The Fire Within – A Poem

This is my 9th Pay It Forward offering. It’s a poem I wrote for Marg. 🙂

There is steel in your eyes.

This is a reflection of your spirit

and the drive you hold.

As I have grown to know you,

I have seen that steel come out

many times and each time,

I am reminded that you are a fighter.

There is swiftness in your words.

This is a reflection of your wisdom

and the knowledge you possess.

As I have grown to know you,

I’ve listened to you speak

and I am reminded that you are a sage.

There is wind in your legs.

This is a reflection of your determination

to ride the wind within you.

As I have grown to know you,

I’ve watched you run as if you

bend the wind itself to your will.

I am reminded that you are a warrior.

You are all of these things,

Fighter, Sage and Warrior

and yet I also know you to be

one of the kindest people

I have ever known.

I have seen you lift a hand

to help someone in need.

You have listened to someone

when they are in pain

and in need of comfort.

I have heard you hold someone up,

even when you were

in danger of falling.

You have so much within you

that the wind can’t hold you,

the earth can’t contain you,

and the water that runs within you

can never define your path.

You have only to embrace

the fire that burns so brightly within you,

with sparks that remind us

of the stars.

The Magic of a Wish

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Inglewood Hamlet, there was a very serious young girl who worked very hard at being a witch.

Her name was Cleo and she was very curious. She was often sloppy in her potion work, enthusiastic in her spell work and didn’t have a very good hand on incantations. Her mother said not to worry, that she had lots of time to grow into her powers.

One night shortly before the Winter Solstice, she had woken from a dream. In it, her mother had been trying to feed her rhubarb pie for dinner at the Yule celebration, even though she didn’t like rhubarb. She had kept saying things like “Try it, it’s good for you.” Or: “Promises are made of piecrust. Easily made, easily broken.

She woke, shaking her head. Her mother was full of all kinds of sayings like that. Her father said that Cleo’s mother should write them all out and publish them in a book, but her mother was too busy leading the local coven. Cleo’s mother was a very wise woman, but she was always busy solving problems. Being one of the coven leaders within the village of Inglewood Hamlet was sometimes difficult work, but her mother found much joy as well. “Life is all about balance, dear heart.” Her mother told her.

As Cleo lay there, the dream still fresh in her head, she began to hear a humming sound.

She looked at her alarm clock. It was tick tock ticking, but it did not hum. She looked up towards the window, where her pet crow was perched looking down at Cleo with interest. The crow was shaking her wings, making a sound that went whip thwip whip, but it did not hum.

Then she saw the shadow that fell across her bed. It was tall and long, and Cleo could make out the movement of a tail. Cleopatra looked at her window her eyes wide with wonder. The curtains had been left open so that the moonlight shone through and she there sat a cat, looking down at her, its green eyes glowing softly.

Cleopatra realized that the sound was not humming but purring. The cat was purring loudly, and the sound was muffled by the pane of glass. Its shadow tail swished back and forth as Cleopatra watched the cat. Its eyes glowed down at her like embers from a fire. The cat had one green eye and one yellow. It was white with black spots as if someone had spilled ink all over him.

When the cat saw that Cleopatra was watching him, he purred louder still. He rubbed his head against the pane of glass frosted with snow and meowed at her.

Cleopatra smiled. She sat up and put her hand against the pane of glass. It was cold against her skin. The Yule lights from the village tinkled in the distance but their light coloured everything a lovely shade of gold.

The cat rubbed its head against the window where her hand was, which made her laugh softly. “I would let you in,” she said. “But Mother doesn’t allow cats in the house. She says she is allergic to their fur. And that her curtains are allergic to cats’ claws.”

The cat stopped purring and meowed in response. Cleopatra had the distinct impression that the cat could understand her. But that was silly, wasn’t it? A cat that could understand people, could it? Cleopatra shook her head and laughed softly again. “You go find some place warm to be,” she told the cat. “It’s going to snow, you know.”

Cleopatra put her head back on her pillow and watched the cat for the few moments before sleep claimed her again. Before she closed her eyes for the final time, Cleopatra looked at the cat and saw him wink at her.

But cats don’t wink at people, do they? She closed her eyes and felt herself drift away to sleep.

Unbeknownst to her, the cat remained on the windowsill for the whole night, watching over her and purring softly.


The next morning at breakfast, Cleopatra’s father was making flapjacks.

Her father was forever fooling around in the kitchen. He cooked food for the people that needed it around town and even had his own small restaurant that he called The Ivy and the Horn. It was a small pub that sat thirty people. It was always full of people who were there not because his wife led one of the coven’s in Inglewood Hamlet but because his food was beyond compare. Many said that his food must be made with magic.

Cleo knew that there was no magic in the food, only heart. Also, he was horribly accident-prone. Cleopatra could see three red burn marks on his hands from the cast iron pan already and he had only made four flapjacks. “Morning.” She said.

Her mother was sitting at the kitchen table reading her a stack of papers. Cleo knew that these papers contained anything from spells to complaints and predictions about the weather. Putting down her papers, she smiled at her daughter. “Morning Cleo dear. Your father’s making flapjacks. I made some blackberry syrup to go with them.”

“That sounds lovely.” Cleo said. She knew that her mother had concocted the syrup as one would mix a spell. She wondered what effect it would cause, whether joyfulness or hilarity? You had to be careful with whatever her mother made. Cleopatra turned to her father. “Did you want any help dad?”

Her father looked over his shoulder at her, pouring some more batter into the pan.

“A frying pan is not a toy Cleo; you’re too young. You might burn yourself.”

“You’ve burnt yourself.” She pointed out. “And besides, I’m nine. That’s pretty old.”

Her father chuckled at her. “Maybe so, but I’ve got it all under control, thanks.”

Except that he didn’t have it under control. He had poured the batter for the flapjacks all over the counter while he had been talking to her. Grumbling, he found a cloth and began to mop up the gluey mess.

“Why don’t you make up your wish list for Father Christmas?” Her mother said. She smiled at her and Cleo felt all warm. Father Christmas! The very thought of him excited her. She got a paper and a pen and began writing a letter to him. Cleo knew that the likelihood of Father Christmas coming to their house was slim, that her parents put out the presents every year. But she pretended anyways. She didn’t want her parents to be disappointed.

There was a scratching noise at the door and Cleo went to answer it. She opened the door and found two cats sitting there, watching her. She recognized the one from last night with white fur and black spots but the second one was new: it had a black body with a white tail and its nose was painted white, like someone had dribbled milk on it’s face.

“What are you doing here?” Cleopatra whispered. She heard her father swear as he burnt himself and her mother chuckle in the kitchen. “I told you I can’t keep you, Mum’s allergic.” She sighed. “Hold on a second.” She went into the kitchen and got out two bowls. She filled them with milk without her parents noticing and brought them to the cats. “Here,” she said. “This should keep your tummy’s happy.”

She took one last look at the cats and closed the door behind her.

That evening, she helped her parents decorate the tree. They always decorated their tree the night before the Winter Solstice. Her mother said that this was to honour old traditions. “The winter solstice was then people used to celebrate the changing of winter and the days that slowly began to lengthen again.”

Cleo nodded, wondering where her father had hidden the presents. She went to sleep wondering what her parents had gotten her this year. Late in the night, she was woken from a dreamless sleep once more by the sound of purring. She opened her eyes and went to her window.

This time there were three cats. There was the black one with white spots and the white one with black spots. The third one was different: this one had honey coloured fur and blazing blue eyes. It licked its mouth with a pink tongue and meowed at her.

“Where do you all come from?” Cleopatra asked them. “Do you need something from me?”

The third cat meowed softly, and Cleopatra heard her parents outside her bedroom door. “Cleo,” her mother called. “Father Christmas knows when you’re not asleep.” Cleo smiled to herself; they must have hidden the presents upstairs this year.

“Dear Father Christmas,” Cleopatra whispered. “If you bring me one thing this Christmas, let it be the cats. I want to give them some place warm.” She paused and thought on what her mother had said about using her magic and the power of wishing. “Father Christmas, I wish for those cats to be warm. I truly do.” She looked over at the window where the cats were still watching her and she let her heart fill up with hope.

Taking one last look at the trio of cats, she closed her eyes and went to sleep.


When Cleopatra awoke in the morning, the sun was coming through her window. She looked to see if her cats were there, but they had gone.

She knew from looking outside that it was still early. She ran down to look at the presents before they woke. There was just something magical about it for her. She relished the quiet of the morning before her parents awoke; she loved going through her stocking, imagining what lay in wait for her.

When she looked at the presents, there was something there that made her gasp: under the green boughs of the tree, she saw thee little kittens. They were nestled in a small wicker basket. A note was pinned to the front with a ribbon: For Cleo, your wish granted.

She looked down at them and knew they were the kittens she had seen: a black one with white spots, a white one with black spots and the honey coloured one. She petted each of them and listened to their little squeaky meows.

These cats were a lot smaller than the ones she had seen outside her window, but she looked at them and knew that they were the same ones. She just knew they were. As they played in front of her, Cleo saw that all three cats had the same markings as the ones she had seen before.

Her parents came down shortly afterwards and were startled to find her playing with the kittens. “Where did those come from?” her mother asked softly.

“I thought you got them for her.” Her father said.

“If you didn’t get them and I didn’t, who left them here, who wrote that note?”

Cleo, petting her new kittens, knew exactly who had given them to her. She had asked Father Christmas to find them some place warm and he had. Her mother had often said that cats are spirits of witches that have passed before. Some say that the cats that run around the neighbourhood are wishes given solid form. Other say that the cats are actually magic that has yet to find a home. Cleo knew both of these thoughts were true.

Cleo also wondered if this was her magic, finally taking form and growing in strength. Looking at the cats, she believed in magic. Maybe, she thought, there was magic left in the world after all. You just have to wish for it.

Or so the story goes…

Let the Holiday Reading Begin!

I put up my tree today and hung it with decorations. That means that it’s time to start reading great books to put you in the mood for the holidays!

Why not fill your kindles up early? From Monday November 25th 2019 until November 29th, you can download four of my holiday tales absolutely free! How’s that for awesome?

Love and Two Keys

Xander is an outcast at school.

He is often the victim of mockery and bullying. The other kids know that he is not like them, that there is something different about him. Instead of interacting with others, he sits inside and reads his books during his lunch period. While he reads, he is truly alive.

Remy is his only friend in the whole school. There is something different about her, too; but unlike Xander, Remy is out and proud and unafraid. She tells Xander there is no shame in being gay, that being yourself can set you free. Xander is unsure of what to do.

Then two things happen at once. Xander meets a boy named Alex and, when he does, the two keys he wears around his neck start to glow. Soon, Xander is faced with a choice: accept who he is and the chance at love? Or turn away from it all.

Thankfully, it’s Christmas and magic can make anything possible…

The Greatest Gift

Lincon is living inside of himself.

Having lost his partner Xander three years ago, on December 24th, he is a shell of his former self. His only comfort can be found in a circle of stone where he can hear Xander’s voice. His friend, Dava, tries to get him to engage with life again, telling him that Xander would have wanted him to be happy.

Lincon is content to live out the rest of his life by not living. What he needs is a miracle. That miracle comes in the form of an angel. Those we have loved are closer to us then we could even dream. Having watched his lover drift further inside himself, Xander knows he must do something, but what can he do?

Gabriel is the one that tells him to find someone for Lincon, someone who shines bright. If Xander should find someone, how does he make sure they meet?

Thankfully, miracles do happen at Christmas…

Yuletide Magic

Abigail Ivy hate Christmas.

Working as a elf in Santa’s village in her local mall, all she sees all day is rude parents, whiny children, mean people and foul shoppers. But her hatred of Christmas goes even deeper than that. Her heart is hard and cold around Christmas; it will need a bit of divine intervention to melt Abigail’s bah humbug heart.

That divine intervention arrives in the form of Clayton Jasper Riddell Greyhound the Fourth, an Angel on his yearly Holiday mission: to bring Holiday Joy and Cheer to one who needs it. He tells Abigail that he is her destiny. She thinks he’s a fruitcake. But fruitcake or not, Greyhound means to show Abigail the true joy of Christmas and the Holiday season.

Whether she likes it or not.


Oliver hates Christmas. He hates the fakery of it, the false joy that lifts everyone’s spirits. But only momentarily, only until the next box is opened, until the next piece of paper is torn away. But he is a true bringer of joy. In taking their lives, he is the giver of ultimate pleasure; and what better gift could there be for the Holidays than eternal bliss?

But this year is special. This year is 12.

Every year, for eleven years, Oliver has chosen twelve people, one person for each of the twelve days of Christmas. This year is 12. The final year. This year is personal. This is the year of the 12, payment for all of Oliver’s hard work. And he intends to collect. Eleven victims have already fallen-and Oliver has saved the best for last.

Merry Freaking Christmas. This year, there will be blood.

If that wasn’t good enough, here are two more holiday stories that are also free! I know, right? Your Kindles will be full of magic!

The Magic of Stars

Oscar doesn’t believe in magic.

Though he lives in Inglewood Hamlet where magic is an everyday occurrence and his grandmother is the village miracle woman. Oscar still doesn’t believe in magic. Scientific facts are things that are proven, whereas magic has no quantifiable proof.

His whole world changes when one night, at his grandmothers urging, he wishes upon a falling star. “I wish I believed in magic…”

The next day, he meets a girl in the village named Laura. She seems unlike anyone he has ever met before. Even the snow seems to sparkle more around her. Though they have never met before, she seems to know him.

Little does Oscar know that Laura will change his life forever. Sometimes wishes do come true. It is Yuletide after all…

Mistletoe and Lemonade

In a prequel set more than a year before the events of Lust and Lemonade, we find the gang about to celebrate the Christmas season.

It’s not been an easy time for Blaine. Dumped by his boyfriend two days ago, he is trying to recover and wondering whether or not he will ever find love again. Then he is visited by Gabriel, part of the AngelMan service, and things begin to take a turn for the better.

Nancy goes to visit Nan and finds her house dark and devoid of cheer. She sees no point in celebrating the holidays with just her in the house and Blaine living on his own. Nancy decides to have a holiday sleepover and decorate her house. The holidays are for family after all.

Chuck is planning to sleep his way through the holidays at the new bathhouse that opened up, but when he learns that it’s closed for the holidays, he has no idea what he’s going to do. Ray, the proprietor, decides to teach him what really matters for the Christmas season.

Mike and William are having problems of their own. William purchased a couch so big that it fills up their lofts living room, leaving their Christmas tree on the balcony. He wanted a good deal, never mind that the couch was totally impractical for what they needed. When Mike leaves, William must decide what matters most: the things we love or the people that love us.

Poppy is beside herself. Connie has been surlier than normal. When Poppy finally asks her what is wrong, she learns that in Connie’s last relationship, she had grown close to her ex’s daughter Alexa. She hasn’t seen her for two years and misses her most at Christmas. Poppy vows to do whatever she can to reunite them.

Will Blaine and friends find their happily ever after on Christmas? With a little bit of magic, anything is possible…

I hope you enjoy all of these holiday goodies! May your season be starting off beautiful and bright.

Happy Reading!

Memory Photos – A Poem

* For Patti on your Birthday

The wheel of the year

has made another complete cycle.

You sit, looking at everything you have done,

going within to look at memories,

flipping through them like photos,

snapshots of moments that made up this year.

These memory photos show the love

that you gave to others you didn’t even know,

wanting to make the world a better place.

The snapshots show moments of joy,

your mouth caught in the curve of laughter,

the sound that you made still audible

when you hold the photo.

The pictures show moments of perseverance,

as you overcame that which you thought impossible,

but conquered the obstacles with strength,

your visage a mask of determination.

All together, these pieces of memory

show a woman who possesses

so much more than all these photos.

You are a woman who brings joy

to so many others with little thought of yourself

and you make the world shine.

You fill the world with kindness

that can only be repaid with the stars themselves.

When I look through my own memory photos of you,

I see a woman who has changed the lives

of so many others, including myself.

Today, as your wheel of the year

makes another turn and the cycle is ready

to begin once more,

I wanted you to know that you are loved

and if I could, I would give you the stars,

but they would pale in comparison

to your brilliance.

The River, The Ocean – A Poem

I stand in front of a wall.

It shifts and moves in front of me

and I look at the shapes

that are within the colours.

I take in its shifting and morphing flow,

mesmerised by what is before me.

There are faces contained by the water,

skylines and waterways,

dreams that have laid forgotten

waiting to come to the surface once more.

I can hear voices whispering to me,

snippets of song and rhymes

that I used to know.

Reaching out,

I touch the wall and realize

that it is not stone in front of me

but a wall of water.

It moves with life and with purpose,

deeper than I can possibly know

and just as infinite.

I close my eyes to hear the sound

of the water more clearly.

Instead of darkness,

I can see the water as it moves

and splashes into the empty crevices,

filling up the shadow with blue.

There is an intense calm inside me

and I watch from within

as the colour of the water darkens.

It takes me deeper inside myself,

urging me not to be afraid.

I open my eyes and look at the wall

of what I now know is water.

Removing my hand,

I watch as ripples form in the surface

and I can feel the same ripples

as they move within me.

I stare at the wall in front of me,

realizing that I am being given a view

into the depths of my emotions,

the spaces that they can fill up,

filled with both light and shadow.

I wonder if I took a boat and sailed

upon those waters,

so blue and so deep,

where would they lead me?

I stare entranced at a portal

that shows my internal landscape.

I watch as a small boat does appear

as if I wished it there.

I close my eyes to watch

as it embarks on a journey

of discovery,

and I wonder what

it will find.

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