Short Story: Soar

I’m putting together a collection of fantasy short stories, and this is a new one to the set. A short story often has the potential to turn into a novel, but sometimes it is complete as it is. This one started from a writer’s group prompt, and grew from a few simple words. So I hope you enjoy this early sneak peek into the collection!

Mum sighed, drooping over the dishes until her long silver blond hair touched the bubbles. I pushed a box over to the sink and finished them, while her work roughened hands stroked my hair.

I’m older now, but I still remember her smile. A hard life, raising a daughter without a father. But she had a network of friends in strange places, and we never went hungry. We moved often when the men of the village cast glances at us, and the women warned of strangers who asked questions.

So many questions I had too. Would I have made the same choices, dooming my child to a life in the shadows of society, making friends with the fae, the strange, and the unwanted. Hardship in a foreign land, far from her birth, far from even the memory of love.

But for love one may do many things. To die young, in glory, in love. Or live with responsibility. Each day to brush my dark hair and be reminded of a man who was like a ghost in our lives. Not there, never mentioned, but a presence as if a guardian watched over us.

But the was no regret in her – ever.

Mum told me when I reached twenty-one. Of age to choose, she told me, to choose a future.

A box of possessions. Not much, we never had more than we could carry. An old picture of a man’s face.

My father. I took it into the light.

My face. Thin, with feathery dark hair. Behind him were wings, white feathered like an angel. A crown he wore, a delicate thing of silver and pearls.

I looked a question.

Her face was young, the years might not have been. She caressed the photo. “A fairytale,” she said. “A prince and a beggar maid. A kingdom toppled by a love that was forbidden. Human and shifter. Prejudice for her, death for him.” She smiled, but the smile was for the past, the long-gone years.

“I fled, with you quickening inside me. Before they knew. They sought to kill you before you could claim your inheritance. That’s why we moved so often, to escape and protect you.”

“Inheritance?” There was nothing in the box but a feather.

I picked it up. A feather should be light, but I caved under its weight.

Responsibility. Inheritance. Justice.

Friends. I had an army of the strange, the other born, the dispossessed. Angry at the people who made rules to suit themselves. Pride blazed from my mother’s gaze. It would be her battle too.

My wings are grey, the mark of the half born. The glory of flight is almost worth the pain of shifting in a body not born for it.

Blood stains my wings. Every time.

I have my father’s wings.

My mother’s strength.

A kingdom to win back.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

Contact Cindy on







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Memorial Day and Greek Fest

Memorial Day and Greek Fest:

Today is Memorial Day, a day we remember all of those who served in the military and gave their lives for our freedom. In New Orleans, our Greek Orthodox community also celebrated its religion, culture, and heritage this weekend. We ate baklava, mousaka, and pastitsio while drinking delicious Greek wine. As we celebrated, I thought about Memorial Day and what it meant. Many women wore scarves of red, white, and blue. Men wore hats of red, white, and blue while also wearing the Greek flag on their polo shirts. Of course, not everyone at the fest was Greek. My husband and I boast German and Irish heritage. Our friends were Jewish and Cajun. A former student of mine who volunteers is Italian, German, and Native American. A diverse assortment of people were in attendance as well—all Greek for a weekend. 

As I looked at so many people of different ethnic and religious origins coming together, I realized that this diversity is what Memorial Day is about. Those brave members of our armed forces have given their lives for the safety of us all. In the parish hall, a display stands with all the Greek Americans from the church who had served in WWII. Another display holds accounts of those who fled oppression and terror during the war. As I looked at so many of the people in attendance, I saw many wearing veterans of foreign wars caps and military shirts. These men and women were of different ethnic, racial, and religious origins, yet they were united in their service. Many of them were not members of the Greek Church, yet they were in attendance to celebrate the diversity that makes us American. 

The sacrifice of a soldier has always intrigued me. In my novels, I have created characters that fought for the dream and then lived the dream. In Love at War, Nuala and her husband fight the enemy. Not all the characters return from the fight. In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney fights the enemy in WWI and returns to live the dream. In The Progeny, his sons and young relatives also fight the enemy. Some of them also do not return. This sacrifice is what we celebrate on Memorial Day. 

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Inspiration from My Favorite Authors

Collecting quotations has been one of my lifelong hobbies. In the pre-computer days, I would jot down quotations on slips of paper and toss them in a desk drawer. Once a month, I would type them up and place them in a special file folder. I’ve kept the folder but now use Pinterest and Goodreads to store my quotations.

These quotations resonate during this season of my life:

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ~ Margaret Atwood

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ~ E. L. Doctorow

“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.” ~ Sue Grafton

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~Barbara Kingsolver

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

“The most successful people I know have figured out how to live with criticism, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.” ~ Michelle Obama

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~ Jodi Picoult

“Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.” ~ Anna Quindlen

“You don’t find time to write. You make time. It’s my job.” ~ Nora Roberts

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ~ Virginia Woolf

Do you have a favorite quotation?

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Amazon

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I sat in the high school principal’s office last week…

And so continued my quest to become a weekly 9th grade, social studies classroom volunteer. The students had adored the previous teacher who’d quit in December to have a baby, then seen a variety of substitutes. Somewhere in the mix the kids lost trust and hope. At least that’s my opinion. A teacher friend of mine took over the classes in April and encountered stiff challenges from the start. Her previous teaching was 4th grade science and math in a small, rural community. We live in (consistently) a city which ranks in the top ten in the nation for diversity. Some of the conflicts had racial overtones, which I never dealt with when I taught for one year, straight out of college, some 40+ years ago. Wanting to help her, and having volunteered before in this school district, I filled out the online forms and my friend spoke to the principal. Apparently adult volunteers in high schools are a rarity. 😦 A few weeks passed before I received a call to meet with the principal. I understood her hesitation, and assured her if I felt I was a catalyst, I would vacate the classroom as soon as possible.

I’ve completed my second successful Thursday and the teacher and I are thrilled. Okay, I bake two versions of a treat each time and ask for opinions. Short bread came first, then blond vs. brunette (chocolate) brownies – always with listed ingredients. This week the last class period was on social/emotional growth and the curriculum was on occupations. The teacher allowed me to do mock job interviews and I heard the most heartfelt reason for one student to aspire to becoming a lawyer. Goosebumps rose on my arm as the student spoke of experiences with CPS and not feeling as if their voice was heard. How many in the system had not listened?

My own listening will be with the intent to understand in this classroom.

If I can offer support to help a teen navigate our tough world, I am willing. I currently also volunteer on the local Land Use and Planning Committee and take bi-monthly samples of our lake water. Tell me about your volunteering, please. I’d love to hear your stories.

Lance, the cover model pony above, turned 33 this week!
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Writing Through Stress… So Many Things

Here we are again…

A lot has happened since my last post.

That Man and I went to the beach and had a wonderful time! Friends of ours were down the same week we were and stayed close enough that we could walk to each other’s places. It was just what was needed.

When we returned, That Man had a bunch of medical tests scheduled. That’s what we’ve been doing–one test after another. Each result would send us to another urgently scheduled test with blood work in between. This past week, we reached the last one and the news was okay. Not awesome and “normal”, but not horrible. So we move forward…

The unknown was so scary. The thought of potential outcomes filled my head every single night when I tried to sleep. The thought of the diagnosis being a death sentence, or that something would happen during one of the tests was a constant flow that I had no control over. I’ve been in my own head so much, I haven’t touched my manuscript except for a few random times. Even critiquing for my critique group was difficult. I ignored social media and my phone. But now we’re through all of that and it’s time to move forward. I feel like I’ve aged twenty years in the past month. I’m tired–like soul tired. I know that will ease and things will go back to normal soon. I know it’s okay.

We’re taking things one day at a time as the fear and anxiety eases away. I don’t think we can do anymore than that right now. It was a huge scare with so many not good possible outcomes. But knowing that things are okay is a huge help.

And now I will get back to work. Got my edits for my short story, and my art sheet. I have a critique to finish up. And I’m still close to finishing the latest wip.

I hope things are as right as they can be in your world and that you’re managing the best that you can. Remember to be kind to yourself. That’s another thing I struggled with a lot over the past month.


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The Write Word with Wareeze

The Write Word with Wareeze

Goal Setting

Hello again writers and fellow readers. Thanks for joining me on the Soul Mate Publishing blog page. If this is your first time to read a Soul Mate Publishing blog post, allow me to introduce myself. I write historical romance novels with a dash of suspense under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. Six of my books are published by Soul Mate and have been released on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager along with a historical romance western: Bittersweep. I have a self-published one as well. After She Became a Lady. That is number seven. Self-publishing is not for me, however.

How do you set a goal for the heroine/hero? What does the heroine/hero want and why does the heroine /hero want that particular results? Each one tries something to win his or her goals. If that doesn’t work, he or she tries again. That still doesn’t work (conflict).

I’m going to set the goals for the heroine first. Vanessa steps on stage on page one. What does she want? Having been shut away at school for some years, she dreamed of elaborate ball gowns of silk and satin, trimmed with lace, over gowns sprigged with spangles all over jeweled or embroidery along with more demure morning dresses, worn with gloves and fashionable head gear, suitable for a lady of her advance years of-ten and nine. The why of the reason she longs for such things. She wants to have gown-up apparel suitable for her age instead of a chit still in the schoolroom. She can’t wait to arrive at her home, Hill House again, to be free, in charge of herself as much as her guardian will allow. She can’t wait to hear the music at the theater, to dance at a ball, to enjoy all the activities the Ton has to offer. The music, the theater, the elaborate house parties, and all the other pleasures of the Ton to stave off boredom-she wants it all. Even the on-dits she’d heard were amusing and if the rumor mill seized a fancy tidbit, society waited with bated breath for the next crumb to fall. She can’t wait.

Social norms dictated strict codes of behavior many would scoff at today. The slightest slip and a young lady may be ruined for life—if her misdeed became common knowledge. I love to escape into another era to witness the mannerisms, the apparel, the modes of transportation, and even the rather stuffy rules a young lady must adopt. Not so the gentleman—hardly fair, but oh well. That alone is all the more reason to merely visit the past without fully embracing a life without electricity.

Below is a section where Vanessa first appears in my novel under contract. She is on the way to Hill House and home at last, thrilled and excited.

 Chapter 1

From the view out her carriage window, Vanessa Ann Riventon scanned the trees flashing by. The coach had picked up speed for some reason. Her heart thumped in rhythm with the jingling of the harnesses and the creaking of the coach as it raced over the hard pack roadway. Something was definitely wrong.

The outrider thundered up to the window on his horse and yelled, “You ladies hold tight and duck down. Thieves is riding up on us. Careful like now.”

Her traveling companion cried, “Dear lord, we are going to be murdered. Robbed then hacked to pieces. Only yesterday I heard…”

The woman’s abrupt silence indicated hysterics would soon follow. That would never do. Vanessa patted her companion’s hand. “Mrs. Latham, calm yourself. The guard will protect us. That’s why he was hired to ride with the coach.”

Vanessa opened her reticule and pulled out her pistol. Uncle Charlie had always insisted she carry a weapon upon the rare occasion she traveled home to Hill House from The Young Lady’s Academy beyond Bath near the village of Sheffield. Her throat tightened and tears filled her eyes. Uncle Charlie would no longer be at Hill House to greet her, but this was not the proper time or place to allow tears of sorrow to overwhelm her. She blinked the moisture from her eyes.

Vanessa peered out the window and caught her breath. Indeed, three men with masks over their faces and pistols drawn were riding hard after the coach. A shot rang out and she jerked back, watching in horror as the coachman tumbled from his perch and rolled on the ground. The horses snorted and careened out of control. With every muscle in her body tensed, she clung to the strap above the seat. The carriage bounced in and out of a deep rut followed by a loud explosive crack sending the frightened animals into a frenzy. The scream of splintering wood filled the coach as the shaft convulsed allowing the panicked horses to break free. The carriage swayed, nearly over-turning before it verged into the underbrush beside the road and crashed into a tree. Vanessa was thrown to the floor with the other passenger on top of her.

After what seemed like hours, her mind cleared, and Vanessa came to herself. Her head ached and the other lady’s loud weeping made the situation worse. “Mrs. Latham, please hush and move off of me. I can hardly breathe.”

The other passenger struggled upright and moved onto the tilted seat. She sobbed into her handkerchief. Vanessa lifted her skirts and spied her pistol at her feet. Scooping up her weapon, she scrambled onto the other banquette, and sank back with her hand at her chest to halt the pounding of her heart. After taking a minute to compose herself, and to listen intently, she leaned out of the window to take a quick peek in both directions. There was no sign of the guard or the crooks—no one. Only the distant slowly fading beat of running horses reached her over Mrs. Latham’s whimpering.

It appears as if nothing is going according to Vanessa’s dreams, hence conflict, the much desired happening to keep the reader turning the pages.

Finally, the heroine/hero seems to have solved the problems only to reach a hopeless outcome. Both must learn and change—grow into a changed, improved character. Happy ever after naturally is the end results.

I hope you enjoyed this brief dip into setting a goal. Please visit some of my social media sites to learn more about my writing.


Wareeze Woodson


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A Coronation of a Lifetime

By Jeanine Englert

This past Saturday I got up at 4:30am eager for the day to begin as if I was a child on Christmas morning. The reason you ask? I was excited to view the Coronation of King Charles III, what may be the only coronation in my lifetime. While I hope to see another, I couldn’t wait to see this one. Not only was it fabulous and lived up to all of my expectations, I learned so much about the history behind the stages of a coronation and “oohhed” and “ahhhed” my way through the event. Five hours later, I saw the grand wave of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, and sighed in contentment. Yes, I watched all five hours while enjoying some scones and mince pies alongside my celebratory tea towel, and I have no regrets.

In case you missed it, here were my top 5 highlights:

#5: The Gold State Coach. *Gasp* I was agape at the sight of it in all of its 260-year-old glory, weren’t you? So much history and beauty in a carriage first used in the Victorian Age. It made me wonder what Lucy and John (from Lovely Digits) would have thought of it up close. I have a feeling John might not have been impressed as he is far too practical. But that is one of the reasons I adore him.

#4: Penny Mourdant. As Leader of the House of Commons, Lord President of the Privy Council, AND the first woman to carry the sword of state, I was aghast at her pose and for earning such an honor. Not to mention carrying a sword that I can’t imagine was lightweight when it was well, perhaps the largest sword I had ever seen.

#3: George, Charlotte, and Louis. The grandchildren of King Charles III were absolutely adorable and stole moments here and there throughout the day. How could you not smile, especially seeing George as one the pages carrying his grandfather’s robes!

#2: The Royal Salute and Red Arrows Flypast over Buckingham Palace. I loved the pageantry of the bagpipes, “hip hip hooray” royal salute, and flypast over the palace with the gorgeous red, white, and blue streaming across the sky from the Royal Air Force Red Arrows. It gave me goosebumps.

#1: Westminster Abbey. Period. Is there a cathedral more beautiful? Hearing the organ and choir choked me up from the very beginning. The music was varied, thoughtfully chosen, and gorgeous. Mixed in with the import of the moment steeped in such rich historical and religious tradition, more than once I wiped away a tear. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to have been there.

If you missed it, have no fear. You can find clips, replays, and videos all over the internet to see the event. And, I recommend at least poking around to see the highlights. Like I said, it was the Coronation of a lifetime.

Care to share your favorite coronation moment? Feel free to drop a comment below to help me celebrate!

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

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May the first be with you!

I can’t believe it’s already May, though we’ve been getting plenty of warm weather and spring sunshine here in Oregon. I’ll admit my day to post on the blog snuck up on me, just like the new month. Has 2023 been going by at lighting speed or is it just me?

I hope the weather is lovely wherever you are and you get a chance to get outside and enjoy it. I love hiking and always find lots of inspiration in nature. Here is a picture of me on a waterfall hike last month in Red Rock Canyon. I enjoy collecting pictures of waterfalls and sharing them when I can!

I’m hoping to go on some more hikes this month, a little closer to home, since Oregon has plenty of cool waterfalls to find.

What about you? Do you have any favorite activities for this time of year? Has the weather been nice enough for you to get outdoors?

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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Lest We Forget

It’s close to ANZAC Day in Australia, a day where we pause and spend time thinking about the sacrifices made in wartime. The day itself marks a battle fought in Turkey by the combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915. It was a bloody battle that ended in failure, but one that seemed to define our nation, enabling us to cut ties from England and be recognised as independent.

ANZAC day has expanded to commemorate all that served in any war, including nurses, women’s corps and many others in parades and dawn services. As a small girl, I marched as a brownie and girl guide, and later as a member of the Army Reserve. It was not until I grew older that the horrors of war and what the nation went through really sunk in. No one escaped. Not the soldiers, (try hearing I was only 19 by Redgum) or the ones that couldn’t fight (listen to Scorn of the Women by Weddings, Parties, Anything) or the families on the homefront, or the nurses on the front. I’d recommend Kerry Greenwood’s Murder in Montparnasse for a perspective on serving as an ambulance driver in WW1. I also recommend reading about Nancy Wake.

The one good thing that comes from war seems to be the togetherness that comes from fighting a common enemy and being in the same situation of danger. We saw a similar thing during the pandemic lockdowns. Ruth Goodman does some great shows on farming in wartime Britain, and these talk about the increasing privations that brought the community together.

Part of a very Australian tradition is the ANZAC biscuit. Possibly sent off to the boys on the front, but certainly used to fundraise for the war effort, these robust biscuits were a taste of home, and would have been baked with love and perhaps a few tears. The ingredients would have been in every pantry. Enjoy them with a cup of tea and bless those that gave their all for their loved ones and country.

Anzac Biscuits


125gms butter

1 tablespn golden syrup

2 tablespn boiling water

1 ½ teaspn bicarbonate of soda

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup coconut

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar


preheat oven to 150C

melt butter and syrup together

 place flour, sugar, coconut and oats in a large bowl, and mix well

 mix boiling water and bicarbonate of soda seperately

 add soda to golden syrup and butter mixture, stir gently, it will froth up

 add this to dry ingredients, and mix well

 drop on baking trays in golf ball sized drops, allowing 3 cm around each biscuit for spreading

 bake for 20 minutes, until golden, let cool on wire rack.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

Contact Cindy on







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Spring in New Orleans:

Spring in New Orleans:

            Spring has arrived in New Orleans. We experienced one last blast of cold weather the week after Easter, and now, warmer weather has greeted us. The celebrations began for the husband and me with Volksfest, a celebration of the people, at our beloved Deutsches Haus. This festival is a scaled back version of Oktoberfest and celebrates the beauty of spring and the coming summer. We had glorious weather and ate delicious pretzels while we drank German beer. Easter Week then arrived, bringing with it the solemnity and beauty of the season. 

            This glorious season always brings the hope of renewal, rebirth, and redemption. Easter Week began with the solemn ceremonies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. A bare cross adorned the church on Good Friday, but gorgeous lilies filled the church at Easter. We visited the wonderful Longue Vue Gardens in our city where beautiful flowers bloomed. Our own garden displays the renewal that is pervasive in the whole city.  We lost a great deal of our garden when a major freeze hit the area in December. Lilies and begonias are now in bloom.

            The citizenry is rejoicing in festival season. My husband and I celebrated at French Quarter Fest, and we will do the same at Jazz Fest. This is the season of crawfish and music. We peel our crawfish and munch on potatoes and corn on the cob. We barbecue and listen to music. Greek Fest takes place Memorial Day, and we will munch on fried calamari while we drink sweet wine. 

            It is spring. Life is good. 

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 4 Comments