Hidden around us live stories we never imagine or expect. Our neighbors, co-workers, and acquaintances—even the strangers in our check-out lines—have stories to tell. In Northern California, the most talented storytellers among us have recorded emotional events and perceptive insights for this collection of stories we title Our Dance with Words. Their writing sidles alongside their personal themes and messages to waltz and twist inside the mind of every reader who dares to join their dance with words. These authors—all members of Northern California Publishers & Authors—are everyday people with the writing prowess to chronicle emotional dances, decades of longing, travel that goes awry, first-person accounts of history, and the embarrassing lessons of youth. They expose fears, joys, hopes, frustrations, sorrows, mystery, and laughter. When you are finished reading Our Dance with Words, you will sit in your chair, sigh, and understand you are not alone. The writers among us are telling stories that make us feel included in the steps, sways, and dips that make up the dance that is life. Authors, stories and topics include: Frances Kakugawa: “The Unfinished Dance” – Can poetry overcome the horrors of war? Dennis Potter: “Maiko and Jake” – Love has no boundaries, even in death M.L. Edson: “Ghosts” – Sometimes there’s no explaining what happened Kimberly A. Edwards: “Stumped by the Grump” – Where did that cat go? Nic Butterfield: “I Am Above” – An uplifting train ride across the sky Sherry Joyce: “Cozumel Calamity” -- Everything went wrong on this vacation Sharon S. Darrow: “Fragile Dreams” – Flying and the incredible power of words Joyce Mason: “Valley Girl” – Living life to the hilt in the Valley of the Shadow C.T. Meadows: “Legend of the Mountain” – Where did that help come from? Denise Lee Branco: “Keep Moving Forward” – Advise to take risks and step out Loraine Holden: “Machu Picchu” – A scientist learns to be open to other signals Thea Holmdahl: -- “I Was There” – The sights and sounds surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall Catherine Byron: “The Storm” – Charity and friendship nurtured under adversity Daniel Babka: “Two States and a Thousand Miles” – Adversity is not so personal anymore Norma Jean Thornton: “Sweets for My Sweet” – Merely sweets or a love poisoned? Nanci Ginsberg: “Gloomy Days,” and “Springtime along the Delta” – Short-form poetry Laurie Hoirup: “Identical Irony” – When twins trade places Jeff Parsons: “Girls, I’m Clueless” – Laugh along with the story of a first kiss Tom Kando: “It’s an Omelet Thing” – European travel? Nice, but it’s not all sunshine and roses Ellen Osborn, “Hercules the Mighty Hunter” – Oh, those mischievous cats Dänna Wilberg: “Not Fair” – The choices of teen friends have consequences Jill K. Yaranon: “Lost in the Pink” – A trail ride goes unexpectedly awry Matthias Mendezona: “Woodpeckers at Dry Creek” – Birds bring back memories of a rainforest William J. Blaylock: “Forged for War” – The storied life of a weapon of war