EMILY FINKE, a lyricist, composer, arranger, vocalist, producer, tracking engineer, mixing engineer, and publisher from Florida, joined host Paul W. Reeves to discuss her career, her work in opera, and her single, “Maybe“, which was released on March 4. Emily is also a 2022 ISSA Award nominee in several categories.


“Creative powerhouse Emily E. Finke once again captures the listener with her rich, mezzo-soprano voice and extraordinary songwriting in her new, original single, “Maybe.” Created with the soul of early 20th-century pop, the range of classical training, the inspiration of her Christian faith, and the ingenuity of an indie creative, “Maybe” takes the listener on an emotional journey of discovery to a place where “…dreams aren’t always what they seem.”

“Maybe” is the creative realization of a true entrepreneur. Featuring highly acclaimed musicians Paul Tine, Dina Kostic, Bonnie Brown, Chris Glansdorp, and Marco Navarrete; tracking by Ray Holzknecht and Chas Payson at Echo Beach Studios, Jupiter, FL; and mastering by Garrett Haines of Tree Lady Studios; Emily takes the rest of the credits as lyricist, composer, arranger, producer, vocalist, mixing engineer, and publisher. 

“Maybe” will be available worldwide on all streaming and downloading platforms on March 04, 2022. Emily invites everyone, dreamers and non-dreamers alike, to find inspiration in her passionate lyrics and majestic score. Let the soaring music of the strings, piano, and oboe accompanying what is said to be one of the most beautiful voices of the 21st century take you to a place where dreams come true, “…just not how we dream they do.”



Admin Note: Welcome to our newest source of information for authors. “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” radio program on Impact Radio USA offers interesting and entertaining interviews of authors who share their writing journey as inspiration for all writers finding their way. Dr. Paul also interviews individuals who are successful in education, finance, conspiracy theorist, medicine, self-help, motivation, musicians, artists, and more. These interviews give insight into various careers providing writing research and possible character ideas.

Look for additional Dr. Paul’s author interviews in the coming weeks on the page found on the menu bar. Enjoy!

Impact Radio USA

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Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day. While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

Impact Radio USA ListenNow


Paul W. Reeves 

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Paul W. Reeves is an author, radio talk show host, educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician!

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.


Kenneth Lawson: Off Book:

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image from Pixabay

Off Book:

“A project or mission that is not officially sanctioned or has an official record.”

Kenneth Lawson

Officially I’m in the South of France, sunning myself on the Riviera, and at least a dozen witnesses will swear they saw me. A document trail shows that I flew over on Air France, and I hired a Jaguar for the week. After flying in, I made a few casual acquaintances and told them I was going on a driving trip across France for several days, being very vague about where I was going and when I’d be back.

However, that was only a cover. I drove into the night until I reached a small clearing in the middle of nowhere and hurried aboard a small plane that took me back to where I had just left. My double would continue my trip, making sure to stay away from people and only be seen from a distance.

Part of me wished I still were driving through France, but there are certain jobs only I could do. I “borrowed” a car from a local car dealer, but I would return it before anyone missed it. I was parked next to the pier, waiting for them to arrive.

The lights from Artie’s Bar and Grill reflected off the water. I considered going back in, but the stench of beer and whatever they were smoking was enough to give me a migraine and drove me out the first time. I waited in the car.

About one a.m., a small light appeared on the horizon and blinked for barely a second—my signal. A few minutes later, a small watercraft eased out of the shadows and bumped against the sandy beach near the pier’s pylons. I shifted my pistol in my hands and waited for them to climb out of the boat.

The last thing I wanted was gunplay because a gunshot would echo for miles. I didn’t want to be discovered or deal with unexpected dead bodies—too many problems.

Officially we had nothing to do with the escape of a war prisoner and his return to his homeland, but wheels had been set in motion several weeks ago that guaranteed that he would be returning. The only problem was that no one currently in the company knew what he looked like now. It had been years since he’d gone under deep cover, and intel revealed he’d changed his appearance voluntarily several times since then. Upon capture, his captors tortured and disfigured him even more.

I was the only one left from the original training crew who knew him well and would know things only he’d know. It was my job to vet him or kill him.

Two figures emerged from the shadows of the pier. Silhouetted against the moon and water, they were easy targets if one had a mind to take them out. At this point, I hoped that I could avoid having to kill who I hoped was my closest friend.

Leaning against the car’s front fender, I had my gun in the shadow but ready. 

One man spoke as he approached me. “Nice night for a swim, eh?”

“Yes. If you enjoy freezing your ass off,” I countered with the response to the passphrase.

A cool breeze blew in off the water as he spoke. “You have the necessary papers?” 

He pulled a plastic pouch from inside his jacket, handing it to me. I read enough of the enclosed documents in the full moonlight to tell they were real.

The second figure hung back just behind the man I was talking to, and I spoke. “Lenny?”

He stepped forward, taking off his cap. “Roger, it’s good to see you again.” He pulled me into a hug. I let him wrap his arms around my shoulders and tried to remember what I could of our days.

“You know I have to vet you, make sure you’re Lenny Storm?”

He nodded. “Yes, ask me anything you like.”

We got into the car. I had him slide into the back seat while I got behind the wheel. Turning around in the seat, I asked him, “Remember Betty Summers?”

“Yeah, let me think, the name sounds familiar.”

“Should remember, you dated her for almost a year. “

”Yeah, that was before she got into the Mensa program, and I wasn’t good enough for her.”

I had been studying all the old records from back in training to remember as much as I could. I had to pull out something more obscure. If he were a trained agent, he could bullshit me all day, and I’d probably never realize it. There had to be a tell to show me he was the real Lenny. We made small talk on the drive back into town and to the motel where I had a room. He seemed to know all the old gossip and who had been doing what with whom. 

Once in the room, I could see the damage they’d done to him. His face had healed, but he looked like a stranger to me, not my oldest best friend. I could tell by how he got out of the car and moved that he was in pain, but he never said a word. I tossed him a big bottle of painkillers, and he grinned and thanked me. While he took a handful of pills, I considered what to do next.

“Lenny. It’s time for the hard questions.”

Easing himself down on the bed across from me, he eyed the pistol still in my hand. “You going to put that away?”

“I’d like to, but…”

“You’re still not sure who I am.” I nodded yes, and he continued. “I get it. I wouldn’t trust me either.”

We sat and talked for the next several hours. Topics included old instructors and the missions we worked together right out of training. He seemed to know everything he should. But something still wasn’t quite right. There was a lingering doubt in my mind that he was the real Lenny. Something he’d said or hadn’t said didn’t ring true, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Finally, I sat up straight and aimed my pistol at his head. “You’re not the real Lenny Stone. You’re a very good copy. You studied everything, did your research well, and even found out stuff no one else knew. You almost had me fooled.”

His face suddenly turned hard, and he sat upright and tensed up.

“You went through hell for nothing. Getting your face mangled to pass as Lenny, but you’re not him.”

I picked up my phone and hit a button. “Control, this is Zero-One Twenty-Three on the rescue mission. It’s a NO GO.”

“Terminate,” was the response, and the line went dead.

I tossed the phone to one side and screwed a suppressor on the end of the barrel. Leveling the pistol at “Lenny,” I asked if he had any last words.

“What gave it away?”

“The real Lenny wouldn’t have hugged me in a million years.”

Thud times two, and “Lenny Storm” lay dead on the bed. I made another phone call, and within an hour, no trace remained to show that we’d ever been here. Another hour later, I was on my way to the South of France. Sun on the beach and maybe fishing from that beach.

Sometimes this job sucked big time.

Please visit Kenneth on his website: http://kennethlawson.weebly.com


In our quest to assist writers in becoming the best they can be and remain motivated, we would like to introduce you to John Chuback, M.D. A cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Chuback found his goals waylaid by his lack of motivation.

In a series of interviews with Paul W. Reeves, host on Impact Radio USA, Dr. Chuback continues his discussion of the tools leading to success with his book “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success.”

Please click on the link below to hear Episode #29 of SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK, the first episode in the second series, and start enhancing your journey toward success today.

DR. JOHN CHUBACK, a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey, is the author of, “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success,” “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and other books.

DR. CHUBACK joins HOST PAUL W. REEVES weekly to discuss his books, “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, each of which explores the human mind and becoming all that you can be.

Throughout this portion of the series, Dr. Chuback will discuss “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, and the research behind his success philosophies.


Audiobooks on Audible

The Straight a Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success in and Out of the Classroom Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Written by John Chuback, M. D.
Narrated by Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D.

Click for Audible version on Amazon


Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”


Dr. John Chuback


Dr. John Chuback was born and raised in Bergen County and graduated from the Dwight Englewood School. He earned his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ, in Newark. Dr. Chuback then completed a five-year General Surgical Residency at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). Dr. Chuback is the author of Make Your Own Damn CheeseKaboing, and The Straight A Handbook.

All books are available on Amazon. com. 


Impact Radio USA

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Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day. While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

Impact Radio USA ListenNow


Paul W. Reeves 

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Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D. is an author, radio talk show host, educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician.

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.


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Calliope Njo: Border Bridge

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image from Pixabay

Border Bridge

Calliope Njo

I stood against the wall, waiting to be called. There were four others that waited with me. This would take me to the other side of the island and away from Queen Natalia. With the money I could make doing this, I could get a bath, a bed to sleep in for the night, a hearty meal, and some new clothes. How? That was easy. This was the place people went to if they wanted to become an oarsman.

The promised pay would be somewhere between five and forty grammas of gold, depending on the location, length of the journey, the captain, and a bunch of other factors. People left after punching a hole in the wall or after a celebratory yell.

My time came. I had to remember to stay with the rhythm of the drum. That was important. After that, it was a mind game of convincing your body it wasn’t done yet.

I breathed a sigh of relief when it was a simple, steady rhythm. Back and forth, to and fro, back and forth, to and fro until they stopped. Then I had to pull a barrel from one end of the room to the other. It felt like they filled it with dirt or sand. It didn’t slosh around any. The last test I almost laughed at. I had to run up and down a set of stairs until they called time.

My body started to wear out as my legs got tired and my feet ached. I could do anything as long as I set my mind to it. I did that.

I was never so glad when they blew that whistle. “All right. That’s enough.”

I thanked any deity that looked over me.

The man stared at the paper in front of him. “For being so small, I didn’t expect you to last this long. A woman would’ve quit when asked to pull the barrel. You kept going and then some.” He looked up with a smile. At least I thought it was, but it was hard to tell through that big bushy face hair he had. I used to call it a bear’s face. “I have two options. One fit for a woman. It’s short. Not a lot of work. It’ll pay enough to get some beauty supplies. The other is longer, thereby being harder with a majority male crew. There will be a stench and a lot of sweat. So which is it?”

I should’ve expected this. “What’s the pay for each?”

“Oh. All right. The first will pay fifteen and the second forty. No negotiations.”

I had no plans for coming back here. Chances were my betrothed’s mother would still look for me if I came back. So that left the first choice. “I’ll take the first offer. I don’t need to come back here.”

“Right. Take a seat until we’re done.”

I found a seat in the back and felt all eyes on me. Before all of this, I expected it. After a hasty retreat, I did a lot of things to not look like a woman. It took shaving my head, letting my facial hair grow, not wearing any scented oils, and wearing pants instead of skirts to do it. It had worked so far. I realized it wouldn’t work forever, but for now, it did. I was thankful for that.

This experience brought a question to my mind. After everybody finished, I went up to the examiner and waited for him to look at me. “What made you think I’m a woman?”

He laughed. “You think you’re the only one?” He stood and left.

I followed the others to a bunkhouse not that far from the main building. Two beds on top of each other, a single sheet of linen, and a flour sack as a pillow to lie on. A locked box at the foot of the beds I assumed to put any personal possessions inside of.

The examiner entered the building and whistled. Of course, it got everybody’s attention. “We leave here at sunup. If you’re not onboard at that time, tough. You missed it. You get paid when we arrive at our destination. Not before. You will get paid in full. If you would like to stay, then talk to me at that time. I suggest getting some sleep instead of gambling or going on a drinking binge. Sun up, people.” He left.

I got the bottom bunk against the far wall with nobody on top. At times like these, I missed my feather-filled mattress with the finest of silks as my sheets. These so-called beds had to be filled with rocks. The flour sack was a flour sack. Nothing in it. I put my hands under my head and tried to close my eyes.

May any deity watch over me. Please make me deaf and unable to smell.

Of course, that brief prayer didn’t work. The worst night I’d had yet. I thought the first night away from the castle was horrible.

With no place to go, I stepped outside for some fresh air. The rotten fish smell was a lot better.

I sat on the docks and watched the sun go up. Of course, I would suffer for it later, but I couldn’t do anything about it at that moment.

I looked for the guy and found him in front of a boat. I sat and waited a few steps away. He must’ve seen me because he waved me over. “You are going to find a hatch. It should be open. Climb down the steps and keep going until you find the oar room. Since you’re new, I’m going to put you in the back. These are three-man oars. That is where you will sit. Now git.”

I understood everything he said. I only wished he didn’t put me next to someone with more muscle than brain and didn’t smell. Of course, anybody would smell after this. Maybe the tiny port would allow for some air to come through.

I went all the way down and found a seat in the back. The tiny port was only big enough to allow the oar to go through. Oh boy. Well, I took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

It seemed everybody arrived at the last minute. Every one of them with enormous arms and chest muscles, no hair, and grunted.

The first who sat on the edge of the bench was the leader. He had the weight and muscle to work the oar, while the others supported him. The drum may set the rhythm, but it was the leader that set the pace.

Knowing that, I made it a point to be sure I kept up. I couldn’t say it was easy, it was anything but, but not that bad either.

I was never so glad to pull into port. Every muscle in my body screamed. It was at that time I wished I paid more attention to my magic lessons. Then I could float out instead of trying to convince my feet to move. Not that it would do me any good since I lost my magic.

I waited for everybody to leave because I knew I would be slow. I even waited for the drum man to go up. He and I went back and forth with the you-go-first argument. I gave in and went ahead.

I started laughing because, on the way up, he kept pace.

“Left. Right. Left. Right,” he said.

I turned around and thanked him. I needed that laugh.

The guy that hired us stood by the plank with bags in his hand. He handed one out to each of us. When I got mine, I looked inside. Gold coins and not nuggets like I expected.

Each coin weighed one gramma. Since there were fifteen coins, that meant I got the promised amount. I went out to look for a bathhouse. Sure enough, it was a few steps away.

Nothing was as glamorous as seeing a hot body of water with which I could scrape the filth off me with. It could’ve been in my head, but I felt lighter after scrubbing myself raw.

The local inn next door had one room available, and I took it. Of course, they offered me a shave, but I declined. I got used to that beard. It had served me well.

The mattress smelled, and it was hard, but neither of that mattered. It wasn’t the bunkhouse. I fell asleep right away.

I had enough to pay for one night, and that was what I got. A new set of clothes was what I had enough for. I planned on a pair of pants and a nice shirt. It didn’t need to be silk. It needed to be made to last, however.

A shop down the road a bit had what I needed. They even gave me new stockings and string to hold them up with. I felt brand new again.

The only thing left was to find out how to prove I didn’t kill my betrothed. One minute we were making love, the next I got picked up and thrown into a cell. One guard came back to tell me I was charged with murder. I got out, thanks to a straw cart, and had been trying to hide for over two seasons now.

I washed my old clothes as best I could and gave them to a young girl on the streets. She said nothing. She only nodded and ran.

I had a lot of forest ahead of me. Her guards took Mother and Father to Serpent Isle on the charge of wrong teachings to an innocent. It wasn’t a high charge, but Queen Natalia bought the arbitrator to decide in her favor. That meant they would need to stay there until otherwise decided.

I left the village and walked away to the forest up ahead. Something should be in there where I could sit and think. If I was honest with myself, I was tired. In more ways than one.

I learned early on that there were noises in the forest. Most couldn’t be explained. The noises I heard at that moment seemed different. I could’ve sworn that something panted as they followed me.

Most animals stayed away. I was a stranger and strangers meant something might happen. This one kept following me, though.

I bent over and picked up a branch. It took my entire hand to grab a hold of it. I stepped around a tree and readied a swing.

When it stopped, I swung and hit something. I watched it drop, and it transformed from a wolf to a naked woman. Someone sent a tracker after me. My guess would be she did.

While it was down, I ran away as best I could. I couldn’t jump high enough to reach the branches. If I could, I would’ve swung from them instead.

Between the fallen trees, bushes that grew in the middle of my path, and deep holes, I thought I made it out all right. A cave up ahead would provide enough shelter for me to hide.

“So there you are,” she said.

Uh oh. I straightened up and turned around. For all the trees, that woman was tall. I gulped and waved. She found clothes to dress herself with.

“You must be Princess Phoebe.”

I nodded.

“The one accused of murder.”

“I did not murder anyone. Somebody else did.”

“Do you have proof?”

“Did Queen Natalia give you anything that says I did?”

“I cannot name the one that brought your attention to me.”

I laughed. “So she paid you enough to buy your own island if you don’t mention her name. So, since she paid for you, and you found me, that must mean you’re going to shackle me.”

I presented both wrists. “Go ahead.”

She held the shackles in her hand.

“You don’t know? Well, I would educate you, however, it would be best to do that with the documents in hand.”

“That would be if you had the papers.” She smiled.

I saw her smile and gave her one of my own. “I have documentation that supports my story. As well as documents to prove my parents’ and the go-between’s validity. She has nothing except a lot of money to pay people to decide in her favor. With her son being married to me, she loses power, thereby loses the throne. He gains power and sits on that big and ugly gold-trimmed red velvet chair should the marriage occur.”


“And that would be all for now. As I said, everything would be clearer with the proper documents in hand.”

She sat there and looked at me. “I am going to build a fire. You move, I kill you.”

“Where would I go?”

She disappeared for a while but returned with an arm full of wood. Once the wood was arranged, she got a flint and stone, and flames appeared.

I still wondered if she was going to put the shackles on me. That and the fact that, unless I missed my guess, we passed the bridge that marked the border between the queen’s territory and my family’s. Whoever this woman was, she couldn’t bring me in unless I volunteered.

The flames showed her hair. It was shiny and black. I missed mine. Last night I dreamed of a time of long gowns and table-long feasts. A time that would never come. Not anymore now that I was found.

Forest sounds and the crackling of the fire were all that were heard. She left again but brought back a couple of stripped animals. I guessed they were once forest hares, judging by the legs.

“She promised me ten kilos of gold when I brought you in. Paid in full when I returned. You could be lying. Somehow though, there is a sense of truth in what you say.”

“Also keep in mind, you cannot arrest me since we are in my family’s territory.”

She laughed. “You are wrong.”

“Let me guess. She gave you a map that marked her territory but failed to show a bridge. She might’ve even told you that when you bring me in, she would divide her massive territory with you.”

“She did.” She looked at me.

“And you checked with the territory office to be sure of her claim.”

“I didn’t think it was necessary.”

“So greed blinded you.”

“Seems like it.”

“I’m going to lie down here and try to get some sleep. I’ll still be here in the morning. Should I lie, I have nothing to gain.”

I didn’t sleep at all. I couldn’t. Too many thoughts in my mind about what sort of execution she would hand out when I showed. All of my papers were back at the castle. They were hidden, and I hoped not found.

I could tell the sun rose, although it didn’t make that much of a difference. I could only tell that because I saw it in between the trees. What little I could see of it.

I got up to find a bush. When I came back, she sat in front of the fire with fish roasting above.

“My name is Otana, by the way. I have a reputation to protect. Part of the reputation involves bringing people to justice. Getting what they deserve. I don’t play the part of a fool well at all. She played me for one. So did you. I have no proof to say you didn’t. So what I think we should do is get you back to get your proof before I bring you to her. That way, I can decide on my own who is lying and who needs to pay.”

“The castle should not be too far away. Once we get back to the bridge, I would be better able to tell where we are versus the location of the castle.”

She handed me a fish, and I took it. I couldn’t help but stare at the eyes. They said the eyes hold vital foods for anyone who needs to survive in the wild. I was never sure I was that desperate, however. I stuck to the rest of it.

After we ate, I helped to douse the fire before we moved on. Somehow, the distance always seemed shorter going downhill than it did up. Either that or we took a different, shorter route.

“That is the bridge over there. The queen was supposed to finish her end. Therefore, marking the union with a public structure. However, she never did and always had an excuse. Anyway, my castle should be right behind us.” I turned and surveyed the area to be sure. Sure enough, I saw it in the distance. “There. That structure over there. I bet she paid off the soldiers to leave the castle to be open to thieves.”

Otana laughed. “That she did. I thought it was an old ruin. Nothing was left. Even the pots were taken.”

I started walking ahead with thoughts of Queen Natalia screaming in agony. It gave me more energy. I was a precious little princess. I should never have such thoughts. Nobody had their magic taken away. Nobody had their life looked after with a sword. No one had their life questioned with such scrutiny. What right do they have to tell me how I should think or what thoughts should go through my head?

Should I trust Otana and that she will not kill me? Should I follow this through even though it could mean my death? This wasn’t supposed to be complicated.

What we needed I buried in the stables. Not too many people were willing to go there to get anything. After that, I hoped things would return to normal—Mother and Father free to rebuild and Queen Natalia dethroned and set for execution.

Please visit Calliope on her blog: https://calliopenjosstories.home.blog/

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!: CAPITONYMS

Writers Unite!’s mission is to offer a haven for writers to share their work and hone their craft. As the writing process is our focus, author, and WU! admin, Lynn Miclea has created a series of “tips, tools, and tidbits” about writing for our members or anyone interested in writing to help improve their writing. Check the menu bar for any tips you may have missed or click on this link.

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!

Images are free use and require no attribution. Image from Pixabay.


capitonym is a word that changes its meaning, and sometimes its pronunciation as well, when it is capitalized. These words generally mean one thing with a lower case letter, and another thing when they are capitalized.

For example, rich (lower case) usually means wealthy. However, Rich (with a capital “R”) refers to a man’s name. Below are a few more examples.


  • Bill — a name short for William / bill — an amount to be paid
  • Carol — a woman’s name / carol — a hymn or Christmas song
  • March — the third month of the year / march — a style of walking
  • Nice — a city in France / nice — kind or pleasant
  • Turkey — a country / turkey — a North American bird


Please look at the chart for many more capitonyms.


I hope you find this interesting and helpful. These and much more are also on my website and blog, and also in my Grammar Tips book. Thank you!

Website – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/
Blog – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/
Grammar Tips Book – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2BQMCG/

Anita Wu: On Whose Side

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image from Pixabay

On Whose Side

Anita Wu

“Stephanie Hillrad.” Someone called her name. She didn’t recognize the voice, so she did not want to leave her thoughts as she stared at the expanse of water before her, the sunset illuminating the clouds in reds and oranges as the night eagerly waited for its turn.

Perhaps if she did not respond, they would think they had the wrong person and leave.

“You’re Stephanie Hillrad, the woman who murdered Mr. Jameson, right?” The voice was closer now, beside her where she leaned against the railing. Many thought those same words when they recognized her in public, but few spoke them within her hearing, and many less dared to direct them at her.

She exhaled, the condensation like cigarette smoke, and eyed her company. He looked like a child, skinny even in the layers of sweaters that peeked under his coat, with a face that knew little. He looked innocent, but in her line of work, she learned never to let her guard down, especially in front of those who appeared harmless. He stared at her intently.

“I don’t know who you’re talking about, young man.” She pushed herself off the railing, ready to leave. “I’m afraid you have the wrong person.”

He grabbed her by the wrist, blurting under a hushed whisper so others on the pier did not hear. “I want to write an article in your defense.”

Until then, it never once crossed her mind that anyone would even be on her side.


She had tailed him for a month now.

His routine always changed: a high-profile CEO was the perfect cover to meet with his extensive network. She never knew if the party accompanying him for lunch or coffee was business or other. She identified and noted everyone; she never knew if they were helping him plan his next trafficking ring. Sometimes, she knew the other person personally, for she herself had worked with them at some point in her lifetime.

But one thing never changed. He always went to the pier on Fridays, late at night after the city had fallen asleep, when no one stepped foot into the darkness and when the waves would sometimes crash against the stray rocks and support beams. He drove himself, unlike his morning meetings when he was chauffeured. He left his car in the parking lot, walked to the very edge of the pier, and sat on one of the benches to take long drags of his cigar. Arms outstretched and one leg resting on the other knee, he lounged like he owned the place. No one ever visited him.

There were no cameras on the pier other than her own, so she knew that this would be her only opportunity.


Killan told her he wrote for a small newspaper. He quickly prattled off information before she could consider breaking his arm for his unwelcome touch: his knowledge of her, his relationship to Jameson, the trial, and evidence against her.

He claimed that he heard rumors that Jameson paid off anyone who considered writing an article placing him in a negative light, even if it were the mere fact that he let go of a dozen employees. Killan did not like the man, for there was clearly more to the story if he covered everything. When he heard of the murder trial and her name, his intuition told him that she knew something. He could give her a voice, one she wouldn’t have in the courts. He just didn’t expect to run into her so soon before he gathered more history.

He suggested they continue at a café, where less prying eyes stared since people began paying attention and murmuring. Stephanie took him to a library instead — one that she did not frequent often but knew the layout of. If Killan or any unsuspecting ally had malicious intent, she could escape without creating a scene. Her lawyer would lock her up himself if she got herself in trouble prior to the conclusion of the trial.

She leaned against one of the bookshelves next to a large window, one of her arms along the windowsill for quick action if needed, and kept Killan at a reasonable distance. He rummaged in his backpack. “Do you mind if I write down some notes of our conversation?”

She kept silent, nodding only when he was looking at her again.

“Gods, I do wish we had a table. But I will do with what I can get.” He continued when he didn’t get a response. “So, should we start with some basics? Your name and age?”

“You can skip the pleasantries and get into it. You have all this information already.” Stephanie gave him another once-over: an average person with the attitude of a reporter. She still pondered how much information she wanted to give him. He was right about one thing: nothing she said would help her in the court, but there were certainly things she wanted to say, if only to get one less look on the street, one less mother grabbing her child and walking to the other side of the street, or one less store owner refusing to service her.

“Okay, how about…” Killan tapped his pen against his small notepad. “Why did you kill Mr. Jameson?”

“Why didn’t the police arrest him? Why didn’t the law put him behind bars?”

“They didn’t have the required evidence. Everything was circumstantial.”

“Everything was covered up. Jameson was brilliant — he knew how to cover tracks and get others to do his dirty work. A puppeteer weaving a web of activities.” Stephanie spoke, scorn in her voice as her lips snarled. “He was invincible in the eyes of the law. And how many more had to suffer before he could be stopped?”

“Would you do it again, then?”

Yes, her heart spoke. She had again and again. She despised the list of people that the police had on their radar that they could do nothing about.

But she could not tell him this though. She could not, especially, tell him of the jobs she took so that she could live and keep doing this. Stephanie just stared at him.

“Have you done this before?”

“Are you trying to convict me for more murders?”

He laughed but promptly stopped when he realized that she wasn’t. “No, sorry. My mind just got carried away.”

She could not tell him that she knew what happened to Wales, the man who would drive around a club at night until he stopped a sufficiently drunk woman to offer her payment for going home with him, only for those women to never see daylight again.

She could not tell him that she was responsible for the disappearance of Peeping Tom, the highly ranked government official who started off “innocently” lingering around homes and staring at women through their bedroom windows, then upgraded to breaking into their homes and tying up his victims for his enjoyment.

She could not tell him that she took it upon herself when the law jailed Lenny but let his friends walk free due to lack of strong evidence, when even the police knew all four were responsible for the abduction, rape, and murder of Ellie Myrens.

No, she could not admit to cases where she was not even a suspect.

“Well, what does your family think about the entire situation?”

“That’s an interesting question.” Stephanie offered a sad smile then. “If only I had an answer. They have not spoken to me.”

“Since the day of your initial arrest?”

Since the day she told them she wanted to become an assassin when she grew up. They had lost her uncle in a robbery. The murderer had shot him in the head and biked away, no suspect was arrested, and no one ever followed up to give him justice. She knew, then, that she could never trust the law.

“They are probably disappointed.” If they even still acknowledged her as their daughter, they would cry over the fact that they did not stop her then. They would not support her, no matter who it meant they supported instead.

“And how do you feel about that?”

“I am alone, Killan.” She looked him in the eye, her own countenance silent and static, revealing no emotion. With no one by my side. I don’t get to feel things.

For what I have done.


“I didn’t expect you to show your face, missy.” Jameson drawled his words, a smile on his face, as Stephanie came within his view on the pier.

“Well, not that it changes anything.” He took another drag of his cigar, as though they were old friends making conversation. He let her approach him, comfortable.

“I knew you were watching me.” He almost laughed. “I just didn’t expect you to approach me here — thought you’d wait for me by my car and let me finish my smoke.”

“Not that it matters.” He kept talking as she remained quiet, coming closer to him with each step. “I’m done for, anyway. Might as well take you down with me, then George will do me a good one.”

Jameson’s words were not making sense, but Stephanie knew that time spared no one, and she could not waste precious moments discussing the meaning of his sentences. She, more than once, regretted spending a bit too much time on an assassination, and she could not risk that again.

Stephanie was close enough now, so she pulled the dagger from behind her waist with her gloved hand and charged at him. The blade stabbed deep into his chest, and she pulled it out immediately. Jameson sat there, staring at her, the smile still on his face like he did not care anymore.

George, she filed the name away since it felt familiar. She rolled his body off the pier and watched the waters where his body crashed. After doing this one too many times, she had learned to shut off her emotions; they never helped her. Still, she would stand in silence for a moment: for a life gone, even if they did not deserve it.

As she walked off the pier to her car to grab the cleaning supplies, she found a group of men racing toward her. Cars surrounded the area, their red and blue lights flashing. The men shone their flashlights in her face, forcing her to bring her arm up to block the light.

“Stephanie Hillrad, drop your weapons,” someone shouted. “Keep your arms where we can see them.”


As Stephanie walked her usual route towards her local bakery, she noticed the difference. More people murmured to one another this morning. One more father held his daughter’s hand tighter. One more woman crossed the street. One more suited man sneered at her as he waited for the bus.

When she entered the bakery, packed with patrons as they normally are at this time, the room quieted as people looked her way. Noticing her, the owner stepped out from behind the counter, headed to her as she waited in line, grabbed her arm, and pulled her outside.

“I’m sorry, Stephanie, but you can’t come here again,” he hissed.

“Bluery.” She put her hand over his. “Alright, if that is what you want. But could I ask why? There hadn’t been an issue for the past month.”

He looked at her then. “Check The Globe’s Times.”

And she did. A part of her told her that she should have known. Killan may not have ambushed her with a knife or another accomplice, but he was certainly out to get her.

“Stephanie Hillrad: No Remorse over Murdering Business Giant Lance Jameson”

By: George J.

Please visit Anita on her blog: https://soreispeaks.wordpress.com/

D. A. Ratliff: Why Writers Should Exercise!

Why Writers Should Exercise!

D. A. Ratliff

Before you start sweating, not that kind of exercise. After sitting at a computer writing for several hours, physical exercise might be prudent, but we will discuss that another day. This discussion is about writing exercises that help hone your creative writing skills and why they are essential.

If you belong to an internet or in-person writing group, take a writing class, or are inquisitive and search the internet for information, you are familiar with writing exercises. Let’s look at the myriad of activities created for improving your writing skills.

Writing Skills

These are some skills necessary for writing.

  • Character Development
  • Plot Creation
  • World Building
  • Opening Sentence/Paragraph Hook
  • Creating Tension
  • Dialogue
  • Story Structure
  • Grammar
  • “Writer’s Block”
  • Editing /Word Selection
  • The “Elevator” Blurb
  • Query Letters
  • Synopsis
  • Covers/Cover Blurb

Exercises for Writers

The exercises to practice the skills listed above are numerous. You can do some exercises alone, and some benefit from group participation, all designed to improve the quality of your writing.

The exercises include:

  • Character arc – Write a character at the beginning of a story and the end to show their development or lack of development.
  • World Building – Interview a member of a society, asking questions about the geography and culture.
  • Timed writing sprints – Setting a time limit on an exercise helps focus thoughts.
  • Opening Sentence – From an image or writing prompt, create an opening sentence.
  • Editing/Word Selection – Write a story based on a prompt with a word count limit which requires careful word selection, story structure, and editing of unnecessary content.
  • Query Letters, Synopses, or Cover Blurbs – Writing any of these items from a prompt is helpful, as is offering one of these writing excerpts for peer critique, which also helps hone skills.
  • “Writer’s Block” – There are conflicting opinions on the nature of writer’s block, but, at times, all writers hit an impasse, and writing is elusive. Suggestions include freewriting for a set timeframe, writing a scene further into the story, or writing from a prompt.
  • Read the works of others and learn how they crafted their stories.

You can do many exercises, from focusing on one individual aspect of writing to practicing general writing. Finding writing exercises is as simple as checking with your favorite writing group or using a search engine on the internet.

The Benefits of Writing Exercises

Besides the obvious mechanical skills that writing exercises help improve, there are other reasons for doing these exercises.

The Muse

Perhaps the most important benefit gained from writing exercises is the spark to your muse—your imagination. A common complaint from writers is “I don’t know what to write about” or “I’m stumped and don’t know where to take my story.” While imagination is not an acquired skill, you can stimulate it.

As with any profession or hobby, we can burn out or become weary of the task. When that happens professionally, we turn our attention to another project or take a vacation. A writer or hobbyist can do the same.

Writers can look to the word prompt exercises as a project change. Utilizing prompts to write something new can stimulate your imagination. Vacations are also necessary, and despite all the ‘experts’ telling you that you must write every day, you don’t have to do so. A break from a routine allows you to return with a fresher perspective.

The Fundamentals

There are basic tenets to writing. The story structure that we follow today is the same as the first stories told. As a society, we feel compelled to tell stories to pass on cultural and historical information to following generations and for entertainment.

Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Writing mechanics, sentence structure, grammar, character, plot development, and world-building have, for the most part, remained the same since storytelling began. Exercises that target these components help to reinforce the fundamental skills a writer needs to tell the story effectively. Knowing the fundamentals also allows writers to deviate from traditional structure and add a creative touch to their writing while keeping the story cohesive.

Do not forget one of the best ways to learn the fundaments is to read. Reading is one of the most fundamental exercises you can do. Learn structure, plot construction, character development, and more from other writers. Even writers who are not so skilled can teach us how not to do something.


An overactive imagination is a wonderful thing for a writer to have. However, too many story ideas can be overwhelming and cause a loss of focus.

There is nothing wrong with having several projects going simultaneously, but task focus is crucial to completing a story or novel. Timed-writing exercises are an effective way of learning to organize thoughts and keep story progression on target. A ten-minute sprint of freewriting or an hour of writing with an end goal in mind sharpens the focus, as does finishing a prompt with a specific word count limit.

Learning to focus as you write helps with the biggest disappointment many writers have—not completing the work they have started. Many novels are started but not finished because of the lack of focus on the goal.


You’ve heard about it, imposter syndrome. The belief is that, despite your success, you are not as capable as others think you are and that you don’t deserve any accolades. Nonsense. Self-doubt about your ability to succeed at writing or any endeavor you undertake is not a healthy attribute and will cascade into all facets of your life.

Participating in writing exercises is certainly not the panacea for imposter syndrome, but what it can do is validate that you have writing skills. The proverb, practice makes perfect is true. While perfection is difficult to achieve, practicing and mastering the skills to help you become a better writer will give you the confidence to be the best writer you can be and accept your success no matter how you measure it.


Writing is many things—fun, tedious, demanding, complex. Competition for readers is intense, and all we can do is offer the best storytelling we can to our readers. But as with any other art form, we do not achieve success without working for it. A dancer, musician, singer, or artist spends hours rehearsing their craft, honing moves, notes, or brushstrokes. A writer must do the same and put in the time to study, read, and embrace the practice—writing exercises. You will be a better writer for it.

Resources for Writing Exercises:

Grammar Exercises: Owl Online Writing Lab https://owl.purdue.edu/owl_exercises/index.html


Lynn Miclea: Grief and Love

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image from Pixabay

Grief and Love

Lynn Miclea

Trigger Warning: Mention of Suicide

Her hand trembling, Kara wiped a tear off her cheek and took a deep breath. It had now been a year since her brother had killed himself. He had been only twenty-six, two years older than she was. It still felt like it happened yesterday, and she wasn’t sure she would ever get over it.

She slowly walked down the pier that stretched out over the ocean. This is where it had happened. Her brother Russ, after suffering for years with depression, finally ended his life at this spot.

Her heart heavy with grief, she stared into the water at the end of the pier. The deep blue of the water looked endless.

She should have known. She should have stopped him. Shaking her head, she felt overcome with guilt. They had been so close. Why didn’t he talk to her one more time? How could she not have known?

She wished he were still here. But she couldn’t go back in time, and even if she could, it would not have changed anything. Russ had made up his mind and he had not told anyone.

“Russ …” she whispered to the water, watching the soft waves bobbing on the surface.

She gasped as the dream from last night came back to her. Russ had come to her with a message. In the dream, she had been sitting here at the end of the pier, and Russ had risen out of the water and sat next to her. “Don’t blame yourself,” he had told her. “It was my decision — I chose to do it. It was not your fault, and you could not have stopped me.” He hugged her, the cool water seeping into her clothes. “Talk to someone. Talk to Jeremy. Live your life, Kara. Be happy. I love you.” Then he faded into nothingness, and she was alone again.

The dream had seemed so real at the time. Goosebumps rose on her arms. Was that really him? Had he actually come to her in a dream? She wasn’t sure, but it would be nice if he really had visited her while she slept.

Staring off over the ocean, she thought about the memories she had of her brother … all their favorite times together. Happy and loving times.

She turned and looked behind her as footsteps approached on the pier. “Hey, Jeremy,” she said, her voice cracking. Jeremy had been Russ’s closest friend, and she knew he was hurting too.

“Hey, Kara.” Jeremy sat next to her on the pier. “I thought you might be out here.”

“It’s been a year,” she whispered.

“Yes. One year ago today.” He shook his head. “I miss him so much. He was like a brother to me.”

“I know. You two were so close and so much alike.” She sighed. Jeremy was always kind to her, and she liked him more and more over the years. He was a good friend to both of them, and she was glad he was here now.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, the gentle sounds of the water soothing.

Jeremy turned to her, his voice soft. “Russ spoke of you often. He really cared about you.”

Her eyes burned, and another tear ran down her cheek. “I loved him so much. I … I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“I know.”

“I should have known. I should have been able to stop him.”

Jeremy shook his head. “You couldn’t have known.” He stared out over the water. “And I thought the same thing. I should have known — he was my best friend. But neither of us could have known or stopped him.”

“He didn’t talk to you about doing something like that?”

“No, never. He mentioned feeling down or depressed every now and then, but nothing that heavy. Most of the time he seemed happy. We joked about stuff all the time.” He waved his hand in the air and his voice grew quiet. “I never knew.”

She sighed. “Sometimes it hurts too much. It feels like it’s too much to handle.”

Jeremy reached over and placed a warm hand on her back. “I understand. But he would want you to be happy.”

“I know. I just—”

“You wouldn’t do anything like that, would you?” His face reflected his concern.

Kara pursed her lips and looked away as more tears fell. “No, I wouldn’t.” She glanced at Jeremy and saw his eyes were wet. “Don’t worry. This is just a tough day.”

“I know. It is for me, too.” He gently rubbed her back. “You know, I had a dream about Russ last night.”

Kara’s eyes opened wide and she stared at him. “What? You did? So did I.”

Jeremy’s lips trembled. “He came to me in a dream and told me it wasn’t my fault, that I couldn’t have known or stopped him, and to enjoy my life. He told me to be happy.”

She held his gaze. “That’s what he told me, too.”

“And he said I should talk to you.” He paused for a few moments. “That’s one of the reasons I came out here today. I was hoping you would be here.”

She stared at him and didn’t answer right away. “He told me the same thing and that I should talk to you.”

His brow furrowed. “Are you serious?”

“Yeah. I think we were the two people he was closest to.”

“Maybe he thought we could support each other through this and find comfort.”

“Maybe.” She sighed. “But I don’t know if I could find comfort anywhere right now.”

Jeremy placed his arm around her shoulder and squeezed. She let out a long breath and laid her head on his shoulder. He held her against him for a long time.

Finally, Kara looked up at him. “Thank you. I think this is exactly what I needed.”

“Me too.” He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

Grief and longing suddenly overwhelmed her, and she turned to Jeremy. She buried her face in his chest and sobbed, letting out the feelings she had held in for too long. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly.

After a few minutes, Kara looked up at him and saw he had been crying too. “Thank you,” she whispered.

He pressed his lips together and nodded, not saying a word.

Kara glanced at him and knew he was feeling the same things she was. “Well, he wants us to be happy, but it’s hard. It will take a while.”

“Yes, it takes time. We’ll get there.”

She looked into his eyes and saw compassion and caring mixed with grief and pain. “You were a good friend to him. And now to me, too.”

“I always cared about you.” He smiled and ran his fingers along her cheek. “Would you like to get something to eat?”

She felt herself grow warm as she gazed into his soft brown eyes, sensing deep compassion and tenderness emanating from him. “Yes, I’d really like that.” Feeling a close bond with him, feelings of affection and a touch of desire flowed through her, easing the feelings of grief. Maybe there was a way through this where she could heal and move forward.

Jeremy stood up, reached a hand down, and helped her get up.

Kara threw her arms around him and hugged him. “Thank you,” she murmured. “You are helping me find a way to be happy again.”

“You deserve to be happy. We both do.” He leaned forward, hesitated, and then gently pressed his lips to hers.

She responded, kissing him back, as heat rose in her face. She watched his cheeks turn pink as he smiled back.

As they turned to walk back down the pier, Jeremy reached for her hand, and the warmth of his hand enveloping hers sent a tingle through her. She felt herself flush as she realized it felt so comfortable and natural to hold hands with him. It felt like they had been friends forever — as though they understood each other on deeper levels and always had. And in some ways, maybe that was true, as they had been around each other all those years that he was close friends with Russ.

Maybe her brother was actually helping both of them find more than just support and comfort. Maybe he saw more for them. Maybe he saw something special in their hearts. And maybe now she did too.

As they walked, Jeremy squeezed her hand, and she felt the heat go through her arm. Something new and warm began to fill her, and she felt her heart begin to soften.

Maybe she could be happy again. And maybe she could even find love — it might be very close.


Copyright © 2022 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

Please visit Lynn’s blog and follow her at – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/
Please also visit Lynn’s website for more information on her books – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/
And please visit her Amazon author page at – https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Miclea/e/B00SIA8AW4


Writers Unite!’s mission is to offer a haven for writers to share their work and hone their craft. As the writing process is our focus, author, and WU! admin, Lynn Miclea has created a series of “tips, tools, and tidbits” about writing for our members or anyone interested in writing to help improve their writing. Check the menu bar for any tips you may have missed or click on this link.

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!

Images are free use and require no attribution. Image from Pixabay.


English is a fascinating language and can sometimes be confusing — even one word can mean different things.

contronym is a word that has opposite or contradictory meanings, and the meaning of the word is determined by the context.

Antonyms are different words with opposite meanings, but a contronym is one word that can mean contradictory things.


  • Bolt — means both to secure something (bolt it down) and to flee and leave (he bolted)
  • Clip — means both to fasten (clip these pages) and to cut and detach (clip a loose thread)
  • Dust — means both to add or sprinkle with fine particles (dust the cake with sugar) and to remove the fine particles (dust the furniture)
  • Fast — means both quick (he moves fast) and stuck or made stable (hold fast)
  • First degree — means both most severe (first-degree murder) and least severe (first-degree burn)
  • Garnish — means both to furnish or add to (garnish on food) and to take away (garnish your wages)
  • Overlook — means to monitor or supervise (overlook someone’s work) and to neglect or fail to notice (overlook an error)
  • Seed — means to plant seeds (seed the garden) and to remove seeds (seed the peppers)
  • Trip — means a journey (take a trip) and a stumble (to trip on a rock)


Please look at the two charts for many more contronyms.


I hope you find this interesting and helpful. These and much more are also on my website and blog, and also in my Grammar Tips book. Thank you!

Website – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/
Blog – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/
Grammar Tips Book – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2BQMCG/

Enzo Stephens: The First Time

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image from Pixabay

The First Time

Enzo Stephens

Tilly kicked her Sketchers off at the front door and motored into her small yet well appointed kitchen, where she dropped her purse on the quartz counter, her keys jangling. Her cat, Mortimer, wound his way around her ankles in his perpetual quest for food.

“I know what you want, piggy.”

He replied with a “murp” and chased after her as she walked over to his food station, plucked the low-sided porcelain bowl emblazoned with the name ‘Morty’ and set to open a can of beef shreds for the cute little swine.

She set the bowl down with this admonishment, “All you ever do is eat. Hog. I swear I’m gonna get rid of you.”

He looked up at her with unknowable animal wisdom and then devoured the smelly meat with crisp and clean precision. There would be bowl licking soon enough, and Tilly didn’t want to stick around for the symphony of slurping in which he would engage.

She snared a closed snap-lock tray from the fridge and a mango White Claw. She made her way across the warmly decorated front room of her two-bedroom apartment onto a balcony overlooking a meandering bike trail parallel to an old, murky river. She set her food and beverage down on a slim, mahogany table where her laptop hung out waiting for her attention, just like the damnable cat, only far less voracious.

It was a decent day weather-wise; puffs of clouds flowing across cerulean skies, shoved along by a capricious breeze that lacked a sense of direction. Tilly yanked open the sliding door to the balcony and breathed deeply of the spring air redolent with a potpourri of fresh floral fragrances and an underlying smell of fish.

She settled at her desk and popped open her Dell. She rotated her wrists in anticipation of what she hoped was about to happen and tapped her fingers for a moment as if deciding to press on or to shut things down and simply stop. She glanced up as Mortimer wandered in, and she watched him absently as he took a seat and began slathering his meat-spit tongue all over himself.


Her opinion of his grooming certainly didn’t cause him to stop. “And to think I touch your fur, you disgusting hog.”

He looked at her, a patch of gray fur matted and wet on his chest—then went right back to slobbering all over himself.

“So, what do you think, Morty? Should I meet this guy or what?”

Lick, lick.

“It’s pretty risky, you know. Meeting a guy in real life after only talking to him on the internet.”

Another feline glance, as if the beast gave a shit. He didn’t, and Tilly knew it, yet she prattled on to the cat. 

At least he doesn’t lie and make me feel bad about myself.

“But you know, I’m just kind of aching for someone to talk to. Share stuff with, you know? Maybe go for a bike ride with, have dinner with, settle down, and watch some silly-assed movie together. And lemme tell ya there Morty, it ain’t you, furball. Even though I love the crappers outta ya.”

With that, she plied her right forefinger to the touchpad; the computer recognized her digit and fired up, and an internet browser window popped up.

She keyed in ‘NextUp’ in the search bar and touched ENTER. The website’s front page sprang to life, and her anticipation, and yes, her anxiety, sprang to life as well. 

Tilly hoped He was online in one breath, and in the other, she hoped he wasn’t.

But Tilly was tired of being alone.

‘NextUp’ was a dating site that showed up on her video feed one day a few months earlier. Curious and maybe even a little hopeful, she clicked the link and found out what the site was about.

‘A dating site for those rebounding from a bad relationship.’

Did that include a relationship with a pain-in-the-ass cat?

Intrigued and throwing caution to the wind, rationalizing with stuff like, Well, ya never know unless ya try and Ya can’t score if ya don’t shoot, Tilly stepped into the Search/Browse feature of the site as a guest and then stumbled on Him almost immediately.

His was an intriguing image, a hulking silhouette before a golden light emanating from a single source, like the sun behind him. Very cool image. Tilly clicked it, and it opened to a profile page for one MisterLeviathan.

As she scanned his very brief bio page, a chat bubble opened. Hello Guest. Thanks for checking me out.

And THAT led to now, through almost daily chat sessions with each other about anything and everything. She found him gracious, pleasant, highly conversant, and deeply intelligent. He was also so NOT self-centered, and that one trait resonated with Tilly.

Was there actually such a thing as a man who cared more about someone else than himself?

A chat bubble presented as soon as she logged in to the site using what she felt was an amazingly cute Id (MeowMix99). Hiya stranger!

There He was. As if He was waiting for her. Her fingers danced over the keyboard. Hey yourself, ML. Whatcha up to?

Livin’ the dream. LOL

She smiled—standard response. I missed you today.

No hesitation, as if he knew what she would say before she said it. More than yesterday?

Tilly paused. Good question. Maybe.

A pause, then, How was your day at the salt mines?

Working to live or living to work? Sometimes that’s a tough question.

Well, you can shove that aside for a few days. Nice long weekend. Got any plans?

Here it is, time to put it out there…

There is a place—McIntyre Point, that pokes way out from the shore of Lake Superior, maybe a quarter mile or so, and Tilly felt it was about the single most beautiful place on God’s green earth.

It’s where sky met water, and a person could not tell where that line of demarcation was. 

It’s where the mists flowed upward as if intent on masking noise and avian residents and bathed a person’s feet in gentle moisture.

It’s where time seemed to hold its breath and where day slipped into night and then back into day with no differentiation in the sheer, awesome, stunning beauty of the place.

It’s where Mankind built a minimal pier and a thin, towering beacon that just seemed to fit right into the silent beauty and majesty of the place.

And it’s where Tilly had countless romantic ideations.

With the Man of her dreams. With …

Well, I was thinking of maybe you and I meeting.

There. It’s out there. Tilly found herself holding her breath and chastised herself to BREATHE! A pause that was eternally gut-wrenching.

Then, I’m glad you asked. I would have, but I didn’t want to scare you away, but you yanked the words right out of my head.

A sudden, unexpected surge of joy spurred her to attack the keyboard. Not likely ML. After all this time and all our talks, I feel like I know you oh so well.

All that’s missing then is the physical, right?

Tilly smiled. I’m sure there’s so much more to discover.

Another pause. You know that the Greek language distinguishes four different kinds of love, right?

Interesting. Wonder where he was going with this. I’d heard that, yes.

So, you know what they are?

She thought for a moment, straining to remember and failing. She opened another browser window and searched for ‘4 stages of love Greek’ and got her answer. I do, yes. Does this mean you’re in love with me?

A pause, then, Well, which stage would you say we’re in?

So, you ARE in love with me?

Come on, MM99, answer the question.

I’m not sure about the LOVE part. Dude, I don’t even know your name?


Pleased to meetcha Edgar. I’m Tilly.

Short for Matilda?

LOL. Wonderful name. I think my mom was stoned when she named me.

She probably had a really good epidural. So, back to the question?

Mortimer jumped up on the desktop, demanding attention and Tilly complied while she composed her thoughts and the vile beast purred and throbbed under her ministrations. Tilly’s fingers glided over the keyboard with her reply: Maybe we can explore the Eros stage.

You don’t have herpes simplex or a cat, do you?

Tilly laughed. I’ve got a cat. Name is Mortimer. He’s a Blue Persian

Cool name, and that’s a gorgeous cat. Now, about that Eros…

Let’s meet, Edgar.

Date, time, and place. You name it, and I’m there. I don’t care if it’s in BF Egypt.

It seemed outrageously impulsive; Tilly struggled against a surge of unreasonable excitement that flushed her cheeks. Ever heard of McIntyre Point?

No, but it sounds perfect. 


Pop took Tilly to McIntyre Point when she was either eleven or twelve, whichever. She was a tall girl, and at that age, she was all long, gangly arms and legs and stringy, flying hair and freckles and huge glasses. All her jeans were too short, her shirts were too big, and she despised those damnable training bras that Mom always made her wear. 

Anytime she’d set to go out, the same litany spewed out from her mom from the kitchen. “Tie your hair up and make damned sure you got a bra on, you hear me?”

But on days like the day she first saw and experienced McIntyre Point, she went with her Pop, and he was a much different beastie than mom. 

As soon as they’d get in the car and pull out of the driveway, he’d reach over to that bobbing ponytail of hers and deftly undo it. “Be free, Little Flower,” and she’d smile and let him undo the tie. “Just make sure you tie it back up before we get home. Deal?”


On that morning, they drove the woods along a narrow paved trail in Pop’s pickup, bouncing along here and there as the sun spiked its way between the trees, flashing speckled light all over Pop’s brawny, hairy forearms. “Where we going, Pop?”

He glanced at her with a smirk. “You’ll see when we get there.”

They drove in comfortable silence, Tilly watching trees; her eyes were drawn by an occasional startled deer or a brightly colored bird as she sipped unconsciously on a juice box. No need for a radio; no need for odd Frank Zappa tunes grumbling from the cd player that Pop seemed to really enjoy.

The truck ground to a halt with a squeak of brakes, kicked-up dust, and Pop was out, gently closing the door. Tilly pushed her way out of the truck, closed the door, and came around the front of the truck as it ticked in the silence of the forest. “Where are we?”

“Come with me, Til.” And he held his arm open for her to come alongside him, which she did, and father and daughter set off on a foot trail. The scent of water tinged the air. Tilly loved the water.

The couple pushed up a short grade and crested, and there they stopped. Spreading out before them was McIntyre Point in all its stunning glory, jutting out into the vastness of Lake Superior. 

Tilly’s eyes were huge as if straining to take it all in when Pop leaned down, holding his forefinger to his closed lips. “Shhhh. Come on.”

They walked out onto the wooden pier that seemed to stretch on forever, mists flowing upward to kiss the sun. Finally, they reached the end of the pier, which ended in a round lookout upon which stood a slim light pole. A single light glowed, seeming to mesh with the sheer and stunning beauty of the place.

“Pop, it’s—”

“Shhhh. I know. Just look, honey. Look at what God has given us.”

The two stood there, experiencing something Tilly had never experienced again but longed for with her heart. 

The sheer closeness she shared with her Pop was impossible to describe. One could only feel it. 

Later, Tilly came to understand the rarity of this experience, but while she understood it, that understanding did nothing to diminish her longing for it. Though if she’d never experienced something like that again in her life, she at least got to experience it once, and for that, she was grateful.

But she wanted it again, and she wanted it with someone with whom she could be close.


The sun was more up than not, and its rays found Tilly sitting on that very same crest where she first experienced McIntyre Point.

Anxiety and doubt nagged at her on the drive along the same path her Pop took so long ago until she made her way out of her own pickup truck and came to a stop on the crest. Anxiety dribbled away before the majesty of the place, and she sat down and let the entire vista steal her soul.

A car’s engine pushed its way into her awareness. He’s here.

She wanted to give him the same kind of experience she’d been gifted from her Pop, and the truth of it was that she wanted that experience herself as well, although the rational part of her knew that it would never be the same as the first time.

A car door closed. Footsteps growing closer. Heavy. This was a big man. Leviathan. 

“Hiya, Tilly?”

She stood, tore her gaze away from McIntyre Point, and turned her back to it. “You came.”

“Wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

He wore a massive black raincoat and a wide-brimmed top hat over coarse jeans and construction boots, and as he moved up to the crest alongside Tilly, she saw that he was indeed massive.

They looked at each other, her marveling at the shocking blue of his eyes that masked perpetual humor. He took in her diminutive stature, lingering over the brown waterfall of her hair. “Has anyone told you that you’re beautiful?”

Color rushed to her cheeks. “Cheeky bastard. Bet you say that to all the girls.”

“Limey wench.”

They laughed together, and her hand found his and was promptly lost in the rough immensity of his grip. “You ARE a Leviathan.”

“Well, aren’t you the observant one? Now, what have we here?”

“McIntyre Point. Just look at it, Edgar. Let it take your breath away.”


She held her forefinger to her lips. “Shhh. Don’t disturb the peace. C’mon.”

The couple set off to the pier, and then on and on they went, hand-in-hand until they finally arrived at the lookout. They stood there, taking it all in.

Tilly spoke without looking at him as if speaking to an immense lake. “Edgar, I feel—”

Edgar let go of Tilly’s hand and wrapped her in his arm, and she felt close. Secure. Protected. 

Like with Pop.

“Let me see you, Edgar. Take your hat off.”

He looked at her, a deep and eternal pain flitting behind his eyes. “No, Tilly. My head… ain’t right.”

She reached up, standing on her tippy-toes, and lifted the hat from his head as he watched her warily.

She handed him his hat and then turned to stare out at the flowing mists. Her voice was a whisper. “It must have been hard on you as a child.”

“It was.”

“Are you angry?”

A pause. She looked up at the behemoth of a man. “Yes and no.”

Tilly felt the pain radiating off him. She touched his coarse cheek, her delicate fingers gliding over his flesh. “I want to take your pain. But you need something you can see in your mind to help with that too. Remembering this,” and she swept her hand out over the still waters, “will help you with your rage.”

Edgar’s hat fell into the water as he lifted Tilly effortlessly into his arms.

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