This photograph by Siala (Pixabay Free Images) illustrates how very little has changed in the life
of the dedicated writer. First, we have the keyboard and screen (or paper). Then, we have
inspirational photographs and a journal for recording story ideas. Of course, we have our
reference books (or Google account). And, then, we have faded roses to add a touch of beauty
in this very dog-eat-dog business.
Novel, Historical Fiction
268 print pages
Fiercely competitive colleagues—Kristen, Elena, Frank, Bier, and Don—have worked together for 15 years, yet they hardly know each other and probably trust each other less. Together for a conference in Los Angeles, they aren’t prepared for the disastrous event of 9/11 that is about to shake their self-reliance to the core. For the first time, they must depend on each other as they set out on a long and tiring drive home to their families nearly 3,000 miles away, in Virginia. Along the way, they wrestle with old demons and new ones as, little by little, they grow in ways they never imagined they ever could or would and develop a newfound respect for each other.
The loner, curmudgeon, and reformed alcoholic—Frank—learns that he will be his parents’ caregiver as soon as he can get back East to meet their train. The feminist—Kristen—is routed from the security of her tenured professorship and thrust into an unexpected and unwanted leadership role within her community. The Vietnamese refugee—Diana, who joins the trip in Albuquerque—finds herself in danger of losing her husband and having to start her life all over—yet again. The young assistant professor—Elena—must decide how to balance her personal and professional lives. The old guard—Bier and Don—have their challenges, as well; both are desperately needed at home—now!
With each passing mile, the travelers also discover America. They take in the scenery, which at every point and in its own way, is both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. They learn about the origins and histories of the towns they pass. Most of all, they learn about the people who settled and now inhabit the land, their reasons for going there and their reasons for staying. By the time they reach home, their experiences have given them a newfound appreciation of the land that is home to them all.
...loved the last part of chapter nine when Frank takes Kristen to dinner, 'hers' 'his' made me smile. I am so eager to know how they get on, mustn't be tempted to peek further up. I am really lovin' travelling along with them, I feel like I am there, the arid desert, the interesting towns. I can picture the scene with them dancing. (Jean G.)
Novelette, Historical Fiction
43 print pages
Little did the Bradleys and the Andersens expect
a pleasant day's outing to reunite a father and son
too long separated, not by their differences, but by their similarities.
126 print pages
The little girl dipped her fingers
into the tempera paint
onto the sheet of newsprint,
forming broad arcs.
A smile crept across her face.
She dipped her fingers
into another color
into still more arcs.
Her smile grew broader.
Again and again
she dipped her fingers
into the colors
and smeared arcs…
…until she had painted
70 print pages
The Old Lighthouse
Light from the old lighthouse
shone like a beacon upon the sea,
guiding ships through foggy nights
through which eyes could not see.
An old sea captain lived in the lighthouse
and stood high in the dome,
manning the bridge by day and night,
even though heaven was his home.
Once upon a time, more than 100 years nigh,
the old sea captain had sailed tall ships
through the channels, around the world,
maneuvering them through swells and dips.
Until that fateful night when no light did shine
and he drove his ship into the rocks
and smashed it into pieces along the shore.
Never from his thoughts could that night he block.
The scenes of his crew drowning in the waves
still haunt his thoughts and bind him to the sea.
Ever since that night, he has been a ghost,
determined to watch for ships the light to see.
© 2011, Virginia Tolles