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R.P. Dahlke

To the moms at Thanksgiving


Here’s to all the moms who decorate the house, roast the turkey, set the table, welcome family and friends to enjoy a beautiful meal and never once let the the sorrow show through because war, cancer, car and airplane accidents, drug over-doses, or genetic diseases took our children from us too soon.

I know you, I know where you are this time of year, looking at the place where your child  would’ve sat, waiting for his or her favorite cut of the turkey. We carry on, drawing on silent reserves because we’re strong women who… Continue reading

A Dangerous Harbor excerpt


The sergeant,carefully ignoring anything that might keep him from his appointed task, plopped a size too-large policeman’s cap on his small head, scuttled around to the driver’s side, got in, put the car in gear and pulled out into the thick
afternoon traffic.

Katrina glanced back at Gabe, taking in his sun bleached hair flopping over the aristocratic forehead and sighed. The man actually had the audacity to look hurt.

She turned around and stared out the window, noticing the sergeant’s driving was typical for Mexico—tapping his brakes lightly at every stop sign, then speeding through, all… Continue reading

I got to thinking about Maps


I got to thinking about maps. Folded, they’re a tight bud of opportunity, all those tempting colorful dots, waypoints, destinations and the intersections between.

What would your life be like if you could do a Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Go here, or turn there? Are these obstacles keeping you from your true destination or are they opportunities for something new? How many times have you passed a turn-off to a tree-lined country road and wished you could have had the time to take that road and find where… Continue reading

A Dead Red Heart, Excerpt


“Dad?” I called, pounding the dust off my boots on a rug. Since a fire last year nearly wiped out me, my dad, my goddaughter, Maya, and the house, I now wipe my feet on a rug before walking over his newly refinished floor. A dark burn still stains the oak‐planked floor where beams crashed  down, but dad, whose odd sense of timing never fails to amaze me, says he likes it that way.

Following the sound of the blender into the kitchen, I jiggled the pharmacy bag under my dad’s nose.

He turned off the… Continue reading

Shaken, Stories for Japan Earthquake Relief


Twenty-one authors accepted the challenge set down by Tim
Hallinan: write a short story that would be one part book, one part gift of time—which
by the way, is no mean gift. These are professional authors with deadlines of
their own to meet, the Japanese culture not necessarily part of their
repertoire. And yet,  Cara Black, Dale
Furutani, Brett Battles, Dianne Emley, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Rosemary Harris,
Debbi Mack, Jeffrey Siger, Adrian McKinty, Naomi Hirahara, Vicki Doudera, Tim
Hallinan, Ken Kuhlken, Kelli Stanley, Wendy Hornsby, Stefan Hammond, Gary
Phillips, Jeri Westerson, CJ. West and IJ Parker… Continue reading