One of my favorite books when I was little was called Elmo Says Ah-Choo. The title is basically the plot of the book--Sesame Street's Elmo walking around town sneezing. I have no idea why I loved it so much, but I still enjoy medical dramas. Half of my YouTube recommended list is comprised of clips from House, M.D.
Reading about colds is well and good. But having them? Not so much.
"Stay home and rest," the internet tells you. "Have some soup," says Grandma. "Sanitize your hands every time you blow your nose," says some germaphobe on WebMD who's obviously never lived in real life. Meanwhile, I'm trying to juggle school, work, church, and household chores with a nose that's running at 2 KPH (Kleenexes per hour). What's a college kid to do? And you, dear reader, with cold and flu season at its peak, what are you to do when the sniffles hit?
It depends on what kind of person you are.
Rest, yes, is good when you can get it. For example, I've stopped using the bicycle desk at the college, and I've only been to church once this week (compared to last week, where tonight would be the third night in a row). While I normally don't advise skipping church, it was the best option for me this week. Especially since I'll be there all weekend for the women's conference.
Now for my favorite part of cold cures: natural medicine.
You've probably heard that there is no cure for the common cold. And that is, unfortunately, accurate. But there's a lot of things you can do to shorten a cold's duration or lessen its symptoms. When I feel sniffles coming on, I immediately start taking Emergen-C and mullein tincture.
Mullein is an herb that's good for your mucous membranes--so your sinuses, lungs, throat, and mouth. My mom's used it for as long as I can remember. I make my own, but it's much easier to buy a bottle at your local health food store. They might even have some at Walmart. Another tincture I recommend is yarrow. I'm sure you've heard me blabber about yarrow before, so I'll remind you of its cure-all properties and leave it at that. Two dropperfuls of each in a bit of water and you're on your way to recovery.
Another good tincture to take is echinacea. In February of 2017, I caught a cold on the day of my grandmother's funeral wake (visitation, for those of you without Catholic relatives). This was not a "just grab a Kleenex, I'm fine" cold. This was a "the thermometer's lying, I have a fever and I just want to lie in bed all day" cold. But we grabbed some echinacea on our way to the funeral home, I took some every 2 hours, and I was feeling about 75% better the next day.
And soup? There's nothing wrong with soup. Speaking of which, Mom made some turkey soup the other day that wouldn't hurt my cold one bit. And it's lunch time...
What's your go-to remedy for a cold? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to check us out on Amazon Kindle!
I love to play with Britta. I'll hold her whenever Mum asks me to, I'll change her nappies, I'll burp her. Mum says I'll do a grand job with my own children someday, but that's so far away I don't want to think about it. Besides, all the boys my age are eejits, and I can't think of one I'd like to marry someday. Brian McNamara's nice, but he's dying of consumption and Mum says he won't make it to Confirmation.
The house is so much louder now that there's three children in it. It's always loud. Da's smithy is in the front. The forge hums, the bellows whirl, and there's always the striking of his hammer against his work. But now Britta's crying more often than not, and it's all the louder. Sometimes, if Britta and Tarin are crying all at once and the hammer's ringing and Mum's trying to sing and calm everyone down, I can't hear myself think.
One day, when Britta's about a month old, even Mum's had enough of the noise. She wraps us all in our plaids and sets off, Britta wailing because of the rain, to Nan and Granddad's house. People on the street glance at us--some annoyed, some sympathetic--and a drunken man on the side of the road yells out, "Shut her up!" I want to punch him, but Mum grabs my shoulder and keeps me well away from him.
"It's people like that we pity, Lynder," she says. "You say a prayer when you see one, and thank God that Da isn't like that."
I don't want to pray for the drunken man. I shy away from him, but we're soon past him and on our way through the country fields.
Britta's still crying when we get to Nan and Granddad's house. Mum sighs and sinks onto a kitchen chair. "Just watch them fer half an hour, let me take a walk. She's gettin' colicky."
"Why, she's growin', dear heart," Nan says, taking Britta into her arms. "Or is it just that you don't like the rain? You'll get used to it, dear. You can't live in Limerick without getting used to rain." She kisses Britta's head and bounces her around for a bit, but she never stops crying. So Nan takes a bottle from the cupboard and makes Britta drink from it.
"What's that, Nan?" Tarin asks.
"It's a great help to a harried mum, that's what it is," Nan says. "Now go off and find yer uncles. I'm sure they're up to no good."
Whatever's in the bottle smells like the drunken man we passed on the road. I hope Britta's not going to end up on the side of the road like him. But everyone knows that Nan raised ten children and buried four, and none of them ended up on the side of the road. So I trust her with Britta and leave with Tarin.
The rain picks up, and not even Uncle Micheal, Uncle Stiofan, and Uncle Oisin would be making mischief in this weather. I'm sure they're hiding under a tree or in a shelter somewhere, complaining about the stench of wet sheep. So I take Tarin to find Granddad.
Granddad's a quiet man with a long grey beard and a twinkle in his eyes. Beards are for rich people; Granddad's not supposed to have one. He says that he'll shave when someone older than him tells him to, and since the only man in Limerick older than Granddad is the cobbler on Barrington Lane who doesn't give a fiddler's fart about anyone or their facial hair, Granddad gets to keep his beard.
Granddad smiles when he sees us. He sits on a hill and takes Tarin and me onto his lap, and he tells us stories of Cu Culainn and his wife Emer and fairies and clurichauns and the monsters that live in the bogs. Then Tarin falls asleep, the rain stops, and he takes us back to the house.
Have you ever wondered what Amazon would be like if it existed hundreds of years ago? What sorts of items would be sold there? What would the reviews look like?
No? Never wondered that?
Well, I'm here to let you know anyway. Today, we'll be reviewing a purchase I made on Ancient Amazon about a month ago. (Rather, I went to Hobby Lobby and got my sewing machine out from the top shelf of my closet...same thing, really.) The item: a Viking hood. Verified purchase by M.J. Piazza.
The first thing I noticed about this product was its geometric design. I mean, it's literally a rectangle with a square on either side, except that the squares are folded so they look like triangles. This obviously means that the supplier is eco-friendly and doesn't want to waste fabric. I mean, it could have been made out of a square of fabric with literally zero waste material. It was a lovely color, a light sky blue, although I don't know if the felt was made of genuine wool or not. And it was a bit small when I tried it on--I almost had to take my glasses off to get it over my head.
Once on, it was rather tight around my shoulders, narrow as they are. I suppose that the average human now is a bit larger than the average human back when this product was common, so that makes sense. The hood was very deep, though, which I liked.
It wasn't until I wore it for a walk on a rainy 45-degree day that I realized how difficult it was to wear. It kept twisting around. This might be due to the fact that one of my shoulders is shorter than the other (ever since a bike wreck when I was 13), but it's still no excuse. I can't be the only person on earth with uneven shoulders. The product did a good job of keeping the rain off my chest and back, However, it didn't cover my shoulders well, and my arms were cold and wet.
The rain would also blow into my hood when I was walking into the wind. Since the hood was so deep, it gave me tunnel vision. It would also occasionally collapse, resulting in my being able to see nothing but a heart-shaped view of my surroundings. I had to keep an eye on my dog, so this was not acceptable. But when I tried to pull the hood back, more rain got in my face. I just had to accept the fact that I wouldn't be able to see much.
It kept the rain off my head, which is really what I purchased the item for. But sheesh! I really don't know if it was worth it. In order for me to wear a hood like that again, it would have to be under a hoodless jacket or when it's too warm for a jacket. I really can't imagine having to wear this for everyday use. I guess most people would wear it under a cloak or something, or use a penannular cloak pin to keep it in place. I don't know if I'm ready to do that in public though.
There's my take on Viking hoods. And speaking of Amazon, Where the Clouds Catch Fire is available on Kindle for a newly-reduced price of $3.99! Be sure to pick up a copy and leave us a five-star review when you've finished it. What's your favorite method of keeping the rain off? Let us know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
On Saturday, Aunt Sorcha scrubs me and Tarin clean from head to toe and wraps our hair in rags to curl it overnight. She's gentler than Aunt Ruari, but it still hurts, and Tarin shrieks at her once. Mum yells from bed, asking what's wrong, and Aunt Sorcha says that Tarin is tender-headed. Mum laughs at tells him to come there, she'll finish his hair. So Aunt Sorcha is able to tend to my hair, and I can't complain because I'm eight, going on nine. At least I don't have much hair to tend to. Da shaved it off when I had scarlet fever, and now most of my hair is buried with my sister Louisa.
The baby doesn't cry much during the day. She sleeps all day and wakes up around dinnertime, crying to eat with the rest of us, and that's why Aunt Sorcha's stayed with us for as long as she has. So she can cook dinner while Mum feeds the baby. Mum insists that she's grand, she'd taken care of Alynn and Louisa on her own, and now that Alynn's all grown and even Tarin can help set the table, she shouldn't have any problems at all, at all. Aunt Sorcha needs to get back to her own children, she says.
But Declan and Ian are staying with Mairead, Aunt Sorcha says, and besides, half a year more and Mum will be cooking dinner for the five of them. So Mum laughs, and I don't get it because there's only four people in Aunt Sorcha's house. Tarin's just learning his numbers and asks who the fifth person is, and Mum says they're on a journey here.
"Now go to sleep," she tells Tarin and me, "for tomorrow's yer sister's baptism."
I lie down on my bedroll of furs and blankets, and Tarin tries to sleep by himself, but a quarter hour passes and he comes and snuggles next to me. I don't mind. Just before I drift off to sleep, Aunt Sorcha takes a lantern and leaves for her own bed. She lives two streets north and four houses west of us, so it's no bother for her to walk here and back every day.
The next thing I know, Aunt Sorcha's back and making stirabout for everyone, and Aunt Ruari is fixing Mum's hair, and I run out back so she won't mess with mine. But Aunt Sorcha follows me and plops me down on the bed in front of Mum. So I fix Tarin's hair, and Mum fixes mine, and all's well in the world.
Tarin looks like a wee red lamb with his hair in curls, and I know I don't look much better. Da's curls didn't work out at all, at all. But Mum looks beautiful, and everyone tells her so. Even the baby looks up at her with admiration. When everyone's ready and Da's wiped the stirabout from Tarin's face and I fix my plaid so that it's draped just right over my skirt, we leave for St. Joseph's.
It's raining. I want to pull my plaid over my head, but Aunt Ruari scolds me, "I'll spoil yer hair."
"Faith, Ruari, it'll be spoiled either way," Aunt Sorcha says back, and so up goes my plaid.
The baby's never been rained on before. She looks up at the heavens with surprise and starts to cry. Mum laughs. "It's just a shower, dear heart. You'll get used to it, just as Lynder and Tarin did." But the baby doesn't stop crying, so Mum nurses her to quiet her.
The wood-paved sidewalks are muddy. Da picks up Tarin so he won't start playing in the mud and ruin his clothes. Part of me wishes I was still little enough for Da to pick up and carry like that; the other part is glad I'm grown up enough to help Mum around the house.
We get inside the church. It's dark and cold, a wee bit like a cave, but it's also grand and big and beautiful. Everyone is solemn and shivering. I want to wrap up in my plaid, but I know that if I get too warm and comfortable I'll fall asleep. That's why the priest, Father Ranulf, has us sit and stand and kneel so often; it warms us and keeps us awake. Aunt Sorcha goes to sit with Uncle Seamus, but the rest of us sit with Nan, Granddad, and my uncles Micheal, Stiofan, and Oisin.
Service starts, but then Father Ranulf calls up my family. Aunt Sorcha and Uncle Seamus come up, too; they're the godparents. He takes the baby into his arms and says a few words, then sprinkles her with holy water. "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," he drones, "I baptize you, Britta McNeil."
Britta. It's perfect.
Father Ranulf says a few more words, but Britta's tired of ceremony and decides to vomit her last meal onto Father Ranulf's perfect black tunic.
Mum turns red, but everyone else laughs. Perhaps next time, Father Ranulf will do the rest of us a favor by not talking for so long.
School started up again on Monday. I know I'm luckier than a lot of college students in that I get to live at home and take my classes mostly online, but I'm still trying to balance school and work and church. If you don't see a blog post until Friday every once and a while, that's why.
I'm blessed to attend a pretty nice college. It's just a community college, granted, but there's a Baptist Student Ministry that provides free lunches every Wednesday. And, as luck would have it, I have classes from 9:30 to 10:45 every Wednesday. So staying until free lunch is just a matter of bringing my laptop and finding a quiet nook to study in.
I was rather jittery after class on my first Wednesday back to school. Maybe it was being cooped up behind a desk all week; maybe I was just uncomfortable from having to look at pictures of naked people in art class. But whatever the reason, I was glad to head up to the library and find one of the best amenities my college has to offer.
It's just like an exercise bike at the gym, except that there's a desk on it, complete with a cupholder and a strap for your laptop so it doesn't fall off. I hopped right on that thing and pedaled away while posting to a discussion board about how Hispanics affect the Texas economy.
I'll admit that I do way too much sitting still. I read my Bible in bed. I study at my desk. I sit at the lunch table, in my car, and while I'm preparing for my students to arrive. Then it's back home, where I sit down to dinner, and retire upstairs where I write at my desk or watch YouTube in bed. The most exercise I get is at the college, where I walk half a mile from the parking lot to my classroom. Wow. Describing my day like that has really revealed to me how sessile of a person I am.
I came across the word sessile in biology class several years ago, when I was learning about sponges. Sponges are sessile. They can't move. Humans just choose not to. So maybe "couch barnacle" would be a better term than "couch potato."
I find it almost humorous that I can put my characters through the gauntlet--have them run, jump, harvest fields, sword fight, and stay on their feet from dawn until dusk--all from the comfort of my black swivel chair.
Of course I fidget in it. But what I need is to disassemble my bike so I can exercise in it, too.
What are some creative ways you've worked exercise into your schedule? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
When I outshoot all three of my uncles, I run through the sheep-fields and back to the house, where Tarin is crying because Aunt Ruari was pulling too hard on his hair. So I pick up Tarin and take him outside to see the sheep. Tarin likes to be carried. He buries his face in the hollow of my shoulder, just as he does every time I lift him onto my hip, and clings to me like a bird to a branch. He stops crying.
"'Lynn," he murmurs, "will Aunt Ruari follow us?"
"She won't, Tarin."
"Will she hurt my hair again?"
"Not today, Tarin. I won't let her."
"Can we go see the sheeps, 'Lynn?"
"That's where we're headed."
It starts to rain. I sigh, remembering how much sheep stink when they're wet, but it's better this than watching Tarin squall because Aunt Ruari is plowing his scalp with a comb. Most things in life are better than watching Tarin cry. Da laughs at me sometimes, says I'm like a second mum to Tarin because I tend to him so much. I've had no choice of late. Mum's been shooing us both outside so she can rest, and there's a world of trouble a three-year-old can get into outside.
We find the sheep, and Tarin amuses himself with them. I stand with my back to the wind for a bit, but there's no fun in that, so I start playing with the sheep, too. It's fun to pick bits of grass and let the sheep take them out of your hand. I try to milk one of the ewes, but I can't get anything out of her. I'll have to tell Granddad that one of the sheep is no good anymore.
We're out there for hours, playing tag and looking for flowers and making forts out of bushes. And then I hear whistling, and I look up to see Da coming over a hill, looking for us.
"Children!" he calls, and we slip on the wet grass and clamor up the hill to meet him. Da's a beanpole, tall and thin and narrow-shouldered, but he's twice as strong as he looks and he's got a long mustache. He picks Tarin up, tosses him in the air, and catches him. It's my turn now, I want to tell him, but I know I'm too big.
"There's someone for ye to meet at home," Da says, taking my hand. "Pull yer plaid over yer head, Alynn. You'll catch yer death."
Sighing, I pull my plaid over my head, and Da does the same for Tarin. He looks sweet, all wrapped up in his blue and navy plaid like a swaddled babe, but I wear white and pink so I look like a ghost.
"What was it you said about angels, Da?" I ask. We leave the farm and begin the half-mile walk back home. The wooden sidewalks feel hard through my thin leather shoes, but at least I'm not as muddy. It's hard to live in Limerick City and not get muddy.
"The angels gave us somethin'," Da says, pulling his own plaid further up on his head. "You'll see when we get home, Lynder."
"Is it somethin' to eat?" Tarin asks.
"It's not, son."
"Is it a kitty cat?"
"It's better than a kitty cat."
I can't guess what it is, but it's not far to home and I'll see soon enough. We're just passing St. Joseph's Church, which means we'll be home in five minutes if Tarin doesn't do something to make us stop.
Most days, I can spot the smithy because there's always smoke coming out from the forge. Not today. Da must have stopped work to visit with the angel. I wish I could have seen it.
"What did the angel look like, Da?" I ask.
"You're too curious for yer own good," Da says, and I stop talking until we're inside.
And when we're inside, I can't talk. There's Mum in the bed, and Nan beside her, and Aunt Sorcha my godmother making tea. Da grabs a towel and dries Tarin off, then lifts him onto the bed beside Mum. Mum smiles and hands him a bundle.
"Baby!" cries Tarin. He smiles and tries to touch the baby's face, but Da whisks his hand away.
"Be gentle, dear heart," Mum says. "This is yer new baby sister. Give her a kiss."
Tarin gives the baby a kiss on the forehead. The baby squirms, and I squirm too, with impatience.
"My turn to hold her," I say.
Da sets me on the bed next to Tarin and sets the warm little bundle in my arms. Her face is red and squished, and she makes little noises. She's perfect.
"What's her name?" I ask.
"You can't say a baby's name before her baptism," Nan says. "It's bad luck."
I didn't learn Tarin's name until his baptism, either. So I kiss my new baby sister, the angel's gift to us, and I hand her back to Mum. And then I squirm, waiting for her baptism so I can learn her name.
I, for the life of me, cannot think of anything to blog about today. I might as well take this opportunity to tell you about writer's block.
By the grace of God, I don't deal with writer's block very often. I don't have weeks or months where no words come out. I might have days or weeks when I'm busy and can't find time to write, or moments when I sit at the keyboard for two hours and choke out forty-eight words, but rarely do I leave my desk without accomplishing anything.
Rarely, not never.
Instead of getting stumped, I tend to get distracted. It usually starts innocently. I'm writing and run into a question I need to answer--"What sorts of flowers grow in Orkney?" I might remember an unimportant task that--"I need to find the perfect name for a character in a story I'm not going to write for another five years." Or I might genuinely want to waste some time--"YouTube, show me a compilation of every Doofenshmirtz Evil, Inc. jingle."
Great. Now the jingle is stuck in my head.
But whatever happens, I usually end up surfing the web for much longer than I intended to.
Just five minutes ago, before my phone alarm went off and reminded me that I was supposed to post a blog today, I was "researching" medieval laws. I had no reason to. I just wanted to find the funny ones and see if I could work them into my book somehow. (I mean, in Iceland, it is illegal to shoot a moose with a bow and arrow while skiing on private property. How can I not use that?)
I just took ten minutes to find the exact internet source of where I found that fact. See what I mean?
I know I'm not the only one who does this. How many students can say they've set off to write an essay and end up learning origami or watching YouTube cat videos? Do grown-ups do this to? (Actually, I'm not entirely sure what grown-ups write about...work emails? Reports? Boring non-fiction, I guess.) Sometimes, the only thing that keeps me writing is the knowledge that something very unpleasant is waiting for me in the outside world. Like laundry or a sink full of dishes or a pile of sheets on an unmade bed. Or, at the moment, my job...I have to leave in an hour, and I still have to eat lunch and walk my dog....
How do I get back on task, you ask? Under most situations, I come to the realization that I've spent three hours on Pinterest, feel immediate shame, and x-out of it. The ascetic part of me rears its head and tells me to buck up and do my job. And, usually, I listen to it.
But sometimes, drastic measures are needed. I'll get my phone out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. I'll disconnect my WiFi for a moment. I might need to take a break and do something physical (such as one of the chores I've been avoiding) so I can come back and focus with renewed energy.
At the moment, for example, I need to make my bed. And eat lunch. And walk my dog before I go to work.
How do you overcome writer's block? Let me know in the comments below, and don't forget to check out Where the Clouds Catch Fire on Amazon Kindle! God bless you, dear readers!
Hey guys! Before I jump into our new short story, I wanted to let you know that Where the Clouds Catch Fire is still available for FREE on Amazon Kindle. But today's the last day to get it for free, so hurry and claim your copy!
Now, without further ado...
Uncle Micheal says he's a man now because he has a mustache. It's a wee, patchy thing that you can't see unless the sun is right, and even then it looks like faint red moss on his upper lip. 'Tis nothing like Da's mustache. Da's mustache is red where the rest of his hair is blonde. It's so long that he has to braid it so it won't get in the way of his blacksmithing work. Da's mustache can touch his chest, and it tickles my neck when he picks me up for a hug. He forgot to hug me this morning when he sent me and my wee brother Tarin to Nan's house. He said something about angels that I didn't understand, but Nan must have, because she put me and Tarin in Aunt Ruari's care, told us to behave, and left to go see Mum.
Aunt Ruari is Mum's youngest sister, the only one who's not married yet. Her hair curls violently and every time she combs it, it sticks out in every direction like wool on a carding comb. Since she can't do much with her own hair, she's forever fussing with other peoples'. She's forever telling me to sit still so she can plow my scalp with a comb, and I can't stand for it, so I tell her to play with Tarin's hair and leave to find Uncle Micheal.
I smile when I see Uncle Micheal, Uncle Stiofan, and Uncle Oisin all together under a tree, watching Granddad's sheep. Watching sheep is easy, so Uncle Micheal, Uncle Stiofan, and Uncle Oisin spend most of their days making merry.
Uncle Micheal is the oldest of the uncles, but still younger than Aunt Ruari. He's the only one who claims to be a man. A year younger than him is Uncle Stiofan, the only one who cares for the sheep the way Granddad wants him to. And Uncle Oisin is barely twelve.
Uncle Oisin is my favorite. Uncle Micheal says he's a man and too big to play with me and Tarin, and Uncle Stiofan is forever trying to be a decent shepherd like Granddad, but Uncle Oisin causes mischief and steals food from the kitchen and knows better than anyone how to have fun. And since he's the youngest of the Quaid brood, he can get away with whatever he pleases.
Nan says she was so knackered from raising so many children that, when Uncle Oisin came along, she didn't try making a decent person out of him. All the women at church say they can't blame her, who else in Limerick City can say they raised ten children and buried four?
I run over to Uncle Micheal, Uncle Stiofan, and Uncle Oisin, and I see that they're carving a target into a tree. Uncle Micheal has a crossbow, Lord knows if Granddad gave him permission to use it, and three arrows.
"Can I shoot?" says I.
"You're too little," says Uncle Micheal, "you might hit someone."
I've been shooting that crossbow since I was five, and now I'm eight, going on nine, and Uncle Micheal still says I'm too little. "I can shoot better than you," I say. "I'll prove it."
Uncle Oisin laughs, and Uncle Micheal isn't about to show his brothers that a wee girl can outshoot a man, so he hands me the bow and three arrows and says, "Ladies first."
The bow is too big for me, heavy in my little twig arms, but I hold it up and aim carefully. I close one eye, then the other, trying to remember which one gave me a better shot.
"Fire already!" cries Uncle Oisin.
I pick an eye and pull the trigger. I fly backwards, and the arrow misses the tree. Uncle Oisin laughs, but I know I just closed the wrong eye. I load the next arrow, and this time, I hit the target. My third arrow hits close to the bullseye.
I smile and hand the bow to Uncle Micheal. All three of his arrows hit the target, but nowhere near the center.
"I say it's a tie," says Uncle Stiofan.
"I say Lynder won," says Uncle Oisin.
"It's most definitely a tie," says Uncle Micheal, but only because he's ashamed to say that he, a man with a mustache, lost to a girl.
Well, guys...today marks a pretty big milestone for Where the Clouds Catch Fire. We're on Amazon Kindle! You can click HERE to buy it. Or, better yet, you can wait until January 4 (this Friday) and get it for completely, 100% free. I'll be free through Monday the 7th.
It recently came to my attention that not everyone who reads my blog realizes that I have, in fact, written a book. The book is actually why I started the blog. I put a piece of myself in a Word document and wanted to share it with as many people as possible.
When people ask me what my book is about, I tell them that it's about a girl who has to help a monk fight off a Viking invasion. But it's about so much more than that. It's about an orphan who finds a home. It's about a lonely man who finds a family. It's about a child who comes to know God in a way she never thought possible. It's about faith, family, and the amazing strength that comes when the two are combined.
Perhaps you have an active imagination, like mine. If you do, please close your eyes (wait--keep them open long enough to finish the paragraph). Imagine the visual equivalents of Myrcella Baratheon from Season 2 of Game of Thrones and Captain Picard from Star Trek. Never mind their personalities; we just want their physical appearances. Now take Myrcella and make her a quiet, motherless, impoverished 13-year-old. Her hands are dry and bleeding from keeping house in the harsh Irish weather. Actually, she's lived in twenty-four houses in her short life, and she's been the primary caretaker in twenty-two of them. Now take her away from the few family members she has left, give her a chance to earn a home she'll never be taken away from, and watch her exemplify the idea that the quietest people hide the greatest strength.
Now take Picard. Forget the military decorum he's known for. Imagine him awake in the middle of the night, shaking, sweating, praying that he'll never have another of those horrid nightmares again. Before dawn breaks, he prays three Psalms from memory; at first light, he's out in the fields. The farm work doesn't take much of his time; he wishes he had more than himself to provide for. But he might spend his afternoon sword fighting a tree, or reading a book in one of the four languages he's fluent in. He smells like rain and old books and sits having conversations with himself, or the cats he's never liked, or his beloved horses Humility and Honor in the stables. He wishes he wasn't alone in such a large building as St. Anne's Monastery, but he can't help it. Not since the massacre, the source of his nightmares.
Now put these two together and you have Alynn McNeil and Lukas McCamden, the leading characters of Where the Clouds Catch Fire.
If you don't have a Kindle, you can get the free app on your phone or tablet. Download Where the Clouds Catch Fire while it's free of charge (and keep an eye out for the sequel!). Share it with your friends. And please leave us a 5-star review if you enjoyed the book. We really appreciate those 5-star reviews. If you prefer a hard copy, you can purchase it by clicking the "Purchase" tab above. But go ahead and leave us that 5-star Amazon review anyway. Thanks ahead of time!
How would you describe your favorite fictional character? And (with the exception of Where the Clouds Catch Fire, of course), what's your favorite Kindle book? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.