Review of The Missing

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The Missing is a perfect psychological thriller. As I read, I wondered when the confusion would end for Greta, and then there’s the other Greta, and the psychologists, the unending nightmare. And Alex. And Momma. If you love psychological thrillers, get this one on your list.

The Missing

 

 

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Over There, A short story

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Over there, where I was a second ago, lies a body. Not just a body. It’s my friend, Stacy. Only it’s not Stacy, not anymore. I’m not sure if she went somewhere, like heaven, or her ever being rest only in my mind. But, I can say with certainty she’s dead from the wide open stare and her expression of horror and confusion. Though, her lifeless eyes suggested nothing. It’s her mouth ajar in a cry, and a solemn why that tells her story. What’s left of her lay fetal, vulnerable… posed fearful.

I came out of a stupor staring at the cop with his weapon drawn. The same cop Stacy chastised for making us leave before dark. He had a scared look in his eyes as he scanned the park. I stood there waiting for… I can’t say. Maybe a part of me thought Stacy would get up, and we’d run together, create distance between us and the cop.

“Stay right there,” he said, kneeling next to Stacy.

“You killed her.”

He leaned over Stacy’s body and touched her neck. “Shit.”

I focused on Stacy’s journal a foot from where the officer stood. Her words were there, everything that happened to her, her dreams, our friendship, Joey. That’s how I learned about Joey. I told her Joey was too old for her. He had a driver’s license, and she was only twelve. Anyway, Joey was Stacy’s secret shared only with me, but now the cop will read her words. I didn’t want him to because they were private. But then again, it didn’t matter anymore, she’s gone. Besides, there’s another entry in her journal that occupied my mind. Stacy feared the police. She said they’d rob, assault, and commit murder. Her uncle Bernie was a cop, she said, and he told her stories about corruption. The cop will read our journals and kill me for sure.

He shoved the journal under his belt and said, “Come with me.”

I turned to run, not knowing if it was a good idea, he had a gun, I had my journal. What could I do with my journal? Cower feebly behind the six by nine soft leather pages of my life? Truth, that’s what I did, even tried to hide my face behind it as I took a tiny step.

The cop held his hand out, palm facing me. “No, no, no. Listen, you need to come with me.”

Car light’s flashed across the ground and a moment of hope entered my fast beating heart. I didn’t have to do as he demanded. I could run.

“Now!”

The cop stepped over Stacy’s body and reached for me. I stumbled back in fear as he grabbed my arm and pulled me close. A few seconds later we were behind a tree. I realized I was a witness to Stacy’s murder, and he hid me to prevent a witness to mine. Stacy wrote in her journal; they’d leave no survivors.

“I want to go home.” The cop pressed his hand across my mouth, my head against the tree.

Moments later he removed his sweaty hand. “What’s your name?” As if it mattered.

“I don’t have to tell you my…”

“Shush….”

Twigs snapped over to the left. Branches and leaves rustled. Someone’s over there, hiding in the bushes.

“Help!”

The cop forced my mouth shut with a firm squeeze. I kicked and wiggled my body. I believed whoever it was, they were there to save me. Who else would be in these woods after dark, but a hero, a concerned citizen who saw the cop kill Stacy. With only seconds to think out all the possibilities, one resounding conclusion came to me. I wanted to go home.

So I bit the cop. Hard.

He yelled, in a loud whisper, though, and then he released me. The freedom now scarier than being forced to hug the tree, should I run? He could shoot me in the back or chase after me, he could choke me, and I wouldn’t be able to breathe. For a few seconds, those fears held me to that tree until a loud voice trumped the myriad of thoughts in my head. It screamed.

Run. Now!

I forced my body away from the tree, dropped my journal, and raced deeper into the park with the cop’s metallic blood in my mouth. Visibility diminished in the darkness as I headed in the opposite direction of home.

The flight being my best chance, it didn’t matter where I ran as long as it got me away from the cop.

The sound of the gun blasted, followed by an echo. I kept running into the darkness of the woods. Tree branches whipped my face and flailing arms. Bullets whizzed by, close, grave. I spit the blood from my mouth as I searched for a place to hide before the edge of the trees met the river.

During my race for life, the woods developed a grave quiet. Not the sanctuary I imagined, thereupon I found loneliness to be upsetting. Of the many noises from insects, birds, and small critters, even the wind easing between branches, not to mention my breath. It was the silence of the cop, worrisome and creepy, that boosted my fear.

I slowed my breathing. Every bone in my body cemented in place. The slightest movement uncharacteristic of wildlife would expose my position. I heard everything and nothing. Where had the cop gone? A branch snapped. My body trembled, knees shook. The darkness I coveted earlier proved peril. I ran myself into a fifty, fifty chance of survival, likewise the cop of success. His steps were slow, methodical and raising hairs on my neck. I situated myself using a tree as a barrier. Wary of sounds, I eased forward to search for a silhouette of a man holding a gun when an arm wrapped around my chest and a hand covered my mouth.

“Be quiet.”

I recognized his voice and his scent, a commodity from the local dollar store, where most teens purchased cheap cologne. In agreement, I nodded until he removed his hand.

“Joey?”

“Come on, Shelly.”

He joined our hands pulling me along the path to safety. I squeezed his hand. Though, better described as a death grip because nothing could have pried me loose. We traveled alongside the fast flowing water of the river a hundred yards, then broke off southwest.

“We should go the other way, toward town,” I said.

“That’s where he’ll go looking for us.”

I went along with him. He was seventeen and I thirteen, he’d find a better place to hide. Right?  The path narrowed as we went, Joey maneuvered around the trees and rocks with ease. That didn’t strike me as odd, my mind told me the cop was on our trail and Joey was my liberator. I’d follow him off a cliff, or in this case, off the river bank.

The path opened to a clearing and Joey pointed to an old shack. “Over there.”

There was no way that shack could block a bullet. The structure had patches of wood planks covering holes. Joey nudged me to keep moving. I stared at the wicked fort. The building leaned to one side, the door was missing a hinge, and there weren’t any windows.

I halted and snatched Joey back. “Joey, it might fall on us.”

“It’s fine.” 

He grabbed my arm and led me to the door. I leaned forward and peeked inside. 

“I can’t see anything.”

He shoved me through the door. I stumbled inside the small dirt-floored space and cowered in a corner.

Before I could complain, Joey, stepped in and closed the door behind him. “Be quiet.” 

He must have hidden in the shack before because he seemed confident we’d be safe. Not that I could see him. The inside, darker than outside, concealed his demeanor. Regardless, I welcomed Joey’s presence, and besides, most of my focus lay peeking through the cracks in the walls, there a question remained. Where was the cop? 

“I had to do it.”

“Do what?”

“She wanted to tell her Mom.”

He paced the small interior. Something in my gut told me I didn’t want to know the rest.

“She refused to listen.”

The journal. Stacy wrote it in her journal. I didn’t have time to read it before we left. That’s why she was mad at the cop.

Joey slowed his pace as I leaned against the rugged wall.

“I’m sorry you’re dragged into this mess.”

“Joey, what are you saying?”

He dragged his right foot as he approached. As he drew closer he said, “I’m sorry.”

His ominous shadow towered over me. He fumbled for something from his pocket. Whatever it was it seemed to be stuck. I heard his feet scraping across the dirt, his grunts as he battled the item in his pocket.

“Joey?”

“Shut up!”

He’s going to kill me! There I was trapped inside, and I couldn’t run unless I got past Joey. I rushed toward him and grabbed his arm. He pushed me back slamming me against the wall. I bounced off and fell to the floor.

Joey managed to get his gun out of his pocket and he aimed at my head. At first, I squeezed my eyes shut, but he paused. Why? I squinted my eyes open in time to see him turn and face the door.

A bright flash accompanied the sound of the gunshot. Last I saw, before I blacked out, someone yanked Joey out of the shack. A scuffle, yelling and a concise, “You’re under arrest.” I lay there, fetal, wishing I was home. Then everything went dark.  

The door creaked partly open, and I opened my eyes to a bright light glaring through the

entry. I lifted my face from the tear-wet ground and used my feeble arms to push myself up on my knees. The light offered hope. I crawled and cried as I reached for the officer. “That’s it,” he said. “Take my hand.”

Our hands clasped. I rose and walked out of the shack with weak legs and a dry throat. 

“It’s ok. You’re safe now.”

There were people with flashlights wandering between the trees. I’m sure they were looking for me. Why else would they be there?

“Where did Joey go?”

The cop waved his hand to a group of police officers, “Bring a blanket.”  Then he turned and kneeled, “You don’t have to worry.”

“I thought you…”

“Was a bad guy. I know.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. It’s hard to tell the difference these days.”

He wrapped a blanket around my shoulders then picked me up and carried me, princess style. I glanced back at the shack.

Over there.

Ten years has passed. I’m twenty-three now. I finished school two years ago, then graduated from the police academy. Cal Hoover’s my partner. The cop who didn’t give up on me, even when my perception of him led me on a dangerous path holding hands with a murderer.

“Hey.”

“I have a name.”

Cal grinned as he approached, “I knew I’d find you here.” He glanced at the shack and back at me. “The one save I’m most honored with, Shelly, you ok?”

I sighed. “Yes.”

Relations between cops and citizens got worse while I schooled. Distrust and paranoia spread fast and infested a large population like an illness. I kept my head straight with memories of the night Stacy died, and of a good cop. I read the papers every day, out loud so Stacy could hear, and this week a shift emerged. People now realize the battle isn’t between cops and citizens. It’s between good and evil. Cal was a hero when he saved me, but the most profound were his words; it’s hard to tell the difference. It got me to thinking and I haven’t stopped.

“Did you forget your date with the kids?”

I elbowed him. “Nope.”

Every night, I visit a youth center and mingle with troubled kids.

“You know…”

“The guys at the station think I am wasting my time.”

Cal removed his jacket. “No, you’re beating the crap out of bad guys.”

He wrapped his jacket around my shoulders. For a moment there I thought he’d carry me, princess style.

“How am I beating them?”

“Those kids respect you…. The guys at the station? They’re fools waiting for the big gun battle that wins the war on crime. But, you had vision. You reached those kids. Your effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. The captain wants to see you in the morning.”

“For what?”

“Channel 7. They want to interview you. Parents are raving about you.” He smirked. “They called the news station.”

We stopped where Stacy died, Cal hugged me tight. “I tried to save her.”

“I was there.”

Cal grinned. “Concerning the young man you’re dating.”

I palmed his chest. “Cal, my dating life is not your business.”

“Did you run a criminal background on him?”

“No. Cal. We’re not talking about this.”

He jogged ahead. “I got it.”

“Got what? Cal, don’t you dare!”

I glanced up at the trees, then at Stacy standing at the path, smiling.  I tucked her journal under my belt and faced Cal. He had the phone to his ear. Is he calling for the background check?

“Cal!”

He held his hands out, palms up, “Just kidding.”

I ran to him and punched his arm. “I’m happy you’re in a good mood because the kids want to meet you.”

“Me? Wait a minute, Shelly.”

“I planned to ask you next week, but since you’re here.”

“No, no, no. I’m not good with kids.”

“Ha. Since when?” I walked to the driver’s side of my Chevy. This time, I wore the grin. “They want to meet the cop who saved my life. Call Lydia, tell her you’ll be late for dinner. Never mind, I’ll call her.”

I pulled my phone from my pocket as Cal walked to his vehicle, grumbling. I went to open my car door and caught a figure in the tree line. Over there, in the shadows, Joey watched from whatever afterlife he dealt himself. I expected revenge, but he appeared mournful. Over to the right, Stacy turned and sung along the path until she disappeared in the mist.

“Ok, ok.” Cal interrupted. “I meet your kids, you let me drill your new boyfriend.”

“Deal. He’ll be there. He’s the director of the youth center.”

Cal wobbled his head. “He’s the director.” He paused. “That doesn’t mean…”

“You’re impossible. Let’s go.” I plunged in the driver’s seat. In the rearview mirror I saw Cal leaning on the car door, staring at me, something told me to look further, so I leaned to my right, peered through the mirror.

I saw Joey standing next to Cal with his fists balled. I scrambled out of the car. “Cal!”

Then Joey disappeared.

Cal got in the car and started the engine. “All right. I’m coming.”

I searched the tree line. No sign of Joey or Stacy. I guess that night will always haunt me.

I sprinted to the Chevy, shifted into drive, and headed northwest. Cal followed.

“Lydia, he’s following me to the youth center. Thanks for understanding. I’ll have him home by ten.”

“Yes, I still see them.”

“I know, I know. I’ll make an appointment….”

The Best of WordPress: September 2016

Amazing stuff here

The WordPress.com Blog

Hi everyone, it’s been a busy few weeks in the world of WordPress, WordPress.com, and Automattic, so I thought I’d share a roundup with all of you! Here’s a rundown:

Welcome to WordPress

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Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2016

I finished the  Worldwide WordPress 5k ! The 5k started September 19th and ends on September 25th. That’s right the Worldwide WordPress 5k is happening now! This year Worldwide WordPress 5k will “be making a donation to Soles4Souls, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.”

My journey? On September 11th my mother gave me a Fitbit for an early birthday present. I love it. In fact I’ve completed a 5k everyday since. Then on Monday September 19th my neighbor challenged me to the Work Week Hustle. I thought, fun, I’ll participate in the #WWWP5k and accept my neighbor’s challenge all in the same week. Yesterday I walked a whopping 16,209 steps.6.66 miles!

I’d love to keep writing but the pavement is lonely without me.

Win An Editing Service

Hello all authors! In case you didn’t hear standoutbooks.com has a $5,222.00 publishing package to give to one lucky winner. Follow this link to enter:

Source: Win An Editing Service

Win An Editing Service

Hello all authors! In case you didn’t hear standoutbooks.com has a $5,222.00 publishing package to give to one lucky winner. Follow this link to enter: https://www.standoutbooks.com/giveaways/win-publishing-package/?lucky=16

Kindle Scout Votes

Source: Kindle Scout Votes

Kindle Scout Votes

So, I’ve been introduced to Kindle Scout. I submitted my novel Save Nina and watched for 45 days, hoping I’d be selected for publication with Kindle Press. Eh, that didn’t happen, but I have happily published on December 19,2015 and received a five star review within a couple weeks from a new Goodreads friend, Ana Meyer the author of Marie and soon to be released James.

Back to Kindle Scout. I voted for 18 books.3 were chosen for publication and 2 are in review. Another 3 is still in campaign mode. I received a free copy of The Proving by Ken Brosky, because I voted for the book. 5 chapters in and I’m happy with my choice.

As soon as Solstice by Jane Redd and A Necessary Kill by James P Sumner is published I’ll receive copies, read them and leave a review at Goodreads and Amazon. The program is new and the results or success is yet to be discovered. I’ve discovered a fun way to get my reading in for 2016 as I work my next novels over at Write On.

Where I will be in 2016. Should anyone venture please feel free to connect on these great sites.

SAVE NINA

 

 

I started the chapter talking about the mad shitter.

If you’ve ever been to jail…

 

Chapter 1

 

My cellmate glanced at the ceiling, as if to say I was full of shit. Part of what I said was, but the rest really happened. I assaulted a prisoner three years ago.

So, here I am laying in a six by eight cell, staring at crud stuck to the twelve-foot ceiling. Tossed up there long before I came to live in this hole.

The other prisoners called it organic graffiti, puttied by the infamous mad shitter. I never met him, but they said he stunk up the whole block in fits of rage.

Given the clientele in this nightmarish setting I assumed he did it to ward off predators. Which brings me to the character I held in my peripheral vision, Mack Murphy, the hater from cell block twelve.

And my newest cellmate.

“I earned my prison sentence and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my crime and the trial that followed,” I said, trying to make friends as soon as possible.

Mack yawned.

“The judge didn’t want to hear my reasons. She curled her thin lips and said, ‘Wesley Sullivan, I sentence you to ten years with seven suspended.'”

Mack turned on his side and sat himself upright.

“But your honor,” I said, while glancing over at Mack. “She said dismissed.”

Mack stared at the floor between his feet.

I swung my feet off the metal bunk and squinted my eyes in Mack’s direction, “I’d do it again, judge or no judge.”

I clasped my sweaty palms together and tried to speak without a quiver in my voice. “When I cut Victor it must have been painful because he screamed out, and I sliced him in the opposite direction.”

“Yeah, then what happened?”

“The others grabbed my legs and dragged me away. Not before I carved Victor a big X across his mouth. After I cut him, he sat against the white center block wall and breathed through bloody lips that flapped in four parts. Sprayed blood everywhere.”

“Where was this?”

“In jail.” I shrugged.

Mack cleared his throat and glanced at the bars, then stretched his tattooed arms. Twice the size of mine. He rolled his fingers and cracked each knuckle until he made a fist.

“I had four cellmates before you, never saw any of them crack their knuckles like that,” I said, thinking he’s going to kill me.

He glared at me, and for the first time I felt like prey. It looked like we were about to fight when he said, “Time for chow.”

As if in rhythm with the lights, he stood and faced his bunk. Prison ink painted his legs down to his ankles. Most notably a four-inch swastika on the back of his calf.

Great.

I glared at his fungus infested toenails as he walked over to the rusted bars. A roach darted across the cement floor and wiggled its way between his feet. I reached for the top half of my prison issued shirt and heard a pop. I darted my eyes back toward the roach, but didn’t see it anywhere.

Out on the catwalk, the prison guard tapped the bars while doing his rounds. One tap for each cell. We were tap 52. He was at 48. Mack strode back to his bunk and left a trail of bug guts across the floor. He made his bed while flashing cheap white see-through boxers.

I counted the guard’s taps, wishing he would hurry.

“I heard that story before,” Mack said.  My heartbeat thumped in my ears.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Guess I told it a few times.” My voice cracked.

Mack whipped the blanket over the sheets and tucked it under the mat.

“I’m skipping breakfast this morning,” I said.

“Suit yourself.”

Officer Johnson stopped by our cell and tapped the bars twice instead of once. The red faced monster of a man glared into the cell.

“Heard it was an officer who sliced Victor,” Mack said.

I locked eyes with Officer Johnson. Shit. His smirk told me two things. One, he told a prisoner I was a correctional officer. Two, he’s going to let Mack beat the crap out of me. Dirty, corrupted guard. I should have known. My skin crawled as Mack moved in close. I felt his body heat on my neck, and then the bars slid open.

“Prisoner Wesley Sullivan,” Officer Johnson said.

“Yes.”

“Pack up.”

Mack backed away. I cut my eyes at him and watched as he pulled a dingy sock over his foot with the roach’s leg still attached.

He stood and faced me. “Can’t stand them fucking wetbacks either,” he said.

I exhaled.

He walked out of the cell, paused in front of Officer Johnson, and looked into his eyes. Officer Johnson didn’t flinch.

Mack stepped around him. “Hate fucking prison guards too.”

I turned my head toward Mack’s bunk. Could have played ping-pong off the top of his covers.

“Ex-Marine,” Officer Johnson said.

You’d think I got caught stealing or something by the way I jumped. I rubbed my sweaty palms on my prison pants.

Officer Johnson smirked. “Don’t mean shit since he murdered his wife and kids.”

He walked away and the bars slid closed. Standard procedure when a prisoner packed to go home.

I gathered my stuff and waited by the cell bars for Officer Johnson, praying he’d get there before Mack.

Officer Johnson finally returned and escorted me through a door I hadn’t been through in years, three to be exact. We walked up to a window and stood there for several minutes.

“What block and cell number,” the clerk said. He didn’t bother to look at me.

“I thought you were dead,” I said.

“What block,” he repeated.

“H Block, number 52.” I stared at his badge.

“I see you met Mack,” the clerk said.

Officer Johnson snickered behind me, but when I looked his way he turned his head.

“Funny, I didn’t think you had a personality,” I told to the clerk.

He dropped his smirk. “Prisoner number.”

“20120753,” I said. He shoved my wallet and clothes through the window.

“You can change over there.” He pointed to a changeover room.

A few minutes later, they shut the large steel door behind me and I faced the outside gate to freedom.  It creaked open as I approached and I picked up my pace.

Someone stirred the dirt behind me, and sure enough, it was one of them gang members. He glared at me with evil eyes and strutted south. At least he headed in the right direction. He didn’t look like Victor, but his smug stride was a dead giveaway, he was one of Victor’s boys.

I stomped north. First time I had been alone in three years.  The sound of my boots dragged across the dirt on a path many walkers paved before my walk of fame. Or should I say before my infamous walk.

A couple hours later, the sound of a truck’s engine came out of nowhere. I jumped away from the blacktop and watched the truck slow. The passengers inside tried to get a good look at me, so I faced the fields on my right, ignoring them, but damned if it wasn’t the Segal brothers.

The truck rolled backwards and stopped. “You Jim Sullivan’s boy?” a passenger asked.

“Yes,” I replied. As if you didn’t know.

“You just get out of prison for cutting that gang banger?” I supposed everyone was going to ask me what happened.

“Yes.”

“You remember me?”

“Yep,” I said. But you were never a friend.

He slid to the middle of the seat and peered at me through the window. “Hop in, we’re on a schedule but we can drop you off at route 2.”

I climbed in the truck.

“You remember my brother?”

I leaned forward to glance at the driver, and nodded. “Mike.”

“You on your way to the farm?” Mike said.

“Home? Yeah.”

“Sorry to hear about your dad,” Mike said. “It must have been a terrible blow after losing your grandpa a few years before.”

“Thanks.”

“Speaking of your grandpa, remember what he used to say?”

“About what?”

Mike leaned forward to see around Jesse, the younger brother. “About what? He said there was trouble ahead.”

“He was a crazy old hoot,” Jesse said.

“Crazy old hoot? He had it right all along,” Mike said. “Didn’t he, Wes?”

That crazy feeling came over me, always did when I thought of grandpa. “He always said…, be ready for it.” I really didn’t want to talk about it, but we passed a sign that read, Bowling Green 22. I didn’t want to walk 22 miles either.

“And damned if it didn’t happen. They came across the border by the thousands. Ready for killing,” Mike said.

“Killed your Pa,” Jesse said.

Tears welled in my eyes. “Yep.”

“Where’d you bury him?” Mike asked.

I cleared my throat. “On the farm, next to grandpa.”

“Good place,” Mike said.

A lump formed in my throat. “It was a small ceremony,” I said. “Just me, Joe and two grave diggers after the preacher left.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry Wes. We couldn’t come because dad was sick and all,” Mike said.

Liar.

“But you sliced that El Salvadoran, whatever his name was, at least you got him.” Jesse brushed the air like it was no big deal.

“He didn’t kill my Dad.”

Mike nearly choked. “Say what? Isn’t he the one who stabbed him?”

“No.”

“Then why the hell you sliced him for?”

“He’s a gang recruiter, brought trouble here.”

“That’s it?”

I leaned forward, “It was three years ago, OK. He pissed me off.” I straightened on my seat, looking out the window. How could 22 miles feel so long?  “I was the pod officer and I told him to lock down in his cell. He slow stepped, acted like he ran the pod.”

Mike slowed the truck. “You mean it was a pissing match between the two of you?”

“No, I told him to stay in his country and he said, ‘What can you do?’ So I shoved him against the cell door.” I looked the other way and stared at the cornfields. “I don’t know, man. I let out this crazy roar.” I cleared my throat. “My own voice sounded foreign, and I knew the others were coming, but I didn’t care.”

“So, what about the one who killed your Pa?” Jesse said.

“Deported, dead, who knows?” I sighed. “After dad, I wanted to stop people from crossing the border. Still do.”

“So in a way, it was for your dad?” Mike said.

“Yeah, I suppose.” 3 miles to Bowling Green.

“Hey man, glad your back,” Mike said.

I don’t know why.

“We’ll drop you off at Joe Douglas’ store,” Mike said.

“That’d be fine,” I said. Another mile and Mike stopped the truck. “Thanks for the ride.”

“Wes,” Mike said before I managed to open the door. “Remember what your grandpa said about the immigrants coming for us?”

I remembered alright, hated every minute of his racial antics. I loved him though, and he loved me. I smiled at Mike. “He slammed that beer can in the only spot free of crow’s shit on the picnic table. Then he’d yell, ‘Be ready!'”

“Yeah well, he was right, Wesley. Since you’ve been gone, a bunch more moved into town.”

I held the truck door open and stared at him.

Things ain’t how it used to be around here,” he said.

Things couldn’t be worse than before, but I hung onto every word Mike said, until a horn blew, and sent me a few inches above the ground.

I stepped away from the truck and saw three male Hispanics in a dark blue Toyota.

Mike peered through his rear view mirror. “See what I mean? And they think it’s funny.” He revved the engine. Jesse slammed the door. After a nod in my direction, Mike threw the truck in reverse and backed up, stopped and back up a little more.

The driver of the Toyota scrambled to turn his wheel. The passengers hung out the window and yelled something in Spanish. They sped around the truck and down the road. One of them threw a beer can out the window. It bounced across the pavement like the last word, ‘We don’t care what you think.’

Mike’s face turned red. “We got to go. See you around.”

“Same,” I said.

Left me standing across from Joe Douglas’ store holding my bag of stuff I collected at the prison. The same advertisements hung in the window. Coke, Wonder Bread and Marlboro Cigarettes. Mike made a U-Turn and rolled back by. “Joe’s bout the only thing that’s stayed the same around here. Tell him we’ll bring the money we owe him tomorrow!”

Seemed to me Joe wasn’t the only thing that stayed the same. Those boys were always owing somebody something and they’d borrow whatever they owed to pay Joe. I shook my head and gazed at Joe’s store.

“Welcome home, Wesley.”

 

Chapter 2

 

My hands trembled as I reached for the door handle. I cracked it open and I peeked inside the familiar space. The bell dinged and Joe spotted me before I changed my mind about going in and facing him.

“Wesley Sullivan,” Joe said, sounding surprised.

I guess he had good cause, hadn’t been there in three years.

“Mr. Douglas,” I replied.

I tried to sound tough, but it must have come out lame, because Mr. Douglas smiled with his eyes and gave me a man’s handshake.

“You know to call me Joe,” he said.

The store looked the same as it did three years before, isles of disorganized goods on dusty steel shelves and worn tiled floors. Joe looked the same too, with gray hair peeking from his baseball cap, and the same red and blue plaid shirt he wore when I last saw him.

“Thanks,” I said. “You understand where I’ve been, do you?”

“Yep, other folks and I been keeping an eye on your place, making sure none of them immigrants try to take over the place.” Joe’s hand shook as he pointed over to the goods.

“Take over, you say. You mean move into the farm?”

Joe glanced at me with telling eyes, the kind that says you were right, and the kind that said we got troubles.

“Wesley, take whatever you need,” he said. “Pay me later.”

Grandpa and Joe grew up together, right there in Caroline County. Most people stared at me with judging eyes. Joe had knowing eyes.

“Thanks,” I said. “When the bank opens in the morning.”

“Young man, don’t go telling me what I know,” he said.

I didn’t have to ask Joe if he knew Grandpa and Dad left me a good size bank account. Joe watched them survive off as little as possible for years, to deposit money into an account for my future.

Grandpa and Dad were my everything, but if you judged it through Joe’s eyes, I was their everything.

“Guess I’ll grab a few things and head out to the farm,” I said as I grabbed a can of beef stew, crackers, cereal, milk and coffee. I juggled everything without a basket. Walked past the beer cooler, thought of Grandpa. He used to grab his case from that box every other day. I sighed and took my groceries to the front, so Joe could take inventory. I watched him struggle to grip the inch-long pencil, but that was Joe. He’d use that pencil until the lead met the eraser.

“Me and the boys will come visit tomorrow,” he said without looking up from the list.

“That’d be fine,” I said.

He put my stuff in a bag and stared at each item with a scrutinizing eye, then at me with concerned ones.

I wondered what I’d done wrong, then Joe said, “The girls,” and by girls he meant his and the boys’ wives. “We’ll cook you some man’s food, to get you along.”

Guess that answered my question.

A big lump of relief got caught up in my throat. I tried to hide it from Joe as I stumbled to the door without facing him.

“I’ll see you tomorrow Joe,” I said, and let the door slam behind me.

I walked south with a bag of groceries in one hand and a plastic bag of stuff I collected at the prison in the other.

Stupid stuff: a cheap radio, toothpaste, soups and hard candy, and a pencil no bigger than Joe’s. Agony made its way up my throat, and caused pain in the back.  Tears poured and I kept wiping my nose with my sleeve. Cars slowed, people glared, but I stared at the fields in the other direction. Sobbed most the way home.

The farm sat way back from the main road. But, I could see from the mailbox that the shutters needed painting, and the porch needed patching. To the right of the old farmhouse was Grandpa’s field, the once lively green patch of money, now dirt sprawled as far as the horizon.

I hurried around back to where Grandpa and Dad were resting. Passing the picnic table that sat under the oak tree. I plunged in front of Grandpa and Dad’s graves. Hung my head and clasped my hands in my lap. I tried to say something to make them proud.

Words became moans as I rocked myself into a trance. My thoughts drifted back to good times. At least, what Grandpa and Dad made it to be during years of struggle, pancakes for breakfast, working on the Buick. The same Buick that sat in the driveway covered with tarp.

That was the last thing I remembered seeing when I came to, under the oak tree, staring straight up at fall leaves. I decided I’d been laying around long enough, and it was time to get the beef stew on the stove. I tossed that prison stuff in the fire barrel, burned it good too, and headed for the kitchen.

White tin cabinets with silver handles, and a fifties style table with a stainless steel rim, worthless to other people. Me? I touched everything in there and worked my way to the living room. The television was a big chunk of box and if there were any hint of modern to it, it’d be the remote control. I clicked it several times before realizing it needed batteries. I tossed it on the large wood crate used as a coffee table, and manually turned the box on, to the news channel.

I got myself a bowl stew and crackers, and sat at the kitchen table. The familiar space gave me a sensation of warmth, and peace.

Then a female voice with a thick Spanish accent blasted into my living room.

“We deserve and demand equality. Our people are detained, but not for committing crimes.” She paused and yelled, “Held in prison for months waiting for immigration court!”

People clapped and roared in response. Her words made my head hurt. The camera aimed toward the crowd. Hundreds of people gathered around the stage.

“Equality,” I said aloud, and in between grinding teeth. “They only jail gang members and criminals. How about telling the truth?”

The camera aimed at the speaker. On the stage, a dark haired woman, in her twenties, stood in front of the microphone. She wore black slacks, a bright multi-colored blouse and shiny black flats. She had her dark hair pulled back in a loose bun, with several sections hanging around her face. It made her appear hard working, but low maintenance. I had never met her, but when her lips moved, and when she glanced to the left, my jaw tightened.

The crowd held signs that read Rights for our People and Racial Equality for Hispanics.’ Another read, ‘Nina.’

“Nina.” I mumbled her name in a low threatening voice. I had spent hours at the prison dreaming of sleeping in my bed, eating what I wanted, and not anywhere near a toilet, and away from those freaking gang members.

Comfortable in my own space, yet, there I was pissed off. I grabbed my food and went into the living room.

News reports on immigration dominated the TV stations.

They killed my father and because of them I went to prison.  I spooned stew into my mouth, sitting on the sofa, thinking about the gangs and violent crimes.  I laid back wearing the clothes I walked home in, slept right there on the sofa. Had nightmares all night.

Next morning, I woke with a pounding headache, showered and left the house.  Got the Buick started and drove into town. I stopped by the bank and picked up more groceries.

Later in the day, the elders showed up along with their wives. They brought plenty more food, and home cooked dishes. The girls spread a cloth over the picnic table and we ate fried chicken, corn casserole, greens, baked mac and cheese, and peach cobbler. When everyone finished, the girls gathered the dishes and went inside the house. Called themselves tidying up the place. The elders and I stayed outside, fixing to have our men’s talk.

A fuzzy feeling came over me, it felt good to be back at the table. I gazed around at the elders.

“Me and the boys thought we should let you in on that immigrant you sliced up at the jail,” Joe said.

I lifted the Bud to my face, took a swallow. Couldn’t find any words.

“It was on the TV,” Joe said. “Son of a bitch claimed asylum, and the judge gave it to him. Courts let him go six months after you went to prison.”

I chugged the rest of the Bud and tossed the can in the fire barrel. Joe, Darryl, and Wayne stared at me, and I should have said something. But I grabbed another beer and popped it open, and took another drink.

“My boys,” Darryl said.

“David,” Darryl continued.  “Watched a group of immigrants in Grafton Village. Quarter mile off Route 218. He said they move immigrants in and out there.”

“So?” I said.

“Said Victor was there.”

I squeezed the beer can and heard it crumble inside my fist. The farm was thirty miles from 218. The Buick had a full tank. I could get there in an hour to teach Victor a lesson.

Darryl took a swig of his beer and turned his head toward the house. I guess he didn’t want the girls to hear. He leaned toward the center of the table and said, “Said Victor’s bringing more gang members across the border.”

Wayne slapped his beer can on the table. “He was up in Dale City with that girl on television.”

“What girl?” I said. Though I suspected it was the one that kept me up the night before.

Wayne said, “Nina, that one fighting for rights.”

 

Chapter 3

“I thought I knew that girl from somewhere.”  Joe and the others stared at me with blank expressions. Caused me to smile even though I was mad as hell.

“Watched her on TV last night,” I explained. They sighed.

Darryl said, “Little, Ms. I want equality in the U.S. has something to hide. I’ll bet you the government’s in the dark about her boyfriend.”

“Not her boyfriend,” I said. “Nina must be his sister or cousin or something. She looks similar to Victor. Minus the scar.”

“Maybe that’s what she needs,” Darryl said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Darryl placed both his elbows on the table, held his beer between his palms and sneered.

“She needs a scar across her mouth to shut her up,” he said.

Joe cleared his throat and glanced over at Grandpa and Dad’s graves. Hard to tell what he was thinking.

I glanced back over at Darryl. He was staring at me with squinted eyes. Evil ones that made me think he’d do such a thing.

“Now that’s enough, Darryl!” Joe said.

Darryl took a drink of his beer and sprayed it toward the tree trunk. “Shits hot.”

“You expect it to be cool when you cup it in both hands,” Joe said.

Wayne stood up, adjusted his trousers and shook his head back and forth. “Harming that girl is like you holding your beer can, getting it all hot and griping about it. You harm that girl and you’ll be griping from prison.”

“He’s right,” I said.

Darryl glared at me.

“Can’t get anything done in prison,” I continued.

Joe stopped staring at Grandpa and Dad’s graves. He tapped his fingers on his can.

“Way I see it, she’s a problem, spreading talk about equality.” He gulped his beer and stared at me. “Wait and you’ll see,” he said.

Reminded me of Grandpa, and everything Grandpa said had come true as far as trouble crossing the border. But, to hate all of them, shoot, I didn’t agree with that part. That was my secret though, and telling the elders wasn’t a good idea. We sat there another hour, talking. Darryl invited me to his boys’ house before they all said their good nights.

Going back to prison wasn’t on my list of things to do before I die, but hearing what the boys were up to seemed harmless. So, I got me a good night’s sleep and jumped in the old pick-up the next morning and drove to Grafton Village.

Grafton used to be a quiet little neighborhood. Cook outs in the summer, lots of colorful lights at Christmas time. Family vehicles and work trucks sat in the driveways.

As I drove toward the house, loud music blasted the streets.

The driveways were littered with older model vehicles, mixed matched rims and patched up paint jobs, resembling a junk yard. Behind them stripped down vehicles with parts and tools scattered on the ground, a sure hazard for kids. Sheets and blankets covered a few windows showing the occupants hadn’t lived there long, or were too poor to buy curtains. A child ran out onto the street in front of me. I stomped on the brake and watched a young mother run to him screaming something in Spanish. She glared at me as if it were my fault she wasn’t watching her child.

Darryl’s boys, David and Carl, rented a house that sat up on a small hill. I drove slowly in that direction, half expecting another kid to run out in front of me, but none crossed my path. A group of male Hispanics gathered around an old van.

They stood in the middle of the street and crept out of my way when I passed. On the porch, a man stood wearing a white shirt with large letters that read, ‘Virginia is for Lovers.’

“You got to be kidding me,” I said as I rolled by, hiding my face under the rim of my baseball cap.

I arrived at Carl and David’s house and backed the truck in the driveway in front of their red Ford 2500. Talk about sticking out in the crowd. David opened his front door and waved. I headed in his direction.

“Come in, close the door,” David said. A worn chair sat in front of the window with an end table to the right of it, writing pad and pencil, binoculars and several beer cans on top.

Across the room a sofa sat with no coffee table, no rug. The thought of no woman entered my mind.

“When did you move in here?” I asked.

“Couple years back. He gestured toward the living room window. “Come over here, have a look.”

I eased across the squeaky, dull, wood floor, smelled stale beer from a spill under sunlight coming through the window, thinking prison conditions was better.

“Look,” David said, pointing out the window.

I squinted my eyes and gazed down at the Hispanics gathered around the Toyota. “Yeah, so what.”

David leaned down beside me. “See that one wearing the ‘Virginia is for Lovers,’ T-shirt?” he said.

“Yeah.”

“That’s Victor Estrada Hernandez.”

My heart thumped fast. I stared out the window. Blood rushed from my face.

“You’re pale, dude,” David mocked.

Carl came through the kitchen entry with three beers in his hands. “Did you tell him yet?” He handed me a beer and I took it with a trembling hand.

“Tell me what?”

Both them boys were country looking. David appeared simple like his Mom, rounded face and childlike, but Carl took after Darryl. There was an evil about him, high cheek bones, squinted eyes, crooked grin.

Carl pointed to the window with two fingers while holding onto his beer can with the same hand. “We’ve been watching Victor. Moved in here about a year after you went to prison. They set that fucker free after you cut him.”

I raised the beer can to my face, but couldn’t take a swallow. “You’ve been spying on Victor?” I said.

“Yep.” David smiled at me as if he deserved a trophy.

My lips were dry but saliva filled my mouth quick. “Victor lives there?”

“No,” Carl said. “He lives in an upscale neighborhood, in Herndon.” He took a swig of beer, and darted those squinted eyes upward, disgusted. “Victor comes here twice a month.” He pulled the curtain back. “They’ve been there about ten minutes.”

“Wait, wait,” David said, sounding anxious. I peered through the window and saw eight people climb out of the van. Two women, six men. The women folded their arms across their bodies. One of the men pushed them and five of the men toward the house. They used a key to unlock the door. The sixth man talked to Victor.

“They lock ’em in the house,” David said.

“I don’t understand,” I said.

Carl staggered to the sofa and sat with his legs spread country-boy-cocky wide. “Those people that went into the house came over the border maybe two, three days ago. Victor has them locked in the house so the women won’t tell anyone.”

I frowned. “Tell what?”

Carl lit a cigarette and blew rings into the already stank air. “They were raped. One of the perks for the coyote.”

“Coyote?”

“The van driver, and he takes two watchmen, all three rape the women as they travel across the border. In the morning they’ll head out down 218, take the 301 bridge to Maryland.”

“What about the one talking to Victor?” I peered again through the window, but both men were gone.

Carl drank his beer, and just like his dad he said, “Shit’s hot.” As he strutted into the kitchen, he yelled back, “Another gang member.”

David cleared cans off the side table and tossed them in a laundry basket lined with a trash bag. “Your color is coming back,” he said.

I spent three years in prison while Victor was busy bringing more gang members to the States. He lived in a grand house while I ate more beans than my stomach could digest.

My jaw clenched.

“We’ve been waiting for you to come home,” David said.

“Waiting for me, for what?”

“Pay back?”

“That and to run them out of our town. You know one of them got your girl pregnant?”

“My girl?”

“Beth,” he said. “Yeah. Twice. Then left her to take care of them alone.”

I could have gone without that bit of news, and Carl talked like we were still kids. Beth and I hadn’t seen each other in years. How Carl thought it would bother me baffled me as much as looking at the two of them. They were once chubby little brats, turned current day renegades.

“I just got out of prison. Not planning to go back.”

David’s mouth dropped open, and Carl cut his eyes at me sideways.

“Thanks for the beer,” I said, heading for the exit.

“Wesley,” David said with an urgency in his voice. I glanced back, and he stopped talking for a moment. “You,” he stuttered, “You, can’t.” He squeezed his eyes tight and opened them. “You can’t let them take over.”

Last time I heard him stutter, he was eleven and about to get a whipping from his father for running the tractor out of gas six acres from the barn. That was the first whipping. The second one was for stuttering. He grew up getting whipped and I remember feeling bad for him then, but going up against an entire gang was suicide.

I heard a car door close. Carl walked over to the front door, someone mumbled, and two men walked in as Carl closed the door and stood behind them with sneering eyes.

“You’re Wesley,” one of them said.

Carl leered at me, and I bet he waited for me to dash toward the door.

I didn’t know what those boys were planning until Carl said, “They’ll move them early morning, around four. We’ll follow them, but we do not engage. We just find out where they’re taking them.”

My stay home felt short lived.

Chapter 1

 

My cellmate glanced at the ceiling, as if to say I was full of shit. Part of what I said was, but the rest really happened. I assaulted a prisoner three years ago.

So, here I am laying in a six by eight cell, staring at crud stuck to the twelve-foot ceiling. Tossed up there long before I came to live in this hole.

The other prisoners called it organic graffiti, puttied by the infamous mad shitter. I never met him, but they said he stunk up the whole block in fits of rage.

Given the clientele in this nightmarish setting I assumed he did it to ward off predators. Which brings me to the character I held in my peripheral vision, Mack Murphy, the hater from cell block twelve.

And my newest cellmate.

“I earned my prison sentence and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my crime and the trial that followed,” I said, trying to make friends as soon as possible.

Mack yawned.

“The judge didn’t want to hear my reasons. She curled her thin lips and said, ‘Wesley Sullivan, I sentence you to ten years with seven suspended.'”

Mack turned on his side and sat himself upright.

“But your honor,” I said, while glancing over at Mack. “She said dismissed.”

Mack stared at the floor between his feet.

I swung my feet off the metal bunk and squinted my eyes in Mack’s direction, “I’d do it again, judge or no judge.”

I clasped my sweaty palms together and tried to speak without a quiver in my voice. “When I cut Victor it must have been painful because he screamed out, and I sliced him in the opposite direction.”

“Yeah, then what happened?”

“The others grabbed my legs and dragged me away. Not before I carved Victor a big X across his mouth. After I cut him, he sat against the white center block wall and breathed through bloody lips that flapped in four parts. Sprayed blood everywhere.”

“Where was this?”

“In jail.” I shrugged.

Mack cleared his throat and glanced at the bars, then stretched his tattooed arms. Twice the size of mine. He rolled his fingers and cracked each knuckle until he made a fist.

“I had four cellmates before you, never saw any of them crack their knuckles like that,” I said, thinking he’s going to kill me.

He glared at me, and for the first time I felt like prey. It looked like we were about to fight when he said, “Time for chow.”

As if in rhythm with the lights, he stood and faced his bunk. Prison ink painted his legs down to his ankles. Most notably a four-inch swastika on the back of his calf.

Great.

I glared at his fungus infested toenails as he walked over to the rusted bars. A roach darted across the cement floor and wiggled its way between his feet. I reached for the top half of my prison issued shirt and heard a pop. I darted my eyes back toward the roach, but didn’t see it anywhere.

Out on the catwalk, the prison guard tapped the bars while doing his rounds. One tap for each cell. We were tap 52. He was at 48. Mack strode back to his bunk and left a trail of bug guts across the floor. He made his bed while flashing cheap white see-through boxers.

I counted the guard’s taps, wishing he would hurry.

“I heard that story before,” Mack said.  My heartbeat thumped in my ears.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Guess I told it a few times.” My voice cracked.

Mack whipped the blanket over the sheets and tucked it under the mat.

“I’m skipping breakfast this morning,” I said.

“Suit yourself.”

Officer Johnson stopped by our cell and tapped the bars twice instead of once. The red faced monster of a man glared into the cell.

“Heard it was an officer who sliced Victor,” Mack said.

I locked eyes with Officer Johnson. Shit. His smirk told me two things. One, he told a prisoner I was a correctional officer. Two, he’s going to let Mack beat the crap out of me. Dirty, corrupted guard. I should have known. My skin crawled as Mack moved in close. I felt his body heat on my neck, and then the bars slid open.

“Prisoner Wesley Sullivan,” Officer Johnson said.

“Yes.”

“Pack up.”

Mack backed away. I cut my eyes at him and watched as he pulled a dingy sock over his foot with the roach’s leg still attached.

He stood and faced me. “Can’t stand them fucking wetbacks either,” he said.

I exhaled.

He walked out of the cell, paused in front of Officer Johnson, and looked into his eyes. Officer Johnson didn’t flinch.

Mack stepped around him. “Hate fucking prison guards too.”

I turned my head toward Mack’s bunk. Could have played ping-pong off the top of his covers.

“Ex-Marine,” Officer Johnson said.

You’d think I got caught stealing or something by the way I jumped. I rubbed my sweaty palms on my prison pants.

Officer Johnson smirked. “Don’t mean shit since he murdered his wife and kids.”

He walked away and the bars slid closed. Standard procedure when a prisoner packed to go home.

I gathered my stuff and waited by the cell bars for Officer Johnson, praying he’d get there before Mack.

Officer Johnson finally returned and escorted me through a door I hadn’t been through in years, three to be exact. We walked up to a window and stood there for several minutes.

“What block and cell number,” the clerk said. He didn’t bother to look at me.

“I thought you were dead,” I said.

“What block,” he repeated.

“H Block, number 52.” I stared at his badge.

“I see you met Mack,” the clerk said.

Officer Johnson snickered behind me, but when I looked his way he turned his head.

“Funny, I didn’t think you had a personality,” I told to the clerk.

He dropped his smirk. “Prisoner number.”

“20120753,” I said. He shoved my wallet and clothes through the window.

“You can change over there.” He pointed to a changeover room.

A few minutes later, they shut the large steel door behind me and I faced the outside gate to freedom.  It creaked open as I approached and I picked up my pace.

Someone stirred the dirt behind me, and sure enough, it was one of them gang members. He glared at me with evil eyes and strutted south. At least he headed in the right direction. He didn’t look like Victor, but his smug stride was a dead giveaway, he was one of Victor’s boys.

I stomped north. First time I had been alone in three years.  The sound of my boots dragged across the dirt on a path many walkers paved before my walk of fame. Or should I say before my infamous walk.

A couple hours later, the sound of a truck’s engine came out of nowhere. I jumped away from the blacktop and watched the truck slow. The passengers inside tried to get a good look at me, so I faced the fields on my right, ignoring them, but damned if it wasn’t the Segal brothers.

The truck rolled backwards and stopped. “You Jim Sullivan’s boy?” a passenger asked.

“Yes,” I replied. As if you didn’t know.

“You just get out of prison for cutting that gang banger?” I supposed everyone was going to ask me what happened.

“Yes.”

“You remember me?”

“Yep,” I said. But you were never a friend.

He slid to the middle of the seat and peered at me through the window. “Hop in, we’re on a schedule but we can drop you off at route 2.”

I climbed in the truck.

“You remember my brother?”

I leaned forward to glance at the driver, and nodded. “Mike.”

“You on your way to the farm?” Mike said.

“Home? Yeah.”

“Sorry to hear about your dad,” Mike said. “It must have been a terrible blow after losing your grandpa a few years before.”

“Thanks.”

“Speaking of your grandpa, remember what he used to say?”

“About what?”

Mike leaned forward to see around Jesse, the younger brother. “About what? He said there was trouble ahead.”

“He was a crazy old hoot,” Jesse said.

“Crazy old hoot? He had it right all along,” Mike said. “Didn’t he, Wes?”

That crazy feeling came over me, always did when I thought of grandpa. “He always said…, be ready for it.” I really didn’t want to talk about it, but we passed a sign that read, Bowling Green 22. I didn’t want to walk 22 miles either.

“And damned if it didn’t happen. They came across the border by the thousands. Ready for killing,” Mike said.

“Killed your Pa,” Jesse said.

Tears welled in my eyes. “Yep.”

“Where’d you bury him?” Mike asked.

I cleared my throat. “On the farm, next to grandpa.”

“Good place,” Mike said.

A lump formed in my throat. “It was a small ceremony,” I said. “Just me, Joe and two grave diggers after the preacher left.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry Wes. We couldn’t come because dad was sick and all,” Mike said.

Liar.

“But you sliced that El Salvadoran, whatever his name was, at least you got him.” Jesse brushed the air like it was no big deal.

“He didn’t kill my Dad.”

Mike nearly choked. “Say what? Isn’t he the one who stabbed him?”

“No.”

“Then why the hell you sliced him for?”

“He’s a gang recruiter, brought trouble here.”

“That’s it?”

I leaned forward, “It was three years ago, OK. He pissed me off.” I straightened on my seat, looking out the window. How could 22 miles feel so long?  “I was the pod officer and I told him to lock down in his cell. He slow stepped, acted like he ran the pod.”

Mike slowed the truck. “You mean it was a pissing match between the two of you?”

“No, I told him to stay in his country and he said, ‘What can you do?’ So I shoved him against the cell door.” I looked the other way and stared at the cornfields. “I don’t know, man. I let out this crazy roar.” I cleared my throat. “My own voice sounded foreign, and I knew the others were coming, but I didn’t care.”

“So, what about the one who killed your Pa?” Jesse said.

“Deported, dead, who knows?” I sighed. “After dad, I wanted to stop people from crossing the border. Still do.”

“So in a way, it was for your dad?” Mike said.

“Yeah, I suppose.” 3 miles to Bowling Green.

“Hey man, glad your back,” Mike said.

I don’t know why.

“We’ll drop you off at Joe Douglas’ store,” Mike said.

“That’d be fine,” I said. Another mile and Mike stopped the truck. “Thanks for the ride.”

“Wes,” Mike said before I managed to open the door. “Remember what your grandpa said about the immigrants coming for us?”

I remembered alright, hated every minute of his racial antics. I loved him though, and he loved me. I smiled at Mike. “He slammed that beer can in the only spot free of crow’s shit on the picnic table. Then he’d yell, ‘Be ready!'”

“Yeah well, he was right, Wesley. Since you’ve been gone, a bunch more moved into town.”

I held the truck door open and stared at him.

Things ain’t how it used to be around here,” he said.

Things couldn’t be worse than before, but I hung onto every word Mike said, until a horn blew, and sent me a few inches above the ground.

I stepped away from the truck and saw three male Hispanics in a dark blue Toyota.

Mike peered through his rear view mirror. “See what I mean? And they think it’s funny.” He revved the engine. Jesse slammed the door. After a nod in my direction, Mike threw the truck in reverse and backed up, stopped and back up a little more.

The driver of the Toyota scrambled to turn his wheel. The passengers hung out the window and yelled something in Spanish. They sped around the truck and down the road. One of them threw a beer can out the window. It bounced across the pavement like the last word, ‘We don’t care what you think.’

Mike’s face turned red. “We got to go. See you around.”

“Same,” I said.

Left me standing across from Joe Douglas’ store holding my bag of stuff I collected at the prison. The same advertisements hung in the window. Coke, Wonder Bread and Marlboro Cigarettes. Mike made a U-Turn and rolled back by. “Joe’s bout the only thing that’s stayed the same around here. Tell him we’ll bring the money we owe him tomorrow!”

Seemed to me Joe wasn’t the only thing that stayed the same. Those boys were always owing somebody something and they’d borrow whatever they owed to pay Joe. I shook my head and gazed at Joe’s store.

“Welcome home, Wesley.”

 

Chapter 2

 

My hands trembled as I reached for the door handle. I cracked it open and I peeked inside the familiar space. The bell dinged and Joe spotted me before I changed my mind about going in and facing him.

“Wesley Sullivan,” Joe said, sounding surprised.

I guess he had good cause, hadn’t been there in three years.

“Mr. Douglas,” I replied.

I tried to sound tough, but it must have come out lame, because Mr. Douglas smiled with his eyes and gave me a man’s handshake.

“You know to call me Joe,” he said.

The store looked the same as it did three years before, isles of disorganized goods on dusty steel shelves and worn tiled floors. Joe looked the same too, with gray hair peeking from his baseball cap, and the same red and blue plaid shirt he wore when I last saw him.

“Thanks,” I said. “You understand where I’ve been, do you?”

“Yep, other folks and I been keeping an eye on your place, making sure none of them immigrants try to take over the place.” Joe’s hand shook as he pointed over to the goods.

“Take over, you say. You mean move into the farm?”

Joe glanced at me with telling eyes, the kind that says you were right, and the kind that said we got troubles.

“Wesley, take whatever you need,” he said. “Pay me later.”

Grandpa and Joe grew up together, right there in Caroline County. Most people stared at me with judging eyes. Joe had knowing eyes.

“Thanks,” I said. “When the bank opens in the morning.”

“Young man, don’t go telling me what I know,” he said.

I didn’t have to ask Joe if he knew Grandpa and Dad left me a good size bank account. Joe watched them survive off as little as possible for years, to deposit money into an account for my future.

Grandpa and Dad were my everything, but if you judged it through Joe’s eyes, I was their everything.

“Guess I’ll grab a few things and head out to the farm,” I said as I grabbed a can of beef stew, crackers, cereal, milk and coffee. I juggled everything without a basket. Walked past the beer cooler, thought of Grandpa. He used to grab his case from that box every other day. I sighed and took my groceries to the front, so Joe could take inventory. I watched him struggle to grip the inch-long pencil, but that was Joe. He’d use that pencil until the lead met the eraser.

“Me and the boys will come visit tomorrow,” he said without looking up from the list.

“That’d be fine,” I said.

He put my stuff in a bag and stared at each item with a scrutinizing eye, then at me with concerned ones.

I wondered what I’d done wrong, then Joe said, “The girls,” and by girls he meant his and the boys’ wives. “We’ll cook you some man’s food, to get you along.”

Guess that answered my question.

A big lump of relief got caught up in my throat. I tried to hide it from Joe as I stumbled to the door without facing him.

“I’ll see you tomorrow Joe,” I said, and let the door slam behind me.

I walked south with a bag of groceries in one hand and a plastic bag of stuff I collected at the prison in the other.

Stupid stuff: a cheap radio, toothpaste, soups and hard candy, and a pencil no bigger than Joe’s. Agony made its way up my throat, and caused pain in the back.  Tears poured and I kept wiping my nose with my sleeve. Cars slowed, people glared, but I stared at the fields in the other direction. Sobbed most the way home.

The farm sat way back from the main road. But, I could see from the mailbox that the shutters needed painting, and the porch needed patching. To the right of the old farmhouse was Grandpa’s field, the once lively green patch of money, now dirt sprawled as far as the horizon.

I hurried around back to where Grandpa and Dad were resting. Passing the picnic table that sat under the oak tree. I plunged in front of Grandpa and Dad’s graves. Hung my head and clasped my hands in my lap. I tried to say something to make them proud.

Words became moans as I rocked myself into a trance. My thoughts drifted back to good times. At least, what Grandpa and Dad made it to be during years of struggle, pancakes for breakfast, working on the Buick. The same Buick that sat in the driveway covered with tarp.

That was the last thing I remembered seeing when I came to, under the oak tree, staring straight up at fall leaves. I decided I’d been laying around long enough, and it was time to get the beef stew on the stove. I tossed that prison stuff in the fire barrel, burned it good too, and headed for the kitchen.

White tin cabinets with silver handles, and a fifties style table with a stainless steel rim, worthless to other people. Me? I touched everything in there and worked my way to the living room. The television was a big chunk of box and if there were any hint of modern to it, it’d be the remote control. I clicked it several times before realizing it needed batteries. I tossed it on the large wood crate used as a coffee table, and manually turned the box on, to the news channel.

I got myself a bowl stew and crackers, and sat at the kitchen table. The familiar space gave me a sensation of warmth, and peace.

Then a female voice with a thick Spanish accent blasted into my living room.

“We deserve and demand equality. Our people are detained, but not for committing crimes.” She paused and yelled, “Held in prison for months waiting for immigration court!”

People clapped and roared in response. Her words made my head hurt. The camera aimed toward the crowd. Hundreds of people gathered around the stage.

“Equality,” I said aloud, and in between grinding teeth. “They only jail gang members and criminals. How about telling the truth?”

The camera aimed at the speaker. On the stage, a dark haired woman, in her twenties, stood in front of the microphone. She wore black slacks, a bright multi-colored blouse and shiny black flats. She had her dark hair pulled back in a loose bun, with several sections hanging around her face. It made her appear hard working, but low maintenance. I had never met her, but when her lips moved, and when she glanced to the left, my jaw tightened.

The crowd held signs that read Rights for our People and Racial Equality for Hispanics.’ Another read, ‘Nina.’

“Nina.” I mumbled her name in a low threatening voice. I had spent hours at the prison dreaming of sleeping in my bed, eating what I wanted, and not anywhere near a toilet, and away from those freaking gang members.

Comfortable in my own space, yet, there I was pissed off. I grabbed my food and went into the living room.

News reports on immigration dominated the TV stations.

They killed my father and because of them I went to prison.  I spooned stew into my mouth, sitting on the sofa, thinking about the gangs and violent crimes.  I laid back wearing the clothes I walked home in, slept right there on the sofa. Had nightmares all night.

Next morning, I woke with a pounding headache, showered and left the house.  Got the Buick started and drove into town. I stopped by the bank and picked up more groceries.

Later in the day, the elders showed up along with their wives. They brought plenty more food, and home cooked dishes. The girls spread a cloth over the picnic table and we ate fried chicken, corn casserole, greens, baked mac and cheese, and peach cobbler. When everyone finished, the girls gathered the dishes and went inside the house. Called themselves tidying up the place. The elders and I stayed outside, fixing to have our men’s talk.

A fuzzy feeling came over me, it felt good to be back at the table. I gazed around at the elders.

“Me and the boys thought we should let you in on that immigrant you sliced up at the jail,” Joe said.

I lifted the Bud to my face, took a swallow. Couldn’t find any words.

“It was on the TV,” Joe said. “Son of a bitch claimed asylum, and the judge gave it to him. Courts let him go six months after you went to prison.”

I chugged the rest of the Bud and tossed the can in the fire barrel. Joe, Darryl, and Wayne stared at me, and I should have said something. But I grabbed another beer and popped it open, and took another drink.

“My boys,” Darryl said.

“David,” Darryl continued.  “Watched a group of immigrants in Grafton Village. Quarter mile off Route 218. He said they move immigrants in and out there.”

“So?” I said.

“Said Victor was there.”

I squeezed the beer can and heard it crumble inside my fist. The farm was thirty miles from 218. The Buick had a full tank. I could get there in an hour to teach Victor a lesson.

Darryl took a swig of his beer and turned his head toward the house. I guess he didn’t want the girls to hear. He leaned toward the center of the table and said, “Said Victor’s bringing more gang members across the border.”

Wayne slapped his beer can on the table. “He was up in Dale City with that girl on television.”

“What girl?” I said. Though I suspected it was the one that kept me up the night before.

Wayne said, “Nina, that one fighting for rights.”

 

Chapter 3

“I thought I knew that girl from somewhere.”  Joe and the others stared at me with blank expressions. Caused me to smile even though I was mad as hell.

“Watched her on TV last night,” I explained. They sighed.

Darryl said, “Little, Ms. I want equality in the U.S. has something to hide. I’ll bet you the government’s in the dark about her boyfriend.”

“Not her boyfriend,” I said. “Nina must be his sister or cousin or something. She looks similar to Victor. Minus the scar.”

“Maybe that’s what she needs,” Darryl said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Darryl placed both his elbows on the table, held his beer between his palms and sneered.

“She needs a scar across her mouth to shut her up,” he said.

Joe cleared his throat and glanced over at Grandpa and Dad’s graves. Hard to tell what he was thinking.

I glanced back over at Darryl. He was staring at me with squinted eyes. Evil ones that made me think he’d do such a thing.

“Now that’s enough, Darryl!” Joe said.

Darryl took a drink of his beer and sprayed it toward the tree trunk. “Shits hot.”

“You expect it to be cool when you cup it in both hands,” Joe said.

Wayne stood up, adjusted his trousers and shook his head back and forth. “Harming that girl is like you holding your beer can, getting it all hot and griping about it. You harm that girl and you’ll be griping from prison.”

“He’s right,” I said.

Darryl glared at me.

“Can’t get anything done in prison,” I continued.

Joe stopped staring at Grandpa and Dad’s graves. He tapped his fingers on his can.

“Way I see it, she’s a problem, spreading talk about equality.” He gulped his beer and stared at me. “Wait and you’ll see,” he said.

Reminded me of Grandpa, and everything Grandpa said had come true as far as trouble crossing the border. But, to hate all of them, shoot, I didn’t agree with that part. That was my secret though, and telling the elders wasn’t a good idea. We sat there another hour, talking. Darryl invited me to his boys’ house before they all said their good nights.

Going back to prison wasn’t on my list of things to do before I die, but hearing what the boys were up to seemed harmless. So, I got me a good night’s sleep and jumped in the old pick-up the next morning and drove to Grafton Village.

Grafton used to be a quiet little neighborhood. Cook outs in the summer, lots of colorful lights at Christmas time. Family vehicles and work trucks sat in the driveways.

As I drove toward the house, loud music blasted the streets.

The driveways were littered with older model vehicles, mixed matched rims and patched up paint jobs, resembling a junk yard. Behind them stripped down vehicles with parts and tools scattered on the ground, a sure hazard for kids. Sheets and blankets covered a few windows showing the occupants hadn’t lived there long, or were too poor to buy curtains. A child ran out onto the street in front of me. I stomped on the brake and watched a young mother run to him screaming something in Spanish. She glared at me as if it were my fault she wasn’t watching her child.

Darryl’s boys, David and Carl, rented a house that sat up on a small hill. I drove slowly in that direction, half expecting another kid to run out in front of me, but none crossed my path. A group of male Hispanics gathered around an old van.

They stood in the middle of the street and crept out of my way when I passed. On the porch, a man stood wearing a white shirt with large letters that read, ‘Virginia is for Lovers.’

“You got to be kidding me,” I said as I rolled by, hiding my face under the rim of my baseball cap.

I arrived at Carl and David’s house and backed the truck in the driveway in front of their red Ford 2500. Talk about sticking out in the crowd. David opened his front door and waved. I headed in his direction.

“Come in, close the door,” David said. A worn chair sat in front of the window with an end table to the right of it, writing pad and pencil, binoculars and several beer cans on top.

Across the room a sofa sat with no coffee table, no rug. The thought of no woman entered my mind.

“When did you move in here?” I asked.

“Couple years back. He gestured toward the living room window. “Come over here, have a look.”

I eased across the squeaky, dull, wood floor, smelled stale beer from a spill under sunlight coming through the window, thinking prison conditions was better.

“Look,” David said, pointing out the window.

I squinted my eyes and gazed down at the Hispanics gathered around the Toyota. “Yeah, so what.”

David leaned down beside me. “See that one wearing the ‘Virginia is for Lovers,’ T-shirt?” he said.

“Yeah.”

“That’s Victor Estrada Hernandez.”

My heart thumped fast. I stared out the window. Blood rushed from my face.

“You’re pale, dude,” David mocked.

Carl came through the kitchen entry with three beers in his hands. “Did you tell him yet?” He handed me a beer and I took it with a trembling hand.

“Tell me what?”

Both them boys were country looking. David appeared simple like his Mom, rounded face and childlike, but Carl took after Darryl. There was an evil about him, high cheek bones, squinted eyes, crooked grin.

Carl pointed to the window with two fingers while holding onto his beer can with the same hand. “We’ve been watching Victor. Moved in here about a year after you went to prison. They set that fucker free after you cut him.”

I raised the beer can to my face, but couldn’t take a swallow. “You’ve been spying on Victor?” I said.

“Yep.” David smiled at me as if he deserved a trophy.

My lips were dry but saliva filled my mouth quick. “Victor lives there?”

“No,” Carl said. “He lives in an upscale neighborhood, in Herndon.” He took a swig of beer, and darted those squinted eyes upward, disgusted. “Victor comes here twice a month.” He pulled the curtain back. “They’ve been there about ten minutes.”

“Wait, wait,” David said, sounding anxious. I peered through the window and saw eight people climb out of the van. Two women, six men. The women folded their arms across their bodies. One of the men pushed them and five of the men toward the house. They used a key to unlock the door. The sixth man talked to Victor.

“They lock ’em in the house,” David said.

“I don’t understand,” I said.

Carl staggered to the sofa and sat with his legs spread country-boy-cocky wide. “Those people that went into the house came over the border maybe two, three days ago. Victor has them locked in the house so the women won’t tell anyone.”

I frowned. “Tell what?”

Carl lit a cigarette and blew rings into the already stank air. “They were raped. One of the perks for the coyote.”

“Coyote?”

“The van driver, and he takes two watchmen, all three rape the women as they travel across the border. In the morning they’ll head out down 218, take the 301 bridge to Maryland.”

“What about the one talking to Victor?” I peered again through the window, but both men were gone.

Carl drank his beer, and just like his dad he said, “Shit’s hot.” As he strutted into the kitchen, he yelled back, “Another gang member.”

David cleared cans off the side table and tossed them in a laundry basket lined with a trash bag. “Your color is coming back,” he said.

I spent three years in prison while Victor was busy bringing more gang members to the States. He lived in a grand house while I ate more beans than my stomach could digest.

My jaw clenched.

“We’ve been waiting for you to come home,” David said.

“Waiting for me, for what?”

“Pay back?”

“That and to run them out of our town. You know one of them got your girl pregnant?”

“My girl?”

“Beth,” he said. “Yeah. Twice. Then left her to take care of them alone.”

I could have gone without that bit of news, and Carl talked like we were still kids. Beth and I hadn’t seen each other in years. How Carl thought it would bother me baffled me as much as looking at the two of them. They were once chubby little brats, turned current day renegades.

“I just got out of prison. Not planning to go back.”

David’s mouth dropped open, and Carl cut his eyes at me sideways.

“Thanks for the beer,” I said, heading for the exit.

“Wesley,” David said with an urgency in his voice. I glanced back, and he stopped talking for a moment. “You,” he stuttered, “You, can’t.” He squeezed his eyes tight and opened them. “You can’t let them take over.”

Last time I heard him stutter, he was eleven and about to get a whipping from his father for running the tractor out of gas six acres from the barn. That was the first whipping. The second one was for stuttering. He grew up getting whipped and I remember feeling bad for him then, but going up against an entire gang was suicide.

I heard a car door close. Carl walked over to the front door, someone mumbled, and two men walked in as Carl closed the door and stood behind them with sneering eyes.

“You’re Wesley,” one of them said.

Carl leered at me, and I bet he waited for me to dash toward the door.

I didn’t know what those boys were planning until Carl said, “They’ll move them early morning, around four. We’ll follow them, but we do not engage. We just find out where they’re taking them.”

My stay home felt short lived.

Save Nina @Kindle Scout!

Save Nina Cover Kindle Scout

Hello everyone,

My latest book Save Nina launched over at Kindle Scout! This is my first time submitting my hard work to KS, and I am excited for the chance to be published with Kindle Press. Haven’t heard about Kindle Scout by Amazon? No worries, click here https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1L8KUFT20RVC1 take a look at my entry, and read other books submitted by authors just like you and me, hoping to get enough votes. For authors, you can submit a new, never before published novel of 50,000 words or more for a period of 45 days. Should your book be selected for publication you’ll received a $1500.00 advance and 50% royalties. Guess who does the marketing? Amazon, and you are free to post a portion of your book elsewhere, like here on WordPress to help with your book promotion.

About Save Nina:

Wesley Sullivan is determined to save his hometown from a vicious gang who’s violent agenda threatens to turn his world into a bloody, thug controlled environment. He’s about to meet Nina Hernandez, whose journey from El Salvador to Virginia came with a grueling price, a life long agreement between her protective brother and the gang. Through chaos, betrayal and death, Wesley learns life changing lessons as he’s driven to Save Nina.

The end had me in tears, and I’m the author! Anyway, please give Save Nina a read and vote for publication.

Thanks

Ann

Save Nina

My novel, I’m Working On It, is now titled Save Nina.

Save Nina Cover

Wesley Sullivan is determined to save his hometown from a vicious gang who’s violent agenda threatens to turn his world into a bloody, thug controlled environment. He’s about to meet Nina Hernandez, whose journey from El Salvador to Virginia came with a grueling price, a life long agreement between her protective brother and the gang. Through chaos, betrayal and death, Wesley learns life changing lessons as he’s driven to Save Nina.

I’m waiting to edit the last seven chapters, and then I’m going to try something new. I’m going to submit Save Nina to Kindle Scout!

It’s been along journey, and I abandoned the paranormal to write this contemporary fiction. It was a story I had to write. If you haven’t visited Kindle Scout, at kindlescout.amazon.com/ Choose your favorite, or submit your own.

Wish me creativity!

Ann Simpson on How to Entertain DARK Guests

The Delete Key

I have met many authors since I published my debut novel, The Kitchen Dance (shameless plug), but none like the fellowship I’ve enjoyed from the author’s I met during the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition.

One of1459229_10201196265764443_2048039834_n my fellow participants, Ann Simpson, can attest to the support we all continue to give each other as we pursue the craft of writing.

Ann lives in Virginia, works in a jail, and writes fiction in early morning before her crazy work day begins.

The Genealogist’s Guests (Dark Guest Series)

Genre: Paranormal

Intended Audience: Adult due to some content

One great thing about my new blog, is that it has given me the opportunity to get to know some of my fellow authors on a more personal/professional level and share this with my readers.

So I began be asking Ann, where she like to settle in and create her characters and…

View original post 746 more words

I’m Working On It

I’ve been absent for months working on three novels. Two are apart of a series and one not. The one that’s not is currently titled, “I’m working On It.” Here’s the opening chapter.

The men lived acres apart, but it never stopped grim news from getting to the picnic table. One evening I laid my back on the wooden bench and stared up at the leaves of the old oak tree. Pretended I was somewhere else while the elders talked against the cost of food, gas, the war and terrorists. The Mexican border and how immigrants were coming to take their jobs. My young mind wandered as I looked up at the branches. The men kept talking and I tried counting the leaves, get my mind off the invasion. I counted fifty-two when a gust of wind blew the branches. Dropped golden foliage right on top of us and mind you listening to the elders had me on edge. My shoulders hunched up, and I covered my head. Prepared to die.
I was fourteen and unworldly. I told them.
I wouldn’t have been so frightened and influenced if I knew then what I know now, that I’d have a change of heart. That I‘d be here telling my story while looking into their beautiful brown eyes. I raised my voice for special effects.
“I saw this one coming a long time ago,” came the gruff voice.
My audience jumped, then giggled. I placed my hand across my heart, their faces got real serious, and I told them the rest.
My chin sunk into my chest. I said. Grandpa slammed the canned Bud on the aged table. There wasn’t much space between bird droppings, but Grandpa had developed a keen eye over his years. Both for finding the only spot on the table free of crow’s shit, and “They don’t even call them illegal anymore,” he said. He grabbed a fist full of his trousers and yanked them up exposing swollen red ankles. “They call them undocumented immigrants, and they’re coming for us.” He glanced over at me, sucked on the space between his teeth and gave that sneering nod, as usual. “Be ready for it,” he said.
Me and Dad buried him weeks later. I was there when he took his last breath and I swear he said, they’re nothing but trouble before his face went still. Bitter-to-the-end, said they’d bring their grief cause things were chaotic in the south. He said their government told them to move north, and the U.S. government was dumb-as-rocks, full of political propaganda. Invited trouble in our own back yard.
Damn fools.
Grandpa left the farm and eighteen Caroline, Virginia acres to my dad. The old farm sat unattended when Dad and I moved north. Crops ceased, stock sold to the only bidder, and the old house? We never went back. As far as I knew, Grandpa’s clothes were still hanging out back on the clothes line. I thought of him every once in a while, slapping his Bud on the bare spot, talking his crap, staggering into the house. Bird shit painted on his butt and elbows. I missed him.
After we moved Dad took up a job at the local jail. He worked there little over five years. He never paid much attention to Grandpa when he was alive. But over time he sounded the same. We both did. Our federal government didn’t detain immigrants without severe criminal records. A judge granted a gang member asylum because an opposing gang controlled his home country. He’d be killed if he returned. News traveled fast. The next thing you know the border was out of control. Thousands fled Mexico and El Salvador. Cost the feds eight billion and the states, eleven billion dollars a year to incarcerate repeat non-citizen felons. Dad’s face turned red, he said, “That’s nineteen billion,” and took one of his blood pressure pills.
Dad came home one day, said they let another immigrant go, a gang member. “Damn fools,” he said. He chugged the last of his Bud and tossed the bottle in the trash. He bitched on the way to his bedroom, salty chips clung to the back of his dark blue polyester pants. I remember those days with both sad and scared feelings.
What Grandpa and Dad preached sunk in when a detainee, I say detainee because we couldn’t call them inmates, took a toothbrush and sharpened it into a useful point and stuck it in my Dad. At the hospital, just before he took his last breath, he squinted at me and said, “You be careful, boy.” He closed his eyes and went away.
“Damn immigrants,” I said as the two gravediggers lowered my Dad into the ground. It was forty three degrees that October day. The priest gave me a disappointed glare and walked away at the first dirt toss. I deserved that one. I stood there until the last shovel of dirt covered the casket, lowered my head to pray, gave respect to my dad. But not those two grave diggers. They threw their shovels in the back of their truck and hauled ass. Didn’t even shake my hand, or say goodbye. My entire family rested in the back yard and nobody cared. I kept breathing hard to fight the tears, watched that truck leave. I fell to my knees over Dad’s fresh grave and Grandpa’s seasoned one right next to him, swore to make things right.
The sun had set in the west dropping the temperature ten more degrees. I wiped the snot from my face, stood, and faced Grandpa’s clothes line. Six years dead and his jeans were still hanging from the tattered polyester cord. The old house looked the same, good enough to live in, it was everything I had left. That and a drive to stop them immigrants from crossing that border.
I grabbed the clothes off the line and walked past the picnic table. Imagined Grandpa sat there talking his crap. Settled into the house, talked crap myself. That was three years before I took myself a job at the jail.
They sent me to work in the immigrant pod. I made every one of them detainees think twice before coming back to the U.S., did everything I could to make them miserable. Dumb stuff. I didn’t let them watch sports or shower. Locked them in their cells early to make them mad. They’d complain. The sergeant reassigned me to work in another unit for a few months, but I always returned to the immigrant pod.
One day I sat back in my officer’s chair, watched that El Salvadoran, Victor, recruit as many as he could to his gang. I thought back on how we ended up housing them together. It came from the top. We had to separate the immigrants from the local criminal holds. It must have been a gang member’s dream come true. Every illegal or should I say, undocumented immigrant, the criminal ones you know, came through that pod. It troubled me to no end. I don’t remember getting out of my chair. My face felt red-hot, that, I remember. I circled a group of them, and Victor Estrada Hernandez smirked.
“Break it up,” I said, and no one moved until Victor nodded his head and said something in Spanish. The detainees walked to their cells, including Victor, but he took his sweet time. He looked at the television and laughed on his way, deportation orders in his hand.
“See you in two weeks,” he said.
He was right, he’d be back in the U.S., recruiting more gang members, bringing trouble and death up from the south. I puffed my chest out and blurted, “What’d you say.” He smirked and turned his back on me, pranced across the pod as if he owned the place. I can’t remember the name now, but on the television another execution happened the night before that unfortunate day. Gangs, forty-five miles north, were at it again. They had killed each other for months, right in our own back yard. That night they killed a cop.
I didn’t see Victor’s face cause he was walking away from me, but he had smug written in his step. “Get to your cell,” I said. There I was in the day room of a pod that held eighty detainees, half of them gang members and none of them closed their cell doors. Victor walked slow and ignored my orders. I knew I couldn’t outright beat him, so I picked up my pace and shouldered him as I passed by, and gave him my version of a smirk. That’s when cell door number four swung open. Victor’s sidekick, Sánchez or Perez, whatever the hell his name was, came charging at me. I palmed his face and drove him straight to the ground. I’d have gone unpunished for that, maybe. It’s what happened next that got me several years in prison.
I grabbed that slow-moving jerk, Victor, and smashed his face up against his cell door. “Stay in your country, or I swear…”
“What can you do?” he said with his smug accent. I pressed his right cheek up against the door so hard it distorted his mouth. He smirked through puckered lips. The others approached fast, but my eyes tightened as I zeroed in on Victor.
The hair on the back of my neck raised, and I screamed out a crazy roar. My own voice sounded foreign. Before them others got me I jacked Victor up and drew my fist back to bash his face in, and I paused. He sneered at me. I’ll tell you this, it doesn’t take a moment for a man to let his guard down and allow evil to reach in and steal his soul. I fetched my blade from my pocket.
“You have a smart mouth,” I said, and I sliced him across his lips, upper left to his lower right. It must have been painful, because he screamed out, and I sliced him in the opposite direction. Yep, I carved him a big X right across his filthy mouth. That’s when the others grabbed my legs and pulled me away. Victor sat up against the white center block wall, breathing hard through flapping, bloody lips, divided in four parts.
After that, I sat in prison for three years.
When I first went to prison I resembled a sickly, under weight loser. Worry does that to a person. The prisoners, many of them immigrant gang members, poked fun at me and took my commissary. But they didn’t consider me a threat, made it easier to fiddle around, poke my nose into their business. Learned what they were planning.
They came here aiming to take over the U.S. Grandpa and Dad warned me before they died, and as far as I was concerned at the time they were right. Saw it on the television. Heard it from the gang members. Good enough for me.
When it was time to go, I threw my bag over my shoulder, left the prison walls behind me and headed back to Grandpa’s property. My property. I’d never be hired again as a jailer or as law enforcement. I knew that. So, I shed the officer blues and inmate orange. Ready to win a war. Intent on sending our troubles back across that border. Someone stirred the dirt behind me as I walked away from the prison gate. I glimpsed back, and sure enough, it was one of them. He glanced at me with evil eyes and strutted south. At least he headed in the right direction. I went north, had to get my jeans off the line.

Savage Descendants Book Cover

terry6155_savage
Savage Descendants, book two in The Dark Guests Series, has a book cover! It will be available August 2014 on Amazon and Smashwords.
Book three of the series, The Warned, will soon follow. The first book, The Genealogist’s Guests is now available on Amazon!

What if: My Words Were Well Known

darkness2

A kind poet, just described me, as a renowned author on Twitter. On Amazon, my book The Genealogist’s Guests is at #114,818 Paid in the Kindle Store. It is #41 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Psychics
There is a handy link on the same page (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store). I am a somewhat unknown author, at least in the big scheme of indie publishing. What does the #114,818 position mean in sales? For me it is average 13 sold books a month. Sounds meek, though believe me it is amazing. But I am hardly a renowned author. For a brief second there, after reading the kind tweet, I felt odd, I mean what if my words were well known?

My story is a paranormal mystery. It has an underlying message, if you’re abused, tell it. Sounds simple, yet telling someone, anyone that you were a victim of abuse can be the hardest thing to share. There are many reasons why a victim of abuse keeps silent. Humiliation, embarrassment, fear of retaliation, to name a few. If getting the message through to victims were as easy as just saying, report it, I would have written a nonfiction book.

Instead, I wove the message into this paranormal fiction about a family who discovers they’ve been cursed with silence, and as a consequence suffer abuse over and over again, and across generations. Their weapon? The truth. In a single tear drop that burst into millions more, scenes of the truth appeared before the victims. The silence was broken, and the predators were weakened. My paranormal mystery, family, fights to destroy the demons of their past. It must have been a deep concern for me, because writing it just happened. In books two and three they become paranormal investigators who help others fight their evil spirits.

What if my words were well known? What if authors could build a culture of zero tolerance by writing inspiring fiction that helps change the way we think and react to abuse? I pose a question: What’s your underlying theme or message in your fiction novel?

The Warned, First Chapter Preview

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The first warning, unreal, yet unmistakable. I ran to the window and looked out onto the deserted suburban street. It won’t be long I thought, not long before people get into their vehicles. Not long before traffic would stand still and we would be trapped with everyone else, waiting to die.
“Five minutes!” I screamed.
I grabbed as much as I could. Water, snacks, and canned goods. “Four minutes!” I yelled from the garage. We had to get on the road and fast.
“Mom, what’s wrong!” Katelynn said.
I stumbled back into the kitchen. Our eyes locked, I tried desperately to find the words. I saw fear in her beautiful green eyes. “Don’t cry,” I said as I squeezed her arms. I felt my mouth tremble. I could see my own fear through the expression on Katelynn’s pale face. “Get Michelle in the van,” I said.
“Ok, Mom,” she said.
I took two stairs at a time and ran into my bedroom. I looked out of the window at my neighbors. God help them, they looked desperate. They threw their luggage and kids in their cars. Joan my neighbor across the street screamed for her daughter Annie. She ran down the street. I watched her cover her mouth and look all around. I ached for her, but I couldn’t help her.
“Three minutes!” I yelled down the stairs. I grabbed my safe with our birth certificates and social security cards, then pulled clothes from the closets and shoved them into a bag. Two minutes left. I took two stairs at a time down to the living room and lost my footing. My ass was the only body part touching the last four stairs as I bounced down, but I managed stagger back onto my feet. I glanced at the television as I past the living room. The emergency broadcast glared from the screen. Evacuate.
Out in the garage Michelle was in the back seat of the van. My sweet fifteen year old stared from the window, her blue eyes were wide, pupils like needle points. I tossed the bag and my purse in the back of the van. Katelynn scrambled out of the passenger seat and met me on the driver’s side of the van. I pulled the camping gear from the garage shelves. She moved fast, throwing everything into the rear of the van until the shelf was empty.
“Pictures,” I said. “I have to go get the pictures.
“No, Mom!” Katelynn said. She grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the stairs. “Get in the van!”
“Just one minute!” I said.
“Mom!” she screamed. Then in a final tone, she said, “Times up. Let’s go.”
I felt a heated sensation rush across my face. I knew she was right. “Ok, ok,” I said. She held my shoulders and guided me to the van. I looked back at the stairs up to the doorway. I left the kitchen light on. I suppose that memory will be with me for a long time. I looked into the rearview mirror and saw Michelle staring back at me. Sadness filled her eyes. I think she knew we’d never return home. Our lives, if we made it out of here, would change forever.
I threw the van in reverse, “Buckle up,” I said to Katelynn. I stopped at the end of our driveway. In both directions as far as I could see my neighbors prepared to evacuate. I headed south and aside from Andy, Katelynn’s boyfriend, who drove his Harley with nothing more than a backpack, we were the first to leave, at least from our neighborhood. I sped up to thirty five, then forty.
Joan was still running down the street screaming for Annie.
“Mom, stop!” Michelle said.
“We can’t stop baby,” I said.
“No, Mom, I know where she is.”
“Who?”
“Annie, I have to tell her Mom. Stop the van!”
I glanced back at Joan, at the tears that poured down her face. I slammed on the brake. “You have ten seconds Michelle. Hurry!” I said. I sat there with my heart racing, watching my daughter. Joan grabbed her and hugged her. I heard her say, “Go to your mother Michelle. We’ll be alright.” And then she looked at me and waved her hand.
“Shit,” I said. My stomach felt queasy.
Michelle climbed back into the van as I stared through the mirror at Joan.
“Mom.”
I looked toward the back seat through the rearview mirror at Michelle. Her beautiful blonde hair hung straight, parted on the side, always the helper. Her expression, a satisfied one.
“Mom, let’s go,” Michelle said. “It’s ok.” Gray clouds rolled in and settled over my panicked neighbors. I stared through the mirror, taking in the horrid scene.
“Mom. Go,” said Katelynn. Her voice bossy.
A lightening bolt no less than a foot wide struck somewhere across town. That’s how they said it would start. After the lightening winds will reach hurricane strength igniting fires, and chaos is inevitable. Katelynn grabbed a map, I think it was the first time she looked at one. I stepped on the gas, turned right and headed west.
“Mom where are we going?” Katelynn asked. “We should go south.”
“No, sweetie, we can’t go south there will be massive floods.” She glared at me for a few seconds and grabbed her cell phone. I looked ahead at the traffic, a long line of cars preceded the 95 South exit, car horns blared, people screamed… chaos. Katelynn ran her fingers across the map and texted on her phone. I checked my rear view mirror. Michelle stared wide eyed at the cars we passed.
“Mom,” Michelle said. “How do you know where to go?”
“What?”
“Everyone else is going south,” she said.
“Not everyone, some are heading west,” I said.
“But how do you know that’s the right way?”
Katelynn stopped texting and gave me a hard, suspicious stare.
I hesitated.
“Mom,” Katelynn said, “How do you know?”
I didn’t know what to say. I looked at the road ahead and back at Katelynn, “I need water,” I said. I needed time to come up with an answer.
“Mom, how do you know we are going the right fucking way?” Katelynn said.
“I just know, damn it!”
“You just know? That was the biggest bolt of lightening I’ve ever seen.” Her tone sarcastic, “A catastrophic weather event, and you just know?”
“I just fucking know, ok!”
“Mom!” Michelle screamed from the back seat.
I glanced back at her. Her face was pale. She stared past me, out through the windshield. I looked forward. An RV had stopped. I slammed my foot on the brake. Tires screeched. I turned the wheel and swerved around the RV.
“Mom!”
Katelynn dropped the map and cell phone. I looked ahead and saw Andy, but it was too late. I couldn’t stop in time. He and his bike went flying to the right. “Shit!” I held the brakes as hard as I could until the van stopped. Katelynn jumped out screaming, “Andy!”
I shoved the van in park. “Michelle, stay in the van,” I said, and ran to Andy. Katelynn helped him up.
“You could have killed him Mom!” Katelynn said.
I ignored her. There was no time to argue. “Are you OK Andy?”
“Yea, I think so,” he said. He had road rash from his wrist to his elbow, other than that he seemed to be fine.
“Get in the van,” I said. They both stared at me. “Now!” Katelynn grabbed Andy’s backpack and stomped toward the van. She glared at me as she walked past, then climbed into the passenger seat. I could see Andy’s blonde curls in the rearview mirror as I drove west. A few miles down the road, I asked “Where are your parents Andy?”
“They’re on vacation,” he said.
“Where?” I said. Katelynn snickered and rolled her eyes.
“Europe,” Andy said.
Katelynn snapped the map open. “What difference does it make, Mom?” she said between grinding teeth.
The truth was it didn’t make a difference. They were probably dead if they were in Europe, where it all started. Katelynn kept screaming at me. I couldn’t say anything. I drove west with a lump in my throat. I kept looking away, with teary eyes.
“Mom, aren’t you going to say anything?” Katelynn said.
I looked back at Michelle. Her blue eyes were wide and teary, staring at me. She needed me to be strong.
“Mom,” Katelynn said.
I finally broke into a sob, “Enough Katelynn,” I said.
She was quiet for a moment, as I tried to pull myself together.
“I’m sorry,” said Katelynn. “It’s just a bad storm. We’re going to be Ok.”
I closed my mouth tight. I couldn’t breathe with all the crying. I moaned. I sobbed, I said, “It isn’t a storm.”
Katelynn had a blank expression. She didn’t say anything. Then she looked at the side mirror, and adjusted herself in the seat and looked back out of the van. “There are more cars following us now,” she said.
“Many more will come,” I said.
Andy pulled on my seat and leaned next to my ear. “How do you know?” he said.
“If it isn’t a storm, then what is it?” said Katelynn.
I glanced at the mirror. Michelle stayed quiet.
“Mom, please say something,” Katelynn said.
“They warned us, years ago,” I said. I looked at Michelle. Her father said she had the gift. Before he died, he said she’d know how to get us to safety.
“What warning?” Andy said.
Up ahead, there were people standing on the side of the road. I looked back at Michelle again and mouthed, “I love you,” to her.
“Whoa, look at all the people,” said Andy. “They are looking at… us,” his voice trailed off.
I kept our speed steady. As we passed people I saw them in the side mirror, climbing back into their cars. Michelle climbed into the rear of the van. She planted her hands on the rear window and looked out at the people. She turned to me and said, “Go to Stony Man Mountain.”
Katelynn unfolded the map. She said, “Hawksbill is higher.”
Michelle glared at me. “We’ll go to Stony Man,” I said.
Katelynn ruffled the map, and sighed. She started to say something, but pressed her fist against her mouth. A moment later she said, “Mom.”
“Katelynn, I can’t do this right now!”
“Do what Mom, pretend to know what to do, or where to go!”
I knew she was scared. I told myself to shut up. I turned the radio on, and pushed all the preset buttons. Every station offered blaring news about the atrocities sighted all over Europe. Described as a war zone, “No terrorist group has claimed to be the source of the killings,” they said. Authorities had no idea who, or what was killing so many. “Prepare yourselves for the worst.” The message was clear.
We listened in silence. Andy leaned forward between me and Katelynn. I heard him snuffle, then swallow.
“My parents are in Europe,” he said.
Katelynn said, “I’m sorry Andy. We’ll search for them. I promise.”
I had a lump in my throat. My heart raced and ached. I knew their chances of making it out of Europe alive were damn near impossible. I turned the radio off. We fell silent again.
Katelynn faced me, she said, “Mom, what’s going on?”
“Mom!” Michelle yelled from the back of the van. “Go faster!”
Andy shuffled in the seat and said, “What is that?”
I looked in the rearview mirror. Lightening struck through ominous red clouds that rose above the horizon.
“Is that blood?” Katelynn said.
Michelle faced forward and stared at me with tear filled eyes. I had to get us to that mountain and fast, before it was too late.

Haunted

Hey friends. It would be fun to pick a line, or be given a sentence from any chapter number of your book and write a different story from that sentence. Nice writing prompt.

What Makes a Good Ghost Story?

restlesswanderer61

Image Orb and Reflection Originally Thought to be Paranormal – Harper’s Ferry, WV

We had another oddity in our household last night. Maybe it was over active imaginations or we bumped into something paranormal in the night. In this house, it could be either or both.

It is not unusual for me to get bolted awake about 2:30 – 3:00 in the morning on a regular base. Sometimes, it becomes annoying enough to stay awake past the 3:00 hour just to prevent the jolt.  Tonight I’m staying awake to write this blog and straighten my office.

I think I have mentioned in the past that this house has some unusual things happening from time to time. Things that paranormal researchers would call residual haunting such as snippets of conversation in the same location between two people we can’t see.

Then there is what they call intelligent haunts. There is a woman…

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Haunted

crows bench
I’ve been reading true stories of the haunted.There are many reports from people who hear footsteps, see shadows, or watch lights turn on or off. Some tales are chilling, others describe ghosts repeating same acts over and over again. Climbing stairs, walking the hall, crying, laughing, banging or tossing furniture. My last blog was about a ghost that scared the yelp, yelp out of me. He looks like glass. He’s the reason I ‘ve been reading other peoples stories. I plan to research past tenants of this the house I live in, built in or around 1961. First, I read up on what ghost are and compared theories to my particular visitor.
First up is residual energy, the electrical impulses that linger after some exciting or stressful event, or strong person. Long after the person is dead. Something happened to the glass man, when he was alive? But why me? I don’t know this person. I’m not sure he’s not an alien. I’m not convinced he experienced some traumatic event in life and now returns to stalk me. Maybe it’s the house he’s stalking.
Time Slips, an event happened in the past that can be briefly seen in our time. That would explain the quick exit. It also makes my stalker, well, a stalker. Did he make it a habit of standing over women’s beds, at night, staring at them with that all-knowing expression. That’s really creepy, and I’m in trouble, if that’s the case. Though, I don’t think that’s quite the reason he’s appeared in my room twice. I felt as if the glass man knew something, but I didn’t feel he was trying to tell me something. If that makes any sense. I’ll move on.
Telepathic images, a sensitive person picks up on vibrations and witnesses an event that happened years ago. Somehow this glass man is projecting his thoughts to me, the receptive person, the psychic, aka medium, aka sensitive. Seriously? I’m not psychic. I cannot summon the dead. However, I do write paranormal fiction, which brings me to something I read about Arthur C Clarke’s speculation.
He speculated that our minds play images to our eyes. The same way our eyes relay messages to our brains, but in reverse. I found this bit of information from a forum dated fifteen years ago. So my imagination comes to life. Hell, that’s scarier than the thought of ghosts appearing in my room. I do think it’s an interesting thought, and I do have a character in the first book that is a ghost of glass, written in the chapter only after I saw him the first time. I guess you’ve learned I’m skeptical by now.
The ghosts above who repeat the same actions over and over again are said to pay no attention to the observer. Uh, not when they’re looking dead at you. We were all in the living room one night and all heard a loud bang from the back rooms. Of course I went to investigate and found a large textbook on the floor. It was on the bookshelf on the other side of the room before it fell to the floor. I cannot explain how the book fell from the shelf and then slid all the way to the opposite wall. So, I get the furniture, tossing thing people experience.
Some say a ghost may appear to warn the observer, or to give advice, or comfort. Ok, if you are dead and you appear at the foot of my bed twice, it is not comforting. Advice? Eh, I don’t know. Warn? So warn me and leave, for good. I read a ghost can inflict wounds too, and their behavior while alive dictates who they are as ghosts. We are back to the creepy. My ghost stalker, lingered at the foot of women’s beds when he was alive? I hope he didn’t inflict wounds.
Then there’s the lights. A few weeks back I walked out of my bedroom and headed for the kitchen. A light was on in an empty bedroom. I turned it off. I was still up writing an hour later. I went to the kitchen. Again the light was on. How does anyone explain this? If I go with Clarke’s speculation above, my imagination is powerful.
Maybe I can repel the ghost with salt, iron, or Hoodoo. Except, I’d be exploring what I try to avoid and place out of my mind. I haven’t found the answers, just possibilities. I’ll research the house and past tenants, see what I can come up with, but right now I hear something like a plate spinning in the other room.

21 People Describe Their Encounters With The Paranormal And The Stories Will Give You Nightmares

Thought Catalog

Ah, I really love and hate creepy stories. I love reading them, but afterwards, I’m so freaked out, all I can manage to do is move my finger to scroll down. Any sudden movements in my peripheral will give me a heart attack. Welcome to creepy land. You want more creepy stuff? Check this Reddit thread out here.

ShutterstockShutterstock

1. A Norwegian insane asylum

When I was a student, the campus was located on what had only 20 years before been an old asylum for the insane. Like, batshit crazy people. They did lobotomies there and what not. Most of the buildings had been refurbished into “normal” school buildings with lecture halls, study group rooms et cetera. Seemed pretty normal, except the small study group rooms that only had one window, that was 1 square feet, 15 feet up on the wall, with bars in front of it. Yeah…

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You will not forget the unexpected

Basement Stars
I sat there on the sofa, late night, alone. The only light in the room came from the television. The house was a 1960’s three story brick that sat at the end of the street, or the start depending on the direction of travel. Several people lived there, including a beautiful Rottweiler. On that summer night it was me and the dog. The lower level of the house was a full size apartment. The upper, an attic with two large rooms. The Rottweiler stayed downstairs. Comedian Sinbad was on the television where I sat, in the living room on the middle floor.

See Sinbad here:
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=sinbad+comedian&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=F8238428326CB284C1D9F8238428326CB284C1D9

The sofa faced the fireplace, and behind the sofa was a hallway to the bedrooms, and the stairs to the lower level. I laughed. One of those stupid laughs, mouth wide open, loud as hell. Just what I needed after a hard day at work. If you watched Sinbad’s YouTube video above, you can imagine where my mind was as I sat on the sofa that late summer night. I was relaxed and goofy, not a care in the world.

I heard the footsteps. It was loud as if intentional. The steps started on the lower level. I froze, but not in a relaxed leaned back position, no, I leaned forward, my back was straight, feet planted well on the floor. Someone was in the house, and that someone stopped at the top of the stairs. The door was locked. I looked back at the door handle. Whoever was on the other side of the door never turned the handle. Sometimes we do things we can’t explain.

It never occurred to me to run out the front door. Instead, I stood and tiptoed to the kitchen, pulled the drawer open and grabbed a knife. I guess in a fight or flight scenario, I’m fighting. I was scared out of my mind. I crept back to the sofa, knife in hand. I never heard the footsteps go back down the stairs. If was as if whoever, whatever it was on the other side of that door, never left. I didn’t close my eyes until daylight. I maybe slept an hour before I had to get ready for work.

Thinking about it now, if I had chosen to open the basement door, would that have been my last act? If I’d run out the front door would someone, or something been there, waiting? I can’t explain that any more than I can explain why I didn’t run out of the house screaming. I don’t know what was on the other side of the basement door. The only thing I know is what I’ve told you. It happened and it was unexpected. The following night it was gone. It never returned.

Maybe it was a person and not a ghost on the other side of the door. Like I said, the footsteps were loud, intentional. Maybe he, or she, thought I’d open that locked door to investigate. Maybe, when I didn’t he, she, it, whatever it was, snuck back down the stairs. Maybe my stand, with knife in hand, saved my life, no matter who, or what, was on the other side. The experience leaves me with many questions, like where was the Rottweiler? I only offer one answer to all questions. No, I will never forget.

Inspiration hides in the most unlikely places

I quote, “The genre picked me.”

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Inspirations

I wish I had a nickel for everyone that said, “You can’t write in two opposing genres.  You have to pick one and stick to it.  You won’t sell any books if you are bi-polar in your writings, and ‘Christian paranormal’ is an oxymoron.”

Actually, I find those observations quite amusing.  First of all, I didn’t pick any genre.  The stories come to me and I write them down.  The genre picked me.

I write from extremely opposing ends of the spectrum.  For instance, the book I am writing now, “Threads of Reality:  Lexie’s Journey, Book II,” centers on a middle-aged couple who investigate an old, dilapidated house.  Unfortunately, this turns out to be a portal to hell.  This is the dark side of the paranormal, but it is tempered with the light side of the paranormal when angels step in to battle the evil forces.  Just like us…

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“Signs of Hope” by Doug Bolton

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/Signs-Hope-Survive-Unfriendly-World-ebook/dp/B0083LUGVG http://www.amazon.com/Signs-Hope-Survive-Unfriendly-World-ebook/dp/B0083LUGVG

Doug’s book description on Amazon*
Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World, is a survivial manual for living in a troubled world. It reaches out to all of those who seek answers to questions like, why does God allow bad things to happen, when will I find peace, and what is my purpose in life?

This story of author Doug Bolton’s journey from extreme dispair to a close relationship with God will encourage those who experience anxiety, fear, depression, hopelessness, addiction, self-doubt and failure.

Each chapter begins with grassroots words of wisdom found on bumper stickers and ends with a personal application that points the reader toward spiritual and emotional maturity. Often funny or ironic, Bolton’s comparison of real-life challenges with bumper sticker wisdom prompts a stronger, healthier spiritual outlook on life.

https://www.facebook.com/DougBolton https://www.facebook.com/DougBolton

Our Author Doug Bolton shares a wonderful perspective on his personal challenges, struggles…

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“With Devils Dwell” by Anne Devina Reeve

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

Anne is one of our groups leaders and helps many of us with creating better plots and portraying our stories through action, and definition of characters and settings. This is why she is our designated quality control officer, if she sees a facet that can be improved she will naturally try to help.

http://www.amazon.com/WITH-DEVILS-DWELL-Devina-Reeve/dp/1492994456 http://www.amazon.com/WITH-DEVILS-DWELL-Devina-Reeve/dp/1492994456

When Alyce Wilson suffers a blow to her head with Doctor Owen Rathlin’s hansom cab in London she is taken inside the house to recover. Unable to remember anything. Owen decides to ‘christen’ her Rhoda Lambay. ‘Lambay Street so you won’t forget where I live’ With his departure Rhoda becomes aware of something sinister in the house. Her decision to leave early next morning puts her life in danger. She has been caught like a fish in a net of terror and fear. Not knowing her past produces a dread of the future. Her only friend…

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“The Owl of the Sipan Lord” by Viv Drewa

M.A.B.R. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

This entire book description is taken verbatim from Viv’s website at http://theowlladyblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-owl-of-the-sipan-lord/

http://theowlladyblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-owl-of-the-sipan-lord/ http://theowlladyblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-owl-of-the-sipan-lord/

Martin and Clare Montgomery worked as an archaeological team until Martin’s accidental death at a dig they were working on in Peru. Clare swore she’d never go back, but after having a dream about the dig that didn’t add up to the finds of t…he area, and the help of the Peruvian Pygmy Owl and a blue-eyed spirit, she did.
Her long-time friend and mentor, Carl Windmueller, believed in following dreams and encouraged her to go. He tries to research what she saw in the dream but is visited by a red-eyed spirit that causes him to have a massive heart attack when he gets close.
Unfortunately, Clare doesn’t understand what Carl was looking into by the books on his desk. Her friend Cord gets a team together and they head back to Peru.
The re-eyed spirit…

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Carole Gill- “The Fourth Bride” (of Dracula) Book Four

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

Carole is the host of the group’s horror post. She invites readers and authors to interact with the blog via comments, guest blogs and author pages.

http://marsocialauthorbusinessenhancementhorrorpost.wordpress.com/ http://marsocialauthorbusinessenhancementhorrorpost.wordpress.com/

Author, Gothic Vampires A Specialty    http://carolegillauthor.blogspot.co.uk/  I turned back to writing some years ago when I was selected by North West Playwrights of England for further development. It was a wonderful experience. I prefer writing novels and short fiction however. I write all sorts of horror and am widely published in horror anthologies. My longer fiction is historically based. I love writing about Gothic Vampires. Actually, I love all things Gothic especially horror fiction that's why I write it. Be warned, though for it is very dark. Still, I will be there with you. Don't you want to see worlds you cannot imagine...? I have one series out, The Blackstone Vampires, darkest horror and romance combined. I'm just finishing up the first book in a brand new series. Author, Gothic Vampires A Specialty
http://carolegillauthor.blogspot.co.uk/
I turned back to writing some years ago when I was selected by North West Playwrights of England for further development. It was a wonderful experience.
I prefer writing novels and short fiction however. I write all sorts of horror and am widely published in horror anthologies.
My longer fiction is historically based. I love writing about Gothic Vampires. Actually, I love all things Gothic especially horror fiction that’s why I write it. Be warned, though for it is very dark.
Still, I will be there with you. Don’t you want to see worlds you cannot imagine…?
I have one series out, The Blackstone Vampires, darkest horror and romance combined. I’m just finishing up the first book…

View original post 115 more words

Why Write Paranormal Mystery

tree9HQRQCK1
I can’t give myself credit for writing every available genre. I tried a crime novel and after completing the book I decided it was too closely related to my day job at the jail. Writing it didn’t allow me to escape as a writer. It was something I felt I had to do if I wanted fans to escape when reading my books. When I decided to write a paranormal mystery I didn’t consider whether this particular genre had a large fan base. I didn’t actually know it was going to be a paranormal mystery either. The decision was more of an awe moment. I could write a book about a woman genealogist’s who is visited by her ancestors. A paranormal. My imagination started going crazy. I saw a family tree that soon became a portal to the afterlife. I shared my thoughts and asked, “Should I create a heartwarming story or a horror tale?” Needless to say I received approvals for both. One thing that’s certain, readers have preferences. With that, I had to ask, how much creativeness would I lose by writing for a specific reader(s). If I mold my imagination into what specific readers want, would I lose myself, would I in fact cheat readers by not sharing a true, albeit, eerie, strange, and intense side of me that raises my heart rate, currently at 67. Yet, raises a notch when a slick black substance covers the form of a body, a female body, trapped by dead roots of a tree. The thick, slimy, rancid smelling muck oozes between the dead limbs, alive and wicked. The darkness of the chamber of evil alone can raise my own heart rate, and then the face of the woman who lay trapped is revealed. There you go, my heart rate is 68. It will likely rise higher when I hit the publish button for this post. Why? Because I’m sharing me. Scary as hell I must add. Isn’t this the beauty of self publishing? I escape the mold and share what gets my blood flowing. Even if it is way out there. So why paranormal mystery? Truth be told, when I started writing, I didn’t know what genre I was writing. Shoot, even when I finished the book I had to figure that one out. I had the paranormal, but this one certainly didn’t fit the romance side. And though it has some intense scenes I didn’t consider it to be a horror either. When reading reviews of the book, suspense and thriller pops up. But the story is as much a mystery. Why write a paranormal mystery? It happened. I had no clue where the story was going, no outline, no real conclusion in mind. Only my deepest thoughts, for which I am honored and anxious to share with you.

Review

A new review of The Genealogist’s Guests on Amazon was a surprise. As an author who doesn’t have a large fan base, at least not yet, but I am determined to write stories for readers who love paranormal mysteries, and give them something unique. Every new review gives me insight on my story and whether it is fresh enough to attract readers. I have a friend, a poetry writer, who read my story and told me to stay away from the LSD. He said it was a dark story. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as he said it, but don’t worry, I don’t use LSD. I don’t need it to dream up the weird stuff, and besides, I need to return to this realm, at will, when things get overwhelming in the afterlife. So, back to the review, here it is by Rohi Shetty:

Ann Simpson grabs your attention in the first chapter and it stays grabbed until
you reach the end.

Reading her book reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s
tongue-in-cheek remark, “The suspense is unbearable. I hope it
lasts.”

Ann ensures that it does last. Using a family tree as a plot
device is quite original.

Here are my favorite lines in the first
chapter:

“Blood splattered through his fingers and across the television
screen. He left her slouched body twitching as she bled out and never returned.
He spent several years in a juvenile detention center for killing his parents.
When he turned eighteen he was released, his record sealed.
Liz, he decided
will be his next victim… of many. He had watched her for weeks after following
her back from Norwich one Saturday. She was as she usually is, alone and
vulnerable. “

Read this book but only if you have a strong heart. http://www.amazon.com/The-Genealogists-Guests-Dark-Series-ebook/dp/B00FO03UZ8/ref=pd_ybh_3

What’s Your Name? by Ed Gellock

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://lakesidelivin.wordpress.com/ http://lakesidelivin.wordpress.com/

Ed Gellock and his famous Puggle, Lynyrd Skynyrd have been campaigning to raise awareness for animal rights, a cause they both take with the upmost seriousness. Ed has been working Lynyrd seven-days a week to get their message out. In interviews I heard Lynyrd, and I quote

“It is a shame what some humans do to the loved ones, I would never treat my human like that. Could you imagine if the tables were turned and dogs and cats worldwide took their human’s to the pound for a little mischievous behavior, or even because it was the easiest way to “Take care of them”. The lack of Humanity in some humans, tsk, tsk.”

Big Ed

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Your-Name-Ed-Gellock-ebook/dp/B00FZY0ESE/ http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Your-Name-Ed-Gellock-ebook/dp/B00FZY0ESE/

This preceding video always touches the heart.

Ed and Lynyrd will donate a generous portion of this books proceeds to bring relief to they animal friends in need.

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“How do we feed the World’s Starving?” by Coleman Weeks

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

Image

http://www.amazon.com/feed-worlds-starving-Coleman-Weeks-ebook/dp/B00GWANMCA

The Excerpt:

How do we feed the world’s starving?

Can you imagine the lifetime experiences spent feeding the starving, bringing the needy word of the Lord, Living in far lands. Different customs, landscapes, and societies. Helping people during the natural disasters we all hear about, they are there. They make a difference, they care, and they are loved by those they help. Maybe like the events I share below.

Missionaries: the foot soldiers in the trenches

On the island distant monsoon winds stir the night’s moon swept clouds. Harbingers, the silvery mist opaque the late evening sky and hint at coming squalls. The balmy breeze irritated his eyes and blew his hair back, but Pablo considered the coming blow. Annually his life is rocked by the cycle of summer and its vicious floods and wind.

Standing in the wind, oblivious to the weather, he let the night wrap him…

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“Final Vision : Skinned” by Lisa Glenn

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/final-vision-skinned-lisa-glenn/1118734428?ean=2940045425728 Kimberly is found dead. Beaten and murdered, she was left in the woods for someone to find. Gabriel is on the hunt for Abbadon. When he meets Cassey in a bar, he finds himself immediately drawn to her. Can they beat the odds that are stacked up against them? http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/final-vision-skinned-lisa-glenn/1118734428?ean=2940045425728
Kimberly is found dead. Beaten and murdered, she was left in the woods for someone to find. Gabriel is on the hunt for Abbadon. When he meets Cassey in a bar, he finds himself immediately drawn to her. Can they beat the odds that are stacked up against them?

Lisa Glenn, who is originally from Montana, is working on her Bachelors degree in Human Resources. She loves to read and write. Lisa is a Grandmother of two and a Mother of four.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/lisa-glenn http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/lisa-glenn

Lisa writes a gripping story, I have not read this book, but I know it is 68-pages that moves even faster than the last book Destiny’s Decision. “Final Vision : Skinned” is on my list to read. Lisa’s bookshelf is full of great stories:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angel-vision-lisa-glenn/1116263987?ean=9781491213261 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angel-vision-lisa-glenn/1116263987?ean=9781491213261

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/destinys-decision-lisa-glenn/1117908342?ean=9781494890643 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/destinys-decision-lisa-glenn/1117908342?ean=9781494890643

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wheres-the-love-lisa-glenn/1118759327?ean=2940045526586 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wheres-the-love-lisa-glenn/1118759327?ean=2940045526586

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-vision-lisa-glenn/1116599375?ean=2940045218399 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-vision-lisa-glenn/1116599375?ean=2940045218399

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-magic-sneakers-lisa-glenn/1116351724?ean=2940045194822 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-magic-sneakers-lisa-glenn/1116351724?ean=2940045194822

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-in-the-face-lisa-glenn/1019318960?ean=9781413712421 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-in-the-face-lisa-glenn/1019318960?ean=9781413712421

Enjoy Lisa’s stories as much as I do, find a comfortable spot and spend a few…

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Saturday’s Selection- “Blood Lust” by Xao Thao

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

Marisa and her three brothers: Alessander, Demetri, and Ra'vin Arromanovokzja, have been called home to the Carpathians by their mother, the queen of the Zjavankas and head of the Council, an elite group of vampires that govern the world. Marisa, however, has a secret. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20980700-blood-lust Marisa and her three brothers: Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin Arromanovokzja, have been called home to the Carpathians by their mother, the queen of the Zjavankas and head of the Council, an elite group of vampires that govern the world. Marisa, however, has a secret.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20980700-blood-lust

Xao Thao is the author with today’s “Book of the Day”. Today, Xao, pronounced “Chow”, has a second posting on “Coleman and Big Ed’s Reader’s Corner” with her new book “Blood Lust”. This post is a little different than others in the past as it primarily reviews the author. Maybe it should be “Author of the Day, but alas not.

Xao is a young author I am acquainted with through the author community. She is a very generous peer promoter and an energetic author. While socializing she takes time to promote her work and write. You may join The Turning Vampire Series Official Facebook Page

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“SEGOLIA” by Brittany Oldroyd

Coleman and Big Ed’s Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/Segolia-Brittany-Oldroyd-ebook/dp/B00C2BK2W6/ http://www.amazon.com/Segolia-Brittany-Oldroyd-ebook/dp/B00C2BK2W6/

*Author’s book description :
When seventeen-year-old Nissa leaves at her father’s insistence, she believes the trip to Idari will be a short one. But when she meets a young dragon exile, Edgeshifter, her life is thrown into chaos. Along with danger and mystery, Edgeshifter brings word of a legend as old as time itself. Nissa is forced into an adventure she isn’t sure she wants. With only Edgeshifter and her heart to guide her, Nissa must embark on a journey full of destiny, danger, and legend. Her quest will require her to prevail over the shadows covering the land and save both the elves and dragons from ultimate destruction.

Segolia: Daughter of Prophecy is the story of a young princess’s journey to become a true hero and follow her heart.

http://www.amazon.com/Brittany-Oldroyd/e/B00DGH2Q3S/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 http://www.amazon.com/Brittany-Oldroyd/e/B00DGH2Q3S/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Brittany Oldroyd has had a passion for writing since middle school, where she began to write Segolia: Daughter…

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“Dead Blonde” by Beck Robertson

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

A serial killer is stalking and killing young blonde women in London, leaving a mysterious necklace behind at the scene of the crime, and Chief Inspector Deacon Gaine has been assigned to the case. But in order to catch a killer, he will discover that sometimes you need to look deep into the past in order to unravel the secrets of the present. http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Blonde-Beck-Robertson-ebook/dp/B00EHI04NY http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Blonde-Beck-Robertson-ebook/dp/B00EHI04NY

Gaine has no leads, little evidence, and zero suspects. He must open an unsolved murder case from 17 years ago, in order to decipher the truth, and uncover a secret that has been buried deep. If he can reveal it in time, it will lead straight to the identity of the killer. A killer, who is hell bent on completing his macabre collection. But can Gaine uncover the truth before it’s too late? And can he stop the killer in time?

Dead Blonde takes you behind…

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“The Everglades” by Gerald Darnell

M.A.B.E. Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

Book Seven in the Carson Reno Mystery Series – created at http://animoto.com

An excerpt of the author’s book description- It’s 1962 and the Mafia has discovered some new tricks in getting their drugs from Colombia to the streets of America.
Their plans are working perfectly until an unfortunate boating accident puts the FBI back on their trail.
Carson’s friend, Elizabeth Teague, has a large amount of cash hidden in her luggage and this cash belongs to the Mafia. They want it back.
Protecting his friend and sorting through the details, Carson finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that has roots in Humboldt. He also finds a murder with too many suspects. For the unabridged description please go to http://www.amazon.com/Everglades-Carson-Reno-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00D8S6H8K/

 http://www.amazon.com/Everglades-Carson-Reno-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00D8S6H8K/
http://www.amazon.com/Everglades-Carson-Reno-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00D8S6H8K/

A Florida native, Gerald grew up in the small town of Humboldt, Tennessee. He attended high school and was a graduate of HHS class of 64. Following graduation…

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“Plebs” by Jim Goforth

Coleman and Big Ed’s Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/Plebs-Jim-Goforth-ebook/dp/B00HXKDSQS/ http://www.amazon.com/Plebs-Jim-Goforth-ebook/dp/B00HXKDSQS/

*An excerpt of the author’s book description
Corey Somerset, Tim Hayworth and Lee Hunter have had one hell of a good night.

And it isn’t over yet.

Celebrating their friend’s birthday with drunken debauchery and intoxicated antics they’ve just stumbled through a mini-wave of mindless vandalism and though they’ve wandered far out of the realms of civilization they are keen to keep the party vibe going.

When they encounter a band of mysterious fugitive women who call a bizarre encampment deep in the woods their residence it appears a strong likelihood that continuing the party is on the cards. For the unabridged book description visit Corey Somerset, Tim Hayworth and Lee Hunter have had one hell of a good night.

But it won’t come without a price.

http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Goforth/e/B00HXO3FRG/ http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Goforth/e/B00HXO3FRG/

Jim Goforth is a horror author in Holbrook, Australia. Happily married with two kids and a cat he has been writing…

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It’s all about the children, children’s literature, where we find great books like Sam, The Superkitty

Arrival of the Prophecy

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/Arrival-Prophecy-Robin-Renee-Ray-ebook/dp/B00E1RLL5G/ http://www.amazon.com/Arrival-Prophecy-Robin-Renee-Ray-ebook/dp/B00E1RLL5G/

Author’s Book Description-For many centuries the shape-shifters of the world have lived in chaos, fighting clan against clan and breed killing breed. All Were-beings knew of the prophecy that spoke of the ones who would come and bring peace to those who lived among the humans in secrecy. And to those who lived under the thumb of an overbearing ruler. A Wolf King who gained his thrown after the death of his parents, killed by the hands of a crazed matriarch, she-ruler, of the foulest shape-shifting kind…, finds what Mother Earth places in all unnatural being’s soul mates. The other half of his soul and the one thing that can set the prophecy on its foretold path. Only, Sky Delaney is no shape shifter. What will Anthony the clan leader do once he realizes the other half of his soul is in a frail, pure…Human? His beast has…

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The Mill River Redemption: A Novel

I previously read The Mill River Recluse by Darci Chan and loved it. Her new novel, The Mill River Redemption, is set for release on April 26, 2014. I can’t wait!

“To Hide From Death” by Theresa Moretimer

Coleman and Big Ed’s Reader’s Corner Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/Hide-Death-Theresa-Moretimer-ebook/dp/B00GJ0IZYI/ http://www.amazon.com/Hide-Death-Theresa-Moretimer-ebook/dp/B00GJ0IZYI/

Kelly Price files for a protective order after suffering a near-death night hopeful it will shelter her from a deadly menace. A mysterious villain lurked hell-bent on her destruction and no matter what she does, she never seems to be able to escape her new life – a life full of fear and danger.

At first she thought the attacker was her husband, Eric, but as she starts to connect the dots, she finds that it could be anyone. Will Kelly find who is after her before it is too late?

Imagination dances with reality as some of the situations Kelly finds herself in are taken straight from the author’s life. Some of the events in the book are based upon the author’s own life.

Theresa

Theresa Moretimer was the victim of domestic violence. Now an award winning author she has gone through several years of counseling and awareness programs…

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“The End of Humanity” by Coleman Weeks

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

http://www.amazon.com/End-Humanity-Coleman-Weeks-ebook/dp/B00A32V1OO/ http://www.amazon.com/End-Humanity-Coleman-Weeks-ebook/dp/B00A32V1OO/

Author’s book description poem:
Sputtering to rise the world took a spin as life stirred and yawned at the end of it’s slumber of waiting to begin.
The Sun grinned a wise smile knowing the mission, Sun understood all would wait for single-cell fission.
God laughed and smacked his son Jesus’ knee, sharing his glee that it would not be long until Humanity.
Jesus smiled and with a wink rubbed his chin, watching from the future they both knew what fixed to begin.

The wind-swept planet stirred some rust dust, many eons passed before the monkey’s evolution was discussed.
Both silver-blue cool or yellow-orange hot, the Earth’s light steadily nurtured Humanity a special homey spot.
After some time the earth’s plates gyrated as mountains birthed valleys and streams cut rivers unabated.
God and his son smiled while angels applauded, the blue seas twinkled as they rolled and yawed.

Adam…

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“Babet’s Epiphany” by Augusta Fern

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

*For the six months Cian has been in Europe Babet’s life has calmed. If you can call her life calm. With her father’s return to New Orleans and his devoted coven rectifying the city from Madliene’s rule, human and vampire relations have vastly improved. Babet’s life is slowly becoming what it used to be, but it isn’t what she wants.

http://www.amazon.com/Babets-Epiphany-Morte-Augusta-Fern-ebook/dp/B00FK3KIGI/ http://www.amazon.com/Babets-Epiphany-Morte-Augusta-Fern-ebook/dp/B00FK3KIGI/

When her father presents her with an artistic opportunity in the city she is desperate to return to, Babet leaves New Orleans but soon discovers being so far from home is a revelation unto herself. And who she is destined to be. The epiphanies of her life ultimately lead her back to what she wants most.* Author’s book description on Amazon

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7107183.Augusta_Fern   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7107183.Augusta_Fern

*An excerpt from Augusta’s biography at her Amazon author page

I am a born and raised North Carolinian and truly adore my home state. When I was…

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The Boy On The Train

Max Miller Poetry

Silence and snores,
Yapping and yawns,
Cackles and couples and close carriage calls.

Hairstyles and headphones,
Rucksacks and raincoats,
All come together to meet on the tube.

Readers and writers,
Late night drunk fighters,
Footsteps and Fosters and faces in phones.

Minis and Maxis,
Prefer to to take taxis,
All come together to meet on the tube.

Fags behind ears,
Too many beers,
Laughter and lovers and linguistic tongues.

Brothers and sisters,
Mrs and Misters,
All come together to meet on the tube.

Snooze through your station,
Surprise meet elation,
Snoggers and singles and singing out loud.

Convergence of culture,
The world in an oyster,
All seen by the boy with the pen in his hand.

– Max Miller
tube

FYI – ‘The tube’ is the London Underground Train System

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“Leadership By Virtue” by Jaro Berce

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Book Review

http://www.amazon.com/LEADERSHIP-VIRTUE-philosophy-leadership-background-ebook/dp/B00BE0TKMY/ http://www.amazon.com/LEADERSHIP-VIRTUE-philosophy-leadership-background-ebook/dp/B00BE0TKMY/
Author’s Book Description: The story is showing from a first-person perspective the internal growing up of a leadership process based on non-Western approach. The main character, brought up in Europe and therefore used to Western “cultural background noise’ although practicing Chinese martial arts, has to learn and understand the differences brought by Far East principles if he wants to grasp leadership from a different angle. For the entire author’s book description please go to http://www.amazon.com/LEADERSHIP-VIRTUE-philosophy-leadership-background-ebook/dp/B00BE0TKMY/

Coleman’s Review: The book “Leadership By Virtue” is a professionally executed fiction composed mainly in first with a minor amount of third-person omniscient point of view scrutinizing some complex human issues. It is an enlightening discussion of an wide-range of subjects that determine our success in our personal and professional goals. In dealing with an array of business issues the protagonist begins merging his personal life-lessons with his professional practices and procedures to…

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5 Tips for Finishing a Writing Project

Writing Is Hard Work

Finish LIne Banner

How many writing projects have you started, but have not finished?

This is an excellent question, but the answer for a writer should be a very small number.  Successful writers finish what they start, even if it takes years to get there.

Elizabeth Bishop worked on her poem “The Moose” for a record 20 years.  She began the poem by writing a few lines, using a push-pin to tack them up on the door to her kitchen, and then would pop by to write some more days later.  20 years later she had a fantastic poem that is probably one of the greatest poems written about the journey of life in American history.

I have 5 practical methods for finishing a writing project.  Here they are:

  1. Set Reasonable Goals – If you read this blog often, you know that I don’t do much without a plan.  As an indie writer/publisher…

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“Escaping Psychiatry” by Olga Nunez Miret

Marsocial’s Author Business Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

‘Escaping Psychiatry’ has it all: intriguing characters, noir style, thrilling pursuits, dangerous situations, crime, serial killers, religion, family secrets, murder, psychological insights, mental illness, trauma, debates about prejudice and morality, heated trials, police investigations, corruption, and mystery. To get this full description for this book please visit “Escaping Psychiatry” at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Escaping-Psychiatry-Olga-N%C3%BA%C3%B1ez-Miret-ebook/dp/B00HV2IOTY/ http://www.amazon.com/Escaping-Psychiatry-Olga-N%C3%BA%C3%B1ez-Miret-ebook/dp/B00HV2IOTY/
Olga Núñez Miret is from Barcelona but has lived in the UK for over 20 years.
http://www.amazon.com/Olga-N%C3%BA%C3%B1ez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0 http://www.amazon.com/Olga-N%C3%BA%C3%B1ez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0
She has loved reading and writing since she was a child. Her father always says that even before she could read she’d always ask what any signs or writing meant. She has written a variety of things over the years: short stories (some now disappeared), novels, novellas and plays, in English, Spanish and Catalan. Some have been edited into the trash bin, but a few are still available and sitting quietly waiting for their moment in the sun. For all of Olga’s works…

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“The Harvest” by Anne Ferretti

Author Business Book of the Day!

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

After an alien species descends upon Earth wiping out ninety-nine percent of the human population Captain Austin Reynolds, lone survivor of his military unit, sets out on a cross country trek in search of his pregnant wife.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Harvest-Anne-Ferretti-ebook/dp/B00FEX0IVO http://www.amazon.com/The-Harvest-Anne-Ferretti-ebook/dp/B00FEX0IVO

Upon vague instructions from General Roth he heads for Cheyenne Mountain, where he hopes to find answers and his wife. Along the way he meets up with other survivors who turn to him as leader and protector. As the survivors travel to the mountain, it becomes apparent humans are no longer the fittest on the planet and this fight for survival may be their last.

The Author
Anne grew up south of Chicago. She served in the U.S.A.F. where she met her awesome husband and learned to shoot an M-16. Anne has a BS in Business Administration and is a C.P.A.

 http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Ferretti/e/B00GMINEPC/ http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Ferretti/e/B00GMINEPC/

Anne has written several screen plays, two of which placed…

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Smashwords Annual Read an eBook 2014 starts March 2nd!

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Smashwords Annual Read an eBook 2014 starts March 2nd!

I’ve entered my book. Coupon Code RW100. Click on the banner to join Smashwords. The list of books will appear at the stroke of midnight.

The Angler and the Owl – By Viv Drewa

From Author’s Business Enhancement Group, The Book of the Day

MARSocial Author Business Enhancement group's Blog

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Viv Drewa  (Author)

“About Viv”  by Carol Goodin Viv Drewa

Viv Drewa’s work celebrates the spirit of the adventuresome woman.

She is a Michigan native who has enjoyed reading and writing since 1963. Though she studied medicinal chemistry at the University of Michigan her passion has always been writing.

She was awarded third place for her nonfiction short story about her grandfather’s escape from Poland. Later, she rewrote this story and was published in the “Polish American Journal” as “”From the Pages of Grandfather’s Life”

Viv took creative and journalism courses to help in her transition to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. She worked as an intern for Port Huron’s ‘The Times Herald”, and also wrote, edited and did the layout or the Blue Water Multiple Sclerosis newsletter “Thumb Prints.”

Viv also writes a blog for ShareTV.

She spends her free time working with physically and mentally challenged adults…

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