Teaser Thursday- Totality

From the never-published 8th book of the Reality Shift series.

On Thursday afternoons, Shanna and I usually got together for her healing lessons. She’d shown an aptitude for energy healing and had become my first—and so far only—student shortly after we’d met. We didn’t always have lessons on Thursdays, though; sometimes the time we spent together ended up being conversations about things that were concerning her, and other times she had a healing session herself. But all of it counted as part of her learning.

I knew those afternoons were important to her, and I tried to keep the time available even if something else was going on. I’d arranged my work schedule to allow Thursday afternoons off. I couldn’t do anything about holidays, of course, but the week of Thanksgiving she and I had met on a different day, and I had no reason not to do the same this time. “This afternoon will be fine,” I said. “Do you have anything in particular that you want to work on, or just continue studying healing?”

“I’m not sure yet,” she said slowly. “I thought about asking you if I could talk to Tethys, but I’m not sure I have anything specific to ask her.”

“Well, if you come up with some questions between now and this afternoon, let me know,” I replied. “We could definitely do a session; I haven’t channeled for anyone for a while, and I could use the practice.”

“Okay.” She sounded reluctant, and I didn’t expect her to come up with any questions. She always seemed frightened when she spoke to Tethys, though Tethys was certainly not frightening. But I could understand why talking to a being of light intimidated Shanna; she’d had enough trouble believing she was worthy of talking to the spirit guides and light being who worked with her. “Do you want to get some breakfast?” she asked.

“I brought fruit bars,” I said.

Shanna grinned. “Then can we go eat them?”

“Absolutely.”

We went into the cafeteria. I chose to keep quiet about how pleased I was that Shanna had asked for one of the vegan fruit bars I almost always brought with me for breakfast. I’d been bringing two, one for me and one for Shanna, since she and I had become friends, and she’d gone from refusing to take one in September to actually asking for one now. For her, that was huge, since she’d learned from the way her parents had treated her that she should never ask for anything. If I said anything, though, she would be embarrassed, even if what I said was intended as a compliment.

We sat at our usual table in the cafeteria and I took the fruit bars out of my backpack. Shanna had just opened hers when Ken came over to the table. “I want to talk to you, Shanna,” he said, sounding angry.

“I don’t want to talk to you.” Shanna didn’t look at him, but the look in her eyes and her energy field indicated it was out of anger rather than the fear she’d shown around him before.

“Then just listen,” he ordered.

“I don’t want to listen to you either,” Shanna said firmly. “Let me try this in a way that you’ll understand. I don’t want you anywhere near me. Leave me alone.”

“You don’t have to be that way,” Ken said in a wheedling tone. “Shanna, we were friends before. Maybe I should never have asked you out; I think that screwed up our friendship, and I’m sorry about that. I’d like to be friends again.”

Now Shanna looked up at him. I ate my fruit bar, trying to act as though I wasn’t paying attention to their conversation, but I was ready if Shanna needed help. “You want to be friends?” Shanna said incredulously. “You tried to convince everyone that you dumped me because I whine too much. You tried to tell them that there was something seriously wrong with me and that was why you didn’t want to see me anymore. I broke up with you because you were too pushy and too jealous, and you tried to make everyone think it was my fault. And you think I’d be friends with you again after that?”

“No one believed me,” he pointed out.

“Because you were lying, and everyone knew it,” she said, her voice rising. “Everyone had seen how you were acting toward me. Just get away from me, Ken, before I say something I’d rather not say.”

Teaser Thursday- Cutting Cords

From book 3 of the now out-of-print Reality Shift series.

I arrived at school before the custodian unlocked the doors, so I sat on one of the benches outside to wait. Since the beginning of school, I’d become used to hanging around out there in the mornings. Some days, they’d unlocked the doors by the time I arrived. Depending on how the nights went, sometimes I reached the school too early. I didn’t know what I’d do when the weather turned cold. Waiting outside during our winters wouldn’t be pleasant.

I’d only been there a few minutes when Jonah showed up, walking up the path with his long, dark brown ponytail hanging over his backpack. The light in his blue eyes showed even from a distance. My heart gave its usual happy little jump when I saw him, and I told it to knock it off.

“You aren’t usually here this early,” I said as he sat beside me on the bench.

“What happened last night?” he asked abruptly.

I stared at him, trying to sort out whether I’d done something to make him angry. After a few seconds, I decided I hadn’t. Jonah tended to be pretty up front about his feelings. If I’d upset him somehow, he’d tell me.

Which meant I had no clue what he had on his mind. “What are you talking about?”

He set his backpack on the ground. “You can’t answer a question with a question, Shanna. Last night around eleven thirty, I had a really strong feeling that something went wrong with you. If I hadn’t known you’d get in trouble, I would have called to find out if you were okay. What happened?”

He’d known about my parents’ fight and Mom’s dragging me out of bed. Maybe not the details, but he’d known something. It didn’t even make sense. Jonah had a psychic-y way of knowing things; I’d seen that. Whenever we spent time together, he knew whether something bothered me or had happened. This time, he’d known from half a mile away. It shouldn’t have even been possible. “What do you mean, a strong feeling?” I asked, hoping my question would make him forget his.

Of course that didn’t work. He sighed. “Question with a question again. I mean that when something’s upsetting or hurting my friends, I can feel it. And you’re a good friend of mine. Again, what happened?”

I tried to process the “good friend” part.  I’d only known Jonah about a month and a half, since the beginning of school. So far, he’d become the best friend I’d ever had. I just had trouble believing he’d think of me that way. Friends I’d had in the past had never thought as highly of me as I did of them, so they didn’t usually stay my friends for long.

“I’m waiting,” Jonah said patiently after a minute or so. “You don’t have to talk about it, of course. I’m just concerned, Shanna. You have a bruise on your energy field, too.”

“I bumped my head,” I mumbled. My hair covered where the mop handle had hit me, so he didn’t see any bumps or anything. Of course, every injury showed in my energy field.

Jonah looked closely at me. Oh, yeah. Lies showed up in people’s energy fields too. I looked away. “Must have been a pretty hard bump,” he commented.

“Yeah.” I glanced at him out of the corners of my eyes, unable to look him in the face. Most of the time, I told Jonah the truth about my life. However, lying about the stuff Mom did had become so much a part of me that I did it without thinking. “It still hurts.”

He reached toward me. Instinctively, I shrank back. Hands reaching for me didn’t usually mean anything good.

“Shanna, I’m not going to hurt you.” He gently put his hands on my head, exactly where Mom had hit me.

I flinched before I realized it didn’t hurt. Only warmth from Jonah’s hands, more than just body heat, touched me. Energy, flowing from the universe, through him, into me.

Teaser Thursday- The Harvest Dance

This short story was originally published as a freebie to go along with my Reality Shift series. It’s now available in PDF format on my Free Reads page.

I didn’t want to go to the dance.

I’d probably said those words two dozen times that Friday. Most of those had been to myself or my guides, the beings who worked with me and spoke to me mind to mind, or mind to consciousness as one of them had described it. The only human I’d complained to was Jonah, who’d probably become pretty tired of hearing me whine after listening to me for days.

The Harvest Dance was scheduled for that night, the second Friday in November, same as always. It was our school’s substitute for Homecoming, the second biggest deal of the school year other than prom. All day I’d had to listen to people bragging about what they were going to wear or who they were going with. They all seemed really excited.

I wasn’t excited and neither was Jonah. I didn’t want to go. He didn’t plan to go.

By the time my last class ended, my eyes didn’t want to stay open. I kept yawning, and my stomach churned. Just the day before, Jonah and I had done an energy healing session on a woman who’d faked being a channel by pretending a higher being spoke through her. I’d done most of the healing work because she hadn’t wanted Jonah to touch her. That probably explained the exhaustion. The churning stomach came from pure anxiety.

I didn’t want to go to the dance.

When the final bell of the day rang, I trudged to my locker. Jonah stood there, waiting for me like he did every day. My heart and stomach felt a little lighter until I noticed who stood beside him.

Ken Gallant. My former next-door neighbor. Now my date for the Harvest Dance. And my boyfriend. Seeing him, my stomach churned harder than a farmer’s wife making butter. He was the reason for all my anxiety over the past week or more, and part of me wished I dared to break the date.

I walked over to them with a pasted-on smile. “Hey, guys.”

“Hi, Shanna,” Ken said, returning my smile. Jonah smiled at me as well, but didn’t speak. “Do you want a ride home?”

I looked at Jonah, begging him silently to help me find a way out of taking the ride. The last thing I wanted to do was spend extra time with Ken before the dance. I’d be spending hours with him that night. Right then, I wanted to be around Jonah. If anyone could calm me down, he could.

Jonah didn’t always take my hints. He always recognized them. He just ignored them. He wanted me to learn to stand up for myself, and part of that meant speaking up instead of waiting for other people to figure out what I wanted. Most of the time, he acted like he had no clue what I was thinking, despite his apparent ability to read my mind sometimes.

This time, something in the way I looked at him must have tipped him off that I really didn’t know how to handle this on my own. “I hoped Shanna would walk with me,” he said. “We needed to talk about something.”

He wasn’t lying. I really needed to talk to him about all the fears I had concerning the dance. Knowing Jonah, he’d known that without being told. Of course, all my complaining that I didn’t want to go to the dance had probably been a big clue.

2015 In Review

This week, I’m revisiting 2015, or at least the parts of it I remember. (Fibromyalgia sometimes leaves holes in my brain where the memories leak out…) Next week, I’ll post about my goals and hopes for 2016.

2015 was a bit of an odd year for me as far as my writing career. In fall 2014, something happened in my personal life that negatively impacted my ability to write the romances I’ve been writing under my other pen name since 2009. As time went on, I realized that the issue was something that wouldn’t be easily resolved, so instead of pushing myself to continue being two authors in one, I chose to focus primarily on my YA fiction as Jo Ramsey.

I think it was a pretty good choice. I had a few novels accepted this year, and the one that released in October has gotten some good reviews. It’s also gotten some not-so-good ones, but not for the reason I’d anticipated, which is kind of cool. At this point, the only publisher I’m working with is Harmony Ink Press, and I think that’s been a fairly good choice as well.

A number of Jo Ramsey’s books were taken out of print in 2014 and 2015, including the entirety of The Dark Lines and Reality Shift series, at least the combined 10 books of those series that had been published. This happened primarily due to poor–or in some cases no–sales. I considered polishing those up to re-release as self-published, but after taking a look at them, I’ve decided against it for the time being. Despite having been published, they need a lot more work than I’d anticipated.

In my personal life, a few things happened as well. Having begun to learn to play bass guitar toward the end of 2014, in early 2015 I started a band with a good friend who played guitar, wrote some cool songs, released two singles–and then lost the friendship for reasons that had nothing to do with me. But I’ve continued working on music. In late October/early November, I started teaching myself to play guitar, I’ve nearly completed another song, and I hope within the next week to put the final touches on the vocals for one song my former friend and I worked on that we’d done instrumentals for but I hadn’t managed to get the vocals right.

The music has become a big part of my life. I don’t intend on making it a career as I did writing. I do, however, intend on continuing it as a hobby and recording the songs I compose if for no other reason than so I can listen to the finished products.

So that’s the short view of my 2015. I hope your year is ending on a good note, and that you’re looking forward to 2016!