Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
This book was yet another wonderful trip to France. The food described not only sounds amazing but there are recipes in the book so you can try them yourself. I think that this book was a great sequel and I can't wait to read the next book in the French Twist Series.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My Review: “Engaging Father Christmas” is a great read for the holiday season. When Miranda Carson travels to England to spend time with her boyfriend Ian she is full of hope and anticipation of spending time surrounded by people she has come to love. Carlton Heath is a place that Miranda longs to call home, but several occurrences including Ian’s father’s sudden hospitalization change their plans and Miranda is left wondering if she will ever be accepted into this place she longs to call home.
I thought that this story was told in a way that sweeps you out of your surroundings and into a different place. I thought this book was heart-warming, entertaining, and a perfect reading choice for a relaxing winter day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i.
She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.
As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.
Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.
But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.
And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE
Monday, December 08, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado just east of the Front Range of the Rockies, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.
Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are this current one, Quills And Promises (July 2008) and Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Delaware Brides. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010 as Michigan Brides.
ABOUT THE BOOK
-- Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned. --
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not until thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6
Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years. With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When his military duty separates them, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to each other. Elanna has never known emotions like this before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. Wh a local news reporter questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?
If you'd like to read the first chapter of Quills And Promises, go HERE.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:
In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.
Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices
Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.
Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.
Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.
But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...
Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.
Kaitlan Sering and her grandfather the famous suspense novelist Darell Brooke are not close. Her grandfather was always consumed with writing his latest book and Kaitlan became involved with drugs and their relationship was severed to the point that they have not spoken in six years. Now Kaitlan at twenty-two years old is drug-free and her life is on track bit she still longs to be reconciled her grandfather who is the only family she has.
In one afternoon Kaitlan’s world is turned upside down and she finds herself in the middle of circumstances worthy of being the plot in one of her Grandfather’s suspense novels. A woman is dead and she is certain that her boyfriend, the police chief’s son, is the murderer. No where else to turn Kaitlan seeks her grandfather’s help, but with his mind muddled from an auto accident two years ago will he be able to help?
This book is a non-stop wild ride that will keep you riveted until the very end. If you love suspense novels you will definitely want to add this book to your collection.
Monday, December 01, 2008
It is time for the FIRST Blog Tour! On the FIRST day of every month we feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!
and his/her book:
Leave it to Chance
David C. Cook (May 2008)
Sherri Sand is a wife and mother of four young children who keep her scrambling to stay ahead of the spilled milk. When she needs stress relief from wearing all the hats required to clothe, feed and ferry her rambunctious brood, you may find her sitting in a quiet corner of a bistro reading a book (surrounded by chocolate), or running on one of the many trails near her home. Sherri is a member of The Writer’s View and American Christian Fiction Writers. She finds the most joy in writing when the characters take on a life of their own and she becomes the recorder of their stories. She holds a degree in psychology from the University of Oregon where she graduated cum laude. Sherri and her family live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
She's also a blogger! So stop by and say hi to Sherri at Creations in the Sand!
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 353 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (May 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
“Miss Libby wanted you to have it. I’d think you’d be delighted, what with the kids and all. You remember Sally, Miss Libby’s daughter? Well, she just called and said it was all laid out in the will. None of their family could figure out who Sierra Lassiter Montgomery was until Sally remembered me from her mom’s church. So she called and sure enough, you were my daughter.” Sierra’s mom tsked into the phone. “Well, you know how Sally is.”
Sierra hadn’t the foggiest how Sally was, or even who she was. She barely remembered Miss Libby from her Sunday school class eons ago.
“She acted pleased that her mother gave you the horse, but I could tell she was miffed. Though what Sally Owens would do with a horse, I’d like to know.” Her mom’s voice was tight and controlled as if they were discussing how to deal with black spot on her Old English roses.
“But I don’t want a horse. You, of all people, should know that after what happened when—” How could her mom even suggest she get a horse? Painful pictures of her childhood friend Molly floated through her mind.
“Honey, accidents like that don’t happen more than once in a lifetime. Besides, Miss Libby wouldn’t have owned a crazy horse.”
Sierra stared out the window where the school bus would soon release her most precious treasures. Her mom never had understood the resounding impact that summer day had made in her life.
“You really need to think of the kids and how much fun they’d have. It’s not like you’d ever be able to afford to buy them one.”
Sierra wished she were having this conversation with Elise rather than her mother. Her best friend would understand the danger she feared in horses, and in her humorous way come up with a sensible plan that would include not keeping the animal.
Her mom, on the other hand, lived life as if she were on one of those moving conveyors at the airport that people can step on to rest their feet yet keep moving toward their destination. As long as everyone kept traveling forward, she could ignore the emotional baggage dragging behind.
“I don’t understand why Miss Libby would give the horse to me.”
“You know how my bingo club visited the Somerset rest home every week? Well, Miss Libby’s been there for years and she always did comment on how horse crazy you were when she taught your Sunday school class.”
“Mom, that was a phase I went through when I was ten and found National Velvet and Black Beauty at the library. I haven’t seen Miss Libby since middle school.”
“Obviously you were special to Miss Libby. I’d think you might be a little more grateful.”
Deep breath, Sierra told herself. “I am grateful.” An errant grape rolled next to her toe. Trevor’s blond head was bent, intent on arranging the fruit like green soldiers around the edge of his plate. Sierra tossed the grape into the sink and considered how to respond to her mom. She was a dear, but sometimes the woman was like dry kindling on a hot day, and one little spark…. “I’m just not sure that owning a horse would be a wise move at this point in our lives.”
The front door slammed and Sierra felt the walls shudder with the thud. The 3:00 p.m. stampede through the house meant it was time to get off the phone and determine how to get rid of a horse before the kids found out about it.
Her mom sighed. “It’s too bad Sally won’t keep the horse at her place for you, but she said her husband wants the horse gone. He wants to fill the pasture with sheep.”
Sheep? A kitchen chair scraped over the linoleum as Trevor scooted back from the table and dashed for the living room. “Mommy’s got a horse! Mommy’s got a horse!” Wonderful. Little ears, big mouth.
Braden and Emory shot into the kitchen, bright eyes dancing in tandem. Their words tangled together in fevered excitement despite the fact that she was on the phone.
“Where is it?” Braden’s eleven-year-old grin split his face, and his dark hair was rumpled and sweat streaked, likely from a fevered game of basketball during last recess.
She held a hand up to still the questions as her mom went on about the sheep that Sally’s husband probably did not need.
“We have a horse?” Nine-year-old Emory, her blonde hair still neat in its purple headband, fluttered in front of her mom, delight and hope blooming on her face.
Despite the fear of horses building deep in Sierra’s gut, her children’s excitement was a little contagious. She wished Miss Libby had willed her a cat.
Sierra ran her hand down Emory’s soft cheek and whispered. “I’ll be off the phone in a minute, sweetie.”
“Can we ride it?” Em looked at her with elated eyes.
Braden tossed his backpack on the table. “Where are we going to keep it?”
The kids circled her, jabbering with excited questions. Sierra rubbed her forehead with the tips of her fingers. “I gotta go, Mom. I’ve got to break some cowboy hearts.”
The kids clamored around her, Braden taking the lead with an arm draped across her shoulder. When had he gotten so big? “Do we have a horse, Mom?” He asked the question with a lopsided grin, a foreshadow of the adolescence that had been peeking through lately. The preteen in him didn’t truly believe they had a horse—he was old enough to realize the odds—but little-boy eagerness clung to his smile.
“That would be yes and a no.”
“What? Mom!” he complained.
“I was given a horse, but we’re not going to keep him.” Braden’s arm slid off her shoulder, a scowl replacing his smile. “Why not?”
“Someone gave you a horse?” Emory ignored her brother’s attitude and flashed her most persuasive grin. “Can we keep him? Please!”
Sierra smoothed her hand over the silky hair and leaned close to her daughter’s face as Emory went on. “I think we should get four horses so we each have one. We could go trail riding. Cameron’s mom has horses, and they go riding all the time as a family.”
“We’re not a family anymore,” Braden cut in. “We stopped being a family when mom divorced dad.”
A shard of pain drove into Sierra’s gut. She hadn’t had time to brace for that one. Braden’s anger at the divorce had been building like an old steam engine lately.
“That’s not fair!” Outrage darkened Emory’s features. “It’s not Mom’s fault!”
Sarcasm colored Braden’s voice. “Oh, so it’s all Dad’s fault?”
Sierra saw the confusion that swept over her daughter’s face. She was fiercely loyal to both parents and didn’t know how to defend them against each other.
Sierra spoke in a firm tone. “Braden, that’s enough!”
He scowled at her again. “Whatever.”
Sierra held his gaze until he glanced away.
“Guys, we’re not going to play the blame game. We have plenty to be thankful for, and that’s what is important.”
Braden’s attitude kept pouring it on. “Boy, and we have so much. Spaghetti for dinner every other night.”
“So what, Braden-Maden!” Emory made a face and stuck her tongue out at him.
“No more fighting or you two can go to your rooms.” Her kids were not perfect, but they used to like each other. Something had changed. Her gut said it was her ex-husband, Michael, but what if she was falling into the whole “blame the dad” thing herself? What if she was really the problem? Two weeks without a job had added stress and worry. Had she stopped hugging them as often in between scouring the want ads and trying to manage a home and bills?
“Mom?” There was a quaver in Trevor’s soft voice.
“Yes, honey?” Sierra gave him a gentle smile.
“Can we keep the horse?”
Emory’s blue gaze darted to meet hers, a plea in them. Braden sat with his arms crossed over his chest, but his ears had pricked up.
Sierra looked at them, wanting them to understand and knowing they wouldn’t. “None of us know how to handle or care for a horse, so it wouldn’t be safe to keep him.”
Emory’s face lit up. “Cameron’s mom could teach us.”
“Honey, it’s not that simple. We can’t afford an animal that big. He probably eats as much in groceries as we do, and it would be very expensive to rent a place for him to live.”
“I could mow yards.” Anger at his sister forgotten, Braden turned a hopeful face to her. “We could help out.”
Emory jumped onto the working bandwagon. “Yeah. I could do laundry or something for the neighbors.”
Braden drilled his sister a look that said idiot idea but didn’t say anything.
Trevor bounced in his chair, eager to be a part of keeping the horse. “I could wash cars.”
“Those are great ideas, but they won’t bring in quite enough, especially since it’s getting too cold to mow lawns or wash cars.”
“You just don’t want to keep the horse, Mom,” Braden said. “I get it. End of story.”
“Honey, I’d love for you to have a horse, but when I was young I had a friend—”
Emory spoke in a helpful tone. “We know. Grandma told us about the accident.”
They knew? Wasn’t the story hers to share? “When did Grandma tell you?”
Braden’s voice took on a breezy air. “I don’t know. A while ago. Come on, Mom. We’re not going to do something dumb like your friend did.”
Defensiveness rose inside. “She didn’t do anything dumb. It was the horse that—”
“So because something bad happened to one person, your kids can never do anything fun for the rest of their lives.”
Sierra gave him a look. “Or you learn from your mistakes and help your kids to do the same.”
Braden rolled his eyes at her.
Worry drew lines across her daughter’s forehead. “Are you going to sell him?”
“Yes, Em. So we’re not going to discuss this anymore. You and Braden have homework to do.” At the chorus of groans she held her hands up. “Okay, I guess I’ll have to eat Grandma’s apple pie all by myself.”
Braden grabbed his backpack and slowly dragged it across the floor toward the stairs, annoyance in his voice. “We’re going.” Emory trotted past him up the stairs.
Trevor remained behind, one arm wrapped around her thigh. “I don’t have any homework.”
She squatted and pulled him in for a hug. “Nope, you sure don’t, bud.”
He leaned back. “Do I get a horse?”
Sierra distracted him by inching her fingers up his ribs. “What, Trev?”
He tried to talk around his giggles. “Do I get—Mom!” Her fingers found the tickle spots under his arms and he laughed, his eyes squinted shut and mouth opened wide. She found all his giggle spots, then turned on Sesame Street as the second distraction. Good old Bert and Ernie.
Now what? She had roughly forty-five minutes to figure out how she was going to get rid of a horse and not be a complete zero in her kids’ eyes.
She eyed the phone and made her next move. Five minutes later a white Mazda whipped into her driveway. Sierra hurried out the front door waving her arms to stop Elise before she could start her ritual honking for the kids.
Wide eyed, her platinum blonde friend stared, one long plum-colored nail hovering above the “ooga” horn on the dash. “What?”
“I don’t want the kids to know you’re here.”
Wicked delight spread across her perfectly made-up face. Light plum shadow matched her nails. Tomorrow, both eye shadow and nails could be green. “Let me guess! Mr. Pellum asked you out!”
“Nooooo!” Mr. Pellum was a teacher Sierra and Elise had had a crush on in seventh grade.
“Ummm … you robbed a bank and need me to watch the kids while you fly to Tahiti?”
Sierra gave her a mock-serious look. “Done?”
Elise tilted her head. “Can I get out of the car?”
Sierra glanced toward the house. All was still silent. “Yes, you may.”
Deadpan, Elise nodded and opened the door. “Then I’m done for now.” Her plump body, swathed in a creamy suit with a purple scarf draped across one shoulder, rose gracefully from the small two-seater.
Sierra closed the door for her, then leaned against it. Elise had a way of removing the extraneous and reducing a problem down to the bare essentials. “Elise, I’m in a predicament.”
“Hon, I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”
Sierra shook her head. “I don’t think you could have seen this one coming even with your crystal ball.”
Elise gave her the spinster teacher look through narrowed eyes. “I don’t think I like the implications of that.”
Sierra held her hands out. “You are the queen of mind-reading, according to my children.”
Elise chuckled. “It’s a good thing I was just headed out for a latte break when you called. Now what’s the big emergency?” She owned a high-end clothing store for plus-sized women in downtown Eugene.
Elise glanced around as if one or two might be lurking behind a tree.
“A herd of them or just one?”
“One. Full-sized. Living and breathing.”
“I believe I’m missing some pieces here. Is it moving in with you? Holding one of the children hostage? What?”
Sierra breathed out a slight chuckle and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “You’re not going to believe this, but I inherited it.”
Her friend’s eyes grew wide, emphasizing the lushly mascaraed lashes. “Like someone died and gave you their horse?”
Sierra nodded, raising her brows. “And the kids want to keep him.”
Furrows emerged across Elise’s forehead. “Who is the idiot that told them about the horse?”
Sierra tilted her head with a look that only best friends could give each other.
Elise’s perfectly painted lips smirked. “Moving along, then. Why don’t you keep it? The kids would love it. Heaven knows they deserve it.” She clapped her hands together. “Oh, oh! They could get into 4-H, and Braden could learn to barrel race. That kid would think he’d won the jackpot. Emory and Trevor could get a pig or some of those show roosters.”
Sierra let the idea machine wind down. “I don’t think so.”
“No farm animals.”
Elise’s mouth perked into humorous pout. “Sierra, you’re such a spoilsport. Those kids need a pet.”
“A hamster is a pet. A horse is not.”
Diva Elise took the stage, hands on her ample hips. “Don’t tell me you didn’t want a horse growing up. Remember, I was the one who had to sit and watch National Velvet with you time ad nauseam. You’ve said yourself that Braden needs something to take his mind off the problems he’s having at school and with his dad.”
Guilt, a wheelbarrow load of it, dumped on Sierra. “You are supposed to be helping me, Elise, not making it worse. I want to get rid of this horse and …” her eyes dodged away from her friend, “… you know.”
“Mmm-hmm. And still look like Super Mom in your children’s eyes.”
Sierra nodded, but couldn’t find the nerve to say yes.
“Sierra Montgomery, those children have been to heck and back in the last couple years and you’re willing to deny them the pleasure of owning their own free horse because … because of what?”
Sierra stared at the ground for a moment, feeling a tangle of emotions rise within. She let her eyes rest on Elise’s and said quietly, “Fear? Terror? Hysteria?”
A look of puzzlement, then understanding settled on Elise’s face, smoothing away the annoyance. “Molly.”
Sierra nodded. “I won’t put my children in that kind of danger.”
Elise leaned forward and grabbed Sierra’s hands, holding them tight. “Oh, hon. That was a long time ago. Don’t let your life be ruled by the what-ifs. There’s a lot of living left to do. And your kids need to see you taking life by storm, taking chances, not hiding in the shadows.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You were voted most likely to parachute off the Empire State Building.”
Elise gave her a cheeky grin, both dimples winking at her. “We could do it tandem!”
“If you see me jump off the Empire State Building you’ll know my lobotomy was successful, because there is no way in this lifetime you’ll catch this body leaving good sense behind!” Sierra heard the words come from her own mouth and stared at her friend in wonder. “Oh, my gosh. That was so my mom.”
“It was bound to happen, hon.”
Was she serious? “You think I’m turning into her?” Sierra brought a hand to her throat and quickly dropped it. How many times had she seen her mom use the same gesture?
Elise laughed. “You need to stop fretting and just live. We all turn out like our mothers in some respect.”
“All except you. You’re nothing like Vivian.”
“Other than the drinking, smoking, and carousing, I’m exactly like her.”
Sierra lifted a brow. Her mom had rarely let her go to Elise’s house when they were growing up—and for good reason. Elise struck a pose like a fashion model. “Okay, I’m the anti-Vivian.” She gave Sierra a soft smile. “All funnin’ aside, I really think you should keep the horse.”
“I’m not keeping the horse. And even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.” Sierra took a settling breath and stared at the tree over Elise’s shoulder.
“Michael still hasn’t paid?”
Elise knew more about her finances than her mom did. “He paid, but the check bounced again. So now he’s two months behind in child support.”
“Have you heard if Pollan’s is rehiring?”
“They’re not.” Jarrett’s, the local grocery store where she worked for the three years since the divorce had been recently bought out by Pollan’s. They had laid off the majority of the checkers with the possibility of rehiring some.
Elise cringed as if she was bracing herself for a blow. “And the unemployment fiasco?”
Sierra shut her eyes. “Mr. Jarrett did not pay into our unemployment insurance, so there is no benefit for us to draw from. Yes, it was illegal, and yes he will pay, but it may take months, if not years, for various lawyers and judges to beat it out of him.” She gave Elise a tired smile. “That’s the version minus all the legalese.”
“So the layoffs are final, no unemployment bennies, and you’re out of a job.”
“Momentarily. The résumé has been dusted off and polished.” She gave a wry grin.
“I wish I could hire you at Deluxe Couture, but I promised Nora fulltime work. And besides, your cute little buns would drive my clientele away.”
Sierra waved a hand over her jeans and sweatshirt. “Your clientele would outshine me any day.”
“You sell yourself far too short.” Elise glanced at the hefty rhinestone encrusted watch on her wrist. “Anything else I can do for you? Help the kids with their homework? Babysit while you sweep some tall, dark, handsome man off his feet?”
Sierra laughed. “And where is this dream man going to come from?”
Elise gave a breezy wave of her hand and opened the car door. “Oh, he’ll turn up. You’re too cute to stay single. I actually have someone in mind. Pavo Marcello. He’s a new sales rep from one of my favorite lines. I’ll see if he’s free Friday night. You aren’t doing anything, are you?”
“Hold on!” Sierra stepped in front of the car door to keep her friend from leaving. “First, I’m not looking. Second, given my history, I’m not the best judge of character. I’ve already struck out once in the man department.” She pointed to her face with both index fingers. “Not anxious to try again. Third, you just told me I’m turning into my mom, which makes me definitely not dating material.”
A twist of Elise’s lips signaled a thought. “You know, now that I think about it, I believe he has a boyfriend.” She shook her head and lowered herself into the car. “We’ll keep looking. I’m sure Sir Knight will turn up.”
Sierra shut the car door and grinned down at her friend. “And what about finding your knight?”
Elise gave her a bright smile. “Mr. Pellum is already taken. You really need to find a way to keep that horse; it’ll be your first noble sacrifice.”
The little car backed up, and Elise spoke over the windshield. “The others don’t count.”
Sierra stared at the retreating car. There was no way she was keeping that horse.
After dinner, Sierra crept into Braden’s room. He sat on the bed intent on the Game Boy in his lap, the tinny sound of hard rock bleeding out of his earphones. She waved a hand and he glanced up. She waited and with a look of preteen exasperation he finally pulled the headphones to his shoulders.
“I just wanted to say good night.”
“Good night.” His hands started to readjust the music back into position.
“I looked at your homework.”
“You got into my backpack? Isn’t that like against the law or something? You’re always telling us not to get into your stuff.”
She crossed her arms. Frustration and worry gnawed at her. “You lied to me about doing your assignment. Why, honey?”
He ignored her and started playing his Game Boy.
She took one step and snatched the game from his hands.
“I want some respect when I talk to you, Braden.”
His chin sank toward his chest, his gaze fixed on his bed, his voice low. “I didn’t want to do it.”
She sat next to him, her voice soft. “Is it too hard?”
He shrugged. “It gives me a headache when I work on it.”
“Braden, if you need help, I’d be happy to work with you after school.”
He stared at his knees and picked at a loose string of cotton on his pajama bottoms.
“I got a phone call from Mrs. Hamison today.”
His body came alert, though he didn’t look at her.
“She said you’re flunking most of your subjects, and she hasn’t seen any homework from you since school started a month ago.”
He glanced up, his jaw belligerent, but with fear in his eyes.
“What’s going on? I know school isn’t easy, but you’ve never given up before.”
“Middle school’s harder.”
She wanted to touch him, to brush the hair off his forehead and snuggle him close the way she used to when he was small. Back when a hug and a treat shared over the kitchen table was enough to bring the sparkle back to her son. “She thinks we should have your vision tested.”
“She’s noticed some things in class and thinks it might be helpful.”
He shrugged again. “Can I have my game back?”
“You lied to me, son. Again.”
“You break trust every time you choose to be dishonest. Is that what you want?”
His voice was sullen and he stared at his comforter. “No.”
She touched his leg. “What’s bothering you, honey?”
“I dunno. Can I have my game back?”
She stood up. There was a time for talking and this obviously wasn’t it. “You can have it tomorrow.”
But would tomorrow be any different?
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It's the 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter!
Thomas Nelson (November 11, 2008)
Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.
After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.
Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. To see a complete list of Dekker's work, visit The Works section of TedDekker.com.
Here are some of his latest titles:
Chosen (The Lost Books, Book 1) (The Books of History Chronicles)
Black: The Birth of Evil (The Circle Trilogy Graphic Novels, Book 1)
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 11, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST TWO PAGES:
(Click Pictures to Zoom!)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is the second Laura Jensen Walker book I have read. The other book I read was Miss Invisible. Both are great reads so I highly recommend that you check them out for yourself.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"Amazing Grace" is about William Wilberforce an abolitionist who fought to bring about the end of the slave trade in England. It is a great true story that will shed some light on that important event and will encourage you to use the gifts God has blessed you with. One person really can make a difference.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It is time for the FIRST Blog Tour! On the FIRST day of every month we feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!
and his book:
B&H Fiction (October 1, 2008)
James David Jordan is a business litigation attorney with the prominent Texas law firm of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. From 1998 through 2005, he served as the firm's Chairman and CEO. The Dallas Business Journal has named him one of the most influential leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth legal community and one of the top fifteen business defense attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth. His peers have voted him one of the Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation.
A minister's son who grew up in the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois, Jim has a law degree and MBA from the University of Illinois, and a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. He lives with his wife and two teenage children in the Dallas suburbs.
Jim grew up playing sports and loves athletics of all kinds. But he especially loves baseball, the sport that is a little bit closer to God than all the others.
His first novel was Something that Lasts . Forsaken is his second novel.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: B&H Fiction (October 1, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the paint begins to fade. Will the wallpaper show? I thought so for a long time. But I have hope now that it won’t. Simon Mason helped me find that hope. That’s why it’s important for me to tell our story. There must be others who need hope, too. There must be others who are afraid that their ugly wallpaper might bleed through.
What does sleeping on the ground have to do with a world-famous preacher like Simon Mason? The story begins twelve years ago—eleven years before I met Simon. My dad and I packed our camping gear and went fishing. It was mid-May, and the trip was a present for my seventeenth birthday. Not exactly every high school girl’s dream, but my dad wasn’t like most dads. He taught me to camp and fish and, particularly, to shoot. He had trained me in self-defense since I was nine, the year Mom fell apart and left for good. With my long legs, long arms, and Dad’s athletic genes, I could handle myself even back then. I suppose I wasn’t like most other girls.
After what happened on that fishing trip, I know I wasn’t.
Fishing with my dad didn’t mean renting a cane pole and buying bait pellets out of a dispenser at some catfish tank near an RV park. It generally meant tramping miles across a field to a glassy pond on some war buddy’s ranch, or winding through dense woods, pitching a tent, and fly fishing an icy stream far from the nearest telephone. The trips were rough, but they were the bright times of my life—and his, too. They let him forget the things that haunted him and remember how to be happy.
This particular outing was to a ranch in the Texas Panhandle, owned by a former Defense Department bigwig. The ranch bordered one of the few sizeable lakes in a corner of Texas that is brown and rocky and dry. We loaded Dad’s new Chevy pickup with cheese puffs and soft drinks—healthy eating wouldn’t begin until the first fish hit the skillet—and left Dallas just before noon with the bass boat in tow. The drive was long, but we had leather interior, plenty of tunes, and time to talk. Dad and I could always talk.
The heat rose early that year, and the temperature hung in the nineties. Two hours after we left Dallas, the brand-new air conditioner in the brand-new truck rattled and clicked and dropped dead. We drove the rest of the way with the windows down while the high Texas sun tried to burn a hole through the roof.
Around five-thirty we stopped to use the bathroom at a rundown gas station somewhere southeast of Amarillo. The station was nothing but a twisted gray shack dropped in the middle of a hundred square miles of blistering hard pan. It hadn’t rained for a month in that part of Texas, and the place was so baked that even the brittle weeds rolled over on their bellies, as if preparing a last-ditch effort to drag themselves to shade.
The restroom door was on the outside of the station, isolated from the rest of the building. There was no hope of cooling off until I finished my business and got around to the little store in the front, where a rusty air conditioner chugged in the window. When I walked into the bathroom, I had to cover my nose and mouth with my hand. A mound of rotting trash leaned like a grimy snow drift against a metal garbage can in the corner. Thick, black flies zipped and bounced from floor to wall and ceiling to floor, occasionally smacking my arms and legs as if I were a bumper in a buzzing pinball machine. It was the filthiest place I’d ever been.
Looking back, it was an apt spot to begin the filthiest night of my life.
I had just leaned over the rust-ringed sink to inspect my teeth in the sole remaining corner of a shattered mirror when someone pounded on the door.
“Just a minute!” I turned on the faucet. A soupy liquid dribbled out, followed by the steamy smell of rotten eggs. I turned off the faucet, pulled my sport bottle from the holster on my hip, and squirted water on my face and in my mouth. I wiped my face on the sleeve of my T-shirt.
My blue-jean cutoffs were short and tight, and I pried free a tube of lotion that was wedged into my front pocket. I raised one foot at a time to the edge of the toilet seat and did my best to brush the dust from my legs. Then I spread the lotion over them. The ride may have turned me into a dust ball, but I was determined at least to be a soft dust ball with a coconut scent. Before leaving I took one last look in my little corner of mirror. The hair was auburn, the dust was beige. I gave the hair a shake, sending tiny flecks floating through a slash of light that cut the room diagonally from a hole in the roof. Someone pounded on the door again. I turned away from the mirror.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming!”
When I pulled open the door and stepped into the light, I shaded my eyes and blinked to clear away the spots. All that I could think about was the little air conditioner in the front window and how great it would feel when I got inside. That’s probably why I was completely unprepared when a man’s hand reached from beside the door and clamped hard onto my wrist.
Monday, November 03, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alice sold her first story to David C. Cook for a take-home Sunday School paper called Sprint. The year was 1988, this was her first submission to a paying market, and the check sent to her was for $125.00.
She was on her way!
Since then, Alice has sold articles and devotions to the Upper Room, Alive Now, Standard Publishing, ByLine magazine and others.
In 2006 she sent her novel Rain Songto Bethany House...and the rest is history! She signed a two -book deal and the second, How Sweet It Is will be out in 2009.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his emails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Rain Song, go HERE
I have started this book and so far I am enjoying it. The mystery of what happened to Nicole while she was in Japan along with her relationships with her family have made this book very interesting so far. I will keep you posted.
I just finished Rain Song. The book was great and slightly unexpected. I really enjoyed the story and the unique way that it was told. All of the character's from Nicole's Grandmother Ducee to little cousin Monet were great and really added a lot to the book. The mystery of Nicole's past unfolds through an online correspondence with a fan of her online column. In a twist Harrison, the man she corresponded with, reveals that he knew her when she was a child living in Japan. This unlikely person now was able to fill in many facts about her life Nicole was resigned to never know. I think this book is a great read and something that will put a smile on your face.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's the 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter!
Zondervan (October 1, 2008)
Paul McCusker is the author of The Mill House, Epiphany, The Faded Flower and several Adventures in Odyssey programs. Winner of the Peabody Award for his radio drama on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Focus on the Family, he lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and two children.
List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Jeff looked up at her. He’d been absentmindedly swirling his straw in his malted milkshake while she complained about her parents, which she had been doing for the past half hour. “You’re what?”
“You weren’t listening, were you?”
“I was too.”
“Then what did I say?” Elizabeth tucked a loose strand of her long brown hair behind her ear so it wouldn’t fall into the puddle of ketchup next to her fries.
“You were complaining about how your mom and dad drive you crazy because your dad embarrassed you last night while you and Melissa Morgan were doing your history homework. And your dad lectured you for twenty minutes about .?.?. about .?.?.” He was stumped.
“Chris-tian symbolism in the King Arthur legends,” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, except that you and Melissa were supposed to be studying the .?.?. um?—?”
“Right, and Melissa finally made up an excuse to go home, and you were embarrassed and mad at your dad?—?”
“As usual,” she said and savaged another french fry.
Jeff gave a sigh of relief. Elizabeth’s pop quizzes were a lot tougher than anything they gave him at school. But it was hard for him to listen when she griped about her parents. Not having any parents of his own, Jeff didn’t connect when Elizabeth went on and on about hers.
“Then what did I say?” she asked.
He was mid-suck on his straw and nearly blew the contents back into the glass. “Huh?”
“What did I say after that?”
“You said .?.?. uh .?.?.” He coughed, then glanced around the Fawlt Line Diner, hoping for inspiration or a way to change the subject. His eye was dazzled by the endless chrome, beveled mirrors, worn red upholstery, and checkered floor tiles. And it boasted Alice Dempsey, the world’s oldest living waitress, dressed in her paper cap and red-striped uniform with white apron.
She had seen Jeff look up and now hustled over to their booth. She arrived smelling like burnt hamburgers and chewed her gum loudly. “You kids want anything else?”
Rescued, Jeff thought. “No, thank you,” he said.
She cracked an internal bubble on her gum and dropped the check on the edge of the table. “See you tomorrow,” Alice said.
“No, you won’t,” Elizabeth said under her breath. “I won’t be here.”
As she walked off, Alice shot a curious look back at Elizabeth. She was old, but she wasn’t deaf.
“Take it easy,” Jeff said to Elizabeth.
“I’m going to run away,” she said, heavy rebuke in her tone. “If you’d been listening?—?”
“Aw, c’mon, Bits?—?” Jeff began. He’d called her “Bits” for as long as either of them could remember, all the way back to first grade. “It’s not that bad.”
“You try living with my mom and dad, and tell me it’s not that bad.”
“I know your folks,” Jeff said. “They’re a little quirky, that’s all.”
“Quirky! They’re just plain weird. They’re clueless about life in the real world. Did you know that my dad went to church last Sunday with his shirt on inside out?”
“And wearing his bedroom slippers?”
Jeff smiled. Yeah, that’s Alan Forde, all right, he thought.
“Don’t you dare smile,” Elizabeth threatened, pointing a french fry at him. “It’s not funny. His slippers are grass stained. Do you know why?”
“Because he does his gardening in his bedroom slippers.”
Elizabeth threw up her hands. “That’s right! He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care how he looks, what -people think of him, or anything! And my mom doesn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed for him. She thinks he’s adorable! They’re weird.”
“They’re just .?.?. themselves. They’re?—?”
Elizabeth threw herself against the back of the red vinyl bench and groaned. “You don’t understand.”
“Sure I do!” Jeff said. “Your parents are no worse than Malcolm.” Malcolm Dubbs was Jeff’s father’s cousin, on the English side of the family, and had been Jeff’s guardian since his parents had died five years ago in a plane crash. As the last adult of the Dubbs family line, he came from England to take over the family fortune and estate. “He’s quirky.”
“But that’s different. Malcolm is nice and sensitive and has that wonderful English accent,” Elizabeth said, nearly swooning. Jeff’s cousin was a heartthrob among some of the girls.
“Don’t get yourself all worked up,” Jeff said.
“My parents just go on and on about things I don’t care about,” she continued. “And if I hear the life-can’t-be-taken-too-seriously-because-it’s-just-a-small-part-of-a-bigger-picture lecture one more time, I’ll go out of my mind.”
Again Jeff restrained his smile. He knew that lecture well. Except his cousin Malcolm summarized the same idea in the phrase “the eternal perspective.” All it meant was that there was a lot more to life than what we can see or experience with our senses. This world is a temporary stop on a journey to a truer, more real reality, he’d say?—?an eternal reality. “Look, your parents see things differently from most -people. That’s all,” Jeff said, determined not to turn this gripe session into an Olympic event.
“They’re from another planet,” Elizabeth said. “Sometimes I think this whole town is. Haven’t you figured it out yet?”
“I like Fawlt Line,” Jeff said softly, afraid Elizabeth’s complaints might offend some of the other regulars at the diner.
“Everybody’s so .?.?. so oblivious! Nobody even seems to notice how strange this place is.”
Jeff shrugged. “It’s just a town, Bits. Every town has its quirks.”
“Is that your word of the day?” Elizabeth snapped. “These aren’t just quirks, Jeffrey.”
Jeff rolled his eyes. When she resorted to calling him Jeffrey, there was no reasoning with her. He rubbed the side of his face and absentmindedly pushed his fingers through his wavy black hair.
“What about Helen?” Elizabeth challenged him.
“Which Helen? You mean the volunteer at the information booth in the mall? That Helen?”
“I mean Helen the volunteer at the information booth in the mall who thinks she’s psychic. That’s who I mean.” Elizabeth leaned over the Formica tabletop. Jeff moved her plate of fries and ketchup to one side. “She won’t let you speak until she guesses what you’re going to ask. And she’s never right!”
“Our only life insurance agent has been dead for six years.”
“And there’s Walter Keenan. He’s a professional proofreader for park bench ads! He wanders around, making -people move out of the way so he can do his job.” Her voice was a shrill whisper.
“Ben Hearn only pays him to do that because he feels sorry for him. You know old Walter hasn’t been the same since that shaving accident.”
“But I heard he just got a job doing the same thing at a tattoo parlor!”
“I’m sure tattooists want to make sure their spelling is correct.”
Elizabeth groaned and shook her head. “It’s like Mayberry trapped in the Twilight Zone. I thought you’d understand. I thought you knew how nuts this town is.” Elizabeth locked her gaze onto Jeff’s.
He gazed back at her and, suddenly, the image of her large brown eyes, the faint freckles on her upturned nose, her full lips, made him want to kiss her. He wasn’t sure why?—?they’d been friends for so long that she’d probably laugh at him if he ever actually did it?—?but the urge was still there.
“It’s not such a bad place,” he managed to say.
“I’ve had enough of this town,” she said. “Of my parents. Of all the weirdness. I’m fifteen years old and I wanna be a normal kid with normal problems. Are you coming with me or not?”
Jeff cocked an eyebrow. “To where?”
“To wherever I run away to,” she replied. “I’m serious about this, Jeff. I’m getting all my money together and going somewhere normal. We can take your Volkswagen and?—?”
“Listen, Bits,” Jeff interrupted, “I know how you feel. But we can’t just run away. Where would we go? What would we do?”
“And who are you all of a sudden: Mr. Responsibility? You never know where you’re going or what you’re doing. You’re our very own Huck Finn.”
“Not according to Mr. Vidler.”
“Mr. Vidler said that?” Jeff asked defensively, wondering why their English teacher would be talking about him to Elizabeth.
“He says it’s because you don’t have parents, and Malcolm doesn’t care what you do.”
Jeff grunted. He didn’t like the idea of Mr. Vidler discussing him like that. And Malcolm certainly cared a great deal about what he did.
Elizabeth continued. “So why should you care where we go or what we do? Let’s just get out of here.”
“But, Bits, it’s stupid and?—?”
“No! I’m not listening to you,” Elizabeth shouted and hit the tabletop with the palms of her hands. Silence washed over the diner like a wave as everyone turned to look.
“Keep it down, will you?” Jeff whispered fiercely.
“Either you go with me, or stay here and rot in this town. It’s up to you.”
Jeff looked away. It was unusual for them to argue. And when they did, it was usually Jeff who gave in. Like now. “I don’t know,” he said quietly.
Elizabeth also softened her tone. “If you’re going, then meet me at the Old Saw Mill by the edge of the river tonight at ten.” She paused, then added, “I’m going whether you come with me or not.”
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.
His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.
Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.
And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.
Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.
If you would like to read the first chapter of A Beautiful Fall, go HERE
A Beautiful Fall was a wonderful book. It is one that you won't want to put down once you start it. The warm characters draw you in and Juneberry is the type of small town that makes you wish you lived in a place like it. So curl up with a cup of cocoa and enjoy!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.
A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.
In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can recieve the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?
A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.
If you would like to see a video book trailer of Home Another Way, go HERE.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Home Another Way, go HERE
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It is October 11th, and FIRST is doing a special tour to 'Say Goodbye to Hollywood Nobody'.
and her book:
NavPress Publishing Group (September 15, 2008)
Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. Apples of Gold was her first novel for teens
These days, she's working on Quaker Summer, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying . . . some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.
Other Novels by Lisa:
Hollywood Nobody, Finding Hollywood Nobody, Romancing Hollywood Nobody, Straight Up, Club Sandwich, Songbird, Tiger Lillie, The Church Ladies, Women's Intuition: A Novel, Songbird, The Living End
Visit her at her website.
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (September 15, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
I awaken to a tap on my shoulder and open my eye. My right eye. See, these days it could be one of four people: Charley, Dad, Grampie, or Grammie.
Oh well, might as well go for broke. I open the other eye.
“Did you sleep well?”
I shake my head and reach for my cat glasses. “Nope. I kept dreaming about Charley in Scotland.” We sent her off with her new beau, the amazing Anthony Harris, two days ago. “I imagined a road full of sheep chasing her down.”
“That would be silly. They would have to know she hates lamb chops.” Grammie sits on my bed. Yes, my bed. In their fabulous house. In my own wonderful room, complete with reproductions of the Barcelona chair and a platform bed of gleaming sanded mahogany. I burrow further into my white down comforter. I sweat like a pig at night, but I don’t care. A real bed, a bona fide comforter, and four pillows. Feather pillows deep enough to sink the Titanic in.
She pats my shoulder, her bangled wrists emitting the music of wooden jewelry. “Up and at ’em, Scotty. Your dad wants to be on the road by seven thirty.”
“I need a shower.”
“Hop to it then.”
Several minutes later, I revel in the glories of a real shower. Not the crazy little stall we have in the TrailMama, which Dad gassed up last night for our trip to Maine. Our trip to find Babette, my mother. Is she dead or alive? That’s what we’re going to find out.
The warm water slides over me from the top of my head on down, and I’ve found the coolest shampoo. It smells like limeade. I kid you not. It’s the greatest stuff ever.
Over breakfast, Grampie sits down with us and goes over the map to make certain Dad knows the best route. My father sits patiently, nodding as words like turnpike, bypass, and scenic route roll like a convoy out of Grampie’s mouth.
Poor Grampie. Dad is just the best at navigation and knows everything about getting from point A to point B, but I think Grampie wants to be a part of it. He hinted at us all going in the Beaver Marquis, their Luxury-with-a-capital-L RV, but Dad pretended not to get it.
Later, Dad said to me, “It’s got to be just us, Scotty. I love my mother and father, but some things just aren’t complete-family affairs.”
“I know. I think you’re right. And if it’s bad . . .”
He nods. “I’d just as soon they not be there while we fall apart.”
So then, I hop up into our RV, affectionately known as the TrailMama, Dad’s black pickup already hitched behind. (Charley’s kitchen trailer is sitting on a lot in storage at a nearby RV dealership, and good riddance. I’m hoping Charley never needs to use that thing again.) “Want me to drive?”
Yep. I still don’t have my license.
Man. But it’s been such a great month or so at the beach. So, okay, I don’t tan much really, but I do have a nice peachy glow.
I’ll take it.
And Grampie grilled a lot, and Grammie helped me sew a couple of vintage-looking skirts, and I’ve learned the basics of my harp.
I jump into the passenger’s seat, buckle in, and look over at my dad. “You really ready for this?” My heart speeds up. This is the final leg of a very long journey, and what’s at the end of the path will determine the rest of our lives.
He looks into my eyes. “Are you?”
“I don’t know,” I whisper. “But we don’t really have a choice, do we?”
“I can go alone.”
I shake my head. “No, Dad. Whatever we do, whatever happens from here on out, we do it together.”