Carpe Diem Haiku: Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse

in this shepherd's purse
treasure finer than money
nectar for honey


There are a few who imply that my passion for saving pollinators is stupid, crazy, over-the-top, bleeding-heart crap. To them I say, very well, you have choices. You can choose not to read the work of a stupid, crazy, over-the-top bleeding-heart, full of crap pollinator lover. You can choose not to protect the pollinators. Have fun with that when they're gone.

There are some who think the links I provide on my pollinator posts put money right in my pocket. They don't. I disclose when I may earn a small commission from a link. I earn nothing from this one except the hope that someone might learn more about why it is so important to protect pollinators, and, if they buy honey through the link, will be supporting the Butterfly Pavilion's conservation efforts. Because, you know, I'm greedy that way.

I have decided that if I ever get my crap together and actually publish a poetry anthology, I will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Butterfly Pavilion's pollinator program.

Image copyright Butterfly Pavilion

By the Light of the Moon: Atmospheric Blocking and Lightning Sprites

"You sure the atmospheric blocking is in place, Marty?" Lester Baruch inquired, scanning the lake and nearby woods for spies.
"For the millionth time, Les, our mad piper Parson Dae-Jung has the lightning sprites dancing a merry jig to the tune of his warbling pipe all around and above this place. We are well blocked from spies both physical and magical. Should they attempt to discern our words, they will hear naught but the wail of the wind. As for spies from below, Israel will stroke his zither and stamp the ground, and they will hear naught but a grunt and a grumble when they attempt to listen. We have a high level of protection surrounding us. All the keys are in the locks and our words shall pass between us alone. Should the barrier be breached, a mass of sprites will send up a flash like a shot. Now, let us commune. I hunger for your words."
"You always were a poetical goblin," Lester grunted. "You and Willy both. Now, Martin, you need to listen to me good. What I am proposing is extremely dangerous, not only to me and Carlene but to you and anyone else agreeing to help us."
"I understand that, Les. Ordinarily, I'd advise against it, but it's your only shot at..."
"It's Carlene and Willy's only shot at achieving any kind of peace," Lester interrupted. "I got a feeling that if this don't work, it won't be just Willy I'm needing to be freeing from becoming a malevolent revenant. That damn fool niece of mine done bonded to him, and I got a phobia that she ain't gonna survive if we free him prematurely and let the town elders of West Murkfell cremate his corpse. But before I allow you to get involved with this, I gotta make sure that you understand. If you're caught and they interrogate you, you had no way of knowing what was going on. You block your mind and play dumb. You tell 'em you was just helping a friend."
"I'm just doing what I'm told," Martin stated with a docile smile.
"Now that's the stuff!" the gruff necromancer praised, patting his companion's back. 
"So, tomorrow, we create a doppelganger of Willy and send the real Willy to Vedrapnak Falls with Old Michael Rioja by rail," Martin mused. "An excellent choice! I wish I could do it myself, but given my recent interactions with you, my presence might arouse suspicion."
"Mike's reliable, and he's a powerful cuss although he looks frail as an ole China cup," Lester agreed.
A rustling in the bushes set both men on their guard. Martin prodded at the bushes with his staff. There was a yelp, and Lester reached into the bush, dragging his niece out into the open.
"Carlene, what the hell are you doing sneaking around here like a scurvy coyote?" the necromancer demanded.
"Well, I knew you wouldn't let me be in on what you were planning. But I have a secret that I need to tell you. C'mon, get closer, I can't let anyone else hear this secret."
Lester rolled his eyes.
"Carlene, you are so full of it!" he sighed as he leaned in closer, only to have Carlene wrap him in a hug.
"Really, Chickie?" Lester grumbled, trying to appear gruff, but failing as his eyes filled with tears and a smile played at the corners of his mouth.
"I love you," Carlene declared. "After the rest of my family was killed, I didn't want to live, but you were so kind to me in my darkest hour that my desire to live came back so I could stay with you and help you. I know you want to protect me, Uncle Les, but I am your apprentice as well as your niece and surrogate daughter. You cannot keep secrets like this from me. If we are in this, we are in it together."
"Les, if the sentinels didn't detect Carlene's presence, we may be compromised," a wide-eyed Martin warned. 
Lester waved his friend's concerns away.
"Ain't no atmospheric blocking can deter Carlene, and she's friends with the lightning sprites," he stated. "They let her by because she ain't a threat except maybe to herself. Guess I can't do nothing about the fact that this gal is hell-bent on putting herself in the path of danger. You are certainly your mother's daughter and my niece, ya stubborn cuss! Yessir, this one is a Baruch through and through."

Gem Moondreamer
Jewels Stardancer
The Real Cie
Wanda Psycho

Prompts Used:

Phrase Craze:
Atmospheric blocking
"I'm just doing what I'm told"
Lighting Sprites

Tune Time:
 Train Train

Word Salad:

Since I love Rickey Medlocke, we just won't go into what I think about his reforming the band as a Blackfoot cover band without a single original member after having lawyers send cease and desist letters to the band's original surviving members aside from himself, ordering them to stop using the name. Sorry, Rickey, but not cool.
Oops, guess I went there.

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: The End of the Road

the end of the road
I leave it all behind me
in joy and sorrow


This Senryu was partly inspired by the image and partly by the song "In Joy and Sorrow", which was written by my fellow black dog attendant, Ville Valo.
Some people with mood disorders take medications.
Those of us who don't respond well to medications write bleak a.f. poetry.

The Forest For the Trees Discussion

These questions are from the Insecure Writers' Support Group Book Club discussion of the above book. If you go through the link at the end of the post and purchase the book (you will be taken to a page with multiple buying options) I earn a small commission.

Beware! The Snark is lurking here!

1. Betsy Lerner states that “There are probably only a few things you can write about, and only one genre, or maybe two, in which you might excel.” By that, she means by switching “from novels to plays” or poetry to short stories or fiction to poetry, etc.


A: Do you write in multiple categories (short story, novel, poetry, essays, etc.) a lot and well enough to not be called “a dabbler”? (Betsy Lerner’s term.)

I write in whatever category I feel like writing in. I don't consider myself a "dabbler," because I write pretty much every day and it all has meaning to me. Whatever anyone else considers me is their business, and I don't really care about that.

B: Betsy Lerner also states that the same is true of the themes you write about. Have you noticed that you write about the same themes over and over or do the themes of your work run the gambit?

It's rather the same theme wearing different masks, and I don't care what anyone else thinks of that.

2. Lerner describes the different types of writers, all coming off in a bad light. Lerner never describes a writer as anything remotely well-adjusted.

QUESTION: Does Lerner believe a good writer cannot be wholly well-adjusted?

I honestly can't say that I've read very far into the book. Helping my son buy a house (which I also live in) and acting as his driver and helping as I can, given my physical limitations, to clear out his townhome, has taken up most of the summer. This book is not exactly a fast read. From what I've seen, she seems to think that the majority of writers are in need of therapy.

3. Lerner says, "Instead of honoring the subjects and forms that invade writer's dreams and diaries, they concoct some idea about what's selling or what agents and editors are looking for as they try to fit their odd-shaped pegs into someone else's hole." She goes on to say editor's like to be surprised and taken out of the world they expect.

QUESTION: Do you do the research and write what is popular, or write from the heart, or a bit of both?

To partially quote my dear late friend Rachel, I write what the monkey hell I want to write, and what's popular can take a long walk off a short pier for all I care. Much of the time, I despise popular fiction.

4. From “The Self-Promoter” chapter: A young writer was called a nightmare and total networker by others in the publishing industry. “Her sin, I later discovered, had been in landing a much-coveted job at a very young age with a highly regarded publication.”

Also, from the same chapter: “Oh, you know, he’s a total self-promoter,” we sneer when an up-and-coming writer aligns himself with a powerful agent or editor.

QUESTION: Have you ever sneered at writers who promote themselves and their books, who network, who strive for/land coveted jobs, who seek agents? Have you ever been sneered at for those things?

I've been sneered at for a lot of things. As for what other people do, we each do what we've got to do. At this point in my life, it's preferable for me to freelance, and I've decided that I don't want an agent. That's what works for my odious and ill-advised personality type. It may not work for somebody else.

5. (Mentioned in the book.) Lorrie Moore began her short story “How to Become a Writer” with: “First, try to be something, anything else.”


A: Is writing your calling? (You don’t want to do anything else and feel you have no other choice but to write…but maybe you have a job to sustain yourself financially?)

It's some sort of obsession which started eating my brain back when I was a precocious and somewhat twisted child reading Edgar Allan Poe at six years old, and it has never stopped. Thanks, Ed. 
I still wrote even when I was killing myself working twelve-hour days and sixty-hour weeks. These hours nearly killed me, literally. I had a small stroke and ended up being fired from my job. 

B: Have you worked had another career/career path? If so, what?

I've done a lot of other things, none of which I really wanted to do. I've done a fair bit of work in the food industry as a bartender and waitress. I kind of liked bartending. It was like playing with a chemistry set. Living in Colorado, however, I discovered that people pretty much want two kinds of drinks: beer and margaritas. 

I worked in the long-term care end of things for a cumulative of about 25 years, as an aide in nursing homes and, eventually, a retirement community, and then as a home health nurse. It is back-breaking and often soul-destroying work and I really was not well suited to it. It was what my mother wanted me to do. She retired as a registered nurse in 2004 after my father (RIP) had a major hemorrhagic stroke. This type of work almost killed me.

Now I primarily make my living, such as it is, writing book reviews. I would like to eventually shift more towards proofreading and editing. 

I love to write, but I very much doubt my writing will ever sell. My brain is literally very different from most people's. I have ADD and bipolar disorder, and my mind tends to be all over the place. In my case, except for a low dose of lithium, the cure (medications) is worse than the "problem" (a brain that works differently). My stories are weird (like me) and tend to have a myriad of sub-plots. I've had plenty of people tell me to write like they do, but writing loses its joy when I do. So, I will keep writing what I want to write, and the nay-sayers can suck a rotten lemon.


Real Cie Reviews: Updrift

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
This review is a duplicate of my review on Amazon and Goodreads for this book.
If you purchase the book through the above link, I receive a small commission.

This is an intense, fascinating, and detailed modern fantasy involving relationships between mer-folk and humans. At the beginning of the story, young Kate is rescued by a mysterious boy when she falls from a boat. Little Gabe has incredible abilities in the water. Kate and her widowed mother are befriended by Gabe's family. The friendship between Gabe and Kate becomes romantic as they get older, and Kate learns of a world which she had only seen hints of through the years.

Errin Stevens has remarkable abilities when it comes to creating wonderfully believable scenes and characters without becoming overly verbose. I would love to see her magical story made into a movie or television program. I could see the events transpiring in my mind as if I were watching them on a screen as I was reading. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

I recommend this book to readers who prefer a "slow burn" to a story with one hard-hitting action scene following on the heels of another. The romance between Kate and Gabe builds slowly rather than kicking in all at once, and the truth about Gabe's magical family is built up methodically rather than being revealed from the start. Once Kate and Gabe's commitment to one another becomes serious, a terrifying antagonist who could destroy all they have worked for together is revealed.

Those who do not care for explicit erotica will appreciate the tactful way the romantic scenes between the characters are described. Often, less is more, and Errin makes good use of this tactic.

I recommend this story to those with a history of domestic or sexual abuse with caution. While there are no explicit descriptions of such, the story's antagonist is extremely controlling and psychologically abusive, and although he never crosses the line into full-on first-degree sexual assault, he commits serious violations of boundaries. I was reminded of several of the toxic relationships I have had over the course of my life, and while I was not traumatized by reading descriptions of this character's actions, his actions did make me rather uncomfortable.

Personally, I found all of the male characters, even the benevolent ones, a bit too controlling for my liking and I felt that there was somewhat too much emphasis on a female impetus to become a mother. Although I personally feel that my own child is the most important individual in my life and I would do anything for him, there isn't anything wrong with not wanting children. I have family members who inflict guilt on their children for not giving them grandchildren, and I have always felt this behavior to be overbearing and invasive.

My one other quibble is the inevitable "oh, I'm so fat" scene which occurs between Kate and her mother. In a society rampant with eating disorders and self-loathing, and speaking as someone who tried to hate herself thin for 33 years, I wish that we could all get away from seeing this sort of self-deprecating behavior as normal and acceptable. There is nothing wrong with any bride's (or any woman's) body, be that body fat, pregnant, short, tall, thin, wheelchair-bound, or anything else. Sadly, this sort of scene occurs daily in real life, but I feel that it doesn't need to be an inevitable part of our stories, either in fiction or real life. We women have apologized for our bodies enough.

My points of dissent primarily reflect my own personal biases and preferences. Updrift is a wonderfully crafted novel which I greatly enjoyed reading and I am glad there is more of the story to come.


Weekend Writing Warriors 29 September 2019 (ER, FA, LGBT, SF)

“And from where exactly am I getting this instruction, Child?” Leah demanded. “In case you have not noticed, I am flying by the seat of my trousers!”

As the others gathered around Leah attempting to cheer her on, Lleu stepped off to the side, took a piece of chalk from the pouch that he wore around his waist, and began drawing sigils on the black tile floor. He opened the gris-gris bag given to him by a Voodoo practitioner named Belen when he was visiting the French quarter and sprinkled a pinch of ash and a pinch of jade-colored dust over the sigils.

A wondrous puff of quince smoke billowed through the room. As the room’s occupants coughed and sneezed, Dale Dicking blinked the smoke from his eyes and froze to the spot as he realized the identity of the being that Lleu had summoned.

“Are you mad, Man?” Dale demanded. “Why in the name of all that’s holy have you summoned Lucifer?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

In this snippet, Leah and the boys have entered the ominous dark tower. A computerized voice is now counting down, and Marc has made the statement that he believes with proper instruction, Leah should be able to manage things. The preceding chapter excerpt can be found here.

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #104: Photoshopping Haiku + Haiku My Heart: Camellia

Image by Beverly Buckley from Pixabay

Unfolding before
the eyes of a little bird
a bright camellia


Here is the original Haiku by Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784)

Unfolding at the
hand of the glass polisher:
a camellia!

Fat Friday #15 + Ornery Reviews: How To Define Yourself by Chuck Clifton

Yet Another Unoriginal Positive Thinking Tome Complete With Fat-Shaming Icing on the Unpalatable Cake

Rating: One out of Four Stars

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes

Main positive takeaway:
This book is brief. This means that you can get angry quickly. The more quickly you get angry, the sooner you can recover from being angry and focus on better things.

Main negative takeaway:
Pretty much everything about this book. It started out as a generic "Positive Thinking" tome and devolved into a body-shaming mess complete with a picture of a Headless Fatty wearing a shirt several sizes too small, a fat guy who apparently does not own any dish towels so he licks his plate to clean it, and the erroneous and asinine assumption that All Fat People Are Fat Because They Are Always Stuffing Their Fat Faces With Bad Food. Never mind that many larger people are food insecure or that there are big people who do EVERYTHING RIGHT and somehow are still fat, or that there are thin people who eat All The Wrong Stuff and lots of it and yet are still thin. 

I do not recommend this book to anyone, so I am not providing a link to it.

It isn't often that I find a book I hate so much that I give it a one-star review. This book is one of two that I've reviewed this year which earns that dubious distinction.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

I recommend this book instead. It is the last diet book you will ever need.

Fetch: Vagary

Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay
Image from the cover of Mainline's 1988 album, Vagary

"I wrote a whole album for you, Pepper," Gerry revealed, hoping that his beloved would feel his touch on her hand as she looked out the window at the dirt road outside.
"I still love you," he thought quietly, hoping she knew.
"Did you really?" Pepper inquired, her grin indicating that she believed that Gerry was teasing. "Wouldn't be Zoo of Misfits, would it?"
"No, it would be Vagary."
"How could you write an album about me when you didn't know me?" Pepper asked.
"Knew you from another life and from the Dreamlands, didn't I?" Gerry countered. "I was a right mess that year. Odinn's death was still so fresh and sensing his ghost about opened the gateway between worlds all the further. I wanted to find you so bad, but them blokes from beyond the stars talked me out of it. I forgot all about meetin' 'em until after me brain went and fucked me off."
"Which blokes from beyond the stars would this be?" Pepper inquired.
"Byakhee, pair of Mi-Gos and a Shan. We see 'em all the time in the Dreamlands."
"Sometimes I remember," Pepper mused. "I see Roger Black sometimes too. You know, I always thought the cover for Vagary was incongruous. You had this happy young woman looking like she was over the moon, but the songs were really dark."

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

"Yeah, that wasn't the image I wanted," Gerry revealed. "I selected a nice bit of art with a lass lookin' at an hourglass on a moonlight night. I know now that I chose the picture, or rather Serab chose the picture, 'cause this bird had a strong resemblance to Ondina. The record company said 'no,' though. They said it didn't look like a Mainline album cover. It was too romantic, too soft, too whatever. I said I didn't think the picture of the girl jumpin' about like she just got a sports car for her birthday screamed 'Mainline' either, but in the end, I caved. Didn't feel like arguin' with them numptys any longer, y'know. It was givin' me a headache."
"So you say the album was about me, or more specifically, about Ondina?"
"Yeah. Just look at the songs and you'll see it. You start with 'Slave,' which everyone thinks is about being a slave to a job or the record company or what have you, and it's sort of about that, but at the heart of it, really, it's Serab's assessment that not only did Qweh intend to enslave him, he already had Ondina enslaved, even though she was his sister and a princess."
"The Court of Injustice could have been about any tyrant, but Qweh was the specific tyrant, then?" Pepper asked.
"Correct. Three guesses what 'Jealousy' is about."
"My jealous nature?"
"Me being jealous because you as you are now were somewhere in the world, probably with someone, and I'd no way of findin' you. I could sense you but I couldn't have you. I was fuckin' wrecked, y'know. Paulie was worried as hell that I was gonna start drinkin' again, or maybe even off meself. Told him I wouldn't do either, but you can't pull the wool over his eyes. People always think me brother's a clown, but he's way more perceptive than most of 'em realize."
"I've always known that," Pepper stated. "Even before I saw Mainline: The Movie. Clever title for a movie, by the way."
"Well, at least you know what it's about. Ain't some fuckery of a title like A Clockwork Orange, which is a movie containing neither clockworks, oranges, nor orange clockworks. You'd be in a right rage if you were a great fan of orange clockworks and went to see that film, only to find it contained not a single orange clockwork."
Pepper burst out laughing. Gerry smiled, his eyes going moist. It had been a long time since he'd heard her laugh.

Gem Moondreamer
The Real Cie
Wanda Psycho

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Trail of Saints, Krakow, Poland

I stop at the graves
along the trail of the saints
take tea with each one


Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: A Green Boat Ride

taking a boat ride
I would spend several hours
the torments of the seasick
from the rocking of the waves


Today's pilgrimage inspiration features a very beautiful place. However, with my messed-up inner ears, all you have to say is "boat ride," and I start feeling queasy. I would either spend much of my time nauseated, or I would spend it high and goofy from the motion sickness pills. I am not a good water traveler.
It doesn't matter if the water is calm. One of my worst experiences of water sickness happened while on a rowboat on a calm lake. My inner ear picks up on very subtle rocking motions. I was sick for hours after the fact.

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Señor de Huanca

visit El Señor
high above sacred valley
will he welcome you?


Carnal Invasion IV is FREE For Five Days

This fourth installment in the Carnal Invasion series packs a lot of heat into a compact package. This is the story where we introduce Climax Castle favorite Mistress Nyx and her bevy of lusty cloned beauties.

When lonely, love-starved scientist Tzu He decides to spend the evening at the Lust School exotic dance club, he is offered a chance to spend time with Mistress Nyx and a few of her dancers. Little does he know that the luscious Mistress is an alien who requires copious amounts of erotic energy. Mistress Nyx' clones take a liking to the shy scientist and give him a wild night to remember.

You can pick up Lust School FREE between September 23 and September 27, only on Kindle.

Real Cie Revews: Quantum Dream

Rating: Five of Five Stars

This review is a duplicate of my review of this product on Amazon.
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
I receive a small commission if you purchase a copy of the book through the link at the bottom of this post. If you prefer the Kindle version to the paperback, click the link and choose Kindle on the book's description page.

In the distant future, the majority of humanity prefers dreaming to real life. Humans rely on intelligent, enhanced creatures to do their work. The citizens of Neifar, who refuse to be drawn into the trap of dreaming their lives away, work closely with a collective of intelligent insectoids. Nola, a young woman from Neifar, is one of the specially selected coordinators who works with the collective. She is selected for a vital secret mission the success or failure of which will decide the fate of humanity.

This is an extremely intricate story which is filled with surprises. If Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, "A Dream Within a Dream," were to be made into a story, it might well have become this story. However, Quantum Dream is not mere entertainment. The story postulates a myriad of questions for the consideration of the reader and is filled with metaphors. Are humans becoming more isolated from one another and relying on entertainment and fantasy rather than seeking fulfillment through helping others? When humans cease to care about anything but personal fulfillment, what will be the result?

The story itself is amazing, but the manuscript could have done with more thorough editing. There were minor but plentiful mechanical issues which need to be addressed.


Haiku My Heart: Honeybee

priceless honeybee
the world would be a dull place
without your colors


I am not an affiliate or employee of the Butterfly Pavilion or Rice's Honey. I receive no compensation for sharing this information.

Weekend Writing Warriors 22 September 2019 (ER, FA, LGBT, SF)

“Well, I don’t see why not. After all, it isn’t as if they’d have any reason to disbelieve us.”

“Lleu, go with Marc,” Leah ordered. “See to it that he doesn’t manage to get himself killed off before he has a chance to become undead. Dale, my dear young fellow, as usual, you are bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders. There is no need for you to do so. Share the burden, and we will shoulder it together.”

“Thank you, Leah,” Dale replied, squeezing the Voodoo priestess’ slender dark hand in his powerful, pale one. “You look like the toughest broad in any town, but you’re actually one of the sweetest people I’ve met. I appreciate you using your magic to take us away from the base before we all got blown to smithereens.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

This is an excerpt from Castle Necros, the sixteenth book in the Carnal Invasion series. It is due for release on Halloween 2019.
When the volcano containing Base Lust-69 erupted at the end of Paraji's Prisoners, those within the base were thrown through a myriad of wormholes. The wormhole through which Voodoo priestess Leah La Sirene and her bevy of variably obtuse male companions fell landed them in a thick, deciduous forest complete with an ominous dark tower and hair-raising howling.

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: St. Mary MacKillop

I truly believe
that every caring teacher
embodies sainthood


The aspect of the St. Mary MacKillop story that stood out for me was the fact that she was a teacher.
Teachers can truly make or break their students.
I've had a few wonderful teachers and a few truly horrible ones.
Most of my elementary school teachers were decent. My sixth-grade teacher, however, probably got nominated for some sort of award in the hell that he's likely returned to by now. This man literally traumatized me so much when it came to the use of outlines for writing stories that I have actual PTSD reactions if someone suggests that I work with an outline. My throat starts clenching up and I start having trouble breathing. I can use outlines for boring-ass non-fiction college paper type stuff, but never for any work that I really care about.
You see, my sixth-grade teacher insisted that we write an outline for our story projects, which is something I never did. We were to follow the outline closely and not deviate from it significantly, but if the outline and the story matched exactly, he would know we had written the story first and would give us a failing grade. Which is what happened to me, because I can't write like that.
I was prone to catching every illness that came down the pike when I was a kid, and one time I missed three weeks of school. When I returned, this man marched up to my seat, slammed the attendance book down on the desk, and demanded to know what I was trying to pull.
I looked him dead in the eye and informed him that I had been sick.
I was freaking eleven years old and was something of a nervous wreck. I wasn't trying to pull anything. But after that, I pulled pranks on him, such as locking his file cabinet and hiding the key. I'd never been the sort of kid to do that sort of thing to a teacher previously.
Anyway, good teachers are worth everything and teachers like my sixth-grade teacher should choose a profession where they never encounter another living being. This man would have traumatized e. coli bacteria.

The Ornery Old Lady's Reviews: Inspirience: Meditation Unbound

Please check out my exclusive Online Book Club review for Inspirience: Meditation Unbound by Richard L. Haight.

Four out of four stars for Online Book Club
Five out of five stars for Amazon and Audible

The above graphic leads to the Kindle version of the book. I reviewed the audiobook version, which I highly recommend as I find it helpful to listen to the author explaining the meditation techniques and leading the listener through the meditation process.

What I like best about this book:
This wonderful book offers meditation for everybody. One does not need to be an adherent of any particular religion or philosophy. There is no need to be an adept or have special knowledge. One does not need a special space for meditation. One does not need an altar or candles or any other trappings. One does not need to worry that he or she is doing meditation "wrong."

If you think you can't meditate, if you have become discouraged with meditation, let Richard Haight show you that you can meditate and it can be enjoyable and truly enlightening instead of frustrating.

This book has been one of my happiest discoveries this year.

The Real Cie
The Ornery Old Lady

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Nottinghamshire Pilgrimage

in Nottinghamshire
would I find cures for ills
or only stained glass?


Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Shikoku Pilgrimage

in a month or two
they visit every temple
walking many miles


I'm not a nit-picker, but I'm aware that the label "Haiku" for this poem is not quite correct. It lacks the irony, snark, and/or melancholy of a Senryu. It is simply an observation, but not of nature or the seasons. For lack of a better term, I'm just calling it a Haiku-like poem. 

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #102 Renga With Basho ... ancient times

flood waters
stars too will go to sleep
on top of a rock
the flood which came in that year
followed by a falling star

still summer
the harvest moon too hot
to enjoy the coolness
we never minded so much
when the moon looked upon us

morning glories
in the daytime a lock lowered
on the gate
if a flower could escape
where do you think it would go?

chrysanthemum flowers
bloom at the stonemason's
between stones
flowers are adaptable
I wish it was my nature

the bitterness of pickles
in the talk
warmongers talk a good game
when far from the battlefield

plum blossom scent
since ancient times the word
has been sorrowful
yet every day people say
cheer up, everything is good

~Basho & Cie~

The Hokku (three-line) stanzas of these poems were written by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The Akegu (two-line) stanzas were created by me.

Weekend Writing Warriors 15 September 2019 (ER, FA, LGBT, SF)

“Just the same, I was hoping perhaps we could hurry into that kind of dark and foreboding castle over there. It might not be the most welcoming place, but it probably doesn’t have werewolves in it. Man, look at that spire! It looks like a rocket!”

Before the others could respond, Marc took off running towards the castle.

“Damn it, Marc, slow down!” Dale demanded. “If we just bust in there, the inhabitants may think we’re plundering them, and they aren’t going to take too kindly to that.”

“Well, we’ll just explain that we’re trying to get away from the werewolves!” Marc replied.

“Just like that?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

When Base Lust-69 exploded at the end of Paraji's Prisoners, Voodoo priestess Leah La Sirene and a group of naive, obtuse, and oblivious male vampires and secret agents fell through a wormhole which deposited them in a foreboding forest with a dark and mysterious castle. What terrors and delights await them in the dark and phallic tower?

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Kumb Melah

you may join us here
and wash away the troubles
which keep you bound
repeating the same mistakes
wanting a chance to be free



Ghost Town Grover Sez: 
Ain't nothin' like a good ole shindig at the ole swimmin' hole! 
Cactus Clem loves swim parties even though he don't swim too good. He just wades out an' drinks his fill!
But I didn't come here to talk about Cactus Clem an' his weird drinkin' habits.
I came here to tell y'all that the Ornery Old Lady and her son made their official move to the ole Grover Hotel today an' they bought a special pal with 'em. 

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Nothing to See Here

walk over the bridge
to the shrine of mystery
I asked to come in
they just told me to go home
"nothing to see here," they said


Castle Necros: Fervid

Image by Efes Kitap from Pixabay
Does the Marquis really just want to paint Dale's portrait, or does he have a more intimate interaction in mind?

Content Warning:
While this post contains no explicit erotica, it does contain adult themes and frank discussions of sexual interactions, as well as a heaping helping of innuendo,  served with a generous side of double entendre.

Back Story:
Dale Dicking and Marc Cumming are agents with the U.S. government's ultra-top-secret Alien and Supernatural Search Squadron division. Events thus far have sent them back in time to the thirteenth century where they are now the guests of the Marquis Ciaran Kabral. Marquis Kabral has expressed appreciation of Dale's appearance and asked if he can paint his guest's portrait. Marc suspects that the Marquis is interested in growing more than his art collection.

“Dude, you’re overreacting,” Dale replied dismissively. “The Marquis was far from fervid in his behavior towards me. I mean, yeah, he’s old school royalty, he’s a bit of a dandy, and I’d be far from surprised if he was either gay or bisexual, but I think hitting on me is a bit of a stretch. He just said he wanted to paint my picture. That isn’t the same as wanting to tear off my trousers and bend me over the nearest table.”

“Well, I say you’re just being modest. He wasn’t like: ‘I admire your manly lantern jaw, my good chap. I would be right well chuffed if you would agree to allow me to paint your portrait.’ He was all: ‘You have a most comely countenance, my good man,’ while rubbing his finger all over your face. And I’m telling you, his finger isn’t the only thing he wants to rub on your face.”

“Marc, shut up,” Dale groaned, blushing. “Yes, he’s a fop, and he’s quite probably sexually attracted to men. But touching my cheek is still a far cry from asking me to play sailors and blow the man down.”

“Well, maybe he’s at least enough of a gentleman that he’ll offer you dinner before he makes a meal of you. Look, Dale, I’m not trying to tell you what to do, and I’m sorry if I’m pissing you off, but I’m your friend as well as your professional partner, and I wouldn’t be very good at either job if I didn’t tell you when I think something fishy is afoot.”

“According to your assessment, I’m something fishy and the Marquis is planning to lure me in with his pole,” Dale laughed, putting an arm around Marc and giving him a squeeze. “I’m sorry for being such an ungrateful malcontent of a partner. Everything has been so weird for so long as it is, and in the past three months, the weirdness has out-weirded itself. You know what the one thing I’d like most in the world is?”

“Getting back to our time, rescuing Julie and Sarah, and watching the Indy 500?”

“You forgot the part where you and I bet on the Indy and you owe me a hundred bucks.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Prompt Used:

Closing Comments on This Blog

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