A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Posts tagged ‘Poverty in America’

Book Promo – DOG BONE SOUP – ONLY 99c / 99p for a Limited Time


DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens– ONLY 99c / 99p from March 22nd through March 27th

True-to-life Americana

“DOG BONE SOUP is a fascinating literary study of poverty and family dysfunction in the 1950s  & 1960s. It is written in a fast-flowing, entertaining style that kept my turning pages, one after another.

“Despite the odds stacked against them, two brothers—Shawn Daniels and Willie—manage to survive, escaping the rants of a drunken abusive father and the hardships of rural life, cutting out on daily adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry. DOG BONE SOUP is about making the best of what you have. It’s a story about survival, struggle, and the human spirit—rising above it all. As with all great literature, it is underscored with life lessons particularly memorable to this generation…” –Frank Scozzari

Grab a copy today!

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens

Literary/General Fiction

Sale dates: March 22nd through March 27th, 2017

Sale price of book: $0.99 (Regularly $3.99)

DOG BONE SOUP on YOUR AMAZON at 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 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 set in 1950s and 60s New England.

Thanks so much for purchasing, reading and reviewing DOG BONE SOUP; and thanks for sharing this Book Promo post for DOG BONE SOUP on your media sites!
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A #FREE BOOK for YOU to download thru November 29—It’s “PURE TRASH” by Bette A. Stevens


pt-free-ebook-limited-time (Excerpt from latest of 47 reviews)

Pure Trash is Pure Gold

5gold-star3

“Bette Stevens’s ‘Pure Trash’ is a quick and delightful read. It’s the story of a nine-year-old boy named Shawn, whose family is poor, and whose father is an alcoholic. On account of this unfortunate combination, he and his younger brother Willie are scorned throughout the community.

“This little story employs excellent mid-twentieth century dialogue, making you feel like you’re a part of the sleepy little town the author has invited you to. It begins with a lighthearted feeling: two young boys off to enjoy a carefree Saturday. But, as the story progresses, we’re faced [with]the harsher realities of the world: cruelty and judgment, and unfairness on account of things that people can’t even control…”
~ C.M. Blackwood

Read the entire review, take a “Look Inside” the book and download your complimentary copy of PURE TRASH from author Bette A. Stevens. It’s #FREE from November 25 through November 29, 2016 on YOUR AMAZON at http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ

ABOUT THE BOOK

PURE TRASH by Maine author Bette A. Stevens (Ages 11-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. 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

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#FREE eBook February 6–10. It’s “PURE TRASH” by Bette A. Stevens


“Beautifully Written” ~ Jo Robinson

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

“A child’s perspective in everyday cruelty captured beautifully…” ~ Maria Catalina Egan

PURE TRASH MustRead Prequel to DBS

PURE TRASH, a short story adventure (ages 11–adult) by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

#FREE eBook (Limited Time) FEBRUARY 6th – 10th

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.

PT Authorgraph

[EXPLORE BETTE’S BLOG]

DOG BONE SOUP: Remembering Thanksgiving 1963


JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people.

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

DOG BONE SOUP collage #1“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.

∞∞∞

By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. One of them held her hands up clutching at her coat like someone might steal it. The shortest one looked like she was ready to bawl. When they picked up the baskets and turned to leave, my stomach clenched up tighter than a double fisherman’s knot.

Annie and Molly stood there crying. Willie stared at Mum with eyes as round as donuts, shakin’ his head.

“I can’t believe you did that, Mum. You were rude and here we are starvin’ to death,” I scowled.

“I don’t want to hear any sass from you. And you girls stop your whining. We’re proud folks. We’ve never taken charity and we’re never gonna take it.” Mum shook her head and shuffled back in to watch TV.

I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.

###

Today, more than 45 million Americans are living below the poverty line http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.html Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

—Ready to read more?—

  • DBS A remarkable taleDOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
    Paperback ($9.89)  Kindle ($3.99)
    OR Purchase paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks of DOG BONE SOUP make GREAT GIFTS for all the Boomers on your list
  • Available at YOUR AMAZON

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 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 novel published in January 2015. You can find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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]

Aside

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!

Thanksgiving in the USA today


Can we save American? Watch and read to find our what’s really happening in America! ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com
CLICK the reblog link to watch and share. You’ll be shocked!

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 Nov 2012

Thanksgiving is a long cherished American tradition, but have we idealized it to the point that we’ve forgotten the true story, the historical events which really surrounded Thanksgiving? And what of the post-Thanksgiving shopping tradition of ‘Black Friday’ shopping— has it commercialized the holiday so much that we’ve forgotten the point? And lastly, for those who spend Thanksgiving dinner with family, how does one mitigate the various table-conversation pitfalls, such as politics and religion?

John Fugelsang (Host, Current TV’s “So That Happened”) leads this week’s panel to discuss these issues and more on this special episode of The Point with Kelly Carlin (Host, Sirius XM‘s “The Kelly Carlin Show”), James Spady (Assistant Professor of American History, Soka University), and Altagracia Perez (Rector- Holy Faith Episcopal Church). Special thanks to John Cumbler (University of Louisville Professor), Annie Leonard…

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