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Hope: An Inspirational Anthology [MultiFormat]
eBook by Whiskey Creek Press Authors

eBook Category: Mainstream EPIC eBook Award Finalist, Preditors and Editors Reader's Poll Top 10 Finalist
eBook Description: Hope can be found in myriad ways: from tired old men who give and receive gifts of the future and past, in new beginnings and lessons learned, and in the revision of our priorities and the acceptance of our memories. Hope is the sifting of time like endless bits of sand, an unexpected gift of responsibility, a sad song of love and possibilities. It holds our rejections and turns them into triumphs, and it is always there to uplift our spirits. Hope is that elusive spirit that makes us all human.... Hope is the sifting of time like endless bits of sand, an unexpected gift of responsibility, a sad song of love and possibilities. It holds our rejections and turns them into triumphs, and it is always there to uplift our spirits. Hope is that elusive spirit that makes us all human.... Hope: An Inspirational Anthology is eleven stories by eight award-winning authors of people in everyday circumstances finding the hope we all need to complete our humanity. "Simple Gifts" by Janet Mills "No More Mr. Lonely" by Linda L. Lattimer "The Consecrated Spirit" By Giovanna Lagana "Mrs. Moody" by Kathleen O'Connor "The Sound Of Angels Wings" by Mary Eason "Song Without Words" by Barri Bryan "The Revised Essay" by Loretta Jackson "A New Beginning" by Linda L. Lattimer "Sands Of Time" by Giovanna Lagana "A Lesson For The Teacher" by Kathleen O'Connor and "Legacy" by Steven Douglas Womack, which was a 2006 Preditors And Editors Reader's Poll Top Ten Finalist For Best Short Story.

eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2007


2 Reader Ratings:
Great Good OK Poor


"...This collection contains stories by various authors, including Barri Bryan, Loretta Jackson, Kathleen O' Connor, just to name a few. They show in this book that each one of us can find peace in one's self, yet still get the satisfaction that the love you once shared with a person is still there. The stories I liked the most were about Mrs. Moody getting the love she thought was lost and about the old man in Simple Gifts. For instance, you have this woman who, out of the goodness in her heart, goes out of her way to bring a father to reunite with his son, knowing that there might be a chance that he might not come for Christmas. Not only was this a good story, but it touched this reviewer's heart to know that there are generous people out there willing to go out of their way for a special reason. Truly, I applaud the authors in this book for not only able to keep the stories short, yet still keep the flow of the story going and interesting."_4 Angels, Reviewed by: Lena C., Fallen Angel Reviews

"...There are eleven stories in Hope: An Inspirational Anthology and to be honest, I regret that there aren't more because I have enjoyed reading each and every one of them. Especially the one with the Angels, that one is definitely my favourite. Each story makes you somehow think about life and what it all means? And it makes you maybe even appreciate the things you have in your life. If you like to read beautiful stories, don't hesitate and start reading this book. It will make you feel good." _4-Rating, Annick, Euro Reviews


CONTENTS

"Simple Gifts" by Janet Mills:

An unexpected friendship with an elderly man teaches a middle-aged woman a simple philosophy for living. When Veronica Reynolds meets Jesse Bodine in a retirement home shortly before Christmas, she merely plans to drop off the gifts he requested and perhaps spend an hour in his company. Instead, the bond their encounter creates becomes a prize they both treasure.

"No More Mr. Lonely" by Linda L. Lattimer:

Jack Meyers does not like rejection. He often feels clumsy and a klutz around women, but after Sandra Clairmont enters his life, has he finally found his one soul mate or is it just another disappointment?

"The Consecrated Spirit" By Giovanna Lagana:

The Consecrated Spirit is something many have been searching for, but few have found. What is the real secret to finding It? Does It lie in some unknown territory or is It among us just waiting for the perfect time to reveal Itself?

"Mrs. Moody" by Kathleen O'Connor:

Stella Moody's country & western singer husband is finally hitting the big time. But the new song lyrics indicate he's been unfaithful. He's on the road a lot and she suspects he might even have another family. Should she celebrate his success or end this sham of a marriage? She travels to one of his concerts intending to confront him, but instead gets the surprise of her life.

"The Sound Of Angels Wings" By Mary Eason:

Jack St.Clair doesn't believe in anything--certainly not the existence of angels, until one Christmas Eve night, on a deserted mountain pass in the middle of nowhere when he becomes a silent witness of the existence of angels in the passing of a young man's life into eternity. It is the beginning of what will soon become a second chance at both life and love for Jack. Saving the young widow, Sarah Jennings, from the same fate as her husband, proves to Jack that his life can mean something. He can be more than just the screw up his father believes him to be. And maybe this will be the true Christmas message ... that miracles, like angels can be found in the most unlikely places.

"Song Without Words" by Barri Bryan:

Raye Larson awakens in a hospital room with blurred vision, a headache, no knowledge of her past, and no clear understanding of the events and actions that are taking place around her.

The man who insists that he's her husband is handsome, charismatic and exudes a masculine charm that is both potent and compelling. Does she dare trust Craig Larson when every instinct she possesses warns her that she shouldn't?

"The Revised Essay" By Loretta Jackson:

Myra faces an abyss, a world without hope. The boy she loves is killed in a car wreck, and she loses all interest in her studies at the university. Failing grades, bad companions, and yet another blow--Myra must now make a decision that will change the course of her life.

"A New Beginning" by Linda L. Lattimer:

Painful memories disturb Nicole around the Christmas holidays, but when a stranded stranger knocks at her door and opens her eyes to the blessings in her life, will she be able to overcome the rocky past?

"Sands Of Time" by Giovanna Lagana:

Time slips through our fingers every day, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. Is it possible to control it, or do we just have to accept it and the Almighty Force that drives it?

"A Lesson For The Teacher" by Kathleen O'Connor:

Rose likes things settled. After her thirty-fifth birthday, she decides to quit dating and focus on her career. She's finished with men. When Charlie asks her out, she knows he's a little too rough around the edges and way too late. The problem is how to tell him politely. If they meet for dinner, will she find the right words or alienate a co-worker forever? (Story originally appeared in Redbook Magazine)

"Legacy" by Steven Douglas Womack:

A retiring pediatric physician, arriving at his final day with patients, reflects on his successful career and finds something is missing ... until he meets his final case.

* * * *

SIMPLE GIFTS

by Janet Mills

Nothing noteworthy caught my attention in the morning newspaper headlines, so I still had time for my favorite comic strips before going to work. Flipping the pages, I glanced uneasily over the obituaries, then let out a breath of relief that no names looked familiar. In an instant, I recalled a day not too long ago when I had discovered the name of a friend with whom I'd lost touch. She had died of cancer, and I hadn't known. The shock and guilt still lingered. I should have spent more time with her.

The newsprint blurred as I blinked back tears and turned the page. A notice bordered with festive holiday trim drew my gaze to the bottom right corner.

"Share the season with a senior," I read aloud.

Below the heading was a list containing the first names of senior citizens living in a local retirement home. Their first, second, and third choices for Christmas gifts were printed beside each name. While many of the seniors asked for clothing such as coats, sweaters, and pants, the requests of a man named Jesse were touching in their simplicity: gloves, socks, and a winter cap. The image of a frail old man in need of such basic items tugged at my heart.

I could buy those things, I thought.

My divorce had been final for several years, my kids were grown, and I had adjusted to a single source of income and a new mortgage. Rarely was there an abundance of extra money, but every now and then I could splurge.

I grabbed my coat out of the hall closet, retrieved my cell phone from my purse on the kitchen counter, and punched in the digits to the telephone number listed in the newspaper. The expectant look my toy poodle Kirby wore as she watched me was a reminder to give her a treat before I walked out the door.

"Be a good girl today," I told her. I broke up a doggy bacon strip into smaller pieces, then stroked Kirby's soft, curly black fur one more time in honor of our morning ritual. My call connected as I locked the door to the garage behind me.

"Hello," I said to the receptionist. "My name is Veronica Reynolds, and I'd like to purchase the gifts on Jesse's list." After pledging to wrap them in holiday paper and drop them off at the home by the end of the week, I added impulsively, "Does Jesse have any family here in town?"

"I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to give out that information."

"Of course." I paused, torn between the need to disconnect, so I could back out of the driveway, and the desire to know something more about the man whose name I'd picked from a notice in the paper.

"Is there any way for me to meet him?"

"I'll have to ask my supervisor about that." The woman spoke to someone in the background, then came back on the line. "She's not in her office yet. But I have your name and number, and I'll make sure someone calls you back."

"That would be great." I thanked her and flipped my phone closed.

I had no idea what Jesse looked like, yet he stayed in my thoughts all day as I sipped tea and fielded calls. Some of the customers I spoke with over the phone reacted angrily when I informed them the office supply item they wanted was on back order and offered them a substitute. Others seemed to accept the news with a sort of holiday ambivalence, as though such inconveniences were expected. Between calls, I wondered what Jesse was doing. Could he feed himself, or was he dependent on someone else for that important task? Was he wheelchair bound, suffering from Alzheimer's, or confined to a bed?

"You seem pretty distracted today, Roni."

"Hmm?" I glanced up at Barb, who worked in the adjacent cubicle.

"Everything okay?"

I rubbed my right temple. "That last customer was a little impatient."

"Well, I just got off the phone with someone who sounded like my grandmother. She kept apologizing to me for her order being messed up, like it was her fault or something. I think I'll send her a coupon for ten dollars off her next purchase. What do you think? She's ordered from us for years."

I smiled at Barb. "Sounds like a good idea."

Due to the stacks of paperwork demanding attention around me, I ate lunch at my desk, spooning yogurt into my mouth and munching on crackers as I sifted through the mound. By the time I clocked out at the end of my shift, I was mentally exhausted. An aerobics class I attended with friends, however, restored enough of my energy that I decided to brave icy roads for a trip to the mall.

The sight of a plaid woolen hat with earflaps displayed in a store window brought back a poignant memory of my dad wearing something similar during my childhood. I hoped Jesse would like it. A sale on socks in the same store allowed me to buy more than I had planned. I waffled between black or brown fleece-lined leather gloves and finally settled on the latter.

At the checkout counter, my gaze slid to a basket of peppermint melt-aways in cellophane packages tied with shiny red ribbons.


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