A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

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🎄Happy Holidays — Three (3) books Only 99¢/p each through New Year’s Day!🎉


Wishing everyone “A Very Merry Christmas” and “A Happy & Healthy New Year!”  ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

🎄Celebrating the holidays🎉 and still looking for a special gift for a friend or family member?

Three of my eBooks are on sale for only 99¢ each through New Year’s Day 2021. I invite you to check them out at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

NOTE: You can also purchase any of these as paperbacks and download the eBook versions for FREE (Kindle Matchbook) anytime.

About the books

AGES 10–Adult/Novel & Short Story/Historical Fiction

DOG BONE SOUP

“Adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry.” Frank Scozzari

  • Whether or not you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find Dog Bone Soup (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive at a time when others were living The American Dream. This family drama and the emotional world of the characters are timeless and relatable. Dog Bone Soup (2017 Top Finalist KCT International Literary Award) 

PURE TRASH (Short story prequel to the novel Dog Bone Soup)

“A great book for young adults, parents, guardians, mentors, and educators to read. Strongly recommended!” Yoong 

AGES 4–11/ Parents/Grandparents/ Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book

“If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, ‘Are You My Mother’ about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book.” Jacqui Murray

If you read to children, you’re sure to want a copy of AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale (Award-winning Picture Book/Purple Dragonfly Book Award & Gittle List 2013) by Maine author/illustrator on your bookshelf. Follow Matilda, a monarch butterfly (through metamorphosis) from the time she emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. Challenges and adventure at every turn, this story teaches children that patience and hard work really do pay off.

Find all of Bette’s Books and take a “Look Inside” on YOUR AMAZON

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Welcome to Day 8 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! @ptlperrin @RRBC_Org #RRBC #RWISA #RWISAWRW


SUNSET

By P.T.L. Perrin

Eden backed her Boston Whaler, Eden’s End, away from the dock, swung her nose into the current and gave the outboard a little gas. Still in the no-wake zone, her granddaughter hung over the side near the stern and trailed her hand in the water.

“Leigh, a shark’s gonna bite that thing right off.”

“No, it won’t. See the dolphins alongside?” She pointed her dripping finger at a pair of breeching dolphins. “Everyone knows they protect folks from sharks.”

Eden shook her head, grinned, and watched the sleek bodies leap through gray water until the pod outdistanced them. She’d never heard of a shark this far up the intracoastal, but she enjoyed teasing Leigh, even if the girl didn’t like it much. Besides, she wouldn’t have to put up with it after tonight. Her heart dropped at the thought.

Right now, they needed to get into the channel where she could open the throttle and let her fly. They’d need a bit of speed to get through the chop at the inlet’s mouth.

“Where’d you stash the drinks, baby girl? I’m thirsty.”

“Coke or ginger ale?” Leigh reached into the cooler behind the captain’s bench and waited for Eden’s answer.

“We have any bottled water?”

“Yuck.” Leigh wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out. At thirteen, she didn’t care for plain water. She grabbed a coke for herself and tossed the water toward the captain’s bench, where her grandma easily caught it.

“Come up here with me.” Eden scooted over, but Leigh grabbed the canopy support bar and stood next to her to wave to passing vessels.

They entered the main channel and accelerated. “Look at them all!” Leigh held tight to the support with one hand and with the other, pointed out small boats like theirs, yachts and excursion ships heading out to sea. “I’ve never seen so many in the channel all at once. Is all this for the sunset?”

Eden didn’t answer. She glanced at her granddaughter and wished she could keep this moment forever. Evening light bathed Leigh’s face in a gentle glow, the pink in her cheeks showing through the Florida tan she wore summer and winter. Her luminous eyes, the same amber as the natural streaks in her sun-bleached hair, crinkled at the corners as she squinted at the water. She’d be a beauty in a couple years and Eden had looked forward to scaring the sin out of any boys with the wrong idea. Just another thing she’d never get to do.

The chop demanded her attention, so she drove while Leigh held on and whooped every time their bow hit another wave. The sea calmed when they reached the Gulf of Mexico, and they found a spot to drift about a hundred yards out, away from other vessels. The current turned the stern toward the northwest, where they had a perfect view of the horizon to the west and the inlet to the east.

Eden moved to the cushioned top of the cooler in the aft cockpit. Leigh joined her, pretended to push her off with her hip, and settled close. She sipped her coke while her grandma threw an arm around her in a hug.

The ocean breeze played with Eden’s short hair and blew tendrils of Leigh’s long hair across her chest. Eden reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a hair tie.

“Turn around, baby girl. You don’t want hair in your eyes just as the sun sinks, do you?” Leigh leaned forward while her grandma caught her hair back in a tail. She reached for a blanket bunched on a corner seat.

“Here, Grandma. The breeze is a little cool.” Leigh pulled it over their laps.

A bank of cumulous clouds towered to the east, each layer a living painting, shifting through pink, purple, orange, and salmon in majestic slow motion. A low swell slapped against the hull, a rhythmic percussion to the visual symphony.

Eden took several deep breaths, enjoying the tang of salt air with a hint of seaweed. The scent of grilling fish tickled her nose. Her mouth watered and her stomach rumbled. They’d eat with Leigh’s parents later, at one of the seafood places on the main dock. A special treat.

Leigh snuggled close to Eden, who pulled the lightweight blanket up to cover her girl’s shoulders.

“Are all endings sad?”

Eden swallowed hard before she could answer. “Not all.”

“Like what? Name some happy endings.”

Eden dug past the lump in her heart to find one or two. “When the prince kisses the princess and they live happily ever after. When the hero escapes from the dungeon.”

Leigh slapped her arm. “I mean for real.” She turned her gaze toward the setting sun, now barely touching the horizon’s edge. “I can think of lots of sad endings. Like when we had to leave our friends in Minnesota. And when Scruffy ran away. And when…”

Eden interrupted. “Farmers are happy when a drought ends. And what about the end of an icy cold winter? You had those in Minnesota, remember.”

“Oh, yeah. But the end of snow wasn’t so happy.”

Eden grabbed her granddaughter’s hand and pointed toward the sun, now a half-circle sitting on a dark line.

“Every ending starts a new beginning.” Just saying it lifted her own spirits a tiny bit.

Leigh picked up on it. “School starts at the end of summer. I like school.”

“And cooler weather,” Eden reminded her.

“Morning comes when night ends. I’ll be fourteen when thirteen ends.”

“And we’ll meet in heaven when life ends.” Eden wanted to take back the words as soon as they left her mouth. She sucked air in thick gulps to keep from bursting into tears. She felt her granddaughter tremble.

Eden turned Leigh’s face toward her and kissed her forehead. She kissed each precious cheek and wiped her tears away with her thumbs. “You know I’ll always love you, don’t you? Everything I have is yours, and no matter what, we’ll see each other again.”

“Death is a sad ending, Grandma. I don’t care what the next beginning is. I don’t want you to go.” Leigh covered her face with her hands, bent over her grandma’s lap and sobbed, shudders racking her body and tearing the heart out of Eden.

“Watch, Leigh. Sunset isn’t over yet.”

Leigh sat up, wiped her eyes, and took a shuddering breath. Eden’s heart swelled with love and pride at her granddaughter’s courage as the ocean swallowed the last sliver of sun, leaving the eastern clouds a gray canvas. There should have been more drama.

Eden returned to the console and started the engine.

“Wait, Grandma. Can’t we wait for the stars to come out? I need more time.”

Eden turned the key off and wrapped her arms around Leigh’s slender body. They sank to the deck, neither trying to control the eruption of grief tearing at their cores.

When their sobs turned to hiccups and they let each other go, Eden lifted Leigh’s chin and pointed to the sky. “Look at that magnificence, baby girl. God’s story written in the stars. You’re there, and so am I.”

“What do you mean, Grandma?”

“Our last sunset is an ending, but tomorrow’s a new day for both of us. I’m going home very soon, and you have a long life ahead with happy endings and beautiful beginnings.

Leigh sighed and snuggled close. “And we’ll meet again. In heaven, right?”

“That’s right.” Eden returned to her bench and turned on the engine. “I’m hungry and your parents must be starving. How about you?”

Leigh nodded, stood, and held on to the support. “I love you, Grandma.”

*****

Leigh backed her whaler, Eden’s Dawn, from the dock and headed to the channel where she joined a smattering of fishing boats, her lights joining theirs on the way to the Gulf. Her daughter snored softly, asleep beside her on the bench. Leigh tapped her shoulder to wake her.

“Faith, we’re getting to the chop.”

The child stretched and yawned, jumped to the deck, held on to the support, and whooped at every wave they hit until they reached calm water.

“Now, Mommy?” Faith pointed at the pretty box on the console that held Grandma’s ashes.

“Soon.” Leigh headed out until land was a smudge to the east and cut the engine. “Now, Sweetie.”

Leigh and Faith held the box over the stern together. Leigh kissed it, and they dropped it into the ocean while the sun rose behind a cloud bank, its golden rays streaming out to paint the morning sky pink and orange.

Leigh hugged her daughter as the box sank beneath the waves. “Goodbye, Grandma. We love you.”

Faith reached up and held her mother’s face between her small hands. “Are you sad, Mommy?”

“A little. But every ending starts a new beginning.”

Leigh lifted Faith to the bench, kissed her, and turned Eden’s Dawn toward home.

###

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

PTL Perrin’s RWISA Author Profile

Thanks so much for stopping by to enjoy P.T.L. Perrin’s short story today. We would love to hear what you think in the comments. I’m delighted to have Patty, a talented fellow #RWISA author with us today. I invite you to check out her Author Profile and take a peek inside her awesome books. I’ve got two of them on my kindle and can hardly wait to start turning page. ~ Bette A. Stevens

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#FREE Limited Time Offer—PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) by Bette A. Stevens


PURE TRASH

“A single day. A lifetime of lessons.”

“A great book for adolescents, young adults,
parents, 
mentors, and educators.”

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens
#FREE eBook through November 23, 2018
Grab a copy of this #must-read story today at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ today!

Recommended reading ages 10-adult.

5gold-star3

“This is a glimpse into the characters of Shawn and Willie Daniels who take front and center in the author’s full-length novel, DOG BONE SOUP. A nostalgic vignette, PURE TRASH will whisk you into an era and place where many struggled to survive the grip of poverty. This short novella is filled with adventure, and the fun of boys being boys–riding bikes, collecting bottles for penny candy, and running into trouble…and prejudice.

“Enjoy this short read but when you are finished, I highly recommend purchasing DOG BONE SOUP. It’s a gem of a book that will leave a lasting impression with its memorable characters, heart and story line. Don’t miss it!” ~ Mae Clair, author

Book Blurb

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short.

About the Author

Inspired 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 reading, 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).

Stevens’s children’s activity book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012.  AMAZING MATILDA , Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017). Stevens is currently working on her first poetry collection—MY MAINE, Haiku through the seasons.

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PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens #FREE eBook through July 1, 2017


PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens

#FREE eBook June 27 through July 1, 2017
Grab a copy of this must-read prequel to the author’s novel DOG BONE SOUP today at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ today!

From the Reviews

5gold-star3

Pure Trash—A Nostalgic Gem!

“A nostalgic gem – I was swept away from the first paragraph and thoroughly enjoyed this skillfully written short story. This author knows how to paint mind-pictures and flavour them with taste, smell, and sound.” ~WJ Scott, Children’s Author, Fairy Dust.

A Compelling Story

“Having read Dog Bone Soup from which this short story was drawn, I figured it would be a review of what I already read. I must say it was, but to a greater degree, this short story caused me to focus on the message. Two boys, Shawn and Willie, were children of dirt-poor parents. The story covers the day that the boys are going to take their bikes to town, trade in some bottles, and enjoy some candy. In short, a day free of worry and care. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be. A small accident causes the boys to have to face the reality of prejudice that will no doubt haunt them their entire lives.

“The author tells this story with the realism that causes the reader believe they are witnessing the action personally. One’s heart goes out to the boys and their mother for having to endure ridicule and shame only because they were born into poverty.

“I recommend this short story to anyone who wants to preview Dog Bone Soup. It is well worth the time.” ~John Howell, author

Book summary

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP.

About the author

Inspired 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 reading, 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—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

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#FREE Limited Time: PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens


pure-trash-kindle-from-amazon-page

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens
#FREE eBook through February 26, 2017
Grab a copy of this must-read prequel to DOG BONE SOUP today at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ today!

5gold-star3

“This is a glimpse into the characters of Shawn and Willie Daniels who take front and center in the author’s full-length novel, DOG BONE SOUP. A nostalgic vignette, PURE TRASH will whisk you into an era and place where many struggled to survive the grip of poverty. This short novella is filled with adventure, and the fun of boys being boys–riding bikes, collecting bottles for penny candy, and running into trouble…and prejudice.

“Enjoy this short read but when you are finished, I highly recommend purchasing DOG BONE SOUP. It’s a gem of a book that will leave a lasting impression with its memorable characters, heart and story line. Don’t miss it!” ~ Mae Clair, author

Book summary

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP.

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Love is What Life’s All About!


Love is What Life’s all about!
by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

share-the-love-of-reading-bette-reading-with-sam-2017It’s February—LOVE MONTH!  That’s what I love to call it. With Valentine’s Day celebrated around the world on February 14th, it’s the ideal month to set aside some time to dwell on the meaning of love in our own lives.

Love of God and the magnificent world He’s created for us to enjoy, love of family, love of our neighbors (everyone outside of our families). Love is what we’ve been called to do—that’s right—love is a verb, an action word. Do we sometimes fall short? Sure, as humans we all miss the mark at times. But that doesn’t confine us to loving less; it inspires us to love more.

Reading with kids is one way we can demonstrate our love to the younger generation.  In fact, older kids love to be read to as well. Reading together gives us a chance to bridge the generation gap and discuss real life issues, allowing time for adults to listen to what kids have to say on crucial issues that affect us all. No kids around to share the love with? No problem. Simply contact your local school or library and let them know you’re ready to share the love of reading with the kids. They’re sure to feel the love and I promise, you’ll feel it too!

Whether writing for children or adults, the theme of love somehow always seeps its way into heart of the story.  In fact, when I really take time to reflect upon it, love is often what inspires the book, the story or the poem. Love really is what life’s all about. When we follow our passions and encourage those around us to follow theirs—that’s love. When our pages help to turn someone’s hurt or apathy into understanding—that’s love. When a verse we’ve penned discloses our Creator’s unconditional love for us—that’s love. Let’s do our best to share the love!

About the ‘Love’ in Bette’s Books

inspired-by-nature-human-nature-2-bas-books

  • In AMAZING MATIDA (Children’s Picture Book/ages 4-11), a frustrated Monarch caterpillar who is ready to give up on her dreams is inspired to keep trying to find her wings. But she’s not alone, Matilda has friends to teach her about patience and persistence by encouraging her. Now, that’s what I call love.
  • In PURE TRASH (Short Story/Historical Fiction/Ages 10-Adult), two young brothers are off on a Saturday bicycling adventure when one gets injured. The eldest boy, Shawn Daniels, seeks help for his brother from a wealthy neighbor who grudgingly does her good deed leaves a lasting impression upon the children. Brotherly love and bigotry leave readers to decide on their own about what love really is and what love is not.
  • In DOG BONE SOUP (Coming-of-age Fiction/Novel set in 1950s & 60s New England/Ages 11-Adult), Shawn Daniels tells his own storythe trials and triumphs of growing up poor in an affluent rural New England town. Though many of the town’s people, young and old, see Shawn as a poor boy they disregard or try to humiliate, there are many who encourage and support him in both words and actions. Adventure abounds in this coming of age novel readers of all ages will long remember as they discover for themselves what love really is all about.
  • Inspired by and for the love of kids and the love of learning, I’ve written, illustrated and used The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! in my own classroom with students from 4th through 8th grade. The Zoo… is a great resource for integrating research and creative writing into a math and/or science curriculum. One of the project ideas included in the book is for the kids to create their own tangram animals to add to The Zoo… Then, to research their creature creations and write their own rhyming riddles. Readers and colleagues agree: “At home or in the classroom—it’s hands-on learning that’s creative and loaded with fun for everyone”—The Tangram Zoo.

Take a “Look Inside” all of Bette’s books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

“A writer inspired by nature and human nature!”

Inspired 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 reading, 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—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to share it on your media sites.

Happy love month!
Bette A. Stevens

P.S. Up for a #Loveuary Blog Challenge? Visit Ritu’s blog https://butismileanyway.com/2017/01/31/loveuary❤-a-prompt-list-of-sorts/ and have a wonderful time sharing the LOVE all month long. ~Bette

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10 Tips For Editing Your Short Story


Don’t miss these great writing/editing tips! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

A Writer's Path

pencil-1819063_640

by Writer in Wedges

So you have written your short story and cannot wait to release it into the world. But before doing that, it is important to take some extra time to make sure your story is properly edited, despite the fact that editing is nowhere near as fun as writing.

View original post 618 more words

2017 WRITING CONTEST: Tales2Inspire Celebrates Sixth Year


Get ready to share your story

winner-tales2inspire

 

“So much more than a contest

Lois W. Stern announces the opening of Tales2Inspire’s sixth yearwith a great little contest for those with an inspiring story to share. But it is so much more than a contest, as winning authors get tons of publicity to help them on their paths to discovery. Free to enter—NO FEES involved.

Stories must be true, with one or more relevant photos submitted to enhance the impact of the story. All details posted at: www.tales2inspire.com/contest, so please refer to this link before you begin.

And since a picture is worth 10,000 words, while you’re there, grab a F*R*E*E e-book sampler of inspiring stories written by previous winners, and now published in one of the six Tales2Inspire® collections

~ Lois W. Stern
Creator of Tales2Inspire ‘Authors Helping Authors’ Project/Contest

Get the NEW Tales2Inspire E-book 6 Inspiring Stories – FREE 
Available formats for KINDLE (Mobi) OR NOOK (e-pub)
FREE e-book sampler www.tales2inspire.com/gift
Your reviews are most appreciated.

    Lois’s links:

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Pure Trash


“This work was recommended to me by my editor, and now I know why… Most enjoyable!” ~ Kev Cooper
(Read all about it and grab a copy of PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens at YOUR AMAZON today!  http://bit.ly/1BMrqbL )

“MAKING THE BEST OF IT” review + PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens #FREE thru May 23


PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP is now #FREE at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ through Monday, MAY 23rd! ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Barbara Ann Mojica's BLOG

Pure Trash

Written by Bette A. Stevens

PureTrash, pic

By way of disclosure let me say that I read this prequel after I read the full length novel. Some reviewers have indicated they felt the ending abrupt or incomplete, but I loved this short introduction to the characters of Shawn and Willie just as much as I did the full length novel.

Nine year old Shawn and his six year old brother Willie live in a run down house without plumbing along with their hard working mother and alcoholic father. The setting is 1955 when life for two poor boys was hard, but everyday life was simple. On a Saturday morning the two brothers ride their bikes, play with slingshots, and collect bottles for change they can cash in for candy and soda at the local general store. But the well to do town citizens look down upon them, and they are…

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