Welcome to Day 7 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @Maurabeth2014 @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW

CHRISTMAS WITH AUNT ALICE AND THE PINEAPPLE

You could say the trajectory to that strange Christmas Eve began on the Saturday before, when Mother and Father took us to Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia. There were five of us, counting my two little brothers and me, and we were there on our yearly trek to see the renowned Wanamaker’s Christmas tree and hear Christmas music played by a live orchestra.  

After the concert, we wandered around the store, admiring the decorations. Mother was especially taken by the centerpiece on one of the tables in the furniture department. There, a pineapple, resplendent in a coating of golden spray paint, nestled on a platter filled with fresh pine boughs and sparkling ornaments.

“Oh, isn’t that lovely,” exclaimed Mother.

“I think it’s stupid,” said Father. Father was usually a cheerful person, full of jokes and funny stories, but that day he was grumpy, facing the prospect of having to eat lunch in Wanamaker’s Mezzanine Restaurant, where, as he put it, “They only have lady food.” 

Mother rolled her eyes at me like she did sometimes, now that I was thirteen, and apparently had been admitted into the Sisterhood of Aren’t Men Silly. I rolled my eyes back at her, straightened my shoulders, and stood straight and proud. 

Mother worked feverishly all that week to prepare for the holiday and finally, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we all decorated the tree. In those days in our house, the tree was brought into the house on Christmas Eve and not a day before. Father would spend hours groaning, shouting, and trying not to curse as he secured the tree to the walls. You read that correctly. Father was sure that the tree would escape its confines when left to its own devices, wreaking havoc, and so would place it in a corner and tether it to each wall with nails and the thickest string he could find. Only then could our tree, safely restrained, be adorned. 

The tradition was that we would listen to Christmas carols as we all performed our assigned decorating duties. Finally, Father would finish with gobs of silver tinsel and, with a flourish, turn on the lights. After the “oohs” and “aahs” died down, we would head to the dining room for Christmas Eve dinner.

That’s how things usually went. On this particular Christmas Eve, though, as we were filing into the dining room, a loud shriek emanated from the direction of the kitchen. 

“Oh, SSSSSHIP!” 

Mother shot Father a look. “Aunt Alice.” she said.

I should have mentioned that my Great Aunt Alice was visiting. She was extremely old and, on holidays, came to stay with us. We kids loved Aunt Alice. She was funny, though not always intentionally so, told us fabulous stories which she made up herself, and she loved to curse. This was a great learning experience as I saw it. However, my parents had recently had a discussion with Aunt Alice about this behavior. I listened in, rooting for Aunt Alice, and it went like this:

Father said, “There are children here, Aunt Alice. Think of the children.”

“But you curse, and you’re my favorite nephew,” Aunt Alice replied.

Father countered with, “Look, Aunt Alice, that’s different. I’m a man, and I was in the Navy during the War.”

Aunt Alice, voice rising, shot back, “Oh, come on. What a crock of—”

“Stop!” yelled Father.

“POOP,” Aunt Alice screamed. “I was going to say POOP.”

Mother chimed in, “That was better, Alice. Crude, but better.” Then she swooped in for the finish.  “Alice, Dear, you are so creative! Why, all those stories you tell, I’m sure you will have no trouble coming up with interesting things to say when you’re upset. If you want to keep coming here to be with us and the children, that is. It’s completely up to you.”

“Dag blig it,” said Aunt Alice.

So on that night, hearing that strange cry, Father rushed in the direction of the sound and we all followed. I, for one, hoped it meant a ship was visible from our kitchen window, though we lived nowhere near a body of water. That would have been a treat.

But there was Aunt Alice in the kitchen, crawling along one of the counters and opening and closing the cabinets, a fairly tricky situation. Father caught her just as she was tumbling from the counter, having been pushed off by the cabinet door she was trying to open.

“Aunt Alice, what are you doing?” Father shouted. “You could have broken your hip.” 

“Forget my bleeping hip,” Aunt Alice shouted back. “Where did you people hide my flipping glasses?”

Father pointed to the glasses dangling from the ribbon around her neck.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, it’s about frogging time.” 

Finally at the table, all proceeded well, although Mother seemed distracted. She cleared the dishes and started toward the table with our desert, at which point Aunt Alice laid her head on the table and moaned, “Oh, why won’t they let me have a beer?”

“You knowwhy, Aunt Alice,” Father said. “You’re on that new heart medication and the doctor said you can’t drink.”

“But you’re drinking,” she said, pointing to Father’s glass of wine.

“Now, look Aunt Alice,” Father began, but Mother interrupted him.

“Don’t worry, dear, I’ll get you something,” she said, patting Aunt Alice on the shoulder,  and winking at Father. She signaled to me to follow her into the kitchen.

“She’s been so good, with the non-cursing,” Mother said. “I better come up with something. Do you think we could fool her with some grape juice?” 

I was honored to be included in this weighty decision and offered my solution. “Let’s add vinegar,” I said. That will make it taste like wine, I bet.”

“Hmmm,” said Mother. “Well, I don’t drink, because I think it tastes terrible, so I’m not sure . . .”

She filled a crystal goblet with grape juice and topped it off with a splash of white vinegar. She handed the glass to me. “How does it taste?” she asked.

I took a sip and immediately spit it out. “Yuck!” I said. “It tastes terrible.”

“Well then, that should do,” said Mother.

She took the glass to the dining room and handed it to Aunt Alice, who brightened up and took a sip.

“Ah,” she said. “Now that’s more like it.”

After we settled again, I noticed that Mother still seemed distracted, which I attributed to all the work she had been doing the past week. But suddenly, after desert, she threw her hands to her face and cried out, “Oh, no! I forgot to spray a pineapple!”

Father sat back, threw his napkin on the table, and burst into hearty guffaws. “Oh, Mary,” he said, “now that’s a good one. A pineapple! Heh, heh, heh, like that silly thing we saw last week?” He shook his head. “Mary, I have to say, every once and a while you come out with a good one.” He wiped his eyes and grinned in Mother’s direction, then stopped cold when he saw her face. “You were kidding, Mary, right? Kidding about that funny pineapple thing? Mary? Sweetheart?”

But Mother rushed from the room and we could hear the sounds of things being thrown around in our pantry closet—pots clanging, wrappers rustling, cans and boxes colliding. Before long, Mother emerged, a look of relief on her face, displaying the elusive fruit—one glorious pineapple. We all applauded, and Father sprang from his chair to escort her back into the room. But Mother glared at him. “I have things to do,” she said.

Father looked like he wanted to go after her, but Aunt Alice tugged on his sleeve. “Can I have more of this wine?” she asked. “It’s delicious.”

I washed and dried the dishes, and soon it was time for my brothers and me to go to bed. I heard Father call to Mother once, asking if he could help, but she shouted back, “You just leave me a-lone.” I imagine after that he kept what is known as a low profile.

On Christmas morning everyone jumped out of bed, eyes shining, faces bright with smiles, even Mother. 

And what a beautiful sight lay before us. The Christmas tree glimmered in the darkened living room, surrounded by gaily wrapped gifts. And visible through the archway was the dining room table, draped with a golden cloth and graced with an arrangement of fragrant pine boughs and glittering gold Christmas ornaments. Nestled in the greenery sat the singular, spectacular, gilded pineapple.

“Oh, Mary,” said Father. His face flushed and his eyes looked a little watery. “It looks beautiful.”

“Well, I’ll be a son of a—,” began Aunt Alice, but Mother grabbed her elbow.

“Don’t even think it,” she whispered. Then she smiled her lovely smile and said, “Let’s all just wish each other” and we all chimed in—

“Merry Christmas!”

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:

Maura Beth Brennan’s RWISA Author Profile

WHY AM I AN AUTHOR?

I’m sharing my guest feature on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

Thank you, Sue Vincent!

https://scvincent.com/2020/07/31/guest-author-susanne-leist-why-am-i-an-author-and-news-of-a-new-release/?unapproved=248910&moderation-hash=71af84d688c8a0e552bb1d57319db620#comment-248910

Guest Author: Susanne Leist ~ Why am I an author? (and news of a new release!)

 

Why am I an author?

The answer lies with my brother, Neil Leist.

Neil was a person who lit up a room when he entered. He was 6 feet 2 inches, but it wasn’t his height that drew peoples’ eyes. It was his dynamic personality. Those grey eyes mirrored his brilliant intellect and capacity for greatness. Neil took care of my blind mother until I was old enough to help. He helped raise me when my father wasn’t home but working interminable days and nights driving a taxi.

Flourishing in the business world, Neil traded on the Commodity Exchange until he earned enough money to own a majority stake in a Fortune 500 company. He became the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of American Bakeries. Neil took me along on his ride to stardom as I worked for him on the Commodities Exchange and in his offices on Madison Avenue, New York. I majored in Finance at New York University, preparing to join him. For the first time, life was good.

In the middle of the night, a phone call turned my world dark. Dark as the one in which my mother lived. My brother had been in a car accident in the Hamptons. His red Porsche had hydroplaned on the wet roads. Neil was a skilled driver with quick reflexes; he drove the car off the highway and onto the grass. Luck wasn’t with him that night. The Porsche crashed beneath a truck parked in its path. His brain injury left him in a coma, and he died two years later.

I continued my education and received an M.B.A. in Finance, but high finance lost its appeal. I worked at various investment companies, but I didn’t want to trade or analyze stocks and commodities. My brother and my parents had passed. My daughters were beginning their own lives. Without a focus in my life, I began to write. As an avid reader, I had many stories racing through my mind.

In my first book, The Dead Game, I combine mystery and paranormal. Two guests disappear from a party at a deserted house, leaving the others to fend for their lives from wild animals and traps. Since I end the book with a cliffhanger, I had to write the second book in the series, Prey for The Dead. The residents of the coastal town of Oasis in northern Florida face vampires and hybrids once again. This time, the action takes them to Disney World, where vampires hide at an exclusive club. Yes, I based my story on an actual club at Disney created by Walt Disney. Next week, I will release the third book in the series, The Dead At Heart. Is the series finished? I don’t know yet. I now live my life as a big question mark: no periods or final thoughts, only possibilities.

My life has taken unexpected twists and turns. Memories of my brother follow me across every speed bump. I don’t have him any longer, but I have Neil stored in a special place in my heart. He’s given me the strength and the drive to pursue my dreams. After what he’s accomplished in his brief life, I yearn to create a fraction of the positive memories he’s left for me and those whose lives he has touched.


About the Author

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, bringing 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.


Find and Follow Susanne

Website   Blog    Amazon Author page    Goodreads    Twitter    Facebook


Books by Susanne Leist

THE DEAD GAME

Linda Bennett moves from New York to Florida to live a quieter life. Life is peaceful until the dead body washes up onshore. Linda 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. Wild animals escape their cages in the basement, a bloody skeleton sleeps in an upstairs’ bedroom, and body parts fall from the chimney into the living room’s fireplace. The young residents flee for their lives.

They embark on a difficult 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.

Purchase links:  Amazon   Nook    Rakuten


PREY FOR THE DEAD

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, had ruined any hope of peace for her and her friends. Surrounded by vampires and human vampires, Linda finds solace in her bookstore, learning to live among vamps and hybrids. Then one morning, Oasis goes dark, and an explosion rocks her shop and any future dreams for a happy ending.

Linda and her friends race to where lightning converges on a sinkhole in an isolated spot behind the town. As vampires and hybrids try to save the vampire hunter and vamp trapped beneath Oasis, a witch’s spell throws the residents back in time.

When evidence emerges of The Dead’s return to Oasis, Linda and her best friend, Shana, join vamps and hybrids on their search for The Dead. At an exclusive club in Disney World, they pose as the trophy wives of the hybrids, Todd and Sheriff Sam. Death and mayhem follow their every step. A romp through the tunnels beneath Oasis leads to a showdown in the swamps of Florida.

Can Oasis survive the battle between good and evil? Will Linda find her happy ending?

Purchase links:  Amazon    Nook 

A RED GLOW

red glow

Alexander Calder, Sumac V. 1953.

 

A glow in the night

will lead me astray

from the moon’s light

to where I can’t say.

 

Bloody prints mark the way

to a small town on the shore.

At the end of the day,

we are at the devil’s door.

 

Time has no meaning or reason.

You can travel forward or back.

Death will follow with each season.

It is past time for me to pack.

 

THE DEAD GAME by Susanne Leist

 

Welcome to Day 2 of the “EMPTY SEATS” Blog Tour! @EmptySeatsNovel @4WillsPub #RRBC #Baseball

 

banner (1)

 

GIVEAWAYS:   During this tour, the author is giving away (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card, (2) $5 Amazon Gift Cards, (2) e-book copies of EMPTY SEATS & (1) copy of the author’s acclaimed “SINGING ALONG WITH THE RADIO” CD which features many prominent folk music singers (a $15 value)! For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below as well as leaving a comment on the author’s 4WillsPub tour page.  GOOD LUCK!

Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

 

Day Two (Empty Seats)

 

In 1965, I wanted to become a sportswriter. In those days, however, opportunities for women in that arena were almost non-existent. I was determined, even though my own mother told me I might as well be aiming to become the first female president or even the first female Pope. 

My friends and I went to many games at Fenway Park that summer. Sometimes, when my friends weren’t available to go with me, I’d go by myself. The Red Sox’s own broadcaster at the time, Curt Gowdy, showed me how to keep score “the way we do in the booth” one day, when he was walking through the stands.

I always kept copious notes and used the “Gowdy method” to score every game. I wrote letters to the editor of The Boston Globe and Record American, as well as my hometown newspaper, The Quincy Patriot-Ledger. My goal was to one day have a by-line on the sports pages of The Patriot-Ledger. It was, after all, the newspaper whose sports pages I read every day. 

In 1965, I even had the opportunity to watch the legendary Satchel Paige warm up in the bullpen at Fenway Park. He’d been brought there by Charlie Finley, the owner of the then-Kansas City Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics) as a publicity stunt. Satch was probably in his sixties; no one really knew how old he was. I saw him throwing, easy and slow, and walked up to the chain link fence that separated the people in the bleachers from the pitchers in the Athletics bullpen. 

Since there were very few people at that game, the security guard didn’t bother me. Usually, they’ll tell you to get back to your seat and stop bothering them.

“Mr. Paige?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am.” (I was 15 years old and not used to being called “ma’am.”)

“Do you mind if I watch you for a while.”

“No, ma’am, that would be fine.”

I stood and watch him for about 20 minutes. He never got into that game, but he did pitch to a couple of batters the next day and even struck out Carl Yazstremzki, who would one day become a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown—as did Satch himself. 

My scorecard from that game is one of the few that I never completed; it stands blank after the sixth inning, which is when I began watching him warm up. I still have it, in a place of honor—the antique hutch my grandmother left me, where I keep my baseball memorabilia.

Sportswriter—Yes or No?

After a game between the then-California Angels and the Red Sox, I was walking over the bridge that spanned the Mass Pike and led to the train station at Kenmore Square. I recognized one of the players from the California Angels, Rick Reichardt. I introduced myself, and we talked about the game as he made his way to the Kenmore Hotel, where opposing teams always stayed.  I casually mentioned to him that I was beginning to look at colleges with the aim of pursuing a career in sports writing.

He stopped walking.

“You seem like such a nice girl,” he said, “but I want to give you a sense of reality about professional sports. The guys don’t want women in the locker room or the clubhouse. They don’t want to answer questions from women, either. It’s just the truth.”

He must have seen the look on my face, because he tried to soften his statement. “I just don’t want you to get your hopes up too high,” he said. “If you decide to go forward with this, you’ll have to develop a much thicker skin.”

I thanked him for his advice, as he went one way toward his hotel and I descended the steps toward the train station. During the long train-and-bus rides home, I thought about what he’d said, then did what we did back then: I wrote him a letter, again expressing my appreciation for his thoughtfulness. He sent me a note back, saying that he hoped he wasn’t too blunt, but he wanted me to know the truth.

The 1960s brought turbulent times, with the Vietnam War and Civil Rights, and I became involved in both of those intense social movements. I never did pursue sports writing, even though my passion for sports remains to this day. 

I went on to a nearly 40-year career in public relations/marketing/media relations, with a couple of side trips in general radio broadcasting. I retired from my last job in that field in 2014, when I worked for New York State’s Office of Medicaid Inspector General.

Fifty-two years after the encounter with Rick Reichardt, I decided to act on my desire to write about sports by writing a novel about minor-league baseball. The result is Empty Seats, which focuses on the career paths and expectations of three very different young men as they seek that golden ring of baseball—making it into Major League Baseball, “The Show,” the big time. 

As for Mr. Reichardt—I tracked him down on Facebook to let him know that his lengthy association with baseball didn’t only have an impact on young men, it also had great influence on a young woman who’s now in her eighth decade of life, who never forgot a chance encounter on the bridge that still goes over the Mass Pike near Fenway Park. 

He seemed pleased. Every now and then, he sends me a picture on FB, such as one where he was in Little League and another of him and his family at a Major League Baseball game. I’m glad we’re friends now. 

Book Blurb

What Little Leaguer doesn’t dream of walking from the dugout onto a Major League baseball field, facing his long-time idol and striking his out? Empty Seats follows three different minor-league baseball pitchers as they follow their dreams to climb the ladder from minor- to major-league ball, while facing challenges along the way—not always on the baseball diamond. This coming-of-age novel takes on success and failure in unexpected ways. One reviewer calls this book “a tragic version of ‘The Sandlot.’”

(Winner of the 2019 New Apple Award and 2019 Independent Publishing Award)

 

Author Bio

Following a successful 40-year career in public relations/marketing/media relations, Wanda Adams Fischer parlayed her love for baseball into her first novel, Empty Seats. She began writing poetry and short stories when she was in the second grade in her hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts and has continued to write for more than six decades. In addition to her “day” job, she has been a folk music DJ on public radio for more than 40 years, including more than 37 at WAMC-FM, the Albany, New York-based National Public Radio affiliate. In 2019, Folk Alliance International inducted her into their Folk D-J Hall of Fame. A singer/songwriter in her own right, she’s produced one CD, “Singing Along with the Radio.” She’s also a competitive tennis player and has captained several United States Tennis Association senior teams that have secured berths at sectional and national events. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern University in Boston. She lives in Schenectady, NY, with her husband of 47 years, Bill, a retired family physician, whom she met at a coffeehouse in Boston in 1966; they have two grown children and six grandchildren. 

 

Social Media Links

 

@emptyseatsnovel

 

https://www.facebook.com/EmptySeatsNovel/

 

https://www.wandafischer.com 

 

Amazon and Other Purchase Links

 

Book: http://amzn.to/2KzWPQf 

Audio book: http://bit.ly/2TKo3UC

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empty-seats-wanda-adams-fischer/1127282887?ean=9780999504901 

 

http://wandafischer.com/buy-my-book/ 

 

Wanda Adams Fischer (2)

In 1965, I wanted to become a sportswriter. In those days, however, opportunities for women in that arena were almost non-existent. I was determined, even though my own mother told me I might as well be aiming to become the first female president or even the first female Pope. 

My friends and I went to many games at Fenway Park that summer. Sometimes, when my friends weren’t available to go with me, I’d go by myself. The Red Sox’s own broadcaster at the time, Curt Gowdy, showed me how to keep score “the way we do in the booth” one day, when he was walking through the stands.

I always kept copious notes and used the “Gowdy method” to score every game. I wrote letters to the editor of The Boston Globe and Record American, as well as my hometown newspaper, The Quincy Patriot-Ledger. My goal was to one day have a by-line on the sports pages of The Patriot-Ledger. It was, after all, the newspaper whose sports pages I read every day. 

In 1965, I even had the opportunity to watch the legendary Satchel Paige warm up in the bullpen at Fenway Park. He’d been brought there by Charlie Finley, the owner of the then-Kansas City Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics) as a publicity stunt. Satch was probably in his sixties; no one really knew how old he was. I saw him throwing, easy and slow, and walked up to the chain link fence that separated the people in the bleachers from the pitchers in the Athletics bullpen. 

Since there were very few people at that game, the security guard didn’t bother me. Usually, they’ll tell you to get back to your seat and stop bothering them.

“Mr. Paige?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am.” (I was 15 years old and not used to being called “ma’am.”)

“Do you mind if I watch you for a while.”

“No, ma’am, that would be fine.”

I stood and watch him for about 20 minutes. He never got into that game, but he did pitch to a couple of batters the next day and even struck out Carl Yazstremzki, who would one day become a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown—as did Satch himself. 

My scorecard from that game is one of the few that I never completed; it stands blank after the sixth inning, which is when I began watching him warm up. I still have it, in a place of honor—the antique hutch my grandmother left me, where I keep my baseball memorabilia.

Sportswriter—Yes or No?

After a game between the then-California Angels and the Red Sox, I was walking over the bridge that spanned the Mass Pike and led to the train station at Kenmore Square. I recognized one of the players from the California Angels, Rick Reichardt. I introduced myself, and we talked about the game as he made his way to the Kenmore Hotel, where opposing teams always stayed.  I casually mentioned to him that I was beginning to look at colleges with the aim of pursuing a career in sports writing.

He stopped walking.

“You seem like such a nice girl,” he said, “but I want to give you a sense of reality about professional sports. The guys don’t want women in the locker room or the clubhouse. They don’t want to answer questions from women, either. It’s just the truth.”

He must have seen the look on my face, because he tried to soften his statement. “I just don’t want you to get your hopes up too high,” he said. “If you decide to go forward with this, you’ll have to develop a much thicker skin.”

I thanked him for his advice, as he went one way toward his hotel and I descended the steps toward the train station. During the long train-and-bus rides home, I thought about what he’d said, then did what we did back then: I wrote him a letter, again expressing my appreciation for his thoughtfulness. He sent me a note back, saying that he hoped he wasn’t too blunt, but he wanted me to know the truth.

The 1960s brought turbulent times, with the Vietnam War and Civil Rights, and I became involved in both of those intense social movements. I never did pursue sports writing, even though my passion for sports remains to this day. 

I went on to a nearly 40-year career in public relations/marketing/media relations, with a couple of side trips in general radio broadcasting. I retired from my last job in that field in 2014, when I worked for New York State’s Office of Medicaid Inspector General.

Fifty-two years after the encounter with Rick Reichardt, I decided to act on my desire to write about sports by writing a novel about minor-league baseball. The result is Empty Seats, which focuses on the career paths and expectations of three very different young men as they seek that golden ring of baseball—making it into Major League Baseball, “The Show,” the big time. 

As for Mr. Reichardt—I tracked him down on Facebook to let him know that his lengthy association with baseball didn’t only have an impact on young men, it also had great influence on a young woman who’s now in her eighth decade of life, who never forgot a chance encounter on the bridge that still goes over the Mass Pike near Fenway Park. 

He seemed pleased. Every now and then, he sends me a picture on FB, such as one where he was in Little League and another of him and his family at a Major League Baseball game. I’m glad we’re friends now. 

Book Blurb

What Little Leaguer doesn’t dream of walking from the dugout onto a Major League baseball field, facing his long-time idol and striking his out? Empty Seats follows three different minor-league baseball pitchers as they follow their dreams to climb the ladder from minor- to major-league ball, while facing challenges along the way—not always on the baseball diamond. This coming-of-age novel takes on success and failure in unexpected ways. One reviewer calls this book “a tragic version of ‘The Sandlot.’”

(Winner of the 2019 New Apple Award and 2019 Independent Publishing Award)

 

Author Bio

Following a successful 40-year career in public relations/marketing/media relations, Wanda Adams Fischer parlayed her love for baseball into her first novel, Empty Seats. She began writing poetry and short stories when she was in the second grade in her hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts and has continued to write for more than six decades. In addition to her “day” job, she has been a folk music DJ on public radio for more than 40 years, including more than 37 at WAMC-FM, the Albany, New York-based National Public Radio affiliate. In 2019, Folk Alliance International inducted her into their Folk D-J Hall of Fame. A singer/songwriter in her own right, she’s produced one CD, “Singing Along with the Radio.” She’s also a competitive tennis player and has captained several United States Tennis Association senior teams that have secured berths at sectional and national events. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern University in Boston. She lives in Schenectady, NY, with her husband of 47 years, Bill, a retired family physician, whom she met at a coffeehouse in Boston in 1966; they have two grown children and six grandchildren. 

 

Social Media Links

 

@emptyseatsnovel

 

https://www.facebook.com/EmptySeatsNovel/

 

https://www.wandafischer.com 

 

Amazon and Other Purchase Links

 

Book: http://amzn.to/2KzWPQf 

Audio book: http://bit.ly/2TKo3UC

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empty-seats-wanda-adams-fischer/1127282887?ean=9780999504901 

 

http://wandafischer.com/buy-my-book/ 

 

Empty Seats Tour banner2 (1)

Thank you for supporting this author and her tour.  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please drop in on the author’s 4WillsPub  tour page
 
If you’d like to schedule your own 4WillsPub blog tour to promote your book(s), you may do so by clicking HERE.

I’LL READ YOU A STORY

 

creature reading a book

 

I’ll read you a story.

It might be too gory

For you to understand,

But I’ll give you a hand.

 

A blight falls on a town

that will cause you to frown.

Residents disappear.

I want to make this clear.

 

This isn’t a regular place.

Do not give me that morbid face.

A place of evil creatures

with dark and creepy features.

 

Dark shadows walk the night,

Giving tourists a fright.

Florida is a scary place.

I will quicken the poem’s pace.

 

No reason to fear.

The end is near.

 

THE DEAD GAME

THE END

 

 

The end is coming near.

The end that we hold dear.

Darkness will invade.

It will come in spade.

Time is our enemy,

Which we have aplenty.

The waves grow stronger.

The days become longer.

The sun hides its face.

No longer in its place.

The moon takes over.

Please, take cover.

There’s nowhere to hide.

Is time on our side?

THE DEAD are here.

There’s much to fear.

THE DEAD GAME

Kindle
http://amzn.to/1lKvMrP

Nook
http://bit.ly/1lFdqNj

Lord Bloodgrin Finds Elizabeth Part I

Bloodgrin

 

The reflection staring back at him appeared sad and grim with a hint of nostalgia for happier times. Lord Bloodgrin stood before the full-length mirror, adjusting the white cravat at his neck, waving his insistent valet from the room. Tonight, Mars needed to prepare without the usual help or interference. He reached for his gray silk waistcoat and slipped it over his white shirt. After buttoning his vest’s buttons and adjusting the cuffs, Mars shrugged into a dark gray tailcoat, completing his ensemble for a gentleman’s night on the town. The opera would offer him the best cover as he slipped from the last seat in his box to attend to this evening’s business. 

A lopsided grin settled on his face as Bloodgrin placed the tall black top hat atop his curly brown hair. As he stepped from his suite, Mars grabbed his trustworthy cane, useful as a fashion accessory and for defense with its retractable blade.

Hurrying through the hall, Mars called to his housekeeper, who hovered nearby, “I’ll be home late tonight. Don’t bother with dinner.”

The stout woman ran after him as Bloodgrin descended the staircase. “But ye will eat?”

Mars turned his head as he reached the front door. “I’m meeting friends.” Lord Bloodgrin tipped his hat to his butler, holding the door open for him, then hurried to the carriage, waiting at the front steps. A sigh escaped his lips as he settled into the cushioned seat. He was impatient to execute the plan he’d put into action years ago. 

His mind drifted to Elizabeth Manchester as he’d last seen ten years ago. Her wavy black hair wrapped in a tight bun fought to be free as cascading tendrils swept around her face. Her fingers attempted to confine the wayward strands, but they couldn’t be controlled, just as her blue eyes refused to stay cool and disconnected as they watched him. Each time he stared into her eyes, the blue irises darkened and danced to the frenzied pace of his heartbeat. When Mars had gazed at her ruby red lips with undisguised passion, those lips lifted in response, causing him the intense agony of desire. She had taunted him, but he’d been powerless to fight back.

Lord Bloodgrin fought to control his thoughts, shoving the image from his mind. He grimaced. She made him powerless. Tonight, he would face her again. Rumors circulated of her wild followers, women who danced at night, enticing men to their rooms. Mars refused to believe Elizabeth had become wanton in the ten years since he’d last seen her. In 1888, she’d been pure. An intellectual who’d studied medicine and the ways of the human mind. Such a person couldn’t fall as far as the rumors speculated. A picture of Elizabeth bathing in blood repulsed him. As his carriage brought him closer to the opera and Elizabeth, he damned himself and whatever evil had befallen his one true love.

With a swipe at the curtains of the coach, the steps of the London Opera House appeared busy. Carriages lined the crowded road. Colorful flashes of gowns and jewelry darted between dark suits of men in top hats. One of these women was Elizabeth. As Bloodgrin descended the carriage steps, his gaze darted through the crowd. Red. A lover of blood would wear blood red to showcase her passion. But none of the gowns belonged to his beloved. He followed the throng inside and upstairs to his box. He nodded to his friends, seated in the first two rows, then settled in the third row. As Mars sat in his plush seat to watch the opera, the lights dimmed. He moved farther back into the shadows. The music started. The curtain lifted. Lord Bloodgrin disappeared from his seat.

Bloodgrin drifted through the seats at a speed that enabled him to stay undetectable by mere mortals. His shadow roamed row after row until he spotted Elizabeth, his Elizabeth. In a dark red gown, rubies glittering at her neck, she sat between two young women, wearing white gowns and no jewelry. Mars stood in the shadows, watching Elizabeth smile at her women as her blue-eyed gaze wandered to the other guests. Her black hair, pulled back from her face with jeweled hairpins, flowed in waves at her back. She hadn’t aged one bit. If possible, Elizabeth looked lovelier than she did years ago. Mars experienced the same frenzied heartbeat and pang of lust. He stepped forward.

Elizabeth’s startled gaze met his. The smile slipped from her mouth. She turned to whisper to the young girl at her side, then came to her feet. Elizabeth moved through the row with grace as she nodded her thanks to the elite of the ton. In moments, she stood before him, a questioning look on her face.

“Hello, Elizabeth.” Bloodgrin lifted his hat and nodded to her.

“Mars.” Her whisper floated in the silence between them.

“We should talk.”

A grimace marred her smooth features. “Not here.”

He waited.

“Meet me outside.” Elizabeth turned and hurried through a side curtain.

The young girl, sitting in the seat beside Elizabeth’s empty one, stared at him through light green eyes. She tilted her head and smiled. Mars felt her innocence; it called to him. Betrayal. Elizabeth took these girls’ trust and betrayed them. This must end. No matter who she’d been to him, Elizabeth must be stopped.

Mars shoved aside the curtain and strode through the narrow hallway. He took the staircase, leading outside the opera house. Emerging in an alley, Mars drew the blade from his cane, ready to meet Elizabeth.

A hiss came from behind him. As he turned, a glancing blow hit the side of his face, throwing him to the ground. His head pounding, Bloodgrin struggled to his feet and came face to face with Elizabeth. She resembled his Elizabeth, but this one showcased an evil grin on her face. A blade in each hand, the creature stalked him.

“Who are you?” Mars ducked the long blades that flew near his face.

“Elizabeth Bathory at your service.”

He charged at her. “What happened to my Elizabeth?” Bloodgrin wasn’t ready to show his true face yet.

She sidestepped his cane with a snarl. “I was reincarnated.”

“What are you?” After the last swipe of her sword, blood gushed from Mars’ upper arm. He fell at her feet.

Her foot on his chest, Elizabeth stood over him.. “I’m the same as you. A scion of Cain.”

“Damn.” Mars lost consciousness.

Lord Bloodgrin awoke in a dark room, chained to a wall. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he spotted bars on the window. The rest of the room appeared empty. He still had time.

Footsteps sounded outside the door. He had less time than he’d hoped. Mars held his breath as the footsteps passed the door. He closed his eyes and prepared himself for battle.

His body heated as his face stiffened. After the transformation, Bloodgrin lowered his head to reach the chains at his wrists. Blades tore through the metal like they were paper. His fingers pulled blades from his mouth, using them to slice the shackles at his feet. Satisfied, he rose to his height of six feet. No more games. His transformation complete, Lord Bloodgrin loosened the bolts on the door with bare fingers. He grabbed his cane from the ground and strode to the dark hallway.

Mars followed the sounds of laughter, emanating from the closed door ahead. He stepped into a scene of young women, food, and blood. A lot of blood. As Mars wove through the dead bodies of girls, pale from being blooded, many headless, he averted his eyes. Needless death sickened him, while the flowing blood from the damned filled him with joy. His Elizabeth understood his sickness. This Elizabeth didn’t. She lounged in a swimming pool of blood while young girls fed her food and played music.

“Damn you.” Bloodgrin strode forward. “This must end tonight.”

“And who made you a god?” Elizabeth stood as blood dripped from her naked body. “I’m in charge.” She stared at him. “You are ugly with blades replacing your mouth. You’d been a stud.”

“Go to hell.” He halted before her.

“I’m already there.” She climbed from the pool and grabbed the towel a girl handed to her.

Mars pulled a blade from his cane and lunged at her.

Elizabeth stepped back, her stomach gaping open, revealing her twining intestines. “Oops,” she said, shoving her organs into her body. The gash began to heal, and the wound closed. Her eyes raised to his, she smiled. “I regenerate.”

Bloodgrin froze in place.

“You can’t kill me.” The creature walked to him. Her eyes glittered, and her nails elongated to sharp blades. “But I can kill you.”

 

Continued next month. 

The collaboration of authors for Lord Bloodgrin can be found at https://allthehorror18.wixsite.com/event/lordbloodgrin-finds-elizabeth

https://allthehorror18.wixsite.com/event/

 

 

TIME TO SLEEP

 

Hello, it’s just me.

Sitting in the dark.

I’m fun as can be.

A day at the park.

I’m here when you sleep.

Your worst nightmare.

Can you see its legs

Climbing your hair?

Can you feel it? 

It is black and furry.

Don’t go back to sleep

Or you’ll see blurry.

Did it bite your neck?

I can see the mark.

Just a little peck.

The room goes dark.

Neil Leist

Neil Leist

 

Yesterday, I met a famous photographer, Tony Vaccaro, who had photographed my brother in 1981. It was a year before my brother’s car accident. After two years in a coma, Neil passed. I’m more determined than ever to write a book on my brother’s life. Tony took photos of Presidents Kennedy, Obama, and Nixon. Famous stars like Sophia Lauren. Artists like Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe. And my brother, Neil Leist. Neil had just become the CEO and President of American Bakeries. He made his fortune in the commodities markets and was on his way to the top. The accident ended his dreams and mine.

This isn’t the photo taken by Tony Vaccaro. This photograph is the last one I have of my brother.