There are so many benefits to attending Writers’ conferences. They offer writers the opportunity to get to know and relate to others, and the RRBC’s 6th Annual Writers’  Conference & Book Expo,  is no exception. Here you will meet new people, greet old friends, and get acquainted with the latest works by authors you know and love to read.  

There will be games, prizes, surprises, and other goodies, so be sure to visit each Author Booth, take a look around, then leave a comment for your chance to win each Author Booth’s door prize!  

There is a Scavenger Hunt Game to play, a 2 Truths & a Lie Game to play, and more!  In each Author Booth, you will find a clue, and if you find the correct answer to all the clues and are the first to submit your answers, you could be the winner of an awesome prize!  

Of course, we’ll have our READING ROOM open, and one of our members is going to blow you away showcasing their talent!  

If you’re into BINGO, purchase your BINGO cards and join us for a game or two!

And what we all wait for every year – our RAFFLE!  Yes, each year, we raffle off (7) $100 Amazon gift cards, and this is open to the public, so go on and snag your tickets today!  Raffle tickets are only $5!  How awesome would that prize be?  Some of them also include additional goodies like other gift certificates, ebooks, and more!  Enter for your chance to win one or more of these $100 Amazon gift card gift baskets.  The more tickets you buy, the greater your chances of winning.  (Please do not purchase more than 7 tickets).

This year for the first time ever, we’ve added our BEST BOOK COVER CONTEST!  This contest is open to the general public, so go ahead and enter your book cover(s) now!  Share your comments with us, and let us know which one you think is best!

Click for a full ITINERARY OF EVENTS!  

Don’t forget the venue opens at 5 PM( CST) TODAY.  We hope to see you there!  In the event of minor time delays, please check the sidebar of the RRBC website for updates.

As they say in the Deep South, I’ll see y’all there!

Shalom aleichem 

Pat Garcia

Welcome to Day 2 of the “SIR CHOC” Book Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC.

 Robbie Cheadle

Sir Chocolate Books – Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook

(7) Paperback copies / 1 of ea book in the series(2) 15 Amazon gift cards
Please leave Robbie a comment anywhere along the tour for your chance to win one of these awesome prizes.

This is my favourite of the Sir Chocolate books to date because I think it is the most imaginative. I love the idea of a runaway toddler who needs help finding his mother. The baby cookie monster has a body made from a wedge of shortbread and long nose with a serrated edge that he uses to cut chunks out of the houses in Chocolateville.

“His body was shaped like a shortbread wedge,
He had a long nose with a jagged edge,
For cutting food into bite sized squares,
He looked like something out of nightmares.”

Of course, the villages are devastated to wake up one morning and find their grass flattened and their houses and walls damaged by the baby cookie monster, but Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet know his is just a baby who needs his mother. With the help of the vanilla fudge bird, Mother Cookie Monster is found, and to her great joy, her baby is returned to her.

How to make a fondant and Easter egg panda bear

You will find the step-by-step instructions on Youtube here:


You can download a PDF of the step-by-step instructions here:


Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.


Robbie Cheadle is a children’s author and poet.

The Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.


Robbie Cheadle



TSL Books Author Page 



TSL Publications (paper back is available at a discounted price): (ebook):

Amazon (paper back and ebook):

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

Thank you for dropping by. Robbie appreciates it, and so do I.

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia

Turn The Light On, By Pat Garcia, Is Being Featured On The Writer’s Treasure Chest, By Blog Owner Aurora J. Alexander @RRBC_ORG, @RRBC_RWISA, @AuroraJean_A

Hello Everyone,
I am being featured at the Writer’s Treasure Chest by Aurora J Alexander.

A.J. and I got to know one another when she was living in Switzerland. We had many opportunities to get together and discuss the craft of writing.
She lives on the Pacific Coast now, and I, for one, miss her.
A.J., thank you for inviting me.
Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia

P.S. I have closed the comments on this post and have put the link to the blog post on Writers Treasure Chest below. Thank you for dropping by her blog.

A Dream Deferred by Pat Garcia @RRBC_ORG, @RRBC_RWISA

At the age of eight, I wrote and established my first newspaper in our dinky little neighborhood. Staff members-one person. Me. 

Being without a typewriter, I wrote it by hand. Personal computers were a thing of the future. I didn’t tell my parents about it. I desired to spotlight the positive changes in my community and give what I used to call the other people a different light on how they perceived black people. It was a fact that when we made the news, that meant we had done something wrong and was going to jail. 

To get writing materials, I went door to door selling the paper to my neighbors. I charged twenty-five cents a piece for each edition.  

When my parents finally found out about it through a neighbor who was bragging to them about my inquisitiveness and my ideas, needless to say, they were furious, and I received a spanking that I haven’t forgotten until this day. But, on the other hand, my parents were concerned and worried about what would happen to me if I kept thinking about things that I wasn’t supposed to think about. 

Let us fast forward to two thousand and twenty-one. The dream deferred at eight has awoken. It has taken some years. I’ve had to slow my pace when I didn’t want to and quicken the pace when I had found something I like and had no desire to move on. But, the dream was still there. It was deferred but incubating. 

Today, I am happy to say I have the privilege to work with THE PIPELINE Magazine and with the woman who has made this magazine what it is today, Nonnie Jules. Beside her is her very talented Editor, Karen Black, and a lady we all admire whom we call Lady Harriet, Harriet Hodgson, with her own personal column. To work with these three has opened doors that fascinate me and extend my writing ability. 



What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up

      like a raisin in the sun?

      Or fester like a sore—

      And then run?

      Does it stink like rotten meat?

      Or crust and sugar over—

      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags

      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

I thank God that my deferred dream of writing for a magazine has exploded into something beautiful years later. THE PIPELINE is an RRBC Monthly Publication and can be read by all. The link for the June issue is posted below.

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia

* A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes was copied from  Poetry Foundation,

It’s Day 7 of the #RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour for #Author, Harriet Hodgson @healthmn1! C’mon by! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBCSA #GriefDoodling

Hello Everyone,

One of the most inspiring persons I have met at the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC), the home for RRBC and RWISA Writers, is Harriet Hodgson. This spunky woman has written 42 books and is still writing. She truly embodies what RRBC is all about. Thus, it is a pleasure and an honor to have the woman I have titled Lady Harriet on my author’s website.
Welcome, Lady Harriet!

Harriet Hodgson

Harriet, having forty-two books circulating throughout the world, do you ever suffer from the dreaded disease authors know as writer’s block?

Harriet’s answer:

Writer’s block. Say these words to an author and they may wince. I’ve heard dozens of writer’s block stories. I’ve seen television movies about writer’s block. I have friends who talk about writer’s block constantly. Sorry as I am for these writers, I don’t understand them.

A writer’s job is to write and that’s what I do. 

         All writers, including me, have times when the words don’t come. My solution is to take a short break and figure out the problem. I’m a nonfiction writer. When I can’t find the words, it usually means more research is required. First, I search my bookshelf for resources that may help.  Next, I surf the internet and look for articles that may help.

         An hour later I’m back writing. 

         I’m so busy writing I don’t have time for writer’s block. My goal is to write each day. Whether it’s warm-ups with email messages, revising yesterday’s copy, or editing copy, I meet this goal unless I have medical or family appointments. Does the goal of daily writing work? You bet. This goal has led to 42 published books. Yesterday I started a new book and it’s shaping up well.

Harriet Hodgson

Harriet’s latest book is Grief Doodling.

Book Cover – Grief Doodling


From the very first page, Grief Doodling invites action. Topics range from the benefits of doodling, to why doodling is fun, to doodling tips, and responding to doodling prompts. The prompts, based on grief research, promote self-worth and healing. This is a hopeful book—something all grieving kids need.

Twitter handle:  @healthMN1

Facebook URL:

Website address

For those of you that may not know Harriet, here is a Brief Bio of this awesome Lady.

Harriet Hodgson, BS, MA has been a freelance writer for 42+ years, is the author of thousands of print/online articles and 42 books. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support. 

Harriet is Assistant Editor of the Open to Hope website. She is a contributing writer for, The Grief Toolbox, and “Grief Digest,” now an online magazine.

A popular speaker, Harriet has given presentations at The Compassionate Friends national conference, Bereaved Parents of the USA national conference, public health, Alzheimer’s, and caregiving conferences. She has appeared on more than 185 radio shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN.This award-winning author loves writing so much she writes in her sleep. GriefDoodling: Bringing Back Your Smiles, written and illustrated by Harriet, is her latest book. 

Thank you for dropping by to support Harriet along her tour.  To follow along with the rest of her 7-day tour, please visit the “SPOTLIGHT” Author forum on the RRBC site and don’t forget to pick up a copy of her book above!  Lastly, we ask that you LIKE and SHARE this post, as well as the “SPOTLIGHT” Author page, to your social media, to enhance Harriet’s support!

RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Banner

Have a nice day!

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia

WHAT’S UP, Pat Garcia?

Turn The Light On

I seem to have disappeared after my book release, but I haven’t. I have been taking classes, writing feverishly on five submissions for writing contests, and preparing my marketing plan for Turn The Light On so that I could get it into motion. There were many things that I had to learn also about YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook that I hadn’t known before the book was published, and I have had fun learning these things most of the time.

Today, I am revealing the book trailer for Turn The Light On. Many thanks to 4WillsPublishing. They have been marvelous in setting my desires into the type of book trailer I wanted to have.

I am smiling because I know how customer desires can frustrate a creative department. My wishes were on a very long list of what I wanted to happen, and each one was taken very seriously by 4WillsPublishing. They jumped right in the boat with me. It reminded me of the concerts I give here. My musicians jump in the boat with me, which is one reason my stage appearances are successful. And so it was with 4WillsPublishing. They stepped in the boat with me. For that, I am grateful.

I hope you have enjoyed the above Book Trailer Clip. It is my first one, and it is very special to me.

Have a wonderful day.
Take care and stay safe.

Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia


Nicole Souza

Hello Everyone,

Nicole Souza has released her new book, Sins of Our Mothers and I have the privilege of interviewing her. Join me as Nicole talks about how she approaches her writing.

Welcome Nicole. It is indeed an honour to have you on my blog. First, tell us,

  1. Why did you select to write about babies that were disabled, handicapped or had some kind of debilitating disease?

In the novel, the notion that the children at the Defect Research Center are defective, which in this world suggests they didn’t develop correctly or fully in the pod (artificial womb), is actually a coverup for the truth that the children being researched are male. In the world of Sins of Our Mothers, only women exist. They know nothing of any other sex or type of human within their species. They’re taught in school that Mother Earth (the deity in the story) creates the “seeds of life” that bequeath posterity to all living things, including humans/women.

Between now and fifteen hundred years in the future when the story takes place, women seized control of the government, all scientific research, and education. In order to establish world peace, they had to erase the existence of men who ruled unjustly from the beginning of time. They accomplished this by removing them from society, keeping them contained in remote settlements around the globe, and harvesting their sperm for IVF-style pod impregnation. They created a fictional story around this to convince future women the seeds that fertilized their eggs simply came from special plants in the earth.

Of course, to maintain this façade, they still needed women’s pods to bear male children for sperm production. Part of the lie they created is that any child born with a male body simply didn’t develop correctly in the pod and needs to be sent into research where they can be raised and controlled by the government. Instead of being labeled male, those children are labeled defective.

  • How long did it take you to create a world around your protagonist and antagonist?

From the first draft to publication was around eight years. It was especially tricky to get the antagonist just right. In this particular story, the antagonist is not only the mighty military general, Sarah Love, and other women in power, it’s also a concept, a theory, a political philosophy.

The protagonist, Lyratelle Faith, is a hyper-observant woman with a particular appreciation for, and devotion to, truth and agency. Her enemies are anyone forcing onto her and those she loves beliefs contrary to those she most cherishes, as well as any philosophy that preaches something other than truth and agency as the primary pillars of excellence.

In past drafts, Lyratelle faced a variety of antagonists. Those portrayed in the final version of the book are the ones I felt best balanced the need for both human and theoretical antagonists. But, man, did it take time for me to get it right!

3. Does any of the book relate to your own life experiences?

In college, I made an astounding observation: nearly all my straight, married girlfriends, and those with a live-in boyfriend, were the sole providers in their relationships. This alone wasn’t all that strange. What was strange was that every single friend in this situation told me their husband or boyfriend was profoundly unhappy and had developed at least one addiction that was affecting their relationship. Though all relatively close to my age, these weren’t just friends here in the states. These were women of multiple ethnicities and cultures.

Some spoke English, some didn’t. Some had children, some didn’t. Some were students, some had mortgages, some were renting. Some lived with parents or in-laws. The one thing they all had in common was an unemployed adult man depending on their salary. The most bizarre detail was that not one of the women with children depended on her partner for childcare, even though he was home all day. They either relied on relatives or paid for professional childcare. They all blamed their partner’s addictions.

The men’s addictions ranged from simple things like alternate realities to more intense things like pornography and even detrimental things like alcohol and destructive drugs. Some of the men were students. Some were college graduates, some high school graduates. All had essentially disappeared from their families, their communities, and society—a trend I began to notice extended far outside my circle of contacts.

While several of these couples split or divorced, many pulled through and have progressed together. The fact that so many people precious to me—wonderful, intelligent people—intersected in this weird place all at once felt significant. I remember thinking, “These women literally do everything. They could just remove the men and their lives would remain the same, but without the stress of supporting a grown man and his addictions. All women really need from men is their sperm, right? Aside from that, are men even necessary?”

Settlement 1163 in the novel represents the struggles of these men and others I’ve met since. Lilac City, where the women live, represents those and all women who bear and raise their children, as well as support their families, alone. While the burden of supporting men in their homes is gone, they still, unknowingly, support the men in the settlements through taxes. But the emotional burden of feeling like they do everything alone doesn’t exist in the book because the only world the characters know is a completely female one.

The first draft of Sins of Our Mothers sent me on an arduous journey where I discovered for myself that, not only are men necessary, but masculinity is infinitely more valuable than those currently in power would have us believe. There’s a lot of talk nowadays about toxic masculinity. What’s not being talked about is how essential masculinity is to a free, successful, harmonious society. If we’re to live truly free, achieve our potential as the twenty-first century generation of the human family, and ensure future generations can liberally pursue happiness, we need good men.The final draft of the book is, I hope, a depiction of what I learned along that journey

Nicole, you have mentioned so many things that has created within me a desire to read your book. It sounds very engaging. I thank you also for the excerpt that I will post at the end of our discussion. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about your writing habits.

Book Cover
  1. Some writers write in the morning, others at night, and then others in the afternoon. When do you take the time to write?

I wish I could say I get up early, go for a jog, and get my writing done in the morning. Alas, I’m a sluggish, lifelong insomniac, so I write most productively in the evening or at night. I typically collect my thoughts throughout the day, making a mental outline of what I’ll work on. Finally, when my body and mind are fully awake several hours in, I sit and focus on getting those thoughts written down. This usually lasts well into the night. In fact, the only times I do write in the morning are when I notice the sunrise lighting my window and tell myself it’s time to stop and go to bed.

  • Is it important for you to write every day? And if it is, why is it important?

Writing every day is a lofty goal. While I do try to dedicate time each day to honing the craft, resetting my mind and eyes is essential to completing any project. Sometimes, after distancing myself from a project for a few days, I’m able to see much better where it’s lacking. If I’m truly dedicated to telling a story, a day or two of rest doesn’t set me back. I’ve found rest actually propels me forward.

I strive to always have a side project to work on. That way, I can write a little without the pressure of getting it just right and simply enjoy the practice. I’ve written a few one-draft short stories with a specific reader in mind. When finished, I send the story to the muse knowing they’ll get some enjoyment out of it. Et voila! I’ve met my goal for the day.

I never beat myself up for missing a day. Writing can’t become a chore. If it starts to weigh me down, I step back, and reevaluate where I’ve got it wrong. Often, the answer is to give it a few days, work on myself for a bit, and dive back in when the time is right.

  • Let’s talk about your writer’s voice. How did you develop it? Did it matter to you to find your own voice?

Having my own writer’s voice is important to me. I don’t want to sound like another author. Though being able to imitate the greats would be an accomplishment of sorts, it wouldn’t be my accomplishment. Writing, for me, isn’t like being a classical concert pianist. I don’t want my recitals to be the same songs, played with the same techniques, audiences have been listening to for centuries. Yes, they can still enjoy and be moved by those songs, but the performer has to produce the joy the audience feels. And I find more joy in creating something completely new than trying to redo what others have done.

That’s not to say I’m not often tripped up by clichés and lazy writing. I do occasionally find myself using expressions past writers popularized. It’s challenging to freshly express a common feeling or reaction. It’s also not to say I don’t recognize and appreciate those who blazed the trail for stories to be told so easily nowadays. All writers today stand on the shoulders of giants.

I’m still developing my writer’s voice. As I engage in projects of varying genres and points of view, I typically struggle to hear myself at the start. As I get going, I discover ways to showcase the unique qualities of my writing. It’s such an awesome moment when you see both story and storytelling becoming completely yours.

I’ve learned to patiently allow myself as many failures as it takes to get it right, and inch along. There’s a critic around every corner, ready and anxious to tell us where we got it wrong. It’s up to us, individually, to track how far we’ve come, to remind ourselves how far back we started, and how much we can still improve. Maximum potential is never reached without growing pains.

  • How do you get to know your own characters? Do you write out a character profile or do you just start writing?

For me, character development is the most fun, yet daunting, aspect of storytelling. In the beginning, I just started writing. As the first draft of the novel developed, I learned I needed a system to help me get to know the characters better. I often didn’t know how one would react in a scene, what they would say, or what they even believed. To assist my chaotic brain, I developed a system I call SPEMPARFS, an acronym for: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, psychological, artistic, romantic, financial, and social.

This is in order of importance as I like to get to know my characters in a certain way. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes know a character’s physical traits or financial status first, it just means when fleshing out a character, this works great for me.

I begin with a character’s spirituality because it will tell me more about them than anything else and inform other attributes. I end with their social life because that’s when I’m ready to have them interact with other characters. Knowing their social status and personality helps a ton with dialogue! Most importantly, I can establish how that character is viewed by other characters, and how she views them.

Here are a few questions I ask myself in each category when developing a character:

  • Spiritual: What are the character’s fundamental beliefs? Is she steady in them or figuring them out? Is her spirituality relevant to the story? What aspects of her belief system need to be included? How do her beliefs inform her behavior? What’s her inner drive? Does that change throughout the story? What deities exist in her world? What’s her relationship to them?
  • Physical: What does she look like? How tall is she? What is she physically capable of? Does she struggle with her health? What scenes will showcase her physical abilities or lack thereof? Does she have a healthy relationship to food? Does her physical health inform any talents? What are her physical goals? What color are her eyes and hair? Does she have any scars? How did she get them? What’s her lineage and ethnicity? Do her reproductive organs function well? How does her menstrual cycle affect her?
  • Emotional: Establish a default emotional state. What sets her off? What excites her? What makes her cry? Does she cry often? Does she struggle to express emotion? Does emotion drive most of her choices? Does she have control of herself? Is she balanced? Temperate? Which are her most common emotions? What’s her typical daily mood and what most often changes it?
  • Mental: Is she formally educated? What did she study? Is she street smart? Does she speak more than one language? Is she a good teacher? Does she thirst for knowledge? Does she care how the world works? Is technology important to her? If the story is fantasy, and school as we know it doesn’t exist, what programs helped her gain knowledge and experience? Is she a master in those? Did she fall below average?
  • Psychological: Is this character straightforward? Manipulative? What mental illnesses run in her family? What about her past informs her psyche? Is she stable in relationships? Confident? What comforts her when scared or alone? Can she be trusted with the tasks required to reach the story’s end goal? Could her psychological struggles become strengths used to achieve her goals? What terrifies her?
  • Artistic: Everyone is an artist. Everyone creates something, even if just a concept. How is this character artistic? Is she an architect? Painter? Songwriter? Does she play an instrument? Does she express herself through dance? Does she want to change the world somehow? Which of her talents could help? What are her dreams? What keeps her up at night?
  • Romantic: What is her romantic status? What characteristics does she look for in a mate? Is she in a stable marriage? Does marriage as we know it exist in her world? What bothers her about her current romantic situation? Is she afraid of romance? How does her body react to attractive potential partners? Is she driven by sexual desire? Is she a virgin? Is sex sacred to her?
  • Financial: How does she make a living? What’s her home like? Her neighborhood? Does she rent? Are there new forms of currency in the story? What’s her status in her society? Is she comfortable where she’s at? Is she ashamed of her poverty? Prideful about her wealth? Embarrassed of how she’s made money in the past? Is she honest in her financial dealings?
  • Social: Who’s in her inner circle? Is she outgoing? Shy? Where does she meet up with friends? Does she trust them? Does she hang around shady people? How do her friends influence her decisions? Does peer pressure sway her? Does she get along with her coworkers? Boss? Neighbors? Family? Is she important in society? Is she respected? Is she a nobody? How does this change throughout the story?

Even after completing the SPEMPARFS, I refer to them often throughout the revision process.

5. I’ve heard some writers say that reading is not important to them or they don’t have the time to read. Is reading important to you and do you read other authors or only authors in your genre?

I love to read. It definitely makes me a better writer. When I see how other authors set up heartbreaking moments or compile little details into a mind-blowing reveal, I’m inspired to discover ways to give my readers similar experiences.

I love dystopian novels, the genre Sins of Our Mothers fits into. The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of the first full novels I read, and it captivated me in ways nothing else ever has. The idea that I could make an argument by illustrating through storytelling what the world would look like if the opposite of my argument came true was inexplicably beautiful to my young mind.

I do, however, venture out of this genre often. I enjoy romance, horror, mystery, psychological twists that move me in unexpected ways, really anything that keeps my attention until the end. I’ve even been profoundly inspired by manga, which is about as different of a storytelling artform as you can get from Sins of Our Mothers. To me, the ultimate success as a writer would be to create a character as impactful as Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, my favorite fictional character of all time. From his backstory in the underground to his later encounters with the beast titan, his entire character arc is just phenomenal.

I think reading for a writer is a lot like eating for a chef; you improve the more you experiment. Just because someone specializes in Italian cuisine doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy, and be inspired by, excellent Thai food. There’s no way every possible combination of seasonings will ever be achieved, which just means there’s no limit to a person’s capacity for creation.

Beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to be specific about your writing habits. By the way, I too believe that writers must read. We can learn so much from another author.

Thanks for dropping by, Nicole and for my readers, an excerpt of Sins of Our Mothers is posted below.

Shalom aleiche,

Pat Garcia


Chapter 2 
Juley 17, 1513 P.C.

6:00 a.m.

“Oh, glorious Mother Earth.”

Grace’s mother, Faye Angels, who diligently served as Prophetess to the northeast region of Lilac City, fell to her knees with a theatrical sigh. “How generous You are to Your creatures. We’re unworthy to touch Your soil.” She dug her fingertips in the dirt. “Yet we do so that we may be filled with Your goodness.”

Lyratelle grimaced across the circle at Grace, who responded with a shrewd grin. The most dedicated worshipers in the circle, the true believers, wore ceremonial sackcloth dresses wrapped twice around their bodies, secured by a half-inch rope, homemade from twelve lines of twine. They decorated their untamed hair with wildflowers every morning before service and formed a circle around Faye, who led them in a verse of “How Great You Are” before regular citizens arrived to recite the ceremonial prayer.

Lyratelle attended worship once a month—the minimum requirement before being fined for shirking her duties as an inhabitant of Mother Earth. She couldn’t stomach more than that.

Faye looked to the pale sky, raised fistfuls of dirt over her head, and hummed as it rained down upon her. “I bathe in Your magnificent soil that yields the seeds of life. Let it cleanse me.” The dirt and wildflowers clinging to her hair created the illusion that a garden grew from her head. The remaining dirt on her hands she rubbed over her shoulders and arms.

The women surrounding her, including Lyratelle and Grace, fell to their knees. The dirt was soft and cool on Lyratelle’s ankles and the tops of her feet. They gathered handfuls of dirt and sprinkled them over their heads while repeating in unison, “I bathe in Your magnificent soil that yields the seeds of life. Let it cleanse me.” Lyratelle, of course, only mouthed the words, refusing to participate in the ways she could control.

She did, however, appreciate the beauty of the Chapel Garden, the “holiest” room in the church. It was essentially an enclosed sandbox filled with soft, fresh dirt. Flowers in decorative pots were placed along the walls. Smaller pots hung in every corner. The ceiling was convertible. When closed, it was a tented tarp guiding rain or snow to the gutter. When open, it revealed the morning sky. Lyratelle loved the orange and purple stripes remaining from sunrise.

“We thank You,” Faye trembled with passion, “on behalf of all Your creatures, for the seeds Your miraculous being produces, graciously given, which bequeath posterity.”

“We thank You,” the women sang, rubbing the excess dirt on their shoulders and arms.

“We thank You on behalf of plants and insects.”

The women echoed, “We thank You on behalf of plants and insects.”

“On behalf of fishes and fouls.”

“On behalf of fishes and fouls.”

“On behalf of beasts and women.”

“On behalf of beasts and women.”

“We ask that You continue producing the seeds of life. Help our brave sisters, the Harvesters, to find and gather them safely. Oh, Mother Earth, lead them to healthy seeds, that they may avoid defectives.” She cupped both hands around her face and inhaled the scent of the soil. “Today, we include a special prayer for the Harvesters injured in the explosion yesterday. Heal them. Bless them. Ease their pain.”

The women repeated, “Heal them. Bless them. Ease their pain.”

“This is our prayer,” Faye concluded. “Amen.”

While the others chorused “Amen,” Lyratelle breathed a sigh of relief.

Welcome to Day 4 of #RRBC’S ’20 WC&BE SPONSORS BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_Org @sharrislaughter

Shirley Harris Slaughter

Author, Shirley Harris Slaughter is a guest on my blog today. She is one of many authors who made the ’20 Writers Conference & Book Expo a huge success in 2020. Thanks, Shirley, for your contribution! Below are some interesting tidbits about Shirley.

CRAZY! HOT! AND LIVING ON THE EDGE By Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Book Blurb:

Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!! Kindle Edition 

by Shirley Harris-Slaughter (Author) 

Imagine experiencing emotions that have you questioning your sanity. Your body gets overheated at the least bit of excitement and you scramble to find a fan or some air. Or you find yourself in the throes of a panic attack and can’t understand how to shut it off, so you are filled with anxiety wondering when the next one is coming. What if every time you take a drug you experience side-affects that you are warned about on the label? 
The title was conceived in my mind after I thought over all the situations, I had found myself in, how I got out of them, and the affect all of this had on my overall physical and mental well-being. 
Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!! Is the True Story of My Upside Down Life!

Author Bio:

Shirley Harris-Slaughter is the author of Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community which was written to address a need to preserve Catholic history in her local community. She mentored four freshman girls at the local middle school. She is active in her church and book club community where she has added another biography and fiction to her repertoire. She is married to Langston and is a Michigan Native.


During my graduate studies I prepared an Applied Research Project to address the deplorable condition of our train station, in downtown Detroit, MI. It was certified and accepted by the faculty of Cleary University in August 1993. I was able to galvanize the entire community around this issue which was videotaped and featured on broadcast news. I utilized college interns and the city of Detroit to find some answers in order to provide a template for saving this historic station. Here is the Title…


The Resurrection By Pat Garcia, German Translation By Juliane Eppendahl

The Cross Before The Empty Tomb


They ran through the streets, shouting,
Hosanna, Hosanna!
Sounds reverberated like an echo.

Hilarious, crazed laughter over what they thought was coming.
And why not?
Their king was riding on a donkey,
Ready to free them from slavery and oppression
And the yoke that had drugged them down,
Since they had been subjugated into serfdom

Hosanna, they cried out! Hosanna!
Too caught up in the delirium to care about the soldiers.
Free at last!

They were ready to kill
To regain their rightful status.
Their bloodthirst knew no bounds.
Free, free, free at last!

By noon, Friday
The song had changed.
No more Hosanna, Hosanna.
One by one, each had sneaked away to his own home.
Candles snuffed out quickly.
Although it was the Passover
Association quickly became disassociation.

Doors locked,
Darkness blackened the day like midnight.
They hadn’t wanted a cross.
No whipping,
No nails,
Not for him.
He was supposed to lead them to war.
But not a crucifixion!

Streets emptied.
People cowered in their homes with their heads bowed.
Fearing to be known as His follower.

On the third day,
The sun rose.
Something inexplicable had happened.
Baffled by the news, two men talked about it on the way to their village.
Downcast, they didn’t know what to think.
A stranger joined them and listened in.
They paid no attention to Him as they wallowed in their sorrow.
“What are you discussing?” He asked.
They shook their heads in disbelief that the Stranger hadn’t heard.
So dreary seemed their days ahead, but they informed him.

Reaching their village, they offered the Stranger their hospitality.
The Stranger accepted and took over as host.
As the Stranger broke the bread, they recognized him.
The greatest miracle of all stood right before them.
And they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others,
“He that was dead is now alive.”

“Yes,” said Cleopas.
“That what went into the ground has risen.”

“Hallelujah,” said the other,
“He’s triumphant over all!”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”




Sie liefen durch die Straßen und riefen
“Hosianna, Hosianna!”
Die Rufe hallten wie ein Echo wider.

Ausgelassen lachten sie über das, was da zu kommen schien.
Und warum auch nicht?
Ihr König ritt auf einem Esel,
bereit, sie von Sklaverei und Unterdrückung zu befreien
und von dem Joch, das sie niedergedrückt hatte.
seit sie in die Knechtschaft gezwungen worden waren.

“Hosianna”, riefen sie, “Hosianna!”
Zu sehr im Rausch gefangen, um sich noch um die Soldaten zu scheren.
Endlich frei!

Sie waren bereit zu töten,
um ihren rechtmäßigen Stand wiederzuerlangen.
Ihr Blutdurst kannte keine Grenzen.
Frei, frei, endlich frei!

Am Freitagmittag
hatte sich das Lied geändert.
Kein “Hosianna, Hosianna” mehr.
Einer nach dem anderen hatte sich nach Hause geschlichen.
Die Kerzen waren schnell erloschen.
Obwohl es das Passahfest war,
wurde aus der Assoziation schnell eine Dissoziation.

Türen wurden verschlossen,
Dunkelheit verdüsterte den Tag wie Mitternacht.
Ein Kreuz hatten sie nicht gewollt.
Keine Auspeitschung,
keine Nägel,
nicht für ihn.
Er sollte sie in den Krieg führen.
Aber nicht in eine Kreuzigung!

Die Straßen leerten sich.
Die Menschen kauerten mit gesenktem Kopf in ihren Häusern.
Sie fürchteten, als seine Anhänger erkannt zu werden.

Am dritten Tag,
ging die Sonne auf.
Etwas Unerklärliches war geschehen.
Verblüfft von der Nachricht unterhielten sich zwei Männer auf dem Weg in ihr Dorf darüber.
In ihrer Bedrückung wussten sie nicht, was sie denken sollten.
Ein Fremder gesellte sich zu ihnen und hörte zu.
Versunken in ihrer Trauer, schenkten sie ihm keine Beachtung.
“Wovon redet ihr?” fragte er.
Sie schüttelten ungläubig den Kopf, dass der Fremde es nicht gehört hatte.
Ihre kommenden Tage versprachen trostlos zu werden, aber dennoch erzählten sie es ihm.

Als sie ihr Dorf erreichten, boten sie dem Fremden ihre Gastfreundschaft an.
Er willigte ein und übernahm die Rolle des Gastgebers.
Als der Fremde das Brot brach, erkannten sie ihn.
Das größte Wunder von allen stand direkt vor ihnen.
Und sie eilten zurück nach Jerusalem, um es den anderen zu erzählen.
Er, der tot war, ist jetzt lebendig.

“Ja”, sagte Kleopas.
Das, was in die Erde einging, ist auferstanden.

“Halleluja”, sagten die anderen,
“Er hat über alles gesiegt!”

“Tod, wo ist dein Sieg? Tod, wo ist dein Stachel?”


Shalom aleichem,

Pat Garcia

*Bible Verse taken from the New International Version of 1984, First Corinthians 15:55

*Bibelverse wurden zitiert aus der Lutherbibel 2017, 1. Korinther 15,55).



The Silver Lining, A poem by Robbie Cheadle – YouTube
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