Category Archives: Writing

DR. PAUL’S FAMILY TALK PODCASTS: Jim Flynn 

JIM FLYNN, a returning guest, a former financial consultant, a previous contestant on Jeopardy, and now a writer of thrillers (with humor!). Flynn joined host Paul W. Reeves from his home in Connecticut to discuss all of his books, including his latest release from his series, “Better Than Even.”

FROM HIS AMAZON PAGE:

“Jim Flynn worked in the financial industry for 35 years. He is currently writing the JR Johnson book series and has published the first two volumes, Losing Lola, and The Bitcoin Gambit. Losing Lola won The AudioBook Reviewer award for Best Thriller in 2020. 

The books are written as financial thrillers with humor. The first book Flynn published was Be Sincere Even When You Don’t Mean It, a humorous fictional memoir.”

www.jimflynnsix.com

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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 successful individuals 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

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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.

https://www.impactradiousa.com

SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK: EPISODE 31

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 #31 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.

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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

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Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

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Dr. John Chuback

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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 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11700698_10204467697476836_1401739541151934347_o.jpg

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.

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

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WRITING TIPS, TOOLS, AND TIDBITS!: HOMONYMS, HOMOPHONES, and HOMOGRAPHS

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.

HOMONYMS, HOMOPHONES, and HOMOGRAPHS

People often mix up the terms homonyms, homophones, and homographs. Although these terms are similar and have an overlap, they have specific meanings. This should help to keep them straight.

Basically, homonyms sound the same and have the same spelling. Homophones sound the same regardless of spelling. Homographs have the same spelling regardless of how they are pronounced. And all of these words—homonyms, homophones, and homographs—have different meanings regardless of spelling or pronunciation.

Basically, if they sound the same, they are homophones. If they are spelled the same, they are homographs. If they are both spelled the same and sound the same, they are homonyms. Please note that there is an overlap of these word groups. And please also note that some dictionaries and sources use the word homonyms to mean all of these.

***

Homonyms are words that both sound the same and also have the same spelling, but mean different things. Examples: bark and bark, bat and bat, lie and lie, pen and pen, ring and ring, tire and tire. Since homonyms sound the same, they are also homophones, and since they are spelled the same, they are also homographs.

Examples:

  • ball (a round toy for play or sports) / ball (a formal party)
  • bark (a tree’s outer layer) / bark (the sound a dog makes)
  • lie (to recline) / lie (to tell a falsehood)
  • right (correct) / right (opposite of left)
  • rose (a flower) / rose (past tense of rise)
  • tire (to grow fatigued) / tire (part of a wheel)

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Homophones are words that sound the same but may or may not have the same spelling, and they mean different things. Examples: blew and blue, do and due, eight and ate, know and no, plain and plane, right and write, threw and through. Homophones are pronounced the same no matter how they are spelled.

Examples:

  • ate, eight
  • bear, bare
  • break, brake
  • cell, sell
  • dear, deer
  • flower, flour
  • for, four
  • grate, great
  • hear, here
  • mail, male
  • plain, plane
  • pray, prey
  • right, write
  • see, sea
  • site, sight, cite
  • tale, tail
  • there, their, they’re
  • week, weak

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Homographs are words that are spelled the same but may or may not have the same pronunciation, and they mean different things. Examples: bass and bass, bow and bow, dove and dove, tear and tear, read and read, lead and lead. Homographs are spelled the same no matter how they are pronounced.

Examples:

  • bow (decorative ribbon) / bow (part of a ship)
  • content (what is contained inside) / content (satisfied)
  • dove (past tense of dive) / dove (a bird)
  • lead (to be a leader) / lead ( a metal)
  • minute (60 seconds) / minute (tiny)
  • tear (salty fluid from your eye) / tear (to rip)

***

Basically, homophones sound the same, homographs are spelled the same, and homonyms do both (sound the same and spelled the same). And even though the words sound and/or are spelled the same, they have different meanings.

Helpful Hint: All three words start with “homo” which means “same.” The endings help define what they mean.

—phone means “sound,” so homophones have the same sound, regardless of spelling.

—graph means “written,” so homographs are written or spelled the same, regardless of pronunciation.

—onym means “name,” so homonyms sound the same and are spelled the same.

Note: Some words fall into more than one category. Also, in some dictionaries, homonyms can be used to refer to all such words in general.

Bark and bark are in all three categories: homonyms (sound the same and spelled the same), homophones (sound the same regardless of spelling), and homographs (spelled the same regardless of pronunciation).

***

Please look at the chart for an easy summary and helpful reminder.

***

I hope you find this helpful. These tips 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/

Lynn Miclea: Sugar Cookies

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 by Rebecca Matthews from Pixabay.

Sugar Cookies

Lynn Miclea

Megan slowly drove up the long driveway and parked the car. A heavy sense of loneliness settled in her belly. After sitting there for a few minutes looking at the familiar house, she finally got out of the car and gazed around the yard. The gardeners still took care of it, but she knew it would never be the same. She ached deep inside, and she wondered if that feeling would ever go away.

Now that her mother was gone, she would need to go through her things and decide what to keep, what to throw out, and what to donate. It was a tough job. One that she had put off for a few months, but something urged her to finally take care of it. But now she wasn’t sure if she was up to it.

Letting out a big sigh, she climbed the few steps to the porch and looked at the swing. Memories of sitting on that swing and talking to her mom for hours about anything and everything came back to her in a rush. Tears threatened to fall. She clearly remembered the last time they sat there together. Her mother had died only two weeks later.

Not wanting to go inside yet, she sat on the swing. It felt comfortable and familiar, yet empty without her mom there next to her. “I miss you, Mom,” she whispered. Feelings of loss and exhaustion overwhelmed her.

After not sleeping well the night before, she relaxed and idly swung back and forth. Feeling lost and lonely, fatigue overtook her, and she dozed off.

Thirty minutes later, she suddenly jerked awake. Sniffing the air, she smelled her mom’s perfume. How was that possible? It must have been from the dream. She quickly sat upright as the dream came back to her.

In her dream her mom had come to her, and it felt so real. Her mother looked young, healthy, and happy. She talked to her the way she always did, giving advice, supporting her, and being caring and compassionate. Her mom wanted her to be happy. A few words from the dream came back to her. “Get rid of my stuff, I don’t need it anymore … Be happy and live your life … Find love … Bake cookies and bring them to Jack Barton down the street …” Then the dream faded.

Megan stood up, stretched, and looked out over the rose bushes. Her mom loved those bushes, and deep longing and nostalgia swept over her. She shook her head. She really needed to go inside and start going through her mother’s things.

Slowly opening the front door, Megan peeked inside. It was just how she remembered it. Parts of the dream came back to her as she entered the house. Cookies! She needed to bake cookies and bring them to Jack Barton down the street. Memories of her mom baking cookies and taking them to the neighbors brought a smile to her face. She could do that, and if that’s what her mom wanted, she would do that again. It would be a nice way to honor her memory.

***

Two hours later, holding a plate of fresh, hot sugar cookies, she knocked on the door of Jack Barton’s house.

The door opened, and a handsome young man about her age stood there, his blond hair falling into his eyes. He quickly pushed his hair back with his fingers and stared at her for a few moments. “Megan?”

She nodded, feeling her face flush. “Lucas?”

Jack came up behind Lucas. “Megan, how nice to see you.” His gray hair stuck out in several places, and his eyes lit up as he saw the plate of cookies. “Oh, you brought cookies — how wonderful! Come in, come in.”

Glancing at Lucas and smiling shyly, Megan followed the older man into the kitchen.

Jack took the plate of cookies. “These look so good, just like your mom used to make.”

Megan felt awkward. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to barge in without calling first, I just—”

Jack cut her off. “No, it’s okay, it’s fine.” He placed the cookies on the kitchen table. “I always looked forward to your mom bringing cookies over. Sit, please. Help yourself to one of them. Would you like some lemonade?”

Feeling a bit unsure, Megan hesitated, but she did not want to insult him. “Sure,” she finally said. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure. I always loved your mom’s cookies.” He placed three glasses on the table and poured the lemonade. “Help yourself. The lemonade is fresh.”

Jack gestured between the two of them. “Lucas, you remember Megan, don’t you? She’s Carol’s daughter.” He glanced at Megan. “Carol always made such amazing cookies, and I’m sure these are good too.” He grabbed a cookie from the plate. “Megan, you remember my son Lucas, right? I’m sure you’ve seen him around, but I know it’s been a while. He just got home from college.”

Megan remembered a gangly young boy from years ago, but not the good-looking man who now stood next to her. “Yes, it has been a long time.” She felt herself flush. “Lucas, you look so different from how I remember you.”

Lucas laughed. “Yes, it’s definitely been a long time.” Not taking his eyes off Megan, he sat down at the table across from her. “You sure have changed a lot, too.” He chuckled. “I remember you as a cute, little shy girl from down the street.” He hesitated and then spoke more softly. “You sure have grown up.”

Megan laughed. “You have too.” She sipped the cool drink and then licked her lips and turned to Jack. “This is really good.”

Jack smiled. “You’re very welcome. And these cookies are just as good as Carol used to bake. Maybe even better.” His eyes sparkled.

The chair scraped on the floor as Lucas stood up. “I’m really sorry, but I have an appointment in a few minutes, and I need to leave.” He gazed at Megan. “Um, could I call you later? Maybe we could get together.”

Megan smiled. “I’d really like that.”

“Could I get your phone number?”

“Sure.” She recited it and Lucas wrote it down.

He looked at her as longing and regret flashed across his face. “I’m sorry I have to go. I really enjoyed seeing you again and talking to you.” He paused for a few moments. “I’ll call you soon, okay?”

Megan nodded as she watched him walk to the door.

Lucas turned to Jack. “Dad, I’ll be back in about two hours.” His gaze fell back on Megan and he smiled. Then he turned and left.

“Well,” Jack said. “It looks like my son likes you.”

Megan felt heat rising in her face. “I like him too. I hope he calls.”

“Oh, he will. Trust me. He will.” Jack’s eyes sparkled.

***

An hour later, Megan again sat on the swing on her mom’s porch, idly rocking back and forth. She couldn’t stop the smile from forming. “Thanks, Mom,” she whispered. “You still have my back. Bringing the cookies to Jack was a great idea. And maybe I’ll even find love.” She glanced over the familiar yard. “I know you’re watching over me, Mom. Even from heaven, you are still helping me. I love you, Mom.”

She could almost feel her mom sitting next to her. Warmth spread through her as she realized that she now had hope again. The sense of emptiness was slowly dissipating and being replaced by hope for the future. She felt like she was able to move forward with her life again, and she looked forward to hearing from Lucas.

Maybe she would even find love. And that was the best gift of all.

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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

WRITE THE STORY! MAY 2022 PROMPT

Welcome to Write the Story!

Oops! The start of May slipped by unnoticed. Sorry for being tardy in posting the prompt. April was a great month for stories, and the very futuristic pier image prompted a lot of interesting stories. We hope the serene image of a summer afternoon will bring out the muses, all of them!

Thanks to the writers who submitted a story and to the readers who enjoyed them. We appreciate your participation in Write The Story!

Now on to the May prompt!

A reminderWU! created this project with two goals: providing a writing exercise and promoting our author sites to increase reader traffic. We ask that you please include a link to the Writers Unite! blog when you post your story elsewhere. By doing so, you are also helping promote your fellow members and Writers Unite! We encourage all of you to share each other’s stories to help all of us grow. Thanks!

Write the Story! May 2022 Prompt

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

Here’s the plan:

  • You write a story of 3000 words or less (minimum 500 words) or a poem (minimum 50 words) based on and referring to the image provided and post it on the author site you wish to promote. Don’t forget to give your story a title. (Note: You do not have to have a website/blog/FB author page to participate, your FB profile or WordPress link is fine.)
  • Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing, but WU! reserves the right to reject publishing the story if poorly written.
  • The story must have a title and author name and must include the link to the site you wish to promote.
  • Send the story and link to the site via Facebook Messenger to Deborah Ratliff or email to writersunite16@gmail.com. Put “Write the Story” in the first line of the message.
  • Please submit your story by the 25th day of the month.

WU! will post your story on our blog and share it across our platforms— FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The story will also be available in the archives on the WU! blog, along with the other WTS entries.

We ask that you share the link to the WU! blog so that your followers can also read your fellow writers’ works.

The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. It may take some time, but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.

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SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK: EPISODE 30

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 #30 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”

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Dr. John Chuback

Picture

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. 

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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 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11700698_10204467697476836_1401739541151934347_o.jpg

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.

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is book-cover.jpg

WRITING TIPS, TOOLS, AND TIDBITS!: KANGAROO WORDS

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.

KANGAROO WORDS

kangaroo word is a word that contains a similar word or synonym inside.

For example, the word aberrant contains errant inside it. Below are a few more examples.

Examples:

  • Allocate — contains the word allot
  • Charisma — contains the word charm
  • Feast — contains the word eat
  • Observe — contains the word see
  • Prosecute — contains the word sue
  • Rampage — contains the word rage
  • Truthfully — contains the word truly

***

Please look at the chart for many more kangaroo words.

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/

D. A. Ratliff: Home Again

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 by Rebecca Matthews from Pixabay.

Home Again

D. A. Ratliff

A Detective Elijah Boone Mystery

Two days ago, I arrived in my hometown in South Carolina for a weeklong vacation with my family. Today, I—Elijah Boone, Detective Lieutenant with the New Orleans Police Department—sat in the Colleton County Jail, accused of murder.

I leaned against the cinder block wall of the cell and thought about how I got here.

~~~

I have always heard that you can’t go home again, but that isn’t true. You can go home again but know that the journey will be accompanied by constant muttering. I know because I had muttered to myself since I drove the rental car off the lot at the Charleston Airport. When did they build that? Boy, this place has changed. Is there a—insert any business name—in every town? These people can’t drive!

When the urban crawl of Charleston was in my rear-view mirror, I relaxed and began to enjoy the journey. The South Carolina Low Country was beautiful in October. The temperature remained in the seventies, and among the pines and palmettos lining the highway, the oaks and maples glimmered with gold and orange leaves. Even though I grew up here, I always viewed the land with fresh eyes every time I returned.

Several weeks ago, my mother had called asking why I had not RSVP’d to my cousin Veronica’s wedding. To be honest, I wasn’t sure my workload would allow it. Being a homicide detective in New Orleans was more than a full-time job. I had promised her I would try, but as the date got closer, I knew I had to come home, so I put in for leave and left the craziness of NOLA behind.

The drive to my parents’ home in Walterboro took about an hour. The only distraction I had was the box of Italian Wedding cookies and the Italian Cream cake retrieved from a suitcase and now sitting on the passenger seat, firmly secured by the seat belt. When I told Mama Leone why I was coming to Charleston, she insisted on sending food along. As spaghetti sauce could have proven messy, she sent cake and cookies.

Cookies. Mama Leone packed four dozen. I glanced at the box a few times before I decided no one would miss a couple. Four cookies later, I vowed not to eat another one. That didn’t last long.

I had mixed feelings about returning to my once sleepy hometown. Walterboro was now a bustling industrial community, barely over an hour from the ports at Charleston and Savannah, and a prime location for manufacturing companies. The last time I was here, six years ago, the town had blossomed. I imagined more so now.

But my thoughts ran toward the old days when life was simple, and the most I had to worry about was Mrs. Maxwell’s English tests in fifth grade. Good days. As I got closer to home, old landmarks began to pop up—Jellico Landing, where my father, Morris, Uncle Jasper, cousin Matthias, and Ted Crawford, my best friend, would take my dad’s bass boat to go fishing. A bit beyond Jellico Landing was the road south to Edisto Island. I loved the beach and the ocean. On some Sundays after church, my parents would load up the car with picnic food and beach towels and head for the state park on Edisto. If we were good, my parents would stop at the Pavilion for ice cream on the way home. My cousins—Matt and Ronnie and my sister Naomi, better known as Mimi—were with us on many of those trips. We were inseparable growing up, and I had to come home for Ronnie’s wedding.

My parents had moved from the modest three-bedroom track house where I grew up to my grandparents, Nana and Poppa’s stately house on Boone Lane. Be the first house on the road, and they named it after you. I called the house stately because it had a wraparound veranda and was two stories, the upstairs with slanted walls and a hidden attic area that we played in as children—a house custom made for exploring as a child. I turned into the drive and drove about a quarter of a mile through thick woods until the house appeared. I slowed down, trying to take it all in. I was home.

No sooner had I parked did I hear a screen door bang. Looking toward the house, I saw my mom, Jessie Lynn, and her new Golden Retriever puppy, Cleaver. I had to laugh. She always named our pets after families from fifties and sixties sitcoms. My dog growing up was Nelson. Cleaver jumped all over me, nearly knocking Mama Leone’s goodies from my hand, prompting my mother to yell at him.

“You stop that, boy. Get down.”

She ran to me and nearly did the same. “I swear, it has been too long, Elijah.” Her hug was one of those comforting kinds, and I had missed it.

“Come on in. Your dad will be home a little after six for dinner, but he has to go back to the store to close. Mimi, Dalton, and the kids should be here shortly, and Matt and Sheri Lee are coming and bringing Ronnie and Tomas.”

“Great, and what about Uncle Jasper?”

“He took a load to Savannah this afternoon, but he thinks he’ll be back.”

“How’s he doing? I’ve talked to him a few times, and he says he’s okay.”

“Hard to believe it’s been six years since Louise died. He seems better this year. Even bringing a date to the wedding.”

“That’s good.”

We climbed the steps to the front porch, and the first thing I noticed was the old swing. It had a new coat of paint and new hardware, but it was the same one I’d sat on with my Poppa and listened to fishing tales and with Nana, helping her break green beans for dinner.

Mom noticed and smiled at me. “That swing holds a lot of memories for all of us. Come, let’s go inside.”

~~~

Dinner was Spaghetti Bolognaise. Not my momma’s spaghetti I remembered from childhood, but a plate of spaghetti like Mama Leone would make. As I dug into the rich, spicy dish, I commented on Mom’s past Italian cooking.

“Mom, this is not the spaghetti I remember growing up.”

Her cheeks turned pink. “Well, I’ve come a long way. And after visiting you a few years ago in New Orleans and eating at that restaurant you love, I learned to cook Italian.”

I chuckled at her ‘eye-talian’ pronunciation, but the food was delicious. “You learned well.”

“You can thank Martha Stewart. That’s her recipe.”

After we devoured the Italian Cream cake, Dad and I sat outside on the swing for a few minutes before he had to go back to work.

“How’s business, Dad?”

“Not bad. Big chain boys haven’t knocked us out yet. Not like the good old days when we had the hardware store downtown before the box stores came here but working for a chain hardware company is good. Managing the store isn’t the same as having one of your own, but it will do.”

It was nearing midnight when the others left, and I hit the sack as soon as I could.

~~~

I woke up to a seven-month-old dog licking my face. I’ve had worse ways to wake up. After breakfast, I took Mom on some errands, and while she was getting her hair done, I walked around downtown. Instead of the family businesses I remembered, antique shops lined both sides. At least Walterboro had survived, and the antique business was booming.

We had lunch at the local diner, and on the way home, Mom brought up the subject I knew she would at some point. My son.

“Have you heard from Eric recently?”

“No, not since the letter in June.”

“You should see him.”

“He doesn’t want to see me, and Lisa would never allow it.”

“She is a fool. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I was a cop, I got shot at, and she couldn’t deal with it. I don’t blame her.”

“Well, you sure haven’t got a new girlfriend.”

“No time, Mom.”

She gave me a harumph. “Make time. Maybe when you go to the game tonight, you will find the perfect woman?”

In hindsight, I wish I had found a woman and not the trouble I did.

~~~

My high school’s football game was against a high school from North Charleston. My sister, her husband, kids, and our cousins and their families decided last night at dinner that we would live our old high school days over for at least one night.

It was Friday night in the south, which meant football. The stands were packed, and my high school led by ten points at the half. Matt, Dalton, and I headed to the concession stand to get snacks. We hadn’t been in line long before I heard my name called.

“Who the hell do you think you are coming back here, boy.”

I knew the voice without looking around. Jackson Davis. Bully when I was in school and still a bully now.

I looked over my shoulder. “Visiting family, Davis.”

He walked up to me, leaning in my face. “I thought I told you never to show your face here again.”

Dalton and Matt moved closer, but I waved them off. “Free country, Davis. Now go.”

“You and Charlie thought you were better than me. Charlie tried me on a while back, and I put him in the hospital. You ain’t got a chance, city boy.”

He grabbed my arm. I grabbed his other arm with my free hand and twisted it behind him while hooking my foot behind his leg, dropping him to his knees. “Now go watch the game and leave us alone.”

It was after the game that he tried again. I was walking to get the car when he jumped me from behind. His buddies held onto me as Davis punched me in the stomach. I wasn’t going down without a fight. He stood in front of me, legs spread, so I kicked him in the balls as hard as possible. He stopped, looked at me with glassy eyes, grabbed his crotch, and collapsed. His friends, stunned, let go of me. One foolishly tried to slug me, but I threw a right cross, and he went down. The other dude ran.

I told Matt and Dalton what happened but asked them to keep it quiet. I went home and went to bed. The following day, Matt called at nine a.m. to say that Davis had been found dead. At ten a.m., the sheriff arrested me.

~~~

“Didn’t I keep you out of trouble when we were kids?”

I opened my eyes. Ted Crawford stood outside the bars, hair a bit grayer and a few pounds heavier, but the same bright blue eyes and toothy grin.

“What are you doing here? Not that I’m not happy to see you.”

“Remember, I’m a lawyer. Granted, I practice civil law mostly, but I do pro-bono criminal cases for the county. Your dad called me, and here I am.”

“I can pay you.”

“Did I ask for money?”

I shut up. Ted continued. “Because it’s a murder charge, I can’t get you out until a bail hearing. That’s not happening until Monday. The judge doesn’t take kindly to murder. He’d leave his own mother in here if he thought she’d killed someone. But I got the sheriff to agree to leave you in this holding cell, and you can have food from outside.”

“I didn’t do it.”

Ted laughed. “I know, you idiot. But I remember the bad blood between you and Davis back in high school and….”

“That was high school. We’re adults now.”

“You’re an adult now. Davis never rose above his high school mentality. Now, a deputy retrieved your gun from your suitcase. Your dad said it was still in the case and looked untouched. They sent it to the state boys, the South Carolina Law Division, for a ballistic test. SLED won’t look at your gun until Monday either.”

“Was he shot?”

“Yes, and beaten severely. Now, I’m going to talk to the D. A. and see what nonsense they have linking you to Davis’s murder. I’ll be back and bring you some coloring books.”

“Funny, man. Listen, I need you to call my boss in NOLA. He needs to know what’s going on here.”

“Give me his number, and I’ll take care of that.”

“Thanks, and don’t let my mom come here.”

“I know your mom. Nothing will keep her from coming.”

Ted was right. Mom and Dad arrived with lunch and cookies. Mom’s eyes were red-rimmed, but she didn’t cry in front of me. Matt and Mimi brought dinner and left books, magazines, and a coloring book and crayons—from Mimi’s kids, not Ted.

Sunday, I had just finished Mom’s dinner and settled into a whodunit, Matt’s idea of a joke, when the outer cell door clanked. I looked up to see a familiar face—my partner, Hank Guidry.

He walked up to the bars, grabbed them, and stuck his head between them. “Now, this is a sight. Everyone said they’d pay me a lot of money for a photo, but I declined.”

“Good to see you, but what are you doing here?”

“Captain got your lawyer’s call, sent for me, and suggested I was in dire need of a vacation. Told me South Carolina was nice this time of year. I flew in this afternoon. Here to help get you out of this mess.”

“You talk to Ted yet?”

“Just a while ago. Sheriff’s having a tough time putting you anywhere near the scene where Davis died. Ted thinks the judge will release you tomorrow for lack of evidence, but he also thinks they will keep at it until they find a way to pin it on you. One of the deputies is married to Davis’s sister, so they are out for revenge.”

“Great.” I sank onto the cot.

Hank leaned against the bars. “The two goons with Davis said you beat the heck out of him in the parking lot and threatened to finish him off.”

“Nope, he was beating on me, I only kicked him in the nuts, and he dropped to the ground. Slugged one of the other guys who took a swing at me. That was all.”

“Your cousin and brother-in-law confirmed that is what you told them. The captain called someone in SLED and is trying to get your weapon checked out faster.”

“Thanks.”

“Not doing you any good here, so I’m going to meet up with Ted and see what he wants me to do.”

“Okay.” Hank turned to leave. I stopped him. “Hey, buddy, thanks.” He grinned and left.

~~~

By ten o’clock on Monday morning, I was a free man. Ted dropped me off at home, and I took a hot shower, ate breakfast, then called Hank.

“Where are you?”

“At a pool hall where Davis hung out. Trying to get an idea who wanted him dead. No one knows me here, so Ted thought I might get somewhere. Just sit tight. We got this.”

I hung up. I was discouraged, but I was in good hands, and I knew it. I hadn’t slept well for the last two nights, so I told Mom I was taking a nap. Four hours later, I woke with a start. A thought was just on the edges of my memory, something I had missed.

Mom was puttering around in the kitchen, so I grabbed a cup of coffee, and Cleaver and I sat on the front porch. I rocked back and forth in the swing, trying to clear my mind. Something Davis said was important, and I wanted to bang my head against the porch post. I couldn’t remember.

Dad didn’t have to work late, and he was home for dinner. We were looking at his new fishing rod when Mimi, Dalton, and the kids arrived. Mimi had tried to have kids for years, and Danny and Elisa, six and eight, were a blessing. Before dinner, Dalton and I played football with the kids.

At dinner, Danny was excited and told Mimi. “Mom. Dad and Uncle Eli played ball with me just like Mr. Chuck at school.”

Mimi explained that Mr. Chuck was the assistant principal who played ball with the students at recess. But the name Chuck triggered something… something Davis said. Charles—he had beaten up a man named Charles and put him in the hospital. I excused myself and called Ted, telling him what I remembered.

“Any idea who this guy was, Eli?”

“There was a Charles Parker, who was a year behind us. I think they got into a couple of fights back then. I don’t remember much about him.”

“I remember him, still getting into trouble. I’ll call Hank and tell him to ask around about Parker. Meanwhile, I’ll do a bit of digging on my own. You stay put.”

“Ted, I…”

“Eli, stay put.”

I returned to the dinner table, frustrated. I needed to do something.

~~~

Tuesday morning, Hank stopped by. Mom got him coffee and a couple of cookies and left us to talk.

“Find out anything?” I admit I was nervous. He gave me that look, head dropped slightly, eyes looking upward. He did know something.

“About one a.m., I was at a bar on the county line. A guy at the pool hall said he saw Charlie Parker there three days ago. So last night, I went, bought a few rounds, and finally got a guy to talk to me about Charlie. He was pretty drunk, but I think telling me the truth. Charlie was in the bar Friday night when one of the guys with Davis at the game came in.”

“No Davis?”

Hank shook his head. “No. Someone asked this guy about Davis, and he told them Davis got kicked in the nuts and was home, hurting pretty bad. Charlie asked who busted him, and the guy told him what happened during and after the game. Charlie left shortly after.”

“Think he headed for Davis’s place?”

“That’s what we are trying to find out. Ted’s talking to the sheriff right now. Hope he believes us, Eli.”

“Me, too.”

~~~

The sheriff believed Ted. Hank, wearing a camera and listening device courtesy of SLED, sat in the bar while deputies waited hidden outside. Charlie didn’t show on Tuesday night, but he did on Wednesday around nine p.m. By ten p.m., Hank had managed to buy Charlie a few beers and steered the conversation to Davis.

“Man, just got into town when that dude got murdered. Tough town.”

“That dude? Jackass was a pain in my butt since high school.”

“What he’d do?”

“Bastard thought he was the toughest guy in school, but I was.”

“Heard some cop visiting from New Orleans killed Davis.”

Charlie guffawed. “That goody-two-shoes? How he became a cop is beyond me. Bastard thought I was dirt, but Davis was worse.”

“You don’t think the cop killed that dude?”

“Him? Nah—he didn’t do it.”

“Do you know who did?”

Charlie slugged back his beer and turned a cold gaze toward Hank. “I sure do, but I ain’t telling.”

Hank pushed him. “You kill him?”

Charlie jumped off the stool and pulled Hank from his. “So, what if I did. I can kill you too.”

As Charlie hit Hank in the head with a right fist, deputies burst into the bar and arrested Charlie.

~~~

Hank spent Wednesday giving a statement to the authorities, and Charlie’s arraignment for Jackson Davis’s murder took place that afternoon. In the evening, Hank came for dinner. As we sat down, Hank told us the latest.

“Charlie Parker confessed. When he heard that Davis was at home hurting from being kicked, he decided to kill him. Beat the heck out of him and shot him, then called the sheriff’s office to pin the blame on you. Thought he could take you both out. Davis’s buddies went along with his story, afraid Charlie would kill them.”

My dad shook his head. “A bad lot, both of those boys.”

Hank frowned. “Eli and I have seen worse, but this was bad enough.”

“That we have. By the way, I called the captain this morning to tell him.”

“I talked to him just a bit ago. He said I might as well stay here and keep you out of trouble. Flying back with you on Sunday.”

Mom put a plate of Fettuccini Alfredo in front of him. “Good, you’re coming to the wedding.”

After one bite, Hank beamed. “Who needs Mama Leone’s when we’ve got Mama Jessie.”

Watching my mom blush made me glad I had come home again.

Please visit Deborah on her blog: https://daratliffauthor.wordpress.com

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! 

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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

SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK: EPISODE 29

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.

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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

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Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

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Dr. John Chuback

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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. 

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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

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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.

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

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