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A Time To Write

I wear dual hats, writer, author, and publisher. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned and continue to acquire new knowledge in this ever-changing industry of publishing. When I write, I can’t wear my ‘work’ hat, it ruins creativity. And when I work, I can’t write. It’s not unusual for hundreds of manuscripts to end up in my inbox. If I choose to send them out for review, that will be the deciding factor if we take them on. I see a lot of pieces, and we have talented award-winning authors on our label, but I can honestly say few pieces are written as beautifully as 50 HOURS by Loree Lough, and that is the truth.

50 HOURS

FRANCO ALLESSI is a broken, lonely man who wants nothing more than to outrun the ghosts of his past. For years, he tries to numb the pain of his wife’s death with cheap beer and whiskey. When he’s convicted of drunk driving, the judge revokes his license for six months and orders him to serve fifty hours of community service. Franco chooses Savannah Falls Hospice for his community service, for no reason other than it’s walking distance from his dilapidated house trailer.

On his first day on the job, he meets AUBREY BREWER, a woman whose time on earth is quickly ticking to a stop. Their unusual connection teaches powerful, life-changing lessons about friendship, acceptance, and the importance of appreciating that precious treasure called life.

Now, the endorsements (we have too many to list) for this book speak for themselves; I get it, it deserves every one of them. Catherine Lanigan, Author of Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, and over forty-five novels and non-fiction, said, “I defy anyone to start the beautifully written 50 Hours and to put it down or to go on with their own lives as they had before reading about the remarkable, emotional and insightful relationship between dying Aubrey and the lost Franco. As a recent widow myself, the strength, humor and respect between the main characters shot close to home, but delivered so much hope and love that even as I march forward to tomorrow, my perspective has altered—all to the positive. In her last days in this life, Aubrey finally lives out the dreams she’s been too browbeaten by her mother and ex-husband to accomplish. She can only do this with help from Franco, who risks imprisonment to see her wish come true. Emerson said, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” Aubrey and Franco succeeded. Believe me when I say, THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK THAT WINS PULITZER PRIZES. “

The main character, Aubrey, is ill, that silent killer, cancer. Cancer destroys or touches too many families in the world, let alone our country. My mom died of cancer, too young, but once diagnosed she didn’t last long. When I read the book 50 HOURS it was inevitable, I was reminded of what she went through and what we went through as a family. But I’ve always wondered what she was thinking, secretly, when she wasn’t trying to put our minds at ease.

Aubrey, a character of strength, hope, determination and sharp wit, dares you to take her journey with her and see and feel what she’s feeling through her eyes. But not in an emotional roller-coaster draining sort of way. She is the perfect definition of courage. Fearless at times, vulnerable at others, but always positive and selfless. She helps Franco, the recovering alcoholic serving time in the form of community service, who inadvertently helps her. Together, they’re the perfect team. Knowing what I know, about cancer, having experienced it with my family, it was touching to read it through Aubrey’s point of view. To take her walk with her, the walk. Knowing the diagnosis and how Aubrey really felt at times, was insightful. I think my mom, like many sufferers, think of those around them most. I was able to ‘see and feel’ things through Aubrey’s eyes.

It is undeniable that authors often bond with their characters while creating them; after all, it takes time and energy to develop fictional beings that a mass audience can relate to in the novels. When they tackle subjects that affect millions of people daily, be it illness, death, addiction, poverty, etc., it’s not unusual for authors to conduct extensive research to ensure the accuracy of the details that they write. Back stories, depth, facts, characteristics, and ultimately the feelings that bounce of the paper and touch people, emotions, must be believable. However, it is shocking when life unexpectantly imitates art. I was stunned, but can’t even begin to imagine what Loree must have felt, when I found out that the she, the author, was diagnosed with the illness that her character had while writing the novel.

The research that she was conducting to develop her character, Loree was suddenly applying to herself. Aubrey, the character terminally ill, and now the author, Loree Lough, found themselves in the same position. Healthy when commissioned to write; diagnosed while half-way through the novel. She was living out Aubrey’s nightmare. Surely it was impossible to divide the two emotionally at times. How did that happen and why? I can’t even begin to fathom it.

Multiple Myeloma, incurable bone/marrow cancer. I can barely say the words, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine completing the novel as beautifully as she did, knowing what all she had endured. Talk about a time to write. How did she do it?! A time to write. Writing from within; seamlessly, and beautifully as one with Aubrey at times.

It is no wonder that Aubrey leaps off the pages and into your heart. Loree’s heart and soul can be found in between the lines. This novel will touch people not just because of the terminal illness, but because of the life-lessons that Aubrey teaches Franco and Franco inadvertently teaches Aubrey. Inspiring hope in the midst of despair, reminding us of what is truly important in life. I honestly believe that this novel was meant to be written and meant to be written by Loree and shared. The screenplay had been stashed for years. Pulled out. Re-filed. Why now?

Loree Lough’s 50 HOURS is a poignant story that reminds us how precious life is, especially if our world has been turned upside down by cancer. But don’t be fooled: This novel will leave readers feeling hopeful, no matter how hard the dreaded disease has hit them. ~Jack Watts, award-winning author of 16 books, including “The Moon” series and Creating Trump Nation.

Loree has graciously discussed her treatments, some experimental, some traditional, and is willing to visit openly about her diagnosis, treatment, and the development of Aubrey (character), and this novel. She can be contacted via social media, her website or right here: contact@progressiverisingphoenix.com

A portion of Loree’s royalties from her 100’s of best-selling novels, go toward cancer research and other charitable organizations.

 

Amanda M. Thrasher

50 HOURS 

Loree Lough

 

Excerpts, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack Cereal Authors.jpg
Image via Pixabay

The sound of little girls giggling and playing a hand clapping game could be heard all the way up to Old Man Oscar’s porch: “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack…All dressed in black, black, black….She wore her buttons all down her back, back, back…”

“Whacha know ‘bout Miss Mary?” said the old man rocking while the children clapped along. Looking at him one of the little girls answered, “It’s just a song, there’s no Miss Mary!”

“Girl hush! I tell y’all it’s true, there was a Miss Mary and she used to run that ol’ orphanage near LaGrange road.”

Thinking these were just the ramblings of an old man, the girls continued to play on. Meanwhile a skeptical little boy asked, “Oh yeah, how come I ain’t never heard of no Miss Mary?” Seeing a little bit of himself in the boy, the old man answered, “Befo’ yo time boy.” As he slowly rocked back and forth in his chair, the memories began flooding back. Having caught their attention the children came closer to the porch. Noticing he had an audience, the old man took a knife to an scar on his arm and pointed, “You see that there, those is boins (burns) I got fo eating befo’ sayin’ Grace. She grabbed a lit candle stick and just pressed it into my arm like it whattin nuthin’.” The children gasped in horror and now that the old man had their undivided attention, he felt obligated to finish what he had started.

Chocking up as he remembered the dust from old dirt road that led up to the ancient manor. Old man Oscar pulled on his collar feeling the blazing Alabama sun as he recalled the hard labor he was forced to do for the demanding matron, Miss Mary. Finding it hard to breathe, he began to take deep breaths as his hands shook, from the trauma at the hands of that unforgiving serpent. Hearing the sound of her leather strap as it whipped in the air before making contact with his skin, he had no choice but to take another sip of gin from his flask so he wouldn’t lose his composure in front of the children who were now demanding to know who this Miss Mary was.

Unlike most people Old Man Oscar considered the memory loss that old age had bestowed upon him a blessing for a hard and sorrowful life. He had lost so many friends, and family over his 70 years, but it seemed God himself would not allow Oscar to completely forget Miss Mary, so reluctantly, he began the tale…

He was around 4 years old when his mother brought him to the orphanage ran by the First Apostle Church of Morecliff Hills. As she led him up the stairs Oscar’s mother promised, “Now, don’t fret I’ll be back for ya. This is only for a little while.” When they reached the top of the final step of the porch, she hugged him. Holding on tightly Oscar pulled on her blue cotton shawl, tears streamed down his mother’s eyes as she instructed him, “Now you be good for Miss Mary, she’s gonna take care of ya.” As on cue, a woman appeared from the porch door, as though summoned by all the sadness.  Clad in a black dress covering all her flesh, the woman looked like a ghost emerging from the shadows. Peering down at Oscar she asked, “The people ‘roun here call me Miss Mary, what’s your name?” as though she didn’t already know. What little Oscar didn’t understand was that this arrangement had been in the works for almost a year. Though Oscar’s mother promised to be back, Miss Mary knew she wouldn’t, most parents never returned. A few guilty ones might write a few letters but eventually, all contact would cease. This was why Miss Mary felt it was important to build a rapport with the children in the beginning to make the transition easier so she smiled and spoke sweetly to the young boy to keep him calm as his mother walked out of his life.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Fiction, JD Holiday, Literary, Uncategorized

Too Many Bobs – Character Quotes

 

FINAL Cat illustration 8-13 SIGNEDToo Many Bobs – Character Quotes from Stories And Imaginings For The Reading Spot by J.D. Holiday

Stephanie frowned. “Robert? Oh, I see,” she said. “Oh, yes. He was here, he bit me and left the room through that archway,” she continued, offering the woman a smile as if to say no harm done and then went on. “I think we can chalk that up to his injury. He’s in pain. When they hurt a member like that, and-and if it’s not kept still it would probably be sore, which could upset him, and-and make him strike out. I’ve seen this before, working part-time at the hospital. He’s had all his shots so there should be no problem.” Stephanie stopped there not wanting to babble anymore.

 The woman’s now shocked and red face puzzled Stephanie. On second look, Stephanie thought the woman was angry.

www.amazon.com/Stories-Imaginings-Reading-Spot-Holiday/dp/0981861466/

http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/p/a-collection-of-short-stories-for-adult_4.html

 

Dellani Oakes, Sea of Destiny

Sea of Destiny – Conclusion

sea of destiny cover “In a bold move that shocked high society, billionaire heiress, Emily Geraci married a little known dance instructor, M. Kyle Scott of Orlando. Scott is the son of former dance instructor, Amy (Jerome) Scott of Tampa and the late Michael K. Scott. The wedding was held at the Davenport Dance Studio in Orlando. Among the guests were the dance instructors, Scott’s former co-workers from The Webster Agency, students from the Davenport Studio and members of the crew of Ms. Geraci’s ship, The Serendipity.

The bride was attended by Miss Vera Stapleton of Cocoa Beach. And Ms. Carmelita Porter of Orlando. The groom was attended by his brother, Christopher Scott of Key West, and his son, Randall. The Reverend Daniel Burke officiated.

The reception followed aboard Ms. Geraci’s ship, The Serendipity. The couple will honeymoon in Cancun, Cozumel and Belize. Upon returning to the States, the family will reside in Orlando.”

Kyle read aloud from the Orlando Sentinel. “Look, Emily, we rated page one of the wedding section.” Kyle tossed the paper down on the bed before following it, to lie on his back in front of his wife. “Have I told you this morning how much I love you?”

“Several times just moments ago,” she giggled, popping him with a pillow.

“Oh, hit me again, baby!”

“Did I marry a closet masochist?”

“Yeah, into bondage.” He replied in a gruff, teasing tone. “I’m completely trapped in your eyes and tied up in your love.”

“Shut up and kiss me, bondage boy.”

Her lips were descending on his when the door to their suite flew open and Mindy flung herself on her father’s lap.

“Rosie’s cryin’, Daddy.”

“Where’s Vera?”

“Her’s seepin’.”

“Honey, when Rose cries, Vera will take care of her. That’s her job now, honey.”

“Okay!” She squished her father’s face, puckering his lips. “I wuv you, Daddy!”

Emily got the same treatment. “I wuv you, Emily!”

“I love you too, sweetie. Now go on out so Daddy and I can get a shower.”

“You gonna come play with me?”

“I about an hour, honey,” her father replied.

“Okay. I’ll come get you in an hour.”

“How about two?”

“Daddy!” Mindy looked disgusted, hand on hip. “Who’s gonna play wif me?”

“Wake your brother.”

“Okay!” She bounced out.

Kyle locked the door behind her, barricading it with a heavy table. “We have to be quick, my bondage queen! The pixie princess will be back soon unless her brother can occupy her.”

“Was it a mistake bringing the family with us?”

“Could you be separated from them for a minute?”

She giggled, shaking her head.

“Me either. I love you, Emily Geraci-Scott.”

“Shut up, Kyle, and kiss me.”

THE END

© Dellani Oakes

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Dellani Oakes, Sea of Destiny

Sea of Destiny – Part 55

sea of destiny coverKyle quits his advertising job, and works as a dance instructor. One day between classes, Emily arrives. With his baby daughter, Rose.

“Vera didn’t want to keep her. She hasn’t got room for a baby in her life, so I offered to adopt her. Because she’s a part of you, Kyle, I kept her.”

“She’s beautiful, Emily.”

“She’s ours, Kyle.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I figured out what I want out of life, my new life because of your father. I want you, if you’ll have me. I love your kids and I love you and….”

He took her in his arms, kissing her deeply, trying not to squash the baby between them. She cried in protest, wiggling between their chests. Laughing, Kyle pulled back the blanket, gazing into her astonishing blue eyes.

“What’s her middle name?”

“Nadia.” She emphasized the second syllable. “It means hope.”

“Rose Nadia,” he repeated solemnly. “Everyone!” He clapped his hands sharply, getting their attention. “I want you to meet someone. Emily Geraci, I’d like you to meet my salsa students. Emily is a former student. The best I ever taught.” He glanced at her, eyes twinkling.

“And I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our dance family. My daughter, Rose Nadia.”

It took nearly three minutes for them to stop cheering. Kyle stood with Emily, accepting the congratulations of his students. Attracted by the noise, his co-workers came in to see what was going on. Soon, nearly everyone in the studio knew about Emily and Rose. His daughters were next door in ballet and came over to see their new baby sister.

“But where did she come from?” Mindy asked, squinting at the baby.

“I’ll explain later, honey. Isn’t she pretty?” Kyle said.

“But I’m ‘posed to be the baby, Daddy.”

“Now you’re the big sister. What do you think of that?”

“I dunno. I guess that’s okay.”

“Way to go, Dad.” Cindy teased him. “So this is what you were up to the night you didn’t come back to the ship?”

“Like I’d tell you.”

She nudged him. “Naughty boy!”

“Just don’t you bring one of these home anytime soon.”

“Gawd, Dad! Yuck!” She took Mindy and went back to ballet class.

Kyle carried Rose around the studio showing her to everyone, accepting their compliments and congratulations. Finally, after all he’d been through, everything was coming together. He felt like he was walking on air, floating a mile above the ground.

Emily watched him work the room, her eyes glowing. Cindy came back into the classroom after ballet, carrying her workout bag. She flopped down on a chair next to Emily.

“So, you and Dad getting married?”

“If he wants me.”

If? You even need to dignify that stupid statement with a response?”

“He hasn’t officially asked me yet.” Emily laughed, hugging Cindy. “Would that be alright with you?”

“Yeah! He needs to be happy, Emily. Being with you was the happiest he’s been in ages. Being without you, that’s the most miserable I’ve ever seen him. Even after Mom died.”

“Is he enjoying what he’s doing?”

“He loves it. He goes to work and comes home smiling. He never did that at the office. This is where his heart is.”

She watched Emily watch her father for a moment. Making a sudden decision, she leaned over to the CD player, pushing the play button. A slow love song by Faith Hill started playing. Cindy pirouetted to her father’s side, taking the baby from him. With a gentle shove, she pushed him across the room to Emily. He held out his hand and she took it as the music wrapped around them.

Kyle and Emily danced together as if they had done it all their lives. Gradually, the other instructors and the students joined them, dancing as Faith Hill sang Breathe. The last notes of the song ended. Kyle leaned over, kissing Emily, holding her close.

“Marry me,” he whispered.

“Of course,” she replied.

© Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Something New by Dellani

Something New second cover“Sit, everyone. Beverages. Sam-u-el!” He drew out the name like a battle cry.

The windows shook when he called the name. An elderly gentleman in a black suit came to stand by the sunken room.

“You bellowed, sir?”

“Beverages, Samuel. Tea?” He asked the room in general. “Yes, tea. The Oolong.”

“As you wish, sir.” He bowed, turning his back to the room.

“Great man. Deaf as a post,” Gordon muttered.

“I can hear you,” Samuel said. “I’m not deaf.”

“He’s not. I just like yelling.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Lone Wolf by Dellani

lone-wolf-front“I’ve never been able to compete with that thing you do.” He wiggled his fingers by his head.

“Believe me, Marc. I didn’t do the thing.” Wil imitated Marc’s gesture unconsciously, then hesitated, hating to admit the truth. “Well, I tried, but it didn’t work.” He held up both hands as if Marc pulled a gun on him.

“How could it not work?” Marc was incredulous. “I know the pheromone touch when I see it!”

“I did the touch, I let her get my scent. She felt it, but shook it off somehow.”

“Are you sure?”

Wil gave him a patient look. “She pointed a gun at my head and threatened to kill me. Yeah. It worked.”

“Then why is she with you and not with me?”

“My magnetic personality.” Wil chuckled as Marc grimaced.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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lone wolf first four covers

Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Conduct Unbecoming by Dellani

conduct front coverDanielle stooped over a body that lay, spreadeagled, on the beach. He was face up, though his chest lay on the sand. Teague gave an involuntary shudder.

“Either he’s real limber, or his neck’s made outta spaghetti,” Jasper said quietly as they walked up.

“Guessing cause of death was a broken neck?” Teague asked facetiously.

Danielle squinted up at him from her position on the sand. “Medical Examiner hasn’t shown up yet, but it’s a fair bet. However, the gunshot wound to his abdomen would have been as effective. Slower, more painful. . . .”

“Nasty way to go,” Teague said.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Star Crossed by Dellani

Star Crossed cover“You okay?” Chet asked.

“I’ll be fine when the car stops spinning,” Abe replied.

Chet chuckled, toying with the wheel so the car bounced back and forth.

“I will kill you. Maybe not today, but sometime. You will know to fear me for the rest of your life.”

“That worked when I was ten.”

“You’re terrified of me, you’re just afraid to show it.”

Chet burst out laughing. “Dream on, my friend. I am twice the bad ass you’ll ever be.”

Abe chuckled, holding his head as it spun crazily. “Keep believing that.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from Undercover Lover by Dellani

character-quotes-image“I was remembering how we met. You had a very unique interview technique,” Saige mused.

“I was really trying to get in your pants. You know that, right?” Brodie replied.

“I had that figured out, yeah.”

“That subtle, was I?”

“As a train wreck, Brodie.”

“If you hadn’t been with Ben, would I have had a chance?”

She looked over his sun-bronzed, Greek god physique and golden blond, blue eyed face with the appraising eye of a woman on the prowl.

“Oh, no chance at all,” she said sarcastically. “So not my type. I’m not into the completely gorgeous, sexy, super model, stud type. I’m immune to your charms, Malcolm Brodie.” She shook her head, trying to keep her face neutral.

“Damn,” Brodie sighed, easing his muscular body through the tightly grouped chairs. “Cause I’m sure as hell not immune to yours.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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