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Sample Sunday: The Phoenix Rises March 4, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in epub, fiction, indie, indie publishing, Kindle, new release, Sample, self-publishing, Smashwords, Writing.
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In 2010, while working at a company that handled a lot of digital media, I decided to learn more about how libraries work and see what about that might be applicable to better understanding the use of access, organization and storage of information in a digital age. Not in a position to afford to pursue a Masters of Library Science, I enrolled in the Library Technician program at Long Beach City College. With the help of one transfer online class in Introduction to Cataloging from Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington, I completed the program in May 2011.

Though I have yet put any of this information to use in a work setting, I learned a lot from my experiences. Right about the same point where I was laid off from my last job, inspiration struck to try writing a romance in a library situation using all I’d learned as reference. The result of those efforts is the new book, THE PHOENIX RISES, available at Kindle and Smashwords. Here’s an excerpt that also helps give insight into one aspect of the title.


The next morning, I came in to find Stern brought donuts. As soon as I walked in the door, he handed me two apple turnovers.

“A little bird told me I missed your birthday yesterday. Did I do okay? I think I remember you like the apple turnovers.”

“That’s right,” I confirmed back, again impressed at Stern’s attention to detail. “But remember there’s no sweet talking – or even sweet feeding – your way to a grade.”

We both laughed at the comment like two people sharing a private joke. Then I could feel that sense of a cold stare bearing down on me and saw a displeased Mrs. Farnham across the room.

“Keep it professional,” I reminded Stern, half reminding myself as well.

I loved getting Stern’s insights on new reference resources to add to the library. In turn, he would pick my brains as to handle to handle various reference situations in new and more effective ways. We really complemented one another.

One day, I gathered Stern’s thoughts on the importance of libraries to society when he was getting to do a turn shadowing me at the reference desk.

“Without the ability to understand history, and preserve history so that people don’t repeat the past, we lose our ability to not repeat our past mistakes,” Stern responded.

As usual, it proved to be one of his very well thought out responses.

“That’s a very good response,” I admitted. “Yet people seem to repeat history enough as it is, even with all this knowledge at their fingertips. Sometimes they even use that knowledge to make the repeats.”

“Can’t argue with you there,” Stern said.

“There’s also just so many other facts to consider,” I noted to him. “If we didn’t preserve all this information we wouldn’t have so much information retained about various cultures and how the meanings of things vary between them, to help improve cultural understanding.”

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Stern agreed. “Like the Phoenix. That’s one of my favorites.”

That got my attention.

“Why exactly?” I asked him. “I know it occurs in many cultures but I don’t know as much about the Phoenix as I’d like. I mean I’ve helped people look it up a couple of times and remember there have been various references.”

Since it was a quiet moment at the desk, Stern called up some various references he knew how to find on the subject. Again, I admired his memory, speed, and attention to detail.

“Many cultures embrace the idea of the Phoenix as a symbol of rebirth, and that’s pretty well publicly known. Apparently, well before the birth of Christ, people believed a phoenix took three days to transform from the ashes. Other people believe it to have been a kind of precursor to the Philosopher’s Stone. Incredible stuff.”

“So,” I asked him. “Why is the Phoenix so personally important to you?”

“Well,” he said. “I believe everyone deserves a second chance and a rebirth.”

I looked at Stern and analyzed him a moment. Such a profound statement for such a very young man, I thought. I wondered what else might lie below the surface. Mysteries like that just attracted me even more, because now that made him a puzzle I wanted to solve as well.  Then I would be the one to know all the secrets about him, giving us an even greater bond.

I practically chastised myself for thinking that. Seriously, no one owns another person, and if anything came of getting to know Stern it would need to be mutual. I’d just need to let the chips fall where they may.

Copyright 2012 Shannon Muir. All rights reserved. Do not copy without permission but feel free to link to this blog.



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