Blog – September 2022


WORD | Contemplation

| This fun watercolor illustration came to mind earlier this year when a period of self-reflection seemed fitting and healthy. During my leisure time of contemplation, a comfortable perspective surfaced and the healing began.

Another recent event occurred which wasn’t life-changing but worth pausing for a minute. A simple milestone of sorts arose. You see… I recently turned six and one-half decades old. I thought I might feel a surreal numbness, maybe even a slight annoyance once this senior rite of passage hit. Instead, I felt no significant change, just business as usual. I woke up at dawn (yup, I’ve always been an early riser), brewed a pot of coffee, and stepped outside to contemplate the day ahead. But like a scratching needle across an old vinyl LP, the age-old sentiments jarred my peaceful being, then fluttered randomly around my quieted brain! The unwanted thoughts kept streaming on an endless reel as though in mockery.

Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel. Now you are eligible for senior discounts. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You’re older and wiser.

As I flicked the pesky thoughts aside, I realized none of them altered my steadfast concept of aging. Perhaps it’s because I’m now more accepting of what I can’t change. Another angle — everyone ages differently. Huh! There’s no smooth, undisturbed pathway. It’s more like a cumbersome trail with a few rocks strewn about in the dirt. “Watch your step,” I mumbled crossing the threshold into the house.

Okay-okay, I’ll admit a bit of vanity… I could do with fewer mug creases. But maybe it’s more about growing up rather than simply growing older. Now that’s something I can grab onto with a sense of ease. Contentment through contemplation. #positivevibes #youngatheart #wordofthemonth

Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.

Jimmy Buffett

Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

A multi-dimensional account of an extraordinary trial within the sleepy town of Neapolis, where not much changes except the ebbing tide. Rape is ferocious and horrid in and of itself, but NEVER in Neapolis, now the epicenter of local and national news. Shockwaves traverse through the core of the weathered seaside village. The thrilling crime drama is told through the three narrative lenses of Hannah, Rachel, and a podcast script (also by Rachel).

In the first few paragraphs, I experienced several gulps and a hard swallow before moving on to the next page. I may or may not have been holding my breath. Let me preface my dramatic uncertainty by stating this is not my usual genre. I rarely seek thriller fiction, especially from an author I’ve never read before. Based solely on a friend’s recommendation, the apprehension was real. In a blink, however, I was strangely fascinated by the almost in-your-face menacing attitude Hannah exuded in the opening narrative. I wanted to know more about her edginess. By the end of the first chapter, I could not put it down!

It was Jenny’s death that killed my mother. Killed her as good as if she’d been shot in the chest with a twelve-gauge shotgun.

Hannah Stills- 1st opening lines, Page 1

Overview

Prior to arriving in Neapolis to cover the local rape trial, Rachel Krall, a popular podcaster with the hit show Guilty or Not Guilty, receives a mysterious handwritten letter from a stranger. It’s penned by an unfamiliar woman, Hannah Stills, who claims to be a fan of the podcast. In an emphatic plea to investigate her sister’s accidental drowning 25 years ago, Hannah begs Rachel not to dismiss her query. But it’s the disturbing fashion in which the note was delivered that has Rachel spooked. Is Hannah a stalker, fan, or lunatic?

In order to prep for her live show, Rachel sets out to get the vibe of the locals and their shops. But in a true stalker-like pattern, Hannah leaves another cryptic letter in a precarious location insuring Rachel will find it. The reporter’s shoulders twitch several hitches as she peruses the contents of the new note. Creeped out by the anonymous author, the elusive story about Hannah’s sister, Jenny, leaves more questions than sensible facts about the town’s past. More importantly, why dredge this all up now?

As Rachel forces the redirection of her thoughts, the primary topic for her show’s third season is about to commence. The victim in the trial, Kelly Moore, a 16-year-old honor student, and granddaughter of the town’s retired police chief, has accused a fellow student of the crime. The Moore family is well-respected and revered by all, yet the speculative murmurs swirl around town. The alleged sexual assault has left Kelly ashamed, housebound, and mentally locked up. The accused high schooler and super jock, Scott Blair, is the most promising athlete to come out of Neapolis. His swimming achievements and training discipline have all but assured him a spot on the Olympic swim team. Regardless of their innocence, it’s now up to the legal experts to prove each of their cases and for Rachel to report the facts to her loyal audience.

While Rachel’s reporting of the Moore-Blair trial has taken center stage, Jenny Still’s old case file has uncovered enough dangling clues that reveal a possible suppression of material. Shaken by her instinctual persistence to dive deeper, Rachel plays tug of war between sitting for hours through the current court proceedings and the desire to sniff around in search of old pertinent leads! With mounting pressure from the podcast producer, Pete, she must stay the course on the current trial or potentially lose their coveted top spot. In a frantic tailspin to get through the lies and deception, Rachel pursues a threadbare hunch that could cost her more than her #1 hit show!

A fast-paced, concisely written novel, and one I would highly recommend. Five Golden Stars!

Toby A. Williams, award-winning author, and blogger

Thank you to Author Goldin for clarifying my notion about the silent caged nightingale in the hotel lobby. The tender bird’s symbolism did not go unnoticed. It added an indirect emotional fervor between the pages.

Note: There are no spoilers and I was not paid to write this review. This is a simple perspective of my reading experience.

Photo Challenge Corner

Theme: Choose Your Own Prompt | “Archway Shadows”

“Archway Shadows” | Photo by Toby A. Williams
| #2022picoftheweek | September 10, 2022

Enamored by the structural design of arches with complimentary stonework (old or replicas), I discovered this interesting shadowy entrance to a courtyard on my morning walk a few months back while up North. I was alerted by a movement in the shadows just beyond the wrought-iron gate so, I stepped in closer. This is the part in the scary movie when everyone says out loud, “Don’t go in there!” My eyes darted around with hesitation mounting. A hat, perhaps a cape? What is it? A bit skittish, I sipped on my to-go coffee by the curb while admiring the brick-ladened archway. As I stared, it became evident that the shadow was a simple silhouette of a nearby swaying tree and not someone lurking out of sight. Silly girl! The early mellow rays warmed my back and a calming wave rippled my loose shirt. A quick snapshot was required of me before heading on my way.

To view ALL Saturday photo posts, visit my Instagram @thebrookelynnadventures / @tobyawilliams.

Note: I am a participant only and not affiliated with this photo challenge created by @ofmariaantonia.

Thanks for peeking into this month’s newsletter. Happy and grateful September to all!

Published by Toby A. Williams | Author

Children's Books | MG Fiction | Williams Writes Blog

2 thoughts on “Blog – September 2022

  1. Hey, Girlfriend! Lovely blog. Go, YOU!

    Altho I could “like” ur blog, I I was not able to leave a comment for some reason, but here it is below. ❌❌❌❌❌❌❌

    Happy milestone birthday, Toby! I just downloaded the audio of night swim and am eager to start it Appreciate your book summary.

    Sent from mobile device📲 Please excuse brevity, typos

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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