Excerpt from Murder: It’s All in Your Head (WIP)

Cassie walked up her street to the familiar sounds of kids playing. She gazed down at her hands and smiled. They were her hands, not some strange man’s. She was herself again. All those imaginings of being trapped in someone else’s body were just a nightmare. This was real.

She skipped with renewed vigor, then noticed her red shoes.

Those were mine as a kid. I was eight last time I wore these. Then how…?

She stopped in her tracks. She stood at the bottom of a driveway, the house obscured by several large trees. Odder still was that the driveway was blocked by iron gates–not the sort of thing she’d see in her suburban neighborhood.

She shrugged and pulled at the gate. When it didn’t open, she tapped the code in. It swung open. She entered.

There was home, the place she and Danielle had built just a year ago. She walked in through the side door of the garage into the kitchen. Maria was preparing dinner.

“It smells great, Maria,” she said. “What are you making?”

The older lady smiled and said something in Italian.

Molto bene. I don’t know what that is, but it smells delicious.”

She left the kitchen and found Danielle curled up in the library with a book. She joined her on the sofa and wrapped her arm around her, nuzzled her neck and kissed her when she turned to face her. “What are you reading?”

“How was work, Randy?”

She smiled. “It was a good day, but my favorite part of the day is coming home to you.”

Danielle giggled. “Charmer. You’re such an old soul, a real gentleman.”

“Not always. Not all my thoughts are so innocent, as you know. I was thinking later…long after dinner…a bottle of wine…you and me, naked in bed…”

“And if I’m not in the mood?”

“Tease.” She kissed her wife on the earlobe, then whispered, “I’m always in the mood.”

“Then it’s a date.”

Cassie closed her eyes to Danielle’s sensual touch on her cheek. When she opened her eyes, she stared at a concrete ceiling. Her heart raced, thudded in her head. In a cold sweat, she sat up on the lumpy mattress and gazed around at her surroundings: a tiny prison cell with a guy snoring away on the other cot.

“What?” she asked. “What was that dream?”

She lay back down, tried to tell herself it was just the stress of her situation catching up to her.

But none of this should be possible. People don’t just switch bodies, yet I can’t help get the feeling that was more than a dream. It was…a memory.

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Review of Happy Couples by Rick Monddarrell

happycouplesDescription (from Amazon): When you hear the words HAPPY COUPLES you naturally think of two people in LOVE. Part of this book is about that kind of couple. But, it’s also about the fact that on this planet there are a COUPLE OF GENDERS, not just one. And it’s about the fact that if all members of this couple enjoyed true equality it would make for a Happier couple – all over the world. Because this would make a better world for all of us.

As I write in the book, in my opinion, the greatest tragedy that we never talk about, is the almost complete suppression of female ability since the beginning of time. When half the human race is suppressed and kept from being all it could be,the entire human race is suppressed and prevented from being all it should be – all over the world. When everyone has equality, and are allowed to be all they can, the result is a better world for all of us. So no, this book isn’t anti my Father’s gender. It’s pro My Mother’s gender. But please remember that because equality makes a better world for all of us, this book is actually pro both my parents gender – all over the world.

THANK YOU

Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Gender inequality still exists today, as hard as that may be for some to believe in 2018, especially in a country like the United States. Just start talking to women, however, and you will quickly discover that women are still paid less than men to do the same types of jobs. Certain kinds of work, especially related to raising children and managing the home, are often referred to as “women’s work.” There are men who still exhibit inappropriate behavior toward women in the workplace and on the street.

Happy Couples is filled with poetry and short stories about gender equality and also about appreciating women. The fact that this book was written by a man is touching to me, a woman, reviewing it. I appreciate a man taking the time to write a book on this important topic. Although the principles behind the stories should be obvious, sadly, there are still many in the world who would disagree or who are ignorant.

The stories are simple and direct, sometimes a bit too direct, as the author explains in clear prose the message he is conveying. I appreciate him working these messages into stories, however.

There are some punctuation and grammatical issues with the book, which could easily be fixed if the book is read by an editor, but they don’t detract from the central message of the book.

Happy Couples is a short, easy read and is food for thought.

4 out of 5 stars

Purchase Happy Couples on Amazon.

Poetry Tuesday – Somewhere Within Your Tattered Insides

I’m not sure which is stranger

Or which would lead to more danger,

But is it your bitter sympathy

Or my twisted philosophy

That with all the broken ends,

We could never make amends?

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Excerpt from Murder: It’s All in Your Head (WIP)

“Make your phone call,” said a balding cop.

Cassie stared down at her manly hands, the orange sleeve of her prison uniform brushing against the hair that extended just beyond it. Even her knuckles were hairy.

“Well, what are you waiting for? If you’re just gonna waste my time, I can find better ways to occupy it.”

Cassie nodded and picked up the phone with a shaky hand. She dialed home.

After three rings, a hesitant voice answered, “Hello?”

“Mom, it’s Cassie.”

“Excuse me? Who is this?”

“Mom, I know I don’t sound like myself, but it’s really me. I swear it. Please, just let me explain.”

“I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but this isn’t funny. You’re a sicko.”

“Mom, please–”

The line went dead.

“No…no…” Cassie stared at the receiver for several seconds, until the officer grabbed it out of her hand and hung it up.

The cop placed a hand on her back and directed her back to her cell. “Let’s go. What a waste of time if you ask me.”

But I’m Cassie. Tears streamed down the face that wasn’t hers as she dragged her feet back to the cell. She didn’t bother to speak up. This officer wouldn’t believe her any more than the others. They’ll think I’m some sort of messed-up psycho who preys on kids. Oh, my God. What if this Randall guy… He already murdered his wife. Those cops said he was sleeping around. Oh, my God. What am I gonna do?

They arrived at her cell. The cop gestured toward the open door. “Okay, inside.”

Head down, Cassie entered. The door slid shut with a resounding clang that tore Cassie’s heart to pieces.

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My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.

Poetry Tuesday – At Ease

Starlight dreams take flight

Across a deserted plain,

Echoing through the mind;

A nightmare lies dead, slain.

Cross-eyed vision of a juxtaposition

Resting among the quavering thought,

Cycling forever in a burning dance,

Seldom ever, though not

Of the bleakest proportion

Of what we can find

Burying, hiding, digging deeper

Into a brilliant mind.

Hand in hand,

Over all the Earth,

Unfolding our wings,

Awakening rebirth.

Shallow rivers running deeper,

Moon reflects its silver image.

Below and above, all are one.

If only to manage

One simple sigh

And release on the breeze

Within and without;

Place the heart at ease.

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Excerpt from Murder: It’s All in Your Head (WIP)

Jimmy closed his eyes, tried to block out the imprisoned world around him. He knew fighting and yelling wouldn’t do him any good. Their notions of his insanity were only reaffirmed when he acted out.

He could hear the orderlies breathing as they stood beside him, but he didn’t care. It’s not like they were here to make pleasant conversation. “Oh, how’s the weather today, fellas?” he could ask. Yeah, right.

His thoughts gave way to dreams. Danielle’s auburn hair and infectious smile dangled in front of him. She giggled and reached for his hand.

When he looked down, Jimmy’s hand was gone. He was himself again, Randall. He felt the smile on his face, the muscles out of practice. “I’ve missed you,” he said to his wife. “Please tell me you’re okay.”

Danielle only laughed more and swung their clasped hands as they walked.

Wet sand squished between his toes. He looked down at the beach, then toward the water. The sun was setting. A breath caught in his throat. “This is where we went for our honeymoon. Maui.”

Danielle stopped walking and faced him. “We are on our honeymoon, Randy. Why else would we be here?”

“But- but this isn’t… I mean, this isn’t real.” He swallowed thick saliva.

The breeze blew, the smell of salt water wafting over his face. Overhead, palm branches rustled.

“Why wouldn’t it be real?” Her voice held a teasing undertone.

He kissed her pert, freckled nose and led her to a nearby hammock. They lay in it, side by side. He ran his fingers through her hair, down her shoulder and bare upper arm, kissed her on the lips. When he drew back, he said, “Do you know how long I’ve wanted to do that?”

“Sweetie, you kiss me all the time. You aren’t making any sense.” Danielle stared at him with concern in her eyes.

“This, right here, is the only thing that makes sense. I want to hold you forever. I need you back, Danielle. Someone’s taken you from me, and I can’t–”

He began to cry. Danielle blurred and disappeared. The sun set, and darkness claimed the world. Randall or Jimmy or whoever he was bellowed, “Danielle!” Over and over again.

The hammock flipped and dumped him onto a firm mattress. He opened his eyes to Nurse Nora’s plain face.

“Well, Mr. Williams, it looks like you’ve calmed down so much that you’ve fallen asleep.”

“I’m tired, so tired.”

“Well, that makes sense. It’s the middle of the night, after all.”

“I mean, I’m tired of this. All of this.” He tried to lift his hand, but the resistance of the restraint held him back.

The nurse straightened and gestured toward the orderlies. “You can release him.”

The two men nodded and undid the restraints on Jimmy’s arms and legs, then stepped aside.

“Goodnight, Mr. Williams,” Nurse Nora said. She was out the door, followed by the orderlies.

The door closed with finality. Jimmy sat up in bed and rubbed at his hands. In the dark, he couldn’t see the bruising, but he was sure he would have the marks to prove his disobedience for days to come, sure he would be teased by several of the other patients, including his friend, Charles.

“I’m Jimmy again,” he whispered. “That’s all I’ll ever be to them. No one will ever believe me, Danielle.”

He grew silent, listened to the darkness, as if expecting a reply. His sore, dry eyes slid shut as he lay back down. If it was only in his dreams that he could see her, could be himself, then he would go there.

Like what you’ve read?  Please subscribe to my blog, where I post an excerpt every Saturday.

My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.

Poetry Tuesday – I Stand on the Edge

I stand on the edge,

On the crest of knowledge,

So close to true understanding,

Though farther from wisdom

Than even I could have wagered.

 

I stand on the edge,

On the invisible barrier

That blocks me from the brash exterior

Of the harsh world,

But keeps me locked in my dungeon.

 

I stand on the edge,

On the peak of existence,

Looking down on the world,

But really, I am not above

But more a part of the rest.

 

I stand on the edge,

On the little bit of confidence

I have left for myself;

One foot nears the ledge,

Throwing my balance off.

 

I stand on the edge,

On the heart you’ve shared

When you reached for me,

Keeping me from my doom

And embracing my essence.

 

I stand on the edge,

On the peace of mind I’ve found,

Knowing without knowing

That as long as you hold my hand,

I will not fall.

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ?  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST A POEM EVERY TUESDAY.

My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.