Monday, March 07, 2011

Shirley Trantam 1935 - 2011

Today, the world lost the strongest, most loving woman I have ever known: my mother-in-law, Shirley Trantham. The epitome of the Southern Lady. After a short but ferocious battle with a disease that knows no mercy, she has moved on to her just reward.

I will never forget her spirit and determination. She taught me so many things: how to truly look at life and see what most do not see, to appreciate what I have now because it can all be taken away in the flash of a moment, to see myself as someone with worth and value who has much to contribute, to love so deeply it hurts, to laugh with complete abandon.

In her life, and the lives of her husband and youngest daughter, who were waiting on the other side to welcome her, I found the true meaning of unconditional love as they accepted me, a knight in not-so-shining armor sweeping in to carry off the eldest daughter, as if I had always been a member of the family. I was accepted not for who I could be or who they wanted me to be, but simply for who I am.

So, rest in peace, Shirley. The world’s loss is Heaven’s gain. I will always be proud to have known you, to have loved you, to have called you Mom…

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Latest Contest Anthology

Our newest short story contest anthology will be released on March 10, 2011. VISITING ELSEWHERE is the fifth anthology in our “Elsewhere” series. It is clear to see why the authors and stories in Visiting Elsewhere are contest winners. Each story is a gem and well worth the read.

We’re always fascinated when we read contest entries, never knowing where the stories will take us. The hardest part is deciding on and choosing the winners!

To see a list of the Visiting Elsewhere authors, and find out more about this new anthology, click HERE.

I Am Not A Pervert

I am not a pervert. I am not a child molester. I am not a kidnapper. I am not a psycho with a penchant for young people.

Now that I have your attention…and have told you things that I am not…let me mention something that I am: flabbergasted.

Flabbergasted that in this day and time, parents do not watch their children in public places. In two separate and recent incidences happening on the same day, I observed five sets of parents with callous disregard for their children’s whereabouts or safety. And, again based on my own observations, it seems to be a growing trend. I list below the two most recent incidences, but way too many others have occurred lately.

THE PLACE: a local and very busy department store.
THE PARENTS: two sets, involved in seemingly lighthearted conversation just inside the front doors of the store.
THE KIDS: about six of them, all appearing to be under five years of age, laughing and running around, pulling items off nearby shelves, impeding the progress of other shoppers as the shoppers try to negotiable their shopping carts through the herd (that’s right, I said ‘herd’) of kids, and running in an out of the doors.

You read correctly: running in and OUT of the doors. At several times, these children were ELSEWHERE. Completely out of their parents' sight, sometimes for as long as five minutes as the little dears ran up and down the sidewalk outside the store, doing their best to impede innocent shoppers who were trying to enter.

THE PLACE: a very popular local pizza buffet restaurant.
THE PARENTS: three sets, involved in loud, animated discussions over mounded plates of almost untouched pizza.
THE KIDS: hard to be sure, but seemed like ten—aged from about one to about six—laughing, screaming, running around the buffet lines and hindering people trying to make it to their tables with their pizza/pasta/dessert selections intact. These children also had the capability to disappear into various parts of the restaurant and OUT THE DOOR into the parking lot. I emphasize again: OUT THE DOOR!

At the beginning of this entry, I mentioned some things that I am not. Of those items I mentioned, please be aware that there are some people in this world who ARE all those things, and more. Despite an almost constant news article bombardment of abductions, molestations, abuse, and killings of children by strangers, there are still parents who simply enable the perverts of the world to do it! In both of the scenarios listed above, any one or all of the children could have been taken with very little effort. They could have been snatched and been miles away before any of the parents even took a breath from their conversations to notice their little angels were not in sight.

I don’t know about you, but that gives me the creeps so bad it’s hard to breathe. To think of the heartache, the devastation, the innocent lives destroyed that something like that can cause! I’m shuddering physically as I write this. As an author, it is very easy for my imagination to vividly picture such things happening. To picture the ease with which a human monster is able to perform dastardly acts, all with the aid of the very people who could have easily prevented it.

To all parents out there: please, please watch your children. They are your responsibility. You brought them into this world, you should do everything in your power to help them through it safely. While you’re having a good time with friends, do not rely on the strangers around you to monitor your children.

Those are the very strangers who may be looking for an opportunity.