Small Dreams ~ Chapter One

It’s a difficult decision to buy a book online. All you have to go by is the tiny blurb beside the book cover and that’s not much. So I’m sharing the entire first chapter with you. That way you get to meet Jessica and Chris and hopefully grow to love them as much as I do.

***

Chris was, once again, perched on the porch railing. I’d told him the railing was unsafe, the damn thing was held in place with nothing more than a handful of rusty screws and a whole lot of hope. The landlord had warned him against it too. But Chris had the attitude that nothing bad could ever happen to him and, well, so far nothing had.

He jumped down as soon as he saw me and the railing swayed wildly behind him.

This is for you,” he blurted as I walked up the path then he handed me the bag he’d been holding. I took a peek inside. A pregnancy test? I tossed it back like he’d lobbed me a live grenade.

Chris!” I exclaimed, “Why did you get me this?”

You’ve been queasy all week. You’ve thrown up twice this morning alone and your period is late. Why wouldn’t I get one?”

I can’t be pregnant!” I replied, ruthlessly ignoring the voice in the back of my head whispering ‘that would explain a lot’.

The only way we’ll know for sure is if you take the test,” he said then pressed the bag back into my hands. As tempting as it was to push it back, he was right. I sighed then quietly headed upstairs.

I could hear our roommates, Ann and John, laughing and talking in the backyard so at least we had the place to ourselves. Luckily Ann had been cleaning so I could no longer smell the liver she’d fried that morning. Unluckily Ann had been cleaning so all I could smell was powdered cleanser (only 79 cents a can at Bargoon Land, Jessica) and her heavy duty, catch-in-your-throat industrial floor cleaner. I tried to breathe shallowly.

I’ll, umm, wait out here while you take the test,” Chris said awkwardly. He leaned against the wall and stared out the hall window, even though it overlooked nothing but our neighbour’s roof and the sapling collection currently growing in their eaves.

It felt weird not locking the bathroom door but Chris was right there and it wasn’t like he’d let John or Ann waltz in. I slid the test onto the counter then fished the instructions out of the box. It looked easy enough but I still read them three times. I was about to read them a fourth time then admitted to myself I was just stalling. I could have written them by that point. Besides I really had to pee.

No time like the present,” I muttered then followed the instructions.

I refused to look at the test until I had thoroughly washed and dried my hands. Finally I picked it up and looked at what I already knew was there, two distinct lines in the window. A tear landed on the test, then another. I couldn’t hold them back.

The bathroom door opened a crack and Chris slipped inside. He picked up the test gently and stared at it in amazement. His expression said it was Christmas and Santa just showed up with a Porsche. Then he looked at my tears and his smile dimmed.

You don’t want the baby?” he asked forlornly.

I rubbed the backs of my hands across my eyes before replying. “It’s not that,” I protested. “What are we going to do with a baby? What sort of life can we give it?”

Could you imagine bathing a baby in here?” I gestured around the bathroom at the chipped paint, the grime streaked windows, Ann’s hairy razor, and the cracks winding their way across the entire length of the wall.

I want a baby with you, but I want our baby to have a real home and a future.”

Chris clasped both my hands in his and stared down at me. I looked at the friendly, goofball kid I joked around with all through high school and saw the man he was becoming.

We won’t live here forever,” Chris solemnly assured me. “We’ll make a better life for us and our baby. Things will turn out; I promise.”

I stared into his eyes and believed him.

***

If you want to read more, you can find Small Dreams here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/small-dreams

Small Dreams…

It was 1995 and we’d just got our very first computer. It had 1mb of RAM and I nearly filled it up by adding everything in our calendar for the next hundred years. I even included our 100th anniversary, you know, in case we lived to be 123. The calendar became boring fairly quickly and I fished for something else to do.

Then I came up with writing. I’d always loved to write and had been good at it for as long as I could remember. I got told last year, by one of my former teachers, that my writing was handed around the staff room in elementary school because it was good. I had been writing poetry but wanted to try something different. I settled on a novel because it would give me space to add extra details, while poetry usually wants you to pare them down. People say to write about what you know. I was young, broke, newly married, and had a baby so I wrote about a young, newly pregnant woman and her boyfriend.

book-coverAt first I wrote about every single day. Yeah, it was as boring to write as it was to read. I also tried to write it as a diary with the same reaction. Then I made everything perfect for them. Every time there was trouble in their lives, it was immediately improved. For example, they need to look for another apartment. They were living in a rooming house and found, well they found my great grandmother’s backyard cottage. Her Dad had built their house and, when him and his wife got older, he built a backyard cottage for them to retire to. My great grandmother used to rent it out to a school teacher. It was gorgeous, with it’s own small backyard and a wide front porch. It was also pretty unrealistic for the main characters to find.

There were other minor issues. Things like phones for example. Almost no one had a cellphone in the 90’s so, when they got a phone, it was a landline. Then they waffled over having cellphones but they were too expensive… and again got a landline. Now, what 20-something year old doesn’t have a cellphone? So they have cellphones.

I’ve been working and editing on this book for so long and finally decided enough was enough. It was time to publish. I hope you love Jessica and Chris just as much as I do. If you’re interested in reading my book, it’s $3.99, so about the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee and it lasts longer too. You can find it here.

Kathleen Creates…

63One thing I’ve been working on for months now is getting back into my much loved hobbies. Reading, writing, and scrapbooking. Of the three, I’ve found scrapbooking to be the easiest. This isn’t my best layout but I a) didn’t want anyone else in the shot and b) most had already been converted to 8×10 for printing. An aside, I love that picture from Dollarama and can’t wait until I unpack it again and find the perfect spot.

I recently bought a friend’s book and read it from cover to cover in one evening, just like I used to read. It helped that the book was well written and interesting. Then I went to the library with friends and am now enjoying curling up on my swing chair with a book.

Reading has rekindled my love of writing and I have a finished book called Small Dreams that just needs a read over. And I’m doing just that. It’s the first book I ever wrote, I started it in 1995 when Kait was a baby. Back then I started it in a diary format then decided it was too clunky. Then I made everything too perfect for the couple. For example, they’re looking for an apartment and stumble across a sign. The apartment turned out to be a grandparents’ house in the backyard, complete with leaded windows and their own little backyard, redolent of lilacs. It was too perfect and I ended up tucking it away for a few years. It was gutted and rewritten so many times but, finally, I think it’s almost good to go. I’m looking forward to when it’s done and I have people reading it! I hope they like it as much as I do.

And finally, I’ve started a Facebook page where people can keep up with what I’m working on and get chucked interesting memes on a regular basis. The webpage is Kathleen Creates, feel free to click the link and like the page. As always, when you click on a link here, it opens in a new page so you can come back.

And, with that, it’s time for me to go work on Small Dreams again.

Kathleen Creates

Colin’s blog post…

We are starting to get into a world where, instead of having it where you buy a video game and can play it forever, we just can’t. Look at a game like Dark Spore. It was an okay game I’ve heard. I have two copies and I can’t play either, unless I somehow get a crack for it or a server emulator, which is stupid. There are people who probably saw the game and bought it after the servers were brought down. I know that because that’s when I bought mine…

If you’re interested in reading more, please head over to Colin’s blog here.

The wrong way to get recognized…

November 22nd: I’ve read more about Lori Alexander and it turns out she’s an asshole who lives to shame childfree women and basically anyone who doesn’t follow her narrow ideas of living. It’s probably best to completely ignore her.

*******************************************************************************

I’m pretty sure most bloggers want their blog to get noticed, to go viral. Well maybe not the people writing their diary online and, in those cases, I suggest a lovely journal from Marshalls. I know that I’d love to see one of my posts get noticed. I should be more careful about what I wish because sometimes it’s like wishing on a monkey’s paw, you get what you want but in the worst possible way.

There’s a blogger who, like me, has a small blog and a Facebook page. Our content is worlds apart. I write about Colin, LGBTQ issues (mainly trans), vegan recipes, my novels, and mental health issues (mainly my own). I’m also an atheist. Hers is about her interpretation of the Bible, offering suggestions for living a godly life, in full blown posts on her blog and handwritten notes on her Facebook page… with the occasional photo thrown in.

so regrettable

I want that font!

A friend of mine posted against the blog on her page, after getting banned for commenting. I went on as well and, I must admit, I commented too.

“I need to go get another tattoo. Would girls still like me?”

I wondered why I never got banned and then I took another look at the sheer number of posts and their times. I had to scroll up to get out of the 1 minute old messages then the same for two, three, five… there was no way a single person could delete that deluge. Plus many of the posts were people calling friends in to see and comment.

Then I wondered why she didn’t just delete that post… until I scrolled down and realized it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Her posts were buried under thousands of comments. She’d become viral in the worst possible way. I figured, by then, that she was probably extremely shaken, maybe even crying, and away from the computer. I know I would be. Most of the comments were along the lines of:

No, REAL men preefer strong independent women who dont take.lessons on how to live or who to be from.a FB article. This lady is nuts!

That was an average comment. There were better and there were plenty worse. I did not see a single comment supporting her.

I get that people have the right to their own opinion but if your opinion has already been shared 500 times, do you really need to post too? There’s even an article on Woke Sloth that God helpfully shared (the Facebook persona, not the sky Daddy). Someone, who appears to lead a quiet, sheltered life, has suddenly been shoved into the lime light and it’s all negative.

There are all sorts of people that I don’t care if they get negative press. Actual Nazis, rapists, child molestors, people who make pickle and peanut butter sandwiches, and bigots of any kind. She didn’t fall into any of those categories as far as I could tell. She simply wanted to share her 1950’s views on the Bible. She certainly didn’t deserve what happened to her page.

With any luck, something new will happen in the next few days and she’ll fade, once again, into obscurity. And, hopefully, when the next viral blog shows up, they’ll be remembered as a human and not just something to mock.

The wrong way home…

It wasn’t the stop I’d planned to wait at. My original plan called for me to walk five more blocks but that would take me 10 minutes and my bus app informed me I had nine. So I hurried over to the nearest stop and stood beside the man who was waiting there.

It didn’t take long before he started to chat. His truck was in the shop, otherwise he wouldn’t be here waiting alongside me. A standard topic for drivers who find themselves catching the bus. They wouldn’t normally be there, hanging out on the street corner with us plebeians but circumstances happened. He’d just dropped his truck off and had been up since yesterday so was looking forward to getting home and getting a few hours rest. There wasn’t really any time for me to speak, not that I knew what to say.

Then he asked, “Do you know what bus to take to get to Taunton and Wilson?”

Taunton Road is in the north part of Oshawa. It used to be pretty much the edge of town but the city’s sprawled north of it now. And Wilson was to the east of us by about ten blocks. We were currently downtown, so nowhere near either road.

Three years ago he could have caught the 407 Ritson bus and it would have taken him straight down Taunton but, short of a time machine, that wasn’t going to happen. However, the 416 Kedron did go down there. Plus it left from the college bus loop. The 401 Simcoe, one of the main buses in Oshawa, ended there and it conveniently came to the stop where we waited. So I told him just that. He thanked me and continued on with his one sided conversation.

“My house is worth 800 thousand dollars,” he proudly informed me. “When I bought it in 2009, it was worth only 300 thousand.”

I was about to congratulate him when he continued. “My wife is indicting me. You know, for the house. You women have way too much power in this country.”

I silently cheered for his wife.

“See?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of money, sliding one twenty from the top. “Who’s on all your money?”

“Queen Elizabeth,” I replied simply.

“See, a woman. That’s my proof,” he said this cheerfully, smiling the whole time. “Every time I look at money, I’m reminded of who’s in power here.”

The 401 bus arrived and he climbed on then back off within seconds. The bus pulled away without him.

“Why did you get off?” I asked.

“The (male) driver told me to catch the 407,” he replied.

“It won’t take you to Taunton,” I cautioned him. “But it will take you to Coldstream and Wilson.”

“That’s even better!” the man said happily.

The 407 came along moments later. I got on first and settled myself while he sat down behind me a bit later. Two blocks later he was up and out of his seat.

“Where are you going?” I asked in bewilderment. He had at least another twenty minutes left before his stop.

“The (male) driver told me to go to Centre Street,” he replied as he slipped out the back doors.

Oshawa has one way streets through their downtown. Simcoe Street runs north and Centre Street runs south. There’s no way on earth he could catch a southbound bus on Centre to get to the north west part of town. No way at all.

I looked out the window at him standing there, still happy, clutching his transfer in one hand then settled back in my seat to go home. I wonder how long it took him to get to his?

drt_8159

The bus he should have taken

My spring book sale…

I probably shouldn’t have ran. I was different enough to begin with and running attracted attention. But I was scared and I needed Papa.

I didn’t know what I’d do when he was gone.

The soles of my shoes slipped in the dust as I turned the corner toward home, making me stagger a little, but I was used to how worn they were and quickly caught my balance. One leap let me avoid the wobbly bit of our front steps then I slipped inside.

Papa lay on his bed in the front room, cocooned in blankets. He stared at me blankly for a moment before recognition slowly seeped in.

“Aren? Is something wrong?” His words were whisper thin and edged in pain.

“Papa? What’s treason?” I gasped as I leaned against the door. The sweat wicked into my dress as I stood waiting for his reply.

I’d understood most of the notice in the village square, more than enough to terrify me. The rest hinged on that one unknown word. Hopefully it wasn’t as bad as I feared although, judging by experience, things tended to be worse than expected and not better.

Papa pulled himself up a bit more onto his pillow. “Treason? It’s when you go against the king,” he replied. He coughed and the sound echoed through the mostly empty room. “Of course you need to have a king in order to be charged with that.”

I couldn’t stop the shiver that traced a path along my spine.

“It’s okay Aren, I know what Robert’s calling himself,” he assured me. “Smallest province in Avenna and he claims he’s king. I could call myself king of this bed just as easily and it would mean as much.”

He gestured briefly across the bed then he winced and his hand dropped.

“Papa?” I took a step forward then stopped when he smiled.

“I’m fine,” he whispered. He coughed again and raised his voice slightly. “When King Nicholas was alive, treason was one of the few crimes with a death penalty. I assume that much hasn’t changed.”

It felt like my heart dropped into my stomach. I stared at him in horror. He stared back, his face was so pale it looked waxy.

“It’s that bad Aren? What is he calling treason?”

“Half-elven babies,” I replied. I was right, it was worse.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

If the above couple of paragraphs interest you, you’re in luck! My book is currently on sale for $2.99 (or $10.99 for a kick ass paperback). For the price of a Starbucks coffee, you can have an enjoyable read. Every person who has read this book so far has loved it and several are eagerly waiting for a sequel (something that’s not happening until I have more sales). The book is also LGBTQ friendly (the T is fleshed out in the second book, which is already half written).

If you are in the United States, you can find the ebook here. If you’re in the UK, you can find the ebook here. And if you’re in Canada the book is here.

I am currently nearing the top of a subsidized wait list for housing and every penny I make is going towards moving expenses.

Thank you and enjoy!

heart book