The Traveler

A traveler came through a small country town and brought with him news from around the globe. Citizens gathered in the courthouse square to listen as the man spoke for hours about events occurring in places they would never visit and people they would never meet.

From morning to evening, the traveler painted a bleak picture of the world. Wars, pestilences, fires, floods, injustices, political corruption; the endless tales brought great anxiety and heaviness of heart to those in the peaceful village.

Dusk settled like a shroud of gloom. The visitor glanced at the clock tower, ended his talk, and descended the steps from the courthouse portico.

“Sir.” The village elder rose from a bench and hobbled through the crowd toward the traveler. “You’ve distressed us greatly with your discourse. May I ask you a few questions?”

“Of course.” With a slight nod, the man confirmed his assent.

“These things of which you speak… Are they true?”

“According to those who sent me, yes. I suppose them to be so.”

“But, have you confirmed, beyond reasonable doubt, these things are true?”

“Well, I—”

“Tell me about the people who sent you. Do they have a reputation for being truthful? Are they virtuous, trustworthy, and honest?”

The traveler hooked a finger in his collar and pulled it from his bobbing Adam’s apple. “I don’t actually know them on a personal level, but I assume they are.”

“Assume?” Clutching a walking cane, his legs unsteady, the gray-haired man shook his head. “By your own admission, you know little to nothing about the character and motives of those who sent you on this journey. The stories you shared may be true, false, or a twisted blend of both, which renders them questionable.”

“It’s getting late, and I must move on to the next town.” With great haste, the man packed the papers with his many notes into his valise.

The crowd parted and made a path for the man’s exit.

“Tell me,” the old man called out to the traveler’s back. “Did you expect us to take action based upon news that was built on a foundation of suppositions and assumptions?”

Turning, the traveler snarled and cursed the old man. “Stay uninformed, all of you.” He spat on the ground, pivoted, and stormed away.

Murmurs rose from the crowd, and the people gathered around the elder.

He silenced them with a raised palm. “It has been said that to be misinformed is often worse than being uninformed. We can act only upon that which we know is true. To do otherwise is to propagate lies or misinformation.”

A young man stepped forward. “Are we to do nothing, then? If, indeed, there is any truth in the things the stranger has said, ought we not do what we can to help remedy these things?”

“First seek the whole truth. Make it your sure foundation. Then act upon it.”

The moral of the story:

  • Information is only as reliable as its source
  • Before spreading a story, practice due diligence and make sure it is true.
  • Don’t be an unreliable source.

 

Something to do during quarantine.

Hello again!

Everybody doing okay? Hanging in there with all this “social distancing” and everything else that’s going on? It’s a stressful time for some folks. Understandably so. I hope you and your loved ones have been physically untouched by COVID-19 even if the world is turned a bit upside down.

To help during this time, my dear author friends, Beatrice Fishback, Dana K. Ray, and Linda Robinson, and I, have decided to run a 99¢ sale on a few of our books. All are available in Kindle Unlimited as well. We hope you enjoy them.

So, here we go…

99¢ for a limited time (April 21-27)

Check it out!

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Here’s one for young adults.

Faith and Family Series, book 1

Set in 1987 on a Southern plantation in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Natalie’s Choices depicts teen angst, family relationships, and the consequences of both right and wrong choices. Can Natalie and Tori’s friendship endure the endless trials life throws at them?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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No matter how hard you try…

There’s No Reasoning with Love

In their teens and deeply in love, India Jackson and Vince Mancini are torn apart by a lie concocted by their fathers that separates and takes them down two diverse paths.

But then LIFE happens and their journeys are set on a collision course. Love is complicated. Sometimes, no reasoning to it at all.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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How do you love someone who’s totally absorbed in themself?

Shelley Auburn, executive for Universal Station, a competitive website designed to take over every major worldwide web, will stop at nothing to become the primary shareholder. The best course of action is marrying the heir apparent, Patrick Malloy. Will Shelley marry Patrick for his wealth and finally have everything she has labored for, or will unexpected circumstances open her eyes to a world of unimaginable love that plunge her headlong into its embrace?

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

~***~

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Loyalty to the family is all that matters.

Brothers, Antony and Sonny Luciano grew up knowing exactly what their lives would hold.

Antony, driven by power and money, is prepared to take over the streets his father runs. Sonny reluctantly surrenders to a similar fate until their mother’s fresh talk about her faith births in him a hope of a better future.

One bullet changed their destinies forever.

~***~

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

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A small-town romance with all the big-time feels.

Rachel Valentino’s life is turned upside down…by a tornado.

Things only get worse when her sister dumps her pre-teen daughter on Rachel then disappears for months on end.

Click HERE or on the book cover to learn more.

The Preacher and the Shopkeeper

It’s here! Get your Kindle copy for 99¢ for a limited time.

Here’s the back-cover synopsis:

Industrial City, Ava Starling’s hometown, is struggling to survive with businesses and industries closing and jobs at a minimum. She’s desperately trying to help assist the needy through the thrift store she owns and operates, but homelessness is on the rise. Ava doubts the recent assignment of the young and handsome Brandon Sparks as senior pastor of the defunct Union Street Church can breathe hope into empty hearts. 

When Ava and Brandon meet, sparks fly but misunderstandings and trust issues ensue. Only Ava’s mother knows the true reason behind her daughter’s resistance to the new pastor, but it’s only a matter of time before Brandon discovers why Ava holds animosity toward him. Will she learn to accept his offers of help or continue to resist his hand of friendship? Working together to meet the needs of the community might forever change both their lives more than either can ever anticipate.


Somebody “Un-Liked” me!

In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in “likes” and “un-likes” on social media.

Here’s the thing. Your self-worth isn’t determined by whether someone likes you or not.

It’s like Junior High.

“So-and-so likes me.” Or… “I don’t think so-and-so likes me.”

Does it matter?

Whose approval are you going for? Those who truly love you, or some like-likers, like-unlikers, like, un-like, but like again-ers? Oh, my! It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

Yes, once you make your name public, whether you’re an author, actor, singer, musician, WHATEVER, you make yourself a target of Like or Un-Likers.

People are fickle. They like you until…

They find you’re not like them, politically.

They find you’re not like them, religiously.

They find you’re not like them… um… Italian-ly, Irish-ly, Black-ly, White-ly, I-like-big-dogs VS small-dogs-ly, or cat VS dog-ly.

SO WHAT!!!

Take a deep breath.

It’s “social” media, folks.

Which, may or not, by definition,  be SOCIAL at all.

Rant over.

Hotdogs and Beans

 

A silly tale of childhood woes…

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Shopping cart, AKA, “the wheeler.”

When I was a kid, we ate hotdogs and beans for supper every single Thursday night. It was a ritual. Mom would come home from work, we’d eat our quick meal, and then she, my two brothers and I, would go grocery shopping at the A&P on 149th Street near St. Ann’s Avenue.

We lived on the fourth floor of a South Bronx apartment building, and the A&P was two and a half blocks away. We’d drag our empty “wheeler” to the store and drag it back, full to the brim. Six brown paper bagfuls of groceries sat snuggly in the basket with the top two sticking over the brim. Often, one or two of us would have to carry additional bags.

One of the problems with our Thursday pilgrimage to A&P was that we had to pass a couple of buildings where several boys from my school lived. I dreaded it. To top it off, I had a major crush on one of them.

My junior-high self was extremely self-conscious. It stressed me out. Oh, the things that went through my mind. Was I walking funny? Should I say hi or pretend I didn’t see them? Had I put on enough Clearasil to hide my blemishes? Were they talking about me behind my back after I passed, or were they simply carrying on with their conversations?

commode-2028556_1280.pngThen, one Thursday, it happed. Yes, IT.  The thing I feared most… To be laughed at and humiliated. By my crush and his cohorts. The source of my humiliation and torment? Toilet paper. A huge package.  Smack-dab on the top of the wheeler, sticking out of a paper bag for all the world to see.

cat-1816646_1920.jpgPoint and laugh. The boys went full-bore junior-high on me, and it didn’t stop on the street that day. For them, there was something insanely funny about toilet paper. I was mortified. They knew. I was outed. The cat was out of the proverbial bag. My family and I… gulp… used toilet paper.

It made perfect sense – back then, when personal things were, well…personal.  Back then, things like “lady” products were wrapped with brown paper, anything that had to do with “the bedroom” was kept behind the pharmacy counter or at least hidden on a remote aisle, and TV commercials didn’t flaunt remedies for people’s personal problems.

Can I be perfectly honest? For many years – yes, into my adulthood – I wouldn’t throw a package of toilet paper into my shopping cart unless I already had enough items to bury it under. And, I wouldn’t grab a package off the shelf if anyone else was in the same aisle.

There is no moral to this story.

I still buy toilet paper, and it doesn’t embarrass me any more.

As for eating hotdogs and beans? Yeah. Okay. Once in a while.

But never on a Thursday.

 

 

 

Lessons from Babysitting an Old, Blind Dog

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Killer, the geriatric miniature dachsund.

My eldest son was going on vacation for ten days.

“Can you watch our dogs?” he texted, knowing full well I’d say yes. Hubby and I had watched his three dogs the last few times he and his family had gone away. It saved him a chunk of change, gave him peace of mind, and gave us a way to bless him and his family. What kind of dogs, you ask? A dachshund, pug, and a chihuahua.

Back and forth, twice a day. That’s how we usually cared for the dogs. I usually took the morning shift, going over to my son’s house to feed, water, and let the dogs out, and hubby took the evening shift and did the same.

This time was different. Killer – the geriatric miniature dachsund – required a little more TLC than last time we’d kept him. Blind – or nearly so – he gets stuck in corners, confused at intersections where walls meet, and has trouble getting his feet under him when he first wakes up. We decided that he’d stay with us for the ten days.

Geriatric care is no laughing matter, even with pets. It grieves my heart to see Killer, a once-proud, Napoleonic figure who thought he ruled the roost, reduced to this frail state where his back legs don’t always obey his command to stand erect and walk.

So, what lessons have I learned by taking care of this old, feeble, incontinent dachshund?

Patience, for one.IMG_0176

Killer can’t fight the hand he was dealt. Age has caught up with him as it will with ALL of us.

Forbearance.

Accepting the facts without negative emotional responses. He can’t help it when he has accidents. Probably doesn’t even know it’s happening.

Love.

Cuddling him during these waning days, giving him pets and kisses, and being thankful for the fifteen or sixteen years he’s been part of the family.

The need to be loved doesn’t expire at a certain age. It carries over into the years when we’re no longer cute, vivacious, witty, and strong. The need to be loved begs for fulfillment. “Somebody, please love me.”

I’ll try to remember these lessons when I grow impatient with the elderly who take longer to pay the cashier, drive twenty-miles-per hour no matter the speed limit, or when I have to repeat myself several times before they hear what I’m saying.

The Rolling Stones once had a hit song that began with, “What a drag it is getting old.” Yes, Mick Jagger…

I agree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Refuge for Rosanna

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Twenty-two-year-old Rosanna Cabot is not your typical London socialite. Strictly opposed to the customary “marriage mart” where young women are pushed into arranged marriages by their parents or other adult caregivers, Rosanna uses her inheritance to purchace Honor’s Point, a luxurious home  set upon acres of glorious property and uses it as her personal refuge. Not only that, she also hopes to open her home to other ladies who are also put off by the expectation of marrying for anything other than love.

Self-sufficient, Rosanna doesn’t see the need to pursue marriage. But strong opinions on the subject get thrown into a tizzy when she meets a handsome and mysterious neighbor, Lord Peter Winstead.

Both Rosanna and Peter have pasts to deal with and obstacles to overcome before they can clearly map out their futures.  The road ahead is bumpy. And dangerous.

buy-on-amazon

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Book One of the Honor’s Point series

 

Susan Karsten

About Susan Karsten

Susan Karsten lives in a small Wisconsin town, is the wife of a real estate broker and mother of three, mother-in-law to two, and grandma to three. Her hobbies include fitness (mostly jogging with her friend, Sandy and her friend’s dog, Millie), quilting (definitely taking a back seat to writing), and reading.
Her love for writing developed while in college where she earned a BS degree in Home Economics, with a minor in Speech.
Having home-schooled her children, and with child-rearing days at an end, Susan now invests time in writing fiction. Under contract for her three-book Regency historical romance series, and a Regency novella, she expects book #2 to be released in July, 2019. Her agent is currently marketing Susan’s first cozy mystery to publishers. Her personal blog can be found at Graciouswoman.wordpress.com, and find her on facebook at Susan Karsten – Author.