Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1927-1929)


I’m glad I’m alive” Doris Louise Bailey, a teen in the Prohibition era, writes this sentiment over and over in her diaries as she struggles with a life-threatening bout of scarlet fever. But it’s also an apt summation of how she lived in the years following her brush with death. Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1927-1929) contains Doris’s true-life adventures as she flirts with boys, sneaks sips of whiskey and bets on racehorses – breaking rules and hearts along the way.

In Portland, Oregon, she’s the belle of the ball, enjoying the attention of several handsome gents. In Arizona, she rides a wild strawberry roan, winning races and kissing cowboys. From hospital wards and petting parties to rodeos and boarding school, this older, more complex Doris faces the dawning of the Depression and her own emergence as a young adult with even more humor, passion and love of life than she showed in her earlier diaries. Readers of all ages will relate to her pursuit of true love, freedom, and adventure in her own time and on her own terms”

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Genre -Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – PG13

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Blog http://www.thedorisdiaries.com/

Malled: A Tale of Revenge by Lee Tidball


Blood.  Lots of it.  Makes me kind of nauseous.

“Why would it make you nauseous?” you ask.  “You’re a trauma surgeon.  You’ve been on call half your professional life.  You’ve see it all; junkies overdosed, gangsters mutilated, accident victims maimed, abused kids, little old ladies all bloody when their wheelchair got rammed by some jerk that hadn’t seen them in the crosswalk.  What’s the big deal?”

I’ve never seen an angel all bloody.

That’s what gets me about this one.  Of course, she’s not really an angel; certainly no halo or wings or harp among her personal effects.  But there’s a glow coming from this 18-year-old, like she’s just descended from heaven or found true love or something.  Even as Frank puts her under, she wasn’t screaming or crying or carrying on, just smiling serenely, said something like “Don’t worry, I’m not dying tonight.”   I step back for just a second; the contrast between all that blood and that glow is just too stark.  Before I vomit, I assume my professional demeanor.

“What’s the story?”

“Gunshot wounds.  We've found two bullets, looks like more.”  Heather, the head trauma nurse, is already at work.  No one’s better at her job than Heather.  She could be making gazillions at Big City General, but hates the commute and the young buck interns that always hit on her there.

I check out the bullet wounds.  Both are remarkable in that they didn’t hit anything vital.  The first is a shot through the right bicep that missed the radial artery by a couple of millimeters.  Didn’t shatter the humerus either.  The other passed through the right deltoid muscle without touching the scapula.  I think maybe she is an angel, or at least has one watching out for her. 

“I found another one!  Aw, shit,” says Selena, the other trauma nurse on duty.  She’ll be as good as Heather in a few years.  She’s going to have to see a lot more blood before she gets there, though.  She still gets too excited.

I swing around the table and check on this wound.  Again, uncanny luck.  The bullet hit her in the left breast, but it must have been hanging ever so slightly down, because the bullet tore through the tissue in such a way that it hit nothing but the fat!  Just a centimeter or so in, and the thing would have taken out at least three major organs, including the heart.   “It’s just a boob shot.  She’s lucky,” I say without thinking.

Even Heather sneers at me for that one.

Thankfully, the bullet was a fairly small caliber compared to what we usually see in here.  Maybe from a cop’s boot revolver or some other such cheap .22 caliber pistol.

I start work on the right bicep wound.  The closure will be delicate—I’ll have to watch out for that artery.  “How’s she doing, Frank?”

Our anesthesiologist isn’t the best, but is certainly capable.  He checks his readings. “Stable…so far.”

I work on the closure.  If it’s tight enough, the torn muscle fibers should grow back together.  Maybe even as good as new one day.

We continue working.  Filtering through the door we hear Episode Number Uncountable of the continuing drama between our no-nonsense Head Nurse and her all-nonsense assistant, Nurse Jones.  Jones is the only true asshole in the whole trauma team at the Rural Town Hospital.  I suppose I should be thankful that there’s only one, but how can I?  Her grating voice is like skunk stench, permeating every corner of our department, making me suddenly want to regurgitate.  As if the bloody angel weren’t enough.

“We should call.  It's protocol.  You can't just not do it,” says the pudgy little pustule.

“Forget it,” announces the head nurse’s voice of reason.  “Look, the Suburbia cops got enough on their hands with that mall thing.  We'll call them later.”  She’s referring to some disaster at the Suburbia Heartland Mall, a place that’s become known for particularly grisly disasters of late.  Some diabolical killer is on the loose, they say, an invisible avenger feeding select young victims to the dogs, literally, and leaving what’s left of them out in various places to terrorize the throngs of shoppers during the Christmas rush.  Tonight, it seems whoever it is went on some sort of rampage, though details are sketchy.  It’s the reason we were all summoned; in case the hospitals in Big City and Suburbia become overwhelmed.   “He asked for the priest, for God’s sake,” continues the head nurse.  “They’re just a couple of kids.”

There must be a companion, I surmise.  Some brother or boyfriend, probably all freaked out and afraid the girl’s going to die, feeling guilty or maybe panicked at the thought of such an overwhelming loss.

“I’ve found another one—right shoulder!” says Selena.  Snaps me back to reality.

“Fractures?” It comes out of my mouth automatically, but I sense I’ve been distracted.  Such loss of focus can be fatal.

“Let you know in a minute,” she replies.

Suddenly, I notice my closure’s filling with blood.  Damn!  “Shit!  Sponges, ice, quick.”  Heather’s there.  We work together, she with the sponges and ice while I probe for the source.  It can’t be the artery.  It simply can’t be the artery.   I won’t be the first doctor to lose an angel on the table.


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Genre –  NeoGothic Horror / Thriller

Rating – R for violence & language

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Max and the Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane

Max and the Gatekeeper – James Todd Cochrane

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

4.4 (81 reviews)

Free until 7 September 2013

A war has been waging for centuries; a magical and technological battle between good and evil. This conflict will affect life everywhere, but not everyone is aware it exists. When twelve-year old Max Rigdon is sent to stay with his grandfather for the summer, he unwillingly enters the fight.
The day Max steps off the bus he is marked with an evil curse and immediately becomes the target of evil men and creatures with designs on ruling the universe. Not only does this curse cause Max physical pain but it allows his enemies to track and find him. He soon learns that the reason for this unwanted attention is because his grandfather is the keeper of a gateway; a powerful machine that makes travel to hundreds of strange unknown worlds possible. The enemy will do anything to gain possession of this power in their quest to control all worlds.
With the help of his friend Cindy and others, Max must quickly learn the necessary skills to survive if he is to avoid the deadly trap that has been planned for him and his grandfather. A trap that has been decades in the making with Max as the missing piece. If successful it will change life as we know it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

muted by Jessica Bell

Concetta depresses

an aluminum slat

of blind

with her forefinger and

gazes into the street,

numb to the snap

of solitude.

Bare feet pass

by her shoebox window

broken, at eye-level,

thriving on nude routine.

She stifles a yawn

and clicks her tongue

in the rear of her cheek

to deactivate

the alarm chip


into her cochlea,

illegally programmed

with thirty seconds

of her own voice.

The voice she had

before being sentenced

to a life

of silence

..............for wearing clothes

..........................and singing

a cappella

in an ‘instrumental zone.’

She wasn’t

even busking

that day,

but on route to

an interview

to be the Queen’s

personal music box.

The Queen

is a man

with five fingers and toes.

Newborns only have four.

She swallows

a build-up

of thyme-flavoured saliva

from the tea she drinks

to soothe her throat

and buckles

in pain.

The immune

assistants strapped her to

a chair, forced

her mouth


and slashed

her vocal chords.



her eardrums.

The taste of toxic sweat

still lingers on her gums

even more than the memory

of torturers’ penises

rubbing against

her blindfolded face

and ejaculating

into her wounds.


all she hears

is the numb rush

of water in her ears ...

fit to drown




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Genre – Cyberpunk / Dystopian / Short Story in Verse

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.jessicabellauthor.com/

What Lies Inside–J.L. Myers

What Lies Inside – J.L. Myers

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – YA, Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

4.5 (4 reviews)

Free until 7 September 2013

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire
Amelia’s normal teen world is shattered when a terrifying nightmare awakens the monster inside her. A newfound, insatiable thirst for blood that leads her to drain the school quarterback is only the beginning; she’s horrified to discover that her family and best friend Kendrick have been harboring the secret all along. And is the strangely alluring boy who seems hell-bent on curbing her murderous, blood-filled desires a friend, or foe?
To escape detection Amelia and her twin brother Dorian are forced to move to a new town, and the challenge of a new, exclusive high school where nearly every classmate smells like prey. Including the irresistible Ty, who seems hauntingly familiar, yet darkly menacing …
Amelia’s disturbing dreams and entanglement in a web of forbidden romance render her increasingly powerless against the chilling lies and secrets of vampire power struggles. And, as she soon discovers, vampire politics mixed with outlawed love can be a lethal cocktail.
Falling in love may just cost Amelia everything: her friends, her family...even her life

She Does Not Fear the Snow by Bobbie Ann Cole

She Does Not Fear the Snow – Bobbie Ann Cole

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG

4.4 (8 reviews)

Free until 8 September 2013

Bobbie Ann Cole’s inspirational memoir charts her personal journey to faith and redemption.
Broken by cancer and the failure of her marriage, she visits Israel, seeking direction and new meaning for her life. She has a profound spiritual experience in a Jerusalem church, where, as a Jew, she’s not supposed to be.
Her experience there marks the start of a chain of supernatural events, through which God reveals His purposes to her.
This transformational story of love, set on three continents, echoes that of biblical Ruth, who accepts faith in the Land of Israel and receives God’s blessing in the shape of a new husband of faith, a Canadian.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Beautiful Glittering Lie by JDR Hawkins

As dusk approached the following day, Bud, Mr. Kimball, and Jake bid their farewells and went their separate ways, splitting off down a frozen dirt road. Hiram and his son continued on until they finally arrived home. Relieved that he was back with his family, David volunteered to unsaddle their mounts, while Hiram went inside their wood-slat dogtrot house. As David led the two horses into the tin-roofed barn, his yearling colt whinnied a greeting to him.

“Hey, Renegade,” he called out to the colt, who snorted in response, stomping a forefoot.

The yearling was his pride and joy, the offspring of Hiram’s stallion. Renegade was piebald, a dark chestnut highlighted with white patches spanning under his belly, and white socks reaching up to his knobby knees. His mane and tail were light flaxen, and his uniquely colored eyes were hazel, the same color as David’s.

Whistling the “Bonnie Blue Flag” while he removed the horses’ saddles, David curried his father’s grand stallion, Cotaco, named after a famous Indian chief who had lived in their parts long before the Trail of Tears took place. It was also the name of a creek that ran through the back end of their property. The stallion had been gifted to Hiram by an Indian acquaintance in Texas, and was a magnificent mustang, covered with brown and white splotches that transformed, if David used his imagination, into faces of people and animals. To him, Cotaco was all-knowing, and a sly devil at that. It was he who had bred with the neighbor’s prize thoroughbred mare, thus creating Renegade. The owner, Mr. Collier, insisted that David’s father purchase the foal, or “mistake” as he called him, so Hiram was obliged. He gave Renegade to David, letting him choose a name, and was teaching him how to gently break the colt.

Because Renegade was still too young to ride, David’s current mount was a Standardbred mare named Sally, and she was a fine animal as well. Not as special as Cotaco, but pretty, just the same. She actually belonged to his mother, who allowed him to borrow the mare when the need arose. Sally’s shiny brownish-black coat glistened with sweat from where the saddle on her back had been positioned, so he gently rubbed her down. He gave the horses their oats, stroked Renegade’s muzzle, and went inside, where he found his family gathered around the rough-hewn pine table that his father had constructed.

“And ole Jeff Davis said somethin’ about bein’ ready by recruitin’ an army,” Hiram was saying. His mother and sisters looked over at David as he entered.

“Come sit down and eat your vittles before they git cold,” his mother instructed, motioning him toward her with a swoop of one hand while she brushed a stray strand of dark brown hair away from her face with the other.

David took his seat. He folded his hands, quickly gave thanks in silence, clutched the fork in his left hand, and started shoveling in grits.

His mother shook her head. “Worked up an appetite, did you?” she remarked.

Josie, his youngest sister, laughed. “There’s a whole potful out in the kitchen Ma made jist for you!”

David grinned, exposing grit-covered teeth.

“Ew!” Josie squealed.

“David, you mind your manners,” his mother scolded.

“Beggin’ your pardon, Ma,” he mumbled through his grits.

“As I was sayin’, Caroline,” his father continued, “the president sounds like he means business. He ain’t takin’ no muck off the Yankees.”

“Hiram!” she exclaimed. “I’ll not have you talkin’ like that at the dinner table.”

He chuckled, but suddenly became somber. “We’re in for a fight, all right,” he declared. “So we’d best hold on tight.”

“I’m all for the fight!” David hollered.

His sister Rena glared at him. “You’re fixin’ to go fight the Yankees? Did Pa say you could?”

“No, I did not,” Hiram responded. “I said I’d discuss it with your ma.”

“I’ll have none of it,” Caroline announced, rising as she took up empty plates. “You’re much too young to go gallivantin’ off to chase Yankees.”

“But Ma!” David protested.

“That’s all I’m sayin’ on the subject,” Caroline firmly stated, and she walked out of the room.

David glared at the doorway through which she had just exited. “It ain’t fair,” he muttered, shoveling a piece of ham into his mouth.

“You don’t know that there will be a fight, anyhow,” said Josie.

With a frown, Hiram solemnly remarked, “For the good Lord’s sake, I hope there won’t be.”

Several weeks went by. The air grew more static with anticipation. David and his father traveled to the nearby mercantile one afternoon in mid-March. As soon as they entered, they were absorbed into a debate.

“Governor Moore has authorized establishin’ an army in Alabama,” said Mr. Skidmore, a local resident who was standing near the wood-burning stove in the center of the store with several others. “He’s called for two thousand troops to garrison the coasts.”

“Well, now that Lincoln has been sworn in,” said Mr. Banes, a finely dressed man about the same age as David’s father, “it’ll really git the ball rollin’.”

“I hear tell that the Spotsworth Apothecary up in Huntsville is flyin’ the Stars and Bars now. The first merchant to do it, they say,” Joseph Ryan informed the group.

Ben Johnson, the shopkeeper, put his two cents-worth in by informing the crowd, while he dusted, that during the Secession Convention in February, the Republic of Alabama flag was severely damaged by a storm, so it was moved to the governor’s office, and he hoped it wasn’t a bad omen. Because the flag had flown just once, he had only seen a drawing of it in a local publication: the Goddess of Liberty was on one side, holding an unsheathed sword in her right hand and a flag with one star in the other. The words “Independent Now and Forever” were arched above her head. On the other side was a cotton plant with a coiled rattlesnake. Beneath the plant, in Latin words, it read, “Noli Me Tangere,” or “Touch Me Not.”

Kit Lawrence, a childhood friend of David’s father, protested. “We should support the Union by not takin’ up arms,” he growled.

“Why in God’s name would we support the Yankees,” said Mr. Skidmore, “when all they want is to take away our livelihoods and privileges?”

“I’m supportin’ the state, and the majority has voted for secession, so it’s our duty to protect her!” ranted Mr. Copeland. David had been friends with his daughter, Callie, ever since they started school together nine years ago.

“Now that there’s a call out for troops, we’d best be thinkin’ about signin’ up,” said Mr. Powell, a lanky, fine-boned gentleman.

“This war won’t go on for long, anyway,” remarked Mr. Garrison, another neighbor, who lived in nearby Arab. “Why, I’ll be amazed if it lasts more than ninety days.”

“We should all sign up now, put those Yankees in their place, and git on back home before harvest,” said Bud.

Mr. Foreman looked up from the newspaper he had draped over the countertop. “It says here that on the twenty-seventh of last month, Russian troops in Warsaw shot five people who were protestin’ Poland’s rule.” He shook his head slowly. “It’s as though the whole world is ablaze with violence.”

“Well, I’m fixin’ to enlist, so I can put this fire out before it gits any worse!” exclaimed Billy Ryan, who was Joseph’s cousin.

“Those damn Yankee nigger lovers will pay dearly!” proclaimed Mr. Copeland.

The gentlemen agreed boisterously by hollering, “Here! Here!”

David glanced around at the gathering, taking it all in, and wished Jake was there to witness it.

“I’m fixin’ to enlist, too,” announced Bud.

Hiram glared at him. “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” he said concernedly.

Bud nodded. “It’s what’s required of us, and I, for one, am a patriot’s son.” He grinned. “Well, grandson, anyhow. This is our war for independence.”

Frowning, Hiram patted David’s shoulder. “We’d best be headed home.” He placed his slouch hat on his head. “See y’all later.”

David followed his father outside, and they climbed up onto the buckboard. Taking the reins, Hiram slapped them against the withers of their big white Percheron.

“Git up, there, Joe Boy,” he commanded. He clucked to the gelding, who lurched, pulling the wagon behind him.

During the ride home, Hiram said very little, which was fine with David, who preferred not to discuss what he knew his father was thinking. One thing was for certain, though. If his father enlisted, so would he.

On March 27, the Huntsville Democrat reported that a company known as the Madison Rifles was being called into service, and a few days later, so were the Huntsville Guards under Captain Egbert Jones. Alabama was preparing for war, and things were heating up. The entire Southern nation was up in arms, waiting for a reason to fight.

The weather grew milder, and soon it was April 2. David went about his farm chores as usual, anticipating with excitement what might be in store for him later on in the day. He saw the family’s hogs, all five of them, wandering around on a nearby hillside, and noticed his father busy at work building a pen.

Curious, he walked over and asked, “Whatcha doin’, Pa?”

“I’m buildin’ a pen for the hogs,” he replied.


“Because I decided they’d be safer penned up.” Hiram pounded several nails as his son watched. Stopping momentarily, he said, “I want you to make sure they stay in this pen, you hear?”


“Now go fetch me some more nails, and help me finish it.”

David did as he was told, even though a strange knot formed in the pit of his stomach. His father had never been concerned with confining the livestock before. Instead of prying to find out more information, he dutifully went about his tasks, and when the pen was finished later that afternoon, he rounded up the hogs, with the assistance of his two black-and-tan coonhounds, Si and Caleb. Renegade whinnied from behind the pasture fence the entire time, wanting to come out and frolic with the pigs, but David knew that would only mean trouble. When he was finished, he dragged himself to the well to wash up. Exhausted, he decided to find time for a nap before supper, so he went in through the breezeway of the saddlebag house and entered one of the two doors on the right side of the dwelling to his room. Throwing himself onto his bed, he quickly dozed off.

“Wake up!”

Startled awake, he looked around the room frantically, and saw Josie standing in the doorway, a huge grin on her face. Her long auburn locks hung down past her shoulders, and her hazel eyes glistened.


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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Website http://jdrhawkins.com/

#AmReading - The Sins of the Mother by Danielle Steel

The Sins of the Mother – Danielle Steel

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – Women’s Fiction, Family Saga

Every woman makes choices. And no one has made more difficult choices than Olivia Grayson. The enormously successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. In Danielle Steel’s character-rich new novel, Olivia faces the past, tries to balance the present, and makes amends where due, while still running her vastly successful business.

As a way of making up to them for time lost, Olivia spends months every year planning a lavish holiday that everyone in her family will enjoy. This summer she has arranged a dream trip in the Mediterranean on a luxurious yacht, which she hopes will be the most memorable vacation of all. Her lavish gesture every year expresses her love for them, and regret at all the important times she missed during her children’s younger years. Her younger daughter, Cassie, a hip London music producer, refuses the invitation altogether, as she does every year. Her older daughter, Liz, lives in her mother’s shadow, with a terror of failure as she tries to recapture her dream of being a writer. And her sons, John and Phillip, work for Olivia, for better or worse, with wives who wish they didn’t. In the splendor of the Riviera, this should be a summer to remember, with Olivia’s children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law on board. But as with any family gathering, there are always surprises, and no matter how glamorous the setting things don’t always turn out as ones hopes.
Family dynamics are complicated, old disappointments die hard, and as forgiveness and surprising revelations enter into it, new bonds are formed, and the future takes on a brighter hue. And one by one, with life’s irony, Olivia’s children find themselves committing the same “sins” for which they blamed their mother for so many years. It is a summer of compassion, important lessons, and truth.
The Sins of the Mother captures the many sides of family love: complex, challenging, funny, passionate, and hopefully enduring. Along the way, we are enthralled by an unforgettable heroine, a mother strong enough to take more than her fair share of the blame, wise enough to respect her children for who they really are, and forgiving enough to love them unconditionally.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How You Leave Texas by Alana Cash


                                       Camille’s 40th birthday was on a Friday. She got her hair trimmed the night before, still preferring to keep it waist-length over Walker’s objections, although he did like it when she wove it in a bun on the nape of her neck like a flamenco dancer. She treated herself to a pedicure at the Asian nail place in a strip mall on Highway 290, skipping the manicure since she thought she had man hands and never wanted to attract attention to them. She went to Highland Mall to buy a new summer dress and a pair of Betsy Johnson sandals that would show off her red toenails.

Camille didn’t like the idea of turning forty. There was no more pretending that she was not an adult. And her life had become too quiet, although she had never been one of those loud women who scream at sporting events or shout across the bar to their friends. Never been the life of the party. Not that Camille was dull, but she’d become a little too steady. She had worked for exactly two companies in her whole life. The art store during college and the job with the mortgage company after that. She had told herself that her job as a bookkeeper was in the meantime, and as soon as she could afford to quit – when the house was paid off or Walker’s business got stabilized – she’d get back to painting.

Walker was the only person Camille had ever had sex with. Their affair started in college, carried on through his years in law school, then they got married, and the sex tapered off. Walker was a bankruptcy attorney, and lately his business was booming, so they were talking about investing in foreclosed commercial property and planned to attend their first real estate auction on Monday.

Walker got home late that Thursday night and brought client files with him. He didn’t notice her hair or her toenails or how much it bothered her to turn forty. Walker just wanted to have dinner in his home office so he could get his work done. While he was eating with the door closed, Camille searched around the house for her birthday gift – every closet and drawer and even the glove box, trunk, and under the seats of his car. When she found nothing, she told herself that he could not possibly have forgotten.

The next morning, Walker was in a rush, and told her, “I’ve got to get these papers filed this morning before meeting a new client.”

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Genre –  Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Blog http://howyoulovetexas.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Not a Whisper by Donna B McNicol

Cherie didn't know which was flying faster, the coffee, the food or the gossip. The Klondike Breakfast Club, or KB's as they called themselves, were energetically discussing the fire that burned down a local business the night before and speculating about the owner's part in it. These folks, mostly closer to her aunt's age, were definitely not what she was used to in Tucson, Arizona. Back there, she couldn't call it home anymore, older folks mostly talked about their medical problems and where to find the best buffet deals.

Pansy Tucker, her aunt, was the unofficial founder of this unorthodox group - or maybe the unorthodox founder of this unofficial group would be a better description. She sipped her tea and listened to the voices rising above the clatter of dishes and silverware as everyone finished eating and continued sharing their snippets of gossip.

“Yeah, that fire was something else. The volunteers had their hands full. I heard they brought in the Bradford Fire Department, too. The chief told Tony it was so tough to fight ‘cause of the way it's been built up and added to over the years. That and it had probably been burning for hours before it got seen and called in.” This from the gentleman at the end of the table. Tom, Cherie struggled to remember his name, he's married to that tiny lady beside him.

The oldest person at the table, Bob Rounder spoke up. “Well I heard it was so bad the walls fell smack into the basement. They had to let it burn to the ground.”

“My Jimmy said it was really bad. Worst he'd ever seen since he's been a volunteer.” This from a woman who walked over from a neighboring table.

“Hi Janie. Was Jimmy at the fire?” asked Tom's wife, Edy.

Before Janie could answer, Ed Williams piped in, “You know this ain't the first fire at The Drop Inn. Back in the 80's and 90's when old Earl owned it, there were a couple of ‘em. Never burned to the ground though and he just kept adding on.”

Kat Daily, the owner and only waitress at Kat's Klondike Kafe, started refilling coffee cups as she listened in on the conversations. “More tea, Pansy?”

“Sure, but fetch me some more Sweet n' Low, too. Gotta watch my girlish figure.” Pansy hefted her more than ample bosoms in her hands, smiling innocently at her table mates.

Edy looked up from her coffee, “Did you hear about the fire last night, Kat? I can't believe The Drop Inn is gone.”

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Genre – Cozy Mystery

Rating – PG

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Website http://donnamcnicol.com/

Monday, September 2, 2013

BoX by Lucas Heath

1: Marsha and Barry

The room was a cube. It was twenty feet in height, length, and width, and the walls seemed to glow a stunning white that surpassed the purity of freshly fallen snow. There were no windows, no doors, and no blemishes of any kind, just solid walls that boxed the young girl inside with no way of escape.

Her fragile body lay sprawled upon the solid white ground, shaking from cold. Fear had yet to settle in, for she had not yet awakened.

As time ticked away, her eyes finally opened and her head jerked up from the floor of her prison. Her head pivoted and tilted as she surveyed her surroundings. The beat of her heart began to quicken as she came to the realization of her predicament.

She remembered her identity, and where she was from, though why she was in this strange place escaped her memory. She sat up and grabbed at her neck, letting trembling fingers glide across the soft tan skin. A bump where somebody had stuck a needle found its place underneath her index finger and she rubbed at the spot, ignoring the pain. She had been drugged, though the reason why someone would do this eluded her.

Panic threatened to kick in. The fight or flight instinct gripped at her heart, but with a deep breath she pushed the feelings away. Her father had always said, "Marsha, fear is an illusion that makes you weak. You either learn to control it, or it will control you." She agreed with that statement and made destroying fear in her life a goal.

Marsha slowly stood up and felt her legs wobbling underneath her. Using the wall for support, she steadied herself and took another deep breath, letting it out slowly. A pedestal in the very center of the room drew her attention. Sitting atop the square stand was a single pistol, though she had no idea what kind it was, or if it was even loaded.

Deciding to avoid the deadly device, Marsha turned toward a wall and ran her hands over it. It was smooth like marble and radiated a luminescent light that gave the room its glow. If it weren't for these walls, floor, and ceiling, she would be shrouded in darkness. She followed the wall around the entirety of the cube, feeling for any switches or hidden panels, though she didn't find anything.

She finally leaned against and slid down a wall until her bottom hit the ground. She rested her head against her knees and began to cry.


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Genre –  Thriller / SciFi

Rating – PG13

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Website http://lucasheathbooks.com/

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Dream Rider by Ernest Dempsey

I looked down at the wound but made myself keep going despite feeling the pain and the thick, crimson liquid oozing down my leg. As I pushed my way forward, a million questions ran through my head. One in particular stuck out. Why were these guys trying to kill me? I was just a college student. I never had problems with anybody. I looked back at the men in the trench coats. They were walking slowly now, but still firing their weapons. Glass storefront windows shattered around me and car windshields cracked with spider webs, hollow holes in the middle.

I dragged myself off the concrete and started to limp away as fast as I could, but another bullet found it’s way through the calf muscle of my other leg. I dropped to my knees and groaned in agony. My hands tugged against the concrete, straining to pull my body’s weight along. Suddenly, I felt a sickening thud in the upper part of my back. It felt like I’d been struck by a sledgehammer. The force of the impact knocked me forward onto my face. The concrete was cold on my skin, a strange contrast to the warm liquid leaking from my body in three places.

Three pairs of black boots crunched across the glass and rubble, coming to stop next to my face. The men were standing over me, looking down like I was nothing more than a rabid dog they were disposing of. The one with the shaved head grinned, revealing stained, crooked teeth. The other two just watched as he aimed the gun at my head.

There was nothing I could do but lay there. I couldn’t feel my legs, which meant the last bullet had severed my spinal cord. I knew I was about to die but didn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t understand why these men were doing this. I’d never seen any of them before. But I wouldn’t give them the pleasure of seeing me flinch, whoever they were. I didn’t beg. I didn’t even ask why they were doing it. I’m not sure why. I just didn’t.

My head twisted and I stared down the barrel of the gun as the sunlight silhouetted the enormous figure of the man who was about to kill me. My head rolled to the side and for the briefest of seconds, I noticed a young woman with long brown hair standing still while everyone else panicked. She was a vision of serenity amidst the chaos. She watched with a strange curiosity as the bald man stood over me. I returned my gaze to the tip of the weapon just in time to see him squeeze the trigger. I heard the gunshot, again like it was in slow motion and, felt the bullet hit my skull.

Then everything went black.


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Genre –  Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Website http://ernestdempsey.net/