Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Madison Mae and her younger brother, Albert, want to help save the family farm during troubled times.
 
When a mysterious Magical Hat Shop appears by their grandpa's red tractor mailbox, the children meet Tilda Pinkerton who presents them with one-of-a-kind hats, causing new ideas and talents to suddenly burst forth.  
 
As a flood of harm comes rushing towards the farm, Tilda Pinkerton teaches the children how they can accomplish much more than anyone ever imagined.

 

 

Rating: **** 4 stars

 

 

My Thoughts:

I adored this book. Not only was it a bonding tool for me and my children, but it was entertaining, had great values that can easily be instilled in children in terminology that is not hard for them to understand. It was also easy to follow, funny, engaging and very much an enjoyable read.

Although this was my children’s and my first introduction to Tilda Pinkerton, we loved her from the start. She could be quirky and cute, intelligent, and wholesome.

Add to the mix two children who desperately wanted to save the farm they loved, you have the perfect combination for a lovely entertaining story.

Purchase link-- http://www.amazon.com/Tilda-Pinkertons-Magical-Angela-Shelton/dp/0985944374/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376312957&sr=8-2&keywords=tilda+pinkerton

DWED Interviews Angela Shelton, Author of Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats

 

 

DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I am a writer, actor and public speaker. I left the city to live in the country and write. I collect hats, married my first love, have a German shorthaired pointer named Emma, and plan to some day get pygmy goats.

 

 

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

 

Yes! I have been a writer since I was eight. I entered and won a lot of writing contests as a kid. I knew I wanted to write, wasn’t sure if it was a book, movie, or memoirs… Yes, I thought about writing memoirs as a kid. I had a lot to say about life!

 

DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?

 

Publishing was not that difficult, rejection was. (Ha!) I had been with a big publisher for my first book and had gotten them through a random set of circumstances – they heard me speak at a church and approached me.

With Tilda, I went to another big publisher and was rejected. They said Tilda was too educational for them, too geared towards smarter children. That’s what sold me to keep it as it was!

I wrote a larger and smaller book series with Tilda as a vocabulary builder for kids so they more you learn the more you get to know about Tilda. The smaller chapter books are Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats for beginner readers with a very large glossary. Those books show how Tilda gifts hats to kids on Earth so they can be their own heroes. The larger books are The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton for more advanced readers (50+ women are the biggest buyers actually). They show where Tilda came from (the Sombrero Galaxy) and how she gets to Earth.

The bigger publishing house said writing for different age groups was clever but they wouldn’t know which one to start with first so they were passing.

I went the smaller indie publishing route with Quiet Owl because I had more control, kept a larger percentage once the art was paid for, and had a smaller group of people to work with. With the big house there were so many people that it got a bit like too many cooks.

 

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats”?

 

Meditation. Yes, I was in a prayer/meditation asking for the muses to give me another book idea that was fun, nothing to do with trauma and recovery, and good for kids.  I got “Tilda Pinkerton collects hats” and I was hooked. I thought, tell me more… and so Tilda began.

Most of my ideas have come through dreams or meditation and prayer.

   

DWED: How does Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hatsstand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?

 

The smaller books stand out because the kids are the heroes. I turned the hero/heroine on its head (with a great hat) and instead of making the hero change everyone - she gives the children, and many adults in the story, a hat that inspires them to change their own lives.

Within the pages is a glossary of bigger words to learn as you read. There are also coloring pages at the beginning of each chapter that you can color, if the book belongs to you.

    

DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats”?

 

So far what I wanted to happen has – smart kids and clever parents LOVE and “get” Tilda. Teachers really like the chapter books too. I’ve been contacted by a group of them who are using the book in their classrooms. That makes me do a happy dance.

I’ve heard from three people so far that it was too educational for them and too focused on teaching kids better vocabulary, but that’s what I wanted to do!

Plus, I have no interest in dumbing down writing to appeal to everyone. That’s what is dumbing down our nation. I’m perfectly fine with precocious kids loving Tilda.

I’ve also heard from quite a few parents and kids that they are now inspired to make hats – which makes me giddy! If I inspire families to bring more creativity into their homes as well as teach their kids larger words to combat the LOLs of the world, then I have done my job.

 

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

 

Writing Tilda books (big and small), I definitely have a style. It is very Suessian. Tilda’s voice is almost written to be sung, even though I am not a singer, that’s how I see and hear her.

 

DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

 

I prefer clean ones (in the children’s books anyway). The Tilda books, large and small, have many lessons in them. The first book focuses on paying off your debts, learning a new trade, inventing new products and respecting the old as you incorporate the new.



The main morals are that you have the power to change your life and be a better citizen of the world.

 

DWED: Who is your favorite character in Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hatsand why?

 

That would have to be Tilda Pinkerton herself because she speaks in rhyme. She inspires children to be their own heroes, and makes people think outside the box.

 

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hatsand why?

 

I really don’t have a least favourite character.  They all make me giggle, even Mr. Seedy.

 

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?

 

By day I help service providers (therapists, social workers, nurses, teachers, preachers etc. ) who are helping survivors of abuse heal. Throughout 2013, I have been setting up HealingSpeakers.com for those healing from abuse and trauma and those helping them heal and move on.

By night I write books, scripts and TV shows.  I have one that may be on TV in 2014 – crossing fingers and toes.

Of course, there are more Tilda books to come for beginning and advanced readers while my hat collection grows.

 

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

 

Love your rejection letters and keep writing!  The publishing world is changing so drastically by the minute, so don’t let what one publisher says about your book sway your own intuition about it. Go find readers.

 

DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?

Folkmanis puppets sponsored Tilda’s chapter books and there are puppet videos for the large glossary of words on MagicHatShop.com. 

 

Author Links: http://angelashelton.com/
 
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Miss Perfect: Shaw Family Saga, Book 3

Their desire for perfection will be… shattered

Charlene Shaw embodies perfection as a highly-acclaimed actress. Within her gilded walls of beauty, she is scrambling to save her daughter, Raven, from sins she can’t even fathom. This is her self-imposed curse for abandoning Raven as a child.

Raven Shaw is captivatingly gorgeous but burdened by a closet of skeletons. After a rough childhood, she is finally living life. Jon, her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved, has returned. Yet, a stalker looms just out of reach, blackmailing her for Jon’s fortune. She’d do anything to keep this man–even if it means turning to another… Mysterious, handsome Tyriq may have the key to erase her deepest, darkest secrets forever. Yet, this savior might threaten her mind’s rationale of “happily ever after” with Jon.

In this intense third installment of the Shaw Family Saga there will be blood, murder, and a beloved …will be shattered.

About the author

 Nicole Dunlap holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Child Development, and a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University–mantra Jesus first. She counsels in the inner city of San Bernardino; motivating teens dealing with depression, pregnancy, gang membership and abuse. She has been self dubbed the “gumbo genre” novelist, because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned… Her stories revolve around family and relationships, women’s issues, drizzled with drama, peppered with suspense, and finished off with aromatic notes of romance. The Shaw Family Saga pays homage to dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, with well developed characters that readers can root for; love them, hate them, cry for, and most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey.

Website: NicoleDunlap.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Dunlap/e/B009BTPPWY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Barnes&Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/nicole-dunlap

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6535805.Nicole_Dunlap

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicoleydunlap

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorNicoleDunlap

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9637GqJqx7Y

Join the Paperback book Giveaway

1.     Add Miss Perfect on your Goodreads list

2.     Like facebook.com/authornicoledunlap (if you have already, you’re in the clear)

3.     Wait til September 12, book launch day. Winner will be contacted through Goodreads within seven days. Good luck!

Miss Perfect
 
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DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.

I wrote my first story when I was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel I read. I earned a degree in accounting, giving me some nice skills to earn a little money, but my passion has always been writing. I have written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. My favorite pastimes when I’m not writing are spending time with my family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. I live in Louisiana with my husband and two children.

 

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

 

No. When I first started writing, it was for my own amusement. I didn’t begin to seriously write for publication until about ten years ago.

  

DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?

 

Well, kind of a mix. It was difficult to get my first publishing contract because I didn’t know what I was doing. Most of what I’ve learned about the art and craft of writing has come through trial and error and a lot of critical feedback, some of it from publisher’s who rejected my first submissions. Once I signed my first contract, things got a bit easier. My skills have steadily improved over time, and now that I’ve been published, I know what publishers are looking for in a manuscript.

 

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired Crisis of Identity”?

I was watching the coverage for Hurricane Ike that made landfall near Galveston, Texas. The news reporter said that Texas authorities had advised those who intended to ride the storm out to write their social security numbers on their arm just in case they needed to be identified after the storm. The premise jumped out of the news report at me. What if a fugitive used a hurricane as an excuse to highjack someone else’s identity?

 

   

DWED: How does Crisis of Identitystand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?

 

Although Crisis of Identity is suspense with a romantic element, the book is also about forgiveness, personal responsibility, and redemption. The main character develops more than just a romantic relationship with a man, does more than escape her past. In the act of rescuing her niece from a horrible life, she transforms from a selfish live-for-the-moment individual into a selfless woman who wants to nurture and protect another person. She grows and realizes that not everything is always about her.

    

DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for Crisis of Identity”?

 

I’ve received mixed reviews. Some people love the book and some people absolutely hate it.

Most people who like the book, adore Tess. The reviewers mention the fast pace of the book, the moments of humor, and the impulse to smack Tess for her stubbornness. Obviously some readers identify with the heroine. But… The book doesn’t give the reader a nice mushy happy ever after. Tess and Trevor leave the scene with a happy for now moment. The book ends with questions unanswered. This wasn’t sloppy writing or an oversight. The open ended feel of the book was intentional. The pivotal moment in the book isn’t when Tess finds “true” love or the mystery of the murder is resolved. Those elements are intentionally left without complete and tidy resolution. Life is messy. Tess’ life was really messed up before she rescued her niece. The final scene of this book was only the beginning of her journey into a new life. Her growth comes not from finding a man or solving a murder, but from evolving as a human being.

 

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

 

Yes. It’s taken many years to develop my own style. Each of my characters has to jump from the pages of my books with their own voice. Otherwise, all my characters would read alike. Not only is that redundant, but boring. I believe I’ve developed a narrative style than resonates in my books no matter the voice I’ve written for my characters. I hope that my faithful readers would recognize my style no matter which of my books they chose to read.

 

DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

 

Forgiveness. I try to instill this message into everything I write. Life is too short and fragile to carry unforgiveness in one’s heart. Hatred, bitterness, anger. These things are the poison one sometimes swallows in an attempt to harm someone else. I want the positive effects of letting all that toxic emotion go come through by the end of the book.

 

DWED: Who is your favorite character in Crisis of Identityand why?

This is Tess’s story. She is one of my favorite characters that I’ve written. She’s smart, sassy, and strong. I wish I were as fearless as she is. She doesn’t shrink from a difficult situation, but uses her available resources to get herself out of jam. When confronted with her flaws, she resolves to change. She is no damsel in distress. She can handle just about anything.

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in Crisis of Identityand why?

 

Oh, no doubt, my least favorite character is Mark Padget. If there is anything worthwhile about this character, I failed to write it into him. What he tries to do to Tess is heinous. He is the ultimate in selfishness and greed. I wrote him with as ugly a heart as I possibly could.

 

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?

The Wild Rose Press just rereleased two of my books, Deceptions of the Heart and An Impostor in Town. Deceptions of the Heart is about a woman who wakes up in someone else’s body. An Impostor in Town is the first book in the Colorado series. It’s about a woman who is hiding from her past by using her dead sister’s identity.

5 Prince Publishing will release my next book entitled The End in September 2013. The End is Ellie’s story. She discovers her husband’s nearly finished manuscript on his computer after his death. The suspense builds as she realizes his final manuscript was a true crime story.

I also have an upcoming release with The Wild Rose Press entitled Purgatory, the second book in the Colorado series. This book is a man who discovers his missing wife after five years. Unfortunately, the woman can’t remember him.

I just finished a manuscript entitled The Memory Catcher about a woman who can see other people’s guilty memories and I’m in the process of submitting this to publishers for consideration. My current work in progress is a ghost story set in south Louisiana with the working title The Unmistakable Scent of Gardenias. Yeah, this will be a busy summer and fall for me.

 

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

 

Don’t give up. Every rejection is one step closer to that first publishing contract. The first publisher who rejected my work gave me some solid advice. He suggested I attend a writer’s conference to sharpen my writing skills. Study the craft of writing. Read writing blogs and books. Attend seminars. One of the things that helped me was joining a writer’s critique site. Some of the reviewers on those sites can be vicious, but the feedback helps sharpen writing skills. You develop a base of knowledge about what readers don’t like. When you’re through with your manuscript, first hire an editor to polish it until it shines, then ask other writers to read it with both the eye of a writer and reader.

 

DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?

I’ve only just begun to write. Over the last ten years, my writing has developed and evolved. I truly believe my best work is yet to come. 

Synopsis:  Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

Links:  

http://www.denisemoncrief.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-of-Identity-ebook/dp/B00B5L0I7S

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crisis-of-identity-denise-moncrief/1114223396

Excerpt:

I dropped onto the cot at the far end of the locker room, struggling to remove the stained smock the state so generously provided. Forget about sleep; it wouldn’t come. I had too many memories that begged to become nightmares. I closed my eyes anyway.

The springs in the cot next to mine creaked. “I’m Jake.” Why had it taken him so long to introduce himself?

I released an internal sigh. “Tess.” I told the truth, because I had to say something and I was out of lies.

“Tough job.”

“Yeah.” I wanted him to shut up and leave me alone.

“Why would someone like you volunteer for this?”

I opened one eye and glared at him. “I didn’t volunteer. I was strongly encouraged to help. Why are you here?”

He hesitated. “I’m a U.S. Marshal. It’s my job. Part of the oath and all that.”

I opened the other eye and assessed him. “Why would you move here—” He smiled, cutting off my question. “I can tell from your accent you’re not from Texas.”

“I followed a fugitive here from Illinois.” He leaned forward, his knees not quite brushing mine. “She’s accused of murder.”

“Murder?”

“Stabbed her boyfriend…in the back…in cold blood.”

My reaction gushed from my mouth. “How can you be sure it was cold blood?” I sucked back a gasp at my gaffe. My question probably seemed strangely timed and oddly constructed. “I mean…it could have been self defense.”

He offered me a cold, hard stare with unblinking eyes. “I just know.”

“That’s…awful."

“I guess I followed my lead at the wrong time. I got trapped riding out the storm…just like you.”

“What makes you think I got trapped?”

“If you’d had any choice, you would have left.”

My brother Tony forced me to stay, but he left me. A storm surge so strong it pulled the house out from under us knocked him into the sea. The Gulf of Mexico spit me back onto the beach as if the ocean didn’t like the way I tasted.

I survived, but I had no time to grieve. The realization impaled my heart.

Jake stretched out on his cot. “There’s a boat out of here tomorrow. It’s taking volunteers back to the mainland.” Galveston was in ruins. The thin strips of concrete that once connected the island to civilization lay scattered on the beach looking somewhat like a child's building blocks.

“There is?” I tried not to appear too interested.

“You didn’t know?” A different question danced in his eyes—a challenge of sorts. “So how long have you lived in Galveston?”

“Not long. My brother found a job. So I moved here a few months ago to be with him.”

“Where’s your brother now?”

I blinked at him. “He’s gone.”

His stern countenance wavered, but before I could embrace his presumed compassion, his expression settled into severity once again. “Now you’ll have to start your life over…again.” His eyes captured mine. A shiver of dread slithered down my spine. It was as if he knew me, even though he didn’t seem to know me. “Are you going to sleep?” He nodded toward my pillow as if he didn’t think my conscience would allow rest.

“I never sleep.”

Within minutes, he emitted soft puffs of breath, in and out, obviously lacking any guilt to keep him awake.

The shadows lengthened and receded over the locker room, drifting in and out of the grimy, shattered windows as if the world was still revolving around its axis on schedule. But I was sure it had stopped turning. I was the fugitive he sought.

***

The unrepentant sunshine streamed through the cracks, jubilant in its victory over the storm. Only five days since the devastation of Hurricane Irving and the sun acted as if nothing had ever happened. I turned away from the brightness with an ill-tempered snort.

Jake caught up with me on the gym floor. “Did you get any sleep?” His question hit me as a trifle vindictive.

“No. But you did.”

“I snore.” He grinned. Then his smile faded. “I thought you’d be gone this morning.”

“Why? I have to finish the job.”

“That’s…admirable.”

The thought that pestered me all night erupted from my mouth. “What happens to that woman when you catch her?”

“She’ll go back to jail.” He stopped by the double doors and folded his arms over his chest, blocking my path. “Then she’ll go to trial.”

“What if she did what she had to do?”

“There was no evidence it was self defense.”

I stared hard at his implacable façade. How could the man be alternately warm and cold, compassionate and hard, flexible and unyielding? I stepped around him and entered the gym. There were already bodies lined up waiting for our initial inspection, so I began the task of collecting information from my column of the dead. The hours passed as I searched pockets and noted identifying characteristics on those with no papers or markings. I glanced toward the open door as two men begin loading the last group onto a waiting truck.

One more victim to notate. I squatted next to her. Even in partial decay, her features were enough like mine it pushed me back on my heels. I lifted her arm. My breath hitched. Her Social Security number was so nearly like mine. I scanned the gym. Jake, the one man who might care if she became me or I became her, was absent. With a few strokes of the pen, I could die and live again.

My heart pounded with the possibility I might get a chance to start over without the baggage of my past dragging me down. I changed her identity with a few swipes of a permanent marker. The number went onto my log with an unshaken hand, and I was free to escape the woman I used to be…the woman I didn’t want to be any longer.


 
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Synopsis: the idiosyncratic story of a brown girl with an American passport and very little compunction about pursuing what she wants—even when she should stop and think it over. Salihah dances, drinks, dates and attempts to find her purpose in this autobiographical novel that chronicles a young woman’s twenties. With a little flirting, a lot of signs from her guardian angel and her crew of eclectic travel buddies she makes her way across four continents. Her companions on theses escapades include a half-Ethiopian half-Brazilian dating guru, a gay retired ballet dancer and a collection of lovers from the beach who can never come home to her real life.





Rating- ** 2.5 stars

My thoughts:

This book was not one of my most favorite reads. In comparison to most Indie books I have read, it was very well written, informative, and intelligent. However, my connection with the title Character who is also the Author had been severed within the first four chapters.

While I enjoyed being led through the vast cultures during Salihah’s travels, I didn’t grasp how one could be so misguided. The title character had little to no remorse for the wrong doing she had done on her travels, her lack of morals, and her demeaning behavior by blaming the world except herself for her misfortune and short comings: all in all she was both the protagonist and antagonist to me.

By the end, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was angry. The time is set before terror was the world’s worst enemy, so I understood that precaution was maybe an afterthought. But as a woman, she had no common sense towards safety. Her infidelity was depressing, and I found myself wondering at times, why hadn’t anyone tried to kill her yet? She was so loose throwing caution to the wind. She had no respect for the people who had gone out of their way to help, her family was the least on her mind, and even her life’s path was not something she paid attention to. It reminded me of a bratty girl with no moral compass and a selfish streak of 180 on a crash course to see the world and wondering why she can only view it alone. Wondering why, once she returned home, there was no one to care or greets her.

Besides my beef with the main character, it was a very stimulating read. Salihah’s depiction of cultures and their homes was almost like watching the discovery channel, the knowledge and explanations were vast and enticing. Her travels were descriptive and inviting.

While I envied her free spirit to go with the flow and let her compass for traveling be her guide, I couldn’t understand why she put herself in impossible situations. I guess you can chalk it up to growing pains.

****Although I may not have liked the book very much, I do however want to acknowledge that one may not like everything they read, and encourage my viewers not to pass judgment on my thoughts alone. While it may not have been my cup of tea, it could very well be yours. Happy Reading always!****

http://www.amazon.com/Transient-A-Colored-Girls-Travels/dp/1482340291/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375478112&sr=8-1&keywords=transient+a+colored


 
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The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms—and her own beliefs—when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down.

Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

HAVE NO SHAME is an emotionally compelling coming of age novel featuring a young woman who cannot reconcile the life she wants with the one she’s been brought up to live. Have No Shame will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love, and those who have been forced to choose between what they know in their hearts to be true, and what others would like them to believe.

HAVE NO SHAME
When civil rights and forbidden love collide
The most important book of 2013
“An American classic, not yet discovered.”
“[Have No Shame] should be up there with To Kill A Mockingbird.”
"This book will resonate with readers who enjoyed Kathryn Stockett's, THE HELP, Julie Kibler's, CALLING ME HOME, John Grisham's, A TIME TO KILL, Sue Monk Kidd's, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, and Kathleen Grissom's, THE KITCHEN HOUSE."

Buy it now on AMAZON: http://amzn.to/16TaOSZ

Buy it Now on B & N: http://bit.ly/YATqAd


"Within moments of starting to read, you will be transported back to the Arkansas of 1967 - hot, dusty, utterly rural and edgy. Poor white farmers dependent upon cheap black labor who, due to their superior numbers, are constantly suppressed, living on the wrong side of town, ghettoised and terrified. You will remember scenes from `In the Heat of the Night' and `Easy Rider'; you will remember that, less than fifty years ago, if you were black, you could be beaten for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And if you died at the hands of a white youth, justice would almost certainly be denied you." Author Roderick Craig Low

"A gripping and poignant novel dealing with a subject once taboo in American society." Hagerstown Magazine

"Have No Shame is a powerful testimony to love and the progressive, logical evolution of social consciousness, with an outcome that readers will find engrossing, unexpected, and ultimately eye-opening." Midwest Book Review

Buy HAVE NO SHAME on Amazon: http://amzn.to/16TaOSZ
Buy HAVE NO SHAME on B&N: http://bit.ly/12WGCYD


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INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR

Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster is an award-winning, International bestselling author. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa is also a community builder for the Alliance for Independent Authors. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe, or attend her annual reader luncheon with the YaYa Writer Girls. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Awards

Megan's Way
2011 Beach Book Award Winner (Spirituality)
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Fiction/Drama), Finalist (Women's Fiction) 
2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Finalist (Spirituality)
2011 New England Book Festival, Honorable Mention (Spirituality)

Chasing Amanda
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Paranormal), Finalist, (Women's Fiction, Mystery)
2011 Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards, Winner, (Paranormal)
Top 10 Books of 2011, Pixel of Ink
Amazon Top 100 75+ Days running
Indie Reader's Bestselling List That Counts (8 weeks)
Top Books of 2011, The Write Agenda


Come Back To Me

2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Finalist, 

2012 Readers Favorite Awards, Finalist 

2012 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Books Award, Finalist

2011 Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards, Finalist 

Top 5 Must Read Books of 2011, IndieReader
Top Ten Books of 2011, Tea Time With Marce
IndieReader Best Reviewed Books of 2011, Huffington Post

 

Website: http://www.MelissaFoster.com

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Charge that to the Game

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Field Advantage

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Say a little Prayer

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Excerpt:  “You think me daft, do you?” the girl in the refuse pile says. “You’re from the future.”

Living the last hour in a high-budget documentary has made me a time travel believer, so I’ll take her word for it.

“How do you know?”

“Boys always be from the future. What’s me name?”

“Yvaine?” I say.

Her smile is so genuine it startles me.

“There you go. I haven’t never heared that since I was a wee bit.”

I know how she feels even if I only mostly understand what she says.

“Help a lady up, Charlie.”

I take the hand she extends, pull her upright, then kick my feet into the dirty pair of shoes I took off when I ran after her. Her scruffy outline stands out with unnatural clarity.

This cinches it. I know how to spot the historically homeless!

Dad’s history books, all his lessons, swirl in my head. He totally knew! If us extra-in-focus-no-names are time travelers, and he and Sophie have been off visiting the Crusades or whenever, why’d they wait till right before the clockwork cop showed up before trying to tell me?

“Are you from the future too?” I ask.

“You know nothin’, dinna you?” Yvaine cuffs me on the arm. “Boys are from the future, girls are from the past.”

“Where? I mean when? And when is now?”

“Let’s cosy someplace warm.” She tugs me toward the alley entrance. “We’ll be lucky not t’catch cold.”

“That’s what my mother would say.”

“I’m not your mother.”



Synopsis: Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.

Online Reviews

"A twisty-turny, swashbuckling adventure through time and history. I can't wait for the next book in the series!." -- R.J. Cavender

"What a super-engaging and exciting time travel romp!" -- Bookish Whimsy

"Like science class in Las Vegas!" -- Fantasy Literature

"Highly recommended to anyone who appreciates a well-written, suspenseful tale packed with colorful characters, witty dialogue, and interesting and well-researched settings." -- Amazon reviewer

DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There I created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. I sleep little, read novels and histories, watch media obsessively, travel, blog (a million hits last year!), and of course, write.

 

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

I’m a lifelong creator and explorer of worlds. As far back as first grade I remember spending most of the school day in one day dream or another. I had a huge notebook stuffed with drawings, story bits, and concepts for an elaborate Sci-Fi/Fantasy world I cobbled together from bits of Star Wars, Narnia, and Battlestar Galactica. By fourth or fifth grade not only was I loosing myself in every fantasy or Sci-Fi novel I could, but I was building Dungeons & Dragons castles and caverns on paper. Then from 1980 on the computer.

Since third grade I’ve read rather obsessively, so I was naturally interested in writing. I began fairly seriously in ninth grade. In high school, I won several national literary awards for my short stories and I was an editor and contributor to our high school literary magazine. In college, despite being a diehard science guy, I took creative writing classes (sometimes I was the only guy) and submitted stories to Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines (not that they ever bought any!). I co-wrote the stories for many of my best selling video games. But video games aren’t as story driven as novels, so don’t judge these in the same light J.

 

DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?

I never do anything halfway. So in 2010 I read about 20 books on publishing and query writing and spent hundreds of hours researching and querying agents. But the return on time investment was horrible. You wait and wait and barely get any feedback at all. The process is entirely structured on the assumption that there are vast supplies of manuscripts and so the agents maximize their own time investment. If they miss some good ones because of it… there will always be more. And while this makes sense for them, it doesn’t for me.

And then I kept reading about publishing.

I’ve published dozens of projects myself (40+ million games sold!) and the overall process isn’t so dissimilar. Nor is the role of publisher. But as bad as game developer / publisher relations and contracts sometimes are… they are paradise compared to their literary equivalents. Book publishers prefer to preserve the status quo and monopolistic collusion over profits. They always offer the same basic deal and are not generally open to new structures.

Now indie-publishing isn’t necessarily easy or anything. For me, the production part was fairly straightforward after having done so many previous projects. I hired great contractors and the result looks fantastic. The book was line edited by two world class pros. Proofread extensively. Typeset by New York talent. The cover by award-winning fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen is gorgeous and looks every bit as good as the best New York books. The whole package appeals. When I ran a free day on Amazon it surged rapidly to number 4 on the whole Amazon store, number 2 in fiction, and sat there for nearly 24 hours. Reviews have been stellar too. But marketing in this new world of online publishing is a black art and very time consuming. For each thing I try that works, there are five that don’t.

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired Untimed”?

Typically, Untimed began from a fusion of ideas. Lingering in my mind for over twenty years was a time travel story about people from the future who fell “downtime” to relive exciting moments in history (until things go wrong). I worked out a time travel system but had no plot or characters. Separately, in 2010, as a break from editing The Darkening Dream, I experimented with new voice techniques, especially first person present. I also read various “competition.” One of these was The Lightning Thief (the first Percy Jackson novel), which has an amazing series concept (if a slightly limp execution).  I love mythology and history, and liked the notion of something with a rich body of material to mine. I wanted an open ended high concept that drew on my strengths, which brought me back to time travel.

Some of the mechanics from my earlier concept merged well with a younger protagonist, voiced in a visceral first person present style. I started thinking about it, and his voice popped into my head. I pounded out a chapter not too dissimilar from the first chapter of the final novel. Then the most awesome villain teleported into the situation. I can’t remember how or why, but it happened quickly and spontaneously. Tick-Tocks were born (or forged).

   

DWED: How does Untimedstand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?

Untimed is aimed at anyone who likes a rip roaring adventure in the tradition of the great 80s adventure films like Raiders of the Lost Arc. I wanted a lightning paced romp that showed unfamiliar takes on familiar places, times, and people. Charlie is 15, but slightly younger readers will probably appreciate the action, and adult readers enjoy the well thought out time travel system and carefully worked historical implications. Charlie’s voice is frank and compelling, but light hearted with an edge, and I dance across serious themes without getting too heavy. It’s PG-13, no racier than today’s network teen shows.

One of my major agenda’s was to show the past in a fun but accurate manner. History doesn’t have to be boring, and while situations and society changes, people stay the same. People in the past are just as human, but things really have improved in many ways. Charlie, as a contemporary kid, serves as our representative, experiencing different times first hand –up close and personal with chamber pots.

 

DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for Untimed”?

Reviews for Untimed have been fabulous. It has a 4.6 average on Amazon with 128 reviews! It’s not at all uncommon for book bloggers to call it “the best book I’ve read in years” or something similar. 

 

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

I’m a very visual writer. I see each scene in my head like a movie and I try to paint it for the reader. I also like to think that my style is very descriptive, yet rapid and compact. I’m very conscious of all the things that need to be conveyed coming into a scene, and I try to dole them out in rapid splashes. I don’t open with a big block of description, but jump right into things and tease out the information and descriptions bit by bit as part of the action. In editing, I try to remove anything non-essential or redundant. Untimed is only 75,000 words, yet a tremendous amount of stuff happens. It’s very spare and efficient.

I like dialogue and action, and I think I’m very good at both. I try to keep the banter snappy and rapid fire, and I like to think I can handle pretty complex action scenes with multiple simultaneous goings on.

DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

I wanted to show people that the past didn’t have to be boring, and that while situations and society changes, people stay the same. I also wanted to illustrate that while people in the past are just as human, things really have improved in many ways. By having Charlie, who as a contemporary kid is our representative, experience different times first hand, it’s easy to contrast them.

 

 

DWED: Who is your favorite character in Untimedand why?

Untimed’s single first person POV is Charlie, and he was very fun to write. He calls things as he sees them, and given his basic naiveté, that’s pretty funny. We’re inside his head, and nothing is really sacred there. This can also be contrasted with what he does and says, which is sometimes not as bold as he thinks. Dialog-wise, his love interest, Yvaine, is also a blast because she’s incredibly direct and not afraid to work it.

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in Untimedand why?

There are two ways to take that question, but I’ll choose who is the most “despicable” (as opposed to which character do I think I failed at). Donnie, as the human villain, is a nasty bastard, very self centered and temperamental, but at the same time I wanted to make him likeable, or at least charismatic. Guys like him would have been charming – some of the time. But the Tick-Tocks are cool tool in their more archetypal way. Rapier is like a kind of Boogie-man. He’s always in the wrong place at the right time (for him!). 

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?

Right now, I’m writing two more and adapting Untimed into a screenplay. 

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

Read, read, write, write, edit, edit, edit. And hire good professional help too. Friends and family can give you a sense of how the book reads, but they can't usually tell you how to fix anything serious. I've read a lot of half-decent Indie books on my Kindle that are at their core good, but just need some serious tightening and polish. Hell, I've read plenty of big-six bestsellers you can say this about.

DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?

I’ll just throw in the blurb for Untimed:

Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously. Still, this isn’t all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.


Buy Links:
Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQN4OZS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=all-things-1-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00AQN4OZS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/untimed-andy-gavin/1114063372?ean=9781937945039&isbn=9781937945039

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/untimed/id591249030?ls=1

KOBO: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Untimed/book-2AGRkipAPUWmyuGa-5joWQ/page1.html?s=dii7O30oqkCeOlZs9i9R5Q&r=1

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DWED: First, tell us a little about yourself.


T.P. Miller:
My name is T.P. Miller and I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. I’m the mother of two children, aged 5 and 6 and married for 6 years. I’m the author of the Chosen Ones Series along with being featured in a few anthologies.

 

DWED: Have you always aspired to publish a novel?

T.P. Miller: I’ve always been a writer. I started out with short stories passed around with friends and eventually started my own. I wouldn’t say that I aspired early on, but soon I started thinking about what I really wanted to do and what made me happy. Writing has always been that profession.

 

DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?

T.P. Miller: A little of both. I think that as a fairly new author, that getting that word of mouth and interest has been a hard thing for me. But I love the connection with the readers and that’s what makes this all the better. I was lucky when I first started to get picked up by a company and my first book, Out for Blood to be released the following year. Now that I’m self-published, I’m really getting the chance to see the ins and outs.

 

DWED: Who or what would you say inspired “A Woman Scorned”?

T.P. Miller: A Woman Scorned started out as a short story for an anthology that was going to be featured with my company. When it didn’t fall through, I decided that I wanted to put it out. I’m a paranormal writer and I wanted to show the readers that I can be versatile and dip my pen into other genres.

DWED: How was the concept of “A Woman Scorned” born?

T.P. Miller: It was supposed to be about a woman that is so angry that her boyfriend cheated that she gets some revenge. The model for the anthology was the seven sins and I was given wrath.

DWED: How does “A Woman Scorned” stand out? What does it offer and more importantly what can viewers find within it pages?

T.P. Miller: I think with the character of Zena you see the other side of being cheated on. You see the real angry and betrayal behind the actions and the emotions that we woman go through. Also, I think that Zena does a few things that we women would love to do.

 

DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for “A Woman Scorned”?

T.P. Miller: The feedback has been great! I’m amazed that people are enjoying it as much as they are. It definitely makes me feel better about stepping out and doing more things.

 

DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?

T.P. Miller: I think that every writer has their own style. It’s like their fingerprint. I don’t think that I have a specific voice but I’m always working on it. I’m always working to be better and to have my own unique style.

 

DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?

T.P. Miller: I think that the main thing that I like to instill in my books is strong female characters. In Out for Blood, you had Nef that was searching for the person that killed her family and basically left her for dead and in A Woman Scorned, Zena is basically standing up for herself after a broken relationship.

DWED: Who is your favorite character in “A Woman Scorned” and why?

T.P. Miller: My favorite is probably Zena. Like I said, she’s strong.

 

DWED: Who is your least favorite character in “A Woman Scorned” and why?

T.P. Miller: My least favorite is probably Malik. I always have fun writing the “bad” guy. He’s just your typical guy that thinks that he can have his cake and eat it too.

 

DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?

T.P. Miller: I would love to get the revised copy of Out for Blood back out for the readers. I’m going to be adding new scenes and I definitely have the cover done. I’m also working on the sequel and got other projects that I want to put out really soon.

 

DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?

T.P. Miller: Don’t give up and keep writing. Never let the pen stop and then when you’re done…research, research, research. Good luck! It’s fun and be prepared to work.

 

DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?

T.P. Miller: The only thing that I can say is that I don’t have words to describe the appreciation that I have you each and every one of you. I hope that I don’t disappoint any of you and I hope that you’ll be picking up my books in years to come.
http://thevampyrequeen.wordpress.com/


 
I remember reading, years ago, the results of a study that suggested how many people have a story they want to write. I can’t remember the exact statistic, but it was something like one out of every ten Americans dreams of someday writing a book. I also remember this article saying that almost every one of these wannabe authors ambition was no more than a pipe dream. He went on to explain how incredibly difficult it was to actually write an entire book. And if that wasn’t enough, he added that finding an agent and getting published was tantamount to winning the lottery.

If I wasn’t already intimidated enough at the thought of writing, this certainly did the trick. Years went by before I decided to try my hand at it. And like so many things we postpone in life, once I completed my first novel, I couldn’t believe I had waited until then.

Here’s what I learned out of that experience.

The fear of doing something is always worse than the actual experience. Don’t let yourself be intimidated. If you feel the urge to write, then do. Writing an entire novel is not as difficult as it may seem.

The first step is to come up with an idea for a story. This can come from a news report, or a headline, or even just a daydream, and it usually starts with a ‘what if?’ For example, you might read an article about some recently found treasure, and you ask yourself, ‘what if somebody was to find a treasure that hinted at some great lost civilization?’

The next step is developing the main character and placing them in this what-if setting. For example, you decide that your main character is a priest and his concern will be that the treasure might disprove some part of the bible. Here you already have the makings of a great character and a suspenseful story. 

I should add that one of the mainstays of an engrossing read is a main character who is conflicted. The story can be filled with suspense, but if the main character is not torn between decisions, much of the suspense will be lost.

I am convinced that every person who dreams of someday writing has already experienced a few of those what-if moments.

Now do yourself a favor and go write down your thoughts before you forget them. Who knows, you just might be the next best-selling author. It all starts with writing that first line.

All my best,

Monique Domovitch

P.S. Let me know when you finish your first chapter.
http://www.moniquedomovitch.com/
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DWED Reviews Looming Murder By Carol Ann Martin

Synopsis:  LOOM WITH A VIEW  
Della Wright has come to peaceful and picturesque Briar Hollow, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to realize her lifelong dream of owning a weaving studio. To promote her new business, Dream Weavers, Della is offering weaving workshops for all levels of ability. In her first class, she meets half a dozen of the town’s colorful characters, who seem as eager to gossip as to learn how to work a loom.
 
But when a shady local businessman is found murdered, Briar Hollow suddenly appears a lot less idyllic. And when one of her weaving students is suspected of the crime, Della can’t help getting entangled in the investigation—with some help from her criminologist friend, Matthew. But can she weave together clues as well as she weaves together yarn—and stop a killer from striking again?

FEATURES WEAVING TIPS!

 

Rating: 4 stars ****

 

 

My Thoughts: It has always been said that curiosity killed the cat. In the case of a sketchy accidental death and the murder of a prominent real estate mogul, Della Wright seems to be landing safely on her feet at every turn.

After facing a dramatic life change, Della moves to the small town of Briar Hollow to start fresh and live out her dream of owning and operating a Weaving Shop. But little time has passed before she is intrigued by the small yet quirky town with its vivacious cast of inhabitants, and a murder she unknowingly stumbles upon.

I found it entertaining that Della seemed to put herself in harms way despite the open threats to her well being. It was as if she needed more in her life other than operating a Loom and teaching others how to weave. It’s like she felt empty.

Despite this, the Author had a way of directing the story that kept my rapt attention, and I found I couldn’t put it down. I was far gone wanting to know who had actually committed the murder and if Della might come face to face with this unknown killer.

The whodunit feel of the book was riveting, and the end had a very well put shock value because the culprit and their reasoning for the murder were unexpected.


 
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Synopsis:
Romance, humor, family drama, with a touch of Buddhism. Sound interesting?

When approaching life's problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they're someone else's problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.

Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she's known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.

As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam's ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate. 

Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgments aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?

Review

Rating: 4 stars ****

My Thoughts:

This book was simplistically great. One of the things I loved about it was how it flowed. There were funny moments, sweet moments and gracious moments which allowed me as the reader to feel connected with the storyline and characters the entire book.

Shelly as an author, I believe, has a skill that allows the reader to constantly connect and stay connected as she paints a vivid picture.

My favorite character was Christian, Evie’s husband and friend. His inner conflict is what drew me to him and kept my rapt attention, although Sophie hated his guts and had no kind words for him throughout the story.

What I love is that we see so many different personalities and beliefs mixed throughout the story and its never changing. Everyone stayed true to their place, their beliefs and their core personality, although we saw major change in Sophie as she found love within another and allowed herself to really feel loved. We watched as she finally accepted one can have flaws without judging them, but accepting them.

This was a great read.

Excerpt:

Sophie wandered into the kitchen where Christian was standing, clearly tortured in his own home. 

“What’s up?” Sophie asked, slapping him on the back.

“Hey, Soph.”

She did sort of feel sorry for the guy, pitiful thing that he was, but she often wondered if much of his manner was for show. She supposed only Evie knew for sure, and maybe his mother as well. Christian had conventional good looks—thick, wavy brown hair, nice skin. In Sophie’s opinion, he had no personality whatsoever. Evie must have seen something in him that Sophie didn’t. He never drank, which was probably a good thing due to whatever mood issues he had. But at the same time, Sophie thought he could use something to loosen him up.

“So whatcha been up to, Christian?”

“Not much,” he answered. “Been helping Mom around the house, doing some yard work.”

“Really?” How nice. You can help your mom with yard work, but you can’t help your wife with your own damn house! Making an effort to have a positive conversation with him wasn’t going to happen here. Now she was just pissed off. “Well, I gotta get this drink over to Edward.”

As she passed her mother, they exchanged meaningful glances. Abby approached her son-in-law to attempt her turn at friendly dialogue. Maybe she would have better luck than Sophie.

Later that evening, Sophie sat with Lisa, her friend and fellow teacher, as she picked at a bowl of Chex Mix.

“Come on. It’ll be fun,” Lisa persuaded. “I’ve been married five years, and I still get out more than you do.”

“So what? Why is it so important that I get out more?”

“Well. . . .” Lisa hemmed and hawed. “Jerry has a friend I want you to meet.”

Sophie ended her search for melba toast in the Chex Mix and gave Lisa an annoyed sigh.

“Just agree to meet him,” Lisa added. “He’s a cool guy.”

“I’ll go, but only if you promise not to fix me up,” Sophie insisted. What was it about married people and their deep-seated desire to pair up their single friends?

“You haven’t dated anyone for at least six months,” Lisa pointed out, as if it were some atrocity.

“Lisa, I’m tired. I think you’ve forgotten what it’s like, and the last thing I want to do is meet some guy in a bar.”

“Oh, give me a break! You’re not going to be meeting some guy in a bar. It will be someone that Jerry and I know, and it will be at Murphy’s. Remember Murphy’s?” Lisa jibed, poking her in the ribs. “We used to go there all the time when we were in college.”

Ughhh,” Sophie groaned. “No set ups. It has to be casual.”

“They’ve got Karaoke now,” Lisa said in a sing-song voice.

“Is that supposed to entice me, or make me run away screaming?”

“Okay, no set ups. Some others from work will be there too, so it will be very casual.”

Sophie sipped her drink and watched Evie approach Christian across the room. He looked nauseated, stressed and self-conscious. Evelyn reached up and lovingly straightened his collar as if he were a little boy, and then said something that seemed to put him at ease. He grinned stiffly and put his arms around her.

Sophie was fascinated by their dynamic, wanting to be a fly on the wall to their conversation. Anything to understand why her sister stayed in this relationship.

Evie cocked her head and gazed up into Christian’s face, asking him something. His smile disappeared, and so did he as he retreated to the bedroom. Evie nervously skimmed the room and when her gaze met Sophie’s, Sophie averted her eyes, pretending to be ignorant of the exchange.

Christian wasn’t seen for the rest of the evening.

http://www.shellyhickman.net/