Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plethora of Art IV

The winner from slot 3 is announced, and book covers for slot 4 are now posted. Entertain your eyes and your brain, and then vote.

Elisa Rolle's My Reviews and Ramblings

Monday, May 16, 2011

Furlough Bridge and Forrest Barton

Seeing those service banners, that's what made me vulnerable. A blue star banner hanging in the window means somebody from that household is serving overseas in the armed forces. A gold star means somebody gave their life while serving. Either way, it is not possible to look at one of those banners without feeling something.

Back in December of 1944 what I felt was frustration. I couldn't hang one of those blue star banners in my window to honor my Ernie. Never mind that he was somewhere in Europe with the U.S. Third Army. Never mind that one week prior the Germans had launched their offensive in Belgium, known to history as the Battle of the Bulge, and that Ernie soon would be, or for all I knew could have already been, in the middle of that fight -- I could not display a banner to honor him. Jane Doe could hang one for her husband John or son Jim, but Forrest Barton could not do the same for Ernest Surbaugh.

Technically, I suppose I could have, but just think of the questions. "You're a widower with no children, so who's the banner for?"

For the man I love, that's who.

Now, there's a 1944-vintage proclamation made to raise a few eyebrows.

No, all I could do was listen on the radio and read the newspapers for the latest reports. I could fret. I could be proud, and I could honor him in my own way, nice and private.

The first stage was planned. My Christmas tradition, I laid a wreath at the base of the memorial honoring my war, The Great War, or if you wish, World War I. My prayer was for men who served with me -- those who came home; those who didn't -- and because the ongoing German offensive in Belgium so effectively surprised those of us on the homefront as well as Allies on the battlefield, I asked the men who served with me to send their strength to the men currently under siege.

Prayers offered, I strolled to the chest-high wall fronting the memorial. Down below less than half a mile away, the Union Station train depot was a buzz of activity. It was the night before Christmas Eve and trains waiting to depart or having just arrived filled every terminal. From that moment forward, nothing that happened to me was planned.

My bladder needed relief. Union Station was the nearest building with facilities open and available. A soldier in green Army coat standing next to the wall at the last urinal in a row resembled, in profile, Ernest Surbaugh. My Ernie.

Sure, there was no way in hell Ernie could have been in Kansas City that night, but this was one of those "seeing what I wanted to see" things -- one of those "hope against hope" deals, and I had to know for sure. That's why I struck up a conversation with the soldier who turned out to be Vernon Gower. That's why I believed his story that he'd missed his connecting train home. That's why I drove him in my automobile the one hundred miles to get him there. That's why I kept driving even as his story, little by little, fell apart, and despite my faltering faith in him, I continued driving all the way until we were parked in front of his little matchbox house in Lexington, Missouri.

I did it because he looked like Ernie. I was vulnerable. The service banners made me so, but for good purpose.

Pvt. Vernon Gower made it home for Christmas. His corpse was lying frozen in a Belgian field, but his wife and children got his gifts nonetheless, courtesy of me. I bought them. I delivered them, and then I plucked his family from the squalor in which they were living and drove them to Kansas City so they could start their lives anew.

Maybe you don't believe in ghosts. I'm okay with that, and you can call me crazy if you like, but I attest to having seen two spirits in my lifetime. One living under a river bridge in 1938 at the WPA camp where I first met Ernest Surbaugh. The other a victim of the Malmedy Massacre who needed a man of this world to give his family some sort of Christmas.

And what was my reward for my good deed on Pvt. Gower's behalf? Just before leaving for his wherever destination, just after midnight on Christmas Eve, 1944, Vernon Gower assured me that my Ernie was all right. Ernest marched with Patton's Third Army in a dash toward Belgium to break the German lines and relieve the Allied soldiers under seige.

Pvt. Gower's gift to me far outweighed anything I could and did do for his wife and children. Vernon Gower gave me peace. I clinged to what he told me. Believed every word, and around the time Soviet soldiers entered Berlin, May of 1945, I received my first letter from Ernie since Vernon Gower had said what he'd said. All was confirmed, and soon afterward, Ernie came home for good.

My next Christmas, and all those which followed, were spent with a man of this world. One I could touch, hold, breathe in and taste. A man I could keep as mine until the end of my days. My soldier. Ernest Surbaugh.

Jardonn Smith
Read excerpt HERE.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Plethora of Art III

The highest number of votes received in Slot 2 was for Black Gold, cover by P.I. Nunn.

Now, time to vote in Slot 3 and your link is here:

Elisa Rolle - My Reviews and Ramblings

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plethora of Art II

The next group of book covers are now posted at Elisa Rolle's site for viewing and voting. Anyone can play. All are welcome. Link is here:

Elisa Rolle's Rainbow Awards Cover Contest

Sunday, May 8, 2011

NEW RELEASE: Class Distinctions at 35% Off This Week Only!

I'm pleased to announce my latest release, a romantic ebook short from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press) called "Class Distinctions."

This week only, the story is available for a 35% discount from the publisher for all ebook formats (for Kindle, choose .prc). Click here to get your copy.

"Class Distinctions" will be available soon for Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other ebook readers.

Here are the details for "Class Distinctions":

Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents' Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he's breaking up with Jonathan.

Class Distinctions follows the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) night that ensues. Why has Kyle suddenly decided to throw away something so precious and good? The answers lie in their backgrounds, and will gradually come to light as a winter blizzard rages around the young couple. Their tortured paths bring them to the covered bridge where their love had come to life on a hot summer day. But will the warmth of that memory and the heat of the love they once shared be enough to outclass the storm, and more importantly, bring them back together?

...He had come to the bridge almost without thinking about where he was going, but when he arrived there, he knew his feet had had a purpose in bringing him to this place. The snow swirled around him and pitted against his face like needles. He watched as the flakes vanished into the rushing water beneath him.

The bridge was a special place for Jonathan and him. It had been where they had shared their first kiss, back in August, shortly after they had met. The bridge had been a different place, almost of a different world, in August. The sun was bright, beating down relentlessly, bringing the temperature of the day into the mid-nineties. The air was thick, like a damp cloth thrown over one’s skin. Mosquitos hummed…and the leaves on the trees whispered whenever an all-too-infrequent breeze came along.

Jonathan had led him to this bridge, after they had spent the morning hiking the woods surrounding it. The two of them had forged a path along the creek that ran below it.

“You have to see this…it’s really cool.” Jonathan took my hand and led me through a copse of trees to a clearing. He gestured grandly as the vista opened up before us—the weathered bridge, with its stones and faded boards, rose up against the brilliant blue sky like an ancient treasure. On either end of it, weeping willows sagged in the heat.

There wasn’t a soul around us.

Jonathan took my hand in his own and the touch was electric, almost like a jolt, as it coursed through me. It was the very first time he’d touched me and I think that simple pressure of palm against palm and fingers intertwining let me know I was in love with this boy. It also opened the door to a hunger for thousands more touches from him, ones as simple as grabbing my hands and ones a lot more complex.

We fought our way up through cattails growing along the shoreline and further up the rise, brambles, but at last we reached the planks that would lead us inside the covered bridge. Its shade promised cool.

Jonathan pulled me into the darkness and turned to me, smiling. “Isn’t it something? I wonder how old it is?”

I looked in his robin’s egg blue eyes, amazed I could still make out their pale color even in the shade of the covered bridge. “It’s great. Thanks for bringing me here.” I let go of his hand so I could reach up and touch his face. “But it doesn’t compare to you, to just being here with you.”

I leaned down then and kissed him. Even though he had taken my hand, I wasn’t sure until that moment that Jonathan was even gay. We had started the morning as buddies, classmates, fellow students at Hamilton University on our way out on a hot Saturday for a hike. But when he lifted his face and parted his lips slightly to meet me, I knew not only that he was gay, but also that my feelings were reciprocated.

And that filled me with an inexpressible joy.

The kiss lingered for what seemed to me like a half hour, but was really only a minute or two. My tongue probed the inside of his mouth, which tasted sweet, slightly of cinnamon. He reached up and laid his hand on the back of my damp neck to twine in my curls and pull me closer to him. Our sweaty bodies meshed.

It was a moment of pure, undiluted happiness. It was a moment I would never forget...

Click here to get your copy.

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