The 8th Annual One Acts Festival

I submitted my one act play back in December. Last week, the Allegan Community Players announced the lineup for the festival:

Purple Roses by Christina Thompson

Potential by Scott Mullen

The Band Currently Known as the Apaches by Les Abromovitz

I’m in! A first for me. I’m honored. What’s even crazier is that those characters are from my Chemical Attraction Series, which is set in a town based on Allegan.

The play was originally a short story. The scene takes place at Sylvia’s Bed & Breakfast, modeled after the Delano Mansion Inn in Allegan’s downtown area. The scene is a prequel to Chemical Attraction—before my main characters Joe Roberts and Madeline Pierce actually meet and fall in love. While mourning the death of her husband, Madeline’s Aunt Sylvia focuses on getting Joe and Madeline in the same room at the same time. The conversations of loneliness between Joe and Sylvia and then between Madeline and Sylvia break my heart.

Sylvia has become one of my favorite secondary characters in my series. In fact, I’m in the process of writing a new novel where she’s the main character trying to navigate in a world without her husband.

My head knows these characters are a figment of my imagination, but my heart knows their emotions are real. It’ll be strange to see these people, who have been in my life for so many years, become tangible on stage at the Griswold Auditorium, which I have also referenced in my series.

In Chemical Attraction, a fundraiser is held in the lower level of the Griswold. (I call it the Hartford though.) Then, in Chemical Reaction, a couple characters hide in the backstage area.

What a surreal experience this will be! I may cry. No, I guarantee I will cry. I’m aware the director may change the props and dialogue; this is a collaborative project after all, but I believe the emotions of the scenes will stay true.

If you’ve enjoyed my Chemical Attraction Series, this is a must see. Please, join me. I’ll be the one sobbing before the festival even starts.

Friday, April 22nd at 7 pm

Saturday, April 23rd at 7 pm

Sunday, April 24th at 2 pm

Griswold Auditorium

401 Hubbard Street

Allegan, MI 49010

All tickets are $5 at the door.

For more information, visit the Allegan Community Players.

For more information on my series, visit The Chemical Attraction Series on Amazon.

The Email That Changed My Life

On this day ten years ago, an email changed my life.  Late that night before I powered down my laptop, I checked my email.  I’d rather get a late night query rejection than one first thing in the morning. A lesson learned from experience—although both suck.

Well, after sending out over a hundred queries, multiple first-ten pages, and a fistful of the manuscript, 48fourteen Publishing offered me a contract for Chemical Attraction.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had to print and reread it to be sure.  My squeal woke my husband and freaked out our dog.  Thank you, Juanita Samborski.

Six months later, I officially became a published author.  And since then, I’ve created eleven novels (eight published), three audiobooks, four screenplays, and a stageplay.  I’ve come a long way, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Cheers to 2022! 

Visit my AMAZON AUTHOR’S PAGE to learn more about my novels.

Coffee with Author Kass Hillard

Today, I’m chatting with Kass Hillard about her debut book, Games Psychics Play: Enhancing Your Intuition and Psychic Gifts published by Franklin Rose Publishing.

Kass Hillard has created the ultimate book and manual to help you develop your unique gifts of the Spirit and so much more. She’s funny, serious, kind, and strict. All the traits you would want your mentor to be and that’s what Kass has done with this book for you.

I’m drinking my Sumatra blend with a dollop of peppermint mocha. Kass has her classic black cup of coffee and a hint of Kahlua. This should be fun. So, Kass, share a bit of your background before we delve more into your book.

KASS: I’m a retired reflexologist and owned a holistic healing center for many years. I’ve been interested in the spiritual and metaphysical worlds for as long as I can remember.

After retirement, I was ready for a new challenge in my life and thought that since I was no longer in practice, perhaps I could write about my experiences as a reflexologist and healer. I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was starting my reflexology career.

CHRISTINA: Tell us more about your new book.

KASS: Games Psychics Play: A Guidebook to Enhance Your Intuitive and Psychic Gifts is full of exercises and activities you can do to connect with your intuition and psychic abilities and strengthen them. I also tell some of the pitfalls to watch out for. I’ve included stories about my personal experiences as well.

CHRISTINA: What inspired you to write this book?

KASS: I’ve always enjoyed writing and had begun writing two books, one about reflexology and the other on challenging yourself spiritually, but I was struggling to finish them. I needed some guidance by others who were actual authors. I signed up for a writers’ workshop.

You’ve heard musicians often say they were doing something mundane like washing dishes or raking leaves and suddenly, the lyrics or melody to a song hit them and they had to stop what they were doing immediately and write it all down? That kind of happened to me.

After attending the workshop, I was on my way home, when out of the blue, I “heard” that I was to write a book called Games Psychics Play and what information it was to include. I pulled over in a gas station parking lot and wrote down everything, got home and began writing the book.

CHRISTINA: What kind of research did you do?

KASS: I’ve been a student of metaphysics for over four decades. I used my own experiences as a healer and a psychic as well as the experiences of other psychics I know.

CHRISTINA: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

KASS: The most surprising thing is how writing consumed my life! I thought about the chapters and how to express what I needed to convey constantly. At least it felt that way. I had to always have paper and pen near me because I never knew when “just the right wording” to an idea would come to me. I found I didn’t sleep much while I was writing the book!

CHRISTINA: How long did you take to write the book?

KASS: I had the basics of the entire book written in six months. And then the editing process began! It took about two years total from start to publication.

CHRISTINA: Describe your writing space.

KASS: I don’t have one set writing space. Sometimes I need to be outside in nature to write, sometimes I need to be on the couch with a warm blanket, and other times I need to be in my favorite room of the house – the library. It has floor to ceiling bookshelves on 2 ½ walls and they are almost completely full! I have two shelves dedicated to the books written by my friends, which inspires me. I was thrilled when my own books could join their ranks.

CHRISTINA: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

KASS: The most difficult part of writing for me is staying focused and believing that I have something worth saying. I found I went through days (and at times weeks) where I THOUGHT about writing but put nothing down on paper other than a note or two so I wouldn’t forget an idea. The critic within myself was brutal.

CHRISTINA: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

KASS: I like to handwrite everything and only use a fine tipped pen. I always start out a new story or book with a new paper notebook.

CHRISTINA: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

KASS: It energizes me to the point of exhaustion, and I love it!

CHRISTINA: What advice would you give to new writers – someone just starting out?

KASS: Start writing. There are thousands of people who say they’ll write a book one day but never do. Their thoughts and ideas never see life. Don’t be one of them. Listen to the advice of other authors. The feelings and experiences, all the ups and downs, may be new to you, but they, too, have had them. Surround yourself with those who will be honest but not cruel when you ask for an opinion. Most importantly, trust yourself and your ability. You have something to say, and we want to hear it!

CHRISTINA: Thanks for hanging out with me. To learn more about Kass and her book, Games Psychics Play: A Guidebook to Enhance Your Intuitive and Psychic Gifts, visit her website HOUSE OF THE SPIRIT. You can also find her book on AMAZON and GOODREADS.

It all happened within minutes. For some, it would last a lifetime.

In Memory of Dad

Dear Dad,

Happy Veterans Day.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  I didn’t understand until recently how much the Korean War affected you.  It had taken your innocence leaving your emotions hardened from the horrors. Would our relationship have been better had I known your torment? 

After reading your letters to your parents during the war, I felt the love you had for them, which is why I used my favorite picture of you, your mother, and your dad on the cover.  That’s how I want to remember you.  I will cherish those rare times when you had let your guard down—laughing with a lightened heart.  I forgive you, and I miss you more than I ever had.

With Love,

Christina

Dearest Mother and Dad

Corpsman Orrin Connor’s faithful letters with a touching twist shield his parents from the horrors of war. His buddy Rawley Armstrong’s poignant letters give his sister the harrowing truths. Throughout their dangerous assignments during the Korean War, they debate the consequences of their choices. Orrin gains comfort in downplaying his experiences while Rawley feels a healing purge. As they get to know the Marines in their charge, the corpsmen gather a variety of opinions. Although Orrin and Rawley disagree, their friendship remains true until the bitter end.

“It all happened within minutes. For some, it would last a lifetime.”

Based on her father’s letters to his parents throughout the Forgotten War, author Christina Thompson has produced this work of historical fiction to pay tribute to Navy corpsmen by remembering their service to their brothers and their country. Imagining her father had guarded his parents from the carnage of war, Christina elaborates on what could have happened while staying true to the dates and experiences her father shared in his actual letters.

My dad is in the front row far right.

Book Trailer: Dearest Mother and Dad

Check out my new video for Dearest Mother and Dad. A big thanks to Literary Titan for their help.

Dearest Mother and Dad Book Trailer on YOUTUBE

“One hundred and twenty Marines wounded. Eighteen dead. All for one lousy hill.”

Corpsman Orrin Connor’s faithful letters with a touching twist shield his parents from the horrors of war. His buddy Rawley Armstrong’s poignant letters give his sister the harrowing truths. Throughout their dangerous assignments during the Korean War, they debate the consequences of their choices. Orrin gains comfort in downplaying his experiences while Rawley feels a healing purge. As they get to know the Marines in their charge, the corpsmen gather a variety of opinions. Although Orrin and Rawley disagree, their friendship remains true until the bitter end.

“It all happened within minutes. For some, it would last a lifetime.”

Based on her father’s letters to his parents throughout the Forgotten War, author Christina Thompson has produced this work of historical fiction to pay tribute to Navy corpsmen by remembering their service to their brothers and their country. Imagining her father had guarded his parents from the carnage of war, Christina elaborates on what could have happened while staying true to the dates and experiences her father shared in his actual letters.

Courage, Strength, and Unconditional Love

What is the ultimate gift?

Cool off with a frosty New Year’s Eve Chapter One excerpt from The Garden Collection, a story of courage, strength, and unconditional love.  I’ve posted the New Year’s Eve Prologue to this sweet romance a few years ago. If you prefer to start there, here’s the LINK.  Enjoy.

 

Friday, December 31st – Present Day

Standing behind the counter at Mason’s Diner, Brianna Carlson waited for Henry Mason to pass her orders through the grill window. The breakfast and lunch crowd had her running. Now, the late lunchers filled only three of the ten stools at the counter and two of the eight booths along the windows.

Her half-sister Chloe’s paper snowflakes covered all of the windows as if another blizzard had hit town. Multi-color Christmas lights blinked around the window frames. By the cash register next to the counter, a two-foot-high fake Christmas tree held so many of Chloe’s homemade ornaments the patrons couldn’t see the branches.

Catching her breath, Brianna stared at the poster behind the register and smiled. Lucy had suggested Bree put her own doodle sketches to good work and enter the competition to design the New Year’s Eve Gala poster. Out of one hundred applicants, she won. She had drawn dark snowy woods where the old trees have snarled branches. The trees’ arthritic fingers reach for the sparkling red box with a bright white bow that illuminates the small clearing. The caption reads What is the Ultimate Gift?

Bree was proud of herself and so were the regulars at the diner. They celebrated her excitement by encouraging her to attend the gala. As the winner, she received one hundred dollars and a ticket to the party. She had saved her money for three weeks to buy a dress with matching purse and shoes.

“Bree, your order’s up,” Henry yelled from behind the grill. She saw only his eyes and the top of his bandana-covered baldhead through the open window.

The retired men along the counter chuckled. “Are you daydreaming again, Cinderella?” Charlie asked as he took off his baseball cap that had covered his thinning gray fringe.

Blushing, she laughed. “Maybe I’ll find my Prince Charming tonight,” she replied, picking up the BLT and cheeseburger platters.

George unrolled his silverware from his napkin. “Are you ever going to tell us what’s in the red box from your poster?”

She set Charlie’s BLT in front of him and grabbed the ketchup from under the counter. “What do you think is in the box?” she asked, handing George the bottle for his burger and fries.

“Money?” George asked.

“How about keys to a yacht?” Charlie added.

“I know what’s in the box,” Chloe said from the end of the counter. Her long brown hair in a thick braid matched her big sister’s. Chloe bit into a French fry and grinned.

“Well, my sweet one, please share with us,” Bev Mason said from behind the cash register. With her wrinkled smile, she played the elder matron with ease.

Chloe looked at her. “Can I tell them?”

Bree laughed and nodded. “I always thought it was obvious,” she said, absently touching her gold locket tucked under her Mason’s Diner t-shirt.

“Tell us right now,” George demanded. He winked at Chloe as he wiped his mouth.

“It’s love, sillies. I can’t believe you never guessed it.”

“Oh, and you’re a genius?” Bev asked

“I’ve gotten all excellent marks so far in first grade,” Chloe stated.

Brianna nodded. “You have a lot of wonderful tutors,” she said, glancing at her work family.

Chloe had grown up on that stool. They had put her name on it. Bree felt blessed that Bev and Henry let her work and care for Chloe at the same time. Over the years, the regulars had taken turns keeping her occupied. She and Chloe had many aunts and uncles.

As the men teased Chloe that they had made her smart, Officer Eddie Kent stomped his feet inside the door. In his dark blue uniform and auburn crew cut, he sat at the opposite end of the counter. Having known Eddie since they were in kindergarten, Bree greeted him with his usual glass of milk.

“It’s not ready yet?” he asked.

She frowned. “I wasn’t sure you were working today. I’ll get right on it.”

Bree quickly entered the kitchen and helped Henry with the order of rare steak and scrambled eggs with a side of raw onions and garlic toast. Eddie ate it every day he worked. Superstitious about his job, he said it kept him safe. For the last year, that’s all he ate. She carefully set his plates in front of him. She had learned not to stand too close afterward.

“Bree, don’t worry. I’m here if you need anything,” Eddie said, reaching for the knife.

“What?”

“Kent! I will explain it,” Chief Mason said, taking up the entire doorway.

Brianna looked at Cameron Mason, the Chief of Rushing for the last ten years. With his bushy brown mustache, he reminded her of a young Sam Elliott from the Western movies. He had the deep voice like him, too. All he needed was a cowboy hat. Bev and Henry were proud of him and his profession although Bev hoped he’d marry soon. She wanted grandbabies.

Bree thought of him as an overly protective big brother. Since she didn’t have a car or a license for that matter, he’d give them a ride occasionally across town to their tiny loft apartment. He also lectured her on safety. She and Chloe paid attention to all of his rules.

Chief Mason smoothed down his thick mustache with his thumb and finger and pointed her to the end booth. His business-like manner unnerved her. With a hand over her stomach, she sat.

He stopped Chloe from jumping off her stool. “Stay put. I want to talk to Bree in private.”

“Cam, what’s wrong?” she asked as he sat across from her.

“I just found out Wayne got parole.”

She gasped. “When?”

“He’ll be released tomorrow. Because of overcrowding, he’s being let out earlier than I had expected. There was nothing I could do.”

“Oh, God.” She placed her shaking hands on her lap. Chloe stared at her reaction. “Do you think he’ll come back here?” she whispered.

“I honestly don’t know. Follow my rules, Bree. They’ll keep you safe. If you see him anywhere in town, call my cell,” he said, pulling out his card.

She stopped him. “I still have it memorized.”

Cam nodded and left for the kitchen to talk to his father. She stared out the window at the two fresh inches of snow. What should she do? Wayne’s letters from prison promised to take Chloe away from her. She had no legal rights. Could he come back and reclaim his daughter? She would not let that happen. He would never lay a hand on Chloe. Bree had taken the brunt for years so he wouldn’t hurt her.

Chloe knew next to nothing about her father. Bree had told her that he was in jail because he had hurt them. Bree had preached taking responsibility for your actions since Chloe could talk.

Chloe thought it was like being grounded for doing something naughty. That pretty much summed it up. Although Bree didn’t think Wayne would learn anything from the experience except more contempt toward her for putting him there. He would return to make her suffer. She had to leave. She jumped as Chloe slid in next to her.

“Bree, what’s the matter?

She hugged her. “Nothing for you to worry about, my sweet Clover,” she said, nudging her out of the booth. “I have to get back to work.”

While she made plans in her head, she absently cleared the tables. While carrying the tub of dirty dishes, she banged her shin into the metal cart behind the counter. The tub crashed to the floor. Plates and mugs shattered. With tears in her eyes, she rushed to clean the mess. This usually happened when she was stressed or tired. With partial blindness in her left eye and a limp from a healed broken leg, her coordination sometimes made her clumsy.

Eddie Kent laughed as he finished his meal. “Bev, have you run out of plates yet?”

Bree looked up at her. “I’m sorry.”

Bev smiled. “Honey, it’s an hour past your shift. We know it’s not your fault. Why don’t you and Chloe take off? Tonight’s the big night.”

As she put the last broken plate in the tub, she slid it to the side and stood. Charlie grinned and asked, “You’ll save me a dance?”

“I’m first in line. She promised me yesterday,” George added.

Bree smiled as they tried to cheer her up. “Only if you can recognize me. It’s a masquerade ball after all.”

She helped Chloe with her coat, hat, and mittens. Stepping outside, she took a deep breath. They would make a run for it. They’d hide, and Wayne would eventually give up looking. With a purpose, she reached for her sister’s hand.

“Bree, do you want a ride?” Eddie asked, absently patting the gun at his side.

Resisting the urge to wrinkle her nose at his horrid breath, she shook her head. “We have errands. Thank you though.”

Bree gently tugged Chloe’s hand down the street. They had three stops before she dropped Chloe off with Lucy, who was recuperating from a sprained ankle. Luckily, the stops were in order of the direction they were going. Chloe shuffled her boots through the snow on the sidewalk and sang “Let it Snow.”

After closing out her savings account with one hundred and twenty-six dollars, she pulled open the door to the pawnshop. The stifling heat hit them in the face as they wiped their boots on the rug just inside the door. She spotted Gus Fuller wearing a Santa hat. He had played Santa at the diner’s Christmas party. With a long white beard, he fit the part perfectly.

Bree sighed. “I need to talk to Gus for a moment. Do you want to wander around?” Chloe nodded and headed for the stack of board games while Bree met him at the counter. “I’d, uh, like to see what I can get for this,” she said, slipping her precious locket over her head.

Gus turned it in his hand. “This is a high-end piece. I’d say it’s worth about two grand. I can only give you five hundred, but Donovan’s Jewelry may give you more.”

She groaned. Robert had spent too much money on her. Her eyes started to water. She quickly wiped her face. This is about responsibility and survival not sentimental trinkets. She took the locket back from him and stared at it. She wore it all the time and touched it often. She was surprised the etched ivy hadn’t worn off. Finally nodding, she set it back on the counter. She had to protect Chloe. As she tucked the money into her wallet, Chloe joined her with a magic kit.

“Bree, do we have extra for this? It’s three dollars,” Chloe said.

Gus smiled. “It’s yours for a hug.”

Chloe laughed and ran around the counter. After paying with a hug, she kissed his cheek and tugged his beard. “Thanks, Gus.”

With slouched shoulders, Brianna moved toward the door.

“Bree, take care of yourself,” Gus said quietly.

She wanted to grab her locket and run. Instead, she limped out the door. There would be no turning back.

The bus station had one last departure at five tonight for Chicago. She didn’t think they’d have time to pack so she opted for the ten o’clock trip tomorrow morning. She wanted to be selfish and go to the gala. Her one last hurrah.

Continue reading The Garden Collection on AMAZON

Gotta Love a Challenge

I’m changing direction once again. Why? Because I love a challenge. I started writing romance. Thrillers and espionage followed. Then I tried my hand at historical fiction.  I’ve adapted Chemical Attraction and The Garden Collection into screenplays—mostly to see if I could do it.  After many drafts, I believe I did a darn good job.

What’s my next project?   Thanks for asking.

This time, I’m working with a partner—my fifteen-year-old niece, who has an artistic soul. Maggie writes short stories and poetry. She plays the bass, violin, guitar, flute, and a little piano. This talented young woman composed the music to my book trailer Dearest Mother and Dad. (Listen to it HERE.)

She enjoys trying new things like I do. She has even acted in the high school productions of Annie and Cinderella. I’m in awe of her vision and creative voice. I think she’s the perfect partner to help me adapt my novel Dearest Mother and Dad into a stage play.

I had pictured my other novels as movies when I wrote them. Dearest was different, but I couldn’t put a finger on why until a recent conversation with my sister, Trish. She thought it would make an interesting play. A lightbulb went off as we visualized the scenes on the stage. Later, she mentioned it to Maggie, who texted me with “love the idea”.

Bam! I found a partner for this passion project. (After all, it is based on her grandpa’s letters to his parents during the Korean War.) I have a feeling I’ll learn a lot from her.

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Updates to follow. In the meantime, you can find Dearest Mother and Dad on these sites:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

KOBO

APPLE BOOKS

Dearest Mother and Dad: Reviews

Thank You for the Awesome Reviews! I’m so proud of this book.

“Thompson has composed a magnificent story that brings the Korean War to life with unforgettable characters that you truly care about and who stay with you long after the pages run out. I absolutely loved this book and will recommend it highly!”

“Set during a time of war, this is a beautiful love story between a son and his parents, especially his mother, and the unbreakable bond between friends. Especially poignant knowing the story is based on actual letters.”

“Feel the true emotions of war. A wonderful story of the Korean War with unforgettable characters.”

Dearest Mother and Dad on AMAZON

Dearest Mother and Dad on BARNES & NOBLE