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GOOD NEWS: New book inspires kids to meet challenges with patience and persistence


One concern parents have is how to inspire children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. That is the plot of this new book.

One concern parents have is how to inspire children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. That is the plot of this new book.


This story is a true gem…

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way… “This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

Matilda becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis. But, this Amazing Monarch never gives up on her dream. Unlike her friends, Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t have any wings. They wonder: How can a creature without wings ever hope to fly? While Matilda progresses from egg to butterfly, her friends recall how they felt before they were able to do all of the things they had dreamed of doing. Encouraged by her friends, Matilda learns that if she keeps trying, she can do anything that she really wants to do.

Watch the video:

  • AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A. Stevens
  • Paperback for your child’s bookshelf or classroom: http://amzn.to/YJVVOk
  • Kindle version for your PC/MAC, iPad, tablet or  eReader: http://amzn.to/Xf97aU

Bette A. Stevens received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maine at Orono before embarking on graduate courses in Curriculum Studies at Chapman University in California. She has taught in elementary and middle school classrooms in California and Virginia. Stevens is retired and living in Hartland, ME. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. Her love of children, of literature and of learning inspired her to write her first children’s book, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! Find out more about Bette Stevens and her books at http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

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TEN 5-Star Reviews for new children’s book: AMAZING MATILDA!


Latest press release:

This tale of an Amazing Monarch and her meadowland friends will inspire you to reach for your dreams!

This tale of an Amazing Monarch and her meadowland friends will inspire you to reach for your dreams!

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way…This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, author of award-winning adult and children’s books. Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

READ THE FULL RELEASE:

http://www.prlog.org/12090532-good-news-new-book-inspires-kids-to-meet-challenges-with-patience-and-persistence.html

WATCH THE VIDEO!

Order your copies today:

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Suzanna Williams


Suzanna Williams, author of SHOCK WAVES, a great new sci-fi action and adventure novel for the young adult audience.

Suzanna Williams, author of SHOCK WAVES, a great new sci-fi action and adventure novel for the young adult audience.

Suzanna Williams is a ‘perpetually eighteen years old’ YA author who lives in the wet and wild, Welsh borderlands surrounded by ruined medieval castles and Celtic mythology where she looks for UFO’s amongst the stars and imagines that all the people she meets have dark secrets.

Reviewers are calling ‘SHOCK WAVES’…

“AMAZING![!] What can I say? Between the non-stop action, in-depth characters, and all the suspense in the second half I couldn’t put it down. Think the movie ‘Speed’, but with teens and telepathy…” (Juan, Amazon review)

Welcome, Suzanna Williams. It’s wonderful to have you here at 4writersandreaders today. I can’t wait to find out more about you and your writing. To start off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Warrington, England but I’ve lived among the rolling hills of the Welsh Borderlands for twenty years. I’ve had many unrelated and generally badly paid jobs including musician, shop assistant, telesales, school lab technician and wedding registrar. None of these have used my degree in psychology in any way.

All of that real-world experience must have given you plenty of ideas for your writing. How about your family?

I have three grownup children and a ‘nearly’ grandson. I’ve been married for —— years and my husband is a CGI (computer generated images) artist. He did the filming and effects for my book trailer while my son and his girlfriend featured on the book cover.

How wonderful, Suzanna, that your family plays such an active role in supporting your writing career. I really enjoyed all three of the book trailers for SHOCK WAVES. Congratulations on winning the http://yougottaread.com/category/video-contest/. Your three SHOCK WAVES videos are all unique—professional, informative and lots of fun. My favorite is “Shock Waves Tour of Shrewsbury.” I know our readers will love it, too.

Come along and join us on the ‘ShockWaves’ Tour of Shrewsbury with author Suzanna Williams…



How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I could read really well before I started school. Writing stories followed close behind.

After leaving school, my writing went on the back-burner until my children became involved in the local amdram (Amateur Dramatics) group. Starting out as rehearsal pianist, I progressed to director/script-writer and was actually commissioned to write a pantomime for another group. Yes, I got paid for that.

I write YA because I still think of myself as being eighteen years old (don’t laugh) and also because I used to read all my kids’ books when they weren’t looking. There are some really awesome, inspiring YA books in print right now.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book?

“AMAZING!! What can I say? Between the non-stop action, in-depth characters, and all the suspense in the second half I couldn't put it down. Think the movie 'Speed', but with teens and telepathy…” (Juan, Amazon review)

ShockWaves is about a girl who gets kidnapped by an ex-IRA terrorist who is seeking revenge on the policeman that put him in prison, and about the boy who goes to rescue her. It’s made more complicated by the fact that a traumatic experience causes a telepathic link, or shockwave, between them and there are plenty of traumatic experiences for both of them as the story unfolds.

What prompted you to become a writer, Suzanna?

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had a list. There was musician, teacher, school lab technician (I like messing with chemicals lol) and author. Well, I’ve been a musician (that was great) and a piano teacher, too. I’ve even been a lab technician. But really, I wanted to be an author. So when the kids left home, I devoted my free time to writing. Holding real paperback copies of my book was a dream come true.

Do you have a favorite line from SHOCK WAVES?

My favorite quote is when Lee tries to explain to Paige’s friends what ‘parkour’ is.

“It’s parkour,” Lee started to explain. “It’s a proper sport.” He turned and jumped onto the bench. “We move from one place to another taking the shortest route.”

“Why?” asked Sonya.

“It’s a buzz,” said Lee.

Sonya arranged her face into a superior sneer. “You should try shopping,” she told him.

Who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Lee. When I was writing ShockWaves, I imagined him as a teenage Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Lee’s the sort who will walk through the fires of hell for the person he loves…and he’s just a little bit sarcastic in the face of danger. Yep, my kind of guy.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

I spend a long time plotting my stories. That’s hard.

Then I take a long time writing lots of back story for my characters. I’ve got notes on my latest book written from the viewpoints of all the main characters so I know exactly what all their motives are and what they’re thinking. That’s harder because often I have to go back and change my plot again.

Then the actual first draft takes me ages because I edit as I go and I can spend ages agonizing over thinking up the best word and I get impatient. So that’s harder still.

But I enjoy the editing part because the pressure to finish the script is off. If the worst happens, I can just say “It’s finished,” lol.

Do you do anything besides write?

At the moment, I teach piano and work part-time in a shop. This funds my writing habit.

How can my readers get a copy of ‘Shock Waves’?

“AMAZING!! What can I say? Between the non-stop action, in-depth characters, and all the suspense in the second half I couldn't put it down. Think the movie 'Speed', but with teens and telepathy…” (Juan, Amazon review)

“AMAZING!! What can I say? Between the non-stop action, in-depth characters, and all the suspense in the second half I couldn’t put it down. Think the movie ‘Speed’, but with teens and telepathy…” (Juan, Amazon review)

ShockWaves is available as a paperback or as a download at Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ShockWaves-Series-ebook/dp/B00A9XJ7FW  and Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/ShockWaves-Series-ebook/dp/B00A9XJ7FW

What’s next for you, Suzanna?

I have a sequel to ShockWaves half-written and expect to publish it at the end of 2013. I also have another book that I’m very excited about called Ninety-five percent Human on schedule for release in the spring. Ninety-five percent Human is a sci-fi/action/adventure with a touch of romance thrown in and I’ve really enjoyed writing it.

How exciting: a new book ready for release and the sequel to ‘Shock Waves’ in the works. It sounds like you’ll be right in your element, author Suzanna Williams. We’ll be watching you… Thanks so much, Suzanna, for joining us today at http://www.4writersandreaders Blog. ~ Bette A. Stevens

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THE NEXT BIG THING


the-next-big-thing-logo-300x190Welcome to The Next Big Thing!

I’ve been working diligently on my first short story for the Young Adult/Adult audience. You’ll get a sneak peek into the story. You’ll find the first two scenes at the end of this post … You can sign up for my author updates on the right column of this blog to get your FREE pre-released copy of the entire story before it’s published.

My writer friend, Suzanna Williams http://www.suzannawilliams.com/2013/02/15/the-next-big-thing/ tagged me for this “chain blog.” It’s a little like a chain letter, except that it’s only focus is what authors are working on right now. Suzanna was tagged by Katherine Lowry Logan http://www.katherinelowrylogan.com/2013/02/the-next-big-thing-plus-19-links-to.html. All I have to do is answer a few questions about by current work-in-progress and invite other authors to do the same. I’ve chosen authors Linda Loegel and Sherri Rabinowitz. They’ll be posting their updates next week. Follow along and be the first to get the scoops!

Mark your calendar for Friday, March 1, 2013 and be the first to get in on “Next Big Thing” for these authors:
Linda Loegel:  www.lindaloegel.blogspot.com
Sherri Rabinowitz:  http://rithebard.wordpress.com/

What is the working title of your book?

PURE TRASH: The Short Story by Bette A. Stevens

Where did the idea come from for your book?

The idea for this story came from many years of actively listening to friends and family. Many of the life experiences of kids growing up in the 1950s and 1960s were very different from what mine had been. I lived a fairly comfortable middle class life with lots of support from family. Shortly before I wrote the original draft of the short story, I had read THE BEANS OF EGYPT MAINE by Caroline Shute. Her story reminded me of the personal stories I had heard over the years about a dysfunctional, poverty-stricken family, also from New England. This family included an alcoholic father, who had little thought or ambition to improve his own lot in life, never mind his family’s. The kids were the butt of the entire town’s jokes. School provided no respite. The oldest son was responsible for any shred of normalcy that prevailed. The mother had ambitious plans for her family, but little hope in having those plans materialize. As a listener to these tales, I was interested and sympathic; I felt that others would be interested as well. Since my childhood had been what could be labeled as normal, I thought it would be a story worth telling — The story of a boy growing up in a family whose turmoil pervaded every aspect of their lives.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult/ADULT Fiction, Coming of Age

Which actors would you choose to play in a movie rendition?

Sean Penn as the ne’re-do-well, alcoholic dad, Ed Daniels.

Jodi Foster as Dody Daniels, the mother—Mum to the kids: a woman with high aspirations, but little power to see those aspirations realized.

Child Actors: two boys (ages 4-18) two girls (infant-13)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Nine-year old Shawn Daniels knows it’s going to be a great day; no school and no bullies to make him wish he was invisible today!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As an Indie Author, I’ll use CreateSpace to publish. My plan is to start by publishing PURE TRASH, The Story (This short story—about 5,000 words—covers one not-too-unusual day in the life of young Shawn Daniels.) first as a paperback, then as an eBook. Next, I’ll incorporate this one day into a coming of age novel. I’m working on the novel now. The novel will be a memoir as Sean looks back on his life and heads toward his future as a U.S. Army recruit. The story and the novel will show the  dark side of growing up in a family engulfed in alcoholism and poverty. It will also highlight the positive influences that several adults had in Shawn’s life and many who didn’t. Bullying is a hot topic in our schools and in society today. Many readers believe that it only involves children… My goal is to put that myth to bed and awaken adults everywhere to the crucial role they play in the lives of all of the children who come into their lives.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about a month to write the first draft of the short story. So far I’m on my fourth draft and working on the final copy and content editing. I’ve outlined the novel, and plan to finish by summer’s end.

What other books would you compare this story to?

I’ll choose a few that come to mind about coming-of-age and dysfunctional families (not to compare in any other way):

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Tale of Lucia Grandi: the Early Years by Susan Speranza
  • Before, After, and SOMEBODY In Between by Jeannine Garsee
  • A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary Pearson

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

I was taking a creative writing class at The University of Maine. The stories I had listened to over the years were fascinating to me and I felt that others would find them interesting as well. When I read the original short story to my peers, they were drawn in to this little known experience of growing up in the have-not environment the Daniels kids called home. My classmates wanted to know a great deal more about Shawn and Willie Daniels. I thought that a novel, written from Shawn’s perspective would find an audience among adults of all ages.

What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest?

The year is 1955. If you grew up in the 1950s and the 1960s, you may be among those who like to recall those good old “Happy Days” of television fame. Even younger generations enjoy watching the old TV reruns to get a peek into what life was like back then. In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It was going to be a great day. Sean was sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied. It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

First two scenes (latest edit) from the short story, and hopefully my last revision:

PURE TRASH: The Story by Bette A. Stevens

Saturday morning. I could see a patch of sunshiny, bright blue sky peeking out through the torn curtain as I yawned good morning to my little brother. Willie was six. I was nine. No school, I thought, as I smiled and plotted our course for the day. Sometimes I wished Saturdays would last forever.

“Good morning sleepyhead,” Mum said. She smiled at me as I stretched my way into the kitchen. “Get yourself dressed, Shawn. Run out and split some firewood and bring it on in. I’ll fix you some hotcakes.”

I slipped on my overalls, grabbed the ax from behind Mum’s rocking chair and headed straight for the outhouse. I had to go bad. Didn’t know if I’d make it. Whoopee, I managed to hit that darned two-holer just in time. I always liked to use the hole where Dad sat. It was warm from the morning sun shining through the crack in the door. I whistled as I thought about what a great day this was going to be. Willie and me were going to ride our bikes into town, and I was sure we’d find some empty bottles, maybe enough to buy some soda pop. The birds chattered back and forth in the maple branches that hung down over the old two-holer as I sat and thought. Sun streaked across my lap. Yes, it was going to be a great day.

I split the wood just the way Mum liked it done. Stacked it in the kitchen near the cook stove, grabbed the pails and headed out to the well to haul in water for the day. Mum had laundry to do and baths to get ready for us tonight. Yes, it was going to be a great day all right.

Chores were all done and Mum’s hotcakes were waiting for me by the time I finished up outside and sat down at the table. Willie finished his breakfast in a flash and ran off to watch TV with Dad.

“Gee, Mum, can we go now?” I asked, as I gulped down the last forkful of hotcakes smothered with maple syrup that Mum had boiled down from this winter’s sap.

“Now, Shawn, you be careful. Willie hasn’t gone out on the roads much, so you let him ride ahead of you. Keep a good eye on him. You hear?”

“Sure, Mum,” I said as I headed for the living room to get Willie.

Dad sat in the big brown chair, feet propped up on the worn hassock. Beer bottle in hand, all he heard or saw was his TV. It was Saturday, and Dad loved his baseball. Though I knew he’d find time to take us boys to do some fishin’ later—after he got good and drunk he’d be able to hold his mouth just right. Dad always said that you had to ‘hold your mouth just right’ or the fish wouldn’t bite. He’d have enough beer in him by the time we got back so he’d be ready to catch his limit. The games should be over by the then. We’d run down to the brook, walk out into the cool swirling water and catch some trout or brookies for supper. Yes, it would be a great day all right.

“Come on, Willie,” I said. “Let’s go!”

Willie nearly knocked me down as the two of us raced for the door. Mum reminded us to be careful. “Yes ’um,” I hollered back. We jumped on our bikes and pedaled hard up the driveway.

Mum said it was three miles to town. I kept my eyes on Willie as we pumped up the first hill. We coasted down the other side with the cool wind brushing our faces, ready to head up the next hill.

“Pull over, Willie,” I hollered when we got to the top of Andover.

Andover was the biggest hill we’d have to climb. We both stood up on our pedals to help us get a real good start up that hill. The turnout in the pines was the perfect spot to find empty cans and bottles on either side of the ridge. I never did understand why anyone would just throw those bottles out like trash. But I was sure glad they did. Stark’s General Store paid cash, two cents each, and we thought we were rich every time the clerk handed us our reward in real money.

Pedaling up the half-mile hill was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and not for just the empties. Flying down the other side gave me the best feeling in the whole wide world. I guess that’s how that old chicken hawk feels when he soars above the pines at the edge of the field out back of the house.

Once we reached the peak, we plopped our bikes on the ground and threw ourselves onto the soft, damp bed of leaves at the edge of the woods. It was so peaceful. My mind wandered into the sky and I dreamed about the ride down the other side and the 10 cent Orange Crush we’d buy at Stark’s General Store.

“Hey, Willie,” I finally asked, “did ya bring the slingshot?”

“Sure did, Shawn. Whatcha wanna shoot today?”

Willie’s brown eyes looked as big as Mum’s pan fried donuts and his smile pretty nearly filled his round face as he jumped right up from his leafy bed and hovered over me like a bear.

I helped Willie make that slingshot out of rubber bands I’d sliced from one of the old inner tubes piled out by Dad’s rusty Ford Roadster. That Ford had headlights on top of the fenders and the “old jalopy,” as Mum called it, was just rottin’ away out back of the two-holer. We broke a crotched limb out of the choke cherry bush to use for the handle. I tied the rubber band and the handle together with string from one of the flowered chicken feed sacks that Mum used to make her house dresses. That string was real strong and I was good at tying knots. Willie was proud as a peacock when it came to showing off that slingshot.

“How about we find some old tin cans and pile them up like a tower?” I asked Willie. “Better yet, let’s both make towers and see whose gets knocked down first.”

“Yes, siree!” Willie hooted as he made a mad dash to grab as many of the rusty cans as his chubby arms could hug together at one time.

We played on that hill, building at least a hundred towers. All shapes and sizes, some looking like castles. Every now and then we’d take a shot at a passing squirrel or chipper. It was a great day, all right. We found more empties than ever. This was the first sunny day in a long time.

The sun was high over the trees across the road before we piled the last of our empty bottles into the huge chicken-wire basket I’d made for my bike last fall. Willie’s bike had a regular basket, but it didn’t hold much. We ran back to grab a few more and stuffed as many as we could into our overall pockets. I shoved the last two down the front of my shirt and tucked it in real good and tight.

We were off! What a feeling. Flying into the wind, I could see Willie’s hair whirling in a hundred different directions, while my own whipped around my ears and face. Mum would sure take the scissors to the two of us tonight. Then we’d hop into the big metal washtub filled with steaming water from her cook stove. That bath would feel good, too.

ᵜᵜᵜᵜᵜ

Brakes, bike tires and a cloud of dust announced our arrival in the gravelly sand covering Stark’s parking lot. I was feeling like David right after he conquered the giant Goliath. That’s when I looked up and spotted Mr. Wentworth pointing over at Willie and me from his brand-spankin’ new 1955 Ford pickup. That red truck shined just like the candied apples Mum made for us kids in the fall. I could hear his deep-throated laugh as he stared at us boys from across the lot.

“There’s Eddy Daniels’s boys, regular chips off the old block,” I heard him telling old Tom Matthews, the town barber.

As the men laughed and talked, Mr. Wentworth’s steel-like eyes never lost sight of Willie and me.

Sometimes I hated coming to town. Like I hated going to school. Folks like the Wentworths always made me feel like a nobody. The minute I’d spot them, I could feel my breath stop. My hands, my teeth and my stomach all got sucked in together. I wanted to throw up. I hated that feeling.

Just thinking about those people made me feel sick. Folks like that always got a big kick out of making fun of Eddy Daniels’s kids. They always teased us about Dad’s drinking.

Mr. Wentworth hollered over to me. “Hey boy! Your pop too poor to buy you a real basket for that bike? He sure had plenty of cash for beer last night.”

I hated it.

When he said that, I couldn’t help but think about how Mum had bawled her eyes out when Dad brought home that brand-spankin’ new Zenith TV. She said that if he’d had money to buy a television, he’d better find the money to start fixin’ up the house. I hated them fighting, too.

Mr. Wentworth’s eyes glared straight through me, and he grinned like he knew how sick it made me feel.

I forced my eyes to look at the ground in front of my shoes, while the men joked and laughed. My hands clenched and unclenched. I pretended not to hear them. Willie was still looking straight at them with an open-mouthed grin on his face. I could tell he was ready to holler right back at them. Willie was a talker. Mum calls him “The Social Bugger.”

Carefully, I unhooked my basket, shot a quick glance at Willie and whispered, “Hush. You just grab your bottles and follow me.”

We headed straight for the twelve wooden steps leading up to Stark’s General Store.

Mr. Stark himself was behind the counter today. I always liked to see him. He was smiling back as if he was glad to see us, too. Empty bottles and all. Most of the clerks hated to see empties. They’d roll their eyes and shake their heads as if to say, “Not you two, again.” But not Mr. Stark. He was a different sort. His silver and black speckled hair had waves that curled around his face. His haircut sort of fit right in with his smile. Bright blue eyes sparkled and danced inside those wire-framed spectacles that looked way too small for his big round face.

“Hi, boys! Looks like you two young’uns are in for some extra treats with all those empty bottles.” Mr. Stark smiled at Willie and me as he counted them up. “Forty-eight cents,” he said, reaching into the cash drawer for the four dimes and eight pennies that he pressed into my hand as he winked and smiled.

I was sure that Mr. Stark knew I’d divide the money between us. The other clerks would have tossed a quarter, two dimes and three pennies right down on the counter. But not Mr. Stark. He closed my fingers around the coins with his huge hand. It felt like a big friendly hug. I knew why I liked him a lot.

“Thank you, sir!” I smiled back at Mr. Stark and then down at Willie. Willie and me headed straight back out the door. We sat on the steps and began our storefront ritual. We had all the time in the world today. Willie and me were free as the birds and the bees. We had our bikes and plenty of money to boot.

“What a day, Willie! We’ve got enough for ice cream, some soda pop and probably a bunch of penny candies, too,” I said. Then I handed Willie his share.

“Dang it, Shawn. You mean I get to hold on to my own money today?” Willie shook his head and quizzed me as I handed him his share of the cash.

“You sure do, Willie. I think you’re getting big enough now to do some figurin’ on your own. Just give a holler if you need any help.”

We grinned at each other. It was like we were sharing one of the world’s best kept secrets. Then, we marched right back up over those twelve steps and headed straight inside Stark’s to pick out our treasures.

I sure wasn’t in any kind of a hurry. Stark’s carried just about everything anybody could think of. I liked to wander around and look over the fishing gear. Today I had plenty of time to check out lots of other neat stuff, too. I knew Willie would head straight for the ice cream freezer.

I headed around the store to get a peek at all the stuff I’d never had time to take a real close look at before. Sporting goods. I loved to go fishin’. The glass case came nearly up to my shoulders and ran the length of the back wall, except for the space where a clerk could get in behind. The bottom shelves held knives of different shapes and any size you could imagine. Some of the knives were simple, others downright fancy. There were smooth leather covers and holders for those blades that likely cost more money than I’d ever see at one time. On the next shelf were handguns. One was so small it looked just liked a cap gun and there were lots of other pistols. Rifles and shotguns, too. There were even fancy leather holsters just like the ones Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and all the cowboys wore on TV and in the movies.

On the back wall above the glass case hung bows and arrows, and gun racks filled with rifles and shotguns. There were jackets, vests, fishing gear and even bags to carry your trout back home in. Best of all were the fishing poles. How I longed for a real pole. One with a spinning reel and some store-bought hooks. Oh sure, I’d still use worms. They worked real good. Didn’t need all those fancy doo-dads made with feathers to get fish to bite. Didn’t need a store-bought pole either. But, oh, how I wanted one. “Someday, I’ll have me one just like that,” I told myself, spellbound by the shiny green pole and black reel that hung high over the glass counter. Someday.

“Yes. Someday, I think I’ll get me a store, just like Mr. Stark’s. I’ll work at the counter every Saturday when all the kids come in,” I thought dreamily, dazed and smiling up at that perfect, shiny green pole.

“Hey, Shawn, whatcha get?” Willie asked right after he rammed his shoulder up against my arm.

I jumped right out of my daydream and shook my head. Then, I turned around to meet Willie’s ear-to-ear grin.

“You owe Mr. Stark five cents for my Good ‘n Plenties, Shawn. I already opened ’em up, Shawn. Can’t put ’em back on the shelf now.”

Willie’s hands were full. One held his soda pop and a small brown bag that I knew was chock full of his favorite candies. The other held his ice cream. Willie was more than ready to devour it all right on the spot.

“I’ll take care of it, Willie,” I said, “I’ll meet ya out front in a couple minutes. I’ve got to get my stuff and settle up with Mr. Stark.”

Sure, Willie spent more than his twenty-four cents, but that was OK. Willie loved his sweets.

Willie sat on the step licking the sticky remains from his lips and fingers by the time I’d finished up inside. The only thing left of that ice cream was an empty wooden stick. Willie’s face said it all. When it came to ice cream, chocolate was Willie’s favorite.

“Hey, Shawn, what we gonna do when we leave Starks’s? Whatcha say we stop over to the school playground before we head back home? Can we? Can we, please?”

Willie’s endless words only stopped every now and then so he could pop a cherry-coated Tootsie Pop onto the tip of his tongue and snatch it in for a lick or two.

“You promised we’d have all day, Shawn. I want to swing right over top of those bars and then hang upside down on the tip top of the jungle gym. I ain’t s’posed to do that at recess, Shawn. This might be the only chance I got. Please?”

“We’ll see, Willie,” I told him as I licked the last smooth, cool bite from my stick.

I still had money in my pocket. “Come on, Willie. Let’s go back inside and get a soda pop. We can drink it right out here, turn in our empties and grab some more candy before we head out.”

Willie’s eyes lit up like fire crackers.

“See you at church tomorrow morning, boys,” Mr. Stark called out to us after we turned in our bottles and headed out the door cramming licorice sticks and bubble gum into our pockets.

“See ya tomorrow, Mr. Stark,” I called back.

“Can we head over to the playground, Shawn? Right now? Please, please, purty please?” Willie begged.

I finally said, “Sure, Willie, let’s go!”  (To be continued…)

 

(The entire pre-published story of PURE TRASH: The Story by Bette A. Stevens will be available for FREE to my email subscribers in May. Sign up for my Author Email Updates and get yours!)

Want to read the rest of the story?  Simply sign up for my AUTHOR EMAIL UPDATES at right-hand column of this blog.

Please leave your thoughts/comments at the end of this post. I hope you’ll share the news with readers that you know who might enjoy this story. Thank you for taking the time to read about my Next Big Thing! ~ Bette A. Stevens

You can find out more about author Bette A. Stevens and her books at

 

//

“AMAZING MATILDA” FREE February 17-19: Children’s book inspires young readers!


"Matilda's story is my story. It's you story too. It's everyone's story. Meeting the challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends encourage readers and listeners to meet those challenges."  (Bette A. Stevens)

“Matilda’s story is everyone’s story. Meeting challenges of life at every stage of life is no easy task. Matilda and her friends inspire readers and listeners to reach for their dream.” ~Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale is a story filled with excitement and adventure. WATCH THE VIDEO below to find out more!

FREE FOR 3 DAYS: February 17-19!

That’s this week, Sunday – Tuesday

There’s a new book out that inspires kids to meet challenges with patience and persistence AND it’s FREE on Amazon for 3 days.

AMAZING MATILDA– FREE DOWNLOAD http://amzn.to/Xf97aU Feb. 17-19, 2013

“Children of all ages will be able to relate to monarch’s plight in some way…This story is a true gem and one that will inspire children for years to come.” Renee Hand, award-winning adult and children’s books author. Renee Hand reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

Watch the video:

Get your FREE Download NOW! http://amzn.to/Xf97aU

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries… Download Amazon’s FREE APP http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 Kindle Reader for iPad, smart phones, tablets, PCs and other devices. Start your own digital library and read AMAZING MATILDA and other great books instantly!

Share great news with friends!

Grab your copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Get your FREE copy of AMAZING MATILDA and share the great news with your family and friends!  Drop me a line and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to download and save my Monarch Freebies Facts and Fun. I designed it especially for my readers. HAPPY READING!  ~ Bette A. Stevens

  • Sign up for email updates from author Bette A. Stevens (click on the blue box on the right column of this blog)

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Brenda Sorrels


‘THE BACHELOR FARMERS’ grabs you and refuses to let you go!

Brenda Sorrels, author of THE BACHELOR FARMERS

Brenda Sorrels, author of page-turning historical fiction: THE BACHELOR FARMERS

“[A] beautifully written love story that grabs you at the beginning and refuses to let go… Along with Stephen King, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell and Ed Mcbain, just to name a few, Brenda Sorrels is one of my favorite authors. Oh how I wish I could see this story on a big screen!” (Linda K. Jackson, Amazon Review Excerpt)

Amazon reviews at http://www.amazon.com/The-Bachelor-Farmers-Brenda-Sorrels/dp/1105424421/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Welcome, Brenda Sorrels. It’s great to have you with us today at 4writersandreaders. We’d love to find out more about you and your writing. First of all, tell us a little about yourself and your life in general.

I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota then headed east for college. After graduating from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, I worked in NYC as an editor for Mademoiselle Magazine. I moved to Wilton, Connecticut with my first husband and lived there most of my adult life. My first husband died suddenly at a young age, and I decided Los Angeles would be a great place to start anew. I ended up working for the Fox Broadcasting Company in National Media, where we promoted the shows that ran on the Fox Network. Movies and storytelling is what LA is all about, and it was here that my interest in writing really began to take shape. For the next five years, I took countless classes through the UCLA Extension program on storytelling, character development, script analysis, etc. However, I missed the change of seasons, my house, the beauty of Connecticut and eventually moved back East.

Can you tell us a little about your family?

Eventually, I married Barry Sorrels, my college boyfriend (he went to Columbia University in NYC) and moved to Texas. I live in Dallas now with my husband and small dog, Charlotte. I have two step-daughters who are grown but are a big part of my life. I like to return to Wilton to write, especially over the summer months when it’s too hot in Texas.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you usually do?

I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until around eight or nine years ago when I wrote my first novel. I took it with me to several workshops and kept working it, but one day I slipped it into my desk drawer and wrote a short story that was ironically, set in the Midwest. I showed it to a literary friend who encouraged me, and I kept going from there. Short stories were a great way to hone my skills and become a better writer. After several short stories, I decided to develop one of them into a novel which became The Bachelor Farmers.

Back Cover text: The Bachelor Farmers takes us into a world where true meaning and healing are found in the complexity of human relationshps and in the choices that are made in th face of adversity

From the back cover: THE BACHELOR FARMERS takes us into a world where true meaning and healing are found in the complexity of human relationshps and in the choices that are made in the face of adversity.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book and a few of its highlights?

The Bachelor Farmers is a lyrical and moving love story set in northern Minnesota in the winter of 1919. It tells a story of two Norwegian brothers who learn the meaning of love from a most unlikely source.

Hans and Jon, the youngest of four immigrant brothers, have just inherited land from their recently deceased father and set out to develop it, thus perpetuating the family dream of success in America. When Jon learns that the husband of Mahal, a beautiful half-breed Ojibwa woman, was injured on their property and cannot work, he hires her as their personal cook.

Under the eye of his disapproving brother, Jon finds himself falling in love, but when a terrible blizzard blows into town without warning, the three of them must deal with the consequences and make decisions that will ultimately reshape their lives in profound and unimaginable ways.

What prompted you to become a writer, Brenda?

I think it was the sheer urge to tells these stories that are running around in my head! At this point in time it’s hard for me to imagine writer’s block because I have so many ideas on what I’d like to write.  For me it was a strong feeling—so powerful, that I couldn’t help myself. I just started getting things down on paper and reworking them again and again … and again!

Do you have a favorite line from THE BACHELOR FARMERS?

If I had to pick one line it would be in the prologue where the family patriarch, old man Gustafson, is on his death-bed struggling to find the strength to impart to his sons one last bit of wisdom. He says:

“I have divided the land among you, so that you may not only live, but also thrive. Remember though, you can only live with the land. To thrive, you must love. Love is the most important thing, more important than the land.”

Who is your favorite character from your novel and why?

I would have to say my favorite is, Mahal.  She is a complicated character who has not been dealt an easy lot in life. Born from the union of a French trader and an Ojibwa woman, Mahal is a half-breed, torn between the Native American traditions of the Ojibwa and the world of the white settlers. Losing her mother at a tender age she is married off to a man who roughs her up from time-to-time. She falls into that category of women who can’t seem to leave their abusive relationships. When circumstances land her in the Gustafson home, with both brothers vying for her affection, she has the power to choose. Ultimately, she goes back to her husband, though she does not love him. Mahal wants to follow her heart, but the forces of her existence and her past overpower her. She cannot escape.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The most difficult part was the ending. I had a couple of different endings that really didn’t work. I kept asking myself “what would happen next, what would they do?” There is a culmination of pent-up emotion at the end between Jon and Hans on the mountain ride with the horses. It seemed natural that after Jon’s discovery of Nathaniel, when the truth could no longer be denied, he would be exploding with an array of feelings. What happens is spontaneous… it can’t be helped.

Do you do anything besides write?

I am writing full-time now…. I love to travel, especially to historic places where there is always a good story to be heard. I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. It’s heaven!

Sounds like the perfect place to be, Brenda. How can my readers get a copy of your book?

The book is available on Amazon.com,  Barnes & Noble.com, the iTunes store … Paperback, hardback and e-book.  Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bachelor-Farmers-Brenda-Sorrels/dp/1105424421/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357690150&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Bachelor+Farmers

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bachelor-farmers-brenda-sorrels/1109720454?ean=9781105424427

What’s next for author Brenda Sorrels?

Brenda's upcoming novel. Check her website for more details.

Find out about Brenda’s upcoming novel. Check her website for more details.

I am currently in the final stages of my new book, The Way Back ’Round. It’s the story of family and friendship—of a young boy named, Jake, who makes an innocent, but terrible choice that haunts him for life. Jake must deal with the consequences of his decision and find his way back to the family that he loves. You can read more about it on my website at:  www.brendasorrels.com

Thanks for joining us today, Brenda. I’ve just finished reading THE BACHELOR FARMERS. I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend your novel to all of my readers, especially those who love historical fiction. Now, I can hardly wait to get my copy of THE WAY BACK ROUND.  It’s been a delight having you visit us at www.4writersandreaders. I’ll be following you along the Tour! ~ Bette A. Stevens

THE BACHELOR FARMERS Book Blog Tour continues… To find out more about Brenda Sorrels, her life, her writing and more, follow the tour with us:

The-Bachelor-Farmers-Banner-Tour-2 (2)

Meet the Authors on Tour!


Five of my favorite authors are On Tour  this week!

BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDAR. THEN, GO CLICK ON THE LINKS. You are cordially invited to visit— Thursday, December 19,2012:

SNEAK PEEK:

Find out what these five awesome authors are working on right now!

In case you missed the Sneak Preview of the latest book I’m working on, here’s the link:

On the Bookshelf

BOOKS: The gifts that keep right on giving!

Still looking for some last minute gifts for the kids? You can find my childen’s books at

http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Author’s Work in Progress…


AUTHORS BLOG BOOK TOUR

I thank author J. Naomi Ay for inviting me to join this interesting and innovative tour. You can find out what this amazing Sci/Fi Fantasy author is doing right now at: http://www.jnaomiay.wordpress.com

Now, to get to my assignment for today—interview myself… This post will update readers on my latest work-in-progress (WIP). I’ve asked some of my author friends to join the tour. You will find them listed at the end of this interview and you’re invited to visit them next Thursday, December 19th to find out what they’ve been up to!

MEET THE AUTHOR:
Bette A. Stevens

That’s right, it’s me…

What is the working title of your book?

PURE TRASH: The Short Story by Bette A. Stevens

Sean and Willie

Sean and Willie Daniels, the talk of the town.


Opening excerpt from the short story:

Saturday morning, I could see a patch of sunshiny, blue sky peeking out through the torn curtain as I yawned good morning to my little brother. Willie was six. I was nine. No school, I thought, as I smiled and plotted our course for the day. Sometimes I wished Saturdays would last forever.

“Good morning sleepyhead,” Mum smiled as I bounced into the kitchen. “Get yourself dressed and run out and split some firewood and bring it on in. I’ll fix you some hotcakes.”

I slipped on my overalls, grabbed the ax from behind the broken chair and headed straight for the outhouse. I had to pee bad. Didn’t know if I’d make it. Whoopie, I managed to hit that darned hole just in time. I whistled as I thought about what a great day this was doing to be. Willie and me, we were going to ride our bikes into town, and I was sure we’d find some empty bottles and cans, maybe enough to buy some soda pop. The birds chattered back and forth in the maple branches that hung down over the old two-holer as I sat and thought. Sunshine streamed in through the east cracks. Yes, it was going to be a great day.

“Gee, Mum, can we go now?” I asked, as I gulped down the last forkful of hotcakes smothered with the maple syrup Mum had boiled down from this winter’s sap.

“Now, Shawn, you be careful. Willie hasn’t gone out on the roads much, so you let him ride ahead of you. Keep a good eye on him, you hear?”

“Sure, Mum,” I answered as I headed for the living room to get Willie. Dad sat in the big brown chair, his feet propped up on the worn hassock. Beer can in hand, all he heard or saw was the TV. It was Saturday, and Dad loved his baseball. Though I knew he’d find time to take us boys to do some fishin’ later. The games would be over by the time we got back. We’d run down to the brook, walk out into the cool swirling water and catch some fish for supper. Yes, it would be a great day all right. “Come on, Willie,” I hollered. “Let’s go!”

Willie jumped up and raced me to the door. Mum reminded us to be careful. “Yes ‘um,” I hollered back. Willie and I jumped on our bikes and peddled hard up the dirt driveway.

Mum said it was three miles to town. I kept my eyes on Willie as we pumped up the first hill and coasted like skiers down the other side, invigorated as we headed up the next climb.

“Pull over, Willie.” I hollered when we got to the top of Andover. That was the biggest hill we’d have to climb and the perfect spot to find empty cans and bottles on either side of the ridge. I never did understand why anyone would just throw them out like trash. But I was sure glad they did. Stark’s General Store paid cash, two cents each, and we thought we were rich every time the clerk handed us our loot in real money.

Peddling up the half-mile hill was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and not just the empties. Coating down the other side gave me the best feeling in the whole wide world. I guess that’s how eagles feel inside when they soar above the pines under those high, puffy clouds.

Once we reached the peak, we plopped our bikes on the ground and threw ourselves onto the soft bed of leaves at the edge of the woods. It was so peaceful. My mind wandered into the sky and I dreamed about the ride down the other side and about the Orange Crush we’d buy at Stark’s.  (to be continued…)

I would love to get your feedback:

  • You can leave your comments at the end of this post.
  • Please leave feedback in the Poll below by clicking the relevant circles YOU LIKE from this excerpt from PURE TRASH: The Short Story:

 

Where did the idea come from for your book?

The idea for this story came from many years of actively listening to friends and family. Many of the life experiences of kids growing up in the 1950s and 1960s were very different from what mine had been. I lived a fairly comfortable middle class life with lots of support from family. Shortly before I wrote the original draft of the short story, I had read THE BEANS OF EGYPT MAINE by Caroline Shute. Her story reminded me of the personal stories I had heard over the years about a dysfunctional, poverty-stricken family, also from New England. This family included an alcoholic father, who had little thought or ambition to improve his own lot in life, never mind his family’s. The kids were the butt of the entire town’s jokes. School provided no respite. The oldest son was responsible for any shred of normalcy that prevailed. The mother had ambitious plans for her family, but little hope in having those plans materialize. As a listener to these tales, I was interested and empathic; I felt that others would be interested as well. Since my childhood had been what could be labeled as normal, I thought it would be a story worth telling — The story of a boy growing up in a family whose turmoil pervaded every aspect of their lives.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult/ADULT Fiction, Coming of Age

Which actors would you choose to play in a movie rendition?

Sean Penn as the ne’re-do-well, alcoholic dad, Ed Daniels.

Jodi Foster as the mother, Mum to the kids: a woman with high aspirations, but little power to see them realized.

Various Child Actors: two boys (ages 4-18) two girls (infant-13)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Sean Daniels grows up as the oldest child in a family whose abject poverty defines who they are and inevitably determines the young man Sean will become (PURE TRASH: The Novel: memoir of a young army recruit on his way to boot camp).

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As an Indie Author, I’ll use CreateSpace to publish. My plan is to start by publishing PURE TRASH, The Story (This short story encompasses one day in the life of young Sean Daniels) first as a paperback, then as an eBook. Next, I’ll incorporate this one day into a coming of age novel. I’m working on the novel now. The novel will be a memoir as Sean looks back on his life and heads toward his future as a U.S. Army recruit. The short story will be appropriate for middle-grade students as well as young adults and the general public. I think it would be helpful for a younger audience to be exposed to the dark side of growing up in a family engulfed in alcoholism and poverty. Since bullying is such a hot topic in our schools today, this story will help open up the table for further discussion.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about a month to write the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to?

I’ll choose a few that come to mind about coming-of-age and dysfunctional families (not to compare in any other way):

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Tale of Lucia Grandi: the Early Years by Susan Speranza
  • Before, After, and SOMEBODYIn Between by Jeannine Garsee
  • A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary Pearson

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

I was taking a creative writing class at The University of Maine. The stories I had listened to over the years were fascinating to me and I felt that others would enjoy them as well. When I read the original short story to my peers , they were drawn in to this little known adventure about growing up in the have-not environment the Daniels kids called home. My classmates wanted to know a great deal more about Sean and Willie Daniels. I thought that a novel, written from Sean’s perspective would find an audience among young adults.

What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest?

When most of us think about the 1950s and 60s,TV’s hit series “Happy Days” often comes to mind. It’s fun to reminisce if you grew up in that era; but those times were far from happy days for the children growing up in poverty in a dysfunctional family. Sean does enjoy some happy days on his journey to adulthood, but the not-so-happy days are the ones that help to mold his character.

Thanks for visiting and for your input on my latest work-in-progress: PURE TRASH: The Short Story. Don’t forget to leave me your feedback in the comments section at the end of this post. THANK YOU! Bette A. Stevens

You can find out more about my books at

http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens

BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDAR. Here are the links to some awesome authors. You are cordially invited to visit them next Thursday, December 19,2012:

Linda Loegel:  www.lindaloegel.blogspot.com

Sherri Rabinowitz:  http://rithebard.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/special-blog-book-tour-edition/

Terri Kelley:  http://terriLkelley.com/

Amelia E. Curzon:  http://ameliacurzonblogger.wordpress.com/

Susan Speranza:  http://www.susansperanza.com/#!blog/cgh3

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! | Book Club Reading List


 

English: tangram

English: tangram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! | Book Club Reading List.

 

 

 

 

Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube


 

Author Bette A. Stevens debuts her latest picture book, ‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ on YouTube.

Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube

AMAZING MATILDA makes her debut on YouTube

AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale  is my latest children’s picture book. I wrote the story when I was teaching fourth and fifth grade students. I wanted to inspire my students and my grandchildren, who were young at the time, to meet their challenges with patience and persistence. MATILDA helped me do just that!

Watch the show and let me know what you think. Here’s the preview link to view MATILDA:

via Amazing Matilda: A Monarch\’s Tale – YouTube.

http://www.examiner.com/article/amazing-matilda-a-monarch-s-tale-by-bette-a-stevens

 

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