Blessings to you all, I'm so thankful to you for your support and prayers. My book is finished and up on Amazon. The book cover below, is a link, check it out!
It has been quite an experience. Writing a book is very different from writing songs!
To show my appreciation, I have some new lyrics for you below of a song I recently finished, I’m also including the first chapter of my book so you can get a taste of what it’s like. There's more news on the recording of “Songs for the Weary” below.
A big thank you to my Patrons and other givers who have stuck with me through a very difficult time in my life! The introductory price for the ebook is $2.99, it will go up to $3.99 October 1st, then $4.99 mid-October. I'm hoping to release the paperback at that time. I'm waiting on the paperback cover which the artist will be able to finish in October.
The CD, "Songs for the Weary", is being recorded song by song. Three songs are almost finished! It will be slow going at first, but the pace will pick up after the fall feasts are over. You can support us by joining me on Patreon. https://patreon.com/shimrithanes
Here are the new song lyrics:
My mind wanders like a leaf on the wind
but I must reign it in
The one who created me calls me on
to a place I’ve never been
Come away, come away with me my love
Come away, come away with me
Come away, come away with me my love
Come away to a place of peace
The foxes have dens, the birds have nests
oh where can I lay my head
The one who guides me knows the place
where I can safely rest
In times past I lived to please myself
as selfish children do
I have the choice to do what I want
or what God has called me to
We have three songs in different stages of recording. It's been exciting getting back to it!. We have a new music video that's very close to finished. My Patrons and givers will get it a week early, and then we'll release it publicly on YouTube. I'll let you know when it's released!
Here is the first chapter of "The Terra Colony Project 1: The Dreamers"
Friday January 31, 2127
renched awake, Antonia gasped, anguish sweeping through the dark void left by a vanishing dream. She tried to wipe the tears from her gritty eyes, but her hair was tangled around her arms. What was it she’d seen? She struggled to pull the memory back as she untangled herself from her unruly mane… but it was gone, leaving only fear and grief.
“Ay caramba!” Pedro growled from a surly stupor. She stopped and lay still, a quiet contradiction to the tumult in her head, hoping he would drift into deeper slumber. Folding back the covers on her side of the bed, she pulled her slender legs free, careful not to disturb Pedro.
Fully awake now, all their big plans marched into ordered ranks, it would be a busy day. For the first time since Dorothea got married, the whole family would go out together. She should be excited, she’d been looking forward to it all week, but apprehension cast a dark shadow over everything.
She shivered in her nightgown, chilled with dread as much as the brisk morning air, as she walked the few steps across their small bedroom in her parent’s home.
In a corner by the window the overstuffed chair usually welcomed her, but foreboding made every shadow a black hole, full of threats. She pulled the crocheted throw from the back, wrapped up, sat, and shook her head, trying to clear the threatening portent from her thoughts. It remained, stubborn and nameless.
She closed her eyes and her soul reached out in the stillness. “Help me Adonai, what is this? A nightmare? Is it from the darkness?
A sense of urgency filled her as a thought took shape, and her eyes sprang open, “Stay home?”
There was an all too familiar nudge in her mind. “Oh no!” She thought, and let her head drop against the curved back of the chair. “Not today of all days! No one will want to stay home; they won’t listen to me!”
“I can’t do it.” She whispered to empty air.
Pedro turned in bed.
Antonia lifted her head and frowned. She opened the curtains, and scrutinized the small slice of city visible to her, intent on finding a reason for these sensations. She swallowed and twisted her wedding ring.
A couple of teenagers whizzed by on their Electro-grav scooters. They raced up the hill shouting lewd taunts at one another, oblivious to the shadows she sensed pressing in around them. She saw nothing out of the ordinary, but the growing storm on her inner horizon made the sunny day seem like a façade. One breath, and it would peel away leaving the city a bleak, empty ruin. She cringed… a shadow of the forgotten dream? It made all their present plans look like flimsy tinker toy constructs.
On the edge of panic, she jumped up, jerked some jeans and a new shirt out of her drawer, and dressed. Maybe mamá was awake… probably she was awake. A smile cracked the vise of fear at the thought. She would know what to do.
Always the first one up, mamá cheerfully made breakfast for the family. Antonia glanced over at Pedro’s still form. His mother died when he was small, and he’d had to take care of himself growing up as his father never remarried.
The spicy scent of huevos revueltos came wafting up the stairs from the kitchen, jerking her back to the present problem. Her forehead furrowed and darkness enveloped her once again; unease grated on her nerves, like rats scratching in the walls as she struggled to get a comb through her tangled hair. Spritzing with detangler, she finally won the hair battle and out of habit, began to apply her make-up.
What on earth could she tell mamá? She wished momentarily that their A-I was not shackled by the plug-in papahad installed. She could have used the help today to frame an effective argument.
He’d become vigilant about government surveillance since a couple in their home group were arrested. The fines for stepping outside the ruling party’s lines were steep. So, he’d allowed Raphael to purchase the plug-in on the black market, making it impossible to utilize the help of an intelligent A-I.
She sighed as she capped her lipstick. Being looked upon as a “Cancer in the fabric of society” made life more complicated.
Dressed but not feeling ready, she grimaced, as she tip-toed through the door. Bracing herself for the inevitable confrontation with her family she stopped at the top of the stairs and took a deep breath to calm herself.
“Adonai, please give me words. I can’t think of anything! I’m not good at this! Why couldn’t it have been Concha, or mamá?”
How could she make them understand something she was unsure of herself? How can you communicate the possibility of death and destruction to a family ready for a holiday? Her face mirrored the profound distraction of her soul as if on autopilot her lithe body floated down the stairs.
Maria tasted the egg and pepper scramble as it hissed gently in the large cast iron skillet she so loved. It was an essential piece of cookware for their Hispanic cuisine, well maintained, and passed down for generations. Their family prided itself in holding on to family traditions, and there were many antiques throughout their home. She smiled over childhood memories, as she inhaled the aromas and added more pepper sauce before turning the bowl of cubed parboiled potatoes into it.
Maria turned her thoughts to the day ahead. Soon the girls would be here, they’d eat, then all head downtown and shop at some of their favorite stores. She enjoyed the camaraderie as they helped each other find the perfect colors and styles to complement their best features. It had been too long! She was really looking forward to it.
The wooden staircase creaked, and she leaned away from the stove to peek out of her cozy kitchen. Antonia was up and dressed, her dark hair tumbling in wayward curls over her slim shoulders, cascading down her arms and still damp from spritzing. Worry etched lines in her sweet face as she made her way through the dining room.
She had a special soft spot for this daughter, so like her, from her petite size and dancers grace to her spunky can-do attitude.
“My goodness Antonia, what’s wrong? Didn’t you sleep well?”
“I slept fine till this morning, then I had a very freaky, terrifying dream… but I can’t remember it!”
“Pobrecita! I’m so sorry.” Maria set the spatula down and hugged her. “Everything is fine sweetheart.” She stroked her daughter’s back.
Antonia rested a moment in her arms, and Maria’s heart warmed, satisfied that all was well until Antonia took a deep breath and poured out her distress.
“No... it isn’t fine,” she pulled away, determination giving her voice a hard edge. “I feel so strong in my gut mamá... we need to stay home today.”
Maria frowned, what was this?
Antonia continued. “The dream left me with horrible fear, and I can’t shake it off. I asked Adonai what it was and where it came from. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I know I need to tell everyone that we shouldn’t go out.”
Desperation edged her voice and lit a fire in her eyes.
“Something is wrong mamá! ...don’t you feel it?”
Maria turned back to the stove as she considered this disruption to their joyful day. She chopped and stirred the spicy egg, potato, and pepper scramble. Though it didn’t need it, she needed a moment to collect herself. Antonia’s pronouncement like a sudden wind, scattered her thoughts like so many dry leaves. This was beyond strange; she hardly knew what to say. She turned off the burner and pulled hot tortillas out of the oven.
“Nooo,” she finally answered as she placed them in a warmed ceramic dish, “I’m excited about a fun day with my girls. Maybe you’re reacting to your recent difficulties. It must feel like a big step backward to go from independence, to living at home again.”
Maria turned, gently took her chin in hand and looked into her dark eyes, so deep, so full of… what was that? Terror?
“What is going on? Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“No mamá! It’s like something monstrously horrible is going to happen, and it’s so strong it hurts. Please mamá, can we stay home? I believe we’ll be safe here… we need to stay home today!”
Maria tried to stay calm. She couldn’t risk aggravating and increasing her daughter’s distress, but she must calm her before her sisters arrived.
“Do you have a headache?” She laid the back of her hand on Antonia’s forehead.
“Have you had an argument with Pedro?”
“No mamá, he’s still asleep!”
“Who’s still asleep?” Pedro asked as he came into the kitchen. “Hola mamasita,” he greeted Maria with a sly grin and kissed her on the cheek.
“Buenos dias to you Pedrito, you charmer.” Maria gave him a small smile. Maria’s trust in him had worn thin over the past few months. His veneer had been cracking ever since he married Antonia… and his timing was horrible!
Pedro grabbed a tortilla, his easy manner completely at odds with the crackling tension in the room.
“I’m going to Carlos and Concha’s to be with the guys. She’s on her way here with the rest of your sisters.” He grinned at Antonia as he held the tortilla out and Maria scooped some of the scramble into it none too gently. Oblivious, he added some grated cheese. Rolling it deftly he stopped to give Antonia a kiss and ambled out the door.
Antonia stood quietly for a moment staring after him, and Maria hoped Pedro’s relaxed attitude carried her point and reduced the intensity of Antonia’s fear. She watched her walk to the cabinet, grab a plate and serve herself lost in her inner world. Maria sighed, took down a small stack of plates and set them on the counter.
“Oh, sorry mamá, I could have done that.”
“It’s okay, you’re not feeling well this morning.”
Tension flared as Antonia frowned and averted her eyes. Stiffness supplanted her usual grace as she turned to go into the dining room. Maria barely suppressed a groan. She could sense the roiling rip current beneath the surface yet revealed in every strained and agitated movement.
Unusually attuned to her, Maria struggled to maintain enough emotional distance to keep from getting sucked into her state of mind. She had other family members and their plans to consider. Antonia, horrified by this strange dream must be assured that it was no more than a nightmare, and she had to avert a family disaster.
The muffled laughter of her girls drifted in from outside and Maria walked into the dining room in time to see Antonia sit up straight and turn toward the front door. “Your daughters have arrived,” the home A-I announced in pleasant tones as the front door opened, and excited chatter rang through the house.
Antonia rolled her eyes, “Duh!”
Maria huffed at Antonia’s childish behavior and headed to the entryway to greet her girls.
“Antonia!” Esmeralda rushed past her into the dining room and clapped her hands together as Antonia rose from her chair. Esmé enveloped Antonia’s slender frame into her softer, more rounded one, excitement dancing in her hazel eyes and flushing her cheeks to a rosy hue.
“We got here early. We’re already having such a good time!” She was as excited as an eighteen-year-old could be about an outing with all her older sisters.
The older girls did not neglect to hug Maria as they came in.
“Hola chica!” Dorothea and Concha greeted and hugged Antonia. Dorothea’s athletic frame buzzed with anticipation. Concha’s dark eyes glowed. The eldest at twenty-seven, she was tall and slender, full of confidence, and stunning.
Maria smiled, then glanced sidelong at Antonia, eyes probing as she finally embraced Esmé, who’d escaped her greeting to embrace her favorite sister.
Antonia met her gaze and held it, tugging at a stray curl, face tense with anxiety. Maria considered their earlier conversation, and shook her head no, cautioning Antonia to keep quiet.
Maria had to take into consideration that twice in her childhood Antonia had known something was not right. She’d ignored it then, but each time the child had been uncannily correct, so she should at least bring her concerns to the girls attention. Today of all days, she wanted Antonia’s premonition to be wrong. She stood as tall as her five-foot three-inch frame would allow. “Girls please listen for a moment. I need to speak to you all before we go.”
They waited, attentive and quiet, to hear what she would say.
Antonia's hand dropped from her hair to her side as she visibly relaxed, and Maria considered how to phrase this. She watched everyone carefully as she spoke.
“Antonia had a nightmare this morning and is feeling apprehensive about our outing. She believes something bad will happen and we'll be safer staying home. Have you girls had any peculiar or frightening dreams? Do any of you sense that something is wrong today?”
Concha gaped; her eyes wide, incredulous. Esmé looked worried. Concha was going to be the tough one, but she shot her a stern look and continued.
“I don’t want to ignore this. Antonia has always been intuitive.”
Concha’s expression darkened, but Dorothea looked curious.
“I understand how you feel,” Maria looked at Concha and Esmé in sympathy, “we’ve all been looking forward to this outing. I’ve had no sense of foreboding. If you girls are confident that all is well, and none of you are uneasy. We will look at this as a bad case of nerves and go ahead with our plans.”
With a determined smile Concha tossed her waist length, braid over her shoulder and scoffed, “Are you kidding? We’re ready to celebrate!”
She turned to the other girls, hands on her hips, “We’ve been looking forward to this all week, and it’s been so long since we did something fun together!”
Dorothea's face mirrored mama’s concern, but she nodded her head in agreement and turned to Antonia.
“I’m sorry you’re anxious chica, but I've sensed nothing.” She shrugged her shoulders her eyes sympathetic.
Esmé giggled nervously, doubt in her eyes, but agreed.
Antonia was at a loss, mamá had failed, what now? She turned her back to her family, shaken and confused. “What am I supposed to do now?” she whispered heavenward in desperation. “What can I do? Tell me!” But, no answer came, and she squeezed her eyes shut in a vain attempt to halt tears of frustration.
Sympathetic to her sisters distress, Esmé offered words that she herself would find comforting, “Antonia, think of all the good food we'll eat… and the shopping… and then the parade! We’ll have so much fun!”
Dorothea walked over and embraced her, “Hey, come on mi ciela relax, everything’s fine. You’ll see… everything’s going to be just fine!”
Antonia turned her tear streaked face to them. “Something really bad is going to happen today… something horrible! I just want you all to be safe!”
Then against her better judgement she blurted, “I don’t want you to die!”
Concha confronted Antonia, “Really?! You’re acting crazy chica, lighten up!”
“Concha,” mamá warned.
Concha frowned and shrugged.
Dorothea gave Antonia an encouraging smile. “Maybe if you lie down for a bit and you’ll feel better,” she coaxed.
“I’m not sick!” Antonia shouted, anxiety boiling over into anger at her own impotence. “I’m just terrified of losing you all! I love you!”
The girls all stopped and stood staring at her in disbelief, their patience exhausted. Mamá folded her arms as if to hold them all together, shaking her head in bewilderment.
“What on earth do you think is going to happen?” Dorothea asked, perplexed.
“I don’t know! I wish I could tell you… but I just don’t know!”
“I’m not willing to change my plans just because you are afraid!” Concha was done, “I don’t think I’m in any danger going shopping and to a parade!”
“Adonai help us!” Mamá dropped into a chair with a groan.
Antonia lifted her hands in surrender, “I’m sorry! I can’t do this!” She gave them all one last pleading look and fled up the stairs to her room.
“Now I've ruined everything!”
Somehow her room seemed darker as guilt raised its ugly head. She dropped onto her bed, “Why today of all days! Adonai…” She pounded her pillow, “what's wrong with me?”
A dull ache pressed behind her forehead and eyes.
A news report echoed from room to room in the whole house speaker system, “Japan suffered a major earthquake yesterday, and early this morning the offshore Fairweather fault along the Alaskan coast...”
“Silva room sound off!” she commanded, tearful and angry.
“No problem Antonia,” the pleasant voice of the A-I answered.
In the sudden silence Antonia noticed the argument downstairs had quieted. She rose from her bed and wiped her eyes as she listened… soft voices conversed in hushed tones. She walked the two steps to the overstuffed chair in the corner, whirled and sat down hard, wincing as pain shot through her temples. She pulled her feet into the chair and hugged her knees as her head started to throb… and now her nose was running!
Grabbing a tissue from the side table, she blew, and studied her cozy room. The warm sunny walls were usually so cheerful, and two of her best embroidered works hung framed as a colorful counterpoint. She took a deep breath, as if to inhale a little comfort from the familiarity of her childhood room, once shared with Esmeralda, now with Pedro.
They’d moved back here only two weeks ago, while he looked for new employment. Fired from his last job, he’d blamed it on his boss, but Antonia wondered. He could be “mouthy” and not always a paramount of discretion.
She sighed, he was probably having a wonderful time right now, hanging out with the men of the family. Maybe she was wrong, and as mamá had suggested, simply reacting to stress from the recent setbacks.
She set her chin on her knees and considered. She was at an impasse, frightened for her family, but why? None of this made any sense. Despite all her pleading, mamá and her sisters were going to the Chinese New Year festivities.
Afraid to go, and now with a fierce headache, she would stay home… alone. She groaned as her sisters’ laughter trailed out the door.
Maria poked her head in, worried and wanting to be sure Antonia was alright. “Mija, you are flushed, you must be coming down with something.” She walked into the small room and sat on the arm of the chair brushing a stray curl from Antonia’s damp cheek.
“I’m so sorry mamá, I don’t understand why I feel like this and I'm sorry I made everyone upset. I don’t know what to do, my head hurts so bad I think I’ll lie down for a while.”
“That would be wise.” Maria gently stroked her daughter’s head, “Take an immune booster with a glass of orange juice. A cool cloth with a few drops of lavender and peppermint oils on your forehead will help you relax.” She rose and walked the few steps to the door, stopped and turned, “…and put a cold pack under your neck too. I’ll send Pedro for you in an hour. If you’re feeling better then, you won’t miss much okay?”
“Okay mamá, please be careful,” Antonia urged as Maria stepped toward the door, “I guess I’ll see you later,” she shrugged, “adios mamá.”
“Are you coming mamá? We’ll miss the EGB!” Concha shouted up the stairs.
“Then we’ll take the next one Concha!” Maria called out the bedroom door, “I’ll be down in a moment.” She turned back, walked the few steps to Antonia’s chair and kissed her lightly on the top of her head, “Shalom motek, mi ciela, Shalom!”
Antonia smiled weakly, barely quenching the desire to hold on to her mother and keep her there, “Shalom mamá!”
She'd done all she could, and perhaps mamá was right. Maybe it was nothing.