Monthly Archives: March 2022

Thursday Things: Tracking Our Packages

Welcome to Thursday Things, where you might find a rant, a rave, or a random fact that I learned today!

Do you remember ordering something before the internet? You filled out an order form, included your check or money order, and waited the required six-to-eight weeks for it to show up? That was just long enough of a time period to forget that you’d even ordered the stuff, so it was a nice surprise from your past self!

Now, we can track almost every step of an online order. You get an email confirming your order. Then another one to assure you they’re packing it all up. There’s another one that comes when it ships, although I find that’s often just when they’ve created the shipping label. Some companies will also send you another one when it’s out for delivery.

This is great in so many ways…until your package gets stuck in one spot for a full week. And it’s your new laptop. Ugh. I tried to be patient. I mean, I completely understand that there are shipping delays right now, but a full week without moving seems ridiculous. I was assured that FedEx would call me back and let me know where my computer was.

They never did, but the FedEx guy happened to show up at my door with it yesterday! And my dog just about hopped in his van with him. Poor old guy just walked right out there like he was ready to go on an adventure!

Porkchop does what he wants.

How do you feel about tracking? Do you check it obsessively or just let your stuff arrive when it will? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you’re looking for a little bit of mid-week motivation, welcome to Writing Prompt Wednesday!

Your prompt: What’s a childhood memory you particularly treasure?

If you’re feeling inspired, I’d love to see where this idea leads you. Feel free to leave me a comment! You can also check out my Writers’ Resources page for more help and motivation! I also accept guest post submissions, so if this exercise leads you into a great short story or piece of flash fiction, consider sending it in. Thanks for stopping by!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

Leave a comment

Filed under On Writing, Writing Exercises

Tarot Tuesday! Card of the Week from The Akashic Tarot

Needing a little guidance for the week? Then you’re in luck, because it’s Tarot Tuesday!

This week’s pull is from The Akashic Tarot by Sharon Anne Klingler and Sandra Anne Taylor. If you’re unfamiliar with them, the Akashic Records are fields of energy that contain all knowledge past and present. It’s a complex but fascinating idea. I recommend The Akashic Records Made Easy by Sandra Anne Taylor to explore it further.

If you’re interested in a reading of your own, please see the bottom of this post.

It’s time for you to be with your community. This could be family, friends, or any other group. Perhaps you need to remake your old connections or build new ones. If new people are coming into your life, be open and receptive to what they bring along with them. While we all can use some time alone, right now you need to surround yourself with souls who bring you light and laughter.

What did this card mean for you?

Interested in a reading of your own?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading with a deck that calls to me. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com and we can get it arranged. Thank you!

$10.00

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Please note that I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Please considering doing your shopping using my links to help me earn money at no cost to you.

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Book Review: Rebellion by Nora Roberts

Do you ever get those advertisements in your social media feed along the lines of: If you love Outlander, you’ll love This Book! Rebellion would definitely fit in that category.

I have a huge pile of books that I have yet to read, and so I have a very specialized system when it comes time to pick out a new one: I close my eyes and grab something. This time, it was Rebellion. Historical fiction is always a fun genre for me, so I dove right in. And English man and a Scottish woman in 1745. The term Sassenach. Some other plot points that I can’t give away because it’d ruin the book completely. Oh, yes.

There are definitely some similarities, enough to make me go look up the publication years. Rebellion was written in 1988, which I figured was way before Outlander. Um, no. Outlander was first published in 1991. I wasn’t aware of it until sometime in the mid-2000’s, so that was a bit of a surprise to me. Granted, there’s not time travel in Rebellion, and any story that takes place at this time and location could easily have a lot of the same parallels, but I thought it was interesting nevertheless.

Now, on to the good stuff!

What I Loved: I mean, it’s Nora Roberts. You know it’s going to be pretty good. I’ve read plenty of her stuff (enough that I almost didn’t bother with an official review except that I just had to talk about the Outlander thing), and I’m never disappointed. The characters are deep, the settings are beautiful, and the story moves along with just the right combination of inner dialogue and action. It’s

What I Didn’t Love as Much: If there’s one thing Roberts does drive me crazy with it’s repeated words. We all do it sometimes, but and sometimes it can’t be helped. In this case, it was ‘pressed.’ That’s a pretty basic word, and one that might not be avoidable, but when it’s used once or twice a page for several pages in the same chapter it’s a bit much. I think a decent editor could have switched a few of those out.

Rating and Review: If you like historical fiction, and you love Outlander, then Rebellion belongs at the top of your TBR pile! 🙂 Seriously, though, it’s a pretty good book. 4 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

Leave a comment

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Tarot Tuesday: Card of the Week from the Animal Tarot!

Time to shake off that case of the Mondays and get ready for Tarot Tuesday! This week’s draw is from the Animal Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine. I love all the beautiful animals in this deck and the way that everything is connected to nature. If you’re interested in a personal reading, please see the bottom of this post.

Spring is the suit of creativity and action, and the monarch butterfly is here to let you know that things are changing! Opportunities are headed your way, and they likely involve your creative endeavors or something you’re very passionate about. It’s possible that this card represents a person in your life, someone who is bringing new ideas and tons of energy to the table. She may flit from one thing to another, but she’ll change your entire outlook.

Which does this card mean for you?

Interested in a tarot reading?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com and we can arrange it easily. Thank you!

$10.00

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Leave a comment

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Cover Reveal: Storm and Flame by Mallory Wanless

Is there anything more exciting than a cover reveal? Nah, not really! Author Mallory Wanless was kind enough to share the cover for her upcoming book, Storm and Flame. Are you ready?

Elena has always been a disappointment. Her magic is practically non-existent and now, on her sixteenth birthday, she is expelled from magic school by the strict headmistress–also known as her mother. Cast out into the world of the magically inept with only her familiar for company, Elena feels lost and alone until she meets a strange boy in the woods.

Quinn is a thief, a hunter, and a hothead. His unexpected friendship with Elena awakens a fiery side in him–quite literally– and uncovers new and surprising magical abilities. Except men aren’t supposed to be capable of magic.

With Quinn’s help, Elena carves a safe new life as a barmaid, but when she is attacked, her powers awaken with shocking ferocity. Elena’s explosion of magic creates a power surge that attracts the attention of magical investigators, sent to uncover and contain the source of the power surge.

But the awakening of their powers kickstarts an ancient prophecy. Will they be able to escape those that hunt them? Can they fulfill the prophecy, destroy the turmio and save magic from being destroyed once and for all?

About the Author:

Mallory lives near Houston with her husband and their two boys, 5 & 7. She spends her days homeschooling and full-time parenting. Her nights, and any free time she manages to carve out during the day, are devoted to reading and writing.

TikTok: @mwanless.author Twitter: @mwanless_writer    Pinterest: @mwanless_author

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

Leave a comment

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Getting Started with Freelance Writing

I often see people in writers’ groups asking how to get into freelance writing. I’m excited for them, because I know how awesome it is to make some money with your writing. I made the leap to full-time freelancing eight years ago. It was a big leap to let go of a steady job, but it’s been an absolutely amazing experience. I love making my own schedule and being available for my family when they need me. The thing is, I don’t think there’s any one set way to do this. Everyone has likely taken a slightly different path, but I’m happy to share mine.

  1. Decide what kind of freelancing you want to do: You need at least some sort of direction in which to head before you can start going anywhere. It may evolve a bit along the way, as it certainly did for me, but it’s good to have some goals to work toward. Do you want to be a ghostwriter? Fiction or non-fiction? Are you into editing? Copy writing? Or do you want to create blog posts and articles for magazines and websites? Stick with what you feel is your best strength to start with.
  2. Build your CV and portfolio: There’s no getting around this step! Clients need proof that you’re worth hiring, and unfortunately that means proving that someone else also thought you were worthy! How you build your CV will depend on your goals, but you can start by submitting stories and poetry to literary magazines or doing work for local businesses who need a little extra help. Another option would be to check with friends who own small businesses to see if they need content or proofreading. You can find more information about building your CV here.
  3. Brush up on your skills: It’s always a good idea to refresh your brain, especially when you’re trying to impress someone. There are TONS of books out there that will help with grammar and punctuation, formatting, and sentence structure, but there are also plenty about the art of writing itself. I find these to be particularly inspiring! Some of my favorites are Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
  4. Find clients: It’s finally time to put yourself out there and make some money! There are lots of places to find clients, but you have to go out there and look for them! This is perhaps one of the hardest things for us writers, because we tend to be a little introverted and we don’t always like selling ourselves. You can check out this post about finding freelance clients for more detailed information. Make sure when you’re putting in a bid for a job that you follow all the submission guidelines.
  5. Stay Organized: Getting those freelancing gigs means keeping track of deadlines, notes, and client information. It means managing your time and staying focused. You’ll also need a place to work, which is often one of the biggest challenges for busy parents. How all of this comes together is going to be different for everyone. Digital planner or paper? Work from home or sneak off to the coffee shop? Freelance in your spare time or dive in with both feet? There are a lot of little decisions to be made, and you may have to try a few things to see what works best for you. Check out Tips for Starting a Freelance Business and Tips for a Successful Freelance Business.

I really didn’t know what I was doing when I first started freelancing. I never imagined it would lead to being a ghostwriter and supporting myself while working in sweatpants with a dog snoring at my feet. I hope that you find success in freelancing, whatever that looks like to you!

Be sure to check out my Writers’ Resources page for lots of great information on writing!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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Filed under freelancing, On Writing

Guest Post: Are Editors Scary? by Manda Waller

by Manda Waller

I’ll come clean. Straight away. I’m a copy editor (also known as a line editor). But honestly, I’m not scary!

I work primarily with independent authors, many of them writing their first novel. Every time I connect with an author for the first time, I ask them a series of questions.

These start with questions about their book:
– what’s the genre?
– who’s your target audience?
– what’s the current word count?

And go on to questions about themselves:
– have you been published before?
– have you written before?
– are you a member of a writing group?

These questions about the book and about the author help me to target my feedback at an appropriate level. They help me to get an overview.

And then I ask them the most important question:
– what concerns do you have about being edited?

And every time, I hear the same answer.

They are worried that their writing is bad. They are embarrassed. They don’t want to feel attacked, or defensive. They’ve spent a year, two years, ten years writing a manuscript. It’s their baby. And they don’t want anyone telling them their baby is ugly. They don’t want to feel judged.

hand working on paper for proofreading

I get it. I totally do. I’m an editor who has been edited. It’s scary, daunting even, to hand over your manuscript to a stranger. Someone who is going to critique it. To scribble on it in red pen.

And this is why it’s so important to pick an editor who is right for you.

From an editor’s perspective, sometimes it’s hard to understand exactly what support an author needs. Some authors want “no-frills” feedback. They want it straight. They want to learn. They want their manuscript analysed in microscopic detail. They don’t want flannel or flattery.

But other authors need a gentler approach.

What can you do to make sure that you find an editor who is right for you?

Firstly, let your editor know how you are feeling. Are you scared or defensive? Have you had a horrible editing experience in the past? If so, what did you not like about it? Tell your editor if it’s your first book. Tell them that no one else has read it. Let your editor tailor their service to suit your emotional (as well as your editorial) requirements. After all, you are paying them. You are in charge.

A sample edit is a great way to work out whether an editor is a good fit for you. Most editors will do a sample edit for free, or for a small charge, and it will demonstrate the type of editor they are. When you get your sample back, have a proper look at it. Most editors will pick up the issues – they will find the points of grammar, spelling, punctuation, pace, sentence structure etc. – but you should be looking at HOW they communicate this with you.

Are they simply highlighting something and saying that it’s wrong? Or are they also making suggestions for alternatives, for improvements? Are they insistent, imposing their amendments? Or are they clearly and gently explaining their suggestions? The editing process should be a learning experience. Read their comments. Are they using a language that you understand? Do you feel encouraged, supported, inspired?

If a sample edit isn’t available (for example, developmental editors rarely provide a sample edit as they need to digest the entire manuscript to provide feedback), then just look at how your prospective editor is communicating with you. Get a sense of whether they are asking you questions to work out your requirements, to gauge the level of support you need. Or are they just talking about themselves, their services and how great they are?

Have a look at their website – is it friendly? Does it clearly display how the process works? Can you see their fees?

Are they on social media? What kind of posts do they make?

A wise colleague of mine once said, “An author’s success is an editor’s success.” We genuinely want you to succeed. We don’t care about mistakes – if you didn’t make them, we wouldn’t have a job. Feedback can be honest AND kind. The author-editor relationship should be a team. And the author should be firmly in the captain’s seat.

About the Author:

Manda Waller is a fiction editor from the UK, working with independent authors from around the world. She specialises in romance (including chick-lit), women’s fiction, eco-fiction and fantasy and works on adult novels, YA and MG. She is a Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (https://www.ciep.uk/) a Partner Member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/) and a member of Contemporary Romance Writers. She is a mum to three teenage daughters and two black Labradors. And most of all, she is kind.

www.mandawaller.co.uk
proof@mandawaller.co.uk

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Tarot Tuesday! Card of the Week from The Sacred Traveler Oracle

It’s time once again for Tarot Tuesday to see what the rest of the week holds for us!

This week’s pull is from The Sacred Traveler Oracle by Denise Linn. The bold, otherworldly images on these cards really called out to me, and there’s just so much energy in these cards.

If you’re interested in a reading of your own, please see the bottom of this post.

Keep moving forward! It may be hard, and it may feel like you’re not making any progress at all. You might be scared to leave behind what you’re already familiar with, and the tasks ahead may seem daunting, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Eventually, you’ll be standing on top of the mountain, taking in that spectacular view, and all your efforts will seem worth it.

Interested in a reading of your own?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading with a deck that calls to me. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com and we can get it arranged. Thank you!

$10.00

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Please note that I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tarot and Oracle Cards

Guest Post: ‘The Homemade Poppy’ by Elizabeth Pederson

As Remembrance Day approaches each year, I am reminded of a November about ten years ago.  I was in a mall in a big city in a province in Canada. I had grown tired and had finished all the shopping I wanted to do that day.  I decided to rest on a bench for a few minutes before I headed to the car to go home.

As much as I do not like shopping, I do love people-watching.  So, I enjoyed ending my time at the mall sitting watching the people around and walking by.  Within a few minutes an older gentleman asked if the empty seat beside me was taken.  I told him no, and he sat down.

I looked over at him, and I noticed the poppy he was wearing first.  Instead of the usual poppies that are readily available at this time of year, his was different.  It was bigger, and it was crocheted with a tiny black pompom sewed in the middle.  It also had some green stitching ever so subtly placed as leaves around the poppy.

It was very unique and quite pretty.  I smiled at the man.  “I am admiring your poppy.” 

The man nodded his head and looked away.  After a brief silence he said, “There is a story to it. If you want to listen, I will tell it.”

He cleared his throat dramatically and moved ever so slightly closer to me on the bench.  He began…

“I am the youngest of 14 children. We didn’t have much more than our basic needs met as we grew up. There was just not enough income to afford more than that for 14 kids.  My mother made everything we wore by hand – and yes, for all 14 of us.  She was quite handy with a needle and thread.  Of course, there were lots of times that clothing was shared.  Unfortunately for me, I rarely had anything new being the baby, but I had plenty of hand-me-downs.  I was about eight when this special poppy surfaced. 

“Every Remembrance Day, our whole family would gather at the cenotaph in the center of our village for the service to pay our respects to the soldiers who fought for our freedom and gave their lives as sacrifice.  Back then, poppies worn on your breast pocket were not common.  Unlike today, where we see them available in numerous places, yours for a donation.  Back then, it was the odd person who wore one of those.   My mother made poppies for each of us to wear.  They were hand sewed and she always added in that they were made with love.

“We were very proud to wear them.  They were beautiful, a new version of this one. Wearing the poppy was extra special as our father fought in World War II, and we were always serious about showing our appreciation and respect for his service.  So, year after year, we wore the homemade poppies with pride.

“They did wear out after time had passed, and some got lost along the way.  And eventually, we didn’t have any left.  Mom passed on years later and it seemed that the tradition had been lost.  Some of our sisters tried to replicate them but couldn’t quite get it right.  We appreciated them trying, but it just wasn’t the same.  Several years after Mom’s death, the family homestead was being sold and we worked together to empty a lifetime of memories, collections, and junk to clear the house for the sale.

“One afternoon as we were working away in various parts of the big house clearing it out, Charlie came running up from the basement.  He yelled, ‘Simon, come quick! You gotta see this!’  He held out a wooden box in his hand.  It was tied with a bright red ribbon.  It said ’To Simon’ on the top of it on an old piece of material in our mother’s handwriting.  I untied the ribbon excitedly.  When I opened the box, it brimmed over with my mother’s homemade poppies.

“These ones were brand new and so beautiful.  I gasped.  I looked closely at the pile of poppies so perfect and made with love and felt my heart just ache for my mother’s hug.  I looked again and notice the corner of a yellowed piece of paper sticking out under the poppies.  It had some writing on it that said, ‘Dear Simon, these are for you. Share them if you like, or keep them all for yourself.  I made them for two reasons. One, it was a great way to keep my hands and mind busy as I worried whether the crops would yield enough to get us through winter.  And the second reason is knowing how much you seemed to love these poppies the most out of the whole family.  I want you to have enough of a supply that you will never run out.  Love, Mom.’”  The old man stopped talking. 

I sat looking at him, my eyes brimming with tears.  Tears for the love in his voice as he told the story, and tears for the feeling I could only imagine him having each time he pinned on one of his mom’s poppies. I was barely able to get a whisper out of my mouth.  “Thank you so much for sharing that story with me. It’s beautiful.”

 “Thank you for listening, and thank you for the gift you gave me: your time and attention. I will never forget it.  Not many have time these days to listen to an old man’s ramblings.” He looked away briefly, then suddenly he jumped up from the bench.  “There’s my bus. I better be off.” He looked back as he was walking away.  “God bless you, Elizabeth.”

I hadn’t told him my name.

***

Elizabeth lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, but growing up she lived in five different provinces in Canada. She is from a family of seven kids. She fell in love with writing when she realized that she wanted to keep doing it and it brought her joy. She won a provincial-wide short story contest in high school, and she writes on an on-going basis. Everything from lists to memoirs. Mother of three, favourite colour is green. Grandmother to two girls. And, avid stand up paddle boarder.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using my links to do your shopping and help me out at no extra cost to you!

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