Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sample Saturday - Happy Halloween

Welcome to Sample Saturday! Since it's now October, and you know what holiday comes at the end of the month, I thought I'd share a sample from my contemporary romance short story entitled Happy Halloween.

Recent widow Mary Beth Larson is moving into an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona. Here she deals with her son, Sam, and then her daughter, Linette, as they make adjustments in their lives.


“Do I have to go to school tomorrow? Thursday’s a rotten day to start.”

She looked at his frowning face, framed with dark brown hair. “What’s the matter with Thursday, Sam?”

“That’s the day the teachers give the tests. I won’t know what they’ve studied. Then Friday’s even worse. They do all the fun stuff that the kids earned all week. I’d feel dumb, and the kids would think I was a smart-aleck, getting something for nothing.”

“Sam Larson, there’s hope for you yet. If it’ll make your way smoother, we’ll start you on Monday.”

“Thanks, Mom. Hey, can I go trick-or-treating tonight?”

She looked at his bright face, still smooth at age eight. “I already said ‘no,’ con man. Now scoot and see what your sister is up to. I haven’t heard something falling all over the floor yet.”

Mary Beth placed the books on the shelf, a wistful half smile lifting the corners of her mouth. Sam was adjusting, coming out of the shock of his father’s death six months ago. Linette was doing fine, too. Now if she, Mary Beth, could just feel better. She thought back to the last words her mother had said as they left Chicago a week ago.

“Mary Beth, it’s time to let go. Time to get on with your life. I’m sure this move will help. I love you.”

I love you too, Mom but I loved Bill a long time. Grief is not something I can just shake off like a case of the flu.

As if to underscore her thought process, a wave of despair swept over her. She covered her mouth with her hand to stifle a sob, battling with her mind against returning to the day Bill’s hunting buddies called.

“Mom.” Linette’s six-year-old voice broke into her thoughts, yanking them away from the edge of horror. The girl bounded into the room with her pony tails bouncing. “I put all the sheets in the closet. Can I have a can of pop?”

“Can’t you wait until lunchtime, Babe?”

“But I’m thirsty, Mom. There’s six cans, so we can each have two.”

“Not right now, we can’t. If you drink your pop now you’ll have to have milk with your lunch.”

Linette nodded her blonde head, grinning. “I like milk with lunch.”

“Then you may have one can, but drink it in the kitchen!”

“Thanks, Mom.” Linette was gone, scampering through the doorway.

Mary Beth got up from her crouched position and stretched her arms above her head. The dust from the carton of books made her feel coated with grime, and she idly wondered if the apartment pool was heated as claimed. Might as well find out, she thought.


Mary Beth Larson emerges from the fog of loss in a new location with two young children, determined to start her life again. Glen Hampton and his little kids have already survived their own tragedy. Maybe this Halloween means something besides Trick or Treat. A "Misty Moments" short story.

Happy Halloween
Smashwords all formats | Kindle |

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sample Saturday - Recipe #2

Last week I introduced you to my recipe book, - an eBook entitled Rapid Recipes for Writers...And Other Busy People.

This week I have another quick and easy recipe for you, called Skillet Spaghetti.

Marsha Ward

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
3 cups hot water
1 package onion soup mix
2 handfuls of spaghetti, broken in thirds
Parmesan cheese

Boil together until spaghetti is soft. Add a 16 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce (if the contents of the jar are less nowadays, just use the closest size). Heat and serve, topped with Parmesan cheese.

That's all there is to it! Accompany the spaghetti dish with salad and a dessert.

Rapid Recipes for Writers...And Other Busy People is available FREE at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers of ebooks.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Fine Line - The Ancients: Part 2 Book Tour

It's Fresh Book Friday, and here's a book presently on Tour:

Title: A Fine Line - The Ancients: Part 2
Author: J.C. Brennan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
Warnings: Language, Violence, and Adult Situations
Disclaimer: I don't ordinarily read Dark Fantasy. The excerpt has been lightly edited to subdue objectionable language.

Book Description:
War is coming… Is William’s family ready?

The mysterious appearance of a young girl—brutalized and half dead—has thrown the Crew into a heightened state of disquiet. Aurora and her evil pack of Damned have declared war, and William now wonders if, somehow, the seemingly-innocent girl may be employed in some way as a dangerous weapon in the coming battle.

The revelation of an ancient relic may deliver the critical aid the Crew so direly requires. Its newly-discovered power enables William to delve into the strange girl’s memories, but will the answers be too horrifying for the Crew to accept? Along with the newfound strength found in this lost treasure comes a treacherous caveat, and William must decide if all of the gains gifted to his family are worth the precarious risks it demands.

A Fine Line - The Ancients: Part II is the continuing story in the "A Fine Line" series. This third book chronicles the story of William Healthaway and his family—the descendants of an ancient race possessed of powers they are only just learning to control. Enter a world where no one is safe from the wicked clutches of the Damned, where love, laughter, family and all that is held dear wavers on the knife-edge between life and eternal slumber. For fans of historical high drama—with traces of fantasy thrown into the mix, romance, war, family, death, and the supernatural.


As the men walked through the woods looking for any signs of trespass, both were at the peak of readiness, though neither said much of anything to the other. William and Buckner were almost at the south-west line of the property and could hear the babbling of the water splashing along the rock bed of the narrow stream when a strong stench pervaded their senses.

“Oh…my…G--, what in the h--- is that?” Buckner shouted, covering his nose.

“I have no idea. Boy, that sure is rancid.”

They searched the area, spreading further apart to see if they could discover the source of the foul odor. William believed they would find a body at the height of its decay.

“Do you see anything, Jonathon?” William called, choking as the putrid stench became more intense.

“No, noth…” Buckner cut his response short, so William began walking in his direction. “No, no, stop! Will, stay perfectly still.”

“What is it?”

“Shhh, just listen,” Buckner whispered putting a finger to his lips.

William stopped and listened hard. The sound was strange but familiar and, at first, he thought it might be an animal caught in a trap.

“It’s coming from over here, Will,” Buckner said following the flow of the stream.

The men walked quickly but carefully. If it were a trapped animal, it might not take too kindly to them, whether they intended to help it or not. The sound became louder, but William realized it was being made by something quite small.

“What in the h--- is that?” Buckner asked.

Then, Buckner stopped abruptly. William crashed into his back and nearly bowled him over; he’d been so focused on finding the creature making all the noise. Buckner’s eyes widened in disbelief, “I can’t believe it.”

“Believe what? You know, you need to give some warning before you stop like that. What? What is it?”

Buckner pointed to a small area just ahead of them off to the right, where a very large, very old sequoia tree stood. The tree had a naturally formed opening at its base, which reminded William of the entrance to a cave. The girth of a sequoia tree could grow very large, but this one was massive, nearly forty meters. The opening at the bottom of the tree was quite unusual and almost perfectly rounded.

After the initial shock at the size of the tree had worn off, William saw what had made Buckner stop. In the huge opening, was a nest of leaves, which held a small bundle wrapped in cloth. Neither of them could believe what they were seeing... It couldn’t be…

Buckner’s words faltered. “Is that, that…”

“A baby? Yes, that does appear to be exactly what that is.”

Purchase Link:
A Fine Line: The Ancients (part II): is currently available at and on Amazon.

About the Author:

I grew up in a small village in Michigan called Skidway Lake. The small town life was a fantastic way to grow up, but I always wanted more. My life was a difficult one. Being a single mother made me realize that will power is a person's greatest friend.

I started by writing poems when I was younger. The thought of writing a novel was always on my mind, but I wasn't sure if I could write a full novel. When I decided I was going to give it a shot, the words just began to flow, and before I knew it, a wonderful story emerged.

My first novel was the hardest, a nightmare, actually. I had never published before and it was a whole new world. I learned quickly that there are people in every industry that will take your money and use you. However, there are also good people out there, people with good hearts. I don't think I would have made it without the wonderful independent authors out there who are genuinely good people and are willing to help.

I have struggled most of my life to get where I am, and know there are more battles yet to face, but with will, strength, and the love of my family and friends, I can accomplish anything.

Find J.C. Brennan on the Internet:
Author site:
Twitter: @JanetCBrennan


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