Stories behind the door challenge

The challenge, should you choose to accept, is to write one of the stories holding its secrets behind this door (300 words maximum).

I’ll post your stories here and send you copies of my newest books — When the Sun was Mine and Whispers Under the Baobab (neither of which were found behind this door) — as a token of appreciation for your writing .

Please send your entries to darlene@darlenejonesauthor.com

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

What does Uzo have to say about my new book?

Always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

 

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax to, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: http://ow.ly/aKXh30bMH88

 

Rubber ducky reading

My little granddaughter has a collection of rubber duckies. She came home from her walk with Grandpa and showed me the latest addition – the pink one.

“Grandma, her name is Darla and she found your new book and is reading it.”

Gotta love the kid. Here’s the book she’s referring to. If you’ve read When the Sun was Mine, my new book, Whispers Under the Baobab is a sequel of sorts (perhaps companion piece would be a better description), for they do not have to be read in a particular order.

 

When high school graduate, Brittany Wright, gets a job cleaning at Happy Hearts nursing home, she is terrified of old lady Flo and desperately wishes she could be in college instead. As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, Brittany discovers that Flo is in grave danger. But, from whom and why? As Flo’s Alzheimer’s worsens, Brittany scrambles to save her. But, ironically, it may be Flo who saves Brittany.

 

When rebel leader, Sidu Diagho, learns that reporter, Flo Mc Allister, has died, he knows that her power to destroy him is still very much alive.

Flo was with him during the coup attempts and all these years later Sidu could yet be tried at The Hague with her notes the testimony needed to convict him.

And the girl, Flo’s friend? How much does she know?

Sidu will do what he must to destroy the evidence against him.

Building a Book Cover

Outline, first draft, rewrite, copy edit, proof read, and choose a cover. Finally, I’ve reached the truly fun stage of preparing a book for publication. Working with my new cover designer is exciting for I never know what her brilliant brain will come up with.

I loved the cover she designed for When the Sun was Mine

not at all what I had in mind, but ever so much better than the image my non-artistic brain had imagined. Let’s see what she’ll do with the sequel.

  • Mon 3/20 10:06 am

Hello Anita,

I hope this finds you well.

I am in the final stages of completing a new novel about Flo and Brit (When the Sun was Mine) and am hoping you would do a cover for me.

Please say yes!

Anita’s response comes a couple of hours later. Yes! She’ll do it, wants to know when I need it and is ready to brainstorm in a couple of days. (Yes, Anita reads the book before she works on the cover design.)

  • Mon 3/20 2:09 pm

Hi, thrilled to hear that you’re willing to do this cover too. I could send you the word file if you’d like to start reading it. And I’m in no great rush.

Anita asks me to send the book and wants to know if I’m looking to have covers for both eBook and wrap/paperback? Then she asks for more information:

  • Tue 3/21 10:49 am

Hi Anita,

Here’s my novel. As you read keep in mind that I’m still doing some fine tuning and it hasn’t been formatted yet.

Your questions:

  • Interior type: Black and White, Black and White with Bleed, Full Color, or Full Color with Bleed? Black and white – no bleed.
  • Trim size: 5×8
  • Number of pages: I don’t have that yet.
  • Paper Color: White or Cream? Cream
  • Author Name: Darlene Jones
  • Title: Ah, now that’s one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. I had a couple of ideas, but when I checked Amazon there were numerous books with those titles and they were all cheesy romances. My book is definitely not a cheesy romance.
  • Tagline/subtitle if applicable: Will be working on the tag line and blurb in the next few days 
  • Back cover blurb:
  • Do you have anything specific in mind?  If so, can you please provide samples of photos/imagery/other books that helps tell your vision? I thought perhaps a boy herding goats in the savanna of West Africa superimposed over a battle or a man’s silhouette. You’ll see why when you read the book. BUT as this is directly connected to When the Sun was Mine, perhaps the cover should be connected in some way?
  • If you don’t have anything specific in mind, please see the following: Argh, ask the tough questions, why don’t you?
  1. What is the genre? Always difficult to answer because my books are cross genre and I need to have a genre that fits Amazon’s categories. Possibly adventure or mystery/adventure or …
  2. Synopsis You read the first book (When the Sun was Mine) so you know that story. In this book, Sidu is desperately trying to find out what Flo wrote on her laptop all those nights at Happy Hearts for she witnessed his crimes and if the authorities get their hands on evidence he could face a trial at The Hague and possible death. He kidnaps Brit to enlist her help for he knows she spent a lot of time with Flo. Meanwhile, Perry and Nancy have Flo’s files, but much of it is gibberish. Then Nancy figures out how to decipher Flo’s code and Brit finds letters of Flo’s and the pieces start to come together. 
  3. What other books might be a good comparison to your story? (Please include links.)
  4. Are there any books with covers that resemble what you are looking for in terms of design? (Please include links)
  5. What is the emotion/vibe you want the design to communicate? Danger, love, triumph over evil, and anything that strikes you after reading the MS. I’ve tried to show life in Africa back in 1970 (which is when I lived in Mali).
  6. Anything else you would like to add? Anita, I trust your judgement completely. You came up with a perfect cover for Sun, one that I never would have thought of so please don’t feel limited in anyway by my thoughts. ALSO. I welcome any ideas you might have for title and genre or anything else that comes to mind.

On March 29, Anita tells me she finished reading my book and really enjoyed it. My cover artist likes my book. Bonus! Then she adds, “I have been thinking about your story, and I understand your references to “a boy herding goats in the savanna of West Africa superimposed over a battle or a man’s silhouette,” I am just trying to think of how we can tie it with the same design style as book #1.  I did a quick search for herding goats and battle stocks There are lots of photos of battles and goats but not in the setting we need.

Another concept that came to me was a desert scene with a baobab tree with silhouettes of Sidu and Flo.  It captures the setting with a little bit of romance.  So I looked for some trees and these too are hard to find.  I can find silhouettes of trees but was thinking we should keep the silhouettes to the people if we use any.

I did create an inspiration board as a starting point. Many of these are not a good fit to work with, but might trigger an idea, or if you see something that catches your eye I can see if I can find something that is better suited:

http://www.istockphoto.com/collaboration/boards/sxChB4_rMk-ydsjNXYAwp

 

  • Wed 3/20 8:53 pm

Anita, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed my book. You’re the first one to read it besides my writing partner/editor.

I love the camel/desert pictures, but that’s the smaller part of the story. I think the middle picture in the seventh row could work as that’s the exact image of a baobab tree that I pictured as I wrote. And there are some huts in the background which rather mirrors the building on the cover of the first book. Silhouettes would add the right touch for the romance too. If you do the silhouettes the woman should be in a pagne. I’ve attached a couple of pictures so you can see what the clothing looks like – the first is one that I took when I was in Mali, the second I found on the Internet.

Anita tells me she’ll do some experimenting and explore silhouette images and see if the stock I picked will work for us.  She’s concerned about the exposure of the photo as it is very light.

Anita warns me that they’re expecting another big snow storm and may have a power loss.

NOTE: Anita is north of Boston and I’m on Vancouver Island

On Tuesday, April 4, Anita sends me to a link she thinks might work as the angle of it ties in with the girl from book #1:

http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/baobab-sunset-burst-gm476757284-66259397

“And,” she says, “When I blend it in with some of the imagery from the first book it is starting to take shape and have a streamlined look.”

 

  • Tue 4/4 2:52 pm

Anita, I have to say that I had a picture in my head of one big tree that they could meet under. I like the way you have tied it to When the Sun was Mine, but the trees are so tall, they make me look up right away and not focus on the center of the page. What about a picture like the attached?

Anita says she understands what I mean, but the challenge with the stock I picked is that the trunk is too short so it would have to be located near the upper half of the cover and it might be overpowering.

On April 6, Anita writes, “I attached a composite with the tree you last shared.  Let me know what you think.  If we go with this tree, we’d need to use a solid color for the spine since the tree branches are cut off, I can’t really extend them unless we find another stock where the full branches/tips are showing then I can manipulate and add those in.

For some reason I feel a sunset theme fits well with this story.  It helps set a dramatic tone.”

We go back and forth as Anita experiments with pictures I’ve chosen. She has concerns about perspective as she tries to incorporate huts into the trees to make it look realistic and we have to consider the issue of silhouettes of the people.

On April 10, Anita sends me a picture she’s not happy with as she can’t overcome the over exposure of the tree and asks if we could use another tree or a desert scene or something else.

  • Mon 4/10 3:54 pm

I agree. The impact of the tree is lost.

How about this? The tree is the kind that’s found in West Africa and the terrain suits too.

https://www.shutterstock.com/fr/image-photo/africa-sunset-baobab-trees-colorful-sky-178172774?src=wuq4LvAcYCdGAN3-ff9vNQ-1-6

 

On April 11, Anita sends another composite.

  • Tue 4/11 10:06 am

Anita, the tree and sky work, but not the couple – she’s too big and old and he looks like a white man.

With this picture, is it possible to have the village in the background?

Anita asks me to search for couples and send links to those I like and to try to find some where they sit in tall grass as that works best to help blend the photos.

 

  • Tue 4/11 1:42 pm

OMG I don’t know how you do this. My eyes are going buggy. Trying to find silhouettes, but either the man doesn’t look African or has the wrong clothes on or you see too much of their faces or the pose is entirely too sappy romantic or….

But I might have a solution. Would this silhouette work if you put it as if they were walking towards the tree? Also could this village be way in the background?

 

Anita agrees that it’s a time consuming process especially when looking for specifics. She can’t use my choice (an image of a couple holding hands) as their bodies are cut off, so in order to use it, it has to be enlarged and cover the entire page. But the village is a possibility depending on the image we end up using for the couple.

She attaches a sample.

 

  • Tue 4/11 6:35 pm

Anita, I really like this!!!

And I should have realized about the silhouette. That’s likely why I’m not a graphic artist – LOL.

Here are some silhouettes that might work. I particularly like the first one as it suits the story right down to the ponytail.

On April 12 Anita says,I think we have a winner!!  This is obviously a rough draft but the silhouette will be very similar to this, the houses as well. I’ll play around with the birds and see where they might best fit in to tie it in with book #1, as well as some minor tweaks with blending, shadows and colors, once we’ve finalized the concept.

 

  • Wed 4/12 11:04 am

Anita, There are so many aspects I love – the barren terrain, the subtlety of the village that is barely there (how do the people survive?), the dominance of the tree and the sky—all fit so well with the images I had in my head as I wrote. The silhouettes work well too. The man’s profile looks “African” (as opposed to American black) and the clothes are right as is the positioning – not a romantic couple per se, but showing a “togetherness” in that immense landscape.

I will purchase the stock and get them to you later today or tomorrow.

 

On April 13, Anita asks if I’ve decided on a title and if I have the firmed up page total as well as the back cover blurb?

 

  • Fri 4/14 11:41 AM

Hi Anita,

The book should be about 265 pages and I’ve attached the back cover for you.

Title: Whispers under the Baobab

 

On April 14 Anita sends me the current version.

 

  • Sat 4/14 9:04 AM

Anita, it’s beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Once again you have done an amazing job.

I ask for a few tweaks which Anita completes in a couple of days and sends the final version asking if I like it.

 

  • Mon 4/18 10:45 AM

 

Anita, I don’t just like it, I love it! The cover alone should “grab” readers. I’m impressed with your creativity and the way you can bring my vague ideas to such a brilliant conclusion.

My Beta reader is a young Nigerian – the one who came up with the When the Sun was Mine title. I sent him a picture of the new cover and he says: “Whoever did this cover deserves a special thanks from me, and well, a tall glass of sweet palm wine *smiles* I love it.”

 

Anita says, “Thank you so much for sharing, you truly made my day … and so very neat to receive such a nice compliment from someone from a different culture, especially when trying to resemble a scene from his world.” Thank you!!

And I say, Thank you, Anita!  Contact Anita: www.race-point.com  

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

Looking for a good book?

 

Avid readers are always looking for a “good” book. Of course what makes a book good to one reader is not necessarily going to appeal to the next, but we all search for that sometimes elusive read that will have us turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. We read reviews, seek out books on-line, watch for our favorite authors latest releases, and most importantly look for suggestions from fellow readers for word of mouth is said to be the best advertising off all.

 

And so I present three books I’ve read recently for your consideration.

 

   French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain

A letter that arrives 33 years late, a rock band that missed a chance to touch fame, the members of that group who have led diverse lives now trying to reconnect. Throw in right wing politics, an upcoming election and you have a compelling read. I decided to read this novel because I had already enjoyed two of Laurain’s books, The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook. And, bonus, he has another out soon called, The Portrait. It’s on my wish list.

 

 

  The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Two women who lived 400 years apart are brought together by an embroidery book with faint dairy entries that tells a tale of pirates and captivity in 1625 Morocco. This review comment was enough to entice me to read the book. “The Tenth Gift is wildly yet convincingly romantic—a rare combo…both a sensitive portrayal of Muslim culture and a delectable adventure of the heart.”—USA Today

I now have more of Johnson’s novels loaded in my Kindle.

 

 

Watch the Shadows by Robin Winter

I know Robin (via the Internet) and had already read her first book Night Must Wait, a gripping story of the Biafran War. I tried to read her second book, Future Past, but it was too dark for me. Watch the Shadows is dark too, but so intriguing. Winters brings together a diverse group of characters—several homeless people, a postman, a couple of professors…. and a young girl determined to solve the mystery of the odd things that are happening in her neighborhood. Where have the birds gone? Why have many of the homeless disappeared? How did her neighbor’s cat lose its tail? I’m glued to this book every night and will be until I finish it.

 

What are you reading? Which books do you recommend?

 

How to make an author’s day

Received this review today and, yes, it made my day.  sun_eBOOK_NEW (1)

Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers’ Favorite

Brittany Wright’s life isn’t going as she hoped. She can’t afford to go to college, despite graduating as valedictorian of her class, and is stuck in a small town, working as a cleaner at Happy Hearts Nursing Home. The job goes wrong from day one when she stumbles upon Flo, the home’s most eccentric patient who terrifies Brittany, but also holds a strange allure. An unlikely friendship develops between Brittany and Flo, despite the shadow of Alzheimer’s – a friendship that is discouraged by the home’s head nurse, who forbids Brittany from seeing Flo and forces her to sneak into the home after hours. The nurse’s reaction strikes Brittany as curious, until she sneaks in one day to find that Flo is being treated unethically. Soon, Brittany finds herself and two of her remaining high school friends embroiled in a mystery surrounding Happy Hearts that’s putting Flo and the other patients in grave danger from the very people who are supposed to protect them. When the Sun Was Mine by Darlene Jones is an intriguing mystery with twists, turns, and revelations that will keep readers guessing.

I truly enjoyed this story, and think it could appeal to both young adult and adult audiences. When the Sun Was Mine is more than a mystery; it captures the essence of multi-generational friendship. This book reminded me of the senior citizens that I became friends with when I volunteered in a nursing home right out of college. It also touches on the issues that affect both the young and old, from the expense of a college education and life planning to elder care and end of life issues. The mystery bridges the gap between two divergent generations to show us that friendships can truly transcend anything. Darlene Jones does a wonderful job of not only weaving a compelling mystery, but showing readers the beauty of friendship as well.

 

 

Humor in writing

 

laughter

 

Humor can be anything from a belly laugh and the giggles to a chuckle or a smile. As long as it makes us happy to some degree, humor is doing its job. Here’s an excerpt from Book 2,of the Em and Yves series, EMPOWERED—an example of humor in a book that is not meant to be a comedy.

Victor grabbed Jasmine’s arm and dragged her to his office. “Don’t you guys all have something to do?” he said over his shoulder, but none of the men moved. He saw Jasmine look back at them and wink.

“You tell her, Vic,” one of the guys hollered just as he slammed the door.

“Woman, what were you thinking when you came here? It’s not safe and you stand out like a sore thumb.” Victor glared at her. “Please, tell me you’re not that dumb.”

“Belize, I think.”

“What?”

“Belize for our honeymoon.”

“Honeymoon!” He heard the guys hooting on the other side of the door and imagined a whole lot of high-fives taking place out there.

“Yes, good snorkeling. We’ll have to have a society wedding of course. But we can keep it small and limit the photographers.”

“You’re totally nuts.” Victor shook his head in disbelief.

“We’ll make beautiful babies,” she cooed smiling up at him.

“Babies?  Babies!” Victor screeched. “Get this straight. We. Are. Not. Getting. Married. We. Are. Not. Making. Babies.” What did it take to make her understand?

“We are,” she said in a matter of fact way that enraged him even more. “We have to.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Victor, I love you. I can feel you in every atom of my body. My bones feel like jelly when I’m with you. Can’t you—?”

“You don’t even know me,” he yelled as he yanked the door open. The guys scrambled out of the way. With one hand on Jasmine’s arm and the other on the small of her back, he propelled her out the door to the waiting men. Jasmine stopped abruptly and Victor’s forward momentum caused him to press against her. He jerked back as if scalded. Jasmine turned to the audience in the doorway and mouthed, “I’ll be back.” Five thumbs turned up.

“No, you won’t!” Vic deposited her with her bodyguards and stomped back to his office. “Jesus H. Christ! Miss Jasmine Wade Berdin you are one hundred percent certifiably insane,” he said to no one in particular as he sagged heavily into his chair. His bones felt like jelly.

 

When the Sun was Mine

NEW RELEASE – http://ow.ly/Ohut1  limited time introductory offer 0.99

When the Sun Was Mine

Review comments

“Expertly written, suspenseful, the mystery grips you from the first page.”

“… a surprising, entirely satisfying beginning.”

“… moments of true poetic beauty as a delicate, unusual friendship develops between a young girl (Brit) and an old lady(Flo).”

“I couldn’t put it down and towards the end I was sobbing.  Good thing I wasn’t wearing any make-up.”

“Alzheimer’s is such a fearsome disease, but Jones’ story doesn’t live there.”

“… makes its mark in terms of social commentary on this disease.”

“…when you have people willing to care, even those newly in your life, the most dreadful of situations can still touch your heart and leave you as the reader with possibility rather than loss.”

EXCERPT

iPAD_front

Poor little Miss Wright. Second time she comes into my room and once again she gets the shock of her life. Appreciated her concern for me, but really what could she do? I gave her a little wave as she eyed the two nurses bearing down on me and then slipped out the door behind Matthews.

All I wanted now was a long hot shower and something to eat. I’d missed breakfast of course and there likely wasn’t much left from lunch, but maybe I could scrounge something. I ignored the two nurses who had come in. One took my arm to help me to the bathroom. I shook her off and slammed the door in her face. Not fair to take my anger out on them. They hadn’t strapped me down, but then they hadn’t come to check on me all morning either.

By the time I finished my shower and put on my jeans, M*A*S*H* T-shirt, and thongs, oops, I mean flip-flops, Curly and Mo had remade my bed. The room still stank. I opened the window to let in some air. The incinerator wasn’t spewing forth at the moment so maybe my room would smell decent when I got back. I squirted some Chanel #5 on my neck and wrists and then a couple of sprays around the room. Terrible waste really, but I thought it might help.

I stepped out into the hallway and took a deep breath. Big mistake. The air didn’t smell a hell of a lot better than in my room. The omnipresent hospital odor mixed with the unique scent of old people. Not fair that everything went to pot as we aged. Wrinkles, creaky bones, flaccid muscles, droopy skin, and the sour fragrance of decay.

Just the other day, some little kid was in the visitor lounge with Esther. “Grandma, you smell funny,” he said, when his mother urged him to hug the old lady. Kid refused and kicked up a fuss. Couldn’t really blame him. At least his mother had the smarts to back off.

Yes, we were allowed out of our rooms during the day, the idea being that we could entertain each other and not burden the staff. Heaven forbid they should have to exert themselves for us. I went to the dining room and found a couple of slices of bread to pop in the toaster, and a hard-boiled egg. I poured a glass of watery orange drink made from powder like that horrible Tang stuff they sent us when we were overseas years ago, and smeared my toast with something that was supposed be butter. It tasted okay if you held your nose. Lord knows, I’d eaten a lot worse in my lifetime. Millet laced with grains of sand. I laughed when I remembered seeing the goats foraging in the mortar and pestle that held our food. I brushed toast crumbs off my hands and had to admit I felt better after eating.

I wandered over to the rec room and a sorry excuse it was. A few rickety tables and battered folding metal chairs, which made me think of France with all those sidewalk cafes, the parks, the little wrought iron tables, Michel. Now there was a lover extraordinaire, lived up to the romantic Frenchman reputation; kind and thoughtful and gentle, but a lion in bed. I closed my eyes and lived it again. Ah, those were the days.

Then I made the mistake of opening my eyes. Worn linoleum floors. One tiny window. I didn’t bother looking out. I already knew it was the same dismal view as from my room. Decrepit war-time houses across the street, scrubby grass that passed for lawns, the odd scrawny tree, no flowers to speak of, although one house had a couple of hanging pots that looked pretty, the riot of color a sight for sore eyes. Battered bikes lay scattered in the yards, abandoned haphazardly when the kids got home from school. Wrecks of cars parked in front of some of the houses. Was a wonder any of them still worked, but they did. I’d watched the people from my window when I couldn’t sleep: kids, parents, going about their business, work, school, with a few drug deals thrown in for good measure. Dreary little houses, dreary little lives. Bet all they did was watch the boob tube, guzzle beer, and smoke pot. Bah. Humbug.

We never got to go outside. Never. I’m sure prisoners were better treated. Didn’t they always have an exercise yard or was that just the movie image? A trip to a park or the mall would be nice, or the movies. Not that Hollywood was producing much good stuff these days, but still … just to get out.

Everything about Happy Hearts so conducive to enjoying oneself. I counted five people in the rec room sitting, staring at the floor. A sixth was watching television on mute alternately nodding and shaking her head at the screen.

Old Artie, and I mean old, ninety-nine and still toddling along, spent most of each day sitting at the chessboard. Never had any visitors or anyone to play with. I took pity on him, sat down, and offered to play a match. He proved to be a more challenging opponent than I expected, but I won. Took my mind off the Internet dilemma for a bit. I’d have to lie low for a couple of days, but then what?

I roamed the halls looking for Brittany and found her with a large screwdriver in her hand.

“What are you going to do with that?”

“I couldn’t open your window this morning. It’s stuck.”

Stuck? I burst out laughing. This younger generation never ceased to amaze with their ignorance. The chit had obviously never seen wooden windows before and didn’t know she had to turn the lock thingy at the top of the frame before she could slide the window up.

The girl bristled. “What’s so damn funny?”

“Whoa, did you just use a bad word?”

She blushed. Must have grown up in a staid household, I thought. Much like mine. The words in my head stopped me cold. I squeezed my eyes tight and fought to remember, but nothing came to me. I felt tears forming at the corners of my eyes. To have a glimpse, just one little glimpse of my mother. That’s all I asked. Did I have pictures of her? If so, where were they? Would I recognize her or would someone have to point her out to me? And my dad? What was he like?

That’s the worst thing about this Alzheimer’s business. Thoughts pop in and out of your head until you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. They taunt you with snippets of your life before, but there’s never enough to grasp a whole memory or maybe there is on some days and you just don’t remember.

“Is your window always locked?” Brittany asked.

Her voice jolted me back to the present. “No, why?”

“Not even at night?”

“I like to leave it open all the time for fresh air, if the incinerator’s not rumbling that is.”

“Okay then.”

I watched her amble down the hallway toward the caretaker’s office swinging the screwdriver and humming, “a merry tune to toot, he knows a song will move the job along.” Hated that movie. Maudlin nonsense.

 

 

EMPOWERED – book 2 – free when you sign up

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Double your reading pleasure with books 1 and 2 of the Em and Yves series.   

EMBATTLED FREE emandyves.com 

BLURB My face is on every television, in every newspaper. They say I’m saving the world. I know better. I’m a school principal not a superhero.

Of course that doesn’t explain the blood on my hands. Or the strange languages coming out of my mouth. Or the feel of swinging a machete. Or the sensation of lifting off the ground before I lose all memory.

Someone or something has hijacked my life. How do I get it back?

Alien contact leads to adventure and love as the characters involve themselves in world affairs in this science fiction novel series. But are humans given second chances after our superhero fights war or will the gods decide our fate?

Subscribe and get book 2 EMPOWERED FREE   emandyves.com

BLURB I do what I do to make the world a better place because of these visions I had when I was a kid. I’m sort of invincible too. Crazy, huh? And I’ve found my promised soulmate. Victor doesn’t believe he’s the one. Not yet, anyway.

Damn, damn, damn. I’ve been kidnapped. Victor will find me. He has to. Doesn’t he? The visions can’t be wrong.

With her bodyguards in the hospital it’s up to her watcher, the ex-cons, her dad, and friends to save her. Will they and her soulmate come to the rescue in time or will her delusions be her ruin?

EMPOWERED EXCERPT

“Okay, Unc, I’m dying of curiosity. What do you need?”

“Anything and everything you can find on Brian Berdin.” Maria’s eyebrows rose.

The Mr. Berdin!”

“Yes.”

“Jeez, what’d he do? Rob a bank or something?”

“Nothing like that.” Nick grinned. “If I tell you why, can you keep it a secret?”

“From Mom and Grandma too?” Nick nodded. He could see the wheels turning. Maria loved subterfuge and wanted to be a police detective like him. He was confident she would keep his secret when many adults wouldn’t.

“He offered me a job.”

“What?” she squealed and then clapped a hand over her mouth. “Sorry Unc. I better be quiet or the boys will be in here and you know how they blab everything.”

“The chief recommended me for the job and I met with Mr. Berdin yesterday morning.”

“Were you nervous?” Maria asked. “I mean it being Mr. Berdin and all.”

“Yeah,” Nick admitted. “Who the hell wouldn’t be, Kiddo?”

“So when do you start?”

“I’m going to say no.”

“But, a chance to work for Berdin? Are you sure you want to give that up? I know you love being a cop but jeez, couldn’t you take a leave from work or something and try it anyway?”

“It’s tempting but, no.”

“But …” Maria stopped when Nick frowned at her. “Okay, okay, but if you’re not going to take the job, why do you want the info?”

“He made me an offer and I feel that I have to at least do the research to be fair before I give him my answer.” Maria nodded agreement. Nick knew that would make sense to her moral code too. What he didn’t tell her was just how tempting the offer was. He could buy a place for his mother, send her on a holiday to visit family in Italy, and ease the financial strain for Angie, Maria, and the boys. God, to do all that; to have real cash flow, no money worries. Much to his chagrin, he hadn’t been able to put the financial side of it out of his mind. “Also, see what, if anything, you can find on Jasmine Wade.”

“His sleepover?”

“Maria!”

“Give it up Unc. I know all about that stuff.”

“You kids grow up too fast,” he muttered as he studied the little girl become woman. How had that happened? Just yesterday she was a miniature of her mother.

Maria groaned. “I’m almost fifteen for heaven’s sake, not a baby. You sound just like Mom.”

“Okay, okay.” Nick held his hands up in surrender.

“Did you see Miss Wade? What’s she like? What was she wearing? Are her eyes really that green? I mean, in pictures they look brilliant. Is she as beautiful in real life as in her pictures?”

 

Are there benefits to moving?

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We’re moving. As I contemplate the demands and logistics of organizing, packing, and notifying friends, family, agencies of our new address, I wonder if there is an up-side to moving. The answer is, yes.

I haven’t moved often as an adult, but throughout my teaching career, I did change schools and that isn’t a lot different than a house move. Packing up the classroom – files, books, teaching materials necessitates much the same organizing and sorting.

Classroom contents such as textbooks belong to the school, but every teacher has a truck load of their own materials. My own books, posters, manipulatives, pictures, etc. go into boxes. Then, with each move, I face the filing cabinet, go through each file carefully—something I often haven’t had the time to do in years. Many things can be discarded as obsolete. Files I’ve used often and know I’ll use again get packed along with the rest. And often I stumble across gems that elicit an “Oh my, goodness, I’d forgotten all about this.” Ideas for teaching that I’d used with success in the past and somehow let fall by the wayside. They’ll be put to good use again in the new school.

Our last move was from a house to a condo and the process not much different from that described above. Decisions were made regarding which pieces of furniture to take and which to sell. The accumulation of “stuff” in the basement sorted, some of the items to be sold, others to be donated or junked. Cupboards and closets opened and emptied.

“I didn’t know we had this,” I said (more than once) as I sifted through boxes from the bottom of the closet.

“If we didn’t know we had it, do you think we can live without it?” my husband asked.

Settled in our new home, everything unpacked, pictures hung, I’m determined to keep our belongings minimal, to avoid the “acquiring” mode of my younger self.

Now as I prepare for this move, I see that I’ve partially succeeded. We still have too much stuff and much of it will have to go as we sort and pack. Some of the decisions will be harder than others. Do we really need those glass plates that were wedding presents, but never used? Do we really need two sets of dinnerware? We haven’t used the fancy ones more than once a year. What to do with those afghans Nana knit for us? Ah, we’ll give them to the grandchildren.

Where, in all this work, is the up-side of moving? Is it in the flood of memories that come with the finding and handling of items we’ve had for so many years? Is it in the freedom of parting with items we’ve had for so many years?

For me, the process of moving has invariably been positive—a cleansing of sorts. It’s rejuvenating to leave the old behind and move to the new. It’s liberating to divest oneself of material acquisitions. Of course I’ll keep the things I hold dear—family antiques, books, special souvenirs of Mali—but the rest will be downsized once again and I won’t miss any of the things I leave behind. Perhaps this is a piece of the freedom we all aspire to.