Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #ShortStory – Empty Promises by Amanda Reilly Sayer

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the first post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This first post is in response to Diana Wallace Peach’s speculative fiction monthly challenge, and this was a great prompt.

Empty Promises by Amanda Reilly Sayer

The following tale is my response to this month’s speculative fiction writing prompt posted by D. Wallace Peach. Link to her original post here.

Pixabay Image by Brigitte Werner

My quest for self improvement began with good intentions. But you know what they say about that. And they – whoever they are – were right, at least in my case.

The beginning was unremarkable, certainly not a decision with any associated labor. I saw the ad for the Promise, a new innovation in body art, and suddenly understood the answer to a question I hadn’t consciously asked. I’d been unhappy, but resigned. Until I saw myself in the Promise, the promise of how I could be.

Maybe it will sound strange to you. But when I saw the picture – the photo of who I could be – I filled with a previously unfamiliar sensation. My usually hollow emotional chambers near burst with the possibility of that golden body, the gleaming key to my betterment. After even a small taste of that feeling – that fullness – I would have paid any price for more. I was hooked from the start.

During our free consultation, my body artist – BA – left no doubt about the prospect of a better life. The results were guaranteed if the program was followed as prescribed. My decision to proceed was cemented by the described ease, the transformation by an artistic hand, the assured certainty I’d never known from my self-directed choices.

After my initial sessions with my BA and her team, I felt great. The body sculpting was painless and easy as advertised, a combination of well-numbed injections and muscle stimulation. All while I rested on the softest leather chair I’d ever touched. From the the water packaged in slim glass bottles to the sound system that could intuit music preferences, everything was top of the line, sleek, sexy. The perfect mirror for what I was becoming.

The effortlessness it took to achieve my new body was almost too good to be true, but the results spoke for themselves. People immediately looked at me differently. I felt desired and physically attractive for the first time in my life.

Please understand, I only wanted what anyone does. To feel better. To be better. You can understand that, can’t you? I wasn’t a greedy or vain person. Not then.

I might not have needed the additional embellishments – the gold plated forearm, the decorative filigree – but I didn’t know enough to say no. Well, that’s not completely true. I didn’t want to say no. Eventually, I always wanted more.

When the old feelings of self-hatred and emptiness returned, I felt confused, then cheated. Until I called my BA to schedule another procedure. That always helped, at least a little, before it stopped helping at all.

Ultimately, I stopped feeling even momentarily whole no matter what we did to my body. Very possibly, I felt more empty and alone than before I’d started my quest. No matter how I appeared on the outside, the aching hollow inside always returned, magnifying the pain of my unhealed wounds. The loud echo mocked me.

Because here’s one thing I discovered too late: No matter how good an external change feels at first, it doesn’t last if there are no internal changes to match.

I guess didn’t realize being admired wouldn’t feel the same as being loved. I’d thought once people started looking at me, they would really see me, want to know me. But they only seemed interested in the parts of me that weren’t real and I’d lost track of what was.

When I shared my dysphoria with the BA, she seemed unconcerned. Rather, she was pleased to offer me an experimental procedure she called a mood and personality upgrade. There was talk of a brain implant with external mood dial, something I barely understood and would have never considered at the outset. But by then, I would have agreed to anything, anything to feel better.

At what point had my good intentions crossed an invisible line to the point of no return? Many things seem obvious in hindsight, but even now I can’t say when I knew I was in trouble. There were signs along the way, warnings I suppose. But I dismissed them. When my friends and family expressed concern, I decided they were jealous, if not narrow minded.

In the midst of my quest, I only saw the gold possibilities of a body that had previously eluded me, a shell to protect me from the cruelty of rejection and self-loathing I had endured in the past. How could I have known the reality would never quite match the promise of possibility? That the key wasn’t in the armor, but in healing the wounds beneath.

I suppose I understand that now, even if it’s too late to peel back the grotesque mask I traded for my humanity, the failed brain implant. And let’s face it: knowing is different than doing. Just this morning, I noticed my shirtless belly roll over the top my boxers and caught myself itching for another upgrade. I can make no promises to either one of us. I’ve broken too many already. The craving for more hasn’t left me, despite all the unfulfilled promises and new insights.

My story is a cautionary tale. Perhaps you’ll listen, though I’ll understand if you don’t. I didn’t listen to the people who tried to warn me. Still, if I can help even one of you reading this, maybe there is still hope. Maybe one of you will be spared my fate, then help me find my way back.

©Amanda Reilly Sayer 2019

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda


Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Open House – Author Bokerah Brumley

smorgasbord open house twoWelcome to this week’s Open House and my guest this week is a speculative fiction writer from West Texas. Bokerah Brumley. Despite living on ten acres, with five home-educated children, four peacocks, three dogs, two cats and her husband, still manages to find time to write. Apart from contributing to some excellent short story collections, Bokerah has also written Cold Water Bridegroom, more about that shortly.

Bokerah admits to being addicted to Twitter pitch events, writing contests and social media in general.. She has three urban fantasy novellas due for release in 2016 and will tell us more in her WIP.

If all of that was not enough to fit in during her busy week, Bokerah is also the Publicity Officer for the Cisco Writers Club.

Before Brokerah tells us more about her life, writing, favourite television and recipes, let’s take a look at her work so far.

cwb-bb-cover (1) (501x800)

About the book

Calder Brumen grew up in San Francisco, and he’s always been drawn to the ocean. He’s spent his life capturing the beauty of the Pacific on canvas. Over time, he’s grown obsessed with painting the image of a dark haired mermaid named Gaire, and Calder struggles to explain his devotion to these portraits to his best friend. When Calder finds sandy footprints leading to the edge of his bed, he suspects that the haunting siren is real. In pursuit of the truth, Calder is dragged into a murderous, underwater plot that could destroy them all. And he must choose – is the possibility of a lifetime with Gaire worth risking death for himself and everyone he loves?

One of the reviews for Cold Water Bridgegroom

Vivid and Enchanting!  By ADraeger on August 4, 2015  Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
B. Brumley has done an amazing job with Cold Water Bridegroom. Her descriptions are lush, her characters feel as real as you and I, and before you know it, you are caught blissfully in the undertow of this story. From the shack of a painter whose heart longs for a woman who doesn’t…shouldn’t…exist…to the depths of the Pacific, where an ancient society of merfolk have lived for centuries, you follow along with Brumley as she weaves a story of fated lovers, best friends who are close enough to be brothers, and a lurking danger that hides behind a pair of seductive eyes, who threatens to extinguish the light of good that glows beautifully in this book. While I must admit that clean reads are not my normal fare, Brumley had me competely ensared. Grab this book as quick as you can. Highly recommended!!!

Some other books that Bokerah has contributed to.

Seasons Vol 1 - Final

Seasons – A Multi-Genre Story Collection – Volume One.  Free until June 2016

About the Anthology.

Nine New Stories in Six Popular Genres. Whether you enjoy mystery, romance, fantasy, or paranormal, this collection has something for you. Contributing authors are Debbie White, Jeffrey Collyer, Marla Bradeen, Bokerah Brumley, Lea Doue, Michelle Bolanger, Ava Mallory, Myra Kendrix and Lisa B. Thomas.

Escape into this seasonal-themed short story collection. In this flinch-free fiction set, every featured story is proud to be a clean read, free from harsh language, sex, and graphic violence. This collection is only available for a limited time until the end of June so read it now while you can!
Free until June 2016 – Amazon (universal):

enchantedEnchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection: 9 Faerie Romance & Fantasy Fairy Tales; Urban Fantasy, YA Fairies, Fractured Fairy Tales, Sweet Fae Romance, and Paranormal Boxed Set Kindle Edition

About the Collection
One spellbound night, nine award-winning and Amazon best-selling authors joined together to bring you an enchanting collection of tales featuring our favorite otherworldly creatures, fairies. Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection will seduce you into the wondrous world of the fae with magic, romance, fantasy, adventure, fairy tales, and folklore. Get ready to be beguiled by a unique boxed set with fractured fairy tales, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi adventure, and more. This captivating collection is certain to please anyone who loves magical realism and fairy stories.

Buy the collection: Amazon

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Woe for a Faerie, is the story of Woe, a fallen angel that struggles to find her purpose after losing her wings. A buff Fae fellow saves her from freezing to death in Central Park and promptly decides she’s his. Meanwhile, Woe meets Jason, a priest that isn’t quite what he seems. I like to think of it as City of Angels meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Buy Bokerah’s books at Amazon:

Further information and buy links via Bokerhah’s  Website

Now I will hand you over to Bokerah to tell us about her books, favourite television, recipes and work in progress.


Welcome Bokerah and perhaps you could tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

I love speculative fiction. I write science fiction (including a steampunk novelette), urban fantasy, paranormal romance, alternate history. I write clean, so I lean toward young adult, but all of my work features women/girls as strong, independent characters. It didn’t dawn on me until Summer 2015 – when I had a flash fiction make it to the shortlist with Mash Stories – that *I* could write science fiction. I could fill the strong woman void. My paranormal romance, Cold Water Bridegroom, is written from a male point of view, but the haunting mermaid he dreams of isn’t looking for a knight. He’s more the “dude in distress,” as it were.

I’m spec fic through and through. I just love the possibilities in the question: “What If?”

What is your favorite all time television series?

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m a sucker for Jonathan Frakes (#TeamRiker). I would love to meet him someday. I don’t ComicCon much, so I doubt it ever happens, but it’d be incredible to meet the whole cast. It’s on my bucket list. I’m also working on a science fiction novel called Four Winds from a Tempest. I’m taking a long time to get it right. It’s my baby, and it has a Firefly feel. *wink, wink* Guess what other shows I like.

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favorite musicians?

Oh my goodness. I’m so moody and all over the place with my music tastes. Lately, when I’m writing SciFi, I’ve been listening to Lindsey Stirling’s 2012 self-titled album or Ellie Gouldings’s Halcyon Days. When I’m working on my urban fantasy, I’ve been listening to Sarah McLachlan’s album Mirrorball or the soundtrack to the movie, City of Angels.

 If you cook do you have a signature dish that everyone loves to eat? Can we have the recipe?

Yes, I made this one up for a church breakfast. Plus, we have five kids, so we make big meals.

Decadent Second Breakfast
(Feeds one Shire-like family)

1 package Turkey Bacon
1 lb. Turkey Sausage
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. garlic powder
30 eggs
2 cups of shredded cheese (I use Colby-Jack)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a 9X13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. With a little water, brown the turkey sausage in a skillet.
Meanwhile, line the bottom of the casserole dish with the turkey back, overlapping each piece slightly. This creates the first layer.

Once turkey sausage is browned, add cream cheese, butter, and whipping cream. Cook over medium-low heat until cream cheese is melted. Add Italian seasoning and garlic. Mix well.

Spread this mixture over the layer of turkey bacon.

Break eggs into a large mixing bowl. Beat well. Pour over the first two layers. I usually have to beat fifteen eggs, pour, and then beat the other fifteen.

Sprinkle cheese over egg layer.

Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, and then carefully remove foil.

Return to oven and bake for another 10-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean. Cooking times vary.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

I’m uber-pumped to be participating in several anthologies this year. Release dates for two haven’t been confirmed yet, but these are the two that I can tell you about…

The follow up to Woe for a Faerie is Wings Over New York – out in July 2016 – with Cursed: The Beasts of Summer Collection. In it, our heroine, Woe, is tasked with locating a nocturnal albino peacock shifter that is haunting Central Park and sucking psychic energy from unsuspecting humans.

And in November 2016, I’ll release, Feather, and add another novella to my fantasy world. My main character is a baddie trying to go good. Readers will get the awesome-sauce introduction to the epic author-party that is The Hotel Paranormal.

Links to connect with Bokerah.

Thanks for joining us today to meet Bokerah and your feedback as always is welcome.. We would also be delighted if you could share and spread the word about Bokerah’s work.

Thank you Sally