It’s Day 2 of #RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour for #Author, Harriet Hodgson @healthmn1! C’mon @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBCSA #GriefDoodling





Harriet Hodgson Brief Bio

Harriet Hodgson, BS, MA has been a freelance writer for 42+ years, is the author of thousands of print/online articles and 42 books. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support.
Harriet is Assistant Editor of the Open to Hope website. She is a contributing writer for
www.opentohope.com, The Grief Toolbox, and “Grief Digest,” now an online magazine.
A popular speaker, Harriet has given presentations at The Compassionate Friends national conference, Bereaved Parents of the USA national conference, public health, Alzheimer’s, and caregiving conferences. She has appeared on more than 185 radio shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN.
This award-winning author loves writing so much she writes in her sleep. Grief Doodling: Bringing Back Your Smiles, written and illustrated by Harriet, is her latest book.




HARRIET HODGSON SOCIAL MEDIA & BOOK BLURB
 
From the very first page, Grief Doodling invites action. Topics range from the benefits of doodling, to why doodling is fun, to doodling tips, and responding to doodling prompts. The prompts, based on grief research, promote self-worth and healing. This is a hopeful book—something all grieving kids need.
 
Twitter handle:  @healthMN1
 
Facebook URL: https://facebook.com/harriet.hodgson.7
 
Website address   www.harriethodgson.com
 

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds chicken thighs, skinless

1 package (1 ounce) taco seasoning, 40% less sodium

1 zucchini, cut in half, and then into half-moons

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

Salt an pepper to taste

1 jar (15 ounces) chunky salsa

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, reduced fat, shredded

Method

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Lay chicken thighs in dish. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.
  4. Layer zucchini, corn, and green pepper over chicken. Season with salt and  pepper.
  5. Spoon salsa over chicken and cover casserole with foil.
  6. Bake one hour.
  7. Remove foil.
  8. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over casserole and return to oven for 20 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Thank you for dropping by to support Harriet along her tour.  To follow along with the rest of her 7-day tour, please visit the “SPOTLIGHT” Author forum on the RRBC site and don’t forget to pick up a copy of her book above!  Lastly, we ask that you LIKE and SHARE this post, as well as the “SPOTLIGHT” Author page, to your social media, to enhance Harriet’s support!

Welcome to Day 8 of #RRBC’S ’20 WC&BE SPONSORS BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_Org @linneatanner @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA

2021 WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO!

Title of book

Apollo’s Raven

Book cover

Book blurb

A Celtic warrior princess is torn between her forbidden love for the enemy and duty to her people.

AWARD-WINNING APOLLO’S RAVEN sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. In 24 AD British kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren’s former queen, a powerful Druid, has cast a curse that Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. The king’s daughter, Catrin, learns to her dismay that she is the Raven and her banished half-brother is Blood Wolf. Trained as a warrior, Catrin must find a way to break the curse, but she is torn between her forbidden love for her father’s enemy, Marcellus, and loyalty to her people. She must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that threatens the fates of everyone in her kingdom.

Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse. Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love for Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren and save her kingdom?

Book trailer

Youtube link: https://youtu.be/oqSdT5wK4aI

Amazon.com purchase link:

Author bio

Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids. he has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series.

A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Windsor with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.

Author photo

Social media links

Website: https://www.linneatanner.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linneatanner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LinneaTannerAuthor

Blog post

Wall of Lives

In Apollo’s Raven, The Wall of Lives is a transitional wall between the mortal and Otherworld. Covering the Wall of Lives is a fluid tapestry in which everyone’s life threads weave in and out of others from birth to death. Here, the past, the present, and the future merge into one time. The primary protagonist —Catrin, a Celtic warrior princess—can visit this realm with the aid of her raven guide. She has the unique magical ability to manipulate the life threads in the fluid tapestry to alter the future. The Wall of Lives is a metaphor that she has the innate ability to change the future by the decisions she makes in her lifetime. However, to make the right choices, she must understand the past to learn how to fly forward. The concept of the Wall of Lives is based on divine female entities who ruled the fates of gods and men in Norse and Greco-Roman mythology. They spin, measure, and cut the thread life for each person to carry out his or her preordained destiny. The age-old theme as to whether humans can change fate by their decisions is explored in the series.

Thank you for supporting the books and authors along the RRBC ’20 WC&BE SPONSORS BLOG TOUR!  These authors are generous in their support of others so we want to show our support of them in return.  You may follow along each day of the tour by visiting the tour’s home page.  Be sure to leave a comment below to ensure that you have a chance at winning a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti

DOUBLE DARK-CHOCOLATE AND GINGER BISCOTTI

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This weekend I was experimenting with different variations, once again, on my pumpkin biscotti recipe. I wanted biscotti that looked innocent, but had a secret BOOM I DID NOT EXPECT THAT BUT REALLY LIKE IT flavor to it. The sweet spiciness of the fresh ginger in these cookies complements the richness of the dark chocolate.
These are great for the winter with a big mug of hot cocoa on a snowy day. They are hands down my new favorite biscotti flavor.

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

What you will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsps. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or 3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped)
¼ cup grated fresh ginger (or finely chopped crystallized ginger)
Optional: ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped.

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined. 

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

In a medium bowl, beat egg, egg yolk, and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in the vanilla and oil until well combined. 

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

Slowly add the egg mixture to the dry mixture, beat the mixture until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips, and ginger with a rubber spatula, at this point the dough will be really stiff.

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver
Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

With moistened hands shape the dough into 2 logs, each about 9” long and 2 ½” wide. Bake until set on top, about 20 minutes. 

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

Let the logs cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325˚. 

Transfer logs to a cutting board and, with a serrated knife, cut each into ½” thick slices . Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning the biscotti over 10 minutes through. 

Double Dark-Chocolate and Ginger Biscotti~ The Dreams Weaver

Let the biscotti cool 5 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or turn around for a minute and have your husband eat the whole batch.
Enjoy! 

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A GREAT HONOR & SURPRISE

https://blazingowlpress.blogspot.com/

SUSANNE LEIST – WOMAN IN HORROR

https://susanneleist.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/susanne.leist.98

Susanne Leist is my Woman In Horror today! I run into Susanne and her marvelous books in many places. She is a tireless worker and a wonderful supporter of other authors.

Susanne has a different approach to writing Vampire tales. I will present some highlights to that in the posts about her books below.

About Susanne Leist

“I have always loved to read. Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum, and many other authors filled my young imagination with intrigue and mystery. When I wasn’t reading late into the night, the TV shows–Murder She Wrote and Columbo–entertained me with tales of murder and suspense.

Over the years, my taste in TV expanded to include such shows as Supernatural and The Originals. I searched for paranormal, murder mysteries but found few at the library or bookstore. So, I wrote one.

The Dead Game, Book One of The Dead Game series, brings fantasy and the surreal to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice the motley mix.

The story continues in Book Two, Prey for The Dead, as The Dead vampires use an exclusive club in Disney World to infiltrate the rich and famous. As The Dead grow in power, not even the bright sunshine of Florida can weaken them. Linda, my main character, and her friends join forces with human vampires–known as hybrids–to defeat the evil threatening to control Oasis. A masquerade ball and a romp through the tunnels beneath the town lead to a showdown in the swamps of southern Florida.

A career in writing has been a big leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. If someone tells you it’s too late in life to try something different, they are wrong. It is never too late to follow your heart.”

******

On to Susanne’s great books.

 New edition.

Linda Bennett moves from New York to Florida to live a quieter life. Life is peaceful until the dead body washes up onshore. She learns that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are typical for the coastal town.

Linda and her friends receive an invitation to a party at End House, a deserted house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The group arrives, but no one is there to greet them. The house has a sinister life of its own where horror follows their every step. Traps, illusions, and revolving rooms add to their growing fear. A bloody skeleton sleeps in an upstairs’ bedroom, and body parts fall from the chimney into the living room’s fireplace. Wild animals escape their cages in the basement. The young residents flee for their lives.

They embark on a harrowing journey, not knowing whom to trust, to uncover the one controlling the evil game.

Who are The Dead?

Are they humans or vampires?

Will Linda lose her heart to Todd, who knows more than he admits?

Will her best friend, Shana, fall in love with Sheriff Sam?

The Dead Game has begun.

******

Editorial Reviews

Review

Do not turn off the lights.Ted Top 1000 ReviewerThe author has crafted herself a town that is bipolar in its nature. By day it pretends to be a bright seaside destination where youth collects to begin their adult lives; make friends, start businesses and parties. By night, the town closes ranks to all newbies and becomes a creepy destination for elites to ply their generational customs that include preying on the innocent. Linda and her friends will experience horror, shock, and disbelief as they attempt to get to the bottom of the macabre events in one of the historical mansions. The mansion was my favorite part as all senses of reality disappeared upon entering. The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a mysterious supernatural thriller with plenty of twists and turns that is well-written and keeps you turning the page. From the first page you start a wild ride and just when you think all is well, she throws in another twist. 

Rhonda Cratty, Parenting & Education Examiner

I was absolutely surprised by this book! I knew it had some enigmatic mystery and some dark action, but the author set up the story so well I was happily amazed. It starts with a very engaging character, a young woman who is very well portrayed in a community, Oasis, Florida. The town’s mysteries are maze-like and become deeper and more sinister as the book progresses. This is a very original approach to the concept of vampires and their existence.

Ray Miller “Relevant Reviewer”

The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a top-notch haunted house horror thriller. The author excels at spooky descriptions, terrifying scenarios like opening a door and stepping into a black abyss or forever trapped in a dark maze with endless rooms stretching into infinity. Her characters are perfect and the reader can easily connect with them.

Simon Okill, Simon’s Phantom Blog

A beachfront town, a haunted mansion, people disappearing or turning up dead–these are the elements of gothic horror, but this unique novel has a more than a few twists. The writing is first-rate, and the pace is fast. The characters are well-defined, and the plot is imaginative and unpredictable…

Howard Lipman, pen name PanOrpheus, author

Susanne’s take on vampires is fresh and new but you’ll have to read to know. She takes the age-old vampire legend and turns it into something I’ve never read before…

Elle Klass, Author of As Snow Falls

From the Author

Nothing can be as fine

as the dear book of mine. 

It might not be sold in a big bookstore, 

but you will not find one to offer more.

It was created with much love and hope,

even though it wasn’t blessed by a Pope.

It has my blood, sweat, and tears.

Might raise many of your fears.

It has action, murder, and romance.

It can even do a little dance.

Please try it, and you’ll see

it has the best of me. 

******

Linda Bennett’s dreams of happiness have always eluded her. Five years ago, she moved to Florida from New York to escape heartache. The Dead, an evil group of vampires, ruined any hope of peace for her and the small town of Oasis. Since then, Linda has learned to live among vampires and human-vampires, finding finds solace in her bookshop. Then one morning, Oasis goes dark, and an explosion rocks her store and any future dreams for a happy ending.

News of a vampire presence at an exclusive club in Disney World prompts Todd and Sam, hybrids, to go undercover as members. Linda and her best friend, Shana, join them as their trophy wives. Disaster follows in their wake as vampires fight for control. A devastating surprise waits for them in the tunnels beneath Oasis.

Can Oasis survive the battle between good and evil?

Will Linda find her happy ending?

******

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Set five years after the events in Leist’s (The Dead Game, 2013) previous novel, this sequel aims to expand on the threat of Wolf and explore romance among the vamps. Readers will also enjoy a touch of mystery when they discover that Wolf’s spirit has migrated into a new body… The Florida coast is beautifully evoked by water that “shimmered in alternating shades of azure and cerulean blue” and “the scent of zinnias and lavender” that “permeated the gentle wind.” Most of the violence isn’t the traditional vampire neck biting but more in tune with battlefield carnage (“A body hung from the chandelier–a headless form–still wearing his shirt and pants, now saturated with blood”).” — Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

A career in writing has been a giant leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. Don’t listen if someone tells you it’s too late to try something different. It is never too late to follow your heart.

The Dead Game, the first book of The Dead Game Series, brings fantasy and surrealism to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice the motley mix.

The story continues in Prey for The Dead as The Dead vampires use an exclusive club in Disney World to infiltrate the rich and famous, a club based on Walt Disney’s Club 33. As The Dead grow in power, not even the bright sunshine of Florida can weaken them. Linda and her friends join forces with human vampires–known as hybrids–to defeat the evil threatening to control their coastal town. A masquerade ball and a romp through the tunnels beneath Oasis lead to a showdown in Florida’s swamps.

The Dead At Heart, the last book in the series, is Shana’s love story. When Linda moves into Gregg’s mansion, she suggests Shana bring William with her as he recuperates from his last battle. While Gregg, a vampire, has learned to live with humans, Shana doubts whether William can mend his evil ways. Shana watches the engaged couple with dismay as her arguments with William mount. After werewolves kidnap Linda, Shana flees with Sam, who believes William has been plotting with vampires and werewolves to overthrow the upcoming vampire summit in Quebec.

I am working on my fourth book. A seaside town in Maine provides the backdrop for murder, mystery, and romance. Will this book become a series? I don’t know yet. But I’m eager to begin the journey.

******

As Oasis is under attack, Shana must choose between a vampire and a human-vampire…

Late at night, werewolves swarm Gregg’s estate and kidnap Linda. Gregg gathers his men and races after his fiancee. Alone in a mansion filled with vampires, Shana flees, afraid William, her vampire boyfriend, has returned to his evil ways.

Sheriff Sam asks Shana to help him track the rogue vampires and werewolves. She follows him to Florida’s swampland, where The Watchers live in luxury. While proclaiming their innocence, the vampire leaders force them to board a plane to Quebec, capturing William along the way.

Once Linda is freed from the werewolves, she heads to Quebec in search of Shana. Meanwhile, trapped in a building sealed as tight as a tomb, Gregg outsmarts the computer-activated house and escapes his tormentor.

As the opposing vampire sects arrive at Chateau Frontenac, the boardwalk erupts in flames. The battle for control has begun. Torn between William and Sam, Shana must pick the right side since any mistake can become a deadly one.

******

Editorial Reviews

Review

5.0 out of 5 stars True love conquers allThis book finds Linda & her friends back in trouble in their quest to protect Oasis and one another. We learn more about the depths of Linda and Greg’s love and commitment to one another while William and Sam battle to prove their love for Shauna. Heather D

******

Susanne Leist writes of Vampires in a whole new light. No wonder she’s a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob

Welcome to Day 11 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @nonniejules @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

…IN THE WORLD OF WE

We often hear that music is the universal language.  It is the avenue to bridge all divides –

racial divides

gender divides

political divides.    

But, in the midst of all the division,

each party holding court in their respective corners of the ring,

ears lightly tickled by the sound of the simple “IMAGINE” by John Lennon,

wafting through the musky air of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons –

a mist of standstill calms the noise

…and in mere moments, the eyes of “independent” onlookers are pleasantly greeted by the most beautiful and welcoming sight –

…bodies slowly rocking

…hands collectively raised

…waving side to side

…all in unison  

…chanting

 “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try…”

The 2020 US election has ended. The people have spoken.

What’s left behind?  A world of anxiety and angst – wrapped in feelings of wondering when the bombs will drop, or when the other shoe will fall.  And although I’d like to point fingers here and maybe even call a few not-so-pretty names, my daughter sits beside me as I write this, an ear to measure the “nice” level in my words, the child guiding the parent.  Roles reversed, she gently reminds me that the original goal of this message is unification – therefore, I will stay the course of peace.

In this moment, acknowledging that my conscience of decency is bigger than any emotion that might be stirring the embers of fires that have burned deep inside me for the past few years – neutrality is my cohort, and we will not take sides. 

Instead, all that will be allowed to roll off my tongue is FACT…

one reign is ending  

and another about to begin.

Some exultant…

others despondent

Yet, now is not the time for either.

Yesterday is gone,

today almost a memory,

but what awaits us in tomorrow

is what WE decide it will be. 

This is not the land of us and them –

this is the world of WE. 

WE decide what, who and how WE want to be.  

Do you resemble love, or, are you wearing the likeness of hate?  

What adorns your heart, a choice only you can make … for you. 

So, I have made my choice – and it is firm and true!

I choose love. 

To love,

to be loved,

to speak love,

to exude love,

to live love. 

Because I know that what I send out into the world, will be exactly what the world returns to my doorstep.

It is for that reason that I shall…

remain steadfast in my vigilance –

cognizant of any negativity that might try to seep in or out of my pores –

Skillfully suppressing the desire to gloat in the face of the so-called “losing” side. 

I’ve too much pride…to stoop so low.

The 2020 US election has ended.  The people have spoken.

There were no losers. 

WE are a world of winners.

Remember, WE decide

what

who

and how

WE will be

in this…

beautiful

colorful

everchanging

world of WE

“Imagine there’s no country
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace…

It’s all easy if WE try.”

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author Profile

https://youtu.be/T2hvkPyiAFE

Welcome to Day 10 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @jinlobify @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

IROKO

In the past, nobody would have taken notice of Iroko, the biggest and tallest tree in the forest. But then, cities started to grow and to eat into the forests. Trees were cut to make way for the growing cities. But the Iroko tree resisted being cut down. Any time an axe cut the tree, the axe either broke or the cut bled, real blood., and cries, ear piercing cries, like human cries were heard coming from the tree.

            In the forest, next to Iroko, lived an old woman in a tiny mud hut. Bent by age, she diligently cared for the tree. She was known as the eyes and the mouth of the tree. She listened to the tree, when the leaves rustled and interpreted the language of the tree to outsiders. She was called Nne Oji. Oji is the Igbo name for Iroko, and Nne Oji means Iroko’s mother. Iroko was as tall as a skyscraper, about one hundred and seventy feet high, and the width was as wide as fifty men surrounding the tree with outstretched hands, fingertips touching. Iroko was huge, towering and intimidating!

            The stories surrounding Iroko were such that settlers decided to let it stand and the town grew all around and away from it. Things went on peacefully for a while, but soon it became clear that Iroko did not like the exposure it was getting from the people surrounding it. After all, this tree was the king of the forest, where both trees and animals revered it. Now, standing in the midst of humans, with no one paying it any heed, all of this would change very rapidly.

            People, especially those living close to where Iroko stood, started reporting strange happenings around Iroko in the dead of night. Those who were bold enough to come out and watch these happenings, reported seeing dancing and merrymaking around Iroko by people they believed were spirit people. These spirit people went in and out of Iroko as if they were walking in and out of their homes. They sang and danced in merriment from twelve midnight until two in the morning, after which they packed up and walked back into the tree. Those who observed these goings-on, did so from afar and in hiding.

The story was told of a young boy who had the misfortune of being seen by these spirit people. He was taken and was never seen again. He had heard the stories of the happenings around Iroko, so that night he snuck out of his house and walked toward Iroko to take a closer look. Voices were heard warning him not to come closer, but he continued walking toward Iroko until he entered the sphere of the tree where everything turned grey. At that point, the boy lost control of himself and was pulled along until he disappeared in the mist and was seen no more.

The mother watched everything in hiding in paralyzed shock. The other people who watched in hiding were also mystified. They couldn’t believe their eyes, but they dared not allow themselves to be seen.

The next morning, the mother saw a huge striped cow tied to an orange tree in front of her house. The cow was chewing cud. The woman walked around the cow trying to understand how it came to be there. The town people also took notice and started gathering and questioning the presence of the cow. Out of nowhere, a young boy with only a loin cloth around his waist appeared and spoke to the onlookers.

“Mama, Iroko says you should take the cow in exchange for your son. Iroko says you should not kill the cow. You should sell it and use the money to take care of yourself.” With that, the boy turned and walked through the crowd and disappeared.

Everyone there was seized with shock and they quickly dispersed. The woman cut the cow loose and started shooing it off from the front of her house, but the cow would not budge.

The woman started to weep and pleaded with Iroko to return her son and take back the cow.

“Iroko give me back my son and take your cow!” she implored. “I don’t want your cow!”

The next day, the woman saw the cow at the back of her house, peacefully lying down near her hearth and chewing cud. She ran out toward Iroko.

“If you won’t give me back my son, Iroko, take me too!” she screamed at the top of her voice. Iroko’s leaves started to rustle. Suddenly, the old woman in the hut materialized and stood between the woman and Iroko.

“Go back, Mama!” the old woman said. “What you seek cannot be done. Your son is gone, dead and Iroko has paid you in exchange for him. Go back or you will meet the same fate!”

The woman refused to be stopped. She pushed the old woman down, walked over her and continued to approach Iroko. By this time, people had started to gather and were watching. The woman threw herself at Iroko and just like magic, the onlookers saw sparks of light, like fireworks, all around the woman. They heard her screaming and shouting like someone roasting on a stake. When everything died down and the sparks were no more, the people saw that the woman had metamorphosed. The woman had changed into an animal, something that looked like a dog, or a goat. No one could really tell. The people dispersed but this time they all had one thought in their minds – that Iroko must go.

            Iroko’s fame continued to grow even beyond the immediate town. The townspeople also became bolder. They consulted with diviner after diviner to find out how to get rid of Iroko. They tried everything, without any success … one attempt took the lives of twelve men. They tried to burn Iroko down, but the fire turned against them and burned them to death. One diviner suggested that the spirit of Iroko resided in the old woman who tended it, and that if the old woman was killed, Iroko would quietly and slowly die.

            The townspeople burned the old woman’s hut down with the old woman in it. The next day, Iroko started taking souls. People started disappearing from their homes, both in broad daylight and at night while they slept.

Finally, an Iroko priest from a distant land told the people how to destroy Iroko.

“Humans should not fight Iroko,” he said. “They should appease Iroko. Iroko trees do not live amongst humans. Before you people started building your town, you should have appeased and pleaded with Iroko to leave your town. As you can see, Iroko was simply minding its own business, when you people decided to invade its privacy. Now you have to sacrifice to Iroko to appease it.”

            The townspeople had to pay this priest to come to their town to perform all that was needed to appease Iroko. There is no need to list here all that Iroko demanded, which included the blood of virgins, before it was appeased. The morning after the ceremony by this priest was concluded, the people came out and watched as the inhabitants of Iroko exited one after the other and disappeared; the birds of various families, the giant ants, red and black, dark dangerous black snakes – all came out of Iroko hissing, grumbling, and then poof, like smoke disappeared. But the king of all the animals, a giant Eke python, refused to be dislodged. The people had to pump inflammatory liquid into Iroko and set the python on fire, to dislodge it. It came out rumbling, twisting, and floundering, until it, too, disappeared.

            Finally, Iroko was cut down. Mystery upon mystery, not one single hole existed in the cut tree. It was intact with rings showing how many hundreds of years it had stood there.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

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Joy Nwosu Lo Bamijoko‘s RWISA Author Profile