A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Posts tagged ‘Dysfunctional families’

NEW RELEASE: “The Truth She Knew” by J. A. Owenby


Looking for an unforgettable contemporary fiction read? I’m delighted to introduce you to J.A. Owenby and give you a peek into the first novel in her “Truth” series.

ibe-jao-ttsk-cover-ebook-the-truth-she-knewGripping Page-turner!

The Truth She Knew by J.A. Owenby is the compelling story of a young woman torn between loyalty to an abusive, controlling, mentally ill mother and her desire to find love and seek out a life of her own. This gripping page–turner brings light to the darkness of a secretly dysfunctional family and takes the reader through a journey they will not soon forget—a journey through the plight of the victims of those affected by the mentally ill. Owenby skillfully weaves a poignant story of first love into the protagonist’s plight. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer. Highly recommended for readers age 18+. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Book blurb

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.

For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a roller coaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.

Excerpt

I leaned on the table and propped my chin on my hand.

“I’m dating someone.” I couldn’t control the grin that spread across my face. The Joker had nothing on me.

“Whaaat? Who? When? Where? Fill me in!” she squealed as she set her sandwich down, picked up her drink, and situated herself to hear the full story.

“Well, there’s not a lot to tell, but his name is Walker. I met him at Joss’s party last month and we’ve gone out for three weeks, and . . . he’s gorgeous, Emma!”

She leaned farther across the table and her eyes widened as I told her how we met at the party, Tammy’s rude attempt to distract him, the repercussions of Walker calling after 9 p.m., and our first few dates.

“First of all, Lacey Anne Beaumont, you’re in big trouble for holding out on me,” she said, waving her finger at me.

“I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to say anything until I knew it was real. And, I haven’t seen you to tell you,” I said.

Emma leaned back in her chair and bolted upright again.

“Holy crap, Lacey, your mom doesn’t have any idea?”

“No! Dammit, Emma, what am I going to do?” I asked and slumped in my chair.

“Well, so far he sounds acceptable, but in order to fully support this relationship I need to meet this Walker Farren. Second, I do not want to be anywhere close by when you tell your mom you’re dating him. She does not respond well to you dating. Granted, your last choice was complete gutter material, but maybe this one’s different.” She took a sip of her iced tea.

“Emma, I’m in trouble. I shouldn’t be with him, but I like him, and I mean really like him. He’s different—there’s something special about him.”

“Well, good grief, don’t knock it. Who cares why as long as he’s good to you? And who says you’re in trouble? Because your mom says you make bad choices? Well, the last one wasn’t a hit by any means, but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of having a good boyfriend in your life. Besides, everyone knows she hates men.”

“Emma! I don’t want to talk about this again,” I said. A frown crept across my face at how quickly the conversation had turned in an uncomfortable direction.

Author Bio

J.A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.

Owenby is the published author of six short stories, and she is working on her second full-length novel. She also runs her own business as a professional resume writer and interview coach—helping people find jobs they love.

J.A. is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult, and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and good wine. And call her crazy, but she loves the rainy Pacific Northwest; she gets her best story ideas while listening to the rain pattering against the windows in front of the fireplace.

You can follow the progress of her upcoming novel on Facebook at Author J.A. Owenby, on Twitter @jaowenby, and her website at www.jaowenby.com.

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“Soup for the soul” It’s DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens—ONLY 99¢ thru SEPT 3rd!


DOG BONE SOUP—a poignant family drama and coming of age story by Bette A Stevens—takes readers on an incredible journey through 1950s and 60s rural America.

DBS 99¢ Limited TOM SAWYER & HUCKLEBERRY“Adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry…” ~Frank Scozzari, author

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
99¢ SALE
: Aug 28–Sept 3, 2016

Grab a copy today at YOUR AMAZON http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

Take a step back in time to “The Good Old Days” with protagonist Shawn Daniels as he encounters the challenges and experiences the glories of growing up poor in an era when many families were living the American Dream.

“Shawn Daniels and his siblings shake off extreme poverty, hunger, a dilapidated homestead and a drunken father, to somehow embark upon an idyllic childhood. Bette A. Stevens has crafted a remarkable tale of hope and happiness in the face of despair.” —Charles Bray (Founder of the Indietribe, a body dedicated to supporting self-published authors http://www.theindietribe.com)

Book Description

Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American boomer boy. Shawn is a poor boy and his father is the town drunk. Shawn’s family has no indoor plumbing or running water, but they do have a TV. After all, Dad deserves the rewards of his labor. Meanwhile, Shawn and his brother Willie keep the firewood cut and stacked, haul in water for cooking and cleaning and do all that needs to doing around the ramshackle place they call home. But when chores are done, these resourceful kids set out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime.

On a bitter New England day in 1964, Shawn is on his way to boot camp to soak up the southern sun and strike out on a new adventure—in a place where he believes it’s possible to make his dreams come true. Find out where this Boomer’s been and where he’s going in DOG BONE SOUP.

DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens
Available at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Author Bio

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 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 story.

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PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens and it’s #FREE May 19–23


PURE TRASH MustRead Prequel to DBSIt’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story) by Bette A. Stevens—a “Compelling Prequel” to the novel DOG BONE SOUP and the eBook version is #FREE at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/1BMrqbL from May 19th through May 23rd.

Review blurbs

“Amazing prose!” ~ JC

“A powerful short story” ~ Nicholas C. Rossis

“A Window into a Baby Boomer’s Saturday” ~ Kristina Steiner

Book Summary

The year is 1955. 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 necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing! In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It’s going to be a great day. Shawn is 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 (and not just by kids). 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 defined by the social status of their dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

PURE TRASH is the must-read prequel to the author’s novel DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s (coming-of-age) story. Download PURE TRASH for #FREE today (May 19-23) http://bit.ly/1BMrqbL

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, a Boomer’s coming of age story.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Pure Trash… Free Book Promo


PURE TRASH, a short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP #FREE at your Amazon MAY 19-23. Already have a copy? Please share the good news. Thanks, Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Aside

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]

Book Review: Dog Bone Soup by Bette Stevens


READ THE REVIEW & AN EXCERPT from DOG BONE SOUP: “THE BUICK,” too! ~ Bette A. Stevens
REVIEW EXCERPT by N.A. Granger, author of The Rhe-Brewster Mysteries as well: Dog Bone Soup is a gem of a book, fast paced, entertaining, and moving. I loved it and devoured it in two sittings (I had to stop to eat!). Bette Stevens is a talented storyteller and I hope we will have another book from her soon.

Five stars!

SaylingAway

Dog Bone SoupI grew up in New England the 1950s and ‘60s, and Bette Stevens has written a coming of age novel about a life I wouldn’t recognize. Call me lucky. Shawn Daniels, the oldest of several children, lives in poverty. His father is the town drunk and beats his mother, who struggles to keep the family together in an unfinished, tar papered house with no indoor plumbing, running water, and heat. They have a TV but that’s for the enjoyment of Dad. Shawn and his brother Willie do all his chores: cutting and stacking firewood, hauling water into the house, and helping mind their two younger sisters. Despite the curtailment of a real childhood, the brothers still find a way to have adventures in small pockets of time, fishing for one, with a home-made pole and a safety pin for a hook. Dog bone soup, made from the marrow in left…

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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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