Friday, September 25, 2009

Her Reluctant Rancher

Okay, so I got so excited doing the review on Margaret Tanner's book, I actually sat and read another novel. I had the good fortune to win two in blog contests I entered, so when I received Her Reluctant Rancher by Anne Marie Novark, and found it personally autographed, I owed it to her to read her story.

Am I glad I did? You bet. I wasn't familiar with the author or her work, but I quickly discovered Ms. Novark is an ultimate romance writer. The sexual tension between the hero and heroine began the moment they laid eyes on one another and continued up and through the actual mating scene. I confess, the emotions were so vivid, I felt as though I was in the room with them when they first undressed, and I think I actually blushed.*lol* This wasn't sex, people; this was love making at it's finest. Brought back some great memories of my youth. *rofl*

From the time handsome and rich Trevor Callahan returns to his deceased grandfather's ranch with the intention of selling it all to erase bad memories, his future is forever changed. The moment he sets his gaze on adorable little Mags and her sexy mother, Beth, he's a goner... despite pages and pages of denial on his part. Ms. Novark has definitely mastered electric sparks, because they are readily apparent each time the two characters are in a room together.

This isn't just another sexy fiction, this book has a believable plot and characters you'll identify with and love. Tension, conflict (external and internal), and an ending you might anticipate, but one that still leaves you saying "ahhh!"

Want a great book?Her Reluctant Rancher by Anne Marie Novark is my second recommended read of the month. Honestly, had I not won the book, I probably would never have read it. Expanding your horizons pays great dividends. If you don't pick up something a little different, you might miss out on a lot of wonderful authors. Brava, Anne Marie! OH! you can learn more about how to order the book and read about this brilliant author on her website.

NOTE: My plan is to try to complete at least one book a month that I can review here. Anything I can do to promote a fellow e-published author helps me too. We're all in this together, so maybe Anne Marie might get curious and want to see how I write. You never know. *smile* I'm a firm believer in endorsing the work of my peers. The authors contracted with bigger houses have enough help, they don't need mine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Recommended Read


I've just come from Australia, danced the night away in a beautiful gown and matching slippers with the most handsome man ever, and sipped champagne for the first time.

No! It's not really my life I'm talking about, it's the wonderful story, Stolen Birthright, written by Margaret Tanner that whisked me away to another time and place.

I've never really traveled "down under" but I feel as though I truly became Georgina, a beautiful young woman raised by her rough and tumble uncle along with his sons. Without a mother to guide her, Georgina dresses like a boy and assumes the name of George... But only until she has a change meeting with Marcus Lindquist, an English gentleman who has gotten himself into sort a pickle and finds himself in search of bride. It's Marcus who gives her a "Cinderella" moment to remember.

I could go on an on about this wonderful story, give away the entire plot with my raves, but I shall restrain myself and say only that you are missing an award-winning read, in my humble opinion, if you pass on Stolen Birthright. Such vivid descriptions, such emotions, such reality. I'm in awe.

I've been Margaret's "virtual" friend for quite a while. Now I've also become a number one fan. Her writing is flawless, and she'll move you into the character's role without a blink of an eye. Do yourself a favor and read this book...then let me know how right you think I am to recommend George's story so strongly. There are some exciting twists and turns you never see coming.

It's available at Whiskey Creek Press

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Shoulder to Lean On...


While I respect each person's right to choose to believe in a supreme being or not, I'm always puzzled when I look around, and even in the grimmest of times, find beauty and awesome sights that cement my belief in God. I wonder how those who don't have that strength to lean on find peace when they need it most. Especially now, with so much in this world about which to worry: Swine Flu, terrorism, the end of the world as we know it. I want to share something I wrote some time ago when I faced a very difficult time in my life. I hold onto to that moment when I find myself immobilized with fear. More than anything, I want to live to see my grandson grow and thrive. He's my light and God's greatest gift to me.

We Never Walk Alone - By Ginger Simpson

It wasn’t a time I wanted to be alone, but the divorce had been my idea. I couldn’t live with a man who cherished alcohol more than he did me. I’d given him every chance to change, but he didn’t. Now, for the first time, I lived alone in an apartment. Most people move out on their own between high school and college, but I waited until I was almost fifty for the experience.
The streetlight in the parking lot filtered through the blinds and cast wavy shadows across my bed. Tears burned the back of my eyes. Tomorrow, I faced having a hysterectomy because the doctor feared I might have Ovarian Cancer. Now that I’d settled down for the night, the panic I’d fought since hearing his chilling words seized my heart. And I had no one to comfort me… at least no one made of skin and bones. The very worst thoughts passed through my mind and created a giant lump in my throat. I turned where I always do when I’m scared.
I prayed. “Dear Lord, I’m so frightened. I don’t want to die. I have so much I want to do yet in my life, and my youngest son still needs someone to give him guidance. I know I’ve put him in your hands, Lord, so many times, but I sometimes think you have bigger fish to fry than the problems of one rebellious boy.”
The Lord and I have a good relationship. Although I never could brag, like the televangelists I’ve watched, that God spoke to me, personally, but this time was different. I finished my prayer, sobbing and hoping God heard me. Questioning, actually, if he even existed. Loud and clear, in the darkness of my room, a booming voice responded. Nothing eloquent, not a lengthy conversation, just “You’ll be fine.”
The words were so clear that I turned on the light and glanced around the room. As I suspected, there was no one else there… at least no one I could see. I switched off the lamp, puzzled by the experience, yet realizing that the tension, fear, and concern had all melted away. I believed those assuring words and found the sleep that earlier evaded me. The next morning, at the hospital, an unusual calm surrounded me like comforting arms, and I went into surgery knowing I wasn’t alone.
God tells the truth. The biopsy results of my removed ovaries were benign. And although I have no witness to bear testimony to my claim, I know I heard God that fateful night, I know I did. I’m not sure if he spoke in a voice others could hear or if he spoke to my heart. Nonetheless, he strengthened my faith and taught me that you don’t always have to see or touch something to know that it truly exists. We never walk alone as long as we have our belief.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kim Smith, guest poster


E-books
By Kim Smith

First, what is an e-book? Well, according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, an e-book, also known as an electronic book, is the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book. Whereas a printed book has a physical form, an e-book is downloaded to one’s computer, mobile phone, or digital reader such as the Sony Reader, or the Amazon Kindle. In this new digital age, we have traded dots and dashes for exes and ohs.

Many people believe digital is the way to go.

Here are a few reasons to go digital and purchase e-books.

1.A green solution, as there are no trees destroyed in the creation of an e-book.
2. Eliminates the need for a physical location to store your book collections. A Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle, for example, can hold up to hundreds (if not thousands) of books. Far more than you could house in your living room bookcase.
3. Keeps books available longer as there is no need to keep an inventory of them. Why should they be discontinued, or as it was once said, “go out of print”?

Purchasing e-books can be an easy feat. At my publisher’s site, downloading an e-book to your computer or reader is very simple. We all have become “download masters” thanks to music sites that allow downloads and online purchasing. Getting an e-book this way is a natural step forward from that.

For writers who may have an e-book coming out, promoting your e-book has never been simpler. If you have a website, you are halfway there.

Here are a few ways to market your e-book.

1. Hire a web designer (or do it yourself) and create a platform (website) with which to work from and advertise the book. You should begin advertising the coming book at least six months prior to the release date to generate a buzz.
2. Have a contest once the e-book has been released to generate interest in purchasing.
3. Get your online friends who have websites to link to your website and you link to theirs and create a group of places where potential readers can surf in and get the latest details about your book.
4. Give your e-book to e-book reviewers and post the reviews on your website. Reviews are a huge way to get people to look at an e-book that they might have otherwise overlooked.

Of all the things a writer must do if they are planning a promotional campaign for an electronic book is to write well. That cannot be said strongly enough. The reading public has little toleration for a print book that is written shoddily, so one can imagine the opinion of a book form that can easily be deleted!
Since e-books are cheaper, their value is oftentimes diminished. They are looked upon as a less worthy read just because they are not in print. We can change that perception by writing the best book we can write, and editing it thoroughly.

E-books are touted as being the next phase in the life span of the book industry, and indeed, even major houses have begun using this technology to get books into the hands of readers. Now you can find big names as well as small ones at places like Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com), a leading independent e-book publisher and distributor. Fictionwise also has a “best seller” list so that potential buyers can find the best of the best in their catalog.

E-books are here to stay. Let’s make their life in the literary realm one of importance and substance.

Kim Smith is the author of the zany Shannon Wallace Mysteries, and most recently the contemporary romance, A Will to Love both available as ebooks at Red Rose Publishing. You can find out more about Kim at her WEBSITE

Sept. 11, We Will Never Forget

by Kim Smith

I would be very remiss to talk of trivial things without at least a small remembrance of what today's anniversary is to me. The anniversary of a day as etched in my mind as any personal achievement, but one for far greater reasons. I hope you will allow my rambling and memorizing as a fitting memorial for those who gave their all that day.

I remember thinking as the events unfolded in 2001, how we as the family of America would look back on the events and remember them sadly from that day forward. How history books would recall it in sterile, factual ways, and our children would learn about it secondhand, maybe even a little aloof. But how I personally would remember the sickening feeling I experienced as I stood helpless and watched the attacks as they happened. How I watched with the rest of my countrymen as the following occurred. And how I felt the horror. And still today, I remember it.

Here Wikipedia says, "The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners.[1][2] The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

In total 2,993 people, including the hijackers, died in the attacks..."

And I hope that we, as a family of humans struggling against terrorism and atrocities against mankind, will never forget it. I know I never shall.

Please check back later today for my post on writing, as I enjoy visiting Ginger's blog, and sharing with you all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Tourist - Tabitha Shay


A Small View of Tabitha Shay’s Vampire World

Hi Readers,
When I first began writing the Winslow witches of Salem series, I had no plans to write a series. Certainly, I had no idea of bringing vampires into the brand new world I was creating. I’m sure as with most authors, once I sat down and began to have a bit of a vision quest, the ideas went totally berserk. I couldn’t get a handle on them. First, the witch world of Ru-Noc grew. But then, I knew I had to have an antagonist.

Where were these characters going to come from? And why? What did they want? And again…why did they want it? Okay. I was on a roll. I had my witch characters…the good, the bad, the ugly.

Aha! As my world of magic grew and grew, I had to stop and think a bit more. Was this battle between good and evil only going to involve this one single realm? Then…Why should it? Why shouldn’t they have neighboring realms other than humans? If I have a witch world, then why not include all the other species we’re familiar with? Vampires. Werewolves. Demons. The plot thickened.

Slowly, my other realms began to take shape, but I didn’t want to overwhelm my readers with so many worlds and characters all at once. So I stuck to the original idea and developed my witch world. Then as each book progressed, I began to filter in the other realms and with these other realms, also came the good, the bad, the ugly.

It wasn’t just Ru-Noc that was in trouble and on the brink of war, on the brink of becoming extinct. It was all my worlds.

Like Ru-Noc, each of my realms have their great leaders…their heroes and heroines who fight just to keep their way of life alive, but as the battles start to take shape, as these wars begin to overlap into the numerous realms, each hero and heroine find themselves pulled into the other worlds when they really want no part of them.

As the heroes and heroines meet and fall in love, they discover they can no longer live in a vacuum and ignore what is happening in their neighboring worlds. Thus, the witch world spills over into the vampire realm, but more than this, the male witches suddenly discover their numbers are few. Their females are breeding with their one major enemy, the Demons. Their species is being eradicated at warp speed.

In my vampire realm, they have their own war going on and choose to leave the witches to their fate. The vampires I create are mostly the typical vampires we’re all used to reading about. They can’t go out in the sunlight, but some have learned to tolerate a few minutes of early morning sun. They have to have blood to survive and they certainly aren’t ashamed of this fact. The males are sensual, sexual beings who have no problem ‘sexing’ any female from any race, be they witches, werewolves, humans…well, you get the idea.

Some sleep in coffins. Some don’t.


Their world is made up of laws and rules that have worked perfectly well for them for many centuries…but that is all about to change. After all, they no longer live in medieval times.

My vampires are an ancient race, even more ancient than my witches, but they didn’t begin life in the human realm they now co-exist in. They come from the realm known as Pi-Ram. They choose to live in Romania/Transylvania and have broken their bonds with their home realm…they think. Again, things are about to change.
Of course, they arrived in Romania long before Vlad the Impaler made his debut. My vampires can read minds without sharing their blood. They have several rulers and each Prince of Darkness has a small principality where they will eventually become the ruling king, but they still answer to the ONE KING…Dracula, at least in the mortal realm.

You know I couldn’t leave out the Father of Vampires…right?

Dracula, of course, is ancient. He’s a bit on the testy side, a total womanizer, but he loves his clans and will do whatever it takes to see that their way of life continues.

When the vampires first enter the witch series, Valerian, one of the ruling princes is on the verge of becoming king of his domain. But you just know there’s a fly in the ointment. He has a twin brother, Brasov who challenges his right to be king and since so many centuries have passed and no one can recall which of the brothers was born first, a decision must be reached.

A race for the throne begins in a most unusual way. Who becomes the ruling king will be decided by the Ancients, based on which brother takes a First Bride and breeds an heir first.

Sounds easy?

Not so.

Finding and acquiring a First Bride and even managing to keep her once obtained suddenly turns into a major challenge for our sexy vamps. The Brides come from different species, but the one thing they all agree on: First Bride…Only Bride.
They aren’t willing to share their new mates…only, the Prince’s of Darkness have laws they must live by. Three Brides is the law and there’s no changing it.

Our hunky vamps are caught up in their private battle to win a Bride when out of the blue they’re attacked by the same race that is slowly wiping out the witch realm...Demons.

Suddenly, the battles taking place in Ru-Noc is at their own front door and the vamps find if they want to survive, they’ll have to join forces with the witches…easier said than done when the witches aren’t too keen to become the vamps next meals.

Now dear reader, we have all kinds of wars taking shape and everyone is losing, except of course….the Demons.

So readers, you can read all about these characters and their battles in Witch’s Magic, book four in the Winslow witches of Salem series. Scope out my website at http://www.tabithashay.com for some wonderful artwork of these hot, sexy vampires. Remember my books are available in E-format at http://www.eternalpress.ca or if you prefer print, at Amazon.

For every guest today who leaves a comment, I’ll drop your name in the witch’s hat and about 6pm, I’ll hold a drawing. The winner will receive an e-copy of one of my books. Your choice…be sure and leave a way for me to contact you or check back about 7pm CST for the winner’s name.

Until next time…happy reading.

Tabitha Shay

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm very proud of Sisters in Time. I loved it when I wrote it, and the re-release is even better. I got great reviews the first time around, but it didn't get the exposure it deserved. I'm thankful to Eternal Press for re-releasing it, and I'd like to share an excerpt with you.

Two eras collide when a modern day attorney and a pioneer wife find themselves locked in a time not their own.

Mariah Cassidy awakens in the twentieth century. Confined in a pristine environment, hooked to tubes and beeping machines, she’s scared, confused and wondering why everyone keeps calling her Mrs. Morgan. Who is the strange man who keeps massaging her forehead and telling her everything is going to be alright?

Taylor Morgan tries to focus on her surroundings through a blinding headache. The patchwork quilt, the water basin, and the archaic room don’t strike a familiar chord. Her mouth gapes when a handsome man waltzes into the room, calls her darling, and expresses his delight that she’s on the road to recovery.

Clearly something is amiss.

EXCERPT:

Prologue

Mariah
Colorado Territory--1872

Mariah Cassidy sat on the front porch and watched her husband, Frank, ride through the gate. The large Rocking C, the ranch’s emblem, cast a shadow across his face as he rode beneath it. His muscled thighs gripped the flanks of his huffing, black stallion, and his hat rested in that familiar rakish tilt. He certainly knew how to sit a horse.

Frank dismounted and gave the horse’s reins to a hired hand. He dusted himself off then turned and strode to the porch. “Good morning, sleepyhead.”

She smiled. “You were up bright and early. Would you like some breakfast?”

“No thanks. I already ate with the ranch hands, but... I might be interested in somethin’ else.”

Even after seventeen years of marriage, Frank’s innuendo embarrassed Mariah. Just a wink of one of his heavy-lashed, blue eyes made her heart flutter, but her desire for lovemaking never equaled his. She fretted about him leaving her to find satisfaction in the arms of another. Her mother had planted such deep-seeded inhibitions within Mariah that nudity made her uncomfortable. She loved being in his arms, but beyond that, her embarrassment got in the way of feeling free.

The same old thoughts niggled at her as she gazed into his face. Why didn’t she feel the same comfort with her body as Frank did with his? Would he be happier with someone else? He deserved a wife with passion to match his own. She massaged the creases in her brow.

“Mariah, did you hear me? Would you like to join me upstairs?” He nodded toward the house.

She held up a silencing finger while guilt niggled her. “Hush. The children will hear you.”
* * * *

Taylor
Denver, Colorado--2002

Lost in thought, Taylor Morgan sat and stared at the stacks of files piled on her large mahogany desk. The sun barely peeked through the office window of the high-rise building and the dim lighting matched her somber mood. Had she remembered to kiss David before she left home? It seemed she was always in a hurry these days. Rushing to put on make-up, darting off without goodbyes, working late, and barely finding time for her husband—something had to change. She didn’t want a repeat of the argument she’d had with David last night.

The thud of his fist on the dining room table echoed in her head. When he expressed frustration, her body trembled, much the same as the silverware had. She’d never seen him so angry.

His words had cut through her like a knife. “We’re like ships passing in the night. All we do is work, eat and sleep. You’re so busy with your job, that’s all you think about. You don’t cook, you don’t clean... Good God, we only make love on your schedule, never mine. What if I don’t want to wait five years to have children?”
The thought of having a child made Taylor shudder. She’d labored hard to achieve the status she enjoyed at the law firm. Giving up now wasn’t an option. Still, what about David? Didn’t he have a right to the family he wanted? She felt so conflicted. What if her husband wasn’t willing to hang around until she determined the time felt right?

If only there was a way to compromise. She nodded. Making David a priority seemed a good start if she wanted to save her marriage. Tonight, she’d leave work early, go home, and make dinner. A few candles, a bottle of wine—David would be pleasantly surprised.
She picked the most pressing files from her desk and threw them into her briefcase, planning to peruse them while she cooked. Grabbing her jacket from the chair, she slung it over her shoulder and reached the door when the urgent buzzing of her intercom summoned her back. She leaned over the desk and mashed a button with her fingertips. “Yes?”

“Ms. Morgan,” her secretary responded, “Mr. Abernathy requests you join him in the conference room right away. The senior partners have called an emergency meeting.”

“I’ll be right there.” Taylor plopped her briefcase back on the desk. She straightened her collar and smoothed her skirt then took a deep breath.

Maybe tomorrow, David, maybe tomorrow.

Here is my latest review - fresh from Mind Fog:


REVIEW: Ginger Simpson has created a magnificent tale with "Sisters in Time" Taylor and Mariah are two very different women from two very different eras. In 2002 Taylor is a well educated successful attorney who is more concerned with business than with life or her husband David. Mariah on the other hand is the wife of a rancher in the 1870's and her world revolves around her husband Frank and their two children. When the two inexplicably exchange places they are forced to reevaluate their views on life. The experiences they have while living each others lives will change them both forever.

"Sisters in Time" Took me to another realm. I began to read and was transported into the story from start to finish. The love scenes were well written and tasteful, and the characters had depth and believability. I recommend "Sisters in Time" to anyone who likes to curl up with a good book and leave their life behind for a while.


Note: Sisters in Time is available in ebook format at Eternal Press and in print format at Amazon. Hope you reading the book brings you the same enjoyment I found in writing it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

My thanks to my good friend and fellow author, MaryAnn Miller for nominating my blog for his award... I think. Now I have to come up with names, information, and try to make it interesting so you don't start snoring.

The rules...and yes there are always rules that come with these honors...I must share with you SEVEN of my favorite things, SEVEN of my favorite activities, SEVEN things no one knows about me.

Seven of my favorite things: My grandson (I guess he isn't really a thing, but I like him most of all), Mexican food, potato chips, money, relaxing.

Seven of my favorite activities: spending time with Spencer (grandson), writing, reading, critiquing, editing.

Seven things no one knows about me: Yikes...I don't think there are seven things I haven't already shared. My life is an open book since I started blogging. Hey, you get desperate for things to talk about. Forgive me if I duplicate a few things here. But, here goes. Seven things...
I can't hear out of one ear because of the noise in my head.
My memory sucks.
Despite the lies people tell you about sex being great when you get older...I detest undressing in front of anyone, including my husband.
I once bowled 300.
I have a granddaughter I never see.
I absolutely abhor clutter, and here's a real shocker for you
I didn't vote for and don't support President Obama. If you did, bully for you. Isn't it great to enjoy freedom of choice while we still have it. :)

Okay, I hear you snoring out there. But now I have to think of seven people to bug... uh I mean honor with this award. It was nice being friends with them while it lasted. *lol*

Jen Black
Anita Davison
Anna K. Lanier
Chris Redding
Robert Appleton
Molly Daniels
Pamela Thibodeaux


Now I have to notify all these people, cringing while I admit I've put yet one more thing on their already full plates. Kidding aside, I picked these people because they are committed to providing you wonderful reads and entertaining blogs. I hope you'll visit their sites...that the purpose of this whole thing, after all.

Thanks again MaryAnn, I still love you. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Did you Know?


About President Obama’s scheduled address to students across America on September 8, 2009!

I didn't, neither did my grandson's parents. While I promised to do my political ranting on a separate blog, I feel this is important enough to share here. Whether I'm an author or a plumber, I'm still a concerned citizen, and I find it disturbing that a president who has fallen from grace with adult voters, is now turning to our children. I commented in great detail on my other blog, but there is one question I have to ask. If religion has been banned from schools, then why is it okay to discuss politics.

An entire suggested "agenda" has been prepared for teachers to follow, before, during and after the President's speech. One portion disturbed me because I feel it needs to be revised.

Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

I wonder if it shouldn't be altered to say, Why is it important for the president and congress to listen to the people who elected them--solicit their opinions before acting in haste. Shouldn't those who take an oath to act in the best interest of their constituents honor it? Just because someone is an elected official, it does not make them above reproach. You can't always trust what they say because often they represent special interest groups who promise support for future campaigns.

We've taken God out of the Pledge, so why are we putting Obama in our schools?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Openings - How Important Are They

Dig out your red pencils. After posting the topic on opening lines,(the one I borrowed from Phyllis Campbell)then judging several entries in the EPIC contest, I'm realizing how important the opening of a book really is. I decided to continue the theme.

Author Jen Black turned this topic into a challenge. She actually posted opening lines on her own blog and asked visitor's to critique them. I went and added my two cents (you know I would), and now I'm going to accept her challenge to do the same. I invite you to join by doing the same on your blog.

Below, you'll find the opening of my works-in-progress. I invite you to point out anything I can do to improve on my hook. Would these make you want to keep reading? Remember, these are actually the openings to the stories I'm working on now:

Odessa:

“Can anyone hear me?” Odessa Clay screamed. Nothing in the desert stirred except the hot wind that whipped her long hair into tangles.

Her nails dug into her fisted palms. She returned her gaze to the overturned wagon atop her father. Again, she struggled to lift the cumbersome weight.“God, please help me.”

The Locket:

A heavy mist hung in the air. Sheila Townsend’s bangs drooped into her eyes. Her muscles tensed as she hauled open the heavy door to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Her entrance flickered the tiers of candles at the altar.

She paused inside, removed her scarf and blotted her face. The stained glass window on the far wall--an image of the Holy Mother--looked far less impressive at night than when the sun shone through the tinted panes. Hurrying up the long aisle between empty pews, Sheila slipped into the confessional, sat and slid open the door separating her from the priest.

First Degree Innocence:

“Okay, Lang, strip!”

The guard’s bark made Carrie’s stomach turn. She cowered in the corner of the women’s processing area, unable to move. Her legs wobbled and her lips quivered under the blast of cold air from the ceiling vent.


Shortcomings:


“Hey, gimpy, wanna race.” Pep squad captain, Sally Rogers, yelled from across the street amidst a gathering of her groupies. “If you win, maybe I’ll buy you something new to wear.”

Cindy Johnson sagged against the tree at the bottom of the hill leading up to her house, wishing she could sprint home to escape the piercing stares and haunting laughter. Seventeen years ago she’d been born with one leg noticeably shorter than the other. Every day brought a new heartache. Would the tormenting ever stop? Tears burned the back of her eyes. Since she’d switched schools, not a day passed that someone didn’t question her deformity or comment on the limp it caused.

Okay...have at me. I'm ready to learn. :)

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