The recent publication of the three-volume short story anthologies from the One Million Project was the culmination of over a year and a half of work and coordination of over one hundred writers, editors and publishing professionals. Each week, I will highlight each of the anthologies to give readers a taste of how fabulous these books […]
Two years ago, I made an effort to begin going to Sunday mass again. I’d been absent more often than not during the preceding years for a plethora of reasons — weekend work schedules, out-of-town family events, and caring for my mother in her home in another state. Father Bill was the priest on the Sunday I’d returned to join the faithful.
I watched as he entered the church from the sacristy. Walking across the altar was difficult for him, I understood why he didn’t participate in the processional at the beginning of mass. I lamented the state of the Church, and its continued problems recruiting young priests. During that mass, Father Bill touched my heart with his thoughtful, quiet homily and the devotion and passion of his voice as he sung the hymns.
On the walk home, I confided in my husband how moved I was by Father Bill’s story which reminded so much of an event that occurred when we attended Midnight Mass in Rome over two decades ago. When I got home, I wrote a short story about that special night.
It has been over a week since Father Bill fell and broke his hip. After surgery, he seemed to be doing well and the hospital staff planned on getting him up to walk. Within a few days, his condition worsened, and Father Bill was called to his heavenly home. He will be sorely missed by the parishioners in our little village.
He struggled to walk, yet he bolstered himself to come and say mass each week even on the coldest winter days. The effort would waylay many younger people. When our pastor Father John spoke of Father Bill, he equated him with characters from stories similar to the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Lord of the Rings. Father Bill was the old king who went into battle when he was needed and fought valiantly in the service of others. Not a single dry eye in the church this past Sunday… Godspeed, Father Bill, this story is for you.
The dimly lit courtyard held a snaking line of visitors which buzzed with muted conversations, the shuffling of feet, and an occasional entreaty by a youngster to the elders who accompanied them. The group waited in anticipation to hear Pope John Paul II say Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Among the crowd were people of all ages, colors, and ethnicities. Ahead of us, the melodic cadence of Italian came from an animated troupe while behind us stood a gathering of nuns with dark veils covering their hair and wooden crosses hanging from the rosary beads secured at their waists.
In our group were military families taking a trip to Rome on Christmas weekend. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event for my small family. I had purchased a crucifix to hang in our home and brought my rosary so both items could be blessed by the Pope during Midnight Mass. Growing up in a Catholic family, my favorite mass of the year was this one celebrated on Christmas Eve.
When I was a young girl, we would get bundled up in our winter coats, boots, and mittens and crawl into our beat-up Chevy for the drive along snowy highways with the moonlight lighting the snow-covered fields until they glowed. The country church we attended it’s a well-known fact you had to get there early because the church reached its capacity for Midnight Mass. If you arrived late, you’d have to stand in the back and for a young child, it was reminiscent of standing among a suffocating forest of human legs.
The choir would start off the standard hymns I’d learned when my dad would play the Christmas album, “Sing Along with Mitch.” The voices of the faithful would swell with hope and love infused into their harmonies. Our song was a prayerful offering to the Creator.
In that dark Vatican courtyard, as we tried to stay warm, stomping our feet and rubbing our hands together, our small military group began to sing Silent Night to keep our minds off the December chill in the air and to pass the time. The Canadian nuns joined us and soon a trickle of other groups followed, providing a mixture of accented baritones, sopranos, tenors and altos. Our song grew in strength into something so pure it connected us all at that moment. One carol followed another until the stone walls surrounding us echoed with our words. Goosebumps popped up on my arms, and I felt a chill deep in my chest as I sang along. We–the travelers to this place on this specific night–were one in song and in fellowship.
I remember that night like it happened yesterday and not twenty-four years ago. We connected to strangers with our familiar song. I haven’t any photos or videos to document the moment but they aren’t needed because the memories are permanently engraved in my mind and heart. I wonder if the other people remember that evening as fondly.
Hey, y’all, I’ll be live on March 3rd from 10:00 am until 11:00 am Central Time during the Book Launch event. I’ll be sharing a bit about me and my writing, answering questions and giving away prizes!
I’d love to get to know you all better and share this wonderful project.
How did the One Million Project come about? Learn more about the brain child of UK author Jason Greenfield and his motivations for initiating what has become a world-wide cause for almost two hundred writers, artists, musicians and media persons across the globe.
This project is near and dear to my heart. My short story — Not Mama’s Little Girl — is in the Fiction anthology in case you want to check it out!
I am so proud to be associated with such a generous and talented group of individuals. I’m pre-ordering my copies now at a special price on Amazon.com. Follow the links in the blog to get your copies, too.
Over a year ago, UK author Jason Greenfield decided to enlist his writer friends to join him in a literary effort to raise money for charity through the publication of a collection of short stories. Over the months since that initial internet message to his fellow writers, a thirty-member cadre of writers from a variety […]
This summer has been super busy for me, and I haven’t made as much progress as I’d planned and hoped on my current WIP’s–Never Show Your Hand (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 3) and Not Mama’s Little Girl, Anymore!
I have completed a short story for the upcoming three-volume One Million Project short story anthology for charity. I will continue to update you about when the books will be released. It is scheduled in the November to December 2017 time frame right now. They will be published by Dark Ink Press and will be available on Amazon.com.
Never Show Your Hand is approximately 11,000 words and I am working on Chapter Eight of the book. It has been more of a challenge for me because I am writing it from more perspectives than just Clare Thibodeaux’s. I wanted to offer an inside look at what the other main characters (Wyatt, Lee, and Shanaya) are feeling.
Writing from Clare’s point of view is fairly easy because I’ve been in her head for the past two years. Although I’ve been aware of the motivations of the other characters, it is a challenge to jump into their characters and bring their inner dialogues to the forefront. I think it’s turning out to be an exciting story with intrigue, hidden agendas, romance and those darn plot twists I love so much.
Not Mama’s Little Girl, Anymore! is a story about Natalie Parker. She’s a Southern girl with a bit of sass that she uses to hide a hearty dose of personal insecurity. Natalie has been featured in several of my short stories. Another writer suggested she might make for a good full-length book, so I’ve been working on her story as well.
I am weaving her short stories into a larger story in the ChickLit genre. I am 10,000 words into the book at this time. I will include a preview of the first chapter under the “Kate’s Books” tab. Bite-Sized Stories V. 2 is published on Amazon and includes the Natalie short story, “Mucking Around”. The new OMP anthology I mentioned earlier will include another Natalie short story entitled “Not Mama’s Little Girl”.
Thanks for reading! I’ll get busy writing!!
The summer issue of the One Million Project e-zine is out. Lots of stories, awesome cover and more about our authors and their new projects.
At eighty-five years of age, Miss Lydia decided to get “one of those new-fangled phones” everyone seemed to be peering at with heads bent. Several of the ladies in her church group had them, and they talked incessantly about “time facing” and “gaggling it.” Whatever that meant, it sounded like a bunch of nonsense, but her nephew, Clyde, wanted her to have one for safety reasons. A bunch of bull-pucky!
The nice young man at the phone store tried to explain the features available on the phone, including why the only user manual was “on the line” and not printed out like normal. Frustrated, Miss Lydia returned home with her new gadget. She set it on the table beside her and watched it like someone would keep an eye on a rattler.
Clarice Travers stopped by after getting off work at the library. She oohed and aahed over what she called a cell phone, offering to help Miss Lydia set up some ring tones.
“It would be nice if a phone rang like a real phone.” The octogenarian didn’t cotton to changing anything what wasn’t broken.
“I can set that up, and I’ll do a couple of other alerts for texts, emails, and Facebook. You are on Facebook, aren’t you?” Clarice glanced up with raised eyebrows, smiling when Miss Lydia made a dismissive wave with her hand. “I’ll help you set it up another day if you’d like?”
Miss Lydia didn’t respond. Her head had settled back against her recliner, and her eyes were closed. She’d fallen asleep. Clarice finished setting up the alerts and laid the cell phone on the end table by Miss Lydia’s chair before letting herself out the door.
“Be-doh, be-doh, be-doh!” Miss Lydia sat up abruptly. What in the world was that? She listened intently for a repeat of the sound which woke her but didn’t hear it any longer, and she decided it must have been some whippersnapper outside making noise again. Those teenagers were always driving by with their radios blaring day and night.
Getting up out of her chair took a bit of doing due to her stiff joints and rheumatism, she hobbled into the bathroom. As she washed her hands, she heard that same “Be-doh” noise. She stormed out of the bathroom as quickly as a woman in advanced years could manage. Once more the sound had disappeared.
“Those juvenile delinquents made a loop around the block. Umph! Don’t they realize some people take a little rest in the afternoon?” Miss Lydia knew she needed to…What was it Clyde would say? Oh, yes. ‘Cool my jets.’
She approached the recliner looking out the window for the troublemakers. The sound of a bugle and the rattling of her new phone on the side table had her putting her hand over her heart in shock. She prodded it with her finger, but it remained silent.
She did remember how to do one thing with her new phone. Her finger pressed downward on a button at the side of her purchase. Miss Lydia had an inkling on how to turn it off.
Written for the Weekend Write-In Challenge on May 14, 2017.
As writers, we can bend the worlds we create in any direction we wish. But in the harsh reality of the world we live, poverty, homelessness and disease are a part of the day-to-day struggle of many people’s worlds.
The OMP (One Million Project) is an effort by writers and artists to help those who are caught in those struggles. Please take a moment to check out 24 Stories for Charity .