Pulitzer Prize nominee Marian Rizzo has written five contemporary novels and two biblical era novels in additon to her non-fiction and inspirational writing. She’s been a journalist for twenty-five years with the Ocala Star-Banner Newspaper, part of the Gatehouse Media Group. Now retired, Marian has continued to work with the Star-Banner as a correspondent. She’s won numerous awards in journalism, including the New York Times Chairman’s Award and first place in the annual Amy Foundation Writing Awards.
Marian lives in Ocala, Florida, with her daughter Vicki who has Down Syndrome. Her other daughter, Joanna, is the mother of three children. Grandparenting has added another element of joy to Marian’s busy schedule, which includes workouts five times a week, lots of reading, and lunches with the girls.
March 4, 1918
An army cook at Fort Riley, Kansas, reported to the infirmary with a temperature of 103.1 F.
Within two days another 521 men became sick. It is one of the first recorded outbreaks of what came to be known as the Spanish flu.
Approximately one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths is estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
Living in the country, we fared better than those who lived in crowded conditions in the big cities. We were like one big, happy family, living in different houses. We held barn raisings, outdoor festivals, and church picnics. You might say we lived in our own little Shangri-La. But at last the plague of 1918 found us too, and that silent killer was about to drag us into hell.
Marian Rizzo is a gifted storyteller, whether it be for news reporting or fiction. She has a keen eye and ear from the intricacies of a story, which translates into very powerful narratives. Marian can turn the mundane into the magnificent through the masterful weaving of character, context, and scene-setting.
– Susan Smiley-Height, Long-time News editor
Also by Marian Rizzo
Silver Springs, located in central Florida, is perhaps the best known natural artesian spring in the world. A grand natural wonder of the world on par with Niagara Falls or the mighty Mississippi River. Easily the largest spring in the world, Silver Springs boasts long-term average measured flows of more than 500 million gallons per day.
Dorothy glides past me with an armload of my stuff. She doesn’t pause to ask my opinion, just tosses my personal things into whatever box fits her whim. Or she feeds my precious treasures into the trashcan. Then she moves on as if I’m not even here. As each item leaves my daughter’s hand, I travel back to another time and place.
The first patients arrived: Numbers One and Number Two – the impersonal numbering system designed to keep the staff from getting emotionally involved. If the project continued longer than planned, there would be no hope for Numbers One and Two, or for any of the other unsuspecting test subjects who might stumble into Muldovah.
In Search of
“It’s a simple assignment, really, with some long distance travel involved. You’ll fly to Ephesus and spend a couple of days doing on-site research, then you’ll head to the Isle of Patmos.”
Julie bit her lower lip. “The island where the Apostle John was supposed to have been exiled? Why?”
“There have been reports from credible witnesses that John might still be there waiting for Jesus to return. I want you to find him.”
Julie Peters could barely contain the heady euphoria that enveloped her. She was newly engaged to Mark, the love of her life. Her human interest news story had been picked up by Great Destinations Magazine, and an incredible job offer followed. Now, she found herself on assignment in Cross Creek, Florida, walking in the footstep of her literary heroine, American novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
O Holy Night
We sing the lyrics. We love the music. But are we merely mouthing empty words and vain repetitions? Are we just humming the tune? Or do we honestly think about the underlying message?
O Holy Night
“How do you feel about demonic activity? Do you think it’s real, or fantasy?”
Mitch thought it a strange queston. He narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I mean do you believe in another realm, even though you can’t see it?”
“I don’t know what you’re driving at, Mister Garby.”
“I’m asking you is, are you prepared to do battle with the devil himself, if necessary?”