What I Found in Prison: Love

Antalya Wedding

My favorite of my 7 books is the perfect little fantasy novel called “Selah of the Summit.”  I poured my own true life experiences into that book but made it look like fiction. A lot of the details were added fantasy elements from my imagination, but the basic tale was true.  Writing fiction is much easier than writing a nonfiction, reveal-all book with my name as the main character and the awful viewpoint “I.”  Victims of abuse often find it easier to distance themselves from the abused person they are by creating another persona and objectively telling their story (like a drama or puppet show they can control) as if it happened to someone else.  So “Selah” tells my story of being an abused wife and survivor of other traumas, set into the deliverance tale of a desert slave girl who is freed from her castle-like prison and led to the mountains.  I even made the San Bernardino Mountains (where I lived for years) the setting for that journey.

Now I’m writing “Selah 2.”  I call it “Selah of the Desert.”  It shows my more recent history and adventures.  For over 9 months I taught full-time inside a California High Desert prison for male felons.  The hours were long and difficult, security was crucial, and I (as well as prisoners) was always closely watched.  I never expected to find something valuable there (or, more precisely, someone)—until love slipped between the prison bars.

I was miserable, sad, and lonely after the break-up of my marriage to a Turk.  I was stranded in the desert, not adventuring overseas, and very few family or friends knew that I existed (except thousands of people on social media—but they were not exactly real).  Christmas approached.  I wasn’t invited anywhere except to the Geo Company Christmas party (one night) and church (where I was new and not a member of a special group).  I kept catching viruses from the inmates and struggled through long days inside the prison sneezing and blowing my nose, always holding a tissue in one hand.  I had one friend to meet at Starbucks, but later that fell through.  I gave everyone who worked at the prison hand-signed Christmas cards, fancy ones I bought at Costco.  The last thing I expected was a sweet Christmas card from one of my inmate students.

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“Selah of the Desert Prison” Chapter 1 (a.k.a. “Crazy Prison Love”)

Lonna Apocalypse Desert

I hope you are enjoying my new Selah book.  I’ve decided to make it easier to read by placing the new version of Chapter 1 here.

ONE

A Prison in the Desert

             Selah saw the cold metal gun, strangely beautiful like silver, glinting in the lamp light of the dingy trailer living room. Her mother backed up against the farthest wall, screaming, looking starkly bright in her red nightgown against the faded yellow wallpaper whose pattern once entwined like flowers.

“Put that away!” she kept repeating, lacing her long, graceful fingers over her eyes like a shield.  “Put that away!  I was not serious when I said ‘go ahead.’  I didn’t think you really had a gun.  Where did you get it?  Put it away! Selah is here with us!  Winter Solstice is tomorrow.  How can you react like this when I—simply—asked if we could go to the party at my mother’s mansion?”

Selah walked toward her father who held the gun up near his head.  Dark tresses fell forward on his forehead, and his brown eyes glowed like translucent stones of amber with strange, dead life forms caught within it.

“You’ll be better off without me,” he mumbled. Selah smelled the alcohol on his breath. Did he even know what he was doing?

He saw her step closer and lowered the gun a little.  A shadow seemed to pass across his too-bright eyes, like dark wings beating.  He reached his free hand toward her but still clutched the gun with his other one.

“Daddy, don’t,” she said, too calmly for a child. She reached out her hand to touch his outstretched fingers.

What happened in that moment to make him withdraw his arm and look away from her?

“Nooooo!” her mother screamed.

Her drawn-out word was lost in the sudden clap of sound more terrible than thunder.

“I don’t want to see it all again,” Selah mumbled, turning her face away from bright red streaks that washed up on the faded wall.

Where is the cold, peaceful dark that can hide me from these images?  she wondered.

The midnight poured through closed, barred windows when Selah parted the crimson drapes.  Stars swirled inside the darkness like a firefly dance.  Selah reached out to catch one in her hand.  It glowed between her fingers.  She took a step, wishing for a tree.  An evergreen appeared, draping down its branches around her shoulders like antique lace.  It was the perfect place to hide.  She opened her fist and placed the firefly star upon the closest branch.

“Oh, cover me,” she cried.  “Keep me from the empty dark and memories.  Hide me from the loneliness.”

She ached with desolation, like pain shooting through from head to toe.

“How can I go on like this?” she asked the distant sky where more stars glistened.  “Even my dreams are loss and sorrow.  Even my nightmares end with me alone.”

The distant sound of bells broke through the shifting images of dreams.  Selah reached out to her bedside table, pressed a button, and silenced the Tech device that woke her.

The sun was not up yet.  Faint wisps of pink and orange clouds like feathers drifted above the east.  Selah looked up at them between the open wooden window blinds.

“It was just a dream, again,” she whispered to console herself.

Her mobile Tech device blinked red, drawing her eyes to it.  She sat up and reached for it, staring at its luminescent blue screen that glowed with particles of light.  The red light pulsed through it, telling her that it would not stop until she checked the message that waited for her. Continue reading

Big Bear Renaissance Faire

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My Turkish husband “Jack” first saw a Renaissance Faire with me in the foresty mountains of Big Bear, California in 2015.  I went to the 2014 Big Bear Renaissance Faire alone.  In 2016, Jack and I were having such a difficult time just trying to find a home that we did not attend.  Now, in August of 2017, the last weekend of the faire calls to us.  We hope to stroll again among the knights and ladies, fairy children, castle gates. Join us in this colorful world where you will be amazed at what you may see.

If you like my photos, slideshow, and video, please check out my books.  I wrote a fantasy novel about Selah who escaped an evil tower in the desert and followed Micah up the mountains where she felt her first rainfall and touched her first trees. I wrote a science fiction novel about Miranda who cared for the earth’s last tree and traveled back in time to meet her great, great-grandmother Gabrielle, who saved tree seeds for the future.

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Comic Con Pheonix

I accidentally ended up at Comic Con in Phoenix as I was driving from Texas back to California last year.  Without paying a dime, I managed to slip into the amazing world of super heroes, star travelers, and fantasy creatures–many of whom I had read about or watched in movies. Some had inspired me to write my fantasy novel Selah of the Summit and my sci-fi novel Like a Tree Planted.

So enjoy my favorite photos as you get ready to attend Comic Con 2017 in San Diego.

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