Carpe Librum: Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Here in the blogosphere, I have met some of the most incredible people. I read the words these people write and I learn. I laugh and I cry. I am left speechless, empowered, intrigued, and inspired…sometimes all at once. Some of these people have become very important to me and I consider them friends no matter where they are. When they celebrate moments of triumph I am lucky enough to be able to share in a small part of the exhilaration. It is, in a word, astounding.

Beth was one of the first bloggers I ever met. I was reading one of her blog posts and vividly remember thinking I loved her immediately. She was fun and feisty and there would come a day when I would realize she was nothing short of courageous. I don’t know exactly when I found out she was writing a book. She would be off the grid every once in a while when she was truly in the zone or in her own words, ‘editing like a mo-fo’. And then came the day. The day her book was done and ready to publish.


I jumped at the chance to read an advance copy. I went in knowing it would be good. What I didn’t know was how good.

Beth brought characters to life with a story that was nowhere near typical in the young adult genre. I found myself very involved in the journey with the characters especially Devi, the main character. She is real and believable, strong yet vulnerable. That isn’t always easy to do in paranormal fantasy. There is also a delicious heat between Devi and Baron, one of the secondary characters who, in true Beth style, is sexy as hell.

One of my most favorite facets of the book is how all of the characters have a part in the story and how beautifully Beth works through them to bring the adventure to its conclusion.

Beth managed to weave together a story with impeccable detail and then have it keep making sense at every twist and turn. Very often when I read a book that veers in a different direction the story becomes unbelievable and hard to follow. Not this time.

With the rich history and research so obviously put into the story, along with incredible imagination and writing, I was never disappointed and the ending tied up so wonderfully, BUT it seems to me it’s not quite over yet.

Thank goodness!

This, my friends, is a magnificent debut novel by Beth Teliho and I anxiously await book two.

In the meantime, here is a little gift from the author herself:

Allow me to set the stage: the curtain opens to reveal the main character, 18 year old Devi Bennett, who has the ability to channel energy from a specific tree. When she channels, she receives visions. Some replay moments from the past; other times the vision is a glimpse of something yet to come. Devi’s brother, Nodin, is an empath – he’s able to feel the emotions of others. In the following scene, Devi is channeling and describing the experience.

The massive oak tree towers above me from the far right corner of the yard. Thick branches dip nearly to the ground, like a giant’s hand awaiting a passenger. I reach up to my branch—the one I’ve used to climb it since I was five—and lift myself into its arms. The urgent energy transforms into soothing waves, twining through my fibers, entrancing me. My breath comes in short gasps, taking in what feels like clearer, sweeter air than before.

I’m lured higher and higher until I get to my chair, a forked branch that makes a perfect seat. I wilt into it, my cells merging with the tree’s essence. My arms and legs are the branches: weighted, powerful, rough with thick bark. Warm sap runs through my veins, and vibrations from the earth tremble in my bones. I reach up and feel my bark crackling, the warmth of the sun, and the undeniable, immense connection down deep in the earth. Anchored. Rooted. Part of something bigger.

The vision comes immediately.

I’m with Nodin. We’re young. He’s chasing me around the tree faster and faster. I’m squealing and laughing. He’s wearing long sleeves and a hat to protect his pale skin.

He almost reaches me, but I bolt toward the fence and lose him, sticking my tongue out and taunting him. His face gets red with frustration. He walks to the rock towers we built by the porch and kicks mine over. I start to cry.

Nodin doubles over, my sadness saturating him. He stumbles to my side to console me and I punch him in the shoulder. It starts to rain as he returns to the rock piles and begins to rebuild mine.

I calm into sniffles and give him a tiny smile when he shows me my tower is now taller than his. He hangs his head in relief, rain dripping from the brim of his hat.

Behind him a young boy and girl stand in tattered, filthy clothes. They are sad for Nodin, and although Nodin and I are soaked, they are bone dry.

My eyes flutter open and I bolt upright, shocked. I’ve never seen that boy and girl in a vision or otherwise, yet I’m almost certain who they are. I need to talk to Nodin. I start to climb down when thunder rumbles in the distance.

I cherish storms. I collapse back against the branches just as cold rain begins pelting my skin and nature’s symphony starts its slow march across the sky.

I will leave you with that little treat and highly recommend that you read Order of Seven by Beth Teliho.  It is available now for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on April 7, 2015.

You can also find Beth on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her website, Writer B is Me.


Burning Down the House

In a week where compassion is the topic on everyone’s mind, I was somewhat reluctant to write these words. This hesitation only lasted for a moment. You see, I write from my heart, sometimes my head has no say, and when I hear or read a story that shouts to me OUT LOUD I just cannot be quiet. If I have a strong reaction to something I feel a sense of duty to myself to let the words loose on the page rather than to allow them an opportunity to smolder and singe my soul.

The interpretation of these words will be left to the individual reader. Some will say it is about closure. Some will say it is about revenge. Others might even venture to the outer realms and consider this about compassion or lack thereof. I may come under fire, seeming a hypocrite for recently posting about non-judgment although I was referring to less despicable acts.

I guess we shall see.

I remember the story of  seven year old Somer Thompson very well. She lived in Orange Park, Florida, about three hours from where I live so the story was all over the local news. Making it more personal for me was the fact that my own daughter had just turned seven years old.

In October of 2009 Somer was walking home from school with her twin brother, her sister, and a friend when she got into an argument with another child, walked off ahead of the other kids and wasn’t seen again until two days later when her body was found in a landfill in Georgia, 50 miles away.

On her walk home she passed a house. In that house was a 24 year old predator, a child molester and pornographer, who lived with his parents. This piece of garbage was found in Mississippi where he was being held for charges in child pornography.

In February 2012, after being tried on 14 counts of molestation and producing child pornography, he stood trial for multiple charges in Somer’s murder. He would escape the deserved death penalty by accepting a plea deal. In exchange for not appealing the sentence, he will spend the rest of his days in prison without the possibility of parole. I personally hope, without regret, he is being served a special brand of justice.

This week I came across a news story that caught, and held, my attention. The home where he lived with his parents that Somer was lured into and murdered was in foreclosure and was purchased by the Somer Thompson Foundation which was started by Somer’s mother, Diena. She donated the house to the Orange Park Fire Department for training exercises.

Last week, on February 12th, as part of a live training exercise, Dieana Thompson tossed a live flare into the house and watched the house where her daughter’s life ended burn to the ground.

“I get to burn their house down,” Thompson said. “I’m the big bad wolf this time knocking down your door, not the other way around. It’s really nice to know that I’m not ever going to have to drive in this neighborhood again and see this piece of trash.” – Diena Thompson

I know this act will never bring her daughter back but I do hope it brought this mother some level of closure. To destroy the place where evil reared its head and took up residence may have symbolically destroyed the evil itself to some extent. But was it enough?

I can only imagine that there can be no greater pain than to lose a loved one, most especially a child, to disgusting and inhuman violence.

Actually I can’t. I cannot make my mind go to that place because I know it is much more terrible than the worst nightmare I have ever had. I know that if I give myself even a nanosecond to think about it the first words that comes to my mind are an eye for an eye.

I consider myself a rational and compassionate person. I know right from wrong and the thought of taking another human life is an abhorrent one. I can say the words ‘I could just kill you’ in the zero-probability sense because it just isn’t something I would ever really do. I cannot fathom what happens in a person’s mind that allows them to commit homicide.

Until I think, in that nanosecond, that someone hurts one of my children. In that same nanosecond, I can see myself becoming a real life monster slayer. I see red and rage and death.

A lot can go through my head in a nanosecond, no?

The reality is I would think about it. I might even go so far as to plan it. But would I do it? I can’t help but wonder.

I think about Diena Thompson throwing that flare into that house. Did she wish silently that her daughter’s killer had been inside that house?

I know I would have.

I am not an overly political person. I don’t have a passionate view on the death penalty. I also lean more toward the spiritual rather than religious. I won’t debate translation of the Bible with anyone as I don’t believe, even after years of Baptist schooling,  I know enough to make an intelligent argument. No statement in this post is being made to hit a political or religious target.

Here is what I do believe:

Some people endure upbringings that bring them to the blurred edge of human vs. animal. Some people are born with missing pieces that make them unable to control urges that bring them to the same blurred edge. Sometimes people cross that line and do things that no one ever has the right to do to another human being, adult or child. I believe that the people who do commit these repulsive acts should be relieved of their place in society with the rest of us. One way or another. Period.

I can find no compassion in my heart for this man or anyone like him.

My compassion lies with the Thompson family, and I wish them peace.

And to Somer’s rapist and murderer, may you find fresh hell every day for the rest of your life.