Don’t Go

Hey, Readers? Ready for another Mystery Monday? This month’s posts come from personal experiences and family stories. Some of these family tales inspired short stories or events in my novels. This story served to inspire a scene in my novel, Cold Dark Night.

In the late 1950s, when I was a toddler, my parents sold their home in Irving, Texas, and purchased forty acres in the eastern part of the state. Having lived all their married life in cities, they were ready for a change. They also purchased a couple of cows, grew a garden, and raised chickens.

Until our new house was built, Mom and Dad rented an old farmhouse across the road from the newly acquired property. For a few years after we moved, Dad continued to work in the Dallas area and came home on weekends. Mom and my brother did all the chores.

One of my own photos. The old house where we once lived stood just to the left of the old concrete building.

One cold winter evening, my brother was sick with pneumonia. Dusk had already fallen by the time Mom was able to milk the cow. They kept her on our property, and the barn was a short walk from the house.

Mom set out from the house with a pail in hand. When she got to the end of our driveway an inner voice spoke to her. “Don’t go.” She paused for a moment, but knowing she must milk, walked on.

She’d walked a few yards further on the dirt road when the voice spoke to her again, this time in a firmer tone. “Don’t go.”

She stopped. Even turned around. “I have to milk the cow.” She turned back toward the barn. The cows always waited for her at a particular spot near the fence but on this day they weren’t there. She saw them near the barn gazing intently toward the thick woods. (Our closest neighbor was at least a half-mile away.)

The voice came a third time. “I SAID DON’T GO!”

This time, she didn’t hesitate. She went back to the house and told my brother and me to bundle up and get into the car. She drove the short distance, parked near the barn, and kept the headlights on while she completed her chores.

She never knew the reason for the warning. It could have been a wild animal or someone lurking in the woods. Mom always said warnings came in threes, and when this one happened a third time, she knew to heed it.

I’ll always wonder about the reason for the warning on that cold winter night, but it’s a mystery that will never be solved. Next week, I’ll share a story about some other unexplained voices.

I’m On Vocal!

Hey, Readers. A couple of years ago, I joined a site called Vocal. It’s a place where authors can publish stories of various genres in both fiction and non-fiction. Authors also earn money when stories are read. Vocal + members can enter contests.

I published one story, but I didn’t have the time to devote to it. This weekend, I decided to join again, and I’ve already published two additional stories and entered one into a contest.

The first one, Where is Gunnar, is a flash-fiction story. You can read it by clicking here.

The second, The Great Adventure is a short story that I entered into the Tall Tale contest. Click this link to read.

Both are a little different from my usual genre, although Where is Gunnar contains an element of suspense. I’d be grateful if you’d pop over to read and share. You’ll need a Vocal log-in to comment, but there’s no cost involved for that.


Menagerie Book Tour: Day Eleven With Marlena Smith-Burris

Hey, Readers. We’re nearing the end of the Menagerie blog tour. I’d like to thank each of you who have joined me along the way. At each stop, I feature a different story in the collection and tell what inspired the idea. Today’s story is “The Dare,” a ghost fiction story.

Marlena Smith-Burris is kind enough to host me today. She has two blogs, Scribblings of a Southern Belle and Lore and Curiosities. Like me, Mar is fascinated with legends and stories of the unexplained. She’s also written a few books of short fiction. Her most recent release is a short story titled The Power of Love.

Below is a list of the stops. Links will be updated as each post goes live. Comments are closed here, but I do hope you visit me at Mar’s site.

Happy New Year

Hey, everyone! I had planned to be back online with a brand new Mystery Monday post today, but I’ve enjoyed my break so much I decided to take a few more days.

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I hope 2023 brings you health and happiness. Mystery Monday will return next week.

Guest Author Harmony Kent: Sorrowful Soul

Hey, everyone! Happy first day of December. What better way to begin a new month than to have a guest author? Today, I’m delighted to welcome back my friend Harmony Kent. She is a multi-genre author and poet. She’s also a fellow contributor at Story Empire.

She is here today to talk about her newest book of poetry. Take it away, Harmony!

Hi, Joan. Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s always wonderful to visit with you.

Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry, Sorrowful Soul.  Full of freestyle poems, which provide company and compassion through the devastating journey of grief and loss and onward, this heartfelt collection shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone.

Since Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s excellent book on the stages of grief, we now have an established set of seven stages of the grieving process. Although these stages are non-linear and can be revisited at any time, it’s helpful to have a rough idea of what we might expect during this difficult period of transition. The fourth stage is commonly known as Anger and Bargaining.

Here’s an extract from the opening lines to a poem about anger …

From Part 4: Anger & Bargaining

(Extract From Desperate)

I want to kick

Lash out

Hurt and maim

But all my fury

Only rebounds

On my pummelled

Torn and bloodied fists

Opens septic wounds

Have you ever found yourself trapped within a cycle of anger over an unexpected change or loss? Chat with me in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this poetic excerpt and would love to know what you think. Thanks for reading 😊


About the Book: 

If we’re lucky, we meet twilight at the front door and old age creeps in on the night breeze

Even if we make it to our twilight years, the more we age, the more loss we must endure as part of the cycle of life. Many of these poems lament death, but they also relate to broken relationships, severed friendships, and the loss of youth. This book of grief poetry is as much about saying goodbye and working through loss as it is about death and love split asunder. 

This heartfelt collection provides company and compassion through the devastating journey of loss and shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone. Within these pages we share shock, numbness and denial, catapult into anger, bargaining, depression, loneliness, and guilt, and—eventually—make the seismic shift into testing the possibility of a new normal and finding acceptance. 

Universal Sales Link:

About Harmony

Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award-winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Sorrowful Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 3)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Harmony’s Website

twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: Harmony Kent

BookBub: Harmony Kent

Story Empire (co-authored blog): Harmony Kent

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page: