“I was the only person crazy enough to venture out into sub zero temperatures with a wind chill that gusted off the white-capped Bay and took a sharp stinging bite out of my cheeks.”(MacLean, 2013: The Color of Destiny, pg.428)
Here’s a brief summary taken from Goodreads:
Eighteen years ago a teenage pregnancy changed Kate Worthington’s life forever. Faced with many difficult decisions, she chose to follow her heart and embrace an uncertain future with the father of her baby and her devoted first love…
At the same time, in another part of the world, sixteen-year-old Ryan Hamilton makes his own share of mistakes, but learns important lessons along the way.
Soon Kate’s and Ryan’s paths cross in a way they never expected, which makes them question the possibility of destiny. Even when all seems hopeless, could it be that everything happens for a reason, and do we end up exactly where we are meant to be?
The Color of Destiny was a bittersweet treat with the same emotionality as The Color of Heaven except this time the “woman from the frozen lake” from the first book, is a background fixture or symbol for Kate. I found it hard to stop reading this story even though I wanted to cry at several parts. Kate has lost almost everyone she loved dearly and even Dr. Ryan, whom she has not met yet, has experienced a similar loss. The ties that connect them make you wonder if the events were orchestrated by God or some other creative force, or is it just luck?
While reading I found several truths in the fiction that I could use, but for now here are two I found:
SPOILER ALERT! Baby Takers
In the story, Kate wonders for over twenty years if she’d lost her baby in the car accident. Towards the end of the book her story mirrors the real life Carlina White situation and I believe there is a more recent story about another baby stolen too. The only difference is that in this story, the child was not stolen…per say.
Very sad indeed because the child has lost connection to their real mother and the real mother is left in emotional shambles.
Alzheimer’s a Monstrosity
In real life, a family member on my husband’s side, suffered from Alzheimer’s. It is not something most families can handle very well because the person’s brain loses short term memory often but long term memory remains, and then there are the mood swings and the added stress of getting proper care for them. We love our family so we do it with all the patience we can muster and with loads of love.
Also, recently, I reviewed The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin. Her story involved a character suffering from the same disease and it is something that touches home for her.
I can honestly say, I am in love with this series because I feel it addresses important themes about treasuring the gifts we are handed each moment.
I hope you enjoyed this review. I will be reading the third book now.
Here is the gist of The Color of Heaven, taken from Amazon:
A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold, dark depths of the water a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live…and love.
At first, I had to make sure the book was fiction because as I read it, it was sounding like a well thought out memoir and I could see the colors and taste the hope inside the book. Yes, this eBook packin’ 533 pages, and every moment I could, I had to read and see if Sophie would finally understand why she was abandoned, why she experienced the loss she had and then at some point we segue into the meaning of life…after death.
“Then you see a light- a brilliant, dazzling light- more calming and loving than any words can possibly describe, and everything finally makes sense to you. You are no longer afraid…” (MacLean, pg.11 The Color of Heaven: 2011)
*This book is free on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!*
For the life of me, I can not label this book as fiction. It would…cheapen the story. Yes, technically it is fiction. Never happened.
We’ve all experienced loss. We all dream of what heaven may look like. Through reading The Color of Heaven, I am actually understanding that the moments here on earth MATTER. They are pieces of heaven gifted to us. When you receive a hug from a child- that is heaven.
The beautiful, crisp fall leaves and dinner with family- is heaven.
Tasting the first kiss of real love- is heaven.
I am telling you. I am so inspired by this novel. If you are in a funk and you think the world is literally all darkness- the wonder Sophie experiences will give you the soul-electricity you need. I did not expect it.
Sophie got a glimpse of heaven and the supernatural side of it too. The book had everything: romance, great theme, adoring plot- just overall well written. I just learned there are more books in the series and I am ordering them right now!
Below is a sneak peak from my upcoming, thrilling anthology Fright of the Frostbitten!
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I wonder about you.
I think you should keep speaking with Dr. Bowe, honey.
My husband’s eyes are pleading with me. His suitcase is still in hand as he stand before me. Our front door is open, letting in Jack Frost. I shiver and he finally closes it softly and sit his suitcase by the brown couch. I shake my head. This can’t be!
I was right here, speaking with a customer online. Five minutes later my husband walks in. I try to convince him that a whole nine hours slipped by and I didn’t even notice. How is it I missed such a large chunk of time?
I told the woman goodbye, have a nice day…
I sipped some coffee..
Felt a little sleepy but I blinked.
Sipped some more.
Then the key turns in the lock.
“I promise you, I did not fall asleep! I was right here on the laptop, talking with a customer. I blink and there you are.”
My husband sighs and takes me in his arms. “We are going to solve this. You hear me, Marnie Babe? We are going to solve this.” He pulls back and kisses my cheek. He inspects me more, piercing his eyes into mine before picking up his suitcase and going to the bedroom.
I hear the neighbor’s dog barking outside and an owl hooting somewhere in the distance. I pull my hair back with my hands and exhale slowly. “Come on, think Marnie! Did you fall asleep?” I question myself. Hoping an answer will fly down from the heavens and Bing! Answer delivered.
I am tempted to ask Google where the hell I may have went.
Did I go to sleep? Did I fall somewhere? Sleepwalk?
I don’t normally sleepwalk. I hear of cases where people do, but me? No. I barely have nightmares. Maybe once a year there is a strange dream I’d have, but sleepwalking?
For the last six months I would have periods of time missing. Chunks stolen right from me and for the life of me, I do not know why.
My husband, thank God for him, is patient and kind. He goes to work, pays the bills, make sure we are alright.
Checks on me from time to time.
Sometimes he gets busy and can’t call.
Sometimes, he comes home early, sometimes he don’t.
I wish he would come home on time often.
Now we live in a nice three bedroom home in the middle of Count Town, Maine. It is freezing up here and that is bad because I am a Floridian.
I am used to sunshine and maybe wet days and of course hot Christmases. I have a bikini body still even though I am pushing forty and I keep up my health.
Here, everything is frigid. We are miles away from the nearest grocer and mall and the fields stretch as far as the eye can see.
One night, I spotted a green glowing eyed wolf.
My husband said I have a wild imagination and Stephen King would be proud of me, perhaps I should write a book?
No. I am not interested in a book.
My neighbors…who are they? I don’t think I’ve seen another living soul since we moved here six months ago.
I keep up with my family by calling them, or using Skype.
My best friends are on Facebook so at least I see what they are doing.
I scrimped up enough change for a flight back to Florida soon. I’ve spoken with Bob about it, he’s okay with it but I can tell he is trying to keep Florida at bay.
His new job involves being an accountant for a prominent business and he uses our one and only car to get to and from work.
With his next check, he will get me a car.
I can’t wait. The only times I am out is when he is off.
He is not off tomorrow.
Not the next day either.
I meet him in the bedroom just as he is pulling off his socks. The room now has a rancid odor.
“Wash your feet, Bob!”
“Join me in the shower!” He waggles his thick, brown eyebrows.
“I don’t know. Don’t want you to kill me with them things.” I peel off my thick, cotton sweater and peel off my clothes too.
We crowd in our luxurious tub together and have a good time, like old times. Once we are done, I pull on the warm, red silk pajama set my friend Christen Deen gave me as a wedding gift. I slip into and ask if my hubby wants some homemade pizza.
He is pulling on a white shirt, his muscles visible in his arms, evident of his workout regime in the mornings. “Sure, yeah. It’s Friday.”
I pull out the gluten free pizza bread, cheeses and homemade sauce. While taking out the bread, I realize I have a little red sauce under the bed of nails already. Odd.
I run the warm tap water and dig and pluck the red out.
Several of my nails on each hand has the red gunk under it and I wonder why I hadn’t noticed it before.
My husband’s back is to me, he is watching a game.
I go over and lift the back of his shirt.
“Marnie?” He turns.
“Just seeing if, ah, if I scratched you. I got skin, or blood under my nails, I think.”
“You did, but not deep,” he winks.
I don’t wink back.
Maybe one of the pizza packages or sauce packs had sauce under it or something. I shrug and finish the pizza.
An hour later we are cozying up, watching Rings.
I abhor scary movies.
My husband knows this and yet insisted on this? Just because to him, “it ain’t scary enough anyway.”
I pull out my cell phone halfway through the movie to text my mom. I am not in the mood for blood and gore.
Once it is done, my husband turns down the volume and takes my hand in his. “Is everything okay, Marnie Babe?”
I curl up then stretched my toes out on him. “Not really.”
His attention went to my toes and he played with them, gently wiggling each one. “Sorry. Maybe this place is gloomier than I thought.”
“Lonely too,” I poke out my bottom lip for effect.
“I know. My family is from here, but the job offer was too good to pass up. Now we have our own place and not living with roommates to save cash. Isn’t that good?”
“Well, how about once we get your car, we can maybe move in a more city area.”
“I want to go back to Florida,” I say softly. Firm. “I don’t like it here, Bob.”
“I see.” He stops wiggling my toes and watches the black screen, deep in thought.
I finally feel the effects of the food. I get really sleepy and I recall Bob lifting me up and placing me in bed. The covers feel so good and soft on my skin and I drift into the huge pillows and turn my cheek as he kisses it.
You are the perfect wife…
The perfect wife…
I snap awake. Eyes open and I see stars, white sparkling stars and hear the wolf.
I wake up because I felt something sharp.
I sit up and realize the coldness has seeped into my skin, my hair my face, my back and butt are icy and I think I am in the middle of…
“Where am I?”
I can’t see anything. I am freezing. Cold.
But there is something else.
I feel around me and I feel other soft bodies, cold bodies.
I can’t see anything but the stars above.
They seem farther away than normal.
I am in a hole.
“HELLLLLLP!” I yell.
I feel a naked, cold body press against me when I move to stand. “HELLLLP!”
I try to pray, but I don’t know any prayers.
I close my eyes and-
“Marnie. Marnie!” My body is jerking to and fro, my husband’s gray eyes are big. “Where did you go?”
“I went nowhere but to sleep!”
“Sleep?” His brow crinkles. For two days? Not here?” He whips out his cell phone.
I am in my same PJs and I touch my hair. It is wet. My brown strands dark and slick with cold water.
“Honey, jump in the bath. I ran a hot one for you and I have the heated blanket-”
“When did I get here?” I ask.
*If you’d like more of this short story, stay tuned for its conclusion and more in Fright of the Frostbitten. Tentative publishing date is February 2018!
Funny how the pain you think you’d feel before dying would be the worst. The pain of a body finally fizzing out like old soda. The creaks and groans of sick bones, the sore throat that is beyond hell and just having a sheet draped over you in the hospital, hurts your skin.
They doped me up with all kinds of funny name brand medicines, the clear tubing runs through my veins and I have my thumb taped to the “pain control” monitor to allow me to “inject” more drugs into my blood stream as I lay dying.
But none of this is as painful or morbid as staring into the eyes of my boyfriend Darwin Humphrey.
I can tell by the wince in his face, the pain in his tone, that he is watching a shell of me. The true me is slowly wasting away. The rare stomach cancer has finally won. At the age of 24, I am losing the battle. Have lost the battle.
He is probably inwardly groaning right now. The day I found out I had it, I remember sitting in my mother’s favorite chair. The pink one with pink feathers and red and pink small heart pillows(gifts from dad).
Darwin was sending pics of me to his family in Germany. He called me the “hot blonde” and truthfully I was.
I stand at 5’5, long strong, lean legs, breasts that I am/was? Naturally blessed with that had very little bounce and some jiggle. Bright blue eyes and hair that was just naturally straight and white teeth to match.
I was going to be a forensic photographer. I have always been a fan of those enormously addicting crime shows like Criminal Minds, Law and Order, and CSI but my fascination has always been with scenes.
Pictures tell a thousand words.
Right now, Darwin is breaking inside. I can feel it. His hand lightly touches mine, but instead of feeling warm and making me all bright inside, it hurts my paper thin skin. It’s like he is slowly scraping my skin with razor blades and I feel a boiling anger brewing.
At him. At myself. At no one. At God.
He sees an old woman.
Chemo will do that.
My shiny, bright California bred looks are no more. I look 65 to be honest and gaunt. I saw myself in the mirror by accident two months ago and since then, my mom agreed to buy me a veil to wear over my face.
In the hospital, I do not wear it. I do not wear it for Darwin. I don’t care anymore.
His wavy brown hair and lion gold eyes drinks me in from head to toe. Before, when we first met in college, his eyes would trail slowly over my curves causing small fires in my heart, making my stomach flutter.
Now, he looks at me as if I am a stranger. He takes me in slowly because Reality is a Beast. I look away from him and towards another rainy day. It’s true. It never rains Southern California but it is today.
Instead of responding, my eyes water but even that hurts. Can’t even cry. It’s been a good run in this world. All 24 years of it.
“Please. Look at me, love.” His Boston accent is what always does me in. I love city boys. I love smart ones who are hot.
Darwin is all of that.
He will move on without me in six months to a year maybe. Find another beauty who will console him as he talks about his dead girlfriend, they will share Starbucks coffee a few days out the week until his heart beats a little faster and his touches on her becomes less friendly and more loving- same as he did with me.
They will trade sob stories of the monster of cancer and he will invite her over for dinner at his mom’s.
A year from now or two he may be with or he may not. He will marry someone because that’s Darwin. Hot biology major whose parents are both professors at California State University.
They will welcome her.
He may become a player. Just sleep with a lot of girls.
I look at him and that is when all of a sudden, I feel a POP! Explode in my chest.
My air is cut!
I look to him and he is holding my hand, he is yelling and I see lime green nurse suits. Mom, dad, and my little brother Manly sweep in quick as dust.
Their images blur. It is getting darker in here.
I can’t breathe!
I gasp sharply as my world turns gray and blurry, then suddenly black.
I am floating.
I am light as air and I twist and turn, darkness all around me but I feel so much at peace. It is like for the first time I am not weighed down.
In life we seek peace through religion, or helping out at shelters, using drugs or sex.
But I must say, this is better than all of that combined times 100.
Out of my skin and bones, out from psychological worry, I can float. No care in the care in the world.
“Open your eyes,” a smooth, silky, male voice says. It says something else that sounds like my name but I cannot identify it.
What is my name?
“Is that why it’s so dark?” I whisper. Why does my words sound like…music?
He chuckles. “Yes.” His words are poems too. Even a single word.
I hesitate. I nearly forget where I am and how I got to where I am. Why are my eyes closed?
I use muscle I no longer have to open my eyes.
“It takes a few tries to get used to a new body.”
“Huh?” I really snap open my “eyes” now and the plethora of color explode before me. Colors I don’t know the name of including a few common colors. Light and bright as the sun filters in and I see tall creatures before me. Their shadow advancing on me.
I take a step back.
I am standing on something lush and soft.
“She’s a new one, let us treat her as such.”
Their voices are so loud! I can hear them in my soul! “Stop yelling!” I shout.
“Yup, new body alright. Is there a reason why these people act like this? Do they not know about their transformation?”
Smooth Voice says, “They were not taught it properly. As far as I know they are the only species who can transform after expiring. You’d think they would be informed.”
I inhale a deep, cleansing breath and look down at myself. My feet are the color of bronze, they shine and sparkle. No need for polish. My nude body is positively glowing…
**As a side note, battling cancer is a seriousissue. I lost my father to esophageal cancer a few years ago. I was inspired to write about the “what ifs” of the afterlife.
If you want more posts like this, please consider joining my blog and connecting with other wonderful readers and writers!
If anyone would have told me I would be stuck in a closet with the hottest zombie ever this side of the Atlantic, “I would have said WTF and get out of here”.
But here I am. In the janitor’s closet of all places.
Stuck with Sindrome. That’s his name for real. A tall, well built zombie who looks down on me now like a tasty snack but because of our current and dire situation, he cannot afford to eat me.
“Explain again what you saw.” He growls, annoyed.
I roll my eyes to him. “I said, I went back to the cafeteria to see if I left my small wallet on the floor by the cashier and I heard the noise and started running. It sounded horrific, like vomiting but, I don’t know.”
I had went into the cafeteria ten minutes earlier to retrieve my pink wallet. I knew better than to go alone.
In my dad’s infinite wisdom, he placed me in a school that was full of dead folks. On the outside everything looks normal and new, and the people look beautiful and normal. Borbon High School is a lie. A fake.
It is a Night School. For zombies.
And guess what? I am not one.
How do I get away with it? My dad, a chemist involved with making popular perfumes for celebrities, made a special perfume for me that repels the dead. Meaning my brain which is capable of a 2.9 GPA at best, will not be morsels to these monsters.
Turns out though that my “Dad” he really wasn’t my dad though. Just a mad scientist who was using me as bait.
He knew my real dad.
Turns out Sindrome is my only ally because he has living human beings he cares for still.
A living, breathing Barbie doll of a girlfriend he wants to save and he knows I have the perfume that will prevent him from wanting to snack on her brains like a burrito.
So anyway, I walk up into the cafeteria as if I am not completely surrounded by zombies. And. No. I do not eat their food. Are you kidding me? I bring my own bag lunch. I purchase their canned drinks though because they are colder and packaged from a local factory.
I had reached down to pick up my purse when I hear the snap of something like a big chicken bone and followed by a loud shriek.
I look over the sneeze guards which previously shielded meatloaf(yeah right) and mac and cheese. Hidden beneath these dishes are brains. Just to let you know. The “real” food is placed on top to make the zombies feel normal as they once did.
But yeah, its brain squash underneath.
Beyond the large sink and stove, I saw movement in the backroom and then a large splash of red hits the window. Blood.
I bucked out of there quick, just as I heard the quick clicking of heels on my tail.
I turn a corner nearly colliding into a locker and that was when I spotted Sindrome smoking a joint -or appears to be smoking…in the janitor’s closet with the door half opened.
“Let me in!” I whisper loudly pushing him inside, not caring if he dropped his cigarillo. I bang the door closed. Confident I left the ghoul or whatever was chasing me.
“Patty,” Sindrome puts both hands on my shoulder. His whole body is ivory and cold to the touch, but it is those eyes that do me in every time. They are- aquamarine?
Damn! I am not falling for no damn dead person. Nope! Not me! His eyes are a dreamy, kind of aqua framed by long lashes that are ebony- ebony like his hair, ebony like me and my hair.
This closet is too tiny for my fro and his body. One of us has to go.
“Keep quiet, Patty.” He says again. “I hear something.”
I scooch my body closer to Sindrome, aware that my ample booty is now pressing against surprisingly rock hard abs.
Yes. I’m officially losing it.
But I nearly lose my cookies when through the slats of the door I see some wolf-beast-dog thing with long, yellow teeth stalking the hall.
It was as big, or almost as high as five Great Danes and the smell of death followed it. Even Sindrome smelled better. Well, Sindorme always smells of water and leaves mostly. Cigar leaves. Perhaps he has a better wash regime than I give him credit for.
“What the hell is that?” He asks me.
“I don’t know?” I whisper back. “I am new here to this state, this city, this school. Virginia is looney tunes!”
The wolf monster thing pauses. I see its high black butt and three tails wagging.
My heart nearly plummets.
If Sindrome is truly evil, he could just push me out the door and be done with me. The wolf thing could then gobble me up and maybe it’ll spit out my fro- just to be nice.
I have all kinds of crazy scenarios playing in my head right now.
Sindrome has cold, dead hands on my shoulder and I am pressed up against him like we’re lovers.
We are so. not. lovers.
He hates my guts because of my “dad” and I hate his because he is dead. He has dead guts.
“I have to alert everyone else somehow.”
“Wait. You’re scared of it too? Aren’t you a zombie?”
“I have a very bad feeling about this.” He pulls out his cell phone but I remain on him, booty and all. I am scared and did I mention the closet is cramped? Full of dirty mops and thousands of chemicals I am unfamiliar with.
He texts someone just as we hear another scream and I hear that bone cracking noise again. I cringe and throw my body harder against Sindrome’s body.
“Huh?” I can’t understand what he is saying.
“I said-” he does something with my hair.
Oh. He pushes it down. I am about to swing on him and knock him out for that alone. Then he growls: “I said your hair is in my mouth.”
“Oh, God. Sorry.”
Sindrome swears under his breath and suddenly my worst nightmare comes true.
I am pushed through the door with my arms out and I stumble into a hallway that is suddenly overcrowded with zombies. Teachers and everybody is scurrying. Blood dripping from hands and faces.
Some are with a gaping hole in their chest to the point I can see the wall clearly though them and the stampede.
I am tossed and thrown about, trying to run for the exit when I am roughly pulled from the melee.
“This way”, he growls low in my ear and before I can protest, I am yanked again through the crowds.
“You have your motorcycle?” He asks.
“We need it.” I pull the keys from my pocket, unsure how this will all play out.
If I’m smart, I could let him get torn to shreds by the Wolf Beast thing.
But who said I was smart?
We are moving too fast down the hall and that is when I hear the worst sound of all.
“The hell?” Sindrome pauses as the top floor, that holds the library and classrooms, suddenly wobbles as if it is made of rubber and I see some plaster fall down.
Three very big, large black Wolf Beasts stands at the top. Red eyes looking right at me and through me.
Due to moving around a lot and losing material and technology(I know, really bad), there has been a severe delay in creating a second book to the Mark of Fortune series.
However, I am no longer in denial.
The genie romance was designed to present, simply, an idea. That’s it.
This is not to say that Sam and Stone’s story is completely over. I wrote it during a time that the world was built completely by my imagination and the direction I wish it to go continues to get stifled by the Muse.
I am deeply sorry to my readers who enjoyed the work. Deeply. My heart breaks when I think of what the series can become.
However, all hope is not lost. I will be publishing great content and working on future genie books following a trajectory I think we all will be satisfied with. For now, join me in my adventure creating content in other genres I enjoy!
P.S. I am working on a serious memoir and some poems at this time. Visit me at Smashwordsto find more of my writings and don’t forget to check outWrite Resumes Right 2017, where I hope to collaborate with you on the structure, challenge and rewarding phase of job app writing.