A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Posts tagged ‘debut novel’

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Celebrate the Season with ‘DOG BONE SOUP’: Grab it for only 99¢ from October 3~7


First, you can read “An Apple Picking” excerpt from DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens right here.
Only 99¢ for the whole story from October 3—7!

“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
DBS Apple Picking Excerpt bas

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
ONLY 99¢
for 5 days: October 3—7
Grab a copy today on YOUR AMAZON!

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.

Meanwhile, savor “An Apple Picking Excerpt” from DOG BONE SOUP

Right after school the next day, Willie and I grabbed two empty bushel baskets and headed over to Alvina’s place. We planned to fill ’em up over the tops.

“Hi, Mrs. Stevens,” I said when she opened the door.

“What on God’s green earth do you two want?”

“Saw your trees out there with branches tippin’ to the ground. Wondered if we could pick some apples. If you like, we’ll pick some for you too.”

“Hell, no! Those apples are mine and they ain’t goin’ to some white trash that lives down the road. I’ll have ’em rot before the likes of you gets a one. Now, get the hell out of here and don’t come back. My shotgun’s standin’ in the corner and I’m not afraid to use it. Now, git!”

We trudged back to the Buick, drove the quarter mile home and headed out to the garden to see what we could rustle up—a bushel of onions, a bushel of potatoes, half a bushel of carrots and fourteen Hubbards.

“Gotta head out to pick Mum up, Willie. You lug in the water and have the girls feed the chickens.”

Told Mum about it all soon as she slammed the Buick’s door.

Mum braided the onions and hung them down the basement so they wouldn’t rot. She had Willie line the Hubbards up around the edge of the kitchen floor without touching to keep them from rotting.

“I don’t think we have much grain left for the chickens and we can’t afford to buy any. Drive down by Bull’s Butcher after school tomorrow and get us as many dog bones as he’ll let you have. I can do a lot with those bones.”

So there we were, back to those god-awful stinkin’ dog bones. Mum boiled a big pot of ’em up that night. She scraped off what little meat was on them and separated out the fat to fry. We ate the crispings with our fingers. The meat scraps went back into the kettle with carrots, onions and potatoes and that was our supper for weeks on end.

Still, I had a plan.

“Hey Willie, let’s head over to Alvina’s after dark. We’ll park this side of her place, sneak into the orchard and snitch us some apples. We can lug ’em back to the Buick and Alvina’ll be none the wiser. What do you say?”

“You bet!” Willie was rarin’ to go.
###

Tell your friends all about it…

And don’t forget to grab your copy of DOG BONE SOUP for only 99¢ at YOUR AMAZON today!

Let’s all throw kindness around like confetti! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author
KINDNESS & CONFETTI

DOG BONE SOUP on kindle 2

 

 

Author Bio

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—an endangered species (and 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, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
“Throw kindness around like confetti!”
ONLY 99¢
for 5 days: October 3—7
Grab a copy today on YOUR AMAZON!

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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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 – 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!

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