Thursday, June 17, 2021

Guest Blogger: Virginia Babcock

5 Things You Don't Know About Virginia Babcock

1. My right thumb is double jointed

2. I may not be a medium but I can sense the Spirits of deceased people 
3. I wish GM still made Pontiac Firebirds 
4. I write my novels as scenes hit me. I put them in order later.
5. I have worked for the same employer for almost 25 years. The only adult thing I’ve done longer is drive.


Marion raises sheep. She prefers twins for the profit they bring but falls in love with a bum lamb—a baby abandoned by his mother. Leon mourns losing his grandparents place to a developer before he moves far from his family home. Can these two people find common interests and romance in the wilds of Utah?


Monday, June 14, 2021

Guest Blogger: Vern Turner

 


5 Things You Don't Know About author Vern Turner

1.  I taught anatomy to doctors and nurses in university and medical college.

2.  I wrote an award-winning op-ed column for four years with a Texas newspaper.

3.  I broke 80 on the golf course two days after my 65th birthday.

4.  I have visited every continent on Earth except Antarctica.

5.  My technical, trade journal articles on assembly robotics pioneered several high-tech companies to advance their production methods.

Or, one of my favorite sayings is:  “When you’ve lived this long, everything you say is insightful.”






Amazon.com: Meadows and Minefields eBook: Turner, Vern: Kindle Store

Every family has a saga that includes love, pathos, joy, disappointment, tragedy and hope. Meadows and Minefields is one such saga that encompasses the events and challenges that all “baby boomers” experienced in the 1950s and 60s. In light of today's inter-generational discussions, Bert Waller's compelling story about his generation is as rewarding to those who lived it as it is to their descendants, the alphabet generations. It includes the values, events and the social atmosphere of those times that shaped the children and grandchildren of the greatest generation, those who fought tyranny in WW II. Included is the messaging that subsequent generations draw upon, and continue to use, as our nation attempts to move forward into today's uncertain times.

Meadows and Minefields is a compelling, well-crafted, colorful, romantic, true-to-life, page-turner where every chapter has startling new events, life-changing experiences, heart-rending exasperation or unqualified joy.

When a Millennial waxes curious about Baby-Boomers, reading Meadows and Minefields will help him or her understand how America is the way it is today, and better understand the people responsible for making it so.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Guest blogger: Actress Reagan J. Pasternak

 

New Memoir / Pet Loss Guide By Actress Reagan J. Pasternak


Now Available via Amazon: "Griffin's Heart: Mourning Your Pet With No Apologies," the debut book by actress Reagan J. Pasternak. A memoir, interactive healing journal, and beautifully crafted keepsake to honor the pets we loved and lost.



Actress Reagan J. Pasternak, Author of "Griffin's Heart"

Actress Reagan J. Pasternak, Author of "Griffin's Heart"

"This book provides a space to honor the loss of our amazing friends and have their memory forever live on if only through our heart and these pages." - Jaycee Dugard, NY Times Bestselling Author of “A Stolen Life” & “Freedom: My Book of Firsts," Founder of The JAYC Foundation thejaycfoundation.org





“I know for me animals have always been a major source of comfort. Our pets give us so much unconditional love that when we lose them it can feel like our world stops. This book provides a space to honor the loss of our amazing friends and have their memory forever live on if only through our hearts and these pages.” - Jaycee Dugard, New York Times Bestselling Author of “A Stolen Life: A Memoir” and “Freedom: My Book of Firsts,” and Founder of The JAYC Foundation thejaycfoundation.org

The culture of grief when it comes to our animal companions leaves many bereaved pet owners feeling lost and isolated. Too often, the expectation from friends and family is that the mourning period should last no more than a few days to weeks. But the loss of an animal can be equally as devastating as a human loss — it’s just that the support and resources for this brand of grief have been in short supply.

In her debut book, “Griffin’s Heart: Mourning Your Pet With No Apologies” (Creatures Align Press; Hardcover; $27.99; For sale now on Amazon.com), actress Reagan J. Pasternak (HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, Netflix/HULU/HBO’s “Being Erica”, BET’s “Ms. Pat”) provides readers with interactive tools, healing exercises, and unwavering companionship to help them navigate their grief and honor the life of their beloved animal ‘being.’ Readers are encouraged to explore their darkest feelings, make peace with them, and find meaning in their loss. Throughout the book, Reagan provides constant comfort by sharing insights from her own 10-year long journey of healing. For more information, visit GriffinsHeart.com.

“I started writing ‘Griffin’s Heart’ after the death of my soulmate animal, Griffin, as a way to help heal my wound and find meaning in my grief. Through this process I began to understand that the crushing weight of my loss was not unique to me and that for millions of people whose pets are their family, there was a need for a compassionate and insightful resource. The book is everything I wish I’d had after my Griffin died and it’s my hope that readers will find comfort, insight, companionship, and hope in the pages.” - Reagan J. Pasternak (Author, “Griffin's Heart”)

For 85 million households across the US, pets provide joy, companionship, and uncompromising love. When a pet dies it can be devastating and isolating, especially during a pandemic. Griffin’s Heart takes a new approach to healing in a hybrid format (part memoir, part journal, and part keepsake) and seeks to become the comprehensive resource for pet owners in grief. The book approaches the idea of grief from many angles, leveraging therapeutic ideas from psychology, philosophy, art, and world religions. Throughout the book the reader is engaged to participate by examining their emotions, journaling out their thoughts, documenting memories, placing photos, and more. By the end of the book, the reader will have created a personalized keepsake to commemorate their beloved animal that can be revisited for years to come.

“‘Griffin’s Heart’ is an invaluable resource for anyone suffering from the pain of pet loss. Reagan Pasternak has written a beautiful, easy to read book to support those who are experiencing grief. Interspersed with her own story, she offers tools, resources and journaling exercises to help readers release their pain and soothe their heart. Full of compassion and heartfelt wisdom, this book is a must have for animal lovers who are looking for support and healing.” - Tamara Levitt (Head of Mindfulness at “Calm,” and Author of “The Secret to Clara's Calm” and “Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands”)

“Finally a book that honors the grief connected to the loss of a significant source of support for so many. Grief is an unavoidable part of loving. Thank you Reagan for providing a protected space to grieve. Sometimes the process of talking or writing out our feelings can have the benefit of helping us heal…I highly endorse this book for anyone grieving after the loss of an animal friend.” - Rebecca Bailey, PhD Author of “Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe,” Clinical Director of The JAYC Foundation and Director of Transitioning Families http://www.transitioningfamilies.com

"I loved this book. I want to buy copies for all my friends who are pet parents to give to them when their time of need comes. I can’t recommend it enough." - Heidi White, Long and Short Reviews

“A wonderful and holistic resource for healing the loss of a pet.” - Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL
International Bestselling Author, Pet Loss Grief Coach, and Founder of http://www.CenterForPetLossGrief.com

“An amazing resource for every single pet owner.” - Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC, DABT (Veterinarian and Host of Pet Life Radio's “ER Vet”)

“I found the book highly relatable, and would definitely recommend 'Griffin's Heart' to anyone looking to heal after a loss of any kind.” - Melissa W. Hunter (Author of “What She Lost”)

"A great, great book...you should never apologize if you are mourning or grieving your pet." - Maria Milito (iHeartRadio's “Maria’s Mutts & Stuff” Podcast)

With “Griffin’s Heart,” author Reagan J. Pasternak seeks to change the culture of grief around mourning animals. Those in grief, and anyone seeking to help after the loss of a beloved pet can now turn to “Griffin’s Heart” and embrace an uncompromising, unapologetic, and honest approach to healing.

The specially-curated volume has been created using ethically-sourced FSC certified materials, and comes elegantly bound in hardcover and packaged with a gold foil stamped slipcase. A portion of the book proceeds will be donated to various animal charities.

Click here to watch a brief message from author Reagan J. Pasternak. Like “Griffin’s Heart” on Facebook (facebook.com/griffinsheart) and follow on Instagram (@griffinsheartbook).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Reagan J. Pasternak is a Canadian-born film and television actress, singer, and writer. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and five rescue animals. Learn more about Reagan at reaganpasternak.com. Instagram: @reaganjpasternak

Reagan J. Pasternak
Imprint: Creatures Align Press

On sale: Feb, 2021
Price: $27.99
Pages: 242
ISBN: 978-0-578-70446-3

CONTACT:
Jonathan White
530-219-9797
jonathanwhitepr@gmail.com









Monday, May 31, 2021

Guest blogger author Tell Cotten

 


A Conversation With Doc - Kindle edition by Cotten, Tell. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.


Doc Holliday was a dentist by trade, a gambler by profession, and a gunfighter by necessity. Above all, Doc Holliday was a loyal friend to the Earps by choice.

When Doc Holliday arrives in Tombstone, all he wants is to gamble, live peacefully, and allow his ailing lungs to recover. However, soon Doc must choose; betray his friendship with the Earps, or join them in the most famous gunfight of all time.

This is Doc Holliday’s story…

Monday, May 24, 2021

Guest blogger author Maria DeVivo

 





Griffin King is an ordinary high school senior dealing with typical teenage issues - a bratty little sister, overbearing parents, an obnoxious best friend, and the unrequited love of his long-time crush. But when a virus suddenly infects a large portion of the population, Griffin soon finds himself on the opposite side of the proverbial horror story.After months of roaming the broken landscape of the city as an infected person, a cure is found and a mass injection of antiserum is administered to the diseased, causing Griffin to become one of the ALTERED, a small group of ‘ex-infecteds’ who have been cured, but changed. Now he must learn how to start his life anew - suppressing his need to consume human flesh, and living among an angry post-apocalyptic society where race, gender, and religion don’t matter anymore. Welcome to the new world. A world where people like him – people altered like him – are the minority.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Guest blogger Lanny Poffo

 


Amazon.com: Leaping Lanny: Wrestling With Rhyme eBook: Poffo, Lanny: Kindle Store


Wrestling with Rhyme.
Have a glimpse into the poetic soul of "The Genius" of the World Wrestling Federation.

Excerpt:
HULKAMANIA

When the Hulkster hits the ring
That’s when it hits the fan
A nuclear explosion
From a modern Superman

There never is an empty seat
They line up in the rain
Not even Halley’s Comet
Could make the fans refrain

In the magic of the moment
When the action gets intense
Kids from 6 to 86
Are raptured with suspense

There has never been a hero
Of such magnitude before
He’s been the champ for three years now
And here’s to many more!


The Living Legend
Once upon a wrestling ring
But not so long ago
Mr. Bruno Sammartino
Was the only name to know

He stood up to Buddy Rogers
And then “nature boy” went down
Less than 60 seconds later
Sammartino wore the crown

He’s the real “Italian Stallion”
That’s a fact you can’t ignore
His career had more success
Than Rocky I, II, III, and IV

The Living Legend lives again
For every single fan
He’s on the microphone each week
Right next to Vince McMahon


Brutus the Barber

Just look at “Luscious Johnny V”
You know why he’s a flop?
His “Dream Team” has to pay their dues
At “Beefcake’s Barber Shop”

Monday, May 3, 2021

Stop by my Amazon author page

 Hi Everyone,


If you are looking for some new books to read stop by my Amazon author page. 

Amazon.com: Lizzy Stevens: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle


Follow it while you are there to keep up with all my new releases.


Thanks! Have a great day!

Guest blogger KC Sprayberry

 


Erin has big dreams—she yearns to become a well-known photographer…

Stryker encourages her dreams while pursuing his own…

It all begins with his plane landing in the ocean near LAX. She’s there, watching for his plane to arrive. Together, they struggle to overcome the tragedy while making a new life in another state.



Monday, April 26, 2021

He who throws dirt loses ground

 

He who throws dirt loses ground

From the book “God’s Little Devotional Book”

 

R.G. LeTourneau, the outstanding Christian businessman for whom LeTourneau College was named, made a fortune with a company that manufactured large earthmoving equipment. He once remarked, “We used to make a scraper known as ‘Model G’. One day somebody asked our salesman what the G stood for. The man, who was pretty quick on the trigger, immediately replied, “I’ll tell you. The G stands for gossip because like a talebearer, this machine moves a lot of dirt and moves it fast.”

 

The trouble with gossip is not so much that it is spoken as an intentional lie, but that it is heard as the absolute truth. Abraham Lincoln had a favorite riddle he used to pose to people: “If a man were to call the tail of a dog a leg, how many legs would the dog have?”

The usual reply was, “five.”

 

“Wrong,” Lincoln would say with a wry smile. “The dog still has four legs. Call the tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

 

Just because a tale may be repeated many times by a so-called reliable source, that doesn’t necessarily make it true.

 

Build people up by leaving the dirt where it belongs.

 

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: For we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:25

Monday, April 12, 2021

Guest Blogger Tower Lowe

 


Mystery. Suspense. Empowered women. Tower Lowe (aka Donna Pecherer) tells stories set in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Homeville, Virginia. Her mysteries empower characters with mental health challenges and non-ableist characters from all walks of life. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband and their cat, Rusty.

 

Social Media

 

https://www.instagram.com/towerloweromance     

https://www.instagram.com/towerlowemystery  

https://towerlowe.blogspot.com 

https://twitter.com/towerlowe

https://www.facebook.com/tower.lowe

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC38rjSBbC3SkbCLf2VLvEHw




If anything happens to me…

That phrase from Gloria’s email haunts Molly as she bounces around half-conscious in a dark space. Later, she opens her eyes in a small house with all the windows bricked shut and the door boarded from the outside. Her kidnapper has taken her keys, her cell phone, and her purse. Molly scrambles through the house, looking for any sign of life, any hope of escape, but the house is abandoned and she sees no way out.

The kidnapping of former fraud investigator Molly Donovan follows Gloria’s murder, an event witnessed by Molly and PI Miguel Alvarez. Gloria’s mysterious email throws the two investigators together in a frantic search for the perp. A stranger traps Molly inside the abandoned house while an old friend sucks Miguel into his troubled past. Molly trusts Miguel until a series of notes incriminates him and leaves Molly on her own to investigate a sex cult, missing money, and jaded love.



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Guest Blogger: Mameve Medwed

 

Minus Me by Mameve Medwed

Alcove Press  https://alcovepress.com

 

AUTHOR BIO

Mameve Medwed is the author of six novels—Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (2007 Massachusetts Book Award Honors in Fiction), Of Men and Their Mothers, and Minus Me (coming January 2021). Her short stories, essays, and book reviews have appeared in, among others, The New York Times, Gourmet, Yankee, Redbook, Playgirl, The Boston Globe, Ascent, The Missouri Review, Confrontation, The Readerville Journal, Newsday, and The Washington Post. She has taught fiction writing for many years at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education, has been a mentor in the writing program at Lesley University, read papers for the English Department at Simmons College, and has taken part in writing festivals across the country, serving on panels and teaching seminars. She has been interviewed on Maine Public Radio, The Voice of America and other radio and TV programs and has been profiled in many newspapers.

 

Born in Bangor, Maine, where she is considered Bangor’s other writer (Stephen King holds the title!), she resides in Cambridge.

 

ABOUT MINUS ME

Her life turned upside down by a grim diagnosis, a small-town Maine woman sets about writing a "How To" life manual for her handsome yet hapless husband in a novel Elinor Lipman (Good Riddance, On Turpentine Lane) calls "smart, funny-quirky, and so very satisfying."

Annie and her devoted but comically incompetent childhood sweetheart Sam are the owners and operators of Annie's, a gourmet sandwich shop, home to the legendary Paul Bunyan Special Sandwich--their "nutritionally challenged continual source of income and marital harmony and local fame."

But into their mostly charmed marriage comes the scary medical diagnosis for Annie--and the overwhelming challenge of finding a way to help Sam go on without her. Annie decides to leave Sam step-by-step instructions for a future without her, and considers her own replacement in his heart and their bed. Her best-laid plans grind to a halt with the unexpected appearance of Ursula, Annie's Manhattan diva of a mother, who brings her own brand of chaos and disruption into their lives.

Minus Me is a poignant and hilarious novel about the bonds of marriage, the burdens of maternal love, and the courage to face mortality, "with an ending readers will cherish (Caroline Leavitt, Pictures of You)."

"Medwed's lovely novel of marriage, motherhood, love and loss is so real that at times it feels like non-fiction. It's a timely reminder that in the worst of times, we sometimes rediscover the very best of ourselves." --Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light

 

 





       

 

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088F2JFXR

Author website: https://mamevemedwed.com/

Author contact: MameveWrites@gmail.com

 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Guest blogger Judi Getch Brodman

 


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P1KLQPZ?geniuslink=true


In “Til Death Do We Part”, Judi Getch Brodman knits together a young woman, a murder, an unanticipated love, abduction, and the twists and turns that her readers have come to expect.The flaming red haired tomboy on the swing with the big smile returns years later to a quiet snow covered village in Maine where she hopes for nothing more than a final Christmas in the old family vacation home. Yet somehow Elle Harrington, now a forensic consultant, becomes obsessed with solving the 1800’s murder of a woman found buried under the old oak tree outside the house when she was a child. But how does she piece together long forgotten history and hearsay, a forbidden love affair, and the contents of a locket that she found wrapped around the woman’s bones? And enter another complication – a handsome Boston architect who causes Elle to reassess her life while putting her in danger.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

An Unexpected Christmas -- Free Story

 This is a story I wrote for a contest. I didn't win the contest but I did get a really nice comment about the story. So that made the day!


The writing prompt:

Write about someone who gets proposed to five times on Christmas Eve.

Comment:

18:43 Jan 01, 2021

The story gave me a chuckle and I was glad to see the turn the story took at the end, even if I wasn’t expecting it.



An Unexpected Christmas

Written by

Lizzy Stevens & Steve Miller

It was Christmas Eve and the house was full of friends and family. It was her parents’ annual Christmas Eve party where everyone expected to see a smile on Amber’s face. She sat on the window bench looking out across the yard. The weeping willows that lined the long driveway to her parents’ house had ice twinkling in the branches and the tops looked like they had glass on them with all the ice. She wiped a tear trickling down her face. “How am I supposed to pretend to be happy?” Amber heard a noise and looked over to see who had walked in. A smile crossed her face as she saw her brother walk in.

           “I think the answer to your question sis is that you don’t pretend to be happy you actually be happy for one night.”

           Amber shook her head as the waterworks fell from her eyes. “Tommy you know I can’t be happy. Riley has been deployed for months and now there hasn’t been word from him in over a week. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on. How am I supposed to plaster a fake smile on and pretend I’m fine?”

           Tommy nodded and then tossed her a box of chocolate covered cherries. “For starters you eat as many of these as you want. Don’t worry. They are the special Christmas ones. There are no calories in them. You can eat as many as you want.”

           Amber laughed. “You are crazy. If I eat this whole box, I will not only feel like crap but I will have gained a hundred pounds.” Laughing she got up, walked over to her brother, and gave him a big hug.

           Tommy gave her a squeeze and said, “Okay we have got to go. You know how mom and dad are. If we are not down there greeting their guests, they will say we are making them look bad. So, put on that fake smile.” He said with a grin. “And let’s get our butts down there.”

           Amber got up and walked toward the door in her red velvet and white antique lace Christmas dress. She knew she had to go all out or her parents would be disappointed. She had her long flowing blond hair left down except for the sides were pulled up into a nice pony tail. She even took the time to run the curling iron through it to give it a little body. She walked down the long winding stair case with her brother right behind. When they go to the bottom she turned to Tommy. “Okay let’s do this.” She smiled.

           Amber walked around the room hoping nobody would ask her about Riley. She knew if they did, she wouldn’t be able to stop the water works. She walked around wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  When she felt like her parents would be happy with her show of affection to the crowd, she walked over to the bar to get a drink. As she was putting ice in her cup for her rum and coke a man came over to her that she didn’t recognize. She smiled and said “Merry Christmas.”

           The man said. “Merry Christmas to you too. I’m Mike. I wanted to ask you if you would marry me.”

           Amber had just taken a drink. She was caught off guard and it went down the wrong way. She started coughing and spitting her drink out. She looked around quickly to see if anyone saw. Then she looked up at the stranger still confused. “I’m sorry. What?” She asked.

           The stranger named Mike said with a serious face. “Yes, I wanted to ask you if you would marry me.”

           Amber didn’t know if she should be scared or laugh at this. She looked at the man and said, “I’m sorry but no. I don’t even know you. I’m really confused at why you would ask me this so I really think it is best if you leave or I will need to get security.” She watched as the guy turned and left.

Amber looked around the room and found Tommy standing against the wall. She hurried to him. “Tommy. You are not going to believe what just happened to me.” She told him all about the guy.

Tommy laughed. “Maybe you just misunderstood him. It’s loud in here. Maybe he just said Merry Christmas.”

Amber shook her head. “No! He said it twice. I told him if he didn’t leave, I would call security.”

Tommy laughed. “Okay sis. It’s a crazy night, I guess. Why don’t you go and try to have a little fun? Just ignore what happened.

Amber did one of her famous fake smiles and nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. He probably just had too much to drink. I’m going to go mingle.”

She walked off and made her rounds around the room. She wanted to do her part for the annual party. She did not want to hear her parents complaining the whole next day. Her parents were what people would call old money. Money was in their family for as long as Amber knew. It was passed down from generation to generation and they owned several businesses in the town. People respected them and looked up to them. Amber had to do her part and put on the happy act for the party.

She was standing in the corner talking to a couple of the local ladies when a man walked up to her.

“Excuse me Ms. Amber can I have a word with you?”

Amber didn’t recognize this man but knew she had to do her job as she called it. Her job of keeping all the guests happy. “Of course. Let’s go over here.” She pointed to the wall across from them that appeared to have nobody leaning on it.

Amber looked up at the man. “How can I help you?”

The man looked right into her eyes. “I know we have never met. My name is Richard. I wanted to ask you if you would marry me.”

Amber thought to herself. ‘What is going on tonight? Do I have a sign pinned to my back?’ “I’m sorry. What?

           “I’m sorry to catch you off guard, but I think it would be a good idea if we married.”

           Amber didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry but no. I don’t even know you. I have a boyfriend. I think it would be best if you left.”

           The man turned and walked away without another word.

           Amber stood there with her head spinning. What is going on? She saw Tommy standing close by so she hurried to him. “Tommy what is going on tonight? Do I have some kind of sign on my back that says ask me to marry you?”

           Tommy tried not to laugh. “What are you talking about now sis. That guy left.”

           “No! It was another guy. Another stranger. He just walked up and asked me to marry him. This night is getting really weird.”

           Tommy chuckled. “Sis lay off the rum and coke.” He turned and walked away laughing the whole time.

           Amber stood there not really knowing what to do. It had been the craziest night ever and she still had a few hours yet to go. She looked over at the buffet line and thought it would be a good time to get some food. Her parents always catered the best food in. She walked over and got a plate and started down the line. She filled her plate with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese and a few desserts as she walked off to find a quiet private place in the corner to eat. She was just about done with her food when a man in jeans and a t shirt walked up. She looked up at him and did the usual. “Merry Christmas. Are you enjoying the party?”

           The man smiled. “Oh sorry. Where are my manners? My name is Mathew. I just wanted to say you look great and you are doing a perfect job hosting this party so with that being said will you marry me?”

           Amber about fell out of her chair. “I’m sorry. What?” She said. It seemed like she was saying that a lot during the party for some reason.

           Mathew nodded. “Yeah. For Christmas I thought it would be a good idea to get married and you look like a good choice. So, what do you say?”

           Amber stood up almost angry now. “I say no. I think you need to leave.”

Mathew got up and walked away without a word.

           Amber looked around the room to find Tommy. Again, she found him close. She had steam coming from her ears by this point. She walked up to him angrily. “What is going on? That was the third guy that I have never met ask me to marry him. Seriously dude. What is going on?”

           Tommy laughed uncontrollably. “Hold on now. Why are you asking me what is going on? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the dress you picked to wear tonight. It is a pretty eye-catching dress and we are serving alcohol. I would say take a deep breath. Get you a nice cold soda and do some rounds. The night is almost over. Don’t pay these drunks any attention. None of us know any of these people really. It’s mom and dad’s gang of people. You know how these parties go. Try to not be so angry and sad. Just go around and do your party job. I’ll go right you go left.”

           She couldn’t help but smile at how Tommy always made things better. She walked off to do a few final rounds. The night was almost over. She did the usual Merry Christmas and smiles to the guests as she walked around the room. Then she decided to walk over and get a couple of cookies. As she was at the cookie table, she saw a guy looking at her oddly. It creeped her out a little after the night she had gone through.  She continued to put a couple cookies on her plate and then went to walk off. Before she could get away the guy stopped her.

           “Excuse me Amber. Can I ask you something?”

           Amber at this point didn’t know what else she could say so she said yes. “Sure. Go ahead.”

           The man straightened his shirt. “Great. First let me say that my name is Fred. I wanted to know if you would consider marrying me?”

           Amber almost cried now. She didn’t know what was going on. “I don’t even know you. What is going on tonight. Is somebody playing some kind of prank on me? Well, it’s not funny. No, I won’t marry you. Please leave.”

           She sat her plate down and ran to the rose garden. She sat on a bench and the tears started pouring out of her eyes. She didn’t know what was going on but it had been a long crazy night. She heard a noise and looked up the walk to see Tommy walking toward her with a small blue throw.

           He walked up and put it around her. “I’m so sorry sis.”

           Amber confused. “Sorry for what?”

           “This night.” He said. “We thought it would be funny. We shouldn’t have had those men do that. They were just paid actors. Mom and dad don’t know anything about this.”

           Amber didn’t know if she should be mad at her brother or happy that she finally found out what was going on. He had been pranking her. She wiped a tear from her eyes. “Tommy. How could you? You knew this night was going to be hard on me.”

           Tommy nodded. “I know and we really are sorry. We thought it would make you smile.”

           Amber looked at him with a confused look on her face. “Why do you keep saying we. Who did this with you?”

           At that very moment music started to play. Playing the most romantic song she had heard. Then a little girl started walking down the path to her tossing rose petals out of a basket as she walked.

           Amber looked over at Tommy. “What is going on?”

           Tommy pointed toward the path. “Look. See for yourself.”

           Amber got up and looked in disbelief at the path. There walking toward her was Riley. She glanced at Tommy. “How is this possible? And you knew? Instead of telling me you two pranked me.” She was so happy to see Riley that she wasn’t really mad. She ran to him, jumped up in his arms, and kissed him.

           “I can’t believe you are here.” She said. “This is the best Christmas present ever.”

           Riley was in full dress uninform he took off his hat and looked down at her. “I’m glad you like it.” He laughed. “But me being here isn’t the only present. He pulled out a small black ring box from his pocket and got down on one knew. “Amber. I’m sorry we pranked you with all the fake proposals but this one is real. Will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me.”

           Tears flowed down her face. She couldn’t believe it. “Oh my God, Riley. Yes. Of course, Yes.” She threw her arms around him. He in turn wrapped his arms around her.

           Snow started to fall heavily. It was starting to look a lot like Christmas. What started out being the worst night of her life ended up being an unexpected Christmas. It was the best Christmas she had ever had.