Deanna’s Writing has Moved!

Hey everyone, and to all of you who have subscribed to this blog. This version of Deanna’s Writing will no longer be active because it has been moved to my brand new website,  You can find the new Deanna’s Writing here: That’s where I will be posting all of my future articles. Speaking of which, I plan, for the new blog, to post an excerpt of To be Maria once a week and a travel/life experience article once a week. Once my schedule settles down a little bit, I plan to start writing another Young Adult novel, and once that happens, I will post an excerpt of that novel on my blog from time to time.

So, if you’re still interested in my writing, stop by and subscribe. You will receive updates at least 1-3 times a week. In turn, I will want to know what’s going on in your writing world, so I will, at some point, email you and invite you to submit an essay for publication on the deannaproachwriter blog.

I look forward to keeping in touch.



Deanna’s Writing is Moving!

You’re probably thinking — or saying — “what! Deanna’s moving her web presence again? Gosh golly gee. That woman can’t keep her website in one place for long.” I can hear it already. First, then De’s Stories (Blogspot), then Deanna’s Writing in October 2012 (Hamlet helped me a lot with this one).

Here’s the thing: in the short history of me being a writer I’ve never ever had a website/blog that could properly be optimized. Don’t get me wrong; I’m incredibly thankful for the few loyal people that stop by Deanna’s Writing frequently, but I’m sick and tired of the perpetual lack of views. It has done much more to hurt my confidence as a writer; it’s not worth while for me to promote another author’s work when I can’t offer them greater exposure because I’m severely lacking it myself and, since I’m currently promoting myself as a freelance writer, I need something much more — better –than just a simple blog.

So, I’ve hired a webmaster who is going to create a new website for me; one that I know will carry me through the rest of my career; a website that will accomodate an SEO plugin. Once complete, you will find me at Don’t worry, this blog — meaning all of the content posted on here already — will be transfered over to the new blog which will be factored into  The website should be done within the next two weeks. I will be sure to notify everyone once it’s up and running. At that point, I will encourage you all to stop by, have a look and say hello.

What I won’t do right away on my new website is have guest authors. At least until I’ve built up a sufficient readership. I really hate to do this to my fellow writers, but it’s not fair to you. You deserve so much better in terms of book promotion. That said, once my blog has built up a good readership and decent ranking on Google, I will reopen submissions to guest articles.

I hope to see you on the flip side.


7 Ways to Impress People

“First impressions count” is the slogan of today. That slogan is so true and there is nothing superficial about it. First impressions do count. In the corporate realm, the first impression that you give can either make or break you. It can attract people to you or repel them from you. If you want to build lasting friendships and become successful in your chosen career, you must always show people your good qualities. There are seven ways you can impress people without showing off.

Display A Positive Attitude

People want to be happy, inspired and motivated, so if you display a positive attitude, you will attract people to you.

Be Kind And Generous

Kindness combined with positivity goes a long way in this world. Even the smallest act of kindness can change a person’s life. When you walk down the street, make eye contact with people and smile at them as you walk past. If you like a person’s outfit or they way she styled her hair, give her a compliment even if she is a complete stranger.

Give of yourself. When you see or know of someone who is in need, offer to help that person. If you have a decent amount of money then donate a portion of it to a charity of your choice. These acts of kindness are impressive, but they are also touching. If you are a kind and generous person, you will be rewarded.

Always be Honest

People have great admiration and respect for those who are honest. Therefore, it is good to be upfront with another person even if you are the bearer of bad news. If your boss requires you to do a task that is beyond the level of difficulty that you can handle, or one that is unethical, tell him or her that you cannot perform that task. Don’t just say you are unable to do the task, explain your reasons. If you are honest and upfront, you will succeed in life.

Have Boundaries

You can be gracious to people, but that does not mean you should let them take advantage of your kindness. Know when to say no to people who try to use you to get what they want. Having boundaries does not mean you lose your temper every time someone treats you unkindly. You can confront a person’s negative behavior without being confrontational. When you have boundaries, you let people know that you are a person worthy of love and respect. You also let them know that you will not allow them to mistreat you.

Display Confidence

Confidence in this world is everything. You need the right amount of it to succeed in your career. It is about having faith in yourself and in your abilities. When people see that you are confident in yourself, they will take a chance on you.

Be Open Minded

If you want to impress people and succeed in your career, you must have an open mind. Be willing to embrace new ideas and opportunities. You may not obtain the career you want the most. Opportunity may come to you, but in a way where you least expected it to. In either case, you must be willing to embrace change. At the same time, you must have a backup plan.

Dress Appropriately

Wearing appropriate attire does not mean you have to be clothed entirely from head to toe. Appropriate clothing in this context refers to clothes that enhance your appearance. You don’t have to wear overly revealing clothes in order to look attractive. When you wear clothes that gracefully outline your body, you will feel much better about yourself. People will also look upon you as a person with class and dignity, an individual worthy of respect.

If you strive to live by all seven virtues, you will give off a good impression to everyone you meet. You will also make lasting friendships with others and you will succeed in everything you do.

Interview With Author Michael Murphy: Goodbye Emily

I welcome author Michael Murphy once again on my blog to discuss his latest release, Goodbye Emily.

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1. So Michael, tell me about your book, Goodbye Emily.

Goodbye Emily is a fun and funny look back at Woodstock even though the novel deals with loss and learning to live again. Three men decide to relive their trip to Woodstock in 1969. One final roadtrip. One last chance to say, Goodbye Emily.

Author Alisha Paige nailed it, calling Goodbye Emily, “a road trip full of adventure, love, laughter, fun, superstar appearances and heart-felt healing.

2. What inspired you to write this book?

A few years ago, a woman I’d worked with for more than ten years got cancer. Her health forced her to retire. One her last day we were chatting and she told me about attending Woodstock and how it impacted her life. Although I was ashamed I had not gotten close enough to realize she’d attended this special event, I began to think of Woodstock and the aging Woodstock Nation. The book is dedicated to my former co-worker, Louise Castro.

3. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

From an early age I enjoyed reading. For me it was a logical step toward writing. I first started in journalism and majored in it in collage, but writing and I drifted apart until my forties. I began a long delayed novel which was published in 2007. Now I’m a full-time writer and part time urban chicken rancher in Arizona. Goodbye Emily is my eighth novel.

4. What advice do you have for unpublished and emerging novelists?

Be patient. My biggest mistake as a writer was thinking my work was finished because I’d typed The End at the bottom of my manuscript. The thing I’ve learned the most about writing is rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Like wine, manuscripts get better with age.

5. Do you think it is absolutely paramount for a writer to promote his/her book before querying agents and publishers?

As noted above, I’d advise writers to focus on polishing their manuscripts before getting it to the right agent or publisher. I’ve found that because my first few novels were published by a small publisher, larger publishers are now reluctant to consider my work, so be patient. I was lucky with Goodbye Emily. Koehler Books has been great to work with.

Marketing and promotion, especially establishing one’s literary brand is crucial. I’ve done this more and more with each book, establishing a Woodstock blog, where one can read about most of the great performances. And in addition to my personal website,, I also have a Goodbye Emily website where people can read the latest reviews of the novel.

6. What’s next for Michael as a writer; what future projects are you working on?

Goodbye Emily is so good I actually thought I’d never progress beyond it as a writer, but I fell in love again with  the characters in my next novel, The Yankee Club. With this novel, I return to my mystery/suspense roots, this time set in 1934 New York. I get to use the word dame a lot. It’s a funny look at noir fiction and the first in a series. While waiting for The Yankee Club to be placed with the right publisher, I’m working on the second in the series called All That Glitters.

7. Where can readers find your book?

Goodbye Emily is available at most major bookstores and through all the online major sites.


Barnes and Noble

I also encourage all my readers to hop on over to Boomer Cafe and read the first chapter of Goodbye Emily.



6 Ways To Make A Stellar YouTube Speech

Years ago, if you needed to deliver a speech, you had to stand behind a lectern before a group of people. Today, the internet has made it possible for everyone to engage an audience from the comfort of their own homes. You can film yourself speaking and then upload that video onto YouTube. Since you may potentially reach a larger audience on YouTube, it is critical that you make a good first impression and that you make your speech engaging.

1. Dress to impress. When giving your speech, you must look your best even if you’re sitting at home. You should wear an outfit that makes you look attractive and professional. Avoid wearing bright colored or patterned clothing as these types of clothes are distracting. Long earrings that dangle is one accessory you shouldn’t wear when giving a speech because they will make you look gaudy. Since you will be talking to your camcorder, you should wear makeup, enough to give your face some color.

2. Introduce yourself and your speech. Introduce yourself to your virtual audience then explain the objectives of your speech. Provide your audience with a brief explanation of why you’re the one to give this speech and how this information will benefit them.

3. Hook your audience. You need to hook your audience right at the start of your speech when you’re introducing yourself. You can do this through body gestures and through use of vocal variety. Eye contact, hand gestures and vocal variety are important because they keep the audience focused on you. Words are equally important because, if used properly, they will hold your audience’s attention.

Use descriptive words to convey meaning. Make your speech conversational, speak to your audience like you would to a friend. Avoid crutch words like ‘so’, ‘um’,’ uh’ and run-on sentences. These improper words will bog down your speech and make you look like an amateur.

4. Speak to your audience. People want to hear a speech that speaks to their needs. They also like to hear stories that they can relate to. People want to be inspired, informed and educated. As a speaker, it is paramount that you give your audience what they need to hear. It is not all about you, it is about them. You will do more to attract a large audience when you speak to people’s emotions or to their needs.

5. Memorize your speech. You can more easily rely on notes when you’re speaking directly to a group of people than when you’re speaking to a camcorder. The camcorder will pick up the shuffle of paper and that cannot be edited out. It also demonstrates your lack of care and preparation. Memorize your speech before you film it. Your ability to speak without notes will exhibit your confidence and intelligence.

6. Make your speech short and to the point. The ideal YouTube video is between 30 seconds and 1 minute. However, there is no way you can deliver your speech in that allotted length of time. At the same time, your speech should not exceed 2 minutes. For this reason, you will need to get right to the point in order to get your message across. If, however, you have prepared for a 10 minute speech that you want filmed and uploaded onto YouTube, you can break it down into a series of short speeches. In that case, you will need to end each speech episode on a cliff hanger. For example, you could say, “stay tuned for part two.”

It takes as much effort to deliver a speech on YouTube as it does in a conference room. However, if you follow all of these steps, you will shine.


Being Happy For Others’ Success When Your Luck Is Down

I wrote this article at a time when I was struggling to make it as a novelist, having no backup plan in mind. For that reason, I found it incredibly hard to rise above the ‘victim’ mentality. I needed something to keep me from falling into the dark hole of despair. That’s why I wrote this article.

This article was written from a Christian perspective, but it’s not intended only for an audience of Christians. Everyone, I’m sure, can relate to this and I hope this articles speaks to everyone, Christian or not.

As Christians we know that life on earth is only temporary. It is miniscule compared to the eternal life we will have with Christ in heaven. Yet, since we have one life to live we must make it count and we must make our lives in this world good. In a world that touts material wealth and outer appearance, it is easy to forget ourselves and get lost in our pursuit of wealth, happiness and satisfaction.

There is nothing wrong with having lots of money and there is certainly nothing wrong with success. God expects us to use our talents for His glory and for the greater good others. This rings as true to the society we live in as it did all throughout history.

What happens, though, when your efforts do not bring you the desired results? How do you react when a friend or colleague gets promoted or lands a lucrative book contract while you are still unemployed, unable to find the right person who will take a chance on you? Is it possible to glorify in the other person’s success when your luck is down?

It is easy to get so lost in our own frustration and anxiety when things do not go well in our lives that we cannot make the effort to care about others’ ups and downs. It can be especially hard to rejoice over another person’s success when you are struggling to make a decent living in this world. When things go wrong, when we don’t get what we have worked so hard for, we tend to internalize that failure. We blame ourselves for our failures. When we blame ourselves, we emanate those negative emotions onto other people. Pretty soon, we begin to lash out at other people. It is a snowball effect. One thing leads to another. Our depression will turn into jealousy, from jealousy into hatred if we don’t moderate our feelings and work to overcome the obstacle we are facing in our own lives.

None of us are able work on our own strength. Our strength comes from God. Without his guidance, we will get lost. When you’re struggling, turn to God because He will be your source of courage. You also have to believe in yourself as a person, that you are capable of achieving great things. With God, all things are possible. You need to place all of your trust in Him.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. What He has planned for you is usually completely different from the plan he has for your friend or neighbor. From the moment we receive His vision, it can take several years until that vision becomes a reality. Sometimes God does not reveal His plan to us when we want it the most. We must seek it.  So, when you are struggling and you hear of another person’s success, remember God has a plan for you. He will never forsake you. He only wants what is best for you. Just hang in there. Your hard work and perseverance will be rewarded. When you think about it this way, you can celebrate another person’s success. You can also rejoice in knowing that you are not alone. Help is on the way.

Happy New Year. May God bless each and everyone in the year 2013.

Beginning of Forever by Terri Rochenski: Promo Post



Beginning of Forever is actually a story written by Terri Rochenski that has been published in an book titled, Christmas Magic (Still Moments Publishing, 4 December 2012).



When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Davis experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?

Short Excerpt:

I rubbed my fussing son’s back and stumbled down the hall to grab the phone. “Hello?”
“Mrs. Douglas?”
A glance at the clock and my stomach clenched. Ronnie was an hour late for our Christmas Eve dinner. “Y-yes?”
“There’s been an accident.”
Through Steven’s heightened cries and the ringing in my ears I heard my husband’s name and Anna Jacques hospital.
This isn’t real. I need to wake up.
“Mrs. Douglas?”
I swayed and slumped to my knees on the linoleum floor, struggling to keep Steven in my grasp.
The floor is cold. I’m not dreaming.

About Terri:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling. Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow.

Where to Find Terri and her Book:

My Blog
My Website
Google +

Purchase Your Copy of Christmas Magic:



Still Moments Publishing




Peter the Hermit and The People’s Crusade

This is a story that has been posted on my other blog, Crusades and Crusaders.

The first army that left for the Holy Land was that of Peter the Hermit’s. It wasn’t an actual army because the vast majority of his followers were peasants and laymen; many men had taken their entire families with them. Only a small minority of Peter’s following were knights, commanded by the pious knight, Walter Sans Avoir (The Penniless).

Nevertheless, Peter had amassed a great following–historians estimate that his following was anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people–large enough to be considered, at that time, an army. Today, Peter the Hermit’s expedition is widely known as the People’s Crusade.


13 April 1096

Adele was glad that Peter had decided to let his army of pilgrims rest in the district of Cologne. She had walked–surrounded by many people she did not know–for several days and some nights. Adele was starving and so exhausted, she feared if she took one more step forward, she would faint. So, she plopped herself down on the soft grass. It must have rained the night before, Adele thought, because the grass was quite damp. It seeped through her clothes, but it was warm and the sun shone brightly, so she didn’t feel cold.

Adele was with many of the pilgrims outside the city walls, yet she felt all alone. Her sisters traveled at the head of the crowd with Peter and Father Marc, while she walked far behind, near the rearguard. She scanned the crowded field but couldn’t find them anywhere. The bishop of Cologne had already let them into the city and invited them to spend Easter with him at his palace. They were probably, at this very moment, seated at the bishop’s large table, filling their empty bellies with delicious food of all kinds.

The bishop and townspeople here had received Peter well. Everyone loved and admired Peter. He was the embodiment of genuine Christianity: He gave everything he owned to his followers. Everywhere they travelled, people followed Peter; they dedicated their lives to him and to his call for Holy War against these so-called evil Muslims in the Holy Land. Men knelt before Peter, women kissed his hands; few of the villagers even plucked pieces of course fur from Peter’s tunic. Yet, Adele didn’t understand why he couldn’t persuade Father Marc to be more kind to her.

Adele fell back, arms outstretched, her long blond hair splayed in every possible direction, forming a halo around her head. Tears flowed freely down her face. Peter, Father Marc, Elle and Josie were so satisfied, they didn’t think about her or talk about her, other than to say how horrible of a person she is. That was why no one looked for her.

She traced her fingers over the wooden beads of her mother’s rosary. “I wish you had never left us, Mother. Nothing is going well. Neither Father Marc or Peter had fulfilled their promise to you. I have no one to talk to and no money to buy food and clothes. And it’s all because of them.”

“What are you talking about, and why are you crying?”

Adele sat up straight and twisted her torso until she was staring at the person who interrupted her thoughts. He looked to be no older than she; he was scrawny and his thick, brown curls were matted. He wasn’t handsome, but there was something about his demeanor that calmed Adele. She couldn’t find a word to describe it, yet she was glad that she had someone to talk to. At last.

She wiped her eyes dry with the sleeve of her cloak. “I am terribly hungry and tired and….I don’t know if I want to continue on this pilgrimage.”

The boy reached into his sack and pulled out a loaf of bread.

Adele’s eyes bulged open. “Where did you get that?”

A mischievous grin spread across his face. “I stole it from the monastery’s bakery, when the baker wasn’t there of course.”

Adele gasped. They had stopped at two monasteries on their journey and had relied on the monks’ good will. Unfortunately the monks had not enough food to feed all of the pilgrims, so many pilgrims went more than one day’s travel hungry, including Adele. As much as she wanted to at time, she didn’t bring herself to stealing food from the monks, or from the villagers whose towns they passed through. She was still hurting from the quarrel she had with Father Marc, so the last thing Adele wanted was to bear the additional burden of guilt.

The boy laughed. “A pious girl, you are. You’d rather starve to death than commit one little act of sin, wouldn’t you?”

Adele shook her head. “A starving girl who chooses not to steal is not a pious girl. She is simply abiding by the law of the land.”

“I meant not to insult you. In fact, I wish I was as good as you.” He broke off a large piece and handed it to Adele. “Here. Don’t let yourself die of starvation.”

“Many thanks,” Adele said, taking the chunk of bread from him. She broke off a small piece and placed in on her tongue. It was still soft and tasted delicious. She suddenly didn’t care how this boy obtained this loaf of bread; she was glad she had something decent to eat.

“My name is Simon,” he offered, sitting on the grass close beside her.

Adele began to tingle all over. She had never been this close to a boy before, so she didn’t know whether to feel excited or afraid. “I’m Adele.”

“Adele. You are really pretty, you know that?”

She blushed deeply. No one had ever told her that, not even her mother when she was alive. And Father Marc thought she was a wretched girl; he told her that the day before they left Josselin.

“Yes you are,” Simon insisted. “You are the prettiest girl I’ve ever met…seen.”

Adele chuckled lightly. “Thank you, Simon. You sure know how to flatter a lady.”

He shot her a wide grin. “That’s what I’m here for. So tell me; why are you alone? Have you taken up the cross without your family’s permission?”

Adele bit down hard on her lower lip. She thought about Elle and Jose spending their visit here in comfort and with plenty of food to eat. Tears pricked her eyes. “I have no family.”

“Well, I came with my father, mother and two older brothers.”

“Then, why are you not with them?”

Simon shrugged one shoulder. “I wanted to see more of this great city.”

“But you have not yet entered the city’s gates. And, have we not seen enough land already?”

“I never grow tired of new sites, me lady. This land may be poor, but it’s still beautiful, and I enjoy every moment of it.”

A faint smile crept across Adele’s face. “I bet the Holy Land is far more beautiful than here.”

Simon nodded his head. “You are probably right.

If interested, you can read more articles on Crusades and Crusaders.



Late Bloomer: An Excerpt from Melissa Wray

This is Thursday, not Monday, Wednesday or Friday, the days I normally post on this blog. But since I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’m going to post. And I promised Melissa I would host her once again on my blog.

Melissa Wray is the author of Destiny Road, a coming-of-age YA novel, that I read and reviewed a few months ago. She is currently writing another YA novel, titled Late Bloomer. The excerpt that I’m sharing with you today has been received an Honorable Mention in the Gold Coast Writers’ Festival. I can totally see why because, after reading it, I want to read more.

Here is the excerpt from Late Bloomer.

It’s only Monday and I have already burnt the toast for breakfast, tripped over the cat on the way out the front door and managed to get the bus driver off side for forgetting my bus pass. Great start to the week Kit! I flush the toilet and hook my schoolbag over my shoulder. I wash my hands but avoid the reflection in the mirror. It’s the same that it’s always been, just zit free today. I still look like I’m ten not fourteen. Mum says we all develop at different rates and not to rush it. I don’t want to rush it, but it would be nice to at least get bumps on my chest in this lifetime.

The warning bell rings as I emerge into the corridor. I jostle past the other students to collect my books from the locker. I slam it shut and squeeze past the couple shoving their tongues down each other’s throat. You would think this is the last time they will see each other. Ever. It’s only two hours until the first break and they can drool all over one another again. I walk along the corridor and ignore the sniggers circulating around me. My paranoia must be joining me early today. I make it to the classroom and enter just before the final bell rings. All the seats are filled, with only the one on the far side remaining. I cross quickly and again a ripple of gasps and snorts follow. I look behind me and they immediately cease. I plonk onto the chair and get my books out.

‘All right everybody, settle down,’ Mr. Hampson says.

The noise quietens and he begins talking about the math work we were supposed to finish over the weekend. I peek sideways at the rest of the class. As I do, a flurry of eyes looks away from me. I try to ignore the unsettled feeling seeping into my nerves. Instead I focus on the textbook in front of me. I flip to the page Mr. Hampson is talking about. Before long I can feel eyes staring at me again. I want to look around and make sure I’m imaging things. But I can’t bring myself to turn my head, in case I’m wrong.

Whack! Something hits me in the back and I turn around. The entire class is looking at me. I notice a scrunched up ball of paper has dropped on to my seat.

‘Nice look,’ Shane sneers from behind me.

I scowl at him and pick up the ball of paper. Like that weirdo can talk with his oily black hair sticking up all over the place. I try to un-scrunch the wad of paper quietly. I flatten it against the table to read.

‘Miss. Mornington?’

I look up to find Mr. Hampson standing right beside me. My heartbeat quickens and I know this is not good. Mr. Hampson does not take to disruptions kindly.

‘Care to read out your secret note?’

My lip twitches as I try to avoid his death gaze.

‘Make sure you use a loud voice,’ he encourages, sarcasm dripping off.

I haven’t read the note yet so I cross my fingers it’s something innocent.

‘Sh … short skirts are b … back,’ I whisper

‘Sorry I didn’t quite hear that.’

Mr Hampson has moved to the front of the room.

I clear my throat. ‘Short skirts are back.’

An eruption of laughter echoes around the room. Mr. Hampson’s cheeks blow out like a puffer fish. He stomps across to my desk and swipes up the note. His eyes scan across it. He glares at me because he knows I’ve spoken the truth. I don’t know why he’s mad at me. I didn’t write the stupid thing. I don’t even understand what it means.

‘Who wrote this?’ he asks, swirling on the class.

One by one the snickers stop. No-one owns up to the ridiculous note.

‘Miss. Mornington?’

I shrug my shoulders. I’m just as confused as he is.

‘Well maybe an hour in the time out room will help.’

My jaw drops open. He can’t be serious. I didn’t do anything.

‘Now Miss. Mornington.’ He drops the note and points toward the door.

I look around the room but this time nobody meets my eyes. I push the chair out and shove my books and pencil case into my school bag. I stand up and as soon as I do a fresh chorus of laughter erupts. I take no notice and stomp out of the room. The trails of laughter follow me and I ignore the repeated calls back from Mr. Hampson.

I make it to the time out room and enter to find it empty, except for the teacher and one other. My best friend Burra is splayed back in the chair. He spends a lot of time in here. Surprise spreads across his face when he sees me. But quickly he ducks his head before the teacher catches him.

‘Mr. Hampson,’ I explain to the supervising teacher.

She nods and records it in the creased notebook. It’s full of all the other naughty boys and girls in the school. I don’t have as many offences as Burra but there are a few with my name attached. I’m not naughty as such, but things just seem to go against me sometimes. I pull my textbook out of the bag and start working. After about ten minutes the teacher stands.

‘Right you two. I am going to trust that you will behave whilst I go and get something from my desk.’

She gives us the stare that is supposed to frighten us into submission. We both nod and watch her leave. Once she’s gone Burra strolls over to my desk and sits on it.

‘Well this is a new sight.’

I roll my eyes. ‘Not from where I’m sitting.’

He doubles over in mock laughter.

‘Seriously Kit, how did you get in here?’

‘I didn’t even do anything. Some idiot threw this note at me and Mr. Hampson went off his tree.’

I retrieve the note from my bag and pass it to Burra. He reads over it and raises an eyebrow. I snatch if off him and stand up to throw it in the bin.

‘Oh Kit, short skirts are back,’ he says with a smirk.

I stare at him with a screwed up face. I pat my hand down my school dress and that’s when my blood runs cold. I rewind through the morning so far. Leaving the toilet, the sniggers along the corridor and the snorts in the classroom, the stupid note that got me sent here. It all makes sense.

‘ARGH!’ I pluck my dress out from my knickers.

I pat the material down repeatedly until I’m sure there is nothing stuck where it shouldn’t be.

‘Nice underwear by the way,’ says Burra.

‘Shut up!’ I punch him in the arm.

‘No seriously, polka dots are definitely your style.’

I shove him off the table. ‘Not helping Burra.’

I cover my face with my hands. I can feel the heat radiating from my cheeks. I drop into my chair.

‘This is so embarrassing. The whole school must have seen my backside hanging out my undies.’

‘You’re such a drama queen. I doubt the whole school …’

Burra’s voice trails off as he looks at me with a toothy grin.

‘What! You doubt the whole school what?’

‘I doubt the whole school saw you, unless someone got it on their phone. Then they sure will.’

The blood rushes from my face. ‘I think I’m going to be sick.’

I push the chair back and lay my head on the desk. I try to take in deep breaths but it’s not helping.

‘Kit I’m kidding! It’s not like your dress has been hooked up all day. It was just before school.’

I peek up at Burra. ‘Do you really think that?’

‘Sure, besides you’ve been sitting on your butt most of the time.’

‘Yeah, I only walked to my first class and then here.’ I nod, trying to reassure myself.

‘That’s right,’ Burra encourages. ‘It was only a few guys from your class.’

I nod and think about it. There’s not much difference between underwear and bather bottoms. I can live with a handful of classmates seeing my polka dot hipsters.

‘You’re right, there was only a few.’ I shrug my shoulders. ‘No biggie.’

‘That’s the girl,’ he pats my back. ‘Besides, what’s the chance of it ending up on YouTube?’


Have you enjoyed reading this? Leave a comment or a ‘Like’.

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All Will be Well

All Will be Well is a YA vignette that is set during the time of the People’s Crusade. It is a story/series that I’m weaving into the fabric of my Crusades and Crusaders blog.

15 February 1096

The moment Adele saw Peter approaching, sitting on top of his mule, her eyes filled with tears. Adele had heard all about Peter’s teachings; of all the kindness and generosity he bestowed upon the people of this land. Many of the villagers likened him to Saint Peter–even though they had not yet met him. Father Marc even said that Christ had sent Peter to preach unity, good will, humanity and…Holy War. That was why Father Marc had wrote to Peter; He wanted him to preach here in the town of Rochefort. Adele suspected he wanted to hear more about this Holy War; she wanted to learn more about it herself. But she had other pressing concerns, and she needed to Peter. Desperately.

She could already tell that Peter was not alone. He was accompanied by several travelers. Few of them were knights, clad in a full suite of armor. They all chanted, “God wills it,” over and over again.

Adele hiked up her skirts and ran towards the procession, her vision nearly blinded by tears.

When Peter saw her, he brought his mule and the entire procession to an immediate halt. “My dear child. What is the matter?”

Adele fell to her knees. The rain soaked ground seeped quickly through her skirts, sending deep chills throughout her body. “Father…I am so glad you have come to Rochefort. I have…I have…”

“Come, child, take my hand and tell me of your troubles. The good Lord knows everything, and he has a grand plan for you; for us all,” Peter said, looking up towards Heaven.

Adele slipped her hand in his. It was cold, rough and caked in dirt, but she did not care. She was holding the hand of the great Peter the Hermit. That was all that mattered. She dabbed at her eyes and nose with her space hand. “Oh, dear Father. My mother is all I have left, but she is very ill. She wishes to see you.”

Peter gave her hand a squeeze. “Of course. I shall see her right away.”

Hand in hand, Adele and Peter led the procession of travelers into the village. A feeling of calm washed over Adele as she guided Peter to the tiny cottage where she lived with her mother and sisters. Children, who had been playing in the street, stopped what they were doing and ran towards Peter, their arms outstretched and smiles plastered on their pale little faces. Everywhere, curious villagers left their homes and coalesced upon her cottage. Caring not for the audience they have gathered, Adele pushed open the wooden door and guided Peter inside.

Father Marc was kneeling beside the cot where Mother lay. Elle was stoking the fire while little Josie played with her rag doll, Celeste nearby.

The moment Father Marc saw Peter, he bowed reverently and said; “Father Peter, you have come at last.”

Adele watched as Peter embraced Father Marc. “Yes, dear brother. My heart is rejoicing, for I have wanted to meet you ever since I received your letter. And now I finally have.”

Adele rushed to her mother’s side, took her hand and kissed it. Despite the fact that Mother’s cot was beside the fire pit, her hand was ice cold. Fresh tears stung Adele’s eyes. “He is here, Mother. All will be well.”

A weak smile spread across Mother’s face. “Adele…My girls…”

At the mention of ‘girls’, Elle and Josie rushed to Mother’s bedside.

“I don’t…have much time. Christ is calling me home,” Mother whispered.

Tears poured down Adele’s face. “What are we going to do? Where will we go? We have very little money.”

“Adele. Take my rosary and…listen to what Father Peter and Father Marc tell you. Do as they say. They will take good care of you girls.” Mother tried to lift the rosary over her head, but she couldn’t move her arms, so Adele took it from her.

“I will, Mother,” was all she could say.

“Mama! Please don’t go. Don’t go. Please,” Josie wailed.

“Come on, children. Let Father Peter pray over your mother,” Father Marc intervened.

Without another word, the three girls shuffled over to the door where Father Marc stood.

Adele watched her dear mother slip away right after she confessed her sins to Father Peter. Her face was white and marked with years of suffering, yet her expression was of content. She was glad to be in heaven, far away from here. Adele felt strangely happy for Mother and relieved to know that she would suffer no more.

“Your mother has repented. She is with God now,” Father Peter said after he finished praying over her.

Adele made the sign of the Cross. So too did Father Marc and her sisters.

“My dear children; your home is no longer here. It is in Jerusalem. It is God’s will, as your mother’s, that you take up the Cross and fight the enemy,” Peter said.

Adele was not surprised to hear this, yet she could not stop her heart from racing. “But Father, I am only sixteen and I do not know how to fight.” She felt a strong hand on her shoulder; Father Marc’s hand.

“God will protect us. He is on our side. He will smite the very enemy who desecrated the Holy Sepulcher.” Father Marc’s voice was so loud, it rang in Adele’s ear.

Adele turned and cast him a blank look. “Pardon my ignorance, Father Marc, but I do not know who this enemy is.”

Peter’s face flushed a deep red. He looked at her as if she has just uttered a blasphemous word. So did Father Marc.

“They are Muslims; a race of barbarians,” Peter yelled. “These filthy heathens, who proclaim a lowly man, Muhammad, as God, base their religion on rape, murder and incest.” His lips began to tremble. “These infidels continue to desecrate the place where our Lord suffered; they persecute and torture the Christians living under their rule, and now they threaten to destroy Romania.* These Muslims are the Antichrist, I tell you.” He paused and took a deep breath. “But the good Lord has heard the cry of his people for deliverance. That is why he has called us to save his Holy City and defend our Eastern Brethren from the infidel.”

Adele exchanged looks with her younger sisters. She could easily tell, by the looks on their faces, they were just as horrified by this news as was she. So, this is what the Holy War is all about.

Adele suddenly felt Peter’s hand on her shoulder and she smelt his putrid breath. She fought the urge to grimace and back away. The last thing she wanted was to offend him and Father Marc, especially since she had promised her mother that she would do as they told her.

“Jesus does not care that you are a young peasant girl, and he does not care that you are poor. He is calling you to take up the Cross and defend His people. The Holy Land belongs to Him. I promise, you and your sisters will be safe. We will all travel together, and there will be many Christian warriors who will accompany us.”

Peter’s eyes filled with tears. “All your sins will be absolved. Every one of you.” His gaze danced from Adele to her sisters, to Father Marc, then back to Adele. “The road to Jerusalem is long and treacherous, but that does not compare to the Heavenly award Christ has for you; for us. If God spares your life, He will bless you, for the Holy Land is full of treasure. Even the lowliest of peasants shall live a comfortable life.”

Josie squealed. “Oooh, treasure! I cannot wait to find out what it is.”

Father Marc cupped a hand over her mouth. “That is not God’s intention, child.”

Adele’s gaze shifted from Peter to her mother. “You are right. This is no longer our home. We no longer belong here. God has a plan for us elsewhere and He has sent you to us. I…we…will take up the Cross and, with God’s help, we will fight the infidel.”

“Bless you, child,” Peter said, bowing reverently. “You will have eternal salvation, I promise.”

Tears gathered in the corners of Adele’s eyes. “I wish only to be with my mother in Heaven, and it makes my heart glad to know I will see her again one day.”

Father Marc pulled a knife out of his cloak, then carefully cut out four crosses from Mother’s blanket. He handed one to Adele, one to Elle, one to Josie and kept the last for himself.

“Take this cross,” he said, holding up the piece of cloth, “and sew it onto your clothes, over your right breast.” He then made the sign of the Cross with his spare hand. “God wills it!”

“God Wills it,” they all yelled in unison.

Adele felt a strange tingling sensation all over. She did not know what lie ahead, but she was more than happy and prepared to leave her dismal life behind forever.

*The Byzantine Empire was commonly referred to as Romania (Eastern Roman Empire) in the Middle Ages.

Crusades and Crusades is mostly a non-fiction blog that follows the crusades (1095-1291), hence the title. The fiction vignettes that I’m including on this blog are intended to take the E.E.I.I. module (Educate, Engage, Inform, Inspire) to a whole new level.