Friday, August 12, 2016

Kent Harrison Hayes -- Artist in Motion

Kent Harrison Hayes is more than just a fabulous actor with a pretty face. Although he is well known in Utah for his acting and directing chops, Kent is an artist in every sense of the imagination.  Kent has honed the fine skill of enhancing photos to the point where they look like brilliant paintings.  This unique process is called "photo reimagining." Check out some of his commissioned pieces:

When Kent isn't busy working in theatre, film and audio productions, he serves as co-owner and agent of Center Stage Real Estate

As if all these skills aren't enough to keep Kent busy, he is also a web designer. See what Kent can do for your website needs:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review of Please Forgive Me, I Forgive You

The book, Please Forgive Me, I Forgive You by Mary Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most difficult stories I have ever read. Liz's traumatic tale begins with her being brutally raped and beaten when she was just five years old. From there, things just get worse.

As a teenager, Liz turns to drugs as a way to cope with the difficulties in her life. She gets into a lot of trouble and at one point is put in a facility where she is molested by the person who is her care taker. Once released from that situation, Liz continues to do drugs as a way to escape the hell that her life has become.

Liz turns to crime as a way to support her drug habit. She is arrested and thrown in jail and then prison countless times. In the book, Liz posts all the mug shots taken during her numerous incarcerations. The progression of her drug use is horrifyingly depicted in these photos as she steadily gets worse.

None of the jails Liz is incarcerated in offer much in the way of rehab. At one point, Liz decides to use a suicidal amount of drugs, but she doesn't die. Instead, she seeks out help and eventually kicks the habit. This is where the happy ending part should come in, but instead, Liz is faced with a number of very sad realities including the death of her sister and the death of her mother. Amazingly, Liz stays drug free during this period.

Liz was one of a few fortunate people who were able to break the terrible cycle of drug abuse and jail. I applaud how forthright and honest she was in this account. Please Forgive Me, I Forgive You is a story of true resilience. My hopes and prayers go to Liz – I wish her all the happiness life has to offer!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Love Wins in St. George!

June is Pride month, a time to celebrate diversity and embrace members of the LGBT Community.  In St. George, a Pride Festival was staged at Vernon Worthen Park.

I was happy to meet up with so many loving friends and neighbors who came out for unity.

Despite the warm temperatures, festival goers found plenty of ways to stay cool.

Josh Warburton, owner of the Independent Newspaper and a candidate for Washington County Commissioner, used the event as a way to spread a message of diversity.

Dorothy Engelman, a candidate for Utah Senate Seat 29 and Executive Director at the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation, talks about her inclusive platform with St. George News Online.

I'm so proud of all the Utah residents who use their voice to speak out for equality.  Love Wins!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

They say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but that's exactly what I did when it came to The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. And why not? The cover was done up in bright colors featuring a pleasant, old time drawing of cute girls on roller skates pumping gas. And with Fannie Flagg as the author, what could possibly go wrong?

Things started well enough with this novel which opened with Mrs. Sookie Poole trying to deal with her insufferable, domineering mother. Nicked named “The Winged Victory,” Sookie's mother, Lenore, should have been hysterical. Unfortunately, that's where the good times ended for me. Lenore turned out to be more annoying than funny, so I was happy when the story revealed that Sookie had secretly been adopted.

The plot then shifts back to 1939 when the Jurdabralinski family opened Wink's Phillip's 66 in Pulaski, Wisconsin. When the U.S. Enters World War 11 after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Wink, the only eligible male in the Jurdabralinski family, goes off to serve as a pilot. His sister, Fritzi, has also learned to fly, but she stays behind to help her sisters run the gas station.

Fritzi goes on to join the WASP program which involves female pilots who are not commissioned in the Armed Services, but who work ferrying planes from the factory to the army bases for the men to fly. Fritzi's other sisters eventually join her in the WASP program and the reader gets a behind-the-scenes look at a system which paved the way for future female pilots.

I enjoyed the history lesson, but not the story itself. It seemed disjointed as it ping-ponged back and forth between the Jurdabralinkski family's history and Sookie's desire to know who her real mother was. I won't spoil the outcome, but that too was a bit disappointing, even though it did feature an unexpected twist.

I have no doubt that Fannie Flagg is a truly gifted author. In fact, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-stop Cafe was one of my favorite books. I can remembers laughing out loud as I read this novel, so I was sadly disappointed by The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion.

I awarded two stars to The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion on my Goodreads page

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Review of A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I've long been familiar with the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his infamous character, Sherlock Holmes. What caught me off guard is learning this British author had penned a mystery called A Study in Scarlet which made numerous references to the LDS Church and Brigham Young

I did a little research and learned this short story was the first Sherlock Holmes mystery. My initial interest was related to the author's references to the Salt Lake Valley and the LDS Church. I was astounded to discover that Brigham Young was named in this story, and portrayed as a bit of a dictator who would smite any opponent or apostate who he viewed as a threat to the community he established in Utah.

The actual plot of A Study in Scarlet involved a man who was seeking revenge against the LDS Church for forcing a young woman into a marriage against her will, and murdering the man who raised her when he tried to object. The killers eventually left the LDS Church and wound up in England. This is where the killer takes his revenge.

Although this story is very old, it still retained my interest, and not just due to the historical ties to Utah. I rewarded A Study in Scarlet three out of five stars on my Goodreads Page

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review of Proof of Heaven

What happens when you die? Perhaps you've heard stories about people “walking towards the light.” Others report feelings of extreme well being. But how much stock can one put into these reports? A lot, if you ask me, especially when the report is coming from a neurosurgeon. Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander is the most detailed account of a near death experience that I have ever been made aware of*Version*=1&*entries*=0

After suffering from a rare illness, Dr. Alexander went into a coma that essentially shut down the part of the brain that makes us human. During that period, Dr. Alexander had some very vivid encounters which seem to support the stories told by others who had near death experiences

What made this account especially unique is that Dr. Alexander explains his encounters with the Divine in scientific terms. Originally a doubter of many near death accounts, Dr. Alexander explains that we really do have a soul which lives on after our physical body has perished. The best news is, Dr. Alexander's account seems to confirm there really is a loving God who cares very deeply for each person.

Dr. Alexander's take away from his experience reveals some very comforting thoughts such as there is a God who truly loves us, and we can do no wrong. His tale was told in very practical terms with a lot of science to back up what was happening in the physical realm while Dr. Alexander was in the spiritual domain.

I listened to Proof of Heaven as an audiobook. Typically, most authors aren't very skilled when it comes to narration, but Dr. Alexander is a happy exception. In fact, this story was made all the better by having the account come directly from the source.

Due to the interesting story written and outstanding narration, I am awarding Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander a rare five out of five stars on my Goodreads Page

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Equality Utah Celebration

Straight to Audio Video Director Dorothy Engelman with Adele Park

The Dixie Center in St. George was rocking last night at St. George residents gathered to support diversity during the 2016 Equality Utah Celebration  

Audio Book Voice Actor Garry Peter Morris with Adele Park

I was thrilled to see that many of the voice actors, video actors and support staff from Straight to Audio Productions turned out to show their support for Equality.
Adele Park with Margie Scott and Jessica Park

I am so pleased that working for equality in Utah is a family value.  It's always fun to celebrate with family!

Now that the party is over, the question is this:  What are you going to do to celebrate Equality in Utah?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I have been a longtime fan of Nelson DeMille's novels so I was thrilled when I stumbled across a work I wasn't aware of. I unearthed The Quest in audiobook form at a garage sale. Anticipating another captivating story, I quickly popped this into my cd player. Looking back, I see that I didn't need to rush on this one

Unlike some of DeMille's other stories that moved at lightening speed, The Quest seemed like it was slogging through molassas. Indeed, when looking at the Amazon review for this, I see that DeMille reworked an earlier version of this, doubling the length of the story. I think this was my big problem with The Quest – it's way too long.

The story is about two male reporters and a female photographer who both men are romantically involved with. I have no problem with stories that involve strange relationships with conscenting adults, but this particular scenario made me a little uncomfortable.

The love triangle in this story travels to Ethiopia in search of The Black Monastary and The Holy Grail. Typically, this set up would have fascinated me, but the trip to find The Black Monastary dragged on so long I lost interest. When the group finally found what they were looking for, the story wrapped up so quickly it left me thinking, “why rush the good part?”

DeMille is such a good writer that I won't let this particular work deter me from reading his other books

However, when it comes to The Quest, I am only awarding this project two stars on my Goodreads Page

Friday, May 13, 2016

Center Stage Realty

If you are selling your home or looking to buy a new one, I highly recommend Center Stage Real Estate.  Garry Peter Morris and Kent Harrison Hayes are knowledgeable, friendly Real Estate Agents ready to go to work for you!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review of The Boys in the Boat

If I had to describe The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown in one word it would be “inspired.”

This true life story is about nine working class boys from Washington State whose oar crew competed in the 1936 Olympics headed up by Hitler. Rowing isn't a sport I've ever tried or even been interested in watching. However, due to the deft writing skills of Brown, I found myself cheering for this team from it's humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their success in Berlin.

Taking center stage in this saga is Joe Rantz, a young man who was abandoned by his family. His story is heart-wrenching to read, but all the more enjoyable when Rantz emerges as a victor.

Although I knew the outcome of this story, Brown is so skilled in the way he presented it, I found myself on the edge of my seat at times. This is the mark of a truly great writer.

By the end of the book, it would be hard to think anything other than, “Hooray for The Boys in the Boat!”

I have awarded The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown four out of five stars on my Goodreads Page

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Follow the Sun

The May/June Issue of Etched Magazine is now out
I was happy to contribute this article about the upcoming Summer Solstice

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Audition Notice for Straight to Audio Productions

Straight to Audio Productions LLC, an Audie Award winning production company, is looking to hire the following talent for a commercial video shoot:
  1. Female Actor to play young polygamist wife – should be in their 20s or early 30s.
  2. Female Actor to play Punk Rock D.J. – should be in their 20s or early 30s.
  3. Choreographer who knows how to teach hip hop moves

The job involves half-day video shoots on Tuesday, July 12, Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15. Applicants must be able to work all three days. Compensation is $100.

Video actors will also be required to do a one-hour audio recording session on Thursday, May 19 at 11am. An additional $25 will be offered for the recording session.

Auditions will be done by appointment only on Friday, May 13 from 11am until 1pm.

Please send a short paragraph describing your acting or choreography experience along with a headshot to Cindy Clemens by Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Time for a Spring Fling in Quirky Polygamist Country


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Etched Magazine Wins Top Award

Etched Magazine has long been recognized as a visually stunning periodical. Big, glossy pictures allow the reader to experience an "off the beaten path" view of the stark beauty of the South West. Etched Magazine has won Utah Best of State honors for visual design in the Arts and Entertainment Category on two different occasions. Now, Etched Magazine is proving it's more than just a pretty face by being recognized as the 2016 Literary Arts Winner

This honor is especially gratifying to Darci Hansen, Editor and Publisher of Etched Magazine. Hansen has long placed an strong emphasis on telling the stories of the people and places of the South West in a unique, organic way

I am so proud of the editorial and design staff at Etched Magazine for all their wonderful accomplishments. I didn't start writing for Etched until the final issue for 2015, so I am not able to take any credit for all the hard earned accolades. The benefit to me is the opportunity to work with top industry professionals like Darci Hansen, Vice President Carrie Leishman, Design Editor Laurie James, Photographer Nick Adams, and the talented staff of Etched Writers.

Congratulations, Etched Magazine, on a well deserved Best of State Award!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April Showers Bring Wild Flowers

For those who haven't spent a lot of time in the desert, it may seem like an endless sea of various shades of red and brown.  And sometimes it is.  But in the Spring, Mother Nature treats the desert to a blanket of wildflowers.

I spend a great deal of time exploring the desert on my ATV.  Nothing quite beats the Spring in terms of perfect riding temperatures and beautiful scenery.

One of the desert flowers found in abundance behind my house is Globe Mallow.  This happy orange plant is so intriguing, I couldn't help but include it in one of my audiobooks.

I am also enamored with indigo, but the elevation in my backyard desert is too low for the plant to grow in abundance.  However, I did spot some desert flowers that were indigo in color, though I'm not sure what the actual name of this plant is.

I am always so astonished at how many different plants bloom in the desert. What a wonderful way to celebrate Spring in Southern Utah!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Review of The Hungry Girl Diet by Lisa Lillien

Generally speaking, I don't believe in or follow diets. To me, the word “diet” equates with something temporary, so I don't view it as a real lifestyle change. Nonetheless, I found myself wanting to drop a few pounds for a photo shoot, so going on a temporary eating plan to accomplish this goal seemed reasonable. To assist in the process, I purchased a book called The Hungry Girl Diet by Lisa Lillien

I was attracted to this book because I like to eat! I was happy to discover the book outlined very reasonable meal plans which, when followed, will lead to weight loss. I was pleasantly surprised by how ordinary and normal the menu selections were. In other diets I have tried, the plans cut out whole food groups or require you to eat or drink weird things in attempt to whittle down the waistline.

When I first started The Hungry Girl Diet, I balked at the instruction to write down everything I eat. After a few days, I began see the wisdom in this. I discovered that when I have to “own” everything I eat by writing it down, it makes it less likely that I will eat stuff that is high in calories.

A typical lunch or dinner on The Hungry Girl Diet consists of a sandwich and salad – both filling and with bread (although the plan recommends small portions of 100 percent whole wheat products). The diet even allows for three snacks a day!

There is nothing earth-shattering or drastically new in The Hungry Girl Diet. However, Lillien does a wonderful job of listing the foods that give you the most bang for your buck. Lillien also has lots of great tips for making the plan work and for cutting out needless calories. Many of these suggestions can be found on Lillien's website

The Hungry Girl Diet claims that people who follow the plan can lose ten pounds in four weeks. I lost ten pounds in three weeks which even included a few cheats! I was never hungry and found this to be a very simple and reasonable plan for losing weight. Hats off to Lisa Lillien for a great weight loss plan! I am awarding The Hungry Girl Diet four stars on my Goodreads page

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book Review of Revival by Stephen King

If you're looking for a good scare, Revival by Stephen King isn't the place to find it. However, King is still the master at character development, and Revival most certainly delivers in this area. To be honest, it's not really fair to expect King to keep readers up at night with every single book he hammers out. My guess is that when it came to Revival, King's aim was to write something unsettling without all the terror that usually permeates his books.

Revival is about a character named Jamie Morton who develops a friendship with Charles Jacobs, a preacher and new-age healer. Jacobs not only preaches about the miracles performed by Jesus, he pulls off a few himself using a strange form of electricity. The story begins when Jamie is just an impressionable young boy and continues into his adulthood when he looks to Jacobs to help him kick a heroin addiction.

The story goes on to reveal how Jacobs healed numerous other people, mostly in a carnival setting. As payment for helping him recover from his heroin habit, Jamie helps his former preacher get new believers to undergo controversial healing methods. While the treatments are successful, many of the patients suffer terrible side effects.

Jamie moves on after repaying his debt to Reverend Jacobs, but is still bothered by the way some people are affected by this healing method. Jamie decides to confront Jacobs, only to lured into another healing session with a girlfriend from his youth. I won't spoil the end other than to say it does have a dramatic conclusion.

Revival may not have been my favorite book by Stephen King, but I did like it. As always, King is King when it comes to spinning a good yarn

I am awarding Revival three out of five stars on Goodreads

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trees that Feed Films by Monica Fox

Filmaker Monica Fox  is helping Americans learn about the nutritional value of breadfruit through a series of new videos

Fox is involved with a program called Trees That Feed Foundation which plants trees to provide food, jobs and a healthy environment in countries like Jamaica, Haiti, Costa Rica, Barbados and Ghana

Fox produced the films through her company, MagicFox Productions

Fox has worked in the video and film industry for more than 30 years.  During that time, she has produced travel films shown on PBX and Discovery Networks, as well as a number of documentaries,
training films and commercials.

To learn how you can hire Monica Fox to work on your next video or film project, connect with her on LinkedIn:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I just found this interesting site called Fiverr

This is a great place for anyone who is looking for a unique way to gain exposure to their brand for just five bucks.  Services range from photo editing to passing out flyers on college campuses.  I decided to give it a try and had an artist named Zaza make this "painting" rendition of my headshot.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle -- A Review

They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle by Doreen Virtue is an example of why this is true. The cover of this book is certainly enticing, but the content doesn't “sparkle” as the title would indicate. Interestingly, the title also has the word, “dull,” which may be more appropriate

Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle goes into great detail about how trauma victims behave long after the crisis has ended. Residual fear, anger and depression are often present in people who have undergone abuse. This may lead to problems with current relationships, and Virtue's book aims to help resolve some of those issues.

Virtue accurately observes that people who have experienced trauma often unknowingly seek out others who have also been damaged. Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle points out ways to identify toxic relationships and helpful ways to minimize the impact they have on people's lives. As a professional psychology counselor with a Ph.D., Virtue seems to really understand these issues. What escapes her, however, is a way to make this valuable information interesting to the reader.

Because of Virtue's clinical credentials, I was surprised to learn she is involved in something called “Angel Therapy”

While I appreciated some of the helpful tips contained in this book, there was nothing groundbreaking here. I'm okay with that, knowing most of these books have a few central messages. I think the challenge for writers is to find new and compelling ways to present the information. Thanks to the “dull” style in which this book was written, I am only awarding Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle by Doreen Virtue two stars on my Goodreads Page

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Video Shoot for Cindy Clemens

There is no greater blessing than the gift of being able to work with people you truly love and admire.  That's why I was so excited when Life Coach Cindy Clemens invited me to shoot and edit a video for her website

The video shoot was held on a beautiful Saturday morning at Red Mountain Spa. A number of women showed up to learn more about Cindy's Recipe for Joy.

The Joy workshop is one of Cindy's newest classes from her Injoy Life program. Split into three sections, the program helps people to Return to Joy, Live from Joy and Launch with Joy.  To that end, Cindy had participants at the Saturday workshop craft their own pink Joy boxes in which to store their hopes, dreams and joys!

To help people learn more about the Injoy Program,
Cindy offers a number of complimentary tools:

In addition, Cindy offers a free newsletter loaded with great links to sites that promote joy and wellness along with information about upcoming workshops. Check it out and get these valuable newsletters sent right to your e-mail each week:

The only question now is, "What brings you joy?" if you have trouble identifying the answer or don't know how to reach the state of joy you'd like to experience, try one of Cindy's fun, interesting workshops or online tools.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Review of The Survivors Club by Lisa Gardner

They say you get what you pay for, and in the case of The Survivors Club by Lisa Gardner, this is certainly true. I picked up this work as an audiobook from a garage sale. I only paid a couple of bucks for this, and that was all it was worth to me personally, though many would disagree.

In all fairness, “slasher books” really aren't my thing. In doing some research on the author, Lisa Gardner, I discovered she is a New York Times Bestselling Author

The Survivors Club is about three women who have lived through violent episodes with the so-called College Hill rapist. The subject matter was disturbing at best, but I definitely knew what I was in for in reading the synopsis on the back of the audiobook. That being said, Gardner did do a great job in throwing in some unexpected twists and turns. It isn't until the very end of the book that the listener discovers who the really rapist is.

Becky Ann Baker is the narrator of the audiobook version of The Survivors Club. Baker is certainly a skilled voice actress, although some of the accents and voices she used in The Survivors Club didn't quite click with me. Baker does have a number of noteworthy acting credits, including work on Spider-Man 4 and Nights in Rodanthe. I loved Baker in her role as Jean Weir on Freaks and Geeks so I know she is a very capable and talented actress
I realize there is a lot of passion for these types of crime stories, so I tried to keep that in mind as I scored this project on Goodreads. I gave it three out of five stars because the story itself was well written, even though it seemed a little contrived at times

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year!

If you were lax in beginning your 2016 New Year's Resolutions, you're getting another chance to make them happen as the Chinese New Year kicks off today. The Chinese New Year is characterized by one of 12 animals which appear in their zodiac. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.

The Monkey is the ninth animal in the Chinese zodiac. People born under this sign are described as being quick-witted, curious and mischievous. The lucky numbers for those born under the sign of the Monkey are 1, 7, and 8. The colors associated with this sign are white, gold and blue which should make for an interesting discussion for those still debating the colored dress which some see as white and gold and others see as blue and black.

Famous people born under the Sign of the Monkey include Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Cuba Gooding Junior, Mick Jagger, Halle Berry and Owen Wilson. While the Sign of the Monkey is considered to be the most unlucky symbol in the Chinese zodiac, I think these celebrities prove otherwise!

I was born under the Year of the Rabbit. This sign is considered to be trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere and sociable. Wow! That's a lot to live up to! The next time we celebrate the Year of the Rabbit is in 2023.

No matter how you chose to spend the Chinese New Year, I hope it kicks off 12 months of health, happiness, prosperity and peace. Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Review of The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles is a well known work recommended by many self-help and motivational writers

I listened to this in audiobook format, narrated by Eliza Foss
While I enjoyed Foss's narration on The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, her voice and style did not work for me in The Science of Getting Rich. In fact, not much worked for me at all with this project.

As an audiobook writer and producer, I rarely ever write a bad review, choosing instead to stay silent on presentations that I don't care for. I'll make an exception here, with the caveat that I recognize both the writer and the narrator likely gave this work 100 percent of their effort. My reasons for writing a less than glowing review are due to the fact that this work is touted as one of the best and I'm confused as to why.

In The Science of Getting Rich, Wattles explains that anyone can obtain great wealth if they, “act in a certain way.” The problem is, “the certain way” isn't explained very well, if at all. Wattles also makes a very valid point about how we may consciously think we're capable of great things, but subconsciously we may not believe that and thus sabotage our own best efforts. While this makes sense, the way to correct the problem isn't laid out in a manner that is easy to understand or follow.

One of the highlights of The Science of Getting Rich is the assertion that there is enough success and money for everyone as long as the person trying to obtain these things does so from a place of creation and not competition. All in all, however, I didn't learn as much from this audiobook as I had hoped, nor did it live up to the hype that it has received, at least to me. Nonetheless, I will give The Science of Getting Rich a second listen in the hopes that I can glean more information. Until then, I have only awarded two stars to this project on Goodreads

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Review of Jonah Berger's Book, Contagious

Contagious by Jonah Berger attempts to explain the science of why things go viral.

Berger's work takes up where Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point leaves off.

Gladwell's book is an overview of how ideas and social behavior go viral, while Berger's work takes an in-depth look at the common characteristics of things that become contagious. Gladwell's and Berger's books compliment each other, and provide helpful tips for getting a product or idea to spread.

Contagious outlines six principals that prompt people to share content, opinions and ideas. They can be one or more phenomenon including include social currency, triggers, emotion, and practical value. I was impressed with how easily Berger was able to explain his theory.

I listened to Contagious as an audiobook. I enjoyed the narration by Keith Nobbs who has a long list of audio credits to his name

I awarded Contagious by Jonah Berger four stars on my Goodreads Page

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fiction from Kenneth Weene

A Note from Adele:  This story was submitted to my blog by Kenneth Weene, an educator, psychologist, minister and author of several books.  I became associated with Kenneth through his work as a co-host on It Matters Radio 
Kenneth will be soon be releasing another book called "Times to Try the Soul."  In the meantime, enjoy this piece of "flash fiction."

The Terrier and the Bull
By Kenneth Weene

As he had every Sunday afternoon for fifteen years, Travers Dunworthy searched the Internet for any references to the Blessed Sacredbody Church or the town of Sacredbody, Utah. As leader of the community and bishop of the flock, it was his self-appointed responsibility to make sure no slur would go unanswered, no slight unmet. Fifteen years and not once had there been cause for concern—indeed not even a mention of church or town. Travers had seen to it; the church and the town his grandfather had founded remained an unremarked speck on the map of life.

Thundering from the pulpit, his face flushed red and his spittle flying, the bishop had made God’s expectations clear. The wages of sin were death, and if the exorcism of depravity from his flock left him often on the brink of apoplexy, why then the wages of purity may well be a stroke. “Blood pressure be hanged,” Travers told his physician, he would keep his community pure.

For fifteen years he had bellowed, cajoled, threatened. For fifteen years, his efforts had borne the fruit of communal piety. And now…

“How extraordinary,” Travers bellowed—his face crimson, his lips frothing; “you must see this.”

Becka scurried into her husband’s study. A small terrier of a woman, she always came at her husband’s call, always scurrying, always worried that Travers would be annoyed. How often had he condemned her to hell everlasting? Fortunately, Travers was a forgiving soul who would lift those oaths of condemnation and anathema after a few days of tears and pleading. Still, it was a fearful thing to know that during those days, should something happen, some accident or foul play, eternity would be spent in pain and sulfur.

“What, Dear?” she asked—her voice tremulous.

“This!” He glowered at her as he pointed at the computer’s monitor. “This! How do you explain it?”

Becka moved closer, lifting the reading glasses which hung from her neck, perching them on her nose, and peering at the offending screen. “The Essence of the Body in Sacredbody” was the title; Francine Bushwick the author. “Bad enough,” she knew instantly, but the accompanying photograph was far worse. There they were, the town’s womenfolk, at least those under thirty, in—gasp and geez almighty—two-piece bathing suits.

“Blasphemy,” Travers shouted. “Where were their fathers, their husbands, their fianc├ęs?”

At first it had not registered. It could not be conceived. But there she was, their own daughter, Rosalie, in the second row, third from the right.

“And where were you?” Travers demanded; switching—as he so often and easily did when it came to their daughter—the onus to his wife.

“Who is this Francine Bushwick?” Becka asked. Better to deflect her husband’s wrath than to face it.

“Some stranger,” he bellowed. “Some harlot corrupting our children. But where and how?” A last word rising to a howl of outrage. “How?!” His eyes bulged.

“You must preach about this. This very Sunday,” Becka said. “Travers, I’m sure you will make the town see the error of its ways before these, these costumes find their way from the computer to the new pool.”

The new pool, just installed in the middle of the community park, would be opening in two weeks. How scandalous such attire would be. They would be the laughingstock of Utah. Unthinkable.

“You are right, Wife,” Travers said. “A sermon about modesty. And Rosalie will be there; must be there.”

“Of course, Travers. I’ll leave you to it.”

Becka tiptoed from the room quietly closing the door behind her. In the kitchen she slipped her new computer, a gift from their daughter, from its hiding place under the cleaning supplies.

“Sunday’s sermon should be a barnburner. Undoubtedly, we are all going to hell.” Becka emailed to her women’s group; signing the missive: Francine B.

Kenneth Weene is a novelist, essayist, and poet whose work is permeated by his weird sense of humor and awareness of the foibles of humankind. Find his books here.