Collection of drabbles

I decided to take a step back and share a few poems and a little short to help us get our minds off things.

The Stars

We hold the Stars within our hand
deep inside, like a lover’s command
No one knows the battles they fight
to keep us on a path that’s true and right
Shining brightly within our hand
each as tiny as a grain of sand
Cup your hands, cup them tight
and hold within the true darkness of Night
For within each Star there comes a passing
of all our wishes ever lasting

Balance

We balance upon a blade , never knowing what choice should be made
Be wary and follow your heart, together we are strong and weak when apart
Balance is the key, two “sisters” locked eternally
Without one there can’t be no other, as close as a brother
One is dark the other light, even close they always fight
So close your eyes and comprehend, no one may loose so no one can win.

Paper World

In this book I hold inside wonders from different worlds and time.
Just a peak, just a glimpse, and you will see dancing nymphs.
Hobgoblins, ghosts and ghouls, moons that are being howled at by wolves.
With each page I turn and flip I take the most wondrous trip.
So open your mind, shut out the noise and enter this world with me girls and boys.

Forbidden

It’s always there, a sweet taste upon my tongue. This yearning for more even though I know the cloying taste will curse me. Still I reach out for you, touching my fingertips across your skin.
All I can manage is the ghost of a caress as we circle each other, this never ending spiral having no other outcome but destruction if we get any closer.
In my dreams we touch, we kiss. Your skin against mine is more than I can take and I wake in a fevered pitch as my body cries in silent agony.
Why you, I have wondered. I have asked. Still the answer is unknown to me, yet I seek out this folly of a love. This growing obsession to have you. Twice I have forced my hand back to my side. And thrice I have almost swayed.
Do you not notice my stares? My bitter acceptance?
If I were to kiss you would it be the truth of Legends and the meaning of life intertwined? Or would the world shatter to reveal a darkness I have never known as I plunged into the madness below?

From a Whisper to a Scream

As I sat there pondering the world, I realized I wanted to make a change. I wanted to make everything better. And yet, no matter how loud I was, all that came out was the smallest whisper. So I whispered and whispered until I was hoarse and then, as if by a miracle, another whisper joined in. then another and another, until our whispers became a voice, and even louder we became as our voice turned into a shout. And the shout rose into a scream that covered the world. A scream of whispers started by one.

Thank you for reading and have as good of a day as possible.

Cynical Romance

Being a romantic in today’s world can be difficult, with several claiming that ‘romance is dead’ and others waiting for ‘Prince Charming’ to save them from something or another. As a romantic, I can understand both sides even though I disagree. Prince Charming isn’t on his way, and there’s no reason you can’t save yourself.

Also, it’s not that romance is dead, it’s just that people have a formed opinion on what qualifies as romantic. Long walks on a beach, midnight picnics, flowers, poetry, champagne with strawberries, the list goes on.

Most beaches are hot, crowded, and the sand gets everywhere. Midnight picnics include a lovely swarm of insects (most of which bite.) Flowers are pretty but wilt or can cause allergic reactions if you don’t check before buying them. Not many people are decent poets and others choose a cut and paste poem found online. As for champagne, does anyone actually like champagne?

A part of me blames books and movies for the perceived romanticism in these acts. I myself have fantasized partaking in all of them as well as a few others. My all-time favorite is standing in the rain as you share your first kiss. (Oh, this swoon worthy scene shall eventually appear in a future book.)

Before you misunderstand and think I’m hating on romance, I’m not. I LOVE romance but I prefer unorthodox examples.

A few years ago, I went on a date where we checked into a nice hotel. He ordered champagne and strawberries for the room and after having a small glass we sat down at a fancy restaurant where the menu had no prices (I’m sure I don’t need to explain why that’s important.) We had a lovely time, the meal was three courses and we shared a bottle of wine.

During another date, we got takeout and just sat together talking for hours. Can you guess which date makes me smile more?

Romance is what you make it. As children (ages 7 and 10), me and my sister decided that the Tramp had it right. The most romantic date was sharing a large plate of spaghetti and drinking milk from wine glasses. When my sister was in highschool, her boyfriend took her to dinner where they got spaghetti with milk. They are now married for over ten years with four boys. Was it the spaghetti? Probably not, but that attention to detail is romantic in itself.

The point of this blog is to tell you to look at what you have. On the surface it might not appear perfect or romantic but if you look deeper you might find that what you have is better than what you wished for.

New Year, New Me?

New year, new me. This phrase brings a lot of thoughts to mind, diets that last less than a month and gym memberships that collect dust after a few posts of newfound fitness. Each year I hear my friends take the pledge for “a better year.” What was so bad with the last one?

Some say that you should write down on a piece of paper every time something good happens and place it in a jar. At the end of the year you open the jar, read the notes, and remember the year. If I did this the poor jar would either get forgotten or lost by May. (I did manage to lose my Dad’s Christmas gift, and that was after less than a week of it being in my house.)

Another suggestion is to write down resolutions for the upcoming year and complete them. I probably would give up or push off this ‘to do’ list. The movie ‘New Years Eve’ comes to mind with this option. I think of Ingrid, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and her list that she hires Paul, a delivery boy played by Zac Efron, to help her complete on December 31st before the ball drops. The creative ways he helps her to check off her ‘impossible’ list is my favorite part of the movie.

So, what does one do for the New Year? I’m not sure about you but I’ve decided to work on being the best I can be. To live each day as it passes and just enjoy life. The best start of the year, for me, is to just be.

The Intangible Gift

I don’t know about you, but each year I find myself searching for the fictitious ‘perfect gift.’ In the spirit of this hopeless pursuit I’m going to share a small story featuring myself as the main character and a special appearance of my son. I hope you enjoy this fictitious short story.

The Intangible Gift

Ashlyn let out a sigh as she studied yet another store shelf. She already had several wrapped boxes and the small items for her son’s stocking, but she hadn’t found that illusive ‘perfect gift.’

“Maybe it doesn’t exist.” Ashlyn muttered as she moved to the next collection of merchandise. It was silly searching for more when she had plenty. Even though she knew this, she still couldn’t let go of the possibility that this store would have what all the others hadn’t. She had searched all the chain stores before checking out the local boutiques and consignment shops along her travels up and down the Shore.

She was now in a small shop that had a variety of items that could only be described as eclectic. There didn’t appear to be a theme to the store. Two walls were covered in shelves that housed locally made jams and rubs alongside an odd assortment of books and games that no doubt had pieces missing. Tables were scattered around with different crafted items on them. A miniature tree had multiple homemade ornaments that ranged from cute to tacky.

The books held the most promise, so Ashlyn abandoned her polite perusal of beaded jewelry and crochet hats. The shelf had no obvious method of organization. Children books sat nestled between textbooks whose neighbors appeared to be both fiction and nonfiction.

Ashlyn fought not to let her eyes wander distractedly across the titles. She had looked at so many things already she had little expectation of finding anything worth buying. On her third sweep, she noticed a burgundy spine with faded gold letters. Pulling it out, she smiled at the cover photo before flipping through the pages. It was a collection of classic Christmas stories with illustrations. She took the book to the front counter and purchased it.

When she got home, Ashlyn contemplated hiding the book so she could wrap it but decided to just give it to her son. Bryson enjoyed reading and it would be strange giving him a book of Christmas stories on Christmas.

Bryson was already in bed when she entered his room to kiss him goodnight. His face lit up with excitement when he spotted the book. “Mommy, can we read it tonight?”

She almost told him that it was late but instead she settled beside him and opened it to the table of contents. “So, which story should we read?”

“Could we read two?” A hopeful expression filled his face and Ashlyn couldn’t help but smile as she flipped to the first story.

Ashlyn kept her tone casual as she replied, “You know what? How about we read the first three.”

Merry Christmas everyone, and remember, the perfect gift is something simple. It’s not bought with money, but time. It is simply the gift of love.

A Journey of Reading

Keeping with the unintentional theme of experiences for this month’s blog, I thought I would share my memory of the first time I was able to read and how it has shaped me.

I was approaching the end of first grade and there was a strong chance I was going to fail. No matter how hard my mother and teacher tried to explain it, I couldn’t even read a simple two-word sentence. I wish I could express to you how difficult it was for me, but since I was six, I don’t really remember.

What I do remember is that just when we were about to give up, I got a phone call from my father, whom I hadn’t seen often since my parents divorced when I was two. He had just moved to VA, and I was back in CA where I had been born. That long distance call from one side of the United States to the other was what I needed. I distinctly remember sitting on the toilet while I read to him The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein without making a single mistake. It was one of the proudest moments of my childhood.

My mother was, of course, a bit bruised that my father got me to do something with one phone call that she couldn’t with months of hard work and coaching. I’m still not sure how my father calling me helped either since the conversation did not include him encouraging me. I had actually asked if I could read him a story, and he said he would love it. I recently mentioned the memory to my father, and he informed me that he hadn’t realized how big of an accomplishment it had been at the time. But with every book I pick up, I’m reminded of that moment. Maybe all that was holding me back was stubbornness, at least that’s what my mother thinks.

Three years later, my mother remarried and we moved to AL. I was in fourth grade, and my reading teacher was named Ms. Swann. Having read The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White, I loved the name. Her class was my favorite too, and she encouraged me to read anything I wanted. I’m not sure how many can say this, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (apparently a 7th grade level book) got me kicked out of her class and sent to an Advanced Reading one. There, another teacher informed me that ‘the author of a story I can’t even remember made the curtains blue to express the character’s depression.’ I, for one, have never colored a scene to suit my character’s emotions. Maybe their personality, but that isn’t the same.

Despite my lack of interest in breaking down stories to find a hidden meaning where there isn’t one, I kept reading “advanced” books and eventually stumbled across The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. My mother had found them in a stack of used paperbacks the library was selling and bought them for a cheap price since the covers were coming off.

These books shaped my love for fantasy and made me want to write my own stories. I was captivated by the way her heroes weren’t completely good and how they were constantly mistaken for being the enemy. The female was not a damsel in need of saving from a strong man either. She was a powerful adversary who would not allow anyone to harm those she cared about.

 My current taste in books can be generously described as eclectic and I often re-read The Black Jewels Trilogy, which has expanded beyond the original three books. I read almost anything and have difficulty not buying a book when I walk into a bookstore. The smell of paper and coffee just might be my weakness.

It never fails to amaze me how a good book can make the reader feel as if they are with the characters. My ultimate goal as a writer is to touch upon this phenomenon. I don’t expect to become famous or make millions, but if my books can touch a person’s life and transport them, even for a moment, I will be happy.

Last year, my seven year old son discovered a passion for reading, and I’m proud to say I am raising a bookworm who would rather buy a book than something else. For his birthday, he received some spending money to buy anything he wanted, so I took him to Walmart. He quickly found a Pokemon towel and said he would get it since he had enough. Before we left, we went to the book isle where he found a book he had been wanting. After some adding, he realized he could only buy one, and I watched him debate over the choice between the towel and the book. It must have been difficult for him, but his response warmed my heart.

“I’m going to get the book since I have lots of towels, but I don’t have this book.”

Every time I catch my son with his nose in the latest book, I’m reminded of The Giving Tree and how it started my own path in reading. Isn’t it amazing how a story can shape you?

Christmas, Cookies and Main Street

Hello, my name is Ashlyn Storm. I am a writer, and mother, who lives in Suffolk Virginia. I usually write fantasy, although I do dabble in contemporary fiction. Sweeter than Honey is one such case and will be my first published book.

It came about when one of my friends, E. Ayers, approached me about an anthology set she was working on for the Authors of Main Street. The theme was Christmas, and I happily agreed to enter the world of Santa Claus and sugar cookies a full six months early to get into the spirit of the holidays.

But I didn’t know where to begin. I considered doing a ladybug theme, although after some consideration, decided the little insects just didn’t fit. So, I changed the bugs to bees, made some cookies using honey, and started writing. 

My main character, Brigitte Bailey, also uses honey in her recipes. She has cinnamon hair, emerald green eyes, and is the proud owner of B’s Bakery. In the book I had her trying to come up with a new cookie recipe while dodging her grandmother’s matchmaking attempts. Most notably, to the new police officer in town, Todd Sweeney.

While writing, I experimented with a few cookie recipes of my own. Using infused honey, just like in the book,  I made two flavors. The first was Apple Pie. Along with the honey, I used cinnamon sticks and apple slices to make a sweet tasting treat. The second flavor I made was called Yuletide. It had cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange slices. It was still sweet but had a distinctively holiday taste. Still, I liked both flavors, and so I decided the best thing to do was to give a taste test. Luckily, my son and my three nephews  were nearby. I gave them each a Yuletide and an Apple Pie cookie and asked them to vote on their favorite. Their votes were as follows:

Matthew (9 years old) “Um… actually… both.”

Zachery (6 years old) “BOTH!”

Christian (2 years old) “Yum.”

Bryson (7 years old, and my son) “Yuletide is better.”

Apparently, my son is the only one who understands how to cast a vote. And he confirmed my suspicions. Yuletide is the Christmas cookie of choice.

With the cookies decided, my next step was to come up with a name for the book. I considered using Yuletide Honey, but never really warmed up to it as a title. Although, I did like the idea of using honey in the name. I played with several different possibilities, including Cookies, Honey, and Christmas, Honey do Christmas, and Baked with Honey. But I disliked all of them, and instead focused on writing the story. By the  time I was finished, I had the title. Sweeter than Honey. 

Most of Sweeter than Honey was written and edited in local coffee shops along the Eastern Shore. If there is one thing I can tell you, it is to never underestimate the power of a good pastry and a strong cup of coffee.

Ashlyn Storm