#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Wind&Rain&Hurricanes,OhMy! – #Updates!





WARNING: Ian has become a “major” hurricane as it heads toward Cuba, which will likely take a severe hit. As with all hurricanes, figuring out where it will go after that and at what strength is always tricky, but the above map shows the currently predicted path. We live roughly a bit southeast of the “L” in FL.

Currently, we are in the yellow/orange band range, so 30-40 mile winds, MUCH better than 110 & above that some areas might get. BUT, 1) the path can change, and 2) that has no bearing on the amount of torrential rainfall we’ll get, or any resulting flooding afterward. We’re far enough inland that flooding isn’t USUALLY an issue for us but you never know, and folks on lakes or rivers are sandbagging as a precaution.

Truthfully, every single thing on the map could change several more times between now and the Tuesday/Wednesday arrival predictions. I just wanted to let you guys know that it is entirely possible I may disappear totally for a couple of days. Or not. But honestly, even if we don’t get hit terribly hard here in the middle of the state, we are likely to lose power at some point. And while our generator will keep our refrigerator/freezer going, power the microwave for meals, and keep the little a/c in the bedroom going at night so I can sleep (all at one time, I might add), it will NOT be sufficient to keep my computer going, nor the internet connection safe if the power goes.


Today, we will be taking down the gazebo canopy and stashing all loose objects that could become lethal flying weapons, so I probably won’t be online much. But having said all of the above, we’re still hoping this storm dies a lonely death in the middle of the Gulf without impacting anyone’s life or home. With any luck, we’ll come through it all just fine, as I hope EVERYONE in the potential path will!

I’ll continue to touch base if and when possible, and update you on what’s going on when I can.  And I HOPE I’ll be able to respond to Jaye Marie and Mike Allegra’s Tuesday & Wednesday posts this week. If not, I know you guys will enjoy each of them, regardless, and will be supportive as always! Thanks for that!

Thus ends my Public Service Announcement for The Day.
Thanks for your attention!
(As you were, folks!)

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Updates – #Humor – #Fall


I think I’m overdue for an update on several things, and figured today would be a great day to take care of that. First and foremost, I wanted to let you all know that we are having back-to-back Tuesday/Wednesday guests here for the next two weeks, as I finish up scheduling things for this year.

Next week, our #GuestDayTuesday guest will be Jaye Marie, sharing her newest release with us. And our #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe guest will be Mike Allegra with another of his fun posts for you.  The following week, Jackie Lambert will be back on #GuestDayTuesday with a super Travelogue post, and Kassandra Lamb will be sharing her #TenThings list on Wednesday. I know you don’t want to miss any of these, hence the heads up that there will be double treats each of those weeks.

Still keeping with The Write Stuff news, I also wanted to remind you that you’ll see a slow down by the end of October, with one more #GuestDayTuesday post from Mike Allegra on October 18, and the final guest post of the year on December 15, as Jackie Lambert finishes her series posts for this year. 

I’ll be putting out a call for more guests in January 2023, but the posts listed above will wrap up my guests for 2022, as I continue with my blogging slow down.


Now on to the reasons for the blogging slow down. Most of you know I’ve had several health issues to deal with for the last year or two. I’ve done such a good job on managing my diabetes, I just may brag about that in future posts, but I’ve been dealing with Long COVID since February. No, it isn’t the actual virus, thankfully, but suffice it to say I’m heartily SICK of so many days when I simply can’t do everything I want to do thanks to recurring symptoms. I’ve always been a pretty active person with all sorts of projects and interests going on, so being unable to even keep up with my blog is annoying as blazes. And not being able to focus on writing is breaking my heart! (Thank you, Brain Fog!) While I’ve seen some improvement (Hallelujah!), I NEED to kick this stuff to the curb, and thus my clever plan for some R&R!

Cutting back on my blog posts as the year draws to a close will give me time to focus on regaining my health and perhaps even returning to writing, before I get so old I forget what WORDS are. (As if, huh? 😁) Thank you to all who have offered encouragement and support for my doing just that! 

While I will post something each week, the posts will likely be shorter, fun things, just to keep you from forgetting about The Write Stuff.  I might even close comments on some of them, depending on how much energy I have for responding. You CAN expect to see #Granny Says (she’s already scheduled through year’s end) and #ThorsDaySmile, at least through the last two in  November.

I will also post quick #Updates now and then too, so you’ll know if I’m making any progress on the health front. And I’ve also already scheduled a few scattered seasonal quickies here and there, several of which will focus on sharing some poetry I’ve always loved from days gone by. Stay tuned for a broad spectrum of my all-time favorites, from Emily Dickinson to James Whitcomb Riley and many more. Hope you’ll find them fun, whether you’re re-reading them once again or discovering them for the first time.

Thanks for hanging in there with me this far.  I felt a bit of explanation was due, so you wouldn’t think I disappeared into a black hole somewhere. 


And now that the serious stuff is done, may I just add that it’s predicted to hit 88 degrees again here today, and I cannot tell you how jealous I am of those of you who live where there is an actual autumn cool-down underway!  I’ll be laughing all winter when I’m enjoying perfect weather while many of you are shoveling snow, but for now, you get to laugh at those of us dealing with Fall In Florida!  Hope you get a chuckle or two to help pay for sticking with this long post to the bitter (and sweltering) end! Enjoy:

And there you have it folks!
Thanks for reading this long update …


#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update – #GuestPosts

Happy Wodin’s Day, Everyone! Hope your week is moving along smoothly, and that good things are abundant in your life! Maybe you’re enjoying autumn weather already, and if so, I envy you. It was 94 degrees here yesterday, so summer has definitely overstayed its welcome. BUT … with a hurricane brewing in the Atlantic, it could definitely be worse, so I’m still feeling grateful. So far.


 The first thing I want to share today is that I went to my new audiologist yesterday for a WAY overdue hearing exam. I knew I needed new hearing aids, but really had no idea how much technology had advanced since my I got my last pair five or six years ago. What can I say? I’m amazed at the vast difference in the fine tuning for my individual hearing issues. AND … I learned something I’ve never known in all the years I’ve been using computers. The mouse makes an audible CLICK every time you “click” on something. Even before my hearing got truly bad, I never, EVER heard that noise. But because they can now adjust for specific hearing issues, including low-pitched or high-pitched sounds, as you might need, I now am very aware of things I’ve been missing out on for several decades. Wow!! Color me HAPPY!


I definitely see at least some improvement in my Long COVID issues. My three symptoms (extreme fatigue, dizzy spells with tingling and numbness in my right leg, and brain fog) are decreasing in severity, and SEEM to be of shorter duration each time they visit. And I’ve had as many as five days in a row with NO visits, too.  Used to be only 2 or 3 before they showed up. Now they are farther apart and seem to be going away in a day or two, instead of 5 or 6 days at a time. SO … hurray! I may actually get past this stuff, and back to nothing more than the usual aches and pains of someone approaching eighty. Color me HAPPY TWICE!!


And last, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with setting up all my newly referred doctors and specialists (primary care, cardiologist, dermatologist, vision, audiologist, and more). That includes scheduling New Patient Visits for each, and being sure they were located reasonable distances from my home. At the same time, I’m taking care of several time-consuming but necessary house and yard jobs around here on days when I felt physically able to handle them. Urk.

So now, I want to apologize for not being able to visit all my favorite blogs in a timely manner, and falling down on my weekend #Twofer blogs, etc. I have had to accept that I can’t do as much as I used to do, at least not at the moment. (Hopefully, that’s just a temporary thing.) With that in mind, as CEO here at The Write Stuff, I’ve made an executive decision not to schedule any more guest posts this year, beyond the six I already have set up. I’ve also cancelled my December wildlife talks, and the like, though I HOPE by then, I’ll be ahead of the game, and can actually take December off for holiday things and a bit of fun, rather than still playing catch-up at a frantic pace.

I plan to resume regular #GuestDayTuesdays & #TenThings posts in January, and will put out a call for folks who’d like to visit us then. In the meantime, I do  have the six aforementioned guests lined up for you and trust me–you don’t want to miss any of these fun and entertaining posts!

9/20 #GuestDayTuesday: D. Wallace Peach /The Necromancer’s Daughter
2/28 #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe: Mike Allegra 
10/4 #GuestDayTuesday: Jackie Lambert Writer’s Travelogue post Journaling Part 2
10/18 #GuestDayTuesday: Mike Allegra New Release post
11/15 #GuestDayTuesday: Jackie Lambert Writer’s Travelogue Series post

I know you ALL understand when Life doesn’t let you do everything you intended, but I’m really sure this is temporary.  I’ll still be posting once or twice a week or so, as I’m able, and I definitely plan to resume my normal schedule, guests and all, by January. I’ll still be checking in daily, posting when I can, and you can ALWAYS reach me via email.

That’s my plan, an’ I’m stickin’ TO it! (If the bridge don’t go, an’ the creek don’t rise, as they say in these parts. 😁)

And that’s it for today.
Have a great week, everyone!

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update


Happy Tewe’s Day, Everybody! Hope your week got off to a good start yesterday and your day is off to another of those today! It’s been pretty quiet around here for too long, so I thought I’d better stop by to say hello, and to let you guys know I’m still alive. Just busy, busy, busy with all sorts of things Life threw my way all at one time. 


Saturday’s talk on the American Alligator went great, and I had a lot of fun with a super nice audience. (Definition of Super Nice: They laughed at all of my jokes and oohed and aaahed in all the right places!) 

BTW, I felt great on Saturday from the moment I got up until … well, actually, I’m still feeling pretty good today. Crossing my fingers that means it might be a good while before I have another bad day from you-know-what. Maybe even that it’s over! We’ll see how it goes.


In the meantime, changing insurance and getting set up with all new doctors is keeping me on the go, so it will be slow here on the blog for the rest of this week. I’ll stop by when I can, though, and Granny will definitely be visiting on Friday. Hopefully life will calm down a bit by next week, and things will get back to normal.  I do have another talk next Saturday–don’t ask me how I managed to schedule them for back to back weekends, DOH!– but I’m almost ready for that one. What do you think? Look interesting?

And that’s pretty much where things are for now. I’m off to TWO different, fun-filled medical things today: Some imaging over at the local Radiology clinic, and a quick trip to my new primary care doctor with some paperwork to deliver. Easy-Peasy!

Will check in with you guys later, and hopefully have a few minutes somewhere to stop by a few of my favorite blogs. Yes, I know my Sunday #Twofer fell by the wayside this week, and I apologize for that, but I’m still aiming to get it posted somewhere. Maybe we’ll have a “FOUR-fer” this coming Sunday! That could work. Probably. 😁

And that’s it for my update.
Here’s to a great rest of the week for ALL of us!
As you were, folks, and enjoy this day to the fullest! 


#This&That&TheOtherThing – #PublicServiceAnnouncement – #Update



I did NOT understand the difference, and discovered that a whole lot of folks I knew were also confused. As it turns out, the intermittent health problems I’ve been having for several months have NOT been caused by my diabetes (which is completely under control now, with my A1C test well in the normal range) or residual damage from my fall some time back. NOPE. It turns out I apparently have Long Covid! For those who may have been as confused as I’ve been, here’s what my doctor and the CDC have to say about how this annoyingly persistent problem differs from actual Covid. 

Check with CDC for more Info HERE


My Long Covid symptoms have mainly been extreme fatigue, brain fog/inability to focus my thoughts, and frequent dizzy spells, often accompanied by tingling and numbness in my right leg.  Yes, all three of those are among the 19 symptoms listed on the CDC website. Fatigue and brain fog are very annoying, and often prevent me from accomplishing anything while they last. But the scariest to me are the dizzy spells. Having received a serious concussion with my afore-mentioned fall, I’m truly afraid of having another. Believe me, I’m being very, very careful when I’m up and about on days when these symptoms start showing up. 

Also, there is no pattern I can establish as to when the next episode is going to happen, nor how long it will last. Sometimes I feel fine for 2 or 3 weeks in between Long Covid episodes, and sometimes one will return within 2 or 3 days of the last one. And sometimes they last for only a couple of days, while at least one has lasted for TEN days! 

If you have had Covid at some point and have any random symptoms such as described above, you might want to talk to your doctor to see if you are actually experiencing Long Covid. Not everyone has these episodes, but many do. As for myself, I feel infinitely better knowing what the heck is going on, and finding ways to cope with it, with the fervent wish that it will soon disappear forever!

At least it wasn’t Rapid-Speed Senility shoving me over the edge! 😂

Hope this info has been helpful to some of you, but mainly, I hope most of you never have to deal with either Covid OR the Long Covid after-effects. 

Stay Safe and Stay WELL, Everyone!

This & That & The Other Thing – Update – And a Poem by Hunter Painter


Just a quick update to let you folks know I’m still here, though I’ve had a lot on my plate of late. Between endless appointments for this or that and some annoying health issues to deal with,  I’m continuing to run behind, but I do think I see a dim glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Can’t wait for things to return to normal.


I know I’ve promised I’d be writing on my Blog Break days, but so far, that isn’t working out as well as I’d hoped. (See above for reasons why.) However, I’m not giving up on my Cole, Cole, & Dupree novella. I’m determined to finish that, and very hopeful to make more progress in the next week or two. Don’t count me out, yet. My brain is jam-packed with ideas for this one, and somehow, I WILL get them down on paper. (Well, down in a Word document, anyway! 😀 )


Was going through some clutter today, trying in vain to get my desk area organized and useful again, and I found this little poem I came up with while working on Finding Hunter. Hunter Painter is a writer. One who marches to a different drummer, as many writers do, but also one who has been in love with Willow Greene since high school, though he never had the nerve to explore his feelings. (Except in his dreams, of course, or scribbled on scraps of paper here and there.)

This is a poem he wrote while in 11th grade, though he never showed it to a soul. I debated including it in my book, but ended up not doing so. It does, however, appear on the cover, if you look closely enough at the page shown there. When I saw it this morning, I decided to post it for you today. This is the first time I’ve ever shared it, and I hope you enjoy taking a look.

Emeralds and Silver

No emerald pulled from
  darkest earth holds
    light so warm, so
      full of life, as the
          green in those eyes.

No precious metal
  curled or curved in
    filigrees of man’s design
      offers half the sheen of that
        spun-silver hair.

Who would trade her
  incandescent glow for
    emeralds and silver
      lonely and cold,
        joyless, both, next to her
          bright sparkle.


And on that note,
I’ll get back to work.
Enjoy the rest of your day, everyone!

#This&That&TheOther Thing – #BlogBreakFriday


Just a quick note so you don’t think I’ve disappeared forever. Today is #BlogBreakFriday for me, and I want to assure you good people that I’ll be writing all day long, if all goes well. I have a novella to finish, and want to make some serious progress on what I hope will be a very interesting tale.


The last three weeks have been jam packed morning, noon, and night with work on house and yard projects, and in taking care of the many things that are changing now that my husband is officially retired. Who knew leaving a job would cause so much … well … WORK?!!? So many details to settle and changes to be made, and phone calls to place to get everything set up for what seems to be the biggest Life Change we’ve faced to date. Holy Moly! But we’re gradually making sense of it all and sorting out all the paperwork and meetings, from financial advisors to doctors, and more.


The good news is that soon, the dust will settle, Mark will be working part time with my son, our other changes will get made, and … TADA! … I’ll be able to do more than just “Like” and “Share” posts from all my favorite bloggers! I’m looking forward to that almost as much as finishing Cole, Cole, & Dupree!

So, in the famous words of Arnold the Terminator, “Ah’ll be back!”


And on that note,
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
See you again soon!

#This&That&TheOther Thing – #ThankYou and #BlogBreakThursday


Just wanted to thank everyone who responded to Denise’s wonderful #TenThings post yesterday. I was unable to do so individually due to the sad loss of the last tree standing in our once-canopied front yard. More on that another time. Suffice it to say that 93 degree weather was not a very good time to be working for hours cleaning up after what happened.


Even though I’ve reduced my blogging time a bit as I catch up with everything we are trying to accomplish right now, I just want to remind folks that I’m still able to schedule guests for both #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe and #GuestDayTuesday posts. Email me if you’re interested.


It’s BLOG BREAK THURSDAY for me today, and for those of you who’ve asked about Rabbit (everyone’s favorite character), you’ll be happy to know that I really do have a spinoff novella trilogy in the works. I plan to use today to work non-stop on the first story. With any luck, Cole, Cole, & Dupree  will grow substantially by day’s end. In the meantime, here’s a first draft teaser for you:

Just Past Midnight in a Frosty Winter Pasture
Sunday, January 11, 2015

“THOUGHT YOU NEEDED to see this, boss. Called as soon as I found ’em.”

“You were right to call, Kip. Any idea what the hell happened here?”

“Not a one. Never seen anything like it.”

Alvy Ballard moved his flashlight in a slow arc across the scene in front of him, as he struggled to make sense of all the darkened forms humped along the ground. With a look of dread in his eyes, he turned back to his foreman. “Big Red?”

“Big Red, too, boss. He’s over by the east fence.”

“Show me.”

The two men walked around the fence line, stopping to check each bloody body along the way. Alvy gave a slow, stunned shake of his head. “All dead. Every single one of them dead. What could have done something like this, Kip?”

“I got no idea. Every throat torn out. All ten horses, gone. It ain’t natural.”

When they neared the middle of the east fence line, Kip stopped and laid his hand on Alvy’s arm. “You sure you want to look at him?”

Alvy nodded. “I need to see for myself.”

Kip watched as his boss continued along the fence to where the body of his prize stallion lay. For a moment the big man stood staring in shock, then he dropped to his knees. Draping himself across his horse, Alvy Ballard wept like a child, shoulders shaking with loud, heartbroken sobs.

Kip knew his boss well enough to understand his need for privacy, so he remained where he was until Alvy stood, wiped his eyes, and returned.

“I still don’t understand what happened to them,” Alvy said, his voice husky with emotion.

“Me, neither, boss. For sure, it wasn’t no animal I’ve ever seen. Animals don’t kill ‘less they’re hungry. All them horses are dead, all right, but not a single one’s been eaten on.”


And on that note,
Enjoy your day, everyone!
I’ll be back tomorrow!


This & That & The Other Thing – Blog Break Friday


After spending the last 25 years as Chief Engineer of a big downtown building, working at the same desk, in the same office, but under several different management companies, my husband is now retired. He’d planned to work through the rest of the year, but realized he really didn’t want to wait any longer. (He’ll be 73 in November, so had already worked much longer than many).

At any rate, this decision has meant we have LOTS to take care of and set up all of a sudden. And being a man of many talents and loads of energy, Mark also plans to work part time, possibly for my son, but also doing some other things. This means yet more stuff to set up. Combine all of this with all the  house and yard projects we are in the middle of around here, and my time will not be my own for a couple of weeks. For those of you whose blogs I regularly follow, I will do my best to Like & Share for now, and will get back to commenting again as soon as I can, honest! I know you guys will understand! 😊❤️


While I will continue running #ThorsDaySmile and #GrannySays on alternate weeks, and will also continue scheduling guest posts for any and all who’d like to take part in #GuestDayTuesday or #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout Me, I’m pretty sure I won’t be posting much myself for the next few weeks. I’m still taking my one day a week Blog Break–those will likely be a permanent thing– but I’ll return to my regular (busier and more fun) schedule around here as soon as possible.  Just wanted to be sure you guys know it’s not always going to be this slow on TWS, and that there’s nothing dire going on. Just busy, busy, busy at the moment, BUT … never too busy to schedule guests! Honest!


Yep, today is Blog Break Friday, so I’m going to wrap this post up now that I’ve updated you. And thanks again for understanding why my visits to other blogs will probably be limited for a couple more weeks!


#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update – #Excerpt – #TheEmissary2:ToLoveSomebody


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.”


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.

You can download The Emissary series here:
The Emissary 1
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody
The Emissary 3: Love Hurts

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!