Write by the Rails Endless Possibilities Tour Recap


Thanks to authors Nick Kelly and Stacia Kelly, I have not only started my own blog, but successfully survived my first blog tour. Here is a recap of my guest posts on at least a dozen local writers’ blogs in the Prince William and Manassas, Virginia area:

Philippa Ballantine’s Blog, “Twitterpated,” http://www.pjballantine.com/2014/02/25/guest-post-twitterpated/

Angela Bryce’s Blog, “Don’t Get Lost in the Wrappings,” http://ladyinbalance.com/blog/2014/02/04/don%e2%80%99t-get-lost-in-the-wrappings/

Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie’s Blog, “A Collaborative Short Story,” http://kristyfgillespie.com/2014/01/30/write-by-the-rails-blog-spot-a-collaborative-short-story-with-cindy-brookshire/

Katherine Gotthardt’s Blog, “Speaking Out,” http://www.tenaciouspoodle.com/2014/03/guest-post-by-cindy-brookshire.html

Linda S. Johnston’s Blog, “Journaling with Young People,” http://www.lindasjohnston.com/blog.htm?post=947264

Nick Kelly’s Blog, “Dogs Don’t Chase Parked Cars,” http://www.nickkelly.com/2014/03/05/guest-post-dogs-dont-chase-parked-cars/

Stacia Kelly’s Blog, “Wake Up Call,” http://staciakelly.com/2014/02/27/wake-up-call/

Tee Morris’ Blog, “On Death, Taxes and Accountability,” http://teemorris.com/2014/02/20/endless-possibilities-blog-tour-cindy/

Jan Rayl’s Blog, “If I Hear Thought Leader One More Time,” http://write4jan.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/if-i-hear-thought-leader-one-more-time-by-guest-blogger-cindy-brookshire/

Tamela J. Ritter’s Blog, “Silos, Think Tanks and Feathers,” http://tamelajritter.com/?p=700

Mary Rosenthol’s Blog, “On Reading “Terminal,” http://othersideofthenotebook.blogspot.com/2014/02/guest-blog-cindy-brookshire-on-reading.html

Shay Seaborne’s Blog, “Scouting,” http://www.synergyfield.com/2014/02/cindy_brookshire/

What I learned from the blog tour: 1) I work best when I schedule the posts 2) I am developing a different voice than I thought I would and 3) writing for myself is fun; writing for myself and then shaping it for other’s blogs is fun and challenging.

WbtR Blog Tour Guest Post: Jan Rayl

Today’s guest writer is Jan Rayl, a writer and a nurse. Hey, nurses get right to the point.

Always wear clean underwear


If your mother is anything like mine she told you more than once, “Always wear clean underwear, in case you get into an accident.” Your mom had a fear that if you got in an accident that God forbid the emergency room doctors and nurses would see your worn out dirty underwear.

How funny, even as an adult these trite sayings of mom stick with us. This blog came to mind because of a conversation with a sick friend. I said “take a shower you will feel better.” She said “I have to so I can put on clean underwear in case I have to go to the hospital.”

Now I have been a nurse for many, many years. I have worked in many areas including the emergency room. This is a conversation I have never heard. “Hey Doc you have got to go see that guy in room three his drawers have more holes than a guy shot with a Saturday night special.” Never once has the topic at the nurse’s station been, “Ok ladies who wants to see the worst grayish old fashioned granny panties to come through this ER because I got the lady wearing them.”

“Airway, breathing, circulation, underwear,” Not part of the nursing assessment. We are far more concerned with the patient ailment than their underwear. I have heard, “room two broken femur, room three laceration, room four in labor.” Never once have I heard, “room one boxers, room two briefs, room three tightly whites, room four pink lace panties.”

Nor have I ever had a doctor write an order, “Send underwear to lab for cleanliness testing.” No doctor has ever said, “Wait do not touch that guy, no CPR here, he has on contaminated soiled underwear.” The registration process does not say, “Name, address, birth date, clean or dirty underwear.” There is no board in the nurse lounge listing the names of the “Underwear Hall of Shame.”

The only things I recall concerning underwear as a nurse were as a supervisor counseling a nurse about her underwear and laughing with one patient. When one young nurse wore her white uniform with great big red hearts on her underwear that shown through I had to counsel her. I took her aside and told her I could see huge hearts all over her butt. She was mortified and wore her sweater tied around her waist the rest of the shift. The patient we laughed with was a lady who came in wearing a coat with nothing on under it except leopard underwear. She had been getting ready to go somewhere when she realized she left something in the car. She threw on her coat to go and get it and slipped in the ice and broke her leg. A passer-by called 911 and stayed with her until they came. When she came into the ER and we wanted to take her coat off to put her in a gown she said, “They are clean I promise but I don’t have anything on except my underwear,” we all laughed. Doc said he would give her a note to send to her mother that she was in fact seen in the ER with clean underwear on.

So moms everywhere take note, tell your kids to drive safe and don’t worry about their underwear we really never look. Of course we would like them to wear some and that thread they call a thong does not qualify as underwear.

Jan Rayl Fall for the Book
Jan is a travel and book review blogger. Jan is also a multi-media artist. Check out her blog at http://write4jan.wordpress.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/write4jan , drop by and leave her a comment!

Rising Writers Workshop is March 29

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Register now for the Rising Writers Workshop, a one-day event for high school and young adults, on Saturday, March 29 from 10 am to 4 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West Street in Old Town Manassas, Virginia. Only 60 spots are available.

Speakers and panelists leading interactive discussions on poetry, publishing, science fiction, punk writing and more will include: Charlottesville poet Sara Robinson, Cricket Design Works copywriter Sarah Crossland, fiction writers Robert Scott and Matt Iden, poetry and prose writers Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt and Zan Hailey, cyberpunk author and musician Nick Kelly, holistic health doctor and author Stacia Kelly, BristowBeat.com executive editor Stacy Shaw, and humor writer and marketing pro Kelly Harman. The workshop is sponsored by Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club in conjunction with Woodbridge Senior High School’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Creative Writing Program.

Lunch will be catered by Old Town Manassas coffee shop Grounds Central Station.

Students and alumni from the WSHS Creative Writing Program will lead afternoon mini-sessions in free verse, hip hop, spoken word, the punks, fan fiction and more. The workshop culminates in an open mic session with great door prizes and giveaways.

Registration is only $25.00, including lunch and snacks, thanks to partial funding provided by Prince William County. Download a registration form, due March 22, at www.writebytherails.org. Questions? Contact Linda Johnston at 703-926-4229 or email swindon53@gmail.com.

Write by the Rails Blog Tour Guest Post: Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie

Today I’m welcoming Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie to my blog as part of the Write by the Rails Endless Possibilities Blog Tour.

Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie

Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie

Hi! I’m a writer, (YA and short story) reader, blogger, middle school counselor, and working on a school library degree. I recently independently published my YA Thriller, Jaded.

Jade EYE

Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-color-obsessed Nirvana commune. She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making. In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders.

Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer.

Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding.

Although Jaded is considered a young adult dystopian novel, adults will be able to relate to Jade’s plight.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00II0UUSQ

My blog, Keep Calm and Write On: http://kristyfgillespie.com/ *Check out the Promotion Opportunities tab if you’re interested in being featured on my blog.

Enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Jaded and a Starbucks giftcard at Tome Tender: http://kristyfgillespie.com/2014/02/26/4192/

Write by the Rails Blog Tour Guest Post: Nancy Kyme

Cindy, I’m honored to be your guest blogger. As a writer, I admire the way you capture life’s hidden corners and bring them to light through people experiencing ordinary life. Your short stories and poetry have inspired me to delve deeper, to recall and write about a painful memory. The pictures here were taken while the following events unfolded.

The Dark Water Fall

Rays of sun danced through oaks and maples of the northern Canadian forest amid giant boulders, meandering streams, and hiking trails exacting the winter ski runs. In summer, bright sunlight cleansed the rocks within the streams making them rough so bare feet could walk steadily upon them. In autumn, algae formed as leaves fell and the sun weakened and the rocks grew slippery. I did not know this one autumn, as I led a small group of middle school kids into the woods.

Nancy Kyme in the northern Canadian forest.

Nancy Kyme in the northern Canadian forest.

I led my son and daughter, and their close friends, up a steep trail, one they had skied over the past winter, and one I had taken in summer without them. We climbed beside the noisy drop of a shallow waterfall and eventually reached the relatively flat, dense forest above it. I encouraged the kids to remove their shoes and walk in the streams. Bushes, vines and small trees crowded the water and confused its path to the hidden waterfall. Sahra, a friend, held her shoes and ventured laughingly into one of the streams. After three steps she slipped. Her shoes flew into the air. One landed on the shore and another into the water ahead. I went after it and slipped. I landed hard. “On second-thought,” I called, “Everyone keep your shoes on! Stay on the path.”

“Where’s Andrew?” I asked about my son after we’d collected Sahra’s shoes and helped her brush silt and leaves from her feet and legs. “I think he kept going on the path,” my daughter said.

I ran ahead, calling his name. I could not find him. I ran back. “Would he have gone down without us?” I asked everyone. No one knew the answer. We had planned to hike further up the mountain before turning around.

We spread out. We called his name over and over. Eventually we ran back down the path we’d climbed. The young girls ran ahead. Sahra’s sister ran back to me, out of breath. “Someone fell,” she said. “They are rescuing him. I think it’s Andrew.” I shook my head and denied this possibility. “No,” I balked, “It can’t be.”

Sahra in the stream.

Sahra in the stream.

Two rescuers waded from the river carrying a backboard with a small boy strapped on top. I saw his little twelve-year-old face. It was my baby. I started to run toward him. A hiker blocked my path. Coatless, wet, and shivering, he said, “I found him lying on that rock.” He spoke in broken English and a French Canadian accent. “I thought he was dead,” he stammered, clearly shaken by finding more than the majesty of nature on his walk. “He was white as a sheet, his eyes closed, his arms spread wide. I waded out. I touched him and he opened his eyes. I covered him with my coat. I called for help and a mountain rescue team walked by. They were heading down to the lodge for lunch. They had a radio and called the ambulance.”

Where had the sun gone? Darkness crowded all about me. I heard the hiker only as a means of future recall. I gazed at the rock and my eyes carried up the waterfall behind it. Its vertical ascent of rushing water stretched to the height of our two-story home back in Virginia.

I ran to Andrew and the rescue team. I babbled my confusion about how this could have happened. I didn’t see him. I didn’t know. The crew was out of breath from the effort of shifting him off the boulder to the stretcher without jarring him. One of them quietly shared his clinical assessment, “It could be a broken spine or neck.“ I stared at my son’s pale arms dotted in dead leaves, and his face cradled by the stretcher. He blinked at me as they lifted him into the ambulance. I climbed in. I wanted to hold his hand. Both were tucked inside. I sat on cold metal. The tech whispered urgently in my ear, “Keep him awake.” She said this multiple times on the long ride to the hospital. I didn’t hear the sirens or notice the flashing lights, or the cars moving out of our way. I just stared at his little face, blinking at me. “It’s going to be alright,” I replied often, smiling tightly. I believed it, but I didn’t. “Your dad will meet us at the hospital. The others will tell him. We will have pizza later.” Meaningless words emerged from me to keep him engaged. They fought for prominence against the questions I wanted to ask but could not. How did he fall? Did he feel abandoned? Had he been terrified, all alone? Could he move his legs? Could he wiggle his fingers?

“Why would they paint the walls of a hospital this sickly, phlegm green?” I muttered to myself as I sat in the lone chair outside the x-ray room. They would only let one parent inside and since my husband had arrived, and I keenly felt my failure to keep our son safe, I let him take over. The machine emitted a thin crescendo before it fell to lower tones, only to rise again, like eerie music in a ghost story.

“A broken wrist, thumb, and knee cap,” my husband said. “They are small breaks, but very important bones.” They set his arm in a white plaster cast. They placed the leg in a brace. “Do not let him straighten his leg, or the bone will sever the tendon in his knee cap,” the doctor instructed. My husband shook his head at me and his expression said, “How do we keep a middle school boy from straightening his leg?”

I only slept that night long enough to have dark nightmares. My baby had endured something more traumatic than I could imagine. And I had led him to it. I worried about his thoughts as the water had taken him over, as he had slipped and scrambled to save himself, as he had fallen knowing pain awaited at the bottom, then hit. I dreamed of him in a dark, cold, wet and frightening place. In the full sunlight of morning, as he smiled and laughed at something his dad said, I dared to ask, “What did you feel and think as it was happening?” He didn’t remember. He didn’t remember.

We needed to return the hiker’s jacket. Sahra’s mom got his name and address. The flight home was tricky. They opened the side of the airplane at National Airport and a lift lowered his wheel chair. American doctors laughed at the plaster cast and replaced it with fiberglass. Further x-rays revealed if anyone were to break a knee-cap, Andrew had broken it in the best possible way. He was not in any danger of severing a tendon, but he would have to be in a brace and could not put weight on his leg for six weeks. They rigged a special crutch with a resting place for his casted arm, since both breaks were on the same side of his body. He rode the elevator at school and I gained a fearsome reputation. “Don’t make Mrs. Kyme angry! She’ll push you over a waterfall,” the middle school kids said. They are ruthless at times. They are learning to analyze their world and can be brutally honest. Thankfully, that honesty works both ways. Finally, a few months later, my son offered me a great kindness. Finally, I had my answer. He had remembered. He had scrambled like a cartoon character as the water and the slippery rock sent him toward the drop off. But then, a light euphoria had embraced him. He’d felt a sense of weightlessness, a calm well-being, and he did not experience the final drop. He came awake lying on his back under three feet of water. A clear, soothing thought told him to climb upon the rock, where he rested, his face to the sun, and waited for the inexplicably, swift arrival of help.

Memory Lake

I’m Nancy S. Kyme, the author of “Memory Lake, the Forever Friendships of Summer” a 2012 Next Generation Award Winning memoir. When childhood friends plan to meet at a camp reunion thirty years after their adventures together at summer camp, a fun, inspirational journey begins in which the reader is immersed into summer, youth, and the warmth of meaningful friendships. Present day challenges and past outdoor adventures are woven into an unforgettable tale of friends overcoming fear and grief through joy and laughter.