.”

The receptionist looked at me, a wan smile spreading across her lips. “She may need more, and that’s why we have these documents—to help kiddos like Hanna.” She touched my hand. “Last week when Hanna came up here to calm down during history, she couldn’t speak. I knew she needed you, but when I asked her if she wanted to go home she couldn’t answer me. Kids who want to go home usually speak up. Hanna has anxiety—the real kind—not like what the rest of us get. Keep taking her to the doctor, but let the school help, too.”

“What can the school do?” A scoffing tone escaped with my words.

“More than people let on. They can set her up with books and helps at home for the days she misses, absences can be excused, different environments are available on campus if she needs them. We can take care of her. Mrs. Langley, she’s good at it, and she knows all this stuff.”

My heart slowed. I nodded my head and forced the words thank you from my mouth. She squeezed my hand. “Next Tuesday. 9:00 AM.”

One more nod as I walked out the door, hope slowly easing its way back into my heart. “Thank you,” I whispered.

Like what you read? Share it with your friends on social media, then read more at kameomonson.com.

When Love Is Lost Release Day Celebration!

The day long-awaited has come. When Love Is Lost is live on Amazon and it’s time to celebrate!

Several years ago, I started a writer’s journey as I decided to write a book. This year I published When Love Is Lost—a clean women’s fiction novel!  In celebration of a dream realized, I’m giving away two paperback copies of When Love Is Lost to two wonderful winners.

About When Love Is Lost:

Cleaning, cooking, volunteering, attending church . . . Deb lives a monotonous life. Stuck in a loveless marriage, she doesn’t know where to turn or what to do. One day, out of the blue, a mysterious man enters her life, and her once boring existence is born anew. As he fills her heart with love, joy, and hope, she must decide whether her marriage is worth saving.

Betty’s life is nothing but fun, glamour, and shopping, especially where Deb is concerned. But can she continue hiding her torturous past from her best friend? When her past comes back to haunt her, Betty struggles to survive in a world where no-one knows the truth of her reality.

A young, pregnant mother of two, Mariah, makes new friendships with Deb as she continues her blissful journey through motherhood. But while her husband is recovering from an accident, new terrors threaten to destroy the happiness she’s worked so hard to build.

Can all three women come together to fight the battles of life? Find out in WHEN LOVE IS LOST. A novel that shines a new light on love and friendship, and keeps readers yearning for more as they cheer for three incredible women journeying through the ups and downs of life.

A Clean Read.

This book contains some ‘PG-13’ domestic abuse with other related themes. It has no graphic sex scenes (implied between married couples), nudity, or swearing. Though appropriate for most teenagers, When Love Is Lost has been written with adults in mind.

 

Praises:

“Women’s Fiction reborn. This beautiful and endearing story keeps you hooked until the very end. The adventures, twists, and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I have found a new favourite author! Five out of five stars for this amazing addition to the world of literature.” Eanna Roberts, owner of Penmanship Editing

If you love Debbie Macomber books with a little bit of clean romance and heart-warming stories of personal tragedy and triumph, you will enjoy When Love is Lost. Kameo’s descriptions are never lacking, her story flows well, and she introduces a cast of characters you will fall in love with, or question, or hate.” Maggie Aldrich, author of It’s All Greek to Me.

“Beautifully, compassionately written, When Love Is Lost sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. It follows the experiences of three women who find strength through their unique challenges. The story is both timeless and familiar, relatable and personal. I couldn’t put it down!” Amy Klaus, author of Hearts Unshackled (coming soon).

Giveaway Information:

This giveaway begins August 14, 2018, at 12:00 AM EDT and ends August 22, 2018, at 12:00 EDT.

Rules: No purchase necessary. Ages 18 and up. US entries only. Winners will be notified by email and given 48 hours to respond. If no response is received within 48 hours another winner will be chosen. Prize value of $16.00. Odds of winning determined by the number of entries. Winners are chosen randomly. This giveaway is run by Kameo Monson from Maricopa, Arizona.

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Attending School Once More, Once More

While tomorrow marks the end of week three for my ninth-grader, my seventh and eleventh-graders wrap up their first week. As many parents know, it isn’t only back to school for the kids, but for the parents, too. Decades ago, society determined children should attend school wherever the bus took them, but my little Arizona town thrives on changing societal views. Here, the norm leans toward sending your child to the school best suited to their needs, and we have plenty of schools available. Though I never thought I would choose for my children to attend school outside the bus-zone (i.e. a charter school), I’ve found it to be best for them.

Currently, my children attend two different charter schools. My ninth-grader attends a brick and mortar school that follows the typical pattern of changing classes and making friends in the hallway. My seventh and eleventh-graders attend an online school that offers a classroom with licensed teachers four days a week. They can also work from home. While my eleventh-grader generally attends in the classroom, my seventh grader attends at home where she has access to help from yours truly.

Attending School Once More, Once More.
My seventh grader working on science.

This week, my daughter and I have worked together on Social Studies, math, and English. Of course, English caught my attention.

I remember my seventh-grade English teacher. Some of my friends probably remember her name. She was this tiny, wrinkled woman who always had a piece of nicotine gum stashed in her cheek. Most of my friends attended the high English class and often told stories of stealing the transparency sheets from the overhead projector. Me? I remained in the average class, and remember her squiggling sentences onto transparencies and asking us to place commas and periods in the correct places.

I don’t, however, remember terms like appositive, participle, adjectival phrase, or adverbial phrase. Though I did learn about misplaced modifiers from my mother, who always giggled about the dog sitting at the table. (‘I petted the dog sitting at the table,’ versus, ‘I sat at the table and petted the dog.’)

This week, when I went back to school, I read the lessons to my daughter and discussed various ways to remember each of these terms. We also learned how these phrases often represent more than one construct. For instance, a prepositional phrase, something I learned about my first time through school, can also be an adjectival phrase. Who knew?

Now, when my book comes out next week (What shameless plug? There was no plug. Okay, a little plug.), my daughter and I can dissect the sentences and identify the types of phrases. But I guarantee, we won’t find any misplaced modifiers. Mom should be proud. However, as you can see, I occasionally start sentences with and, but, and so. I even end a few sentences with prepositions—the horror! Maybe my fifth time through seventh grade will cure my bad habits. Not likely. (Was that an adverb? A fragment? What’s an author to do?)

Have you started school again yet? What grades are you in this year?

For Your Pleasure:

I personally enjoy quizzes. So I found a website with plenty of grammar quizzes for you to enjoy; many of them include what I’ve been learning with my daughter this week.

 

Book Review: The Sins of Jubal Cooper

At eight years of age, Will Henry lives during the depression era with his family in a sharecropper’s home located on the outskirts of a small Georgia town. Even the town’s children gossip. But a childhood prank soon shows Will the truth about the goings-on in this southern state.

Mary Lingerfelt

Mary Lingerfelt, the author of several inspirational and Christain-based stories, brings the South during the Great Depression to life in The Sins of Jubal Cooper.  Readers will delve into the life of an eight-year-old so cold he and the other boys rock hobos for coal. This book draws you in from the start and keeps your attention until the end.

About The Sins of Jubal Cooper:

Eight-year-old Will Henry lives in a rickety sharecropper’s shack with his family, and when it gets cold, he and the boys take matters into their own hands by rocking hobos on the train. Hobos don’t like bein’ rocked and retaliate by throwing coal—enough to keep a house warm for a week. This time, however, not everything goes as planned, and Will ends up sentenced to work off his debt to society at Judge Jubal Cooper’s house, The Hill.

Rumors run rampant through this small Georgia town, and Will soon finds himself a victim of the rumor-mill among the youth, just as Judge Cooper is a subject of the rumor-mill among the adults. The difference soon becomes evident though, as Will learns the truth about Jubal Cooper.

This coming of age story deals with the Ku Klux Klan and how the hardships of growing up during the Great Depression affected children.

My thoughts:

Though a work of fiction, this story shows what life in the South during the Great Depression resembled. Lingerfelt captures the voice of an eight-year-old boy perfectly. Readers will enjoy the Southern dialect and speech patterns hidden within each sentence. Unlike some books, it isn’t overdone; it is done well.

The first chapter immediately caught my attention, making reading two books at a time more difficult. I couldn’t put The Sins of Jubal Cooper down! This book deals with hard subjects but does so in a way that is appropriate for most readers. When Will finds himself having to make a difficult decision, some violence occurs, but the author handles the situation with a touch that allows the reader to immerse themselves into the story without experiencing graphic descriptions.

An exceptionally clean read, I recommend this book for middle-school ages on up. The Sins of Jubal Cooper is a story appropriate as supplemental material for educational purposes.

Available:

The Sins of Jubal Cooper is available as an ebook for $.99 on Amazon and is part of the Kindle Unlimited program.

Follow Mary Lingerfelt:
www.marylingerfeltauthor.com
Facebook
Goodreads

 

I received no compensation in exchange for this review.

Turbulent Tubing: A True Story of Nonsensical Courage

The last day at the lake meant six sunburned and tired bodies on a nineteen-foot boat laden with camping gear. Other than swimming in the middle of the lake, an all-time family favorite, the tube remained available for one more ride before heading to the boat ramp.

Down by the Glen Canyon Dam, the crystal clear water called to me. So when Dad asked if anyone wanted to tube, I couldn’t resist. How the others did, I still don’t know.  As I climbed out of the boat and stood on the back platform, I looked at Dad. “Not crazy.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, nice and smooth.” His hands cut through the air with a slow gliding motion, but his suspicious smile left me unsure.

I eyed him. His track record mimicked his smile. “Let Mom drive.”

“No-no, Kam, I got it—nice and smooth.” He nodded, still smiling.

“Don’t bounce me out of the wake.”

“I know, I know. Trust me.” He was not giving up his seat.

The last buckle on my worn ski jacket clicked and I jumped in, the cool water bubbling around me as I resurfaced. I laid back, my hair floating behind me, and took a minute to comb my fingers through the windblown strands before climbing on the tube.  “Dad, easy,” I reminded.

He gave me a thumbs up, and I nodded. Mom held the flag, and as the boat began to glide through the choppy Lake Powell water, she dropped it to her lap.

True to his word, Dad kept the ride comfortable—pleasant. The wind whipped through my wet hair, but not enough for it to sting my face. I bounced along, enjoying my ride. Then, I saw it.

The dreaded tour boat.

Tourists without boats enjoyed riding these ocean-worthy beasts. Able to hold a couple hundred people each, they also had the power to create a wake taller than our boat was long. Without good maneuvering, the wakes could crash over the front of small boats, flooding the floors with an inch or two of water. We called the floods sam-sueys.

I told myself Dad could turn the boat. There was plenty of escape time. But Dad enjoyed tormenting me. I watched as he drove directly into the tour boat’s wake. I froze. My brain commanded my hands to hold on. Fingers clenched the two blue handles. My body secured itself closer to the front of the tube. Don’t let go. The mantra fed my nonsensical courage.

Our boat climbed the wave and fell below the horizon. A mountain of water formed in front of me. I gripped the handles tighter. My body soared through the air, legs and torso dangling several feet away from the water and the tube, but my fingers clung to their mark. An internal argument raged within me. Let go! No, Don’t let go!

I closed my eyes as my breath lingered within my lungs. Sensory input bombarded my body, slowing time. Through my decent, my body rolled back to the tube, arms, torso, legs. I bounced twice before finally landing on the tube, my breath leaving my lungs in a rush.

The boat stopped, and the flag flew into the air. I lay my head on the tube, waiting for the thrumming of my muscles to stop. My arms and legs shook like jelly. My back ached with a newly found tension. The tube started moving toward the boat. Someone was pulling me in. As I neared, I slipped into the water and hung on the boat’s lowered step.

“Dad! A tour boat? I caught air!”

“Sorry Kam, I couldn’t avoid it.” He laughed. I doubted his words. “You did great. Boy, you flew through that air.”

Mom handed me a towel as I slowly climbed out of the water and sank into a shaded seat. “Why didn’t you let go?” she asked.

What answer could I give? Why didn’t I let go? Where had my ridiculous mantra come from? I shrugged, unknowing.

 

Flash Fiction: YouTube Escape

The pace of the car matched the pace of Kara’s racing heart. How did she get into this mess? With another jolting shake of her head, a bobby pin fell to the floor. Now to find it. With arms handcuffed behind her, she twisted her body, and her head curved deeper into the trunk. The phrase ‘needle in a haystack’ entered her mind. Her finger brushed against the edge of the bobby pin, and it slid further away. Dang-it. Willing herself to search more gently, she patted the floor.

Minutes.

Minutes had passed, and Kara had no idea where they were taking her. Not far. Maybe far. The farming community lay only miles away from the city, that’s why smugglers liked it. She knew better than to explore their hideaway, but she couldn’t help herself. There was no question that they’d see the smoke from the fire she’d started. If she were a guy, she’d be dead. Best guess now, she’d be sold.

Her middle finger tightened around the bobby pin. Shallow breaths calmed her shaky hand, ensuring she wouldn’t drop it. Stripping the plastic from the tips with her teeth, she straightened the pin, trying to remember the training she’d received via YouTube. As she worked to place the bobby pin in the latch at the end of the handcuff, the shaking returned, and she fought harder to control her gelatinous fingers. The pain emanating from her head didn’t help.

The bobby pin slid into the opening. Kara pulled. Nothing happened. Don’t hyperventilate. Breathe. She sifted through the muddled thoughts in her mind. Wrong method—that way used a snap barrette. Reaching toward the cuffs with the bobby pin again, she pushed it into the keyhole, the pin telling her when it was on top of the button. She pushed, and the cuff popped open. Kara gasped as she removed the duct tape from her lips.

Scooting toward the trunk door, she searched for the glowing emergency latch. Nothing. Think. Think! Kara rolled to her belly and dug her fingernails into the seam of the carpeting. Where is it? Where is it? Her heart throbbed within her chest, echoing in her ears.

A cable ran under her fingers, and tears cascaded down her cheeks. Please, God. Kara wrapped her hands around the cable and yanked it as hard as she could toward the front of the car. The trunk popped open, and she flung herself toward it, hoping to keep it from getting caught by a gust of wind. Too late.

The trunk flew open, and Kara faced the cold, hard truth. No other cars drove on the road. No immediate rescuer waited outside the trunk. No one would help her.
The car slowed. Kara’s heart rate doubled. ‘Jump. Jump before they stop. Jump.’ Her mind willed her body to move, but her body refused. ‘Jump,’ her mind whispered again.

I can’t.

‘JUMP!’

Kara threw herself from the trunk and forced herself into a roll. She crashed onto the rough pavement, her shoulder and hip crying in agony. Get up! She scrambled to the edge of the road and to her feet.

Run.

Her legs carried her swifter than a roadrunner escaping a coyote. The sound of a bullet, then another, cracked behind her. Run. Zig. Now Zag. Would they follow her? No way to know. Darkness engulfed her, and piercing pain erupted over her body as she stumbled. Cactus. Her motion slowed but never stopped. Ducking around the cholla, she tried to run again.

Needles dug deeper into her skin, but she didn’t dare touch any of the oversized burrs. That would only make it worse. Did Mike call the police yet? Was Mike still alive? Tears streamed down her dirt-coated cheeks as blood spotted her face, and screams burst from her lips. Why did she start that fire? What enticed her to explore that hideaway? Only some kind of stupid would call it an adventure.

Specs of light lit the distant horizon. A road? A house? Kara didn’t know, but she ran faster—screamed louder.

“Help me!”

Nothing.

“Please, help me!”

Silence.

A house. Kara flung her sweat-soaked back against the door, screaming for help. Raising her bloodied hands to the door, she pounded her tender palms against the wood. A coyote howled.

“Someone there?” An older woman’s voice called from beyond the door, colored by a heavy accent.

“P-please help me.”

The door cracked open, and a woman’s heavily wrinkled face shone with concern as she gasped and flung the door wider, leading Kara inside. “Let me get a comb. We’ll get those spines out of you. What’re you doing in the desert at night?”
Kara stumbled into the house. “Escaping … kidnapped.” Her breathing burned her lungs as she blew dust back into the air. “Call the police.”

“Police? Here? You don’t want the police. You want the embassy; this is Mexico.”

“But you’re speaking English.”

“So are you.”

Kara’s shoulders slumped as her head dropped warily toward her swollen hands, only for her to realize they hurt too much to cradle her face. Instead, tears escaped her eyelids freely, eroding the dirt from her cheeks. “Where is it?”

“Not far.”

“Take me now, please.”

“Tomorrow.”

Tremors racked Kara’s body, and she jerked her head back and forth. “Now.”

“Tomorrow will be better.”

“Please, now. I don’t belong here. I want to go home. Please.”

The old woman sighed, “Let’s remove the cactus first.”

Kara nodded, and the old woman eased a comb under each bulbous cactus burr. Blood, from several welts under the burrs, pooled on her skin as the spiny balls lifted from her body one by one.

With the cactus removed and the bleeding stopped, Kara shuffled toward the gate of the Embassy. The old woman had dropped her off and driven away without notice. Guards stood at the gate, their hands sliding toward weapons as they studied her. She stopped. “Please. I’m American. I was kidnapped.”

They peered closer at her. “Name?”

“Kara Matthews.”

“ID?” Their arms stayed at the ready.

She shook her head.

One of the guards disappeared.

Moments later, Kara was ushered into a room and offered a hard plastic chair.

“We need to verify your identity. It shouldn’t take long; someone reported a Kara Matthews missing. How did you get here?”

Stress and agony relaxed as her heart began to slow for the first time in hours. “A YouTube education followed by a prickly situation.”

Never get too close to cholla. It will jump at you before you ever get a chance to touch it.

 

Welcome to Kameo’s Blog!

About Kameo Monson: Author

In the last few days, I’ve set publish dates for my When Love Is Lost to come out as an ebook and a paperback!

Whew! Let me tell you when I started this adventure, I didn’t know what I was doing. I finished writing and figured I’d edit it once or twice, send it to betas who would either love it or hate it and go from there. But with the completion of my second draft, I found myself thrown into my own writer’s baptism by fire. Suddenly, I was learning all kinds of things. Terms like head-hopping and sayings like show don’t tell. Luckily, I’d already learned passive/active voice. That lesson, I learned as a blogger. I learned a new word processing program, met new friends, and realized I’d written something called Women’s Fiction.

I found a fantastic editor, Eanna Roberts, owner of Penmanship Editing, and a talented cover designer, Lara Wynters, owner of Wynter Designs. Betas and friends and my husband have supported this exciting journey.

So what’s left? More fun! I get to cross my T’s and dot my I’s as I make certain everything is ready! You can help me out by following me on social media (see those buttons to the side?) and please sign up for my monthly newsletter! These are the methods I’ll use to communicate with my readers and I hope to entertain you some in the process.

You can look forward to flash fiction only found on the blog, and fun facts included in the newsletter. Don’t forget, my writing career is just starting, which means I hope you will look forward to my next novel: I Not David, A story about finding love while raising a child with Autism.

Pre-order When Love Is Lost on Amazon.

All Pre-ordered ebooks: $1.99
POD paperbacks are still TBA, but I’ll keep you in the know!