Thought I’d take a break from physical labor and let you guys know that my new Time Management Plan is working great, so far. Both of my venues were amenable to having me visit every other month, so that alone cut my presentation workload in half. And I’ve scheduled my regular series posts as far in advance as possible, freeing me up a bit more each week. #GrannySays is now scheduled through the end of December! WooHoo!
Speaking of scheduling, just want to let you all know that I’ve still got some dates open for both my #TenThings series, and my #GuestDayTuesday series. If any of you are interested in doing a guest post for either one, here are some upcoming dates you can choose from:
#TenThings: July 6, August 17 and 31, and September 14.
#GuestDayTuesday: July 12 & 26, August 9 & 23, and September 6 & 20
That’s as far ahead as I want to schedule for now. If any of these dates will work for you please email me so I can hold it for you. While I may not be running these quite as often as I was, I still want to keep them going when I can. I love having guests here on TWS, and hope you’ll take advantage of one more opportunity to get your books “out there.”
THE OTHER THING
Just for kicks, I thought maybe I’d share an excerpt with you today from one of my books. I may do this now and then going forward, but not on a strict schedule or anything. Just when the spirit moves me and I have time to do so. Hope you enjoy this one, which is from the second novella in my Emissary series. This scene features the Archangel Azrael putting the first two human Emissaries to the Angels to work with his idea of what rigorous physical training should be. Enjoy!
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody
Three Weeks Later, on the Same Swelteringly Hot Deserted Island,
Two Exhausted, Frustrated Emissaries Dreamed of Escape,
While One Ginormous, Cranky Angel Rethought His Entire Career.
“TWENTY-FIVE MORE and you may take a brief swim break to cool down. Then we will focus on the ground exercises.”
“Push-ups!” Dodger snarled, sweat streaming down his face. “Just call them freakin’ damn push-ups, why don’tcha?”
Jake counted off the last of his jumping jacks then flopped down on the sand, too tired to argue much less walk down to the water’s edge. Dodger dropped right beside him, every bit as exhausted and frustrated. The boy’s chest heaved, and Jake knew exactly how he felt. Time to speak up, perhaps.
“Azrael, we’ve been at this all afternoon. It could be time to call it a day. There’s such a thing as heatstroke, you know.”
“Too late,” Dodger muttered. “Already there. My blood is boilin’, and my eyeballs are melting.”
The angel snorted in disgust.
But Dodger wasn’t done with Azrael. “This is crazy. Why do we have to exercise like this, anyway? Our job is mostly mental stuff, but you’ve got us on a workout schedule elite military units couldn’t keep up with. I don’t get it, man.”
“I find it difficult to believe we are about to have this same conversation, yet again, but fine. If that is how you wish to spend your break, instead of cooling off in the ocean, I shall do my part. A strong body and a strong mind go hand in hand. It is my belief that both mental and physical training will enhance and strengthen your ability to do your job as emissaries. Do I need to keep saying this?”
Jake sat up, raising his hands over his head in surrender. “Peace, Azrael. Come on, Dodge. Let’s go cool off before he changes his mind.”
They slogged across the wet shingle and waded out just far enough to be able to sit shoulder-deep in the calm, green water.
“We’re gonna die here on this island, you know,” Dodger muttered.
“You do remember he can hear us, don’t you?”
“Let him listen. I don’t really care anymore.” He paused, then yelled out, “You hear that, Azrael. I don’t care! I’m two steps away from dead, here, thanks to you.”
Jake thought about reminding Dodger he couldn’t die, but then figured the boy might decide continuing to live in these conditions would be even worse—and he might be right.
“Okay, kid. I’ll talk to him. Even with the extra strength we’ve been given as emissaries, we have limits, and it’s probably time to ease back a little.”
He spent a few minutes going over how to approach Azrael, then they headed back across the sand. The angel was nowhere to be seen.
Shocked, they stood under the palms looking this way and that. Surely, they hadn’t made the angel angry enough for him to abandon them in this remote spot? Had they? The only food and shelter they had was what Azrael had been providing. Hell, they could be in another dimension, for all they knew! Alone, they really might die here.
Dodger was visibly shaken, chewing on his bottom lip as he studied the shoreline in each direction, and Jake could offer no reassurances. He hadn’t a clue what they should do, other than wait. Just when he began to think maybe Azrael really had abandoned them to their fate, a voice behind him said, “Looking for me?”
Fighting mad, Jake whirled around, only to see the angel standing beside an elegant dining table set for three. A white and gold tablecloth, china, sparkling stemware, and silver serving dishes from which mouth-watering aromas rose, awaited them. He gaped in complete silence, and amazingly, so did Dodger.
“If you two are ready to cease hostilities, I am ready to admit I may have been pushing you somewhat harder than necessary. My intention was to enable you to become the best you could be, but it is possible I overdid it a bit. I am aware that at least one of you has a very high regard for food and hope this meal will prove I have not been trying to kill you. Please accept this as my peace offering.”
He paused, waiting for their reactions, and Dodger rewarded him with half a smile. “Well, it’s a good start, anyway.”
“Smells like a delicious start to me,” Jake added.
Azrael pulled out their chairs. “Come. Let us enjoy our food. We have much to discuss about what you’ll be doing next.”
Dodger stopped. “Next as in what kind of torture you’re plannin’ to put us through tomorrow?”
“Next as in I think it is possible your first round of training might be complete.”
Jake grinned and punched Dodger in the arm. “Hear that, kid? We made it through this grueling process and have survived to tell the tale.”
Dodger balked. “I heard the words ‘possible’ and ‘might’ in that sentence. Did we finish, or didn’t we?”
Azrael’s face grew serious. “You have completed this portion of your training, though there may be more to come at a later date, if needed. And you surpassed all of my expectations, by the way, which were quite high. I am proud of you both, and I am also amazed it took you until today to mount a serious rebellion. Now, I hope you will join me in a celebratory dinner. You have earned it.”
They ate a meal 5-star restaurants could only dream about serving, then toasted the sun as it slid down behind the emerald waves. For the first time in nearly two weeks, their conversation was peaceful and relaxed. It consisted of things that didn’t involve sweaty workouts under the hot sun, nor laborious mental exercises focused on helping them control their ever-expanding powers. And it was exactly what they needed.
The meal ended with a dessert so chocolatey and decadent, it nearly made Dodger swoon, then Azrael waved his hand, and voila! Dishes, glassware, leftover food, tablecloth, table, and even the chairs disappeared in a blink.
“Handy trick,” Dodger observed.
Azrael simply smiled, and Jake marveled once again at the healing power behind that gentle, pleased expression. They were, indeed, blessed—even before Azrael whisked them back to where they’d left their truck, delivered a quiet benediction over them, then rose into the starry heavens.
They stared into the night sky for some time after the angel’s departure, silent, until Dodger’s soft comment. “Sometimes I forget what a wonderful and holy miracle he is.”
The night breeze carried the gentlest whisper of a reply. “I love you, too, Dodger.”
Jake put his arm around his boy’s shoulder and they climbed into the back of their big semi, crawled into their bunks, then drifted off to sleep. In the morning, they’d be ready to hit the road again, better prepared than ever to help those who needed them.
And that’s it for today’s update. Hope you enjoyed the excerpt,
and please email me if you want to set up a guest visit between now and September.
Have a great afternoon!