“Selah of the Desert” Chapter 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope you are enjoying my new Selah book.  Read Chapter One here.

FOUR

Low Tech

After months of Blackout, the Company finally let Diego call Selah.  Hoping that she would hear from him, Selah got used to carrying her Tech device everywhere with her.  When the call came she was driving back from a short visit to the Golden City to see Jessie. As soon as she recognized the Tech number, she pulled off the main road and parked near a random market.

“Hello,” she said after a Tech voice informed her how to accept the call.

“Hi, Beautiful,” Diego’s voice replied, laughing a little.  Selah smiled and held her Tech closer.  She could not see his image because it was Low Tech, but his voice sounded the same as she remembered.

“Hi!’ she echoed, smiling.

“How are you?” Diego asked.

Feeling a little awkward talking into Tech when before she had spoken IRL to De Leon, Selah told him about moving to a new rental room and visiting Jesse.

“How are you doing?” she queried.  “Did they punish you much?  I got some of your letters.”

“Oh, you know, they put me in The Hole.  They wouldn’t let me call you.”

Selah didn’t want to know how horrible The Hole might be, a place she had never been allowed to see when she worked inside the prison.

“I filled out the Visitation Request form and kept calling the AW, but he never answered.  I left messages with the receptionist, but still he never called me back.”

“Yes, I figured they would ignore you.  They will not let you visit me here because of what happened between us.”

The words “between us” sounded so Hot to Selah that she blushed—though no one could see her.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“Selah of the Desert,” Chapter 3

Jess as Arwen Sad

My daughter Jessica is Selah One

Here is Chapter Three as I promised.  I hope you enjoy it.  You can read Chapter Two here and Chapter One here.

Three

Blackout

For a week Selah drifted like a lost soul.  She suddenly had no job to go to, no schedule, nothing to look forward to. She could not see or speak to De Leon. She drove her car on meaningless errands like shopping, paying bills, and getting take-out dinners.  She drank coffee with lots of milk and sugar—as if that would make her feel alive again, when she really felt like some kind of wandering spirit whose heart had been ripped out a thousand years ago.  Even in her dreams, she floated randomly across the shifting desert sand, looking for De Leon.

“Good Cole,” she said one afternoon when her week was almost finished.  She knelt down near the big, black, friendly dog who was more important than she was in the house where she rented a room from strangers.  “You don’t have much to worry about except where you buried your bone, do you?”

Cole shook his tail and coughed (his way of speaking to her).  His brown eyes shone brightly, and he opened his mouth and licked her hand.  Selah brushed his neck and ears and whispered, “You’re smart, aren’t you?  The Maker made you, too.  I wish I could be carefree, like you are.”

Selah opened the glass door that led to the back yard, and Cole eagerly brushed past her on his mission to inspect his area and bark a little.

“Oh, Selah, here you are.  I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”  Bill, the owner of the house, spoke from behind her.  Selah turned around to face him.  He looked a little sleepy, though it was late afternoon.

“Yes?” she asked.

“I need you to move out,” he stated without wasting words, “By next week.”

“What?” she asked.  “I told you that I have rent money to pay you, and I will continue to pay you.  I have other sources of income than the prison.”

Continue reading

“Selah of the Desert” Chapter 2

34214914_1889846854419002_5653920224336936960_n

As I promised, I have Chapter Two for you.  Read Chapter One here.

TWO

Love Is Illegal?

Selah and her student De Leon exchanged forbidden papers for six weeks. Sometimes they drew colored hearts and flowers on them.  Sometimes they wrote verses from the Maker’s Scroll, with a pen on paper, as people used to do—before they were sucked into a Virtual World and Lost in Tech.  Neither Selah nor De Leon felt guilty.  They exchanged nothing but words and the unseen love that grew in their hearts and made them prone to smiles or laughter. They planned no jail escape, passed no drugs or money.  Their only Contraband was love, which they were brave enough to express.  If De Leon had not taken the risk to give Selah a Winter Solstice card, she would not have known that he loved her.

Their mailbox became lined notebook paper into which they slipped impassioned notes.  He drew 2 gold rings on one letter and asked her to be his Mate.  She drew a heart on a small pick notepaper with the words “Yes, I will” inside it.  She summoned him a few more times, so they could talk alone.  No one seemed to notice except the 2 of them.  They were careful not to hug, kiss, or use any obvious gesture to show their love.  They felt stressed but happy, and both saw not a prison but a precious place where they found each other.  The plain-colored walls seemed infused with rainbows all around them, and they looked forward to each day they would be together.  Selah’s drives across the desert seemed shorter.  Diego’s nights alone in his narrow bunk, in the dormitory with 100 other inmates, passed quicker.

“Love changes everything,” Selah said to De Leon the day before Heart’s Day.  She had dismissed her tutors early after De Leon showed up for the afternoon tutoring session. Lately they could not be alone at all in the afternoon, when the classroom was full with tech users and students in need of reading or math.  But this day, they found themselves alone among the red hearts that Selah had decorated around the room on bright-colored paper.

“You know, I was amazed that my Counselor put me right into your class,” Diego told her as they sat at a respectful distance from each other.  “I arrived during the Autumn festivals and started in your class that first week. Many inmates wait months before they can get into Education.”

“Oh, I didn’t know,” Selah said.  She unconsciously leaned toward Diego so that he would not have to speak loudly.  “I’m afraid I didn’t really notice what was going on back then.”  She didn’t want to explain how sad she had felt that her daughter had moved away to the Golden City after a tragedy hit them both—and how lonely she was with the holidays approaching.

Diego noticed the shadow that passed over her blue-green eyes.  “I saw how sad you were, and how beautiful,” he said in a low voice.

Selah never much considered how she looked or put her faith into appearances.  She was wearing a red blouse that made her hair look brighter, and her silver necklace shone with crystals formed in the shape of the Maker’s Seal.  Diego couldn’t help reaching out his hand toward her.

“Remember how I wrote that you have a hot smile?” he asked.

Selah blushed almost as red as her blouse. “Yes,” she whispered, smiling. She reached out and clasped his hand in hers.

“By the Maker!” they both exclaimed at the unexpected, forbidden touch of skin to skin.

Continue reading

“Selah of the Desert” Chapter One

thumbnail-1

These are 5 of my 7 books on Amazon.  The one to the far right is my fantasy novel, “Selah of the Summit.”  On the cover, I am Selah, posing in an outfit I wore to the Big Bear Renaissance Faire.  Selah is a slave girl trapped in a desert prison.  One day, a stranger appears at a banquet where she must serve her cruel Master.  He gives her a snowflake, and everything changes.  Follow Selah’s journey to the top of the Summit, as she finds freedom, friends, enemies, and love–along the way.

Now I am writing a new Selah book, set in the California High Desert (which I call the Apocalypse Desert).  A thousand years after the first Selah lived, a new Selah works in a desert prison.  Five days a week, she drives across the Apocalypse Desert to teach inmates.  At Christmas, one of her students gives her a sweet Christmas card, and everything changes.

“You can be walking down the same hallway you have trod for years.  Then, one day, you turn the corner, and everything changes,” is my favorite quote from my Selah books.  Do you think you are stuck on a sad, never-ending, doomed old road?  Do miracles still happen in our modern world as they did in the old days?  May you find help from The Maker, as Selah did!

Geo Prison

Here is Chapter One from “Selah of the Desert”

A Prison in the Desert

           The sun was not up yet.  Faint wisps of pink and orange clouds like feathers drifted above the eastern horizon. Selah looked up at them as she stepped out of the house and braced herself for cold air.  Wind blew down from snow-covered mountains that surrounded the High Desert.  Selah wrapped her jacket around her and pulled on her gloves as she balanced 2 bags, a travel coffee mug, and the scarf she had not yet wound around her neck. Her red-gold hair, annoyingly curly, peeked out beneath a black knit cap.

“It might snow today,” she mumbled to no one as she locked the door behind her and approached a white car that was covered with ice.  “Funny that they call this a desert when it snows sometimes!” she exclaimed, as if the silent auto could hear.  “Now I’ve got to warm you up and melt off all that ice so that we can drive to work.”

She unlocked the door and pushed her bags and coffee mug inside—then sat down on the cold driver’s seat, placed the key in the ignition, and started the engine.

Continue reading

Love Is Not from a Distance

tree in sunset

Love is not from a distance;

up close and personal, it comes close enough

to pierce us

like an arrow through the heart, a spear.

Can we get the hook out?

Love is the unexpected baby on its way to a stone-cold world.

How did you get in there, so soon?

I will try to love you, and I will often fail.

I feel you hiding in my secret place, moving

like a white swan’s feathers (or maybe black)

brushing up against me, about to take flight

over waters of a vast lake, splashes of yellow against blue,

ripples in growing circles toward the rising sun

too bright to look at directly, creating, consuming . . .

You are not really mine; I borrow you for a time (too short).

I will hold your small hand tightly, sad to think that

maybe after yours grows big enough to break away

–you will forget me– Continue reading

Spring at West Lake, Hangzhou, China

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Children and adults play in a park by West Lake

I went to West Lake in Hangzhou, China in May and saw so many colorful flowers and people.  Walk with me by the lake, on paths across stone bridges, through parks, temples, pavilions, and historic buildings with statues.  West Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province.  For 2000 years it has been the source of inspiration for poets, artists, photographers, and even filmmakers.  My students told me the romantic story of the immortal White Snake who became a woman and fell in love with a mortal man.  The turtle god of the lake was jealous, so he imprisoned her under a pagoda.  However, the man still loved the White Snake Woman, and they were eventually reunited and had a son.  This story has been made into television series and films.  Emperors from many Chinese Dynasties visited West Lake and inscribed its famous “Ten Scenes” with poetic names like “Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds,” “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, and “Orioles Singing in the Willows.”  As far back as the 14th Century, Europeans visited West Lake, including Italian explorer Marco Polo, who wrote that Hangzhou “is the most splendid heavenly city in the world.”  Spring and romance are here in China!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Continue reading

China’s Treasures

Image

The Empress’ throne room inside Beijing’s Summer Palace

I went to Beijing and saw some of China’s greatest treasures, royal rooms where Emperors and Empresses sat on gold and silver thrones that were surrounded by statues of cranes, lions, dragons, and the elusive phoenix.  After touring the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, we went to a fancy Chinese restaurant that recreated the Emperor’s throne room.  Here I am, sitting among China’s treasures and realizing that the greatest treasure is love, the human heart, and God sending His only Son down from Heaven’s throne for us.

Image

China’s Valentine’s Day

Image

This year, Valentine’s Day in China was on the same day as the Lantern Festival which marks the last day of Lunar New Year’s celebrations, so everywhere there were fireworks, red lanterns, and big bouquets of flowers.  Read more about how the Chinese celebrated on Digital Journal.  I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Even if there was no romance in your life, perhaps you experienced true love!  See how I did in my newest book, Fire and Ice.

Spring in Turkey

Image

A family strolls along a hill by tulips in Seka Park, Izmit, Kocaeli

Spring has finally come to Turkey, and people enjoy walking outside in the sunshine, strolling through parks, planning weddings, and admiring tulips, an important flower for Turkey that can be found in tourism symbols, hand-made lace, and jewelry. Grown natively in Anatolia for centuries, tulips were first introduced to Europe by a German ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century. Tulips were the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, courtly romance, and love. Only the rich and refined could truly grow tulips, display them in their homes, draw paintings of them, and write them into poetry. The golden age of the Ottoman Empire, in the 18th Century, was called the Tulip Era (“Lale Devri” in Turkish).

 After a long, cold winter in northwest Turkey, spring finally arrived this April. Tulips of all colors graced parks and hillsides. People planned weddings, relaxed at open-air cafes, and gave each other bouquets of Turkish “lale.”  A duck bathed in a fountain.  I enjoyed all this with my Turkish husband as sunlight shone on his amazing country.  After two years of living inside the Turkish culture, I am hopeful for new beginnings.  I’m writing a new book about it!

Image

My Turkish husband Ömer and I in the park

Image

A duck enjoys the spring sunlight and a bath in a fountain

Image

Turkish tulips shine in the sunlight

Pale like Lace

Image

Spring is here, and women all around Turkey are planning weddings.  There is something lovely in the pale, candle-light color of lace on a wedding dress.  In Turkey, wedding gowns are amazing.  I hope you enjoy my little lacy photos.  Read about the cultural traditions for “Weddings in Turkey” on Digital Journal and see more photos if you like.  Sweet romance!

Image

Image