A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Posts tagged ‘debut novel’

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American Boomer fiction: DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens


DOG BONE SOUP—a slice of ‘The American Pie’

Dog Bone Soup takes place in the fifties and sixties, but it could be anytime America as poverty, alcoholism, abuse, integrity, and ingenuity still abound” ~ Linda Loegel

“This kid has grit. Determination. A solid grip on his own worth.” ~ Marilyn Armstrong

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is the saga of the coming of age of a poor boy in New England. Set in the 1950s and 60s, Stevens’s debut novel tells an American story…
DBS AMERICAN STORY Vignette

I’m often asked why I wrote a book about a poor kid growing up in America in a dysfunctional family in the 1950s and 60s.

As a retired teacher, I have a deep concern for kids living in poverty today—these children are often bullied and looked down upon by other kids and even by some adults, all because of the social status of their families. Poverty and prejudice appear linked through the generations. The bullying I’ve seen isn’t simply relegated to kid stuff. Adults can and should make a difference for the better in the lives of these children—of all children. Many of these kids continue to suffer, and are often traumatized, throughout their lives because they’ve been bullied or intimidated simply because they’re poor. I know, I’ve met many of them. DOG BONE SOUP is a fictional story of the survival and the triumph of a boy who overcomes the odds of repeating the pattern of poverty in his own life back in the 1950s and 60s, an era when most families were living The American Dream.

Unfortunately, DOG BONE SOUP is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s and 60s. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to change these statistics today. As caring and concerned adults, we can all make a difference—one child at a time.

Find out all about it in DOG BONE SOUP. Let’s throw kindness around like confetti! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author
KINDNESS & CONFETTI

DOG BONE SOUP on kindle 2Excerpt from DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens

(Of Buddies & Bullies)

THE DAYS WE SPENT TRIMMING TREES and typing over at Mrs. Ashley’s flew off faster than a sweet dream, as Mum would say. What Mum couldn’t do with her moccasin, Mrs. Ashley took care of with her typewriter and adventure stories. The three of us took turns reading chapters in ‘The Jungle Book’ together after Saturday dinners that fall. Mrs. Ashley always had chocolate ice cream to go along with her fancy desserts. I liked to chomp on the fancies while Willie gorged himself on ice cream. Mum couldn’t believe it when Willie started working on his spelling and even read a book every now and then at the house.

Uncle Ted took me out to the lake fishing on Sunday afternoons a couple of weeks after we finished our Favorite Things lists. I’m sure that had something to do with Mrs. Ashley, too. Dinner times, she’d be talking to Uncle Ted about her mahogany row-boat. She told him it would be nice if he had a son to take out fishing with him. “You know I hate to see that boat just sitting out in the shed, knowing how much you love your bass fishing,” she’d say.

School never changed much. I still hated it. But, I did find out that Timmy didn’t want to join Buddy that day out on the playground.

A few days after the sing-songing, Timmy came over by me at recess and asked if he could shoot marbles.

“You just go over and play marbles or anything else you like with your best friend Buddy Wentworth,” I snapped.

“Buddy’s not my friend. He’s always mean to me. You hear him. Buddy’s mean to everybody. I just try to stay out of his way. Buddy made me sing with him that day. Said if I didn’t, he’d beat me to a pulp after school. I hate recess and I hate Buddy Wentworth. You’re the only friend I’ve got. You never make fun of me when Buddy gets something going. Can I please play?” Timmy begged.

“Sure. Where’s your marbles?”

He snatched them out of his pocket and I got my only real friend back that day.

If anyone thought that Timmy Doyle was a little slow had watched us play marbles, they’d have known that was nothin’ but a lie. Timmy took to playing marbles, quick as a baby chick takes to peckin’ for its grain.

I kept my grades up to all As and Bs. I sure didn’t want Mum’s moccasin on my butt. Willie was getting Cs on his report cards. Mum was just fine with that. I suppose getting Cs was lots better than the Ds he’d been bringing home before Mrs. Ashley.

###

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens

  • A fresh slice of “The American Pie”
    Paperback $9.80 Kindle/eBook $3.99 OR
    Purchase paperback and download kindle version for FREE
    Grab a copy of DOG BONE SOUP today on YOUR AMAZON!
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“DOG BONE SOUP” by Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢ June 18-22


“DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s Journey,” a fresh slice of The American Pie

“The other America, the America of poverty, is hidden today in a way that it never was before.  Its millions are socially invisible to the rest of us.” — Michael Harrington

“DOG BONE SOUP” by Bette A. Stevens is the saga of the coming of age of a poor boy in New England. Set in the 1950s and 60s, Stevens’s debut novel tells such an American story…
DBS AMERICAN STORY Vignette

I’m often asked why I wrote a book about a poor kid growing up in America in a dysfunctional family in the 1950s and 60s.

As a retired teacher, I have a deep concern for kids living in poverty today—these children are often bullied and looked down upon by other kids and even by some adults, all because of the social status of their families. Poverty and prejudice appear linked through the generations. The bullying I’ve seen isn’t simply relegated to kid stuff. Adults can and should make a difference for the better in the lives of these children—of all children. Many of these kids continue to suffer, and are often traumatized, throughout their lives because they’ve been bullied or intimidated simply because they’re poor. I know, I’ve met many of them. DOG BONE SOUP is a fictional story of the survival and the triumph of a boy who overcomes the odds of repeating the pattern of poverty in his own life back in the 1950s and 60s, an era when most families were living The American Dream.

Unfortunately, DOG BONE SOUP is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s and 60s. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to change these statistics today. As caring and concerned adults, we can all make a difference—one child at a time.

Find out all about it in DOG BONE SOUP. Let’s throw kindness around like confetti! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author
KINDNESS & CONFETTI

DOG BONE SOUP on kindle 2

 

 

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
A fresh slice of “The American Pie”
ONLY 99¢
for 5 days: JUNE 18th–22nd.
Grab a copy today on YOUR AMAZON!

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DOG BONE SOUP – A TREAT OF A READ


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Book Launch Tour: DOG BONE SOUP is Simmering!


DOG BONE SOUP Launch Banner

DOG BONE SOUP is not only the title of Bette A. Stevens’s debut novel; it ranks high among the paltry meals that the book’s protagonist, Shawn Daniels, wants to forget. Plodding through mounting snow and battling howling winds, Shawn is ready to leave it all behind—living in poverty, Dad’s drinking, life in foster care, the divorce, the bullies….

Travel with Shawn Daniels through the guts and the glories of life. You’ll find them all in DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age saga.  Available now at “YOUR AMAZON”

From the Reviewers

“Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when most others were on the crest of a wave. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. But most of all it will make you glad you read it.” ~ Charlie Bray, founder of the Indietribe

“In Dog Bone Soup, Bette Stevens captures the feeling and images of growing up in hardscrabble times perfectly.” ~ John Clark, librarian and author

DOG BONE SOUP

READ the opening Excerpt from Chapter One right here…

DOG BONE SOUP BW Border 2015The postcard arrived four days before my eighteenth birthday. All I had to do now was sign the final papers and light out for basic training. I could hardly wait to leave this place behind.

There were six of us ready to become soldiers. The other five guys were headed to Fort Dix. Soon as we were inducted, the sergeant who swore us in started calling us a bunch of lily-assed bastards and worse. When the jerk marched the other five guys off, I was happy as hell I wasn’t one of them.

Lieutenant Richards called me into his office. “You’ll be heading out tomorrow, Private Daniels. Here are your tickets.”

We sat in his office and talked about my future with the U.S. Army. Then he handed me a schedule for the next day’s journey and we went over every detail.

“Now let’s get you home so you can get a good night’s sleep before you fly off to serve Uncle Sam, soldier.”

“Good luck Private,” the lieutenant said when he dropped me off at the house. We saluted and I stood there watching until his car disappeared over the hill.

I’d always liked army people. They called me Mr. Daniels and even sir sometimes. Now I was officially a private in the U.S. Army and I was ready to start a new life. I pictured myself in an officer’s uniform one day—a lieutenant, a captain, maybe even a general.

Mum and I didn’t get much more than a few winks of sleep that night. I don’t know how many pots of coffee she perked while we sat at the kitchen table and talked the night away. Of course, it was Mum did most of the talking. Once she opened her picture books, I felt like I was drinking in the life I wanted to leave.

Mum took all of those pictures with her Brownie—that camera was her pride and joy. None of us kids was allowed to touch it unless she supervised a picture taking every now and then. If Dad wasn’t around, it was me peeking through the lens. Mum was fussy about taking pictures just so.

Five books were piled on the table and we went through them one page at a time. Mum had a story for every snap shot. Some made me laugh so hard that I doubled over.

It was two minutes shy of three when she closed the last album.

“Thanks for staying up. I’ve got the alarm set for six and I know that won’t give us much sleep.” Mum pulled out her hanky, sniffled and hugged me before we turned in. My leaving would to be hard on her.

Willie was snoring away, likely dreaming about cars. I slipped in next to him and pulled away some puffs and huddled under them.

The minute I closed my eyes I started dreaming about my new life. No more freezing to death up north. I was headed for southern sunshine and I saw myself soaking it all in.

Bzzzzzzz. I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, grabbed the suitcase and headed for the kitchen. Mum already had breakfast on the stove, so I ran outside to do my business and came back in to grab a hot biscuit and down it with a cup of steaming coffee.

I was half frozen and snow was whipping around me in circles when I headed out on the three-mile walk into town to catch that bus.

I shook flakes big as quarters from my jacket when I climbed the steps of the Greyhound. Two hours and I’d be boarding a plane headed to Fort Jackson. South Carolina was sure the place to be, especially in February.

### end of excerpt

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Bette A. Stevens is the author of award-winning picture book AMAZING MATILDA; home/school resource, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP.

Find out more about the author and her books right here on “YOUR AMAZON”

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J.E. Spina’s Debut Novel: HUNTING MARIAH


indexAn insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah.

Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past?

Can Mariah escape this deadly killer’s grasp? Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?

Find out more and get your PAPERBACK copy today: Hunting Mariah by J.E. Spina or KINDLE (eBook) COPY at Amazon

J.E. Spina’s novel has been a long time in coming. She started it over twenty years ago but put it on the back burner until this year when she decided it was time to get it ready for publication.  J.E. Spina is an author of five children’s books, one of which received the Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards. She writes her children’s books under the name of Janice Spina.

Janice SpinaJ.E. Spina has written three other novels—a spiritual/mystery, historical/drama and a YA fantasy which she hopes to edit and publish over the next two years. In between she will continue to publish more children’s books under the name Janice Spina. Besides being an author, Janice is also a copy editor, blogger, avid reader, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.

J E. Spina will be offering a giveaway on Goodreads. Please go to her blog for more updates  http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com. and website http://jemsbooks.com

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COVER REVEAL + Manuscript of my debut novel should be ready for the editors this week!


Here I am reading, editing & rewriting one more time…

Dear Readers,

The manuscript for my debut novel (current Work-in-Progress title: DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s Journey…) is almost ready to go to the pros (professional editors). I feel like I’m making progress. Wanted to share my latest cover design with you.

I would love to get your thoughts on the cover design and on the back cover blurb. Simply click on the image to enlarge.

The more 'eyes' the better. Thanks so much Marilyn and Dale for heads-up on changes. You're awesome! ~ Bette

Thanks for reading & comments. APPRECIATED. The more ‘eyes’ the better. Thanks so much Marilyn and Dale for heads-up on changes. You’re awesome! ~ Bette

For the latest updates on my novel, free chapters, excerpts, notices of author giveaways and other freebies, I invite you to sign up for my bi-monthly author updates at http://eepurl.com/t-7JP

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Happy reading, writing & all of those other amazing things you do,

Bette A. Stevens

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And you’ll find me writing… MORE PURE TRASH


Writers Write Postage StampIt’s time for this writer to get writing—finishing up my first novel MORE PURE TRASH (current working title). What’s this novel about?
First of all, it’s a sequel to my short story PURE TRASH released in July 2013. Here’s what I’ve put together (unedited & still in revision state) for the back cover of the novel slated for release Summer 2014. I invite you to leave a comment and let me know what you think of the title (above) and the back cover text (below). As things progress, I’ll  keep you posted. Thank you. ~ Bette A. Stevens

Onion sandwiches and dog bone soup… Shawn Daniels is leaving it all behind!

Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ’60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too.

Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for what most folks consider the essentials. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for any of that. But when chores are done, there’s always time for fishing!

Shawn Daniels is the oldest in a family of four children. His father is the town drunk. Shawn’s family has no indoor plumbing or running water, but they do have a TV. Dad deserves the rewards of his labor at the tannery—television, beer and ballgames—while the boys keep the firewood cut and stacked, haul in water for cooking and cleaning and weed the gardens or shovel snow. Shawn hates school. He’s been the butt of the kid’s jokes for years, eating his onion sandwiches in the cafeteria while others feast on food that he only dreams of tasting.

It’s 1964 and Shawn Daniels is ready to leave it all behind. Shawn’s on his way to U.S. Army boot camp in North Carolina to soak up some southern sun and begin a new life. But for some reason, he just can’t get Mum’s scrapbook out of his mind. When a little fellow with blonde hair sits beside him on the plane, the life Shawn is leaving behind comes back in a flash. The plane’s getting ready to take off, so fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride!

Love Month is Knocking!


May your February be filled with love... ~ Bette A. Stevens

May your February be filled with love… ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

February is knocking and it’s time to get up and answer the door. That means lots of edits and rewrites for my debut novel, featuring Shawn Daniels, protagonist from PURE TRASH—the short story prequel to the upcoming novel. Since I plan to release the novel this spring, February is the perfect month for me to get out those colored pens (editing) and get that first draft tuned up and ready to share with my first outside-of-the-house editors. Our darling kitty—Midnight—is on high alert to help at every turn. She loves pens, eye glasses, paper clips and everything that glimmers or moves. And, of course, she has to make sure that there’s nothing for her in my tea mug. Midnight was busy playing with her catnip mouse (photos) earlier today— giving a glorious partridge time to munch on some of our delectable crab apples—before she went out for her morning stroll.

I’ll have a Valentine’s Books Giveaway to share with you soon. Meanwhile, stay warm and enjoy the wonderful Month of Love.  ~ Bette A. Stevens

How to write a novel in 30 days!


NOVEMBER WAS NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

THANK YOU NaNoWriMo and my writing buddies for helping me meet the challenge of writing a novel in 30 days!

2013 Accomplishment

ON NOVEMBER 27th, 2013, the draft of my upcoming debut novel reached more than 55,000 words as I finished writing the final chapter. If there are any writers or want-to-be writers out there who haven’t finished , or perhaps haven’t started, writing their stories yet, I highly recommend committing to the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. You’ll find plenty of support and encouragement both online and through regional group write-ins.

For more information on how to sign up and commit to write your own novel in 30 days next November, check out http://nanowrimo.org/how-it-works

Here’s what my draft looked like at the end of the day on November 27, 2013. Since then, I’ve taken a holiday break. Come January, I’ll be reading, writing & editing my draft over and over before having a professional editor take a look-see… Winter here in Maine is a great time for all of that inside work. I’ll get in a little snowshoeing on warm (30+), sunny days and catching up on all the books I still have on my TO READ LIST, too. Have a wonderful winter. ~ Bette A. Stevens, author of PURE TRASH, The Story (the short story prequel to my upcoming debut novel)…

The CreateSpace  (an Amazon affiliate for indie-authors and self-publishers) photo above was posted on my Facebook feed. The version you see, has been adapted by me for this blog post. I have self-published all three of my books using CreateSpace and recommend that you check them out if you’re considering self-publishing.

You can find my books—AMAZING MATILDA; PURE TRASH, The Story and THE TANGRAM ZOO AND WORD PUZZLES TOO!  at http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens

First draft of PURE TRASH, The Novel (working title) for Bette's first novel planned for release in 2014.

First draft of PURE TRASH, The Novel (working title) for Bette’s first novel planned for release in 2014.

Sign up for Bette’s FREE Email Updates at http://eepurl.com/t-7JP

DEBUT NOVEL… I finished the draft!


I did it! This is my first NaNoWriMo and my first novel. The challenge was to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during the month of November. Well, this is Day 27 and I just wrapped up the first draft. I am working towards a publication date of Spring 2014. I invite you to follow my blog and sign up for Bette’s Email Updates (right column of this blog) for updates and excerpts as the journey to writing my debut novel continues. You can read an excerpt of the novel’s prequel, PURE TRASH, The Story at the top of this blog. Happy reading. ~ Bette A. Stevens
2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover“Debut novel will take you on an American adventure you will never forget.”

PURE TRASH, The Novel (Coming—Spring 2014)
The Adventures & Coming of Age of Shawn Daniels: A poor boy growing up in rural New England in the 1950s and ’60s.
by Bette A. Stevens

Description: If you grew up in the 1950s and the 1960s, you may be among those who recall those good old “Happy Days” of television fame.  Poverty and prejudice were generally ignored or simply acknowledged as existing in third-world countries during this time in American history when a new middle-class was burgeoning. But poverty and prejudice were sitting right in front of us, in towns and cities all across this great land. The 1960s is a time when racial tension abounded, the Vietnam conflict was heating up and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was a time when Americans were planning trips to the moon. And, it was a time in America when the poor were ignored.

For Shawn Daniels, growing up during this time of plenty was far from happy. Shawn’s life is one that few Americans are aware of now, or acknowledged at the time. Shawn’s dad is the town drunk, the family has no running water or indoor plumbing, but they do get a TV.  With few of life’s necessities or its perks, Shawn learns to make the best of what he does have. Poverty and prejudice are just two of  the themes in Shawn’s story. This novel will take you on an American adventure you will never forget.

PURE TRASH, The Novel is the complete package for PURE TRASH, The Story (August 2012, Amazon) –a short story adventure that highlights bullying, class division, prejudice and poverty in rural New England. PURE TRASH, The Novel opens with Shawn leaving high school to join the U.S. Army in 1964. The storyline follows Shawn’s life from age four to age 18 when he sets out on a new adventure carrying with him the hope for a future far better than the past he is leaving behind.

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