What is a piece of Paper


Paper. Parchment. Carta. Papyrus. These are among the many different ways to say paper, an invention that has arguably (depending on who you ask) made the world a better place. Thanks to the ancient Egyptians weaving strips of the papyrus reed together, even the lowliest amongst us can record their words for posteriority.

It is true that without paper much of history would be lost – after all, knowledge became extinct when Alexandria first burned. It has taken us years to rediscover what was lost on those precious scrolls. But, what does it truly mean to those of us that live day to day in a modern and ever more complicated world?

As an author it is my means of creation and communication. Painters use it to paint and readers to read. Some people roll it up and smoke it while others use it to wrap dishes on moving day. It makes great paper-mache for pinatas. Kids use it to make paper airplanes. The Japanese even use it to make delicate works of art called origami. All in all paper is a wonderfully useful tool invented by the ancient Egyptians.

As someone living in this world it also means so much more and less. Why do I need a piece of paper to tell me I am married to the man I love, my best friend? He and I both feel that it isn’t necessary to prove our love by obtaining a piece of paper made by man – a near decade together should be enough to prove that. Common law marriages have been around since time immemorial and were often used when a priest couldn’t be found. Yet others around us seem to think that we are temporary or nothing without it.

I know of couples that couldn’t stay together with a piece of paper and vows. I also know of couples that never should have gotten married in the first place. For one reason or another they went after a piece of paper that they didn’t respect and all the legalities in the world couldn’t keep them together.

While true that couples do grow apart, if a couple decides they don’t want to be together, that piece of paper will not keep them together. Just like a child can’t keep a couple together, neither can a sheet of paper.

What keeps people together is people and their love are respect for each other, not paper. People and what they want and believe are what counts. Just because you believe in something, doesn’t mean everyone else does though.

Reading this, you might think that I am against legal marriage. I’m not. I’m all for it when the time and person is right for those involved. My situation is perfect for me, don’t tell me it is wrong just because you don’t believe in it. If a common law marriage was good enough for Benjamin Franklin (yes the founding father – don’t believe me, Google it), then it is more than good enough for me.

If we want to take a historical look at marriage, lets use the Puritans as an example. They believed that a marriage was a contract between two people to care for and help one another that was separate from religion. I, personally, don’t need a sheet of paper to do that. I know where my heart lies and a piece of paper won’t change that. It can’t.

Traditionally marriages were used to make alliances between families or countries. More than one war was averted by an arranged marriage. People even married to keep crowns out of other peoples hands. They married to make sure children were taken care of and to lessen a burden at home. They married to share chores on a homestead. Very rarely were they about love. Something I am glad about for the modern age – I love that my marriage (be it on paper or not) is about love. Because love is what matters and nothing else.

I realize that for many people, religion states that marriage in a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple is the only way to signify that you are married before God – I won’t even get into the fact that in the time of Jesus a marriage was consummated in a church (ewwww). While I do not personally believe this to be true, I do respect your point of view. Note that I did not say that I don’t believe in God, I wholeheartedly do – those are another set of beliefs that I keep to myself.

What keeps my husband and I (as well as many other common law couples) together is choice. We choose to be a couple. We choose to communicate. Above all, we choose to love. A piece of paper cannot guarantee any of those choices being made. As human beings we can.

It is our choices that define whether paper is even necessary to a given situation. So why do so many people define a situation by something that isn’t necessarily relevant to those involved?

That is an answer that I don’t have. I wish I did.


What is a writer?


People often ask what is a writer. A writer is simply someone who has words in their blood and soul. They are someone who never gives up on their passion so long as they can tell the story that they have in them. So never give up on your dreams and always live your passions.

‘Tis the Season



We all know the holidays are upon us once more. Have you started decorating yet, or are you already done? What are you doing and who are you spending time with? Do you like to read? Need a book to gift?

How about one that reminds us that there is a reason for the season? Spirit of Winter is just such a book.

The winter beings have decided that Jack Frost has become too bitter. Towards that end they decided that he needs to remember the most important reason that winter is around. To do that though, Jack needs to learn one major lesson – to play.

Will this work? Will Jack Frost’s icy point of view thaw?

Find out in Spirit of Winter.

Remember the physical print copy is printed in double space format in order for people with reading disabilities to have an easier time enjoying the story. This includes people with dyslexia (something my husband will attest to). As Always,

Happy Reading

The Final Order


Hi all,

For this post we have gone back to Arthurian Legend. Here we have a different perspective on the court of King Arthur in its final days. That of his disgraced queen, Guinnevere.

In a hard chair on the balcony above the Table Round sat a stately woman in dark green brocade. No smile graced her face as silver began to weave its way through her reddish gold hair. No one sat on either side of her. On this day she sat alone with her noble head bowed, blue eyes closed in contemplation of her sad state.

It was only now becoming clear to her the price she had paid for her folly. No longer was she respected. She was a queen in name only.

After her treachery Guinevere had concluded that a return to the court was the best she could hope for. Her new position allowed Guinnevere to relish the unease on her detractor’s faces. She enjoyed watching their bafflement. For some reason that Guinnevere couldn’t understand, they were having trouble accepting the fact that Arthur would keep her as his wife. After all, they caught her breaking her vows.

That bothered her enemies the most, that they caught her. Guinnevere knew that there were several other nobles doing the same thing that she had done. The difference between them and her was the fact that they caught her. Her enemies knew what they would have done had they caught their spouses with another and they couldn’t figure out why the king wouldn’t do the same.

If Guinnevere ever reached her dotage, she would treasure the memories.

Ever since Arthur allowed her to return to Court, Guinnevere watched its key players closer than ever. Guinnevere brushed off the lessons of her youth and followed the instructions of her dame. She never thought that she would need the lessons that she learned as a child in Caledon.

Guinnevere was present at the last three sessions, and judging from what her ladies-in-waiting told her there was more happening than her husband knew. After the meeting scheduled for that day, she planned to tell him all. There was no way that she would allow the kingdom to fall any farther than it already had. Arthur wouldn’t allow it when he discovered her infidelity and she wouldn’t allow it to fall when Mordred was trying to commit treason. Trying was the key word because she highly doubted the boy could accomplish anything if he tried. She saw him try his hand at many things, all of which generally failed – unless his dame was at his side.

That day the knights were more restless than usual; especially Seraphim. On the few occasions that she had seen the Lady Champion, she was like a simmering stew pot ready to boil over. She had been like that for almost a month, and to anyone who knew her that was never a good sign. Most people found that it pointed towards a foolish idea of Arthur’s; more often than not, they were right and his ideas were foolish, if not plain stupid.

It felt good to be able to call Arthur husband and mean it. It had been far too long since she was able to do either. It simply meant that some things reverted to the way that they were supposed to be with time.

Guinnevere knew her husband was contemplating war against his nephew. The treacherous boy was attempting to destroy the Table, bent on Camelot’s destruction.

Guinnevere knew that his actions were partly her fault. There was no way she was fully to blame for it, but she readily admitted that the signs of war that were beginning to show were partly her fault.

However, Guinnevere knew that Morgause was more to blame than anyone else was. Guinnevere knew that if Seraphim had any ideas on how to accomplish such a feat, than the deed would already be done. Knowing Seraphim, she did but they were not practicable due to the amount of blood that they would shed; and everybody knew that you weren’t supposed to shed royal blood. Such an action would inevitably force Arthur into war and that was something that he did not want if he could help it.

Guinnevere, like everyone else, was unsure when the attack was scheduled. True, her sources weren’t as good as they once were, but they were better than most other people’s sources. After all, she was still a queen, and frankly, they were not.

The opening of the thick wooden doors to the great hall pulled Guinnevere from her wandering thoughts. Arthur walked in followed closely by Seraphim. The expression on the Champions face – or rather the absence of one – told the queen many things. None of which she liked.

Seraphim escorted Arthur to his seat and then took her own. The stiffness of her posture indicated that the meeting would be an explosive one, and at worst, it could spell destruction to all they knew. There were many spectators for that day’s gathering of the knights. All present seemed to know that it would be a very important meeting.

When Arthur took his seat, the noise in the hall ceased and silence reined for a brief span of moments. Guinnevere had the impression that would be the last time anyone in attendance would hear silence of that profound a nature.

“My knights, for more than a generation we have lived in peace. That changes this spring. For when the snows melt and the land dries, we march against Mordred and those who follow his banner.

“You know as well as I, more than a few of those with him used to sit at this Table. I regret that I must order you to fight against those that you have called friends and brothers. If we are to survive, I have no choice. Just as I have no choice in giving another unbearable order, one by all rights that I shouldn’t have to give.” There he paused and then turned to look squarely at his Champion.

“My Champion, I forbid you to fight in what is most likely to be our final battle.” Stunned silence followed his statement.

At the beginning of his speech, Arthur’s tone was grave; by the end of it, his voice was as hard as Excalibur’s steel. His tone told everyone present he and his Champion already had that argument and they were about to have it again – in public. Those knights closest to the two surreptitiously moved away from them. They knew what happened when those two argued and they wanted no part of it. Actually, they wanted to be nowhere near the danger zone but at present, they couldn’t leave so they opted to move further from the immediate vicinity. Even a small distance from the two contenders would offer a minor degree of protection.

“Milord, you cannot give me that order. To stand by your side in battle is my God given right as your Champion!” Righteous indignation filled Seraphim’s tone. Every member at the Table agreed with her – yet none would speak against Arthur. They were Knights of the Round Table, but they were not that brave.

None of them held any illusions of the upcoming battle. They all knew the caliber of the knights they would be fighting and they knew the likelihood of their survival was slim. They also knew that without her on the field they would have one less ally on their side. At least their memories would live on, hopefully not too tainted by her version of storytelling. Assuming that she decided to mention any of their names at all, that was.

All could hear the determination in her voice and all knew that this was one battle Seraphim was destined to lose. They only hoped she could accept what was likely to be the loss of Camelot. Because she was the one who had believed in it before it existed. She was the one chosen to see the dream die. It was a fate none of them envied.

“Nonetheless I am giving you that order. And as a loyal subject you will follow it.” All could tell he truly did not wish to give her that order but they knew as well as he did someone had to survive, and that unlucky lot fell upon Seraphim. For many generations the women folk had persevered in the face of adversity and they all knew if Camelot were to be remembered, she would have to carry the torch.

“I will not. My place is by your side when danger threatens. And there is no place more dangerous than a battlefield!”

“You will stay off the field and you will tell the world the wonders of Camelot or you will face my displeasure!” With Arthur’s last statement Seraphim’s jaw snapped shut. There was no one at the Table who would risk his displeasure. Not even Seraphim.

Without another word, she rose from her seat and stormed from the great hall. That was the last time anyone saw her in Court…

Born of Common Blood


The following is a one-shot background piece on an early book I wrote. It is part of a set of one shots about the goings on of King Arthur and his Noble Knights of the Table Round. This one happens to center on two characters one is my own creation the other is a mainstay in Arthurian Mythology. Sir Bors is the mainstay as he was on the legendary Quest for the Grail. The character of my own creation is Lady Seraphim, Champion for the King. I present to you, – THE TALE OF SIR BORS, A SWORD SWORN KNIGHT OF COMMON BLOOD.

As always,


It was nearing sunset on a warm summer’s day when someone knocked on the door of the little three room cottage. The villagers down the road didn’t visit the old woman that lived within. The village elders thought that she was off of her somewhat rusty hinges.

As for the children of the village, they were a different story altogether. They thought she was a bard. The old lady told them stories of Camelot. Of great Lords and Ladies. Even ones of knights in shining armor at tournaments jousting for a ladies favor.

She even told them of a time when there was no famine or war. When miracles happened as often as the new dawn, and good deeds were a knights daily fare with his lady’s smile as a reward.

The old woman gave a heavy sigh as she rose from her old wooden chair to answer the door. Her dark hair had long sense faded to white and her joints ached with the cold, but she was still as alert as she had been when she was a young maid of twenty.

Upon opening the door it wasn’t to find a child as she expected. Instead she found an apparent man of the gentry on her doorstep. His long white hair was tied back with a thong and his blue eyes were shadowed with the wisdom of age. The lines of his face spoke of a hard life lived with many adventures. It was obviously a face that spoke volumes to the right person.

“Seraphim? King’s Champion? Is it truly thee? Has my long search sought thee out,” the man asked. Relief was evident in his gravelly voice.

Seraphim, for that was the woman’s name, was shocked. Who was this man? How did he know the truth of her past? Seraphim had thought herself successful in erasing herself from popular memory.

“Who art thou,” she asked with a slight tremor in her voice that had nothing to do with fear and the frailty of age. While she may have sounded weak, you could almost hear the hidden strength that lay just beneath her surface.

“Do not you remember the Knight born of common blood,” he asked in a soft voice.

“Born of common blood? Bors? Could it possibly be you that stands at my door?” Confusion was evident in her voice. This couldn’t be Sir Bors.  He hadn’t been seen since he left on his quest to find the Grail with Perceval and Galahad. Rumors had abounded of his death for years now.

“It is Milady. Might I beg entrance into your cottage,” he enquired politely.

“Granted Bors,” Seraphim answered in the same tone. Bors walked humbly into her home. Granted her home was not as grand as the rooms that she had acquired at Castle Camelot but the cottage was comfortable and it suited her needs perfectly.

“Please arrange thyself to thy comfort. For I wager that our conversation shall last well into the next sunrise,” Seraphim told him.

“Indeed Milady. For we have much to tell each other,” Bors agreed. He spoke quietly as though he were afraid to disturb the memories she held. Bors knew that his friend held a temper most powerful and he did not want to be the one to disturb it should it be resting peacefully after all these years.

Even though his voice was quiet it was serene. Just as it had always been at court, where Arthur and Guinnevere had presided in days long gone. Seraphim thought she detected a note of weariness in his voice as well. If it were there it would be a first, for Bors wasn’t known to be weary of anything.

“Before we begin would you care for refreshments?” Seraphim’s tone was polite, yet her eyes shone with merriment.

“I’ll not turn it down if you’ve a mind to share your precious ale,” he answered her with a slight grin. For in times now past it was almost unheard of for the Lady Champion Seraphim to share any ale or mead that was in her possession. It was just something that wasn’t done.

Seraphim nodded her had as he went into her little kitchen. She returned with two wooden mugs and a jug of ale.

“Where have you been Bors,” Seraphim asked after she sat down with her ale. There was more than a hint of sorrow in her voice.

“I shall answer your questions if you shall answer mine, Lady Seraphim.”

“Name thy question, Sir Bors.”

“What happened Lady Seraphim?”

“It fell apart. Her Majesty took to Lancelot’s bed,” Seraphim informed Bors gravely.

“The stories are true then? The tales told on peoples lips,” Bors asked in confusion.

“They are, my friend. Everything from the betrayal of Mordred and Morgause to that of the king resting on the isle of Avalon,” Seraphim confirmed. Her eyes bright with unshed tears.

“How? Why?”

“I do not know. It was a combination of many things. The battle with Lancelot for Guinnevere shook the people’s faith in Arthur. Thus opening the door for the vile that was spread by Mordred and Morgause,

“Other than that I know nothing more,” Seraphim replied.

Bors grew upset at the news. This was not what he wanted to hear. Especially not from the only female knight of the Table Round. She was the King’s Champion! How could she not know hat destroyed the realm?

“How did you survive? You who were his staunchest supporter and protector, yet there isn’t a tale in all the land that bears your name or presence,” he accused.

“Tis not what ye think, for you see, I am still bound by orders,” Seraphim stated simply.

“How is that possible?”

“Before the final battle, during the last gathering of the Court, I was ordered not to fight in the final battle against Mordred.

“Arthur gave that ordered at the beginning of the gathering in front of every surviving knight. I was furious. And I let my anger be known by storming off after he explained his orders.

“He said that I was to survive so that Camelot would be remembered,’ Seraphim explained.

“In other words, he left the hardest task to you,” Bors clarified.

Seraphim nodded her head in agreement. “And you Bors? What happened to your companions, Galahad and Perceval,” Seraphim asked.

A look of sadness mixed with joy crossed his face before Bors replied, “They are no more Seraphim. Listen well and I shall tell thee of the holiest adventure of the Knights of the Table Round.

“Across the blue sea and the land of hot sands there lies serene a hollow hill. Within it stands a glorious stone Cathedral dedicated to our Holy Father. It was protected by a silent order of monks.

“Before we reached the Cathedral, Galahad joined the ranks of the eternals.

“Upon reaching the Cathedral Perceval and I were silently led to the bishop of the Holy Ground for he was the only one permitted to speak.

“He told us, Perceval and I, of how his ancestor Joseph came into possession of the Cup of Christ.

“And then we were told of Joseph’s long journey from the land of milk and honey.

“After this he bid us to stay the night. And to receive communion the next day.

“So we stayed in the simple quarters provided. And truly we intended to stay but a single night. But that night turned into many seasons.

“Finally one day I awoke for communion to find that I woke alone. For in the night Perceval had ascended the steps of heaven.

“On that day the bishop told me that it was my duty to return to tell the tale of Christ’s Cup.

“And so I returned only to find that Camelot was no more. Arthur and Guinevere were no more. And absolutely no one knew of the Lady Champion Seraphim.

“Seraphim, I am most sure that when you were charged with keeping Camelot alive in the hearts of the people you were not supposed to erase yourself,” Bros finished.

“You may be right but it was all I could think of so that they will remember the most important parts,” Seraphim replied.

“Could you not have saved Her Majesty’s honor,” Bors asked.

“I tried and tried true. But by the time I started ‘twas already too late. She had been condemned in the eyes of the populace,” Seraphim replied.

And so the two old friends sat there and talked long into the night. They talked of recent times and those long gone.

Come morning Seraphim knew she had more to add to the legend before she could take her eternal rest.

So when the children came the next day Seraphim told them a new tale. The tale told that day would forever be remembered as the greatest adventure for Arthur and his Knights.

It would come to be known as the Quest for the Holy Grail.

Teddy Bears


Do love stuffed animals? Probably so. There isn’t a teddy bear that can’t capture the imagination. Do you wonder what they get up to when you aren’t around? If so, then I have a book for you. It’s called A Bear’s Life.

Violet getting the eggs from the fridge.

Violet getting the eggs from the fridge.

A Bear’s Life is told by Mr. Cuddles. You’re probably thinking, “Who’s Mr. Cuddles?” I can answer that one for you.

Mr. Cuddles is a bear who has traveled the world meeting stuffed animals of all shapes, colors, and sizes. He has learned many things from the bears that he has met. One of those things is that All Bears Are Created Equal.

Many years ago a wise bear told Mr. Cuddles that the reason for this was because stuffed animals were created to love people and as long as someone loved them than everything was right with the world.

Now that he has settled down Mr. Cuddles has decided to try his hand at writing a book. To that end, Mr. Cuddles got a hold of my camera when I wasn’t around and followed two of his friends around.

Click the link for A Bear’s Life to see some of what two bears can get up to from the time they wake up.

This title is written in large font and double spaced for easy reading by all. A Bear’s Life is also available for kindle under the name of R. Stachowiak.

Why not let your imagination come and play with the bears?

Happy Reading