my top five favorite Saunders-centric episodes of Combat!

While my favorite Combat! character is Doc (played by Conlan Carter, not Steven Rogers) I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Sergeant Saunders (Vic Morrow).  And since this post is an entry in the Vic Morrow Blogathon, I’ll be talking about my favorite episodes of Combat! that focus on Saunders.  It was super hard to narrow down my options, especially since Saunders is an integral part of so many episodes.

But here’s my list.

‘Far From the Brave’ (Season 1)

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This is one of the Combat! episodes I’ve watched the most – and with good reason.  It’s one of the best in the show, diving into Saunders’ character and the squad’s interactions. Though the banter between Billy and Littlejohn is one of my favorite moments, this really is Saunders’ episode.  One of his best friends, Grady Long, is killed in the episode’s opening and the rest of the story is him (and the squad) dealing with the fallout from that.  Even though Saunders behaves rather badly to the guy who comes to replace Long, you get where he’s coming from.  A poignant episode all around.

‘One for the Road’ (Season 1)

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Allll the feelings.  The squad finds a baby and, of course, they have to take it with them because it won’t be safe otherwise. (I mean, it probably isn’t too safe with a bunch of American soldiers in enemy territory, but they can’t just leave it with no one around.)  Saunders is dead-set against the whole idea but he eventually thaws and it honestly does make me cry. :*)  I think this episode is some of Vic Morrow’s finest acting on the show (and that’s saying a lot).

‘The Long Way Home’ (Season 2)

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More of a ‘whole squad’ episode, but I believe it focuses on Saunders enough to qualify for this list.  The squad gets captured by and thrown into a POW camp.  Saunders has to keep morale up and figure out a plan of escape while fending off (and enduring) attacks from the camp’s sadistic commandant. (I’ve never been able to trust Richard Baseheart since.)  Saunders has to make some tough decisions; the whole situation adds yet another dimension to his character.

‘Mail Call’ (Season 2)

Saunders get put through the wringer again.  In this episode he receives a letter stating that his brother (who I believe is fighting in the Pacific) is missing in action.  He doesn’t tell anyone about the letter’s contents, though the whole squad knows that something is up.  Saunders is quiet, detached, and abrasive to the new guy who joins the squad. (If this sounds like a rehash of ‘Far From the Brave’, it’s not.  Some of the plot points are similar, but both episodes are unique.)  Us viewers don’t actually know what’s wrong with Saunders until near the end of the episode, which is kind of nice.  It puts us in the squad’s shoes as they try to cheer Saunders up + figure out what’s up with him. (Spoilers: his brother makes it out okay. *happy tears*)

‘A Gift of Hope’ (Season 3)

This episode will always be special to me because Hamlette and I watched it together.  It was an awesome experience (one that I hope can be repeated with other Combat! episodes).  But even if I didn’t have that connection with it, this episode would still be on this list because it’s superb in its own right.  A friend of Saunders, believed to be dead, makes a reappearance and Saunders has to prove that said friend isn’t a deserter (his friend’s name is Avery and he’s the coolest, awesomest side character on Combat!).  There’s so much going on in this episode, character- and action-wise, that I can’t stop re-watching it.

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Saunders is a very special character and that’s thanks (in large part) to Vic Morrow.  His spot-on acting skills made Saunders who he is (though the writers played a part in that as well).  I watched ‘Blackboard Jungle’ a few days ago and Morrow’s role in that surprised me all over again because Artie West the polar opposite of Saunders.  It’s a tribute to what a good actor Vic Morrow was…just like this post and the blogathon it’s written for.

Take the point!

Eva

 

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the fugitive episode review: ‘nightmare at northoak’

This review is part of the 5th Annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon.

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‘Nightmare at Northoak’ was the first episode of The Fugitive I ever watched (or at least the first one I remember watching).  I do take issue with the title because, as you’ll see, the nightmare doesn’t really happen at Northoak – it’s in Kimble’s mind.  Northoak is one of the nicest places Kimble ends up, IMO.

David Janssen in The Fugitive (1963)

The episode opens with a creepy scene where Gerrard tracks Kimble through deserted streets until Kimble is finally cornered.  Gerrard pulls out a gun and…Kimble wakes up.  It was all a nightmare.  Gerrard hasn’t caught up with him – yet.  But just as the nightmare fades away, Kimble hears screams and the sounds of a vehicle careening out of control.

He scrambles out of the forest where he was sleeping.  A school bus has crashed and now flames shoot from the wreckage.  The driver is unconscious and the bus is full of panicked children.  Kimble directs them out the back of the school bus, drags the driver and a sleeping kid out, and then goes back in to make sure no one else is left inside.  Predictably, the bus explodes and Kimble is thrown from the wreckage – knocked cold, but alive.

The children from the bus drag him away from the burning bus (and presumably one of them runs for help).

David Janssen and Ian Wolfe in The Fugitive (1963)

When Kimble wakes up, he’s lying in a strange bed in a strange house.  Concerned citizens wait outside his bedroom to see how he’s doing and to repay their debt of gratitude by covering the doctor’s fees (something the doctor insists on doing himself – “Those kids he saved…I brought every one of them into this world”) and bringing ham, pudding, and calves’ foot jelly for the invalid.

The family that Kimble is staying with, the Springers, sends everyone home but not before Mrs. Springer – Wilma – declares that whoever is responsible for the accident should be brought to justice.  It seems that even though her husband is sheriff of Northoak (something Kimble discovers very quickly – and to his great trepidation), Wilma is the moral center of the town. (Though Al, her husband, is a really great, upright sheriff.  He’s played by Frank Overton and I love it.)

A nosy reporter drops by the Springer home, asking if he can take a photo of Kimble (who’s calling himself George Porter in this episode).  Wilma says ‘no’, but the reporter gets Larry, the Springers’ son, to sneak into the sick room and take a photo.  Luckily, there’s a cold compress over Kimble’s eyes, but it’s still a risk for him…

Paul Birch and Barry Morse in The Fugitive (1963)

…because Gerrard sees the article and the photo and instantly becomes suspicious.  Gerrard is actually in very few episodes of the show, but he’s truly menacing in this one.  A soulless, heartless tool of the law.  The mystery savior in the news article has no ID (“could’ve lost it in the accident”) and the lower half of his face bears a striking resemblance to the lower half of Richard Kimble’s face.  It’s enough for Gerrard and he sends a telegram (or a phone call – I forget) to Al, asking him to fingerprint George Porter.

Al is really embarrassed about this.  He can’t see how this gentle, quiet man who rescued the children of Northoak could be a convicted murderer.  But he has to do his duty, so he takes Kimble’s fingerprints. (Oh, and somewhere between the taking of the photo and Gerrard seeing it, Kimble also saw it and tried to escape.  But he collapsed and they brought him back.  Nobody’s suspicious of that though, at least not right away.)

David Janssen in The Fugitive (1963)

Kimble is desperate to escape once his fingerprints are taken.  As soon as Gerrard gets them, he’ll be in Northoak.  Al leaves the sick room to make a call, leaving Wilma behind, and she finally puts two and two together.  Kimble’s nervousness, the photo in the newspaper…it all adds up to mean one thing: George Porter is a wanted man.  But before she can call her husband, Kimble closes the door.

“I’m innocent.  I didn’t kill my wife.”

Wilma is doubly shocked and horrified to hear that he’s been convicted of killing a woman – and his own wife, no less.  Kimble pleads with her to let him go, to walk out the door, close it, and not tell her husband.  “Isn’t that a fair trade?” he says desperately just before she leaves.  “A life for a life?” (Because he saved Larry’s life, you know.)

Wilma battles within herself.  Should she uphold the law and do what’s right as she’s always done?  Or should she believe this strange man and let him go for the sake of her son?  For a moment, she almost does it.  She almost lets Kimble go.  But then she turns to her husband and tells him everything.

David Janssen and Frank Overton in The Fugitive (1963)

It’s a bleak moment – for everyone.  Al takes Kimble down to the jailhouse.  Deputy Ernie (played by Paul Carr – so nice to see another familiar face) helps him keep an eye on Kimble until Gerrard arrives.  Gerrard instantly puts everyone on edge – they don’t want to turn Kimble over to this strict, robot-like man.  Al resents Gerrard’s hints that Kimble will somehow escape if he (Gerrard) joins Al for dinner.  But he finally relents and goes to the Springers’ home to enjoy a hearty, home-cooked meal.

During dinner, Gerrard is the only one that’s really eating.  Larry suddenly starts crying, saying that it’s his fault Kimble is back in jail because he took the photo.  Gerrard tries to explain that it was a good thing he did, but Larry leaves the table.  He doesn’t want to hear Gerrard’s harsh rhetoric – and neither do I.  Al goes back to the jailhouse, leaving Wilma alone with Gerrard.

“Couldn’t what he did for our children lighten his sentence?” she asks.  Gerrard says ‘no’.  The law is the law.  The law is inexorable.  And, when Wilma tries a different tack and asks if Gerrard really believes Kimble is guilty, he simply says, “The law says he is.”  And that, apparently, is that.

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Back at the jail, Gerrard checks on Kimble and they have a conversation which starts out polite but quickly goes downhill. “When they feed me my last meal and strap me into the chair, I’ll still say the same thing,” Kimble says. “I didn’t kill my wife.”

According to Gerrard, it’s true – at least for Kimble. So many hours of sleepless night, so much running, so much time to think…of course Kimble now believes he didn’t kill his wife. He’s made the fantasy of his innocence true in his own mind.

This, of course, isn’t actually true. Kimble is innocent. But it’s a frightening glimpse into the workings of Gerrard’s mind. Could we flip his words to mean that he will never believe Kimble is innocent? That even if he’d started out with a flicker of doubt as to whether or not there was a one-armed man, he’s now convinced himself that Kimble cannot – can never – be found innocent?

Maybe Kimble is thinking something like this when he says, “I believe you have nightmares too, Gerrard. I believe your nightmare is that, after I’m dead, you’ll find who really did it.”

The blow strikes home. Gerrard retreats, bringing his cigarette to his lips with shaking fingers.

When he comes out of the cell block, Al has gathered quite a crowd of people. They want to say goodbye to Kimble, to thank him for their children’s lives. It’s a touching moment (one that Gerrard sneers at) as each person files past Kimble and shakes his hand. The last one to do so is Wilma. Regret, sadness, and a little desperation cross her face as she walks away from Kimble’s cell.

And that’s when he opens his hand to reveal the key. Someone slipped it to him.

And so, Kimble escapes again. (I’m not going to go into the details of his escape because it would make this blog post too long. But it’s a good trick played on Gerrard. A really good trick.)

But the episode isn’t over! In the ‘epilog’, Al assembles everyone who said goodbye to Kimble the night before. One of them, he tells Gerrard, passed Kimble the key. But Gerrard has other ideas. “It was you,” he tells Al. “You let Kimble out.”

Al takes exception to this – and rightfully so. Surely he had ideas of letting Kimble go free. After all, Kimble saved his son’s life. But the sheriff side of him won out – and now it seems like that was for nothing, since Gerrard accuses him anyway. But at the last moment Wilma steps forward.

“I gave him the key.”

Gerrard eyes her. “You know what this means, Mrs. Springer.”

Wilma nods. She’ll go to jail.

Until a wonderful thing happens.

“I’ve been in this office often enough,” the doctor cries. “I gave him the key!”

“He saved my life,” the driver of the school bus says. “I was repaying him. I gave him the key.”

Image result for nightmare at northoak

And suddenly everyone stands up, everyone admits to giving Kimble the key that gave him his freedom. In a way, it’s true…although Wilma was the one who actually did it, they all would have. It’s a triumphant, singularly happy ending to an episode of The Fugitive.

(Well, not quite. Because after that scene, things go back to Kimble’s point of view as he wanders the streets of another town. He sees a ‘Help Wanted’ sign. “Help wanted,” the narrator intones. “But there is no help. The only consolation Richard Kimble has is that in some town – perhaps this one – there is a one-armed man who has nightmares…of him!”)

But still. ‘Nightmare at Northoak’ is a lot happier than a lot of Fugitive episodes.  And that’s why it’s my favorite episode in the show.

Eva

‘we love Shakespeare week’ – tag!

Hamlette’s We Love Shakespeare Week is upon us and I’m so excited.  I’ve got a post planned for later on this week talking about my personal connection to Macbeth, but for now I’m going to answer this tag.  Because tags are the lifeblood of this blog. (Seriously, if I don’t have any post ideas, I’ll usually hunt up a tag to answer.)

1. When and how did you first encounter Shakespeare’s plays?

Well, Romeo & Juliet was the first Shakespeare play I read (back in 2013 or something) and I think I tried it because it’s one of his most famous plays and I figured I’d better read some Shakespeare before I died.  I was also kind of obsessed with the Lady Grace Mysteries which are set in Shakespearean England…those might have had something to do with my discovering the Bard.

2. What are your favorite Shakespeare plays? (Go ahead and list as many as you like!)

Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo & Juliet.  Those are the three I know really well and I love each of them – for very different reasons, mind you.  Macbeth is a brilliant story that kinda appeals to my dark side (muahahahaha).  Hamlet is a brilliant story with many lovable characters and it’ll always remind me of this great trip I took ’cause I read it on the road.  Romeo & Juliet isn’t as brilliant a story.  I’m literally just there for Mercutio, let’s be real.

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3. Who are some of your favorite characters in his plays? (Again, list however many suits you.)

Mercutio, Banquo, Hamlet, Friar Laurence, Ophelia, Horatio, and Juliet.

4. Have you seen any of his plays performed, whether live or on film?

YAAAAAS.  I’ve seen Macbeth performed live and it was GLORIOUS.  Loved every minute of it.  I’ve also seen a couple film versions of it and the Benedict Cumberbatch version of Hamlet.  Oh, and I’ve watched the Richard Burton ‘Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘Kiss Me Kate’ (does that count?).  I started watching ‘Julius Ceaser’ (the one with James Mason) and really enjoyed it, but I was also in the mood for something more fast-paced, so yeah.  I do want to try it again some day.

5. Have you read any of his plays?

Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, Othello, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. (According to Goodreads anyway.  I don’t really remember reading the last two.)

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6. Share a dream cast for one of your favorite Shakespeare plays.

Oh goodness.  It takes me a long time to come up with a dream cast for anything.  So I’m going to pass on this one.

7. What draws you to Shakespeare’s plays? (Language, themes, characters, the fact that they’re famous, whatever!)

The fact that they’re famous was definitely why I started reading Shakespeare.  I do love the language now, though sometimes it’s a little difficult to understand. (I do pretty well though, I think.) 

Basically if I read a Shakespeare play and really understand it + the characters, I’m a fan for life.  But I don’t like striking out into new territory without some kind of guide so if a friend doesn’t recommend any more plays to me, I’ll probably stick with the trio I love the best – Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet.

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8. Do you have any cool Shakespeare-themed merchandise, like t-shirts or mugs or bookmarks, etc? Share pictures if you can!

Nope. 😛  All I have is this mug with author’s names on it and Shakespeare is among them.  And I’m too lazy to get up and take a picture.

9. How do you go about understanding his language? (Do you prefer copies with translation notes, look things up online, or just read so much stuff written in Elizabethan English that you totally know what everyone’s saying?)

I really like the Folger Library editions of the plays.  I have my favorite triumvirate in those editions and what I like about them is that they provide a summary of each scene.  Yes, there’s spoilers (which y’all should know I don’t care about) but if I know where the story is going, I can muddle through a few words and phrases I don’t understand. (They define those as well, but I prefer to read straight through without referring to their other helps, for some reason.)

Oh, and watching the plays helps, I think.  Even though the language is really dense, I could understand ‘Julius Caeser’ (James Mason one, remember?) pretty well because the actors are so good and expressive. 

10. What are some of your favorite lines from Shakespeare? (Maybe limit yourself to like ten, okay?)

Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.Romeo & Juliet, Act III, Scene II

It’s so lame but that’s literally the only good one I can think of.  I love the imagery and fire and beauty of those lines, tbh. ❤  It'll have to do.

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Eva

gort in ‘the day the earth stood still’ (1951)

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check out the others posts in the blogathon here.

“Gort!  Klaatu barada nikto!”

Some of the most iconic words in science fiction history.  But the movie they come from isn’t as well known, which is a shame.  It might be slightly cheesy at times, but ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ is a first-rate sci-fi film that can still resonate with audiences today (I know that because it resonates with me, lol).  And one reason for its greatness is the robot, Gort.

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Aside from the obvious fact that Gort is portrayed by a man in a rubbery robot suit, he’s a pretty chilling…antagonist? (He’s definitely not a villain.)

Yes, the special effects might be a bit, um, lacking, but when the spaceship lands in the ever familiar Washington D.C. area, Gort steps out, and Bernard Hermann’s chilling score plays, it’s pretty much impossible not to feel a little tingle of fear. 

Gort is able to destroy guns, tanks, and people with little to no effort.  Once he’s effectively cowed the crowd, he stands still.  No one can move him, no one can dent his ‘body’.  So they end up putting him in a case made of special plastic.  Nothing can break that – or so they think.  Gort does eventually end up breaking out, though, and the results are…interesting.  I won’t spoil anything in case you haven’t seen the movie yet!

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what is that random guy doing there?

But I do want to talk about three ways in which Gort is unique from most robots in the movies. (The third reason is kind of a spoiler, just so you know.)

He was given unlimited power over his creators.  Yep.  Unlike other stories where the robots/AI are either completely subservient to their creators or have destructively taken over (usually leaving a dystopian world in their wake), Gort and his ‘brothers’ have been given control over their alien masters.  Why?  Well, the next point will address that.

He has a sense of morality.  Apparently, Klaatu’s countrymen were able to create robots with a sense of right and wrong.  They then set those robots to police their countries and cities and destroy anyone who transgressed.  So yeah.  I mean, most filmic robots do have a sense of right and wrong (though, in real life, they wouldn’t) so maybe this point isn’t as unique.  But Gort was literally created to have a moral code (that’s his purpose) so…still interesting.

He can bring people back from the dead.  Whether it’s something that Gort himself (itself?) does or only his knowledge of alien technology that allows him to operate a life-giving machine, he still brings a certain character back from the dead.  (Obviously, this movie has some intriguing/problematic theological implications.)  And again, that makes Gort a very interesting robot.

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So, have you seen ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’?  What are your thoughts on Gort and his powers?

Eva

book review: retrieve (+ book tour & giveaway!)

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Sarah Addison-Fox, author of the beloved Allegiance series, has recently published a new book (spoilers: it’s great).  I’m here today to review Retrieve and give you all the details about the awesome giveaway that goes with it.

And if you’d like to connect with Sarah, you can find her at any of the places below!

Author Website
Facebook & Facebook Fan Group
Instagram
Twitter
Blog

Retrieve is the first book in the Stormers Trilogy (I can’t wait to read the other two books) and here’s the cover and synopsis for y’all!

Retrieve Cover.jpg

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?

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MY REVIEW: This book surpassed my expectations!  I wasn’t actually sure what to expect because I have a weird aversion to reading plot synopsises and there were some things about the Allegiance series that I didn’t love.  But did I enjoy Retrieve?  The answer is a resounding “Yes!”.  I read it in pretty much one sitting; it was very easy to lose myself in the story and the characters.

Hadley was a great heroine and I felt that she was different from most of the ‘action girl’ heroines that you read about these days.  She made plenty of mistakes but that didn’t stop her from learning and growing.  She didn’t welcome pain or hardship or battles but she didn’t shy away from them either.  Basically, she was tough without losing her heart.  Kade was intriguing – I really hope Sarah explores his backstory in the next two books because I could definitely see myself falling for him if she deepened his character. (He was still a well-drawn character, though.) (Although, tbh, I don’t think any of Sarah’s characters could take Torrance’s place in my heart [he’s from the Allegiance series].)

The plot was super interesting and fast-paced.  Really dug it.  And there were a few surprises along the way which made me happy.  I feel like there’s a great, amazing world waiting to explode in the next two books.  I only got a few glimpses here and there but I’m trusting Sarah not to mess it up. (She’s really good at world-building.)

As for the overall writing, I’d say that the writing is way better than in the Allegiance series (I know I keep comparing the two, but I can’t help it!).  Tighter, more evocative, and stylistically better in pretty much every way.

Overall, I’m hugely excited to see where this series goes!  If you enjoy action/adventure/romance stories set in fantasy worlds, please give Retrieve a try. (You can buy it on Amazon and add it to your ‘to-read’ shelf on Goodreads.)

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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And now for the giveaway!

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Doesn’t it look amazing?  You can enter here.

Have you read Retrieve yet?  And if not, does it sound like something you’d be interested in?

Eva

reveries co. blog tour launch – announcement from Kellyn Roth

Hey, guys!  It’s me, Miranda…

I’m here today with an announcement from the founder of Reveries Co., Kellyn Roth herself!  Kellyn is an indie author and entrepreneur who, while I don’t know her super well, seems like a really cool, smart person.  So read her announcement. 😉  And don’t forget to check out the amazing discounts and huuuuge giveaway down below!

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Hi there! This is Kellyn Roth (or Kell, if you prefer), and today I’m going to tell you a little about Reveries Co.

Here’s our story.

On September 8th 2018, I was designing a site for my cover design business. As I drag-and-dropped the elements around, I realized I needed a shiny, flashy tagline. So I started thinking about my goals as a service provider.

I wanted to help authors like me succeed! I wanted to make sure that every writer got the best services, personalized to their needs, at the best prices.

But how could I do that? Editing is a service every author needs, but I’m not an editor, so I can’t offer editing.

Every blogger, writer, and author needs a website, but web design isn’t my specialty. In fact, I tend to get frustrated with all that coding and other nonsense; I like to keep it simple. But a lot of people need more than “simple.”

Suffice to say, I didn’t have the expertise I needed to offer a one-stop-shop for authors, bloggers, and other businessmen and women who needed those services but couldn’t afford them, couldn’t find the right providers, and even struggled to know what they needed.

So I began planning … and in no time,

Reveries Co. Was Born!

Partnering with my dear friend, Angela R. Watts, I came up with a business plan, an application form, and a website.

Now over fifteen service providers have joined our forces, from seasoned professionals like Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, and Abigayle Claire to up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Charis Rae, Jessie Bingham, and Michaela Bush.

Now we are dedicated to providing quality, personalized services for an affordable price. Our #1 goal is seeing you succeed in your writing endeavors. We even offer services such as consulting to give you the knowledge you need to go forward.

I firmly believe that with hard work and a little elbow grease, anyone can develop a career and business in the writing field. However, I acknowledge that we all need some help from time to time. We’re here to offer that help quickly and easily.

Our team is a carefully-selected task force of experienced designers, editors, proofreaders, and other professionals, several of whom are authors themselves. Most of them have multiple years of experience and all have proven themselves to be consistent and trustworthy workers who offer quality services.

All service providers are held to consistent standards of operation and output. We keep a close tab on the quality and proceedings of each service. We’re a team, and we function as one, helping each other succeed as well as authors.

Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

Now, I know you’d like to hear a bit about what’s going on with the tour, discounts, etc., so let me share something about that.

The Giveaway

The first item of importance is the giveaway! This giant book bundle has books by myself as well as Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, Rebekah Morris, Kendra E. Ardnek, and others!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY NOW!

Facebook Party

The official Facebook launch party will be at the end of this week (Saturday the 5th) from 12 PM to 3 PM PST.

I’ll be hosting a live video and taking your questions, assuming the internet cooperates, and there will be several giveaways, service provider spotlights, and other fun features.

CLICK TO JOIN!

During this party, we’ll also be offering a bunch of exclusive discounts and giveaways, so be sure to check in then!

Discounts

Throughout the tour, we’re offering exclusive discounts. Everything from editing to book cover design to consulting has an extreme cut taken out of the price … but we only have a limited amount of spaces available.

Everything from 15% to 30% off of a bunch of different services – from editing to interior formatting to book cover design to website design! We even offer specialized coaching packages!

Book Us Now!

And that’s about it! I hope you’re able to join along with the blog tour and check out our other amazing posts!

Schedule

Tuesday, January 1st

Interview with Founder // Kendra E. Ardnek @ Knitted by God’s Plan

Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

Announcement from Founder // Lila Diller @ Creating Romance

Wednesday, January 2nd

Announcement // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Spotlight // Mukta A @ Born Free

Interview with the Co-Manager // Jo A @ The Lens & the Hard Drive

Announcement from Founder // A. Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes

Guest Post from Founder // Emily Yager

Interview with Founder // Dawn Dagger

Announcement from Founder // Eva-Joy @ Coffee, Classics, and Craziness

Thursday, January 3rd

Interview with Co-Manager // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing

Spotlight // Jessica Greyson

Interview with Founder // Parker Hankins @ Pencils and Pianos

Guest Post by Founder // Merie Shen @ Imperial Scribis

Announcement from Founder // Jana T. @ Reviews From the Stacks

Announcement from Founder // Hanne T. @ Losing The Busyness

Friday, January 4th

Announcement from Founder // Deborah @ Reading on the Edge

Announcement from Founder // Katherine Brown Books

Guest Post from Founder // Julia Witmer

Announcement from Founder // Jessie Bingham

Spotlight // Loretta @ Just Writing

Interview with Co-Manager // Isabel Olivetti @ Chasing Fantasia

Saturday, January 5th

Spotlight // Abigayle Claire @ The Left-Handed Typist

Spotlight // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura

Announcement from Founder // Faith Blum @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections

Guest Post from Founder // R.M. Archer @ Scribes & Archers

Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

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Have a great day, and thanks for reading my intro!

TTFN!

~Kellyn Roth~

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Thanks for stopping by, Kellyn!  I hope Reveries Co. does really well in the coming year – y’all deserve it.

Eva

 

tag-along: a Christmas short story

Kellyn Roth recently hit 1,000 followers on her blog (congrats, Kellyn!) and in honor of that amazing milestone, she’s hosting a short story contest.  Within minutes of reading about the contest I had an inkling of a story idea and, well, here it is!  Even if I don’t win first or second place, I’m so glad I entered.  Writing Tag-Along was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as a writer – and I’m not just saying that.

(Oh, and according to this word counter, Tag-Along is 1,896 words long.  Just so that y’all – especially Kellyn – know that it meets the requirements for being between 1,000 and 1,999 words long.)

And now for the story!

(If I got anything wrong about the Great Depression, the 1930s in general, and/or Wyoming, I apologize.  The contest deadline doesn’t allow for tons of research.)

Tag-Along

Wyoming – 1934

When I was nine years old, I was sure that my brother, Tom, was the most ornery human being on God’s green earth. There were only three years between us but once he hit twelve, he acted like we were as many decades apart.

Most of the time he didn’t do anything…and that was the problem. We used to play in the ravine, making mud pies and wading into the water when the summer heat caught us.

But now Tom ignored me most of the time, too busy with his friends.

I stayed clear of him after he called me a tag-along. I was playing House in Pa’s shed and Tom walked past with his friends.

“Is Dorothy around?” Arthur Mitchell asked.  I’d been sweet on him for about forever and I placed my hand on the shed’s door, ready to go out and maybe walk beside him when Tom’s reply flattened me.

“Naw. Tag-along’s probably playin’ with her dolls’.”

They laughed, but I was crushed. How dare they all laugh at me? Especially Arthur…

There was a suspicious prickling behind my eyes that threatened tears but I sniffed hard and forced them away. I didn’t want to show up for dinner with red eyes and have Tom ask a bunch of stupid questions.

/

Besides Tom’s new attitude, the other thing in my thoughts was the singing contest on the 24th. It was a Christmas Eve benefit to help families in our community hit hardest by the Depression.

At that time, I didn’t care about homeless families so much as the prize for the best girl singer at the benefit. The prize was a shiny ring with five – five! – tiny red rubies set around the band.

Looking back on that ring, I know that the gold was some kind of cheap, painted metal and the ‘rubies’ were really just glass. But when I was nine, it held all the allure of the diamond mines in my favorite book – A Little Princess.

There was a special display at the general store that had a poster about the benefit and then all the prizes lined up, waiting for the winners. I’d press my nose against the glass and stare at that ring. Sometimes the sun would catch it just so and set it to shimmering and glittering until I had to look away.

And then Tom would come out.

“Hey, Tag-along, you buyin’ anythin’?”

I turned and glared at him. “You know I don’t have any money,” I snapped.

“Well, you’ve gotta go. Mr. Mitchell doesn’t like it when people loiter.”

I’d roll my eyes. But I always went.

Tom had gotten a job at Mr. Mitchell’s store only a couple months ago and if his head was swelled before, it was nothing compared to how he got now.

At first I’d been excited like Pa and Ma. Now I could go to the store and eat as much penny candy as I wanted! Now I’d get to see Arthur more because Mr. Mitchell was his pa.

But none of those shiny dreams came true. Since I could never afford to be a customer at the store, Tom always shooed me away sooner or later. Said that it didn’t look good to Mr. Mitchell and that he had to keep this job.

He was a pain.

/

In preparation for the benefit, I sang in our backyard, on the walk to school, and just about everywhere else. It was less than two weeks away.

And I was terrified.

/

“Now, Dorothy, there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about,” Ma said as she smoothed invisible wrinkles from my dress. “You have a beautiful voice.”

I wished it was true. But Tom had come out in the yard the other day to chop wood when I was singing and I’d asked him how I sounded. I’d waited for words of praise – I thought I sounded really good – but he just shrugged. His eyes looked distant as he threw another piece of kindling into the wood pile, like he was a million miles away, .

I ran into the house, hating Tom. He didn’t care about me! He didn’t care if I lost the contest and that ring went to some other girl.

Now, fifteen minutes away from singing in front of the entire population of Miller’s Crossing, the memory of Tom’s indifference rose up like a ghost to haunt me. It sucked all my courage away.

Ma and I stood backstage, waiting for me to be called. Pa was somewhere in the audience, ‘proud as anything’. I didn’t know where Tom was until he bounded up to Ma and me.

“I had to lock up,” he said to Ma. “When’s Dor’thy goin’ up?”

“After Patty sings.”

He looked over at me. “Ready?”

I nodded. I couldn’t admit that I was shaking.

The three of us stood together, listening to Patty Malone sing ‘Easter Parade’ – pretty much the worst song for a Christmas Eve benefit, I thought. She sang good, though, and I was getting more scared by the second.

I think Tom saw something of my fright because just before they called my name, he ruffled my hair – usually infuriating, but comforting right then – and said, “Here you go. Break a leg, Tag-along!”

Tag-along?

I stood there, stock still, as they said, “And now Miss Dorothy Jackson, singing ‘That’s What Life Is Made Of’.”

Mother gave me a gentle push and that was about the only thing that would’ve got me on the stage. But it wasn’t stage fright anymore, it was tears that threatened to spill out of my eyes and forever embarrass me. All because of Tom and his stupid nickname for me. He’d been so nice a minute ago and-and then he’d called me ‘Tag-along’. I hated that name and never more than that moment.

I swallowed hard as the piano tinkled out the opening notes of my song.

Good thing I’d spent every spare minute singing because I don’t remember a single word I pushed out of my aching throat that evening. But the applause was loud. I saw Pa in the crowd as he stood and led everyone else to.

I’d gotten a standing ovation but it didn’t matter. Tom hated me.

I stumbled off the stage and into Ma’s arms. She hugged me tight. “What did I tell you?” she said proudly. “You were wonderful, darling!”

Tom wasn’t around, I saw, as I peeked around her arm. Good thing, too, or I’d probably have shouted him.

“Can we go home?” I asked.

She held me away from her, surprised. “No, we have to wait and see the other acts and then find out who won the prizes.” She smiled. “Don’t you want to know who the winners are?”

The idea of seeing those prizes given out – especially the ring – made my heart sing. I wouldn’t win. If the performer couldn’t remember her own performance, could anyone else be expected to?

But I didn’t want to worry Ma. So I just said, “All right.”

/

I didn’t win. The prize went to a girl who was here visiting her aunt and uncle. Was that allowed, to enter when you didn’t live here? I didn’t think so but the judges were the ones whose opinions mattered.

On the way home, Pa and Ma and Tom tried to cheer me up by saying that I’d sung very well and, no, of course that girl didn’t qualify and what were the judges thinking? Well, it was mostly Ma talking. Pa didn’t say much anytime and all Tom offered was a smile. I pretended not to see.

I went straight to bed when we got home though Ma offered to let me stay up late and have some cake and listen to the radio. But my stomach churned too much for cake to tempt me.

As soon as I crawled into bed, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I squinted at the clock in the light that came from the hallway. Only about an hour had passed. I could hear the radio playing from downstairs. All my anxiety had left me thirsty, so I crept down the stairs toward the kitchen.

“I only need twenty-five cents, Pa.” That was Tom, in the kitchen. I paused at the closed door.

“That’s fine, son,” Pa’s voice rumbled. “I already told you that the money’s your own.”

“Oh, Pa.” I could hear the eye roll in Tom’s voice. “This is all I’m goin’ ask for, ever. Promise.”

“And I won’t hold you to that promise. But I appreciate it. I know your ma does, too.”

Part of me wanted to push open the kitchen door and see just what they were talking about. But there was something serious about their voices that held me back.

So I returned to my room and fell asleep again. Eavesdropping had made me forget about my thirst and I slept good the whole night.

/

As soon as I woke up, I remembered that it was Christmas day.  I ran to the mantel and tore down my stocking. Tom’s was still hanging there, which puzzled me, because when it came to Christmas he was just as excited as me. He wouldn’t still be sleeping.

After I found the candy, the nickel, and the hair ribbons in my stocking, I asked Ma about Tom.

“He’s out an errand,” she said, a funny smile on her face.

I made a face. “An errand? On Christmas?”

“Eat your breakfast now,” she said, pushing a plate of pancakes in front of me. Pa smiled at me across the table.

I was halfway through the pancakes when the kitchen door opened and shut. Ma left the table and I could hear her and Tom talking in the kitchen. Then he came into the dining room. He still had his boots and coat on and was tracking snow everywhere. I expected Ma to scold him, but she didn’t.

He came and stood by me and dug into his coat pocket.

“Merry Christmas,” he said, handing me a tiny box.

I didn’t breath for a moment. I knew what came in this kind of box.

I got it open and stared. There, nestled on a tiny bed of velvet, sat a gold ring studded with five rubies. “Oh…” I whispered.

“I had to ask Mr. Mitchell to open up the store special so I could get it,” Tom said, the words spilling out of him in a kind of happy breathlessness. “At first he wasn’t too happy, but once I explained, he got the store keys real quick and sold me the ring.”

I looked from the ring on my finger to Tom.

“Thank you, Tom! Thank you so much.” And then I hugged him, even if it did embarrass him for forever.

“Well, you deserved it,” he said. “You should’ve won that prize, Tag-along.”

I was about to get mad again when he grinned and then I could see the mischief in his eyes. But seriousness, too. He really thought that I should have won and he got me this ring because of it and he didn’t mean anything bad by calling me ‘Tag-along’.

Joy welled up in me. I had the ring and, more importantly, I had my brother back.

It was the best Christmas ever.

THE END

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What did you think??? (And do you like the cover – I made it myself because Canva is awesomeness.)  Tag-Along was inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, and Flipped.  Mainly the tone of all three, y’know?  And I listened to a bunch of fun, upbeat 1930s songs while I wrote it – I hope that translated into the story!

Merry Christmas, everyone. ❤

Eva