Aya Walksfar, Author

Hard hitting, in-the-news murder mysteries

Reporters: Truth Tellers Or…?

BeautyWillPersist

Every time that I read headlines in the newspaper, I recall Sergeant Nita Slowater’s feelings about reporters. In Sketch of a Murder the protagonist, Sergeant Nita Slowater, doesn’t like reporters; in fact, she despises them. Her introduction to Dawn Samira, investigative reporter for the Seattle Times, reinforces Nita’s attitude.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
As they emerged from the car, she spotted a woman standing outside the yellow crime scene tape. A five-foot nothing blonde bomb that was roughly two seconds from explosion, if the hand waving and the foot stomping at the patrol officer told a true tale. Must be the reporter. They always act like the police should fall over their own feet giving them access to crime scenes. Arrogant asses.

After leaving the crime scene, Nita is told by her superior, Lieutenant Michael Williams that she will be the liaison with Dawn. Nita is far from pleased.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
“I don’t do politics and I don’t play ‘meet-the-press.’” She yanked on the snug lap belt and shifted her body away from him.
He slammed the heel of his hand against the steering wheel. “What’s such a big deal about this, Sergeant Slowater?”
Body stiff, she swung around to face him. “What’s such a big deal? Do you know why I got exiled to SCaT?”
He gave a one-shouldered shrug. “Governor Marleton didn’t think I needed that kind of information at this time.”
“I’ll tell you why—I slugged a fucking reporter and knocked him on his skinny, white ass.”

Still the lieutenant insists that she be Dawn’s contact during the case. Finally, Nita tells the lieutenant why she despises reporters.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
“I heard an undercover man was found dead when the doors got busted open.”
For a second, she closed her eyes then the images on the back of her lids forced them open again. “Yeah. My best friend, Ed.”
He scratched his jaw, fingers rasping against his five o’clock shadow. “What happened?”
She redirected her attention to the side window, watched the trees and bushes flash past. The memory hit her in the chest like someone hammering on a punching bag.
In the pre-dawn hours of that February morning, a drizzle of cold rain had weaseled its way down the back of her Kevlar vest as she waited for the go command. She’d been in the second wave to spread out through the blackness of the sprawling warehouse. Flashlight beams bounced off of stacks of boxes, pallets of crates. Barrels took up one large, roped off area. She recalled thinking how easy it would be for a sniper to pick them off. Only the first wave had night vision goggles; everyone else was pinpointed with flashlights.
Static nearly made the terse commands coming over her radio unintelligible. No need to answer. The office door loomed ahead of her, its pebbled glass bouncing the light into glittering fragments. The darkness looming all around them gobbled it up like a hungry beast. Head low, she reached over and twisted the knob. Locked.
Her partner, Ricky Day, held his gun in the ready position and tilted his head at the door. She nodded back. He swung in front of the door and kicked. The wooden jamb splintered. The door flew open, slammed against the wall hard enough to crack the glass in the upper half of it.

Even facing straight ahead she could feel the lieutenant stealing quick looks at her. The smells of that day wafted up from her memory. Technicolored pictures in her mind ran on fast-forward in an infinite loop, complete with surround-sound. Over and over. The coppery smell of Ed’s blood. The sour smell of a rookie puking. The echoing of the empty warehouse—empty except for Ed’s body still strapped to a battered wood chair in the main office.
The words clawed their way up her throat. “Those bastards tortured him. Cut out his eyes. Sliced off his lips and tongue and hacked off both ears.”
“Shit!” The curse exploded from him.
Her eyes darted toward him. Staring at his face, she felt the tie between them. Cops. In spite of their differences, they were cops. “Staub printed an exposé the day before—pretty much told them that one of our people was on the inside. No one could prove how he got his information, but the FBI agent working with us disappeared during the raid.” Silence pooled between them. She refocused her gaze on the roadside racing past the side window.
Miles later they ran into Seattle’s normal late afternoon gridlock. Taillights flickered. They coasted to a stop. Heat wavered up from the asphalt and mixed with the ghostly gray wisps of exhaust from the car in front of them.
“Dawn’s not like that.” His words hung in the stuffy air as the car crawled along.
She didn’t look at him. “They’re all like that, sharks without a conscience. All they care about is the blood, and they don’t really care whose blood it is.”

There is a segment of the population who believe that news reporters seek sensationalism rather than reporting objectively, and that such biased reporting negatively affects the information the general public receives about important events.
What do you think? Have you read about events in the newspapers or heard about them on television broadcasts that you feel are biased reports rather than actual reporting of events?
Do you feel that Nita’s attitude about reporters is accurate?

Don’t forget to get your FREE ebook copy of Sketch of a Murder and see if Nita ever finds a way to get along with Dawn.
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

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STOP! We Need Strong Female Characters

front cover artemis (One of my favorite book covers)
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

So here’s a quick questionnaire for filmmakers who’ve created a female character who isn’t a dishrag, a harpy, a McGuffin to be passed around, or a sex toy. Congratulations, you have a Strong Female Character. That’s a great start! But now what? Screenwriters, producers, directors, consider this:”

I decided to compare my books to this standard to see how my strong female characters rate: (also please remember that my protagonists are all female)

1.“After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?”

My strong female characters, even the secondary ones, always have a reason for being that is significant to the plot.

2.“If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?”

Even though some of my female characters—protagonist or secondary–are raped/beaten/kidnapped it is to advance the plot; not to advance a particular character.
Interactions in life are about the two people who happen to be in the same “story” as the other one. As in Street Harvest when Eleanor Hasting is kidnapped–she is in that position because of her personal beliefs.
I don’t create characters who primarily are there to motivate others. I don’t think life of a strong woman allows for that type of relationship, and all of my women are strong in their own way.

Street Harvest

3.“Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?”

NOT LIKELY!

4.“Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?”
Since my protagonists are female, I will answer this in regards to secondary strong female characters: no, the women I write about are complex, capable people who make mistakes, suffer and learn along with the protagonist who also suffers and learns.

5.“…or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?”

Dawn Samira, secondary/supporting character to protagonist Sergeant Nita Slowater, would really laugh at this one! Dawn has been called lots of things, but static is not one of them. She is Nita’s biggest cheerleader—as Nita is hers–but they grow together.

6.“It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?”

I love novels where the characters are not so much rescuing each other as they are growing together. These are the types of novels I write. Like in Run or Die when protagonist Jaz Wheeler interacts with supporting character Aretha Hopewell, both women come out better than at the beginning of the book. Learning and growing is a cooperative endeavor.
http://www.amazon.com/Run-Die-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00KV8BK5A

7.“Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?”

The only pride that gets shattered is the pride of the bad dudes! My protagonists and her supporting characters, kick the bad dudes butts!

8.“Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)?”

Even my hostage in Old Woman Gone, Grandma Greene at 85 years old does not sit back and wait for rescue. She acts on her own behalf and on the behalf of others.

“If you can honestly answer “no” to every one of these questions, you might actually have a Strong Female Character worthy of the name. Congratulations!”

Yep, I think my female characters rank among the most complex, significant characters in fiction.
To read the entire article from which this standard was copied, go to: (it is well worth the time to read!)

http://thedissolve.com/features/exposition/618-were-losing-all-our-strong-female-characters-to-tr/

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Sexy #Vampire Novels from #Mystery Writer

How does a mystery writer wind up writing a sexy vampire series? Isn’t that a bit far off the beaten murder path?
Yes, and no. In my writing, I adhere to a specific underlying agenda.
Sketch of a Murder2 ebook
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

front cover artemis
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

My agenda is to 1. entertain 2. enlighten 3. encourage and 4. empower women. Every novel I write must do these four things. (Those of you who know I am part Native American, probably suspected that there would be four–a sacred number–parts to my agenda! LOL!)

  1. Entertain: Every book I write–whether is a part of my Special Crimes Team mystery series or part of The Vampire Wars series or a stand alone literary novel–must first entertain the reader. Does it hook the reader? Can the reader identify with, and/or care about, at least one of the characters?
  2. Enlighten: What could possibly be enlightening about a mystery series or a vampire series?
    With each novel that I write, I attempt to challenge some long held beliefs or to bring some bit of knowledge to the reader. In Sketch of a Murder, Special Crimes Team, I shine a light on how the perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children all too often avoid prosecution or receive light sentences for their crimes. In Backlash, I highlight how ongoing violence and harassment is aimed at forcing women “back to the kitchen”. (I also highlight a practice among some police since 9/11 where they stop motorists and rob them of cash. True stuff! Read my past post on that. http://ayawalksfar.com/2014/12/03/cops-stealing-from-motorists/)
    In Artemis’ Warriors I explore creation myths and history from a matriarchal viewpoint rather than a patriarchal viewpoint. While some might feel this is blasphemy, there has been some evidence that matriarchal societies did exist in the far distant past. Granted this question is hotly debated. As is to be expected since no ruling class, including the patriarchy, willingly preach the history of the classes they rule over.
    We know from more recent history, that women have been largely erased from the historical narrative in many instances. Did you know that Margaret Hamilton was the Lead Software Engineer on the Apollo Project in 1969? (Follow this link to my Pinterest Board “Great Women” and see the Pin of Margaret Hamilton https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731188529025/ )
    Were you aware that Elizabeth Blackwell, born in 1821, was the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States? ( https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731181212469/ )
    If such recent history is missing from most textbooks, it is easy to understand why women’s ancient historical contributions might also be completely “missed”, or maybe deliberately forgotten.
    3. Encourage: Because I write of current issues, I validate those issues for women who are struggling with them. It is very discouraging for women to feel isolated; to constantly hear that what they are experiencing is only a figment of their minds. I bring issues forward so women know they are not alone; other women face these same issues. Some of the issues I write about in my Special Crimes Team mystery series are: women in the work place; sexual violence; age; and beliefs. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars, I explore what it means to love; bonding between women; female sexuality; and, sacrifice.
  3. Empower: Every novel I write must in some way empower women; therefore, each book has a strong female protagonist, as well as other strong female supporting characters. It is well understood that what we read has an impact on our self-image. If women only read about helpless women who never direct their own lives and are forever victims, then that is what we internalize. Women need to see females as capable, intelligent, decision-makers so that our subconscious minds can integrate that into our views of what it means to be female. In the Special Crimes Team mystery series, Sergeant Nita Slowater struggles through her discoveries about herself while trying to find killers and rapists. Her major supporting female characters are Dr. Irene Nelson, FBI profiler, and Dawn Samira, lesbian investigative reporter. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars series, Serena Longer struggles with her heart while fighting invading vampires who want to turn humans into blood cattle. Her major supporting female character, Alexis Night Runner, is also the cause of Serena’s soul searching about love.

Have you read one of the books from the Special Crimes Team series, The Vampire Wars series, or the stand-alone literary novels? If so, would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com !

UPCOMING BOOKS!
Beyond the Silence: Available for pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Silence-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01ADRQ0K8 Release date: Feb. 14, 2016 ecoversmaller (2) Beyond the Silence
Death by Dog, A Special Crimes Team Novel: Coming April 3, 2016! DBDCover(1)

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Death by Dog Ch. 1

DBDCover(1)
Death by Dog
Chapter 1
WEDNESDAY
When the cold rain stopped, the sun peeked through gray clouds and painted the horizon over Puget Sound in slashes of orange and red. Soda stepped out the door of the First Avenue bookstore as she brushed her thick chestnut hair away from her face. It fell in waves to the middle of her back. She dug a scrunchy out of the pocket of her faded jeans then fisted her hair and tied it so that it fell under the collar of her hoodie.
Mid-March in Seattle, Washington, breathed an early spring chill on the city. She flipped her hood up then zipped the sweatshirt and stuffed her hands in the pockets. Shoulders hunched, she walked briskly south. Before long, she left the restaurants and boutiques and shops that had pulled steel mesh across their entrances for the night and entered an industrial area that had seen better times. Warehouses and abandoned buildings with busted windows hulked in the darkening evening.
The sound of rough male voices drifted across the narrow street. Soda edged into the deeper shadow of a crumbling, brick building; its windows like blinded eyes stared blankly out on the littered street. Between the black jeans and the navy blue hoodie–pulled close around her pale face and with her white hands stuffed in her pockets–the shadows swallowed her form. Standing perfectly still, she listened as they drew closer. Eyes straining, she peered from her spot, trying to make out what swung between the two men.
A few street lamps–not yet vandalized–spilled watery yellow light on the dirty sidewalk and the green dumpster that squatted at the mouth of the alley across from where Soda hid. The men sauntered into the light. Soda squinted. Her heart pounded when she finally realized what they carried.
The body of a large dog hung between them as they made their way to the dumpster. They swung the body back and forth until enough momentum had built and then let go. The animal sailed over the edge of the dumpster and thumped into the trash. They pulled off their gloves and stuffed them in jacket pockets.
The hum of traffic from several streets away sang a muted song, but the men’s voices–harsh and loud–rode over the top of it. The shorter, thicker man dug under his jacket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He lit one and the ember glowed as he inhaled. Grey smoke drifted up toward the circle of lamp light, but disintegrated when a slight breeze puffed off Puget Sound. The breeze smelled of dead fish. “Damn, that was some sick bitch. Shortest fight I’ve ever seen.” Admiration sounded clear in his gravelly voice.
The taller, thinner man accepted a cigarette from the other man and lit it. “Short for damn sure. Only thing that bitch,” he jerked a thumb over his shoulder and toward the dumpster, “good for was a trainin’ fight. Can’t believe that other’n; not even two years old, yet. Man, I want me one of them dawgs.” He snorted a laugh.
A shiver ran up Soda’s spine. She pushed against the brick; the cold that seeped through her hoodie felt reassuring.
The shorter man shook his head. “In your dreams.” He finished his smoke then flicked the butt out into the street.
A cramp seized Soda’s calf muscle. Afraid any movement would draw their attention she clamped her teeth and pressed her lips together, willing herself not to move.
“What you think one of them dawg’s worth?” In imitation of the other man, the taller man flicked his cigarette butt out into the street. For a moment, he seemed to be looking straight at her and Soda thought her heart might stop.
The other man shook his head. “Way outta your league. I heard some of them cost as much as fifty big ones.”
The taller man shifted his attention to his companion and Soda sucked in a silent breath. “If I had me a dawg like that…”
The shorter man guffawed. “You wouldn’t know what to do with it. Them things are the devil’s own dogs. One of them would eat you up, bro. Come on. I’ll buy you a beer.”
They sauntered away into the dark created by busted street lights. Snatches of their words faded until only the hum of the traffic from nearby streets filled the air. A couple of minutes later, a truck roared. Soda shuffled to the edge of the cracked sidewalk and watched as a block north a large, dark colored pick up pulled into the street. She waited until she could no longer see the red of the taillights before she hustled across the potholed asphalt.
Hand on the dumpster side she let her head drop back until she stared up at the faded sky. “Why am I doing this? It’s not going to change anything. She’s dead, or they wouldn’t have thrown her away.” A lump swelled in her throat. She swallowed hard. Taking a deep breath, she tried to steel herself for what she knew lay in the garbage. With an exhale, she clambered up the side of the dumpster. Balanced on the inches-wide lip of cold metal, she stared down as the odor of rotted food wafted up to her. Pale light glinted off black plastic bags of garbage.
The dog had landed on top of several black bags. “You poor dog,” she said as tears quickened in her eyes. She readied to hop off the metal container then stopped. Holding her breath, she leaned forward. A faint movement caught her eyes.
Without hesitation, she dropped into the garbage and waded to the animal. One dark eye blinked slowly up at her. “Poor baby.” She eased down close to the dog. Papers rustled and a puff of something rancid reached her nose. She ignored it. Gently lifting the dog’s head, she scooted her legs underneath and laid the big head on her lap. A whine whispered from the dog. With light fingers, she stroked the dog’s face between gaping wounds. At least, the bleeding had stopped. A pink tongue slowly snaked out and rasped along Soda’s hand.
Even in the faded light from the street lamps, she could tell that the dog’s coat had once been a sable color, a mix of light brown and black hairs. Now a spray of drying and dried blood matted the fur with dark splotches. One of the muscled forelegs had been gashed and the muscle ripped open. The jagged point of bloodied bone jutted out of the skin. The dog had once been a beautiful animal with a well-built body that looked bigger than most German Shepherds that Soda had seen, but it was definitely a German Shepherd. She’d always loved the regal look of German Shepherd dogs.
Another shuddering breath pushed the dog’s ribs up and down. Soda swallowed back her tears as she recalled a lullaby that her mom had sung to her when she was young and had awakened from a bad dream. She petted the dog’s big head and stroked her side as she sang in a quavering, soft voice. Before she’d finished the song, the dog licked her hand once more, looked into Soda’s eyes and breathed her last.
Tears coasted down her cheeks as she wiggled out from under the dog’s head and laid it on a pillow of garbage. She reached out and stroked the still side. “Maybe you’ll see my mom when you cross the Rainbow Bridge, girl.” Jaw clenched, she struggled to her feet. With the sleeve of her hoodie, she scrubbed the tears away.
She had always loved dogs. Had one that had died a month before her mother died; a little dog shelter mutt, but Soda had loved Cindy. After her mother passed, she was glad that Cindy had died of old age first. She couldn’t have taken care of Cindy while she lived on the streets and she wouldn’t have left her dog alone with her abusive stepfather.
Fists knotted at her sides, she vowed that even though she was only a street kid she’d do something! She didn’t know what, but she would do something to stop those assholes from slaughtering any more dogs.

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7 Reasons Why She Didn’t Just Leave

ecoversmaller (2) Beyond the Silence
WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST LEAVE?
FACTS:
–Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among females
–1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by current or former partners every year. Between the years 2001 to 2012: 6,488 American troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. During those same years: 11,766 women were murdered by current or former male partners.
–Most females brought to the emergency room due to domestic violence are socially isolated and had few social or financial resources
–Threats to take away custody, to not allow the mother to see her children, to harm the child, are frequently used against women who try to leave domestically violent situations.
–Societal expectations have conditioned women to believe that any relationship failure is their fault, including domestic violence
–MOST domestic violence incidents are NEVER reported! Mainly out of fear and shame and conditioning that blames the victim.
–In the United States, a woman is beaten EVERY 9 SECONDS! That’s pretty scary, especially if you are one of the women!
There are many reasons a woman trapped in a domestically violent situation cannot leave that situation. THESE FACTS ARE REALITY.
In my novel, Beyond the Silence, I depict the life of one such woman—Barb Hensen.
If Barb is to escape her domestically violent marriage, she must be willing to walk away from everything in her life—including her daughter.
Beyond the Silence is the story of one woman’s tragedy, and her triumph. Though this story is fictional, the statistics behind it are FACTS!
no distance too far
In Beyond the Silence, Barb begins her journey to self-discovery and eventually to freedom, but not without help. In real life, women attempting to escape domestic violence need our help, too. Contact your local domestic violence women’s shelter to learn how you can help. Learn about the Wheel of Domestic Violence that keeps women imprisoned.
http://www.ncdsv.org/images/PowerControlwheelNOSHADING.pdf
Beyond the Silence is now available on Amazon and on Smashwords for pre-order.
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Silence-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01ADRQ0K8
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/606365

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3 MUST-MAKE #RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016

Usually, my first post of the month is my newsletter, but this is so important that I wanted everyone to have access to it.
New Year’s #resolutions are frequently the baseball bat we use to beat ourselves up throughout the year and most especially towards the end of each year.
PurposeAndBeauty
Even our broken resolutions; our unmet goals. Sometimes, it is to tell us that the goal; the resolution was unreasonable, unattainable, or simply not right for us at that time.
That isn’t to say we should blow off our resolutions or the goals we set. Quite the contrary. It means we should ask ourselves why we didn’t attain that goal or keep that resolution.
Here are the three greatest resolutions everyone needs to make for 2016. These are resolutions that you will want to keep.
1. I will evaluate my own shortcomings, broken resolutions and unmet goals then I will forgive myself for those shortcomings, broken resolutions and unmet goals. I will see those mistakes for what they truly are: lessons that I can grow from, but need not keep beating myself up over.
Mistakes
2. I will celebrate my accomplishments no matter how large or small they may be; and, no matter whether or not they are linked to last year’s goals or resolutions. I will recognize that all of the things I accomplished during the past year is important, whether it was linked to my goals and resolutions or not. Each accomplishment–from the kind words I spoke to an elder to the many books I sold–was part of the waterfall of my year; my life.
manydroplets
3. I will set reasonable goals and resolutions and list the steps to reach each one. I will not set myself up for failure and disappointment. Goals + Small measurable steps to reach them = Success.
no distance too far
With these three resolutions in mind, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!
To keep up with new events and new articles, subscribe to this blog and to the newsletter. Both email subscriptions must be made if you want to receive both the blog notifications and the monthly newsletter. I look forward to having you as part of my 2016 TRIBE!
Run over to http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK to find all of my books.
OR go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar to find my books in epub (NOOK); mobi (Kindle) or as pdf.
ABSOLUTE LAST DAY TO GET #FREE AND DISCOUNTED #EBOOKS!

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HOLIDAY PLANS!

geralt candle lite evening May love and joy be with you and yours during the Holiday Season! –aya walksfar
In the spirit of #Christmas and the upcoming #holidays, I asked the members of the Special Crimes Team about their plans for the day.
–Lieutenant Williams and his wife, Dr. Irene Nelson will be playing Santa and Mrs. Claus at a hospital ward for children.
boy child xmas petra k.
–Sergeant Nita Slowater and her fiancée, Dawn Samira, plan to help Grandma Merlie Greene host a family and coven get together during the holidays. They will be celebrating Winter Solstice on December 21 with drumming and chanting with Grandma Greene’s coven. On December 25, they will open presents and have Christmas dinner with family and friends who follow the traditions of Christianity. And finally, on December 26 they will begin the Kwanzaa celebrations, an African American tradition.
–Detective Frederick Albert: politely declined to share his plans.
–Detective Maizie O’Hara: will visit her #family and extended family where there will be a lot of singing, eating and gift giving starting on Christmas Eve (her and her girlfriends will be up all night wrapping last minute presents and eating cookies and waiting for Santa) and everyone will wander back to their own homes on the evening of December 25.
–Officer Juan Rodriquez: will visit his brother who is currently serving time for murder in Walla Walla.
–Officer Driscoll Mulder: will be hosting a Christmas Day feast for homeless gay and lesbian youths, “and any other homies who wanna show up” at his house.
–Ronald Arneau: will spend a quiet day with his mother.
fuzzy xmas tree
What are your plans for Christmas Day? Would love to hear.
Be sure to fill those stockings with BOOKS!
EIGHT of my EBOOKS on SALE at Amazon for 99 cents and two are FREE! Visit me at http://www.amazon.com/Aya-tsi-scuceblu-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

Though we are all hyper-aware of the needs of others during the holiday seasons, many food banks and other helping organizations that receive many donations of food, volunteer hours and other necessary items during the holidays, often limp along barely able to keep their doors open to needy people during the rest of the year. So, please, give during the holiday season, but don’t forget to give during the rest of the year, too. Thank you.
Christmas tree and boy photo courtesy of: Petr Kratochvil, http://www.all-free-downloads.com
Candle lite evening photo courtesy of: Geralt, http://www.all-free-downloads.com
Christmas tree with lights photo courtesy of: Anna Langova, http://www.all-free-downloads.com

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The Little Angel Who Couldn’t Sing: A Family #Christmas Story

candle in dark Be the Light in the Dark this Holiday Season.
The Little #Angel Who Couldn’t Sing: A #Family Christmas Story
Written by Betty Matney Edited by Aya Walksfar
Little Angel huddled, shivering and sobbing, in the shadow of a large bank of dirty clouds outside of Heaven’s Gate. Gusts of cold north wind tugged at his mud-spattered robe and tangled the feathers of his wings, forcing him to burrow deeper into his hiding place. He knew he should get up and go home, but he couldn’t face his friends. If it didn’t get any colder, he’d sneak home after dark.
Suddenly, he stopped crying and raised his head to listen. Voices drifted across the clouds. He curled into a tighter ball and lay very still. He didn’t want any of the angels to find him.
A deep voice spoke briskly. “I tell you I heard someone crying.”
There was a mumbled response he couldn’t hear very well.
Even closer this time, the deep voice said, “I know how happy everyone is, but I also know crying when I hear it.”
Whoever it was they were nearly at his bank of clouds. He covered his head with his wings and held his breath.
Big feet shuffled to a stop. “What do we have here?”
Little Angel slowly raised his head and peeked over the edge of his wing. His blue eyes popped wide. God Himself stood looking down at him.
Holding his long, gray, wind-tossed hair out of His eyes with one hand, He bent over and held His other hand out to the little angel. “Come out of there, little one.”
He lowered his wing and God pulled him out of his hole. He stood there, robe wrinkled and dirty, gold halo tilted over his right ear, eyes cast down. God knelt on one knee. With a finger under his chin, He lifted his face. “How old are you, little one?”
Little Angel mumbled, “Seven years old, Sir.”
“On the day when joy is almost tearing this old place apart, why are you down here alone and crying?” Gently, He wiped the tears away with the end of the green sash wrapped around His waist.
Little Angel bit his trembling lower lip to keep from crying again.
God twisted His head around and looked up at the other adult angel. “Aren’t all the angels practicing their singing for the performance tonight?”
The other angel looked flustered. “Yes, Sir. They are supposed to be, Sir.”
God turned His kindly eyes on the little angel. “Does that have something to do with why you’re crying?”
Tears filled Little Angel’s eyes as he nodded. “I…I can’t…” He sniffled and wiped his nose with the sleeve of his robe. “I can’t sing!” Tears spilled down his cheeks. “The chorus master said I can’t carry a tune. I should just fly around and hum, but I shouldn’t hum too loud.” He threw his arm across his face and wailed into his sleeve. “I don’t want to just hum! I want to do something important like everyone else!”
God sighed and pushed to His feet. He patted the little angel on the head. “Of course, you do.”
He dropped his arm and stared up at God. God stood there stroking His thick, white beard. Finally, God smiled. He reached over and plucked a few pieces of dirty cloud from the little angel’s red curls. “You go get cleaned up and meet me at the Pearly Gates in an hour.”
As he took off running, God shouted, “And straighten up that halo!”


Little Angel skidded to a halt in front of God, jolting his halo into a tilt over his right ear.
God reached over and straightened it up. “You look much better, except you seemed to have missed a few spots on your face.” God ran a thumb over the little angel’s cheeks.
He giggled. “Those are freckles.”
God smiled. “Ah, so they are.”
Little Angel fidgeted.
God chuckled. “Anxious to find out what you’re doing. Frankly,” God’s Voice got very serious. “I don’t know how we overlooked this task. It is very important.”
He lifted his chin and drew his shoulders back.
“Do you have your sack of stardust?”
He nodded and lifted the small, red velvet sack hanging from the robe’s tie.
God leaned over and whispered in the little angel’s ear.
Little Angel’s wings drooped. “The donkey? That’s a dumb job.”
God frowned. “Remember who the donkey is carrying, but the donkey is small. It is important that he have some help with his burden. Will you help him?”
He looked up at God with wide eyes. “Yes, sir.” Little Angel took off running towards a hole in the clouds that would let him drop to earth quickly. Just as he was diving through, God yelled, “And straighten up that halo!”


Little Angel stood on the side of the road leading to Bethlehem. Overhead a zillion stars shone, but down here it was dark and cold. He shivered and pulled his wings around himself.
From around a curve in the road the sound of hooves clip-clopped along the frozen ground. The small donkey staggered a few steps before he caught himself. A woman, wrapped in a blue cape, rode the small creature while a man with a staff walked beside them. The man walked slowly, now and then patting the donkey’s short neck. “What a brave little beast you are.”
The donkey’s winter coat was long and fuzzy and very black. Patches of white hair that matched the hair on its belly filled its long ears. It was young, not much more than a baby, really. And so tired that sometimes its nose dragged the ground.
As the three drew alongside Little Angel, the donkey stopped. The man rubbed its ears and stood beside it.
Little Angel walked over and placed a hand on its halter. The donkey’s big dark eyes lifted to him and then it groaned. “I don’t know how much longer I can go on.”
“I will help you.” Little Angel took the red sack from his belt and knelt. He dipped his fingertips inside. When he took them out, they shone with silvery powder. He swiftly rubbed all four hooves with the silvery powder. “Take a few steps and see if that helps. Bethlehem is just over that hill.” He pointed towards a small hill in the distance.
The donkey nodded. “I’ll try.” As he stepped forward, he added, “Your halo is crooked.”
He straightened up his halo as the donkey took the first short, slow steps. He twitched his long ears then gave a joyful bray. “My feet don’t hurt!”
Little Angel jogged next to the trotting donkey as it nimbly skirted the frozen puddles along the road. Very soon they reached Bethlehem. Little Angel waited beside the donkey as the man inquired for a room at inn after inn. Every place was full until finally only one inn was left. The man sagged with fatigue as he walked to the last door.
The donkey sighed as the man stood talking to the landlord. “I need something to eat and some water and a place to rest pretty soon. My feet are hurting again.”
Little Angel hugged the donkey. “I’m sure this is the place we are to stop. There’s a stable out back.”
He turned and looked at the woman sitting quietly on the donkey. Body bent with tiredness, she sagged as if she could barely stay seated. He was really glad she hadn’t had to walk. Turning, he gave the donkey another hug. “You are so brave and good,” he whispered to the donkey.
The donkey raised its black nose to Little Angel’s ear. “The woman’s going to have a baby. I didn’t think she could walk very far, so I had to try to keep walking for her.” The donkey sighed. “Did you know about the baby?”
He scratched the donkey’s ear. “Yes, I knew about the baby.”
When the man returned, he led the donkey to the stable behind the inn. He helped the woman off and spread his own cloak over her as she lay down on a pile of straw. After she was settled, he took the donkey into another stall to feed and water the animal before returning to the woman, his wife.
Little Angel sat in the corner of the stall as the donkey ate and then tucked its legs under it and lay down. “Don’t sleep too soundly,” he cautioned. “The celebration will be starting soon.”
He had just finished speaking when a baby cried. He rushed to the wall and peeked through the space between two boards. Eyes wide, he watched as the man wrapped the baby in a warm blanket and laid it in the manger next to where the woman lay. The man stood between the manger and the woman, smiling first at one and then at the other. The woman’s face shone with happiness as she gazed at her husband and then at the Infant Boy.
The donkey stood next to Little Angel, staring through the crack. “She’s had her baby.”
From far away and above them, singing drifted on the air. The donkey looked up. “What’s that?”
A grin stretched Little Angel’s face as he, too, looked up. “Those are the angels singing to the shepherds out in the hills. They are telling them to come to the stable and behold the Child that was born.”
He dropped his eyes to the donkey. “I have to leave now.”
The donkey nodded. “Thank you. I don’t know if I could have made it all this way by myself.”
He gave the donkey a warm hug around its shaggy neck. “Everyone needs help sometimes.”
As he flew upwards, the donkey called, “Hey! Your halo is….”
He raised both hands and straightened his halo as he flew into the night. In the distance, he heard the final chorus and, all alone, Little Angel began to hum. As he flew higher, his humming grew louder until, unable to contain his joy, he burst into song. In a loud, happy voice, and slightly off-key, he added his own heavenly welcome to the Baby lying in the manger.


Though I am not Christian, I post this story every year to honor my friend and Elder Betty Matney who Journeyed to the Other Side years ago. I know she would want to share her story will all of you; and since she Gifted it to me, I will say the words she would say–
Share this story with anyone you choose to share it with; make copies and give them to others, but please give attribution to Betty Matney.
With the holidays upon us, remember that books make GREAT gifts! This year why not give a book that can be read over and over? Biker Granny’s Motorcycle Philosophy is a book your family and friends will read and re-read. You can find the ebook copy at http://www.amazon.com/Biker-Grannys-Motorcycle-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B019APE7W2
And the print book is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Biker-Grannys-Motorcycle-Aya-Walksfar/dp/1505829690
Biker Granny wrap cover

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Human traffickers abduct children to feed a 35 BILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR industry. Children are raped, sodomized, tortured, murdered.
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What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men?
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