Book REVIEW Video “Empty Chairs” by Suzanne Burke writing as Stacey Danson. Reviewed by Gwen Plano. #RRBC

How marvelous it is to have my book reviewed in this way. I am so honored to have  Gwen Plano feel strongly about my work. Please, pop over to the YouTube site and leave a comment on her video.

Thank you for dropping by.

 

 

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“Glimpses Across The Barricades” #Poetry in progress. ‘In Dreams of A Perfect World’ by Suzanne Burke.

Welcome to ‘Glimpses Across the Barricades’ This poem was included in the epilogue of my book “Faint Echoes of Laughter”.

In A  Perfect World

by

Suzanne Burke

 

Dreams of aperfect world image

As I lay snugly warm and safe
Within my families womb
My heart begins a slow sad ache
For another child will cry tonight
Another child will die tonight
What was once their home
will become their tomb

Anger tears me as I read
The desperate plead of a child in need
How can we continue to ignore
The deafening cries from every land?
Can the balance be restored or
Are we so desensitized to pain
That we can’t give
Without thought of gain

If I had but one wish to make
Then that wish would surely be
That when my own sweet child has grown,
and if fate so decrees

I’ll hold her own children on my knee
And when I lay them in their beds
No sad thoughts will fill their heads

For our world will have become a place
Where all its children have their space
Where no ugly thoughts will touch their minds
When faith is restored in humankind

No sweet child will need to cry
No hungry child will need to die

We have that power in our hands
To make these changes throughout all lands
If we can but clearly see
That our world is not
What it needs to be

Once the changes have been made
Each child may sleep with sweet child dreams

Each child will wake to see the dawn
Each child will be thankful
they were born.

In my dreams of a perfect world.

 

 

What Mother’s Day means to me: “Mothers In The ‘Hood.” #RRBC

The ABSOLUTE Privilege of Motherhood.

‘Mothers in the ‘Hood!’

HER child.

Yes, I did say privilege. Why? … Because it must be so!  Motherhood must be regarded as the greatest joy of your combined life experiences.

We hand out special licenses to folks wishing to drive a car. A car is a potentially lethal weapon.

A child created and raised by unfit parents is also … a potentially lethal weapon.

I have written much about the woman that gave birth to me. For that is all she ever was. I spent many, many, soulless, and empty years hoping to find a different, a more palatable and convenient truth. For I so badly needed to believe, that She was damaged, and accordingly had no control over what she caused to come into being.

That thought kept me reasonably sane, in a violent, pain-filled world … that hated world, that world that made no sense to me at all.

But the years have peeled back the blinders that I used for safety, and I have come unwillingly to believe, that rather than an illness that caused her to inflict pain, I was instead her living sacrifice, to be punished upon the ‘altar’ of the train-wreck of her own life.

In order to accept that, I needed to lose the hate. Whilst I’ll never be indifferent, to even the mere mention of her name …  that bitter bile of hatred has been tempered over time. Not ever fully understanding what caused her to inflict such vile pain, is simply now just something I have learned to bear. Losing the hate I have accomplished. Forgiving her is a whole other journey I have at last been at least willing to begin.

My Child.

Amanda and MUM together ashfield
My daughter and I at the outset of our new adventure together.

The joy of giving birth will never leave my mind. Into my freshly awakening soul, a precious girl-child was permitted entry. I have yet to feel a more all-encompassing need to protect another living being. For the very first time in my life I was grateful to have been born a woman.

The greatest love I’ve ever known erupted into my unprepared world.

Her laughter and that boundless lust for life colored my planet with sunshine … as did the never ending fear that I would somehow let her down. That reflected in much darker corners in sombre tones.

My husband and I created ‘Magic’ for her newly awakened self. Her fathers’ loving parents, his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews all became our willing accomplices, as they fell captive to her joyous laughter. We reconstructed ‘Neverland’ and housed her as the reigning princess within its seemingly impenetrable walls.

All those marvelous days we’d celebrate with the ‘Magic’ element firmly in its place.

Christmas, and Birthdays, Easter egg-hunts, and Halloween. We never granted any excuse to miss a single one.

We sheltered her like a fragrant Frangipani, never allowing even a hint of the cold touch of frost to damage those tender flowers.

And when unheralded, the end of the reign of the King and Queen ruling together united …  stormed into her life, at the as yet untested age of eighteen; that precious ivory tower melted like chocolate into  untried sands.

She staggered into a world she was unprepared for, for we’d never handed her the weapons or the skill with which to use them.

We lost some years she and I, whilst each of us learned to both grow, and let go. Time was an ally then, and softly the healing leaves were sown.

Please know we’ve journeyed far in those intervening years, and know too, that life is joyous now, and we share our tears  our truths and fears.

She asked me to be there, in that precious, priceless, unforgettable time as she gave birth to her son. How lucky am I to be so loved.

My Child’s Child.

Jacob Birthday
My Grandson on his 3rd Birthday.

He came screaming into his world two weeks earlier than expected. My child’s child … my grandson. I had the utter joy of seeing that look on her face as she craned to see and experience that ageless ‘falling in love with your first child’ moment.

We live together now, my daughter, my grandson and I. She has done me the great honor of asking me to assist her to raise her son.

Wise beyond her years she knew that living with my grandson’s daddy would only end badly for all three of them.

I’ve watched on proudly as she works tirelessly with the little ones’ father to be as utterly fair to each other as is humanly possible.

You will never hear one negative word about him. NOT in the house where his son lives, and grows. The young one loves his daddy unconditionally, which is as it should be for now. My child, grants, to her child, the right to ask questions, and she answers them with as much honesty as an almost five year old can handle. She gives him the ‘fairy tales’ with a hefty dose of magic …. but she also reads to him the darker ones, age appropriate to him.

Which does he prefer? I’m smiling here. For as long as there is no blood shown, or discussed, he’ll choose the dark stuff, every time. He’s relentless in the joy that he sheds when he’s just being a boy.

My daughter yesterday repeated something she says on occasion, which I will never tire of hearing. “Mom, I had the happiest childhood of any kid ever.”

She gives to me freely the greatest compliment I have ever heard.

Her way of parenting is uniquely her own, she teaches and creates using magic, and world truths tempered by her own life experiences, and above all things her all encompassing and unconditional ability to show and give love.

We’ll make quite the proud trio on Sunday Mothers Day May 14th  …. My Child … Her Child … and I.

I’m here and overjoyed to be so.  I have so many marvelous reasons to celebrate.

I wish you happiness, and the ability to share it with people that you love, on that special day. I am,  and will remain, forever grateful for the privilege of being graced with the title of  “Mother”.

It is possibly the hardest earned and most rewarding of any title you may have been granted.

Happy Mothers Day roses

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“Glimpses Across The Barricades” My Poetry in progress. ‘Jamie’s Laughter’ #memoir.

Hello and welcome to my poetry in progress. “Glimpses Across The Barricades” is my collection of poetry and moments from my strange and unprepared life.

I had fifteen wonderful friends … damaged beyond repair. They lost their brave attempts to win a battle with a life too harsh. They removed themselves one by one from a world they had grown too utterly weary to exist in.

They were wild, wilful and wonderful.

My soul is incomplete now that they have all gone.

I would never have believed it possible that I would be the Last One Standing.

This poem is dedicated to my ‘Jamie’ …  “I’ll know exactly where to find you, where the shoreline meets the sun.”

Jamies Laughter overlooking ocean

Jamie.

By

Suzanne Burke.

 

I didn’t recognize the voice when that call was made

Although that number was long etched into my soul.

How could a glowing day suddenly fall dark and forever lonely?

Why did you leave without me …

and leave me here forever …  without the protection of your shade?

 

Why did you not keep that promise that we made?

 

All the echoes of your presence are shattering my soul.

Sleep no longer welcomed for the nightmares that it holds

The tears I will not permit to fall now,

Lay waiting beneath the anger

But … that anger first needs a place to go.

 

Why did you not keep that promise that we made?

 

Days have melted into weeks now,

The faint echoes of your laughter at last come welcome to my heart

Of all those crazy years together and the remorseless times apart.

They all seemed so insignificant when we did together meet

 

But two people with needs such as ours … cannot forever be

Not needing each others strength enough

The one thing we could never forgive.

We knew with ageless wisdom

That our great love had nowhere to live.

 

Why did you not keep that promise that we made?

 

Every year we’d meet again when summer touched our skin

When e’er we both resided in the country of our kin

And year-by-year those numbers dwindled

As fate took dear friends to its shores

We remained the last two standing

Conscious of our mortality

Like we’d never been before

We held each other and promised that our own lives we’d never take.

 

I know now that was a promise we should have never dared to make.

 

For we are all combatants on this battlefield called life,

and our individual weapons are by experience finely honed

But when life carries greater guns than ours

And battle weary …  bloodied and broken we resign

It is not meant as a punishment to those we leave behind.

 

I need to believe that the solace of your eternal dark

Has comforted you with arms that will hold you safe

Until again I join you under that summer sun

And our dreams have a second chance of rising from the ashes of our lives.

Be at peace, My Jamie.

I’ll hold you safely in my dreams.

Until at last I rejoin you on our sacred shore.

I have included the links below to some URGENT ASSISTANCE HOTLINES and Organizations World Wide. Suicide Prevention is possible, if we know what to look for, and have qualified folks on hand to enlighten us further and offer immediate assistance.

I ask you, wherever you may be on our planet to take a brief moment if you would, and ADD to the list of bonafide Hotlines, by sharing the link to them and their location in the comments section.

I will then compile them and ADD them to a long list I am preparing for my next NON-FICTION work. Thank you so much.

BEYOND BLUE AUSTRALIA.

LIFELINE SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AUSTRALIA

Relationship Crisis Assistance AUSTRALIA

Australian Govt Mental Health ASSISTANCE HOTLINE

A Comprehensive List of U.S.A and U.K telephone HOTLINES and HELP-LINES

Kids Help Phone: CANADA

The Lifeline: The Canada Foundation. CANADA

My Non-Fiction works written under my pen-name of Stacey Danson are available as follows.

empty-chairs-cover-kindle-showing-series-details

“Empty Chairs” on AMAZON.COM

faint-echoes-kindle-with-series-details

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” on Amazon.com

I will be featuring posts over the coming months that will give insights into what signs to look for in ‘Child abuse and neglect’. Insights into how to approach a child that you suspect may be enduring abuse. How to contact the authorities and what response you may reasonably expect.

Thank you for taking the time to be here today.

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Rave Reviews Book Club “Springtime Book and Block Party!

RRBC Badges (2)

 

Welcome to my blog on this wonderful Rave Reviews Book Club ‘Springtime’ Book and Blog Block party tour! Coming to you today from my latest location; the beautiful rural township of Bathurst, in New South Wales: Australia.

BLOG IMAGES FOR CITY GIRL

Please leave a comment below today, April 21st, to be entered in the drawing to win one of these prizes!

1 (Ebook copy) of “Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Faint Echoes Of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Beyond Redemption” (Unintended Consequences) Book 1 #Thriller #Suspense.

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Of Betrayal” (Unintended Consequences) Book 2. #Thriller #Suspense.

Total Prizes I’m gifting today = 4.

I do love a party! So, let’s have some party-time fun! I know just the woman to add a little ‘spice’ to the proceedings.  Meet Sheila Harrington one of the pivotal characters in my Thriller Suspense Novels “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts Of Betrayal”

Lets’ dress my little monster for the party … and we’ll make it formal, shall we?

Sheila ballgown by Michael costello

 

Ah, yes of course, we need a stunning location. What better setting than this  ballroom?  The occasion? The highly publicized Charity event of the season …The ‘Governors’ Black and White Ball’. Thrown with his accustomed panache by New York Governor (And Presidential Candidate) Damon Henderson. Sheila Harrington is as always his date.

Blog Black and White Ball 2

Sheila is tall for a woman, and the elegant Jimmi Choo shoes boost her height to just over six feet. She is both beautiful … and deadly. She adds more than just a mans’ heart to her little bag of collectables … she evicerates his spirit, and destroys his soul without hesitation, or remorse.

Love her or loathe her? Now that is the question. Whatever the decision, you may not forget her in a hurry.

Now relax,  kick your shoes off, and listen in to an (imaginary) conversation between the beautiful Sheila and her unseen ‘guest’… Let me see, what shall we name him? Ah, yes … Mr D Evil, will do nicely.

***

“You look bored, Mon bebe.” The voice was husky, inviting, deeply-timbered. Sheila shivered delightedly, then smiled.

” To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” She whispered.

“I grew bored, and there are brief moments when you actually manage to entertain me, Mon bébé. I’m loving the dress. Black becomes you.”

“Yes … it does.”

“Have you chosen your plaything for this evening as yet?”

Plaything? An interesting choice of word. That implies that I would gain some sort of pleasure from any interaction I pursue.”

“Do you not?”

“Only the fleeting recognition that any predator enjoys. It’s all in the game. Pleasure in and of itself is not something I actively seek.”

“Only because you have yet to experience it, Mon bebe. You have had ample time to select.  Does nothing here interest you?”

Sheila  surveyed the glittering, brittle, breakable, crowd, before answering. “There may be one that could conceivably brighten up my evening for a brief while.”

Her companion followed her gaze, “The overdressed woman with the irritatingly piercing voice, now holding court with your date?”

Sheila laughed, well aware that heads would turn, drawn by the infectious warmth of the sound. “Too easy! Clarissa Mainwearing was born ugly, and no matter what amount of her ‘old’ money she throws at it, or how distinguished her pedigree; that type of ugly just won’t go away. My beauty would make her a lap dog inside ten-minutes. Besides, Damon is undeniably mine to control.” She sighed,  “So … no. Guess again.”

Her companion settled back, smiling contentedly to himself.

“I could of course force you to choose the one I desire.”

“That would rob you of surprise.”

 He favored her with his cold smile, “Who then?”

Sheila again surveyed the room. Then having made her decision, and without needing to point, she began, “Tall, well defined muscles, even the Armani threads can’t disguise the fact that he has a wonderful body. He has the confidence to wear his hair long and in a ponytail. He has not had his back to a door or window all evening. His stance is loose, and non-threatening. He surveys the crowd without making eye contact, or conversing with anyone. He is trained. How well trained remains to be seen.”

“Hm … interesting choice. I’m pleased. How will you proceed?”

“I’ll dismantle his detachment.”

Her unseen companion surveyed the subject of the discussion again, more slowly. “I don’t believe you can do it as easily as you may think, ma petite.”

“Is that the sound of a gauntlet hitting the floor?”

“Consider it so.”

“Wonderful! Watch me.”

“Always.”

Sheila missed the comment, already walking slowly across the crowded room, and as always parting the crowd in her wake. The women not graced with beauty of their own gazed at her retreating back with envy, the men, with unbridled lust.

She approached, glancing at the handsome, disinterested face; then shuddered briefly as his gaze met her own. She stood next to him now, still silent, sipping her cocktail and observing the room. She waited for longer than most would find comfortable, before, finally, he spoke.

“Is there something you require?”

She slid her eyes slowly over his body; it was more the studied look of an artist recognizing a fine piece of artwork, than a simple flicker of flirtation, “Require? That’s doubtful. Perhaps I’m simply curious as to what type of gun is tucked into your waist band?”

His reaction pleased her, for only the momentary dilation of his pupils gave any indication that her remark had even been heard.

“Probably the same type you are carrying in your clutch-purse, Miss Harrington.” He smiled, gave a brief dismissive nod and turning his back on her, he walked away.

Sheila smiled, and her blue eyes flashed fire. ‘Touche.’

Mr D Evil smiled at the exchange. ‘You have now entered the eye of the cyclone, mes enfants. Now … do you enjoy … or destroy? The evening ahead took on a new color … and the color was red. ‘Game on.’  He was well pleased.

***

Now that was fun. Sheila Harrington is a complex woman. This little interaction barely touches on that complexity. But I sure hope that you enjoyed it.

Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1)

ABR MADE BY SATAN new for JANUARY 2017 HIRED ASSASSIN

BLURB

Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly, journey.

Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.

His team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads.
Their nightmares are stripping them to the bone.

Finally, a break in the case hands them a suspect!

Sheila Harrington appears to have confessed to the horrific murders.

Sheila Harrington also looks set to become the wife of The Governor of New York, Damon Henderson; the man strongly favored to become the next President of The United States of America.

Eminent forensic psychologist Nigel Cantrell is called in to assist the team.

Yet nothing and no one could prepare them for what is to come.
Someone on the inside is deflecting their weary eyes away from an incomprehensible and shattering truth.

Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?

Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive?

Purchase ‘Acts Beyond Redemption’ on Amazon.com

 

Acts of Betrayal (Unintended Consequences Book 2)

 

ACTS OF BETRAYAL HENRY KISSINGER

BLURB

In this powerful sequel to Acts Beyond Redemption Nigel Cantrell is back, and he’s out for blood.

One of his team holds on precariously to life, with no guarantees of recovery.

Can those responsible drag him into a nightmare he will struggle to contain?

In a complex dual where oaths taken are forsaken, and promises made are broken beyond repair; he must seek the help of the only people he can trust, people who revere him … and, those that despise him.

Cantrell is efficient and deadly, but even he has ghosts in his past, demons that must be exorcised. And nothing is more demonic than the peril he must now face, as a one man’s maniacal thirst for revenge is uncovered.
A man so enormously powerful, with a hatred so intense, so extreme, that the possible demise of his own species means nothing to him.

He will dispense his revenge as his diseased mind sees fit.

Nigel Cantrell and his team do not have failure as an option.
The fate of their country and beyond now rests in their hands.
Can they prevent the final acts of betrayal?

Purchase ‘Acts Of Betrayal’ on Amazon.com

My non-fiction books are available as follows.

“Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1.

Empty Chairs available on Amazon.com

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2.

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” on Amazon.com

“Still Sassy at Sixty” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 3. DUE FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 2017.

A very quick personal note. I have been hospitalized this week and just wanted to say a big thank you to the lovely folks that have taken a moment of their precious time and sent me such kind wishes for a speedy recovery. It endorses everything I’ve said about Rave Reviews Book Club being a family. Don’t be concerned my friends, it is a known health issue that caused my trip to ICU. I’m home now and will be back to my cantankerous ol’ self in no time. Hugs to you all. Soooz xo

 Don’t forget to stop in and check out the other tour stops at https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/rrbc-2017-springtime-book-blog-block-party/as the party goes on all month long!

Kangaroo they went thataway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A miracle I want to share. Christmas Morning 1966. 2:00 A.M.

 I want to share something very special with you. faint-echoes-christmas-miracle

CHRISTMAS MORNING 1966: 2:00 AM.

The Christmas season is the harshest of all when you live on the streets.

On ANY streets … In ANY town.

A miracle happened in our small dark world that hot and steamy Christmas morning all those long years ago.

It was not a ‘miracle’ of biblical proportions, yet for us, it was a miracle that we would hold in our memories forever, to be taken out and looked at whenever life grew harsher.

I have taken the chapter from my memoir, and I am sharing it with you here.

I hope that it makes you nod in understanding.

I am smiling through my tears as I remember…..

 “Faint Echoes of Laughter” Book 2 of the “Standing Tall & Fighting Back.” Series. Non-Fiction. Memoir.

Chapter 7

Christmas was barely a week or so away, and the mood wasn’t good.

Christmas out here meant different things to each of us I guess.

My memories of Christmas’s past were all bad. Even last year when I’d been on the streets alone for barely a month had bad stuff attached to it, yet it hadn’t been nearly as bad as the ones I had lived with back in the home I called ‘hell central’.

I asked Baby Jenny to come for a walk with me down to see Big Mike. I wanted to ask him if he could scrounge up some left over decorations to put up in the ‘palace’ to lighten the mood up a little.

He gave me a thoughtful nod, and said he’d “see what he could do.”

He spoke to Jenny…”I swear you get prettier every day, Jenny. Don’t let Sassy here teach you any bad habits.”

Jenny grinned at him too shy to respond.

I kept my mouth shut except for a “Gee thanks … Big Mike”

He smiled and wandered off, and we headed back up to the palace. We spent a lot of time outdoors during the heat of the summer. The cooler breezes from the water were good. The heat inside our metal home was dreadful.

When a week had passed and we hadn’t seen Big Mike we figured that he had forgotten. It was disappointing; but he didn’t owe us anything; and after all he had helped us out with Momma and other stuff like wood for the fire in winter, so we didn’t really expect the decorations, we just hoped for them.

Jenny was extra quiet. I wondered if she would ever be able to talk about why she was here. I didn’t ask her. I hadn’t discussed my background with any of them, even Jamie. So I understood that it was not open for general discussion.

Christmas Eve dawned fiery red. It was going to be a very, very, hot day according to the radio forecasts, with a cool southerly change expected later in the evening.

We all headed up to Hyde Park very early and took a Christmas bath in our favorite fountain. At least the palace wouldn’t stink quite so badly for Christmas day.

It was tempting to just jump in the ocean so close to the Palace, but Big Mike had warned us all about the sharks, so we didn’t dare.

Sydney Harbor wasn’t the safest place to swim. We planned on heading down to the Botanical Gardens for a swim in the lake that evening. We figured there wouldn’t be many people around because it was Christmas Eve.

The sky began to look dark and threatening early in the afternoon. The southerly buster was heading up the coast rapidly. We were all unusually quiet and sitting around outside in the shade of the container when we heard the sound of vehicles heading toward the Palace.

We headed around the front to see who had arrived and watched in stunned amazement as Big Mike and two of the other guys whose names I can’t recall, began unloading boxes of stuff from their cars and placing it in the shaded opening of our tin home.

Big Mike looked uncomfortable; if possible, he was even gruffer than usual. “You lot need feeding up, so we brought you some stuff.”

We were all too stunned to say much at all, these hard men were all smiling and a little red faced. I swear if they could have, that they would have scuffed their shoes in the dirt like little kids with embarrassment.

Big Mike shook Jamie’s hand and accepted the ‘thank you’ from him.

I was speechless which wasn’t a common occurrence, I just grinned like mad and gave the guys a hurried “Thanks.”

They were the unlikeliest Angels you would ever see, sweaty and dirty after a long hot day’s work, the sight of them unloading the Christmas goodies and punching one another in the arm in a gesture common amongst males remains etched starkly in my memory.

Big Mike reached into the front seat of his car, and pulled out a parcel that was wrapped up in Christmas paper, with bright ribbons attached. He walked over and handed it to Baby Jenny.

She looked confused and wasn’t sure what to do with it.

“The women picked this out for ya, little one.” Big Mike said.

Jenny still wasn’t sure what to do.

“Go ahead and open it, Jenny.” Jamie said.

“Um, later. Later. Okay?” she replied looking very unsure of herself.

She looked at the men, and gave them one of her sweet smiles, “Don’t matter what it is. I never had a present before, so…Um…Yeah, thanks, thanks a lot.”

The men seemed to understand that she needed to be alone when she opened it.

As for the rest of us, we tore into those presents and boxes like there was no tomorrow…squealing in delighted surprise with everything we found.

There was more food than any of us had ever seen.

Tinned Hams, fresh pineapples, cherries and plums. Cooked Turkey and Cranberry sauce …with all the trimmings. Fifteen red t-shirts all large sizes. Paper plates, and plastic knives and forks, a can-opener. A Cooler packed with ice, a radio and spare batteries. A big crate of beer and bottles of Coke.

That night, we all huddled around the new radio; it was bigger and put out a better sound than the small transistor we had been using, we sat drinking the beer and singing our version of Christmas carols, none of them repeatable. Trust me.

Jenny sat on her sleeping place; she was a little tipsy as well having been allowed one-half of a small bottle of beer. We glanced at her as she picked up her present and watched the look on her face as she unwrapped it.

It was a baby doll, all soft and dressed in bonnet and booties with a pretty pink knitted dress. “Just what we needed, another fuckin’ mouth to feed.” she said…but the smile on her face could have lit up the entire city.

We were fed, content, and a little overwhelmed and unsure at the kindness of these people.

Typically, we questioned the motive behind it. We all wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe, they had done it for no motive other than the wish to make this Christmas a good place for us to be. It was an alien experience but a welcome one.

We had only sampled a little of the huge amount of food, deciding to save the rest for Christmas Day

That night we were all tipsy. Strangely quiet as we bedded down for the night. I think we were all a little overwhelmed by the generosity of these men.

It was around 2.00 am Christmas morning I guess when I felt something was wrong. Whatever the something was, it wouldn’t let me sleep. I couldn’t place it immediately. It was a strange sense of something missing, and it troubled me.

Jamie was on watch; I climbed over the others and hunkered down next to him. Jamie smiled at me and said, “You too hey, Sassy?”

“Yeah, I guess–what is it? Something’s different.”

We sat a while just listening. Then Jamie said, “Oh shit! It’s Jenny, she’s not crying!”

My heart was in my mouth. Jamie grabbed the torch and we played it across the others, several of them were already awake, and wondering what the hell was happening. Jenny had cried herself to sleep every night since she’d come to this place. It was a sound we all tried not to hear. She couldn’t be comforted, we weren’t permitted that close. She’d been here for two years now. Jenny was around eight-years-old.

Jenny lay on her side, sound asleep with both arms wrapped around that doll so tight there was no space between them.

That was the first time I had cried in a very, very, long time. I glanced at the others, without exception we were all affected the same way. No one wanted to look at anyone else, shit we were supposed to be the toughest kids on the block! Hell, we were the only kids on the block. That Christmas was the first real day of Jenny’s childhood. From then on, Christmas became Jenny’s birthday.

I’d like to tell you that a miraculous change came over her. That she was instantly transformed. In a make believe world she’d be outside singing all the hits from ‘The Sound of Music’ and wearing a pretty new dress and shoes.  But this is the real world, and the changes took place over time.

Jenny named her doll, Francine.

The greatest change of all; was that, from that night, for all the years that Baby Jenny remained in our world, she never cried herself to sleep again.

 ***

Many years have passed since that long ago Christmas Eve. My darling Jenny has gone.

So many of my Christmas Eves’ over time have been special ones. But the one I recall with tears of happiness on my face, and a smile in my heart … is this one.

Jenny lost her battle with life in September of 2008.

The doll Francine was buried with her.

RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer’ BLOCK PARTY!

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Hi and “WELCOME” to Rave Reviews Book Club’s HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY at Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke in Sydney: AUSTRALIA.

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 This is a celebration. I am here, living, loving and laughing each precious day. I look forward to every sunrise, for it is a gift to be treasured. I could never have done this alone. My capacity to survive would never have been enough on its own. At times it only took the smile of a stranger to help me through another day.

My memoir is written under my pen-name of Stacey Danson.

My memoir “Empty Chairs ” is not an easy book to read. The subject of ‘Child Abuse’ will never be an easy topic to discuss. But, if we, as caring, loving, human beings are ever going to have a hope of making a difference, we all need to stop hiding ourselves away from what is undoubtedly a painful and confronting issue.

I have lived it. I ran and hid from it for too many years. It took the love and understanding of people just like you to help me confront and deal with my demons.

YOU … yes …YOU, CAN make a difference, but first you need to remove the shield you hold to your eyes and the protective layer you hold to your heart, and take a look.

Help the children, by helping yourself to understand.

I’d like to introduce you to my book trailer and I do hope that you will take the time to check out my book.

To be eligible to win one of the many prizes on offer please leave a comment on the BOOK TRAILER site.

VIEW BOOK TRAILER HERE

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Stacey Danson, lived through and beyond horrific child abuse. This book tells of her brutal beginnings, the streets of Sydney at the age of eleven were preferable to the hell she endured at home. She ran, and those streets became her home for five years. She was alone, ill, and afraid. Stacey also had an unshakeable belief that she would do more than just survive her life. She would not allow her future to be determined by the horrors of her childhood. She reached out for something different; there had to be more to life; if she could only find it. She had a dream of a life where pain and humiliation had no place. She was determined to find that life. Empty Chairs is the beginning of the journey. Now she is living the dream.

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments on my trailer and also, at the bottom of this post if you have a moment.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY!

EMPTY CHAIRS on AMAZON

Purchase Empty Chairs on Amazon U.K

Purchase Empty Chairs on Amazon.com.au

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